The Macaw GT100s Offer Exceptional Build Quality, Respectable Comfort, and Decent Sound Quality.
The Macaw GT100s offer an exceptional build quality, with premium materials, and satisfying construction. Before I delve into a more technical discussion of the sound signature of these IEMs, I would first like to say, that I would definitely recommend these earphones to anyone who is looking for a nice bump up in sound quality, but values build quality more overall. Comfort may be a concern depending on the shape of your ears and whether or not you can find a good position for the GT100s to sit.
Now to get down and dirty with the details of the GT100s’ sound signature.
Highs are, very, very detailed. You may have heard some reviews of other IEMs saying that the audio sounded “warm”. That is not the feeling you will get when listening to the GT100s’, as they have a rather cold feeling to them. I can only speculate that the all-stainless steel constructions plays a role in that. I was impressed by how well these performed in acoustic songs such as 45 by Shinedown, in Progressive House songs such as All Night (Cash Cash Remix) by Icona Pop.
Mids are decent, if not slightly recessed. They possess a very large amount of detail, with good instrumental separation. However, on lower end DACs, such as the ones inside the Nexus 6P and HTC One M8, you lose some potential and clarity.
Lows are slightly lacking; a typical feature of titanium drivers. However, this is easy to fix with an equalizer.
Bass is good, tight, and even. No complaints here.
Sound Staging is very wide, making it feel like there is actual spacing between the instruments. The separation between instruments is good, especially on higher-end hardware, with airy layers present in some songs. However, the sound-stage is not very deep. Everything feels like it is the same distance away, even if they are located in different “spots”. This is not an issue that these IEMs have specifically, but is a natural and common part of listening to music through IEMs. If you want superb sound staging, look into open-backed earphones.
Sound Type: V-shaped
I have only two real problems with the sound quality of these IEMs. Firstly, they are very finicky about the hardware they are run off of, muddling the upper mids, and causing very bright and sparkly highs. Secondly, the frequencies in-between bass and the mids are very recessed without the proper hardware. I found that by purchasing a portable DAC/Amp combo, I was able to vastly improve the sound signature, without having to mess with an equalizer. However, if you do not wish to bother with buying extra hardware and have an Android device, I would recommend using the music app Black Player. With its built in equalizer, I was able to remedy most of the oddities with the sound signature by playing around with the upper and lower frequencies for a couple minutes.
The Macaw GT100s does have one trick up its sleeves: replaceable sound filters. While this may sound like a gimmick, I found it to be useful. There are three included filters: the pre-installed silver filters, which have a neutral sound, the gold filters which enhance the highs, and the black filters which enhance the bass. The changes enacted by the filters are all subtle, and won’t be too noticeable in certain songs. I would not recommend using the gold filters, as the highs are already very present, and almost overpowering at times.
In terms of comfort, I found that while standing, sitting, or walking at a regular pace, the GT100s’ were very comfortable, despite their heft. The cables were never a real problem in terms of “bounce noise” that often occurs when the cable of a pair of earphones slaps against you while you walk. However, when laying down, the sheer weight of the steel caused the GT100s to sag downwards, breaking the seal made by the earbuds, compromising the sound. Laying down on your side, while not terrible, is not particularly comfortable either, owing mostly to the physical shape these IEMs have.
These IEMs are of an average level of portability. While they are not as large and cumbersome as over-ear audio solutions, they are not as slim and light as other IEMs. You might have some difficulty putting these in your pocket due to their shape. Also, if you typically wear your IEMs by letting them hang off your shirt, you are going to have a bad time. The GT100s is so heavy, that it will continually slide down, needing almost constant readjustment.
The GT100s is built like a tank. Its stainless-steel construction make it very solid, and not prone to cracking, denting, or scratching. After a year of usage, there is almost no wear what-so-ever. The cable connections seem to be holding up well.
The inline microphone is good. There is minimal static on the receiving end, and the inline controls work well, with the pause button having a very satisfying click. The cable is a good thickness, and doesn’t feel cheap at all. It is also rather slick, making it unlikely to catch on random things.
Accessories are plentiful for a $60 pair of earphones, and are all of relatively high quality. The faux leather carrying pouch is well constructed and fashionable, giving off a very premium feeling.
To summarize: The Macaw GT100s’ are IEMs with lots of potential, respectable comfort, and outstanding build quality. The included accessories are sufficient, with the faux leather carrying pouch being very useful to listeners on the go. If you do not have an Android device and do not wish to use an external DAC/Amp combo, you may wish to look elsewhere, as the true potential of the Macaw GT100s’ are lost.
Enjoy this review or find it helpful? Like our Facebook page for announcements and behind-the scenes information. Link here.
Resonance Reviews is a project started by a broke college student. If you would like to contribute towards the purchase of a better camera, whitebox, or audio-analysis hardware, please click here.