Lindy Cromo IEM-75 earphones
Choosing headphones is a nightmare. What's slightly strange is that it doesn't really get all that much easier when you have access to dozens of different pairs. Some we test are cheap and work well, some are expensive and work well. Occasionally, we get a pair that don't sound as good as they should, but for the most part anything in the £100+ price range should have a decent enough sound for most use.
Below £100, and things are still very positive, but it's a little harder to be sure you're going to get something you can live with. So the Lindy Cromo IEM-75 earphones - which cost £70, direct from Lindy -have a question mark suspended above them. Are these good enough for the price, and can I get away with buying them instead of that pair that costs £400?
Speaking personally, we think the look of these headphones is the weakest part of them. The design looks grandiose, but it seems to add a lot of weight to the earphones. They are constructed of metal and, visually, look a bit like elongated spaceships that have some rubber earpads suspended under them. The metal design means you'll need to be careful of these in your pocket, if they share with your phone or MP3 player. We've scratched phones this way before, so don't let it happen to you. A faux-leather pouch is supplied to keep the headphones neat, tidy and away from everything else.
The extra weight means that running with these earphones is likely to be less than ideal. We wouldn't say that they fall out too easily in normal use, but then we haven't been jogging either. It's also worth mentioning that the left/right lettering is very hard to read. Eventually you'll learn which earphone is which, but until then, be prepared to do some squinting at tiny black-on-black lettering.
Aside from the earpiece design, everything else is pretty standard. The cable feels decent; it's pretty sturdy, and should stand up to the rigours of day-to-day life for some time. As you would imagine for this price, you can't replace the cable, so once it goes you either have to throw them away or send them back to Lindy.
Three sets of earbuds are provided in the box - the box itself is quite cool too, a sort of outward-folding affair - and the sizes are, predictably, small, medium and large. You need to spend some time working out which ones fit you best, because a solid fit is important for bass transmission and noise isolation.
In terms of comfort, the Cromos are reasonable. Long periods felt fine - upwards of an hour - but longer than that might start to give you an itchy ear. As with any headphones, find the right tips and they'll feel and sound a lot better. These aren't the worst headphones we've worn for comfort, but they're not the best either.
It's interesting comparing these headphones to some other's we've tried. They're a little bit different sounding to some of the more expensive headphones we've tried.
In fact though, the quality of them is actually pretty good. They're flat enough to mean that they shouldn't offend anyone. That might make them a little bit boring if you're looking for a big bass hit, but it also means that they don't distort and present a clear, intelligible sound to your ears. No part of the sound spectrum is overblown, and that means you can enjoy pretty much all music on them.
We gave them a run with some of Plan B's Ill Manors, and thoroughly enjoyed the remixes. The Prodigy version of the sound keeps some control over its normal ridiculous bass with the Lindys, and the Funtcase remix sounds solid, with just enough low end to keep us interested, and good strong vocal.
It's also interesting to note that the Cromos are loud, presumably as a result of being quite easy for un-amplified sources to drive. We like this, and on a recent trip where we couldn't get enough volume out of our Galaxy Note II while watching HD video, they were a lifesaver.
And speaking of video, we have to say that for this, the Lindy Cromos are also quite skilled. The flat response gives you a nice sound for well-balanced audio in TV shows and movies. In fact, we'd go so far as to say it's where these headphones are the most comfortable.
If you're looking for a lot of bass, then these aren't for you, but for a bit of balanced sound, then the Lindy Cromo IEM-75s seem to be bang on the money. We've listened to a decent amount on them, and while they aren't the most exciting, they're a good price and clear-sounding earphones.
Those who like jazz or classical music may enjoy them too, as their flat response makes them ideal for reproducing sound quite naturally. They're also a solid choice for movie and TV viewers who want something to carry around with them.
For £70, these are certainly worthy of consideration. Although in modern terms, that's not a lot of money, we do also think there might be some earphones that cost a bit less and perform similarly. Still, these are solid enough and should please those who buy.