Snugs Original S10 full review
If you struggle with in-ear headphones which are uncomfortable and keep falling out then welcome to the world of custom mould headphones. Here's our Snugs Original review. See also: Best headphones 2016.
Read our review of the Snugs True Wireless.
Snugs Original review: Price
There are many different pairs of headphones available from Snugs including wireless ones and versions for specific tasks like Active, Flight and Aqua – you can guess what they are for.
We've reviewed the new Snugs Original here, which are the company's first pair of headphones to go with the moulds – it previously offered buds from the likes of SoundMagic.
The Snugs Original price is £199 which includes the process of scanning your ears to create an impression for the moulds. If you already have impressions, they cost £159.
Snugs Original review: Scanning and design
Buying Snugs is quite different to regular headphones since they're custom made for your ears. Fortunately long gone are the days of filling your ears with putty in order to create an impression of your ear canal.
If you live in or near London you can visit one of the central scanning centres or pay a small fee to have a technician visit your home or office. If you're not near London then the Snugs team will arrange for you to visit a fitting centre for traditional physical impressions.
It's a quick an easy process which requires you to simply sit still while wearing a headband while the engineer carefully make a digital impression of the inside of your ear with a fancy scanner. At worst it will tickle a little bit.
Once you're done, and you've chosen your model and colours, the custom moulds for ear will be 3D printed and then will arrive in the post.
In terms of design, Snugs look quite unusual (but cool) if you haven't seen moulds before. They come with a small logo and your name printed on the side in different colours so you know easily know which is left and right.
If that's too subtle you can get each ear in a different colour, of which there are 10 to choose from.
Our Snugs Original didn't arrive with the mould in the correct orientation to the headphone buds (ie so the wires point downwards) so you might need to adjust them which can be quite difficult and you'll want to avoid doing this by the wire coming out of the bud which feels a little delicate on the Original model.
The cable length is a pretty standard 1.2m and you get a nice compact hard carry case, too. There’s an in-line control which sits at around chin level offering a mic for calls and a play/pause button.
Snugs Original review: Comfort and sound quality
If you've never worn custom moulded headphones before then they will take a while to get used to. As mentioned above, the first thing to do is get the ear buds facing the right way in relation to the mould.
Getting them into position is one of the hardest things to learn but we got the hang of it within a week – hint, the tip faces far more vertically than you might expect – but if you're struggling, the headphones are supplied with a small tube of cream to help.
Although this is a review of the Snugs Original, it's well worth noting that you can get Snugs Only if you have an existing pair of headphones which you'd like custom moulds for. The firm doesn't make them for every pair on the market so get in touch to find out if yours are compatible. We got some for the Bose QC20 in-ears and they fit very nicely indeed.
Once you're used to them, the Snugs moulds are exceptionally comfortable. It's beyond the comfort that you'll get from a standard ear bud tip thanks to the custom shape which fits the contours of your ears perfectly and the soft medical grade silicone. We typically find ourselves adjusting in-ear headphones but Snugs stay put like magnets.
As a review who has typically struggled to find in-ear headphones that a) are comfortable and b) don't fall out every few minutes, the Snugs are something of a revelation. These will not fall out even if you're doing something energetic and remain comfortable after hours of constant use. In fact, at times you'll forget they're even there.
Comfort benefits aside, the moulded fit brings audio-related bonuses too. The close fit means you get natural noise isolation and minimal leakage so you don't need to pump the volume to hear adequately.
Moving onto the headphones themselves, which as we mentioned earlier, are the first which Snugs has made itself rather than using in-ears from existing audio companies.
They are the Snugs S10 offering an 8mm titanium composite drivers with a frequency response of 20-20,000Hz (the same as human hearing). You can also opt for SoundMagic E10S for an extra £10 or go for Flare R2 drivers if you’re happy to pay an additional £100 compared to the S10.
It’s important to note that the moulds make a big impact on the sound quality here so we’re speaking to the package as a whole, not just the headphones inserted into the tip. Snugs are likely to improve the experience of your current in-ear headphones compared to the supplied tips.
Using the new S10 drivers with the Snugs moulded tips provides an excellent sound quality. The cosy fit really helps with bass and you’ll feel more immersed because of it. It’s not the best bass we’ve heard from in-ears but it’s decent for everything from both dance music, to the kick drum of rock or the double bass in a folk band.
The mid-range is impressive too with bags or presence and clarity, too. This means vocals sound intimate and you can hear every pluck of a guitar string as if you were playing it – if the recording is any good, of course.
One downside is the high-end which isn’t as pronounced compared to the mid and low end. It’s not a huge problem but can, at times, make the mix sound a bit muddy. With the E10S drivers only a small £10 extra you might as well go for it.
Snugs Original S10: Specs
- Medical grade silicone tips
- 8mm drivers
- 20-20000Hz frequency range
- 1.2m cable
- 3.5mm jack gold plated
- In-line mic and control
- Hard carry case