Hippo Pearl

The Pearl actually has quite a good soundstage that’s better than a lot of IEMs more expensively priced than it. In this instance I’m comparing it directly to the Westone 1. Sure, it may not compete to the precision separation of the balanced armatures, but the soundstage of the Pearl is significantly bigger, and big enough for enjoying classical recordings on an IEM.

The Pearl actually is one of the few IEMs that’s worth to add an amplifier to. The sound is good straight from an Ipod, but it’s much better when amped. The most noticeable aspect that improved with an amp is the treble presence. Straight from an Ipod, I thought that the Pearl sounded a little to the lifeless side, but when amped, it became much more alive. I had a chance to listen to the Pearl from the TTVJ Slim, before the TTVJ was shipped to its new owner, and I thought that the TTVJ has a great sinergy to the Pearl. A $25 IEM with a $350 amp? Well, if you happen to have one laying around, why not? Anyway, I don’t think that you need to pair the Pearl with a $350 TTVJ. Something like the GoVibe Derringer or the upcoming Hippo Amp may be closer to the Pearl’s budget, and though I haven’t tried the Pearl with those, I suggest you give it a try. You don’t need a high gain amp, just something that can deliver more current than the Ipod.

Being an entry level product, there are some things that is not on the same quality as higher priced products. The build quality, though very good, is not in the same level as the Westone. Another issue that I’ve mentioned in the beginning is also the ergonomics, or fitting. Also, while the cable is fairly thin, the insulation material is not very flexible and does create some microphonics when you walk around walking it. Good thing the Hippo Pearl comes with a shirt clip that helps to reduce the  microphonics. One thing that I like with the Pearl is that you can wear it straight on or over the ears. Driver sensitivity is a little on the low side compared to other IEMs, but it’s nothing that the Ipod can’t handle. On the SQ side, it can’t compete to the speed of the balanced armatures, and the timbre is not that accurate, but I’ll give it some slack, given the price of this IEM. What headphone is perfect anyway?

Overall I find the Hippo to be a great entry level IEM because of its neutral sound. Something that’s definitely a rare for this price range. I do think that given the entry-level pricing, the Hippo Pearl actually may not fit well with newcomers, but rather, experienced listeners with discerning ears. If you’re one of those, do give the Pearl a try, and you might find the Pearl very delightful to the discerning ears. Neutral and slightly laid back, non emphasized treble, non emphasized bass, yet possessing enough of everything that you never find anything to be lacking.

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17 Comments

  • Reply February 3, 2010

    Shiroa

    hey, another review well done mike! have u had a chance to compare it with the shroom? i prefer shroom cos they sound clearer to my ears, but that’s just me 😀

  • Reply February 3, 2010

    Brian

    I know where you are coming from, Shiroa. The Pearl might lack the bite and attack of the Shroom but it’s suitable for an easy listening. 😀

  • Reply October 15, 2010

    stever

    hi,

    what website can i purchase this for around $30? i couldn't find it.

    thanks

  • Reply October 16, 2010

    stever

    on the jaben website

    http://jaben.net/shopping/product_info.php?manufa

    it starts at $43 US dollars w/o shipping, so where can you get it for $30 like mentioned in your article?

    stever

    • Reply October 16, 2010

      Mike

      Hi Steve, we had that for about $30 on the local Jaben store. So I really don’t know what the deal is, perhaps they increased the price on these. I’m sorry.

  • Reply October 19, 2010

    stever

    no apologies necessary sir! not your fault at all. i just discovered this website and i love it and the big beautiful pictures! great writeup and review, thanks! and thanks for the prompt comment responses too!

    • Reply October 19, 2010

      Mike

      Thanks for the kind words, Steve!

  • Reply December 20, 2010

    odontisme

    hi mike,
    have you ever try hippo ten?
    it has a different sound character with shroom, it's like pearl but much more better
    i just want to know your impression about hippo ten

    • Reply December 20, 2010

      Mike

      I've heard good things about the Hippo Ten, but I've haven't listened to it.

  • Reply January 25, 2011

    Dennis

    May i ask what tips are those? Looks funky.

    • Reply January 25, 2011

      Mike

      They are the stock tips Dennis.

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