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Review: CrossRoads MylarOne X3

August 28, 2007

Crossroads to me refers to a turning point, an intersection with most likely unpredictable outcome. Borrowing a verse from Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven, "Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, There's still time to change the road you're on." I could not be referrering to a product, or do I?

But it was spelled with upper case C and R... CrossRoads. Hmmm, one of my favorite album which I don't own (sic) is Bon Jovi's Cross Road (no 's') which is a compilation of some of their best.

Who or what is this CrossRoads I'm talking about? I don't know if it's a company, a brand, or what. All I know is that is what's written on this little blue box that I have-

Inside this somewhat nice blue box is, hold your breath... A red, girlie round thing!

Honestly, the color combination does not impress me, and no, you can't argue with that. Am I going to find nail cutter, tweezer, manicure set, a small mirror perhaps, and other girlie things inside this soft "pouch?" Personally, I like this one better-

Ok, I'll stop pretending to be funny. What this really is, is a pair of IEM- In Ear Montitors, for the acronym challenged person.

Comfort

My main criteria in selecting a headphone/earphone is comfort. Yes, comfort. Because a headphone/earphone of any type could sound so good, but is "wearable" for a only a few minutes, and that is somewhat useless for me.

I haven't watched any movie lately, so I borrowed a few DVDs from the friendly neighbors. Had a marathon of watching Final Destination 3, Transformers (yet again), and Pink Live in Europe. For five straight hours or so, this thing is "stuck" in my ear canal and while the feeling is different compared to my Koss, it's definitely not annoying at all.

What anoys me is that I can hear myself inhale and exhale. Weird feeling. So this IEM can actually double as a stethoscope to check if you're bulding pleghm in your lungs.

While it does hug my ear canal well, which I tested by head banging while listening to Pink's Just Like a Pill, I can still hear outside noise. That to me is good. I don't want to miss out people shouting Fire! Fire! or Incoming! which would give me enough time to run.

This unit is small, and came with a silver accent. A clip and a "ferrite-bead" like thingy, glorify the wire long enough to reach my pocket should it contain an iPod or another music player.

The Sound

For starters, it can be driven fairly well by my de-facto portable music player- my Sony Ericsson K750i. One of the qualities of this IEM is that it's got lots of details. I can hear the imperfections of recording using the 128K bit rate of the M4A format that I use on my player. Initial impression, the sound is pretty good, warm and detailed. The format of the music I'm listening to does not do justice to the MylarOne X3.

I borrowed an iPod Shuffle to try it there, but this Shuffle I got was already used as a USB drive in it's entirety! The unit needs to be reset and I don't have the iPod utilities on my notebook, and besides I'm running Vista now. So forget about the iPod.

So this time, I connected the MylarOne X3 to my Acer Aspire 4520. Using the Acer Empower Tools, I changed the sound settings and turned off Dolby and switched to Stereo with no equalization.

Torture Test

My locally pressed Backstreet Boy's Never Gone album is a good test as the pressing is barely acceptable. I wanted to hear if the X3 could shroud those imperfections, so I played my favorite track, Incomplete.

Hmmm, for the second time around, my impression of the X3's detail reproduction has manifested and cemented the warm sound it conveys.

I switched to the DVD version of Incomplete, and this time the MylarOne X3 showed its true capabilities. So given a great source, the X3 will sound great.

Versus my Reference

Against my KSC-75, the MylarOne X3 will not win the bass war. I did not take that as a negtive point because being an IEM, I don't want it to bombard my eardrums with bass. I have tried a headphone/earphone before, which fortunately for the manufacturer I can't remember, that is so annoying I felt my ear drums are being pounded by a hammer. The KXC-75 does not torture my ear that way and I still want to hear music when I grow old, so this is actually a plus for the MylarOne X3.

Verdict

For me it's a winner. I'm currently using it (again) for about 2 hours already with my notebook as I compose this.

Positive

  • Detailed with out the harshness
  •  Warm sounding which is great for listening for very long periods
  •  Comfortable to wear for hours and hours

Negative

  • If you're a bass freak (and I'm not), this may not be your cup of tea