ROAM ROPES product review on pcmag.com
TIM GIDEON – It’s safe to say we haven’t come across a pair of Bluetooth earphones like the Roam Ropes Wireless before. They fit almost like a necklace and are meant to be worn even when not in use. You could mistakenly assume they are only meant as a fashion statement, but the Ropes also deliver powerful audio that is customizable using a free app. While the unique design will be undoubtedly irksome to some, if the look is appealing to you, the audio won’t disappoint.
Available in black, red, or orange (the orange model is for Stand Up To Cancer, and a portion of the price will be donated to the charity), the Ropes reimagine how earphones should look, feel, and fit, and not everyone will be interested in the result. They are designed to be worn, almost like a unisex necklace, whether you are using them or not. The fit and feel is secure enough, but requires some adjustment using the cable cinches.
A rather large, rectangular compartment—the EQ Engine—dangles prominently from the neck. The naming of the compartment is a tad confusing, as plenty of earphones allow the user to adjust the EQ, and an added external compartment is not part of the process. The compartment houses the power and Bluetooth buttons, as well as the micro USB port for the included charging cable. According to Roam, the EQ Engine also houses “a powerful differential amplifier, 4.0 Bluetooth chipset, bypass and multiplexer circuitry,” as well as the battery. It’s also where the 24-bit DAC and ADC are located. So, it’s clearly housing essential buttons and circuitry, we just wonder if it couldn’t have been more gracefully placed.
The inline three-button remote control and mic are located nearest the right ear’s cable, with controls for playback, track navigation, call management, and volume. The volume controls work in conjunction with your mobile device’s master volume levels.
The Ropes also ship with four pairs of silicone eartips, as well as a black protective pouch with a magnetic, snap-shut cover and a micro USB-to-3.5mm cable for wired listening.
App, Performance, and Conclusions
The aforementioned Roam EQ app makes it possible to seriously alter the sound signature of the headphones, or to simply make subtle adjustments to the default sound signature. You can also adjust the DSP (digital signal processing), which, in this case, is less about dynamics management and really consists of what amounts to two audio effects: a Dynamic Bass Boost and a Spectral Effect. Audiophiles won’t have much use for these controls, which essentially alter the mix in ways nomix engineer is hoping listeners go for, but the DSP will be entertaining for some, and it can also be completely disabled, so there’s no harm in its inclusion. The EQ works quite well, and I did prefer tweaking the Ropes’ sound signature a bit for my own tastes. You can also share your EQ tweaks with other users.
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