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Review: Puro Sound Labs IEM-500 in-ear monitors

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With so many in-ear headphones to choose from, which do you think fit best with your ear? If you seek heart pounding bass, your selection is quite small. If you seek heavy volume, the selection is quite large, but usually with the sacrifice of gaining distortion and losing your hearing. What if you wanted a perfect balance of things?

A full-like dynamic range, a decent amount of lows and a surprising amount of accuracy–all while never gaining any distortion, regardless of how high you take them (full disclosure, there is nothing you can do about losing your hearing at such volumes). Well then there is Puro Sound Labs and their IEM-500 in-ear monitors (earbuds). These offer all of this at a price that comes in at less than $200. Expensive, yes? Well it would be good to take a look at some of the other in-ear solutions around the same range. The alternatives give you some interesting EQ configurations, some with a focus on bass and some with a focus on crisp highs. These actually do a wonderful job of combining the both.

There is no way they are going to replace a solid pair of over-the-ear headphones, but they do stand tall in the community of buds. Great for accurate vocals and instruments. Perfect for acoustic tracks or just about anything high-res (FLAC, DTS. DVD-A, etc). They work well for both recreational use and professional. You may not want to use them for mixing a live concert from a soundboard, but if you job is to run around a stage as a technician with a cue pack in your ears, they will stand out as quite functional.

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“Perfect for acoustic tracks or just about anything high-res (FLAC, DTS. DVD-A, etc)”

They feature a bragged about dual-driver configuration with a titanium 5.8mm tweeter and an 8mm woofer. With the ability to crank up the volume to 106dB with less than 1% distortion, they claim to offer a 20Hz to 20kHz dynamic range. I say claim because I have a hard time seeing them go that low, but the lows they do offer are quite accurate indeed. A number of us have tested them with a long playlist of high-res music, each new track sounding just as wonderful as the last. The range is wide, especially with anything with the mid-highs on up.

Compressed music didn’t offer much. The range can be heard here and there depending on the track. Obviously 320 kbps offered a lot more clarity and range than a file sporting 128 kbps. YouTube sounded average where Pandora came in with more quality and SiriusXM (online stream) radiated in vivid (audible) colors.

static1.squarespaceIn order to obtain the most out of the lows, most of us did opt to use the larger of the silicon tips. This helps create a more full seal within your ear, trapping in the bass. The smaller tips led to leakage and average/mediocre bass response (although the mids and highs still sounded fantastic). There are 5 pairs of tips that come with the headphones, so it will depend on which pair fits best to your ears. You also don’t want the tips to cause too much pressure resulting in discomfort with long-term use.

In-line of the cable, there is a small remote with microphone. Calls sound crisp for both parties and you don’t seem to pick up a lot of background noise. The remote features one simple button which is used to pause or play the media on Android or Windows devices, with the ability to also skip forward or back a track if using an iOS device.

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The design is a mixture of plastic and aluminum, feel pretty good while wearing and don’t weigh much at all. With the right size tips, there isn’t any long-term discomfort and although at first they feel a little different with the way they sit in your ear, you find they want to keep in place without popping out on you and that slight oddness simply floats away as you become distracted by the music.

DSC04774Inside the box, there is a small knit-like pouch (sock) that provides a good deal of soft protection for the earbuds while not in use. There is also (as mentioned) 5 pairs of different sized tips total and some documentation that includes your warranty information.

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Our Conclusion

If you are an audiophile or dabbler in the world of high-res music and are looking for an in-ear solution at a decent price, these will match up well to you. They defeat most if not all of the typical store-bought brands while not piercing so much through to the expensive brands like Bowers and Wilkins (although there are a few pairs within the same range) or the prosumer models from brands like Sennheiser. They do knock on the door of these other competitors though. This makes the IEM-500’s a great buy if you ok with putting down the money for a quality in-ear solution.

8.5 / 10 stars           

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Specifications:

  • Dual driver configuration with low distortion (<1% THD)
  • Titanium 5.8mm tweeter and 8mm woofer for full range accuracy
  • Ambient noise attenuation 94% at 1 kHz
  • Output 106 dB
  • Dynamic range 20Hz – 20kHz with <1% total harmonic distortion
  • Lightweight aluminum and high-grade plastic construction

What’s in The Box:

  • Puro IEM500 In-Ear Monitors with Inline Microphone and Remote
  • Five pairs of comfortable silicon tips
  • Tangle-free Travel Sock
  • Quick Start Guide

 

Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.

8.5 Superb Listening
  • Final 8.5
  • User Ratings (9 Votes) 5.9
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JeffreyB

Designer, Editor and Product Review Lead

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