Pros: Strong pronounced bass, great midrange, extended highs
I know there have been a few reviews of these kicking around, and I thought I would offer my views on them.
I'm a production manager, but focus mostly on sound engineering and installations. I install and tune a lot of P.A equipment, and also mix live acts. My work environments consist mainly of:
- live venues,
- concert halls,
I've taken a huge liking to headphones - IEM's in particular. I like the idea of having my own personal PA system that I can take with me anywhere. With Rockbox being in such advanced stages, and such great low-impedance portable amps coming out, you can really seem to get any sound signature you wish out of a portable rig.
Enter, the HiSoundAudio WooDuo 2.
HiSoundAudio is a Chinese based company, responsible for products such as the Studio V portable DAP, which has been recieving fairly warm reviews around forums such as head-fi.
Packaging and accessories:
A pretty regular brown cardboard box, with a description on the back:
The tip selection is pretty healthy, and it came with a solid storage case:
And it's also compatible with my T-400 comply tips, which I personally preferred, but more on that later.
It also came with this fish. Possibly for cable management. Hilarious!
Excellent. Great flat-ribbon cable, that produces little microphonics (Less than the Thinksound line, but more than the Westone cables do). The wood looks great, too. The nozzle is a perfect fit for the T-400 comply tips (not pictured), so there isn't much more I could ask for, really. The jack is solid, and the entire set is incredibly lightweight.
Super comfortable – as much as I hate to say it, but for me personally, these are more comfortable than:
Honestly, I'm not sure where it comes from. It surprised me, comfort isn't something I usually notice with IEM's, it either usually “works” or doesn't. I will put this down to the lightweight ribbon cable. The units barely even feel like they are in my ears.
This makes them a perfect companion for exercising, at the gym or jogging (if that's what you're into...)
I know it is an odd way to give a summary, but if I had to describe the sound signature in two words, they would be “home theatre”.
Bass: Warm, driving, strong, layered and emphasised. Definitely bass-heavy, depending on what tips you use. To me, this is what IEM bass should feel like. I prefer a fun sound, I personally don't like listening to flat-response gear for fun. The bass in this IEM is heaving in quantity, but it's so smooth, nicely textured and warm that it's definitely not unwelcome. I don't find it creeping too far into the midrage. It responds incredibly well to electronic music. Synthetic bass seems to resonate perfectly with the 9mm driver. I honestly can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish that my Westone 3's had bass like this.
Mids: Forward, warm, accurate. I find this is the one aspect of the IEM that isn't coloured. They have an almost “realistic” feel. Some would imagine that purely by the agressive characteristics of the bass, that these units would produce a midrage that is muddy or recessed – this is simply untrue. The accurate, lush mids are very revealing of any tracks that have a lower bitrate.The lower-mids are slightly more forward than the mid-highs – this may contribute to the “warm” feel of these IEMs. As there is little to no stereo-crosstalk of these IEM's, the mids are definitely contributing to the sound-stage. They are incredibly detailed, and will bring out plenty of nuance in any of your well recorded/mastered files.
Highs: Very tip-dependant. I found these IEM's on-the-whole to be very tip dependant. In any respect, the highs have a definite “sparkle” to them, as the box blurb would depict. No evident roll-off, and some definite emphasis here. Not enough to call the sound-signature “U” shaped - I feel that the signature is actually a lot more complicated than that. Whilst some may experience sibilance with an incorrect seal, using the correct tip will eliminate this, and be very rewarding. Again, I found that the medium olive tips gave me a sufficient seal, but the complies were perfect. The combination of the mids and highs will contribute to the overall fantastic level of detail and naunce in these IEMs. Be prepared for a very revealing experience.
Overall subjective conclusion of the sound: Very engaging, and intimate. Definitely comparable to a home theatre rather than a home studio – but that's exactly what some people prefer from dynamic IEMs. Great warmth, a bass-heads dream, but with forward, detailed mids, extended, crisp highs, and a decent sparkle to boot. Probably some of the best detail, instrument separation and sound-stage that I've found using a single dynamic driver IEM.
Anyone looking at the Dr. Dre lineup of IEM's should definitely consider these instead. The bass is amazing, and very forward – but without a muddy mid-section, or rolled-off highs. Great looks, lightweight, great comfort, and as many others have said, are definitely cheaper than they should be, which is all you could really want from an IEM in this price bracket.
I picked these up from Noisy Motel in Melbourne (http://www.noisymotel.com/product.asp?ProductID=505), and are currently selling for $129.