Better control module
Only slightly better sounding than Triple-Driver in-ears
If you’ve never heard of 1MORE before, you definitely haven’t checked out our best earbuds under $100 where the Triple-driver in-ears have found a home. Still, you wouldn’t be alone in wondering, “Who the heck is 1MORE?” For the past few years the company has been making some stellar in-ears, but I first heard of them because of a product that isn’t even technically theirs.
They partnered up with Chinese phone (and everything else) manufacturer Xiaomi and designed a few pairs of earbuds for them, which ended up being some of the best budget earbuds around. I got a chance to try out these new Quad-Driver in-ear at CES and was fairly impressed. But I was less impressed with the new $200 price tag, up from the $99 price tag of its predecessor the Triple-Driver in-ears. Is the extra driver really worth a full $100 more? Did anything else improve?
In the box you’ll get a hardshell carrying case with a magnetic lid, an airplane adapter, cable clip, ¼” adapter, along with five pairs of different sized silicone ear tips and 3 pairs of foam tips.
Build & Design
If there’s one thing 1MORE didn’t skimp on when it came to these headphones, it’s build quality. Just like the previous Triple-Drivers, I wouldn’t consider these “cheap”. The earbuds have a metallic finish to them that protects the four drivers inside. But what’s the point of having four drivers in each earbud? Doing so allows the company to tune each driver to a particular frequency range, in theory allowing for a cleaner listening experience. Technically they have a single dynamic driver and three balanced armatures, but we’ll get to that in the sound quality section down below.
The metal of the earbuds is reflected in the control module and the Y-Split located on the cable. You’ll also find it on the 90-degree 3.5mm connector jack which also has hard rubber to help prevent fraying, unlike the previous model which opted instead for a straight jack. Personally, I always find 90-degree jacks a little inconvenient for mobile use seeing as my phone is in my pocket most of the time. It’s a minor gripe I admit, and the extra durability plus the better ergonomics when plugged into a laptop on a desk makes up for it in my book.
One difference between these and the Triple-Drivers that jumped out at me when opening the box was the wire and control module. The wire here is wrapped in a durable Kevlar from top to bottom, instead of the woven fabric covering found on the bottom half of the previous model. The control module is also greatly improved, with new circular tactile buttons that are spaced perfectly apart. Compared to the flat, impossible to distinguish buttons of the previous version this is a huge improvement. Design-wise the Quad-Drivers are definitely a gorgeous looking pair of earbuds. They have more of an industrial design when compared the somewhat more minimal looking Triple-Drivers, but I like it. The earbuds are angled 45-degrees to push sound into your ears and if you get a good seal, it works wonders.
To connect to your source devices, these use the good ‘ol 3.5mm connector. But they have an added trick up their sleeves in that they’re compatible with both Android and iOS devices. These have three buttons: two volume buttons and a single multifunction button between them. You’ll get basically the same functionality across devices with only one exception, which is that on Android you won’t be able to return to a previous track. That particular function is only for iOS users. But you’ll be able to raise or lower volume, pause/play music, skip to the next song, and access voice assistants like Siri or Google on both operating systems. The microphone is also not bad, but not great. I didn’t get any complaints from people while speaking on the phone until I asked about sound quality, which I was then told that I sounded “like I was standing in a big room”.
As we mentioned earlier, the Quad-Drivers divide up the frequencies with four individual drivers. This results in a slightly larger nozzle than other earbuds so if you have a favorite pair of ear tips they’re probably not going to work with these. I even had trouble getting the foam tips that did come with the headphones to fit and I was stuck using the silicon tips for the entire review. These are also Hi-Res certified so if you have the right files, these can do them justice with a frequency range that goes up to 40kHz. Though you won’t to hear the actual sounds that are up that high unless you’re part dolphin, it does give your music more room to breathe.
At first listen I wasn’t too impressed with the low end. I thought they were a little too strong, but after a while I began to appreciate the slight bump. Sure, they do have a bit of extra attention given to them and the bass in your favorite songs will be shown enough love for the average person to be satisfied. But they fall just shy of making bass heads happy while at the same being a little too strong for anyone looking for accuracy. It’s either a case of the porridge in the middle being just right, or not right for anyone. Personally, I grew to like it. The song “casanova.” by Denitia and Sene is a great example, as for the most part the low end is strong but fairly enjoyable throughout the song. It only really becomes a little too overpowering for my taste during the bridge at 2:33.
The mids were fine but nothing to go crazy over. They tend to sound a little warm at times due to the bass, but vocals still come through loud and clear. I found this most apparent in the song “Get Free” by Major Lazer. The vocal melodies drive the song forward and you can hear the main parts clearly, even though the synths behind the vocals can become muddy at times.
Highs were also loose enough to get a fun airy feel underneath then hi-hats in “My Hometown” by Bruce Springsteen, but I did find that at high volumes guitar slides and cymbal crashes teetered on the edge of cringeworthy. This can be avoided by just lowering the volume a bit of course, but the ability to become slightly harsh at times is definitely present.
Circling back around to the original question: are these worth the extra $100 over the Triple-Drivers? The short answer is no, just because the Triple-Driver in-ears still exist for at or around $99. These new Quad-drivers are good, but not twice as good. Still, if you have the extra money to spend there are a few reasons why you might opt for the Quad-Drivers instead.
One is that the build quality is objectively better. Though the Triple-Drivers weren’t cheaply built by any means, the Kevlar cable and metal control module beat out the fabric and plastic of the previous model for sure. Another reason is the control module itself, which is significantly easier and more ergonomic to use than its predecessor by a long shot. The last reason would be the sound quality because the Quad-Drivers do have a slightly stronger bass and crisper highs. Is $100 worth the sound difference? No. But that said, these do cost significantly less than other quad driver in-ears on the market. So if you want four drivers, and add up all of the other pros and find that it’s worth the money then you won’t be disappointed with these new Quad-Drivers. Clearly, I wasn’t.