Hi there fam. Today we have another single dynamic driver earphone in for review. Say hello to the Yinyoo Y1, an energetic and absolutely gorgeous IEM that gets a lot of things right but also has some issues. Want to know more? Let’s get started.
Top-notch design and comfort
Solid build quality
Vivid and engaging sound
Is sibilant and has a splashy treble
Driver: Dynamic Drive
Headphone sensitivity: 96+3dB
Frequency range: 5Hz-50000Hz
Colour: Black, Silver
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.
Package and Accessories
It seems like Yinyoo have settled on a standard packaging setup, at least for the moment. Once again we see the plain black box with the gold Yinyoo logo embossed on the lid.
Inside is an black, unmarked zipper case which holds the earphones and included accessories. So here’s what you get:
Yinyoo Y1 earphones
3 pairs of silicone eartips (S, M, L)
Yeah, that the bare minimum included but at least we do get a zipper case which is very convenient. Naturally, the included eartips are all too small for me so I dug into my personal stash and pulled out some extra-large, shallow, wide-bore tips.
Build Quality and Design
I had a bit of a “wow moment” the first time I saw the Yinyoo Y1. Visually it is a really gorgeous earphone. It’s available in 2 colours: black and gold and I received the black version. It reminds me a lot of the MEMT R7 (review here) which is a similarly beautiful earphone.
The Y1 housings have a sort of reversed bullet shaped that tapers off toward the rear. They’re made of an aluminium alloy with a high-gloss finish and look like a piece of jewelry. The front section is gold-coloured and has a single pinhole-sized port near the base of the nozzle.
The nozzle has a solid ridge which holds eartips on securely and there’s the usual metal mesh covering the mouth of the nozzle to prevent debris and earwax from penetrating the housings. Overall it’s a very simple design that to me is just beautiful to look at.
The cable feels quite nice and appears to be quite durable. It has just the right balance between firmness and pliability although it does have some microphonics.
It is a fixed cable which in today’s market almost feels like a novelty considering even most budget earphones are coming with detachable cables now.
The Y-split is a small metal cylinder and there is also a cable cinch which I know a lot of people appreciate. On the end is a straight metal 3.5 mm plug. Strain relief is pretty solid from top to bottom.
Comfort and Noise Isolation
It should hardly be any surprise that the Yinyoo Y1 is a comfortable IEM. The housings are small, extremely smooth and have a safe, conventional design shape. I could easily wear the Y1 all day (but I probably wouldn’t – more on that later).
Noise isolation is quite good considering the Y1 is a rather small monitor. I can still hear hear the keys of my keyboard while typing and some background noises but once the music starts it’s hard to hear anything else. Noise leak is very minimal and isn’t likely to bother anyone around you.
Gear used for testing includes the Sony ZX300 and Acoustic Research AR-M20 DAPs. On the desktop, this time I’ve switched things up a little by bringing out the ARCAM irDAC-II, in place of the Topping DX7 which has been my daily driver for the last few months.
The Y1 has a lively sound signature that is a bit on the bright side. It has good dynamic range, is quite vivid and engaging but suffers a little from an aggressive peak in the lower treble.
They Y1’s bass is tight and punchy with a surprising amount of definition. The emphasis is mostly on the mid-bass which has well-defined edges from a fast attack and a medium decay that gives it weight without being boomy.
The sub-bass has a fast rumble and falls off fairly quickly. Bass extension is average for a budget IEM but I do like how it’s weighted for my personal preference.
Midrange notes are hard with fast transients. This gives the Y1 a clean and well-defined midrange and above average instrument separation for a budget phone. Male vocals have excellent articulation and enough weight to sound natural.
Female vocals are very vibrant thanks to the upper midrange peak. The peak is pretty aggressive so female vocals can be sharp and too forward at times. Snare drums have a very definite snap to them and electric guitars have a solid edge.
Another sharp peak at 5kHz-7kHz makes the Y1 prone to sibilance and gives it a bright overall tonality. Cymbals tend to sizzle and sound very tizzy and artificial. The Y1 can be quite fatiguing over time because of this aggressive treble and the timbre is this area just flat out feels wrong.
The soundstage has less than average width but the depth is nicely portrayed. Vocals have good density and sound intimate enough while giving you enough distance to not feel crowded. Because all the treble focus is on the lower region there’s isn’t really much airiness but instead you just get the uncomfortable brightness.
Yinyoo Y1 vs Yinyoo EP1 ($26 USD)
Physically the Y1 is the better of the 2 in my opinion. Its safe and conventional shape just works and sits in your ears in a natural manner. When it comes to sound though, it’s the Yinyoo EP1 (review here) that feels more natural.
The change between sub-bass and mid-bass on the EP1 is much more linear and even while the Y1’s sub-bass rolls off more sharply. The EP1 has more mid-bass impact.
In the midrange, the EP1 is more balanced with the bass and treble which makes vocals sound more forward. The Y1, on the other hand, is more V-shaped so the midrange sounds more recessed and sits behind the lower treble.
Treble sounds more natural and less piercing on the EP1 and the end result is notes on the EP1 sounding more natural and complete.
Yinyoo Y1 vs KZ ZSN ($22 USD)
The KZ ZSN (review here) is more linear from sub-bass to mid bass. The Y1 is more aggressive in presentation from top to bottom, from the lowest bass to the upper treble.
Midrange on the Y1 is more recessed than the ZSN and they both have a similar leanness and hardness in the mids. However, the ZSN has a much less aggressive upper midrange boost which makes it less fatiguing to listen to.
The lower treble on the ZSN dips where the Y1 peaks. This allows the ZSN to avoid any sibilance while the Y1 has quite a lot of it, along with excessive brightness. The ZSN has a bigger soundstage and sound more airy despite the Y1’s more aggressive treble tuning.
The Yinyoo Y1 is a beautiful looking IEM that falls a bit short when it comes to sound. While the bass and midrange are quite good, the extreme upper midrange and lower treble boosts give it an overly bright tonality and make it prone to sibilance.
With its fixed or non-detachable cable, single dynamic driver and uneven sound the Y1 actually feels like a throwback to IEMs we were seeing a few years ago. Since then the bar has been raised in the budget arena by several Chi-Fi brands including Yinyoo itself with its QT2, EP1 and V2 earphones.
As such, unless you have a preference for overt and piercing brightness there are many better alternatives available and I recommend you look at those instead.