Pros: midrange, clarity, balanced sound
Cons: treble extension, no chin slider
Thanks to Jack and HSA for sending me the BA100 as a review unit for a hefty 50% off. It is a single balanced armature IEM with a retail price of $99. For a sub-$100 IEM, I would say that it definitely has a lot of potential with a few shortcomings.
Design and Accessories : The first time I took them out of the packaging, I was quite pleased to see the metallic construction and the 45° jack. The wire is descent and has been rather tangle-free. The included tips are nice, I was using the foam tips that came with the BA100 for some time. Finally I switched to the MEElec double-flange tips which are very comfortable and also sound nice with the BA100. The included fish-thingy has been of no use and the absence of a chin slider is a little disappointing.
Microphonics and Isolation : The isolation is descent and gets better by using a foam tip but not so much with the Meelec tips that I use. Microphonics is much lower than what I would have expected and wearing them over-ear eliminates it completely. I have to say that I think the soft wire used on these IEMs helps with the microphonics.
Sound : Lets talk about the most important part, how do they sound?
Bass : The BA100 has a tight and very well balanced low frequency response. The bass has nice quality and can redeem itself when needed. I am not a fan of bloated bass and am pleased with what HSA have achieved here.
Mids : This is where the BA100 out-shines its competition IMO. I love the mids on them and specially how female vocals and guitars sound. I listen to a lot of Jazz and Blues and would recommend the BA100 to anyone listening to these genres if only for their wonderful midrange.
Highs : The highs are a little weak on these babies, compared to their very well-textured lows and wonderful mids. Don't get me wrong, the treble is clearly present and sound good but without the extension as can be heard in more expensive dynamic or multi-driver IEMs.
Imaging and Soundstage : This is one part of the sound from an IEM that I am not very fond of. Considering that, the soundstage on the BA100 is quite wide and has good depth and height. The imaging is a little lacking but again few sub-$100 IEMs get it right.
Overall, the build quality is excellent and the included accessories are good. I would say lose the fish and add a chin slider. I am very happy with how the BA100 sounds, given its price point. It is almost neutral with a slight preference towards being a little bright. If I were asked to describe it in one word, my answer would be "clarity", especially in the midrange frequencies. I would recommend the BA100 to anyone who listens to Jazz, Country or Blues.