The Porsche Design MOTION ONE by KEF was launched almost a year ago, but the black edition is just launched and KEF sent me a review unit.
Porsche Design X KEF
Porsche Design is a lifestyle brand founded in 1972 by the same founder of the famous automotive, Ferdinand Porsche, and has done numerous collaborations with other brands, like Huawei. Here, Porsche Design collaborates with KEF to release several audio products, like KEF SPACE ONE, KEF GRAVITY ONE.
KEF is a UK audio company founded in 1961 by Raymond Cooke OBE. KEF stands for “Kent Engineering & Foundry”, named after the metal-working company where the company was initially located. Since the company’s establishment, KEF has maintained a flair for unusual and controversial speaker engineering, design and material use. In 1992, KEF is bought over by Gold Peak Group, a Hong Kong corporation who also owns GP brand known for its batteries.
MOTION ONE Black
The Motion One is a neckband earphones with swappable cables to 3.5mm wires, just like the Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless. The MMCX connectors are slightly modified such that other MMCX earbuds can plug to the neckband, but other MMCX cables cannot insert into the Motion One earbuds because they are too recessed. The included hard case includes a semi-circle pouch to store the wires. Also included is the in-flight adapter.
The earbuds snaps together via magnet, which helps in preventing them from swaying. The coating of the magnetic area wears off at parts where the earbuds come in contact through the clicking of the magnets frequently over time.
They can be worn either the normal way or around the ear simply by rotating the connectors. I find the wires are tidier when I wear behind the ears, but because the wires are a little stiff and light, they do not get weighed down unlike the Xelento.
I was impressed with the musical clarity and space. My initial experience was the bass is feeble, but after a brief period of time which audiophiles call “burn-in”, the bass response appears to normalise and achieve an acceptable balance that I am pleased with, though it might well be my ears re-adjusting to the earphones after being bombarded with other headphones on review.
Days later, it comes clear to me (pun unintended) that the MOTION ONE wireless earbuds are characteristically strong in high frequencies but the clarity is achieved musically. That is, they are not simply boosted in volume, but rather, in presence and space. They have impressive precision in the fidelity which does not make the highs sound brittle and metallic, nor produce unpleasant sibilance. As the transparency hits my ears, they ease out and the aftertones linger around the sound stage. Even when I turn up the volume, the highs do not turn unbearable. Having said that, poorly-mixed tracks with harsh treble will rear their ugly heads on these pair of earphones.
The bass is well-formed with polite punches devoid of heavy booms to cloud the ears. In quiet environments, I can still feel the fill, but in noisy places, the earphones might not give the substance to drown the noise. The mids are not excessive, hence giving a light-sounding character. On the whole, the Motion One is thoroughly enjoyable for academic listeners, allowing them to extract the high details while picking up the bass qualities.
With cables, there is a slight drop in the punchiness due to lack of powered amplifiers. I would stick to the neckband unless battery runs out at 10 hours, the wireless audio quality is very good, with no discernible compression.
The Motion One neckband is rated to be sweat resistant, and is suitable for workouts and runs. The silicone layer around the neckband feels soft against the skin, though they are dust magnets. The micro USB rubber cap is very difficult to close back, a design flaw no doubt.
The KEF MOTION ONE achieves something that many earphones could not: the delivery of crisp treble in so much clarity without sounding loud and forceful. It keeps the bass in check with sufficient details, which will disappoint bass lovers. I like the flexibility of swapping to wires for direct audio and the pivoting earbuds to support wearing behind-the-ears. I highly recommend them to people who loves sizzling treble with the right amount of bass that does not blow the audio out of proportion. They retail for S$399, available at KEF Flagship store (at The Adelphi, 1 Coleman Street, #01-18, Singapore 179803), selected authorised retailers, as well as Lazada.