Review: HYLA CE-5 – Sensation

Hyla CE-5

TECHNICAL SKILLS

If I put the presentation difference aside, the Hyla CE-5 is definitely better than the Oriolus MK2 in terms of technicalities. Starting with the sound stage, it’s both wide and deep with good sense of space. This IEM is one of the best ones I’ve heard in terms of staging and connected to that, imaging. Separation is excellent and imagining and pointing out the instruments, the guitar, the violin, the cymbals, the vocals etc. is easy and effortless. It has a perfectly black background and thanks to that it’s very very sharp, separating every element in the recording.

Resolution and clarity is definitely improved, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times on page 2. This is of course very important from an audiophile perspective, and hearing the development over the MK2 is very satisfying. Transparency is also strong and you feel like you reach the core of the recording with no veils in front of you. Despite its fun character, this IEM is definitely very impressive from a technical standpoint.

It controls the spectrum very well, leaving no shrills or boomy nature of bass, and upper mids are also clear from sibilance. The treble is very energetic but still under control and I heard no distortion in my listening sessions. Tonality side is different as I remarked; it’s not the most correct sounding monitor on mid frequency range. It’s brighter timbre and thinner mids (most probably because of the laid back mid bass) is easy to spot when compared with a fuller sounding, warm IEM. You can always use some amount of EQ to fix that trait, and because the IEM is still pretty coherent, you can live with your EQ setting without a problem.

The only things I can find in the Hyla CE-5 is the low mid bass body and fun type of tonality. Those aside, it’s a great high end monitor top to bottom.

Hyla CE-5

Hyla CE-5

SYNERGY

Of course some darker sounding DAPs can match very nice with the Hyla CE-5. I used the Sony WM1A and ZX2 DAPs I own, and I need to say the ZX2 paired really well with its warmer and darker approach than the WM1A. But WM1A results in a technically better sound, and its EQ and DSP settings make it possible to balance out the small dents I’ve talked about. I also listened to it with the TOTL A&K SP1000cu, and I must say that setup wowed me from start to finish.

As for cables, I tried the famous No.5 that comes with the Oriolus MK2, and the cable helped to have more body and resulted in slightly thicker & fuller mids. That’s perfect for the CE-5 but on the other hand, the cable added too much bass. Bass heads would love this setup but to me the bass quantity is just perfect with the stock cable. I also tried it with the EA Ares II, and it was a more desirable match with good enough mid bass but the mids didn’t change too much like with the No.5.

With a silver cable, the sound became bright to the extent to make me uncomfortable. I’m allergic to brightness as you probably know, but the amazing bass of the IEM disappeared with silver and it became lifeless with too much brightness for me.

It’s very easy to drive the CE-5 and it actually is very sensitive. I recommend sources with very low noise floor.

RESULT

The Hyla CE-5 is an exceptional IEM. The effort and the R&D behind it, and the new ideas from the engineers, and particularly the limited number of builds make it so special. It’s apparent that they tuned it to appeal to Japanese crowd somehow, but there’s no reason not to like it in terms of high end sound. I always loved Japanese products, and especially loved their IEMs I’ve listened to up to this point. Hyla CE-5 is not an exception for me, and I liked it very much.

Hyla CE-5

Hyla CE-5

But it’s also clear that it wouldn’t appeal to every kind of people. Its fun nature, strong bass, recessive mid bass body is not for everyone. Yet, it no doubt is a high end IEM in terms of technical prowess, and that is not easy to find, especially at this time with crazy prices. It’s the best IEM I’ve experienced under the 1000$ range in terms of technical skills, therefore I have to tell Lieven to replace the beloved Oriolus MK2 with the Hyla CE-5 in our Universal IEM Recommendations.

It’s a sensational monitor. I recommend it if you’re after a different and engaging sound, and if you want to have something very rare in your collection.

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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