Disclaimer: I was sent the HE01 from Whizzer for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. I have no affiliation with the brand or company.
The Whizzer HE01 arrive in a rather substantial packaging, priced at $80, there is a heft and a feeling of good quality, maybe it’s just the hi-res sticker. Venturing inside i find the earphones themselves, an envelope with papers/warranty, then there’s a cylindrical aluminum case with a set of Easytips reference tips and a set of Easytips vocal tips inside. Lastly there’s the 4-core “5N OFC” (oxygen free copper) cable.
Let’s talk a little about the HE01. The HE01 are made by Whizzer as part of their “Kylin” line of iem (HE03, and the newest HE03AL) and is designed by J.IDEA+ (“Junctions IDEA”) Studio, which from my understanding is the design division of Whizzer, similar to how “Operafactory” is Whizzer’s division dedicated to more budget audio gear. The HE01 have Hi-res certification and also HDSS (High Definition Sound Standard) which is another type of certification for audio products that include an HDSS “ETL” module, it’s the little cylindrical metal thing seen next to the driver in the marketing materials. This module, called an ETL, (Embedded Transmission Line) can be thought of as an open tuna-can filled with acoustic foam, it is meant to increase sound quality by absorbing some of the backwaves made my the dynamic driver. By absorbing some of these backwaves, the pressure fluctuations inside the housing should be reduced, theoretically reducing distortion. I have never owned a product with HDSS technology, i first saw it mentioned in the Hiby Seeds iem and at the time i didn’t understand what it was. They have a website, hdss.com, there you can find technical details about HDSS, datasheets, measurements. They even go as far as to say:
“We believe that ETL is the first significant development in audio reproduction theory since the 1925 invention of the Moving Coil Speaker patented by Bell Labs”
It sure talks the talk, but does it walk the walk?
Physically inspecting the iems, there’s rose gold accenting on the faceplate, nozzle, driver, the connecters, even the cable itself is a kinda rosy tinted copper that follows the whole aesthetic theme. Theres a metal damping ring on front the driver with the word “BRIGHT” and the words: “WHIZZER 10.2mm 4th Gen BRIGHT J.IDEA TYPE KYLIN HIGH-FIDELITY DESIGNED BY JUNCTIONS IDEA.” marked in a ring on the front of the dynamic driver. On the nozzle is written “4TH.GEN”. Personally i really like little details like these. it feels like i am inspecting a fine swiss watchpiece.
Removing the faceplate reveals the HDSS ETL module inside:
Diving into the FR graph:
using my preferred tips:
At 18 ohms and 107dB/mW, the HE01 should play loud and proud on even the wimpiest of sources.
All my listening is done using an lg v30+, Neutron Player, lossless FLACs ripped from Deezer.
Starting with the bass, it is elevated, and it sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s speedy, detailed, punchy. i find the bass very satisfying. i recently reviewed the more expensive BGVP NS9, i did not like the bass on those, it sounded soft, the decay was very long and for their price they were just plain upsetting, The HE01 are MILES better in bass performance, you can hear every reverberation. Good, fast bass. Excellent.
Going into the mids department, male vocals sound rich, and the midbass isn’t intrusive on the vocals, Sinatra and Jobim is just a pleasure to listen to on my HE01, and I’m able to listen loud without any protest from the ears. The amount of midbass although elevated does not too much like the KBEAR KS1 or the BGVP NS9 midbass. In the track “RETRIEVING THE CASE” by Ludwig Goransson, the intro is a rising, intensifying bass tone, on the NS9 the intro is absolutely headache inducingly boomy, on the HE01? the intro sequence sounds ..huge.. but alot more bearable.
I do not find myself having to jack up the volume to bring out vocals, something i find myself trying to do on a few other sets, the mids/vocals here just blend into the mix nice and beautifully from what i hear.
Bringing our attention to the treble, i think these perform very well. The HE01 treble sounds natural. It doesn’t sound metallic, the treble does not sound “forward” like how some of my cheapo balanced armature iems sound, and most importantly the treble does not sound rolled off, i am still getting great clarity and treble extension all without dedicated tweeters and such.
The treble IS missing a bit of splashiness, which would’ve made drums sound more realistic.
Referring to the graph, there looks to be a dip at 7k to cut out sibilance, Then there’s a dip at 10k, which i believe is to help mitigate harsh or “blinky” treble. (treble that makes you wince whenever there’s a cymbal strike or clap). In most iems, there’s usually a point after 10k where the frequency response completely dies, some don’t make it to 16k, the HE01 treble response goes all the way up to 20k on my IEC711 compliant mic, so if you’re listening to music made for dogs or bats, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be getting every bit of the music.
Soundstage is good, it isn’t huge and the imaging isn’t remarkable, the lows sound as though they are located around my ears, treble sounds like it is coming from just above my ears, there isn’t much action going on behind you (NS9 in comparison sounded as though stuff was happening behind you) vocals are located mostly in my head. imaging isn’t all too realistic, drums don’t sound very lifelike, probably has something to do with the dips and spikes. In the track “Bucket” by Alltta, there’s a short intro sequence where some sets (Sony wi-1000x for example) sound very realistic, the HE01 don’t sound as convincing as some really good hybrids.
KZ EDX: This is an $8 single DD earphone that there’s a good chance you’ve probably tried.
Mids don’t sound nearly as pleasing on the EDX as they do on the HE01, male vocals sound laid back and fairly distant, male vocals sound unusually bright too. Bass sounds a little more sub bass focused on the EDX and not as speedy as the HE01. treble quality is actually fairly comparable between the two, EDX is more tactile and snappy than HE01, you may prefer how the EDX images over the HE01.
Moondrop Sparks: This earphone costs $90, single DD, and is a prime example of Moondrop’s diffuse field tuning, which alot of people i know are a fan of. The bass sounds flatter, more neutral on the Sparks and also has excellent speed like the HE01, mids don’t sound as flavorful as the HE01, i like my male vocals with a little more warmth, the Sparks are alot colder. Female vocals are detailed and very good though. When it comes to treble the HE01 are noticeably airier with bigger soundstage all around your head, the Sparks are much less airy and also cannot playback any frequencies above 16k due to it’s bluetooth limitations. The Sparks also cannot play nearly as loud as the HE01.
CVJ Mirror: This is a $50 hybrid 1dd + 2ba and one of my favourites from the slew of chifi hybrids I’ve tried. These have punchy speedy bass quite like the HE01, only a touch more potent. The mids aren’t quite as good as HE01, male vocals aren’t as full sounding, and the bass can be boomy on some tracks on the Mirror. The Mirror has the advantage of 2 custom balanced armatures and the result is much more precise imaging than the HE01. The treble, more crispy and finely textured than HE01. The Mirror does have some pretty bad driver flex, and the cable and accessories, nowhere near Whizzer..
I have had the HE01 for many many weeks now, they have done nothing but grow on me. These are the first iems at I’ve tried that i think i can safely give 5 stars to, and it will have this rating until something around the same price is able to impress me more than the HE01 (maybe Aria?) i truly love this sound, i trust the HE01 to faithfully reproduce my whole library. I think these are an excellent all-genre earphone for musical enjoyment, definitely not something for studio or musical work.