I don’t remember the last time I reviewed headphones here on Mobility Digest, looking back it’s been since April, so a few months anyway, just seems like longer. Id America sent over the Metropolitan Aluminum In-Ear headphones for my review, and these are the ‘new’ ones as they are improved over the original Metropolitan as these have better drivers in them. I didn’t have the chance to review the original ones, but I have these and from my time with them I can tell you they’re a very decent set of headphones, especially if you consider the price at around $30. Some people my scoff at such a low price and think that since they’re ‘cheap’ they aren’t any good, well you’d be wrong in that thinking, these are actually fairly decent, yes not perfect, but well worth the price for sure. Read on…
Product: The new Metropolitan Aluminum In-ear Headphones
Overall Rating: 4/5
The new Metropolitan Aluminum In-ear Headphones
The new Metropolitan light-weight aluminum headphones offer comfort and superior audio performance by creating an optimal seal for dynamic sound isolation. The Metropolitan Headphones come standard with a pair of memory foam ear tips to maximize the sound quality and comfort. Advanced in-line mic/control for answer/end phone calls and music playback. The Metropolitan is compatible with iPhone, Blackberry and other 3.5mm-plug Smartphones
Lightweight aluminum in-ear headphones deliver noise isolation, powerful audio, and form-fitting comfort -Equipped with memory foam ear tips providing enhanced comfort and dynamic sound isolation -In-line remote and microphone module offers complete management of calls and music -10mm drivers provide the ultimate in sound quality -Includes interchangeable earbuds for optimal comfort and anti-tangle cable -Contains a microfiber suede carrying case for additional protection and easy storage
What’s in the Box?
The packaging is very nice looking, and very well done. The back and sides have pictures along with specs and features of the product inside.
The package is actually a double box with the front being a slip cover over the main box which opens up to reveal the headphones inside.
Includes in the box you’ll find a cloth bag, user manual and a plastic tray holding the headphones and extra earbuds.
The carrying bag that comes with the headphones is actually very nice, it’s a soft microfiber suede drawstring style bag.
The Metropolitan headphones are aluminum and they’re actually heavy for their size, but not in a bad way. They feel very well made and both have 10mm drivers inside of them, specifically what ID America calls a Returned Dynamic Magnet Driver that is supposed to offer a fuller and louder sound. When the headphones arrive they come with memory foam earbud covers pre-installed for you.
Id America also included three different sizes of standard silicone earbud covers if you’d prefer that type. Memory foam or foam style surely isn’t for everyone but once you get accustomed to them they are nice and very comfortable so I would suggest trying them first before switching to the silicone ones.
In line you’ll find a plastic rectangle which on one side has a single button and on the other is a hole or the microphone. The button is for music and call controls so it’s multi-functional.
The Metropolitan has an ‘L’ shaped audio connector that some people prefer over the standard straight style. The cord itself is a tough cloth braided style and I like it, it’s much nicer than the common plastic or silicone coverings on most headphones.
Impressions / Review:
So for testing I used the Metropolitan headphones with my HTC One, ZuneHD and my iPod Touch.
The first thing I want to address is the controls.
The button is for answering calls yes, but it’s also for music controls. One press is for play and pause, two presses is for next song and three presses is for previous song.
None of the controls worked on the ZuneHD, but I didn’t expect them to so no big deal here, not a problem.
Now with the iPod Touch I excepted the controls to work but none of them worked.
Using them with the HTC One I found the button did work for answer/end call and for play and pause. The multiple press functions did not work as they should, all it did was re-dial the last number I called which was a surprise to me and to the last person I called!
I have to wonder why there is no volume controls since there is a remote inline and I think there would have been room for them.
Speaking of calls, the microphone worked great, no problems there. One thing I have to note is the placement of the microphone and controls, it’s excellent. Most headphones have the microphone far down and about the middle, these have it located before the ‘Y’ in the cable and on the left so it’s naturally placed near your mouth when the headphones are in your ears. With this placement you really don’t have to move the microphone to talk as it’s right there. I know it drives me nuts to see people holding the microphone up to their mouths when they’re talking with a corded set, with this it’s right there already.
Comfort and Noise Reduction:
The Metropolitan earbuds are aluminum making them slightly heavier than their plastic counterparts and they took me some time to get accustomed to the extra weight. I’m fairly certain that the majority of people out there have never used foam style earbuds as they’re not exactly common except on much higher end earphones. Most every pair you see for sale has the rubber or silicone covers and for the most part those are fine but if you’ve ever used foam style then you’ll know that they are much better than silicone for both comfort and for keeping the noise out as they make a much better seal within your ear. I’ve honestly never seen, in my time reviewing, inexpensive headphones come with foam style earbud covers. Anyway, I like the foam over the silicone and it’s shame that they did not include more than one pair with the Metropolitan earphones.
The silicone buds do just fine though, but there is a slight sound difference as the foam really seals inside of your ear keeping external noises out. You compress the foam and then put them in your ear and they expand and fill in your ear canal while the silicone do fill your ear just not as completely as the foam does.
When using the foam you virtually cannot hear any outside sounds unless there is no music at all and then it’s very much muted. I started playing music and that’s all I could hear, I didn’t hear anything else. The silicone do keep the noise out, just not to the extent that the foam does.
I should note there is some slight cable noise when moving, but it’s not overly so, and it’s more noticeable when active like walking or running.
The first thing you’ll notice with these is the volume, they can get very loud. My kids were the last to use the iPod Touch and I should have known the volume was all the way up but boy was I surprised when I hit play, it actually hurt my ears. I should note my kids don’t use the iPod for music, just games and rarely with headphones so that’s why they use it with the volume up. Anyway, yes these headphones can get extremely loud to the point of discomfort, at least wit the iPod as I didn’t crank them to full with my other devices after that little shock my ears got.
So I listen to quite a bit of music, I like a lot of different kinds which is great for testing headphones of course. So I listened to music and I found the Metropolitan to be very good and have a nice range of sound to the little 10mm drivers. The bass was there and strong but not overly so, the highs were high and the mid-range was decent but it was a nice mixture or a nice balance and none really stood out. Depending on the type of music I noticed that one could drown the other out though, and at higher volumes there is slight distortion.
Overall the sound is very good, they do a decent job at reproducing the full range in the music. If you’re a bass lover you might not care for these as they’re not heavy on the bass, personally it’s not a big deal to me as it seems just right, the bass is there but it’s not overwhelming at all.
Id America has these listed for $29.99 on their site but you can get them on Amazon for twenty six and change and free shipping if you’ve got Amazon Prime. The price for these is well worth it.
For a $30 set of headphones these are great, I think these are the best you’ll find in this price range. Sure they’re not perfect but for the price they are definitely worth it and sound very good, I don’t think you’ll find a better pair in this price range. Yes it needed repeating.
The sound from the Metropolitan headphones is very good, it’s nice and full and once you start using them you won’t think about how inexpensive they are, they do have sound quality on par with more expensive headphones. The sound isn’t perfect but it’s very good, especially for the price.
They are very comfortable, especially the foam covers. The headphones themselves are nicely made of aluminum unlike most out there that are made of plastic. I would not have expected to see aluminum housings on such an inexpensive set.
I have to say I’m impressed with these, the build quality and sound are very good.
Id America included foam bud covers which was nice but I would have liked to have seen more than one pair included as I think once people try them they’ll like them more than the silicone ones.
The remote is useful but it didn’t exactly work for me, not sure why as the HTC One is a newer phone and other headphones I have work with it as they should. I also have to wonder why there is no volume controls on the remote as it’s large enough to fit them surely.
Pros: +Well made overall +Great position for in-line microphone +Good sound overall +Inexpensive +Good noise reduction especially the foam covers
Cons: – Controls don’t quite work -Only one pair of foam covers included
Disclosure: This product was given to me for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review; I do not, never have, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products.