Simgot EN700 Bass Review – Rational not Analytical

Introduction –

Simgot doesn’t have the rich heritage of decade-old Western audio giants like Bowers and Wilkins, Grado and Shure, but their fresh outlook on audio does net them with a certain level of creative freedom. And though their first earphone, the EN700, didn’t grant them with a glorious entrance onto the audio scene like other Chinese manufacturers Dunu and Oriveti, Simgot’s huge aspirations are only matched by their stunning rate of development; demonstrated by their upcoming EN700 Pro along with a set full-wireless earphones. And sitting in the middle is the EN700 Bass, an evolution of the EN700 that has proved to be one of my favourite earphones around the $100 USD price class. Keep reading to see how the EN700 Bass compares to some of the most competitive earphones around this price and whether it’s natural tones will work for you.

 

About Me, Background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases – 

I generally prefer a u-shaped sound that is close to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound. I’m not particularly treble sensitive so I may be more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I will note if I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review and describe the sound changes.

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Disclaimer – 

I would like to thank Simgot very much for getting in contact and providing me with the EN700 Bass for review. There is no monetary incentive for a positive review and despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will be as objective as possible in my analysis.

 

Accessories –

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The EN700 Bass has a nice unboxing, the larger box and high-quality print convey a greater sense of quality than models like the Magaosi K3 Pro for instance. The outer box slides off to reveal a textured hard box.

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Inside lies the earphones within foam along with the very nice leather carrying case just below. Within the case are 6 pairs of tips within cardboard holders that enable the user to adjust the sound of the earphones; 3 pairs that boost low frequencies and 3 pairs of high frequency orientated tips.

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All tips are of nice quality and provide a really great way to alter the sound, illuminating the astonishing effects tip rolling can produce on other earphones, not just the EN700 Bass. The included case is also of great quality with a hard design coated in convincing PU Leather. It comfortably fits the earphones and magnetically closes, one of my favourite oem cases.

 

Design –

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The EN700 Bass is a very intriguing looking earphone that instantly reminded me of open-back planar magnetic headphones like the Hifiman HE1000, just shrunken down. And in person, the earphones definitely impress with their design and build, they are certainly far less awkward than online renders would suggest. Ergonomically, the earphones are also quite sound despite their more unorthodox design. In terms of configuration, the earphones are available in black, blue, grey and red, all of which have their own charm. I opted for the burgundy model for visual impact within my photos though in person, they are rather a bright red. While I would prefer a darker red model, the black and grey models will please buyers looking for a more discrete earphone.

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From first impression, the EN700’s impressed me far more than I was expecting, their fully aluminium housings delighting with their cold touch. The earphones are absolutely solid without creak or any obvious points of weakness. The outer faces are stunning with a burgundy fabric peeking out from behind the grey grill outlined in gold accent. A small seam runs around the outer face though the housings are well joined without palpable seam. They are coated in a silky matte finish that feels great in the hand and ear and the nozzles are also well-angled and integrated into the metal housings, preventing cracking and stress as is prevalent with some plastic earphones.

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The EN700 Bass is not a small earphone, but they do manage their size well through their proportions. The EN700 Bass doesn’t contact much of the ear with a very flush inner face and the shorter nozzles produce quite a shallow fit. Despite this, I never struggled to find a good seal and stability was faultless during general commute due to their over-ear design. I still wouldn’t take them for a run, they don’t quite lock into the ear like the Magaosi K3 Pro though they don’t protrude nearly as much from the ear as the TFZ King. In addition to their ergonomic styling, their shallow fit avoids the sense of pressure exerted by deeper fitting earphones, further increasing comfort. I did notice some hot spots forming around the fronts of my ears after extended usage (3-4hrs); they aren’t as faultless as the Oriveti Basics but they aren’t an awkward or uncomfortable earphone either, quite the opposite.

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As a consequence of their shallow fit, the earphones do have rather average noise isolation losing almost all low-end presence when outside of home, even with considerable volume increase. They are fine for commute but struggle on public transport. From online renders, it would appear as if the earphones are semi-open with the outer grills providing some venting to the drivers in addition to a small port on the inner face. Regardless, earphones like the TFZ King and Oriveti Basic are better suited towards travel.

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The EN700 Bass lacks a removable cable like the Magaosi K3 Pro and Oriveti Basic though the included unit is of superb quality. While I can’t comment on the acoustic properties of the cable, ergonomically, it’s rather outstanding. It’s an 8-core cable with a tight braid and smooth texture, the transparent sheathing reveals the OFC copper weaving underneath. The cable is super supple and compliant, easily coiling for storage. Memory is almost non-existent and tangles resistance is very good. In addition, the anodised y-split and straight 3.5mm plug are both of great quality, enhancing the feel of the earphones; I commend Simgot for using such a quality cable rather than opting for a generic unit like so many other manufacturers. The cable on the EN700 Bass makes them much easier to handle than the springy TFZ King and the rubbery K3 Pro and the molded plastic ear guides are far more desirable than memory wire.

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My only qualm is that the cable leaves the earphones horizontally rather than having a slight incline to route over the ear. I suspect this is the main reason why the earphones lack the stability of the Basics and K3 Pro’s and it seems to be a purely aesthetic design decision.

 

Sound –

The EN700 bass doen’t have the groundbreaking hybrid driver setup of earphones like the 1More Triple Driver and Magaosi/Audbos K3 Pro but rather utilise the tried and true dynamic driver. And I honestly have no issue with that, because the EN700 Bass has no issue keeping up with similarly-priced armature and micro driver models. And what technical ability they lack in comparison to the best $100 hybrids, they more than make up for with their natural tuning that represents far more maturity than one would expect from such a new company.

As always, I gave the EN700 Bass around 200 hours of burn-in before review but didn’t notice any substantial changes from initial impressions, perhaps the midrange has become a little more linear, but I wouldn’t say that burn-in is essential at all with these earphones.

 

Tonality –

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The EN700 Bass produces quite a balanced sound that can be appreciably altered via the two sets of included ear tips. As with the filters on the K3 Pro, the tips mostly just alter the tonality of the earphones while quality remains almost identical. With the high-frequency focused tips installed, the EN700 Bass produces a balanced, slightly brighter sound with a punchy low-end and prominent but not fatiguing high-end. The bass tips essentially just increase low-frequency presence without touching the other frequencies too much. They unsurprisingly provide a warmer sound, notably enhancing mid-bass presence and adding a little body to male vocals, the earphones simply sound lusher with the bass tips. The Earphones are actually quite balanced with the bass tips, they are u-shaped with nice vocal presence and avoid being overly treble forward while retaining some sparkle and air up top. The high-frequency tips are aptly named, because I would not consider the earphones to be balanced when equipped with those tips, rather they slightly bias high-frequencies. If you’re coming from something like the Hifiman RE-400, the high-frequency tips may be to your liking though for a lot of listeners, myself included, the bass tips will likely provide a more pleasing listen. All comments will be with the bass tips installed unless otherwise noted.

 

Soundstage –

I’ve been on a roll recently with the K3 Pro and Fiio F5, and the EN700 Bass maintains my streak with another impressive soundstage performance. In fact, I do prefer them in this regard to the K3 Pro as they are better rounded and image better as a result. Space is very good though they still retain an ovular presentation that places emphasis on width. They are just as wide as the K3 Pro and depth is much improved; they do have a moderate amount of forward projection with track that call for it.  Centre image is a little hazy, they don’t have the solid centre of the K3 Pro but also lack the blank spaces. When listening to “Playing to lose” by Lemaitre, the EN700 Bass provided great vocal width with nice layering and an intimate but not congested sense of depth. Imaging was also really nice, both vocals and instruments were easily located. Separation is another forte of the EN700 Bass, they never struggled with congestion during my testing due to their spacious presentation and clear sound. They performed similar to the Oriveti Basic and were overall more consistent than the K3 Pro. If soundstage performance is important to you, the EN700 Bass is a good place to start.

 

Drivability –

The En700 Bass is quite sensitive at 101dB, less so than the TFZ King but also appreciably more so than K3 Pro. They have a lower impedance of 16ohms and, utilizing a single dynamic driver, did sound very consistent across my various sources. They aren’t difficult to drive at all and will be well served by most modern smartphones and iPods, even my iPod Nano 7G drove the EN700 Bass quite well with minimal compression and plenty of volume. Listening to my HTC 10 with Poweramp Alpha, my volume levels were as follows:

K3 Pro – 11/50

EN700 Bass – 8/50

TFZ King – 6/50

Through my HTC 10 and Oppo HA-2, the EN700 Bass achieved a considerably expanded soundstage with the Oppo producing some extra detail and resolution, especially within the high-end. That being said, users should not that amplification is a necessity with the EN700 Bass though they do scale with better sources, notable with their soundstage.

 

Bass –

Simgot made sure to emphasise that the “bass” moniker added to the new EN700 doesn’t insinuate that the earphones are bass-head targetted earphones, rather that they have addressed the analytical tone of their previous earphones. And taking a quick listen, it was good to see that Simgot haven’t over compensated. Bass is characterised by mid-bass punch and impact over sub-bass slam with a slightly uneven tuning that provides an interesting yet mostly enjoyable character; they are actually tuned very similarly to the K3 Pro in terms of bass along with the same strengths and weaknesses. In terms of quality, bass might be my least favourite aspect of the earphone though they are hardly a subpar performer in comparison to similarly priced models. Sub-bass extension is okay but not exemplary, and the TFZ King and Oriveti Basic both provide considerably more slam to the very lowest notes. When listening to Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years”, the mellow bass tones possessed some rumble and texture but sub-bass notes had a softer tone similar to the K3 Pro. Mid-bass has a moderate boost with the bass tips, producing a sound that is on the lusher side of neutral but retains enough balance for genre versatility. Some bloat is evident, producing texture loss; the K3 Pro’s had slightly more texture to bass notes and were more consistent between tracks while the TFZ King and Oriveti Basic sounded more defined and textured yet. The EN700 Bass also has a slightly slower bass response, they don’t become overwhelmed due to their mostly tasteful tuning though finer texture and bass detail during rapidly transitioning bass tones are frequently lost. Furthermore, though similar in tuning, switching to the K3 Pro’s immediately revealed a faster, tighter bass response.

Still, these comments are in comparison to some of the absolute finest earphones around $100 and when compared to earphones like the Shure SE215, the EN700 Bass holds just as much advantage as those earphones over the EN700 Bass. The EN700 Bass immediately boasts more sub-bass slam and extension than the SE215 while lacking the thicker tone of the Shure’s that can muddy bass notes and bleed into the midrange. The EN700 Bass retains a lusher character but avoids any spill and midrange detail loss. There’s really nothing wrong with the EN700’s bass performance and one can easily find enjoyment in their tuning. So I do feel that the bass tuning and performance of the EN700 Bass is good, they just lag behind class leaders at this price.

 

Mids –

The midrange on the EN700 Bass does a lot to redeem their bass performance; they have a very natural and balanced response that really surprised me. Both the upper and lower midrange are well balanced, mids are slightly brighter though I never found lower midrange instruments or vocals to sound recessed or distant. In relation to bass and treble, vocals are given nice presence, neither sounding as recessed as the K3 Pro or Oriveti Basic nor as aggressive and forward as the TFZ King. Mids are also given a really nice sense of body that grants vocals with a great sense of realism and the EN700 Bass avoids sound raspy like the K3 Pro and occasionally King. The EN700 Bass actually reminds me more of the very smooth, refined Oriveti Basic though with more balance and presence making for a very rewarding midrange presentation. Listening to IU’s “Palette” and vocals were very well rendered with plenty of clarity and great layering; often Asian tracks can sound overly thin due to their style of mastering though the EN700 Bass provided a pleasingly restrained reproduction. And despite sounding natural and balanced, the EN700 Bass still retains its own character, they aren’t “flat” like the Hifiman RE-600, they just don’t sound artificially boosted. Resolution is also very good, and though the King and K3 Pro both hold a slight advantage in that department, detailing is on a similar level to those earphones. Background and even some micro-detail is well resolved though neither are brought to the fore quite as much as the King. That being said, they are clearly rawer and more detailed than the Basic who’s smoother, more laid-back character glosses over these finer intricacies. Ultimately, the EN700 Bass provides a very tasteful balance between clarity and realism, resolution and smoothness. They aren’t quite awe inspiring like the King and even the K3 Pro, but they are ever more realistic without losing engagement.

 

Treble –

Treble is similarly very well done with great extension and a natural tone. Similar to their midrange, high-notes also have quite realistic body when compared to the thinner King and K3 Pro, they also sound more linear and extended than the Basic which had a bit of roll-off at the very top. The EN700 Bass excels with instruments such as trumpets that sound lush and realistic whereas a lot of treble boosted earphones around this price compromise on that natural sense of detail and realism in pursuit of clarity and resolution. That being said, the EN700 Bass is not lacking in resolution at all, treble is clear and clean with pleasing linearity and no obvious peaks or dips. I find Jazz a good indicator of treble performance as the mastering is very revealing of overly boosted or uneven earphones and the EN700 Bass unsurprisingly provided an impressive reproduction. Listening to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” revealed crisp guitar strums and smooth strings free of grain. By comparison, the King sounded a little over-forward and aggressive in the highs while the K3 Pro sounded uneven, losing a lot of background detail. The EN700 Bass rather excels with background detail without aggressively shoving it the listener’s face. They are a great choice for non-fatiguing listening sessions without compromising too much on clarity, resolution and air, something that I can’t say about a lot of earphones these days.

 

Verdict –

The EN700 Bass is just as impressive as the exemplary K3 Pro and King even without being as technically proficient as either. As has been said time and again, tuning remains just as important as driver quality or setup and the Simgot have maximised the potential of their affordable dynamic with a mature sound that is delightfully natural. And balanced isn’t to be taken as neutral, they certainly are not, but each frequency is given its own space and room to shine.

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Simgot are working hard on their new models but that’s not to discredit the EN700 Bass as those earphones are targetted at different users and price points. As is, Simgot has a really great competitor at this price though there are a few caveats buyers must consider. Perhaps the most important factor to consider is longevity, and though the cable on the EN700 Bass is sublime, being non-removable does make the earphones significantly more vulnerable to failure down the road. Not all competitors possess this feature, but I know it is one that a lot of buyers value. So if you are tough on your earphones and value portable usage and durability, perhaps something like the Oriveti Basic will be a better match. But if you are looking for pure sound quality and a comfortable fit at home, the EN700 Bass will be sure to impress with a sound that is immediately more mature and refined than its competition.

Verdict – 8/10, The build is fantastic and the accessories are splendid. The ergonomics are reliable if not ideal and the ability to alter the level of bass will provide another layer of enjoyment to these earphones for those with varied genre tastes. The EN700 Bass is one of the most natural earphones around this price.

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