Tech Reviewer Calls $99 Earbuds ‘Perfect for Audiophiles’, but Wore Them Wrongly

Alex Bracetti photographed wearing IEMs incorrectly in review (From: Tom's Guide)
Alex Bracetti photographed wearing IEMs incorrectly in review (From: Tom’s Guide)

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How did he test the sound with those IEMs on backward? Asking for a friend.

Tech writer Alex Bracetti reviewed the US$99 EarFun EH100 in-ear monitors (IEMs) on a known tech site, only to be ridiculed for failing to do one of the basic requirements of reviewing something: knowing how to use it.

In this review, he claimed that these earbuds are ‘perfect for audiophiles’ as they ‘sound better than AirPods’. But, a glaring mistake in how he wore them left audiophiles in disbelief. Multiple users have pointed out that the reviewer wore the earbuds backward, in the wrong ear, and out of phase.

The oversight called into question his knowledge and credibility as a reviewer, as well as the qualifications of online audio reviewers in general.

The writer, Alex Bracetti, is described as someone who has “over a decade of experience” and focuses “on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.” on his author page. He has written over a hundred reviews on the site so far.

‘Wear’ It All Went Wrong

In his review, Bracetti displayed a fundamental misunderstanding of properly wearing IEMs.

The cable leads were plugged into the earbuds in reverse. (From: Tom's Guide)
The cable leads were plugged into the earbuds in reverse. (From: Tom’s Guide)

First, as photographs showed, he wore the earbuds the wrong way, inserting the right earpiece backward into his left ear. Second, commenters pointed out that he had inserted the leads in reverse, causing the drivers to be out of phase – a mistake significantly impacting audio quality.

Wearing in-ear monitors (IEMs) improperly, such as reversing them or wearing them out of phase, can significantly compromise their performance in several critical ways.

First, sound distortion can become an immediate issue. When IEMs are not aligned with the ear canal correctly, the direction and clarity of the sound waves entering the ear are affected, leading to a loss of detail and clarity.

Noise isolation, a key advantage of IEMs, is also reduced when they do not fit snugly, allowing external noise to seep in and dilute the listening experience.

Stereo imaging, where each ear receives distinct audio channels to create a sense of spatial audio, also suffers. Reversing the earbuds can invert the intended left-right channel positioning, confusing the listener’s spatial awareness.

The earbuds couldn't seem to be placed in the ear canal deep enough suggesting a wrong ear tip size. (From: Tom's Guide)
The earbuds couldn’t seem to be placed in the ear canal deep enough suggesting a wrong ear tip size. (From: Tom’s Guide)

Despite wearing them the wrong way, however, Alex made a lot of bold claims in his review, particularly on the earbuds’ sound quality.

”After multiple listens trying out many of the best music streaming services, I am convinced that the EH100 are a far greater audio solution than the AirPods in lots of ways… I picked up on notes and nuances that would normally go unnoticed on the AirPods and some of the best wireless headphones.” he says.

Reactions from the Online Community Were Swift and Unforgiving

Reddit post pointing out the reviewer's mistake. (From: Reddit)
Reddit post pointing out the reviewer’s mistake. (From: Reddit)

Some commenters on Reddit, like u/Buck-O, were so bewildered by the reviewer’s blunder that they speculated it might be an act of trolling:

‘’Wrong ear, backwards, and out of phase. You literally couldn’t get this more wrong if you tried, which makes me think, like others have said in the thread, this has to be a troll.’’

Others questioned Bracetti’s ability to assess the sound quality of the IEMs accurately, given how he wore them. This led to skepticism regarding his endorsement of the EH100 as ‘’perfect for audiophiles.’’

Commenters questions the validity of Bracetti's recommendation. (From: Tom's Guide)
Commenters questions the validity of Bracetti’s recommendation. (From: Tom’s Guide)

A few Redditors like u/neon_overload tried to be more understanding of the reviewer.

One user said, ‘’Someone with literally no experience of IEMs may not realize that the sound tube points forwards, not backwards. So I’d put this down to him being clueless rather than deliberate trolling.’’

However, they could not accept that the editorial team didn’t notice the error before publishing the article.

Some questioned why the editorial staff missed the error. (From: Reddit)
Some questioned why the editorial staff missed the error. (From: Reddit)

Critics also questioned the reviewer’s credentials, given the apparent mistake in a field he claims to specialize in.

‘’How does a motherf*cker get a job reviewing headphones when they’ve never even used a pair of wired IEMs before? This is so infuriating.’’ one user complained.

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