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Headphones

X-mini's Xtlas Plus earphones: Great triple-driver sound, low price

The hybrid triple-driver system packs some bass while delivering clear highs.

x-minixtlas

The X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones offer great sound without costing too much.

Aloysius Low/CNET

X-mini is best known for its capsule speakers, but the Singaporean company took a new approach last year with new wireless and wired earphones.

I've previously tried out the Evolve speaker headphones and liked them, but I wasn't too sure how the company would fare outside of its comfort zone. Tuning a pair of tiny earphones is a lot different from engineering small speakers for loud sound, after all. But it appears the company's bet for its Xtlas Plus line paid off.

Weighing just 0.6 ounces (17 grams), the Xtlas Plus uses a triple-driver setup with two balanced armature drivers alongside a dynamic one. Pairing a dynamic driver with the armature driver gives it more oomph in the bass department -- in theory, at least. And the Xtlas Plus sort of succeeds on that front.

Braided cables help you avoid tangles.

Aloysius Low/CNET

X-mini's sound tends to focus on the clarity of the trebles, and its earphones pretty much stick to the same formula. The company's speakers usually try not to overdo the bass, and the Xtlas Plus is the same. There are times where you just want a strong bass, especially for electronic tracks, and the Xtlas Plus feels a tad too tame there.

That said, put on tracks with strong vocals and the earphones really shine. The sound is clear and crisp, and you can hear plenty of detail. If you like listening to classical tracks, you'll love how much clarity the Xtlas Plus delivers for each individual instrument. It's also Hi-Res Audio certified.

At S$130 in Singapore (about $95, £75 or AU$135 converted), the X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones are pretty good value for what they offer. There's also a carrying pouch bundled and three pairs of ear tips for the right fit.