Hisound Crystal Review
I would like to thank Jack from Hisound for providing me with this sample of their Crystal IEM.
I will try and write as honest a review as possible.
I am by no means an audiophile, I love my music and I like to enjoy it through good headphones and speakers.
All opinions expressed are my own, and this is a subjective review, so others may not agree with me.
These received 50hrs of burn in, no real difference was noted.
iPod Classic 7G 160gb (rockboxed) > HiSound Crystal (using small Sony Hybrid tip)
Etymotic HF5 + Hisound Crystal
Impedance: 32 ohm
Cable length: 1.1m
Frequency range: 13-23000Hz
ComfortBass + Highs
Lack of carry pouchLower mids
Packaging and Build quality.
The build quality is great on these, the housing is made of brushed aluminum, the nozzle is plastic, the cable (my favourite part) is more of a plastic feeling rather than rubbery, it is a little stiff, but has very little memory effect and feels very strong.
The housing is really tiny, which also help with the fit, the strain relief coming out if the housing is hard rubber, it could be better, and the y-split is a solid looking piece of rubber, with good strain relief on the entry. The jack plug is I shaped (I prefer L shaped) and feels very well made, with good soft strain relief.
L + R is located on the top of the housing, which also features the words Crystal. The housing is vented, but does not affect isolation too much.
Accessories, Fit, Isolation, Microphonics and Driver Flex:
They come with 8 pairs of tips + the ones originally on them, S + L fake sony hybrid tips, S, M + L narrow tips, S, M + L wide tips and a pair of medium Triple flanges. You should be able to get a good seal with at least one type. They also come with a cable clip (needed to lessen microphonics). Again Lack of a carry case lets the whole package down.
The fit is great once you get a seal, as the housing is small, they allow for quite deep insertion. Once in I don’t really feel them, and I don’t find myself adjusting then very often.
Isolation is pretty good for a vented IEM, slightly above average I would say, fine for public transport.
Microphonics are pretty bad when worn down, which is a shame, but luckily these work very well worn over the ear, and the cable molds nicely to the shape of your ear. This eliminates nearly all microphonics.
These also suffer from driver flex, nothing too bad, but noticeable when inserting and readjusting them.
I will split this category into the 3 usual parts.
These are not bass monsters, but it is one of the first things you notice, I wouldn’t say the bass dominates the music, it is there in good measure, and makes them sound a bit more fun. Nice punch, sub-bass rumble is also there but not in huge quantity.
The extension is quite good, not as good as the Hisound POP but those are basshead IEM’s.
The bass is fairly tight and fast when needed but with nice decay when called for too. They slightly warm up the lower mids, but nothing serious.
There is a definite drop in the lower mids, which makes male vocals sound off, and a little recessed, the upper mids don’t suffer as much, and female vocals sound very smooth but detailed. I would say that the mids are not bad on these, but on some tracks they do sound a bit off because of the lower mid dip.
There is never any sibilance in the upper mids. I like forward mids, and these are a more fun sounding IEM, these have too laid back mids for me.
Nice sparkly highs, with alright extension and detail retrieval. Cymbals crash nicely, but decay a bit too quick, there is roll-off up top after about 15khz I would say.
The highs are never bright, and actually lack some presence for my tastes.
Never fatiguing, and suitable for listening to for long periods.
They could do with being a bit more refined in the highs, as they occasionally sound a bit splashy.
Soundstage, Instrument Separation and Imaging:
Soundstage is fairly large for an IEM, with width and height, but not much depth.
Instrument separation is fairly good, not great but in general you can hear all the separate instruments, they have a lack of space/air around the instruments, so they can become congested on some tracks.
Imaging is also quite good, the panning is convincing and never sounds unnatural or detached.
Timbre is fairly good, but they do have a slightly metallic tone to them, in classical music the instruments lack the full bodied woody tone.
Mid heads turn away, they mids are just too laid back.
Bassheads, these should fulfill your needs, but they don’t pump heaps of bass into your head, they have nice quality bass in a quantity above average, but that doesn’t drown out the rest of the spectrum.
Treble heads, you may like these for the shimmer, and sparkle, but they do lack a little bit of presence and refinement.
They do work well with most music in general, and are fairly versatile, not aggressive sounding, these are fatigue free laid back listening IEM’s.
These are driven fine from a portable source, and using an amp will not improve them much, and does not justify the extra weight for just a little gain in SQ.
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)