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Hisoundaudio Golden Crystal - The Midrange Masterpiece IEM

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

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Details

   $190-200US

IMPEDANCE 16 Ohm
CABLE LENGTH 124cm
SENSITIVITY 110dB
ACCCESSORIES 2 Sets of Bi Flanges, 3 Sets of Triple Flanges, 3 Silicone Ear Tips (S/M/L), 5 Sets of Hybrids, Leather Box
FREQUENCY RANGE 15 - 23,000 Hz
DRIVER 5mm dynamic driver

 

 

 

I've been around for a while.  This "audio thing" I do can get very stressful.  I'm just a normal guy, I'm not rich.  I feel singled out by the Audiophile world because I seem to have a unique view on audio products today. I am beyond elated that Hisound is willing to toss their gear at me so often, I am definitely a Hisoundaudio Guy.  I tend to gravitate toward the vast, natural and open sound and always strive to unearth the best sound staging qualities that I can find.  It is a Swing and a Miss type of scenario most of the time, coming across headphones or amplifiers said to possess excellent sound staging qualities yet turn out to be sub par to my ears.  I've been through every major IEM to date, I've owned them all, more than likely reviewed most of the more popular branded IEMs of the past few years. none of them kept me interested.  There is a problem with the IEM world that I am just not okay with:  Congestion.  I feel sick when I stick those unnatural rubber eartips into my ear canal.  Even some of the best customs I've tried were unsatisfactory in the sound staging department.  I think Sound Stage is by far the most overlooked and neglected quality in headphones in the current market, especially so in IEMs.  Its damned near impossible to get a fantastic output that doesn't make me feel like I am walking the streets of Times Square or Tokyo.  

 

Such is not the case with Hisoundaudios gear.  They specifically design all of their gear to house one common trait: Big Sound.  Their portable Daps, the Studio V, the P, and the BA...all boast without question the best soundstaging qualities in the portable media player world.  The Hisound Pro, Live and Living earbuds, have the best sound staging qualities in the entire earbud world.  The Popo and Crystal, both highly satisfying in vast sound.  Yet again, their newer model the Golden Crystal never fails to please sound staging nut cases like myself.  If you want the best sound stage in a budget IEM, You shouldn't be looking to any other IEM but the Golden Crystal.  Before it, its little brother the Popo was my pick for the largest budget sound stage, and before that?  The Fischer Audio Silver Bullet...both of which are noticeably smaller in every way vs the Golden Crystal.  In all honesty, only the JVC FX700 can compare and even best it in some ways....but that set is near double the price of the Hisound.

 

The GC has one of the worlds smallest dynamic drivers.  Upon first opening the box a while back, I was amazed at how small the housings are.  If you know me, you should know I freaking HATE IEMs.  I HATE sticking things into my ear, it really upsets me.  Coming off my favorite customs, the Livewires, I can safely say the GC is the most comfortable IEM I've ever used, and I've used hundreds.  It almost disappears inside my ear canal and I quickly forget its there.

 

Bass

 

Plentiful and satisfying, very clear and dry.  Not warm.  I wouldn't call it Monitor bass, but if you have heard all the Hisound earbuds and IEMs before, you should know what type of bass the GC will have.  It is definitely "hisound flavored".  Its not nearly as powerful or deep as its little brother the Pop ( Which had one of the richest and most potent bass experiences I've ever had ) but it certainly is not lacking.  Compared to the Mids and Highs, it feels much more balanced in quantity.

 

The Mids

 

Masterpiece.  Best vocals and voices I've heard in any IEM.  Its been a while since I've heard the FX700 so I will leave that one out of this equation.  However, tracks like Tenacious D's Drive Through, which are just the artists talking to each other are absolutely stellar.  They are very dry and natural sounding, far from warm sounding and invoke a great sense of ambiance when the track allows it.  Cello work is particularly amazing, Yo Yo Ma, 2cellos and similar artists sound better than my Livewire customs, more realistic, more dynamic.  Bliss.  Love it.

 

Highs

 

Definitely on the bright side and a little sharp at times.  I detect some sibilant instances on tracks I know not to sound too sibilant through other headphones.  I've heard much smoother and better highs in sets cheaper, however this set is highly engaging in the upper regions.  Very clear, but again bright, too bright for my preferences.  Violins are absolutely shocking at times, as are screaming guitars.  I've not owned IEMs that handled the upper regions this well, if you like bright treble, this set is for you.  

 

Sound Staging and Presentation Qualities.

 

Again, large, spacious, airy, extremely natural.  My Custom Livewires sound like I am standing between two call speakers emitting sound with almost no center imaging, where as the GC sounds much more complete from left to right.  Its more of a widescreen effect, the set is definitely wider than tall and its only upon raising the volume to uncomfortable levels when I feel like the set is well rounded in presentation height and width.  Its moderately placed, somewhere closer to middle ground than forward or distant.  This allows for a nice, relaxed and smooth presentation for classical music and allows for enough engagement to seduce your ears when a rock or metal track comes into play.  

 

Build Quality and Extras

 

The housing is deceptive due to its immensely light weight form factor, I simply cannot tell if its machined and solid aluminum or if its nice plastic.  I am learning towards metal due to the expensive nature of it.  The cable has a twisted braided look to it, not sure if the cable wiring itself is twisted or if that is just the way the casing was designed.  The cable is thin and flimsy and I am sure Hisound wont enjoy me saying it feels too flimsy.  I feel like thats how they wanted it though, something very light and thin that wont get in my way.  On $200 this is forgivable despite the insanely small housings, but any more expensive than this and I might feel like the cable should have been thicker and "feeling stronger than this".  I like the L style plug, it feels solid enough, Ive felt far worse in much more expensive headphones.

 

Overall, this set is amazing.  So natural, so immersive, so comfortable.  Why the hell aren't you people talking about this set more?  Its one of the best sub $500 iems out there.  Definitely one of the most underrated iems ever.  

 

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Edited by swbf2cheater - 5/14/12 at 10:13am
post #2 of 15
You said these have the smallest balanced armature drivers. They are dynamic change that.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 

oops thanks

post #4 of 15

Piercingly awesome highs. Your review is quite similar to my impressions. Bass characteristics can be mistaken as something coming out of balanced armature as described by ClieOS.

post #5 of 15

Dynamic Armature??  O_O  I think these are just regular dynamic drivers. 5mm. Not the smallest. But close. There are many other micro-driver, nozzle mounted dynamic drivers out there from the cheap Hippo Shroom to the more expensive Yamaha EPH to the Monster Trumpets.


Edited by wilzc - 5/13/12 at 9:23am
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

Didn't like any of the others you mentioned in the slightest :P


Edited by swbf2cheater - 5/14/12 at 10:10am
post #7 of 15
I have a VIP card. What does this entitle me to if anything?
post #8 of 15

Nice review! At first I wasn't you meant price or actually midrange when saying midrange masterpiece. I do like a good midrange. My two Cresyn phones, the ASG-1, my Sony HPM-78 all do excellent on the midrange. Sounds good!

post #9 of 15

Good review!

I have a set of these and I really like them becuase of their quite balanced sound.

I agree regarding to the sibilance - it's not annoying regularly, but there are some songs where it really hurts my ears.

BTW, My set has some driver-flex, did you experience some with your set?


Edited by ItsMeHere - 5/13/12 at 9:21am
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I have a VIP card. What does this entitle me to if anything?

 

It used to entitle a Discount, not sure if that stands through today.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItsMeHere View Post

Good review!

I have a set of these and I really like them becuase of their quite balanced sound.

I agree regarding to the sibilance - it's not annoying regularly, but there are some songs where it really hurts my ears.

BTW, My set has some driver-flex, did you experience some with your set?

 

Best midrange I've heard in a long time in any headphone, seriously.  Vocals are insane at times if its just an audiobook or perhaps something with artists just talking to each other, its shockingly good.  I've not experienced anything like that in this price tier. My preferred tips are actually the smallest ones Hisound offers in that bag, super tiny but no I cant say I've experienced anything like that, the seal is quite good and no pressure ever built up that I have noticed.

 

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jant71 View Post

Nice review! At first I wasn't you meant price or actually midrange when saying midrange masterpiece. I do like a good midrange. My two Cresyn phones, the ASG-1, my Sony HPM-78 all do excellent on the midrange. Sounds good!

 

 

Thanks! The midrange on this set is extremely well tuned and tailored, I call it a masterpiece of work in tuning.  Nothing I have ever owned at this level in iems comes close, I don't think even the Ie8 or Ie7 had such clear and realistic vocals and mids, definitely better than the Monster top of the lines including the Miles Davis.  Side by side with my Ie7, its really no contest especially on a track like I mentioned ( which I don't recommend to anyone not willing to hear some filthy and hilarious dialogue from Jack Black :P  

 

Hisound can do anything they want to do if they set their mind to it.  They hold the title of best budget earbuds and iems, I hope dearly they make some amplifiers and larger full size sets in the near future.  They are the only company I feel are competent enough to actually get it done and get it done right for a great price.  


Edited by swbf2cheater - 5/13/12 at 3:36pm
post #11 of 15
It's not hard to have mids clearer than IE8 :P
post #12 of 15

thanks for the superb review, the description fits very well to my experience with this iem.

And i am happy just keeping the golden dynamite as my only iem.

The Live, Popo...all impressed me too...respectively as earbuds, and a rockpounding iem.

 

Highs on the goldie....very clear..lazer clear at times... but sibilant is not the word.

I wonder if hisoundaudio can outdo themselves with another iem..hmmm.

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post #13 of 15

I had a chance to audition this IEM quite some time ago (around the time of its release) & enjoyed it very much.  The tuning reminded me quite a bit of the Fischer Audio FA-011: wide, u-shaped fq curve, punchy bass, sparkling treble, largely neutral mids.. excellent timbre, slightly dry overall tonality.. dynamic, lively & possessing an airy soundstage.  The GC (like the 011) looked lovely too.

 

GC & 011.. brothers from another mother? wink_face.gif

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlySweep View Post

I had a chance to audition this IEM quite some time ago (around the time of its release) & enjoyed it very much.  The tuning reminded me quite a bit of the Fischer Audio FA-011: wide, u-shaped fq curve, punchy bass, sparkling treble, largely neutral mids.. excellent timbre, slightly dry overall tonality.. dynamic, lively & possessing an airy soundstage.  The GC (like the 011) looked lovely too.

 

GC & 011.. brothers from another mother? wink_face.gif

 

 

 

 

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post #15 of 15

Sorry to necro this: Really enjoying the pair I got from the OP! I've tried out tips from Hisoundaudio, Klipsch, SoundMAGIC, Sony, Comply, and Auvio, but I can't get a consistent seal, a problem I seem to have with any non-SoundMAGIC/JVC IEM. Any suggestions? I want to use these as my portable solution, but anywhere from slightly changing my head position, to walking, or chewing food/talking changes the seal quality.

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