On one side are companies like Beats by Dre and Skullcandy. Even though audio is their core business, they're first and foremost fashion brands. They have insane marketing budgets and pump unfathomable amounts of money into endorsements by famous singers, sports people, and random celebrities. That gets them media presence and soon, buyers start flocking to their stores solely because they want to own that same pair of headphones their favorite basketball player is using.
Then there are companies like 1MORE, whose products you won't see dangling from LeBron James' or Beyonce's neck. Rather than burning money on marketing, they focus their efforts on making excellent headphones and let their quality serve as the brand's ambassador. If you heard about 1MORE before, that's most likely due to their fantastic $99 Triple Driver in-ear headphones. We sang praise to them in our recent review and wholeheartedly recommended them, and we weren't the only ones - these are currently universally acclaimed as the best choice for anyone who's after a pair of IEMs (In-Ear Monitors) in the $100 price bracket. Today, we'll take a look at their bigger, even more ambitious and twice as costly sibling - the $200 1MORE Quad Driver in-ear headphones.
Right off the bat, let's talk about the "quad-driver" shenanigans. What that means is that both headphones come equipped with four small speakers. Each of these is in charge of a different set of frequencies. The bass and midrange are taken care of by a diamond-like carbon dynamic driver, two balanced armatures (think tweeters) handle high frequencies, and another balanced armature is in charge of ultra-high frequencies, the uppermost part of the high range spanning up to 40 kHz - way beyond what us humans are capable of hearing. Of course, the whole idea is to achieve a feeling of sound coming out of a single speaker, so don't confuse this with surround sound and don't worry about four "speakers" being distinguishable while you're listening to your favorite tunes.
The 1MORE Triple Driver and Quad Driver are the only THX-certified headphones in the world. That doesn't tell us much about the specifics of their performance, but it does confirm that they satisfy a certain level of sonic quality. They come with an in-line remote control and a microphone, a tangle-resistant Kevlar cable, and an impressively luxurious bundle.
1 dynamic carbon driver + 3 balanced armatures
32 Ω impedance
20-40,000 Hz frequency response (specified by the manufacturer)
Closed-back in-ear design
In-line remote control with microphone
3.5-mm and 6.35-mm analogue connectivity
1.25 m tangle-resistant Kevlar cable
Weight: 18.5 g
The box the Quad Driver comes in is absolutely wonderful. Both the quality of the box and the overall unboxing experience are excellent. 1MORE does their best to make you feel like you treated yourself to a best-in-class hi-fi product - and in some ways you have.
On the outside, the box contains a bold, beautiful picture of the Quad Driver and a list of its key specifications and features. Here, you'll find out that each headphone has a grand total of four audio drivers built into it, that the outer casing is made out of anodized aluminum, and that the sound was tuned by a Grammy-winning sound engineer. If you're wondering, the person in question is Luca Bignardi, a musician who nowadays works for 1MORE and decides what their headphones will sound like. There's also the Hi-Res Audio logo given to headphones capable of reproducing frequencies of up to 40 kHz.
Once you remove the outer shell, you'll be greeted by what looks like a book. Only instead of pages upon pages of letters, you'll find your headphones and its various accessories inside.
Here's what you'll see once you open the "book". What a stunning sight, and what a beautiful way to display your product! You'll forget how much you spent in no time - it will seem to have been very much worth it.
On the left side of the "book" are various sketches and textual explanations of the "quad driver" concept. If you look closer, you'll notice that this bit also works as sort of a quick-start manual since some "sketches" go over the functions of the buttons on the in-line remote control, which is pretty much the only thing you could need instructions for.
The right side of the box is filled with the headphones themselves and a vast array of accessories. Everything is beautifully organized and laid out.
First, we have the 3.5-to-6.35-mm adapter, which can be used to connect the 1MORE Quad Driver to amplifiers and DACs that use that connector. Then, there's a high-quality airplane connector, well-known to those who fly frequently and find themselves frustrated by not having an option to connect their personal headphones to the airplane's in-flight entertainment system.
The small metal clip is exactly that - a clip that can be attached to any part of the cable, which makes affixing it to your clothes possible.
Want a carrying pouch? 1MORE has you covered. An excellent, sturdy, beautifully designed pouch is also supplied.
In order to fit ear canals of various sizes properly, you also get a grand total of eight different ear-tip pairs. They're clearly organized by size and material. The top five are made out of silicone and the bottom three are made out of foam, which is preferred by some users.
These are the entire contents of the box. Aside from everything already mentioned, there's also a user guide and promotional pamphlet. With a bundle as rich and luxurious as this, I don't mind a bit of upselling.