Current testing methodology is v1.2
February 26, 2023
5.71 x 4.72 x 2.36 in
I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of the “takedown model” — the budget-friendly version of an expensive product.
It’s quite fun to dig into their design and performance to see what they give up to meet their target price points.
The SIMGOT EA500 is one such earphone.
Derived from the design of the SIMGOT’s flagship EA2000 model, the EA500 tries to pull off similar — or at the very least, great — performance while only coming in at $80.
Being only a quarter of the price of the EA2000, it should be quite an interesting dive to see how the EA500 performs within its constraints.
An earphone that sounds as brilliant as its housings shine in the light.
SIMGOT continues its commitment to fusing form and function with the $80 EA500.
Their shiny, chromed-out housings reflect the earphones’ bright and sparkly presentation — one that can take some time to get used to but can be respected for its technical ability regardless of your preferences.
- Headphone Type: Closed-back in-ear monitor
- Driver Type: Single 10mm DLC (diamond-like carbon) dynamic driver
- Frequency Response: 10 – 50,000 Hz
- Sensitivity: 123 dB
- Impedance: 16 Ohms
What’s in the Box?
- SIMGOT EA500 earphones
- 3 pairs silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
- 2 pairs filters (red ring / black ring)
- Carrying case
- 1.2m silver-plated copper cable (3.5mm to 0.78mm 2-pin)
Stuff I like
- Choice of two excellent tuning filters
- Sparkly, crystal-clear treble
- Gorgeous chrome-plated housings
- Pretty and well-made cable
Stuff I like less
- Gets quite bright
- Treble is sibilant in some recordings
- Housings scratch and smudge easily
Overview and History
Shenzhen-based IEM maker SIMGOT is one of many like it. To the cynical, they’re just another drop in the vast ocean of Chinese-branded earphones.
Against the odds, however, they’ve managed to carve out their spot and gain a bit of a following, and they’ve done this through the vanity approach.
Seriously, SIMGOT knows how to make earphones look good.
From my impressions of their EN700 Pro IEMs that I reviewed some time ago, the brand has earned my respect for their ability to pack great sound in beautiful, almost jewelry-like packages.
And indeed, the EA500 is no different.
Compared to the very fancy packaging of the EN700 Pro, the box of the SIMGOT EA500 doesn’t have quite as much eye candy for us.
But those earphones retail for $150. Even with the tighter budget constraints, SIMGOT manages to still make the EA500’s unboxing experience a treat for the eyes.
Reflective foil and copper-colored detailing are used as accents throughout the box to add a sparkly premium touch to an otherwise simple outer package.
Owing again to its lower price tag, the accessories package of the EA500 isn’t as generous as the EN700 Pro I reviewed previously.
The most notable differences are that you get fewer pairs of ear tips and a simpler black zipper case instead of the brown pleather-lined one with the magnetic clasp.
Ultimately, though, the box isn’t important. What matters are the earphones themselves — and I’m happy to report that SIMGOT cuts no corners when designing these things.
Although I guess that description is a bit inaccurate, since the SIMGOT EA500 had to have a lot of its corners cut to get the housings as smoothly rounded as they are.
I won’t dwell on their looks too much here, because I’m pretty sure most of us can agree that they are some of the best-looking earphones at this price. I’ll just let my photos do the talking.
The mirror-plated housings are made of a dense metal alloy (of what specific material isn’t disclosed) that’s expectedly solid but not too heavy.
This is paired with a twisted SPC (silver-plated copper) cable that could easily pass off as an expensive upgrade cable for a different brand — but for SIMGOT, it seems they were more than fine with putting this right in the box.
Of course, that mirror finish is a bit worrying in the durability department — in the time I’ve spent gathering notes to write this review, there are already a few small scratches on that outer layer. It shouldn’t be too much of a deal-breaker, though.
Fit and Comfort
The rounded shape of the SIMGOT EA500’s housing also helps quite a bit with comfort.
With practically no hard edges wherever the ear pieces make contact, these earphones are easy to wear and keep on the ears without falling out.
The EA500 also fixes a few problems I had with the EN700 Pro.
Its round cable sheath keeps the cable soft and unintrusive on the skin, fixing the tightly braided cable of the EN700 Pro that felt itchy at times.
The EA500’s housings also have a different nozzle design that both pushes the ear tips a bit further into the ear and helps maintain a seal on the outside.
While the fit is still shallower than most IEMs I’ve worn, the SIMGOT EA500 was at least a lot easier to get the right seal compared to the EN700.
I’ve hinted at this throughout the review already, but the SIMGOT EA500 is a brilliant-sounding earphone in more ways than one.
There’s really no other way to put it: the EA500 is bright, almost deafeningly so.
Even though SIMGOT does provide two tuning filters in the box for you to play with, their generally sparkly and energetic demeanor shines through regardless.
Of these two filters, I’ll mainly be focusing my sound assessments on the red-ringed ones that come installed on the EA500 by default.
According to SIMGOT’s marketing, the red filters were aimed at an “H brand curve” — or in other words, the Harman In-Ear Target.
And to my ears, this sounds about right and is probably what most people will stick with after trying both.
The immediate impression I got from the SIMGOT EA500’s low-end is its snappiness.
Whether it was the varied and aggressive dubstep bass lines of KNOWER’s “Time Traveler” or the blistering pace of GYARI’s “RRRepeat!!!”, the EA500 felt very lightfooted and never let any bass impacts overstay their welcome.
While prior experience made me think the sparkling treble helped rein in the bass in some way, turning it down through EQ revealed this wasn’t actually the case.
The EA500’s bass, while decently punchy, is definitely toned down out of the box and doesn’t rumble quite as much as a Moondrop Aria or a KZ ZAR.
Where lesser earphones would have their midrange be tilted by the bass or treble, the SIMGOT EA500 manages to keep its mid-tones fairly balanced and especially clear.
It’s easily some of the best I’ve heard in this price range.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still definitely a cold tilt that you can hear from songs like Shubh Saran’s “Slip”, but I personally found it quite nice to listen to. It adds a bit of an airy quality that reminds me a bit of my main headphones, the AKG K701.
Most listeners might still find it a bit too harsh, though.
The SIMGOT EA500’s treble is a high point of its sound—and quite literally so.
On first listen, these earphones were piercingly bright to my ears as I played Smallpools’ “Million Bucks” through them.
It took a few more songs in the playlist, but I eventually got used to their sound. And the more I adjusted to it, the more I appreciated its nuances.
Where I think this treble tuning shines the most is with drums. The EA500’s excellent detail retrieval is just as beautiful to listen to with the right sounds as it is unforgiving with the “wrong” ones.
As mentioned, our focus here lies in the drums. “The Edge of Time” was produced with a software drum kit using recorded samples, while “Mikasa” was recorded with a live drummer in a studio session—and the treble detail of the EA500 makes this glaringly apparent.
It’s a quality that some listeners would much rather do without — after all, it’s hard to relax to music when your earphones are actively trying to dissect it.
But for someone like me, it’s definitely the kind of sound that’s up my alley.
I’ll admit, I wasn’t very impressed with the EA500’s soundstage at first.
They weren’t too far off from the pairs that I was using as my benchmarks, so they didn’t really come out to me as something very impressive.
However, my benchmarks as I reviewed these were the AKG K371 and K701 — both over-ear headphones and the latter of which was an open-back with a massive soundscape.
Put into the perspective of earphones in their weight class, the EA500 turns out to be extremely competitive.
“Talaarawan” by Ben&Ben was one of the songs that showcased the EA500’s soundstage and imaging abilities.
Each of the 9-piece band’s positions is clearly defined in the mix—from left to right, an acoustic guitar, violin, lead vocals, drums behind that, percussion, piano, and electric guitar, with supporting vocals coming from the other band members.
Being a closed-back IEM, of course, the soundstage isn’t a strong suit for the EA500; it could only do so much, after all.
There’s decent width from left to right, but depth is a bit lacking. This is especially noticeable in songs like Tennyson’s “Body Language”, which is an electronic track that’s mixed entirely along a left-right axis.
As much as I already like the SIMGOT EA500’s Harman-aimed sound out of the box, I can’t just neglect one of its core gimmicks — that being the extra set of provided filters.
Discernible by their black O-rings, these filters give the EA500 an even colder, brighter tilt than it already has.
For those that found its default tonality already harsh and unforgiving, the black filters only make this even worse; heck, even the bass is pulled back to give the upper frequencies more room.
But for those willing to stick it out and try to get accustomed to its quirks, one will find an airy and almost ethereal sound just over the first midrange peak.
It’s an acquired taste, to be sure, but’s definitely worth a try.
At a retail price of $80, the SIMGPT EA500 jumps right into the hyper-competitive battle royale that is the sub-$100 price tier.
In a market that’s already been shaken by earphones like the Moondrop Aria, it’s harder than ever before to shoot for mainstream appeal — and the EA500, despite its technical ability, probably won’t be able to do that.
Is this a problem? If the goal was to be the next Aria, maybe. But the SIMGOT EA500 is not that and depending on what kind of sound you like, it could be even better.
I’m a bit conflicted about recommending the SIMGOT EA500.
On one hand, it’s one of the most technically capable IEMs to come out this year, proving an earphone can sound good while looking good at the same time.
On the other hand, it’s a sound that, like the AKG K701 I use as my reference headphones, not a lot of people will like out of the box.
The SIMGOT EA500 shines clear and bright like a diamond in a world that prefers the earthy warmth of coal. But whether one likes it or not, it’s still a gemstone — and that, at the very least, deserves respect.
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.