Hidizs EP-3 review

Hidizs EP-3
PRIME AUDIO 2017

Hidizs is a Chinese company that was founded early in 2009. They’re mostly known for their DAPS but seem to be venturing into other areas as well. In Jan 2014, Hidizs’ first pocket HiFi audio player AP100 was officially launched at CES, Les Vegas. Today I’ll be reviewing the Hidizs EP-3. Read on to learn more. Today I’m checking out the Hidizs EP-3.

Disclaimer

This sample was sent to me for the purpose of an honest review. I’m not affiliated with the company and all opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product.

Specifications
  • Earphone cavity: Resin alloy ( PC + ABS )
  • Drive type : 10mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency range : 20 -30000HZ
  • Impedance: 16Ω
  • Sensitivity : 106dB
  • Max output:10mw
  • Cord Length:1.2m
  • Core material: Kevlar core of conductor encased by TPE
  • Headphone plug: 3.5 mm Gold-plated plug
  • Weight: 159g

Packaging and accessories

The EP-3 comes in a plain but stylish black box, similar to that of the EX-01 which I recently reviewed here. On the front are the easily recognizable Hidizs logo and an image of the IEM in purple. They also come in black and white colours and the one I received is black. On the back are some specifications and a list of the package contents which includes:

  • EP-3 IEM
  • 3 pairs of silicone ear tips
  • Carry case
Hidizs EP-3 box front
Hidizs EP-3 box rear

Once you open the box you’re presented front and centre with the IEMs secured in black foam in typical, classy Hidizs fashion. At the bottom is a cardboard box containing the tips and underneath the foam is the Hidizs carry case which I find to be the perfect size for convenience. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket but there’s still ample room for the earphones inside.

Hidizs EP-3 box open
Hidizs EP-3 accessories

Build, comfort and isolation

When I first saw these I couldn’t help but think that they look remarkably similar to the new BA IEMs from Brainwavz. They’re almost exactly the same shape but the Hidizs is noticeably larger. The casing is translucent so in good light you can see the driver inside. These are a lightweight, over-ear design so is perfect for mobility.

The nozzles are thinner than average meaning you might be a bit limited for choice of ear-tips. The provided tips were all too small for me and had some trouble finding some that did because of the narrow nozzle.

The cable is non-detachable and is a rubberized type common with most budget IEMs. The strain reliefs are present and should do a good job of protecting the cable in the case of accidental tugs etc. There’s a single button inline control with microphone that worked well with my FiiO X1ii and smartphone. The cable terminates in a straight 3.5 mm plug which is metallic and very smooth which makes removing it from your device a little tricky as it can be pretty slippery to get a hold of. It retains memory so still has kinks in it after weeks of use and never really sits straight or flat and tends to bounce around and look a bit messy.

Comfort-wise they’re not bad as they’re lightweight and don’t have any sharp edges but for some reason, I can never get a stable fit with them, probably due to the angle of the nozzle or the angle the cable comes out at. For isolation I found these to be below average for this type of over-ear style with an elongated shell but they block enough noise to be used in noisy environments.

Hidizs EP-3 cable
Hidizs EP-3 side by side

Sound

Sources

FiiO X1ii

PC/MusicBeen > Micca OriGen+

PC/JRiver Media Center > JDS Labs The Element

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

The EP-3 is easy to drive and I did not notice any real benefit from amping but despite its 16-ohm impedance and 106dB sensitivity I found I had to bump the volume up pretty high to reach my normal listening level. The best pairing for me was the Note 5 because of its inherent warm sound.

The sound is very neutral across the board, with no emphasis on any particular frequency with slightly recessed mids and non-fatiguing presentation.

The bass is very fast with a short decay but has very little weight to it. Kick drums have a well-defined edge and texture but they never really give a sense of ‘thump’ and although I dislike bloated mid-bass, for my personal preference there’s not enough of it here to drive the music along. Sub-bass has a little more emphasis and extends well but I find myself wishing that carried over a little more to the mid-bass. Because of its neutrality, the bass does not cause any bleed into the midrange.

Midrange is neutral again with perhaps the slightest hint of added warmth. As a result, the details are fairly good, as is instrument separation but sometimes it feels like they lack body and musicality. Male vocals occasionally sound thin and the lower mids fail to stimulate the senses due to their dryness but the clarity is there and tonality sounds fairly natural.

At the top end is a well extended but smooth treble that is fairly relaxed and non-fatiguing. There was no sign of sibilance and I could listen to the EP-3 for extended periods without any discomfort. There’s a hint of airiness to the treble but not any energizing sparkle to be found. Timbre is on par with cymbals and chimes sounding accurate and lifelike.

Soundstage is neither particularly wide or deep but there is a sense of space that’s consistent with what you’d expect from IEMs in this price range.

Hidizs EP-3 close

Comparisons

EP-3 vs Hidizs EX-01 ($35 USD)

The EX-01 is a very small IEM with angled nozzles that for me is very comfortable and easy to get a good fit with. Physically the EX-01 looks and feels more premium with its gold accents and glossy ceramic finish. The cable on the EX-01 also seems slightly more supple though it still has that “bouncy” element to it. The biggest difference in the sound is the bass which is very light on the EP-3 but plays a big part in the sound of the EX-01. For build and comfort, the EX-01 is superior but when it comes to sound it comes down to personal preference and would depend if you want something with a good dose of bass or prefer to go for a neutral presentation.

Conclusion

The Hidizs EP-3 is a competent earphone with a more mature kind of presentation which is balanced and neutral without the usual emphasis on bass that you find in the majority of budget IEMs. It’s a lightweight over-ear design which is ideal for mobility and things like walking or using at the gym and comfortable for long periods. I’d like to see Hidizs improve their cables a bit by making them a little more supple so they sit flat and I’d also be happy to see them start including regular style larger silicone tips for compatibility with more ear shapes. The bottom line is if you want a neutral, balanced sounding earphone then the EP-3 can be found for as low as $32 and is worth taking a look at.

Hidizs EP-3 crossing lines

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