Earin was one of the first companies that manufactures true wireless earbuds (TWE) which debuted in 2015. Back then, the Earin M-1 only supports music listening. Several companies started manufacturing TWE and gained traction in 2017. Earin too caught up and delivered its next version, the M-2.
The overall design of M-2 generally retains the style of M-1. Like the M-1, the M-2 earbuds are stored in a cylindrical casing that slides shut with magnets, and looks more minimalistic with black aluminium finishing.
Instead of using the back of the earbuds as charging contacts, the M-2 earbuds contains small contact pins for charging. This allows the back of the earbuds to be converted to a touch panel, angled so that they appear aligned with the ears when the earbuds are worn. I quite like the tube-like container: like a pen (or cigar), I can slip the Earin in my pocket yet easily reach for it.
In the original Earin M-1, there are 2 essential yet missing features resulting in its less-than-appealing choice. Fortunately, M-2 makes it up and has them: built-in mic for voice calls, and touch control for playback. Tap once for play-pause or answer call, double-tap to change track or hang up, triple-tap to back track, and long-press to invoke smartphone voice assistant. There is still no way to adjust volume.
The Earin M-2 can work with any audio device once you pair it over Bluetooth normally. But when you install the Earin app, it offers more functions, settings, and firmware updates.
The new Earin M-2 supports audio transparency mode that mixes ambient sound to the earphones to increase environmental awareness. This is managed from the smartphone app, where user can control whether to turn on, turn off, or set to auto, which auto-enables transparency mode only when audio is paused. The app also allows adjustment of the transparency volume as well as to listen near or far sounds. Pushing the slider to “far” will increase the ambient hiss noise, while sliding to “near” will suppress the higher frequency which are generally higher energy.
The ambient sound volume can be adjusted from the app, and does not sound too bright, probably a tad muffled, but comfortable tone. I could manage brief conversation, say when ordering drinks at the counter.
Auto L-R Orientation
Another unique feature is that the earbuds can detect the wearing orientation and switches the left-right channels accordingly, so there is no need to fix which earbud is for which ear. When the secondary earbud is removed from the ear, the primary earbud switches to mono. If the primary earbud is removed instead, the secondary earbud will cut off the audio. This is a feature of Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) technology where it transmits signals through magnetic field at very close proximity, like 20cm. NFMI, as opposed to Bluetooth, delivers better audio sync and transmission quality between the earbuds.
I encountered occasional hiccups during the review, the most common being the secondary earbud fails to resume stereo playback after removing from the ear for too long. The way to resolve any issue is to simply place the earbuds back to the charging case, then remove them again. Also, due to its use of NFMI technology, the Earin M-2 will experience interference from magnetic fields or wireless signals.
Unlike many true wireless earbuds, Earin M-2 is able to enjoy low-latency audio when watching video. Also improved is the battery performance. Earin M-2 can deliver up to 4 hours of stereo music, and the cradle can further charge the earbuds 2 times, providing up to 14 hours of usage time.
The Earin M-2 uses Knowles Balanced Armature drivers, similar to Bragi The Dash, so the audio quality is rather similar. The treble is comfortably clear, the midrange is forward with good details easily heard, while the bass has good presence without sound too overweight. Sound staging is slightly wide yet cosy. The output is neutral, faithful to source, enjoyable even at loud volumes without fatigue.
The frequency tuning does not make the music sound any extra exciting, unlike other earphones. The M-2 will suit users who do not like overly bright treble or heavy bass. As a audiophile, I enjoy listening to the M-2, it’s not too veiled nor too heavy. The advantage of such earphones is that latest chart hits sound musical and I get to appreciate the song arrangements without feeling too harsh. But at times when I needed some adrenaline, the M-2 might seem tame.
Transmitted over aptX codec, the audio is clean without discernible distortion. Depending on the audio device, the volume might be too low if the volume control is not synced.
Is the M-2 audio quality better than M-1? I do not have both for comparison, but they both exude similar frequency balance, that is midrange-centric. Plus, M-2 offers additional features and improved wireless connectivity, and more importantly, better battery.
With so many true wireless earbuds in the market, consumers are spoiled for choice. What makes Earin M-2 attractive is the timeless slim case design, essential features like transparency audio for the urban users, and velvety sound quality that is comfortable to listen to.
Every purchase comes with a genuine leather case, available in limited quantities from online store of Leader Radio Technology (LRT), official Singapore distributor, at retail price of S$339.