Crystal 6 Gen 1
is an interesting listen and was considered mostly as a companion IEM to the HiBy DAP range.
This unit was loaned to me by @Joe Bloggs
and one of my first experiences with an all BA IEM.
However, I am going to use this review to show my supreme impartiality.
The HiBy Crystal 6 (Gen 1) does some things right, but most things wrong. I can see why HiBy would have decided to update this IEM and thank the heavens for that. However there are some caveats to this.
Personally, when running the Crystal 6 (Gen 1) off a mobile device I think it outperforms the Gen 2 in the bass category. Rather than going for a tighter punchier jab of sound you get a softer warmer and more listenable experience. The bass has less texture but also feels more like a warm blanket that hugs you right up.
The technical performance of the Gen 1 also supersedes that of the Gen 2 when run from a regular 3.5 smartphone device.
And the positives stop there.
But let's go over the usual frequencies and rehash some of the above.
I find the bass of the Crystal 6 softer, warmer and more comfortable to listen to for longer sessions. It doesn't have the depth and attack of it's bigger brother but in some ways i find this preferable as you get a wider more thumpy sound that sticks around a little longer. The sub-bass also doesn't fail to show up making the Crystal 6 capable of plenty of rumbles.
Mids sit forward and clear in the mix with electronic music. This doesn't seem to have the same oscillation power of the MKII, by which I mean, in acid music you can sometimes feel the acid lead in as much as the same way as you can feel sub-bass. having an electronic lead scrape it's way across your brain is great fun and highly recommended. The Crystal 6 II did a great job at achieving this, I don't get the same sensation with the gen 1.
Female Vocals could be further forward, in Alannah Myles Black Velvet she sounds a few steps back from the front of the stage. Strings however, don't have the same experience, instead they find themselves floating forward around her vocals.
Male vocals are similar in their stage positioning. I didn't notice it with electronic music but when vocal playback comes on I find myself wanting vocals to pushed further forward. There is a very outdoor concert like presentation, like big speakers are shooting vocals forward with you the listener with your ears about 1/4 away from the stage.
Still they are enjoyable to listen to, meld in well with the bass and highs and give the music an honest playback.
Everything is clear, high notes don't linger as long as they could but they are also perfectly transparent and slightly forward in the mix. However female vocals and those Sssss notes come with an added side of harsh peakiness. Sometimes I actually don't mind this, a little pain I actually like, as if the driver is on the edge of it's performance and pushing right on the verge of danger. But the harshness here is more unpleasant than enjoyable and in the wrong places.
From a mobile phone without any DAC help the Crystal 6 has Stronger technicals than it's bigger brother the MKII. The soundstage is vaster, there is an out of head feel, imaging is more of a speaker at a concert feeling than a precise positioning of where those instruments are on the stage and separation is great.
This is one of the interesting points between the Crystal 6 and the Crystal6 MKII, on the MKII once plugged into the HiBy RS6 you are experiencing flagship TOTL technicals. it really is awesome, and the source difference is massive.
On the first gen, despite performing better with lower power sources it doesn't quite reach TOTL level technicals once powered by the RS6. It becomes smoother and clearer but doesn't open up nearly as much.
Overall this product is no longer available on the HiBy store and has been superseded by a much more capable companion (The Gen 2). The synergy with of the OG Crystal 6 with the RS6 isn't so great that I would rush out and get it. However the second gen is seriously worthy and one of the only IEM's that received a MASSIVE soundstage with the RS6.
I really only wrote this review so that I could post the below photo
Just get the Crystal Gen 2