Echobox is relatively new to the audio scene. We first heard about them back in January 2017, when we saw their Android-based, flask-shaped Explorer digital audio player at CanJam. What really caught our eye, however, is their Finder X1 Titanium IEM. Like the RHA T20i we tested a few months ago, the Finder X1 allows the user to customize sound with hardware filters. Though we’re not quite as taken with the Finder X1 as we were with the RHAs, we think Echobox has done well with this IEM.
For under $160, the Finder X1 is a very feature-rich headphone. In the box are a semi-rigid zippered storage case and, also like the RHA T20i, a complement of ear tips and filters arranged on a ‘card’ (RHA’s was metal, this one is silicone). Four sizes of regular silicone tips, one set double-flange tips, one set triple-flange tips, and one set genuine Comply foam tips are included. The Finder X1’s driver housings are bell-shaped, and made of bare titanium. With the standard silicone tips attached, these IEMs look a little bit like an old-timey spaceship model — they’re small, extremely light, and easy to fit in the ear. A three-button control pod (also made of titanium) hangs below the right ear; as an MFi-certified headphone, these controls work as expected with iOS.
The Finder X1’s cable is advertised as “never” tangling; though we found that to be mostly true, the Finder X1’s cable also holds bends in its shape and is very microphonic (movement sounds are transmitted into the ear), and we would have preferred a nice fabric-wrapped cable to the ugly greenish-brown cable currently included. We found the Finder X1 to be very comfortable to wear, except that we had a little difficulty getting a proper seal. The Finder X1 sounded thin and tinny until we switched to the largest ear tips and pushed them deep into the ear canal. Fit is something that must be negotiated with any IEM, but the Finder X1 seemed more challenging than others; pushing the Finder X1 deep enough into the ear canal also caused its cable to bump into part of the outer ear. Your mileage may vary.
The Finder X1’s standout feature is its swappable filters. Echobox calls this “AFT”, for Acoustic Filter Tuning. Three color-coded filter types are included, each with a different amount of damping material: Black for a warmer sound, White for a balanced sound, and Red for a brighter sound. Like the T20i, these don’t ‘add’ or ‘subtract’ bass, but rather vary how much treble is being attenuated. The Finder X1’s filters are easy enough to use — just remove the silicone tips, unscrew the filter currently on the driver housing, and screw on a new one. The threads on these are extremely tiny, however, and we occasionally had trouble getting them to screw on evenly. We also had a minor hardware failure, in which a filter’s damping material came unglued and stayed stuck to one of the Finder X1’s driver housings — fortunately, we were able to fix this with a pair of tweezers and a steady hand. Those issues aside, the filters can be changed in about 20 seconds.
Filters like these are pointless unless the headphone itself provides a good foundation; the Finder X1 fits that bill. We think the Finder X1 has a generally clean and balanced sound, assuming you can get a proper seal. The effect of swapping acoustic filters on the Finder X1 is far subtler than that of the RHA T20i, with only slight changes in sound. We ended up leaving the “White” filters connected, as they provided plenty of bass response without the treble sounding too harsh. The Finder X1 is the second headphone we’ve tested that allows for customization of its sound without DSP or EQ — just the headphone’s own hardware. Though we didn’t quite get the sense that these are ‘three headphones in one’ like we did with the RHA T20i, the Finder X1 is considerably less expensive, offers good sound, and a taste of the acoustic customization experience.
Company and Price
Model: Finder X1 Titanium