Bluetooth wireless in ear earphones are becomingly increasingly popular, particularly with people who wish to listen to music while exercising. People don’t want cables tangling around their arms while they workout and as such there are now many different models from numerous manufacturers aimed at providing you with music without the wires. Prices range from the expensive, £170 Beats Sports to the generic sub £20 mass market. The Macaw’s T1000 in ear wireless headphones are aimed at the price conscious end of the market so can they compete with the big boys such as beats and sennheiser in sound quality, comfort and ease of use?
The T1000’s conform to other standard wireless in ear models with a short cable that rests behind the head when in use and have a selection of specialised ear-tips that provide an extra-secure fit. And, like many gym-oriented earphones, the T1000’s delivers a rich deep low end that will make purist audiophiles shake their heads and bass-motivated exercise enthusiasts whoop with delight.
The sweat and moisture-resistant, T1000 is a behind-the-head wireless earphone design with an inline remote control and mic near the right earpeice. The T1000s and relatively inconspicuous and come in two colours, silver grey and copper brown, for testing we were given the copper brown model which looked pretty sweet and belied their relatively inexpensive price point. The T1000’s come packaged with 3 different sized ear-tips meaning that whatever the size or shape of your inner ear canal the fit is exceptionally secure. The design is intended to allow a small amount of ambient noise in, so you can hear your surroundings and be safe when jogging or exercising. This being said, when you crank up the volume all but the loudest on noises are completely washed away. In terms of sound leakage the T1000’s are pretty good with only a small amount of sound being emitted at the highest volume settings. A padded faux leather drawstring pouch is bundled with the T1000. Also included is a micro USB-to-USB charging cable (which connects to the left earpiece—the port is covered when not in use.
The inline remote is of the three-button variety—a central multifunction button controls Power, Pairing, Call Management, and Playback, while Plus and Minus buttons handle volume and track navigation, depending on whether you press the button briefly or hold it. (Volume control works in conjunction with your mobile device’s levels.) Pairing the earphones with your mobile device is a simple process, and the T1000 will automatically reconnect when the earphones are powered up. Macaw estimates the battery life for the T1000 to be roughly 6 hours on a charge, but your results will vary with your volume levels. We managed to get a little over 5 hours of continuous play at high volumes and recharging took a little under an hour.
On tracks with powerful sub-bass content, like our test track, Far East Movement’s “Like a G6″ the T1000 delivers thunderous bass that, even at top listening levels, doesn’t distort. At more reasonable listening levels, the T1000 still provides a serious amount of low-frequency presence—it sounds like these earphones are packing a subwoofer inside. The highs seem quite boosted as well, which in this case is a good thing, or the sound signature would be dominated by the boosted bass.
Robbie William’s “Let Me Entertain You” (please don’t judge our music choices) a track with less deep bass in its mix, gives us a more clear idea of what the T1000 sounds like—the drums on this track sound boosted in the lows, but not to the extent that we often hear in bass-heavy earphones. William’s vocals get perhaps a bit too much low-mid presence, giving them more richness than they need, but the high-mids also get some boosting, giving the vocals some treble edge to keep things from getting muddy. The electric guitar on this track stands out brightly but overall the sound balance favours the lower end bass and drums.
On the Black Crowes “Hard to Handle,” the kick drum loop’s attack gets plenty of high-mid presence to remain sharp and slice through the dense layers of guitar and bass, while the loop’s sustain gets plenty of low and low-mid presence, giving it some serious thump. This is a bass-heavy sound, to be sure, but the vocals are at least given enough high-mid and high frequency presence to stay out in front of the instruments—even if they end up sounding a bit sculpted or overly sibilant at times.
The T1000 isn’t really made for critical audiophile listening, it’s made to motivate you during your workout, and if some added deep bass is what does it for you, you’re not alone, and the T1000 certainly provides plenty of motivation in that department. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive pair of Bluetooth earphones for your workout and love a rich deep bass with clear mid and upper ranges, the T1000 is a great option. For under £20, however, the Macaw T1000 gets most things right—big bass-loving, exercise-focused listeners won’t be disappointed.