If you are one of those fitness freaks who regularly work out while listening to music, then you’ve come to the right place. Audio-Technica, a leading headphone maker, has introduced four new in-ear headphones or simply call it earphones specifically made for people who want to keep up with their health and fitness while listening to their songs.
The new Sonic Sport line-up of in-ear headphones include the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT1, ATH-SPORT1iS, ATH-SPORT2 and finally, the ATH-SPORT3, the costliest of the series. They are sweat-proof and washable. In fact, all the four models come with IPX5-certified waterproof rating, which means you can spray water from a 6.3 mm nozzle at 12.5 liters/min at a pressure of 30 kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.
One by one, we are going to take each of the four earphones, listen to music while doing some acrobatics to confirm that they fit perfectly and don’t come out of your ears, and finally, review them.
So, this will be our review of the Audio-Technica Sonic Sport ATH-SPORT1 and ATH-SPORT1iS and your cue to grab some popcorn.
We are reviewing the two models together because they have a lot more in common than their differences. The main difference between the two is that you get an in-line microphone with volume controls with the ATH-SPORT1iS as it is made to be used with smartphones/tablets/iPods and other MP3 players.
ATH-SPORT1 – Rs 1,499
ATH-SPORT1iS – Rs 2,299
In terms of design and build-quality, both the models have a 3D Swing Ear Hanger, made for comfortable use, and so that the earphones remain locked with your ears. So, that means the earphones should never fall out while exercising, cycling and jogging. But while I used the ATH-SPORT1, I couldn’t lock them with my ears securely. They didn’t fall out but were loose and listening to music in this scenario was absolutely terrible. But when I used the latter, the one with the mic, I didn’t face any issues regarding the same. I don’t know the exact reason behind it, but I know that both have the same size.
Both of them have the Sonic Sport branding in the front, with the Audio-Technica logo behind the tips. After looking at once you would understand that they have the exact shape of a human ear, unlike most of the other in-ear headphones from other brands.
Audio-Technica has provided two types of ear tips with these headphones –Fine Fit Tips: XS, S, M and L and the Active Fit Tips: S, M, and L. The former are for sound isolation i.e. to completely immerse in the music and the latter allows ambient noise i.e. allows environment noise, which should be ideally used while travelling. You also get a clip, by which you can attach the cord with your preferred wear.
The right cord of both the models is longer, in order to swing the cord from around your neck. I’ve been using both these headphones for a week now and the most common issue with headphones was here –tangling of the cords, it happened three four times as I put them in pockets after use. But, solving the puzzle was still a lot easier if compared to its competitors, thanks to the wavy cord.
Both the Audio-Technica ATH-SPORT1 and ATH-SPORT1iS come with a L-shaped 3.5mm gold-plated headphone jack. I didn’t feel the need for the L-shape but it’s still pleasant to use.
Overall, the design of both the models is pleasant and looks cool, not that cool but still better than other models at this price range. They are so light at 11g (minus the mic/controller) that it feels like music is coming out of nowhere while working-out.
THE MAIN PART – AUDIO PERFOMANCE
Talking of the audio quality, these headphones are, you know, descent. When I first looked at them, I had a feeling that I got some quality stuff, but at this price? From that looks, everyone would expect super-awesome music playback.
I am not a frequent user of in-ear-headphones; I love and use on-ear-headphones more.
I listened to my favorite playlist which included some high bass songs, some super-cool drumsteps, and podcasts; and in overall, they were nice. Performance was average when I listened to hard-hitting songs as the bass was very low if compared to the vocals. But the problems solves when you increase the volume to the maximum. But I think listening to such songs at maximum would definitely smash up your ear drums. The unpleasant grainy noise can be heard while using both the ATH-SPORT1 and ATH-SPORT1iS, which is the only major drawback of these lovely looking headphones.
In a nutshell, the audio quality of both of these earphones is fine enough at this price but slight improvement of the setbacks mentioned above would make them great.
ATH-SPORT1iS – MICROPHONE AND VOLUME CONTROLLER
We’ll talk about the microphone first. As Audio-Technica is a good player in the microphone industry, I expected some fine audio capturing from the ATH-SPORT1iS mic.
So, I paired the headphones to my phone, installed an audio-recorder and recorded my vocals. It was shocking. The final audio has so much grains and it was not even smooth. I know these kind of microphones attached to headphones are not made for professional audio recording. But nothing’s gonna happen if I test one to is full limits.
Anyway, the mic does work pleasantly while making calls as an average consumer doesn’t need professional audio quality while talking to someone over phone.
The remote at the middle of the cord does some nice work including attending calls and increasing/decreasing the volume of the music using a slider. I am not a bit used to volume sliders, I love the clickable volume rockers more, but it’s better than nothing. The remote and mic part, unlike the main unit is only IPX2 certified i.e. you can only clean it with a wet cloth.
Actually, I don’t feel the need for spending another 800 bucks for a headphone with a microphone and volume controller. It’s your wish, if you want to attend calls with your headphones on, then the Sonic Sport ATH-SPORT1iS is a pretty good deal.
WATER RESISTANT… REALLY?
Audio-Technica says that the Sonic Sport series are IPX5-certified waterproof rating. Yes, it is sweat-proof and I have already given a lot of explanation on this topic above, but does it really work under water?
The surprise is in the user manual in which it is stated that the earphones are not completely water resistant. The small piece beneath the tips through which the sound is produced is not water resistant. So don’t ever try to take your earphones for a swim in the pool. But, you can still clean them with a wet cloth, shake 20-30 times to remove the moisture or you can even use a hair dryer for this purpose. Nice, isn’t it?
So as we are finally at the conclusion, I would like to tell you that Audio-Technica is a brand that is appreciated by many audio freaks worldwide. The Japanese brand’s approach to fitness freaks through the Sonic Sport series has been a nice attempt. But still, whether a headphone is priced at 20K or 2K, drawbacks are there. So is the case with the ATH-SPORT1 and ATH-SPORT1iS. I like both of them, but they are not made for me. They are a good piece of art and music, and people will love it who want cool looking in-ear-headphones under this price range.