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Hisoundaudio Crystals Review

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 


Hisoundaudio Crystals Review


Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample




First Impressions:  I see they still have the tiny box barely bigger than the case they come in.  I rather like that, okay so a big fancy box might be nice too but I appreciate the efficiency of it.  It’s a really nice little case too.  The buds though, erm they are bonze, every pic I’ve seen of them they are a silvery grey colour.  I haven’t seen anything about there being a choice but I guess there must be.  Oh also they really are on the small side of things, really, really small. 


Having a little listen to them and the first thing that strikes me is holy crap that a bit of a low end.  I can hear there is quality there too but make no mistake, this is no analytical IEM we have here.  Fingers crossed it gets even better with a burn in since it’s a dynamic.  I think I’ll like this one.


Source 5G iPod Video line out through a Practical Devices XM5 with LM6171 opp amps





Lows:  Oh my oh my, these tiny little miniscule babies have a thunderous low end on them.  They physically fit in to the teeny toaty, so small you could lose them in your ears category.  This in my experience is occupied by dual driver BA things like the excellent q-JAYS and the not excellent UE700.  They both arguably are on the lighter side of bass.  The same most certainly cannot be said about the Crystal, not that’s it’s too bassy either even if it gets close to that level.  Yes it is a touch on the heavy but its more about its ability to move air and power out a low end when it’s called for.  If you ask it to it can power out like a large, if not the best sub out there.  It can roar and go deep with just oodles of power and fullness.  Now I must confess its isn’t the tightest bass, it lacks the precision and articulation of Balanced Armatures and even that of the fabulous RE-0/ZERO but none of those can come close to the tactility found here.  It has such power and vigour that the only thing that I recall feeling similarly about is the Shure SE215.  It’s not something I have to hand but from what I recall I think the Crystals are a good step above them.  These have seriously plentiful and seriously good bass. 




Mids:  The mids too are just great, not blow you away great but they have a rich, dark warmth to them.  They flow like a melting milkshake, rich and thick.  While they are very pleasant they are well over on the warm side and have a bit a struggle to do airy or dry.  It’s not that they don’t sound great because they do, they just have their own flavour going on and they will present vocals as rich and flowing.  I’ve also noticed that if you let them sit shallow in the ear they can on occasion get a touch sibilant.  That’s really odd for something warm but it only happened on very sibilant songs anyway and if they were sitting shallow. 


Now if you want rich, sultry smoothness (Norah Jones, Cold Cold Heart) then these are arguably about as good as it gets.  All dark, rich , warm, gooey goodness. 




Highs:  Treble junkies look elsewhere.  As I mentioned above these are all about the dark, warm etc etc and accordingly the treble presentation is slight, sweet and smooth.  They can do treble, do it pretty well too but clearly it’s not where its talents lay.  The detail level is rather good but it’s no challenger to things like the RE-0, not even close but then it’s not trying to be.  The treble here gives you everything you need to know and gives it smoothed, polished edge.  Even on treble heavy songs the treble never seems to take centre stage.  It’s that rambunctious low end.  If it sound signature were a seesaw then the fat kid is sitting at the treble side.  Yeah the treble fine but its lack of edge and hardness means it really doesn’t stand out which is just fine if that’s what you want.  There is certainly no splashy brutal treble causing offense here.  Actually its rather like the SE215, a bit pushed back and a bit polite.  This can be a good thing if the recordings a bit poo, its rather forgiving.



Soundstage:  It is a dynamic driver in there so as you might expect it’s not bad, not bad at all.  It may not sound immense but it’s very rich and full sounding.  Placement and instrument separation suffer a little but then this is about enjoyment.  It’s not trying to be a monitor so it doesn’t really need to do those things.





Fit:  As a dynamic and unvented the fit did give me some venting / air pressure issues.  It wasn’t anything major and would gradually correct itself after a few min but given I’m reviewing and pulling them out constantly and trying other things it became annoying.  It’s not alone in this but as someone with sinus issues it annoyed and so I stuck on comply’s, that instantly fixed the issue.  YMMV.


Comfort:  Just fine.  I could wear these fairly shallow with a bigger tip but they didn’t sound as good so I mostly wore them deep.  They are so tiny they can just melt away and disappear inside your ear.  They were perfectly comfortable always but I could see those not used to things going so deep maybe feeling little violated.  Don’t worry you’ll get over it.



Cable:  It’s a little stiff and bouncy but otherwise great.  Feels sturdy and strong and looks like it should last a good long while.  I do miss a chin slider though; not a big deal but it lacks one.



Microphonics:  I wore these up like I do pretty much everything and I got none at all.  I dare say wearing down with the lack of a chin slider may yield different results however. 




Accessories:  You get a really nice little case, it’s nice the attention to detail.  You get a shirt clip and a bunch of tips, erm 4 or 5 pairs I think.  I confess I think I’ve managed to lose some and as I have 3 bags of tips on my desk right now I may have miss paired things.  Oops.



Amped/Unamped.  Well they sound just fine unamped but they do like a little power.  They scale pretty well and in my opinion like a brighter amp. (They are rather dark and warm after all.)  The more power you can throw at them the better but don’t feel you need to in the same way the RE-0 needs an amping.  These just clean and tidy up they don’t alter in sound signature significantly.



Isolation:  I remember commenting at how Shure and all their boat load of R & D money had managed to make a dynamic that isolates like a BA IEM.  Hisoundaudio have done it too.  When you take these and stick them in they isolate excellently, the only way you’ll get better is using some etys and even then there won’t be much in it.  These are easily good enough for daily Tube use or flights to everywhere and anywhere.  Be warned though, if you’re not used to it you had better remember to look for traffic before crossing, if not you will die.  Seriously you will die because you won’t hear that bus hurtling towards you.



Value:  This really depends on the price and I’ve been told circa £65.  As the only competition as I see it is the SE215 and a quick look around and I can’t see them for less than £84.  Given going by memory these are better sounding (but I don’t have to hand to compare directly) then how is that not great value?  These kick ass.




Conclusion:  Now those familiar with my rambling scrawling’s will know that I’m not really a big bass lover.  So personally I’m not loving these because the bass is just too big, too abundant, too powerful.  Too, if it was a sub it would be like getting kicked in the guts by the bass, that kinda power and energy.  That said I did find it fun in short bursts, like holy crap its big energetic and enthusiastic bass.  Still much like I said with the 215 it’s a sound that is going to just be hugely popular in some circles, in the mainstream audio world huge bass is what’s wanted and these do it.  They are fabulous, just fabulous.  That they have managed to get this big yet good bass going on and isolates is a real achievement.  As I say the only other in the 215 but its more expensive and you must wear it up and not everyone likes that. 


What you do have to remember though is that these are taking aim at the 215, a big meaty mainstream sound that is a pretty good quality too.  It is not trying to take down the audiophile kings of the price range like the RE-0.  It’s trying to take the sound that’s popular and add quality, making no judgement about how much bass is too much bass.   The fact is lots find the RE-0 to be horrifically bass light, it’s not what they are used to and not what they want.  The Crystal’s give the people what they want and I can see many just loving what they have to offer.   It’s not what I want to hear every day, but if you like your low end to kick it with real vigour then you’ve really got to give this a thought.  Especially if you want some isolation too as it’s practically unheard of to offer both at the same time.



post #2 of 36
Thread Starter 


Hisoundaudio Crystals Quick Review


Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample


Brief:  Oooh, bassy but it isolates!


Price:  Circa £65


Specifcation:  Erm it’s a 7mm dynamic driver, it’s really small and I couldn’t find the specs anywhere.  Like they matter anyway.


Accessories:  5 Pairs of tips (I think) and a rather attractive case.


Build Quality:  Very good, certainly there is not a thing I could fault about the construction.  It all looks and feels very sturdy and solid.


Comfort/Fit:  These do rather want to be shoved in rather deep and if you not used to that you may feel a little violated.  I’m very used to that so it never bothered me and I found them perfectly comfortable.  I did have a little venting issue, slight but it existed.  A minute or two in the ear and they equalised, comply’s removed the issue however.


Aesthetics:  The pair I had was a bronzy brown but all the pics show a grey silveryish colour.  Frankly they look fine and they sat so deep in my ears you couldn’t see them anyway so it mattered little.  They look fine but nothing special.


Sound:  Big ass kicking bassy.  These really reminded me of the SE215 and their freakish ability to isolate yet produce a bombastic, thumping and powerful low end.  The is no question what is centre stage here and it’s of a fine quality too.  The mids are very good too but a bit behind and very much on the rich and warm side of things.  Accordingly the treble is a little pushed back and its somewhat dark.  The treble is decent but it is inoffensively smooth and softened and really laid back compared to that big ass bass.  I feel like I should write out bass several times just in case you missed the point.  I should point out that it isn’t the tightest bass that ever there was.  It has a hint of softness to its edge and its impact looses a touch of punch but at this quantity that’s absolutely fine.  It’s like having a hugely powerful sub in the room but one that maybe isn’t the very highest quality.  Still if you want this quantity you will not find better, it is very impressive and articulate with this kind of force.  At this amount you’ll be hard pressed to get this quality without paying a ton more and that’s ignoring the isolation.  These isolate every bit as good as a BA IEM’s, they are just excellent.


Value:  If you want this bass and isolation only the SE215 anywhere near, these are better and cheaper.


Pro’s:  Big ass kicking, thumping bass, fantastic isolation and teeny tiny.


Con’s:  You had better want a lot of bass and not the most detailed you can get.

post #3 of 36

nice review!

seems to have a similar sound to the Hisound Flamenco. and same packaging/accesories and NO specs.

of course these are a level up. and the isolation you mentioned is surprising


just, the name "crystal" doesnt match for a bassy iem. 

post #4 of 36
Originally Posted by kanuka View Post

nice review!

seems to have a similar sound to the Hisound Flamenco. and same packaging/accesories and NO specs.

of course these are a level up. and the isolation you mentioned is surprising


just, the name "crystal" doesnt match for a bassy iem. 

The sound is similar in the signature, but the difference in quality is quite large. The packaging and accessories has changed for the Flamenco/Popo I believe. 


With regards to the specs, I'll get them for all the models soon so we know what we're looking at.

post #5 of 36

Loved the entertaining review mark ,seams like a sound product , how does the bass on these stack up against the denon 710 in terms of quantity and quality ?. feel free to ramble onksc75smile.gif  lol

post #6 of 36
Thread Starter 

ooooh, not sure never thought to compare those two but given how sealed they are the bass could be rather to your liking.  off top of my head id say quality is about the same and quantity maybe a touch less.  maybe a little more punchy than the denons.

post #7 of 36


Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post

ooooh, not sure never thought to compare those two but given how sealed they are the bass could be rather to your liking.  off top of my head id say quality is about the same and quantity maybe a touch less.  maybe a little more punchy than the denons.

Thanks mark, its good to hear that there bass quality is as good as the 710 ,i was  kinda expecting you to say they had more bass quantity than the denon based on your description of the crystals ,now that would have grabbed my attention and made me consider trying them.normal_smile%20.gif


post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 

well i thought the donons were really bassy, the 710 are hugely bassy and move a ton of air.  the little crystal im not sure moves quite as much but it can really do punchy with it being so sealed.  im sure you wold really like its bass, not entirely sure it would have the treble you seem to go for though.  that said you can get treble boosting amps (i know the xm5 and 6 do it)

post #9 of 36

 I am quite adaptable when it comes to treble mark as long as a phone is not to sibilant and is extended enough to have good detail retrieval. I must admit they do look  tiny and kinda cute ,i may just give them a try maybe....


I have the denon ah5000's now ,have you heard them ?

post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 

nope, not heard any denon full sized things yet somehow

post #11 of 36

wow this is my first time reading about these and they seem to be everything ive been looking for :) i went from atrio's which i liked to ie8's/tf10's ... i love them both to death but they both use the t500 size tip not to mention the bulky bodies of both of them cause me alot of discomfort. So i sold the ie8's to a friend at work for 100 since i only paid 180 for them from dakmart a year ago and bought the mtpc which i found too bright for me bordering on sibilant and i cant listen to at even moderate volumes. Now i read about these and i'm all excited i've always wanted to buy qjays but worried they wouldnt trutly hit the low notes that are common in todays mainstream electronic music ie DnB Dubstep ElectroHouse so i've always stayed away from the qjays/ue700 even thought ive always wanted to try them :) so i just immedetely googled these and found them on advancedheadphones.co.uk and ordered already :) the total with US shipping which was 18 dollars more was only 109$ which i'd drop in a heartbeat to get a good headphone with super comfort. Now i have to try to forget i bought these cause i'll go me nuts not having them until the end of the week :) as a huge basshead (i actually use the 2nd stage bass boost on my arrow 3g :)) and almost audiophile i'll post my review after they burn in over the weekend if i get them by friday/saturday

post #12 of 36
Thread Starter 
well fingers crossed you love them, come back an post your impressions
post #13 of 36

ok they came in today 1 1/2 days after they shipped lol thats kinda rediculous considering its like halfway across the world. So far i like them alot and the treble is a bit sharp but should simmer down a bit considering these arent burned in at all but the bass is amazing i'd consider it as good as ie8/atrio but 10x more comfortable. BTW What comply's are you getting on these cause neither my t100's or 400's fit them :/ the 400's fall off and i couldnt even imagine stretching a 100 over this nozzle. i think i remember someone saying there are Shure olives with slightly bigger cores for the old models like e2c/e3c i'm going to go loook into that now cause i'm not generally a fan of silicone tips but the small sony hybrids are working for now. Man these things are small the entire headphone goes past the outer bend and all you can see is the wire/strain coming out of my ear and its SOOOO comfortable. Only gripe so far is the straight plug which i'll looking into having it reterminated with a right angle one or something but i love how thin but strong feeling the wires are i dont even feel them going over my hears at all which is great. :) so more impressions to come after then burn in over the weekend and i put them up to the tf10's side by side for a while.

post #14 of 36
haha i'm on comply's website and now they have t-200's ... am i nuts or are those fairly new because i really dont remember there ever being a 200 model :/ ordering some now haha i'm really going to have one hell of a collection of tips now all 3 comply sizes senn/monster/sony silicone tips ftw
Edited by deadguy99 - 9/29/11 at 3:05pm
post #15 of 36

so mark

is the bass like the m11+ ?

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