Ever heard of it? Introducing iDance earphones and headphones!
iDance Audio isn’t a very well-known company, but they are exclusively into headphones. Their headphone designs are a bit funky in appearance and anyone might mistake these as poser headphones – all looks zero substance. However I was intrigued that they have so many different models but while many smaller headphone manufacturers basically share the same driver across their headphone lineup, the drivers used in each headphone in the iDance Audio lineup seemed quite different.
One model even came with dual drivers! Something rare even for top headphone brands like Sennheiser or Audio-Technica.
Another commendable feature is that most of their headphones and earphones come with a built-in mic. I have tested the mic on two phones and the mic works perfectly. (I was unable to test the headphones with an iPhone but the manufacturer states that all the headphones with mic are compatible with iPhones and iPads.)
The following headphones are under review –
|FREE 30||Yellow||Rs. 1,199/-|
|CRAZY 611||Orange/Black||Rs. 1,999/-|
|FUNKY 300||Orange||Rs. 4,299/-|
iDance Audio has 2 earphones in its line-up – the EBX104 and the EBX202!
|Sensitivity||98dB±3dB||100±3db at 1KHz 1mW|
|Cord Length||1.2m approx.||1.2m|
|Cable Type||PVC, flat cable||Woven Cable|
|Plug||3.5mm gold chrome||3.5mm, 4-Pole Gold-Plate Plug|
Build and Comfort
Build quality is average to above average. The cable on the X104 is a flat type which is great for avoiding unnecessary entangling. The X202 has a braided cable which I didn’t like too much as it can get quite entangled on its own. That said both earphones had cables of above-average build quality.
Both earphones come with a black cloth pouch and 3 pairs of ear tips. Both of these are quite standard at this price point. Some other brands give a sturdier hard case pouch and others bundled double flange ear tips so the accessories provided is a bit below average.
On the other hand, like most of the iDance Audio lineup, both earphones come with a built-in mic which worked fine on my Android and BlackBerry device.
Both earphones are quite small in size and both their housing is made of plastic which contributes to they being quite lightweight. Comfort wise both are above average and shouldn’t cause much discomfort.
I must admit I wasn’t too enthusiastic in reviewing these earphones initially since they are low-priced earphones and most earphones of their class were of very average sound quality.
The general consensus of earphones of this class is they are skewered towards either mids OR treble OR bass and I can’t remember any earphone in this range that didn’t have one or two glaring flaws which were a cause for concern.
Most complaints were of substandard bass or overblown exaggerated bass with little else. Some had very harsh treble with annoying sibilance.
So it was with great surprise that I was shocked at the kind of clarity and quality bass that I was hearing out of the X104! The bass was amazing! Excellent impact, clarity and without being over the top.
Mids are very smooth and very detailed considering the price of the X104 and the overall tonality was very warm.
Treble was smooth but a tad soft and overwhelmed by the bass. However, a little EQ helped quite a bit.
Definitely one of the best earphones in its class for sure.
The bigger brother the X202 has a more balanced and neutral sound. The bass quantity has reduced a bit but it’s still sufficient for most music except maybe dubstep.
Mids are less warm than the XB104 but have better detail and finally, the treble has that sparkle that was missing from the XB104. However, I preferred the less detailed but warmer and meatier midrange of the XB104 to the more detailed but thinner notes of the XB202.
Soundstage too is more immersive and expansive than the XB104.
So both earphones have a clearly different sound and cater to different tastes.
I received the following 3 headphones for review – FREE-30, CRAZY-611, FUNKY-300
|Driver Unit||30 mm||44mm||40mm/15mm|
|Plug||3.5mm gold-plated||3.5mm gold chrome||3.5mm gold chrome|
Yes! You read that correctly! The Funky 300 has TWO drivers.
Build quality and comfort
The Free 30 is the cheapest of the lot and it’s also the lightest headphone in the comparison. The clamping force is quite light and that added to its lightweight design makes for a very comfortable fit.
However, the isolation is also the worst among the headphones on review.
The Crazy611 is higher up the food scale and it has a bigger driver, better-built quality and bigger cups. The clamping force is also much higher which made it less comfortable. On the plus side, the isolation is quite decent. It’s more than reasonable for taking out on an evening walk. The Crazy phones can be folded for better portability.
The Funky 300 is substantially more expensive than the other two and its build quality also matches the price. The faux leather headband, head cups and adjustable clips are of a higher quality than the other two headphones.
All three headphones come with mic support and as mentioned earlier work fine with an Android and BlackBerry device.
The Free 30 is a surprisingly balanced headphone. Bass is not very deep but there is a slight mid-range hump to give some semblance of bass. Mids are pretty inoffensive and the treble is respectable. Not bad at all considering the price at which the Free 30 retails for.
If I have to point out any glaring flaws I seriously can’t think of any.
The Crazy611 easily sounds like a more expensive headphone. The bass is much more than the Free 30 and the overall detailing is improved. Also unlike the Free 30, the Crazy has a real deep bass which isn’t bloated. In some tracks (like Def. Leppards Photograph) you can really feel the bass pounding in your ears as the headphone housing literally vibrates! However, the Free has a wider and more expansive sound while the Crazy611 has a much tighter and intimate soundstage for a more in your face sound. Mids are weighty and thick and the treble is decent but nothing special. On the plus side, sibilance and harshness are generally absent.
On a whim I tried the Crazy611 on my dedicated headphone setup which has the Music Streamer II DAC as the source connected to a custom made EHHA headphone amplifier to see if the Crazy can benefit from an upgrade in the audio chain. I am happy to report that the Crazy does benefit from an upgrade in the found chain which means the Crazy is a capable headphone.
I tried it to my favourite headphone at this price range – the Koss Porta Pro and frankly the bass of the Crazy 611 simply outperforms the Porta Pro. The Porta pro wins on midrange but only just. The build quality of the Crazy is also better than Porta Pro.
Once I put on the Funky 300 you immediately feel like you have moved up to a proper mid-range headphone. The entire soundstage is improved. The Funky 300 sounds more like an open headphone rather than a closed headphone. The treble is far better than what either the Funky or Crazy can show. Midrange is also improved. The bass also is a step above the Crazy (which was awesome in its own right). The bass is equally as hard-hitting (the housings vibrate on certain bass tracks.) but it’s more tactile and fast now.
The dual drivers are definitely playing their part here. The Funky is at home on even portable devices like the Sansa Fuze and my Blackberry phone.
My Pantech Burst was unable to provide adequate volume to any of the three headphones, but the Pantech is known to provide insufficient power.
I was very worried when I saw the price of the Funky 300 at 4495 as a lot of top-tier manufacturers like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica and AKG have models in this price range. However, I can safely say that the Funky 300 can easily compete in this price range. The expansive soundstage, great bass, nice midrange and excellent treble all contribute to a well-rounded headphone. The good build quality and built-in microphone easily add to the number of plus points of this headphone.
I must admit I was very apprehensive reviewing the iDance Audio product line up. As a reviewer, I don’t like writing negative reviews but at the same time, my reputation is at risk if I give false praise to any product. So considering I have never even heard of iDance Audio I was a tad apprehensive about the brand’s competitiveness in front of so many headphone manufacturers out there with a rich brand heritage and years of expertise in making headphones. To add to that the entire iDance Audio line up seemed to be geared towards looks and there are plenty of ‘poser’ headphones out there.
So I am happy to say that iDance Audio belied my apprehensions and most of their line up is stellar products especially the Funky 300 and EB-x102.
The brand has many more headphones available and it’s not possible to review them all. But considering 5 of their lineup sounds so good there may be a fair chance that others too offer a good acoustic performance and worthy of your hard-earned cash.