By the power of E-stat

8.6 One of the best in its class

The ES hybrid has very good bass, impressive mid range sharpness and the best treble for its price. Loaded with plenty of details and a much more bigger than average stage size, it is difficult to sideline this power house named Pola.

  • Build quality 8.3
  • Sound quality 8.9
  • Matchability 8.5
  • comfort and fit 8.5
  • User Ratings (33 Votes) 3.6

GETTING STARTED:-

 There are only a few brands in the market who maintains products in every price bracket, Shozy is one of them. Based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, they have some of the most versatile products, starting from the new V33, their entry level iem priced at $60 to their upcoming Pola 39 at $950, they have products for everyone.

 The Pola is made in collaboration with AAW and is priced at $800 for universal and $900 for custom version. It is one of the most versatile earphones in the market in its price range. It houses a 13mm grapheme dynamic driver accompanied by two electrostatic drivers with a 2 way crossover with vented design for better dynamism.

 In their words Pola is:-

 ‘‘A design that truly brings out the ES driver’s qualities’’

 “Powered by the cutting-edging miniature electrostatic tweeter technology, It employs a six micro gram, gold plated membrane held against a plate charged up to 400 volts. The electrical signal voltage is amplified up to 100 times via a built-in miniature transformer. The electrostatic attraction and repulsion effects induced by music signal triggers the membrane to produce acoustic pressure. Simply plug into your player and high fidelity music is ready to go.”

 I am reviewing the universal version of the Pola, which faces competition from the likes of Andromeda, Shure SE846, W50 and many others at this price. I will compare the Pola with Eternal Melody EM-5H, Hyla TE-5B and Nocturnal Eden.

 For a short period of time, the Pola was one of my favourite earphones, read on to find out why.

You can get one for yourself from these links:-

POLA Electrostatic Universal In-Ear Monitor

http://www.shozy-hk.com/hibiki-1/pola-electrostatic-hybrid-iem

 ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING:-

 The Pola ships with a classic gift box type box. The box can be easily damaged and that is problem when it has to travel a long way.

 The first thing that greets us opening the box is the travel case. It is not a pocket-able one for sure. But is of very good size to carry your portable DAP and couple of cables along with the earphones. The travel case has all the accessories packed inside it. The tips are stuffed into the foam which houses the ear pieces too. There is another paper case which contains the cable.

 Out of the box we get 6 pairs of tips, 3 pairs of foam tips, 3 pairs of rubber tips in S/M/L sizes. There is a 6.5mm adapter and an airplane adapter below the cable box. No cable clip in the box. There is a cleaning cloth and the warranty card rounds up the list of accessories.

BUILD QUALITY:-

 Build quality of the Pola is average at best. Other brands in this price range use more premium materials like metal or resins for the shell, but the Pola is made out of plastic material for the shell and the nozzle is aluminium, giving the nozzle a very strong feel, with “AAW” engraved on it.

 The back plate has a nice textured look to it and is nicely fused into the Shell. The layer of resin on it gives it a stronger feel. There is a small vent on the body near the dynamic driver which give the large 13mm driver some breathing space.

 The recessed 2pin socket is slightly tricky and it would have been nice if the socket was at level of the body. I struggled a bit to get it in place, as I said, it is a bit tricky.

 There are two bores, one for the dynamic driver and one for the Electrostatic drivers.

 If you opt for custom version, you can choose back plates and of your choice.

CABLE:-

 The Symphonym Tiburon UPOCC copper cable is of very good quality and I was not expecting anything of lower quality from an earphone of this calibre. Most of the Brands in this price range give cables which cost $70-100 on their own, adding more value to the IEM.

 The 4 core pure copper cable lets the Pola churn out better quality when compared to lower quality $20-30 cables.

 The build quality of the cable is very good. All the 4 cores are thicker than most $100 cables and feel very strong. The cable is neither bouncy nor rubbery. There is little to no microphonics on the cable.

 It feels very supple and has very little memory. There is no problem in winding the cable to our own preference.

COMFORT, ERGONOMICS AND SEAL:-

 The Pola is aptly comfortable. It doesn’t have excess weight and doesn’t fall out of ear easily. It is not the most comfortable earphone in this price range but unless you have very small ears the Pola will not fall out. The little wing on the body helps with a bit more grip inside the ear making the fit more secure. The nozzle is deep enough and gives an aptly deep fit, it isn’t extra wide and one can use most of the 3.5mm to 5mm silicone tips on it.

 Seal of the Pola is above average with silicone tips and slightly better with foam, it can’t stop very loud outer noise but will do for the average commute. If seal is your priority then go for the custom version.

CAUTION:-  don’t use earphones where you have to be aware of your surroundings like driving and walking on the road, stay home and enjoy your music or at gym.

SOUND QUALITY:-

 The lifting is done by the dynamic driver and two Estat drivers and the quality is very good, as good as things can get for around $800. The only problem is a bit of channel imbalance, it’s not a deal breaker at all.

 The signature is slightly W shaped but that doesn’t take anything away from the mix of things, the full bodied bass and well extended treble mixed with the a big stage makes the experience a delight for any audiophile. The tonality is very neutral with fantastic precision with very good notes sharpness.

 Burned for more than 150hrs, I am using the Plenue R and D for this review, the Pola need good amount of power and will not be easily driven out of mobile devices and thanks to the lower crosstalk values of mobile devices the Pola will feel very imbalanced.

TECHNICALITY AND MATCHABILITY:-

The Pola with its 101db sensitivity and 12ohm impedance is not very easy to drive out of any mobile device, driving it out of a dap is okay but If you dap is not powerful enough you will miss the best of the Pola. Power is what makes the Pola tick.

 It matches pretty well with all type of devices, it is not much choosy. But if you use something like Plenue R it tends to down play the treble emphasis and makes the overall signature slightly drier.

BASS:-

 Being Drenched with BA drivers, trying the Pola makes my feet tap. The full bodied bass with its dynamism is a delight for even someone who demands heavy bass notes from their IEM. The 13mm graphene dynamic driver delivers plenty of thump, details and clarity. It doesn’t go over the head like the Hyla TE-5B and doesn’t fly under the radar like some BA based earphone.

 I agree that the bass quantity or the amount of air wont absolutely please a bass head but it  wont leave them asking for it either. In other words, the Pola moves very good amount of air with a full bodied slam. The extension of sub-bass is deeper than most of the BA based earphones but is slightly less than the TE-5B, where TE-5B fails badly is with bass decay, that’s where the Pola pulls ahead with better clarity and details. The notes have very good sharpness to them, they don’t feel loose and the texture too is outstanding.

 The Pola has slightly more mid bass body than the sub-bass, giving bass the required amount of fullness making it meatier and impactful. The slam, the air and the rumble makes the Pola’s bass enjoyable and sets it apart from the likes of Andromeda and other BA based earphone. The upper bass is nicely tuned with good amount of control.

 The thing which sets the Pola apart from the Andromeda and the TE-5B is something which both the earphones failed to deliver. The andro takes the leaner approach with very good details but sounds lean where the 5B takes the other extreme with shit loads of bass losing some details and precision. The Pola middles that with near perfection, it has very good amount of slam and air, the level of details too is 2nd to none.

 When you consider details, slam, air, body and tonality the Pola has one of the best balance for at around $1000.

MID RANGE :-

 The mid range is delightful, the dynamic driver handles the mid range too and it does a fantastic job, the transition from upper bass to lower mid range is nicely done, there is little to no loss of energy in this region and has good amount of clarity. Yes it is not as flawless as the AF1120 or the Nocturnal Eden but it’s better than the TE-5B.

 The mid range is nicely paced without being dull like the Fibae 3 and is not overly aggressive like the EM-5H. Instrumental distribution and density is as good as the Andro but the Andro has more forward mid range and delivering slightly better transparency.

 It is nicely balanced with the bass region without being much into the V. There is plenty of detail and the bigger stage size helps a lot. The notes have very good body. They have the required amount of thickness to them and are not sharp at top, keeping any type of sibilance at bay.

 Vocals on the Pola are very accurate with notes depth and details, it might sound slightly dry because it lacks a bit of note body as they have faster decay speed. But a bit slower decay and thicker note body would have sounded more natural though. The vocals have very good bite, when I switch from pola to the TE-5B vocals sound dull and muddier. Both male and female vocals sound equally impressive, both have very good details and accuracy. Male vocals retain good amount of throaty feel to them and female vocals maintain good amount of depth and sharpness with them.

 Instruments have nice transparency and details to them and have required amount of sharpness, it doesn’t sound dull like the Fibae 3 and EE Bravado and more sharper notes would have landed in the thin category like the EM-5H. Upper mid range is slightly lacking energy when compared with the vocals and rest of the mid range, it still has very good weight with notes but is not as forward.

 The stage size of the Pola is very good. It is bigger than anything you can experience for under $800rs. The stage is one of the biggest in its price range, bigger than the HYLA TE-5B. Good thing is the stage doesn’t feel hollow as the density of instruments is very good. Layering and separation is very good and there is good amount of air between instruments too.

HIGHS:-

 The treble region of the Pola is handled by two micro tweeters and the result is outstanding, the extension feels endless and the amount of energy too is fantastic. There is plenty of sparks to it.

 The transition from upper mid to lower treble is very good but not flawless, there is a small dip but still has good amount of energy and details to it. The Pola delivers one of the most delightful treble presentations with plenty of details and accuracy. The big stage size helps a lot with instrument placements and density. There is plenty of air between instruments and the layering and separation is fantastic.

 Let it be pianos, trumpets or cymbals, they have fantastic amount of sharpness and the finishing of the note along with the presentation is very good. Let it be the resolution, transparency or imaging the Pola delivers like a champion. There is little to no complain about the treble.

 The treble doesn’t shine out of proportion and does its work with ease, the extension and stage size is good enough to bring smile on any ones face.

 COMPARISONS:-

VS EM-5H:-

 Working around 5BA drivers, one for bass, two for mids and highs, the 5H delivers one of the most detailed music in the price range of around $700.

 The EM-5H has smaller bass size and the extension too is slightly less than the Pola. It doesn’t have a W shaped signature, the flatter signature of the 5H is loaded with details and notes are sharper and drier hence sounding less natural. Level of details is similar, but the 5H can be sibilant at times. The sharpness is evident with vocals too, notes have very good transparency but they lack a a bit of texture and poise with them.

 Treble of the 5H has similar attributes as the Pola but the Pola delivers better details and emotions. EM-5H extension doesn’t feel as endless as the Pola. The biggest difference is the stage size, the 5H is considerably smaller here, mind you, the Pola has one of the biggest stage size in its price range.

VS FIBAE 3:-

 Based on 3BA drivers the Fibae 3 has one for bass, one full range driver and one treble driver for the lifting.

 The Fibae 3 lacks the bass body, the extension is slightly better and the bass is driven by sub-bass body, mid bass lacks body. Notes are smoother and doesn’t have the attack of the Pola. The mids are less forward and lack a bit of energy against the Pola, decay across the spectrum is slightly slower. The Fibae 3 is slightly less transparent and the lack of details is evident. Treble is good with energy but notes are still on the smoother side, the Pola has better bite and sharpness. Both the earphones have similar extension.

 The stage size of the Pola is considerably bigger with width and height where the Fibae 3 has similar depth.

VS HYLA TE-5B:-

 The Triple hybrid earphone relies on two BA drivers, one dynamic driver and one piezoelectric driver. Priced at $1250 it is driven by the bass power of the dynamic driver.

 The bass of the 5B is of bass head level, it delivers one of the heaviest bass in this price point. It moves more air, has considerably more air and has better sub-bass extension and rumble. Mid bass is slightly smaller than the Pola but still has very good body. The decay is slower and has plenty of texture and has better details to it.

 Mid range of the 5B takes the back seat and feels dull and veiled, I did enjoy the laid back approach but it is not very good when you switch to the Pola which delivers better notes transparency and sharper vocals. Treble has the same case, a bit veiled and lacking a bit of spark and transparency, extension is very good, layering and separation is good too. But paying $1250 and sticking with good is not reasonable is it? Sound stage is good but still is smaller than the Pola.

 Even when the 5B is very lovable with its approach and the smoother presentation, if you are not looking for bass and like details over other things, the TE-5B doesn’t cut it for me for the asking price.

CONCLUSION:-

When you consider details, transparency, technicality and tonality, nothing really comes close to the performance level of the Pola for around $800, it is fantastic.

The signature as I said is W shaped, the dips at the transition points are very marginal, if you can live with that, you have a champion at hand.

 If you are in the market looking to upgrade from your $500 IEM or want more bass or better details or better treble extension from your $500-600 iem, Pola should be on the top of your list.

 Thanks for reading guys, enjoy your music, cheers!!