My relationship with headphones started with a Sennheiser HD-555 in 2008, followed by an AKG K272 in 2009. I think both are classified as mid-range headphones by their manufacturers. I was content with the pair and didn’t feel the need for an upgrade. My only audio-related purchase after them was a Schiit Magni+Modi in February of this year.

The Apple EarPods I used when I was out of the house were starting to grate on me, which prompted me to look for something I can use outside. Enter thinksound’s ms01. They’re priced at $90 and making claims major manufacturers made with headphones that cost twice as much. “Too good to be true”, but the reluctance to spend much more than $100 on headphones that I have to take outside into the ungentle world motivated me sufficiently enough to buy them.

The sound is perfect. I hear details in the background that I’ve never heard before with my other headphones. The music comes out with a certain depth and layering that make my other headphones sound hollow and flat. I don’t mean to exaggerate, as the difference is not as stark as it was in 2008’s upgrade, but there is a very noticeable difference in back-to-back testing.

Downsides? The little thinksound logo printed on the wood housing was scraped off with a fingernail. Also, I get noticeable noise from every source that I’ve plugged them into, even with the volume at zero. Where there’s power there’s noise.

Still, these minor issues are minor. I often found myself fantasizing and almost seriously considering Sennheiser’s $1500 HD-800, imagining the aural bliss that they probably provide their owner with. Yet, after hearing what thinksound can do with $90 my pining has been redirected towards thinksound’s On1, which sells for a more modest $250.