We are all acquainted with Rosewill and their PC component offerings, but audio is something not normally associated with the brand. Things have recently changed as hi-res headphones steadily inch downwards into the mainstream, but Rosewill is aiming even lower in price with the EX-700 in-ear Headphones. So I ask the question: can you become an audiophile without spending a fortune?
Commonly, in-ear headphones are cheap, disposable, and sometimes included with whatever tablet or smartphone you bought because it looked shiny. However, the EX-700 legitimately looks high-end, with both drivers etched from metal that weigh 0.11kg and a small branded carrying pouch. They definitely stand out and feel more expensive than they actually are while the audio cable offers enough slack at 3.93ft and is tangle-resistant, which should aid in mobility for behind-the-shoulder wearers.
On the left wire is the single media button for playback functions. The phone icon is a dead giveaway to its mobile intentions although it does more than that, pause/play and call accept/hangout is done with one click, skips forward a track with two clicks, and goes to previous song with three clicks. The dongle is also a microphone, because of course it is made for taking calls on the go.
Consequently, the external construction of the EX-700 absorbs heat and freezing temperatures like any metal surface that exists, meaning that if you exercise in extreme weather your ears feel the environment twofold. If you happen to leave them in a scorching car or spending extended amounts of time jogging in the cold, try to remember not to wear them immediately or take them off if they become uncomfortable to the touch.
Despite the diminutive size, the specs meet the minimum for high fidelity. Frequency response is dialed in at -42+/-3dB, 102+/-3dB @ 1K Hz sensitivity, and an impedance of 26 ohms (nominal Ω). Speakers are of a hybrid armature design that supposed to provide a suitable combination of treble clarity, vocal accuracy, and solid bass; many dynamic traits that common earbuds lack. Even the removable ear tips are custom-shaped (and allegedly patented 3D axis) for superior fitment, with eight pairs (10 in total) that vary in size and treble enhancement, although we suspect that many will just find the most comfortable tips and stick with those.
It would be easy to scoff at Rosewill and their determination to make real hi-res headphones at less than a quarter of the price—but the general listening experience is respectably good—to unexpected effect. The soundstage emphasizes vocals without having to turn up the volume and one of the few in its category to have a soundstage. Instrumental delivery of Luther Vandross’s cover of “If This World Were Mine” was convincingly intimate, mounting up to its brighter transition in the latter half of the track. The bass guitar and occasional strings of the harp didn’t fight for presence, complimenting the duet and the romantic essence felt throughout.
Another thing the EX-700 is eager to portray is low-end bass, an area that plagues many earbuds. Rosewill does an admirable job of trying to simulate the deep rumblings that more expensive headphones can pull off, the EX-700 does a satisfactory job for classic rock, and electronica genres. For rap lovers, songs like Young Thug’s “Od” where the pattern of the thumping beat creates the structure of the song itself was noticeably subdued, and doesn’t hit as hard as I’d like in order to maintain a clean profile for everything else musically. For the best results though, you would do well to pair them with a DAC or portable amplifier.
Let’s be honest here, most people picking up earbuds aren’t necessarily after the best studio-quality sound or longevity, but many are still willing to pay upwards of $40-$50 because they need them right now. Knowing the intrinsic factor, I think Rosewill is in an enviable position with the EX-700 in-ear Headphones because these are — in fact — the most affordable Hi-Res audio choices on the market (Rosewill also has the EX-500 which is even cheaper).
After listening for a month, I am certain that these could be the best earbuds for the money and relative performance,. You won’t confuse these with headphones that cost a few hundred more, but the quality is surprisingly crisp and a lot more than I would have expected. If you need some throwaway earbuds then the EX-700 are not it, they are way better than what you had before.