I reviewed the 1MORE MK802 wireless Bluetooth headphone in July and was thoroughly impressed with its wireless sonic performance and remains my reference for sound quality from a Bluetooth headphone. The earcups just need to be a bit larger but otherwise, an incredibly fun and musical headphone.
When I first took a look at the packaging of the 1MORE Triple Driver, I had to do a double-take at the price: $99.99. This is probably the most premium packaging I’ve seen for an IEM at any price. I felt like I was a Chinese emperor unboxing this thing. Most companies just throw ear tips and other accessories inside a cheap plastic bag. Check this:
Build & Comfort
- The build quality is one of the best I’ve seen for an IEM. The aluminum alloy body is a attract yet robust.
- The kevlar core cable is extremely flexible and durable as well.
- The angled ear fittings were unique and became one of the easiest to wear buds I’ve had.
- Overall comfort was phenomenal and the weight a feel of the Triple Driver was perfect for my ears.
1MORE’s attention to detail is much appreciated in all their products. They’re obviously trying to max out the quality to price ratio in everything they do.
For more specs please take a look at their product page. I’ll be focusing on sonic impressions.
The 1MORE Triple Driver and Quad Driver headphones are the FIRST headphones ever to earn THX certification.
The partnership between THX and 1MORE marks the beginning of THX’s Headphone Certification program, which gives special attention to interpreting high frequency correlation, improving dialog intelligibility, and low frequency extension. With this new product certification offering, THX stands with the top brands in portable audio to offer assurance of a headphone’s state-of-the-art capabilities in the ever-growing headphone market. For a headphone to obtain product certification, THX engineers complete scientifically-formulated tests to ensure the highest audio standards possible.
My comparisons with the $79.00 Meze 12 Classics bud ended fair quickly as the Triple Driver (two balanced armatures and one dynamic drivers) quickly dominated the Meze in every category aside from maybe treble sparkle and a quieter background. You get a lot of fidelity for that extra $20. The Meze was simply outclassed by the Triple Driver’s musicality, coherence, solidity, and balance.
Soundstage & Imaging & Resolution
This is a more intimate sounding bud so don’t expect the widest or deepest of soundstage. With the foam tips, this wasn’t an issue but timbre and tone aren’t as natural sounding. It does have more depth and contouring than most earphones I’ve heard at this price. Layering and separation are decent and provides an overall well-balanced atmosphere. It has enough resolution to convey nuances and micro-details in the various acoustic articulations. It doesn’t have a quiet background but I never felt there was problematic bleeding or smearing across instruments and voices.
Thanks to the dynamic driver, we’re greeted with an incredibly tight, well-defined, full, and punchy bass response. Reminiscent of the engaging fun the MK802 provided, it’s hard not to bob your head while listening to Pop or Jazz. Kick drums and toms attacks are quick, authoritative, and decay convincingly. The low-end provides just the right amount of rhythmic and dynamic support for all the actors on the frontline. I was surprised at the level of micro-details within the deep hitting thumps. Try out these tracks and you’ll hear what I mean:
- Deep – Marian Hill
- 400 Lux – Lorde
- Empire State of Mind, Pt. 2: Broken Down – Alicia Keys
Another strength of the Triple Driver are the mids. Voices have proper timbre and have a sweet and organic overtone. Bass and acoustic guitars have a meaty tactility to them. Trumpets and saxophones have a nice organic mass as they play. Piano have proper tone and definition with a softer edge. This is definitely a warmer and silkier sounding IEM and is incredibly enjoyable to listen to. The lushness opens up this IEM to almost all genres. Try these tracks:
- Bizarre Love Triangle – Marianna Leporace
- Hurt – Youn Sun Nah
- Do I Ever Cross Your Mind? – Ray Charles / Bonnie Raitt
The Triple driver is more “compact” sounding. Doesn’t quite have enough excitement or energy for my tastes but has enough presence to be involving. Consequently, unamplified music and live performances don’t sound as spacious and open as I’d like but warm enough to be fun. Cymbals miss out a few shades of shine and are a bit heavier sounding. Violins are rich and palpable but also have a thicker dynamic envelope. Admittedly, I miss a little bit of the gentle crispiness and sizzle I hear in other IEMs. At this price point, I’m just nitpicking.
When using the supplied foam tips, this isn’t a problem. The music opens up and there’s more much air and clarity to the sound. The tradeoff is a bit of thinning of body and weight across the spectrum. I preferred the silicon tips for most of my listening due to its sweeter presentation.
Trinity Go Module
If you love the tone and signature of the Triple Driver, you may want to consider trying it with the Trinity Go. As mentioned in my review of the High Fidelity Cables Trinity Go module:
This popular IEM just got better with the Trinity Go which essentially converts it to a $400 IEM. Although the Triple Driver already sounds great, it is much smoother and more dynamic with the Trinity Go. I don’t hear any drawbacks from using the Trinity Go with this one. Tone and timbre improve enormously, more depth and atmospherics, more rhythmic weight and tonal density. Simply more analog and musical. When the Trinity Go is removed, it sounds very piecewise, contrived, and almost hollow. The TG has a more forward (and proper) midrange and adds enough roundness to performers to give a natural sense of realism. This is by far my favorite pairing with IEMs.
These impressions were made with the stock silicone tips. Please keep in mind the sound could change dramatically depending on the type of tips you use and the actual fit with your ears. With the supplied foam tips, the sound becomes much airier and the background blackens. This could account for some listeners who claim it sounds like an analytical IEM. I preferred the more tonally dense sound of silicon tips so reviewed in this configuration. Like many IEMs, the Triple Driver sonically transforms depending on the tips used.
- It’s impossible for the Triple Driver to sound fatiguing, sharp, or harsh.
- I do miss some of the textural cues of the much pricier IEMs but that’s just the snob in me.
- Tone and timbre are inherently accurate but the Trinty Go takes that to new heights.
- An all-rounder. Works across all genres but perhaps too cozy for classical and chamber variations. Foam tips may help in this case.
- I would prefer to have more shimmer and air with a tad bit more resolution. This is less of a problem with the foam tips.
- One of the most comfortable IEMs I’ve ever used. Hours upon hours of pleasurable listening.
- Pretty damn punchy for an earbud. The bass section is really fun with this earphone.
- A little piecewise sounding without the Trinity Go but still more coherent than every earphone I’ve heard at this price point.
- Doesn’t have a lot of treble energy or air. Doesn’t have that “holographic” and atmospheric sound. This isn’t the case with the foam tips.
- Delineation and outlines across actors aren’t the most refined but for $100, it’s an incredible value. The Trinity Go improves upon this.
Like the MK802, the Triple Driver punches way above its weight. These were tuned by the same Grammy Winning Sound Engineer, Luca Bignardi. Combined with the meager price and incredibly premium presentation and build quality, there’s no better “gateway” gift into better audio than the 1MORE Triple Driver.
This has gotten me quite curious about their award-winning Quad Driver IEM. Bottomline, there isn’t a better IEM I could recommend with a better price-to-performance ratio than the 1MORE Triple Driver.