The blockbuster budget battle
Hidizs are a Chinese Company. That means they can somehow produce decent stuff at ridiculously low prices. Products that a ChiFi enthusiast can get excited about are available at under £20. How do they do it? I don’t know, but I’m not complaining! These were sent to me for a review by Hidizs, and were accompanied by their stylish AP80 Pro Digital Audio Player. This AP80 Pro replaces a review model I have had for some time. Unfortunately I put it in the washing machine, for an hour, and having been thoroughly soaked and spun at 1400 RPM, the screen would not work as well as it could! Having said that, amazingly, it still plays music! I now can put that behind me and make sure I take this tiny player from my pocket before I put my trousers in to clean!
The MS1 Galaxy is the latest budget IEM from Hidizs. It is currently on sale here, for £19.99 , in the microphone cable I requested. If you wish for a cable without mic the price goes down to £18.99, at the time of press. Seriously, please don’t bother trying to get this cheaper; either buy from an authorised dealer or direct from the manufacturer. It does not make sense to save a few £s or $s on an unauthorised sale with little or no comback should anything go wrong. Peace of mind lasts a long time. I get no commission from these links, please use them to find out more, or to make a trustworthy purchase.
About the MS1 Galaxy
This is a Single Dynamic driver IEM with a detachable cable. The Galaxy sticks as close as it can to the Harman 2019 Frequency Response Curve; this means the tuning should not particularly annoy any listener. The driver shell is made of resin. The sensitivity is 108 dB, the impedance is 32 Ohms. A sensitivity of 105 or greater and an imepdance of 32 Ohms or less is what is needed as a minimum spec for working well in your smartphones. I will not dwell on the smartphone aspect overly, as, of course, I have the beautiful AP80 Pro to mess around with; during the review, fear not, I shall certainly put my Samsung A52 into play as a source. The detachable cable is a 78 mm 2 pin affair, so is easy to interchange with any custom cables you may have.
Unboxing and testing
The first 2 things that struck me imediately about the Galaxy – 1. The Driver shells. They’re very pretty! I’d pick the transparents over the rest of the colour range every time. They fit in my ears comfortably, and, due to the resin construction, they’re warm from the outset. These are the classic olive shape, so they will not be a pain to keep, or to fit into the ears. 2. The cable. The earhook strengthening is excellent; it pulls the driver naturally into the ear canal’s entrance. There is no need for readjustment once in place. The tips are cheap and cheerful, but don’t cause any irritation in the ears. There is no carry pouch supplied, but, at this price, I’d rather every cent was spent on sound and build quality. As for build quality, the strengthening on the cable and the finish of the drivers is perfect.
Contrast this with the Moondrop Chu; £19.99 on amazon uk as of time of going to press. The Chu has a non detachable cable, which is not a litz design, and has no earhook. The drivers are a third smaller than the MS1s, and they are not an easy fit, as they are only locking into two thirds of the outer ear. Instead, you are given some silicon hooks to slide on to the cable. The Chu has a higher level of sensitivity and a lower impedance than the MS1 Galaxy. Therefore, it should be louder.
I discovered that the Chu, despite the superior efficiency specs, was noticeably quieter than it’s counterpart. There was also a noticable difference in the perceived sound signature between the MS1 and the Chu. I put together a playlist of 3 songs to use as a test. They were chosen for their particular styles. Track 1 was Immune, by Act – this was a synth pop FLAC track. Track 2 was Big Day by XTC. This was an audio fidelity ultra hi res track. The third was a throwaway pop track – Ooh ahh just a little bit, a 1996 Eurodance number by Gina G, that has somehow got into my subconscious!
The Chu has little to no visceral impact. There is no perceived air pushing against the contours of the ear, on any of the tracks. The signature of the Chu, as compared to the MS1, can be described as lean. The mids and highs of the Chu sounded rougher than the MS1. The bass, on tracks 1 and 3 was faster and more linear, or, simply put, slightly less bloated sounding. The MS1 has visceral bass impact in spades. It has some presence in the lower mids. There is also a decent width of sound in the mids and highs, much of the roughness present in the Chu’s does not make an appearance here. I have an MSEB function on the AP80 Pro. This enables me to really fine tune the bass response. Of the 3 bass settings, I chose to reduce the thickness of the bass by 5%, but this was only for tracks 1 & 3. For track 2, an audio fidelity ultra hi res track, the bass, as engineered in the studio, was much less bloated, and didn’t need any further mixing on my part. On this track, with no adjustments made, the MS1 was a clear winner.
Bass is often the deciding factor when choosing an IEM. Where bass comes into it’s own, where a little bit f extra warmth can help, is in circumstances where background noise is present. This could be on a busy street, during a sweaty workout, or commuting on the metro. Low frequency noises will drown out much of the bass in your music. In quieter environments, there is not so much need for low end energy. It pays to have an IEM that can at least adapt to it’s surroundings, and, in that case, I would recommend some form of eq for the MS1s. I also believe they are worth some experimentation with eartips, as the ones supplied are undoubtedly contributing to an enhanced bass response. The cable is a triumph. It has been adjusted to a painstaking attention to detail, and it has really done wonders for the overall fit of the Hidizs. For those of you who like to feel your bass, this £19.99 single driver is a no brainer. For the remainder who have discovered that bigger is not always better, I firmly reassert these as worthy of a tweak or two. They will handsomely reward the efforts you are prepared to go to .