Trinity Hyperion Review
Thanks to Trinity for the sample and collaboration.
First Impressions: Once more it’s a pre-production sample I have so just a bare bone affair, IEM and a bag of tips. So I guess straight in the ears they go. Gosh, very open and airy sounding. Vocals especially have a very airy take on them and quite some prominence, not particularly mid centric but they do like to jump out a bit at you. Treble seem likewise very open and airy.
Source: Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., FiiO E7/E9 combo, HiFiMAN HM-650, Nexus 5, 1G Ipod Shuffle and a Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: For something of this price bracket unusually the bass is not taking centre stage. It’s not lacking in absolute terms but it’s comparatively somewhat behind what you’d normally see around this price. It’s really very controlled and has I nice element of depth to it that tries very hard to go down linearly. At the lowest ranges both it and human hearing drops out and so it does roll off. It’s clearly going for quality and measuring well over quantity. That’s fine by me as bass is the one thing dap’s and bass boosting amps are all set up to enhance anyway. Still it’s pretty reticent to jump forward and show off, you have to goad it with some heavy bass tracks for it to come out and even then, upper mids and lower treble still like to command your attention. Comparing to the GR06 and its clearly much more linear and accurate than the rounded humpy bass of the 6. There just isn’t all that much of it.
Though please note, if you hook it up to a powerful amp the bass becomes remarkably deep and linear for their price point. GR06 and RE-300 with ease beating linearity.
Mids: Very spacious and airy. They have masses of breadth to them and an exceedingly explicitness to them. Once more clearly they have gone for a quality and measuring well feel. It’s very explicit nature makes it very well suited for well recorded and well mastered tracks. The like of The Beautiful South and Susan Wong both sound exemplary on them and vocally are even GR06 beating. There is just more detail and more expressiveness. You slap on some Nora and she sounds superb, all breathy and lingering. Guitars likewise particularly suit the dryness and twang excellently. Creamy though, not so much and by not so much I mean not really at all. The Hyperion feels like it’s trying ever so hard to express every last detail where as something like the BA drivered PL-50 makes creamy and expressively detailed look utterly effortless.
Quantitatively its all pretty much in line with the bass and the treble.
Highs: The hardest bit to get right and we get a really nice offering. That air, open and expressive nature shines here with the highs on the whole sounding very detailed and delicate. If you keep yourself to sedate and calm treble then they are fantastically good for the money. All that air and openness makes everything feel hyper explicit and the spike they have is much less noticeable. The extension beyond that spike is very good too. The trouble is if you start playing more active treble and things that err toward sibilance then the treble spike of the Hyperion begins to start making itself known. It also tends to drown out somewhat the extension and decay too. This is not something unique to the Hyperion, highs are the hard bit to not get something wrong. The GR06 has a similar spike that can get ear stabby but its overall more mellow warmth softens it somewhat. The cool dryness of the Hyperion ensures it stays right up front and in your face. If you hurl fast, scratchy treble at it it will serve it up, brutality intact. My treble sensitive ears did not love this. For the price though I think I’m being a little overly picky.
Quantitatively the treble can get really quite prominent. It is a little out there in front of the mids and therefor the bass too making this somewhat of a fractionally treble focused IEM. Using foamy tips does tame the uppers a tad nicely though and with well mastered treble its really rather enjoyable.
Soundstage: Outstanding. For something cheap like this it’s vast sounding. It has oodles of breadth, a goodly amount of depth and height too. The air and openness as I have mentioned are clear stand out features. They are just huge of you feed it a cool, dry track. Its integration is pretty good too. Though that upper mid/treble spike and general treble abundance make instrument placement seem odd. The treble regularly sounds very upfront and in your face with the mids and bass placed behind it. You may get space but you don’t get things arrayed before you they feel one hiding behind the other.
Fit: Great, tiny things that just went in ears and that was it. Up or down it was the same story.
Comfort: Their teeny dimensions meant they pretty much instantly melted away once in.
Cable: The new cable is super lush. Some double weave wrap thing that leaves it super flexible and zero cable memory. A particularly top quality cable for something so cheap.
Build Quality: The cable as I said is awesome. The jack then, it should be pretty damn indestructible though the shrink wrap over the spring is a touch stiff. The buds though are rather sturdy little things being carved out aluminium. They feel as nice in the hand as they look to the eye.
Amped/Unamped: Actually I think if anything they have been made with warm and pretty puny amps in mind. When you hook up the a phone, the treble seems to calm itself a bit. The phone just hasn’t the power behind it to make that treble stand out and berate your ears. Since I now have an Iphone for these things, swapping to it and I guessed right. The Iphone is a bit warm and hasn’t the oomp in its little amp to really make the treble dazzle like it does of the Solo Ultra. I could see the combination working to boost the warmth of the low and and toning down somewhat the energy and edge of the treble. Certainly form my own assortment of sources, consistently they were softer and less edgy when paired with warm sources. Oh and the little 1G Ipod shuffle, known for being a bit brutal up top, oh there were not a happy pairing.
So while power isn’t needed for the Hyperion, their comparative bass lightness meant that adding in a little baby amp with a bass boost button was rather fun. So you don’t need an amp for power but I can see the bass boosting potential here and its just a bit of naughty fun.
Isolation: Pretty fair. It’s about the norm for dynamics these days. Perfectly grand for normal out and about or on a bus. Probably not for a daily Tube commute but for the odd flight or visit to London am sure they would do fine. Clearly more than sufficient to make you road kill if you don’t keep your eyes open when in motion.
Accessories: They will come with a bunch of tips and a nice little case which is all you could want really.
Value: Pressing off out the door with a retail price of £30 these are erring towards bargainlishous. They aren’t going to be all things to everyone, certainly if you’ve only got bright DAP’s you might want to stear clear but in terms of quality, they are going head to head with the RE-300 and frankly they trade blows, for the most part, evenly. So what that means is for the money you cant get better, you can get different but not better.
N.B. I have just had it confirmed that the Kickstarter price will be just £20. Uberbarganlishious!!!
Conclusion: I have some mixed feelings about the Hyperion. The detail levels it can spit out are just incredible for the cost. The openness it exhibits lends well to this and they make everything hyper detailed. It bests the RE-300 in terms of details, though the 300 has a greatly warmer and richer tone. Yes, the world has gone crazy. A HiFiMAN IEM is the bassy option and lacks in detail retrieval. Who would have ever seen that coming a few years ago?
Treble, at cheap a price point you are not going to be able to nail perfectly, if you could we would no longer have expensive IEM’s. My own inclination as you go down the price scale is to dial back the treble. The Hyperion does not do that at all. It keeps that treble right up there and even with a warm DAP in play, if you throw a trebly track at it, it tries its little heart out. It does every damn little thing it possibly can to get everything spot on and it can’t quite manage everything. Come on though, the thing is only 30 quid. You feed it a brash high end and it dishes out all that brashness and more. With smooth and rich tracks its crisp dryness find a much more suitable pairing. Nevertheless it put a truly valiant rendition of Owl City’s “The Bird and the Worm.”
The Hyperion feels almost a bit too good for itself. In its own price range, the RE-300 goes for a vastly warmer sound and much easier on the ears for it. If you are willing to pair it with a nice warm DAP you will be highly rewarded though. It’s a real enthusiastic little go getter. For just £30 these feel like a total steal, I mean I could maybe see this sound quality level at the price but to get it and have such solid construction too? I’m pretty sure there is a pact with the devil somewhere however seeing as I’m not Bob’s first born I can live with it.