Pros - •Fit- comfortable, and lightweight •Nice anti tangle cable •Great price •Great company •Plenty of ear tips included
Cons - •Some distortion when you crank it up (especially with an amp) •Female vocalists can sound a bit harsh at times- very high notes!
I am always on the search for great in-ear headphones, however I always seem to find the same problem, because they are in ear, they tend to have very small drivers, meaning there is never much bass, and in most cases the highs are also messed up in an effort to get more bass!
So I am always on the lookout for in-ear headphones that have good bass, yet have a nice flat frequency (meaning that the high’s and mid’s should also sound great)- a balanced sound.
I find at the moment, there are a lot of new audio companies rolling out, one of these companies that suddenly caught my attention was HiSound, they are a group of audiophiles, who are passionate about sound. Although they are not a very new company, it is a company that has only recently been heard, since a flood of other reviews were announced!
The POPO’s in-particular caught my eye, because of it pleasing design, and the claims that the company says made me want to see if they were telling the truth. I knew if they were, they would be a great pair of earphones…!
Now let’s get on with the review, I am going to talk about these earphones in different stages, so that if there is a type of feature that you like best from a pair of earphones, it will be easy to pick out weather these are good earphones for you!
The first time I saw the POPO earphones I was very impressed by the packaging, the box reminds me of apple iPod boxes, they go for a more simplistic design for the box on these earphones, however, you will notice that with almost all of HiSound’s range of audio equipment, the packaging is simply excellent!
Also included in the packaging is a ton of silicone ear-tips, so you should be sure to find a good fit from these earphones!
Design and Build quality:
The POPO’s, are, in a word, gorgeous. Made out of a mix of African Rosewood and plastic, with a beautiful red cable that doesn’t tangle and keeps a good constitution, these are a handsome pair of IEMs. They are very light, being made of wood and plastic, and sit in your ears easily depending on the tip you use. I can say with great confidence that these are one of the most beautiful earphones on the market to date. Although all things considered, the Popo looks marvellous and is one of the more attractive IEMs I’ve seen, up there with the JVC FX700 and the Dunu Hephaes. The beautiful cable and the wooden cups really do wonders. You will just love that Rosewood. The LCD2 is made of Caribbean Rosewood, this African counterpart is no less classy.
The POPO’s fit really well, and because of its lightness, it tends to stay in place. With the huge assortment of tips, you’re almost guaranteed to find something that fits in your ear. If not, you can juxtapose the tips with any of the “large-canal” tips you may have, such as the ones found on the Monster Turbines, the old Shure e2c series, the Dunu branch of IEMs, Ultimate Ears, and a lot of other brands.
I have used these earphones for a while now, and they have always felt as if they are made to a great standard, and do not feel like they would ever break. This is down to the high quality materials that these earphones are made out of, and it is another great reason to buy these earphones!- They will certainly last!
So obviously, the most important aspect of a pair of earphones (in my mind), is the sound, so do they disappoint?- In a single word, NO, they do not disappoint!
If you read the start of this review, you will notice that I said that I like earphones to have a nice flat (or balanced) frequency, these earphones do exactly that, they have a nice flat frequency, what sounds great about a pair of earphones like this, is that the high’s are not piercing, yet the bass is still nice (punchy, yet clear). The mid’s themselves were pretty good, although there is a bit of coloration there in the lower mid’s where the bass bleeds in a bit. That said, vocals do come out quite impressively and fully. Because the mid’s are just forward enough, you do get the sensation that the singer is singing about five feet in front of you. Because of the rich bass, instruments like guitars and most drums have a rich texture that is very satisfying. Of course, electronic beats and other instruments like bass drums that set the beat are very, very good on the POPO’s. On the other hand, jazz mainstays like saxophones and trumpets seem to lack a bit of air. The only slight problem that I have had with these earphones (and it occurs with most earphones- so it isn’t a deal breaker), is extremely high female vocalists, can at some points sound a tad harsh, and it seems to fade out the bass, but it is just something to note!
I Have really enjoyed listening to these headphones, they are, I have to admit one of the best in-ear headphones, and that is great coming from me, because I usually hate in-ear earphones (mainly because of the small drivers- I prefer the classic apple style earphones, because of the bigger driver they tend to deliver a bigger clearer sound)- however, these earphones have changed my mind completely about the in-ear type, as I keep saying, when I look for some audio equipment, I always try and look for some that have a balanced frequency, so this way the high’s, low’s and mid’s should all be relatively good, and these earphones have showed me that in-ear headphones can do this. They are great is you are a basshead, but also, if you are an audiophile on a budget, and you want some earphones that look great but don’t break the bank, then these are perfect for you!
· Great looks
· Balanced frequency, with excellent bass
· Fit- comfortable, and lightweight
· Nice anti tangle cable
· Great price
· Great company (living up to what they had claimed on their website)
· Plenty of ear tips included
· Some distortion when you crank it up (especially with an amp)
· Female vocalists can sound a bit harsh at times (although it has to be very high noted for this to happen!)
And that is it!
As you can see there really aren’t many cons, and the cons that are there are only small, these aren’t the best earphones on the market by any margin, however for a pair to be a lot better that this you are talking up to 10x the amount of these- so they are great for the price, and great overall!
If you have any questions or queries about this product or any questions about any audio topic, then please, either comment below, or email me- firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this review!
This is my personal thoughts on the POPO IEM from Hisoundaudio.
Now lets get to the review.
Sound Quality : 7/10
Bass Quality : 7/10
Bass Impact : 10/10
Mids : 6/10
Highs : 8/10
Sound Stage : 9/10
Build Quality : 7/10
Leakage : a lot for an IEM
Accesories : 8/10
The most important factor when it comes to equipment like IEM's and headphones.
I am very supprised of the sound quality for its price($89)
. Has a broad sound stage but has a lot of punch to it as well.
You cant go wrong for this price. But I would say that these IEM's are for bassheads. (which I am)
Bass Quality & Impact
The quality and clarity of the bass is not that high, but I can say that it has a lot of impact. Sounds like you have a subwoofer in your ears. So I would say that these are for fun listening rather than detailed listening. I assume the venting is causing this bass to boom but is also lowering that clarity at the same time.
The mids are nothing special because it is more of a bass emphasized IEM. (which goes the same for most bass heavy IEMS) But there is enough clarity and quantity for me.
The highs are preatty decent. Has a decent amount of quality and shines.
Sound stage is preatty broad for an IEM and a IEM in its price range. Its probably because it is vented on the bottom of the IEM.
Not sure how much these IEM will hold up because I have only used it for a few weeks, but it seems to be ok so far. But since it is lite, I have a feeling that it may break if you use it too roughly.
This is an important factor in Japan. Because people tend to start fights if your sound is leaking on the train or some sort of local transportation. This is what sucks about Japan, so I don't like IEMS that leak a lot, and the POPO IEMs tend to leak because it is vented. Due to the vent, the isolation is not that good as well, even with Comply foam tips
It comes with a lot of eartips which is preatty standard for any IEM now. So Its OK. It also comes with a shirt clip. But it would of been great if they included a case. It says "option" on the package so you might be able to get one if you ask for it.
Conclusion & discount notice
These IEMs are great for its price which is $89. If your a bass head and like to have an IEM with a broad soundstage. this is for you.
Hisoundaudio is famous for their DAP range especially the now discontinued Rocoo A and Rocoo AB and also some of their earphone range such as PAA 1. Lately, they have been coming out with lots of IEM to cater the market needs and the Hisoundaudio PoPo that is reviewed here is one of their latest IEM that uses woods instead of traditional metal or plastic to give a more natural presentation. Specs: Type: Dynamic, In-Ear Size of driver: 9mm Impedance: 16 Ohm Sensitivity: 110db Maximum SPL (Sound pressure level): 127db(1khz, 1 Vrms) Frequency response: 16-23khz Earphone jack: 3.5mm Cable length: 126cm Designs The red cable on PoPo is really attractive and it does looks like you are wearing a beats from afar. For those who are looking into fashion as well, I think you should invest in PoPo as I believe they will be better sounding than the beats. (Never try one before)
Thicker Cable and Better Strain Relieve
The cable is also thicker and less microphonic than my Woody 2. The strain relieve also seems to be better than my woody 2 as well. The cable is less prone to tangle due to the thicker size and the material used in it. You can basically put it into your pocket and unwrap it in a shorter amount of time as compared to Crossroads Woody 2 and other IEM that are prone to tangle.
The PoPo is made of African Rosewood while the Crossroads Woody 2 does not states the material used. The housing is not only smaller in size but also has a ported vent to help improve the bass. However, the isolation is still very good and almost as good as my Woody 2 with comply foam. This means the Hisoundaudio PoPo IEM is a better IEM for outdoor use while the woody 2 is only meant for use at home or office settings. Sound Quality The moment that you put it in, bass is the first thing that you will noticed. They have the thunderous bass punch and earth shattering vibration which many IEM and even headphones lacks of. You are not only getting punch but enough vibration to make the bass feeling complete. While the impacts is fixed, the low-end rumble will change from linear bass response to EQ either up or down on the sub bass part with different DAC and Amp. On my system, I’m getting a linear bass response most of the time. The decay on the bass note is quite long as well but this might be a nature of the woods as my Woody 2 also does has this long decay. On some songs it does overpower a bit but on some others songs the decays is kind of addicting such as when you are playing an acoustic tune where the bass is not as strong. The mids is laidback and recessed or veiled or whatever terms you may want to use. They are hidden by the bass especially in the mids to lower mids section. This makes the mids not only darker but also lost clarity in those areas. This is the part which I hope will improve after few months of burn in and if they don’t change then the manufacturer should try to make improvement in here. I’m not sure is it because of the tuning or is it because they use woods in the designs. The highs is really smooth. Not yet reaches the level of liquid smooth mids on the Crossroads HR1 but it is smoother than my other headphones and also smoother than another woody headphone, the Crossroads Woody 2. They will still bring out the sharp tone on the songs if they do have it. But most of the time they don’t . The treble is also darker sounding than even my JH16PRO. In short, the treble is smooth and dark sounding. The soundstage is spacious with sufficient amount of width and height. They are not extremely wide but they do share the same kind of soundstage as a full size headphone where it is rounded instead of panning to the left and right. This helps filled out the ambience in a hall when listening to live songs. However it is like the Crossroads Woody 2 where the depth does suffer and the separation is not as clean. Using the triple flange could help improve the depth by a small margin if you do care about the depth. I’m not sure how many people is successful in getting it to work on Rock and Pop song as it was originally intended to but I still can’t get it to works on those genre. On the other hand I find it to have enough low bass, bass punch, treble, speed and attack to handle the dubstep and electronica in which many of my headphones failed to. While my JH16PRO handles well in terms of speed and just about every part but they don’t feel like a match because of the lacks of proper attacks. On the other hand, DT880 has attacks and speeds but it takes a brighter tone than the warmer PoPo. Both PoPo and DT880 handles nicely for those genre but on a different tone while others have failed. Choices of Tips Choosing the right tips is also very important in this IEM. You are given a range of single, double and triple flange with three pair of size each for small, medium and large which adds up to 9 pairs of tips and an extra medium size single flange. That is quite good since you are not only able to find the one that fits you the most, you might even be able tune the sounds if all the types of flanges fits your ears. However, choose them wisely as each tips will give different sound under different system as well. On the single flange, I’m hearing stronger bass impact and treble while the triple flange will give cleaner bass and treble with improvement depth as well. I think most likely audiophile will prefer the triple flange instead of the single because it brings a cleaner sound and the improvement in depth over the single flange. Amplification When it comes to amplification it is very straight forward. You don’t even need to spend a whole load of money on high end amplifier to power this IEM. I can even power it with a Fiio E5 with canare L4E6S cable to great authority. What is important is the tuning of the amplifier and DAC that are towards the faster side with good amount of mids and treble to help boost its weakness. Problems I think the PoPo has a very noticeable problem here. I did read quite a lot of reviewer are hearing clarity in here. But the problem is that my ears doesn’t share the same impression as others have heard. I have even alternating between different DAP, DAC and Amp. On certain songs the clarity is lost and covered up by the heavy bass but on certain songs such as electronica and dubstep and the Chinese classical that I tried does have lots of clarity. Testing on random songs through my iPod also found some does delivers great clarity while some songs lose clarity. I believe this is because of the recessed mids which causes the lacks of clarity in the mids to lower mids registry while songs that have clarity in the upper mids and highs will show up clearly. So what you get is a treble boosted clarity. Comparison In a Nutshell POPO VS Crossroads Woody 2 POPO Stronger impact and weightier bass Smoother highs but darker sounding Faster and more suited for dubstep, electronica, cello, double bass and other instrument focused on lower ends frequencies and also Chinese classical songs. (I wonder is it because they are from a Chinese company) Woody 2 Refine and more natural bass Clearer highs and mids Slower but more natural, suited for wind, brass, woods instruments, audiophile title, female vocals, Jazz. POPO VS DT880 Premium 250ohm POPO Sufficient speed to handle electronica and dubstep but with more emphasis on lower tone with warmer tone. More subwoofer like sound. DT880 Faster than popo in electronica and dubstep but with more emphasis on treble to give better clarity and details. More refine and smoother. POPO and Crossroads Woody 2 VS Just about everything else Woody!!!!! Yes both sounded more wood like than other plastic material used on most headphones. POPO and Crossroads Woody 2 VS JH16PRO Woody again. Better physical feeling on low ends. (More dynamic) Other than that JH16PRO smokes them in just about every corner. Most of the equipment I included here is not a fair fight for the PoPo but I just included them to let you get a general understanding of how it sounded against other headphones. Do I recommend them? The earth shattering bass does a great job in electronica and dubstep and some random songs. (Unrelated to genre but how they are EQ) But it does comes with a cost in which they are not as technically proficient as what the audiophile will seeks. I’m still pretty sure that this kind of tuning still will have their own markets. The Aiaiai TMA1 that cost around US$ 275 still have loves in the audiophile community even when they have the same problem as PoPo. Anyway my advice is that don’t always falls prey for audiophile sounds as most of them are unable to convey the fun in the music the way the mainstream or lower ends are able to provide. For street price of just around 60-70, you should give it a try especially when you are a die hard fans of electronica and dubstep or even some instrumental songs. Note: Choosing a less warmer DAC and Amp for a brighter and more solid state sound will match better in here and at the same time helps bring out a cleaner sound. Most of my reviews are based on the single flange rather than the triple flange so it may not sound the same as those wearing different tips. This review is only based on one week of burn-in so it may not be the same as the final outcome. My Crossroads Woody 2 and JH16PRO also takes a few month of burn-in for the bass to calm down. After one week of use, the mids does clear up a little but still retains the warm and dark sound signature that I heard from the start. Price: US$89 Source: Govibe DAC, Hifiman HM-602, iPod Classic Amplifier: JdsLabs cMoyBB, SPL Auditor, Fiio E5 Headphones: Superlux HD668B, Superlux HD681, JH16PRO, DT880, Shure SE535, Crossroads Woody 2, Crossroads HR1 Site URL: http://www.geeksreviews.net/