Current testing methodology is v1.2
When you’re in the market for a new pair of earphones, the easy choice is to just look for a “best of” list or ranking from popular review websites.
While this does get you basically what you’re looking for, the current media landscape tends to end up focusing too much on a very small handful of selected products, ignoring the massive ocean of other sources on the market.
It’s hard to find fault in the tried and tested, and popular choices are often called overrated for a reason.
A viable, if unremarkable, earphone option in the ultra-budget category.
The Lafitear LD1 is a fairly competent earphone with decent value at its current asking price.
For around $10, depending on where you shop, it has a pretty solid build and decent quality with an adequately bassy sound signature.
It doesn’t really have anything that lets it stand out from the popular options in the ultra-budget range, but frankly, it doesn’t need to.
- Headphone Type: Closed-back in-ear monitor
- Driver Type: Single 11mm dynamic
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 115 dB/mW
- Impedance: 20 Ohms
- Cable: 1.2m removable cable
- Connector: 3.5mm right-angled connector
What’s in the Box?
- Lafitear LD1 earphones
- Audio cable
- 3 x pairs of silicone ear tips
Stuff I like
- IPX4 water resistance
- Thumpy bass
- Smooth treble without annoying peaks
- Decent clarity and soundstage
Stuff I like less
- Bass can be a bit overbearing
- Comfort is hit-or-miss
- Isolation is lackluster
Comparable products to consider
One of the cheapest IEMs you can buy from a “serious” brand, the KZ EDX may find wider appeal thanks to its more exciting V-shaped sound signature.
It may seem fun to take risks hunting for potential gems in the headphone market as people frankly neither have the time nor budget to test a bunch of otherwise unappreciated products but more often than not, the one you tend to take a risk on turns out to be not all that outstanding.
The earphone I’m reviewing today, the Lafitear LD1, is one of those.
A Bit of Background
Lafitear is another one of many, many earphone brands that sell in the ultra-budget segment, which is generally accepted to be anything below $20.
The Lafitear LD1, priced at anywhere between $6 and $10 depending on where you look, is, from what I can tell, the cheapest model in their catalog.
When you’re aiming for a price range like this, your budget constraints mean that you don’t really have a lot of leeway in terms of how you can design and tune your earphones.
As such, earphones at this price range tend to have a lot of similar qualities that are necessary if they want to compete with the ones that have already made their mark as popular choices.
We’ll see throughout this review how the Lafitear LD1 does just that.
The Lafitear LD1 comes in a decent little box — a bit larger than I expected, but it seems to be consistent with the other LD-series earphones so I guess that’s where they get their cost savings.
As you’d expect, you don’t really get a lot in the LD1’s box. At the very least, you get three pairs of ear tips and the removable cable.
Budget earphone design has come a long way in the past few years, and the Lafitear LD1 demonstrates that quite well.
The removable cables and the chunky “pro earphone” kind of look have become the norm for earphones in this price range nowadays.
One of the nice things about small earphones is that you can get away with using better quality plastics because there’s not a lot of plastic that you use per unit. And while the LD1 isn’t exactly made of unobtainium, the plastics they use feel solid and don’t look like they will fall apart anytime soon.
Fit and Comfort
As it is with these monitor-type earphone designs though, the fit of the Lafitear LD1 can be a hit or miss.
With more typical barrel-type designs, you only have to worry about how the ear tips get into your ears. In this case, you’d have to deal with how the housing fits in your concha (the space on your earlobes just outside the ear canal).
In my case, I didn’t encounter any major issues, but other earphones like the KZ EDX have a more comfortably molded housing that says to me that the LD1 could’ve done a bit better.
Pun not intended, the Lafitear LD1 could be described as having an L-shaped sound signature.
This kind of sound generally has a substantial boost in the bass with not much done to the rest of the frequency range.
The bass on the LD1 is actually done pretty well for an earphone at this price.
As someone who prefers a more neutral sound signature, I’d say that the LD1 sounds a bit too bassy, but it isn’t overbearing and should be fine for most listeners.
Compared to my reference headphones and earphones, the LD1 offers a bit more punch (in the mid and upper-bass) than rumble (in the sub-bass).
I noticed a bump in the upper bass in the intro of Charlie Puth’s “Light Switch” which contributes to a bit of a submerged sort of resonance.
All things considered, though, the Lafitear LD1 does manage to rein in its bass well enough to keep the rest of the frequencies nice and clear.
Bassier earphones tend to have trouble with songs like “lagtrain” by inabakumori, especially with how Kaai Yuki’s unique voice quality lends itself to being drowned out by the bass of the backing track.
Moving towards the top end, the LD1 still manages to keep its composure with decent clarity towards the top of its FR reach.
It’s nowhere near as bright as the V-shaped treble one will hear on the KZ EDX and instead, it takes a much smoother approach that’s a lot less fatiguing to listen to.
This approach does have its drawbacks in some songs. One example is Anomalie’s “Memory Leaves”, which is mastered with a bit of a rolled-off top end already and the lack of extra sparkle from the LD1 here means the bass ends up getting a bit excessive.
The LD1’s soundstage is fairly decent — nothing that would grab the attention of audiophiles any more than it already can. It’s really hard to rag on it, especially for the price.
At the very least, it’s comparable to something like the TRN MT1 and is indicative of the major strides in earphone quality that we’ve seen over the years.
As mentioned, the Lafitear LD1 tends to go for below $10 depending on where you look, which puts it in the spitting range of popular earphones like the TRN MT1 and the KZ EDX.
I find it pretty fair to say that none of these earphones is particularly outstanding — all three are more or less identical in terms of the features they offer as well as their technical ability.
Being quite cheap, it’s hard to fault them for that, though.
And let’s not forget, there are far more expensive earphones and headphones that do a worse job than the Lafitear LD1. Where it stands, it’s quite a good bargain.
One extra thing to take into account, however, is shipping costs, which can stack quite a bit on top of that initial asking price. While the links we’ve provided so far take you to AliExpress, different shopping platforms may have them in stock depending on where you’re located.
For every standout performer that comes out in the market nowadays — every Moondrop Chu, every 7Hz Salnotes Zero — there are tens, if not dozens more that fall through the cracks of the audiophile community’s butt, never to get the same kind of attention.
The Lafitear LD1 is one of those earphones.
Now, I don’t want to make these out as the next budget gem for audiophiles, and from what I can tell, this wasn’t what they were made for, either. But I think that’s totally fine.
It’s not the type to win any awards, but neither of the two other earphones I mentioned is any better.
If you’re looking for a straightforward and affordable earphone at this price point, the Lafitear LD1 may not be the best or even a popular option, but they’re a good option — and that, at least, is enough.
This post was last updated on 2023-12-03 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.