EarStudio HE100 High-Resolution Earphones - Reviews
Pros: Clear and clean imaging; cohesive sound; great staging and timbre.
Cons: Elevated upper midrange not for everybody
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Earstudio HE100 is a bright-neutral earphone on the upper end and warm on the lower end with a punchy bass added. The frequency response is a very gentle U-shape. It has a very good technicalities but you have to be able to handle that broad 3 kHz peak.

This review was originally published at www.audioreviews.org


INTRODUCTION

Earstudio by Radsone is an upsurging company out of Korea that has had a strong presence at drop.com and several discussion forums, recently. Their first success was the famous Earstudio ES100 Bluetooth receiver and currently their powerful miniature HUD100 dac/amp, which I reviewed [here]. The Earstudio HE100 are the company’s first earphone. They are an upgraded version of the Sonicast Dirac MK2. According to Radsone, the HE100 deliver a more balanced sound and are better suited for cold weather. They share the frequency response with the Sonicast DIREM E3. And the DIREM E3 enjoy a very high appreciation by some purist experts. Dear reader, you are in for a treat, the HE100 are not your average funster earphone, they require a bit of understanding to be appreciated – and will then be appreciated even more. The HE100 are earphones for the expert.


SPECIFICATIONS

Driver unit: single dynamic, hi res
Impedance: 27 Ω
Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
Frequency range: 10 – 40,000 Hz
Tested at: $59.99
Product page: https://earstudio.store/products/he100
Purchase Link: Earstudio Store


PHYSICAL THINGS AND USABILITY

The Earstudio HE100 comes with 3 pairs of silicone eartips (S/M/L), a shirt clip, a textile storage bag, and a manual. The shells are made of aluminium with nozzles of plastic added. Haptic is good, the earpieces feel solid.

Earstudio HE100



The cable is fixed – sigh – and has a classic round cross section. It is nylon coated between the 90-degree-angled headphone jack and the separator/chin slider, but the two individual strands leading to the earpieces are plastic coated. And they are rather microphonic. There is an inline one-button remote with mic on the right-hand side.

Fit and comfort of the earpieces are great, isolation is only soso. The Earstudio HE100 are probably meant to be driven by a phone on the go (inline mic!) and my iPhone did a fine job. I used the largest stock tips.


TONALITY AND TECHNICALITIES

My tonal preference and testing practice


My test tracks explained

The Earstudio HE100 is a speedy single-dynamic-driver earphone characterized by a warm low end whereas the rest of the frequency spectrum is on the neutral side, with brightness infused by that strong broad 3 kHz peak. Call it a gentle U-shape.

Earstudio HE100


Earstudio HE100


Bass is boosted above neutral in order to balance the strong upper midrange. Sub-bass extension is good and still tight, but the low end does not come across as strong as in the graph. It is perceived as well-dosed, articulate, and has a pleasant, subtle, energizing punch, it bleeds a bit into the lower midrange, which it is somewhat painted over the upper midrange.

Midrange is generally on the neutral side and is very clear and clean. The lower midrange, that is the vocals area, is sitting in a valley between bass and upper end and is slightly attenuated and sharpened by the upper midrange.

The upper midrange is strongly elevated which adds clarity and sharpness to the image, but it also lowers the ceiling of the soundstage. The tuners obviously intended to combine a punchy low end with an overall clear, transparent sound. The price paid for his is splashiness in the upper midrange and the immediately adjacent lower treble. In my perception, the upper end dominates the sound despite the elevated lower end, and cymbals/hi hats sound tizzy. This signature is popular in Asia, and it does not come as a surprise that the Earstudio HE100 are popular in Korea.

Soundstage is impressively wide, not so deep, and it lacks a bit of height. Instrument separation and timbre are very good. Spatial cues is also good. Overall, very well resolving for a single dynamic driver, and wonderful imaging at small to moderate levels, but it may get shouty when you turn the volume up.


WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?

I would definitely shave the broad 3 kHz peak a bit which would heighten the stage and enrich the midrange (and the low end, too, for reasons of balance). This can be done with our various reversible modding techniques, explained here.


EARSTUDIO HE100 COMPARED

The Earstudio HE100 wipe the warmer $59 Tin Hifi T2Plus and the less hot $99 Tin Hifi T4 dry in terms of detail resolution. They share a lot of their frequency response with the $40 Moondrop SSR, however are punchier at the low end. They are tonally more accurate than the $30 KBEAR KB04 and much more so than than the fun $23 KBEAR KS2 (which have the largest soundstage of all of the above).

Earstudio HE100



WHY WOULD YOU WANT IT (OR NOT)?

The Earstudio HE100 will appeal first and foremost to the audiophile crowd that appreciates tonal accuracy at a good resolution. It is not for LOUD listening of rock and electronic noise as this may lead to premature fatigue. Fans of classical music will lick their fingers.

Earstudio HE100



CONCLUDING REMARKS

The Earstudio HE100 are very well-made earphones that feel good in my hands and ears – and they have a very refined sound and exceptionally good technicalities for their class. B ut: you cannot be deterred by a “spicy” upper midrange. In the end, it comes down to personal preference. If you like the extra energy of an elevated upper midrange, you will enjoy the tastefully dosed bass punch and the clear, wide imaging and excellent detail technical abilities of the Earstudio HE100.

Until next time…keep on listening!

Jürgen Kraus signature


You find an INDEX of all our earphone reviews HERE.


DISCLAIMER


The Earstudio HE100 was provided by Radsone up my request. I thank them for that. This unit was passed on to co-blogger Biodegraded…maybe is will write another review. We don’t get any remuneration from that $45 promotion.

Our generic standard disclaimer.

About my measurements.

You find an INDEX of our most relevant technical articles HERE.
Last edited:
Pros: Great control and clarity, also good sounstaging
Cons: Build quality leaves a little to be desired
Firstly I would like to thank Radsone for sending me this sample to review.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used: Audio Opus #2 / Topping DX7 Pro > HE100

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Tech Specs:
Product Type – Canal Type In-Ear Headphones
Driver Type – Dynamic
Sensitivity – 103 dB/mW
Frequency Response – 10-40,000 Hz
Impedance – 27 Ohm
MSRP – $89.99

https://www.radsone.com/he100

Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The HE100 come in a nice off-white box that has a picture of the IEMs on the front and diagrams of the earphones on the back with an exploded view, specs and info on the driver diaphragm. Slide off this outer sleeve and you’ll find a plain black box with a flap that lifts off, you’ll find the IEMs held in foam underneath. Overall the packaging is attractive yet simple, and I really like the detail on the back about the technologies used.

Build quality is good overall with sleek and well machined housings and good strain relief all round. The cable is however quite thin and not replaceable, the bottom section below the y-split is covered with fabric which should offer some extra protection. However with some care they should hold up just fine. The single button remote feels a little cheap but it functions fine.

Accessory wise you get a small fabric pouch to keep them in along with fairly standard S, M and L single flange tips. You also get a cable clip, so overall they have the bare essentials and a clam-shell case would have been better along with a few more tips. Nothing too wrong here though.

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Comfort and Isolation:
These are designed to be worn with the cable straight down, and their small bullet style housing helps you get a comfortable fit for hours on end. They are lightweight and comfortable to use for prolonged periods of time, but there is a little bit of cable noise which can be distracting when using them portable use.

Isolation is good on the HE100, effectively blocking out a fair bit of outside noise. But they are vented so this does reduce the isolation ever so slightly.

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Sound:
Lows: The HE100 are not tuned for your average consumer, they lean towards a more neutral and audiophile sound signature with a more controlled and precise low end. They are not lacking body or warmth, they fill out when called for yet stay perfectly in line so as not to colour the overall sound signature or encroach on other parts of the spectrum. Drum kicks have body and impact, double bass is articulate and well extended and the lows are always present and easy to follow without being overblown. Some would like a little more emphasis down low, as these are not a warm sounding IEM by any stretch but they have great layering, speed and detail.

Midrange: The midrange is well presented without too much emphasis on any part of it, imaging however is excellent and everything has its own place within the soundstage. Guitars have good power and energy with an overall quite realistic tonality. These are a pleasure to listen to if you like a wider and more spacious soundstage, however the centre image is a little more diffuse compared to some with a more focused stage. These pretty much sound great with all genres and it is easy to pick apart recordings with the HE100. I have found that on certain recordings these can sound a little thin in the midrange, but it shows that these are fairly revealing of the recording quality.

Highs: These are rated to extend until 40kHz, well we can’t hear that high but it should mean less distortion and it moves the breakup frequency higher. Overall though, they sound remarkably clean and detailed up top without sounding forced or too up front. They are perfectly placed in the mix and accurately portray what is in the recording, they do extend well but they can sound a little unrefined at times though. Overall they paint a pretty accurate picture though and inject a bit of energy into the sound.

The soundstage is wide with fairly average height, I really do enjoy how spacious these sound when listening to them though, spacial cues in the recording really stand out.

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Conclusion:
Based on sound alone, the HE100 are superb, with a fairly accurate yet enjoyable sound signature that has excellent detail retrieval and soundstaging capabilities for its price. However the build quality could be better, I wish they had released them with a detachable cable to ensure longevity. Overall though the HE100 have a sound that I really enjoy, it is both energetic but not fatiguing, detailed but not harsh.

Sound Perfection Rating: 7/10 (Great sound, but the build could be better)
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Broquen
Broquen
Can't agree regarding build quality. I use them very often on the go and finishes, materials and feeling after quite some months is optimal. On the other hand, reading your sounds impressions can't avoid think of improper sources. Must agree that using a plain smartphone or spacially cold source they can sound thin, but as I stated yesterday on the HE100 dedicated thread, for my ears the sound is fantastic and inside the best tier in the sub100 range from the computer, 9038s and ES100.
ostewart
ostewart
@Broquen the sources used are listed: Audio Opus #2 / Topping DX7 Pro. Whilst they are quite good, I can think of a handful of other very competitive models for the same price that I personally prefer.
Pros: Clear and accurate, sharp imaging, near perfectly neutral, delicate revealing and innofensive treble, transparent timbre
Cons: Light bass, thin timbre, soft attack, cheap plastic mic, so-so cable that create microphonic
EARSTUDIO HE100 REVIEW :
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SOUND: 8.5/10
CONSTRUCTION: 7.5/10
DESIGN: 7/10
ACCESSORIES: 7/10
VALUE: 8/10


RADSONE EARSTUDIO
have taken audiophile world by storm with their widely acclaimed ES100 Bluetooth receiver DAC-AMP that still is the very best ultra portable DAC-AMP on the market today. Since then, I have high admiration for this company that tend to do things differently.

When I read they were lauching a first earphones, I know it will not be similar to other in term of sound approach, but still, I was worry that as a smartphone company without any experience in iem, they play an audio game they do not have experience with.

Perhaps this explain why they collaborate with Korean earphones company SONICAST to achieve the level of sound quality they aim. After trying 20 different earphones under 200$, they fall in love with high definittion dynamic drivers of Sonicast Dirac earphones and use this very iem as the base for a differently tuned Earstudio iem that use a special 3 layers diaphragm dynamic drivers. The sound tuning they choose was one that will pair beautifully with the Radsone ES100 high quality sound delivering,wich is clear, vivid, neutral and detailed.

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The goal of Earstudio was to create a balanced, neutral and revealing iem that do not have particular emphasis peaks in any range so clarity of imaging can be considered as ‘’high definition’’.

To my ears, there no other iem on the market that have the special sound rendering of HE100, wich destabilize me at first and impress me later. For a first iem, this is a very mature sounding one that isn’t aimed for basshead but real serious audiophile.

Priced around 80$, even if construction will not impress you, I think the cohesive, articulate, clear yet innoffensive sound HE100 deliver will sure do.

Let’s see why in this review.

DISCLAIMER: I participate to Earstudio Giveaway contest here on headfi and be among lucky winners, so, in exchange, even if i'm not obligate to review the HE100, I feel its my duty to share my honnest impressions.

Specifications


  • Product Type: Canal Type In-Ear Headphones
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
  • Frequency Response: 10-40,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 27 Ohm

ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

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UNBOXING is well presented, but not particularly generous in term of accessories. We have the minimal wich is 3 pairs of silicone eartips, a cable clip and an little carrying pouch. More eartips would have been very appreciated.

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CONSTRUCTION is neither impressive or disapointing. Pretty common housing design wich numerous iem use but for 100$ I would have expect a full metal construction instead of part metal part plastic. As well, the cable is just okay, but the mic is really cheap looking and I don’t expect long durability with such ridiculous plastic material...this is the type of mic with one buton we will expect from a 5$ iem. I’m not a big fan of mic, but if there music control buton on it, I can find it a purpose, unfortunaly there none with this cable. I would prefer a non-mic version of HE100, or even better a MMCX version so we can use balanced cable with it to pair with our Radsone ES100.

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DESIGN isn’t the best as said, the mic cable is not really needed because if the HE100 are thinked to pair with ES100, well, we already have a mic on it. As well, the housing is design to be wear cable down but will create a high level of cable microphonic, so, to avoid this you ahve no choice but wear it over ear...wich do not feel very appropriate with the cable that tend to not stay in place. If whole cable was made with same nylon material, it would create less microphonic and be more maleable for wearing it around the ears.

ISOLATION is average but do not create lot of sound leakage due to closed back design.

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DRIVEABILITY is a little capricious at 27ohm of impendance and 103db sensitivity, but it do not need crazy amping, any DAP or DAC-AMP like the Radsone ES100 will do well.

SOUND :

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OVERALL SOUND IMPRESSIONS was rather mitiged at first, as I find the HE100 mostly energic in upper region, the bass was too thin and mid range too linear for me. More I listen to it, more I get accustomed to the sound and discover to appreciate and understand it. Most of time I tend to like neutral sound, but i’m a thick timbre kinda guy, I like it meaty and textured, and when it can keep some level of transperent i’m very happy, the HE100 are very transperent, near diaphanous, but keep very impressive texture in timbre and an accurate tonality. This type of sound sure affect bass response and I think it can be explain by this very unique type of triple diaphragm drivers, my instinctive theory being that the back one is for bass, wich explain why it say in the back and feel tamed. But as you will understand, this first impression isn’t what the whole sound portrait offer.

SOUNDSTAGE is very wide and out of your head, it surround you and have a little hall like feel, everything is there tallnest, deepnest and widnest.

IMAGING is a fascinating mix transparent layers from low to mid and spacial accurary from upper mids to highs. Yep, where in a special kind of holographic presentation only this type of unique DD can offer.

BASS is a little recessed, sitting in the back of mids and highs with a disruptive softed but accurate clarity and texture, this is as if you put porous transparent layers above the bass that can still breath lively. This transparent layers do no cut completely the rumble or air lower bass can share, it just...keep it in background. Its gentle but full bodied bass, and I can even enjoy it with some electronic, I find it imprevisible to some extend, but well control and quite impressive. Mid bass hit is weighty, softed by mid-highs layers, and do not interfer with clarity. This is an introduction of how the HE100 is uniquely tuned.

MID RANGE is extremely transparent, slighlty dry in timbre, have great levely of clarity that benifit an accurate imaging that lack attack energy to gain in excitment. Its very flat, without notable mid region being shadowed, neither upper mids peak that would create sibilance. To fully enjoy this flat and soft midrange I need lot of ‘’brain burn in’’ wich at they end is rewarding for mature critical listening. Again, the HE100 offer a unique mid range tuning that impress by how gently articulate and revealing it is, its innoffensive yet very rewarding in transparence. The vocal have centered presentation that do not veil other sound layers, its a little thin in body and would not impress by singer proximity, but it isn’t what I would call recessed, just, well, flat and accurate. Audiophile target kinda mids.

TREBLE is delicate, quite natural and crisp. You will not struggle finding micro details wich will be well layered in spaciality. Percussions have good brilliance but not alot of decay, again, its a little thin and have hint of metallic tonalities to it, strangely, this help to give more presence to the highs. HE100 have an analytical approach to everything from 50hz to about 12khz, and after the treble is more polished wich give a mix of coldness and softed brightness to the sound, at they end, due to the delicate treble approach and excellent cohesion of sound, musicality is light and naturaly transparent.

SUB BASS : 7/10
MID BASS : 7.5/10
MID RANGE : 8.5/10
TREBLE : 8.5/10
TIMBRE : 7.5/10
ATTACK_DECAY : 7/10
SOUNDSTAGE : 8/10
IMAGING : 9/10


COMPARAISONS :

VS AUDIOSENSE T300 (100$) :

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At first, i was thinking the HE100 sound darker and more congested, but that was just an illusion, in fact they sound clearer and less congested than the T300. SOUNDSTAGE of T300 is a little wider and more out of your head will the HE100 win in deepnest. IMAGING is perhaps more lively and holographic with the T300, but lack the precision of whole frequencies range of HE100 wich benifit for instrument placement accuracy. BASS is thicker, weightier and more punchy with the T300, as well its warmer, less accurate and do not dig as deep as the HE100 wich sound dryier but clearer and more controled. MID RANGE is again thicker and fuller sounding, with a smoother timbre for the T300 but more upper mids emphasis, here the HE100 is more refined, balanced and accurate but less exciting in attack and weight, anyway, you got more details in mid range with the HE100 because of a more stable tuning. TREBLE is more sparkly but less balanced with the T300, percussions can be a little splashy even if they sound fuller than more delicate and brilliant highs of HE100, wich make the T300 more agressive on top.
All in all, we have extremely different iem here, T300 sound more muscular in attack and timbre, having a more fun and energic sound while the HE100 is the opposite, with more retained attack and bass, clearer mid range and more neutral and flat than beefy W shape sound of T300.

VS AKOUSTYX RE-210 (120$) :

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Akoustyx use a Knowles Balanced armature, tough its a single full range one while HE100 have special dynamic driver.
SOUNDSTAGE is this time more wide and deep with HE300, with a sens of airyness the more intimate RE-210 lack. IMAGING benifit from this spacious sound as well as tamed attack with the HE100, offering clearer positioning but lacking is physical separation as if we look at a wall of sound instead of being in the middle like the RE-210. BASS is faster, tigher and way more weighty and punchy with the RE-210, but it lack buttom line extension of the HE100 wich do not warm lower mid range as the RE-210 do. For a reference targeted iem, RE-210 is notably more bassy than HE100. MID RANGE is clearer and leaner with HE100, again, its thinner in timbre and softer in attack but deliver wider definition and better accuracy, wich make the HE100 more a reference sounding iem that the RE-210. TREBLE is more emphased and foward with RE-210, but it do not have lore of decays and sparkle and sound harsher on top than the more delicate and relaxed HE100, wich in they end deliver a more detailed sound and easier to perceive high range even if more recessed.
All in all, if your searching for a reference sound, skip the RE-210 and take the HE100, but if you want lively, punchy and agressive sound with weighty attack, the RE-210 will sound less boringly flat perhaps to your ears.

CONCLUSION:

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The Earstudio HE100 is a very impressive first attempt from an audio company that have a very precise vision about how music should sound, it's clearly targeted for audiophile and tuned by audiophile too.

While HE100 might not be the most exciting sounding iem in term of bass and attack, it choose instead a mature reference tuning that offer high level of clarity, sharp imaging and very well balanced delicate sound. Level of transparency is as much impressive as the cohesive articulation of flat lows, mids and highs, offering a neutral tuning rarely find in sub-100$ price range.

Sure, construction could be improved, and a HE100 with detachable cable would be very welcome, but nonetheless, I think Earstudio have do a good job to deliver a very capable earphones that hit above its price point in term of sound quality. Audiophiles that are tired of unbalanced, too bassy or too trebly sounding iem should give the HE100 a look, because for once high resolution mean something.
Pros: sound quality at this price point is amazing
super light and comfortable
Cons: microphonic cable, easily solved by using clip or hooking cable them behind the ears
Review Radsone HE100

First of let me start by saying I won these earbuds in the Radsone HE100 giveaway event here on Head-Fi, however the opinions in this short review are my solely my own and not influenced by Radsone or anyone else for that matter.

I’ve been a big fan of the Radsone ES100, it’s one of my first things to pack when I go on a trip and indeed always on my desk or in my pocket when I am out and about, so seeing Radsone diversify in the earbud territory made me naturally curious, if they could bring the same quality sound to earbuds.

I have two main sets of in-ears, being the Audio Technica ath-ls400is in ear monitors and a set of Klipsch x12i which I will be using for comparison.
I also have a set of Audio Technica ath-msr7 over ear headphones.
Suffice to say, I prefer a natural sound, I like to hear recordings the way the producer/artist meant it to be heard

I am a person who listens to a very varied array of music, form extreme heavy/black metal to classic rock to dance (on very rare occasions ) and so I gave these a real run for their money on very different types of music.
I used my HTC U12+ phone as a music player using Hi-Res FLAC files and connected the HE100 earbuds both directly to the phone, and of course in combination with the ES100.

First impressions of the HE100 when you take them out of their modest and stylish box is just how well build they are, no cheap plasticky fell, the materials are premium and the cable is very nicely finished.
For this review I solely used the provided tips, as I got a decent seal with them and wanted to test this product mainly as an average consumer would use them, so no fancy foam tips, just the supplied ones.
And I have to say, I was very impressed on the first listen, and after a very decent burn in period, they have only gotten better.
There is the issue of cable phonics, but let’s be fair, which pair of earbuds does not have this, and it can easily be reduced to a minimum by either going behind the ears or using a clip to clip the cable down.

The highs and mids are very clear, the soundstage is nice and wide and at no point do you feel the earbuds are compromised by using just a single driver or sound is going missing. This is especially evident listening to music from for instance Nine Inch Nails or Thom Yorke, artists like these, as they cram so many quirky sounds into their recordings, these all are clearly distinguishable and heard using the HE100 and at no stage does the sound get muddled.
They produce a very natural sound, which I really like, as you can then fine-tune them to your own listening preference using an equaliser (like the excellent ES100 eq)
The bass is solid, by no means will it shake your brain out of your nostrils, but it certainly doesn’t lack or gets muddled at any time. This is especially evident in songs like Depeche Mode’s Welcome to my world from their Delta Machine album, it just sounds awesome using these, the bass is solid, the mids and highs are crystal clear, so in all very impressed.
It is clear Radsone have put an awful lot of work in the development of their Hi-Res single driver, it really packs a punch.

I’ve never underestimated the power of single driver units as I have been a Klipsch enthusiast and have owned a pair of Klipsch x10i, x11i and now x12i so I know that if tuned correctly, they impress.
I think however what impressed me most though is the price point of these earbuds. For the quality and sound they produce, I would gladly pay more for these than the current price Radsone is charging.

In comparison to my Klipsch x12i, which were about 2.5 times as expensive, I would say they perform on par, maybe even slightly better. Although the Klipsch are lighter which makes them marginally more comfortable (if you can get used to the deep insertion of the Klipsch) I now prefer to take these HE100 with me instead of them.

The sound quality of my Audio Technica ath-ls400is is better than the HE100 but then they are driven by 4 drivers and use balanced cables. However, the sound quality of the HE100 is only marginally less than the way more expensive ls400is’s so I doubt the average user is really going to hear a difference.

However, for ease of use or if you’re going somewhere where you do not want to wear very prices in ear monitors, these HE100 are just perfect.

I’ve been blessed (or cursed, whichever way you see it) with extreme good hearing and a great love of music, a combination which makes me a very difficult customer to please.
These Radsone HE100 have truly impressed me and I think they are a great addition to Radsone’s portfolio and will help them greatly to make a well-deserved name for themselves in the audio market.
Especially at this price point, which will attract many starting audiophiles.
If you’re a seasoned veteran though, I urge you to not dismiss these and give them a try, they won’t disappoint.

Only thing left for me to say is: Well done Radsone, keep up the good work.
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Pros: * Price
* Included microphone
* Comfort, weight
* Included tips quality
* Effortless presentation of the sound
* Details and clarity
Cons: * Subdued mid/upper bass
* The upper mids spike is too sharp for my taste (it creates the clarity though)
* Cable microphonics
This review builds on my first impressions I shared with you two weeks ago here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new...lution-earphones.912108/page-16#post-15139416 .

I received the earphones as a part of the HEAD-FI giveaway that Radsone organized. While I received them for free, I am in no way bound to write a positive review, and, in fact, any review at all. Yet, I'm under the impression that the HE100 made quite a splash in the community. So I hope that sharing my experience will help someone in the future.

I own HE100 for over two weeks now, and I used it as my main daily driver during that time. I haven't noticed any burn-in during that time. There's obvious brain burn-in, though, because the HE100 tonality is quite different from my standard daily driver (IMR R1 with pink filters). More on that later.


Packaging
Quite standard, not premium but not cheap (unlike some sporty Sennheisers for example). In the package, there are:
  • The earphones
  • Three sets of silicone tips (S, M, L). According to the card found in the box, there should be one more pair of foam tips. It was not there.
  • Shirt clip
  • A small cloth pouch, roughly 8x8 cm

Fit
The HE100s are very small. And very light. Regardless of the tips I tried, it's the sort of headphones that disappear in the ears, and I'm left with the music. The provided tips are perfect. The surface is not perfectly smooth; there's a bit of friction, which helps to keep the earphones in place. In fact, HE100 is my first IEM where I'm not fighting the tips. For any other headphones, I prefer my custom silicone tips. Here, I don't care.

Sound
My first impressions were mostly based on listening to Mahler's first symphony: https://www.deezer.com/album/103082232. In the following weeks, I listened to more genres than classical, although classical might account for about 80%. I did all my listening with 320kbps mp3 from Deezer with very basic gear. Macbook Air headphone jack, iPhone through the Apple lightning connector, or FiiO E10k Olympus (the first version). I haven't noticed any significant difference between the sources, apart from what any other headphones show as well (e.g., hiss in the FiiO).

The sound is slightly tip-dependent. I get a good fit and seal using the stock M sized tips, but I prefer to use my custom tips anyway (from Custom Art). With the stock tips, the height extension is lacking a bit. With the custom tips, it's okay. When writing this review, I'm using the stock tips for better objectivity, however.

My first feeling about the sound was that it's pleasantly effortless. Whatever I threw at it, it sounds like it's no big deal. There's excellent clarity in low volumes. The Mahler's first symphony starts with a quiet passage when different instruments sort of "whisper" to each other. Particularly the brasses are supposed to sound like we hear them from a distance and I get precisely this feeling.

With more listening time, some peculiarities of the frequency response started to appear.

Heights:
  • Extended to the limit of my hearing with the custom tips, slightly rolled off with the stock tips (I was just tested a week ago and I'm good to 17.5kHz).
  • Good detail retrieval. More details than, for example, in Etymotic HF5 (single BA for $130).
  • Even with the stock tips, the extension is much better than with Massdrop Noble X (dual-BA for $250).
  • I can't hear any significant spikes in the heights.
  • The heights are not emphasized.

Mids:
  • I think the mids are the dominant frequency.
  • Decent details.
  • When I first listened to the HE100, my thoughts were that it could be the recording I was listening to at the moment, but the upper mids have the most emphasis (violins, oboe, flute).
  • After two weeks of extensive listening, this feeling was confirmed many times, very strongly. In fact, the upper mids spike is much more prominent with other genres, particularly with heavy metal.
  • The emphasis goes down pretty fast. Female vocals are quieter than snare drums or electric guitars.
  • The male vocals are even softer. While I wouldn't call the lower mids recessed, the super prominent upper mids overshadow them.
  • This description might suggest that the IEMs sound thin. They indeed do sound a bit thinner than Noble X or IMR R1, but fuller than the Etymotic HF5. I wouldn't call this a problem.

Bass:
  • For me, the bass is the weakest part of the frequency response.
  • Well extended. Better than, for example, Massdrop Noble X (dual-BA for $250). Double basses are well audible.
  • I'd consider the sub-bass almost adequate, but the mid and mainly upper bass is definitely subdued. That goes hand in hand with the quieter low mids. Most noticeable with violoncellos or bassoons.
  • Sounds natural and effortless, but I could certainly use more quantity. Tympani in an orchestra, for example, lack the impact we're used to from listening to live music.
  • Increasing volume to get better bass response renders the upper mids/lower highs a bit piercing.
  • Sub-bass sounds better than mid-bass.
  • Even with the (IMO) subdued bass, it's still much, much better than Etymotic HF5 (single BA for $130).
  • Mid bass or upper bass is probably better on the Noble X, thanks to the quantity. It sounds more natural on HE100, however.
  • To be fair, when listening to Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing, I find the bass quantity adequate.

Try listening to Dvorak's 9th symphony; everybody knows the fourth movement: .
  • This particular piece has several parts that could be called a "wall of sound", e.g., 8:45 and on. Fortissimo, from double basses and timpani all the way to brasses and violins. The HE100 doesn't give me the Earth-shattering feeling that a live performance would - and I've heard this symphony several times live. Sure, it's only an IEM, but the IMR R1, for example, is almost there.
  • In other parts, this symphony shows the strengths and weaknesses of the HE100 nicely.
  • The trumpets and trombones sound fabulous, particularly in the opening sequence.
  • The opening fanfares are interrupted by "hits" of the whole orchestra that leaves something to be desired in the bass.
  • Shortly after, there's a solo for clarinet (1:55). That sounds great again.

The frequency response is where the brain burn-in comes into play. The immediate impression after putting the HE100 in the ears and hitting play is that it sounds sort of cardboard-y. Like if you take a small loudspeaker and put it in a cardboard box. It changes the sound in a peculiar way. The first HE100 impression is very similar. But this feeling disappears after a few hours of listening as the brain adjusts to the new tonality.

Soundstage:
  • Pretty good. My primary earphones are IMR R1 (roughly $700) which is a whole different league, but the HE100's soundstage is good.
  • Much better than the Etymotic HF5 or Noble X.

Separation:
  • Pretty good. Again, no comparison to the IMR R1, but much better than the Etymotics, for example.
  • When listening to the Mahler, I have no problem in separating various instruments.

Cable
The cable is very thin, and the lower part is wrapped in cloth (see the pictures). It has a bit of memory effect but fortunately only a bit. Unfortunately, there's quite a lot of microphonics. Wearing the cable over-ears fixes that, but then we can't use the mike as it's right below the right ear. I've used both significantly better cables (e.g., the Noble cable that came with the Noble X) and significantly worse cables (e.g., the abomination that comes with IMR R1). At this price point, I'd judge the HE100 cable as above average.

Microphone
My job requires me to make a ton of calls, and I used the built-in mike often. My colleagues told me it sounds somewhat hollow, like if I'm in a large empty room, but they always insisted that the audio quality is good enough. I have the impression that I get fewer "sorry I haven't caught that" with Apple Earpods, however. In either case, the microphone is apparently not bad.

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Pros: Over all sound good
Comfortable
Good isolation
Very good bass
Mic quality is great
Clean/Clear
Cons: detail's can be a tad too much depending on the song
Cable not detectable
Control's in a bad spot
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I wanna get this out the way, I received this product for free, I wanna thank Ear studio for the chance to try out HE100, one of the first ear studio products I ever used.



On the rear of the box, you will see the inner workings of the HE100 and the specs at the bottom.
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When you open up the box, you will notice a small cardboard envelope with the manual on it detailing safety instructions and how to make sure the ear tips are on correctly, so the sound isn’t effected, which can happen if the tips are on wrong.
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When you move that piece out the way, you will see the HE100’s inside a protective foam. The cable feels alright in my hands as it looks like it could last a long while assuming you take great care of your Iem’s. Control’s could be in a better spot, then being high up on the right’s side cable. Another thing is the cable isn’t removable, which might be a deal breaker for some people. The location of the controls is a slight annoyance for me, but not having a removable cable brothers me the most.

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Next you will see a small pouch which is also where the rest of the ear tips are located, inside an even smaller plastic bag inside the pouch. Which also includes the cable clip. The tips that are includes comes in small, medium and large size, by default medium are already on the HE100’s.
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It was fairly easy getting the tips off, just had to use a little bit of force to remove them. Putting them back on was just as easy. After putting on the smaller tips, I place the IEM’s in my ear and the HE100 felt very comfortable inside my ears. I was able to get a perfect fit and seal as they stayed in place and did not pop out, which was an issue with my prior IEM’s that I owned.
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When I pair the HE100’s with my LG Stylo 4, it worked very well with it, does a good job at handling them. The button on the control pod that I mentioned earlier starts and stop media play back, Holding the button down toggles the google assistance, I also didn’t have any issues talking into the mic, giving it commands. Sadly there isn’t buttons to play the next or last song on the play list.

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Sound isolation is very good, I only hear a hint of my computer 11 fans that are all blowing at 100% speed. Including my room a/c set to high fan settings. Which I wasn’t expecting it to do well in. As the last pair of Iem’s I had didn’t do this well.



The mic quality was very good, people didn’t have an issue with hearing me and my voice was clear, also during the call, the HE100’s call quality was great, no issues at all.



Source and Software



The source that I will be using in this review is my LG Stylo’s 4 Headphone jack, and for the software Onkyo’s HF player, with EQ turned off, also with my phone’s DTS Headphone X 3D disabled.



Songs



The songs are in native flac format and are 16bit/48khz.



Spatilize – Cat and mouse



The first thing I notice is the song doesn’t sound like it’s inside my head, which surprise me, really sounds like the audio is outside my head, it wasn’t 3D sounding, it just was outside my ears feeling. The separation is perfect, I can hear each instruments as they are spread apart from each other, I can hear the location of each one. Including the saxophone that came off as being in front of me, and the drums that was on both sides of it.



The details are there and it’s clean, I heard every part of the song without any issues at all. The high’s wasn’t bright at all or too detailed. Each bass note could be heard, it was accurate and it was also just as clean and detail as the rest of the song. Nothing was muddy, or overlapping, as it hit soft.



The Chemical Brothers – No Geography



Similar feeling with the sound image, Even the voice is projected outside my left ear and I could hear it in my upper left side. The bass has some impact in this song, it isn’t slamming or any thing but it’s there, was drums and even snares too.



Bass wasn’t muddy or bloated, it was great. The background pad sound was really nice. There was a hint of the trebles being a tiny bit too detailed, but it wasn’t bright. I was able to hear every thing clearly and it was clean.







Figure – 9MM



Now I pick this song due to it’s bass going deeper then the other songs, with a little more impact, still nothing is bloated or muddy. Details are really heard in the lows in this song, the same thing happening here with the audio all being clear and sounding really clean. I having no issues hearing each of the different bass and drum sounds.



The voice is in front of me, as if it coming from in front of me, not on stage, but as if the person is in front of me talking to me. With the What’s? Coming from both sides of my ear’s being right outside them.



I notice there are a bit too much details in the highs too, but like I said before it isn’t bright which is very good.



Steve Aoki Remix – GITS: Utai IV Reawakening



Right away the voice’s feel as the chore is directly in front of me, just not right up in my face. It isn’t on stage or any thing.



I can really hear the bass impact and all the different notes of bass, drums and snare’s the same way I could hear it in the other songs. The same details and cleanness is here as well. Now there is a tiny bit of brightness to this song as it being a bit more detailed then the other songs, coming off as being too detailed.The brightness could just be this song, as other's didn't have the issue.





Conclusion



I been using the HE100 since Tuesday, over the days the sound has improved, as I actually loving the HE100 more then I ever did the Nu force HEM 2’s which was the last IEM’s I had. Including being more comfortable in my ears, while being easy to put in and staying in. While I do love t he over all sound performance, the details are a tad too much. Now I sure it may improve with a better source then my LG stylo’s 4 headphone out, which does a good job of driving them. If the detailing was tone bad a hint, then every thing would be perfect.



It would also help if the control panel was further down on the cable, instead of being on the right side cable, close to your face. Including having more functions then just pause, stop and google assistance.



The cable it self is no longer straight and have slight curve to it, but that don’t really bother me that much, the one thing that does is no removable cabling.



Other then that I enjoying them so far.
Broquen
Broquen
Hi, I'm listening to them as they are, and these are really good. Seriousluy. Only change is the tips (when going out) for the RHA MA750i stock silicone ones (highly recommended , no highs smoothing as when tried spiral dots). He100 have very good definition, detail, sound balance... Only detail is that due to I like a sound signature without any edge, I'll EQ down a couple of db for ~4k when finally write my impressions.
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