Not long ago Hi-Fi+ favourably reviewed two significant earphones from the Chinese firm 1MORE: the Triple-Driver and Capsule-Type Dual-Driver earphones. The common denominator between these two different designs involves the fact both are keenly priced and offer technologies and performance far exceeding the norms for their price class. Frankly, 1MORE would have it no other way, since the company’s acknowledged mission is to build technically advanced and sonically accomplished personal audio products that sell at what one company spokesman has described as “disruptive prices”. This is welcome news for those of us seeking audio components that can give us the most value possible per hard-earned dollar or pound.
Gary Hsieh, the founder of 1MORE, is largely responsible for his company’s value-minded approach to the marketplace. In a recent interview with Hi-Fi+ (found in the Hi-Fi+ Guide to Personal Audio, available as a free download through this link: http://www.hifiplus.com/buyers_guides/5/), Hsieh famously said, “1MORE doesn’t want to simply climb that [price/performance] mountain; we want to turn it upside down so that everyone can reach the peak.”
Accordingly, Hsieh advocates an intensive consumer research/data gathering programme called “IQ100”, where the objective is to learn what consumers regard both as the must-have benefits to include and the ‘pain points’ to avoid in any given class of product. What emerges is a specific product development road map, which Hsieh describes in this way:
“By collecting and sorting out big data, we can determine the 20 ‘most significant pain points’. Then this allows us to decide which three need to be solved urgently. I believe that by solving the three most significant pain points, the user will enjoy our product and it will become their preference.”
Thus far, Hsieh’s IQ100 approach has served 1MORE well, leading to products that have won the company large numbers of new devotees. Still, the aspirational performance seekers amongst us are perhaps bound to ask, “Well, what would happen if 1MORE decided to set its price/performance sights a bit higher?” The answer to that question comes to us in the form of 1MORE’s new Quad-Driver in-ear headphones (£199.99, or $199 in the US), which are by far the firm’s most ambitious in-ear models to date.
At first glance, casual observers might take the Quad-Drivers to be pretty similar in