I’m a strong believer that you get what you pay for when it comes to audio products, but once in a while, a product comes along that proves me wrong. It’s rare, but it happens. The PaMu Quiet from Padmate is one of them. Well, sort of. But we’ll go more into that later.
So, the case is quite cool, I have to say. It’s really bulky, so if you want to shove this into the pocket of a pair of skinny jeans, you’ll definitely find it tough. But check this out. It opens up like a pocket watch! Okay, maybe it’s not that cool, but it’s something different from all the other cases out there, so it’s kinda refreshing for me, after seeing so many earbuds all use the same case.
You can even wear this around your neck like a necklace, although I wouldn’t see why you would want to do that. Get a proper necklace if you want jewellery, hanging your earbuds case around your neck is just odd.
Moving on, there’s a blue LED ring around the top half, which flashes while it’s charging and stays solid when fully charged. It also lights up when you put the earbuds back into the case and close the lid. Unfortunately, I think Padmate has really missed out here. The ring seemingly doesn’t correlate to the current power level of the case, so you can’t tell how much battery is left in the case. I might be wrong, but I’ve never seen the LEDs light up more than half a semicircle or less than half a semicircle. You can see the battery of the individual earbuds in the PaMu app, but that’s it.
Speaking of the PaMu app, it’s incredibly simplistic, and personally, I find it rather lacking. Sure, you can update the firmware here, toggle between ANC and transparency mode and even customise the touch controls, but… There’s no EQ feature, for one. And it just looks really old school, for some reason. Minimalistic folks might like this app, but it just feels too empty for me.
The saving grace of these earbuds though, is the sound. For its price, I wouldn’t have expected it to sound good at all. But I was pleasantly surprised at how lush and strong the bass is. Unfortunately, it comes at the cost of rather average mids and highs. The soundstage is also okay, but it’s not wide either. Everything considered though, it’s definitely better than the price tag would suggest, especially since there’s also ANC included.
When it comes to ANC, I think it’s a good thing that Padmate included it, but I feel there’s still a lot more to work on. First off, the ear tips provided in the box seem to be on the small side. I’m using the largest ear tips, and the left earbud still feels loose and without a good seal. My ear canals aren’t big either, so it’s a bit worrying for people who might have larger ears. Because of that poor seal, the passive noise isolation doesn’t do any favours to the ANC.
Sure, the ANC works. It does remove some of the low end droning, but I found myself still catching bits of music from the radio when I was wearing these in cars or taxis. Padmate claims these can cancel out up to 40 decibels of noise, and that’s the same level that Huawei claims for their FreeBuds Pro which I’ve reviewed previously, we’ll leave a link to that in the description, but I can confidently say that the ANC on the PaMu Quiet is nowhere near the level of the FreeBuds Pro.
There’s also a Transparency mode, which works decently. The odd thing though, is that whenever you take the earbuds out of the case and put them into your ears, they default to Transparency mode, and you’ll have to switch them into ANC mode. It’s not a dealbreaker, but it is an additional step that’s a little frustrating.
Padmate claims 3.5 hours of playback time on the earbuds, with an additional 2 charges in the case for a total of 10.5 hours. That was a bit generous, I think. I averaged around 2.5 hours or so with ANC turned on and my music at 60% volume, so battery life is rather poor.
That being said, I’m very thankful these charge via USB-C, and Padmate even threw in wireless charging support, so if you have a wireless charger, you can use it if you want to.
So how much do these cost? Well, the pricing is actually a bit tough to nail down. These are listed on Padmate’s website at a recommended retail price of US$119. Their IndieGoGo campaign stated retail price would be US$150, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign of that, and their pricing seems to be all over the place, with a Black Friday promo photo showing the PaMu Quiet supposedly retailing at US$199.
Here in Singapore, there are also conflicting prices from different stores, so I’d honestly just recommend purchasing these directly from Padmate’s website.
I’ll be honest though, I think these are one of the few true wireless earbuds at this price point that offer ANC and decent sound that will appeal to the general public. Sure, there are many other earbuds out there that have ANC and way better sound, but you’ll notice they cost quite a bit more. If you’re just looking for something that has workable ANC and you prefer a bass-heavy sound, these might be the best bang for buck earbuds you can get.