MP4Nation ships the S1s in a box that lets you inspect the earphones.
MP4Nation always ships their earphones with a good bundle and this is no exception. They even included Comply foam tips, one of the most highly acclaimed 3rd party tips on the market.
The cable solution is quite interesting. It features some very large strain reliefs and the jack is very bulky. The rubber strain reliefs are fortunately quite soft.
The S1s look and feel solid. They are quite big, which might pose a problem for people with small ears.
Its housings are made out of aluminum and are vented, which all dynamic driver in-ears I know of are.
The sound tubes exit their enclosure at an angle, which allows for a better fit compared to a design with a straight exit.
You cannot fault the tip selection provided by MP4Nations with these in-ears. You get the standard S/M/L single flange tips and a set of Comply foam tips. The silicone tips are all of a really good quality, much better than the recent HiFiMAN tips. You also get a triple and dual flange tip; neither work particularly well with my ears.
PerformanceBrainwavz in-ears have always provided the user with good value for money and that is definitely what the S1s try to set a new standard for. The S1s have a medium-sized shell and require some fiddling around with in order to achieve a perfect fit, but learn how to do it and it becomes an easy achievement.
Upon first listening to these, I was sure that there was something wrong with my ears; the S1s simply sound way better than I could have expected, and expectations were pretty high. The bass is full and extends really deep, not quite to the same extent as the RE-400s, but it sounds pretty close. The amount of bass is more generous than with the RE-400s and the midrange is warmer yet the S1s are not stripped of sound stage, far from it. The sound stage is similar to the RE-400s, and although not quite as cohesive from left to right, it seems even bigger than that of the RE-400s.
The midrange does not quite provide the level of detail the RE-400s can pull out of a recording, but it is close, and given their more interesting bass performance, the S1s should definitely be on most top lists for quality mid-range in-ears.
Smooth is probably a good way to describe the general sound of the S1s. They do forgo the chance to be super resolving, which, at the same time, makes them very entertaining and non-fatiguing to listen to. The smoothness combined with its quite open sound makes them great for longer listening sessions during a commute.
The S1s do rock, pop, R&B, and hip hop really well. The vocals are clear and never muddy despite the healthy amount of bass. Both the lows and highs are somewhat elevated, but not in a way that compromises its all-around capabilities.
I was surprised the most by how comfortable these in-ears are once you get them into your ears. Despite their bulky look and hefty cable solution, these are incredibly comfortable, and even Microphonic noise is better than on the HiFiMANs with braided cable sleeves. They are not quite up there with the Westone Epic cable, which is still the reference here.
In terms of durability, the cable is definitely better than most, but it is hard to judge whether its seemingly beefier cable will last longer than the normal solution as failures are usually due to either accidental damage or long-term environmental damage from sweat, water, heat, UV degradation, and so on.