Pros: good formfactor, comfortable, lots of tips to ensure a fit, very well built
Cons: will shine with only certain types of music, no pouch, no chin slide adjuster
Those of us sitting at the back of the bus who love our music reserve the right to practice a healthy dose of skepticism involving audio gear as we ride along the long winding road that is life. Until said gear has passed our personal expectations thus meriting the mantra of GOOD GEAR any and all reviewers/reviews will be taken with a grain of salt. As natural born cynics we also expect those around us to practice a healthy level of free thought and approach our reviews with a healthy dose of skepticism. In the event there's violent disagreement concerning gear reviewed then please grab said gear throw it out the bus window grab your own much loved gear and by all means please join us fellow cynics at the back of the bus. Please be sure said gear being thrown out the window isn't mine.
Before I begin this review I would like to make it perfectly clear that although I have IEM's that can be classed as bassy I'm NOT a basshead and the PoPo is far from my sound signature of choice. The PoPo is your standard colored warm sounding IEM with an overly emphasized low end and roll off in it's highs. Note presentation is thick and note decay is rather slow. The end result the general sound signature is laid back and non fatiguing. It's a pleasant enough sound but because of how it's been tuned this little IEM for me is quite limited in what type of music it shines with. The PoPo is the type of IEM that lives and breaths souley in basshead territory. To my ears although it does slam pretty good and could be called a bass cannon I prefer to call it a rumble monster, more on that in a bit.
Type: Dynamic, In-Ear
Size of driver: 9mm
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Maximum SPL (Sound pressure level): 127db(1khz, 1 Vrms)
Frequency response: 20-21khz
Earphone jack: 3.5mm
Cable length: 126cm
Accessories Formfactor and Comfort
The PoPo comes packaged in a small minimalist box, very Apple like I may add. Inside you get the PoPo, a shirt clip, a large assortment of tips, 3 sets of different tips in (S,M,L) of regular ear tips bi-flange tips, and triple-flange tips, and NO pouch. The plethora of extra tips ensuring a proper ear fit for the vast majority of users is a very nice touch by HiSound but the lack of a cheap one dollar poach is a bad omission for an IEM in this price range.
Form factor wise this little IEM is quite well put together. The cables are sturdy and non microphonic and the strain reliefs seem quite solid. The wood housing made of African Rosewood is quite nice and makes the IEM look quite beautiful. The PoPo plug is a 3.5 mm straight plug which I'm really not fond of, I prefer a 90 degree angle plug on an IEM, but that's just me and it's far from a deal breaker. One thing that I really didn't like about the PoPo formfactor was the omission of a neck slide adjuster on the IEM. A neck slide adjuster in this IEM's price range should be a no brainer and I was rather surprised at this omission.
Comfort and fit wise these IEM's are up there amongst my other stable of easy pop in forget about them and go IEM's. The large selection of tips guarantees a good fit for the wide majority of users out there. Isolation, although vented they isolate well enough that you'll have to keep your eyes open or wind up under a car. My Sony MDR EX600 is vented and I'm rather impressed how much better the vented PoPo can isolate out noise next to my EX600. Overall I'd have to say the PoPo is a well built comfortable IEM and HiSound did an acceptably good job with it. If they had included a poach and a neck slide adjuster with the PoPo I would have said an excellent job and not just a good job.
Usually when I review an IEM I only quickly touch on soundstage near the end of a review but with the PoPo I have to make an exception because soundstage for this 60 to 70 dollar IEM is done exceptionally well. It's not the most expansive or detailed soundstage I've ever heard but it still easily dwarfs the soundstages of other similarly priced IEM's. Although the PoPo is thick lush bass heavy sound signature overall instrument positioning is excellent and overall imaging is also excellent. Left right front and back instrument separation and positioning is very very good on this IEM. The result sound layering becomes very good and I'm hearing a very good 3D like presentation that I would class as above par for this tier of IEM. I have to say it's very nicely done and I'm impressed with the PoPo's soundstage capabilities.
The highs on the PoPo aren't to bad for this tier of IEM. They're generally smooth and non fatiguing and I'm noticing some roll off in the upper treble region. There is a bit of sparkle up top I'm glad to say and it can smash and crash when the music demands it. It's a pretty traditional approach as far as highs are concerned for a bass head IEM with deep bass extension and it's what I expected from this tier of IEM. Detail retrieval is generally good although not great. In all fairness to Hisound the PoPo wasn't created for the neutral detail obsessed audiophile market. It was created for the young fun loving mainstream pop rock and electronica market.
In a nutshell the PoPo mids are rather unassuming. They don't necessarily do anything wrong per say but they don't do anything to really make them stand out either. Guitars on the PoPo come across as thick and crunchy and detail retrieval can sound a little smeared at times due to it's warm bass dominant tuning. Vocal presentation is presented slightly forward and sound rather nice and I'm especially liking how female vocals are presented. Upper mid range to lower high range transition seems good and sibilance control is very good. Lower mid to upper low frequency transition though I'm not to fond of and I'm noticing some heavy leaching of bass into the PoPo's lower mids. End result part of the mids feel veiled and for a lack of a better word masked.
What makes the PoPo stand out amongst other Bassy IEM's is the incredible amount of mid/sub bass which really reaches down deep. I've never heard an IEM with so much rumble before in my life. My Turbines, X10 and S4 don't even come close to the amount of rumble the PoPo can generate. You listen to a bass centric song with deep bass on the PoPo and it feels like the bass completely envelopes the listener. The only way I can describe the PoPo bass is it's an incredibly deep shaking enveloping rumble monster. Although interesting and rather fun at times there's way to much of it and because of this the PoPo for me becomes quite limited in the kind of music it can play. I'll say it, on a lot of my electronica, trance, and some pop rock the PoPo's overly enveloping bass can be fun but my God it's not something I'd want all the time and I definitely don't want it with my rock metal or jazz.
I'll be straight up and honest about it, as stated at the beginning of this review the PoPo is not my kind of sound signature. This little IEM is a bassheads delight come true though and for them it'll work very well. For what it brings to the table sonically it's a well priced IEM. My only point of contention with it formfactor wise is for it's pricing it should have a neck slide adjuster on it's Y split or at the very least a cheap pouch. For the basshead looking for a good entry level IEM the PoPo I would say is worth looking into. For everyone else though I can only say move along folks there's nothing to see here.