SOUND VALUE: 9/10
Hidizs has been around for a long time, at first they were specializing in digital audio player and portable DAC-AMP but then begin to make their hand son IEMs of all type from single DD to hybrid to multi BAs.
Their latest release, the MS3 hybrid IEM, earn quite good praise including by me for plain technical performance sound value.
But I always had an hard time to appreciate tonal balance of Hidizs IEMs I've tested.
Will this change with their newest release call MP145?
I do hope so!
With a MSRP of 199$ that go 110$ for early birds Kickstarters deal, the MP145 is a planar IEM using a large 14.5mm planar driver and having a special acoustic design, inspired by whale shape but taking advantage of it's size potential too, in term of acoustic chamber.
Last year was overwhelming with chifi planar IEMs release, while in 2023, the MP145 come as an exotic offering. Let see if this IEM is just a looker or can deliver a sound value and musicality that worth our hard earned money.
The MP145 design is loosely inspired by whale tails for the overall shape and texture lining and rorqual pleat for the 2 wide venting hole that act as semi-open back.
And they are ''whalegantissimo''! Very big and chunky housing, biggest one in term of planar, 7HZ Dioko being close second. Yet, they are lighter than those Dioko....and so so better sounding but thats for sound impressions part.
The design is very eye catchy, so you can't be an undercover agent walking on the street with those, it will attract some attention surely. To my eye, they are beautifull and teh cratmanship is very impressive, their no other IEM on this planat with similar design and it's a plus. If it wasn't for oversized size i would say they would look very elegant, but in the hands they do.
The built is 100% made of alluminium alloy that seem of very good quality and not easy to scratch too, which is a big plus (no scratch to be found after more than 1 month of intense abuse).
While the back has sharp edge that magnify precision of carved lining and shape, the front has an ergonomic organic shape that is smooth and quite comfortable even for long listening session.
But this is from somebody with big ears, so for very small ears I would be concern about size for a fit free of unwated ears pressure.
The nozzle is average long but quite big and thick too, another aspect that could be problematic, but this time for small ears canal. These aren't thinked for deep fit too.
The 2pin connector are thightly embeded in the housing, its not recessed and feel extremely sturdy, with fine cratmanship free of imperfection like loose space around connector.
Now when it come to the included cable, i was impress by the good quality of it as well as the choice for 4.4mm balanced plug. Its a 4 strand silver plated single crystal copper cable that doesn't add or stole anything to sound rendering, so it's all good.
When it come to packaging, it's minimal and elegant. We 9 pairs of 3 different silicone eartips models. We have 3 sound filters nozzle. And a carrying pouch. Sure a proper carrying case would have been nicer, but it's quite nit picking and will depend your personal need.
Since I wasn't biggest fan of all other IEMs from Hidizs, let say i was a bit worry to find the MP145 underwhelming, I mean, tuning planar isn't easiest thing and they were begining to earn experience with hybrid that permit the MS3 to achieve a more coherent balance....so why going planar?
I don't know, but let say the positive surprise of very first listen was near overwhelming and quite a big shock. Now I want Hidizs to just make planar IEMs!
Very first thing that wow the listener is the gigantic soundstage, which is clean, ultra open and holographic and notlacking in wideness, tallness and even depth. So it does confirm something i've conclude with my 10 years of more than 300 IEMs testing: housing size does matter when it come to spatiality. And since this housing is near as big as a whale, it deliver a ''whale-gantic'' soundstage.
Then, it's how deep the bass dig and rumble that hook me. Then how smooth yet clear and open are the mids. Then, how extended, snappy and sparkly is the treble, which is a big surprise since it's rare to have sparklewith Planar, 2 other example are Tinhifi P1plus and to a less extend, Tangzu Zetian Heyday.
So i'm happy to say it's not a pure harman tuning balance we have. It's not about bright shouty presence boost here, in fact, upper mids are smoothen.
But we have 3 tuning choice. Treble and balanced are near identical apart slightly less bass boom and hint cleaner sharper treble for Grey nozzle. The Bass (red) one is more consequent in change, its darker, warmer and hint bassier, bass is thicker and not as well separated, mids feel thicker in macro dynamic, less airy and more laid back.
For this review I will focus on Balanced Gold nozzle, which is the best sounding and more coherent tuning to my ears.
Overall balance of those 3 go from warm (red nozzle) to smooth (gold nozzle) and bright (silver nozzle) U shape.
What the MP145 don't deliver: hard mid bass punch with fowards kick presence, agressively bright mids, thick and dark mids (well ok Red nozzle deliver that), very dynamic mids, neutral tonality, treble head tonality (ok, treble nozzle isn't far from that), dark treble...
What it deliver: wide mellow slam, deep resonant rumble, enormous soundstage, transparent and smooth mids, versatile tonality, U shape balance, crisp snappy and fast treble, excellnt layering, lush vocals,
These aren't bass light IEM and deliver well felt slam that have dominant sub bass boost but don't sound thin nor dull boomy. For those use to U shape IEMs, they will find the MP145 to have enough mid bass punch, while those that are all about V shape basshead IEMs will find it lack a bit of it.
To me, it's evident the kick drum take second seat when bass line happen, but the layering is well done and transparent, just not hefty in multi dynamic so we have this wide speedy slam that open in space and stay in back of other instrument, thanks to fast transient attack of planar driver that act a bit like hybrid DD+BA here in term of extra layering capacity.
But this slam isn't thin boom as said, its not like those Moondrop with sudden boost that begin late in 200hz section, we have air density and rumble vibrancy, and the hit is well felt, more so than well define.
It's quality meet quantity here, and among best bass performance I have heard with a planar, among cleanest, most extended and less euphonic one too.
Fast slamwith plenty of headroom, subtle texture edge, that can go brightish to warmish tone depending of the source.
If your a rumble lover, your in for alot of pleasure due to long effortless sustain-release.
The transition into lower mid range is natural, without sudden scooping that can affect tonality fullness.
With the Red nozzle filter, the bass will go warmer and thicker and embrace lower mids in a darker, less define in separation way wich will make macro dynamic a hint more muddy.
The Mids are open, lush and clean. They are smooth enough, non shouty nor sibilant. The lower mids aren't extremely boosted nor lacking, so we have slight thicknest and warmth going on in timbre, adding a sens of breathyness to female vocal and fullness to male vocal.
This is very unique and versatile mid range, male vocal are fowards enough without being plain dominant in the mix, female vocal are slightly more fowards, but still smooth yet nothing sound dull here.
Piano note have impressive natural resonance within a clean soundscape, it's note attack is fast and well felt but not hard hitting or very edgy in definition.
Saxophone offer open presence dense with textured air, presentation is neutral we can say with good transparency to permit a vast amount of instrument layering and commandable imaging. With artist like Sons of Kemet, bassoon and sax offer impressively readable layering.
I wouldn't say the MP145 are mid centric at all, nor the most natural in term of timbre, but it's among the best for a planar.
Definition edge is slightly softed here, explaining this lushness that meet gentle brightness kind of timbre. We don't have noisy planar tone, nor ultra bright one. With MP145 your in middle of vast mid range and center stage, yet you don't get lost in a muddy or overly homogenous macro dynamic.
The treble is the star of the show with the sub bass and extend far above 10khz, we have proper sparkle, snap and air for a planar, it's not the sharpest cleanest brilliance but it's there way more than with multi BA or hybrid, similar to DD, not as sharp in sparkle and clean in release as EST.
It's really a mix of texture crunchyness and airy sparkle release, which do well for acoustic guitat because it sound both full and crisp.
Its one of this rare treble that do good for both electric and acoustic guitar, electric guitar is rich in natural fuzzyness, dense distortion texture and a offer a wide bodied presence without screamy or shouty dynamic. MP145 are near perfect for rock, metal and jazz, only if this kick drum was a bit more hard punchy, but it isn't and as we know supreme perfection don't exist even in 10 times pricer IEMs.
But this isn't all, the percussions are very fast and controlled in attack as well as fowards enough. It's super easy to follow them and their separation is excellent, their timbre is full and when they need the metallic rendering, they get it. The natural decay is well presented and realist, not scooped, linear in release.
So we have the abrasive bit and the sparkle, the crunchy snap and the air, what to ask more? Perhaps even sharper and cleaner extension like the Tinhifi P1plus?
And now for infamously hard to render instrument: the clavichord. Firstly, separation of low and higher note playing is very well done, but the frequencies range of this instrument is very peculiar and have harmonic that go up to 4.6Khz with its fundamental in 770hz, so like the piano, the presentation is a bit dry and lean but full sounding enough, yet, it sound a bit distant compared to other instruments.
Nonetheless, after Tinhifi P1plus, it's most sparkly, extended and airy treble I've heard from a planar and it's more snappy than Tangzu Zetian Wu.
The soundstage literallty drive me euphoric. Their no doubt it's biggest headroom I get from a planar IEM, it's huge in all direction, but wideness is very stretched and feel like it go 1 meter at each side of your head, then tallness is impressive but half as long, then deepness is half wideness lenght too, all this doesn't give a hall or tunnel like presentation where you'll find yourself far from instrument since they come to you and float in this soundscape with an holographic layering.
This layering is what make the imaging appealing and intricate too. Even with busy track, it will keep up in multi layered macro dynamic. Layering in Y axis is easier to read than sharpe separation in X axis for less loud or dynamic instrument. Percussions too will be easier to pin point with precision.
The MP145 do benefit from good amount of amping like all planar, but they aren't hardest one to drive. At 30ohm of impedance and 104db of sensitivity, ill suggest a minimum of 100mW, but for achieving best technical performance it would be 200mW@32ohm and up, cleaner it will be, better attack control and soundstage depth will be. When well amped, the soundstage open up even more but since its so huge, even the Audirect Atom 2 can drive them OK and will not make bass distort, but a phone will not be enough and this very pairing don't do justic to technical performance of MP145. For crisp ultra open musicality, Moondrop Dawn 4.4 is good, for warm and slightly more mid centric musicality, Penon Tail is good too. Even the iFi Go Pod drive them well at 120mW gain.
The included wide bore eartips are good choice yet if you wanna open up the sound even more, the short wide bore as well as Fan2 blue ear tips are great choice.
Cable doesn't inflict alot on dynamic or timbre of MP145 and the stock one is good enough, especially in 4.4mm balanced format.
VS DUNU TALOS (1Planar-2Bas-200$)
Simply put: the Talos are among worst planar have ever heard so it's no surprise it sound so bad compared to MP145, and that in pure planar mode, which is better than hybrid mode, which is just plain unlistenable shouty trebly fest.
So, tonality is more bright neutral and lean with all main focus in uppermids with the Talos, its notably more agressive in lower treble as well as more shouty and fatiguing at high volume than bassier more U shape tuned MP145.
The bass is lean, anemic and dynamic less with hint of mid bass punch neutral way, notably less deep than MP145 which seem a basshead IEM compared to Talos. Kick drum is drier and clearer with Talos but not as round and heavy in not weight, Sub bass is more scooped, bass line are harder to feel and hear. MP145 offer wider and bigger slam, with deeper more vibrant and realist rumble and overall more lively dynamic.
The mids are warmer and smoother with the MP145, we have more low mids too, so vocal are fuller bodied and lusher while Talos is all about upper mids, its thin and shouty, female vocal timbre is grainy and spiky and induce way more sibilance. Instrument presence is more centered and compressed, while wider and more holographic with MP145. While shoutier, the dynamic isn't very energic with Talos, we have lighter note weight but edgier definition, it's this edge loudness that jump at us so at they end treble eat the mids here way more than MP145.
Then the treble isn't as full sounding as MP145 and keep hidden some part of percussions in favor of other sharper more brilliant one, so Talos is more spiky and have extra fake air that make us perceive cleaner and simplify highs rendering. Highs are thinner, this include high pitch instrument like violin that sound metallic and thin, percussion dont open up in sustain-release, so some of them feel more snappy but in an artificial way, the MP145 treble dig more sound info, is more wide open and freely layered, less trebly and have more natural resonance.
Soundstage is intensely wider and taller and deeper, Talos is very compressed and centered and unidimentional in comparison.
Imaging is edgier and more monitor like with Talos, but not as open in sound layering so it's flat monitoring, due to less mids warmth, positioning is sharper in this area.
All in all, Talos sound plain wrong compared to lusher balance of MP145. Technicalities are a bit similar, but unlike MP145, the technical potential is kill due to bad tonal balance and acoustic implementation of planar driver which sound very compressed in spatiality, lean in dynamic and dull and cold and shouty in tonality with a bright planar timbre to add to this. Well, i can add that even if MP145 housing is 2 times bigger, its notably more comfy than Talos too.
VS LETSHUOER S12 (1x14.8mm planar-150$)
Ok, now thats a more serious fight. Soundstage isn't lacking like with Talos so its less disconcerting to compare those too.
But it's not very similar in tonality, the S12 offer a brighter V shape which is in fact a hint less bassy in term of wide slam, its less extended and boosted in sub bass the the rumble feel scooped but the midbass punch is rounder and more energic, as well as more textured in presence, it feel thighter and faster but not as transparent and well layered.
Mids are more upfront and bright, we have more upper mids bite and presence texture, less transparency and less wide in presencethan MP145, which have breathy lusher female vocal, less promptto sibilance or too loud gain. Mids are more wide open and hint leaner with MP145, layering is better and we have less macro euphony going on that affect busy trrack, which can go saturated a bit with S12. S12 definition has less soffted edge, violin has more bite for attack, piano note a sharply define but not as weight, we can say mids are more intimate and clear but more condensed in center too.
Treble don't extend as far with S12, it have more lower treble energy, grain, texture and bite, so electric guitar sound fuller and more upfront but percussion can get lost in the mix, treble isn't as snappy and way less sparkly, airy and open than crisper U shape balance of MP145. This time it's S12 that sound crunchier and thicker in term of treble, but this affect negatively high pitch instrument tone which is overly boosted in brightness and grain, less lush and smooth than MP145, its more fatiguing too.
Soundstage is notably wider, slightly taller and intensely deeper with MP145.
Imaging is cleaner and less compress in macro dynamic as well as more transparent and better layered with MP145.
All in all, I prefer MP145 lusher U shape balance as well as more natural and smooth timbre. Like with Talos, technical performance are similar but too compressed, and it underline the benefit of big housing as well as open back venting for planar driver to permit better macro dynamic rendering. This time, its S12 that is way more comfy, its smaller and as a perfect ergonomic shape, you don't look like a weirdo wearing those too.
VS RAPTGO HOOK X HBB (1planar+1piezo hybrid-260$)
Ok, I will not compare the MP145 to all planar I own, but feel the obligation to compare it to the very best one.
HBB feel slightly warmer and more W shape as well as even more holographic due to extra layering of upper treble from piezo.
The bass is thicker, more euphony and deliver heavier mid bass punch, the rumble sustain is shorter and less extended, bassline are more favorize with MP145 and bass is more transparent with less warmth bleed than HBB, is have wider resonance head room and more mellow mid bass punch. HBB bass is more tactile and round.
Mids are again thicker yet a hint more fowards in upper mids so female vocal are more upfront and bright. Male vocal are near identical, just a hint thinner and leaner with the MP145. Overall mids feel more open and airy with MP145, but leaner in center stage, its smoother, less prompt to pinna gain fatigue even if HBB isn't very intense in that regard. Mids are more transparent and cleaner and better layered with MP145, we have less bass bleed that darken definition crispness.
Treble is airier, sparklier and more delicate with the MP145. HBB have more crunchy attack, brighter tone, it's more abrasive in texture but i would not say it extract more micro details, the snappy attack is more dynamic and high pitch instrument or percussions more 3D, but more spiky too, i find highs more refined and balanced with the MP145 but not as catchy, again, the top is cleaner with MP145.
Soundstage is slightly taller with Hook X HBB but notably deeper and a hint wider with MP145, not night and day difference like with Talos and HBB have way bigger spatiality than S12.
Imaging is moe accurate with MP145, this is due to cleaner macro resolution and less euphonic mids, sound layering is superior in high frequency with HBB.
All in all, i would say technical performance of the Planar is superior with MP145, but mid treble is faster and snappier with HBB, tonality is more dynamic and punchy. I can't choose a clear winner here since I love both intensely.
Sometime, when you expect nothing, it's when you get everything.
This is what happen for me with MP145. I was very sceptikal about capacity of Hidizs to properly tune a bassy planar IEM as well as making it sound different enough of rest of planar offering that was flooding the market in 2022.
Since i own 10 other planar, i was worry it would be a sidegrade that will take dust and it's the opposite that happen, since those MP145 ''stole'' alot of listening time and is now one of my fav with Raptgo Hook X HBB, Tangzu Zetian Wu and Tinhifi P1plus.
It's really one of those IEM that nail both fun engaging dynamic musicality with impressive technicalities of well tuned planar.
And the standout being its over sized soundstage make it unique in planar realm since only other one with impressive soundstage is the 7HZ Dioko which is less well balanced, have inferior technicalities, thinner harsher timbre and wonky thin bass.
At early birds price, the Dioko was ultimate sound value bargain, but even at now 140$ price it's among the best money can get.
Very Highly Recommended!
PS: I want to thanks Hidizs for sending me this review sample. I want to thanks them for accepting my critical impressions that weren't always positive in the past. As always, those are my independant minded subjective audio impressions, free of $ making affiliation (i refuse affiliated program with all audio companies and dealers and this will never ever change)
You can order the Hidizs MP145 on kickstarter (their about 40 left for 140$) here: