Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone Review

Affordable earphones need not be technologically dull as Lindy demonstrates

by Ed Selley
Hi-Fi Review

3

Recommended
Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone Review
SRP: £69.98

What is the Lindy IEM 75?

Sooner or later I was going to have to come back down to earth in terms of headphones and earphones. After £600 Sennheisers, £1,100 Oppos and even £300 Grados, it is time to return to terrestrial pricing for a bit rather than remain purely elitist. Part of me is naturally always a little disappointed to go back to budget pricing; there’s a distinct lack of shiny wooden presentation boxes and exotic bits of the periodic table for starters but at the same time, there is impressive innovation on display at this end of the market too.

When you are developing a product on a sizeable budget, there are very few limits on the technology you can include if you are minded to do so. When you have rather less funds to play with, multiple armatures, ceramic bodies and all manner of other technical whizz bangs are off the menu. At the same time, with literally dozens of rivals fighting for the same business, you can’t just churn out a pair of identikit earphones and hope for the best.

This means that companies are required to innovate on a budget and what you see here is an earphone that does just that from a company that has to be in the running for ‘most extensive company you have no perception of.’ I had naively assumed that Lindy was a small company, probably UK based, that did a few audio accessories. In reality, the company is German, has been around since 1932 (although it concentrated initially on petroleum accessories) and has a truly whopping product range of electronics, cables and network infrastructure. As they are clearly a company with hidden talents, what happens when they release an earphone?

Lindy IEM 75 Design

Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
The IEM 75 is the only in ear earphone in the Lindy range and is yours for the curiously specific price of £69.98. Although I have been impressed at the reduction in price points that you can find armature based designs on sale for of late, with Final breaking the £100 barrier with the Heaven II, £70 is firmly into dynamic driver territory and the IEM 75 is no exception in this regard. The IEM 75 makes use of a 15mm dynamic driver which is big but not hugely unusual in terms of what everyone else is up to.

Where the IEM 75 is decidedly more unusual is that this 15mm driver is joined by a 7mm dynamic driver to handle high frequencies. Multiple armature designs are not especially unusual- the limited bass output of that driver means that asking them to do different parts of the frequency range is perfectly logical. Equally, we’ve seen armatures underpinned with dynamic drivers to increase the bass response. With dynamic drivers, there is no reason why the 15mm driver of the IEM 75 could not be called upon to produce the 8Hz-20kHz range that Lindy claims for the design, the division across two drivers should serve to smooth things out, provided of course that the crossover is up to the task.
Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
To accommodate a 15mm driver, the housing of the IEM 75 is by necessity fairly big and rather than try and make it an inline teardrop shape, it mounts the rubber dome that sits in the ear canal at an angle on a port tube that projects from the main housing. This means that the main body of the IEM 75 sits in the pinna of the ear and is partially supported by it. This is always a slightly risky design decision to take as- squishy and biological that we are- the angle of the ear canal relative to the pinna and the size of the pinna itself is not consistent. I found the Lindy to be pretty comfortable but my wife was far less convinced.

The IEM 75 is supplied with different sized rubber domes to aid fitting and it seems there is a hitherto unknown size table in use in Germany for earphone buds as these come is slightly different increments to the ones I’m used to. This meant that the ‘medium’ bud that came fitted was bigger than I expected and almost but maddeningly not quite a perfect fit. This in turn meant that the large dome is a big lad and in turn a little bit bigger than I’d really like to live with. This is not the end of the world- aftermarket domes are available in vast numbers and the tube of the IEM 75 looks like a completely standard fit- but it did make getting a truly comfortable fit a little bit harder.
Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
Everything feels solid and likely to last
The overall design of the Lindy is good for the asking price. As you might expect, the housings are plastic rather than metal but the chrome finish is well applied and looks very smart. Everything feels solid and likely to last and standard earphone weak points like the point where the cable joins the housing has been beefed up to make sure that it will withstand a bit of abuse. Lindy kindly supplies a little leather pouch to carry the IEM 75s around although in their desire to keep it sealed from the outside world does mean that it is extremely stiffly sprung. Another area where a great deal of attention has been lavished and I’m not completely sure why is the box the IEM 75 is supplied in. As a point of reference, it is a nicer thing that Sennheiser supplies for the IE800 in at £600 but equally, Sennheiser has recognised that once you’ve bought your earphones, the box is almost completely redundant. Still- full marks for trying.

One less satisfactory area of the Lindy is the absence of an inline remote and mic on the cable. £70 is prime ‘buying for smartphones’ territory and a number of rivals are suitably equipped. Without it, using the Lindy means fishing for your phone to change tracks and disconnecting it to make a call. While it is equally true that (much) more expensive designs are also not fitted with remotes and mics, the way that the IEM 75 is likely to be used makes this more of a problem. On the plus side, the 1.2 metre length of the cable is almost the perfect length and the straight plug connection doesn’t snag on pockets.

Lindy IEM 75 Setup

The Lindy has gone through the standard test process for earphones being used with a Lenovo T530 ThinkPad with and without a Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS, Google Nexus 5 smartphone and an iPad 3. This meant that the IEM 75s could be tested with lossless and high res FLAC via Foobar, compressed material such as Spotify, Grooveshark and internet radio as well as TV services like Netflix and iPlayer.

Lindy IEM 75 Sound Quality

Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
The IEM 75s arrived absolutely brand new with plastic wrapping on the box and that splendid new electronics smell to them. This meant that they hadn’t done any running and fresh out of the box, the performance was a little confused. There was a distinct lack of fine detail and the relationship between the two drivers seemed argumentative rather than complimentary. As I’ve had plenty to be getting on with, I plugged them into an old iPhone on loop and left them for two days. As such, I don’t know exactly how long the run in is but when I returned to the Lindys the news was rather better.

With a few hours under its belt, the IEM 75 manages to overcome the big impediment it showed without the run in. The twin driver arrangement is usefully seamless and it is effectively impossible to tell when one driver ends and the other begins. As mentioned before, there is nothing about the quoted frequency response of the Lindy that is truly exceptional but the effortlessness that it reaches the audible extremes of it is worthy of note. The bass response in particular is effortlessly deep- listening to Karl Hyde’s The Night Slips Us Smiling Underneath Its Dress with its deep electronic rumbles is extremely satisfying. In truth, with a relatively big dynamic driver being used, this should not be too surprising but where the IEM 75 has an ace up its sleeve is that second driver. This means that the 15mm driver operates in its comfort zone and the Lindy is free of the slightly strained top end that can result from using a large driver full range.
Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
With two drivers (and therefore a crossover arrangement however basic) present in each enclosure the next real surprise that the IEM 75 is impressively sensitive. Thanks to reasonable noise isolation, you never feel like you are trying to drown out the world and this is coupled with the ability to go loud on fairly limited volume input. This means that if you are the proud owner of a phone with a fairly feeble headphone output like my Nexus 5, the Lindy is immediately appealing. On the end of a more muscular headphone output like the DacMagic XS or an iPad, the IEM 75 can go deafeningly loud without any apparent signs of strain. This does make action TV material on Netflix a very satisfying thing and the Lindy is a good partner for late light listening and TV catch-up.

One aspect of the performance from pre run in that never fully resolves itself though is fine detail retrieval. Even with the drivers run in and complimenting each other nicely, the IEM 75 never offers the resolution that the fractionally more expensive Final Heaven II can with the same material- although equally, the Final doesn’t have a hope in hell of matching the bass impact of the Lindy. When listening to well recorded acoustic material, it is slightly hard to escape from the sense that the Lindy is giving you the broad strokes version rather than the truly accurate picture of what is going on. This does tend to mean that the jump in performance from compressed to uncompressed material is not as pronounced as it is with some rivals.
Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone
the IEM 75 can go deafeningly loud without any apparent signs of strain
Every cloud has a silver lining though and in this case it stems from the Lindy being consistently forgiving of less than perfect material. Nothing on Spotify or Grooveshark proved a challenge and even low bitrate internet radio is generally listenable. The copious low and reasonable sensitivity mean that the slightly mushy and strident top end that can come from high compression is never too evident. There is also a sense of fun to the way that the Lindy goes about making music. Anything with a beat is usually reproduced with enough drive and energy to be entertaining and I’ve spent time listening to the Lindys when I strictly speaking didn’t have to and this is usually a good sign that the product is delivering an enjoyable sound. If the Final Heaven II is the cheapest high end earphone you can buy, the Lindy is an extremely fine example of a high quality real world earphone.

Verdict

Pros

  • Big, effortless sound
  • Impressively sensitive
  • Nicely built

Cons

  • A little light on detail
  • No inline remote
  • Potentially some comfort issues for some users

Lindy IEM 75 In Ear Earphone Review

In case you are waking from a lengthy coma or have been marooned on a Pacific Island, there is no shortage of earphones on the market at the moment. £70 is a hotly contested price point and I suspect that you could easily find ten rivals to the Lindy at the same price and thirty between £70 and £100. Your choices are essentially endless and there are better known earphone manufacturers with product at this price if you weren’t feeling like taking a chance.

Perhaps as a result of this though, the Lindy really makes an effort to be noticed in this crowded field and it gets more right than it does wrong. I really think it should have an inline remote and mic and having completed the review phase of what’s in the box, I think I’d dispense with the supplied rubber domes and choose some aftermarket ones, but the very fact I won’t be shoving the IEM 75s straight back into the box suggests that they are really quite good. This is a sensitive, well-built and generally comfortable earphone with great sensitivity and an enjoyable sound. If you are looking for a commuting companion, this would be a fine place to start.
Recommended

Scores

Build Quality

.
.
8

Ease of Use

.
.
8

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Design

.
.
8

Sensitivity

.
9

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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