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2BA 1DD Hybrid Earphone.

Hill Audio S8

Rating:
4.16667/5,
  • Features --------------

    ● Using 6063 Aluminium alloy shell material, CNC-machined and polished to a fine exquisite finish with smooth & quality texture.
    ● Proprietary hybrid tuning configuration with 1 dynamic driver and 2 balanced armature drivers.
    ● 10mm custom tuned dynamic driver enhanced with graphene diaphragm for a deeper bass impact with low distortion.
    ● Custom dual BA driver from China Armature (AMT) produces clear and crisp sound with rich details yet not piercing to the ears. ● 3 pairs of acoustic tuning filter for 3 different signature profile. Blue for reference sound; silver for bass boost; black for treble boost.
    ● Detachable cable design with universal MMCX interface. Easily upgrade to various aftermarket cables available. ● Simple packaging yet comes with rich accessories content. Within the package you will find a pouch + a 4 cores silver plated cable + silicon eartips set (S/M) + foam tips set (S/M/L)
    ● New version now upgraded with brand new 8 cores 6N silver plated OCC copper cable for improved audio experience.

    Specifications -----------------------

    Brand: HillAudio
    Model: S8 Hybrid
    Transducer principle: hybrid 1dd + 2ba
    Transducer specs: 10mm DD + Custom AMT dual BA
    Frequency range: 20hz - 20khz
    Impedance: 16Ohm
    Sensitivity: 100 +/- 1 dB
    Rated power: 1mW
    THD: < 2%
    Cable length: 1.2M
    Connection profile: MMCX
    Plug type: 3.5mm TRS
    With mic: NO

Recent Reviews

  1. Otto Motor
    Hill Audio S8 – Boutique Earphone For Everybody
    Written by Otto Motor
    Published Dec 10, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Wonderful, well-rendered midrange with a natural timbre; spacious soundstage; small and round enough for comfortable fit; classy understatement design; great value.
    Cons - Mid bass is a matter of taste; hard to get.
    Executive Summary

    The Hill Audio S8 2BA + 1DD hybrid earphones offer a slightly warm and spacious sound with good bass extension and no treble quirks. They excel by their quality midrange and superb resolution, separation, and layering. A selection of included filters as well as their tip sensitivity offers tuning options that make them palatable to a broad audience from bassheads to fans of classical music and jazz alike.

    Intro.jpg


    Disclaimer

    I was made aware of the S8 by the review of David Hahn from Chi-fiear (where I occasionally publish a second opinion), became interested, and asked Vincent Yeoh, owner of Hill Audio via the Hill Audio Facebook page for a review unit, which he kindly sent me from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Thanks Vincent.

    As always, I tested the S8 with a cross section of music that provided a broad coverage of the frequency spectrum, including naturally generated sounds such a voices and classical instruments. My playlist is still growing and improving along with my technical abilities. New is that I am creating my own measurements with the REW software.

    The measuring coupler was two pieces of plastic tubing on the end of a Dayton iMM-6 microphone. No compensation or smoothing was applied. These measurements should not be directly compared to other measurements except those done on the same device, for example the ones I will be posting in the future.

    Clicking on the full-sized images will zoom in.


    Introduction

    You may not have heard of Hill Audio and neither had I a while ago. They are a Malaysian online audio dealer, established in 2016. Hill Audio mainly sell budget earphones to the domestic market but they also partner with OEM & ODM under their own brand name: the S8 is an example. Hill Audio communicate mainly through Instagram and Facebook and don’t have their own website – and they only sell directly. I saw the same earphone under a different name (Magaosi/HiLisening HLS-S8) in a different packaging and with a lower-end cable at a 50% higher price. You find a competent review of it here.


    Specifications
    • Product Name: Hill Audio S8 Hybrid
    • Brand: Hill Audio
    • Model: S8 Hybrid
    • Earphone Type: In-ear
    • Drive Unit: 2 BA +1 DD [2 custom Balanced Armature from China Armature (AMT) + 1 10 mm grapheme Dynamic] hybrid
    • Impedance: 16Ω
    • Sensitivity: 100 +/- 1 dB
    • Rated power: 1mW
    • THD: < 2%
    • Frequency range: 20 - 20000Hz
    • Plug Type: 3.5mm TRS
    • Cable Length: 1.2m
    • Cable Connector: MMCX
    • Remote/Mic: No
    • Price: $60 (at the time of the review; including registered Malaysia airmail shipping worldwide)

    Purchase Links: challenging...
    Shopee
    Email: hillsonicaudio@gmail.com
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hillsonicaudio
    Whatsup: +601136329018

    CAse.jpg


    Packaging and Accessories


    There was no branded packaging at all. Within the small parcel you will find a pouch containing 3 pairs acoustic filters + silicon eartips set (S/M) + memory foam tips set (S/M/L).


    Physical Appearance, Haptic, and Build Quality

    The earpieces are made of polished aluminum alloy and look and feel very well made. The cable appears to be well constructed, too.


    Ergonomics, Comfort, Isolation, and Fit

    The shells are rounded without any corners and quite thin, with aerodynamics similar to Formula 1 cars. This results in a good fit and comfort but only soso insulation for my specific ears (results may vary).


    Source and Eartips

    I listened with the iphone 5S with the audioquest dragonfly black attached to it. The largest included white to semi-transparent tips worked well for me.

    content.jpg
    Click image to enlarge.

    Tonality

    The S8 come with three pairs of acoustic tuning filters resulting in three different sound signatures: Blue for reference sound; silver for bass boost; black for treble boost. I discuss the sound with the factory-installed blue reference filters. The sound is also strongly tip dependent (when used with my ears; mileage may vary).

    6 filters.jpg

    S8 all filters.jpg

    The slightly warm sounding S8 has a rather smooth frequency response with no narrow peaks and dips. Consequently, there is no pierce, hardness, harshness, or sibilance: smooth sailing across the whole spectrum.

    HA S8 blue filters.jpg
    Frequency Response with the Blue Reference Filters. Click diagram to enlarge.

    The S8’s low end focuses on the bottom end of the bass sensu stricto [commonly referred to as “mid-bass”…but hey, where are the lower and upper bass?] with the sub-bass being slightly rolled off. The DD produces a gentle low end that is not as tight, focused, and impactful as a BA could. The 55 – 90 Hz hump may be a bit overwhelming to some ears at higher volumes whereas is it quite pleasant at quieter levels. Adding narrow-bore tips brings out the sub-bass while preserving the midrange and sacrificing a bit of the soundstage. They transform the S8 into bass rockets as it adds low-end energy to bass-heavy tracks such Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s dead” and Queen’s “Another one bites the dust”.

    The midrange is a bit recessed but less so with the wide-bore stock tips. In terms of quality, it is absolutely stunning: I have no earphone in my collection in this class with voices so beautifully rendered and with such a natural timbre (the narrow-bore tips move the voices a bit back but they are reasonably intimate with the wide bores). Mids are clean and clear and therefore a bit lean, but not in a bad way. String quartets also sound great and best with the included wide bore-tips: organic with great depth. Most of this kind of music happens in the midrange and treble both of which transition smoothly into each other. The midrange is the star of the earphones and may as well catapult them into competition with higher-priced earphones.

    The treble is smooth, reasonably well extended and devoid of unpleasant sonic surprises.

    Soundstage is spacious with a good depth, and instrument separation and layering are impressive.


    Select Comparisons?

    The main reason why comparisons are offered is to confirm the asking price and to make sure we don’t buy the same over and over again. This is particularly useful when rolling in the higher-priced categories. In this case, I feel, such detailed comparisons are not necessary as I can confirm this iem is well worth its money and pretty unique in its price range. I love the original, black 2 BA Brainwavz B200 v.1 (~$100): it has a tighter bass compared to the S8 as part of a slimmer, more neutral leaning sound. But the S8’s midrange is superior in my opinion, including timbre, soundstage, separation, layering, resolution…let alone the design, haptic, and build.

    B200 both channels.jpg

    I also love the single DD Focal Sphear (~$130), which is also technically less capable than the S8. Adding narrow-bore tips, the S8 rivals the iBasso IT01(~$100) at the low end but is much cleaner and clearer in the midrange.

    iBasso.jpg

    And here the frequency responses of most of the above mentioned earphones:

    Tutti Frutti.jpg

    I am still generally struggling with assigning monetary value to sound.Therefore, if you are lucky, the S8 may beat your $200 reference – it is in your own eyes. The S8 simply is what it is – and it is quite impressive.


    Concluding Remarks

    The Hill Audio S8 Hybrid is a stylish, well-built, great sounding earphone that may not be so much of a “hard sell” rather than a “hard buy”. It could be a 5-star contender if it had a slightly drier bass and more forward mids….but this is subjective and, in the end, lies in the eyes of the beholder. With three different filter sets it is quite versatile and caters to a broad range of tastes. Sound sensitivity to the tips used offers another method of fine tuning. I particularly like that the manufacturer found a good balance between the number of drivers and shell size, which results in excellent fit and comfort. The elegantly understated and purist looking S8 is reminiscent of a gemstone on a pearl neckless which makes it also optically appealing to me (I’m a geologist).

    geologist.jpg

    In the end, the S8 is its own fukubukuro: as a minimum you get the value for the money you paid, but you may even do much better. Highly recommended!

    Outro.jpg
  2. Johnny Mac
    Hill Audio S8, lowkey goodness.
    Written by Johnny Mac
    Published Oct 11, 2018
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Versatile sound(filters do work), great accessory set
    Cons - super saver cable(SPC cable) not the best for over ear use(Hill Audio will update to new stock super saver cables)
    upload_2018-10-12_7-49-15.jpeg
    [​IMG]

    I happened to stumble upon another audiophile product which was slowly creeping in HeadFi. Little is to be known about Hill Audio except that they are based in Malaysia and supports multiple audiophile products. What we have now however is their very own product, the Hill Audio S8. It is being offered in only 1 color, glossy black. There is however 2 package offerings, a Super Saver pack ($55) and an Audio Pro pack ($65) which is a promotional price until the end of 2018. Let me just brief you that the accessory set offered with the S8 are overwhelming. The Hill Audio S8 is 3-driver hybrid configured with a 10mm custom tuned grapheme dynamic driver and custom tuned dual BA drivers by AMT. It has a Frequency Response of 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 16 Ohm Impedance, 100 +/- 1 dB Sensitivity and utilizes the MMCX interface. Thanks to Hill Audio for providing the sample unit in exchange for an honest review. Those who aren’t based in Malaysia can easily reach out to Hill Audio via their Facebook page, Hill Audio, WhatsApp (+601136329018) and via Hill Audio's email (hillsonicaudio@gmail.com). They respond fast and communication was easy. International purchases would be done via Paypal with free shipping and a 1-year limited warranty. The Hill Audio S8 lacks the marketing hype most $55 to $65 Hybrid + Filter IEMs have so will this carve a niche by itself against more popular options? I’m here to find it out.

    Packaging and Build Quality

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just like their marketing presence, the Hill Audio S8 packaging throws away anything associated with anything fancy. It came to me encased in bubble wrap and immediately the black zipper case. The Super Saver pack includes the handy black zipper case, 3 pairs of acoustic tuning filter for 3 different signature profiles, blue for reference sound, silver for bass boost and black for treble boost sound along with a standard SPC cable with gold-plated 3.5mm straight plug and a multitude of ear tips; 1 pair of blue-nozzle translucent silicon ear tips (sized M), 2 pairs of black-nozzle transparent silicon ear tips (size L and M), 2 pairs of translucent silicon ear tips (sized M and L), 3 pairs of black silicon ear tips (S, M, L), 2 pairs of black foam ear tips (sized L and M). The same goes for the Audio Pro pack except that this time around the included cable would be an 8-core braided SPC cable with more robust carbon-fiber gold-plated 3.5mm straight plugs.

    [​IMG]

    The Hill Audio S8 has a bean-like silhouette and a CNC-machined aluminum body which conforms to the ear canal shape well. There are 3 small round vents near the MMCX interface along with the L-R markings. The nozzle supports the 3 acoustic filters openly which when filters are removed directly shows a single BA and no tubes whatsoever to suggest where the other BA driver is as well as the dynamic driver. The S8 sits comfortably well and takes around 4-5 hours where I start to feel some discomfort in my ear. The Super Saver pack cable has minor microphonics and compliments the small form factor of the S8 rather well since it is fairly thin and the round braid is encased in a transparent plastic sleeve. I have tried multiple ear tips for the S8 and have chosen to use the stock M-sized black-nozzle transparent silicon ear tips and have used the Opus 1, Xduoo X3ii, Sony CAS-1 and MSI GF62 8RE laptop for the duration of the realview.

    Tonality

    [​IMG]

    The Hill Audio S8 has a varied tonality which depends on the acoustic filter used and after doing a full rotation of the 3 different acoustic filters, I have decided to use the blue filter (reference sound) for the duration of the realview while also stating the key differences when using the silver filter (bass boost) and the black filter (treble boost). The blue filter S8 sounds mellow and soft across all the frequencies rendering a good tonal balance, the lows doesn’t overpower and cloud the midrange while the midrange blends well with the lower and the upper frequencies, the highs had no noticeable peaks as well. I have had this S8 fully burned-in at more than 100hours as well.

    Lows

    Pulling out Sheryl Crow’s Halfway There in 16/44 Flac shows that the sub bass hit and depth doesn’t give that much power resulting in being unable to create a great drop in the sub bass that some would definitely enjoy, the sub bass is enough yet we would need to get lower frequency oriented track almost consecutively to feel the S8 being able to deliver. The bass performance however creates a good thumpy feel is able to give a good harmonic warm effect.

    Midrange

    The midrange aspect of the S8 is for me personally its best attribute; the vocal timber is easily recognizable between various artists as well as occasional changes in a sole individuals track. Shania Twain’s That Don’t Impress Me much in 16/44 Flac sounded lush and articulate with a sense of subtle air resulting to a very engaging feel. Male vocals was tested with a 16/44 Flac Out of the Blue by Michael Learns to Rock showcased a clear and authoritative that plateaus on a smooth upper midrange execution, the subtle air is still present giving out an engaging feel as well. I would advise against listening to the S8 on a dark silent room, the vocal presence is so lifelike it is scary. No exaggerations.

    Highs

    Hill Audio S8’s upper frequency scores are average at best. I decided to roll with Limp Bizkit’s Show Me What you got in 16/44 Flac and right off the bat the ride cymbal hits were crisp and clear although lacks a much-needed bite, it is however relatively easy to the ears which is audible enough and doesn’t need for one to turn up the volume to notice such presence. The rather soft sound of the S8 on the upper frequencies meshes well with the lower and midrange sound giving it a smooth and delicate sound.

    Soundstage and Imaging

    Soundstage and Imaging on the Hill Audio S8 is well-defined. Left to right sound localization pans out well and instrumental hits are distinct. It doesn’t sound too intimate nor is it too wide. There is great retrieval as well.

    [​IMG]

    Silver Acoustic Filter SQ changes

    The silver bass boost acoustic filter of the S8 has a thin layer of white cloth on the mesh itself which was the major physical difference against the black (fully bare metal mesh) and the blue (thin layer of almost metal-like mesh). The decay of the sub bass is the filters most notable signature change, it enables the S8 to have a clouded effect on the lower frequencies although the impact and thump is still average. The mids are more laid back as well on the silver filters and the higher frequencies took a hit, note that it already lacks the needed treble presence on the blue filter.

    Black Acoustic Filter SQ changes

    Hill Audio S8’s lack of treble bite on its blue reference acoustic filter is addressed by the black treble boost acoustic filter, the change is subtle and still doesn’t render the S8 sibilant yet it is great that the filters do actually work. It is also to be noted that the black acoustic filter has a bare metal mesh which might have attributed to the higher frequencies being able to have more presence. The midrange still sounds great and the upper midrange has better extension.

    Conclusion

    [​IMG]

    The Hill Audio S8 hype is lower than the saying “under the radar”. Most of you who have reached this part of the realview only found out about this IEM right here on my blog. Priced at $65 with the Audio Pro pack, the S8 offers a variety of signature that suits different needs. The filters do actually function as they should and it is good that there is even a small rubber bearing to allow a really secure fit of the nozzle and not have it dropping somewhere. It checks out all the needed aspects of great budget friendly IEM in terms of sound quality, build and accessory set, not to mention that reaching out to the seller itself is easy. Do note as well that they are about to update the Super Saver cable with one that has an over the ear guide which the current one didn’t have. All in all, you may not have heard of the Hill Audio S8 IEM being talked about but if you ever get to try one, you’d love hearing it again.

    More reviews on my site,
    http://audiorealviews.site/
      Otto Motor likes this.
  3. suman134
    Very good for the price.
    Written by suman134
    Published Aug 9, 2018
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Very good energy with mids and spectrum wide tonality. Good bass, highs can use a bit more evenness. Plenty of accessories.
    Cons - Lacks a bit of sub-bass and top end energy.
    INTRO:-

    Last time I reviewed the HillAudio Vajra3, this one is the HillAudio S8. A Different looking earphone with Dual BA for highs and mid range and a Dynamic Driver for Bass. Priced from RM250-270, which translates to around $62 is made of CNC machined aluminum alloy, comes in two colors, Black and Metallic blue.

    It goes against the likes of Shozy hibiki, Brainwavz B150, Whizzer A15 and many more earphones as this space is very crowded, We will see if the S8 holds its own in this competition or not.

    P.S. :- I just received the Earpieces and accessories, No cables out of the box, this will be the cable shipping with the retail package.

    38294498_1213556138786195_6505300514702360576_n.jpg

    Here are some features of the Earphone:-

    ● Using 6063 Aluminium alloy shell material, CNC-machined and polished to a fine exquisite finish with smooth & quality texture.

    ● Proprietary hybrid tuning configuration with 1 dynamic driver and 2 balanced armature drivers.

    ● 10mm custom tuned dynamic driver enhanced with graphene diaphragm for a deeper bass impact with low distortion.

    ● Custom dual BA driver from China Armature (AMT) produces clear and crisp sound with rich details yet not piercing to the ears.

    ● 3 pairs of acoustic tuning filter for 3 different signature profile. Blue for reference sound; silver for bass boost; black for treble boost.

    ● Detachable cable design with universal MMCX interface. Easily upgrade to various aftermarket cables available.

    ● Simple packaging yet comes with rich accessories content. Within the package you will find a pouch + a 4 cores silver plated cable + silicon eartips set (S/M) + foam tips set (S/M/L)

    ● New version now upgraded with brand new 8 cores 6N silver plated OCC copper cable for improved audio experience.

    Specifications -----------------------

    Brand: HillAudio

    Model: S8 Hybrid

    Transducer principle: hybrid 1dd + 2ba

    Transducer specs: 10mm DD + Custom AMT dual BA

    Frequency range: 20hz - 20khz

    Impedance: 16Ohm

    Sensitivity: 100 +/- 1 dB

    Rated power: 1mW

    THD: < 2%

    Cable length: 1.2M

    Connection profile: MMCX

    Plug type: 3.5mm TRS

    With mic: NO

    Get one for yourself from here.

    https://shopee.com.my/HillAudio-S8-Hybrid-3-Driver-In-Ear-Earphone-i.6548893.1119979999

    IMG_20180803_094431.jpg

    BUILD, ERGONOMICS, ACCESSORIES AND MISCELLANEOUS:-

    Its build with aluminum alloy and I don’t think one need to worry about the build quality, Ergonomically its pretty comfortable, one will need a few moments to put it on for the first time around, but its not uncomfortable from any side, thanks to its rounded shape. There are no sharp edges but the short nozzle may lead to a bit of struggle for seal. If you struggle with silicone tips, put on the foam tips that comes out of the box.

    There are Bass Vents on the earpieces, which gives it a Classy look thanks to its placement.

    It comes with Plenty of accessories, there are 2 pairs of Silicone tips and 3 pairs of Foam tips and two extra pairs of tuning filters, and a carry case completes the list of accessories.

    Isolation is just above average thanks to the shallow fitting.

    SOUND QUALITY:-

    What I like the most about the S8 is its synergy, its sounds very dynamic for an BA based IEM and very soothing thanks to less sharp upper mid and treble region. It’s a balanced IEM with emphasis on bass, I am shying away from calling it V shaped even with elevated bass is because the vocals are really forward, not lying low and drowned in the valley and the highs are not supporting the valley either. You can call it W shaped.

    I have burned the S8 for more than 100 hrs, I am using Stock silicone tips and no S8 don’t need amping to sound up to the mark. It’s a pretty sensitive IEM.

    Reviewed with Reference Filter.

    BASS:-

    The first thing one will notice is the rumble and texture it brings to the table. But sadly it lacks a bit of extension and lacks some sub-bass and most of the rumble is from the lower mid-bass region of 50-80hz, If Avicii can't take it there, Who you gonna call? Ghost busters!! Obviously, Here we have Bass filter, Silver one!! And the bass arrives. Still not very deep. We will stick to the Blue Reference filter for this review.

    The decay is decent for a Dynamic driver, its not slow and brings in plenty of details and texture, making it more enjoyable. Sadly the bass is mostly dominated by mid-bass, it's not the bothering kind thank fully, which was the case with some earphones a couple of years ago.

    It Sounds full with a nicely rounded body, moves good amount of air with good slam.

    Upper bass lack energy and don’t bring much to the table. That’s a good in this case.

    MIDS:-

    I have to say that the mid range is very good, its forward and more accurate tonally with very good texture to notes which helps the overall imaging. Sonically its above average and better than many at this price range.

    I should mention that Lower mids do lack desirable amount of energy and sound very pale, as I mentioned, it’s the first dip of the W shaped signature. Same goes for the upper mid, not as low on energy compared to the lower mids, still not in balance with the vocal range.

    Vocals are the main focus here. They have very natural signature and tonality, notes have accurate notes depth, let it be for male or female vocals, both sound pretty accurate with required amount of notes width and sharpness. No need to worry about sibilance of any type.

    Thanks to Lesser amount or energy with the upper mids, instruments do sound pale, they lack the bite a bit.

    Another plus here is the stage size, Its taller and wider than average and have good depth too, and thanks to its sonicality, the S8 is very engaging.

    HIGHS:-

    Highs are in shallow water, to put it in another way, they have a considerably smoother presentation, they do lack some the energy I am used to with the TFZ series4, but that is a good thing for some, making it devoid of any type of sibilance. Extension too is average at best, even with the Treble filters. Amount of details is acceptable.

    Transparency is average. Separation and instrument placement is average, clarity could have been better but look as the price point, I am really asking for a bit too much.

    Compared to something like the Whizzer A15, the S8 is far far better with treble.

    IMG_20180803_093843.jpg
    See them vents, They look sexy!!! And scary!!

    IMG_20180803_094046.jpg

    IMG_20180805_203442.jpg

    IMG_20180805_203505.jpg

    FILTER EFFECT:-

    Filters do change the signature, the bass filter(silver) makes the S8 sound V shaped with some more emphasis on the bass region, still not enough sub-bass. Mids do lose their forwardness and highs get a bit more than mids.

    Treble filter (black) don’t really affect the Bass much but makes the tonality a bit unnatural with a slight emphasis on the treble and upper mid region.

    I totally prefer the Reference filter(blue). They have the best balance of the three.

    CONCLUSION:-

    I haven't reviewed something in this price range for a while, and all I have been listening to these days are BA based earphones of $500 range, so I might have been a bit more critical of the S8.

    For just $60, I don’t think I will recommend something better. It has a very enjoyable balance of details, clarity and vocals. Sounds sweet and tonally appropriate.

    If you are looking for something like $60-70 in the market, do consider these, and with all these filters and accessories, I think these are pretty good.

    Have a nice time, Enjoy, Cheers.
      hqssui, Otto Motor and B9Scrambler like this.

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