Review: Shozy & AAW Hibiki – Wondrous

MIDS

Mids are very open, clear and relaxed; separated from the bass nicely and sounding really effortless on all genres I could listen to. Especially female vocalists are a pleasure. They’re the focal point in this IEM and you’ll like it if you’re a lover of forward mids. My only small complaint for this IEM is the open type of tonality across the mid frequencies. Like it sounds on a higher note than most IEMs out there. I should say the mids are thin overall. It’s like an unnecessary equalizer to some extent to sound off the tone. I’m really impressed by the relaxed and non fatiguing nature of mids as well as the good resolution, but the tonality is not perfect.

Maybe I’m being unjust here for 60$, but hearing the Hibiki sound absolutely great for this price, I wonder how it could’ve been with just a better tonality on mids. Still, you can tolerate this trait with an EQ of your DAP and it’s not the hardest thing to do. Just give some less dB between 1K and 4K, and you’ll have a more natural sound with good tonality and musicality. Given that Hibiki is capable of those things, a little touch would not hurt,  would it?

TREBLE

Hibiki definitely is not bright or treble-ish and that’s the point that I liked the most. It sounds very very controlled and giving an effortless sound more often than not. Highs are not the most extended with the Hibiki, but it does impress in this department with a clean response, good separation and articulation across the range.

It reminds me of those high level IEMs which give very good treble while not giving a harsh response on the ears. That smells quality. Once again, this IEM performs higher than its price bracket. The treble amount is so on the spot for me, absolutely fabulous to hear from this budget level monitor.

TECHNICAL

Since the Hibiki is also effectual in technical performance, I’m going to mention those achievements like I always do with high class IEMs.

The most impressive part is the sound stage. Yes, I liked the bass response which is so right for a natural sound lover, mids are so clean, trebles are so nice on the ear. But still the sound stage is the most amazing thing on this IEM. I’m surprised from the first minute, and it’s always great to hear a wide sound stage from a monitor, let alone a 60$ one. Maybe it’s not very deep, but width is absolutely great and enjoyable.

The positioning, stereo image and separation are also quite strong and honestly I’m not sure if I heard better in the sub-100 category. It’s that good, and even better than higher priced units. This is fantastic work from Shozy and AAW,  so I should send my congrats to them. Background blackness is on a satisfactory level for the money and I have no complaints there. Unless you don’t expect it to be like mid-high level IEMs, there’s no problem. Maybe you can dare to expect it though, as the Hibiki performs marvelous in almost all aspects. Dynamism is not amazing and that maybe is the only thing that is not very impressive with it, but you can’t have everything at once, even with 1000$ IEMs.

In terms of driving the Hibiki you should have a good powered DAP, because -altough surprising- it needs more power than most IEMs. This was not a thing that I expected, since it’s made for daily usage from phones and music players. It’s not very hungry but you still need a little more than usual.

MATCHING

I liked the Hibiki from all the sources in my possession, from the Sony ZX2 to the WM1A and Shanling M3S, as well as the FiiO Q1 MK2. So it’s not source picky by any means, it’s an all round IEM with good control. Overall, you don’t have to have a certain type of source. If you insist, I can say it’s a little better to match it with a source which gives good bass and treble. That way you can hear this gem even better. Mids? Hibiki will handle that most of the time with those upfront vocals and instruments.

CONCLUSION

I personally think the Hibiki belongs to our Universal IEM Recommendations List, but let’s see if our chief agrees with it. I certainly don’t think you can find many IEMs that can sound better for 60$, and in my case, I haven’t heard a better monitor for this money.

It looks great, sounds great and very comfortable at the same time. The fit is also very nice once you get used to it. I recommend the Hibiki for mid lovers or  buyers who look for a balanced, natural monitor on a budget.

Time to get that whiskey to drink. Nathan?

Oh here’s that unboxing and first look video again:

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A lover of personal audio from Turkey, Berkhan always seeks the perfection. He chooses a simplistic expression of sound at all times, and tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, and sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside.

18 Comments

  • Reply November 22, 2017

    Viranj

    Impressive review!!

    Thank you.

  • Reply November 22, 2017

    Tegar

    Should i get this or the nuforce edc, i need a new all-rounder for my new iem

    • Reply November 22, 2017

      Berkhan

      I’ve never listened to a Nuforce IEM, and Nathan didn’t listen to the Hibiki. So we can’t compare side by side, but you can read our reviews about those and decide which fits you best.

      • Reply November 23, 2017

        Tegar

        i think i’ll get these but something bothering me, the hibiki have the inline mic will it ruin the signal if i use an amp/dac?

        • Reply November 23, 2017

          Berkhan

          No, it’ll work flawlessly.

  • Reply November 22, 2017

    Orko

    Any recommendations for a warm/dark/lush IEM under 150? I saw that you liked the Earsonics ES2 a lot but they’re not available on Amazon (and if at all possible I’d like to order there)

    • Reply November 23, 2017

      Berkhan

      I can recommend this one as it’s mildly warm. Otherwise you can check out the upcoming FiiO F9 Pro.

  • Reply November 26, 2017

    Akmal

    can you recommend the best detailed iem under $100

  • Reply January 4, 2018

    Smugsie

    I have a OnePlus 5 and I’m looking for over-ear solutions under $100. I’ve also been sent a Shozy Alien and Shozy Zero myself, amazing products for what they cost.

    However I can’t justify carrying a DAP anymore and I’m a fan of how natural the Shozy products sound from my experience.

    You mentioned bass and treble is improved with a DAP, does quality suffer out of a decent phone?

    • Reply March 19, 2018

      Berkhan

      Since it’s not a high level monitor by any means, I don’t think it’ll sound bad from a phone.

  • Reply August 23, 2018

    SANDEEP DAS

    Just when i was about to buy these, I saw that there are also the SHOZY Hibiki MKii’s. Could you do a comparison with the MKii’s please?

    • Reply August 30, 2018

      Berkhan

      I just received the MK2, so wait for the review 🙂

  • […] reviewed Shozy and AAW gear before such as the Hibiki and the Hibiki MKII. We’ve also looked at AAW’s gear such as the W900 […]

  • Reply May 11, 2019

    Nero

    Hello, I already own this unit for around a year by now. I’m currently considering an upgrade to something which has similar sound signature and costs around 200-300 bucks. Any recommendation?

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