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Hisoundaudio Golden Crystal || Review and loaner tour

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Loaner tour line-up:

1. -y0-

2. FlySweep

3. kckc

4. rroseperry (last stop)

__________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

Hisoundaudio Golden Crystal

 

GC.jpg

 

 

First I’d like to thank Jack at Hisoundaudio for giving me the opportunity to purchase the Golden Crystals, or GC as I’ll reference them, as they are not yet available from any US dealer.

 

Meet the super tiny Golden Crystals.  They are the smallest dynamic driver on the planet (I think the Monster Tributes are 5mm as well, if their claims of also having the world’s smallest dynamic driver are accurate).

 

GC w-tips.jpggc tips.jpg

 

 

IMPEDANCE

16 Ohm

   

SENSITIVITY

110dB

   

FREQUENCY RANGE

15 - 23,000 Hz

DRIVER

5mm dynamic driver

 

When I say these things are tiny, they are TINY!

 

three.jpg

 

 

I gave the GC’s 250+ hours of burn in, as 200 to 300 was recommended by the manufacturer.  I can tell you straight out of the box they were extremely bright to my ears but have since settled in nicely.  Whether that is attributable to driver burn in, brain burn in or a little of both, I’ll leave to the reader to decide based on their beliefs of burn in.  A 6th generation iPod nano and laptop using Spotify were used for testing.

 

The GC has a very clear and somewhat balanced sounding overall presentation.  The micro drivers are super fast and the speed rivals some of the faster BA phones I’ve owned and heard.  These pair best with a darker source as the treble can get quite hot and splashy at times.  The Hifiman bi-flange tips were the best solution for me in bringing the treble in line with the rest of the sound or if you wish to dampen the treble more, Comply foam tips will do nicely.  With different tips, the signature can change from somewhat balanced to very analytical and treble heavy.  The better the seal, the better the bass response and overall balance.

 

Bass: When called upon they can have a pretty big and tight bass punch.  It is not something you get with every song but if it’s in the recording, the GC can really deliver.  There is very little mid bass and is mostly deeper sub bass to my ears.  I was not expecting the small driver to be able to dig this deep.  I’d say it digs nearly as deep as the GR07 but lacks some of the texture and rumble the larger 11mm driver can deliver.

 

Mids: The midrange is very transparent, clear and dry.  Vocals are never obscured by other parts of the spectrum, displaying subtle nuances that warmer phones may gloss over.  With the bi-flange tips I find the midrange neither forward nor recessed but with shallower tips the midrange can be slightly recessed.  Distortion guitars have average byte; think less than the GR07 but more than the EX1000.

 

Treble:  The treble is crystal clear.  Joking aside, the treble is bright, splashy and can be more up front of everything else.   With the wrong tips or particular recordings, the treble can sound very piercing and overwhelming; however it is a highly detailed and powerful high end.  Cymbals, hi-hats, bells, triangles, tambourines and brass instruments are of prominent focus.  Treble junkies apply here.  Pre-burn in there was quite a bit of sibilance but that has tamed a great deal.

 

Soundstage is on the small and intimate side.  Width doesn’t extend very far and depth is just ok.  In comparison, the GR07 is much wider but has similar depth.  Instrument realism is good to average, which I think is due to the overall thinner note the small driver produces.  For instance I think acoustic guitar and piano should sound weightier but overall it is a very clean and likable presentation.  Instrument separation is very good and I have no problem with location cues during busy passages.  The GC has a very BA like instrument separation.

 

photo.jpg

 

As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of the digiZoid ZO.  For those of you in the dark, this little device can turn any phone into a bass monster.  The GC pairs very well with the ZO amp and my laptop using Spotify.  The little 5mm driver can really deliver some sub bass with this set up!  In fact it gives it a weightier note that really improves overall instrument timbre.

 

The GC comes with a typical round case and a nice selection of tips ranging from hybrid clones to tips similar to the GR07 stock tips.  Durability and craftsmanship seems to be top notch.  The cable is thin and pretty flexible but does tend to tangle; otherwise is of high quality.  Comfort and fit is simple and easy and with the Hifiman bi-flanges, isolation is among the best of dynamics I’ve tried.

 

In summary, the GC’s are a very unique offering due to their extremely small size, good build quality and isolation. They deliver a very clear and bright signature that is tipped towards treble and an analytical signature but can still offer very nice bass punch.  Frogbeats (UK) is the only dealer I’ve found that will ship to the US but at the current exchange rate means paying around $200+, which seems a little steep and is in a price range of some very capable competition.

 

For further impressions and another perspective, please check out this review from mark2410.

 

bush sideways.JPGbush headon.JPG


Edited by shotgunshane - 1/8/12 at 11:49am
post #2 of 45

Nice job shotgunshane. It doesn't seem to fit my sound signature type, but they are very interesting and attractive tiny dynamics. Well written review sir. beerchug.gif

post #3 of 45

Nice review, I was curious about these. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Liking the photos. biggrin.gif

post #4 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericp10 View Post

Nice job shotgunshane. It doesn't seem to fit my sound signature type, but they are very interesting and attractive tiny dynamics. Well written review sir. beerchug.gif


They were a lot different than I expected, especially based on review of their cheaper siblings, the Crystals.  While not my preferred signature, I do like them with the ZO on my laptop.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by -y0- View Post

Nice review, I was curious about these. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Liking the photos. biggrin.gif

 

I took the pictures with my iPhone 4.  I thought they turned out pretty well.  My wife has the iPhone 4S and it's camera is truly at point and shoot replacement level.

 

post #5 of 45

Interesting review @shotgunshane thanks .Looks like a sweet little iem, not sure i could handle the hot treble on them though ! , a picture of the included tips for reference might be a nice touch .happy_face1.gif

post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucozade View Post

Interesting review @shotgunshane thanks .Looks like a sweet little iem, not sure i could handle the hot treble on them though ! , a picture of the included tips for reference might be a nice touch .happy_face1.gif



Good idea on the tips.  I've added it, although this particular iPhone picture did not turn out as well.

post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 

Added this picture to the review.  They really do pair nicely with the ZO. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

photo.jpg


 


Edited by shotgunshane - 12/8/11 at 6:48pm
post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 

I've decided to offer these for a loaner tour. To participate you must be a reputable and active head-fier in good standing with the community.

 

The only requirements are to post your review/impressions here, provide your own tips and to pay shipping to forward to the next person on the tour list. If you lose or damage them, contact me to work it out.  I'll update the first post with the tour list if I get any takers. 

post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 

Loaner tour line-up updated at the top of post 1.  We have two so far.  PM me to volunteer.

post #10 of 45
How do they compare to the regular crystals?
post #11 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by s0lar View Post

How do they compare to the regular crystals?


I've never heard the regular crystals.  To my knowledge only Mark2410 has heard both.

 

edit:

Golden Crystals are now in route to -y0-.


Edited by shotgunshane - 12/3/11 at 7:42am
post #12 of 45

Thanks to shotgunshane, I received the Golden Crystal a few days ago and it'll be on it's way to FlySweep tomorrow. My impressions are below:

 

Hisoundaudio Golden Crystal

  • Build/Cable: I found the GC to be built very well and didn't look cheap at all. The cable was very nice and I was a big fan of it. It doesn't tangle and is easily handled, just wish it came with a choker. It also had pretty good strain reliefs.
  • Comfort/Isolation: The GC was very comfortable to wear, no issues at all. It almost disappear in the ear since it's so tiny. Isolation was also pretty good.
  • Sound: Bright and analytical were the first thoughts that came to mind when listening to the GC. It actually reminded me a lot of the UE700 and B2 in terms of sound. Treble was bright, clear, and detailed. Mid/Vocal was not forward or recessed and smooth. Bass was there but didn't have much of a rumble. Soundstage was small to about average.
  • Conclusion: I found the CG to have a lot of the same characteristics as BA IEMs even though it's a dynamic. If you're fan of the B2/UE700 sound, most likely would be a fan of the Golden Crystal. As for me, I prefer a more fun, musical sound almost every time.
post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 

I agree with most of your impressions.  They do tend to be analytical and have BA like qualities.  I haven't heard the B2 or UE700, so it's nice to put some names of other IEM's in the same ball park of sound.  Sounds like I was able to get more bass out of them than you though.  I thought they had surprising rumble for a tiny driver.

 

Thanks for the impressions!

post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

I agree with most of your impressions.  They do tend to be analytical and have BA like qualities.  I haven't heard the B2 or UE700, so it's nice to put some names of other IEM's in the same ball park of sound.  Sounds like I was able to get more bass out of them than you though.  I thought they had surprising rumble for a tiny driver.

 

Thanks for the impressions!


Well I'm used to the bass rumble of the FX700 so that might have made the GC sound tinnier. tongue.gif

 

post #15 of 45

Any way to compare these to the ER4p/s? They sound pretty similar from the impressions posted thus far.

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