Amazon's Top Selling Cowin E7 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones Page 2


Sound Quality
Well...they make sound.

Actually, I shouldn't joke—they performed better than I expected. 'Course, I expected something pretty horrific.

Because the audio signal always goes through the active electronics circuitry, sound quality in noise canceling and non-noise canceling modes in both wired and Bluetooth connections are quite similar.

Wired and Bluetooth Non-noise Canceling
In this mode, the overall sound quality is bass heavy with a zingy treble. Bass boost is quite strong and centered in the upper bass/low-midrange (~200Hz) area giving the E7 a significantly thick and wooly character. Mid- and low-bass extension (below 80Hz) is poor and quite sensitive to earpad seal. Bass is moderately loose and distorted; it definitely lacks dynamic punch. Basically a muddy mess.

From the middle of the midrange (~500Hz) to the low treble (3kHz) the overall level is low compared to the bass bump and mid-upper treble (above 4kHz) emphasis. This area gets somewhat lost in the mix, but is fairly balanced in tonal character.

The mid-treble on up (4kHz+) is over emphasized, but not as badly as the bass, giving these cans a zingy character. Fortunately it is relatively well balanced within this range and doesn't have any harsh or intolerable characteristics.

In listening, these three areas are quite discontinuous; you don't get a sense of the whole of the music. The bass sticks out as the worst of the problems; mids and treble manages to hang in there with reasonable intelligibility, but little in the way of musical satisfaction.

Dynamics are mushy and the audio image lies in a blurry blob between the ears.

The only redeeming characteristics of the E7 is that they don't sound hard or piercing, and music and movie audio is reasonably intelligible apart from the inarticulate bass bloat.

Wired and Bluetooth Noise Canceling Active
Flip the switch to turn on the noise canceling and enter a whole new world of sound...a world of cardboard tubes and old school telephones.

In noise canceling mode you do indeed get about 10-15dB more attenuation below 400Hz when compared to the passive isolation, but the sound quality becomes very mid-centric, boxy, and shouty. Pretty much the entire midrange from 200Hz to 1kHz is strongly emphasized and moderately hard sounding—a complete roll reversal from the non-noise canceling mode.

Bass quality actually improves, becoming tighter and better extended, but it is so imbalanced from the now over-emphasized midrange that it's hardly enjoyable—or even noticeable.

The only saving grace in this mode is that the reasonably well behaved mid- and upper-treble (4kHz and up) has just enough level to be heard over the shouty midrange allowing the E7 to retain a modicum of speech intelligibility.

Dynamics are mostly heard as semi-cringeworthy midrange shouts. Imaging doesn't seem as fuzzy as in non-noise canceling mode but remains firmly anchored between the ears.

I've tried, but I simply can't think of any good reason to recommend these headphones other than being able to wrap "noise canceling" and wireless" buzzwords around your blingy new black and chrome headphones. Sure, they're cheap; sure, they're not so horrible that your ears will bleed (I've heard way worse); but you get what you pay for. The Cowin E7 is just barely okay for the money.

Look, noise canceling is a tricky, tricky thing; it costs real money to do it right. If you can't afford $200-$300 for noise cancelers and you're going to spend 16 hours on an airplane, I'd suggest an inexpensive pair of in-ear headphones like the $70 HiFiMAN RE-400 Waterline in-ear monitors. If you're okay with sticking things in your ears, in-ear monitors generally offer even better isolation from outside noise than most noise cancelers.

If you don't really need noise canceling but want some isolation from the outside world, the Creative Aurvana Live ($69) sound darn good. If you can spend more, the Audio Technica ATH-M50x (~$150), or better yet, the Sennheiser HD 569 ($179) will deliver a much better listening experience and better isolation than the Creative Aurvana Live!

If you simply must have a wireless, noise canceling headphone, the AKG N60NC ($299) on-ear is as low-priced as I can recommend in good conscience. At that point, you're really probably better off crying once and pop for the world-class Bose Quiet Comfort 35 ($349).

There you have it: America's most popular headphones is a mediocre, chrome-plated, caricature; just barely functional; certainly not a good value even if cheap. A disposable plastic wannabe-contender. Perfectly apropos of what happens when you leverage the common denominator with the power of the internet.

Maybe I should have just Tweeted this review:

"All shiny and feature rich at a cheap price...but a pretender in the end...not worth it. Fake headphones. Sad."

View on YouTube here.

Cowin home page and E7 product page.
Amazon product page and customer reviews.


Suuup's picture

God this looks terrible, I'm surprised Tyll didn't WoF it :o)

Phoniac's picture

misses @intus at the end ;-)

AllanMarcus's picture

Checkout the fake spot analysis of the reviews

Note, fakespot has plugins for the major browsers

SonicSavourIF's picture

this is the most sad thing. It is not only a product that "doesn't deliver".
Natural resources go into this and get wasted as people buy, find this thing to not work properly or break very fast and than dispose of it. I don't even want to know the work conditions that made possible such a low price.
This is simply immoral and outrageous.

Argyris's picture

These measurements look a lot like first generation Beats products, though maybe with a bit more treble than the Beats had. This probably explains why so many people like this headphone: it's the sound they're used to, both in headphones and those cheap mini systems you see in big box stores, that promise xTremeBassOver9000 out of their four inch woofers.

At least it's cheap; it's always a shame when a brand tries to pass off poor performance as something amazing and charges a premium for it. Bose and Beats used to be guilty of this, though in recent years both have stepped up the performance.

Jazz Casual's picture

Then why not look at the Grado PS2000e? I know that you're not a Grado fan but I'd be interested in seeing how they measure and your impressions of course - if you could stand listening to them. ;)

Martin.'s picture

Why exactly is he not a fan of Grado hps? I know a lot of people who like them, never heard them myself though.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Do you have a pair you could send in for measurement?
Jazz Casual's picture

I know that TTVJ has made a pair available for his loaner program over at Head-Fi. Maybe he could make it available to you for measurement once it's done the rounds.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Good idea, I'll give Todd a call.
Jazz Casual's picture

if he feels so inclined.

brause's picture

Why bother with amazon cheepos when you can get much better stuff from China.
Here my first review ever - also the first review of the KZ ZSE earphones to my knowledge. With reference to Tyll including a real silk Hawaii shirt.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
That's hysterical, dude! Totally enjoyed it.
brause's picture

Coincidentally, I purchased two more Hawaii shirts yesterday.

Feilong4's picture

Totally unrelated to these headphones (probably except for the wireless feature) but will you review the Focal Listen Wireless?

humblepie's picture

These Corwin E7's constantly go on sale at $30 and are often put right on the front page of deal sites like Slickdeals as "amazing" buys. Seriously though, they aren't a good buy at $30 even. Several co-workers bought these, and I've tried them. Both the old style electronics and the new style. They are garbage. Sound worse the junk bluedio T3's I got my wife because she really liked the look of them.

The measurements don't surprise me at all, as basically that is what I heard in them too.

Bot if Tyll wants to try something almost acceptable but still cheap, by ONLY suggestion would be to try the Symphonized Wraith 2.0 Bluetooth headphones with an HM5 pleather pad on. Soooooo much better sounding. So much more comfortable. Also better build quality. I have two pairs. One I picked up new from ebay through a "make an offer" for $30 and another at a local pawn shop for $15. If you don't get lucky, they sell for around $75 on Amazon.

The symphonized do not attempt ANC though. I think this is why they sound much better. Still with HM5 pads on they have good passive isolation.

tom125's picture

Hi, Can I use these headphones with desktop? with 3,5 plug?

Simon Timothy 65's picture
Simon Timothy 65's picture