Let's cut to the chase: id America's Spark IDH 102 in-ears (MSRP $59.95) are great headphones, and we have the data to prove it. Time in the lab revealed no significant tracking errors, no audible distortion, and a very detailed, healthy frequency response. Talk about a win.
A snappy look and a portable build
The Spark IDH 102 headphones are essentially everything you need in a set of in-ears: portable, attractive, and accentuated with helpful extras. I snagged a set in white and silver to test out, but the company also offers them in a handsome black scheme.
My one complaint is the remote: The one-button affair takes calls and moves forward and backwards through songs, but it won't adjust volume. If you rely on volume controls and you're on the move as much as I am, you may want to consider other options.
The rest is just as it should be. These headphones include removable sleeves in small, medium, and large measurements to suit ears of all sizes. While the sturdy rubber cable seems durable enough, users are also supplied with a petite hard carry case. To round it out, id America topped these in-ears with a gold-plated jack.
To find out how the Spark IDH 102s emphasize various sounds along the audible spectrum, I ran a test to measure the product's frequency response. Good news here: I discovered a bass-forward soundscape, but one also marked by plenty of detail throughout the midrange and high-end. So while listeners will enjoy a rich foundation in bass and sub-bass, instruments like harp and flute don't get overwhelmed thanks to proper emphasis throughout.
The Sparks also tested with less than 3% total harmonic distortion (THD), which is what we always hope to find. In fact, with the sole exception of the sub-bass range, these in-ears keep distortion below 2%. There are higher measures of up to 9% in the sub-bass range, but this is forgivable because human ears are far less sensitive to that portion of the range.
Practice safe listening and keep volume below 108.8dB in order to enjoy distortion-free listening. If you crank tunes above that mark, the distortion leaps to more than 3%, sticking you with clipped harmonics and added, unwanted noise.
A detailed, well-balanced soundscape
Proper balance, low distortion, adequate isolation, and detailed sound mean one thing: These Spark in-ears are great performers.
Bass notes get a modest boost, delivering just enough bump, bump, bump in the low end. Too often, a boost in the bass range can come at the expense of middle and high notes, but not here: A raspy singing voice, a piping piccolo, twinkling percussion—these middle and high notes are perfectly audible thanks to proper emphasis throughout. Whether it's pop, jazz, or opera, this is a very detailed soundscape.
As an additional bonus, we tested no audible distortion and proper balance in volume between the left and right speakers. Lastly, while we've certainly tested better isolation on other in-ear headphones this year, these Sparks still block a fair measure of middle and high-pitched disturbances. To learn more about the test results, just check out the Science Page.
A worthy contender
The Spark IDH 102 headphones ($59.95) by id America deliver excellent sound quality for a reasonable price. Extras like the tiny hard carry case and the small/medium/large speaker sleeves dress the package up quite a bit, and the pretty design sweetens the deal even more.
The one-button remote is a letdown for the multitaskers of the world, but if you can live with that then these are worth serious consideration. They aren't without some low-priced, cutthroat competition, but the Spark IDH 102 in-ears are still an excellent, high-quality bet.
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Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email