Published on January 3rd, 2013 | by Kira0
RedGiant: Music, Meet The (Slightly Uncomfortable) Future
With all of the new electronic toys to play with this holiday, it’s always nice to have a few different headphones to keep around. I know I am always telling you about all the awesome over-ear cans that are out there, but there’s a dirty little secret: for the most part, I really prefer earbuds.
Most earbuds, though, are pretty similar, and it’s generally hard to cram in quality components into the small form factor, and still be able to make them look good. Thus, I was pretty excited to try two new earbuds from RedGiant, the A00 Malleus and the A03 Ossicle. RedGiant is fairly new company, a bit hard to find in the US at this point, which just means that they’ll stand out all the more.
I really like the uniqueness they are striving for, which don’t just make a strong first impression but stand out amongst a very crowded field even upon a month of further consideration. Their packaging is almost sci-fi in style, displaying the buds in a translucent corner of the box. When actually trying to open the box you will find that it folds out almost like origami. Once in the box you will find that both earbuds come with two sets of single flange silicone eartips (four pairs of each: XS, S, M, and L). These eartips change the sound ever so slightly and are great for customizing the earbuds for your particular tastes. Both earbuds also come with a O-ring that fits below the flange to give a tighter seal; this helps reduce outside noise, which neither of the buds are great at blocking.
I want to give credit where credit is due: RedGiant makes some very sleek earbuds. I feel like I should be on the Enterprise talking to Scotty. Both buds have a very unique look- the A00 looks like a shiny metal bean (coming in silver, blue, black, gold, and red colors) and the A03 looks a little like white origami itself, with a pretty red underbelly. I found the cords on both to be pretty good and the A03 comes with a built-in microphone on its cord.
Be warned, the equipped microphone and remote is made for Apple products, so iPhone users will be happy. In addition to the microphone and remote, the A03 also comes with three inches of extra rubber sleeving that covers the cable exiting the earpiece. This extra sleeving helps to make the buds more comfortable while the cord is worn over the ear. Too bad that this is where the comfort ends. Both earbuds are really best for people with larger ears, us smaller or medium eared people may find them a little tiring to wear after a little bit. The angular design of the A03 can cut into the ear, I feel if it was smaller that would help a lot. The A00 is not as bad, but since it is metal it could do to be a little smaller and lighter.
Here I have been talking about the look and design for most of this and have not mentioned the audio at all. I consider both earbuds to be above average performers, especially for their price. I found both had good highs and lows, but nothing exceptional about the mid range. Detailed and sharp, neither could be described as lush- a bit more sparse, perfect for electronic and synthetic sounds. The bass was well balanced for both earbuds. You can tell more of a difference with the A03 with the flange options, and we suggest trying them out for best results. The A03 also comes with two dynamic drivers per earbud, which really flushes out the music, giving the A03 a richer higher quality sound than the A00, and a much better acoustic range for live music, vocals, and the like.
Overall, RedGiant produced two beautiful and solid-sounding earbuds, but they could be a little more comfortable. They are at a midranged price for a high quality headphones: the A00 Malleus being around $80 and the A03 Ossicle being a little more at $130, but coming with a microphone and remote. The price difference is also justified by the upgrade to dual drivers in the A03, which definitely resulted in better sound quality. Plus, the A03s come with a cute with carrying pouch. Of the pair, they were the clear favorite, and if they fit you well, are a pretty amazing design that will have people asking where you found them.