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HiFi Boy OS V3 a Symbol of Hope?


The HiFi Boy OS V3 was brought to my attention thanks to a friend who knew what I liked in an IEM and I was surprised that his recommendation is for a company that's new to the world of audio, "HiFi boy is a high-end hifi audio brand launched by China Chengdu Fallante Technology Co., Ltd." from the About page on their website with the OS V3 as their first shot at making a mark in the audio world. Barring any superhero insignia references, lets see if this is HiFi Boy's Symbol of Hope.


My HiFi Boy OS V3 was bought from the Penon website ($159 USD or Php 8,276) and is the Blue and Red version (there is a Black one available too.) There was a nice little Penon velcro cable wrap added to the package, a nice little touch (considering, you'll read why later on) while the vacuum sealed box taunted me with the goodies held inside.


The cardboard sleeves have some branding and images of the stuff inside. Sliding the sleeve off reveals a hard matte box with the HiFi Boy branding and a sticker stating the specs of the IEM.

Specs (from Penon):
Drivers: 2 Balanced Armature & 1 Dynamic Driver
(Ultra-high frequency Balanced Armature + high frequency Balanced Armature + 7mm strong magnetic composite diaphragm Dynamic Driver )
Impedance: 19 Ohm
Sensitivity: 109 dB
Frequency response 20Hz-20KHz
Cable Length: 1.2 m
Plug: 3.5mm rhodium-plated
Wire: 5N OFC silver-plated cable
Connector: 2pin 0.78mm


Inner box contains an airplane audio plug, a 3.5mm to 6.5mm adapter and the branded semi-hard pouch which olds the OS V3. Let me just say that the airline plug isn't on the top of my list of accessories while the adapter was alright and the case is similar to most China audio cases included in cheaper products.


As advertised on Penon (but not in the packaging), the case contains a generous amount of tips! 3 pairs of red and blue cored silicone tips (s/m/l), 1 pair of small wide bore white tips, 1 pair medium wide bore blue tips, 2 pairs of white/ and blue double flanged tips (m/l) and lastly 2 pairs of foam tips (s/m). It also has a user guide (that I didn't read through, I'm a rebel like that) and of course, the precious ones.


As I mentioned earlier, that Penon wire wrap is going to be useful coz that yellow one doesn't do the cable or the IEM any justice, it's there for the sole purpose of holding the wires till you can rip it off and forget about it. Another is that the plug is supposed to be Rhodium, but looks like it's Gold to me. Not really a big thing for me, it just needs to be straightened out.


The IEM is made of semi clear resin and hand made, shaped into a universal custom shell that fits extremely well in my ears (and the few other ears I've since lent this to) that looks like it took cues from Ibasso. These are some beautifully crafted shells, I cannot feel the seams and they feel solid in my hand and ears. At the back, there is one vent hole for each IEM to aid in (I'm assuming) creating bass and avoid that in-ear pressure problem on some designs.


Though I haven't seen any bubbles in the shell itself, on the nozzle which has 2 channels, there are a few small ones. Being normally covered by ear tips, I don't think it's a deal breaker. The tip lip is good sized enough to keep most tips I've used to stay in place, And that cable is definitely one of the better one's I've used at least in wearing them as they do not try to unroll off my right ear (which is why I like mmcx connectors) which aside from looking good, it feels sturdy and yet soft.


You can see the workmanship that went into this as well as the parts used, the semi clear case makes it look all the more interesting. The logo on the face is embeded in clear plastic (or acrylic) which protects it from being rubbed off.


I tested the OS V3 after 185 hours of use with different DAPs and a phone, volume matched to 80db using a 1khz sound file and a sound meter. (Songs used will be listed below.)

Bass, when I first tried it on the WM1a, the sub-bass hit me like a truck! It was strong if a bit sloppy/splashy, with a lot of bass quantity that drove me from mild mannered balanced audiophile to raging basshead. After being burned in, the bass hits deep and more precise though that feeling of a wide slam is not as strong as before, it gives a nice satisfying rumble with detail and faster decay. On a more neutral DAP (I borrowed FACE Review's R6) the bass hits, well and good, just not as strongly felt vs my warmer Sony. No matter what DAP you use, the bass will be very fun, and ever present in any track that has a hint of bass that flows into the mids very well.

Mids, are on a more balanced profile vs the bass, it presents good clarity and detail retrieval. Vocals aren't thick but there is a touch of warmth that adds to the liveliness of the voices you hear, with females like Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones taking your attention away from day to day life. Male vocals aren't in last place with the OS V3, as the lower mids help guys like Ed Sheeran and M. Shadows sing to you with a smile or gritted teeth (whatever floats your boat).

Highs, though not the crispiest, it has a good amount of sparkle and air with smoothness and detail you can jive to. The highs extend a fair bit but you wont hear any harsh crashes or sibilance. Music like AC/DC (A Long Way to the Top) will show you how much dad's music still rocks on these IEMs.


Soundstage and clarity on the OS V3 is pretty good, as the separation of instruments, voices and sounds lead to a more spacious experience with moderate depth. Positioning is accurate via the virtual haircut app and the songs I've played through it.


It's been awhile since I felt this excited about an IEM (or headgear for that matter), as this made me realize I haven't really outgrown my love for good bass. Almost any song I played through it felt good to listen to, and listen I did, for hours on end as I tried to find any glaring problem with it, to date, I can't really say anything bad about it. 80's music felt right at home, rock makes me want to bang my head, jazz soothes my nerves, pop and dance makes me want to sway, heck even classical music sounds good here (may lack the air and brightness some fans desire for it though).

Overall, the box is a bit average, the accessories are well and good, but these IEMs are the biggest surprise as I feel that it's great value for money, great sound and great looks. In my opinion, this is best paired with a neutral sounding player to lend a more organic feel to the music. This is definitely a great start for HiFi Boy.

Pros:
Great Bass, good mids and highs, good detail, clarity and soundstage, and can be used to listen to a variety of genres.

Cons:
Can definitely benefit from better packaging (The Kinera Seed packaging looks good in this regard) specially at this price range.

PS - I may add more thoughts on the OS V3 in the coming days, provided my new upgrade balanced cables arrive.

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Test Tracks:
A Different Way - Lauv
A Foggy Day - Van Morrison
A Question of Lust - Depeche Mode (Live 1988)
Alive - Pearl Jam
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Cheap Thrills - Sia
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
Come Round Soon - Sara Bareilles
Country Road - James Taylor
Deeply Disturbed - Infected Mushroom
Discover Tokyo - Shuta Hasunuma
Do what you have to do - Sarah McLachlan
Dream a Little Dream of Me - Ella Fitzgerald
Get Lucky - Daft Punk
Hail to the King - Avenged Sevenfold
Ignorance - Paramore
Is This Love - Bob Marley
It's a Long Way To the Top - AC/DC
Lithium - Nirvana
My Curse - Killswitch Engage
One Day - Matishyahu
Photograph - Ed Sheeran
Pull Me Under - Dream Factory
Send My Love - Adele
September - Earth Wind and Fire
So Far Away - Martin Garrix
Staying Alive - Bee Gees 
Sugar - Maroon 5
Sunday Morning - No Doubt
The Day The World Went Away - Nine Inch Nails
Way Down Deep - Jennifer Warnes

*For this I also tried classical music playlists on Spotify.


Comments

  1. Sounds promising. When you hit the 200hr burn in mark I'd like to give it a try, hopefully my ear canals cooperate with the supplied foam tips

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sure, let me burn it in some more then, I'll bring the comply foams too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. select comparison could have been helpful.. that gives us an idea on how it really sounds..

    ReplyDelete

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