Ugh, the iPhone’s lightning connection…It takes the fun out of buying earbuds. Either you have to settle for Apple’s EarPods or get an adapter thingy, which, of course, you’ll lose the next day. Well, a lot of brands are catching on to this dilemma by producing their own earbuds with a lightning termination. Strauss&Wagner is one such company. Selling at 20 bucks more than the EarPods, is the S&W SI201 worth the extra investment? And will the sound signature suit your tastes and choice of genre, or should you stick with the ol’ reliable EarPods? Let’s take a look in this Strauss&Wagner SI201 vs Apple EarPods Review.
Strauss&Wagner SI201 vs Apple EarPods Review
We’ve got Strauss&Wagner’s sound isolation versus Apple open style design. If you’ve ever taken a subway ride with the EarPods in your ears, you’ve probably noticed that they fail to eliminate any outside crap. And this is my main issue with the EarPods. So, if you want to drown out your surroundings, the SI201 is definitely worth the extra investment. That being said, if you need to be aware of your environment, the EarPods are a safer bet, especially if you tend to run into traffic.
The other problem that some folks have with the EarPods is comfort. After about 30 minutes of wear, the hard shells start to cause pain against my ear canals. This isn’t an issue for everyone, but for snowflakes like me, it’s rather unpleasant. So, if comfort is a big factor for you, you’ll definitely prefer the soft silicone tips of the S&W SI201.
Though both earbuds have solid low-end presence, the bass on S&W SI201 is thicker and deeper. So, if you like particularly meaty, juicy lows, you’ll certainly gravitate towards the SI201. And if you like a really warm sounding rock track, then the S&W SI201 should be your pick. Also, if you’re a hip-hop fan, you’ll notice a much heavier sub-bass response from the SI201. But in terms of clarity, the Apple EarPods deliver more detail and offer a tidier sound in this range. In contrast, the S&W SI201 conveys a more smoothed performance. So, if you listen to a lot of acoustic genres, the Apple EarPods will give you a more realistic feel. But if you’re mostly into modern genres, the S&W SI201 will probably be more pleasing to the ears.
You’ll hear a similar balance in this range. There’s decent presence in the low mids, and though the high mids seem to shine through a little more on the Apple EarPods, neither model feels harsh in the upper frequencies. Still, if you want a fuller bodied rock or pop rock track, stick with the SI201. On the other hand, if you like female vocals to sit a little forward in the mix, then go for the EarPods.
Both earbuds do a pretty good job with respect to detail and separation. But if you want a cleaner, finer and lighter sound, go for the EarPods. On the other hand, if you like a thicker, weightier and more rounded presentation, go for the richer feel of the S&W SI201. Still, listening to acoustic guitars in this range, again, the EarPods, gave a more realistic sounding performance.
The Strauss&Wagner SI201 feels a little more natural in the upper frequencies, especially with respect to the highest peaks. Listening to pop in this range, though both had a crisp feel, the S1201 felt more solid and absolute, making the Apple EarPods sound thin and almost tinny at times. So, again, if you like a weightier feel, the SI201 is a better option. This difference in flavor becomes even more apparent when listening to female vocals in this range. The EarPods deliver a light and airier performance, while vocals on the SI201 have a richer, more velvety feel.
Both earbuds offer a nice sense of spaciousness for the price. But perhaps because the Apple EarPods have a more open design, they offer a little more dimension, especially in terms of height. Because it also presents a more separated sound, instrument placement feels a little more precise on the EarPods.
If you listen to a lot of modern genres or you like a particularly rich and warm sound, it’s likely that you’ll prefer the profile of the Strauss&Wagner SI201. However, if you listen to a lot of acoustic music and you like a cleaner, lighter feel, then the EarPods might be the better option. That being said, if comfort and sound isolation are often a problem for you, then it becomes a no-brainer. Unlike the Apple EarPods, the Strauss&Wagner SI201 eliminates outside noise and is far less fatiguing to wear for long stretches of time.
You can find both earbud models here: