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[REVIEW] Hippo Shroom-EB - The Real Psychedelic Punch

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

First, I want to thank Uncle Wilson @ Jaben.net for the review sample.

 

I have reviewed the original Shroom less than 7 months ago, and by all mean it is a pretty good IEM for its price. But for those who pay attention to the current IEM market, ‘moving fast’ has became almost an understatement in IEM lifecycle. The idea of Shroom-EB, as I was told, came from comments on wanting more bass in the original Shroom. So fast-forward to today, a new edition comes with an enhanced bass response to quench the need of some brain-punch, as if the original psychedelic concoction is not enough. The new Shroom has been adequately named Shroom-EB, and that is ‘extra bass’ for you and me.

 

Note: Since the next two sections are the same between the original Shroom and EB, I just copied them over from my old review here.

 

SHREB-1.jpg

 

SHREB-2.jpg

 

Quote:
Spec
Driver: Single 6mm Dynamic
Sensitivity: 95dB + 4 SPL / mW
Impedance: 16Ohm @ 1 kHz
Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20 kHz
Cord: 1.25m
Plug: Gold-Plated Stereo 3.5mm Mini-Plug
Weight: 0.8g

 

SHREB-3.jpg

 

Quote:

Packaging, Accessories, and Build Quality
Compared to other models of the same line, Shroom's packaging is definitely more shiny and psychedelic. Inside, you will find the IEM itself, a synthetic leather soft pouch (like that of NuForce NE-7M), three pair of different sized black eartips (small, mid, large) and three pair of different sized red/blue colored eartips - very shroomy indeed.

One of the first things you would probably notice is how small the actual earpieces are. The general shape resembles that of CrossRoads' Quattro, but smaller in diameter. In fact, the dynamic transducer used in Shroom is 1mm smaller in diameter compared to that of Quattro's. Also, the transducer is designed to be in the front of the nozzle (which is larger in diameter than the earpiece housing) for a more 'intimate' sound, but we will leave that discussion for later. Isolation wise, I find it to be above average and good enough for fairly noisy environment. Microphonics is just about average. You will want to find a shirt clip to go with it.

 

The mini plug is of an interesting design, kind of like old UE design but more rounded and smaller. I like the design but I wish the strain relief can be longer and more flexible.

One of the main features on Shroom is its transducer placement, which almost at the tip of the nozzle. As a result, the eartips used are specially made for Shroom to accommodate the extra wide nozzle, which means the possibility of aftermarket eartips replacement is out-of-question. The good news is, the eartips themselves is pretty good in quality. But due to the nozzle diameter, I would suspect people with very small ear canal size will probably have a hard time getting a comfortable fit. The design also introduces a new problem, earwax and dust accumulation. While it is not uncommon to see earwax buildup on the nozzle on any IEM, the more exposed Shroom transducer (sitting just behind the mesh / vent) is more vulnerable to such a problem. You will require cleaning it out the mesh / vent regular with a needle to make sure there won't be any obstruction - not a particularly hard thing to do but it must be done.

Overall, the build quality is similar to the latest CrossRoads MylarOne or the previously reviewed Hippo Boom. Decent, not the best there is but neither is it bad. It is not designed for rough use so some caring will be needed in order for it to last a long time.

 

SHREB-4.jpg

 

Sound Quality
As usual, I gave the Shroom about 50hrs of burn-in before the review (like I did with all IEM I reviewed).  In the original Shroom, the sound is very clean and transparent, a bit on the lean side - somewhat Etymotic-like but with a more sparkly treble. The new EB builds on the same foundation, but improves upon it.

 

The overall sound signature of Shroom-EB is balanced while analytical, more forward than the original Shroom. Treble is still well extended with good sparkle and resolution, though the occasional sibilant on the brightest note also remains. The mid is slightly full and well presented. Vocal is clean and upfront in just the right amount, adding a little sweetness without being too obviously colored. Bass has good speed, impact, as well as quantity - enough to make everybody happy but does not over-flood to another region. Soundstage is about average.

 

To add more soundstage, you will need to get yourself some UE style bi-flange. Squeeze them in till you get about 3~5mm of space between the opening of the bi-flanges and the front of the nozzle. This will transform your listening experience with EB.

 

SHREB-5.jpg

 

Verdict

The new EB is in essence, the perfection of the original Shroom. It even outperforms the more expensive VB in many fronts and really threatens to take the crowning position in the entire Hippo line. If only it has a better build quality like the VB and I would have gladly given it a Sonic Diamond Award for the US$57 asking price.

 

A quick sum up can be found here.


Edited by ClieOS - 6/16/10 at 9:48am
post #2 of 13

Hmmm still want the Vb's...

post #3 of 13

Nice review! Not sure how many people make these micro drivers as the sound description sounds very much like the FXC80. I also have a VB on hand and think the FXC80 beats it in some aspects. I find that stretching Shure E2C black silicone tips on them gets rid of most of the sibilance and gives even lower bass response.  

 

After listening to these drivers going back to the VB and Visang R03 makes them sound a bit muddy and sluggish. Only really trailing in soundstage. The clarity, speed, and nice mids seem to be the high points of this driver. 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yeah, even the original Shroom does micro detail and treble better than VB and has more transparency, though just a little too lean for non-analytical listener. The new EB pretty much correct those issues.

post #5 of 13
Thanks for the review, ClieOS. I've been dying to read a review of the Shroom EB.

May I request for a more detailed description of the EB's bass? After all, that's what the improvement is all about.. A comparison with VB's bass (or RE0's) would be very welcome.

Thanks again!

@Jaben: please make this product available in Indonesia soon! I see that Gumstick has arrived, but Shroom EB has not. What's up with that? :(
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sadhanaputra View Post

May I request for a more detailed description of the EB's bass? After all, that's what the improvement is all about.. A comparison with VB's bass (or RE0's) would be very welcome.
 


EB bass is comparable to VB with 2 dots plate both quantity and quality wise. Actually EB has better bass attack and dynamic than VB with 2 dots plate. This means EB has way more bass than RE0 in every ways, though I don't think  it will beat a well amped RE0 on Comply TX400 in overall performance. But I suspect people who are not particular into analytical listening will find EB as much more fun and enjoyable IEM.

post #7 of 13

I have the original Shroom, and I found the clarity, transparency, and instrument separation are fantastic!  True that the bass is lean, but for me it is quite sufficient, and most of the time I don't have to boost the bass.  But it would be better if Shroom EB can give the same midrange clarity and transparent treble with more bass quantity :)

 

Thanks for the great review! :D  I think I will get myself a Shroom EB :D

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post


EB bass is comparable to VB with 2 dots plate both quantity and quality wise.


I really don't think the bass of those two is comparable, quantity- or quality-wise. The EB are nice, neutral, "normal" phones with a bit more bass than average, the VB are pure basshead's delight. There's really not much the two phones have in common down there below in the sub-basement. Comparing them is kind of a futile exercise IMO, since the two are rather different, made for different people, for different music appreciation, for different applications, for different... anything.

 

Indeed, the Shroom EB is more precise and has better treble with a kind of sparkle I really like, also a somewhat more "full, rich" midrange. However, the VB have a much more defined, textured, layered bass than the EB. It might be a bit more loose, though.

 

Either way, the Hippo VB is the best real basshead phone I've heard in that price range, and there's nothing that comes close in delivering that bass quantity paired with that quite respectable clarity, for that price. The Shroom EB are more in the league of the RE0 and PFE, with a smidgen more bass thrown in for good measure. The EB are very (and I mean VERY) nice sounding so far, but I have to give them a bit more time before I can draw a final conclusion. But basshead phones that make your vision blurry, they aren't.


Edited by dfkt - 6/26/10 at 12:33pm
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

I can only speak of my own experience. I did A/B the two together. As far as bass performance is concerned, I do find my EB is able to keep up to VB, perhaps just a little less full but mostly because EB mid (and a bit of upper bass) is less saturated compared to VB. As for whether comparing them is a futile exercise or not, I think that is up to the reader to know what they are reading. I have described the sound signature of EB differently from VB (*as in my past review) and hopefully none will confuse them to be the same thing. I consider both VB (2 dots) and EB to be on two side of what I consider as balanced sounding (balanced toward warm / cold), thus I think comparing them is meaningful in such way.


Edited by ClieOS - 6/26/10 at 6:46pm
post #10 of 13

I really confused when I compared my Shroom with Shroom EB tester in the shop. I was going to buy the EB version because I like shroom and wanted more bass. But when I compared them, back and forth, I didn't hear any different :(  I don't know what was wrong, I checked the tester unit, it has Shroom EB label, but the bass and the rest of the spectrum sounded just like normal Shroom, I didn't hear any bass improvement from the Shroom EB over my Shroom :(  I really don't understand what was wrong :(

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by earfonia View Post

I really confused when I compared my Shroom with Shroom EB tester in the shop. I was going to buy the EB version because I like shroom and wanted more bass. But when I compared them, back and forth, I didn't hear any different :(  I don't know what was wrong, I checked the tester unit, it has Shroom EB label, but the bass and the rest of the spectrum sounded just like normal Shroom, I didn't hear any bass improvement from the Shroom EB over my Shroom :(  I really don't understand what was wrong :(

Maybe a faulty unit? You could ask for another pair to try next time. They look almost identical so the factory could very well mistake the Shroom transducer to that of EB


Edited by ClieOS - 6/26/10 at 9:45pm
post #12 of 13

To add more soundstage, you will need to get yourself some UE style bi-flange. Squeeze them in till you get about 3~5mm of space between the opening of the bi-flanges and the front of the nozzle. This will transform your listening experience with EB.

 


Like these?

http://www.themp3company.co.uk/index.php?id=product&product_id=339

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metsuki View Post


Like these?

http://www.themp3company.co.uk/index.php?id=product&product_id=339


Very much yes.

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