“I have a hard time getting over an ex. Getting over an ex is just hard, period.” Sevyn Streeter
Hidizs is a Chinese company and 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 launch at CES, Les Vegas. Today I’ll be reviewing the Hidizs EX-01. Read on to learn more.
The Hidizs EX-01 was sent to me for the purpose of this review. All observations and opinions here are my own and are based on my personal experience with the product. I’d like to thank Penon Audio for the opportunity to test the EX-01. The price at time of testing is US$39.
Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated plug (headphone and microphone)
Net weight: 16 g
Packaging and accessories
The EX-01 comes in a compact, classy black box with gold highlights. On the front is the Hidizs logo and an image of the earphone. On the back we find Technical Specifications and Package Contents information in Chinese and English languages, along with three QR Codes which link to social media sites. It’s fairly simple but done in a way that suggests there’s some quality product inside. I mean just look at all that bling!
Upon opening the box you’re greeted with a booklet advertising various Hidizs products. Underneath the booklet are the earphones, presented in a black velvet covered foam insert. At the bottom is a smaller cardboard box which contains a Hidizs branded carry case and some extra eartips. There are three pairs of silicone tips and one pair of memory foam tips. Unfortunately, all the provided tips were too small for my ears so once again I had to fall back on my personal collection to get a proper seal.
Build and comfort
The EX-01 are made of a high-density ceramic which is a dark gray gunmetal color with gold trim. They feel very durable and after the tens of hours I’ve used them over the past few weeks there isn’t so much as a scratch on the housing – they still look brand new.
They’re quite small and have angled nozzles which make it very easy to get a good seal. As a result sound isolation is above average for such a small IEM. My first thought upon seeing the EX-01 was how similar in appearance they are to the ROCK Zircon but unlike with the Zircon, after many hours of use the gold parts on the EX-01 show no signs of color fading.
Onto the cable then which has decent strain reliefs where it attaches to the housing and some more gold bling highlights. The cable is one of the few real criticisms I have for these earphones. It feels strong enough but is a little too stiff and ‘bouncy’ for my liking and doesn’t sit/hang well. On the Left side (Left and Right indicators are extremely difficult to find and see) just a few inches down from the housing is a shiny gold, single button inline control and microphone.
During testing the controls worked fine for play/pause and skipping tracks etc. and the microphone has fairly good clarity for phone calls. At the Y-junction is a cylindrical gold splitter and finally, the cable terminates in a straight, gold coloured 3.5 mm plug.
I find these to be very comfortable and can easily wear them for hours at a time. The only annoyance is when moving about the cable tends to bounce around.
Benjie K9 DAP
PC > Arcam irDAC-ii
PC > Audinst HUD-MX2
Music used for review
iamthemorning “Lighthouse” – full album
Mathias Eick “Midwest” – full album
Porcupine Tree “Fear Of A Blank Planet” – full album
Connect.Ohm “9980” – full album
Jeremy Soule and Julian Soule “Guild Wars 2 Soundtrack”
Trevor Morris “Vikings – Season 2 Sountrack”
Powerful bass is probably the first thing I noticed but after further listening it became apparent that these have more than that on offer. They have a fairly wide soundstage but there isn’t a lot of depth there. The midrange is slightly recessed and the treble is smooth. Overall these have a warm sound that should fare well with most types of music but are certainly not suited for those who are shy on bass or looking for a neutral sound.
Probably the star of the show, the bass has some real solid impact. Kick drums are full and meaty and can really slam. While I wouldn’t call these a bass-head IEM, they’re not too far from it. Sub-bass reaches deep and on tracks like Connect.Ohm’s “Snow Park” reverberates around your skull. However, the EX-01 does this in a refined sort of way – the quantity is there in spades but quality keeps it from being over the top.
Mids are a little recessed but stand up well considering the weight of the bass. Tonality is good although in some songs like “Embers” by Helen Jane Long some coloration can be heard in the piano notes which gives them a softer edge. The lower-mids can sometimes be affected by the mid-bass resulting in some blending due to bass bleed but you’re not likely to notice unless you look for it specifically.
The highs on the EX-01 are well extended and lean towards a neutral sound. The presentation is smooth and non-fatiguing while maintaining a decent amount of detail and airiness. Sibilant tracks that can be edgy such as “Traveling” from Utada Hikaru’s “Deep River” album still sound bright but without being painful or losing too much clarity.
SHOZY Zero (US$60)
The Zero sounds the more natural of the two, with things like cymbals being more lifelike. The Zero also has a more balanced bass and is more mid-centric. Although the EX-01 is very comfortable the Zero is even more so due to their very low weight. The EX-01 has the extra features of the inline remote and microphone making it a little more versatile. Overall I prefer the sound of the SHOZY Zero but for the times when I want some bone shaking bass the Hidizs is the obvious choice.
Hisenior UE Steampunk (US$50)
The Hisenior has a much nicer cable which is also detachable making it more versatile. They don’t have an inline control or microphone but this can easily be remedied by using a third party MMCX cable. The mids can be muddy and sometimes congested on the Hisenior and they have significantly less bass (though still nowhere near neutral). Treble on the Hisenior rolls off earlier giving them a darker and less engaging sound. The Highsenior has significantly better sound isolation due to being a UIEM and they’re also very comfortable. The EX-01 has a much wider soundstage, better treble, clearer mids and cleaner bass, so an easy win for the Hidizs here.
If you like bass then you should like these. It seems that appearance is not the only thing the Hidizs EX-01 shares with the ROCK Zircon as they’re similar in sound too but the EX-01 is more refined on all levels (apart from the cable). Wide soundstage, slamming bass, clear but slightly recessed mids and detailed but smooth treble is what these are about. The only things I would change are the cable and perhaps slightly less mid-bass emphasis. For the asking price they’re a good buy but nowadays the sub $50 market is saturated with quality IEMs. If however, you like skull rattling bass then these should serve you very well.