PureSound 10mm Empire Brands | In-Ear Monitors | $50 - $100 Before I begin, I'd like to thank Kristen for the product sample. PureSound is a branch of Empire Brands that specializes in making headphones for all sorts of people. Empire Brands has been around for the last 14 years. As the name suggests, PureSound is supposed to offer high-fidelity audio that doesn’t break the bank. The 10mm (PUR-1000) headphones are their best headphones they offer that MSRP at 100 dollars. The headphones offer a disappointing design, respectable audio quality, appalling build, great amount of comfort, and a decent bang for your buck. Specifications 10 mm Dynamic Drivers 116 dB Sensitivity 16 ohm Impedance 20Hz-20000Hz Frequency Response In the Box PureSound 10mm (PUR-1000) headphones Headphone clip Carrying Pouch Cable Winder 3 Sets of silicone tips The PureSound 10mm come coupled with a clip, carrying pouch, cable winder, and 3 sets of tips. Design The 10mms come in a large, transparent, and plastic box that has some heft to it. The presentation of the headphones was beautiful. The boxing was really top notch, and was hard to open. Empire Brands really made sure these headphones would look nice in their box. However, this is the best part of the design. These headphones are matte black and silver, with a mirror-type silver nozzle. None of the colors really work with each other. Each earpiece is composed of matte silver and black plastics that really don’t catch the eye. They are simple, but boring. The nozzle is bright silver and doesn’t work with the overall design at all. Nothing in the design really works with each other, and on top of that, the plastic feels really cheap. Not a great way to start things off. The left and right earpieces are embossed with the L and R characters respectively to allow you to distinguish between the two sides. I would have to say this is the highlight of their design. PureSound found a really great way to present their top-tier headphones with a huge box that would catch the eye, but only disappoint when you found out the headphones themselves felt cheap and weren’t greatly designed. Design: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT]½ Audio After being disappointed at how the design ended up, I was hoping that these would at least sound good. The headphones sounded really boomy at first, with nice mids, but lacking treble. With hopes that the audio quality would improve, I put my headphones in the oven, err, I mean iPod to burn in. Bass The bass is boomy with plenty of impact in it. The bass is a step or two above neutral, but still controlled. The bass is really trying punchy most of the time, but just can't do it. Each hit has some authority behind it. The bass also gave a nice warm feeling around the mid-bass. I can’t really explain it, but there was just something wrong with the bass, something didn’t sound right. The bass was good overall, but could use a little more work and refinement. Bass: [FONT="]★★★★[/FONT] Mids The mids are detailed, and the part of the headphones that shine the most. They are neutral, but with a warmer tone to them. I did find that the mids did lack a little clarity to them and could have been a little sweeter. The vocals were nice and smooth. However, I felt the mids were good, but really didn't take it that extra mile to really give the great quality that I look for. Mids: [FONT="]★★★★[/FONT] Highs The treble wasn’t really that good on these. They are hidden most of the time; it felt like I was playing hide ‘n’ seek with the treble while listening to the majority of the songs; then I wished I didn’t do it. The highs seemed to get mushy and clash into one. They are harsher every once in a while. The highs do have some nice shine to them. They, however, did lack the clarity and detail that I desperately need. The highs just didn’t make it for me. Highs: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT] Isolation The sound isolation on these headphones was above average. They did isolate pretty well, but could have done a little better. They will be able to tune out most sound, but not all. If you are planning to use these just for isolation, you can certainly look elsewhere for a pair that isolates better. Isolation: [FONT="]★★★★[/FONT] Microphonics These headphones have lots of microphonics that are audible no matter what you do. They can tend to get annoying at times as well. There is a clip provided, but that only helps a little. You can wear them over the ear and that will make it livable. If you mix both the clip and wear it over the ear, it disappears. The microphonics on these are actually quite bad. The included clip can help out with microphonics, but not as well as wearing the headphones over the ear does. Microphonics: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT]½ The audio quality on these headphones was actually good, the bass and mids were good. However, the highs really make made me turn away from them, bringing down the audio score. PureSound really needs to step up their game with the sound of these headphones, they really do. Audio: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT]½ Build These headphones really gave me quite a scare when it came to build quality. Although my headphones didn’t break, they looked like they were very brittle and could easily snap apart. Each plastic housing on the individual earpieces felt really cheap, but they did feel sturdy enough to withstand some force. So there really wasn’t a big problem there. The nozzles themselves also have metal mesh on them, so this is also good protection. The drivers are well protected, but that is about all they did right. Coming out of each earpiece was a strain relief, or lack thereof. The strain reliefs aren't there, so the slightest tug can probably rip the cords straight out of their sockets. Did I test it? No, I still want all my headphones to last. These didn’t look like they would last very long though. This was the part that scared me the most. The cables on the 10mms are very thin; on top of that, they're also tangle prone. Both of these qualities are not in favor of good build quality. The included cable winder did help them tangle less when stored, but these cables still have a mind of their own when you wear them. If it wasn’t the strain reliefs that scared me, it was definitely the cables. The cable winder and carrying pouch are both needed accessories that the 10mms come with. The cable ends at a headphone jack that is straight. I am really tired of seeing straight headphone jacks as angled jacks are far more superior and cost only cents more. This jack seemed a little stiffer than I’d like, but did have strain reliefs, thank goodness for that. The gold-plating also helped a bit here. The headphone jack on these is the inferior straight type that is easier to break. I didn’t like the overall build quality of these headphones; the headphone jack was straight, strain reliefs just about non-existent, really disappointing. Empire Brands really needs to step up their game. This is a pair of 100 dollar headphones, they should not have this bad of build quality. They do come with a pouch however, and I firmly believe that every owner of these headphones should be using it; it is a necessity. Build Quality: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT] Comfort OK, the design was disappointing, the audio could be better; the build quality just wasn’t up to par. Empire Brands finally did something good here... Actually, it's better than good, perfect. These silicone tips are probably the most comfortable tips I’ve used in a while. They are comparable to the Sony Hybrids as well. There is virtually no pain when inserting the headphones and the lightweight design really works for it here as they go away after you insert them. The comfort was by far my favorite part of the headphones. The ear tips that come with these headphones offer some of the best comfort I’ve ever experienced. Comfort: [FONT="]★★★★★[/FONT] Value These headphones MSRP at around 100 dollars, but can be found for about 50 online (or in store if they have them). The fifty dollar price difference has reason behind it. Even at 50 dollars, there are much better headphones out there that offer much better quality, and build quality without sacrificing comfort. The 10mms offer OK sound quality, but amazing comfort. The lifetime warranty that these come with do help out their value knowing that if they do break, you can get them replaced for five bucks or less. However, they still aren’t worth 50 dollars, let alone 100. I’d say a 30-40 dollar price would be fair for these, but definitely not 50. 100 just seems outrageous though. Value: [FONT="]★★★[/FONT]½ Final Thoughts Empire has been in the business of audio for well over a decade, and shows that they do have much to learn. They have plenty of potential with what they are trying to accomplish, but these headphones just didn’t do it for me. Many companies are sprouting out everywhere offering much better quality at a lower price. Being the 100 dollar flagship model, I was expecting much more from the 10mm, and even more from Empire Brands. Overall Score [FONT="] PureSound 10mm (PUR-1000) [/FONT]† All prices are in US currency. This review was written by the iFans.com Review Team. Cumulative scores are rounded to the nearest half or full star. All accessories, applications, themes, tweaks, or other products were purchased by iFans at their respective prices unless stated otherwise. This product was received as a product sample, thanks Kristen.