First, I’d like to thank the folks at Narmoo for sending me a sample of the S1 for review.
Accessories: The Narmoo S1 comes packaged in the same large and spacious carrying case with dual mesh pockets the R1M arrived in and my impressions are just as positive this time around. In the case are extra eartips, a shirt clip attached to the cable and an instruction manual.
Design and Build Quality: The solid, polished metal housings are fairly large but not particularly heavy and are tapered at the front. The black cable is covered in a plasticky sheath and is a bit stiff but this was rarely an issue. Microphonic noise is a bit of an issue.
Comfort and Isolation: Good on both counts.
Before I start with my description of the sound, it must be noted that my listening was conducted with wide-bore single flange tips and that my impressions are based on listening to the S1 with those tips. The stock tips deliver a sound signature that’s noticeably more congested and bass dominant compared to the wide bore Ultimate Ears tips I used so it should go without saying that I recommend using wide bore tips if at all possible.
Like the R1M, the S1 is a bass-heavy earphone with great reach down low and slightly exaggerated impact and presence. So, yes, the low end is authoritative and full bodied but also tight and well-mannered. There’s a natural texture and speed about the low end that makes this stand out among other heavy-bass earphones, especially those within its price range.
Midrange frequencies are rendered with a pleasant warm richness, closer to what many might call smooth and musical.
High end performance is similar to the R1M, but less uneven and more laid back. It’s similarly dry but not particularly bright, which also makes them less prone to sibilance.
What strikes me most about the presentation is its coherence. There are a number of multi-driver IEMs, I’ve heard and reviewed on this site including dual driver dynamics such as this one and hybrids and one common thread between them is that there’s usually an obvious disconnect, something I can point to and say “okay, this is where the crossover kicks in”. But I don’t hear that with the S1. I hear unity across the range.
Despite the slight warm tilt, the S1 is rather clear and spacious in its presentation. That full-bodied low end knows its place and, for the most part, doesn’t venture out of it unless prodded especially hard. Thus, the mids and highs are usually free of bass bleed and allow for surprisingly high levels of detail to shine through.
The Narmoo S1 is presently on sale for a price of about $45 from Narmoo and $40 from Amazon. Nearing the $50 price point, the S1 begins to face stiffer competition, as you move into the realm of earphones like the VSonic VSD1 and Sony MH1C. But the Narmoo S1 is more than capable of earning its keep, even next to those earphones. While some audiophiles might not like it because of the heavy bass, the S1 has enough clarity and detail in the upper regions to hold its own. The cheaper R1M, though not quite as good as its more expensive sibling, is almost as good, for less money, and carries the benefit of having a tunable bass system, allowing people to adjust the bass a bit to align with their personal preferences.
Nonetheless, for $40, one could do far worse than the Narmoo S1 and its sound quality is on par with some of the better earphones I’ve heard around its price.