Hippo Boom

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Hippo Boom 400x300.jpg
Reviewed Jan 2011

Details: Budget basshead-oriented earphone from Jaben’s in-house brand
Current Price: N/A (discontinued) (MSRP: $43)
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 32Ω | Sens: 102 dB | Freq: 20-22k Hz | Cable: 4’ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Stock triple-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear

Accessories (3.5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (4 sizes), bi-flange silicone tips, shirt clip, and soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – Like the other Hippo earphones, the Boom feels rather sturdy with its metal shells, rubbery cables, and low profile 3.5mm L-plug. Mild driver flex is present but not problematic
Isolation (3/5) – Fairly typical of sealed-back straight-barrel dynamics
Microphonics (3/5) – Can be quite annoying when worn cable-down; fine otherwise
Comfort (3.5/5) – The Boom is a little tubby in shape but is tapered in the front and quite comfortable to insert. The weighty housings may be an issue for some and the non-removable shirt clip is very annoying but the fit is good overall

Sound (4.8/10) – The sound signature of the Hippo Boom is a far cry from the treble-heavy Hippo Shroom and subbass-heavy VB, both pricier models in the company’s lineup. There is no mistaking the Boom for a high-end earphone but for a budget set it does quite a few things properly. True to the name, the Boom is an impactful earphone with a full-bodied low end. Unlike the VB, the Boom has its bass come in mostly above 40Hz but extension is still good for a budget set. The bass is a bit boomy and slightly muddy but a step tighter than that of the cheaper Meelec M9. There is a bit of resonance within the housings and the tone is quite dark overall but for lovers of bass the low end of the Boom will fall in that happy range beween ‘added kick’ and ‘bass monster’.

The midrange of the Boom is clear and detailed but a bit dry and slightly recessed in comparison to the low end. There is very little warmth carried over from the bass and the liquidity of the smoother Hippo Pearl just isn’t there. The treble is not recessed but not quite as prominent as the low end and can be a bit harsh and overbearing at times. It’s a little grainy and somewhat sharp/edgy, not unlike that of the Hippo VB. Extension is good – the smoother Pearl seems to roll off a bit earlier than the Boom. The presentation is decent but the Boom is neither open-sounding nor very spacious. The bass and treble are both fairly aggressive and the sonic space never quite feels three-dimensional or out-of-the-head – just the usual three-blob (left, right, center) soundstage. Layering is decent, however, and things never really sound congested but the similarly-priced Pearl sounds both larger and more enveloping.

Value (7/10) – The Hippo Boom is a well-built and comfortable budget earphone designed to provide ample bass for all but the most die-hard bassheads without sacrificing midrange clarity or treble energy. To an extent it is successful, exhibiting plentiful bass impact, a clear – if somewhat recessed – midrange, and edgy treble. At the same time, the balance and refinement of the higher-end Hippo VB just isn’t there and the Boom lacks the spaciousness and musicality of the similarly-priced Hippo Pearl as well as the Brainwavz M1 and ProAlpha. Unless the Boom’s signature is exactly what is sought, it isn’t difficult to do better for the money on the whole.

Pros: Solid construction, impactful bass, good clarity
Cons: Shirt clip not removable, edgy treble


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

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