The TaoTronics TT-EP01 in-ear headphones are one of only a few truly affordable noise-cancelling in-ear headphones on the market. For a long time, noise cancellation has been associated with companies such as Bose and their very expensive headphones. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of headphones, even though nearly everyone could benefit from owning a pair. TaoTronics, a leading consumer electronics brand established in 2008, sees this untapped market and is fully committed to meeting the customer demand.
Build and Design
We can’t help it, but the TaoTronics TT-EP01 remind us of Sennheiser’s approach to headphone design. The timeless combination of silver with black gives the headphones a professional look that shouldn’t offend anyone’s taste.
TaoTronics spared no expense on the build, using machined aluminum alloy and a gold-plated 3.5mm audio jack. As a result, the headphones feel like a premium product and, above all, are equally durable. The lightweight housing feels like one solid piece that refused to give in no matter how much we abused it.
Included in the box are eartips and earwings of various sizes, so everybody should be able to find the right combination for comfortable listening.
Part of the cable is a three-button in-line remote control for full audio playback. Because the included manual doesn’t specify how to use it, we had to resort to trial-and-error. We’ve discovered that a single click is used for answering and ending phone calls, double click is used for skipping tracks, and triple click allows you to go to the previous track.
Farther down the cable is a small box that houses the Active Noise Cancelling technology and a 140mAh battery. The battery can power the noise cancellation for up to 15 hours, depending on the environment you are in and your volume setting.
The main feature of the TaoTronics TT-EP01 is the Active Noise Cancelling technology, which is controlled by a switch on a separate in-line panel. Even when compared to much more expensive headphones from Bose, we were surprised by how effective it was when dealing with general background noise. At times, ANC managed to get rid of almost all noise, resulting in a much more enjoyable listening experience. Just like Bose headphones, the noise cancelling technology doesn’t work well with speech and sudden, loud noises. In other words, it’s more suited for long plane rides than the typical office environment.
We’ve found out that eartips play a crucial role in how well the noise cancelling works. You want to get as tight seal as you possibly can, even if it means using eartips that feel a bit too large. Perhaps even better, you could replace the included tips with foam eartips from Comply. With a cheap and simple upgrade like this, the TaoTronics TT-EP01 are more than able to suppress most outside noise.
The only downside is the presence of a significant hiss when ANC is activated. You can’t really hear it with when listening at higher volume levels, but it becomes very prominent at lower volume and with ambient music. Other than that, the general sound quality of the headphones is great, with punchy bass and clear articulation of all parts of the frequency range.
What’s in the Box
The box contains your usual assortment of manuals and leaflets, a microUSB cable for charging, an aircraft adapter, and a whole bunch of replaceable eartips and earwings.