Excellent build quality and cable, Engaging W-shaped tuning, Open high-end, Flexible connectivity
Somewhat muddy bass, Brighter background can be polarising
Though not perfectly balanced and a touch muddy down low, the MS4 has a grand, open and engaging sound with great detail retrieval and glossy vocals.
Hidizs are one of the original Chi-Fi DAP manufacturers. They had a somewhat tumultuous start but quickly gained momentum, coming to produce some of the most compelling and competitive products in the current market. In turn, Hidizs introduce the Mermaid series of in-ear earphones, the single dynamic driver MS1 and the more sophisticated MS4, a 4-driver hybrid with in-house 10.4mm dual magnet dynamic driver.
The MS4 comes in at a lower-midrange price of $299 USD and is available for just over $200 to backers of their Kickstarted campaign. This puts them in direct competition with the new wave of ChiFi top hits. Nonetheless, Hidizs come well-armed, with the MS4 sporting a premium design and accessory set in addition to the option of bundling with USB-C and wireless cables, an innovative advance for smartphone listeners. You can read more about the MS4 here.
I would like to thank Kevin from Hidizs very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the MS4 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.
Also included are 4 sets of eartips in small, medium and large. Each has its own sound, balanced are equipped from factory with the option to install foam, bass and vocal tips for a warmer or brighter sound in addition to a different fit. Bundles also include a USB-C or Bluetooth cable.
The MS4 is a medium/large sized earphone shaped similarly to the Fiio FH5. It is ergonomic with protruding nozzles that enable a deeper fit. Slight bolstering of the rear housing provides additional stability and comfort around the anti-helix of the ear. The housings are entirely aluminium with an even finish and eye-catching texture. They are almost satin with greater lustre than most aluminium in-ears.
The faceplates join seamlessly with gold accents that match the metal nozzles. The faceplates have a brushed metal aesthetic with gold Hidizs branding and gloss finish on top. The earphones are attractive and provide a positive impression of great solidity, they should withstand daily use and abuse well.
They fit nicely, medium to deep with smaller sized ear tips due to the shape of their nozzles. They protrude a fair amount from the ear but didn’t rub or produce hotspots during my testing despite their size. Isolation is surprisingly good for a hybrid, certainly above average but still not comparable to a fully-sealed armature earphone. Still, they easily suffice for public transport, especially with their bold low-end tuning.
Up top, the earphones implement un-recessed 0.78mm connectors that enable the cable to be replaced or upgraded. The stock cable is terrific, incredibly supple and compliant with zero memory and minimal microphonics. It has case friendly connectors, adequate strain relief and premium metal terminations. The pre-formed earguides are comfortable and well-shaped. Hidizs also offer a USB-C cable with in-built DAC in addition to a Bluetooth cable that can be purchased separately or in a bundle.
Their USB-C cable is quite impressive with a low output impedance and a high maximum volume. It has a slightly more V-shaped sound to my ear, especially bringing out the highs. Though it is thinner than the stock cable, it is a very strong and modestly priced option for smartphone users without a headphone jack such as myself. It worked flawlessly with my Google Pixel 3.