Munitio has been making earphones since 2010, but I suppose I wasn’t in a rush to review the first releases because the earpieces were designed to look like bullet casings. I’m always skeptical of earphone designs that seem to put such a focus on a visual gimmick, but Munitio has expanded beyond its early models, and the Munitio SV is a $129.99 (list) in-canal model with a simple visual design and solid audio performance. Lovers of deep bass won’t be disappointed, as the SV packs plenty of low frequency punch, and does so with zero distortion.
The bullet theme is not entirely abandoned with the SV—the eartips are referred to as “hollow points”—but the overall look lacks any real design gimmicks. The bronze and rubberized black contours of the earpieces are quite simple (they also comes in gray-and-black or all-black), and the clear silicone eartips, regardless of their name, feature an interesting, turbine-like pattern that can be seen through their semi-transparent surface.
A flat, wide black cable descends from both earpieces, with the left ear’s cable housing the inline remote and microphone for playback navigation and phone calls on Apple iOS devices, and music control on Android devices. Call clarity is about what you’d expect from an inline mic—you’ll understand and be understood, but you’re still dealing with cellular audio fidelity and a tiny microphone.
A snazzy, black snap-shut carrying case and three sizes of eartip pairs ship with the SV. One minor complaint about the eartips—I tried all three sizes and had the best luck with the large size, but after a while, the secure fit started to loosen a bit. This happened with all three sizes. They never fell out, but it can effect the bass response and the ear-to-ear consistency of the stereo image.
On tracks with seriously deep sub-bass content, like the Knife’s “Silent Shout,” the SV does a solid job of conveying the low frequencies with a sense of clarity and power. At top volumes, there is no distortion on this or other tracks with deep bass.
The high-mids and high frequencies seem pretty highly boosted and sculpted. On Bill Callahan’s “Drover,” his baritone vocals are delivered with a nice lower frequency resonance, but the boosted mids and highs give it plenty of crackly-edge, too. However, sometimes his vocals can sound overly sibilant through the SV, as if the earphones are over-correcting so things don’t seem too bass heavy. It never really sounds harsh, but this is definitely a pair that balances big bass with serious brightness—no one will mistake this sound for flat response.
This boosting at both ends of the spectrum lends classical tracks, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” an added dose of adrenaline—the lower register strings are delivered with a noticeable low-end resonance, and the higher register strings and wooden percussion are crisp and tend to pop out of the mix in certain spots. The larger drum hits towards the end of the song have a nice roundness to them, with a deep thud that’s not too over-the-top, but is noticeably boosted. If it’s not the most accurate sound you can find, it’s at least an exciting one.
In this price range, however, the SV has plenty of competition. One recent favorite (and Editors’ Choice), the TDK EB950, has some similar boosting, but manages a more secure fit (thanks to Comply foam eartips) and, as a result, a slightly smoother bass response. If you’re looking for a less sculpted sound, or perhaps something approaching flat response, the recent MartinLogan Mikros 70 dials back both the bass and some of the highs.
Moving up in price a bit, the Bowers & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones has been a favorite for a while now, delivering rich lows and articulate highs—not flat, but not overly boosted, either. And if all of these seem a bit pricey for earphones and you just want a pair that delivers decent sound for less money, the AKG K 350 is a bargain. At $130, however, the Munitio SV is a solid contender that seems reasonably priced for what it delivers—distortion-free audio with deep bass and (very) crisp highs.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc