A Headphones Reviews Blog
REVIEW: Hippo Pearl
22/03/2012Posted by on
Prior to the review, I would like to thank to Uncle Wilson and to his Jaben team for the sample.
Before we start, here are the specifications of the reviewed IEM, the Hippo Pearl:
Single dynamic driver, 9mm
Frequency range: 10Hz – 20KHz
Impedance: 16 Ohm
Packaging: The Hippo Pearl comes packaged in a small orange-colored cardboard box. In its front, there’s a small window, which the Pearls can be seen through.
Accessories: In the package there are 3 single-flanged eartips pairs (Small/Medium/Large). Each pair has one red tip and one blue tip, which is an alternate way to identify which side is it of the IEMs; red mean right and blue means left. Also, there’s a small velvet covered drawstring pouch included. It’s identical to the one that comes with some of Hippo’s amplifiers and DACs. It’s a dust decoy; Two minutes near a bit of dust, and it’s all covered with a dust surface. Most of the IEMs priced around the Pearl’s price point do usually offer a more generous accessories set. If there were a few more pairs of tips included, the rating could’ve been higher. The rating is 6.5/10.
Building Quality: Like its family member, the previously reviewed Hippo VB, the Pearl’s building quality also consists mainly of aluminum, which both of their housings are made of. They feel quite sturdy and solid, and the two parts that they consist of, are well connected each to the other. Left and Right markings are silver-printed on the bottom of the housings. The strain reliefs are actually better than the VB’s ones, they’re more flexible and less rigid. The cable appears to be the same as the VB’s one; it’s quite thick, and feels of excellent quality. The Y-split is very durable and strong; it’s the same Y-split as the ones that can be found on the MEElectronics A151 and Hippo VB. In the cable’s end, there’s the standard gold plated 3.5 millimeters plug, which is again, identical to the built-like-tank L shaped jack, found on the VB. The rating is 9/10.
Comfort/Fit: The housings are pretty light and small, which lets the user to insert the IEMs quite deeply, and when inserted properly, also without feeling any discomfort. The supplied tips aren’t as rigid as the ones which are supplied with the VBs; actually, they were a lot more comfortable and didn’t hurt my ear canals at all. The fit is quite good too; they stay in your ears without any problems. The Pearls can be worn straight down or over the ear at the same comfort level, both without any problems. The comfort and fit are great, the Pearls are almost not felt when they’re already inserted. Before the burn in, the right driver had flexed a lot, but after it, it’s a lot better. The rating is 9/10.
Isolation and Microphonics: The isolation provided by the Pearls is not one of the best isolations that I’ve experienced, though, it’s also not one of the worse ones either; It’s quite average. When worn straight down, microphonics are present in an average amount, though, as always, when worn over the ear, they’re reduced to a tiny amount. The rating is 7.5/10.
Sound Quality: Prior to the testing period of the Hippo Pearls, they were given at least 50 hours of Burn-In. There were no noticeable changes detected in their sound.
The Pearls sound-signature is warm and a bit V-shaped. It has a great all a rounder sound, because all of the frequencies are quite equal and strong for themselves, not overshadowing each other. Also, it has a lot of smoothness, which makes it quite relaxing.
The Bass: The bass is quite soft and warm, giving it a quite relaxing effect. It’s not emphasized in any way; it’s there in a fair amount. A bit of a problem is its controlling; it’s not too good, because there’s some minor bass bleed to the mids.
The Mids: The mids are quite forward, and thick, though, not too much, as they do not overshadow any of the other frequencies. They’re lacking some clarity and clearness. They’re pretty smooth and natural, and relaxing as the bass.
The Treble: The treble is very smooth and un-fatiguing, making it better for longer listening sessions; Unlike the VB, listening to the Pearls didn’t make me tired. The treble’s presentation is airy, and not feeling close at all, even though the Pearls do not contain any venting hole, which usually tends to make the sound to feel a bit opener. The details reproduce is quite good; I was actually impressed of it for the Pearls price.
The rating is 7.5/10. It’s rated in ratio to the Pearl’s current price.
In Conclusion, The Hippo Pearl offers a very good value for their price. They offer good comfort, and a quite good sound for their price; it’s pretty balanced, relaxing and smooth. Also, their building quality is good for its price, and I believe the Pearls to be quite durable for the long time use; In its current price, which is a bit less than 60$, it’ll be pretty hard for the Pearl, as there are a lot other IEMs sold at this price, which give a better bang for the buck value. The final score is 8/10.
Pros: Balanced and smooth sound, good comfort and fit, good building quality.
Cons: Average isolation, Microphonics can be quite bothering when worn straight down, some driver flex.
The Hippo Pear can be purchased through Jaben’s online store for a current price of 58$.