Reviewed on Jul 05, 2017

Symphonized NRG 3.0 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.4
Mixed Usage
6.0
Critical Listening
6.8
Commute/Travel
7.3
Sports/Fitness
6.4
Office
5.6
TV
6.3
Gaming
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Symphonized NRG 3.0 are a decently well-built, budget in-ear headphones. Unfortunately, their sound quality is a bit too dark and won't be ideal for more critical listeners. On the upside, they're easy to carry on you at all times, and they're stable enough to use while running. They also block a decent amount of ambient noise despite being completely passive headphones.

Test Results
Design 7.3
Sound 5.7
Isolation 8.4
Microphone 6.5
Active Features 0
Connectivity 5.5
Pros
  • Portable and stable design.
  • Good noise isolation.
  • Minimal leakage.
Cons
  • Sub-par sound quality.
  • In-ear fit not always comfortable.
  1. Update 2/16/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 10/2/2017: The microphone has been tested with our new methodology, as explained here
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

Check Price

Black Night NRG 3.0
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
7.3

Design

The NRG 3.0 are decently well-built but straightforward in-ear headphones. They have the typical in-ear fit which isn't for everyone and come with a relatively cheap looking carrying pouch. However, they're just stable enough to run with despite not having any stability tips and they're easy to carry on your person since they will fit in pretty much any bag or pocket. Their wooden design makes them feel somewhat unique but they don't feel particularly premium and won't stand out when compared to other budget in-ears (see our recommendations for the best budget earbuds).

Style

The Symphonized NRG 3.0 have a simple and straightforward in-ear design with wooden earbuds that give them a bit more flare. They have a decently rubberized cable with a two-tone color scheme that makes them stand out. However, they don't look or feel particularly premium.

6.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The NRG 3.0 have a typical in-ear fit, which may not be comfortable for everyone. They come with several tips of varying sizes but no foam ones for a more comfortable fit. On the upside, the tip material is quite flexible, and if you're used to in-ear models, these headphones shouldn't feel any different.

7.0 Controls
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : No

The buttons on the in-line remote provide good tactile feedback and are fairly easy to use. They offer call/music, track skipping, and volume control but they're a bit small. However, they're sufficiently well spaced out and shouldn't be too difficult to use in most situations.

9.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 0.7 C
9.3 Portability
L : 1.7 "
W : 1.6 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 2.7 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most in-ear models, these headphones are highly portable. They will easily fit into your bag or pockets. If you're often out and about and need to carry your headphones on your person, the NRG 3.0 shouldn't be much of a hassle. However, they only come with a pouch which is portable but doesn't protect the headphones much.

5.5 Case
Type : Pouch
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

Comes with a simple pouch that will protect the headphones from getting tangled with other things in your pocket or bag but will not protect them against impacts or water damage.

7.0 Build Quality

The NRG 3.0 feel decently durable. The cables are moderately thick and rubberized. The in-line control module is also well put together and feels relatively dense and the wooden ear buds won't break easily even after multiple drops. However, since the earbuds dont have a uni-body design some parts may become loose after extended use. The cable is also not detachable like some of the more expensive in-ear models. For better-built in-ears, take a look at the KZ AS-10, ZS-10 or ZSN models.

7.0 Stability

These headphones are decently stable for running. The in-ear fit buries the ear buds relatively deep within the ear canal and the tips are flexible enough to conform to the shape of your ears. This makes them relatively hard to dislodge during casual listening sessions. They're sufficiently stable to jog with, but lack stability tips so a sharp tug on the audio cable will quickly pull the buds out of your ears. They're decent for sports but might not be the best under strenuous exercise conditions (see our recommendations for the best earbuds for working out)

Cable
Detachable : No
Length : 4.3 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS
Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
5.7

Sound

The Symphonized NRG 3.0 are a poor and dark sounding pair of in-ears. They have low distortion, an extended Bass and a good Mid range. However, their Bass is excessive and boomy, their Mid range tends to sound a bit muddy, and they have a Treble that lacks detail and presence. They also don't have an immersive and spacious Soundstage, and the L/R drivers of our test unit were rather mismatched.

6.4 Bass
Std. Err.
:
5.31 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
5.04 dB
Mid-Bass
:
5.47 dB
High-Bass
:
6.94 dB

Mediocre Bass Range performance. The response is relatively flat, but consistently over our target by more than 5dB. This makes the sound of these headphones noticeably bass-heavy. Also, the additional bump in high-bass adds boominess to the Bass Range.

7.7 Mid
Std. Err.
:
3.12 dB
Low-Mid
:
3.48 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-2.28 dB
High-Mid
:
-2.63 dB

Good Mid Range performance. Low-mid shows about 3dB overemphasis which is the continuation of the high-bass bump. Hyped low-mid tends to add a muddy quality to the sound. Mid and high-mid are recessed by a couple of dBs, pushing vocals/leads slightly to the back of the mix.

5.1 Treble
Std. Err.
:
5.81 dB
Low-Treble
:
-5.43 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-3.12 dB
High-Treble
:
-9.01 dB

Poor Treble Range performance. Low-treble is underemphasized by more than 5dB, negatively affecting the detail and presence of vocals/leads. Treble and high-treble are both rather inconsistent and underemphasized, adding to the dark and bass-heavy sound of these headphones.

9.5 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.11 dB

Excellent frequency response consistency. If the user is able to achieve a proper seal and fit using the variety of tips that comes with the NRG 3.0, then they should be able to achieve consistent performance each time.

7.6 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.12
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
2.75
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.87
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.03
1.0 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.3
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
0
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB
8.0 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.512
Weighted THD @ 100
:
2.338

Very good Harmonic Distortion performance. The overall level of harmonic distortion is within good limits throughout the range, even at 100dB SPL. However, the peaks around 600Hz and 3KHz could make the reproduction slightly harsh.

8.4

Isolation

The NRG 3.0 only isolate passively against ambient noise. Luckily they create a decent enough seal within your ear canal that prevents a good amount of noise from seeping into your audio. They won't be as good as noise canceling headphones for commuting but if you're playing music at moderate volumes the isolation should be more than enough for most moderately loud environments. They also barely leak which makes them a good option to use in quieter settings, as you will rarely distract those around you even at high volumes.

7.7 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-21.47 dB
Bass
:
-5.49 dB
Mid
:
-18.75 dB
Treble
:
-41.34 dB
Self-Noise
:
0 dB

Good Isolation. These headphones don't have active noise cancellation and isolate by plugging the ear canal. In the Bass Range they achieve 5dB of reduction which is followed by 19dB of reduction in the Mid and more than 40dB of reduction in the Treble Ranges.

10 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
21.21 dB

Excellent Leakage performance. The NRG 3.0 has one of the quietest leakages we have measured so far. The do not leak in the Bass and Mid ranges, and their Treble range leakage will be very quiet.

6.5

Microphone

Integrated
:
No
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A
6.5 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
285.09 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
1.84 dB
HFE
:
2152.7 Hz
Weighted THD
:
0.16
Gain
:
23.27 dB
6.6 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
17.58 dB
0

Active Features

No active features.

N/A Battery
Battery Type
:
N/A
Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

No compatible app.

5.5

Connectivity

0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
0 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
10 Latency
Default Latency
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

In the box

  • Symphonized NRG 3.0 In-Ear Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x6 sizes)
  • Carrying pouch
  • Manual

Compared to other Headphones

See our recommendations for the best headphone brands, the best earbuds under $50, and the best cheap earbuds.

Betron YSM1000
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Betron YSM1000 and Symphonized NRG 3.0 are very similar headphones and perform quite similarly. They have a similar in-ear fit, but the NRGs have more tip options. They also have better isolation performance and practically don’t leak at all. On the other hand, the Betron have a better in-line remote that feels more responsive, have a better microphone, and they have slightly less overemphasized bass.

KZ ZSN
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZSN are better headphones than the Symphonized NRG 3.0. They have a more comfortable fit, are better-built, and have a noticeably better sound quality. On the other hand, the NRG 3.0 have more lightweight and their in-ear fit has better isolation performance. They also have a microphone that our model of the KZ ZSN doesn’t have, but there is a model variant with one. Overall, the KZ ZSN should be a better choice for music, but the NRG 3.0 could be a better option for everyday casual use.

6.4 Mixed Usage

The NRG 3.0 are decently versatile headphones. They isolate well despite only being passive headphones and they're also easy to carry around on your person thanks to their small size. They have a moderately sturdy build quality and an above-average control scheme, unfortunately, they have a poor sound that's not ideal for critical listeners.

6.0 Critical Listening

Mediocre-at-best for critical listening. They have a slightly bass-heavy reproduction that sounds muddy and boomy. That and the lacking treble range gives these headphones a dark audio reproduction that drowns the detail of instruments and vocals on most tracks. They also have a poor Soundstage due to their closed back in-ear design.

6.8 Commute/Travel

Above-average for commuting. They're lightweight, ultra portable headphones that passively block a good amount of noise. They won't be the best in very loud environments but they can handle the level of noise of a busy commute.

7.3 Sports/Fitness

Above-average for sports use. They have a stable in-ear fit, which won't easily fall out of your ears when running or jogging. They're also easy to carry around on your person or in your bag.

6.4 Office

Above-average for office use. They prevent a fair bit of noise from entering your audio. They also barely leak so they won't distract your colleagues in quieter environments.

5.6 TV

Decent for home theater use. If you watch movies on a PC or tablet than the relatively short cable and low latency of a wired connection should be good enough. However, the lack of range makes them poorly suited to watch TV from your couch, unless you have an audio cable extension cord.

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