Protective case makers have very little to do with audio for the right reasons, but that doesn't seem to stop Incase, Incipio and many others from creating their own line of audio gear to offer consumers. The trend has now infected id America. Rocking a case from your favorite case maker isn't enough these days, you gotta pair a matching set of cans, preferably the kind with headset functions to fully enjoy your smartphone. Well in that case, id America has recently come up with the Spark in-ear headphones. With the resounding resemblance of a spark plug, the Spark go hand in hand with the company's Gasket iPhone case respectively.
But in fact we were surprised in the past testing out various case companies' audio gear. Should these in-ears spark your interest? Catch the full review after the jump to find out!
First impressions are everything. And boy did id America impress with the packaging here. The Spark in-ears come inside a hard box with a magnetic flap which reveals the pair neatly seated along with a nice hard shell storage case. It reminds me of Monster's packaging for its high priced in-ears, but then again everyone now has similar packaging styles such as this because it makes a small but pleasant difference knowing that some attention to detail was put in. What's nice however, is that the Spark aren't going to suck the life out of your bank account at $59.95. As expected, id America includes two additional silicone ear tips in the mix ranging from small, medium and large.
id America made sure to releases as many different color options as possible. The Spark can be had in 9 colors, most are in eye-catching, two-tone color schemes. The anodized finish of the aluminum also has two different surface types with the outer layer having a matte aluminum texture while the inner, ribbed driver layer has a shiny aluminum finish.
The Spark feature a stripped down in-line remote control with a single button and mic primarily for headset use. You can answer and end calls, play music and skip tracks. I do find that not having volume control is a disappointment. Other similarly priced in-ear headsets have the upper hand if having a fully featured in-line headset remote is important for you like the a-Jays Four for example. The Spark's mic audio quality is great and produces very clear, distortion-free audio for the person on the other end of the call to enjoy. On the end of the audio cable is a 3.5mm gold plated plug with a slim design so that it can fit inside the tightest of spaces. Although the cable isn't described to be tangle-free, I haven't experienced severe tangling with heavy use.
In-ear headphones have become extraordinarily comfortable over the years. The Spark in-ear headphones are no different with their ultra-lightweight form that can barely be felt when inserted into the ears. I go as far to say that while the cable is a big fragile thin, it feels like it weighs more than both of the Spark's individual speakers combined. Using the Spark with the medium silicone ear tips, I was able to get a perfect seal which was comfortable and provided good sound isolation.
Because the Spark feel so lightweight, you'll be under the impression of them feeling on the cheap side. With that being said, the aluminum construction of the entire housing is most likely on the very thin side but at the same time they also seem sturdy enough to serve you for the long run.
Every now and then a pair of headphones come along with an attractive price tag, good looks but have yet to make a name for themselves. The Spark are all the above. You don't know what to expect until you take them for a test drive. Without kidding around, the Spark really did take me by surprise with their sound quality. I was pleasantly surprised by just how well they've performed no matter what track got thrown at them from my iTunes library. Having 8mm dynamic drivers inside, the Spark greatly improved after roughly 20 hours of burning-in with white noise playing thru at high volume. Not to say they didn't sound good right out of the box, but after having them burn-in for a while, I noticed that the bass tightened up and has gotten more pronounced. More so that the bass performance has surpassed out favorite in-ear headsets, the a-Jays Four.
Highs are just right, sounding crisp and clear with mids that aren't precise and as pronounced yet bring out the fullness in the sound signature very well. Lows greatly improve after setting the Spark aside to cook a little longer. You'll find that the bass really comes together and is thumpy enough to bring out the drum kick perfectly. id America left the bass at a right setting were it wouldn't drown out the mids and higs. Listening to rock music is where the mids start to lose their grip slightly. But that's to be expected really at this price. Pair the Spark with a portable amp like the cMoyBB with its awesome bass boosting goodness, and you're music just got that extra oomphness.
Comparing the underdog against the a-Jays Four and we find out that the Spark have a much richer overall sound signature but lack in features and build quality. I never imagined id America would create a somewhat better sounding pair of in-ears than JAYS and a few others. I haven't fallen in love with the Spark's style. To me they remind me of cheapy retail store in-ears like Skullcandy and that's a shame because thankfully they sound much better than they look.
While id America isn't spot on saying the Spark have "exceptional sound", they weren't far from accurately describing how good their first pair of in-ears really are. id America really could have not done any better with the Spark in-ear headphones at $59.95. Those of you who love the Spark's greasy, mechanical, full-metal unique style would really fall in love with how good they sound. You cannot go wrong with the Spark unless you're in need of a fully featured in-line headset remote.