PureSound Technologies Inc. has recently introduced the ClarityOne™ Earphones, which is the result of 12 years of development and based on 6-patents (with more pending). The company prides itself on releasing the first and only consumer earphones to have a built-in PureSound Processor, for what they call the ultimate in distortion-free, 3-dimentional listening.
The PureSound Processor is described by the company as an economical solution for achieving perfect phase unity between amplifiers and multiple driver systems. It is not a crossover, but a coupling unit. According to the company, this technology cancels
out the counter EMF (electro-magnetic force) and at the same time provides a two way magnetic brake on the voice coil which “couples” it to the amplifier, thereby allowing it to
operate freely with no added distortions. The ClarityOne™ Earphones also come equipped with a touch sensitive track control. This control allows you to easily jump to the next song or back to the previous song or pause and play with one touch.
ClarityOne™ Earphones are supplied with three different tip adapters to accommodate different ear canal sizes. The tips fit into a slot which prevents them from falling off of the earphones. We used the medium size and my kids used the smaller size. It is important to get a good seal in the ear canal otherwise bass response will suffer. Having them too tight can cause long-term discomfort so it is good to find the balance. A sturdy zippered case is provided and inside there is a netted pouch to prevent losing the unused earphone tips when on the go. The ClarityOne™ Earphones have an adequately long 4-foot cable with the last 18-inches (where the "Y"
split occurs) made from a tangle-free material. This works well and help prevent a tangled mess often encountered with these type of earphones.
The frequency response of the ClarityOne™ Earphones was measured
using our Sencore SP295 Audio Analyzer. We started by sealing the earphones
around the microphone to simulate how the earphone will be sealed in the
ear canal. We could see that the low frequency response was affected by how well we sealed the earphone to the microphone. The results were good with a peak of around 2.5 kHz. Both ends of our audio spectrum
produced excellent response and actually looked better than the frequency
response charts we saw at the Ultimate Ears website.
The impedance of the ClarityOne™ Earphones is much lower (8 ohms) than competing products and is touted as being a big advantage over other similar products on the market. We concur that most of the other earphones have significantly higher impedance than the ClarityOne™ Earphones. Surprisingly, these earphones controlled impedance very well from 20Hz to 20kHz. In fact, the minimum impedance we measured was 7.2 ohms at 20kHz and the maximum was 8.3 ohms at 25 Hz. The average impedance over the entire frequency spectrum measured in 1/3 octave steps was 8.0 ohms. A very impressive set of numbers. However, this alone does not mean the system will necessarily sound better.
Media Player Interaction
Many of the portable media/audio players have mediocre headphone amplifiers. For example, the older 3rd generation iPod used the Wolfson Microelectronics WM8731 DAC, which has an output impedance of about 5 ohms. This output impedance gets worse at lower frequencies where the in-line capacitors in the audio chain starts to significantly increase the output impedance. Since most Apple earbuds are rated at 16 or 32 ohms, a reasonable (not great) damping factor can be maintained with the iPods. Without equalization, lower impedance earphones could potentially experience a decrease in bass output at lower frequencies. We just wanted to point out that having lower earphone impedance in of itself does not necessarily mean better system performance.
We tested the ClarityOne™ Earphones with several media players including the iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Android), and a Microsoft Zune (30GB). We also used a high quality headphone amplifier from Headroom to see how well these earphones perform with a very capable low impedance amplifier with good high resolution and uncompressed source material. As it turns out, these earphones are very sensitive and can certainly articulate and reveal the flaws in poorly engineered recordings. These earphones provided amazing upper frequency detail while providing excellent bass reproduction. They were fairly well balanced with a slight upper frequency emphasis that was more pronounced on female vocals. In fact, in some recordings I found them to be a bit on the bright side, especially at higher volumes. However, overall they were quite pleasing.
ClarityOne™ Earphones perform very well in the $130 category. One of the great attributes of this type of in-ear design is the level of isolation one can attain when using them in noisier environments. By sealing out some of the background noise, the user will achieve a more intimate connection with their music. Like any listening device, personal taste will certainly factor into whether these are the right earphones for you. Based on our time with the ClarityOne™ Earphones, we would recommend trying them out.