The use of the magnetic planar technology in IEMs is still on the early stage of the development. Rare products, small lineup, weak fan base and lack of the mass market awareness. For now. Although, the technology itself has a lot of potential in addressing known issues with the most popular driver types in terms of the sound quality. Planar drivers are fast, use large-sized membrane, have even response across the whole active area and better controlled from both sides by the magnets. Sonically, it means more resolution, better transient response, better separation, layering and clarity. This is in theory, in comparison to dynamic drivers. Main advantages over armature drivers is its size which results in more body and bass potential of IEMs. Also in theory…
Time has come for Hidizs to stand inline among few other industry-leading brands in their attempt to prove planar driver advantages in overall, as well as their new product superiority. I am talking about MP145 – first planar-based IEMs by Hidizs.
Before we start, it is important to mention that MP145 design was inspired by and created in a partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) (the leading global charity dedicated to the protection of whales, dolphins, and their ocean homes).
Hidizs MP145 technical specifications and features:
Let’s say that the most interesting part is that MP145 are based on 14.5mm planars + have 3 pairs of additional tuning filters. This seems familiar from hybrid IEM world, but something new for planar IEMs. The declared impedance and sensitivity combination tells us that, in case with MP145, high power output is not a mandatory requirement. Hope that Hidizs AP80 gen.1 would be capable of driving these with 3.5mm power output. Consequently, we have two options of cable to choose from while ordering: 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BL. My version is 3.5mm SE since I would like to check upon the aforesaid statement about power and sensitivity. Pity that Hidizs is still haven’t incorporated a cable with the exchangeable type audio plug for its IEM products (2.5mm BL, 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BL).
The packaging, set and design:
In contrary to the latest hybrid Hidizs products, MP145 box is pretty small and what is more interesting that it is made of plastic. There is a cardboard outer cover with prints and hard box made of recyclable materials and designed specially for those IEMs. Perhaps, new box is developed to differentiate this product and to show that is belongs to more expensive class? Anyway, the box does a great job of protecting the internals which consist of foam inserts holding IEMs, 9 pairs of silicone ear tips and one extra box with the cable, set of filters and some papers.
Glad that Hidizs seems accepted such a rich set of accessories common to their latest IEMs. Apart from IEMs you’d get:
- 9 pairs of silicone ear tips (3 pairs x 3 sizes for bass, same for balanced and for treble)
- 3 pairs of tuning filters (1 pair for bass (rose), 1 pair balanced (gold) and 1 pair for treble (silver))
- 3,5mm SE or 4,4mm BL audio cable with protective cap and velcro strap (cable version type chosen during the purchase)
- carrying pouch
Again, want to mention for Hidizs that it would be a great advantage if a cable with the exchangeable plugs would come as a standard in future for all of IEMs. People use different kind of equipment and it is kind of tough to choose which type of plug to order. The more universal it would be – the better is the impression of the product in overall and more frequent would be its usage in real life.
Tuning filters also come in separate tiny transparent plastic storage box and here is one tip: don’t try to pull it apart, you should turn upper or lower part to around 15 degrees first in order to open this box.
Carrying pouch has the new and more convenient type of retaining mechanism (first seen in MS3 IEMs) when you have to squeeze both ends with the fingers to open it. Good.
Now, about the design and materials of MP145 IEMs: first impression when you take it in hands that those are pretty big and heavy. Solid piece of CNC processed aluminum, resembling whale tail in the design of the facing plate, with some openings, compensation hole, 2pin cable connector and pretty long output nozzles. Nozzles are ending up with the thread for tuning filters. Looking inside the opening – there is no protective mesh but I could see some foamy material deep inside which I believe acts as dust protection and damper.
Aluminum mesh is a part of the tuning filter which cuts some frequencies and acts as the additional dust protector as well. The only reason to worry about wearing those during the workouts or under the rain is the opening on the faceplate that would let water inside. Build quality is excellent in overall, no gaps, solid feel.
For the first five minutes I thought that the fit is kind of compromised by the size and weight of MP145 IEMs. Fortunately, got used to them afterwards and lost any disturbing feel. I can’t say that those are the most universal IEMs in terms of fit and I wouldn’t try to have them on during the workouts but quite comfortable for regular walk and totally good for calm listening sessions.
Finally, the sound:
First to mention – it is unexpectedly huge bass for planar IEMs. Usually, planars suffer from underpowered lows due to technology limitations in combination with high demand on power but Hidizs has managed to solve both issues. Lows are well exposed, adding the base, body, thickness and warmth across the entire frequency range. To the extent that MP145 can be labelled tending to dark/warm sound signature. Besides, lows that we have here are perfectly layered to the additional sub-ranges, have quite notable texturing and pretty fast decay. Together it builds a feel of large but very accurate bass with outlined boundaries and no blurring. Mid bass sounds juicy, powerful, tight and fast. All of that on 3.5mm SE from Hidizs AP80 first gen DAP (set to HIGH gain) only capable of 70mW@32Ohm/channel + balanced tuning filters. This is a win, I assume. Prior planar IEMs I dealt with such as Dethonray Tender 1 and 7Hz Timeless, decent as well, were more hungry for power and required more advanced DAP or even tube amp to disclose their potential.
Consequently, the mids have this sweet thickness and body that makes the sound so smooth. Resolution is not overexposed comparing to high-quaity armature drivers since there is more influence of lows on mid section, but the timbre, presence, layering and separation are all excellent what puts MP145 above its armature rivals which sound thinner, colder and more artificial.
Treble have less weight of all the ranges, maintaining the balance and adding to detalization but it is not accented here. In fact, its performance and amount depends of the song, recording and quality but if we take some composition with normal levels, high dynamic range and high quality recording – treble is on the sweet spot between its clarity, amount and transparency, never getting shouty or piercing, nor feeling underpowered. Some further changes of adding\cutting off treble response can be applied using the additional tuning filters (silver – more treble, red – least treble). And yes, MP145 are a bit sibilant-tending but again, this only been observed on some treble-saturated, not-that-good quality records which already tend bright/cold timbre.
What also shines is the separation/layering across the entire range. Each sound has great clarity, each instrument is outlined. Planars definitely win in this respect over hybrids or dynamic drivers which tend to mix or blur the outlines more.
Magnetic planar-based IEMs are still not that widely spread in comparison to dynamic or armature rivals, which is a fact. Perhaps, 27-40 products in overall offered by the most popular online audio equipment stores. Subtracting some evident crap from this number and we end up with a very small selection to choose from. But even those that are left, having decent sound quality, are known for its complexity in driving ability, required power and some limitations on the lower end. Hidizs MP145 planars are free from those limitations – easily driven over SE output and capable of large bass reproduction. Even if someone can find a minor flaw, MP145 provides the ability to tailor sound further using the additional filters or might be forgiven for stellar overall musical performance, smooth sound and sweet timbre.
Moreover, Hidizs has disclosed the early bird price for MP145 Kickstarter campaign that would launch soon – only $109. This is an absolute bargain since it is the lowest price on the market for planar IEMs with 14.5mm driver and additional tuning filters as innovation in the supplying set. Therefore, I highly recommend to track down the beginning of KS campaing and grabbing a pair on the early bird terms.
Link to MP145 Kickstarter campaign: LINK
Link to product page and subscription to KS campaign launch notification: LINK