Thinksound Earphones Review: Wood That You ShouldJohn Herrman2/19/10 10:00amFiled to: ReviewThinksound rain reviewThinksound thunder reviewThinksound rainThinksound thunderThinksoundEarbudsHeadphonesMusicEarphones64EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkThinksound's Rain and slightly bassier Thunder earphones are made out of wood. That's their thing, but it's not the best thing about them. The best thing about them is that they're damn nice earbuds, for a reasonable price.The PriceThough their MSRPs are significantly higher, at $100 and $75, respectively, you can find the Rains for $60 on Amazon, and the Thunders for about $45. In these photos, the Rains have the darker finish and black tips, while the Thunders have a cherry finish and white tips.The DifferenceTo be honest, the only apparent difference between these two earbuds, aside from their slightly different shapes, is sound balance: The Rains are tuned for all-around listening, and the Thunders for heavier bass.The Experience The first thing you'll notice about the Thinksounds is that, yes, they are made out of wood, and yes, that makes them beautiful. There's nothing about the design or shape that's particularly striking—if these were molded from shiny plastic, they could even look tacky—but the finish, either in Black Chocolate or Red Cherry stain, looks and feels great. A headphone body is one of the only reasonable applications for wood in the gadget world, and to both your eyes and your fingers, the Thinksound are a treat. But who cares what they think; what about your ear holes?AdvertisementAdvertisementNot knowing that they used to be made from the living flesh of a tree, the Rains have a rich sound, if not a spectacular one. The low end is healthy to the point that I'd hesitate to recommend the even bassier Thunders, and the midrange is well represented and clear even at high volumes. The highest notes, which are crucial to conveying strong presence in music, can sound a bit soft at times, but unless you've just been listening to a set of high-end Etymotics, you're not likely to notice. Which brings me to the core issue here: wood. How about that wood!The WoodI could hazard a guess that wood is the reason the Thinksounds' sound soft at the high end, or that all the way down the equalizer, they sound warm, a favorite, and largely meaningless, word among audiophiles. I can credit wood with the near-total lack of cable noise (when the cord is jostled), and blame it for the earphones' sound isolation, which is only OK. I can posit that funneling sound from the 9mm (and in the case of the Thunder, 10mm) drivers through wood instead of plastic would cause sound to reverberate differently. I could buy into Thinksound's claims that building headphones out of renewable natural materials is better for the environment than building them out of something else.But since I can't actually test a plastic or metal version of the Rain or Thunder, and since I have absolutely no background in ecology or material science, I won't. I'll just say that, for the price, the Thinksound Rains hold their own against any other earphone, up to an including the Shure SE115s, and that for any price, you're not going to find a set of earphones more attractive, or immediately distinctive.