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dsnuts, you were in a unique position to ask why your original sample was so inferior to the second the company shared with you.
This leaves everyone wondering -- which version would I get?
Did you ask and did you find out anything specific?
The first review sample was a dud. The final tuning of the earphones was not on the first review sample. I got confirmation from another headfier that he also got a dud for a sample. So these are samples only and was never intended for final sale.
The review sample was also in a different color as they were considering a clear housing which actually looked pretty cool but they decided to go with a darker blue color for the final shell color. The 2nd sample I got was not only the final colored housing but also had the intended tuning of the earphones that I did my review on.
The first clear bad sample the sound was crazy bad I even mentioned to the guys at Massdrop how disappointed I was in the tuning. I have heard some bad sounding earphones before but not quite like these. I thought the sound needed a good burn in as I have actually had a sample of the NE850 from NuForce that I had to burn in for a good 2 weeks before I felt the sound was finally realized. The bad review sample was all bass very flat mid range and almost zero highs. The very definition of mud. I thought the guys as Massdrop was off their rocker when they sent me that sample
I did an extra aggressive burn in on the bad sample as I had nothing to loose. I was playing my burn in files at sound levels not safe for any living being let me put it that way. Nothing was gonna change how they sounded. The mids did open up a bit but the highs were still missing. That was when I got the good sample.
The good sample is night and day different from the bad one. You guys have to remember all of this is early so I can understand sometimes a bad review sample of a phone that is not quite in production could happen. I don't expect anything like that bad sample to get past NuForce QC however on the final product.