It’s no secret that there’s been an explosion of wireless products over the last year or two. With phone manufacturer’s ditching the headphone jack, a pair of Bluetooth headphones is all but a necessity. And it’s terrible. Call me old schooled, but I much prefer a pair of wired in-ears for everyday use to anything wireless, dongle and all. Recently I dug out the 1More Triple-Driver in-ears from storage to give them the full review treatment and, spoiler alert, I still have no problem recommending these.
Who are these for?
- People with multiple devices. This is an obvious benefit of the headphone jack, but as someone who’s been living in a Bluetooth world for the last few weeks, I forgot just how convenient a standard is. Bluetooth has its benefits, but not every pair of headphones does a great job of switching between devices on the fly. Not an issue here.
- Commuters. As someone who used to commute two hours to class uphill both ways (anyone who’s ever taken the 1 train to CUNY City College in Harlem knows this is only half a joke), nothing beats a reliable pair of earbuds. They’re small, easy to carry, and you never have to worry about battery life. Too often I’ve been stuck with a long and silent ride home, because the battery on my Bluetooth headphones gave out.
- Basically anyone. A good pair of earbuds are easily the most convenient way to listen to your music, and if you don’t want to be carrying around a giant pair of active noise-canceling headphones, then these are for you. Plus, even if you do prefer Bluetooth headphones, it’s always a good idea to have a backup.
How are the 1More Triple-Driver in-ears built?
Though there are a few quirks here and there that I’m not a fan of, I do like the way these are built for the most part. The housing on each earbud is made of solid metal, and the angled tips fit snugly in my ears (though I did opt for the memory foam tips for good measure). I’m also usually all in on monochrome color options, but I found that I actually enjoyed the blue and rose gold color option. It was flashy but not peacock-y.
The plastic feels cheap and not up to par with the rest of the build.
The cable is a braided fabric, which is nice up to a point—literally. Because once you get halfway up the headphones to the Y-split, it becomes a cheap, grooved plastic that annoys the hell out of me. But at the same time, most of the issues I’ve had with tangles came from the braided fabric part, so maybe there’s a method to the madness. Towards the connector, there’s a blue metal casing that protects the cable from fraying, and though I’ve had issues with this part becoming unglued on other earbuds, I have yet to experience that here.
The control module of the 1More Triple-Driver is located roughly 6 inches down on the right earbud and feels just as flimsy as the cable it sits on. That said, I had absolutely no issues using it. The golden colors visually separate it, making it easy to locate and click. It also gives just the right amount of tactile feedback, so you won’t be left second-guessing every click. The buttons are raised slightly above the rest of the control module as well, so you shouldn’t have an issue locating the right one.
The best way to connect
Bluetooth has come a long way, but the best way to connect is still via 3.5mm connector. And that’s the only option you have here. So if you’re like me and use a phone with no headphone jack, get used to using the stupid dongle. Luckily, all of the playback controls built into the 1More Triple-Driver work on my iPhone X.
One tap of the middle multi-function will pause or play the music, while a two taps skips to the next track, and three taps will restart the song. The multi-function button also lets you access Siri or the Google Assistant (depending on your phone) and lets you answer or end phone calls with a single tap. Buttons for adjusting volume round out the control module, and that’s all there is to it.
The reason these are still on our best earbuds under $100 list isn’t because of the rose gold color or functional control module, it’s because of the sound. You may have been able to infer this from the name of the ‘buds, but the 1More Triple-Driver are rocking three separate drivers in each earbud: two balanced armature and one dynamic driver. This allows 1More a little more control over how these handle different sounds in the frequency range. Rather than having one full-range driver that takes care of everything, they’re able to fine tune each driver specifically. 1More also did this with its newer Quad-Driver in-ears, but to be honest, it’s not as effective here.
Bass pumps in what is a carefully emphasized low end can, at times, be overbearing. For the most part, it stays well within its range and does its job: delivering a thumping low end without ruining other aspects of the track. The thumps throughout the song casanova. by Denitia and Sene rise and fall easily and never sound like they’re overstepping any of the other instruments in the song. That said, the synth bass that comes in at about 2:06 during the song Self Control by Frank Ocean is definitely overblown, so it’s pretty hit or miss.
At max volume, you can feel the bass of most tracks, which isn’t something you’d want if you’re going to be editing a podcast but is a fun sound for casually enjoying your music. Vocals are fine for the most part, but a lot of instruments in the mids seem to get mashed together right behind the vocals. Highs also get the job done, but at max volume, you’ll sometimes get harsh notes that will make you lower the volume back to normal. This is best seen in the song When I was Done Dying by Dan Deacon where everything in the highs gets lost in the chorus, except for the piercing sine wave (bell?).
Overall the 1More Triple-Driver in-ears aren’t the greatest pair of earbuds you’ll ever hear. If you have a little more money to spend and plan on editing audio, you might be better off with something like the Etymotic ER3XR in-ears. Or if you just want a casual pair of ‘buds, then the Master & Dynamic ME01 might do the trick. But at this price point, these are hard to beat.
For under $100 these have a good sound that, when paired with the build quality and design, make for a solid pair of everyday ‘buds. Should you get them? If you’re tired of buying cheap earbuds and want to treat yourself to something a little nicer, I say go for it.