Portable electronics aren't particularly known for being environmentally friendly, mainly because of how difficult they are to dispose of and the materials that go into making them. Headphones certainly don't seem low-impact, with their long plastic cords and metal, plastic, and silicone components. However, Thinksound is aiming to change all that with two new lines of earphones designed with the smallest eco-footprint possible. One of the models is the TS01 10mm earphones, an $80 set that sells for closer to $55 online.
Like other "natural" earbuds we've seen, such as theand the Woodees, the TS01 headphones feature earpieces that are constructed of wood. You can choose from two finishes, a lighter silver-and-cherry model and a richer black-and-chocolate model. In keeping with its mantra, Thinksound receives the wood from easily renewable sources. In addition, the packaging that the headphones come in is made from recycled products and the cable, which measures 50 inches, is PVC-free. And, of course, the included pouch is biodegradable cotton.
Another nice thing about the TS01 10mm headphones is that the earpieces are downright tiny, and Thinksound includes four sizes of silicone eartips in the box, so you have XS, S, M, and L. The downside for some is that the large sleeves may not be quite large enough, but the earphones are a great choice for small-eared users. We were able to achieve a good seal with the small tips and found the earbuds comfortable for a couple of hours, but not all day. The cable seems rather thin, but it's quite flexible and the gold-plated straight-plug is surrounded by a thick housing for reinforcement. Where the cord attaches to the earpieces seems more fragile.
Like other wood earbuds we've listened to, the TS01 earphones offered a more natural sound during testing, with a bit more resonance than you might experience from plastic or metal 'buds. However, these weren't quite as open-sounding as the Woodees or even the Timbres, likely because the earpieces are quite a bit smaller. However, the 10mm driver does offer an impressive amount of bass, though we could detect a bit of distortion for some tracks. All in all, we found music to be fairly balanced, with warm mids that are maybe a touch forward at times and reasonably detailed highs. We really enjoyed dance pop, hip-hop, and electronica through these, so if those are the genres you tend to like, the TS01 earbuds are a good choice, especially if you can find them for less than $50.