1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice

Hifi Walker A1

Rating:
4.16667/5,
  1. B9Scrambler
    HIFI Walker A1: Paging all modders
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Sep 12, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Lightweight, durable build - Inline mic sounds outstanding - Sounds good stock, but can be easily modded
    Cons - Packaging and accessories - Stock sound will be too treble or sub-bass heavy for some
    Greetings!

    Today we're checking out the A1from HIFI Walker.

    HIFI Walker makes a wide variety of products, everything from DAPs, to smart watches, to fitness trackers. I first came across the brand when a link to the A1 was dropped in a thread here on Head-fi, catching my attention because of the shells used. I've tried a number of earphones featuring similar shells over the years, from brands like NarMoo, Accutone, and Tin Audio, and have always enjoyed the solid ergonomics and quality construction on offer. While all the other brands crammed dual dynamics (10mm + 6mm) into their variants, HIFI Walker's slightly more compact take on this design keeps it simple with a single 9.2mm dynamic per side. They did a great job of it too, because the A1 is a-okay straight out of the box.

    Let's take a closer look.

    Disclaimer:

    Thanks to HIFI Walker for sending over a sample of the A1 for review. The thoughts within are my own and do not represent HIFI Walker or any other entity. There was no financial incentive provided to write this review.

    At the time of writing the A1 retailed for 47.99 USD: http://www.hifiwalker.com/HIFI-WALK...with-Remote-control-and-Microphone_show5.html

    Source:

    For at home use the A1 was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with my Asus FX53V laptop sourcing music. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, LG G6, Shanling M1, HiFiMan MegaMini, or HiFi E.T. MA8, all of which easily brought it up to listening volume. The A1d oesn't need amping in my experience, playing perfectly well straight from a phone or DAP.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.

    Specifications:
    • Driver: 9.2mm dynamic
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz-70,000Hz
    • Sensitivity: 110+/- 3dB @ 1KHz/1mW
    • Impedance: 16ohm +/- 15%
    • Rated Power: 2mW
    IMG_3946.JPG IMG_3947.JPG IMG_3948.JPG

    Packaging and Accessories:

    The A1 comes stored in a fairly large cardboard box. The face is entirely covered by a large sticker. Printed on this sticker is a high quality image of the A1 along with common items like branding and features. In the bottom right corner is a familiar site; the bright yellow and black Hi-Res Audio logo. Outside of that sticker, the box is featureless save for HiFi Walker logos on the sides printed in silver foil.

    Lifting off the lid of the box you find the A1 nestled in a foam cutout with extra tips and the cable wrapped neatly below and covered with an angled cardboard sleeve. On the sleeve is a sticker with a bar code you can scan to download a copy of the A1's user manual. Lifting out the foam reveals another cardboard insert. Beneath this? Nothing. 3/4 of the box is empty. Seems a bit wasteful, but I suspect this same box is used for other products in their catalog and to save on tooling a new package they just re-purposed it. In all you get:
    • A1 earphones
    • Single flange ear tips (s/m/l)
    For almost 50 USD I would expect a little more since the included tips are as basic as it gets. A simple carrying case or bag would have been appreciated.

    IMG_3959.JPG IMG_4323.JPG IMG_4327.JPG

    Build, Comfort, and Isolation:

    The A1's shells are made from aircraft-grade aluminum and are put together quite well. Fit and finish is really clean with well-cut knurling. There are slender aluminum bands, color-coded to left and right channels, that are both useful and attractive. The nozzle is covered with a fine mesh that lets you peer down inside to the drivers within.

    The cable uses a dense TPU sheath with a matte finish. These cables have been excellent in my experience. Tough and tangle resistant, but with a tendency to remain semi-coiled if left stored for any length of time. Strain relief is excellent at the earpieces with 12mm long rubber protrusions protecting the cable from bends. There is no relief at the in-line mic. Relief is present at the y-split, but only on one end. Leading up to the ear pieces you get a handy chin cinch instead. The simple straight jack is extremely compact and is also amply protected via a 9mm long rubber relief.

    When it comes to comfort the A1 is wonderful, The basic, barrel shaped housing is rounded off leading into the nozzles so there are no sharp edges or hot spots to cause discomfort. They're also exceptionally light weight. Just pop them in your ears fuss-free and wear them cable down or cable up. Either way works just fine, though cable up wear will help reduce cable noise. The nozzle is 5mm at it widest too, which is more or less standard. Great for tip rolling!

    Isolation is simply okay. It is pretty much spot on average for a vented single dynamic earphone. You'll have to raise the volume when walking around outside or in any other noisy area to compensate for noise bleeding in. They're passable for transit use, though I recommend installing some foam tips if you have them lying around since those tend to sop up a lot of unwanted noise.

    Inline Mic:

    The inline remote is something I've seen before on a few other products. Build is fine, made from relatively durable feeling plastics. Buttons are easy to find and depress with a satisfying click. It all works well with my LG G5 and G6, controlling volume, skipping through tracks, answering/ending phone calls, etc. Good stuff.

    The mic. Wow. The quality of the mic on the A1 vastly exceeded my expectations. One of the bullet points on the front of the box is; “Capture rich, full-bodied sound from the mic.” That is 100% accurate. I took a few recordings and made a couple phone calls and the result was always the same. My voice sounded full and clear with lots of detail, and my callers were impressed. I didn't have a chance to test it in windy weather, but other background noises were cut out quite effectively so I have a good feeling these will handle wind pretty well. If not, I'll update the review later on. These have one of, if not the best, inline mic I've used to date and will be finding themselves a permanent home as my new portable for phone calls

    Sound:

    The A1 doesn't bring to the table a unique signature. Nope, it's v-shaped, but darn does it ever do it well for the price. Upper treble is quite exaggerated giving the A1 lots of energy up top. Without EQ or mods, these will certainly not be for the treble sensitive. For me, that's fine. I don't mind boosted treble, especially when it's as clean sounding as it is on the A1. It's quite well controlled and tight without a lot of spashiness or any grain. The level of elevation also gives the earphone quite an airy and well-spaced feel to it as I noticed when running through Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Cymbals on “Beat It” are crisp and clear with good texture and definition.

    The mid-range is certainly not as prominent as other aspects of the A1's presentation. Upper mids especially are dialed back, but thankfully, the way the A1 is tuned this isn't really an issue. Peaks elsewhere are in the upper treble and lower bass which essentially leaves the mid-range alone. Mid-bass bleed is virtually non-existent and sibilance is avoided, unless already in the track. For example, avoid The Crystal Method's “Grace”. Running through Aesop Rock's discography, I did find his vocals quieter than would be preferred at times, such as on None Shall Pass' “No City (prod. by Blockhead)”, where his vocals fell in line with the deep bass lines and just behind the sprinklings of guitar and scratching. They were only slightly more prominent than the occassional background vocals.

    Bass presentation is right up my alley with a dialed down mid- and upper-bass region in favor of rumbling sub-bass. It's fairly quick and well textured, easily taking on the rapid, crunchy bass present on most tracks throughout The Prodigy's discography. Upper bass is elevated just enough to give the A1 some warmth and a solid weight to it's presentation, though I wouldn't call it thick sounding.

    Sound stage is airy and well separated with good depth and solid layering, but isn't particularly large in general. The airy treble and set back mids really help make use of the space available for instruments to play. While there were a few instances I was caught off guard by sounds off in the distance, for the most part the A1 doesn't play any mind games.

    Overall I find the A1 to be a satisfying performer with accurate timbre and clarity that stands above most of what you get in this price range. I can see some finding the treble a little overbearing, or the sub-bass a bit much, but as we'll see in the next section, those items can be addressed with some very simple mods that pretty much anyone can apply with ease.

    IMG_4318.JPG IMG_3963.JPG IMG_4347.JPG

    Modding:

    Otto Motor over on Head-fi.org wrote a wonderful review of these earphones which included lots of useful information on easily modding it for better performance. If you're interested in this earphone and enjoy modding, definitely check it out; https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/hifi-walker-a1.23236/reviews#review-20704. Note that these mods were found elsewhere on the web so credit goes to the original modder.

    I gave those reversible and easy to apply mods a go with both micro and transpore tape. The cloth micropore tape was not to my tastes. While it did even out the treble and make the A1 considerably more balanced, I found it was at the detriment of some clarity, texture, and sub-bass emphasis which to me simply wasn't worth it. Placing some plastic transpore tape over 1/3 of the nozzle produced a sound that was closer to stock, retaining the awesome sub-bass presence while still dulling the treble. Clarity and texture were left mostly untouched.

    Select Comparisons (A1 stock):

    Accutone Pavo: The Pavo has a more balanced presentation with additional mid-range presence. The A1's bass and treble both offer up greater extension, detail, and texture. The Pavo's mid-range lacks the A1's clarity. The Pavo actually sounds quite similar to the A1 with micropore mods in place. The Pavo plays on a wider stage but lacks the depth of the A1 and comes across more congested on busy tracks. It also sounds slower, unable to tackle quick tracks with the same effortlessness as the A1. If you don't like modding or EQing your earphones, or are particularly sensitive to treble, the Pavo might be the better option. Otherwise, the A1 is technically superior out of the box with a higher performance ceiling, especially once you start applying mods.

    In terms of build, they are nearly identical with the Pavo being ever so slightly larger to accommodate the 10mm bass driver and 6mm mid and treble driver. The Pavo's cable is glossy, but is otherwise the same. Isolation is ever so slightly better on the Pavo. Comfort is basically the same since they are near identical in shape.

    Tin Audio T2: The T2 is one of the few neutral-leaning earphones in it's price range. This frequency balance stands out when a/bing it with the A1, particularly in the mid-range which is much more prominent on the T2. I found the A1 slightly more clear and detailed with a crisper, snappier sound to it. The A1 has better treble extension, though it's not as smooth and even as the T1 and as such is more fatiguing. Bass on the T2 rolls off earlier and isn't quite as textured, though it is slightly better controlled and less subject to bloom on overly mid-bassy tracks. The A1 has a deeper, wider sound stage, though it's imaging isn't quite as precise, nor does it show off the same layered presentation. Separation is equally as good.

    When it comes to physical qualities, they're both excellent in their own ways. The T2 is build like a tank and has the advantage of removable cables, though they're using the potentially problematic MMCX connector type which wears out fairly quickly. The A1 is lighter and more ergonomic, with slightly better isolation, and is much more comfortable to wear during longer listening sessions.

    Final Thoughts:

    HIFI Walker has themselves an under appreciated gem with the A1. In stock form you get a well-tuned v-shaped signature that's rife with clarity and detail. Spend a minute cutting up and applying some tape, and you've now got yourself a really balanced, realistic sounding earphone that isn't common in this price range. All of that is set within a simple but versatile barrel shaped housing that's extremely durable, fairly attractive, and attached to a tough cable. You also get the benefit of one of the best inline mics I've come across, regardless of price. The packaging and accessories are sub-par, but most people care not about that soo.... Yeah. Anyone that enjoys a well-tuned single dynamic that doesn't break the bank should be eyeing the A1. This earphone is flat out good. And if you enjoy modding or eq'ing, bonus! This little in-ear takes it well.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks again to HIFI Walker for the chance to experience this quality earphone.

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
      harry501501 and Otto Motor like this.
  2. DallaPo
    HIFI WALKER A1 | 1*DD | Rating: 7.9
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Aug 29, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - wide soundstage
    good separation
    homogeneous sound
    lots of details
    Cons - slightly flat mids
    slightly borderline heights
    intro
    HIFI WALKER is specialized in Hi-Res-Players of all kinds and has now with the A1 (1*DD) and the A7 (2*BA & 1*DD) also in-ears in its portfolio, which pursue the claim Hi-Res.
    Both copies are priced around 50 €, which puts them in my price range.
    Whether they justify the comparatively high price remains to be seen. This test refers to the HI-FI WALKER A1.

    handling
    At first look you can see the enormous similarity with the TIN AUDIO T515 already introduced here, but also with the OCTONE DYNAMIC DUO, which are dual driver in-ears.

    The A1 are made of metal and have coloured markings for left and right.
    They do not have a particularly ergonomic design, but can still be carried comfortably without falling out (foam tips! - not included), or pressing.
    The cable is firmly connected and equipped with a remote that allows you to control the volume and pause the music, or jump further.
    Calls can also be answered that have very good speech intelligibility.
    So far so good, but the cable brings along clear background noises, which you may ignore over time, but which are still present if you pay attention to them.

    The isolation is very good, so you have to take out the headphones to really notice what's happening around you.

    sound
    First of all, the A1 is the best single-dynamic-in-ear I have so far, but you also have to like its sound signature, which is quite flat in the mids, partly borderline in the trebles and moderate in the basses, with pressure drop in the low range. That doesn't sound very positive, but it is, because the A1 present the music in a different, very interesting way.

    The bass goes, if you play it from 10 Hz - 150 Hz, actually very low. That means there is no lying on the packaging if the frequency response is advertised starting at 10 Hz, because even then it rumbles pleasantly. However, only in this case, because with music, in combination with all frequencies, it can no longer develop the desired pressure in the range around 20 - 40 Hz. This also does not change with more potent DACs. You definitely hear that there's something, but I usually find it a bit strenuous, as I then find myself paying more and more attention to the bass than to the music itself. Nevertheless, he is very much on the point and affords himself if only rarely excursions into the mids. It also has a pleasant punch. But I would not say that it is strongly preferred, although you can't deny the A1 a V-signature.

    The mids lack body for my taste, which makes them look very flat. This is especially noticeable in rock music, where something of the liveliness and dynamics in the mids is lost. However, they can score with acoustic music, but also with pop, because in the upper mids they are no less reserved. The voice reproduction is very natural and definitely the strength of the A1.

    The highs are extremely good for a dynamic driver. Crystal clear and precise, they offer a wealth of details and bring some brilliance to the music. But now and then they also reach their limits, or claim those of the listener, but that is not the rule. The given 70 kHz are of course nothing else than an advertising trick. I won't deny that the drivers can do that, but let's be honest, whoever makes it beyond 20 kHz has animal relatives :wink:

    The separation, as well as the width of the stage is more than adequate, only in the depth it is missing a bit. Nevertheless, the sound is convincing, although despite the V-signature it unexpectedly goes into the analytical and tickles some new things out of the music.

    outro
    The A1s certainly do justice to their Hi-Res claim. They deliver a sound that seems to be all of a piece, but with quite flat mids that lack some dynamics at the bottom.
    Nevertheless, they are convincing, not least because of their attention to detail, the clean bass and the great voice reproduction. I would not describe them as cheap, but they are quite appropriate for their price segment.

    For friends of electronic music they are rather less, but for attentive listeners who want to get to know their music in a different way. It takes a while to warm up with them, but patience is worth it.

    Currently it is only available via Amazon!

    __________________________________________________________________________________

    more reviews at:
    https://david-hahn.wixsite.com/chi-fiear
    __________________________________________________________________________________

    You can buy it here: HIFI WALKER
  3. Otto Motor
    The HIFI WALKER A1: A Purist’s Pleasure!
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Aug 8, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Wide soundstage and energetic, coherent, and clear “fun” sound with a great detail resolution right out of the box; easily and quickly “moddable” towards a smoother audiophile tuning to make it “punch above its price” (see body of text for details); great distribution: shipped by amazon and arriving within a few days.
    Cons - Bass can be slightly boomy and the treble peak is borderline for sensitive ears (but both can be easily adjusted); accessories are meager for the price.
    You also find this review and much more on my blog audioreviews.org



    Executive Summary

    The HIFI WALKER A1 is a single-dynamic-driver [DD] earphone with the characteristic “V-shape" tuning, which was pleasant on my ears for extended periods of time. It is for two groups of listeners: one that likes the warm sound of a punchy bass, a wide soundstage enhanced by a well-extended treble, and a natural sounding but recessed midrange. The other group is audiophiles that prefer a more even sound with a more controlled bass, forward and detailed mids, and a smooth treble (achieved through easy modding as explained here), while preserving the natural, warm, and bright tonality of this DD.

    outro.jpg

    Disclaimer

    HIFI WALKER sent me a pair of their A1 through amazon.ca upon request and did explicitly not object to any physical alterations “Please do whatever you need to fully test our earphone. Sincerely, HIFI WALKER”. It arrived in less than 48 hours. Thank you very much indeed.

    A second, purchased sample, was modded by a friend, as described below. Both pairs were used for A/B-ing. We do not take credit for the mods. They are published elsewhere and you have to search the internet for it. We slightly modified the suggestions, though.

    The rating of 4.5 stars refers to the modded version. Out of the box I would give four stars.

    All measurements displayed here were done by my friend. The measuring coupler was two pieces of plastic tubing on the end of a Dayton iMM-6 microphone. No compensation was applied. These measurements should not be directly compared to other measurements except those done on the same device, for example the ones I have posted before.


    Introduction

    In the last two years or so, the low-priced Chifi has revolved around the rapid progress in the development of hybrid drivers and it is generally silently perceived/advertised to us that more drivers generate a better sound. The problem with many of these hybrids is either the lack of a crossover or simply poorly tuned low-quality drivers both of which lead to unsatisfying tonalities referred to as “work in progress” by reviewers and owners alike and may have lead to pile-ups in their drawers…and in mine, too. Sonic shortcomings are sometimes (but not always) disguised by looks, that is fancy cables and earpiece designs, the latter occasionally “lifted” from high-end earphones. Since cables have become detachable in most models, buyers are also tempted into buying snazzy “upgrade” cables that ultimately serve as eyecandy only (and yes, I have some, too). Are we increasingly forced to listen with our eyes rather than our ears?

    Some of the world’s most competent manufacturers such as Sennheiser, Etymotic, Focal, or B&W have so far stayed away from hybrids (and detachable cables) and still focus on single drivers and sound quality over optical and technical gimmicks – but at a higher cost for the consumer. Sennheiser recently upgraded their classic single DD ie800 to the ie800S, which retails for $999. The $350 Etymotic ER4XR that sports a single balanced armature [BA] driver is on the “wall of fame” at innerfidelity.com. On the Chifi side, the ibasso IT-01 is a widely appreciated single DD at around $100. DDs have the advantage of delivering a coherent and balanced sound that is largely source independent. Some experienced Head-Fiers are well aware of this and, for example, still treasure the early, cheap, and (still) good sounding Knowledge Zenith single DDs. Today, the >$350 JVC FD01 is hailed by some as the best single DD on the market. Like me, you have probably never heard of it.

    It came to my ears (pun intended!) that the inexpensive and rather non-descript looking, single DD HIFI WALKER A1 earphone, when modded, challenges these JCV FD01 in terms of “bass dynamics, detail resolution, and treble extension”. If this was true, we would have found one example in our search for a low-priced earphone that sounds like a benchmark. In the following, I will briefly describe the mod (full details can be easily found by a web search). I will attempt to establish whether and inhowfar the quality of the sound will have improved (in my opinion).

    box.jpg

    Specifications


    Material: Aviation Aluminum-Alloy housing, custom oxidization colors
    Driver: Φ9.2mm, NdFeB dynamic + ø5 ETL
    Impedance: 16Ω±15%
    Sensitivity: 110±3dB@1KHz,1mW
    Frequency Response: 10 Hz - 70,000 Hz
    Rated Power: 2mW
    Cord: High-elastic stranded PU cord, 1.2m, black
    TRS: 24K gold-plated, Φ3.5mm, 3 poles, right-angled/straight
    Accessories: L/M/S silicone eartips, chin slider
    Price (at the time of this review): $48
    Company Website: https://goo.gl/7qJHXR



    Packaging and Accessories

    The rather large, sturdy cardboard box is quite frankly a waste of space (and postage). It contains the earpieces, cable, and three pairs of rubber tips (S, M, L). There would have been room for a case…it is claimed that there should be a cable clip in the package but I could not find one (and neither could my friend).

    whole earphone.jpg
    Click to enlarge.

    Physical Appearance, Haptic, and Build Quality


    The piston-shaped earpieces are made of an “aviation aluminum alloy” and are as robust as it gets. Right (red) and left (blue) are colour coded. The shape is also used in the Accutone Pavo hybrid, and the double DD drivers Octone Dynamic Duo and Tinaudio T515.

    The cable is not detachable and sturdy to the effect that some may call it springy (it is coated similar to the Soundmagic E10C), but it does not tangle up easily. And it features a practical chin slider - bonus. The three-button control works well on my iphone (I didn’t test it on an android phone but it should work there, too).


    Ergonomics, Comfort, Isolation, and Fit

    The HIFI WALKER A1 has the ergonomics, comfort, and fit comparable to the many other piston-shaped earphones in our collections. Works just fine for my ears. The same accounts for the isolation which depends heavily on the eartips used. The large included eartips sealed well and were comfortable for me. The sound sound did not noticeably change with the wide-bore “Tennmak Whirlwind” tips.


    Source

    I used my iPhone 5S with and without the audioquest dragonfly black dac/amp. Even with the iPhone alone, the A1sounded good and was easy to drive.


    Tonality (Out of the Box)

    As expected, this is a warm and bright sounding, V-shaped earphone with a particular emphasis on the low end. The bass is impactful, reasonably focused but it can be boomy – and it is well extended into the subbass. The mids are smooth and energetic with a natural timbre but could be a bit fuller bodied. There is no sibilance but a 3 kHz boost may add fatigue to some ears and cymbals can sound tinny. The treble is well extended with a 6–7 kHz peak that adds clarity. The overall sound is somewhat “analog” and coherent, and far from the harshness of some low-quality BA drivers. The soundstage is rather wide and not quite as deep. Resolution, instrument separation, and layering are all good. Nothing cool or cold here, sonically. In summary, the A1 is a safe bet, sound wise.

    FR graph virgin.jpg
    Click to enlarge.

    The Mod

    The goal of the mod is to re-tune the earphone towards neutral by opening the V-shaped frequency response graph towards a horizontal line. Search the internet for details and look at our superimposed frequency graphs for the results.

    1. I poked a hole into the mesh inside the bass vent using a fine needle - which tamed the bass. No fear, you cannot destroy anything, close your eyes and just do it. It takes seconds.

    2. I taped 3M transpore tape on the nozzle. That's it: no holes, no poking...this one is easily reversible. The official mod requires a cross of two 2 mm wide strips of micropore tape instead. You can experiment with the tape as it takes no time.

    3. If you feel that the bass is lacking after the poke, just tape over the bass vent with any tape and poke a fine hole in the tape. That's what my friend did. Leaves you with a slightly stronger bass. THIS STEP 3 WAS DONE WITH THE SECOND PAIR THAT WAS USED FOR THE “MODDED” DESCRIPTION”

    mod.jpg

    I tested the resulting bass response with a channel-phasing test track to ensure equal bass on each side.

    Canadians, you get a great selection of transpore and micropore tape cheap at Coop Home Health Care stores, for example at 4940 Richmond Road SW Calgary, AB, T3E 6K4. Cheap means approx $2 a roll. It is more expensive at Shopper's Drug Mart. In the US, Walgreens should have it, and try Boots in the UK. Alternatively, date a nurse!

    3M transpore tape: there are two kinds, one white paper one and a translucent plastic one. The paper one is useless and muffles everything. Get the plastic one.


    Tonality (Modded)

    The mod performed on the second A1 pair did not change the overall warmth/brightness or the soundstage but it reduced and tightened the bass, significantly decreased the 3 kHz spike and totally eliminated the 6–7 kHz peak. Most noticeably, this gives the vocals more presence, smoothens the treble considerably, and focuses the bass which is still not the dryest or fastest around (but impactful and quite pleasant sounding though not exactly audiophile). The sound has become more coherent, fluid, and natural. As another guy writes: “the overall tonal balance is (now) pretty even, with the mids being the highlight for me” [he prefers a “living-room neutral” balance]. Quite a smooth listening experience compared to the juvenile pair. And a really enjoyable one for me.

    HFW A1 mod suite -1.jpg
    Click to enlarge.

    Is the modded A1as good as a >$350 earphone? I simply don’t know as there appears to be no rhyme or reason for current pricing. But I’d say it sounds like a more expensive earphone, at least up to $100. Or, in simpler terms, it sounds pretty darn good (especially with the satisfaction of this fool-proof modding experience).


    Select Comparisons (Out of the Box A1)…all Single DDs:

    Knowledge Zenith EDR2 (~$6): Sounds like the A1 with a huge veil and a limited and mushy soundstage. The A1 is much more refined and mature sounding and fans of the early KZ single DDs would certainly like it.
    HFW A1 vs KZ EDR2.jpg

    Sennheiser CX300 II (~ $40): The first brandname earphone that was promoted as beating the “buds that come with your smartphone”. Five years ago, it was still on a list of the 10 best earphones/headphones below $500 at headphone.com. Small and handy, V-shaped with rich, recessed mids (good for phone calls) and a natural timbre but a muddy and slow bass which is totally out of date. Vulgar sounding by today’s standards.

    Sennheiser CX 5.00 (~$90): Better than the CX300-II but still with a less focused bass than the A1, and it also sports the Sennheiser veil. Has a smoother treble than the A1, but the sound is thicker, less energetic and less clear. This is a safe mainstream tuning with nothing being really offensive – and also nothing being really outstanding.

    Fidue A65 (~$60): The A65 sounds darker and less energetic with a slightly more extended and firmer bass. Voices have more body and are softer. Treble is smoother. The soundstage is narrower and deeper. Resolution, separation, and layering of the A65, its biggest strengths, remain unrivalled. This one is ideal for classical music and jazz.


    Select Comparisons (Modded A1):

    Etymotic HF5 (~$100): Uses the same BA driver as their most expensive model. Flatter signature than the A1, therefore more “audiophile” and less “fun”. Vocals are more in the foreground, the sleaker bass is more controlled and treble is a bit less pronounced. Don’t ask me which one has the better resolution but the A1 is pretty competitive in this respect.

    Blitzwolf BW-ES1, modded (~$20): The very flat sound signature with a wide and shallow but very accurate soundstage is only for hard-core audiophiles and can be painful for others. The modded A1 sounds simply livelier and more engaging. Google the BW-ES1 mod (which is much more difficult to perform than the A1 mod).


    Concluding Remarks

    Right out of the box, the HIFI WALKER A1 sounds like über-upgraded and much more refined and sonically more accurate early Knowledge Zenith single DDs such as the EDR1/2 and HDS3 with their classic V-shaped tuning. Its punchy, impactful bass, slightly recessed mids, well extended treble, wide soundstage, and detailed resolution and layering provided an enjoyable listening experience for hours to me. When listening analytically, the treble may become a bit overwhelming and the bass slightly boomy at times.

    After a simple mod (everybody can do this one), the sound has become much more balanced with a wonderfully smooth treble, forward and detailed mids, and a more controlled bass, reminiscent of a room feeling.

    The modded HIFI WALKER A1, just like the modded Blitzwolf BW-ES1, take a special place in my collection as they are unpretentious, really good/distinct/interesting sounding, and even the undiscounted price constitutes a decent value. It is an earphone for the purist who truly listens with their ears. A big thanks to the original modder, my friend, and to HIFI WALKER for trusting me unseen.


    The HIFI WALKER A1 is available on many amazon sites:
    US: https://www.amazon.com/HIFI-WALKER-Resolution-Headphones-Attenuation/dp/B077ZYP7H9
    Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Resolution-Headphones-Earphones-Attenuation-Microphone/dp/B077ZYP7H9
    UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIFI-WALKER-A1-Resolution-Attenuation-metallic/dp/B0734JHX1N
    France: https://www.amazon.fr/HIFI-WALKER-A1-intra-auriculaires-atténuation/dp/B0734JHX1N
    Italia: https://www.amazon.it/HIFI-WALKER-intrauricolari-risoluzione-attenuazione/dp/B0734JHX1N
    Deutschland: https://www.amazon.de/HIFI-WALKER-H...rer-Geräuschdämpfung-Metallisch/dp/B0734JHX1N
    Nippon: https://www.amazon.co.jp/HIFI-WALKER-Resolution-Headphones-Attenuation/dp/B07CXLCKHJ


    fig 1.jpg
    Click to enlarge.
      getclikinagas, Dsnuts, rendyG and 4 others like this.
    1. groucho69
      Huh, this mod is the only time Type 2 Diabetes has been helpful to me. Lancet works a treat.
      groucho69, Aug 9, 2018
      Otto Motor likes this.