Hyla CE-5 Review – Rhythm over Melody

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Pros – 

Hyper-engaging with terrific control, Very spacious stage, Great end to end extension

Cons – 

Driver flex, Nozzle doesn’t hold tips well, Not especially realistic in timbre


Introduction –

You probably haven’t heard of Hyla but maybe you’ve read into the success of PWAudio and Oriolus. Neither company possess the greatest market presence in the west, but they have a very loyal fan base and a development/manufacturing process backed by the much larger Cyras; and all the budget and resources associated. As a result, Oriolus have quickly made a name for themselves through their resolving in-ears. Their earphones aren’t an assembly of generic components, but are meticulously engineered in-house, essentially, from the ground up.

And within this, Hyla represent a step forward using the technologies pioneered by Oriolus. They’re a little more experimental, a little more daring and a lot more intriguing. The CE-5 embodies this ethos, utilising a quad hybrid driver setup with a single dynamic woofer, 2 Sonion midrange drivers and a ceramic super tweeter. The result is an earphone that sounds as unique as its specifications would suggest. It should be noted that the CE-5 is a limited run earphone with only 200-units worldwide, it retails for $832 USD. You can read more about the CE-5’s “Trident Engine’ here and secure a unit for yourself here.

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Hyla very much for providing me with the CE-5 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

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The CE-5 comes in a minimal hard box with gold Hyla text providing a hint of the premium goods inside. Upon opening the box, the buyer is greeted by the CE-5 and one of Van-Nuy’s legendary cases decorated in silken fabric.

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The case contains a selection of ear tips in addition to a cleaning tool. Hyla provide 3 sizes of silicone tips in addition to a pair of dual flanges. The CE-5 also comes packaged with 3 pairs of foam tips that provide increased isolation and a more personalised fit.

 

Design & Build –

Unique adequately defines Hyla’s CE-5; not because of any precious materials, but by nature of their design. With sharp, teardrop-shaped housings and a very intriguing purple colour scheme, the CE-5 draws the eye akin to an exotic hyper-car. The earphones may not employ metal in their construction, but they’re 3D printed from German resin and finished to the standard of jewellery. Furthermore, the CE-5 employs titanium sound tubes to reduce resonances.

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Resultantly, the earphones feel as pristine as a mass-manufactured product and look as fascinating as a jewel. The CE-5 is quite large, with fairly squared off corners on top, but it carries itself well in the ear. This is mainly due to the terrific sculpting of their housings, with a thin tapered front end and rounded rear. I did find the edge at the back to form a small hotspot after several hours of listening, but this is a surprisingly ergonomic earphone for its size.

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And, once fit, the Hyla remains very stable in the ear due to a combination of their over-ear design and tapered, elongated sound tubes that provide a very deep fit. The nozzles have no filters, but there are internal filters protecting the drivers themselves. The nozzles also have some slight ridging but I didn’t find them to hold tips especially well.

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The earphones have a small vent on their outer face but still produce very high levels of noise isolation despite their vented design. They don’t attenuate quite as much as a fully sealed monitor from Campfire for instance, but they’re easily adequate for anything from commute to air travel. Some driver flex is present when first inserting the earphones, but I haven’t experienced damage or degradation of sound quality during my month of testing.

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Up top, is a recessed 0.78mm 2-pin removable cable system. Unfortunately, Hyla isn’t using the glorious PW No.5 of the Japanese Oriolus MKII, but the included cable houses premium 6N OFC copper innards. It’s otherwise a fairly standard 4-core braid with memory wire guides that hold their position well and provide some additional fit stability. The cable itself has a smooth texture and a supple in-hand feel. I didn’t experience any intermittency and the right angle 3.5mm plug has excellent strain relief.

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

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