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, he had inserted the leads in reverse, causing the drivers to be out of phase – a mistake that can significantly impact audio quality.

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.

Why it Matters

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)

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. 

The way earbuds sit in the ear can also affect the frequency response. An incorrect fit can alter the balance of frequencies, making the audio sound different than intended. Basically, an incorrect fit can lead to a noticeable loss of bass, muffled treble, and overall poor sound quality.

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. 


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