Pros: Clarity, detail, soundstage
Cons: build, sibilant, not too good with modern genres
The BA100 from HiSoundAudio is a single balanced armature in-ear headphone that has ups and downs.
Big thanks to Jack at HiSoundAudio for the review unit!
Accessories - Hard carrying case, 3 pairs of tips (S,M,L), and 'fish' cable winder.
To be honest, I never found a use for the fish. It doesn't fit into the case, and I always keep the headphones in their case when not in use. The best use I got from it was showing it to a friend and telling them that I have a dead fish.
Images: Headphone and accessories (Click to show)
Build - The BA100 has an interesting design. Unlike most balanced armature in-ear headphones, the BA100 utilizes a wider nozzle, that turns into the standard narrow nozzle that is common with BA IEMs. I believe that the nozzle is purely for fitting purposes. It allows for a wider variety of tips to be effectively fitted and used on the headphones.
The tips are unique. They're similar to the standard wide-nozzle tips that you would find on some in ears (IE. Skullcandy Ink'd), but these tips are slightly longer. I also believe that this is for fitting and comfort purposes. I do like the tips, for sure, but I don't think they allow for the BA100 to sound its best. More narrow nozzle tips and foam tips seem to be better suited for the BA100. I just wish HiSound would have included some in the package.
The housing is made out of what I believe is actually brass (peering down the nozzle reveals a metal that has a striking resemblance to brass). The strain reliefs don't feel particularly relieving. And with the cable that the BA100 uses, I would honestly worry about cable issues.
The cable is very squishy. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but it's squishy. If you were to place two fingers around one of the cables that leads to the headphones, the cable would squish to being almost perfectly flat. I'm not sure if this is a strain relief in itself, or a cable issue waiting to happen.
The Y-Split feels decent. No strain reliefs, and the cable often does squish around when I examine the Y-Split. Once again; not sure if that's good or bad.
The cable is terminated with a 45° 3.5mm jack with the letters 'hi' on it, representing HiSoundAudio. The jack itself is good. Good strain reliefs and thickness.
On the cable is an in-line microphone/multifunction button that is useful for taking calls and operating music.
Microphonics - I would have expected a bit more microphonics that what is present with these. Thankfully, I was wrong. Cable noise isn't too present nor is it bothersome. Over ear wear eliminates it completely.
Sound - Similar to many BA in-ear headphones, the BA100 has an overall bright and unforgiving signature.
Bass - The BA100 is somewhat bass light in my opinion. No, I would not call it anemic. It definitely has more bass than, say, the Rock-It R-50 (in stock tips). The bass is detailed and extends deep. If you're looking for a bassy in-ear headphone, you can just stop reading (and I would also tell you to look at dynamic in ears instead of balanced armature in ears)
Mids - The mids are excellent, especially with female vocals. Female vocals are forward and lively. The vocals in "Blue Skies" from Ace Combat 4's soundtrack sounds magnificent.
Treble - The treble is harsh. It's obviously sparkly and bright. Due to this, overall clarity is stunning. Orchestral music really sounds detailed. However, it seems to lack some extension that is most noticeable in more modern genres like electronic and pop.
Soundstage - There's a good amount of space to the presentation. It really does do orchestral and jazz justice.
Overall - The BA100 is a decent offering from HiSoundAudio. I might recommend it to someone that listened to more classic genres, like rock, jazz, orchestral, etc. If clarity is a high priority, you can't really go wrong with these.