In this review, I’m checking out the Whizzer HE03D IEM. The HE03D has a 12mm DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) dynamic driver and Whizzer’s Multi Damping Balance System (M.D.B.S.). It retails for around $149.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by Whizzer for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
- Driver: 5th GEN 12mm Diameter Density DLC Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- Impedance: 35Ω
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
- Sensitivity: 112dB @ 1kHz
- Connector: 0.78mm 2-Pin
- Cable: 6N OCC single crystal copper cable
Package and Accessories
The Whizzer HE03D comes in a stylish black box, wrapped in a cardboard sleeve. As with every Whizzer product, the styling and attention to detail immediately grab your attention. Here’s what’s in the box:
- Whizzer HE03D IEM
- Detachable 6N OCC 2-pin cable
- Cleaning brush
- Faux leather carrying case
- 3x pairs of Soundstage silicone eartips
- 3x pairs of Reference silicone eartips
- 3x pairs of Vocal silicone eartips
Designed in collaboration with J.IDEA+ Studio, the Whizzer HE03D has a gorgeous, premium design. It has CNC crafted metal shells with a smooth matte black finish. On the rear of the shells are 3 diagonal vents that are part of the Multi Damping Balance System (M.D.B.S.)
An additional pinhole vent sits just in front of the shrouded 2-pin socket. The standout visual feature of the shells is the stunning faceplates. A highly-polished 3D curved glass panel sitting atop a reflective star pattern covers each faceplate.
HE03D is a comfortable IEM and contours naturally to the shape of my ears. I can wear these shells for extended periods of time without issue. The passive noise isolation is average for this type of shell, making HE03D suitable for everyday environments.
Included with the HE03D is a 6N OCC single crystal copper cable. The wires are covered with a PU sheath that is smooth and doesn’t feel sticky. There is little microphonics (cable noise) but unfortunately, the cable handles poorly due to memory and kinks.
The angled 2-pin connector housings are plastic and the right side is colour coded for easy identification. Both the straight plug and the Y-split are black aluminium and there’s a copper-coloured chin slider.
Sources used for testing include:
The Whizzer HE03D has a V-shaped sound signature with an airy tone and solid technical ability. It’s an efficient earphone and works with low powered sources such as smartphones and dongle DACs.
The mid-bass punches with good slam and definition. It’s mildly boosted but doesn’t infringe on the midrange. The 12mm DLC driver shows good agility and control. There are no signs of wanton resonances or distortion.
The sub-bass is rolled-off in quantity but has good extension. In other words, it produces a light rumble that can be heard but might leave bassheads wishing for something more visceral. Bass notes have good texture and impact that sounds pleasing on jazz, hip-hop and pop and EDM tracks.
Listening to Hedflux’s “Sananga Serenade”, HE03D delivers kick drums with ample impact while leaving the mids unsullied. The rhythmic percussion and synth bass are sure to get heads nodding. The effectiveness of the Multi Damping Balance System is evident here as you can feel the impact of the bass without any uncomfortable pressure build-up.
HE03D produces a clear midrange with good clarity and spacing. The mids show a high level of transparency along with clarity and articulation. Vocals and instruments have good density and dynamics resulting in an organic and believable sound.
It’s a spacious midrange with good instrument separation and overall resolution yet natural note size and thickness. Female vocals are a bit more forward compared to their male counterparts but vocals, in general, are detailed and easily separated from other instruments.
Firing up Oceans of Slumber’s “The Colors of Grace” the male vocals aren’t as forward as the female vocals but both have natural tone and thickness – in fact, both sound a bit recessed. The acoustic guitars in the song have a good mixture of strings and body resonance.
The HE03D’s crisp treble adds clarity and detail to the sound. It’s resolving yet smooth and doesn’t come across as bright or thin. HE03D’s treble sounds airy and open. In addition, the treble extension is good and doesn’t sound rolled off or truncated.
The level of detail retrieval is good and you can hear lots of small and micro details present. Furthermore, the HE03D delivers the treble without sharpness or sibilance while maintaining clarity and spaciousness. Having said that, the HE03D is not very forgiving when it comes to poorly mastered tracks.
Soundstage and Technicalities
The soundstage is larger than average. Both width and depth are impressively spacious, courtesy of the semi-open design. With a neutral stage position, it places the listener a few rows back from the front of the stage. While it’s not especially intimate, the sound is airy and fairly immersive. Detail retrieval and instrument separation are good. Imaging and placement are handled reasonably well.
Moondrop KATO ($189)
The Moondrop KATO (review here) also has a single dynamic driver. Notable differences are evident between these two. Firstly, KATO has more sub-bass quantity and greater sub-bass extension.
Secondly, KATO’s upper midrange is more emphasized, enabling the mids and vocals to lift above the weight of the bass. In comparison, the HE03D pulls the midrange back slightly, giving it a more spacious albeit less intimate sound.
KATO’s treble isn’t as forward or bright as the Whizzer; instead, it (KATO) relies more on its scooped upper bass and lifted upper midrange for clarity. The HE03D has more lift in the presence region (5kHz) giving percussion instruments like toms and snares some extra snappiness.
Detail retrieval is similar on both IEMs but the Whizzer has a bigger soundstage. However, KATO’s denser vocals and centre image give it superior imaging and placement.
FiiO FH3 ($129)
The FiiO FH3 (review here) is a hybrid triple driver (1DD+2BA) IEM. FH3 has a lot more weight and extension in the sub-bass. In comparison, the HE03D has a cleaner, lighter mid-bass punch with light sub-bass.
FH3 brings the midrange forward for a more intimate presentation while the HE03D has a thinner but more spacious midrange. Vocals are upfront and thicker on the FH3 whereas they’re pushed back on the Whizzer.
The FH3’s treble is less emphasized, due to its extra bass and forward midrange that keep it in check. However, thanks to its superior overall resolution, FH3 has a similar level of detail retrieval. FH3 creates a smaller, more intimate stage but it has stronger imaging and positional cues.
The Whizzer HE03D has a light, airy and detailed sound. It also comes with a good accessory bundle and a variety of eartips. But perhaps the most appealing feature of the HE03D is its stunning design and gorgeous shells. For the asking price, this earphone performs well but not quite on the same level as the leaders in its class.