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HiSoundAudio E212

  1. zhubajie
    Hisoundaudio HSA-E212: Impressive on all fronts and comes with a dead fish to boot!
    Written by zhubajie
    Published Aug 1, 2013
    Pros - Beautiful design, Excellent cable, Comfortable to wear, Great sound.
    Cons - A bit bass heavy but many just want it that way.
    This is my First review ever so don't bite my head off if I make a mistake please [​IMG]
    A few words about me.
    I'm 53 years old, Dutch, male and quite new to portable Hi-Fi audio but quite fanatic in learning anything about it. Over the Last six months or so I did a lot of reading, bought a lot (much too much) of audio hardware and collected loads of digital music in at least CD quality.
    Jack Fu from Hisoundaudio was so nice to send me this nice IEM. He mailed me this IEM was two steps in quality above the PAA1 earbud so that creates expectations. Ik liked the PAA1, I got with my Colorfly C3, so much I bought the PAA1 Pro too. I have to mention however I have no relations with Hisoundaudio. I just like their products and asked if I could review this IEM.
    I think reviewing audio hardware is quite hard because so many of it is subjective. Read some reviews about some earbuds or IEM's and you know what I mean. Sometimes two reviewers have opposite opinions about the sound quality.
    The kind of music, the way it is produced, your mood, how damaged your ears are from listening to all that devilish hardrock in your youth, the source hardware and much more all have influence.
    I'll try to keep that in mind while writing this.
    Ok, enough blabla, I hope you're still awake. Let's get started with some pictures.
    Box.jpg     Whatsinside.jpg

    Ÿ Type : Dynamic Driver
    Ÿ Size of the driver : Φ9.2 mm
    Ÿ Impedance : 16Ω
    Ÿ Sensitivity : 100dB
    Ÿ Maximum SPL : 125db(1khz,1 Vrms)
    Ÿ Frequency response : 20HZ-20KHZ
    Ÿ Type of the jack : 3.5 mm Angled
    Ÿ Cable length : 124cm
    The package is simple but OK, I see they gave the fish it's own window... Neat!
    Apart from the E212's it contains a nice, strong carrying case with "Hi" logo, a dead fish and 2 sizes of eartips (one pair small and one extra pair medium) in orange which look great with the dark chrome with orange inlay E212. Nice design!
    The shirt clip I saw on some photo's wasn't there but the dead fish came in its place. It's a funny rubber(y) fish skeleton meant to roll on your excess cable and hold it in place.
    Last thing in the package was an all Chinese warranty and registration card. Good I understand some Chinese. Hope that will be in English soon.
    The cable might be a bit thin but it feels strong enough. It's braided and molded in plastic. They hardly tangle and don't have any form memory worth mentioning. It falls down like a thin rope.
    These are, hands down, the nicest cables I have seen on any IEM or earbud so far!
    The IEM's are quite small so you don't look like the monster of Frankenstein like when you wear UE TriipleFi/10's [​IMG]
    There are no sharp edges and they are quite comfortable when wearing. I have used them most of the time at work today and during my 30 minute lunch walk and they were very comfortable. Not even the slightest irritation.
    It seems the jack plug couldn't decide what it wanted to be. It's not straight and not angled but something inbetween. Personally I prefer either straight or angled but that's very personal and a bit nitpicking to be honest.
    Closeup.jpg     PlugandEartips.jpg

    I coupled to my Colorfly CK4 and played some songs. When I got to "Front Line Assembly - Mech", I had the impression it had some trouble with the heavy bass but after playing it again with my UE Triple-Fi/10's on I noticed even those had a hard time and they cost about 9 times as much! "Carmen Gomes Inc. - Angel Eyes" sounded great and nicely detailled too.
    Since it has an impedance of only 16Ω you don't have to be afraid you can't crank it up loud enough on your player.
    They are a bit dark and on the bass heavy side but so far I like it, IEM's and headphones these days. But when I played "Jiangzhou Drums - Buffaloes Tiger" (a bunch of Chinese getting wild on percussion) they passed the test with flying colours. "The Comsat angels - Believe" didn't sound too bass heavy too. I did quite some tests with percussion bands and the percussion sounded clean and punchy.
    First impression is good. My ears aren't as trained as several others here but as I experience it Mids and Highs are where they should be.
    A.o. "Big & Rich, Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)" sounded great. I found the vocals were delightfully warm. These are great for slow jazz.
    Not abuntant but more than enough and just to my liking. The high hat's in Duke Ellington's Heaven sounded a bit dirty at first but they also did on my Triple-Fi/10's so, again, no issue.
    I have other IEM's with more highs but they make me tired after some time. I like how it is here and I didn't find any mentionable sibilance so far too which I weigh quite heavy.
    Imaging, Soundstage, balance etc.
    Hardly any microphonics. One more reason I like this cable. You don't have to wear these cables over your ears.
    I already said they are a bit bass heavy but for the rest the mids and highs play their part well and arent recessed in my opinion.
    The isolation is on par with most other IEM's I have. On some IEM's I use Comply Foam eartips which isolate great but I often find these starting to irritate after some time.
    I found the imaging more than adequate. It was easy to place the instruments and the singer was clearly where she should be. The soundstage is surprisingly wide for IEM's. As much as the Sennheiser CX985 I have. Very nice! I used Carmen Gomes Inc. here again. I have a very high quality recording of her. I can reccomend it.
    If I had to choose between warm or analytical I would go for warm. I'm not missing detail but warm just fits more with what I experience.
    No "Monster of Frankenstein" look..

    You can find these IEM's on eBay for US$43.00 and up and for that money it's an absolute steal! I can say that with confidence even before I have burned it in.
    They are comfortable, look very nice, sound great and I just love that cable. Now if they can copy that overdesigned bendable Sennheiser plug next time... [​IMG]
    The score I gave it is based on the price but I think I would have given it the same score if it had cost US$ 120. Your mileage may vary, it's personal preference for a large part but I like how these sound.
    Chapeau for Hisoundaudio.... again!


    Edit - 22 hours later
    I have used the E212's the whole day at work and part of the evening with my Sandisk Sansa Clip Zip. I haven't used it long enough to burn it in completely but I have the impression it has gotten a little less bass heavy and dark. But... that could just as well be my brain playing tricks on me. I didn't find any mentionable changes when I amped it with my C&C BH2.
    Today I used it while playing just about any musical genre and enjoyed it the whole time.
    At this moment I don't feel experienced enough to confidently go into more detail about the sound quality so I won't. Most of it is subjective anyway, I think.
    I still hope I was able to provide you with some useful information and I try to make my next review a bit more detailed. Positive feedback is very welcome.


    Last edit - 5 days later
    After using it for a bit longer I'm still quite happy with them but I think I'll end with this.
    They are great sounding and a great value for the money but they would be perfect for me if they gave 5% more highs and 10% less bass.
    But no person is alike and everybody has his own preferences in music and sound.

    1. Bytor123
      Lovely review, thank you. I might well get hold of these after reading this!
      Bytor123, Aug 2, 2013
  2. fleasbaby
    Wonderful warm, bassy change of pace from the normal, bright, clinical fare.
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published Aug 27, 2014
    Pros - Good build, minimal microphonics, nice bass presentation.
    Cons - They are IEMs. I hate IEMs :)
    I am a Grado fan. More precisely, I am a Grado modder. Everything I listen to is tinkered with, and woodied….Needless to say, I favor a bright sound signature, open-backs and am not very into IEMs. For all of my listening I use my FiiO X5 on low gain, loaded with 16/44 FLAC files. IEMs are a necessary evil in an occasionally noisy world, but given I have oddly shaped ear canals (thanks to a nice little head-fracture at the tender age of 3) fit has always been an issue with them, and let’s be honest, no one likes giving their office mates the chance to sneak up on and scare the living daylights out of them.
    I have recently had the pleasure of acquainting myself with @EmpJ of CTC Audio and after a little conversation he very generously sent me a review sample of a pair of the HSA E212. I was skeptical at first, but after a revelatory experience (who knew…use two different sized tips if you have two different sized ear canals…) with fit, a promotion at work that moved me from my open cubicle environment to a private little office and a week-long stint at a noisy conference I find myself…*gasp* listening to IEMs and…dare I say it…enjoying them.
    With regards to build, the E212 is very robust. I don’t believe they are metal, but they are heavier than they should feel if they are plastic. The cable is a nice, simple affair, braided and wrapped in smooth plastic. I experienced very little of the usual annoyance with microphonics I usually go through. The jack is a nicely angled affair that is, like the rest of these IEMs, a rather sturdy looking thing. They came in a nice little hard case, perfect for flinging into a backpack/messenger bag while on the go. Included were three pairs of red silicone tips, ostensibly small, medium and large. I didn’t see much difference between the mediums and the larges, but bear in mind this is a review sample. A simple slip of the hand is most likely the culprit here.
    Soundwise, these have a nice, warm, weighty low end. As I mentioned, I am by no means a bass-head. I like it lean and clear, properly subdued. These have become my guilty pleasure. Listening to my usual jazz favorites, as well as some leftfield ambient work and a little hip-hop, they are a wonderful change of pace from the clinical, seared eardrums, brightness of my Grados and my Magnum build. Detail wasn’t lost in the shuffle either…I wasn’t hearing every pin drop, but I had to look to notice that.
    I did notice that I can hear what sounds scarily like the driver diaphragm buckling and unbuckling whenever I put them in or pull them out. I am assuming this is not the case though. That would be crazy. I am not sure what it is, but once these are in, it’s gone.
    Overall, these are a fantastic buy for the price. I would not hesitate to pair them with a Clip+ for a nice little on-the-go setup, or keep them for the odd occasions when I need isolation. Between you and me, I intend to have these handy to whip out every once in a while, just to balance out that crazy Grado obsession of mine…if I find a full-size can that sounds like these, I am definitely going to be having a look into it. For now, the E212 will do nicely thank you very much.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Deviltooth
      It sounds like they're exhibiting driver flex, that's why you're getting the sound f/x during insertion.
      Deviltooth, Aug 31, 2014
    3. egosumlux
      What do you think about Grado IEM's like the IGI?
      egosumlux, Sep 2, 2014
    4. fleasbaby
      ...I haven't heard a pair yet, but now that I am back on board with IEMs I want to try a pair...
      fleasbaby, Sep 2, 2014
  3. zamorin
    An excellent IEM for the price
    Written by zamorin
    Published Aug 9, 2013
    Pros - Nice Nozzle design, good bass, wide soundstage
    Cons - Color scheme,odd rear profile, no cable clip and adjuster
    I would like to thank HiSound Audio for this review unit. This is my first review of an IEM.
    To begin with, I compared the E212 to Crossroads Bijou3 which costs about $10 more.
    Tested with
    HP ProBook 4410S, GS3 with Noozxoide & Poweramp
    3 pairs of red ear tips, cable manager, flexible phone case
    The flexible phone case supplied is good. A cable clip instead of the cable manager would have been more useful IMHO.
    I've been using the Bijou3 for about a year and although they look like they have very steady cables, the right side of the cable gave way just after a year. The cables on the E212 looks thinner than the Bijou3 (but now I don't think thickness of a cable is relative to its durability), it is braided and shorter than the Bijou3 cable but I like the cable of the E212 as it is less tangle prone and is is a good length when using with my notebook. The Y split is also quite thick and looks durabable. The phone jack is oddly angled but I like it as it is easy to insert even on a mobile phone with thick casing. The stress relief on the  phone end is twice the size of the Bijou3.
    The phone body looks a bit cheap with a metallic plastic sleeve enclosing a shinny red body and comes supplied with 3 pairs of matching red tips. The best part of E212 for me is angle of the nozzle. This ensures a good fit and makes it sound vastly better than the Bijou3. More of the sound in the Sound quality section.
    The isolation of the E212 is about 30-50% better than the Bijou3 and it grips more firmly in the ear. This can be attributed to the nozzle design and the isolation is good. The sound quality is quite dependent on a good seal and a good seal is easy to achieve on the E212.
    Sound Quality
    The sound quality of the E212 is fantastic considering it is sold for about $38 on eBay and comparing it with the more expensive Bijou3. It is a lot better than Bijou3. The bass and the highs are much clearer and the sound stage a lot wider. This made picking out all the instruments in the song a lot more easier. EDM type music sounds great with these phones. Generally it was superior to the sound quality of Bijou3 in almost every attributes except maybe the very deep lows of the Bijou3. This is just after 20 hours of burn-in.
    I don't think it is easy to find any other IEM that is better than the E212 in it's price range. If so, I would like to know too.
  4. bowsandarrows
    Great for the price
    Written by bowsandarrows
    Published Aug 7, 2013
    Pros - Excellent angled earbud design; Reasonably wide soundstage; Good bass response + depth; Good Value; No major flaws
    Cons - colour scheme may not suit everyone; slightly on the larger side; some may dislike sound signature
    Full disclosure: these were provided to me by hisound for this review, free of charge for only the cost of shipping. i am not an expert in reviewing audio equipment, and therefore my descriptions are more qualitative than technically correct so some of the terminology used may not be accurate. I consider myself an audio enthusiast, having owned in the past (and currently) - IN EAR - beyerdynamic MMX-101i; NOCS NS400 titanium; Astrotec am-90; jays a-Jays four, brainwavz m4,  ; OVER EAR - Nokia purity pro. 
    - overall good design, nice blend of metal (?steel) and soft touch red plastic with a metallic sheen to it. compares favourably with the competition. with a bit more "flair" than something like the beyerdynamics and NOCS and astrotecs, although (as you may have guessed, I prefer minimal design)
    - seem like they will hold up over time, although the wire insulation seems thinner than on any earphones i've owned, akin to the MEElectronics insulation. On par with other headphones in this price range. 
    - I especially like the slightly angled design of the output tube - kind of like the way medical stethoscopes are angled slightly forwards to mimic the shape of the outer and middle ear. This is unique to the E212s out of the headphones i've owned and/or tested and definitely unique to this price range, i think. (I know that there are various other designs that try to fit the shape of the ear canal well like phonak audeo's line of IEMs, similarly bowers + wilkins and all the custom IEM manufacturers). 
    - would've liked to see a mic + playback controls, but it's not a deal-breaker for me. 
    - packaging etc is about average for price. 
    Comfort: (i am quite picky here)
    - The only slight downside to the earphones design/build is the size. These buds are not as big as the astrotec am-90s, they're around average for dynamic driver based earbuds but they certainly aren't q-jays that you can forget about. The angled design means that they sit in the ear canal really comfortably, and should be good for long sessions, as long as you're not resting your head on one if it's sides - like lying in bed. Definitely above average. Usually it would take time for me to "break-in" new headphones (although it was probably more the headphones "breaking-in" my ear canals), with the E212s. As soon as i got the small tips on, i was enjoying a very comfortable listening experience.
    - The provided silicone eartips (1 pair of small, and 2 pair of medium tips) provided a good seal, and i was able to get very good isolation due to the comfortable and stable positioning of the angled earbuds.
    Audio quality:
    - I tested the E212s with mostly post-dubstep, indie rap, and indie rock etc. to compare sound quality to songs that i listen a lot using my blackberry z10. diverse stuff like das racist, foals, destroyer, etc.. I also tested them when watching videos on my macbook and smartphones.
    - Again, i'm not an expert, the easiest way for me to remember and convey qualities of headphones is by comparing them to sound from other headphones. These ones definitely seem to be slightly warmer or bass heavy than the more neutral beyerdynamics or astrotec am-90s (but they suit my tastes better, so i prefer the E212s), but the bass is not just more bountiful, it's also very well layered, and blow things like the beats IEMs out of the water! the sub bass experience listening to the E212s is quality - tracks like vitalic's "stamina" and das racist's "who's that brooown?" had that irresistible wub to them! then again, for some who might prefer a more neutral soundstage - may not be ideal. but i think it's quite clear what the mainstream buyer wants. if you're not sure what you want, you want bass, trust me... and the E212s will provide that for you.
    Value: decent value if you consider the audio and build quality. overall package could be improved slightly - those who need large sized tips may not be very happy - none included in the box! 
    Overall: Top marks to hisound for breaking the mould somewhat (pun intended) and designing a pair of ergonomically designed headphones that achieve that almost impossible balance between organic feel and machined-ness. A very often overlooked part of the listening experience. I loved the way the angled earbuds so simply moulded to the shape of my ear canal without sacrificing that clean, almost minimal aesthetic. There isn't much to complain about, either - the sound quality is solid, and for me definitely competing with much more expensive IEMs, especially if you're into bass. Therefore, they've become my current first choice as my daily-driver portable headphones that i can tuck away in a pocket. They're simply the best overall pair of portable, "not-too-expensive" IEMs i own, and i would have no hesitation recommending them to somebody looking for a good balance of value, quality design and audio quality.
    1. zhubajie
      Nice review!
      When I read there were two sets of medium tips included I thought "maybe the -guy that puts the tips in the bag- made a mistake" but rechecked what was in my package.
      Very observant of you! I have 2 mediums too but didn't notice.
      I will change it in my review.
      zhubajie, Aug 7, 2013
    2. vsls
      Great review! Do you think that the Astrotec are more suitable for Rock music since they are more neutral? Do you think that the bass covers the clarity of the mids?
      vsls, Aug 7, 2013
  5. lin0003
    Big Bassy IEM, Great Bang For The Buck
    Written by lin0003
    Published Aug 2, 2013
    Pros - Sound, Nice Case & Accessories, Very Comfortable For Me, Exceptional Customer Service, Easy To Use Cable
    Cons - No Cable Slider, No Cable Clip, May Come Off As Dark
    First of all, I'd like to thank Jack Fu of HiSound Audio for sending me a E212 for review. I am in no way affiliated nor against HiSound Audio in any way and I will try my best to give my unbiased opinions. These were given 100 hours of burn in, in which I feel like the E212 has improved dramatically. However, this can be just my ears getting used to the sound. Tested with my HDP-R10, Sansa Clip+, Fiio E6 and my SGS3. 
    20130729_153156.jpg 20130729_153210.jpg
    Design, Accessories & Unboxing
    Sure, this is a budget minded $50 pair of IEMs, but HiSound does everything that it can to make this look like a $100 IEM. Most IEMs in this price range just come with a a few pairs of tips but this has a very nice and useful case, tips and a cable manager which I will probably never use. However, I'd rather more than less. The case is a square clamshell case like the one on the box which is easy to just pop in your pocket when you aren't using it. It might not protect the IEMs if you hit them with a hammer, but it is enough for day to day wear and tear. This is a vented dynamic driver earphone and doesn't really have a lot of isolation, but it is enough to stop ambient noise from being annoying on cars, public transport and in noisy places. A few things that I find really annoying is the lack of a shirt clip and a cable slider. Although the cable is one of the most non-microphonic cables that I have tried, it is still a bit noisy when worn down and you can't wear it over the ear or else the cable will slide off the top of your ear. I do find that a bit of tape fixed that, but I would still have rather HiSound have included one. The build quality is very good, much better than the PAA-1 Pro that I reviewed recently. It is made out of metal and a rough red material that also feels like metal and the strain reliefs make me feel confident that the cable isn't going to break soon.  

    Sorry for it being upside down, but like I mentioned in the PAA-1 Pro review, have people started faking HiSound Products? 
    This is how the E212 comes in the box. 
    Sound Quality
    For those people who have never read one of my reviews before, I break them into 3 main section - bass, midrange and treble. Here we go. 
    HiSound says that these have extreme bass and detailed sound and I completely agree with them. The bass is arguably the best part of this IEM; I think so anyway. The bass is very strong and fun, reaching deep down and it really rumbles. Turn up the volume and you will probably find them vibrating so much that they come out of your ear. The bass quality is exceptional for the price and as I mentioned above, really does reach far down. However, you could also say that it is bloated and muddy and I would certainly understand why, but this IEM was designed for a fun, bass oriented sound, and is aimed at bassheads and not one who is looking for a neutral sound signature. IMO, the bass is great if you are a basshead; I'm more of a neutral person, but the bass is just so damn fun! There is a bit of bass bleed though. 

    The bass does bleed slightly into the midrange, but not until it becomes annoying. There is just a kind of midrange magic that is in the PAA-1 Pro as well. Vocals still sound extremely realistic and euphonic even though thy are on the slightly darker side, making female vocals sound a tiny bit "manly". However, this does not become annoying and is actually quite pleasant for most of the music that teenage boys are interested in. It's not only vocals that sound nice, but pianos sound extremely pleasant as well, since they sound quite tinny with many more neutral IEMs. I find that the extra weight makes them sound a bit more realistic. Guitars are very nice, but are a tiny bit dark, and this is the same with other string instruments. The midrange is very nice for vocals, but I would have loved for it to be a tad bit less dark. 
    This IEM is an ideal choice for people who are a bit sensitive to a hot treble. Straight out of the box, the treble is significantly rolled off and when I first listened to them, I was like What?!!! What have HiSound made here? However, after 100 hours, I do feel like the treble has come out quite a bit, but is still quite rolled off. Detail levels are quite good, but other earphones such as the PAA-1 Pro performs significantly better here. Cymbals sound a bit dull and the decay is shorter than neutral, but it is not as dull as some other IEMs that I have listened to. There is just enough sparkle to keep these from being boring. Overall, the treble is good in quality, but lacking in quantity. I will not mark it down though, because some people may prefer this sort of sound signature. I would have personally liked a little extra sparkle. 
    Tips that it comes with. I personally prefer and use the Sony Hybrids. 
    Separation & Details
    To be honest, I'm surprised how well the E212 did in my separation tests. In the song "Some Nights" by Fun., the vocal separation was even better than the PAA-1 Pro and I could distinctly make out where each singer was. Instrument separation was exceptional as well, once again besting the PAA-1 Pro and it was less congested on the tracks that I tested it on. 
    Details are not as good as the separation. In almost all IEMs, big bass always results in reduced detail and the E212 is no exception. It's not to say that the detail levels are bad, just 0ot as good as other offerings of the same price. 
    Imaging & Soundstage
    I was once again extremely impressed by the imaging ans separation of these. The sound stage was huge for an IEM of it's price and of the IEMs that I have heard only loses out to the UM Miracles, RDB v1 and IE8. 
    Imaging is also very good, but not as impressive as the soundstage. It was easy to tell where each singer or instrument was but sometimes on more congested tracks, it got a bit muddy. 
    Just about no changes were detected with amping. I actually liked them unamped, right out of my Sansa Clip+ more than out of the Sansa into the E6. I would not bother amping these; just plug them into a source and go. 

    HiSound E212 vs HiSound PAA-1 Pro
    I was certainly very intrigued by the HiSound E212 since it was said as "the best IEM under $100". When I first heard it, I was shocked, and not in a good way either. They were a veiled, muddy mess. The bass was overpowering and the treble really veiled. I let it burn in for a while and after 50 hours, I listened to them again and to my surprise, they had opened up quite a lot. The bass became more controlled and the treble came out a bit. For the bass, the E212 still has much more quantity and more sub bass. The quality is about the same so which is better really does come down to personal preference. As for the mids, HiSound has done extremely well with both of the earphones. They all have this sort of clear but interesting and fun midrange. The E212 has a lusher, more creamy midrange while the PAA-1 Pro has a thinner midrange presentation. The treble is not a competition IMO. The treble on the PAA-1 Pro is quite obviouslybetter in quality and has more quantity. The roll off on the E212 isn't that bad though, and those who are a bit sensitive to treble will like it. The soundstage is a bit bigger on the PAA-1 Pro and the imaging is a bit better as well. I personally prefer the PAA-1 Pro, but I can see why people would like the E212 more. 
    HiSound E212 vs Sony MH1C
    When I first heard of the E212 and it's pricetag of $50, I immediately wondered how it would fare against the Sony MH1C. Before now, it has been my go to recommendation for the sub $50 price range. However, I do think that the E212 defeats it. The E212 has better bass quality and more quantity. The midrange is also more natural and less metallic and also more aggressive. The treble is more prominent on the MH1C but for some reason, there seems to be more of a veil and I find myself choosing the E212 more. Details are more obvious on the Sony MH1C, but the E212 makes up for that by offering better separation, much larger soundstage and better imaging. IMO, the E212 is clearly the better IEM overall. 
    These are an exceptional of in ear monitors, especially at their $50 price. The bass is hard hitting ans has a very nice rumble to it, the midrange is natural and the treble is non fatiguing but has just enough sparkle for it not to sound dull. IMO, HiSound has created another winner here and thanks again, to Jack Fu for bringing us such a nice IEM for an extremely reasonable price. 
    1. Tanjent
      Nice piece lin0003
      Tanjent, Aug 4, 2013
    2. cocolinho
      Thank you for the review. I still need to give some time to burn in however out of the box, I find them far too bassy giving the impression that details are lacking and mids are (too) recessed. Soundstage is impressive though. Waiting to listen to them again in couple of days.
      Blox BI3 are out of the box far better than those E212
      cocolinho, Aug 21, 2013
    3. lin0003
      Thanks guys
      lin0003, Aug 30, 2013
  6. TekeRugburn
    Great on the go IEMS!
    Written by TekeRugburn
    Published Oct 22, 2013
    Pros - Build Quality, comfortable, cable, case and looks
    Cons - Tad bass heavy
    E212 iems
    3 pairs of red silicone tips
    Hard case
    cable manager
    Build Quality: Excellent build quality with a great cable.  It's light and stay in place very well when at the gym. 
    Isolation: Amazing for me.  Fits very well and never had a problem getting good isolation
    Comfort: one of the best.  Comparable to Vsonic GR06/GR07, M6
    Microphonics: slight but nothing to worry about
    Sound: It was a slight warm bassy sound thats perfect to get you pumped to work out. These are very good gym iems.  It was a slight warm bassy sound thats perfect to get you pumped to work out.  
    Accessories: Has a very nice hard case with lots of room.  Enough to fit a small mp3 player like a sansa clip.  Tips could have a better selection.  Cable manager sort of useless but nice to have it.
    Looks wise its very pleasing.  I LOVE the color red and this was perfect for me.  Great Value and amazing customer service.
  7. jhii07
    Another v-shaped entry level killer
    Written by jhii07
    Published Sep 11, 2013
    Pros - good build quality, angled cable design, rich bass, will improve on burn in
    Cons - few selection of eartips on the package, doesn't sound good out of the box
    First, I want to thank Jack and HiSoundAudio for the review unit of ES212.
    What's included in the package:
    HiSound ES212
    3 pairs of red silicone tips
    Hard carrying case
    Fish-type cable manager
    Build Quality: The build is above average. I really like the design. Metal housing, angled 3.5mm jack with braided cable.
    Isolation: For some reason this IEM fits well with my ear. I feel like I'm wearing the GR07 with moving nozzle, the design plays a good role on isolation.
    Comfort: Good
    Microphonics: almost non existence thanks to the braided cable and over the ear design.
    Sound: The bass is heavy to moderate and can be felt. Soundstage is decent enough, better than of SoundMagic E30 but not as good as GR07. Vocals can be muddy on some tracks.
    Overall it sounds awesome for $49 retail value. If you're looking for V-shaped entry-level IEM ES212 is definitely good to go.
  8. chili dude96
    Decent for the price
    Written by chili dude96
    Published Aug 22, 2013
    Pros - Rich, Deep Bass. Nice build quality. Good included Accessories.
    Cons - Rolled off treble. Fatiguing to listen to.
    Very Comparable to Sony MH1Cs - That is to say, they both have the most bass, a decent midrange, and rolled-off treble. However, I think the Sony MH1Cs are better (and a little cheaper). Besides the irritating cord, they are much less fatiguing to listen to especially in the treble, and have a richer, deeper bass.
    Build Quality:  Is very nice. I really like the shape of the plug, it seems like it will be more destruction proof. The cord is lightweight with a lot less microphonics than the Sony MH1Cs. The included case and cord holder are very nice.
    Treble: It is rolled off but not that bad. It certainly isn't good for listening to sopranos however.
    Midrange: Not as effortless as the Sony MH1Cs. Not as warm either.
    Bass: Very comparable to the Sony MH1Cs. It is rich, and loud, but not boomy.
    Soundstage: Is above average. Not incredible, but the instrument separation is nice. Vocals do sometimes get muddied together.
    Thanks to Jack at Hisound audio for giving me this sample to review.
    Side note: I agree with other reviews. These IEMs really need a burn-in. They sounded terrible at first.
  9. Nicolas L
    [REVIEW] HISoundAudio E212
    Written by Nicolas L
    Published Aug 19, 2013
    Pros - Good build quality and housing design, relatively good bass.
    Cons - Lack of accessories, such as a cable slider and a larger variety of tips.
    HiSoundAudio E212 Review
    Driver size: 9.2mm
    Impedance: 16 ohms
    Sensitivity: 100dB
    Frequency: 20-20KHz
    Cable Length: 124cm
    Accessories (3/5): Silicone Single-flange tips (3 sizes), clamshell carrying case, “fish bone” cable winder
    Build Quality (4/5): Metal housings, braided cable, sturdy L-shaped plug.
    Isolation (3/5): Average isolation, small tips are better in fitting into the ear canal for isolation. 
    Microphonics (4/5): Quite decent due to the use of braided cables, but isolation is best when worn over-the-ear.
    Comfort (3/5): Doesn’t feel quite good when you wear the IEMs since there’s a squeaky sound when you  wear it, and their silicon tips don’t feel as good as the ones that come with the low-end Sony IEMs.
    Sound (7/10): For the price the HiSoundAudio is asking for these IEMs, the E212 has a fairly wide soundstage for the price bracket and also decent bass, but the vocals seem to fall behind of the bass since the IEMs are bass-orientated. The treble performance of the IEMs is slightly above average compared to other IEMs in the price bracket such as the Sony MDR-EX60LP and the Panasonic RP HJE355.  Amplifying these IEMs with the FiiO E6 doesn’t really help in improving its performance.
    Testing Gear:
    iPod Nano 4th Generation, sometimes paired with the FiiO E6 Amp with a LOD. Reviewed after 50 hours of burn-in. 
    Note: This is my first review, so if you have any comments on my style of reviewing, please feel free to send me a message and I will humbly accept it, and change it if I ever get to review more gear. Pictures will be uploaded shortly. 
  10. Brooko
    HSA E212 - Too bassy OOTB - but hidden gem if EQ'd
    Written by Brooko
    Published Sep 11, 2013
    Pros - Build quality and aesthetics, weight, cable (excellent), value, sound (but only if EQ'd), nice carry case, good fit (if you find the right tips)
    Cons - Default OOTB sound is too bassy, poor selection of tips, no chin slider, isolation is not the best
    Most of this review is taken from my original longer comparison review here; http://www.head-fi.org/t/679360/rev...rbuds-e212-iems-opposites-in-almost-every-way

    Ignore the green bars on the side - it's not where I set mine (something wrong with the Head-Fi rating system). I listed price at $50 - which is normal price - but I paid $10 (postage only).

    Introducing HiSound Audio's E212

    I'm always a sucker for trying new things - you never know when you'll find a hidden gem. So when I saw HiSound Audio's thread, giving Head-fiers an opportunity to try their E212 IEMs (just for the price of shipping), I jumped at the chance.


    I was provided the E212 for just the cost of shipping. I am in no way affiliated with HiSound Audio - and this review is my subjective opinion of the E212. I would like to thank Jack and the HiSound Audio team for making this opportunity available.

    Preamble - 'about me'. (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review).

    I'm a 46 year old music lover. I don't say audiophile - just love my music. Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current mid-fi set-up. I vary my listening from portable (i-devices) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP). My main headphones at the time of writing are the Shure SRH1840, Beyer DT880 (600 ohm), Mad Dog V3.2, Shure SRH840 and Shure SE535 Ltd Ed. IEMs. My recent headphones have also included the Sennheiser HD600, AKG K701 & Q701, and Grado SR325i (full woody). I have auditioned quite a few entry and mid-tier cans, but have yet to hear any flagships (at current time of writing this review).

    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz to grunge and hard-rock. I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, and alternative rock. I am particularly fond of female vocals. I tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced - with a slight emphasis on the mid-range. I am neither a bass or treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though). Current amps = NFB12 and LD MKIV. I also formerly owned several portable amps - the most notable being an Arrow 4G and GoVibe PortaTube.

    For the purposes of this review - I used the E212 straight from the headphone out socket of both my iPhone 4 and iPod Touch G4. I did not bother with amping them, as IMO they do not require an amp – and the likelihood is that HiSound have targeted them toward an audience who would not use additional amping anyway. By now I have probably notched up around 40-50 hours listening on the E212. In that time I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (I do not believe in 'night and day' burn-in).

    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.


    Packaging and Accessories

    The packaging is ideal for a retail presentation - an easy to display rectangular retail box - with an 'average' footprint. The specific sales blurbs / descriptions on the box is interesting. The E212 claim is "extreme bass and detailed sound ". It also claims to be “audiophile grade earphones” with “unbeatable sound quality”. We shall see (keep reading).

    For accessories, included is an excellent semi-rigid soft-shell case (dimensions approx 75x75x30mm). They're an ideal size for the IEMs - and has inner pouches for spare tips etc.

    It also comes with a rubbery 'fish' cable management tool. I'm not really too sure what to make of this. I tried it - but it's terribly cumbersome. I can't really see anyone actually using this.

    The E212 comes with 1 spare set of medium silicone tips (they come with medium tips fitted) and one set of small ones. The tips included are very insufficient IMO (see build/fit etc section). Other than that there is a warranty written entirely in Chinese.

    Technical Specifications

    (From HiSound Audio)

    E212 =

    Type : Dynamic, Closed. Inner Ear Monitor (IEM)

    impedance : 16 Ω

    sensitivity : 100db

    Maximum SPL : 125db(1khz,1 Vrms)

    Frequency response : 20-20 khz

    Jack / cable : 3.5mm angled, 124 cm

    Build / Fit / Comfort / Isolation / 'Style'

    The E212 is a really classy looking IEM. The deep red and silver styling in comparison with the black cable look really good. The shape is also nice with slight inward angling on the nozzles – so it is very easy to tell left and right earpieces apart.

    The shells look and feel extremely solid. There is acceptable strain relief at the shells. The 3.5mm plug is angled (cable at about 40-45 deg from plug), looks relatively sturdy, and includes strain relief. The cable split has strain relief at the apex of the V. There is no chin slider though. This to me is a real shame – as this can really help with fit – especially for listening while on the go. The E212s are designed to be worn over-ear.

    The cable is wound in a circular motion, and covered by a smooth sheath which is shiny, very malleable, and has extremely low micro-phonics. It’s also pretty much tangle free, and for an IEM in this price range – is really well executed. Bravo HSA. Please include this on all of your models (get rid of the rubbery ones!)

    As far as comfort goes – these are very small, very light, and pretty much disappear into my ears. It would be possible to sleep with these in – for my ears, they do not protrude past the outer ear.

    The fit (for me) is not good. I tried the stock tips, and whilst I eventually got a seal, there was significant driver flex, and the seal would not remain intact (merely moving my jaw would break it). I was extremely frustrated by this as HAS has been too frugal with the tips, and there isn’t enough variety. I was lucky that I had some tips left over from the Popo (and other IEMs) which thankfully fit perfectly. I chose a triple flange – which I cut down to two flange only – and at last I could get a relatively stable seal. I also had a pair of large silicones which worked OK. I do wish I had some foam tips – as these would have been my preferred option.

    Isolation is ‘average to slightly below average’ for an IEM. Yes I am probably spoilt by my Shure SE535’s truly excellent isolation – and maybe I am judging these too harshly. But I tried them during a 7 hour flight to Perth a couple of weeks ago – and sorry – but I wouldn’t use them in a noisy environment. They do attenuate noise – but in a noisier environment (public transport etc) , these are not the best.

    All-in-all, positive – but let down by the included tips.

    Sound Quality

    The following is what I hear from the E212. YMMV – and probably will – as my tastes are likely different to yours (read the preamble I gave earlier for a baseline).


    For this I’m using Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” as there is a lot of micro detail in the track, and it is pretty well recorded

    The major issue with the E212 (stock sound) is that it is just so bassy and warm that the detail in the upper mids and highs seems to sit a long way in the background. The E212 don’t sound bad with this track – it’s just that the bass gets in the way of everything.

    Sound-stage & Imaging

    For this I’m using a binaural recording – Amber Rubarth “Sessions Form The 17th Ward” - “Tundra”. I use this because it’s a pretty simple way to get comparative data on sound-stage. I also used some other live performances (Loreena McKennit’s “Dante’s Prayer” and others).

    The E212 cues are not great – the bass again just gets in the way. The imaging appears smeared to me with instruments being positioned where they should be, but overlapping. On LMcK’s D-P the stage is very narrow and confined – almost “wall of sound” type.


    Rather than referencing tracks – I’m going to give general impressions – as I’ve tried to listen to as many varied genres as I can.

    The E212 actually has some top end, and when it shines through, it’s actually quite pleasant. The problem is that this only happens on tracks that have been recorded / mastered on the ‘brighter side of neutral”. I have some Genesis and also some Beth Hart which actually does have a shimmer to it. The issue is that the bass overpowers everything else for me and the only tracks that don’t sound excessively dark are the ones I’ve just mentioned. Highs can be heard, but upper mids are often set too far back, and lower mids suffer from bass bleed. Everything is excessively warm and dark to me. And it’s not ‘lush’ and enveloping, but rather just dark (brooding) and lacking life. One of my favourite female artists (new find for me) is Lianne La Havas – and when she is singing the opening of “Don’t Wake Me Up” (the bit where she is mainly solo), the E212 actually does quite a nice job with her vocals (really nice mid-range). The problem is that once the music kicks in – again the bass and resulting bass bleed just kills everything.

    Bass (specifically)

    The E212 lives up to half of it’s slogan on the box. “Extreme bass” is an accurate description – but the problem is that the promise of “detailed sound” fails to deliver. It can’t when there is so much bass present, and so much mid-bass bleed into the lower mids. It does have a surprising amount of sub-bass – it’s probably the bassiest IEM I’ve ever heard, but for me it’s simply too much. The thing that worries me (for HSA’s intended audience) is that if they listen to bassy music with this much bass emphasis, it’s going to be simply too much.

    Power Requirements

    The E212 is easily powered out of an iPod Touch G4 or iPhone4, and on most tracks I was well under 50% on the volume slider.

    What About Response To EQ?

    Before I get to the summary, as a last resort I thought I’d try some EQ with the E212. I have Accudio Pro installed on my Touch and iPhone – so I ran the app with the E212s. I use this app because of it’s presets, and the fact that I don’t need to spend considerable time setting up profiles. As they don’t have a preset for the E212, I downloaded the preset for one of the bassiest ‘dull’ IEMs I’ve ever experienced – Sennheiser’s CX300. I applied the EQ and played some of the tracks I’d been auditioning up until now.

    Three small letters …… O M G

    All of a sudden with the bass reduced, these IEMs start to shine. The bass is where it should be – elevated but separate. Mids are very clear, and upper mids and highs start to have some sparkle. Clarity is actually pretty amazing for a sub $50 IEM. I’m really enjoying these. Everything about them is better – including perceptions of sound staging and imaging. Yes they are still bassy, and still warm – but this time it’s a plus rather than a huge degradation of sound. Why weren’t these voiced closer to this signature to start with?


    The E212 – despite it’s devilishly flashy charm and good looks – for me is very unappealing sonically (default sound). Too bassy, too warm, dull, and congested with the bass overpowering the lower mids, and little to no real sparkle. In my view HSA has inexplicably crippled it by the amount of bass they’ve tuned into it’s default signature. Dial that back a bit (via EQ) and you’re left with a very capable and good sounding IEM. For sub $50 – especially for the aesthetics and build – with the new SQ – it’s a winner. Sadly – many may end up being disappointed by this IEM. I hope that if HSA will fix this with the next ones they release.

    Recommendations to HiSound Audio

    Here is a short list of what I’d change if I could. Hopefully this may be helpful to you Jack.


    1. Lose the fish
    2. Increase the number and variety of tips. Driver flex may be tip dependent, so this may help with that as well.
    3. Add a chin slider
    4. Dial back the bass. If you can – use an iDevice, grab the Accudio Pro app, apply the CX300 EQ, and you’ll get an idea of the capability of this IEM. Great bass impact without the overpowering issues it has now.

    Once again Jack – thanks for the opportunity with these. Loved the experience. I have some other tips on the way for the E212, and I’d be more than happy to give you more feedback if it helps.
    1. zamorin
       Brilliant review.
      zamorin, Sep 11, 2013