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HiBy Zeta: Ooh La La!

I’d like to thank HiBy for sending us a Zeta review sample well before the IEM was widely available. I’ve been listening to and comparing Zeta with various sources and IEMs for the past month to get a better understanding of its qualities, and the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. 


When I heard the first rumours about a new flagship IEM from HiBy it took me by surprise, not because I didn’t know HiBy was in the IEM business, but because, until now, their efforts were mostly lower-priced companion IEMs for their outstanding range of DAPs. 

Zeta is far more than that. It’s a premium tribrid flagship IEM that combines nine drivers in each titanium-steel earpiece, including four of Sonion’s newly-released third-generation electrostats. It also features a five-way crossover and five independent tubes that connect and conduct the mix of DD, BA and e-stat drivers, to great effect I might add.

To be honest, what’s more surprising is that in the months that followed the initial announcement there hasn’t been more fanfare about this IEM, but perhaps what I hinted at earlier – that HiBy is better known for its DAPs – is the reason why. I think Zeta has the potential to change all that, or at least put HiBy in the mix when it comes to choosing a modern kilobuck IEM. 

Packaging, design and fit

Everything about Zeta, from the unboxing to first impressions, feels premium. The multilayered box contains clever cutouts for the IEMs and different compartments for accessories, and it’s obvious that quite a bit of thought and preparation went into the unboxing experience. 

The accessories themselves are premium too. HiBy includes a round (faux?) leather case in a similar blue-green colour to the leather case supplied with the flagship RS8 DAP. Inside the case is a balanced (4.4mm) 8-wire, 2-pin pure OCC cable, sheathed in a soft and supple PVC that contains the exotic Lapis Lazuli compound (which gives it its blue hue). Also included is a full set of three different types of tips: medium silicone, soft silicone (for a deeper fit) and silicone-wrapped foam (for better isolation). 

Titanium seems to be flavour-of-the-month for premium products, and Zeta continues the theme with precision-milled titanium and stainless steel earpieces. Titanium is a lightweight metal, so despite their size, the earpieces are very light, ergonomic and silky smooth to the touch. Even with slightly thicker nozzles, I found fit, once seated properly (more on this below), to be very comfortable indeed, although there’s no way I’m getting a deep fit with these. 

I do have two issues at this point that need some addressing. First, the cable, while initially looking quite special, tends to lose its braiding shape when folded or stored, which gives it a ragged appearance after a while. If you take your time twisting it back into shape, the braids do tighten up again, but it’s worth noting that the shape doesn’t hold up as well as other cables I’ve used – not good for my aesthetic OCD. Ergonomics are very good though, with comfortable ear guides and zero microphonics, and the cable is very soft and supple, with excellent hardware quality at both ends.

The other, more pressing issue (if you’ll excuse the pun) is a vacuum pressure/pain sensation I get when using Zeta with its stock tips, and numerous third-party tips as well. This might well be an anomaly of my ear anatomy though, because I haven’t read about this issue elsewhere, and speaking to other Zeta users, it hasn’t been mentioned. It’s also unusual; I’ve had this suction issue before with unvented IEMs like Oriolus Traillii, but never with a vented IEM like Zeta. 

Thankfully there are certain tips, like Azla EarFit, that seem to eliminate the problem for me, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re sensitive to pressure pain in your ears. 

Overall, Zeta’s presentation and industrial design is impressive. HiBy has clearly gone to great lengths to make sure its premium IEMs are made, styled and presented as such, and have succeeded admirably. Considering Zeta is priced significantly lower than many other flagships in its class, it appears to be a great value buy. Whether or not that holds up in practice, we’ll find out next.

Continue to sound impressions…   



Guy Lerner

Guy Lerner

An avid photographer and writer 'in real life', Guy's passion for music and technology created the perfect storm for his love of portable audio. When he's not playing with the latest and greatest head-fi gear, he prefers to spend time away from the hobby with his two (almost) grown kids and wife in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, and traveling around his native South Africa.


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