I need to issue a follow-up to a recent column on Modern Portable HiFi Pro Sport earphones.
I recently received a handful of e-mails from readers expressing disappointment with the sound quality from the earphones. I checked Amazon and the reviews were either 5 stars and purchasers were very happy, or 1 to 2 stars and they were very disappointed. There was no middle ground.
Having recommended the earphones as a great deal at the price ($19.99), I found the negative responses both concerning and surprising, and some of the e-mails I received really stung. Not only did the earphones not sound good, readers wrote, they actually sounded bad.
No product is perfect for everyone, but such a polarized reaction is extremely uncommon. I started to wonder if the review sample I had been sent was different from the product the consumers were getting. I was pretty upset when I contacted the manufacturer about this.
Modern Portable said they had received some defective units in the first shipment and were working to resolve the problem. They also mentioned there were potential Bluetooth sound quality issues with certain Android phones, due to the phone's Bluetooth implementation, not the product itself.
This isn't the first time I have seen something like this. Not long ago I wrote about how Dayton Audio got some B652 speakers with bad tweeters. Pioneer also had Bluetooth problems with some samples of their TV speaker base. In both cases, the manufacturers identified the problem, owned up to it and took care of the customers.
While this took away some of my concerns, I felt better after an e-mail exchange I had with reader Gary Soots of Moraga, Calif. The day after sending me an e-mail taking me to task for suggesting people buy the earphones, he sent me a second note. "I told you that I bought two of their headphones based on your recommendation, and that I was not happy with the pair I tried," he wrote. "After you said they might have a solution to make them sound better, I decided to try the other pair, which I had not even bothered to open. They were much better! I went back and forth listening to each pair using the same music source. There is a distinct difference in the sound quality of the two sets of headphones. Especially when considering the affordable price and Bluetooth convenience, I am totally satisfied with Set 2."
A few days later he sent me a third e-mail: "The replacement headphones arrived today and they sound fine. Thanks again."
Modern Portable said audio plays a big part of their future plans, and promised they are going to get this right. I will be following the situation closely. If you ordered the earphones and the sound is poor, contact the manufacturer at modernportable.com.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.