While appearance isn't a priority to me when it comes to audio equipment, I have to say that I think SMS's STREET by 50 Wired In-Ear Headphones look pretty sweet. They are classy; and modern the chrome, dark gray and blue color scheme really appeals to me. Build quality and materials are superior -- solid as you'd expect from a set of earbuds that cost more than a Benjamin. The flat, no-tangle cords are thick but not too heavy, and I like the split black/blue color scheme. Connections are all solid. You have a choice of 3 sets rubber tips so finding the right size shouldn't be a problem. The bud design is slightly angled for the respective ears. They comfortably fit in my ear canal using the largest set of tips. Passive ambient noise isolation is excellent. The in-line audio controls w/mic for Apple devices is a nice addition and most i-devices are supported.
The STREET by 50 comes handsomely packaged, in a color coordinated blue box with hidden magnetic clasp. Inside is a comprehensive instruction manual and brochure for 50 cent's other SMS products. There's a zippered carry case for storage and even an airline adapter plug for when you travel. All together this would make an impressive gift for someone who appreciates their music.
They sound great by the way. The bass is powerful for a set of earbuds -- as I'd expect from product 50 Cent puts his name on. The clarity in mid to high range is excellent as well. Very well balanced overall, probably due in part to the 11nm drivers. The music I listened from a variety of sources sounded clear and distortion free, no matter how loud I turned up the volume. Even small adjustments to the equalizer in iTunes were noticeable, another sign of a quality product.
After burning them in overnight, I once again tested a wide range of music. This included Phutureprimitive's 'Kinetik', Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue', Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole's 'Hawai'i 78', Ella Fitzgerald's 'Summertime', Duran Duran's 'Leave A Light On', Lady Gaga's 'Americano', Ozric Tentacles' 'Kick Muck', Radiohead's 'Backdrifts', Younger Brother's 'Epic Hair', Mozart's 'Ode to Joy (9th)' and NIN's 'Closer'. All of these tracks and more sounded very good on the STREETs. As is the sign of a quality headphone (for me), the audio was spacial and revealed elements of the music I hadn't previously picked up on. As one might expect, base is emphasized, but not as much as my set of Punch Plugs. They project a wide and detailed sound stage and as I mentioned before, tweaking the equalizer a bit will bring out even more detail.
STREETs compare very well to my new Monster NCredible NErgys, my older Logitech Ultimate Ears 350s and Rockford Fosgate Punch Plug earbuds. I've had over the ear headphones that didn't have the range and power that the STREETs do. They are without a doubt the best headphones I own, surpassing the N-ERGYs which were a recent favorite. For double the price, I'd hope they would. Are they worth the additional cost? Time will tell, but for now I would not hesitate to say yes. If you are serious about your audio and are not adverse to spending the money, STREET by 50 is at the very least worth considering.
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