As usual, before we place any output transducer review, The Pro Audio Web Blog performs a burn-in process which lasts a minimum of 40 hours. The difference in how they sound is totally different after this period. If you have just bought a pair of ear/headphones then please just leave these connected to whatever device playing music at a moderate level... If you play music too loud during this time (or at any time for that matter) you can seriously damage the drivers which will lead to a reduction in their performance. Besides, the MS01's have so much clarity, without distortion, that you don't have to pump them... more about this later.
Now we come on to the unboxing... The box in which these earphones come in is almost the same environmentally friendly packaging as all the other Thinksound earphones - the only difference is the lettering which indicates what pair of earphones they are. Within the box you will find a nice Thinksound branded carry pouch, four high quality sizes of ear buds (S, M, L & XL), a pair of ear hooks for if you wish to go running with your favourite music in your ears (these are recommended for the fact it reduces strain on the connections and wire), and the beautiful MS01's themselves.
Throughout the Thinksound range, all the earphones come with almost the same housing design. However, I did notice that in comparison to the TS02's, these earphones have a nicer build quality and finish. For this review, the pair I received was in the form of Gunmetal and Chocolate - a slightly different aesthetic from the last, but I believe that these look even better. With this said, in online images, these buds may appear, at first, understated, but the simplicity of the design and flawless build quality makes them beautiful to look at and worth considerably more than what they are (currently) marketed at.
Lets talk about build quality. The design of the earphone housing is solid and the connection between the wooden driver housing and metal ear channel connector is snugly fit. If you, like me, are always on the move then you will know of the common instance of letting your earphones dangle down your shirt. Whilst I do not recommend that anyone does this, if you know what I mean, you will be pleased to know that the pendulum action has not fatigued the wood or metal. No scratches or notches are present after a week of regular use. In addition the headphone connectors seem to be well made and stress proof to a high standard. The only thing that I worry about in the build quality of these earphones is the rubberised cabling. Thinksound do say that it is anti-tangle, and I do agree especially as the rubberised texture has a positive habit of clinging to clothes, however it is a little to thin and could do with some reinforcement.
Now we come to the crucial knife edge... the quality of sound. Here there is, quite honestly, no way a single adjective that can possibly describe the sheer resolution or 'quality of sound'. With this in mind I shall proceed the forthcoming review by asking you to convert its simple words into a delicate image, but lets talk bass! Like the Thinksound TS02 earphones, this area has such a superior level of presence and accuracy that it makes you feel as if you are inside the capsule of a microphone. However, the MS01's have a slightly less 'pumping' bass feel as the superior transient response of the MS01 drivers deliver a clearer/cleaner post-production carbon copy. Lets say that when listening to the presence of kick drum samples in electronic music, their sounds become accurately represented and, unlike some popular other brands in this price range, do not fraternise the low end to just deliver a big fat mass of 'hi-fi' pumping bass. Noting the above comments, we can honestly say that these headphones have consistently performed well in a number of genres across the board.
Moving on to the midrange the MS01's deliver an un-muddied sound in the lower restraints, whilst the upper limits of its range do a fantastic job of accenting the small delicate sibilants present in simple instruments such as acoustic guitars, flutes or piano sound sets. The sheer level of clarity within this range really does guide your attention to those precision multitimble synths that included frequencies within this bandwidth to add a sense of 'presence'. It has to be said that on the other end of the spectrum, due to the fact that the driver is in such a harmonious balance, even grungy guitar tones are differentiated and appear sonically well presented. Simply put, the mid-range is very satisfying.
Usually when we listen to earphones in this price range, in comparison to the bass, the treble frequencies are still just a little bit lacking in their presentation and can lead to listening fatigue. With this knowledge I do have to report that, at no point, have I encountered classic distortion within this frequency range, not even when the level is being pumped up. Only after a good number of hours of consecutive listening have I needed a break as the balance of sound here does not complicate the overall image. I would go as far to say that the sound is so clean and crisp that occasionally some, more grungy, upper limits of drum sets appear to be a tiny bit harsh - but not overly so that you become disappointed. In fact this quality can be quite desirable when you are mixing a track; it will allow you to compensate your balance by -1db in the treble, making for a more balanced mix. Perhaps if you were listening to MP3's then, due to the nature of their conversion, you might notice the treble frequencies more but then you really should remember that these are marketed as monitor earphones and if you are buying a product of this quality then you should only carry around lossless format tracks. On a slightly different note I have noticed that the MS01's really can do female voices some justice, especially when they are delivering some creative vocal acrobatics whilst on the other hand the tuning of the MS01's range allows male vocals to be slightly more present than most - something which I find quite pleasing.
Once again, as a final note, I would like to pay homage to the passive noise rejection that is a great attribute across the whole Thinksound earphone range. It really is superb and if you choose to not listen to music whilst on the bus or train, you will notice that you are left without a level of monotonous chatter that your other passengers create.
The MS01's have a beautiful natural design, coupled with extreme levels of sonic performance, and clarity, that places these earphones a cut above the rest. The Pro Audio Web Blog gives the MS01's a 5/5 rating.