Radsone has been enjoying huge success with their ES100 Bluetooth receiver since its release and they recently announced the Earstudio HE100, a single dynamic driver earphone. Will the HE100 attain massive popularity like the ES100 did before it?
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.
Radsone Earstudio HE100 Review
Simple rugged design
Lightweight and comfortable
Natural and cohesive sound
Price to performance ratio
Cable has microphonics and is prone to tangling
Package and Accessories
The HE100 comes in a fairly typical IEM style box. On the outside is a white cardboard sleeve with an image of the earphones. Inside you get the earphones, 3 pairs of silicone eartips, a shirt clip and a carrying pouch.
Build Quality and Design
At first glance, I was immediately reminded of some previous Brainwavz and Fischer Audio earphones from a few years ago. The HE100’s aluminium shells have a classic capsule shape and smooth matte finish.
They’re lightweight but feel strong and should stand up to the rigours of use. The nozzles have a good lip and eartips are well secured. The HE100 has a fixed fabric braided cable with a single-button inline remote and microphone. There is a small rubber chin slider above the rubber Y-split and the cable terminates in a right-angled 3.5mm plug.
While I welcome and appreciate the classic shell style, the old skool cable is something I would like to see updated to something more modern. It’s not detachable, it’s thin and it handles poorly like a wispy piece of unruly string. It suffers from microphonics too, although using the shirt clip can attenuate that.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
You should be able to tell from the pictures but just in case, let me tell ya. These things are small. So, they’re small, lightweight and have a super smooth finish with rounded edges. Do you see where I’m going with this? Okay, I’ll spell it out for you. These are extremely comfortable to wear and as long as you have the right eartips you’ll probably forget they’re even there.
Noise isolation is actually pretty good. Again, you’ll need the right eartips to ensure you’re getting a proper seal but if you get that part right, these little guys will block out a good amount of external noise.
These require a bit more power to reach normal listening levels than more sensitive IEMs so don’t be afraid to use high gain on your DAP or turn that dial clockwise on your amp. Having said that, they still sound good straight from my smartphone but I had the volume close to max.
The Earstudio HE100 is fairly energetic with its fast bass and sparkling treble. It is a mix of analytical and musical, falling somewhere in between, blending up fun with accuracy. It’s a presentation that works well with all music genres and moods and will likely be warmly received. One thing is for certain – it has a natural cohesion that single dynamic drivers do so well.
The bass is fairly light in quantity but it has excellent extension and depth. Sub-bass has a fast, controlled rumble and lays down some deep-seated warmth. A basshead earphone this is not, but the HE100 delivers definition and energy to the bass that will get you moving to the music. It’s a pretty snappy bass with a fast, natural decay and just the right amount of body. It won’t intrude on the midrange and gives bass guitars plenty of texture.
HE100’s midrange is neutral and clean. Midrange notes are lean with fast transients and good clarity. This isn’t one of those typical coloured entry-level midranges, it’s one that is clearer and has a surprising level of tonal accuracy.
While the HE100 can flex in any music genre, I found it particularly compelling for classical and orchestral music. Ludovico Einaudi’s piano in “Tu Sei” sounds hauntingly real and the HE100 creates a vivid sense of the space within the Royal Albert Hall.
What would such a lovely midrange and bass be if they didn’t have a good treble to back them up? The HE100 delivers light, crispy treble notes that readily sprinkle you with delicious details. The treble has a good tone and natural timbre that makes hi-hats and cymbals sound accurate without any harshness or sibilance.
What the HE100 does especially well is create an expansive and airy stage. Placing the majority of its bass weight in the sub-bass means that the lower midrange feels lighter and creates more air between notes. The stage is positioned slightly back, meaning you can enjoy watching the vocalist perform, rather than be kept busy wiping their spittle from your face. Instrument separation is moderate to good and imaging is above average for a budget IEM.
Shozy V33 Pro
On the surface, these two earphones share many similarities. Both have a single dynamic driver and a fixed cable. Both are metal – the Shozy’s shells are stainless steel and the HE100’s are aluminium alloy.
That’s about where the similarities end though because, in terms of tonality, they do things differently. The V33 Pro is all about cosy warmth and politeness, like sitting in a recliner with your feet pointing towards the fireplace. The HE100 has more clarity and energy plus a refreshing openness and sense of space.
The No.3 (review here)is another single dynamic driver earphone, this time with plastic shells and detachable 2-pin cable. This is like the person who goes to a party wearing something a little bit outrageous to get more attention – there’s nothing subtle about it. The No.3 has big bass, bold mids and a bright treble. It’s very upfront in its presentation, pushing the stage up close to the listener.
In comparison, the HE100 is also a bit bright but it sounds more natural and is less aggressive. It creates a larger stage with more air between layers. The timbre and tone of the HE100 are more true to life, the No.3 is more demanding and in your face.
Alpha & Delta D6
The Alpha & Delta D6 (review here) has a single 10mm dynamic driver and a rugged metal body. Like the HE100, the D6 also has a fixed cable but this one is a braided 8-core silver-plated copper which looks and handles far better.
The D6 sounds clearer and more upfront than the HE100 but where the D6 lacks is in its sub-bass extension. It starts falling off pretty heavily after 60Hz while the HE100 keeps going for days but does so in a very controlled manner.
Vocals are more forward on the D6 but so is the upper midrange and treble. The D6 is more detailed but sacrifices on tonality where the HE100 has a more natural presentation and timbre.
The Radsone Earstudio HE100 is a humble earphone. It comes in a simple shell and has a single dynamic driver with a good old honest and cohesive sound. The cheap-feeling fixed cable I could do without but that’s a concession I’m willing to make with something that sounds this good. If you’re after something with a cohesive, balanced sound that won’t break the bank, put this on your wishlist.