OM Audio INEARPEACE In-Ear Headphones Review
- Type: Hybrid
- Driver One (highs/mids): Balanced Armature
- Driver Two (bass): Coiled Bass Driver
- Driver Diameter: 10mm
- Frequency Response: 20Hz to 20kHz
- Sensitivity: 101dB / 126mV @1kHz
- Impedance: 16 ohms
- Connections: 3.5mm
- Mic/controls In-line: controls w/mic
- Colors: Black, White
- Cable is tangle free
- Great bass at low volumes
- Very accurate sound reproduction
- Noisy cable
- Overly sensitive
OM Audio INEARPEACE Introduction
Clever names are a bit of a red flag for me. I've reviewed a ton of headphones and the ones that have tried to "sell" me on how cool they are with their name or marketing have generally not lived up to their promise. It's not that I don't get it: If you are a new company with a new product, you need to do something to differentiate yourself from the competition. They weren't called "Beats" for nothing and they had the good doctor's name attached to them. Of course, they ended up being hugely successful so who am I to begrudge a small company for trying to stay at the front of your mind with a clever name.
So I almost skipped the INEARPEACE (they capitalize it so I have to as well) because of the name. But something else caught my attention - dual driver design. If you don't know what this is, it is very much like every KEF speaker ever (and many others for that matter). Think of it has nested drivers with one inside of the other (often called coaxial drivers). Most headphones have a single full-range driver that is forced to reproduce as much of the audible frequency range as possible. If you have ever seen a speaker, you know that most come with more than one driver. Asking a single driver to play from 20Hz to 20kHz without distortion is a big ask.
Headphones have an advantage over regular speakers in that they are much closer to your ears and therefore don't have to play that loud (someone needs to tell those kids on the bus and subway about this). A speaker in a room has a much greater distance to move the air before it reaches your ear so there is a much larger volume of air that needs to be moved to create bass. With headphones, the driver is so close that they can usually create bass. A flat frequency response, on the other hand, is a completely different thing.
I've seen a number of headphones that tout more than one driver. Very few are priced under $200. When OM Audio introduced their INEARPEACE at $179, I couldn't pass up a chance to hear a dual-driver in-ear monitor.
I actually think I would have rolled my eyes a little less at INEARPIECE but with a name like OM Audio, I can see why they went with the Hindu/Budist/Yoga reference. The INEARPEACE headphones came well boxed in a very professional looking case. When I broke it down, there was a case with a bunch of tips, the headphones, and the shortest instruction manual ever (just told you how to operate the in-line controls). OM Audio had the Devanagari word for OM on everything from the box to the back of the earphones. The headphones were pushed into a block of hard foam which surely would protect them from just about anything. The only problem I had was that I had to yank pretty hard on one of the cables to get the headphone out. The other headphone could be pushed out from the other side.
The first thing I really noticed about the OM Audio INEARPEACE was the cable (mostly because I was yanking on it). They tout their flat cable as being "Tangle-Free" (their words). As we all well know, nothing is tangle free - hand anything to my four year old and he'll prove it to you. That said, I rolled up the cable, I shoved it in my pocket, I threw it on my desk, and even dropped them in my climbing bag. No tangles. I'm not going to say that it won't ever happen, but it didn't during the three week review period.
The cable was not just flat - it was dual-colored. At first I thought one cable was black and the other was silver (which would have been another way to tell right from left rather than the tiny lettering on the headphone) but that wasn't the case. The flat cable is silver on the inside and black on the outside. There is also a white version of the INEARPEACE which I believe just switches out the black for white (leaving the silver side). There is a central yoke where the two cables become one that has a slider for...honestly, I don't know what it is for. With many headphones, you can use the slider to tighten the headphone cable to keep it in place. The OM Audio INEARPEACE has in-line controls so you can only move the slider to that point. This pretty much negates this function. It would make sense if OM had an in-line and non-in-line control version of the INEARPEACE and that the slider was a holdover from the non-in-line version but there is only the one. Perhaps the have a second offering on the back burner.
Button, two-tone flat cable, and silver slider
I like the case that OM Audio included with the INEARPEACE headphones. It is large enough to get the headphones in there (the tangle-free cable is also resistant to rolling up small enough to get into a case), but not so large as to be cumbersome. The case is rigid but the fabric is sort of soft and velvety and has the OM Audio logo printed largely on one side. The other side has the logo again but smaller with INEARPEACE underneath. I think they could have just gone with the logo but I suppose they didn't want to pass up branding/marketing opportunities. Inside is a large area for the headphones and a small pocket. OM Audio has a lapel clip as well but the flat cable made it nearly useless. After I slid it into the clip, there was no way to hook it in there so I would slide out occasionally. I generally don't use the clips unless I'm using headphones for exercising anyhow.
Case outside and in
Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!