Wow…these sound better than my Beats!
I usually don't impulse buy, but the response above from my friend Jesse confirms that I made a solid choice when I decided to buy the Symphonized NRG 2.0 during an Amazon Black Friday sale.
I can't remember what I was shopping for, but these earbuds popped up on my screen for only $15. The beautiful wood body and “zebra” braided cable looked too good to pass up.
Despite the low price, they actually sound as good as they look. But just a few details kept them from being great.
They were good enough, however, that I decided to purchase their successor, the Symphonized NRG 3.0. The updated version had a couple small changes that would surely make them exactly what I was looking for.
Here's my experience with both models over the past 7 months.
Symphonized NRG 2.0 Review
I bought them for their looks but kept them for their sound.
Right away I was struck by how strong the bass is on the Symphonized NRG 2.0. I suspect this is where the comparison to Jesse's Powerbeats came in.
They sound better overall than my truly wireless earbuds from Rowkin which cost $130, although not nearly as convenient.
Compared side by side with a headphone jack splitter and my iphone SE, the Symphonized NRG 2.0 has more bass than my Sennheiser Momentum 2.0, which cost 10x more!
Of course, the soundstage, mids, and overall clarity aren't as good, but considering the price point, they're still very impressive.
They also get pretty loud. On max volume with a mobile device, they're too loud to comfortably listen to Bob Dylan wailing away on the harmonica.
This combination of pumped up bass and volume make the Symphonized NRG 2.0 great for workouts.
The Symphonized NRG 2.0 comes with an in-line mic for calls and an assortment of different size rubber tips to ensure a proper fit inside your ear.
You also get a gold-plated, 3.5mm headphone jack with flexible boot to prevent your cable from being flexed at a sharp angle.
Build Quality and Aesthetics
The star of the show here is the wood body, which is said to enhance sound quality. Although, I suspect that's mostly marketing hype.
Still, sound quality enhancing or not, there's no doubt that the wood body with metal accents looks fantastic.
I particularly like the mesh grill on the Symphonized NRG 2.0.
The braided cable also adds a premium feel and tons of visual interest to a component as utilitarian as a wire.
But it was the cable design, with its two major faults, the lead me to purchase the Symphonized NRG 3.0.
Even though the cable looks great, it transfers a scratching sound into your ears as it rubs against your clothes. It's similar to the way a stethoscope sounds when it rubs against your shirt, just not as loud.
Having the volume above 50% drowns out the noise, but sometimes I want to listen to music quieter than that.
Also, the white cable was sure to become incredible dingy if I wore it under my shirt while at the gym.
Overall, the whole package feels very well put together and with normal use around the house and while traveling, I haven't had a single issue with defects or durability.
Symphonized NRG 3.0 Review
I was so impressed with the 2.0 that I decided to buy a pair of the newer 3.0.
I've tested both the 2.0 and 3.0 side by side on the same devices, and can't find a difference in sound quality.
They both provide a huge leap forward from something like Apple earbuds or sub $10 headphones and offer a ton of bass to get you pumped up in the gym.
The only added feature for Symphonized NRG 3.0 is an in-line volume control.
It's hard to go without this feature once you become accustomed to having it. It's especially convenient when you're wearing a coat or in a gym setting with your phone in your pocket.
Build Quality and Aesthetics
A new rubber cable replaces the old braided nylon!
While this upgrade does sacrifice some style points, the functionality is improved greatly.
Gone is the cable noise and the rubber is much easier to clean after workouts.
Just like the 2.0, the Symphonized NRG 3.0 has given me months of trouble-free use.
Symphonized NRG 2.0 vs. 3.0
So which should you buy?
I would recommend the 2.0 with its excellent sound and great looks if the cable flaws don't bother you.
However, with both the 2.0 and 3.0 being priced the same ($25 on Amazon), I think the rubber cable and in-line volume controls make the 3.0 a better buy.
But you really can't go wrong with either. If you're on the market for some great looking, hard-hitting yet affordable earbuds, these are an excellent place to start.
Also, if anyone from Symphonized is reading this, I have an idea of how to get the best of both worlds with the next model. How about keeping the braided nylon cable or even just the colored wires and covering with clear rubber?
All the best,