Thinksound Rain2 in-ear headphones review

{ 0 comments }

Thinksound_Rain2_3

“If the rain comes comes, they run and hide their heads.”

When I think of thinksound’s new Rain2 earphones, I always think of the iconic Beatles’ song, “Rain”. I don’t know why, except that the Rain2 earphones serve as a counterpoint to the song—in my head, at least. It means that while the song, “Rain,” is somewhat depressing, the Rain2 earphones most certainly are not. If anything, the Rain2 has a sunny disposition, making you not want to hide your head at all.

Thinksound_Rain2_2

The sound signature and the price of the thinksound Rain 2 earphones fits smack in the middle of the exploding headphone market. $100 is about the tipping point between paying for new earphones or telling yourself they’re too expensive. No matter how good a $250-$400 pair of earphones sound, few people are willing to pay for them, end of story. I get that, and so does thinksound.

Thinksound has managed to create a pair of earphones that are not only priced just right, but look and sound like they cost more. The Rain2 earphones are made of wood. Yeah, there are other brands of wooden earphones, but not at this quality. Thinksound doesn’t say what kind of wood is used, but I doubt that it matters in such a small size.

The chocolate-stained wood shell of the Rain2 earphones is hand crafted and perfectly fitted into a gunmetal-colored aluminum baffle, with no awkward edges or gaps to mar the look. It’s all very classy and understated. The wood also helps keep the weight down to almost nothing.

Thinksound_Rain2_5

Thinksound follows their eco-awarenss ethos with the packaging. The Rain2 earphones are simply displayed in layers of un-bleached cardboard. Be careful removing them when first opened because the fit is very tight. Also included is a small, cloth pouch and a shirt clip. I would have preferred a slightly larger pouch. The opening is a bit small and requires a small amount of shoving.

The thinksound Rain 2 earphones come with 4 pair of ear tips. The largest sized pair of tips fit my ears perfectly. In fact, they fit so well, that I will be using them on other brands I review in the future. I have reviewed countless earphones with 6-8 pair of tips to choose from—and none of them fit, so this is a real treat.

The small size of the thinksound Rain 2 earphones allows them to be inserted a bit deeper into the ear than many other earphones—with no discomfort. This ability helps create a terrific seal, which makes all the difference with earphones. No seal equals compromised bass—not good.

Thinksound_Rain2_4

Inside the wooden shell, sits an 8mm dynamic speaker with passive noise-isolation (a nice way of saying you shove them into your ears to block outside noise). Dynamic speakers resemble the look of any normal speaker, but tiny in size. The result is a warm, friendly sound that masks a lot of digital junk heard in lower resolution music files. If it’s absolute accuracy you want in music reproduction, I would recommend an armature speaker design over dynamic. Armature speakers usually cost more and can be a bit lacking in bass compared to dynamic.

The thinksound Rain 2 earphones do not come with a mic for smartphones. This may be a deal-breaker for some and I can understand why. However, I seldom use the mic function, so I don’t miss it. If you’re interested in thinksound and need a mic, check out their TS02 for the same price. I have not heard this model, so I can’t comment although the audio specs of the Rain2 are a bit better on paper. The mini plug is set at a 45º angle, which helps minimize possible damage.

Despite the specs, the proof is in the listening.

Thinksound_Rain2_8

The frequency curve of the Rain2 sounds like it’s “U” shaped, meaning that the bass and treble is accentuated while the middle frequencies (where most vocals lie) are not as prominent. I prefer a flatter frequency response myself, but most people prefer this kind of setup and the Rain2 earphones nail it.

The U2 song, “Where The Streets Have No Name,” is a perfect example of deep bass and shimmering highs. The opening has a low, bass undercurrent that is punctuated by The Edge’s urgent guitar fading in at much higher frequencies. Bono’s vocals are somewhat in the background which is what a U-shaped curve will sound like. With the volume high, the bass thumps without distortion with the Rain 2 earphones although it’s not quite as clear as I would like. Some of that may be due to Brian Eno’s production, which can sometimes be a little muddled. It’s hard to tell.

“Till the Sun’s Gone” by Mason Proffit, is not a well-engineered recording by any measurement, but the debut album this song is taken from is a defining album in early 70s country-rock. The bass is muddy, totally masking any clarity, but I mention this song only because the Rain2 earphones are forgiving and help make this song sound like the under-appreciated gem it is.

This Mortal Coil’s cover of the Tim Buckley classic, “Song to the Siren,” is a bass-heavy dirge that wears melancholy on its sleeve. Vocalist Elizabeth Fraser’s vocals are (again) somewhat muted on the Rain2 earphones in favor of the bottom end. Other earphones may aurally extract more from this song, but those same earphones cost three times more and the difference is not nearly three times more.

Speaking of the song, “Rain” by The Beatles, I listened to both the mono and stereo versions with the Rain2. I don’t care that The Beatles themselves preferred the mono to stereo versions and that the original records were recorded specifically for mono. The stereo version creams the mono version, period. The Rain2 earphones had difficulty allowing any life in the mono “Rain” to show itself. The stereo “Rain” is altogether different—and better. It’s like the sun came out and evaporated the foggy haze from the mono version. “

Thinksound_Rain2_1

Thinksound has managed to cover a lot of bases and still keep the price at a reasonable level. I can’t think of anyone who would be disappointed with the Rain2.

Rain, I don’t mind
Shine, the weather’s fine.   — The Beatles

Songs used in review:
Rain — The Beatles
Where The Streets Have No Name – U2
Till the Sun’s Gone — Mason Proffit
Song to the Siren — This Mortal Coil

Source: The sample for this review was provided by thinksound. Please visit www.thinksound.com/ more info.

 

Product Information

Price:$99.99 US
Manufacturer:thinksound
Pros:
  • Wood earphones always look cool
  • Plus they sound cool, also
  • Relatively inexpensive for what you get
  • Forgiving sound for lower resolution files
Cons:
  • No mic
  • There are better earphones, but are more expensive
  • Dynamic speaker not for people obsessed with absolute accuracy
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV, Reviews
{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment