ISN H40 review : Typical Hybrid

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8.7 Good

The H40 has good amount of details and plenty of bass. It will wow those who are just getting into this hobby but for the more seasoned ears, there are better options.

  • Sound Quality 8.1
  • Build quality 9
  • Matching with sources 9
  • Feel inside the ear 9
  • Value for money quotient 8.5
  • User Ratings (7 Votes) 7.2

PAIRING WITH SOURCES:-

H40 housing a single dynamic driver and 3BA drivers has a impedance of 22ohm and sensitivity of 105db makes it one of the most compliant IEM I have used for a while. Driving it out of mobile phone is not a problem at all. Pairing it with more powerful sources and AMPs doesn’t yield a lot of improvement either. I tried it with the Busron Playmate and it lost some of its lower end volume while delivering faster and lighter mid and treble notes.

If you want an IEM that can be driven without any problem across a handful of sources the ISN H40 should be considered a top contender. Drive it out of any dongle and just enjoy!!

SOUND QUALITY:-

I worked on the D10 a few days ago and I am aware of what I can expect from the H40. The slightly bigger than average shell of the H40 houses a single 9.2mm dynamic driver which is paired with 3 BA drivers, out of those 3 two drivers are assigned for highs and one for mid range.

Like most of the hybrid earphones in the market H40 too falls in the V shaped sound without losing any details. The lower end is fairly voluminous, the mid range is less emphasized while the treble region is nicely energized. The timber is fairly natural with a warm and bright tonality.

The H40 has faced more than 80 hours of music and I am using the stock red core tip with a handful of DACs as sources.

BASS:-

Unlike the BGVP DH3 that I reviewed few days ago the H40 has a much healthier and fuller lower end with a wholesome feel to it. It delivers notes with plenty of weight delivering a very enjoyable and thumpy sound. The 9.2 mm dynamic driver has excellent sub-bass extension and rumble. This extension is a hair better than the DUNU DK2001 and slightly less than the Penon ORB. The mid bass has a full bodied slam giving a well rounded full bodied feel to the lower end. Upper bass deliver very good amount of details and merges nicely into the lower mid region.

The decay speed is slightly on the slower side with a bit of cushy feel to it. It allows the note to precipitate without much restriction take it very close to bass-head Level. Just like most of the dynamic driver IEMs the H40 has good amount of juiciness and very good amount texture.

MID RANGE:-

The single BA driver might be the reason why the H40 struggles to keep the mid range energy in level with the rest of the spectrum. There is noticeable drop in energy in the transition region of upper bass to lower treble region. Lower mid does not have very good amount of energy but still maintains fairly good amount of clarity and transparency. Notes have very good agility and the right amount of decay. The notes are more musical with a slightly wider base without a thin feeling body. There is good amount of sharpness but doesn’t have any piercing to worry about. Notes have very good amount of bite, accuracy and precision while exhibiting class leading amount of technical abilities. Micro detail retrieval is very good and the background acts have admirable transparency and clarity.

Vocals have very good transparency and clarity along with class leading amount of texture but the timber is slightly on the colder side. Vocals have similar sonic abilities as the D10, coming out of the bass plane give it a filter kind of effect which restricts any kind of sharpness while maintaining good amount of shine. . Both male and female vocals sound similarly impressive while maintaining very good amount of details and texture, let it be Ben Howard or Nina Simone, all of them sound fairly accurate. The upper mid is slightly on the sharper side without making things even remotely uncomfortable.

HIGHS:-

Dual drivers for the treble region have done an excellent job. It doesn’t shy away from a sparkly and aptly energetic presentation filled with plenty of details and class leading transparency. It delivers the right amount of energy and spark staying clear of uncomfortable notes. It has very good amount of air between instruments. Thanks to it’s slightly brightness it delivers cleaner, contrasty notes with very good amount of clarity.

The transition phase from upper mid range to lower treble region is nicely done with very good transparency and clarity. The H40 has class leading treble extension and even when it goes deep into the spectrum it maintains good amount of energy and clarity. Level of details retrieval is class leading, it just doesn’t miss out on any details while keeping the timber fairly natural. Cymbals and pianos have very good transparency. Needless to say that separation and layering is up to the mark with good amount of air and space between instruments. The treble stage is well spread and has good density to it. The bigger than average stage size helps a lot with instrument placements and density. If you like lively treble, tingling instruments and minute details you will definitely like the H40.

STAGE AND IMAGING:-

This is the part where the H40 feels a bit odd. It has excellent amount of details and clarity but the stage is not exactly what we get generally. The width and height of the stage is much bigger than competition but the depth is much smaller. Another odd ball is the Imaging. Most of the earphones tend to project away from the head but the H40’s stage has an over the head kind of stage. It at time feels like you are wearing the stage on your head. Most of the instruments have a closed in projection with a limited amount of instruments are projected outside the head. No part of the spectrum takes the center stage with very good instrument distribution contributing to very good separation and layering.

COMPARISONS:

VS ISN D10 and Spring 2

CONCLUSION:-

ISN H40 is a very capable earphone, technically sound with very good details and clarity. Lower end has excellent rumble and presence with very good weight to the notes. The treble region is aptly energetic delivering sparkly and engaging notes. It is an excellent specimen of what hybrid earphones are capable of. But then the problem arises, it does not do anything different from the rest. DK-2001 has bigger stage and more cohesive. Penon ORB is one of the most organic and unique sounding earphone for under $300. The H40 doesn’t have any WOW factor to it and has a couple of down sides too.

H40 has a larger size which might cause some discomfort to some. The mid range is unnaturally pushed back and the unnatural stage height along with inward leaning projection can put the trained ears off.

It still is excellent for under $200. There isn’t anything as detailed sounding as the H40 here. It still is a hot property. But if you want a bit more balance and like a bass heavy sound the ISN D10 is a better choice. If you like a mid centric sound the BQEYZ Spring 2 is a better option. But if you don’t listen to a lot of vocals and want to enjoy instruments then the H40 is a very good choice.

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About Author

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!

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