It has been a long time since I reviewed a Hidizs product. The first was the EX-01 which I admired for its sleek looks and bold sound. The second was the EP-3 which was a reasonable but awkward IEM but one that ultimately failed to inspire. But both of those came along years ago and a lot has changed since then. So, when I was offered to test the Hidizs MS1-Rainbow, I thought it would be interesting to see if they’ve changed with the times.
The Hidizs MS1-Rainbow has a single 10.2mm dynamic driver, a modern design and a very interesting cable. Want to know more? Let’s get into it.
Disclaimer:This sample was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
Hidizs MS1-Rainbow Review
Vivid, dynamic sound
Good build and comfort
High-quality detachable cable with microphone
Value for money
Slightly recessed midrange
Package and Accessories
The outer packaging is a familiar tall, narrow box. This time around the box is white and there is an image of the MS1-Rainbow on the front. On the back of the box is a list of specifications and on the side, there is an image showing all 6 available colourways.
The box contents are fairly standard, albeit quite generous for something in this price range, especially when you factor in the cable (more on that later). Here’s a look at the box contents:
Hidizs MS1-Rainbow earphones
Detachable 2-pin 4-core SPC cable
3 pairs of short silicone eartips
3 pairs of long silicone eartips
Soft carrying pouch
User guide, warranty card, Hidizs product discount card/code
Build Quality and Design
MS1-Rainbow has a modern design with lightweight acrylic shells. The shells are transparent with a subtle glitter effect. You can clearly see the 10.2mm dynamic driver within the housings. On the faceplates is a Hidizs logo in white. There is a small marker on the inner shell to identify the left and right side.
A protective metal mesh covers the mouth of the aluminium nozzle to prevent ear wax and detritus from getting inside the shell. Overall, it’s a simple but nuanced design and the overall build quality feels great.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
I find the Hidizs MS1-Rainbow to be a very comfortable earphone. The shell surface is polished and smooth and there are no sharp edges to be found anywhere on the housings. Noise isolation is about average for this type of IEM. That means if you are getting a good seal with your chosen eartips, the MS1-Rainbow will passively block out a significant amount of external noise. You can still hear what’s going on around you but once the music starts playing it all pretty much fades away.
This was a surprise for me and also one of the highlights for this IEM. The included 4-core SPC cable is, in a word, excellent. It feels strong, yet it’s supple and handles brilliantly. There is minimal microphonics and no kinks or springiness.
At the top are the transparent plastic 2-pin connector housings followed by pre-formed ear guide. I was surprised to see this cable comes with an inline controller and microphone as standard – something you don’t see often these days.
The Y-split is a knurled aluminium cylinder with excellent strain relief on both ends. There is no chin slider. At the end of the cable is a knurled aluminium, straight 3.5mm plug. This is such a great cable for a budget IEM and adds a lot of value to the bundle.
The Hidizs MS1-Rainbow has a light V-shaped signature with an ebullient bass, clean midrange and crisp treble. This earphone not only aims for clarity but also for a fun and dynamic sound.
The bass has good extension, reaching deep into sub-bass territory with a gratifying rumble. It has surprisingly good texture and speed too with a good leading-edge slam and natural decay. Mid-bass is punchy and drives with impact. It’s a powerful bass but one that doesn’t cause any destructive bleed or bloat.
More emphasis is put on the sub-bass than the mid-bass. So in songs like Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “Could You Be Loved”, the rhythmic bassline never overpowers the guitars or vocals. But once you hear something like Solar Fields’ “Landing Party“, you’ll begin to appreciate MS1-Rainbows seismic reach in the ultra-low frequencies.
Like most V-shaped IEMs, the MS1-Rainbow has a slightly recessed midrange. This makes the lower midrange and male vocals a little leaner but at the same time, allows for a very clear mid-band that is devoid of excess thickness.
The upper midrange is lifted, giving female vocals and pianos a boost. Overall resolution is reasonably good but the midrange sits a little behind the bass and treble which can reduce engagement a little in some instances. In Devin The Dude’s “Can I”, the vocals and mids feel pushed back albeit clear with good tonal accuracy.
In terms of treble, the MS1-Rainbow performs really well. It peaks in the lower treble then starts to gradually roll off as it goes up the scale. The extension is good and the resulting treble is detailed and airy.
An additional peak between 7-9kHz adds a nice level of clarity and definition to the overall performance. The treble is crisp and light and there is no sibilance or stridency. This is a good earphone for people who want a slightly brighter presentation but one that doesn’t cause treble fatigue.
The soundstage is fairly average for something in this price range. Its dimensions are modest but thanks to the clean mids, airy treble and good instrument separation, the music has sufficient room to breathe. Stage width is decent but the depth is a little shallow. There isn’t a lot going on in regards to layering but the imaging is pretty solid.
FiiO FH1s ($69)
The FiiO FH1s (review HERE) is a dual-driver hybrid earphone (1DD+1BA). It has a more linear approach compared to the MS1-Rainbow’s V-shaped sound. It’s noticeably lighter on bass quantity but the two earphones share a similar bass quality.
Just like the MS1-Rainbow, the FH1s has a fairly neutral midrange tuning with an upper midrange boost. FH1s mids are a bit more forward than the Hidizs and sound a little cleaner because of the reduced bass. Vocals are more prominent on the FiiO but there is occasional sibilance from the peak at 7-8kHz.
The FH1s upper treble has more definition and is more upfront due to having less bass to contend with. It is a little more detailed than the MS1-Rainbow but the Hidizs’ tone sounds more natural. Overall, I think those looking for an ‘audiophile’ tuning would appreciate the FH1s for its linear presentation and resolution. But for the average person who wants some earphones as a daily driver, the Hidizs will likely appeal more due to its more traditional V-shaped sound.
Shozy Form 1.1 ($75)
The Shozy Form 1.1 (review HERE) is a dual-driver hybrid earphone (1DD+1BA) with a warm tonality and easygoing sound. It has less bass and less bass definition than the Hidizs. Furthermore, it has a faster sub-bass fall off.
Form 1.1’s U-shaped signature makes the midrange flatter and less dynamic. The linear upper midrange makes vocals sound a bit dull and less articulated on the Shozy. The lower treble on Form 1.1 is attenuated which makes midrange notes rounder and percussion attacks softer. It also makes the tone of the midrange quite dark.
There is an 8kHz peak in the Shozy treble that helps add a little clarity. But because the rest of the treble is subdued, this peak can at times sound dissonant and less coherent. A steep fall-off after the same peak mutes the Shozy’s treble extension too. Listening to these IEMs side by side, it’s the MS1-Rainbow that stands out as the better value, at least in my opinion.
The Hidizs MS1-Rainbow is a great little earphone that holds its own against other sub $100 IEMs. With it’s comfortable, lightweight build and fantastic cable it gets off to a strong start when it comes to physical attributes. Then you add a fun, dynamic sound brimming with clarity and it becomes a very good proposition indeed.
Where I see the MS1-Rainbow shining is for casual, everyday listening. This earphone is perfect for the daily commute, working out or just going about your business. With its high sensitivity and built-in microphone, it’s ideal for plugging straight into a smartphone too.