Monday, March 17, 2014

Creative Technology EP-630 In-Ear Headphones - Good Sound, Insulation, Durability and Comfort

I must be a compulsive headphone buyer. I have a lot of headphones at home, most inexpensive and not all are being used. Some of the examples in my "collection" includes headphones such as Sennheiser HD201, Sennheiser HD202, Koss KSC75, Koss SparkPlug, Philips HS500, Creative EP-640, Microsoft Zune Premium JDA00001 headphones, Sony MDR-EX082 and a few others.

The headphones I currently use most frequently are the Koss KSC75 (when running or when I need no sound insulation), Zune Premium JDA00001 and Sony MDR-EX082, the latter three are compact, noise-insulating designs.

I already have the Creative EP-640 and use it at times. Recently I bought the Creative EP-630 and found it to be similar. Perhaps you can never have enough headphones. Perhaps I should stop browsing web sites that have headphones.

I have burned the EP-630 in for close to 60 hours, knowing that most headphones do not sound their best until a few dozen hours of burn-in.

What is Creative EP-630?

The Creative EP-630 is a Creative's model of in-ear headphones. They come with a small carrying bag, with three types of ear pads (medium size installed on the headphones, small and large supplied). The EP-630 comes in several colors, including black, pink and others.

The EP-630 look stylish and solidly-built while being compact and light. The asvertising claims are usually bold, assuring that "Powerful 9mm neodymium magnet transducers providing subsonic bass & crystal clear highs" and that "Soft Silicone Earbuds - excellent isolation from ambient noise".

Clear transmission with gold-plated 1.2mm oxygen-free copper cable is also promised. The replaceable silicone pads are of different sizes to fit your ear (I used the ones that the headphones came pre-attached with).

The specifications are impressive: 6-23,000 Hz frequency response, impedance of 16 Ohms.


The EP-630 looks exactly like the EP-640, which is a good thing. It seems to insulate the sound as well as the EP-640, which I used a few times on flights to almost completely insulate myself from the engine noise.

One thing that helps is the absence of ports on the headphones. The ports can improve bass response, but make bass less "tight", reduce overall sound clarity and reduce sound insulation. Covering ports in those headphones produced better sound overall and tighter bass, but much lower bass output. The EP630 doesn't make you deal with these issues. And the lack of ports does not prevent this model from delivering good bass while helping with overall sound quality and noise insulation.

If you need excellent noise insulation, these headphones work extremely well. They are also much more stylish than the Koss Sparkplug and feel more comfortable. The EP-630 has very good bass. The bass is powerful and "tighter" than ported designs mentioned above. The treble quality is excellent and the midrange is very good. The frequency response seems to be very wide, although I doubt it really goes down to 6 Hz at anywhere near +/- 3 or even 6 dB.

The clarity, imaging and definition are very, very good. Electronic music and simple (fewer instruments) classical music (e.g. E. Bloch Piano + Viola only) sounds great.

I also listened to Gogol Bordello and discovered excellent instrument separation in the midbass to midrange, even better than the large enclosed Sennheiser HD-202. The violins sound great also.

The sound is quite warm overall. The small concerns I have are very slightly harsh treble and the bass I with was slightly tighter. Also, there was some congestion in the upper midrange. But these are issues expected at this price range.

The EP-630 have good sensitivity and therefore can play pretty loud with portable gear, especially comparing with some other headphones I have tried. Overall, with excellent noise insulation, these are good headphones to use in a gym or on a train/plane. Since they have very good sound insulation, these are not to be worn on the street where you can get run over just because you don't hear the ambient noises.

For more complex music test, I played Preludes and Overtures of Richard Wagner through my Panasonic SA-XR57 receiver and its headphone jack and compared this model with Koss KSC75 and Sennheiser HD202. The Koss KSC75 had the most open and warn sound as well as good frequency response. The Creative did not sound as open as the other two, but had less hollow sound then the HD202 and better lower-end definition.

Then, I tried the Microsoft Zune Premium Headphone model JDA00001 and the Sony MDR-EX082 and those two had their own strengths (and weaknesses). I liked both better than the EP-630, but the latter wasn't by any means outclassed. In contrast with the Creative, the Zune Premium had more bass and overall better definition. The Sony had more pleasant bottom end and lower midrange, but worse sound insulation.

If I was going on a flight or train, the Creative would be the headphone of choice though, for the following reasons. It provides excellent insulation, is durable, sensitive and compact. And it won't bankrupt you if you manage to break or loose it.

Build Quality

The headphones are well-made and should be durable.

Pros: Price, sound quality, bass, insulation, sensitivity, durability, style, comfort
Cons: Slightly harsh treble

Bottom Line 

The Creative EP-630 headphone sounds very good, can play loud with portable equipment, is durable, stylish and features excellent noise insulation. I highly recommend it for use on a plane, train, in a gym and in other areas where noise insulation and durability, along is important, with no sacrifice in sound quality.

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