Arctic Sound E351 and E361 Earphones - Testing the Arctic Sound
|Arctic Sound E351 and E361 Earphones|
|Features, Specifications and More|
|Testing the Arctic Sound|
Testing the Arctic Sound:
For testing these earphones we plugged them into an Audigy X-Fi Notebook card on my trusty Lenovo T61 laptop as well as an iPod Touch and a ZuneHD. We tested the microphone on both the iPod Touch using Skype as well as on the Laptop using Audacity. All other hardware really isn't relevant so we'll save space and leave that out.
Before we get into testing, I have to say that listening to audio is very subjective. What one person believes is "good quality" audio can be very different from what another person hears. I am no audiophile, but I do like to hear the full spectrum of sound without the bass being over-powering or the midrange and treble being too sharp and harsh. Please bear in mind that all of our observations are subjective. As far as microphone testing goes, you can download a sample recording and hear for yourself. You can compare this microphone to other microphones and headsets we’ve tested here, here and here.
The Arctic Sound E351 and E361 earphones both come with a “M” option that includes a microphone and they tout these to be capable for phone, PC and music applications. I’m a gamer, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t get a chance to play some games with these.
Call of Duty: World at War:
I’m part of a gaming clan – TDR – and we play a fair bit of CoD5 competitively. Because both of these earphones have short cords, I had to use an extension cable to get them to hook into my gaming PC. Once this was done, I enjoyed fragging it up with my buddies, Cottonmouth, HooRaH, Onion and Deck. We handed out a fair bit of butt-kicking in Cliffside, Dome and Asylum. I personally enjoyed the E351 more for this game as I liked the extra bass response and softer highs.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2:
Although many will complain about the multi-player incapability of CoD6, my clan-mates have made the transition and I’ve managed to go through a couple Prestige levels in this game – almost one exclusively with the Arctic Sound earphones. I was surprised to hear that the E361s became my favorite choice in this game. The difference is almost imperceptible, but perhaps because I play for longer periods, the comfort of the E361s wins me over.
I enjoy music a whole bunch and my Zunepass is certainly my friend. I download and listen to a lot of new music and I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the last couple of weeks with these earphones in my ears. I’ve listened to everything from acoustic country music to some metal, as well as some Thousand Foot Crutch and a little Skillet. Everything I’ve listened sounds very acceptable on these earphones and the E361s rank up with some of the best earphones I’ve ever used. Granted by experience of in-ear earphones is limited to Icemat, Seinheisser and Creative, and all of these run in the same price range.
For music with a lot of bass, the E361 earphones do a bit better. The difference is noticeable for sure and they are my favorite for most modern music. The E351 earphones trail only marginally and they are still a good choice if you need to save a few dollars. Also the straight-in design of these may work better in some ears than the E361 with their angled approach.
Skype / Mic Testing:
Although many people will probably opt for the model without the microphone, it is worth mentioning that he quality is not that bad for such a micro-microphone. It is super small and located on the left cord going to your ear. Please feel free to download a short MP3 demonstrating the quality of the microphone. Overall, the microphone did a very good job, but needed some gain in order to make it loud enough to be readily heard.
The Arctic Sound E361 and E351 earphones do a great job and are a great first product from Arctic Cooling. I’m honestly not sure what they could do to improve the overall product on a $50 pair of earphones. The audio quality is very good for the price and while they won’t compare to some $200+ prosumer earphones, they do stand up and stand out in the mid-range market. The E361 earphones can sound a bit mushy in the mid-high range in some situations where I find the E351 sometimes sounding a bit harsh. It’s all up to the listener and subjective tests though so I can’t really fault either of these.
In terms of bang-for-the-buck, the only thing that would make both sets better is if Arctic Sound included an adapter to convert from 3.5mm to 2.5mm adapter so that you can use it as a hands-free kit/earphones on your favorite phone.
- Soft-silicon eartips for comfort and custom fit
- Good sound quality
- Unobtrusive microphone
- Handy carrying case
- Microphone has no “mute” switch for PC application
- No in-line volume control
While these have use in the PC segment, without volume controls and a mute button, they seem to be more of an afterthought in terms of PC use. They excel as headphones and a headset on compatible phones with a 3.5mm jack. If you’ve got an iPod Touch that you’d like to have working with Skype, these will allow you to do that as well as keep you jamming out to your favorite tunes.
I'd like to thank Arctic Cooling for sending us these headphones to review. For the price, they are a great listen and combined with the microphone they offer greater functionality. Please post your thoughts, comments and questions at the "Comments" link below.