So, a while back I reviewed the Hifi Boy OS V3 (review here) and I liked it. A lot. In fact, it has since become my daily driver at work. So when the Hifi Boy Dream earbuds arrived I was pretty keen to get them in my ears. So how did it turn out?
Well, Hifi Boy has impressed me again. The Dream is a great sounding and stylish earbud that has a clear and balanced signature.
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” Yoko Ono
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All opinions and observations here are my own, based on my experience with the product.
At the time of writing the Hifi Boy Dream is listed at $89.
Balanced and detailed sound
Easy to drive
May be lacking bass weight for some
Left and Right markings difficult to see
Package and Accessories
The Hifi Boy Dream comes in a black sleeved box. The out sleeve shows some pictures of the earbud on the front and the usual specifications on the rear. A silver branding and logo adorn the front of the actual box, which has a magnetically sealed lid.
Opening up the box, we see a layout that’s basically identical to the way the OSV3 was presented. Inside is a zippered, clamshell case, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter and an airline adapter. Inside the zipper case are the Dream earbuds and a plastic bag containing 4 pairs of foam covers.
Build Quality and Design
There are 4 colours available for the Hifi Boy Dream: silver, gold, rose gold and brown. I received the brown version, which can at times take on a copper or bronze hue, depending on the light.
The Dream earbuds have a typical trumpet-shaped metal body. There are 3 vents on the back or the shells and the Hifi Boy logo on the rear. A cylindrical tube makes the cable connectors, which have an L and R marking for identification. I always appreciate these markers but they are very difficult to see on the Dream.
The front side of the body is a silver-coloured disc with concentric rings of holes making up the grill. This front part is surrounded by a black plastic ring. The earbuds are very lightweight and have a premium look and feel to them. I think the brown in particular looks gorgeous!
The Dream has a braided 5N OFC cable which is a coppery-brown colour and matches the earbuds beautifully. It’s a little firmer and stiffer than the cable that comes with the OSV3 but it feels great and has virtually no microphonics (cable noise) whatsoever.
There’s a transparent rubber Y-split with accompanying chin slider and the cable terminates in a right-angled metal plug. Overall it’s a really nice cable but it can be a little prone to tangling (unless you use the chin slider when coiling it).
Comfort and Noise Isolation
Well, it’s an earbud, so not much to say here. The comfort is average for an earbud and so is the passive noise isolation; which is to say that there is hardly any. So you will certainly be able to hear external noise in your environment.
I would say any that earbud (that’s earbud, not earphone!) is not ideal for use in noisy places or on public transport but then again, here in Thailand about 90% of people use budget earbuds and it doesn’t seem to bother them. You can jump on the BTS Skytrain in Bangkok at any time and see hordes of folks with generic, non-branded, white earbuds hanging from their ears.
Driver: 16mm dynamic driver
Frequency response: 15 Hz-23 KHz
Cable: 1.2m 5N OFC
At 32ohms the Dream is easy to drive and suitable for use with any source, including smartphones but I found it to benefit from pairing with a better source. It sounds a lot better on my laptop with the Micca OriGen+ DAC than it does with the Benjie T6.
The Hifi Boy Dream exhibits a very balanced sound. It’s not neutral though; the bass is slightly accentuated and it has a slightly warm overall tonality.
While the Dream’s bass is a little accentuated it’s still fairly conservative in quantity. It has a tight punchiness that’s full of texture and lends warmth to the overall tonality. It’s impressive how to Dream manages to have such solid bass definition but at the same time keep it chocolatey smooth.
Sub-bass extends well and has a fast rumble but it won’t satisfy any bassheads out there. The mid-bass is lean and nimble which adds to a clean and uncoloured lower midrange. It strikes a great balance with the midrange in general, lending some body and driving force but never overstepping its boundaries.
When it comes to the midrange, the Hifi Boy Dream really shows its strength. Vocals are rendered with a tonal accuracy and natural density. But it’s not only vocals that sound great; instruments in the midrange are also presented well. From acoustic and electric guitars to orchestral string instruments, the Dream shines here.
One area where performance is average is in instrument separation and layering. In complex segments, things can get a little convoluted but it’s still perfectly acceptable for something priced below $100.
The Dream pulls another trick from the hat when it comes to treble. Treble notes are crisp and clear but they’re also incredibly smooth. The presentation is somewhat relaxed in regards to quantity but believe me, the quality is very good indeed.
There’s an airiness to the treble with a hint of added sparkle but what makes it really stand out is the timbre of the treble notes. It really makes cymbals and percussion sound unassuming and natural.
The Dream doesn’t have as wide a soundstage as some other earbuds but it makes up for this with superior positioning and imaging. Its depth is also quite modest and the end result is a fairly intimate stage with very good positional cues.
The HE150Pro has more of a V-shaped signature, making the Dream sound more mid-forward in comparison. It has more mid-bass impact and a slower decay than the Dream. The Hifi Boy Dream puts more emphasis on the midrange and does so with more clarity in the mids and density in the vocals.
The 150Pro sounds smoother from top to bottom but at the same time, it doesn’t have the same level of detail. Acoustic guitars are rendered with more texture on the Dream with faster transients and more defined edges.
Both earbuds have a relaxed treble presentation and neither of them is sibilant or harsh, although the Dream does have a brighter tonality because of its light approach to bass.
Both are very similar in design and build quality; in fact, they’re almost identical in shape and size. The Dream’s cable certainly looks and feels more premium, although, for its $30 price tag, I certainly have no complaints about the HE 150Pro cable.
The Dream is easier to drive at 32 ohms in contrast to the HE 150Pro at 150 ohms so that could be worth considering if you use your earbuds with a low-powered smartphone or DAP. I would say the Dream is technically superior but doing this comparison reminded me just how great the HE 150Pro is for its modest price.
Simphonio Dragon 2+ (tested at $319)
The Dragon 2+ has a warmer overall tonality. Its bass notes carry more weight than the Dream, giving it more body and fullness. In terms of quantity, sub-bass and mid-bass are similar to the Dream and as such, they both have a balanced presentation. But the Dragon 2+ has a visceral bass execution that makes it more physically impactful.
Vocals are a little smoother on the Dragon 2+ and have more body in comparison to the Dream. They don’t have the same amount of texture as the Dream but what the Dragon 2+ does have is fantastic layering and instrument separation. You really get a sense of space between midrange elements, which leads to less congestion and a more resolving nature.
The treble is fairly similar on both earbuds, taking a backseat in relation to the midrange but having enough presence to lift the sound and add clarity. The treble on that the Dragon 2+ is smoother while having a similar, accurate timbre and sheen and is a bit more forward than that of the Dream..
When there is such a disparity in price I won’t talk too much about the difference in materials and build quality. I will say, however, that I find the Dragon 2+ to be more comfortable and easier to place in my ears. For their respective prices, both earbuds are really nicely crafted.
Hifi Boy Dream Conclusion
The Hifi Boy Dream is another reason for me to keep an eye on this brand. I’ve only tested 2 of their 3 products but the 2 that I have heard left me very impressed (especially the OS V3).
With its build quality and refined sound, the Dream marks an excellent entry in the earbud segment. If you’re a fan of earbuds and looking to get away from the typical V-shaped sound and into something more balanced the Dream should definitely be on your radar. I am very excited to see what Hifi Boy does next!
You can buy the Hifi Boy Dream at Penon Audio HERE.