If you aren’t a fan of traditional gaming style headsets, could the XPG Emix I30 gaming earphones be just what you’re looking for?
In the box
With the Emix I30 you get
- A Hard shell carry case
- S,M,L silicone eartips
- An airplane adapter
- A 3.5mm female to mic/headphone male adapter
- The documents
For the price point of £74, this is about what you’d expect from a set of earphones. They come with everything you need to use them with either a gaming laptop, console or PC. Plus the inclusion of the case means that you can take these on the go and they won’t take up as much room as a traditional over ear style headset. The case, even though small can fit all the included accessories in and this means that you could essentially put these in a jacket pocket or carry on bag and they won’t take up tonnes of room. So if you travel a lot and like to get in some portable gaming, this makes them quite appealing. So far.
Design and Build
- Housing weight: 15g
- Overall weight: 25g
- Cable: 1.4m
Again looking at the price point the build and design is again pretty much on par with what you think it should be. They’re made from a combination of metal and plastic. The style of the housing may divide opinion with their more gamer orientated design, but it’s not overdone nor is it over the top. There’s a splash of Red and some XPG branding, but other than that, they look like traditional earphones.
Like mentioned above the housing is metal meaning they are weighty and solid. They are a bit on the large side but that isn’t surprising given the tech that these are packing. Compared side by side to a traditional style in-ear and you really can see just how large they are.
One thing I have noticed is that the paint finish on the Red section is quite fragile. I placed them in the included case and went out for a bit. When I got home I noticed there was a small chip in the finish. Now they weren’t mishandled and I placed them in with care but as I had them in my bag they must have been moving around and the tougher section has damaged the softer Red coating. So to avoid this you may want to separate the two sides away from each other.
Onto the cable next and it’s reasonably thick with a soft touch coating. Strain relief is decent and there is a good amount up top. Round the controller it’s acceptable but near the split it could use a bit more for extra durability. The 3.5mm has a good amount though and this is good as this area does get a fair amount of use. While looking at the 3.5mm, it’s again metal and the straight shot four pole variety. This means it carries both audio from the drivers and mic.
The cable also houses the controller, this is made from metal and feels quite premium. With it being metal there is no flex during use and it is again what you’d expect from a set of earphones costing north of £50.
Another plus is that the controller is universal and it works fine with Android. Unfortuantely I don’t have an iOS device to test it’s functionality out. Speaking of functionality and the controller has a built in mic and a multi functional button that can change track, play/pause and answer/reject calls.
As a whole they are well made, minus the soft paint finish. They do have a bit of gamer style flare but it’s not over the top. This makes them a very versatile set of earphones that you could use at a LAN party or out on the go.
Given the oversized housing and weight I thought these would be very uncomfortable and for long periods of time they are. Usually I can wear a set of earbuds for around four or so hours before needing a short break and these I managed around two and a half hours. This is because of a few things. One of those being the weight. They are fairly heavy and they do weigh down your ears a bit, for quick use they’re fine but after a few hours it can cause a bit of fatigue.
The eartips don’t help much either as they are on the large side (for me). My inner ears are quite narrow and the included tips just don’t quite fit (without some effort). They hold in well enough and they seal well, its just they cause a bit of stretching which is uncomfortable. Now this is just my experience and we’re all built different so they maybe fine for you, but if you do have narrow canals, then I would look at some third party tips for better fit and comfort.
The nozzle of the earphones are slightly angled which does help them go more directly into your ear canal and it does help a little. But again your experience will likely be different to mine.
Noise isolation and Leak
Noise isolation performance is about average, it’s not amazing nor is it terrible. If you’re gaming at your PC with some good volume going then they do block out noise from your keyboard and PC. It’s worth noting that I am using a mechanical keyboard which are by nature a lot louder than those that use membrane switches. Even so I couldn’t hear the keyboard even with the volume on at around 40%. They even manage to block out the noise from my PC when it’s gaming at 1440p with the fans going some. I use the Inwin 301 for reference.
In louder places like about town or on public transport they still fared pretty well even though I did notice a bit of noise creep whilst being sat on the bus. Nothing a slight volume boost couldn’t fix but it’s something that I did experience. It wasn’t at a level that was off putting, but it was just slightly noticeable.
Leak performance was good as the tips are quite broad and block a lot of you ear canal. This is great as not much sound escapes. So if you’re having a late night gaming session with someone else in your room, you’re not likely to bother them.
The built in mic on the XPG mic not look like anything special but it sounds pretty good. It’s clean, clear and the low end pickup is pretty decent. There is some obvious background noise but at least it doesn’t use overly aggressive noise compression which can lead to a nasally sound. The mic on this does not suffer with that at all and if you often game and use your built in mic, the mic here is better than some I’ve tested that have a dedicated boom arm. Of course it can’t match a dedicated USB mic, but for a simple pre-installed solution it’s very good. One small criticism of the mic I do have is that it’s quiet. I think this is due to the distance it is from your mouth. This can be fixed by boosting the gain, but the quality does take a bit of a hit. But given more time to setup the mic, I think a very nice balance between quality and volume could easily be achieved.
I’ve included two samples of the mic so that you can give it a listen and judge the quality for yourself. But honestly I think for skype and in-game chat you’d probably not need a separate mic.
90 volume +20dB gain
90 volume +30dB gain
- Drivers: 13.5mm Hi-Fi drivers with 5.2 channel surround sound
- Vacuum tube technology
- Micro subwoofer
- Impedance: 32Ω±15%
- Sensitivity: 107dB ±3dB
- Frequency response: 5 – 20,000Hz
- Rated power: 3mW
- Max power: 5mW
Sound – Mobile (Music)
I tested the Emix using my LG G6 and the experience was impressive. They get loud and the distortion is the most minimal I’ve ever experienced. I listened to them at around 65% volume but during my testing I noticed that they need to be pushed that bit more to get the most from them.
The bass is immense and probably the best I’ve ever experiecned on a set of earphones. It’s layered, punchy, potent and very deep. The drop is amazing as its so smooth, it really hits down low to the sub frequencies and the range is pretty vast. Plus there isn’t a huge drop off as they just go way past what we can even comprehend. Not only that but the bass is clean and detailed with no signs of cloudiness, this makes them perfect for hard hitting bass heavy genres of music. Sometimes though, it can be a touch overbearing and can often impair some areas of the mids. This is more prevalent when the bass is hitting really hard. Of course this won’t happen all the time and it varies track to track.
So the bass is pretty superb and the mids are impressive too. Again they’re clean and the detail level is solid. They aren’t quite as detailed as something like the Sennheiser Momentum in ears but the level of detail on offer is good. Sound stage is probably the best part though. Earphones are usually closed in and narrow, these however are quite spacious and fairly open. Not quite over ear level but very impressive for earphones. This is thanks to the large 13.5mm driver and vacuum tube technology that helps to transfer sound in a unique way that creates a very open spatial sound. I thought it might have been a gimmick, but it does work and the effect is good. Again not on a par with headphones but great for earphones. It’s weird as it’s quite unnatural for earphones to sound as spacious. However it can add a certain echo to some tracks that is a bit off putting and it does take some getting used to.
The colouration of the mids is not overly harsh (bright) nor is too cool, it sits more towards bright but it isn’t harsh. In sound separation is good, not the best but it’s good. Sometimes when there is a lot going on the bass can creep a little which dampens some areas of the sound. This varies track to track and is more noticeable when the bass really gets going. In softer tracks where the bass isn’t as overt the detail for instruments comes through nicely with a decent amount of accuracy. Right up high is well handled too, it’s not too obtrusive and isn’t brittle sounding. It’s nicely rounded and not sharp. So you won’t get that of that harshness from the sound.
Vocal performance is again great, the vocals have plenty of power and richness. The tonal quality is nicely natural with a slightly warm signature, this makes them more exciting to listen to. Detail and clarity are great too and vocals come through very clearly and well pronounced. Even though they are quite prominent they never become too shouty or too overbearing. For me they’re nicely judged and complement the sound nicely. Listening to Adele and Rag N Bone man these can really deliver on their power and carry the vocals very well.
Overall on mobile these are impressive and they provide a great listening experience. However I will say that if you just want a dedicated pair for mobile I’d look at the Sennheiser Momentum in ears and they are better in terms of quality all round. These however will not disappoint and you have to remember these are not designed just for music, but for gaming as well.
Sound – PC (Music, Movie and Gaming)
Testing these on the PC for music was a great experience and far superior to that what I experienced on my phone. I mean they were good on mobile, but on PC they were unleashed. Every aspect of the earphones improved and they gained more clarity, more depth and you could hear that these had more to offer.
Watching Baby Driver was an experience, the sound track and score is very nicely delivered will great clarity, power and vigour. The action set pieces were fantastic and these really don’t disappoint when it comes to bass, it’s deep, powerful and hard hitting. Gun shots, explosions and even the little pieces of sound design are given real purpose. But they aren’t just a one trick pony, voices and speech come through very clearly and they even do an impressive job in the warehouse scene portraying the open space and height of it.
As for the 5.2 audio it somewhat works. It’s the same as a dedicated 5.2 setup nor is it a 5.2 headset. They do a good job of creating situational awareness and giving a sense of space, but it’s not quite surround. It is better than a traditional stereo as you can hear sounds in front and behind you, but the characteristics of earphones just don’t fully carry it off. Don’t get me wrong the effect is good and much better than traditional earphones, but I was not fully convinced. Now I will say that even to get this level of space from earphones is an impressive feat and XPG deserve props for that, but it’s the earphone part that you just can’t get past. They’re always going to be more narrow than headphones and that is just their nature. So yes the effect for earphones is superb, but in comparison to headphones, it’s just not the same experience.
Finally to gaming and out of the box they are a bit of a mixed bag. For games that require a bit of awareness of the immediate surroundings these are not overly that great straight away. I played a few games of Overwatch and Fortnite and found them to be too bass heavy and boomy. This crushed the mids and put me at a big disadvantage. This is because my awareness of enemy positions was compromised by my inability to hear their location. So I decided to tweak my Eq with a reduction in bass and a light increase in the treble region. This did help quite a lot and I was able to better hear where the enemy was with more accuracy. It still wasn’t perfect and during intense fights I still was struggling a bit, but the fine tuning did help. So it’s really something you should do if you play games like this. It’s also worth noting that these are still not as good at this as a set of headphones would be and if you need that extra edge, I’d pickup a good pair as the experience will be superior.
For titles like Batman Arkham Knight, Tomb Raider and GTA V they sound great, the offer a very immersive experience and the sound produced is very full bodied. Explosions and gun fire have a very nice weight and depth to them, speech still comes through quite nicely and again the mids do suffer a bit due to the heavy bass. This isn’t as important as it would be in a competitive style game but it’s still nice to be able to hear exactly what is going on around you.
So out of the box they are surprisingly not all that great for every game and do require some finessing to get the most from them.
For the price the Emix I30 offer a lot. The design is not too over the top and quite muted in comparison to some other gamer orientated products. The build is great (for the most part), the isolation performance was respectable, the leak performance the same and they sound really great no matter how you use them. Downsides are that I found them a little uncomfortable for long listening and gaming sessions and also the slight fragility issue with the paint finish.
Minus those two small flaws though and these are an impressive set of earphones that perform great for music, movies and some games. So if you really don’t like headphones, these could be the all round performers that you’ve been looking for.
Pick up a pair via Amazon UK
EMIX I30 3D In-Ear Gaming Headset