First, let me say upfront: I don't like things in my ears. That includes Q-Tips, earphones - anything. When I bought my iPod, I left the ear buds in the package and I use over-the-ear or open-air headphones to listen to its contents. I simply find in-the-ear phones uncomfortable, so I thought carefully before agreeing to review the Phiaton PS 20 "Half In Ear" Earphones. To my relief, the Phiaton's were surprisingly comfortable in my ears, which is a good thing because I enjoyed listening to them.
Phiaton, pronounced fee•'ah•ton, is a Korean manufacturer, part of Cresyn Co. Ltd., founded in 1959. They offer several models of headphones, earphones and an iPod docking station. All of their products emphasize stylish design, comfort and high audio performance. The PS 20 and its cousin, the PS 20 NC with active noise cancellation are the newest Phiaton introductions, part of the company's Primal Series. Both models, the PS 20 in black and the PS 20 NC in white, have a look and feel of quality construction.
The PS 20 Half-In-Ear design is similar to an ear bud but with part of the earphones extending into the ear canal. They come with four sizes of tips (XS, S, M, L) to fit almost any sized ear. The tips are made of soft, pliable silicon that adds to their comfort. The Primal Series feature dual chamber construction known as Max-Bass Reflex, which helps produce good bass while reducing unwanted vibrations from too much bass. It's sort of a bass reflex enclosure design with a tiny port in the chamber. Click on images to see the exploded diagram of the PS 20 earphones. There are an exceptional number of small parts in the Phiaton earphones. They come with a closeable suede carry case for music on the go and are available in black or white.
I tested the PS 20 earphones on my iPod, computer and home stereo system. Overall, the Phiaton's have a very balanced sound quality that's easy to listen to for extended periods of time. Once they're adjusted in the ear with the most comfortable sized tip, they have good, solid bass response, easy to hear at low and high volumes and plenty of articulate detail in the mids and highs. The sound quality of the speakers in small earphones never ceases to amaze me, especially when it comes to bass and the Phiaton's are no exception. John Clayton's solo acoustic bass in Diana Krall's "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" from her Live in Paris CD (Verve Records) sounds deep and tight and each string is distinct from the others. It's the kind of bass you hope to hear when a subwoofer is correctly placed in a listening room. Vocals, instrumental detail and clarity are marvelous. Headphone or earphone listening is a great way to enjoy music and the Phiaton PS 20 earphones enrich the experience with all genres of music.
The Bottom Line & Specifications
The Phiaton PS 20 earphones are intended for use with portable players but are equally well suited for a home stereo system, although you may need to add an extension cable to the 1.2 m cord provided with the earphones. They're stylish, comfortable and sound very good. Phiaton products can be purchased online or at selected retail outlets. Check their website or click to compare prices. The Phiaton PS 20 earphones are a real winner for comfort and sound. I may not like things in my ears, but the Phiaton PS 20 earphones are a clear exception.
Phiaton PS 20 Primal Series Earphones
- Frequency response: 15 Hz – 22 kHz
- THD: Less than 1% at 1 kHz
- Sensitivity: 101 dB at 1 kHz
- Cord length: 1.2m
- Price: $99.00
- Contact: phiaton.com