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A comfortable and small titanium wonder, the Echobox Finder X1 casual review

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I have heard about Echobox earphone before, but I never paid attention to it. That is, until one day I went to my local headphone store and came across to this earphone physically. Fully named as Echobox Finder X1, I didn’t have big expectation on this small in-ear at first, that is until I tried it myself and went home with one. Since then, the Finder X1 has become my on-the-go cans.

Echobox is a small company that is based in US. They previously run Indiegogo campaign for this earphone along with a Digital Audio Player with Android OS, the Explorer. Both products is very compelling, a small titanium in-ear that built like a tank and an Android DAP with unique wooden housing. I hope I can review the Explorer one day (it’ll be released this month), but here is my review for the Finder X1 earphone.

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Packaging and build quality

For such a small earphone, Echobox present the Finder X1 in a rather large box. Unboxing the Finder X1 feels like opening a premium item, for $199, I expected no less. The earphone is presented in front and center after I opened the first layer of the box.

Below the earphone, there is 2 pair of filters, sitting center inside the circle. This filters allow tweaking the sound to some degree, black one being reference and red one being treble. Be careful when taking these filters out though, it is quite difficult and they are very small. The white filter for bass is installed by default, so there are 3 filters in total to tweak the sound.

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Moving to the bottom, there are multiple eartips included. Three pairs of standard silicon tips are there in three sizes (S/M/L), a pair of double flange tips and a pair of triple flange tips. Also installed in the earphone is the M size silicon tips, so here we got 2 pairs of the M size, a bit unusual but can’t hurt to have an extra pair. Comply is also supposed to be included outside of the package, but mine came without it.

Dig into the box inside, there is a really nice carrying case. It’s a hard case, with two pockets on each side to store the spare tips. Unfortunately, there is no place to store the filters securely. I hope Echobox would came out with a storing solution for the filters in their future product. In this case, the filters is safer inside the packaging box, negating the experience of changing filters and tweak the sound on-the-go.

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Now into the earphone itself, the build quality of this is superb. The solid titanium housing is very sturdy and Echobox is definitely proud of it. They let the Finder X1 ran by a car and there is no damage whatsoever, you can watch the video here and this one on the traffic. I can attest to this build quality, it’s not just sturdy, but titanium is also very light.

The lightness and size of the Finder X1 made it a very comfortable in-ear. The small size make it to reside mostly in the ear. While it is designed to be wore either straight-down or over-ear, I found that it is more comfortable and easier to wear it straight-down. It is a bit awkward to wear it in over-ear position, especially coming from over-ear design in-ear like Shure SE215.

The cable came out of the earphone housing without any strain-relief visible, but Echobox ensure that they have reinforced it on the inside. I worried a little, but in multiple occasion, Echobox rep have no problem smashing this earphone over and over. Unfortunately, no detachable cable for this earphone.

While the two side of the earphone is almost identical, Echobox give some way to let us differentiate the left to the right easier. First is the marking color at where the cable came out from the housing, red for right and black for left. There is L and R engraved in the housing. The cable also came out in slightly different position on the left and right housing. Finally, on the cable cinch, there is a dot that let you know that is the left side of the cable, this is very helpful when wearing it in the dark.

The cable is silver-plated cooper and it speaks of quality. It is a really nice cable, sturdy with a rather low microphonic. The cable is terminated in 3.5 mm gold-plated headphone jack. The plug also has a decent strain-relief, although I wished it has an L-shaped plug than a straight one. Nonetheless, it is definitely a great cable here, good job Echobox!

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Sound quality

Talking about sound quality for Finder X1 is a little more involved, it has three adjustable filters to start, along with multiple eartips included which will also alter the sound. Not to mention, there is also many after market eartips that fit this. This is also the earphone where I feel the need to do tips rolling more than other earphone I have tried.

Finder X1 is equipped with a 9.2 mm PEEK (polyether ether ketone) dynamic driver. It’s quite big driver for such a small earphone. This is also the first time I heard PEEK used as driver.

Now about the filters, while there is adjustment to some degree, I feel like the tweaks is mostly on the bass region. The other areas doesn’t seem to affect much in my experience. The white filter is definitely more bassy, the black is less and the red is even lesser. I only tried the red in a short time, because I loved to have the bass to be more prominent, but I was torn with white and black filter. For the rest of the review, I’ll use the white and black filters.

In general though, Finder X1 is a bright earphone. The treble came out clear, well extended and very detailed, but could also get quite harsh and piercing. I’m not a treble-head, but I think the Finder X1 will work great for those that like treble. For my ear, it sounds a little bit too harsh, which is why tips rolling help here. Using the double and triple flange for instance, smoothen the treble a bit. This is also where Comply works great, taming the brightness of the treble and smoothing the sound over. With a smoother treble from tips changing – more on that later – I enjoyed the treble a lot, even more than the JVC FX850.

Now on to the bass, while bright, this is also a quite bassy earphone. With both white and black filters, bass came out tight, deep, impactful and hit quite low. I found that it has a lot of sub-bass, and less bump on the mid-bass. I definitely can feel the rumble on the low-end, which is quite nice, but it doesn’t sound as punchy as the FX850 and Radius TWF41. The white filter definitely have more quantity and hit with bigger impact, but sometime I feel it is too much and preferred the bass on the black filter instead.

Midrange on this earphone is quite thin and a bit further sounding, this make it a rather V-shaped sound. The midrange is not muddy, it came out pretty clear and detailed. It could be a little harsh and sibilant though, especially compared to the smooth TWF41. The interesting part is, I found the white filter to sound a bit harsher in the midrange, compared to the smoother black filter. The differences is not night and day, but this is where I lean toward the black filter more.

Soundstage is fine for this earphone, the bright signature make it sounds quite airy. Imaging is also decent, it is as good as any earphone in this price range, but it also didn’t especially excel in this area. Overall, the sound is quite pleasing to my ear.

Isolation is another good point. Slightly less than Shure SE215, but it is above average in my opinion. I don’t think this earphone is vented, so like most in-ear, it does create some pressure in my ear.

Next on the eartips rolling. My friend that own a headphone store (also where I bought Finder X1) said to me that Sony Hybrid eartips is a good match for this and it really does. Finder X1 bass response become tigher, faster and still impactful. Midrange to the treble is smoother, while also decreasing the brightness slightly. More importantly, this eartips is very comfortable, more than any eartips Echobox offered in the package.

The next favorite of mine is the included triple-flange eartips. The effect to the sound is similar to Sony Hybrid, but is less comfortable due to deep insertion it requires. The double-flange, also have similar sound but less intrusive, is also a great choice for me. It doesn’t smoothen the sound as much as the triple-flange, but I still preferred it more than the default silicon tips.

Lastly, I also tried it with the Comply TSX400 and found a pretty good result with it. This tamed the brightness of Finder X1 the most, however, I found it not to smoothen the sound as well as Sony Hybrid. The bass increase slightly, but became a bit bloated and less controlled. Good thing with foam tips though, it create less pressure in my ear, making it a more comfortable tips than any other I have tried.

Driving Finder X1 is fairly easy. It could get pretty loud from my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and sounds quite nice, but it does scale better with my iBasso DX90. With DX90, I can reach comfortable listening volume at around 185 in low-gain.

Conclusion

I would say congratulation for Echobox first earphone, it ticks a lot of good marks to me. The form-factor is the highlight here, small, light and very comfortable, complete with a sturdy titanium build. Despite not having a detachable cable, the cable is definitely well-made and seems to build to last.

Build quality is one thing, but Finder X1 also sounds great. Some people that sensitive to treble might find it a bit too bright, while some might like it. For me, I enjoyed the Finder X1 sounds a lot, it brings a nice contrast to my previous earphones, the smooth Radius TWF41 and the bassy JVC FX850, compliment them in a different way. Since I purchased it, the Finder X1 has been my on-the-go earphone, it isolates well, built like a tank and more importantly, sounds great. It is possibly the most portable earphone I had came across so far. At $199, I think this has a very good value and I can happily recommend it. You can find it on Amazon here or straight from Echobox here.

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