Entry level earphones are a dime and a dozen. There has been a very distinct democratization of fairly high quality audio products. No longer do you have to suffer with terrible quality bundled in earphones even if you don’t have much of a budget. Enter the 1More Piston Fit. The earphones compete against popular options from the likes of JBL, Skullcandy and even Brainwavz, Xiaomi. What this means is that 1More simply can’t afford to release a mediocre product if they want to leave a mark. Follow along for our review of the 1More Piston Fit.
While the packaging itself is a bit lackluster on the Piston Fit, and doesn’t include a case nor much in terms of accessories, the same can’t be said about the earphones themselves. It is quite clear where the budget was directed and we definitely can’t complain about it.
The earphones are made of an aluminum alloy which should add a degree of durability. The extremely lightweight doesn’t exude a lot of confidence. The sound chambers are rather large but that doesn’t have any real effect on comfort levels. The in-ear stalk is angled at a 45-degree angle. Paired with the mid-sized silicon ear tips, we found comfort levels to be quite good and could wear them for hours on end without any evident physical discomfort.
The cable itself is reinforced with kevlar fibre and has a TPE coating which makes it soft to the touch and reduces microphonics. A braided cable would have really sweetened the package. As it stands, the cable feels quite flimsy and there’s not much of strain relief at the Y splitter. The audio jack itself is made of metal and is of sufficiently good quality.
The microphone and control module is halfway along the cable of the right earpiece. The 1More Piston skips out on volume controls and you’ll have to make do with just a single button that controls audio play/pause as well as answers calls.
The 1More Piston Fit delivers a very mid-forward sound signature. Where most earphones in the category make it a point of emphasizing a V-shaped sound signature where bass and treble take center stage, the Piston Fit exhibits a somewhat linear progression from sub dued lows to bright highs. Mids are beautifully represented and sound quite great. All our tests were done with a suite of high-resolution FLAC tracks ripped from CD and Vinyl sources which might be a bit of overkill for these earphones. The 1More Piston Fit have an impedance of 32Ohms and are rated for a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz though on the high-end, we observed that actual performance peaked around the 17,000Hz mark.
Using the stock earbuds, we were quite disappointed by the noise cancellation on offer. Despite being an in-ear design which should inherently offer above average passive isolation, a significant amount of external audio was audible. This isn’t ideal since users will likely resort to bumping up the volume which can significantly hurt hearing.
Coming to the audio tests, the sound can best be described as a bit sterile and mid forward. The tuning might have been directed at accuracy and a balanced, almost neutral sound signature. Unfortunately, the end result makes the earphones sound a bit boring and cold.
Starting off with bass, the 1More Piston Fit has a clear lack of sub bass. The upper bass extension makes the earphones sound boomy with a flabby bass section. Listening to a track like Style by the Gorillaz, the sterile bass line simply sucks out the joy from the music. Upper bass hits hard and flat which might work on some tracks but won’t satisfy EDM or Bass heads.
The midrange, on the other hand, sounds fantastic. Okay, fantastic might be an exaggeration but it does sound quite good. A bit of warmth to the sound would have gone a long way but we’ll take this anyway. Vocals sound good and by extension, acoustic tracks shine on the 1More Piston Fit. The sound is balanced but there’s not much of layering here. Complicated tracks like Abdel Kader by Faudel & Rachid Taha have a mid-forward presentation that often drowns out the background instrumentation. It also casts a veil over the already recessed bass. Taha’s guttural voice and Faudel’s modulations sound precise but simultaneously cover the beats of the Darbouka.
Treble response is generally decent and well-balanced. There are a few spikes further up in the frequency chain. Opera #2 by Vitas is a prime example where some of the highest notes aren’t resolved that well by the 1More. Once again, the mid-forward presentation pushes back the low treble section. In fact, this is quite similar to how the forward leaning layering of the mids veils the upper bass.
The soundstage is very constrained but that’s something that comes with the territory. We’d rate the soundstage on the 1More Piston to be worse than the FiiO F3 that we reviewed recently.
The 1More Piston is a pretty good purchase for anyone who listens to a lot of classical or acoustic music. Even rock music sounds quite decent here. Electronic or bass heavy music will sound accurate but lackluster because of poor sub bass representation.
The 1More Piston Fit resolves vocals quite well but falls short of sounding lush due to the lack of warmth. Still, you could do a lot worse than these and the quality of construction alone puts them high up on our recommendations list.