A few weeks ago I reviewed the brand new Strauss and Wagner EM205 for Headphone Dungeon. For a thirty dollar pair of earphones, I was impressed by their energetic sound signature and accurate imaging, and I highly recommended them as an excellent entry point for earbuds. I also thought they were just a nice, simple set of earphones with a solid build that should last you through train rides or long walks. If you happen to see them next to other pairs of cheap earbuds, they’d be the first I would recommend.
Amazon is home to many of these types of earbuds, by manufacturers you can only find through their website. KLIM is one of these brands, and they offer a pair of earphones similar to the EM205 called the Fusion. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two since KLIM is one of the more well-known brands. I’ll be comparing the sound quality and design to inform you of what the strengths and weaknesses of both earphones are, so let’s get into it.
What You Get
KLIM puts more into its packaging than Strauss and Wagner. The presentation of the Fusion is a lot more organized, with the buds protected in foam inserts and accessories being stored in a hard carrying case. In comparison, the EM205 seems cheaper and more limiting. However, for carrying around, I think the drawstring bag offered with the EM205 takes up much less real estate than the hard case of the Fusion. Ear tips are plentiful with the Fusion, and they’re laid out nicely in a plastic container. You’ll find 4 extra tips with the Fashion and only two with the EM205. I find ear tip selection important to any pair of earbuds, so I got to give props to KLIM here.
Look and Feel
The Fusion and EM205 are very similar in their build. Aside from the size difference, both earphones feature a black cylinder housing and a thin nozzle that ear tips fit comfortably over. This creates a single, solid piece that doesn’t appear fancy for colorful, but classy and professional. However, when it comes to the fit these earphones couldn’t be more different. The EM205 sports a far more seamless fit compared to the Fusion, as its smaller design lends itself to a more comfortable and less intrusive feel. The compact architecture of the EM205 lends itself to a more invisible fit, where it’s easy to forget them being in your ear for a while. The Fusion doesn’t have this luxury. I started with the foam tips and I always felt like they were falling out of my ears. The rubber tips were more secure but just didn’t supply the level of comfort that the EM205 does.
Strauss and Wagner provide a good look into their product’s internal systems, while it’s hard to find much about the specifications of the Fusion. In my original review, I appreciated the EM205 for stacking a 9mm driver into this small housing. Both earphones sport a remote/mic attached to their cables with different layouts. The Fusion has a single button for play/pause but has a volume slider instead of separate controls like the EM205. They can both be used for voice assistant and phone calls. One of the design choices I do want to note for the Fusion is the magnetic front plates that stick the right and left earpieces together so they never get tangles, which is a choice I’d like to see in more products like these.
There isn’t much to say here other than both earphones give out a clear signal that’s optimized for any smartphone or 3.5mm headphone jack.
For each earphone’s price point, I’m not expecting the greatest in terms of immersion, but the EM205 really goes out of its way to provide a clean and accurate stereo field compared to most models. In comparison, the Fusion barely holds its ground. The stage on the Fusion is closed, boxy, and lacks a significant amount of depth. Sound elements appear too close together, and not a whole lot of attention is given to separation, making some instrumentations appear unclear. The EM205 has clean and accurate separation while maintaining a strong, and impactful image.
Some listeners who gravitate toward these earbuds mostly likely want to hear a nice solid bass. Both earphones deliver to a certain degree. While the Fusion offers up some hefty bass, the tonal response is a lot boomier than the EM205. Strauss and Wagner give the EM205 and impactful but clear bass that never bleeds into the other frequency ranges. It’s better for punchier rhythms and resonant grooves.
Neither earphone posses a very clear mids range, but the EM205 still offers a lot more pleasant textures than the Fusion. The mids receive some accentuation in the low mids, creating a warmer timbre that stands out more than the Fusions muddier response.
Treble isn’t very strong on either earphone, but the EM205 again at least presents some nice textures even with its thin range. The Fusion goes for a smoother, more recessed tonality while the EM205 still brings everything it has forward with a respectable amount of headroom, but overall neither model really excited me.
When it comes to sound quality in this price range you can’t go wrong with Strauss and Wagner. From the fit to the bass, the EM205 is superior in almost every way. The lows and punchy and slam with a good force while keeping the other ranges balanced and clear. KLIM gives the Fusion a nice presentation but comes up short where it counts. So if you had to make the choice between the two, then the EM205 is the automatic sure bet.
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