General Information



1、Ear-hook with microphone, portable and compact
2、Headphones is braided wiring wire and steel speaker
3、Good sound quality and stability
4、With switching function
5、Suitable for MP4, all mobile phones and so on.

Name: S-520 Ear Hook headphones
Color: Black, White, Red, Blue, Coffee
Weight: Approx. 33g
Wearing style: ear hanging
Plug type: about 3.5mm
Line length: about 1.2 m/47.24 in
Voice principle: Dynamic
Frequency response range: 20-20000Hz
Impedance: 16Ω
Sensitivity: 123db
Distortion rate: 0.3%
Earmuffs material: Sponge

*I wouldn't trust the specs specified here. Different shops show different details (specifically Impedance and Sensitivity)

Latest reviews


Previously known as sub30
Pros: Bass is tight and textured
Midrange is musical
Treble is so controlled
Separation and imaging aren’t supposed to be this good at this price
Extremely comfortable
I’m at a loss for words. Makes me regret buying all my other gear, except the KP580.
Cons: Cheap plastic build - but in turn, it is extremely light
Atrocious cable – tangly and gaudy (has confetti-esque blue accents)
Came in a plastic bag and that’s it – no box, no foam, nothing at all

None needed. Bought with my own money.

I am not an expert in this hobby nor claim to be an audiophile. I just love listening to music and am fond of writing articles.


These are quite the unknown headphone brand on head-fi. I only know three people that also own or have tried a product from the brand here on head-fi. Shini is mainly focused on clip-on headphones from the listings I’ve seen on Aliexpress, Shopee, and Lazada. There are at least four more models that they produce, other than the one in this review. The Shini S-520 is an all-plastic build, clip-on headphone available in multiple colorways. I bought these for 2 USD on Shopee but I’ve seen them on Aliexpress for as low as 1 USD. At a sensitivity of 123 dB and impedance of 16 ohms, these are hard to drive. I doubt that the specs listed is real. It maxes out my iPhone 5s, which is rated at 1 Vrms, and just barely reaches my listening volume (I would also like to mention that there is no distortion at max volume). Using the SD01 amplifier, I need 9 less clicks and there is a perceivable improvement on sound quality with very slight distortion at max volume.

First off, for those who might be thinking that all of the Shini headphones have the same driver, I can at least confirm that the S-520 (left) and the Q-140 (right) don’t use the same driver based on the pics I’ve seen. Not sure with the other models.

*credits to @xilon for the Q-140 pics


*Mine arrived with swapped drivers. Really easy to fix without soldering needed. Just open them up and literally switch them. Xilon posted pics of said procedure.

These were plugged to my iPhone 5s with the SD01 amplifier for the review.


Build and Comfort: These are my first foray into headphones, particularly clip-on style. Everything is made of plastic and feels alright, kind of like what is used in opaque MX500 shells. They’re small as well in a cute way at just 40 mm. Cable is garbage, and I suggest you recable them (which I did). Regarding comfort, these are the most comfortable (ridiculously light) and most secure (thanks to the hooks) audio gear I’ve put on my ears. But of course, YMMV.

I would like to point out that it is very hard to find replacement earpads for the Shini’s. They’re just too small for the 3rd party suppliers.

Now, onto sound:

For this review, the headphone was left in stock mode, without mods other than a cable change

*These might seem bright, bass-anemic, and shouty at first. But trust me, just give your brain time to adjust to the SS and you’ll be in for a rollercoaster ride.


Bass –
tight and textured. Fast as well and can keep up with all of my songs (particularly the faster-paced ones). Rolls-off starting 70 Hz and is slightly north of neutral. Sub-bass is basically non-existent. That might seem downright bad, but this is what surprised me - it is far from bass-anemic, which is what I expected what with the lack of seal and all. The quantity is enough to survive EDM/Mainstream Pop and not sound “weird” or “lacking.” With only the iPhone 5s, bass lacks impact. Connecting it to the SD01 amplifier and you get that nice thumping bass. Personally, I would have wanted better extension (down to ~40 Hz) which I think an earpad change would help. However, this would probably affect the midrange and treble, resulting in a darker presentation.

Midrange – musical. That’s the word that best describes it. Everything just sounds so sweet. Vocals are intimate and instruments are so realistic. There is this weight with the vocals that always makes me reach for the Shini’s when I listen to music. Acoustic guitars, in particular, have this refined characteristic that I can’t describe. BUT, it lacks the bite that one might hear from an IEM and may sound boring to some. Might be shouty as well due to the sound signature, especially with that bass, which further highlights the midrange and treble in the presentation.

Treble – sooo controlled. It’s the only gear I have which does highs so well. Even with multiple and continuous cymbal strikes, it reproduces each strike with distinction. Upon initial listen, I was hearing a few peaks, but after a few hours of burn-in, it lessened, which just might be my brain adjusting to the signature. There was no sibilance or pierce heard, as well.

Timbre –
Nothing sounds weird or wrong. No thinness as well, whatsoever. Heck, I dare say that these have the best timbre that I’ve heard so far. It’s just so realistic-sounding.

Soundstage – The most holographic experience I’ve had. It’s not particularly wide nor long nor tall, but it’s just so well done, giving this out-of-the-head experience. Partnered with the excellent imaging, it’s just awesome.

Imaging – Sound travelling from left-to-right is unmistakable and defined. It’s effortless to locate where sound is coming from, as well.

Separation – They just continue surprising me. Anything I throw at them, they handle like a pro. Math rock, guitar virtuosos, electro – nothing at all made these headphones muddy-sounding or become unlistenable. Instruments stay separated and don’t go over each other.

Detail-retrieval – The area written in bold letters that is a giveaway this is a 2 USD headphone. You hear detail, alright, but nothing like that of say, a $10 modded IEM that I have (apples-to-oranges, I know, but still…).


*I currently do not have other headphones to appropriately compare them to SQ-wise.


I need help hyping these up. Listening to them made me regret spending money on the buds/IEMs/TWS that I bought (SFR KP580 excluded). I’ve seen the Shini’s go for as low as 1 USD on Aliexpress and I highly recommend you guys buy them. There is nothing wrong with the headphones – tight and textured bass, clear and musical midrange, controlled highs, excellent separation and imaging that is just insane considering the price, and of course, the comfort it brings. IF they could just release one with better build quality/material and a cable you can actually use, I would immediately buy the whole stock, even if they sell for 10 USD. Something like a Shini to rule them all.

NOTE: I don’t advise to use the Shini’s outside as they have crazy sound leakage and non-existent noise isolation (they don’t look good on ear because they’re so small, personally speaking 🤣. I quite like the design, though). A quiet room is the way to go for this one.

****If you have other questions/concerns with the HPs mentioned, feel free to message me****​
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