Hisoundaudio is famous for their DAP range especially the now discontinued Rocoo A and Rocoo AB and also some of their earphone range such as PAA 1. Lately, they have been coming out with lots of IEM to cater the market needs and the Hisoundaudio PoPo that is reviewed here is one of their latest IEM that uses woods instead of traditional metal or plastic to give a more natural presentation.
Type: Dynamic, In-Ear
Size of driver: 9mm
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Maximum SPL (Sound pressure level): 127db(1khz, 1 Vrms)
Frequency response: 16-23khz
Earphone jack: 3.5mm
Cable length: 126cm
The red cable on PoPo is really attractive and it does looks like you are wearing a beats from afar. For those who are looking into fashion as well, I think you should invest in PoPo as I believe they will be better sounding than the beats. (Never try one before)
The cable is also thicker and less microphonic than my Woody 2. The strain relieve also seems to be better than my woody 2 as well. The cable is less prone to tangle due to the thicker size and the material used in it. You can basically put it into your pocket and unwrap it in a shorter amount of time as compared to Crossroads Woody 2 and other IEM that are prone to tangle.
The PoPo is made of African Rosewood while the Crossroads Woody 2 does not states the material used. The housing is not only smaller in size but also has a ported vent to help improve the bass. However, the isolation is still very good and almost as good as my Woody 2 with comply foam. This means the Hisoundaudio PoPo IEM is a better IEM for outdoor use while the woody 2 is only meant for use at home or office settings.
The moment that you put it in, bass is the first thing that you will noticed. They have the thunderous bass punch and earth shattering vibration which many IEM and even headphones lacks of. You are not only getting punch but enough vibration to make the bass feeling complete. While the impacts is fixed, the low-end rumble will change from linear bass response to EQ either up or down on the sub bass part with different DAC and Amp. On my system, I’m getting a linear bass response most of the time.
The decay on the bass note is quite long as well but this might be a nature of the woods as my Woody 2 also does has this long decay. On some songs it does overpower a bit but on some others songs the decays is kind of addicting such as when you are playing an acoustic tune where the bass is not as strong.
The mids is laidback and recessed or veiled or whatever terms you may want to use. They are hidden by the bass especially in the mids to lower mids section. This makes the mids not only darker but also lost clarity in those areas. This is the part which I hope will improve after few months of burn in and if they don’t change then the manufacturer should try to make improvement in here.
I’m not sure is it because of the tuning or is it because they use woods in the designs. The highs is really smooth. Not yet reaches the level of liquid smooth mids on the Crossroads HR1 but it is smoother than my other headphones and also smoother than another woody headphone, the Crossroads Woody 2. They will still bring out the sharp tone on the songs if they do have it. But most of the time they don’t . The treble is also darker sounding than even my JH16PRO. In short, the treble is smooth and dark sounding.
The soundstage is spacious with sufficient amount of width and height. They are not extremely wide but they do share the same kind of soundstage as a full size headphone where it is rounded instead of panning to the left and right. This helps filled out the ambience in a hall when listening to live songs. However it is like the Crossroads Woody 2 where the depth does suffer and the separation is not as clean. Using the triple flange could help improve the depth by a small margin if you do care about the depth.
I’m not sure how many people is successful in getting it to work on Rock and Pop song as it was originally intended to but I still can’t get it to works on those genre. On the other hand I find it to have enough low bass, bass punch, treble, speed and attack to handle the dubstep and electronica in which many of my headphones failed to. While my JH16PRO handles well in terms of speed and just about every part but they don’t feel like a match because of the lacks of proper attacks. On the other hand, DT880 has attacks and speeds but it takes a brighter tone than the warmer PoPo. Both PoPo and DT880 handles nicely for those genre but on a different tone while others have failed.
Choices of Tips
Choosing the right tips is also very important in this IEM. You are given a range of single, double and triple flange with three pair of size each for small, medium and large which adds up to 9 pairs of tips and an extra medium size single flange. That is quite good since you are not only able to find the one that fits you the most, you might even be able tune the sounds if all the types of flanges fits your ears. However, choose them wisely as each tips will give different sound under different system as well. On the single flange, I’m hearing stronger bass impact and treble while the triple flange will give cleaner bass and treble with improvement depth as well. I think most likely audiophile will prefer the triple flange instead of the single because it brings a cleaner sound and the improvement in depth over the single flange.
When it comes to amplification it is very straight forward. You don’t even need to spend a whole load of money on high end amplifier to power this IEM. I can even power it with a Fiio E5 with canare L4E6S cable to great authority. What is important is the tuning of the amplifier and DAC that are towards the faster side with good amount of mids and treble to help boost its weakness.
I think the PoPo has a very noticeable problem here. I did read quite a lot of reviewer are hearing clarity in here. But the problem is that my ears doesn’t share the same impression as others have heard. I have even alternating between different DAP, DAC and Amp. On certain songs the clarity is lost and covered up by the heavy bass but on certain songs such as electronica and dubstep and the Chinese classical that I tried does have lots of clarity. Testing on random songs through my iPod also found some does delivers great clarity while some songs lose clarity. I believe this is because of the recessed mids which causes the lacks of clarity in the mids to lower mids registry while songs that have clarity in the upper mids and highs will show up clearly. So what you get is a treble boosted clarity.
Comparison In a Nutshell
POPO VS Crossroads Woody 2
Stronger impact and weightier bass
Smoother highs but darker sounding
Faster and more suited for dubstep, electronica, cello, double bass and other instrument focused on lower ends frequencies and also Chinese classical songs. (I wonder is it because they are from a Chinese company)
Refine and more natural bass
Clearer highs and mids
Slower but more natural, suited for wind, brass, woods instruments, audiophile title, female vocals, Jazz.
POPO VS DT880 Premium 250ohm
Sufficient speed to handle electronica and dubstep but with more emphasis on lower tone with warmer tone.
More subwoofer like sound.
Faster than popo in electronica and dubstep but with more emphasis on treble to give better clarity and details.
More refine and smoother.
POPO and Crossroads Woody 2 VS Just about everything else
Woody!!!!! Yes both sounded more wood like than other plastic material used on most headphones.
POPO and Crossroads Woody 2 VS JH16PRO
Better physical feeling on low ends. (More dynamic)
Other than that JH16PRO smokes them in just about every corner.
Most of the equipment I included here is not a fair fight for the PoPo but I just included them to let you get a general understanding of how it sounded against other headphones.
Do I recommend them? The earth shattering bass does a great job in electronica and dubstep and some random songs. (Unrelated to genre but how they are EQ) But it does comes with a cost in which they are not as technically proficient as what the audiophile will seeks. I’m still pretty sure that this kind of tuning still will have their own markets. The Aiaiai TMA1 that cost around US$ 275 still have loves in the audiophile community even when they have the same problem as PoPo. Anyway my advice is that don’t always falls prey for audiophile sounds as most of them are unable to convey the fun in the music the way the mainstream or lower ends are able to provide. For street price of just around 60-70, you should give it a try especially when you are a die hard fans of electronica and dubstep or even some instrumental songs.
Choosing a less warmer DAC and Amp for a brighter and more solid state sound will match better in here and at the same time helps bring out a cleaner sound. Most of my reviews are based on the single flange rather than the triple flange so it may not sound the same as those wearing different tips.
This review is only based on one week of burn-in so it may not be the same as the final outcome. My Crossroads Woody 2 and JH16PRO also takes a few month of burn-in for the bass to calm down.
After one week of use, the mids does clear up a little but still retains the warm and dark sound signature that I heard from the start.
Source: Govibe DAC, Hifiman HM-602, iPod Classic
Amplifier: JdsLabs cMoyBB, SPL Auditor, Fiio E5
Headphones: Superlux HD668B, Superlux HD681, JH16PRO, DT880, Shure SE535, Crossroads Woody 2, Crossroads HR1
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