For music lovers looking out for a decent pair of earphones with an affordable pricing, the EP630 has been king. There have been only a few earphones that offer similar value for money. They are, to date, some of the most sought out earphones in India. Priced between Rs. 700 and Rs. 900 in most parts of the country, they’ve been popular enough to have inspired the fakes circulating in the market. The in-ear Creative EP-660 is a new model that follows a similar approach.
Design and build quality
The Creative EP-660 comes in multiple colours, unlike most earphones that often come in either black or white. All of the EP-660 models are predominantly white with four colour options - pearl white, cobalt blue, ruby pink and lime green. The black model has black cables too, and looks closer to the EP630, except for the chrome portion of the earpieces.
A slightly more stylish design than the EP630
The cables used on the EP-660 look nice, but feel a little flimsy and cheap. A rubberized flexible cable would stop any kind of folding and possible damage to the cable. Flat cables tend to bend when put in a pocket or if you run a cable into your pocket, there’s a good chance of the cable getting damaged. A more flexible cable that doesn’t hold its shape when its bent. For a earphone that’s priced more than the EP630, we expected better quality.The EP-660 does look a little more stylish than the EP630. The earpiece unit is made of bits of chrome painted plastic.
The EP-660 like the EP630 are driven by 9mm neodymium drivers and they have pretty much the same specifications as the EP630. The cable length and frequency response range are also identical. Even the length of both the cables are 1.2m. The earphones have no built-in microphone or hands-free capabilities and they connect to their source using a 3.5mm analog connector.
Basic frame and build quality is similar to its predecessor
There are three pairs of silicone eartips provided with the EP-660. These are all white and semi-translucent in nature. The black EP-660 model comes with black eartips, though.The earpieces are comfortable and the quality is pretty decent. The ones that came with the EP630 seemed brittle and had the tendency to get spoilt after extensive use. These hopefully, will last much longer.
Apart from the excellent pricing, the EP630 were known for their good noise isolation. While the ear buds have changed a bit, the EP-660 still are similarly shaped and sized, so isolation continues to be good. Plug them into your ears with the right-sized ear buds and you’ll suddenly notice a good 30-40 percent drop in surrounding noise.
New white silicone tips to ensure a tight seal
The EP-660 earphones are very loud and driving them is effortless. You don’t need a headphone amplifier of any sort. We tried the EP-660 on a desktop, notebook and a phone and we had no issues whatsoever.
The EP-660 earphones are priced a little above the EP630, so they ought to sound better since almost all of the features match them. Unfortunately, there’s little difference between the two. The EP-660 sound pretty natural to the ear, across a range of genres. There are fairly detailed. For example, earphones bundled with the LG Optimus One have more detail. The sound tends to lack crispness that you get on other Rs.1,000 earphones and higher.
The EP-660 has bass and rock music sounds lively. The drum beats have a healthy layer of bass to them. The area that it lacks is with instruments such as the bass guitar. It’s not very pronounced and it lacks the richness that you find on more expensive products. Even the EP630 had a fair bit of it. Highs aren’t too crisp and emphasised. The presence of mids is good, but there is a slightly scooped sound to it. Overall, it’s fairly balanced, but we would have liked some more detail in the sound.
Variety of colours to choose from now
The EP-660 sells at a market price of Rs.1,450, which is way more than the EP630. For that additional amount, you don’t get a lot more performance. You do get a little bit of style, but if you’re looking for it, these are for you. If you were looking for good audio performance at a reasonable price, the EP630 are still some of the best low-budget in-ear earphones at close to half the price. If you’re looking to spend Rs. 1,500 on earphones, you’ll be better off with the Soundmagic PL30 or a MEElectronics M6.
Updated 26 May, 2013, 11:10 am IST
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