Gleam Audio / NiceHCK 1DD + 8BA

General Information

1dd + 8ba per side universal iem.

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500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Gorgeous mids, neutral for a hybrid, height, separation, all around sonic performance
Cons: 1 + 8 drivers makes for large heavy housings
About me - I'm a hobbyist with no horse in this race or in any race.
I got a slight discount because I buy so many iems off the seller. Link here
And on Taobao or a Taobao agent I call it Chi-Fi in the title but I think they're made in Singapore.
I don't go with deep insertion with these, thats why they're not flush with the ear. Comfort is fine when I wear them like this.

Quick sound summary
In a nutshell the DZ9's are mid forward and otherwise pleasant hybrid customs in an acrylic universal shell. Bass is very tight with a tiny amount of rumble down low. Zero bass slam. There is nothing to distract from the mids, hence mid centric. Never sounding sibilant and have a clean and quick signature that will please mostly only a mid-head and a neutral-head.

Tip selection and source

Without a perfect seal the sound is very different so my listening for this review was done with Spinfit's and a Fiio X5 as my source. They are very efficient and go fine from
my Cowon J3. The housings are large and on the heavy side so I just use them indoors so my J3 doesn't get to use them much.
Note: It looks like each side has 4 sound tubes running to the nozzle. 1 from the dynamic, one from the 4 mid BA drivers, one from the two high BA's and one running from the two ultra high BA's.

They come with a small hard case and a bunch of tips. Bring your own cable, and choose a faceplate colour and 2pin or mmcx.

The sound signature of the DZ9 is similar to something like the P1 except unlike the P1 it has micro detail in spades across the whole FR. Also a similar signature to the DQSM 2 although it makes the DQ sound quite 2 dimensional and small (especially short and shallow). It's a signature that is quite neutral but has that hybrid sound with that slightly elevated natural sounding bass that to my ears sounds peak free all the way up, with nice sparkle in the highs. Never sibilant.
Hard to describe the soundstage but I'll do my best. The DZ9 for me projects the focus forward, in front of my eyes. Other spatial cues happen inside and outside my head, mainly the front of my head. The soundstage is awesome because of the great height and forward projection and massive separation but don't get me wrong it's a much more conventional soundstage than something like the Earsonics SM3 which does magic tricks with the soundstage.
It's like a cross between a conventional soundstage and the stage of the SM3. Imaging is exceptional and the extra armatures help the instrument separation along.  Sonic cues can be pin pointed around your head and have plenty of air between them. The instrument separation does not sound like it has been enhanced on purpose but rather just like it has been helped along by the different armatures and sound tubes running to the nozzle. The Ear Kegs have a soundstage that is a fair bit more 3d, like a sphere around the head. The DZ9 stage is as tall as it is wide and goes for forward projection instead. The vocals make their way layered in front of the rest of the instruments most of the time. Helped along by the high resolution of these the vocals separate themselves from the music.

Bass amount is slightly leaner than usual hybrid iem standards but above most dual armature sets like rock-it sounds R50 or Ath-im02. About the same as Earsonics SM3 bass and Fidue A73 if memory serves. Sub bass does not quite reach the depths of the ear kegs, which makes the DZ9's mids and highs sound cleaner in comparison. The DZ9 still has sub bass but not so much as to get in the way of enjoying vocalists, I like to test this with Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman. The DZ9 sounds fantastic and the sub bass does not interfere at all. The Ear Kegs enhanced sub adds rumble where it shouldn't be. The ear kegs don't go well with Cat Stevens etc. but the DZ9's have the versatility to be used with any genre. Sub bass and mid bass are nicely balanced, bass reaches as deep as the track calls for but doesn't bump up the sub bass. The bass is as textured and gorgeous as my T-Peos H300. The bass has just a small amount of slam which means they satisfy down below but do not get annoying if you are sensitive to slam.
These Iem's come off mid centric but only because nothing else distracts from the mid range. Highs and bass are not recessed and the mids sound a touch forward, Also it does not hurt that the mids are stunning. There is amazing micro detailing in the vocals and electric guitars have an attack of note that gives them serious grunt and bite. Vocals are well centered and spread wide across the stage (in my case vocals present themselves in front of my eyes). During complex passages the DZ9 doesn't break a sweat, I've never heard it sound congested only effortless.
Does not extend as far as the Altone 200 to avoid harshness but it certainly matches it's quality. Treble extension rolls off later than most, shimmer and sparkle and lovely decay of cymbal crashes are the order of the day, never sounding harsh or too bright. Never sounding smoothed over or grainy just a transparent representation of whats on the track.
Size comparison


They're a very enjoyable listen because of how well they reproduce the music, analytical with enough warmth down below to stop them from being cool. Clean and crisp with details galore and still maintain a natural and realistic sound. They are right in between musical and analytical. To my ears they add very little colour to the sound which is a very rare find amongst the Chi-fi thread.
As an overall package these to my ears are a wonderful piece of tuning. To not have any sonic weakness for me is quite a feat, even in this price bracket my ears have no complaints, which is something I've never been able to say about an iem before.
"But SkullMan are they worth all those magic beans"? I hear you ask.
"Well they outclass the rest of my collection by quite a margin in terms of technical ability so I have to say yes they are". A while back I owned some JH16 customs and liked the way they sounded but I had reservations, mainly with the bass. Not the case with the DZ9. These are a class act all the way, 5 stars because of the amazing price / performance for 9 drivers per side.
Thanks for reading

[mod edit] Removed affiliate tag
Mine arrived today and OOTB they're fuzzing quite a bit. Just opened them. Does that go away with burning, or do you think I got a lemon?
Wait nevermind! The cable it came with is big time faulty. Used a different cable and the issue is gone.
Good god. They're incredible.


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