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HILL Audio Altair•RA

Rating:
4/5,
  1. NymPHONOmaniac
    FACT: King of value in term of construction
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published May 12, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Remarkable construction, warm energic sound, big soundstage, very comfortable, extremely sturdy, excellent price value
    Cons - Average clarity
    HILLAUDIO ALTAIR•RA REVIEW :
    P1011694.JPG
    SOUND: 8/10
    CONSTRUCTION: 9.5/10
    DESIGN: 10/10
    VALUE: 9/10



    HillAudio is a Malaysian seller on SHOPEE that sell big diversity of budget audiophile earphones since about 3 years.

    Lately, he begin manufacturing its own earphones line up, the Altair being their entry level, I have big hope that success is near the door for this new company.

    They are know by audio enthusiast for its other more expensive model call the HillAudio S8 wich is a 3drivers custom hybrid consisting of 1 dynamic 10mm driver and a dual Balanced armature. Having received positive feedback and headfi reviews for this model, I was curious by the eye catching Altair.RA and how this 40$ single dynamic driver can sound.

    I can already say i'm not disapointed by the sound and even more than impress by the remarkable construction and design of these very enjoyable budget earphones.



    I wanna thanks HillAudio for sending me a review sample so I can satiate my curiosity as well as do this review without investing money, just time. All my toughs are without any BS and free of any monetary influence, I will keep my honnest subjectivity and have no difficulties to imagine I spend this little amount of money so there no lightness in my judgement that can disconect my price value judgment.

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    INFO:

    Features ---------------

    ● Uses custom-grade resin material through the same crafting process as how professional custom IEMs / hearing aids were made.

    ● Higher quality craftsmanship with one piece injection moulding. The completely filled out cavity reduces unwanted resonances & distortions for a more consistent performance.

    ● Ergonomically designed shell which mimics the auricular of human ears, providing comfortable fitment with isolation as good as custom IEM.

    ● Refined acoustic sound chamber using brass material. Brass acoustic properties are well known and often used in musical instruments. The refined acoustic chamber improves sound density of Altair, giving a richer sound with more natural timbre.

    ● 10mm custom-made dynamic driver tuned for a balance sound with strong bass, clear vocals and crisp treble. Feel the music coming alive.

    ● Exclusively developed 4-core gold + silver plated OFC cable to match aesthetically and acoustically with Altair•RA. Reinforced 3.5mm plug with strain relief for greater durability.

    ● Holistic package content which includes: Altair

    •RA, 4-core mixed plated cable, standard 6-core OFC cable (with mic), 3 pairs of wide bore soft silicon eartips, 1 pair of HillAudio C400 foam eartip, and a HillAudio storage pouch.



    Specifications ----------------------- Brand: Hill Audio Model: Altair•RA Transducer principle: dynamic driver Transducer specs: 10mm with composite diaphragm Frequency range: 20hz - 20khz Impedance: 18Ohm Sensitivity: 103dB Connector type: MMCX Cable length: 1.25M Plug type: 3.5mm With mic: YES

    CONSTRUCTION, DESIGN AND ACCESSORIES:

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    ACCESSORIES are very basic, but of good overall qualities. At least, you have an extra carrying case with the included silicone eartips.


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    CONSTRUCTION is seriously mind blowing with the ALTAIR and easily win both beauty and body builder contest in term of look and sturdiness. Quality of material is way above its price range and would be more expected from above 200$ uiem, its just this great. Saying I was impress its too polite for how freakin jaw dropping shock I was when i take these in hands and look closer at the details of craftmanship. This is real professional custom grade resin, no doubt about it. Its one piece molded and impossible to break physically. The nozzle is made of metal and inner construction look excellent with a sound tube connecting its dynamic driver. MMCX connector are extremely tigh and sturdy, prooving to be of superior quality too. In its own glory, this type of high end construction for an entry level uiem is just unseen and factualy unbeatable, as I own custom Westone ES2 using same type of material (non translucide), I can say this: the Altair have superior construction and finish housing than a 700$ professional custom. The cable in another hand is just above average the cheap one we can find with sub-100$ earphones, but again, I underline it: Above average, wich make it usable and not trashable like some cheap cable we are stock with in this price range.
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    DESIGN, as we can expect with the big applause I made about construction, is just perfect in every way, should it be intense durability, comfort or noise isolation, it really do it all. The housing is indestructible and have a good weight to it, it have an organic shape that slip easily in ear due to the super soft resin material. Due to this well made universal shape, you can wear the Altair for long time, even if quite big in size, the long shaped nozzle will fit nicely most type of ears. The thick air free resin plastic housing have a superior isolation with extreme passive noise cancelation, as well, sound leakage is non existent.

    SOUND :

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    Overall sound impressions is even more positive now that I change the stock cable included with the Altair, because at first, the bass was overpowering, with most other cable I try the sound became more balanced-controled.

    The quite big and airy soundstage is what impress me at first listen, after, it was hard to bypass the bass presence that have lot of weight and autority in lower end. Yep, where in warm U shape territory here, near basshead one but with a twist : the mid range is clean even if slightly recessed. This type of sound take me into old school memories where dynamic drivers was find in every eaprhone, its a easy too listen and permissive audio rendering, with light timbre and good transparency.

    If your into analytical, bright or sharp sounding iem, the Altair will be underwhelming, but if you search of a versatile yet muscular sound with just enough details to don’t sound too dark, this could be the one for you.

    SOUNDSTAGE is above average in widnest and tallnest and just enough minimal deep to give an airy around your head sound.

    LOWER END is emphased quite a bit, but do not sound boomy, it have big dark rumble to it wich can be good or bad depending of music you listen, for acoustic bass, it will sound a little sloppy due to lack of details in timbre, but for texture free bass line it would sound great. Bass extend low, extremely low. It’s not the fastest bass presentation, typical of dynamic driver of this price range.

    MID BASS have a smooth approach to it, wich help mid range to breathe but slow overall bass presentation due to sub emphasis. Its not very punchy, and quite warmed up too. Lack of details in timbre do not help for overall definition and make attack too loose. To me, the lack of punch would be problematic for rock and jazz, not for electro, rap or classical.

    MID RANGE is quite impressive for the price range, and surely have a beautifully smooth elevated curve in frequencies response tuning, its the richer sounding range wich have the thickest timbre presentation. Vocal aren’t sounding recessed and have great wide presence. They are more opaque than transparent, wich give them extra autority but stole imaging clarity and finess. The details are average and their a hint of dryness in texture, that avoid shoutiness but will affect body definition.

    TREBLE is a little roll off, and have emphasis in lower range wich make the mid range brighter in upper range. Highs are crunchy with minimal decay but enough grip. Overall presentation is warm, with average details retrieval but pleasant natural thick timbre. This make the Altair very permissive for harsh recordings but prompt to over saturation and congestion with very intense complex music with multiple instruments.

    AMPING isn’t needed as these are very easy to drive dynamic driver, perfect for phone pairing or with low output DAP.

    CABLE DO AFFECT sound quality quite alot, the included one make the sound bassier, brighter and little more detailed with mid bass emphasis. I find that good 4 or 8 cores SPC cable improve the sound in weight and give thicker timbre as well as better fuller vocal presence.

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    LOWER END : 8/10

    MID BASS : 7.5/10

    MID RANGE : 8.5/10

    TREBLE : 7.5/10

    TIMBRE : 8/10

    ATTACK : 7.5/10

    IMAGING : 8/10

    SOUNDSTAGE : 8.5/10



    COMPARAISONS :



    VS TINAUDIO T2 (50$) :

    P1010143.JPG

    SOUNDSTAGE of both earphones is very impressive, and the Altair even sound wider than the T2 wich have more deepnest and airier feel.

    BASS is more impactfull and beefy with the Altair, it have more mid bass impact but less textured timbre than T2.

    MID RANGE is thicker and more fowards than T2, but its warmer and less clear, wich give a better overall imaging to T2. Altair is sibilance free in upper mids while T2 create some time to time.

    TREBLE is smoother, thicker and more opaque even if less detailed, wich is strange but perhaps the fact its a single dynamic vs a dual one explain this difference. T2 is more analitycal and have better attack-decay.



    VS FINAL AUDIO E3000 (50$):
    P1010142.JPG


    SOUNDSTAGE of the Altair is bigger and more around your head, while the E3000 is more intimate and in front of you.

    BASS is more pumped up with the Altair, especially in lower end, wich give more body and impact but more rumble as well wich tend to bleed on mid bass and be less controled than thick tigh bass of E3000. Control, attack and timbre is better with E3000, but the Altair is more energic and impactfull giving a more entertaining bass performance.

    MID RANGE is warmer and slightly more recessed with the more V shape sounding Altair, still it have good clarity and thickness but the E3000 have a more fuller and natural timbre and the vocal mix less with other instrument, do not encounter as much bass bleed.

    TREBLE of both this earphones aren’t particularly detailed in upper range and have more emphasis in lower and mids region. The E3000 sound more detailed than the Altair and will crave more micro details. Instrument separation have more space with the Altair, but aren’t as detailed than E3000. Here, we see how much refined is the dynamic driver of Final Audio.

    In term of construction, the Altair is from another league and have detachable cable, but its way way bigger, so it all depend the use you wanna make with your iem.





    CONCLUSION :

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    At 40$, the HillAudio Altair are just unbeatable when it come to the quality of construction and will worth the buy even if it sound 2 times inferior than what it is.

    I mean, we do not talk about a 100$ earphones here, and still, in term of construction it can beat near all sub-200$ earphones I ever test or even see. This alone make me enthusiastly suggest it to anybody that search the perfect all arounder universal custom.

    But this isn’t all, the sound to stand appart in sub-50$ price range with its warm, spacious presentation that is near mid centric even if very bassy in lower end. Sure, this isn’t details beast, but timbre is thick and pleasant as well as minimal bass bleed that warm the mid range without veiling it.

    If you search the cheapest universal custom that have high end construction and a warm slightly mid centric sound that is versatile and musical, the Altair is most likely the best buy you will ever made in term of price value.

    TO NOTE: International buyer are welcome but need to contact directly the seller, either on its FACEBOOK PAGE or its email (Hillsonicaudio@gmail.com).

    images

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      cqtek and vickie2006 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. vickie2006
      Unfortunately,
      I see that they only ship in ph.
      What a bummer, tell them to make an eBay store :wink:

      Furthermore, if I didn't like the tin audio 2 sound, should I consider this?
      Or they have a close sound signature?
      vickie2006, May 16, 2019
    3. NymPHONOmaniac
      RA is more V shaped, warmer and less sibilant than T2 wich is more mid centric and bright, so if you want more bass and smoother treble perhaps you will prefer RA. By the way, i just add the email and facebook page of Hillaudio, if you contact them, they will accept international shipping trough paypal.
      NymPHONOmaniac, May 16, 2019
    4. cqtek
      Hello. Congratulations on your reviews, you're always on the cover and that's a very good sign, it shows the good work you do. Maybe it's silly what I'm going to say, but these RA resemble the Paiaudio DR2...even for the sound you describe...
      cqtek, May 16, 2019
  2. DallaPo
    HILL AUDIO ALTAIR•RA | 1*DD | Rating: 8.5
    Written by DallaPo
    Published Apr 10, 2019
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Powerful bass
    natural and lively sound
    good accessories
    Cons - Bass can exaggerate
    presence of lower trebles
    Intro
    With the ALTAIR•RA, HILL AUDIO introduces a slightly improved version of the ALTAIR, which is reflected in a second cable and a different alloy of the sound chamber and the nozzle to improve the sound. Since I own the predecessor, which is the same in-ear as the PAIAUDIO DR2, as well and can't make out any earth-shattering differences, the review is almost one to one the same.

    Handling
    The extraordinary thing about the ALTAIR•RA is that the housing is completely cast out of resin. And when I say complete, I mean it because there is no cavity. The dynamic driver is virtually preserved in the case and only has a small tube outside to "breathe". Another, thicker tube leads to the sound opening. All this is completely surrounded by resin. There are no air bubbles, which speaks for a good workmanship/production. The resin piece is also free of coarse unevenness and rough spots. In contrast to the DR2 or ALTAIR, brass is used as an alloy instead of aluminium, which is supposed to influence the sound.

    The ALTAIR•RA not only looks like a custom IEM, it also wears like it. Very ergonomic and secure in fit, it should fit almost any ear despite its size (exceptions confirm the rule).

    As cable we get a solid 4-core cable with remote and microphone, as well as a gold and silver coated upgrade cable.

    With a proper fit and ideally foam tips, you get a really good isolation. Since there are no other openings except for the small air hose and we therefore almost speak of a completely closed case, nothing of the music penetrates to the outside. There is no cavity in the interior and so the sound penetrates directly and without detours into our ears! But there is also little or nothing to come through to the inside, which should please especially musicians.

    Sound
    Powerful, natural, disciplined and dynamic with a slight tendency to exaggerate, describes the ALTAIR•RA quite well.

    The bass has an incredible impact, which will put a smile on every bass lover's face. It plays quite linear from top to bottom, whereby the sub bass is pushed a little bit again. This allows not only to hear the bass to its full extent, but also to feel it. The ALTAIR•RA gives every genre a good ladle of bass, which tastes good because it is well seasoned, but not salty. Bass guitars sound so energetic and powerful that you inevitably look for songs in your library where they stand out - AnnenMayKantereit - " Es geht mir gut (live)".
    Hip-Hop is just as excellent for the ALTAIR•RA. Because of the low bass there is a lot of steam behind every song. Amazing is the fact that the bass remains controlled and has texture. Sometimes he thinks it's just too good and starts to get a little booming when the music already has a strong bass part.

    If you now think that the mids of such a bass machine go completely under, you are mistaken. Of course the bass doesn't manage to leave the mids untouched, but they benefit with a pleasant warmth and a voluminous body. They are clear and detailed and manage to give the bass slogan without having to fight too hard against it. Here, too, we have a basic naturalness in sound, especially when it comes to voices. Guitars sound crisp without getting shrill and trumpets have a natural timbre. In addition, the mids are almost lively and do not hide behind the treble and bass, even if it is a V-signature. However, you should keep an eye on the volume, as the mid-range in the upper range becomes a bit exaggerated, which can be tedious, as they have their highest peak between 2 and 5 kHz.

    After the mid-peak it goes straight downhill in terms of the frequency response and the highs then return with a further smaller increase of 9-10 Hz. They have thus seen an above-average expansion in the price segment and for a single dynamic driver. Here, too, the keyword is natural, although they could be more present in the lower trebles. They are airy and playful, even if they don't show much brilliance now. But there are no sibilants, or a sting in the ear. They can even handle "problematic" voices like SIA's without any problems. They don't reveal every micro detail, but the level of detail and resolution is more than convincing.

    The stage is in a good average range in terms of depth, but the wide range is quite impressive. The separation is also very convincing, since instruments rarely overlap (partly due to poor mastering) and can be easily followed.

    Outro

    It's hard to tell the difference between the ALTAIR•RA and the DR2/ALTAIR, which is basically due to the cable choice and the different alloy, otherwise we have the same in-ear. In a direct comparison, the ALTAIR-RA appears a bit more homogeneous and smoothed (subjective perception), which one would not have expected with the frequency response, by the way, because it looks more strange than what one hears.
    I am still absolutely convinced of the sound of this in-ear. The bass can take the paws out of you, but it can also exaggerate it. The mids are lively, the voices authentic and the highs convince with their clear, unagitated and detailed way.
    If you are looking for natural, bass intensive and dynamic sound you should take a look here. I also recommend these IEM musicians, who are not looking for absolute neutrality, but can also tolerate some fun

    For the price one gets IEM in custom format incl. extensive accessories, which is difficult to top in the total package and thus represents a small advantage compared to the predecessor, but this also costs 10 € more.

    You can get the ALTAIR•RA from the HILL AUDIO Facebook page by writing to the owner. He accepts PayPal and sends the In-Ears also with a tracking number.
    If you have the possibility to order via Shopee, you can also go the direct way.

    BUY HERE:
    Facebook
    Shopee
    ___________________________________________________________
    More reviews: https://david-hahn.wixsite.com/chi-fiear
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHIFIEAR/
      hqssui likes this.
  3. Otto Motor
    Hill Audio Altair • RA Review - Kick B_ass
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published May 20, 2019 at 11:43 AM
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Beautiful design and quality build; good timbre; value.
    Cons - Strong bass pushing mids back; large and heavy earpieces.
    [​IMG]


    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


    The Hill Audio Altair • RA is a superbly built, warm, bright, V-shaped bass gun with laid back mids and a good timbre.

    You find a series of photos of the Altair • RA on our blog HERE.


    Note: the star rating depends on opinion. A bass lover will give four stars but a midrange afficionado may award fewer.


    INTRODUCTION


    The Malaysian online audio dealer Hill Audio was established in 2016. They mainly sell budget earphones to the domestic market but they also partner with OEM & ODM under their own brand name: the previously reviewed Hill Audio S8 [review link] is another example. The company mainly communicates through Facebook and Instagram and they don’t have their own website – and they only sell directly. Their earphones can be found with different accessories under different names elsewhere, but Hill Audio typically have the lower prices.


    SPECIFICATIONS


    Model: Hill Audio Altair•RA
    Transducer Principle: dynamic driver
    Transducer Specs: 10 mm with composite diaphragm
    Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
    Impedance: 18 Ohm
    Sensitivity: 103 dB
    Connector Type: MMCX
    Cable Length: 1.25 m
    Plug Type: 3.5 mm
    Price: $38 (at the time of the review; including registered Malaysia airmail shipping worldwide)
    Product Links:…again challenging
    Shopee: HERE
    Email: https://www.facebook.com/hillsonicaudio


    IN THE BOX…


    Hill Audio products don’t come in a paper box for environmental reasons…the Altairs rather come in a generous zippered case that contains the earpieces, cable, and 4 pairs of rubber tips.

    Note: the retail version comes with a second cable.

    [​IMG]


    PHYSICAL APPEARANCE, HAPTIC, AND BUILD QUALITY


    Similar to the previously reviewed Hill Audio S8, the Altair’s earpieces and cable are a work of beauty. The housing are made of resin and the cavities are completely filled in order to minimize resonance. The fill is impeccable: there are zero impurities such as bubbles or streaks. The four-core cable matches the amber shells colour wise and the jack features a sturdy spring strain-relief. Like with the Hill Audio S8you have the feeling you are handling a piece of fine jewelry rather than a budget earphone.


    ERGONOMICS, COMFORT, ISOLATION, AND FIT


    The housings, since they are large lumps of resin, are heavy but ergonomic. They stick quite a bit out of the ears like old-fashioned hearing aids but they fit well and are comfortable. Isolation is excellent, in fact so good that I missed most of the outside noises on walks through my semi-busy neighbourhood.


    SOURCE AND EARTIPS


    My phone SE drove the Altairs with ease and the largest included earpieces produced the perfect seal.


    TONALITY


    That bass is big – and I mean huge. This signature must be intended and it appeals primarily to bassheads. Quite frankly, that frequency response looks not appealing with its huge and well extended bottom end, a very relaxed midrange, and that prominent Chifi double peak between 2 and 4 kHz (which is the most sensitive frequency segment of the human ear and typically introduces shouty vocals -- but not in this case). Surprisingly, the sound is better than the frequency response may imply.

    [​IMG]
    Hill Audio Altair • RA frequency response with narrow-bore tips.

    The bass is actually well textured, focused with the right decay, and -obviously- impactful…it also stays somewhat focused into the sub-bass. It is not thick or soft at all and has a good kick from the very bottom. There is just so much of it…

    The midrange is of good tonal quality but the bass pushes it back, mysteriously without covering the vocals up. The vocals are warm and reasonably dense but can be breathy and lack richness in some cases. These vocals with a lesser bass would work very well for me. They are not only under attack from the low end but also from the higher notes. The good thing about the upper midrange peaks (2-4 kHz; add brightness to the image) is that they are being balanced by the bass and do not introduce harshness and screaminess to my ears. This confirms that the human ears hear the whole frequency spectrum in context.

    [​IMG]
    Hill Audio Altair • RA frequency response with wide-bore tips.

    The high-end starts rolling off within the upper midrange at 4 kHz until it starts climbing at 7 kHz again. This bypasses sibilance in the voices. Secondary peaks at around 10, 13, and 16 kHz (if they are real and not the effect of coupler-insertion interaction) try to counter dullness introduced by the bass and freshen up the image. The treble is smooth, not overwhelming and fits well in the overall picture. Nothing unpleasant at the high end.

    Replacing the wide-bore tips with narrow bores only affects the upper treble peaks by moving them by 1 kHz to the left which has little effect on the overall image.

    [​IMG]
    Hill Audio Altair • RA with narrow and wide-bore tips.

    I always felt the need of turning the volume up to move the vocals closer to my ear, but this also increased bass and treble, the combination of which pounded mercilessly against my eardrums.

    Detail resolution is also surprisingly good: the congestion in the upper midrange which plague so many budget DDs does not exist. Soundstage has a good height and depth, which is also not expected.

    In summary, these are good dynamic earphones with extra bass added. Take it or leave it. Their sonic and haptic qualities with a different bass dosage would put them in the $100+ area in my books.

    [​IMG]
    Frequency responses of the Hill Audio Altair • RA (narrow-bore tips) and Brainwavz Koel: note the contrasting executions of a low end.

    You find our review of the Brainwavz Koel HERE.


    CONCLUDING REMARKS


    In the end, the Altair’s qualities lie in the eye of the beholder: If you like a very impactful bass and a natural sound, this is a great earphone. If you are bass sensitive and prefer “mid centric”, it is not. Although I belong to the second group, these Altairs kept growing on me, mainly because of the bass quality, timbre, and soundstage. And since they seal well and have this very robust low end, they are useful in combination with bass-light sources such as the Shanling M0, or for commuting, or on the airplane. I will try them out on my next flight. But where everybody would agree is that the Altairs are a well-made piece of beauty.


    DISCLAIMER


    The Altair • RA was sent to me by Hill Audio from Malaysia for independently evaluating its technical and practical merits. Thank you very much. This review was originally posted at https://audioreviews.org.

    Our generic standard disclaimer


    About our measurements


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