Review: HYLA CE-5 – Sensation

Hyla CE-5

SOUND

The Hyla CE-5 is a very intriguing and exciting IEM. The engineers of this monitor came up with some new ideas to improve the sound of the Oriolus MK2, which is already awesome in its own way. But how can you improve the great sound of the MK2? By trying out new things and generating new ideas of course.

The engineers changed the configuration inside the shell, and that’s the case with both the drivers and the sound tubes. The driver configuration consists of 1 Dynamic + 2 BAs + 1 Ceramic Driver. It’s a very very unique combination. A hybrid IEM became even more hybrid I suppose. The BA Drivers are the same Sonion ones we saw in the MK2, but they ditched one of them and the treble part now is handled by a special ceramic driver, which is placed just next to the dynamic one.

So 3 different types of drivers, enhanced crossovers and the inclusion of the new titanium sound tubes (2 bores instead of 3). This is like a whole new monitor compared to the MK2.

Hyla CE-5

Hyla CE-5

Of course this creates a different presentation than I’m used to with the Oriolus. Now we have a crisper, more energetic approach with a slightly v-shaped signature. The overall resolution and treble articulation is apparently improved, as well as the bass response. The CE-5 would certainly be impressive to any audiophile ear, regardless of preference. Hyla virtually created a technically superior version of the MK2, and that clearly puts it to the TOTL category. But when it comes to “choice”, things might be different as always. Let’s get to it.

BASS

The Hyla CE-5 has an incredible bass response. The extension, deepness, layering, rumble and power are all exceptional. This is the most impressive bass I’ve heard in a monitor. Believe me that’s not an exaggerated conclusion from my side, as I’ve listened to many IEMs in my audiophile journey.  If you like lifted bass response in IEMs, you absolutely can’t go wrong here. There are still many monitors that I haven’t experienced, but I doubt there’s a better and more impactful bass in the market right now.

The lows are strong, slam is absolutely great and overall resolution of the bass is impressive. And while being very strong, lows are perfectly under control at all times, provided that you feed your source with good recordings. There’s no bass bleeding or bloat, yet it’s still incredibly strong and it can go very very deep, and I simply can’t explain how they did it. Quantity is high, but the quality is also at the top level.

Hyla CE-5

Hyla CE-5

The mid bass part is different than the MK2 though, and also different than many monitors out there. The upper part is a little recessive, therefore it’s not very full sounding or warm like the Oriolus. That contributes to the separation side of things on the other hand, and provides more air and more space between the elements of songs. Would more mid bass give a boomy sound since the bass is very strong overall? We can’t be sure, but the sure thing is you’ll not find a mid bass like with the Oriolus, with the Noble K10 or with the Rhapsodio Solar, or many high end monitors like that. It’s not aggressively laid back to feel too unbalanced, but it’s there.

Still, that trait doesn’t change my conclusion: This is the best bass I’ve heard with any IEM.

MIDS

Having less mid bass also results in having slightly thinner mids, especially on the lower parts. That particularly becomes obvious when you listen to the Oriolus and the Hyla back and forward. Lower mids are not in your face, they’re slightly behind in the spectrum and in the stage. So the instruments and some male vocals are slightly pushed back behind other elements. Don’t get me wrong; the separation is excellent which I’m going to mention shortly, but they’re not as pronounced as the other parts of the spectrum. And I use the word “slightly” for good reason here, because it’s not a huge imbalance, just a slight emphasizing difference.

Mids are very open sounding as a whole with very good dynamics and good air. Upper mids are more apparent then the lower mids, so female vocals and higher sounding elements are a joy to listen to. But the tonality of the mids is not at a reference level, instead it’s more like a fun type of tonality with brighter timbre. I would’ve preferred thicker mids with a little darker approach. Despite that, the cleanness and the transparency across the mids are on a TOTL level for sure.

Hyla CE-5

Hyla CE-5

The Oriolus counterpart doesn’t have reference sounding mids either, but it has slightly thicker mids overall. Both have fun and engaging mid performances, but the MK2 is closer to the correct timbre (still not fully correct). The Hyla CE-5 on the other hand sounds more fun, especially with vocals but it’s a little far from the correct tone, further than the Oriolus. On the other side, it plays more transparent and it’s more detailed overall with better resolution than the MK2.

To be honest if you’re looking for the correct timbre, neither of these IEMs are fully honest and correct. But they of course are impressive and fun to listen to, and they both have great mids, although not having a reference tone. Yet, resolution and transparency-wise, the CE-5 is one of the best you can find.

TREBLES

This is the second part of the improvements over the Oriolus. Bass is improved in terms of power, control and impressiveness. But the treble part is the most striking difference when compared to the MK2. They extend higher and they’re more pronounced overall, creating a brighter signature than the Oriolus. It’s no way aggressive nor disturbing, and quantity-wise it’s still on a desirable level with good balance. Everything is under control like the rest of the spectrum, so you don’t need to worry about some hot, peaking treble.

Highs have lots of micro detail and they’re very well articulated. On the Oriolus, trebles are little behind, they’re not extended as much as this one, and they don’t have this kind of transparency. So this is an impressive work from Hyla; improving every possible aspect of highs. The IEM copes with the fast songs as well, so fast trebles don’t stick to each other, they’re very well separated. The new ceramic driver definitely makes its presence felt here. If you didn’t find the treble of the MK2 on a TOTL level, I think you’ll find what you were looking for with the Hyla CE-5. One of the best you can find in the market.

Click HERE for technical comments, synergy and conclusion on page 3.

4.8/5 - (30 votes)

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favorite Jazz recordings.

13 Comments

  • Reply April 26, 2018

    Edwin

    Between this and Campfire Audio Adromeda, which is the better buy?

    The Atlas comes out in a few months so I’m sure you’ll get to review, but wanted to know what I might expect as a competitor

    • Reply April 27, 2018

      Berkhan

      I never tried the Andromeda. Sorry.

  • Reply May 1, 2018

    Melvin

    Which silver cables you tried with this? I am sensitive to brightness too and might want to avoid that silver cable. By the way good review.

  • Reply May 26, 2018

    Adam

    How does the ce5 compare to the t8iemkII or xelento?

    Can you own both and not double up on similar sounding iems?

  • Reply May 29, 2018

    Harvey

    Hi! what’s your short comparison between the ce5 and ca vega? thank you 🙂

    • Reply May 30, 2018

      Berkhan

      No idea, never listened the Vega.

  • Reply October 10, 2018

    Steven

    Hi, just wondering if you ever heard the Shure 846’s? How does the bass compare? I guess lots of bass is good, as long as it’s actually in the recording…

    • Reply October 11, 2018

      Berkhan

      I’ve heard it a long time ago. And in my opinion it’s one of the most overpriced IEMs ever. 846’s bass can’t go anywhere near the CE-5.

      But of course your expectations and your listening preferences, also genres are important.

  • Reply November 2, 2018

    madaman

    I raised my eyebrow when I listened to this thing and wondering, dudeeee where the hell is that cymbal sound is coming from.

    I like it best for its transparency and micro detail

    • Reply November 2, 2018

      Berkhan

      It’s a highly technical IEM with a fun tuning.

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