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Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition Impressions, Reviews & Discussion Thread - Page 2
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Ya the hisound player drives my 650's to "my" liking and great satisfaction, although some may feel that it may need a bit more power. but honestly I don't see how it needs more power. I can take the volume all the way to max of 31. But it doesn't need to be that high. 28/27 is already lough enough. As for my Akg q701's they drive them perfect. BUT it seems sometimes it's driving them TOOO hard. This player is a d*mn powerhouse, and it feels as though that my 701's are being "OverDrived" at times just like my westones. I am currently 40hours of burn in with this player. I do have to say it sounds so beautiful and it puts my zune HD and cowon to shame.but for some of my headphones it seems like it's pushing a bit too hard taking it to the maximum strength. I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing because i've never owned a player this strong before. This player does need more hours of burn in so im sure this tiny issue will easily be soothed.
Edited by Poetic - 9/15/12 at 8:36pm
I also received it and all I can say in comparison with the "normal" Studio V (impressions) is that the sound is even more dynamic, punchier, better timbre in the mediums region, more depth in the bass with more control and autority.The treble is so crisp, never sibillants or fatiguing and the soundstage is even larger, more 3d and realistic.
Thank you Hisoundaudio
Edited by sly_in_the_sky - 9/19/12 at 1:51am
HiSound Audio Studio V 3RD Anniversary Review..
A word or two about HiSound Audio. HiSound is a Bespoke Chinese Company based in Shenzhen China. They are dedicated to manufacturing high value portable music equipment supplying both budget IEMs and small portable music players. Their own introduction says they have 15 years of experience, although there are no details given. For anyone wanting to know more I would direct you to their website. The company seems to have a philosophy of maximising performance through simple design and synergizing components.
Firstly let me say that this is my very first product review and I am submitting it to meet my commitment to HiSound in exchange for a half price Studio V 3rd Anniversary.
I think it is important in any review to give the potential reader a bit of context and background so they know what basis the comments on sound quality are being made. I am relatively new to the world of portable audio but have owned some pretty decent home audio gear for many years. Currently my system comprises Dynaudio Contour 3.3 speakers. Arcam FMJ CD player and Musical Fidelity A5 Amps.. This is all connected with Cardas cables. I have both Neutral and Golden reference cables which i change around when I feel like it. Power cords are also Cardas. This system offers a powerful, detailed and smooth sound with plenty of rhythmic drive which is just the way I like it.
My previous experience in portable audio is with HiSound’s Rocoo BA player and HTC Desire as sources, some Sennheiser CX IEMs I don’t recall the model of, and then Sennheiser IE80s. All my listening to the Studio V 3rd is with the IE80. I am also using Toxic Cables Silver Poison upgrade cable with the Sennheisers . To lend further context, I would describe the Silver Poison and IE80 as offering deep bass with good definition and, a beautiful midrange which I find neither forward or recessed but just right, and extended but smooth treble.. I don’t want to go any further than that, as this is not a review on those items….
My music listening tastes are very eclectic but include the following. Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Van Morrison (up to about 1980, Live ta Montreux is awesome), Tim Buckley, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Nitin Sawhney, John Digweed, Rage Against the Machine, Eric Bibb, and others. You get the idea…
For this review I used the following : Global Underground 09 San fransisco “Sasha” : Cassandra Wilson “Belly of the Sun” : Dexter Gordon “One Flight Up” and Rodrigo “Concierto de Aranjuez”. All files are WAV ripped from standard CDs using EAC and stored on a reformatted SanDisk 64g SDXC card.
The Studio V 3rd Anniversary arrived about a week after the order was made and it was paid for. The parcel was well wrapped for the rigors of world travel. Inside was a mock black leather presentation case with the HiSound logo on the front. Opening the case reveals the Studio V 3rd nestled in a velvet lined recess.
Underneath there are separate boxes containing a pair of the companies own ear buds, a charger and a USB charging cable. The packaging is adequate but nothing special. I can see they have tried to convey a feeling of luxury with the packaging but it isn’t quite there yet . Still, that’s not why we buy such players. The buyer also receives a VIP card and warranty card. There is also an instruction manual in both Chinese and English. The manual is adequate. I am not sure what the VIP card is for as there is no mention of it in the printed material. Perhaps it entitles the owner to discounts on future purchases but that is just my guess.
The player itself is a beautiful jewel. Finished in a brushed gold colour with satin highlights on both the front and rear fascia it really is a good looking player. Compared to the Rocoo BA’s gloss black finish the Studio V 3rd is also far less of a fingerprint magnet. Rather than spend too much time trying to write what you can just see I have added the photos below.
I am not sure of the weight of this player but it certainly feels very solid and has a nice heft to it. The Studio V is 140 grams so it’s a fair bet this weighs the same. It is obviously well built and I really like the physical buttons on the front of the player. The micro SD card slot in the bottom is easy to use and has some kind of spring mechanism which makes removing the card very simple. On the top edge of the unit is a 3.5ml headphone outlet, a reset button in the centre and an audio in socket. On the bottom edge there is a micro USB plug and a micro SD card slot. There are also charge and USB light indicators.
I would like to be able to give you full specifications for this player but as yet they are unpublished. I suppose you could check the Studio V specs on the HiSound website. I will say that the advertised battery life of 85 hours is certainly achievable at very low volume and standby. During burn in I ran it for 29 hours continuously at volume 7 which is more than enough for normal listening. That is very impressive. I believe the player’s amplifier section has an output of 85 millivolts and should be capable of driving a wide range of IEMs and Headphones. It was immediately apparent that the output was far greater than on the Rocoo BA upon first listen with the IE80s. At the same volume setting there was a huge difference in loudness.
HiSound players are very easy to use. The user interface is very simple and does everything I need it to. After powering the player up it takes a few seconds for it to initialize and after that you can use the right hand button to navigate through Now Playing, Music, Source Manager, and Settings. Going in to settings by pressing the centre button allows you to control play modes(repeat etc ), Sleep and Automatic switch off times, Button sounds, and Language as well as look at the firmware version the player is using. You will see this to be version 2011.12.23 DT Dynamic. Now I know that it is easy to change firmware on HiSound players but all my listening was done with the included DT Dynamic version. I may do a revision with different firmware when I am certain that changing it will not damage the player. My feeling is that it should be fine but I have seen comments saying there is a chance the player will brick.
The Resource Manager is the folder you will use the most. Opening this will reveal External and Internal Media folders. The Internal Media folder accesses the music stored on the player’s 4g internal memory while the External accesses the Micro SD card. Navigating through this to find your favourite tune is really simple. Just scroll up or down through your own folders, press the centre button to select and on you go.
The Now playing folder is obvious. Shows what is playing and lets you control volume, fast forward, track selection etc.
The Music folder reveals folders for artists, genres, favourites, year and albums. Since I only source music from a micro SD card which I have already arranged the way I like I didn’t use the music folder at all.
To exit any folder all you need do is press the left hand button on the front to “back up” to where you started from.
Having read elsewhere that the player needs burning in my first action was to completely ignore that advice, connect my IE80 and slap them into my ears. First listening impressions were of extremely extended treble which I found too much, and a lot of bass which was a bit overblown and had a smearing effect on the midrange. There was also a curious hollow, almost echoing sensation which was interesting and impressive for about three minutes but was soon unbearable.. OK, maybe they are right and the player did need to be burned in. I made a folder of many different music styles, set the volume to 7 and put it on repeat play. The player lasted 29 hours after which I charged it up and repeated the process a good half dozen times. It was then a matter of settling in for a good listen. My approach here is to describe what I am hearing from a musical enjoyment perspective. To wit, there will be little to no technical talk but lots of description. Music is an emotive experience and as such I believe should be described accordingly.
At the beginning of Global Underground 09 there is a lead in of voices in the street and a montage of noises setting the scene outside a club before slowly blending in to the pulsing beat of Sasha’s first track. Listening to this on the Studio V 3rd is totally immersive. I found myself listening intently to the threads of conversation and random noises in a completely involved manner. I could understand and follow different voices occupying the same time very clearly. Of course the sense of space in which this all takes place cannot be conveyed through this player in anything like the same way as my home set up, but everything is present and the detail retrieval is very good. First impression, the midrange produced by this player is terrific and I am looking forward to hearing Cassandra Wilson very much. However now it’s club time and it doesn’t take very long at all to realize that the Studio V 3rd is well suited to this type of music. There is plenty of treble energy but it never gets out of hand and at no point did it overshadow the midrange. Bass is strong, deep and has plenty of drive. Most of the time I spent listening to this album some part of me was jiggling along with the beats and I was smiling. There were quite a few places on this album where I was hearing subtle background sounds and percussion that my HTC completely missed. They were there on the BA but not as clear. The longer I listened, the more I was enjoying it. The strengths of the Studio V3rd were coming through loud and clear. If you like this type of music the Studio V 3rd will make you very happy. My HTC can sound ponderous with dance tracks and whilst better, the Rocoo BA is still not as good as the Studio. The best testament to the player’s ability is that I listened to the whole album even though I wanted to get on to other music.
Edit: I had a chance to compare the Studio v 3rd against both the Iphone4 and a 4thgen Ipod touch which my nephew lent me for a few hours. The HiSound player is Waaaaaay (technical term) better than either of those. Everything is better but the biggest difference is in the bass. The I products sound completely wrong after the Studio.
Basking in the Belly of the Sun with Cassandra is a joy on the Studio V 3rd. Cassandra has a deep rich voice and on this player she sounds wonderful. There is a kind of thickness or texture to the midrange that works really well with her husky vocals. Whenever I am listening to vocals and being totally captivated it is because there is enough detail to hear the little inflections and breaths the singer makes. Now I am not saying that this player reaches in to the depths like top notch home systems but for the price, the size, and the hardware used it does a good job. Her version of “The Weight” is a pared back gentle percussive one and on this player sounds very good.
There of plenty of space in the presentation making it easy to pick out and follow different instruments. I have heard this on other players and the percussive elements can get a bit muddled or smeared together but that is not the case here. The track “Just Another Parade” is my favourite on this album. There is some lovely upright bass which is gorgeous on my home system. On the Studio V 3rd it is there in the background but not with the same weight or clarity. At the beginning of the song when it is front and centre it comes through nicely though. I reckon this is a good result for a pocket player. This whole album has a kind of delicate touch to the way it was recorded and this is conveyed very nicely on this player.
On Dexter Gordon’s One Flight Up both trumpet and tenor sax have a lovely brassy bite to their sound with Donald Byrds trumpet sounding about as good as you could reasonably expect. The drums sound terrific as does the upright bass, both moving the music along in an infectious manner. Drum beats seem to have a sharper leading edge on this player than my HTC phone or the Rocoo BA and there are times when you can hear the string vibrations of the bass come through loud and clear. So there is plenty of detail being retrieved here. The whole presentation of this album has more energy making the music more alive and involving than either of the other sources. Another difference I noticed was that the piano playing on all tracks seemed just a little more forward, and thus more easily heard on this player during busy passages compared to the others. On the HTC phone especially it got lost in the background. Compared to the rest of the presentation the piano seemed to have just the right amount of weight or thickness to the sound. If you like this style of jazz the Studio V 3rd will satisfy you.
I hadn’t listened to Concierto de Aranjuez for quite some time. I remember starting to a few weeks ago on the Rocoo BA but losing interest after a while. That is not to say that the BA sounds bad or anything, because it doesn’t . In fact it’s a perfectly decent player. The difference between it and the Studio V 3rd is in the dynamics. The Rocoo sounds nice whilst the Sudio V 3rd sounds more dramatic which is exactly what you want. A comparison to my home system of course reveals a huge gulf in quality, but once again the Studio V 3rd does a terrific job for what it is. The guitar sounds fantastic on this player, there is good decay of notes and there is that body that makes itself heard on piano and voice as well. The high guitar notes extend beautifully. There were a couple of times though where I just wished that the background was completely black. I know HiSound have worked to reduce the background noise on this player and I can only assume they have succeeded. Not having heard it’s predecessor I can’t make a direct comparison. The Rocoo BA certainly has a quieter background but at the cost of a less dynamic presentation. I much prefer the way the Studio V 3rd does it. I mentioned earlier that I may try the BA firmware on this payer and perhaps that will make a difference. In regards to the background noise It’s definitely there but the fact that I haven’t mentioned it previously should suggest that it is not much of a problem. Yes, there are moments when you can hear it and I reckon the player would sound even better without it but it is very minor.
I really like the Studio V 3rd Anniversary although I realized at the end of writing this that there is a bit of a bias in regards to the music I used. At this moment I am listening to Rage Against the Machine and can tell you that it sounds great. Loads of bass, biting guitar and Zack De La Rocha’s voice has the right amount of snarl to it. Compared to the Rocoo BA the Studio V 3rd offers a big step up in sound quality and that was already a good sounding player. Since I don’t have a lot of experience with portable players I can’t reasonably tell you where this would fit into some kind of overall ranking but I can tell you that I think it is a fine sounding player and worth the money. I suspect that it won’t suit IEMs with hot treble but in my opinion that is the fault of the IEM and not the player. This is a well built, easy to use and dynamic sounding player with a large soundstage, good separation, timbre, and timing.
WELL DONE HISOUND !
Edited by Sauntere - 9/21/12 at 8:56am
Studio V-3rd anniversary.
After 200 hours of burn-in, here are some of my impressions about this excellent player. I will also make some comparisons to his brother, the Studio V.
First one thing about the aesthetic, this player is beautiful, with very good finitions and a luxury look. His minimalist design let me think of the Mies Van der Rohe citation : Less is more… The kind of design that you see in Hi-end audiophile brands.The brushed aluminium is very beautiful. For the screen, no flashy touch screen but just the minimal info that one needs. The screen is simple, very readable and clear. Nothing is superfluous but to me, nothing is missing…
The UI :
It’s very simple, like the one in the Clip +. Don’t want to write a lot about it, it’s very simple to get used to. The firmware on my unit is very stable, no bugs…I don’t know if some efforts have been taken regarding the firmware stability but I have nothing to say about that. Like you can read in others Studio V reviews, you can choose between several pre-setted SQ (firmwares), one for BA IEM’s and another one for Dynamic IEM’s. Having the Weszone 4 and the Earsonics EM6, I find the « dynamic » one to be the best. The two firmwares are directly putted into the player itself.
The sound :
Afrer having burned the player for about 200 hours, I will give my impressions using my Westone 4 and my Earsonics EM6.
For my « tests », I often use Jazz or acousic music to have a more « neutral » reference. To test the punch, dynamic, fluidity, speed of the player, I listen to Electronica, Rock.
The first thing that comes out from this player is the feeling of life and power… the sound is so living, so natural, realistic, dynamic and so spacious…even more thant the « normal » V. The kind of sound that it’s impossible to reproduce with common players even using SQ settings. The sound is so enveloping, it’s like having a « sphere » in front of you. The sound is very Hi-Fi, without colorations, without accentuations. With my EM6, it’s surprising how everithing is coherent, in it’s place. The soundstage is really big, even larger than the normal V. The instruments separations and it’s positions and also the feeling of « air » between them is so realistic. There’s also a good amount of decay in every region of the spectrum and the feeling of depth is really huge. All this qualities increase the feeling of reality. With this Player, I feel like my Westone 4 are pushed to their potential limits and can’t sound better.
One of the big upgrade from the normal V is the bass… less « compressed », more open, more deep, more details, speed, punch (when needed) and control, the Studio V 3rd Aniversary has so many autority…
The medium are also more precise, timbres are so good and realistic.
Treble are so energic, never harsh or fatiguing…cymballs never ends and extentions are really beautifull.
Speaking about the Hiss, there’s a little bit hiss but comparing to the normal V, I can say that it’s half less loud. Even if I put the volue to 3, it’s impossible to notice it… ok it’has’nt 0 hiss with my W4 and EM6 but sincerely, I think that even those who are hiss allergic, will not notice it, while the music is playing.
I have to admit, I also tried the Colorfly CK4 but in comparison, this new Studio is more refined, has more punch, more power than the CK4 and if you take in consideration that it’s more « portable », more solid, better built and the fact that the power increase is about ¼ more than the normal V but with the same battery life, this player is to me, the best PORTABLE player existing.
Edited by sly_in_the_sky - 9/28/12 at 6:31am
Nice review and I agree though I haven't heard a V in comparison. The player, for lack of a better word, is dramatic but not artificially so. More like it has the ability to bring home the soul and intentions of a song. There's a tangibility here that you don't get from other all in one players. Music often has a personal message or story that a performer is trying to relate and it's the hardest thing kit has to do. Call it goose bump factor but it won't show up in specs. This player can transport you there.
It's not perfect. The ui could be more refined (but it's fine), the display larger(but it's fine), quieter (but it's fine) and sonically, I wish it sounded best with beep off instead of on. It's close enough to right this way that there's little to criticize and preference for some other more expensive hi end player would simply be that, a personal preference. It's dynamic, detailed, open, focused and has a unique solidity without sounding hard. It runs forever and plays 24/48 wav files. It will also play FLAC at standard def, aac, wma, mp3 and APE. There's not much here not to like if music is your main goal.
I can get my way around a circuit but really, when I'm listening, I just don't give a crap. I never presume to know more than those that actually create. I think they've stayed with this basic platform and refined it because, A, they know it (and there's a lot to be said for that) and B, they just plain like the way it sounds. So do I.
I can say that judging from comments on comparisons to the V by others, I'm glad I waited. The difference in price seems marginal considering the improvements. Even if small, they seem significant for IEMs. Probably less so for cans.
I may not do a formal review as I'm better at this sort of post and I'll continue to comment and add as time goes by. I'm waiting to get my amp back and I'll have some fun comparing the Studio to LOD out from my touch 3g + amp and the HiSound as an amp itself but to be honest. I'm not going to carry a separate amp or use the HiSound as one so how these comparisons fare wont impact my usage of the Anniversary 3 as my go to player.
For those with these players, I would do long formats if changing FWs and simply plug something into the amp in socket now and then to wipe the contacts. Can't hurt.
Edited by goodvibes - 9/28/12 at 6:23am
Thank you for the comment...
If people like me take into consideration the specs above, I think that many of them would agree that at this moment, nothing is better than this player.
Beautiful design, well built, very solid.
Very handy, no need to take the player off the pocket to change track or to push volume up.
No need aditional amp, lot of power, can drive most of portable cans and IEM's (flexibility)
Simple UI (even if somethimes buggy...)
Incredible battery life.
Can read 64 gb sd cards.
Can someone tell me which player can combine all those specs? Hifiman? IBASSO? S:flo2? Colorfly, Tera Player....?
All those brands do surely something or anotherthing better than this player, one can have a better SQ but is not so portable and has poor battery life.
Others can perhaps sound close to it but is built like crap...
Others sound perhaps excellent but has no screen.
Edited by sly_in_the_sky - 9/28/12 at 6:49am
There really isn't anything else that ticks all the boxes is there. Except maybe the Terra player. If Hisound could just get rid of the background noise.
As the weeks go by i am enjoying this player more and more.
Thanks for the review comments goodvibes.
- Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition Impressions, Reviews & Discussion Thread
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