A battle of Stock Earphones

A lot of people, including myself, consider the stock earphones that came with their smart phone as mediocre, if not average. Whenever, I buy new stuff, I have never bothered to test their stock earphones since I have around 20 different pairs in my collection. With the exception of Apple Earpod, almost any stock earphones ended up alone in the box it came with.

Enter Oppo N1.

The Oppo N1. Photo Credit - GSMArena.com

The Oppo N1. Photo Credit – GSMArena.com

My fiancé recently bought a smart phone called the Oppo N1. If you guys are not familiar with the brand Oppo, it is a chinese brand that started making a name for itself in the audiophile community by making great sounding Blu-ray players. Just recently, they released a premium headphone, Oppo PM1, that has been getting great reviews. With that in mind, I asked if she could give me the bundled in-ear. To which she gladly replied, “Yes.”

At home, I had a very minimal expectation to this in-ear since it was just a stock earphones. I plugged them to my iPod and boy did they prove me wrong. The sound coming from these little creatures are more than amazing. Out of the box, it felt like the bass needed a little more thump so I left it playing in my iPod for a day.

I have trouble sleeping last night, so it was the perfect time to pit this stock in-ears to another great stock earphones, the Apple Earpods. The source I will be using in this comparison will be my Apple iPod Classic 6th Generation, Fiio L11 Line-out dock, Kimber silver cable and Fiio e07k. The songs I will be playing are all in AIFF, lossless format. Please take note that these are my impressions, and it may vary from my ear to another. I am not an audiophile, just an average joe who happens to own a collection of earphones and headphones.


The equipment I will be using in this comparison.

Comfort and Isolation

The Apple Earpods are quite an amazing earphones. They are comfortable to wear but sometimes, I do feel like anytime they may fall out of my ears. From time to time, I had to check if they are still on my ears. The Isolation on this unit is poor. Since I am currently in the province, I could literally hear the toads croaking outside the window with these on (without any music playing). However, the noise will be lessened once you start playing some tunes.


The Apple Earpods

The Oppo is a nicely built in-ears with an aluminum and plastic finish. They are very comfortable to wear and unlike the Apple Earpods, they stick quite nicely to my ear (thanks to those silicon tips). The isolation on this unit is quite good but not amazing. The croaks of the frogs outside my window were less audible with no music playing in the background. But once the music starts to kick in, the noise outside will be less noticeable.

Oppo N1's in-ear

Oppo N1’s bundled in-ear.


The Apple Earpods are great sounding earphones for a stock. Listening to some of the tracks in my iPod ranging from rock to jazz to classical, I found that this earphone sounded very upfront. The sound stage is narrow. Bass presence is there but not overpowering. You could still here the thump of the kick as well as the pluck of each note from the bass player. Mids are good as well. And the highs are a little above average. Not too crystal or sparkly for my taste. Overall, I found them above average for a stock earphones. I can’t write more than that since my jaws are still down the floor after listening to the next contender. If you want to read more about Apple’s earpod, you can head to headfi.org since they have a lot of review and impressions there.

Here comes my impression for the Oppo N1’s stock in-ear. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, my jaws are still on the floor. These are amazing stock in-ears. It does not even compare to some of the in-ears sold in the market. Not even the Audio Technica CKM500 will match this. I have yet to own a quad Balanced Armature in-ear, but from what I remember when I auditioned one in a store (Sony XBA-40), they are right around that quality. Compared to any of the in-ears I have owned, the Oppo felt very flat sounding. The sound presentation is amazing. The sound stage is moderately wide, but not airy, for an in-ear. The separation of sound is excellent as well. You will hear each sound as they were recorded. It felt like wearing 3d glasses in your ears. Cymbals were crashing on the top left of your head as the guitar serenades you near your right, and the voice of the artist right in front of you. The bass is there, accurate and fast. These are not for bass heads. These are for critical listeners who wants to get an accurate picture of the recording. The mids are nice and full. You could hear each and every detail from an artist’s voice. Each breath and crack from the voice is very audible. The highs are crisp and accurate. Not sharp nor was it piercing. I am all out of words for it. I hope every other earphone and headphone enthusiasts who read this blog post would consider trying out the Oppo N1’s in-ear and confirm my impressions.

You can easily own an Apple Earpods since they sell them at an affordable price (Php 1800). You don’t need to buy an iPhone or an iPod touch just to own one. Oppo N1’s in-ear, however, is a little hard to own. You really need to buy the phone just to own this. The question is, will you shell out Php 22,990 to get a phone and a good pair of headset? I say yes. The Oppo N1 is not a bad phone. In fact, it is a great phone if you love selfies, since you may be able to get a good portrait of your face with that rotating camera. But if you want to own a better phone with a great in-ear, you can go grab the Oppo Find 7a for Php 22,990. Yes, the Oppo Find 7a comes with the same in-ear as the Oppo N1. It has specs that could rival any smart phone above that price point. I also need to note that Oppo’s Color OS is very stable compared to any Android port OS coming from China. That includes Starmobile, Xiaomi, MyPhone and Cherry Mobile’s OS. MiUI is great, but I have been getting feedbacks from friends that they have a few glitches that needs to be polished.

The Oppo Find 7a. Photo Credit - GSMArena.com

The Oppo Find 7a. Photo Credit – GSMArena.com

As conclusion, I say, buy the phone for the great in-ear it comes with. You get a good performing phone and you also get an earphone that is performing way better than most in-ears (in the price range of Php 0 to Php 5000) in the market. The Apple’s Earpod are no match for Oppo N1’s in-ear.


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