ShoonTH ESEP-01BL Review: Vocalistic and Bassy Buds

Introduction: ShoonTH is a new Chinese audio company that has been producing earbuds and one IEM as it's first foray into the audiophile world just a month ago (or so) and with the waves of earbuds in the market now, they have released 4 products as of this writing, with their most expensive model the ESEP-01BU followed by the ESEP-01BLE, their IEM Maji and the one am going to review today, their basic model the ESEP-01BL earbud.

I'd like to thank ShoonTH and Penon for the chance to review the ESEP-01BL in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. You can buy the ShoonTH ESEP-01BL at the Penon website or locally if your retailer carries it.

Driver: 15.4mm Dynamic
Sensitivity: 110dB/mW
Frequency Response: 10Hz-22kHz
Impedance: 32Ω
Wire: OCC silver-plated
Cable Length: 1.2m
Plug: 3.5mm Gold plated

The ShoonTH ESEP-01BL (henceforth known as 01BL, coz its long) is an easy to drive earbud, no amping needed as even my Xperia phone can drive it well and loud, better sources do scale up a little but

Unboxing: The 01BL comes in a brown little box with the brand stamped in front and information about the company and earbuds on the back. it's pretty small, inside is the earbuds, a very cute little box of foams, 3 pairs of red/blue, black full foam covers and a donut foam which I'll be using for this review, the box also hides the little manual underneath it. There's a nice little fabric drawstring pouch included and black foam lining at the bottom. It's as minimalist as one gets but also as creative as one can be with given such limitations as there is a small foam divider protecting the earbud themselves from knocking into each other and the overall presentation is neat, definitely a good thing in my book.

Cable/Build/Design: The 01BL's cable is covered in a smooth threaded jacket that resists checmical corrosion and in my experience, sweat as well. The smoothness is a welcome change to the slightly rubberized/matte coatings used in cables, and the overall flexibility is a little more softer than standard tpu coated wires, it's not as springy either which means its an overall good cable that feels quite sturdy. The plug is nice and slim and the size is able to fin into casings of phones (and my Nintendo Switch) with no issue, the jack shell is metallic and smooth with no branding and a small rubber nub as a strain relief. the splitter is a metal jacketed plastic body with a small nub at the bottom as strain relief and a small rubber tube acts as the chin slider. There is no strain relief at the earbud level, at least not that can be seen.

The 01BL shell is made of shiny smooth plastic with silver plastic trimmings, this contributes to the earbuds overall lightness, something I truly appreciate as most earbuds fall off my earbud unfriendly ears without a fin or adequately sized foams. The inner side of the stem of the 01BL has the colored branding for ShoonTH, blue for left and red for right and the driver cover is made of plastic with multiple holes.

The size of the shell housing the large diameter driver and lightness contributes to the comfort and fit of the 01BL, which to say is, pretty good (as I mentioned above), of course some ears may differ in this, so your mileage may vary.

Overall, the design, materials and parts used contribute to a good looking product that is simple yet interesting, light and feels sturdy.

Sound Analysis: On first listen, I figured the ShoonTH ESEP-01BL was a midcentric earbud with ample bass and treble to be interesting but there was no doubt about it's mid frequency performance being ear catching and overall being quite an enjoyable listen. Upon further use amounting to over 200 hours, I'd like to present my findings and a more in depth analysis of the 01BL's sound. I'm using the donut foams that it came with as I'd like to listen to as much fo the bud without anything in between, listening devices used were basically everything I have at my disposal but based my findings on the Sony WM1A on normal output as the main source.

Bass: Though not the main focus of the 01BL, the bass is pretty darn good, there is ample quantity and a little above average sub bass reach with Dragonborn's drums reaching down a nice distance before disappearing, Way Down Deep's drums on the other hand exemplify the strength of the hit which is again pretty good with an above average weight, the rumble it can produce is nice and a little quick, giving songs like Lithium's grungy bass guitars it's light but delicious crunch. Bass decay is on the a little above average speed, there's enough linger to sound good but the speed caters a little more to an upbeat taste. Considering few earbuds have really great bass impact, the 01BL carries itself well, however it is only marginally stronger than the Sunrise AS Charm 3's bass impact and is a bit less in quantity but does go deeper in comparison. The best bass so far still goes to the Penon BS1 Official which hits harder with more quantity and depth, though at this price range, this is definitely good sounding bass that has no bass bleed. One thing to note though, the volume limit of the 01BL can be reached when music is both loud and has strong bass, and bass distortion can then occur; leading to a rougher sounding bass slam and sound which can bleed into the mids in effect due to it being quite noticeable at strong power outputs. take heart though as I was only able to do this with the song Lose Yourself to Dance, high gain on the WM1A and maximum volume, not a usual combination I'd do but it is just an example.

Mids: Photograph's lower mids sounds good with adequate thickness, giving Ed Sheeran voice a bit more body than average with a bit more of a forward position resulting in his voice having more presence. Upper mids are a little more forward than lower mids in presentation giving female vocals more intimacy. The mids also have a nice weight to the notes, heard and felt with Snowflake (Lara Ruggels) pianos plunges sounding quite believable and satisfying. Pandemic's opening salvo of complex sounds are resolved well by the 01BL, there is ample space between the multiple sounds that play through this song giving it a bit of transparency and has an overall good level of separation to keep things uncluttered or uncompressed. The mids have a bit more mellow and an inviting kind of warmth that gives a near balanced amount of clarity and thickness. Detail retrieval is overall on the average side, giving enough of the music to enjoy the nuances and some of the emotions involved. This is no doubt that the mids are the main draw on the 01BL.

Treble: The 01Bl has a slightly above average treble reach, there is enough air to add a sense of space to the whole of the sound and a bit of crisp. The sounds that reach this height sound display an average level of clarity with a bit of crisp in each tone, like the harmonics of Till They Take My Heart Away and the cymbal crashes of Hit The Lights, there is a nice level of crisp thats adds excitement and a hint of shimmer. The frequency curve seems to take a bit of a dip around the 7k region where the  cymbals and other sounds in the area do not display any harshness and have a slightly faster than average level of decay that does not sound unnatural or exaggerated. Sibilance is generally well controlled, where with the most sibilance prone songs never reach a full sibilant tone. Overall, the treble isn't going to trigger most treble sensitives as it's not a bright kind of tonalit but the liveliness of the treble may put some people who want a relaxed/rolled off high frequency signature off.

Soundstage: The stage of the 01BL is a little on the average side, around 2 inches out of the ear for the farthest sounds from left to right. though instruments and vocals generally come from just outside the ear canal. height and depth is a bit less in distance to the horizontal stage and the front and back is in the middle of the two. Imaging is accurate enough while layering is adequate with space to avoid congestion on complex tracks.

Conclusion: The ShoonTH ESEP-01BL may be the entry level earbud of the ShoonTH lineup but they did not pull any punches on the tuning, a nice midcentric signature that can carry a great tune with the complimentary non spotlight stealing but very capable bass and nearly equally entertaining treble. There's enough details and spaciousness to give a good performance in most generes and modest warmth to give body and smooth things over. It's easy to drive so new audiophiles don't need an amp or an upgrade in their player to enjoy, and those with better gear who are keen on a more mid centered performance can still enjoy the simplicity of carrying something inexpensive yet enjoyable to listen to. As I may keep on saying that mids to me are very important and that the 01BL can be enjoyable in that aspect, the bass on this is also quite good as it can give that needed punch to punctuate music and enough quantity to make the song felt. The treble may not have my normal penchant for a bit of brightness, but those with lightly sensitive ears can rest assured they wont hate the treble on the 01BL, but if rolled off and/or laid back treble is the ONLY thing you can listen to, you may need to look at something else.

Pros: Really good mids, nice bass, very nice tuning balance, light shell, good cable quality, alright package and accessories.

Cons: None really at this price point

Sound testing was done using a Sony WM1a (Primarily), a Hiby R6, Zishan Z1(for comparison), Audirect Beam (for computer convenience) and a phone (for checking driveability) volume matched to 90.X db of max volume for safe hearing below 8 hours of use and calibrated using a 1kh tone on a dedicated DB Meter, all sources patched through a switcher. More information will be available on the About Me page (once I find the time to write it up.)

Post a Comment


  1. great review, man! i appreciate that you are using gears most people are actually using, gives us a familiar reference point. keep it up!