Pros: Bass response for a BA driver, lightweight design, price, build quality, cable, multi-purpose
Cons: Slightly rolled off highs and veiled mids
Packaging & Accessories: 9/10
Build Quality: 8/10
Design & Look: 10/10
Microphonics (higher ratings means lower cable noise): 10/10
Audio Quality: 8/10
My final Rating: 9/10
Purchase Date: November 2014
Purchase Price: £105
First of all, I would like to thank Steelseries for sending me the Flux In-Ear Pro for review. You can find the full specs and more info on the earphones on their website.
They can be bought for around £105 on AmazonUK & AmazonUSA for $130.
Before getting into the written review, below is my video review on them:
Now let’s get on to the written review!
Packaging, accessories, box content, overall first impressions (look wise)
The packaging of the Flux-Pro is simple and effective – it looks the part, as do all the previous iterations of Steelseries products do – that striking orange colour really does stand out.
The accessories you get are extremely good and I was very much happy with what was provided – in fact the only thing that was really missing was a wider array of silicone tips as found in the Vsonic GR07 MK2 or Monster MTPC/Gs.
In the box you’ll find:
- The earphones
- A set of S, M, L silicone tips
- A set of Comply T-100 foam tips
- Ear hooks
- A small handy carrying pouch
- 2 wires (one for a PC connection, the other for mobile)
- A Steelseries sticker
As you can see, inside there’s a nice array of accessories provided. On top of that, I was a big fan of the carrying pouch. It actually reminded me slightly of the Future Sonics Atrios MG7’s carrying pouch. Slightly hard, to survive some knocks, but also small and soft, allowing you to comfortably put it in your pocket.
It was also a refreshing sight to see the Comply T-100 tips being included in there. I use Comply tips on my Audeo Phonak PFE232’s daily – so it was great to see them in the package.
Overall first impressions:
Overall, I was really impressed with what came in the box, especially at its price range – great job Steelseries!
The build quality of the Flux Pro is actually extremely good all-round, although it has a few weak points.
Starting from the bottom, I really love the fact that this isn’t simply an earphone, but it is also a “headset” that can be used with your PC. This is made possible by Steelseries’ clever use of interchangeable jacks. I really, really love this design – and honestly think all manufacturers (be it audiophile or gaming peripheral companies) should adopt this sort of design. It just works so well and also doubles up to provide prolonged usage of the earphones (as the jack is usually the weakest point on in-ears). Thus, Steelseries give you the option to use it as a headset with your PC (provided you have a mic input and audio out on your PC/laptop) and also give you the option of just having a normal mobile axillary connection, via the included right-angled gold plated 3.5mm jack.
Moving up the wire, Steelseries have included a small one button remote, which allows you full control of the earphones and also acts as a mic.
The mic quality is very clear and more so the functionalities work flawlessly on Android (play/pause, skip and previous).
Speaking about the wire that’s used on the Flux Pro, it should be said that the wire is excellent – Steelseries went for the flat design, which is a brilliant way to avoid the earphones getting tangled – yes the earphones are almost tangle free because of this! Props to Steelseries for this. However, it’s not all perfect and here’s the main issue I have with the Flux’s wire – it actually comes by the split of the left and right channel – the wire is extremely thin and reminds me somewhat of the PFE232’s cable – which has failed me a few times now, due to its lack of thickness. Unfortunately, the Flux Pro’s cables are not detachable, therefore making me extremely concious of the thin cable. It also isn’t helped by the fact that the earphones have no sign of a stress relief cable, going into the shell of the earphones – this means that you’re left with a reasonably weak wire, that is also quite prone to damages by the earphones themselves.
This is something that people will have to look out for, as I’m extremely careful with my PFE232s and yet they have broken a few times by the left and right wire split.
Finally, in terms of microphonics, due to the Flux Pro being over-the-ear, I found little to no cable noise, despite the earphones being designed with a flat cable (which often causes a lot of cable noise). I should also mention that the earphones have a left and right indicator, which is clear to see on the earphones themselves.
Overall, the earphones are extremely well built and I really love what Steelseries have done here. A light construction also helps them in being very comfortable (more on that in the comfort section) and couple that with the versatility of being used on mobile or PC, Steelseries are on to a real winner here.
Now the overall look, comfort and isolation
The earphones look very good. It reminds me greatly of the PFE112/111 that I had previously reviewed, and that’s a really good thing to be compared to. A professional looking earphone, that doesn’t look cheap and nor does it scream anything too flashy.
I really like the design and overall look employed by Steelseries – even the cable looks the part!
The isolation of the Flux Pro isn’t great, but it does a decent job in passively noise cancelling external noise. I wouldn’t say it’s the best, like the PFEs, but it does a great job nonetheless.
Finally the comfort:
The comfort of these earphones is spot on, just as it is with the PFE range – they just sit within your ears and you hardly ever notice them being there. They’re so light that you sometimes forget you’ve got in-ears on. This comes down to its very light construction – which is great to have. I should note that these earphones are and should be used as over-the-ear earphones.
Now the sound quality I was a little worried about – as there was not much on the net about them and on top of that they are not from a known audiophile brand, but rather Steelseries, a gaming peripheral brand. With that said, I’ve previously been extremely impressed by the sound quality of their headsets and have actively recommended them as viable audiophile alternatives.
The Flux Pro comes with an interesting Single Balanced Armature driver, which to me usually means absolutely no bass response, a bit like the Phonak PFE112’s had no bass – but usually BAs give you extreme clarity. What Steelseries have done here is extremely impressive – something I’ve yet to come across from other audiophile manufacturers. They’ve really managed to squeeze bass out the driver, whilst slightly dampening the mids – this might seems like child’s play, but people have to remember this is a BA driver, not a Dynamic Driver, which in the industry is known to have less clarity and more bass quantity.
Steelseries really deserve a pat on the back for creating such an earphone at such an affordable price too (relatively speaking). I see the Flux Pro as being one of the top earphones out there for audiophiles, let alone your average-joe gamer.
The way I see it is simple, in the £100 price tag range: The GR07 MK2 is a neutral earphone, capable of all; the PFE112/111 is a master in mids and highs but isn’t one I would recommend for those that want bass; and finally the Flux Pro being the slightly bassier version of the PFE 112/111 and therefore sacrificing those magnificent mids. Therefore, with the average joe listening to chart music the Flux Pro would be the best buy out of the three, despite the others being technically good in other areas, the Flux Pro provides something extra that the others can’t really offer.
The lows of the Flux Pros are very good – I really like the mid-bass slam and the decent sub-bass rumble. The sub-bass is cut off after awhile, and doesn’t extend like my PFE232s do (despite that being a 2x BA driver), but do a great job nonetheless. The mid-bass is quite prominent and is really nice to hear from a BA driver earphone. It kind of reminded me of the mid-bass of the UE TF10s.
I should state though, that in terms of overall depth, and extension the Flux Pro still falls short of cheaper Dynamic driver earphones out there. Thus, the 8/10 rating.
The mids and highs of the Flux are great – although not as good as the PFE 112/111/232s mids response, which to me are sensational. The Flux Pro instead takes a little more relaxed route in rolling off the highs a little (just as the PFEs do) and have a slightr V shaped sound signature, by that I mean having the mids just dip a little due to the mid-bass that drowns it out a little.
I am being extremely analytical here, but in comparison to the GR07 MK2 and PFE112/111, The Flux Pro just doesn’t really compete with them in the mids department.
Overall the mids and highs could have been better, but I fear if there was more emphasis on the mids and highs we would sacrifice (as we did with the PFE112/111) with the lows. All-in-all good take by Steelseries!
The soundstage is quite expansive – for a small factor earphone that has hardly any “muscle” on it – I was impressed to hear a nice soundstage. It is not too wide nor is it too deep, it just works really well – if anything I would improve the separation and placement of the tones.
Sound Quality Ratings
Conclusions and final thoughts
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the Flux Pro – a really impressive earphone that does an amazing job all-round from accessories to sound quality. I highly recommend everyone checking these out, especially if you’re new to the audiophile scene, I think these would get you an amazing start point and more so enter you at a remarkably good level for the given price. I can’t quite stress it enough, but hats off to Steelseries for pulling it off and more so at the given price.
Hope you enjoyed my review!