1More is a Chinese company that built its reputation on a series of excellent high value universal fir earphones, several of which have been favorably reviewed.
Tow particular stand outs were the original Triple-Driver earphone and the subsequent Quad Driver earphone, both of which offered laudable value for money and found devoted followings among music lovers on a budget.
In fact, I fondly remember my chiropractor asking for advice on affordable earphones and my loaning him a set of 1MORE’s Triple-Driver earphones to try out. He found them downright revelatory because he felt their build and sound quality far surpassed that of like-priced competitors.
Consequently he purchased a pair and began recommending them to others. This sort of immediate, positive reaction perhaps results from 1MORE’s innovative product planning approach.
More so than many companies, 1MORE begins the product development process by polling prospective customers in depth to understand what they do (and do not) want in new earphones or headphones in a given price class.
Consequently, 1MORE might ask consumers what physical or sonic qualities they most value in headphones, or what specific shortcomings they feel headphone manufacturers should strive to avoid.
The point is that 1MORE relies on customer inputs to shape design briefs for its upcoming products, creating ‘punch lists’ of must-have features and functions aimed at giving customers what they want.
“The 1MORE Triple Driver headphone employs three drive units, although purists might quibble that only two of those are active drivers.”
1MORE’s Triple Driver earphone was the product that put the rm on the audiophile map, largely because it offered solid build quality, unexpectedly resound quality, and a useful set of accessories at a very reasonable price.
Building upon this initial success, 1MORE sought to branch out to offer an equally high value, high performance, full-size, over-ear headphone.
Perhaps hoping to encourage a commercial ‘lightning to strike twice’ the firm has named its first multi-driver, full-size headphone the Triple Driver—just like its famous earphone.
While it sometimes gets confusing to have two different products sharing the same name, it’s a moniker. At its inception 1MORE’s Triple Driver headphone sold for $249 US/£259, but over time that price has been rolled back to an even more manageable $199/£154.
In an era where audio prices always seem always on the increase, it’s refreshing to find a well-made headphone where pricing has moved in the other direction.
Let’s begin by looking at the configuration of the Triple Driver headphone. As its name suggests, the 1MORE Triple Driver headphone employs three drive units, though purists might quibble that only two of those are active drivers, while the third is a passively driven bass radiator (or ‘Trident Bass Rereflector’ as 1MORE calls it).
The headphone’s driver array centres upon an ‘audiophile grade’ full-range 40mm dynamic unit, which is supplemented by a ceramic tweeter and the aforementioned passive bass radiator. 1MORE says the ceramic tweeter is, ‘capable of faster response time for exquisite detail and shimmer’, while adding that the bass radiator provides ‘extended bass and depth’.
The passive bass radiator employs a weighted radiator disc with a protective polymer surround ring at its rim. Then, behind the passive radiator is a clear plastic protective plate that lets users see (but not touch) the radiator from the outside.
Like other 1MORE products the Triple Driver headphone looks and feels more expensive than it actually is. Many headphones in the Triple Driver’s price class have a certain toy-like quality, but the Triple Driver does not.
For example, the headphone’s curved top strap offers a soft and comfortable headband pad clad in leather. Similarly, the Triple Driver’s curved frame and metal ear cup yokes are well made, tastefully finished and highly adjustable—especially the ear cup yokes, which can rotate up to ‘45 degree to conform to your head and ears.’
The ear cups, in turn, are fashioned from machined aluminum and treated to an attractive two-tone, natural silver/satin black finish. The ear cups provide multi-part sound chambers whose sandwich-like frame pieces provide mounting points for the headphone’s ear pads, ceramic tweeters, full range drivers, passive bass reflectors, and clear plastic driver protectors.
Finally, sets of spoke-like black outer frames hold the clear driver protector plates in place. Completing the picture are a set of detachable and user replaceable signal cables using ‘audiophile-grade oxygen-free copper wire’ that is ‘wrapped in a Kevlar core braided sheath to provide enhanced durability and freedom from tangles.’
A 6.35mm headphone adapter plug is included as is a hard-shell travel case. Readers might ask whether the Triple Driver headphone is an open or closed-back design, though the answer is somewhat ambiguous. The headphone is primarily configured as an open-back design, but one whose clear driver protection plates serve both to attenuate sound output from the rear
sides of the ear cups and (partially) to block out noise from the outside world. Another question is whether the Triple Driver is an on-ear or over-ear headphone. 1MORE certainly bills the Triple Driver as an over ear headphone and for me it proved to be exactly that.
However, because the Triple Driver’s ear cup pads are comparatively small as over-ear designs go, some users—including my friend and frequent Hi-Fi+ contributor Steven Stone—feel the Triple Driver should be classifieded as an on-ear design.
My suggestion: Try the Triple Drivers for yourself to see which fitting works out best for you and your ears. For my listening tests I ran the Triple Driver headphones with an Apple iPad Air tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone and the excellent Astell&Kern A&ultima SP1000M high-res portable digital audio player.
I found the Triple Driver was surprisingly easy to drive, meaning it gave quite respectable results when powered by my tablet and smartphone. Naturally, the Triple Drivers sounded even better when driven by my Astell&Kern DAP, owing to the A&K’s superior DAC section and audio electronics.
The key point is that while the unfussy Triple Driver headphone benefits from higher-end source components, it also is able to work and play well with comparatively mundane ones.
Voicing: As for most 1MORE products, sound engineer Luca Bignardi developed voicing for the Triple Driver headphone. If there is a Bignardi ‘house sound’, and I think there is, it is a sound that favours an exciting and dramatic presentation over a strictly neutral one.
In practice, this means the Triple Driver headphones exhibits a noticeable amount of bass lift, plus—to a somewhat lesser extent—a degree of upper midrange/lower treble boost. To hear these characteristics in action listen to ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ from Melody Gardot’s Live in Europe, Bonus Edition [Verve, 16/44.1].
The track features deeply pitched acoustic bass, a drum kit with a delicate smattering of cymbals, a muted trumpet for accompaniment and of course Gardot’s sumptuous and evocatively contoured vocals. From the outset, the bass and kick drum sound extremely prominent, deeply weighted and tightly focused.
Heard in isolation both bass instruments sounds very good, but as one listens it becomes apparent that both are pushed well forward in the mix. Similarly, upper midrange and lower treble sounds both from brushes on the snare drum, cymbals and the subtle.
‘embouchure buzz’ of the muted trumpet are also given a share of the spotlight and subtly pressed forward in the mix. In contrast, Gardot’s voice, which has a beautifully textured lilting quality and by rights ought to be the centerpiece of the track, instead sounds gently recessed.
Overall, the Triple Driver makes it clear that ‘You Don’t Know what Love Is’ is a well-made recording, but with the headphone’s voicing putting more emphasis on the accompanists than on the vocalist. On other tracks, however, the Triple Driver does a much better job of complementing musical performances.
A perfect example would ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ from Van Morrison’s Three Chords & The Truth [Caroline International, 16/44.1].
On this track the Triple Driver gives Morrison’s accompanists— including bass, guitar, percussion and Hammond organ—a generous and appropriate amount of energy, while at the same time making Morrison’s voice sound articulate and well balanced (not overly forward or ‘shouty’ as can sometime be the case on Morrison’s recordings).
The result is a good track made better, with excellent dynamics; a fine balance between the vocalist and his band mates. 1MORE’s Triple Driver headphone is well made, affordable and sounds more dynamic, articulate and textually refined than many of its competitors. Only you, however, can decide if its voicing characteristics suit your tastes and preferences.
- Type: Three driver, hybrid dynamic/ceramic, driver-equipped on-ear headphone with passive bass radiator.
- Driver complement: Ceramic tweeter, graphene, dynamic driver, passive bass reflector.
- Frequency Response: 20Hz–40kHz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 104dB
- Connector: 3.5mm gold plated
- Weight: 293 grams