Review: Stoned Earphones
EDIT: DO NOT BUY THESE HEADPHONES. THERE IS CURRENTLY A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THIS COMPANY ACTUALLY MADE THEM. SEE: https://www.amazon.com/Sikye-Wireless-Bluetooth-Headset-Earphone/dp/B06WGR8FFF/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1490225776&sr=8-4&keywords=Mini+True+Wireless+Bluetooth+Twins+Stereo+In-Ear+Headset — THEY CAN BE FOUND MANY PLACES AROUND THE WEB FOR WAY CHEAPER THAN FROM STONED AUDIO https://twitter.com/GonzoDrum/status/845070813950808065 — STONED HAS BEEN SILENT ON THE ISSUE AND MIA.
On November 21, 2016, Stoned Audio’s Earphones went on sale for $99. Right now you can buy them for $127, which is 20% of the retail price of $169. They are “audiophile sound,” Bluetooth headphones. According to Stoned Audio, their frequency ranges from 20 to 20,000 Hz.
I love music. I don’t consider myself an “audiophile,” but I listen to music enough to buy decent headphones. Prior to Stoned Earphones, I rocked the V-MODA Zn In-Ear Headphones, which retail for $180. They’re billed as “audiophile-grade” as well. The Zn’s specs say they reach frequencies from 2 to 25,000 Hz. This is very similar to Stoned Audio’s Earphones, and I will compare them to the Zn throughout this review.
An Epic Tale of Tragedy
My first introduction to Stoned Audio was a Facebook ad. They said something to the tune of “we don’t need a Kickstarter because we have a working product ready to ship.” Stoned Audio promised they’d be to me in time for a Christmas present.
That didn’t happen.
The week before Christmas, Stoned Audio notified buyers that the Earphones would be delayed due to “issues with manufacturing partners.” A few days following Christmas, the company notified customers that they were delaying shipment because of a design error — the Earphones were becoming scratched when being used with their charging case. The company then promised it’d get them out the second week of January.
That didn’t happen either. Then the company said it was shipping out the first batch on January 21st. Then due to errors on its part, possibly because of its namesake, the company delayed actual shipment until February 2nd.
You’d think after the whole delay it’d ship out the Earphones with expedited shipping. But, no, it chose the cheap way and the Earphones took five business days to get to me, and some customers have still not received their Earphones.
Now, look, a few delays are reasonable. The thing is that this company billed itself as having a “ready to ship” product. Then about seven weeks after the expected shipping date, with very little updates as to why the Earphones are actually being delayed, I finally get the product.
The Earphones are easy to pair. To pair them to each other and your phone, you press the button and hold it — the round silver piece on them — it will say “power on” and then say “pairing.” You can then press the button on the other, and they’ll beep a few times and sync to each other. Then you go to your phone’s Bluetooth section and select the Earphones. It is very simple.
After that, you just need to tap the button on one until it says it’s on and then tap the other Earphone’s button.
They fit in the ear nicely. They’re actually really comfortable. I find that the most comfortable way to wear them is to push them into the back of your ear. That is, put them into your ear canal, then push the front top of them to the back arch of your ear. I also found the fittings, the cushion surrounding the tip you put in your ear, they come with too large for my taste. You only get large, medium, and small fittings. Just like I did with my Zn headphones, I went with the small for these.
They stay in my ear pretty well. I can shake my head around and they don’t come out. I will not be running with them because I don’t like to carry my phone with me while running, but I think they’d survive.
Do they sound good? Well, they certainly aren’t as good as the Zn headphones, but those do cost $50 more. The sound is clear. The bass is really lacking. There is also a slight tinny sound to the treble. Stoned Audio does promise to deliver an app for Android and iOS to set equalizer settings, that, hopefully, will fix the weak bass. They sound much better than your regular Apple earbuds or any brand you’ll pick up for $20 at the store. My wife says they’re better than her iClever Bluetooth headphones I bought in an Amazon lightning deal for under $20. I’m not blown away by the sound quality here, but they get the job done.
Edit: Please see Stoned Audio’s response to the bass here, the company recommends pushing the fitting down to the ear tips. This did make a bit of a difference. I’d compare the Zn’s bass to a car with a nice system, while Stoned Earphones bass sounds like a stock system. The bass is there, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Edit 2: So, due to Stoned Audio’s response, I started fiddling around with the different fitting sizes. I switched to the largest ones, made it flush with the ear tip — and wow! The bass really stepped up and is now great! It’s very deep. So, make sure you fidget around with the different sizes to find what creates the best sound for you!
It’s important to note that in-ear headphones or “earphones” are meant to be worn in your ear canal. Get them in there. Go down a fitting size if you can’t. When I first put on my Zn in-ears, I almost sent them back immediately. Then I read the instructions that said you were supposed to insert them into your ear canal, kind of like your mother told you not to do with Q-tips. Stoned Audio, you might want to include an instruction that tells folks to do this. The sound quality really goes up when you do.
I’ve heard that some people complain of Bluetooth in-ears that don’t have a cable linking them suffer from syncing issues. I haven’t experienced these getting out of sync yet, but every once in a while one will cut out. It picks back up quickly and hasn’t lasted long. I find this is more likely to happen if you walk away from the device you have them connected to.
The button on the Earphones pauses or plays with one press and skips songs with two presses.
They do have a built-in microphone for phone calls. You can answer and end a call with one press and reject a call with two presses.
Stoned Audio says the Earphones will have a battery life of five hours and they’ll fully charge in an hour. I haven’t had them long enough to really test this claim out. When I received them I charged them for about five minutes and then tried them out. The battery lasted for about two hours before it started cutting out. I’ll be using them all day today and will update this with the battery life from regular use.
Now, about charging — Stoned Audio has included a pretty sweet charging/carrying case/battery pack.
The case can charge the Earphones, charge other devices, and serves as a protective case. The case itself has a USB and micro-USB slot. The micro-USB slot charges it and the other slot is for you to charge other devices, such as your phone. Now, the instructions Stoned Audio has included are vague. The instructions say the LED is red when charging and turns blue when full. But there are LED’s on the Earphones and the case. I think the lights that change are the ones on the Earphones. The case’s LED stays blue if it’s charging from battery, and when it’s plugged in and charging itself, it’s red. There’s a button on the top of the case that allows you turn the case on and off. From what I understand, the outside button stays blue. The black part in the photo, with the tray for the Earphones, slides in and out. You’ll need to slide it out to check if the Earphones are fully charged. That’s a bit complicated and could use some work. Otherwise, the case functions well.
Stoned Audio says the Earphones are splash and sweat proof, but not submersible.
There is noise cancellation to the CVC6.0 standard.
The range is claimed to be ten meters. I feel like it’s less than that, but I haven’t measured.
Return Policy and Warranty
Stoned Audio allows return for a full-refund if returned within 14 days of receiving the Earphones. Their warranty is a one-year warranty against defects. It does not cover damage for any other reason, unlike V-MODA’s awesome warranties.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my Stoned Earphones. Even with all the trouble Stoned Audio had in shipping them, they were worth the wait. I do think the low point of these Earphones is the sound quality. Edit: After messing around with different fitting sizes and switching to the larger ones, the bass and sound quality really spiked up. They sound amazing!
Right now, you can get them for cheaper than Apple’s Airpods and the recently announced BeatsX Earphones.