Introduction to the Craft Ears The One review
Craft Ears is a distinguished Polish manufacturer, they have carved a remarkable niche in the world of audio technology. Their journey began with a primary focus on crafting Custom In-Ear Monitors exclusively tailored for stage artists. However, their products were so good that they captured the attention and admiration of not only professionals but also audiophiles seeking exceptional sound quality.
One of the standout features of Craft Ears is their commitment to evolving with the market and, more importantly, listening to their customers. In response to the growing demand for their exceptional audio gear, they introduced predefined universal fit designs. This means that enthusiasts can now walk into one of their authorized distributors and immediately acquire one of their cutting-edge products, eliminating the agonizing wait that custom orders often entail. Whether you prefer a ready-made solution or have a distinct design in mind, Craft Ears caters to your needs with remarkable flexibility, offering both custom and universal fit options. This enables you to not only pick the sound to your taste but also highly personalize the design of the earpiece.
For those familiar with our site, it’s no secret that we have a deep-rooted appreciation for domestic products and maintain close ties with various manufacturers. Occasionally, we even participate in the feedback and design processes, further strengthening our connection to these innovators. It was this unique bond that drove our anticipation when we got wind of Craft Ears’ impending release of their latest co-flagship model, The One. After months of meticulous research, development, and, undoubtedly, a few bureaucratic tussles with customs offices, the time has finally come to delve into our comprehensive review of Craft Ears’ groundbreaking creation – The One. Now it’s time for us to review them.
Taking cues from the Craft Ears Aurum package, I found myself greeted with a generous assortment of accessories inside the reviewed “The One”. Among them were three sets of SpinFit tips, which are pretty interesting and convinced me to test more eartips than Final type-E, but more on this later.
Furthermore, a 3.5mm to 2-pin cable provided in the package is notably longer than the standard offerings from other manufacturers – you can feel the on-stage origin of Craft Ears gear. Though the cable I received was undeniably premium with its connectors and construction, it possessed a stiffness that could rival even very rigid materials – maybe it isn’t as hard as adamantium from the cable of LittleDot Gyfu, I used to review some time ago, but it is inflexible as hell.
However, I had the opportunity to provide feedback to Jędrzej, the CEO of Craft Ears, and was delighted to learn that my sentiments about the cable were shared. It is anticipated that the final package will include their default cable, which, while it may not exude the same premium feel, compensates with its lightweight and barely perceptible presence when worn with the headphones.
But perhaps the standout accessory in the package, and one that I’ve previously extolled in my review of the Craft Ears Aurum, is the plastic peli-like case. It Perfectly secures headphones and everything that’s inside against kicking, crushing, shocks, waterboarding, and any other techniques used by CIA, DHL, UPS, and other three-letter agencies during the delivery of your high-value earpieces.
Returning to the topic of eartips, I must confess to being a devoted fan of Final Type-E tips. However, most Craft Ears IEMs come bundled with SpinFit CP145 tips, and it’s only fair to give credit where it’s due. These SpinFit tips shine when paired with reviewed Craft Ears The One. They offer a level of comfort that’s difficult to match, and remarkably, the sound quality remains largely uncompromised. If you happen to prefer a slightly weightier sound signature, the Final eartips are a viable option. However, with the SpinFit tips, the balance is nearly perfect, aligning seamlessly with Craft Ears The One’s signature sound profile.
In conclusion, even in this pre-production stage, Craft Ears has demonstrated its commitment to providing a thoughtful and comprehensive package that enhances the overall listening experience. While some elements will differ in the final edition, the attention to detail and quality assurance that Craft Ears consistently delivers is great, ensuring that The One is not just an exceptional pair of IEMs but a complete journey from the moment you unbox them.
Build Quality, Tech, and Comfort
The nomenclature The One isn’t just a catchy name, it reflects the exceptional technology housed within these earphones. Craft Ears has boldly ventured into uncharted territory by outfitting this IEM with a single full-range planar magnetic driver- a pioneering approach to the design of single-driver IEMs.
Their success in this endeavor is apparent in the auditory experience they deliver. While other manufacturers might inundate you with a barrage of technical jargon and marketing buzzwords about the inner workings of their products, Craft Ears takes a refreshingly different approach. They understand that, at the end of the day, it’s the sound that truly matters. This focus on substance over fluff is a testament to their commitment to providing audio enthusiasts with an authentic and captivating listening experience.
Transitioning from short tech description to the build quality, Craft Ears has maintained its reputation for excellence. If you’re already acquainted with their IEMs or CIEMs, you’ll find that the build quality of reviewed The One follows the same high standards. Crafted with precision, the shell is 3D printed using dark resin, while the faceplate incorporates resin with embedded glitter pieces, all enveloped in a mesmerizing blue-purple pearlescent finish. This unique design makes The One a visually striking and attention-grabbing IEM. And, dare I say, it offers a subtle hint of what’s to come in the sonic department.
I’ve had the pleasure of owning Craft Ears 4 for several years, and it faithfully accompanies me on countless journeys, residing snugly in my backpack. What’s remarkable, it still looked nearly identical to its pristine state when I unboxed it for the first time. This serves as a testament to the durability and resilience of Craft Ears’ craftsmanship. With proper care, I would expect reviewed The One to age gracefully, standing the test of time – if only you won’t crush it with a hammer, then it will serve you for ages.
Now, let’s delve into the realm of comfort, an integral facet tightly intertwined with the build quality. The One is remarkably compact in size, it’s approximately half the volume of its slightly more upscale sibling, the Aurum. The narrow and elongated nozzle further enhances the ergonomic design. While the narrower nozzle may necessitate the use of larger ear tips than you’re accustomed to, it opens up the door to a broader audience in terms of comfort.
You don’t need cavernous ear canals to accommodate these earpieces comfortably. In fact, Craft Ears The One boasts universal compatibility, making it an ideal fit for nearly everyone. However, do bear in mind that achieving an effective seal may require slightly larger ear tips than you typically employ. In summary, it’s an incredibly comfortable IEM that facilitates extended listening sessions, with the only reason for removal being personal hearing hygiene – an eagerness to preserve your precious auditory faculties, a testament to the allure of The One.
How does the Craft Ears The One sound?
The package and build quality are great, but now let’s move to the most important thing – the sound. Let me spoil you some insight, before the comprehensive description, but trust me, it’s worth diving into the paragraphs below.
So the signature of the reviewed Craft Ears The One is a “softly V-shaped”. It offers magnificent bass with a solid punch and sub-bass response. The midrange is a bit recessed and dry, but the treble is bright, sparkly, and engaging. The soundstage is enormous, making you feel like you’re in a concert hall. Overall, it excels in bass and treble, while the midrange is its weakest aspect, and the soundstage is impressive but lacks precise positioning.
Let’s start the sound description, commencing with the bass realm of Craft Ears The One. It’s an area of undeniable magnificence, characterized by a formidable solid punch and an immersive rumble that sweeps you off your feet. What’s truly impressive is how the masterful tuning at Craft Ears is discernible even in the midst of this bass powerhouse. Despite its undeniable power The One manages to retain the distinctive Craft Ears signature – a swift and responsive bass. This prowess is largely attributed to its sub-bass response, which delves into the lower frequencies with remarkable depth, delivering an awesome punch that has to be experienced to be believed.
Picture this: I put on a shuffle of tracks, and “I’m on Top” by Otha begins to play. In an instant, I’m drowned in the music, and I can almost feel the bass pulsating through my body. The impact is visceral, yet everything remains in blissful silence, so my neighbors don’t need to call the police due to the late-night disturbances. Another track that aptly showcases the prowess of The One is Borderline by Tame Impala. This song thrives on a well-executed bass punch, without it, it can come across as somewhat flat and lacking in depth. Craft Ears The One steps up to the plate and delivers precisely what’s required, infusing the music with the dynamism and energy it craves.
In essence, this IEM fulfills every bass head’s fantasy, captivating your attention and prompting a rediscovery of bass lines in a plethora of electronic music tracks. Even though I used to listen to many amazing headphones and IEMs, some of them were way more expensive than the Craft Ears The One, but none of them reproduced the bass in such a specific, yet very engaging and pleasant way. For me, that’s the spirit of Craft Ears at its best.
The midrange is the weakest part of the IEM. It’s recessed and a bit dry. With a base response that is so thick and powerful, I would expect similar juiciness in the midrange. But unfortunately here comes the nature of the planar magnetic driver packed in such a small package. It’s not terrible, but I know the other Craft Ears headphones and that’s why I have higher expectations from them. That’s like with an A-grade student who receives a B grade for the first time – it’s still a great grade, but it leaves a bad aftertaste.
For example, the vocal of Nick Cave in People Ain’t No Good usually sounds warm and thick, but with The One it’s a bit dry and devoid of feelings. That can be an issue, but it’s hard to produce a headphone that will be an all-rounder that can perfectly handle everything and it’s very visible here. The midrange isn’t the best, but that’s not the point of the headphone, there are dozens of better midrange-focused IEMs in the company’s lineup, but these earphones don’t shine in other ranges as The One (BTW I love the name), so let’s forget about this part and let’s go forward to another frequency range, that are the strength of the IEMs.
And now is the moment to delve into the treble performance of reviewed Craft Ears The One. The IEM delivers a bright and sparkly treble with an impressive amount of texture. The treble character is notably natural, charming, and engaging, making it an ideal companion for music featuring cymbals and high-pitched instruments. During a 20-minute listening session with Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, the treble truly shone, enriching the experience with its brilliant articulation. Another showcase of treble excellence of The One can be found in the soundtrack of The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford, where tracks like Song for Jesse exhibit lively and sparkly cymbals that add an extra layer of excitement to the music. Despite its brightness, the treble maintains a well-balanced character, avoiding harshness even with tracks that are not impeccably mastered. When paired with sources like the clinical Fiio M11 Pro, The One continues to provide a forgiving and pleasant treble experience, even for demanding tracks like Eminem’s Premonition from Music To Be Murdered By.
Now, let’s dive into the final facet of our sound exploration – the astounding soundstage presented by Craft Ear The One. To put it bluntly, it’s nothing short of extraordinary, pushing the boundaries of what one might expect from an IEM. In a competition for the title of the portable version of the legendary Sennheiser HD800, The One might just take the crown, outperforming many esteemed IEMs like 64 Audio U12T, or Campfire Audio Andromeda.
The sheer volume of air it creates within the auditory space is breathtaking, and the dimensions of the soundstage are colossal. If your auditory aspirations incline towards the sensation of being enveloped within the grandeur of a concert hall, then The One emerges as the ultimate choice. However, it’s important to note that every masterpiece has its nuances, and the soundstage is no exception. While it excels in expansiveness, the challenge lies in pinpointing the exact source of sound. Due to its vast dimensions, determining the origin of each sound can be a bit elusive, making The One less than optimal for gaming where precise positional audio is essential.
Nevertheless, let’s return to the splendid aspects of the soundstage. When I immersed myself in the “Oxygene Trilogy” by Jean-Michel Jarre, the experience was nothing short of exceptional. Sound seemed to dance around my head as if I were floating in a boundless universe of sound waves. It’s a phenomenon that warrants repeated emphasis—the size of The One’s soundstage is nothing short of extraordinary, setting a new standard for what can be achieved in the realm of IEMs and even headphones.
As I mentioned in the review of Craft Ears Aurum, it’s one of my favorite IEMs I used to listen to. It was released last year as the company’s co-flagship model right next to Craft Ears Six and it’s priced at €1299. Let’s check how The One, which is slightly cheaper, compares with the older and more expensive sibling. The Aurum is a tribrid design and it contains one DD for the bass, four BA responsible for mid-range reproduction, and two EST drivers for sparkly top-end versus a single full-range planar driver in reviewed Craft Ear The One.
Let’s start with the design and comfort – both headphones are made in a similar 3D printing process, so the quality is similar and very good. The Aurum, due to it having to fit many more drivers, is very big, while The One is tiny – it’s one of the smallest IEMs I used to have in my hand. In terms of comfort due to size, The One may fit more people, but both of the headphones are very comfortable.
Both headphones look gorgeous, so I would like to look at them for hours, but after all, both need to end up in my ears, so let’s move to the sound description.
In that comparison, The One definitely shines in the lower end. The bass is thicker and beefier, the sub-bass is more present. Aurum bass is slightly faster, but The One still has lightning-fast punch as well.
As I have already mentioned the midrange is the weakest part of The One and when compared with the Aurum it’s even more audible. The midrange of Aurum is rich, full-bodied, and well-textured. When you hear the bass of The One, you would expect that the midrange also will be very dense and thick, but actually, it’s very clinical. So if you’re looking for an IEM that will charm vocals and midrange-based instruments, then you should definitely go for Aurum.
The treble is pretty similar in both headphones – it’s very detailed and sparkly, but it doesn’t hurt your ears when the recording is bad. Shortly speaking, that’s not the range that will affect your choice.
And finally the soundstage – here it’s quite confusing because the dimensions of the soundstage of The One are incredible, Aurum’s soundstage is incomparably smaller, but while gaming with The One I didn’t know what was happening. Ok, I need to admit that I suck at Hunt: Showdown especially when I’m playing with Paweł and Bruno, but with The One my skills were a couple of levels below usual. The positioning is okay, but when I got used to the positioning of HiFiMan Arya Organic, or Craft Ears Aurum I just got lost and it’s only okay. So when you focus on the size of the soundstage and its airiness then Craft Ears The One should be the one (ba dum tsss), but the positioning of sound sources is way better executed in the Aurum.
To sum up this comparison, I can’t define a clear winner. Both headphones are great and have some strengths. If you’re looking for better bass reproduction or airiness of the soundstage, then The One would be better, but if you want a more natural, denser midrange and better positioning of the sound, then you should go for Aurum.
Craft Ears The One Review – Summary
Craft Ears The One is a great planar magnetic IEM available in a custom fit. In the universal version, it’s very comfortable, even people with narrow ear canals shouldn’t have any comfort issues. The sound is flagship-worthy, you shouldn’t be disappointed, especially if you listen to the genres where you can let the bass and the treble do the job. Add the ridiculously tremendous soundstage and you have an IEM that can easily fight in the field of the best-sounding earphones in the world. I can be slightly biased, because I’m a big fan of Craft Ears products but I predict that The One can be another killer in its price range, as many other models from the Polish company.
Shortly speaking it’s a great IEM with a kind of specialization so, for example, bass players may like it a lot, and it wasn’t covered yet in the Craft Ears portfolio, at least at that level and price tag. If you are a fan of music where the bass and the soundstage are the spirit, and there are not many vocals to focus on, I can highly recommend Craft Ears The One for you.
Big thanks to Craft Ears for providing The One for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion.
I’m a 24 years old software engineer, but also coffee, wine, and audio gear freak based in Cracow, Poland. I like to get lost in the city, but I hate getting lost while reading pompous audio reviews. My goal is to provide simple and informative reviews that I hope will help you to find your way around the rabbit hole.