Hifi Boy is a subsidiary of Chengdu Fallante Technology Co., Ltd. and is a new name in the earphone market. Recently they released their debut IEM, the Hifi Boy OSV3, a hybrid model with 2 Balanced Armature & 1 Dynamic Driver. And it’s good. Read on to find out why.
At the time of writing, the OSV3 was listed at $159.
This product was provided for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.
- Organic, cohesive sound
- Removable cable
- Great build quality
- Accessories a little sparse for the price
- Model: OS V3
- Impedance: 19 Ohm
- Sensitivity: 109 dB
- Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
- Cable Length: 1.2 m
- Plug: 3.5mm rhodium-plated
- Wire: 5N single crystal copper silver-plated cable
- Drivers: 2 Balanced Armature + 1 Dynamic Driver (Ultra-high frequency Balanced Armature + high frequency Balanced Armature + 7mm strong magnetic composite diaphragm Dynamic Driver )
Package and accessories
The OSV3 arrives with a black cardboard sleeve covering a black box. On the sleeve is an image of the IEM with the slogan “All we want to do is just to conquer your ears! printed at the top. In the bottom right corner is the Hifi Boy branding and logo.
Beneath the sleeve is a black box, the kind which many fans of Chinese earphones will be familiar with. It has a lightly textured surface plus the brand name in the top left corner and the company logo in the centre. The lid of the box has a magnetic seal and opens easily from the front.
Inside the box is a black foam slab with cutouts to secure the included carry case, airline adapter and 6.35 mm adapter. Inside the carry case is where you’ll find the rest of the components; the OSV3 IEM, detachable cable and 3 x pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L).
It’s a fairly standard and basic kit but has everything you need. I would, however, like to see the inclusion of some more eartips and in particular some extra large ones.
The included cable is silver-plated OFC. It’s very supple and flexible and feels nice to the touch. At the top end are the gold-plated 0.78 mm pins in a clear plastic block, Each side is delineated by a red or blue dot for easy identification.
Here you’ll also find the cable pre-formed with heat-shrink plastic tubing to fit over the ears. Further down is a clear rubber Y-split with matching chin slider. Finally, the cable terminates in a sturdy aluminium straight plug with a nice strain relief.
Overall, this is a high-quality cable and I like it quite a lot. The only downside is that above the Y-split the cable is quite thin and that, combined with the ear hooks is a recipe for tangles!
Build quality & design
The OSV3’s shells are made of a smooth resin and similar in shape to a custom in-ear monitor. It’s available either in black or blue and red. The top edge has a small bass vent for the dynamic driver. On the faceplates, the Hifi Boy logo is embedded in silver and gives the shells a premium appearance.
The nozzles have a dual bore design and are a good length but the lip is not very pronounced so some eartips don’t sit securely.
Each individual shell is hand-made and you can tell that a lot of care has been taken with their construction. They remind me a lot of the universal-fit sample units made by high-end custom in-ear manufacturers. The joins between faceplate and shells are flawless. Overall, the build quality is crazy good.
Comfort & isolation
The OSV3 is designed to fill the concha of your ear, similar to a custom in-ear monitor. I’m a big fan of this kind of shell but it can be a gamble for the manufacturer as people ear anatomy varies so greatly between individuals. I’m happy to say though, that these fit my ears like a glove.
This is an earphone that I can literally wear all day long. The smoothness of the shells and polished finish lend to a fit that just melts into your ear cavity.
In terms of noise isolation, the OSV3 scores highly again. Filling up the ear concha helps with this a great deal and combined with the right eartips and a proper seal, this earphone blocks out more noise than the average IEM.
The Hifi Boy OSV3 has a slightly V-shaped but still fairly balanced signature. A slightly boosted sub-bass and mid-bass are quite linear in relation to each other.
The midrange is a touch recessed with a slight dip at around 800Hz-900Hz before it begins to rise again. I was glad to see the OSV3 didn’t go for the typical aggressive upper midrange boost that’s been so common in recent times. Instead, the upper mids and lower treble are given a little lift but remain reasonably neutral. Then there is a small peak at 9kHz and another at around 12kHz in the upper treble.
Gear Used For Testing
- Acoustic Research AR-M20
- ATC HDA-DP20
- PC > Tidal Premium > Arcam irDAC-II
I did most testing with my daily driver, the Acoustic Research AR-M20. It’s a good pairing but the Hifi Boy OSV3 also scales really well with a good source. Connected to the Arcam irDAC-II, there is a significant boost in resolution, detail retrieval and layering. This is an absolute killer combo.
The OSV3 is reasonably easy to drive but I found to really perform with some added amplification or a more powerful source. However, it still sounded great straight from my Android phone.
With it’s 7 mm on duty, the OSV3 has an excellent sub-bass that’s powerful yet reserved. It has solid extension and digs deep but retains good control throughout. Similarly, the mid-bass carries weight and authority with reasonably thick notes that deliver impact.
Thankfully there is no lingering resonance so it avoids any bloom or sloppiness and simply delivers a satisfying punch. Katatonia’s “In The White” is a great song to highlight the OSV3’s fantastic bass.
Lower mids are slightly forward, adding some warmth and body, which is great for male vocals and overall tonality. Because of the moderate thickness of the lower midrange and linear transition into the upper mids, the OSV3 doesn’t stand out as being ultra-detailed. Rather it takes on an organic and natural tonality and comes across as smooth and effortless.
Electic guitars have just enough bite to add excitement and still sound tonally accurate. ACDC’s “Let There Be Rock” seemed like a good song to test the midrange mastery and the OSV3 delivered in spades.
The OSV3’s lower treble dips around 5kHz-8kHz which mercifully sidesteps any sibilance or sharpness. This makes the treble smooth, inviting and ultimately non-fatiguing. The upper treble peaks around 9kHz and 12kHz, adding brilliance and airiness.
Overall, the treble is a pleasure to listen to, sacrificing a hint of treble energy for the sake of comfort and I’m perfectly fine with that approach. In fact, I prefer it that way, rather than have a brittle or piercing top end.
The stage presented by the OSV3 is not particularly wide, but there is plenty of depth to it. This makes the soundstage feel fairly intimate without being congested. Vocals sit in front of the listener while other instruments are placed nearby on either side.
Imaging is about average, being neither particularly strong or weak. Think of the space more like a long hall, as opposed to a vast arena. There’s more space in front of you than there is on the sides.
Whizzer A15 Haydn Pro ($124 Single Dynamic)
The Haydn Pro is tuned to what is commonly known as an audiophile tuning. It has a leaner presentation with thinner, faster notes, more detail and a more analytical approach. It’s quite the technical powerhouse. The soundstage is larger, in part due to its superior treble extension, with strong imaging and positional cues.
The OSV3, in comparison, offers a warmer, more inviting sound and is less fatiguing on the ears. Where the Whizzer aims to reveal everything in a track, the Hifi Boy is aimed more at emotive listening.
Toneking Nine Tail ($125 Single Dynamic)
The Toneking Nine Tail (9way) with just a single dynamic driver, delivers an incredibly mature and technically adept sound. It has a natural, organicness that is filled with detail but still very musical and extremely engaging.
Female vocals are slightly more forward on the 9 tail while the OSV3 has more weight in male vocals. The bass doesn’t have the impact or weight of Hifi Boy’s IEM. The 9 tail has more perceived clarity as a result of a more accented upper midrange, where the OSV3 is more linear and thus smoother overall but more resolving. The OSV3 has a slightly more accurate tonality. These are both stellar IEM in terms of price vs performance.
Dynamic Motion DM200H ($219 Bulls Eye Driver)
The DM200H has more of a mid-bass hump but it doesn’t carry over as much warmth into the lower midrange as the OSV3. It puts more emphasis on the upper midrange, making the overall sound a little brighter in contrast and vocals more recessed compared to the OSV3.
Both have a clear but smooth treble, with peaks at 9kHz and 12kHz. The OSV3 has a warmer tonality with slightly less clarity in the upper midrange. These are both excellent IEMs and I’d be happy to use either as a daily driver.
Hifi Boy OSV3 Conclusion
On the box, Hifi Boy said they wanted to conquer my ears and by golly, they’ve done just that. Their debut IEM marks a very strong entry into the crowded marketplace.
The OSV3 is not cheap but when taking everything into consideration provides excellent value for money, although the bundled accessories could be improved upon. The IEM itself is extremely well built, comfortable and technically proficient.
Its warm overtones provide an inviting and fatigue-free sound while retaining good resolution and detail. I can’t wait to see what Hifi Boy does next. Will they strive for the more upmarket segment or lean towards more budget oriented products? Whichever way they decide to go, I’ll be eagerly awaiting their future releases.
You can get the Hifi Boy OSV3 at Penon Audio HERE.
What would you prefer to see from Hifi Boy and similar manufacturers in the future? Do you think we need more low-cost choices or would you prefer more options for upscale models? Let us know in the comments below.