Review: Shinola Canfield In-Ear Monitor earbuds nail the premium experience

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in General Discussion
Shinola has improved its headphone game with a wireless Bluetooth version of the sturdy Canfield In-Ear Monitors. AppleInsider leans back in our comfy chair with our favorite playlist to see how they perform.

Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs
Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs


There is a surfeit of headphones on the market, meeting a healthy variety of needs. Shinola has always had its place in that ecosystem, leaning towards the high end with beautiful materials and craftsmanship.

That can be felt in their latest headphones, the Bluetooth version of their popular Canfield In-Ear Monitors.

The Detroit-based fashion brand hasn't been in the headphone market for long, starting off with traditional wired cans before jumping on the Bluetooth bandwagon.

Canfield In-Ear Monitors build quality

These wireless buds have significant heft to them and wonderfully retro build thanks to the exposed screws on the monitors themselves -- something not often seen on in-ear buds.




Even more unique, is the cable is actually removable from each monitor. This should theoretically allow you to swap out the much less expensive cable rather than headphones in their entirety if the need should arise.

The cable is nylon wrapped, which goes a long way to dampen the rustling sound that creeps into your ears while the headphones rub against your collar. A stiffened, Kevlar-lined flat portion of the cable goes behind the neck, connecting two plastic housings -- one on each side -- that sit between the back and the ends.

Powering these bassy-buds is USB-C, a requisite of any modern accessory that needs to be plugged in now, and in the future.

Available in black or silver, the monitors have sleek curves and a PVD coating. The backs of each are matte, while the sides are distinctly glossy. They don't largely protrude out of the ear, more around the size of AirPods.

Subtly, the Shinola Lightning bolt logo is also printed on the back of each monitor.

Internally, the earpieces pump out the tunes using 8.5mm Beryllium dynamic drivers. These aren't the largest drivers we've seen on earbuds -- those go to the excellent Master & Dynamic MW07 with 10mm -- but are up there. Beryllium is lightweight, but rigid, able to create rich sound while cutting back on distortion. It can be pricey, which is why many headphone makers don't utilize it that often.

Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEM controls
Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEM controls


The inline remote has the usual trio of buttons built into the cabling -- volume up, volume down, and a center multi-purpose one.

Bluetooth

It seems that one of a variety of wireless methods is the preferred method of listening to music for most people these days, and it is easy to see why. It's far more convenient to not worry about being tethered to your device the entire time.

Shinola's packed Bluetooth 4.2 in these, shy of the Bluetooth 5 we've started to see.

Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs
Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs


Using Bluetooth, you should get roughly 12 hours of battery life off a single charge, though that will vary based on your preferred volume. In a quiet office, we reached just a bit more than that.

What came in handy, was multipoint connectivity. The Canfield Bluetooth IEM can connect to multiple hosts at once. That way you can listen to audio one and take calls on another.

Jamming out

Whenever testing a new piece of audio gear, we always turn to our testing Apple Music playlist which gives us a wide range of genres, instruments, and audio nuances to listen for.



Like the other Shinola headphones, the sound leans a bit towards the warm side, with a slightly fuller lower frequency as a whole.

Considering Shinola's target audience of fashion-forward and trendy, it should come as no surprise that there is plenty of bass response here. Not to the overpowering degree as Beats were known for, but enough to meet the demands of some good part music. That powerful low-frequency response is impressive considering the smaller size of the earpieces.

Even though the bass pounded away, Shinola's IEMs don't come off as unbalanced. The mids are well represented as is the high end. We particularly liked the bright crispness that cymbals and acoustic guitars were able to register.

Using the default memory phone tips, the headphones kept a great seal which held external audio at bay, elevating the sound.

As we pushed the volume to the limits -- only for a short period of time -- there was no distortion. Always a good sign.

Any song with some instrumental components particularly shined, such as My Lucky Day, the acoustic versions of Shut up and Dance and All for You, or Uncharted.

Musically inclined

Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs
Shinola Canfield Bluetooth IEMs


Shinola's headphones have a reputation for looking great, being fairly minimalistic, and sounding handedly above average. They've also got a rep for being a bit overpriced.

Compared to the wired Canfield on-ear headphones, these Bluetooth IEMs don't seem far off when it comes to price. The feel and quality of the headphones are great, they look handsome, and sound fantastic will a full, rich profile.

We'd consider this on the upper end of the market, with a good mix of fashion and performance, but for an even higher-end experience, Shinola also offers a pro version.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy

To grab the Shinola Canfield Bluetooth In-Ear Monitors in either black or silver, you can head directly to their website, where they are available for $250.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    larryalarrya Posts: 533member
    Where is the receiver?  That’s always the first question I have because I’ll want to use them with an Apple Watch on the left wrist. 
  • Reply 2 of 10
    Am I the the only one for whom that old saw about someone not knowing "s--t from shinola" pops into my head when I see that name?
    chasm
  • Reply 3 of 10
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,819member
    Am I the the only one for whom that old saw about someone not knowing "s--t from shinola" pops into my head when I see that name?
    I couldn't believe there was really such a name!  lol
  • Reply 4 of 10
    I've always found that style of ear bud to be uncomfortable and moves out of position too easily. I was glad that Apple abandoned it for their current Ear Pod/Air Pod design.
  • Reply 5 of 10
    macguimacgui Posts: 997member
    Am I the the only one for whom that old saw about someone not knowing "s--t from shinola" pops into my head when I see that name?
    I'm sure their name is no coincidence. 

    I was really interested in these 'buds. I don't need more bass than is in the music itself, so even though 'bassy', with potentially better mid and highs than typical 'high end' buds, they caught my eye. Nylon wrapped removable cables, another plus. They look to use memory foam tips identical to those of my Shure 530 buds. Those fit me very well and are the rare tips that do.

    But the configuration of the 'buds is slightly off-putting.



    I've had a couple of pairs of LG Tone headphones with a behind the neck configuration, and they kept rotating to one side or the other, especially while wearing a jacket. It would routinely dislodge one or the other 'buds. Very annoying, though it wasn't much of a problem if I wasn't moving. 

    If there were just a wire connecting them like so many other earbuds, I'd like to give them a try. I didn't see a return policy at the site but I'll take a closer look.
    https://www.shinola.com/audio/all/headphones/bluetooth-in-ear-monitors-black.html
  • Reply 6 of 10
    I've always found that style of ear bud to be uncomfortable and moves out of position too easily. I was glad that Apple abandoned it for their current Ear Pod/Air Pod design.
    Then you hadn't found the correct size tips.  I have the problem you describe with Airpods which is why I can't use them. My beats X have 2 different size and style tips to accommodate my weirdly small left ear canal. They fit snug and comfortable and block sound quite nicely so I can keep them at a reasonable volume all the time.

    With these in ear style headphones finding the correct tips is essential..
  • Reply 7 of 10
    Nice review!

    Can we at some point see a review for these?


    I am an old RHA fan from back when they were sold in the Apple Store.  I am hoping that Santa brings these for me this year B) , but I would really like to see a proper in depth review done by AI.  I think these are going to be a fantastic alternative for those of us who can't use Airpods.

  • Reply 8 of 10
    jcs2305 said:
    With these in ear style headphones finding the correct tips is essential..
    Right you are. I like my AirPods for general, casual use. When walking, heavy traffic noise easily masks the content, and I have to boost the volume. They're not designed to isolate the user from ambient sound, and that's sometimes good.

    The memory foam tips provide terrific isolation so caution is advised. But the volume can then be lowered to a safer level. Those memory foam tips, properly sized, are comfortable for me to wear all day, without fatigue. And they're the only 'bud tips I've tried that properly seal the ear canal and don't slip out.

    But not only are the right size and style important, so is inserting them properly. Otherwise isolation is impaired and frequency response, particularly bass, suffers.
  • Reply 9 of 10
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,031member
    Sounds like these are a good choice for people who might prefer AirPods but need better sound than that. Of course you’re paying twice as much for half the features, but when the quality of sound is really important, these might be a better option. For me, AirPods are “walkin’ around music” type headphones, but when I’m listening critically I break out my Blue headphones.
  • Reply 10 of 10
    Try it from my friend. Sounds rich & balance not like beats over low frequency. Found out more alternative colors from Neiman Marcus, look attractive https://www.neimanmarcus.com/en-hk/p/shinola-canfield-i-em-in-ear-headphones-with-wireless-tether-prod215470092 . https://www.neimanmarcus.com/en-hk/p/shinola-canfield-i-em-in-ear-headphones-with-wireless-tether-prod215470038
    edited December 2018
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