(Last Updated On: September 3, 2018)

Shozy Hibiki MK2 is a budget IEM that has a look of a Custom Monitor and a great upper mid-range performance.

If the first thing that came to your mind when we mentioned “Hibiki” was the premium Japanese whisky, we are on the same boat. Firstly, I want to complement Shozy for branding this IEM with such a unforgettable name. But it does carry some sort of unwanted expectation for this budget IEM that strives to look like a Custom In-ear Monitor (CIEM).

But first, let’s go through the background of this IEM.

Collaboration Between Shozy and AAW

The Hibiki is a collaboration project between Shozy and Advanced Acoustic Werkes (AAW). Shozy is a Guangdong-based company that is known for their Alien Digital Audio Player (DAP) while AAW is Singapore-based company that specializes in In-ear Monitor (IEM) driver technology.

For the Shozy Hibiki Mk2, it seems like AAW took care of the dynamic driver component that drives the sound while Shozy took care of the rest.

Shozy Hibiki MK2

Shozy Hibiki MK2

“The lower treble or upper mid-range is where the Hibiki MK2 shines the most”

Pros:

  • »Sleek-looking
  • »Neutral Sound Signature
  • »Great cable quality
  • »Impressive upper mids response for its price

Cons:

  • »Rubber clip on cable is not practical
  • »Memory wire not conforming well

Packaging and Accessories

The Shozy Hibiki MK2 comes in a package that consist of a box sleeve and a hard box. Within the hard box, you will find the IEM and accessories embedded in a foam mold. I had some trouble with the box opening due to design of the box.

Shozy Hibiki MK2 Box
Shozy Hibiki MK2 Box

It is those “should i pull or pry” kind of box which there is no indication of the opening. It’s not a big deal but for me, it is the little things that counts.

What you will find inside:

  • A pair of Shozy Hibiki Mk2
  • 3 pair of stock ear tips (in S, M, L size)
  • 3.5mm to 2-pin braided cable with inline controls
  • User Manual
Inside of the Shozy Hibiki MK2 Box
Inside of the Shozy Hibiki MK2 Box

Build Quality

Sleek Design

The first thing you will notice about the Hibiki MK2 will be the carbon fibre faceplate. The chrome lining that trims the faceplate gives the IEM a really sleek look.

The body of the driver unit has the CIEM-inspired look. It is roughly the size of my thumb but it’s not as chunky as the Bose Soundsport Wireless.

The entire frame is glossy and thus, it is naturally a fingerprint magnet. However, due to its dark color profile, you can hardly see the smudge unless you are looking at it from a close range.

Lightweight Driver Unit

The driver unit without the cable weighs only 4g which is great. However, it is a little too light for my preference. Perhaps it is my perception bias playing against me. From the size of the driver unit, I expected to have some weight to it. Thus, when I found out how light the driver unit was, it kind of cheapen the sleekness that the IEM was exuding.

However, take in mind that the IEM costs less than $100. Having a all-plastic driver unit is a common strategy to save cost.

Following the footsteps of some CIEM, it even have a recessed 2-pin socket to plug in the detachable 2-pin cable.

Cable design

The amount of detail that the cable has deserve a section on its own. The cable can be segmented into 3 parts – memory wire part, 2-wire braid part and lastly the 4-wire braid.

The memory wire part connects the driver unit to the 2-wire braid. The memory wire has to go over the top of the ear, hence, you cannot wear them cable down. You will find similar IEM with such a structure like the Brainwavz B200.

Shozy Hibiki MK2 Accessories
Shozy Hibiki MK2 Accessories

The cable goes around my ear easily but the right side does not conform well. This cause it to have gap between the cable and my ear. There are times the cable will slip out of my ears and I have to press it down to keep it in place. This gets annoying easily.

I could possibly use the hair dryer trick that I learnt while using the Tennmak Pro to tame the memory wire.

The cable is detachable and has a 3.5mm jack to 2-pin connector. Hence, if you want to upgrade your cable to audiophile level, you can replace it with the 2-pin Linum SuperBaX or any other premium cable that you have in your arsenal with compatible pin connector.

Shozy Hibiki MK2 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Shozy Hibiki MK2 3.5mm Headphone Jack

The Rubber Clip That Won’t Budge

On the 2-wire braid part, there is a inline remote control and also a small rubber clip that you can use to clip the left and right cables together. This will prevent slagging of the cable and prevent them from swaying around.

Although the positioning of the rubber clip can be adjusted along the 2-wire braid, there seems to be too much friction to move them anywhere. It takes a lot of effort to move the rubber clip and it comes at the risk of ripping them out of the cable.

Remote Control support both iOS and Android

The inline remote control where you can adjust the volume and play/pause functionality. The remote is perfectly functional on both iOS and Android. I tested them on iPhone 6S and Pixel XL2.

Shozy Hibiki MK2 Inline Control
Shozy Hibiki MK2 Inline Control

Comfort

After wearing the Hibiki MK2 for a period of time and a few hours per session, I think the overall comfort is decent. It’s not uncomfortable but it’s not exactly “I don’t feel it’s there anymore” kind of comfort.

I normally use it at my work desk while I’m focused on some activity. There were no bugging issues from the Hibiki that will take me out of the zone. However, I don’t think I will wear this if I’m winding down from work.

I will say this is because of the shape of the driver unit. As the body frame is chunky, you are unable to extend the ear tips into your ear canal. Hence, it sits and sticks out just slightly outside of the ear.

How the Shozy Hibiki MK2 looks while worn
How the Shozy Hibiki MK2 looks while worn

Another issue will be the memory wire. I don’t know if it’s just the problem with my set but if it happens for you too, leave a comment below to let me know. The cable on the right has trouble conforming around my ear. This causes a loose fitting and it sometimes slipped out from my ear. This gets annoying over time. I let my friends try the cable and they had the same issue too.

To be clear, the left cable works perfectly fine so I guess there are some manufacturing inconsistencies there.

Difference with Hibiki and Hibiki Mk2

The Shozy Hibiki Mk2 is the second generation of the Hibiki series. As with successors, I was expecting to find some upgrade over the original Hibiki. However, I couldn’t find any official documentation stating the difference between the them.

My guess is that the original stock had already sold out and they had to do another round of marketing for the fresh batch, hence the rebranding.

There is, however, one visible difference though.

Doppelganger logo

On the faceplate, instead of a cursive “hibiki’ signature, it now has a logo that is a combination of “A” and “S”. I will let you imagine what those letters mean.

I found the logo oddly familiar. So I did some quick google search and I came across the Astell & Kern logo.

Astell&Kern (L) Shozy Hibiki MK2 (R) Comparison
Astell&Kern (L) Shozy Hibiki MK2 (R) Comparison

Shozy Hibiki MK2 Sound Quality

Bass

  • No punch
  • Good attack
  • Light subbass rumble
  • Doesn’t muddy the mids

I will describe the Hibiki MK2 bass as been present in spirit. The punch is minimal but it still has a good amount of attack. EDM sounds exciting but it doesn’t get my head nodding. The subbass section is pretty mild too but surprisingly there is still some slight rumble.

Song Tested:

  • Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
  • Save The World – Swedish House Mafia
  • Intro – Yosi Horikawa

Mids

  • Neither forward nor recessed
  • Sounded good to me. No red flags.
  • Upper midrange sounded the best. You can hear that in House Work – Jax Jones.
  • Vocals are clear
  • No coloration

The mids are neither forward nor recessed and it sits nicely besides the two ends of the spectrum. I realised for songs that emphasized more on the lower treble or upper mid-range, the Hibiki MK2 is tuned to shine the most.

Song Tested:

  • Hide and Seek – Imogen Heap
  • Lost in Translation – Moira & Nieman
  • Money Trees – Kendrick Lamar

Treble

  • Love the lower treble. I think it’s really well-tuned
  • Treble is not on the bright side
  • People who love more energetic sparkle might not like it
  • People who love a controlled treble without it sounding dull will love it
  • Handled tricky electric violin distortion well

Song Tested:

  • Rude – Daniel Jang

As mentioned, the lower treble is impressive. I find that the treble is restrained at the upper treble. The good news is that it is not bright but the flip side is that it is missing that sparkle. I tried out the IEM with my favourite song for testing upper treble and I like it. It is well-controlled without dulling it.

Overall

  • Neutral sound signature
  • Shines the most in the upper mid-range and lower treble
  • Reveals good amount of details in the background
  • Great for
    • Classical
    • Pop
    • Rap
    • EDM

Noise Isolation And Sound Leakages.

  • Decent noise isolation
  • No audible sound leakages even at middle volume level

It has decent noise isolation. I’m able to crowd out most external noise at around mid volume level powered from my iPhone and ¼ volume from my MacBook Pro.

Wearing the medium ear tips, there were no audible sound leakages even up to mid volume level.

Shozy Hibiki MK2 Alternatives

The alternatives are all less than $100.

This dual hybrid (1 BA + 1 DD) IEM by FiiO boasts “class-leading” mids tuning and “natural signature with good timbre”.

This little gem of a IEM is a eye-catching beauty that doesn’t neglect function over form.

The Nuforce EDC 3, with its warm sound signature and amazingly compact form factor, is a hit with both new and veteran audiophiles alike, especially for those who are looking for an everyday piece of that sound signature.

Check out other budget headphones in Headphonesty.

Should I buy the Shozy Hibiki MK2?

For Student

Yes. At roughly $65, this IEM should fit well into a reasonable budget. The carbon-fibre faceplate and CIEM-like body frame adds extra style points. With decent noise isolation, students should be able to block out most external noise while studying or revision.

For Sound-mixing

Yes. With a neutral sound signature, a aspiring DJ will be able to have a accurate audio-mixing session without feeling uncomfortable.

For Commute

Maybe. I have some trouble with the fit of the memory cable so it will be annoying to keep adjusting it during my commute to work. Luckily, the cable are replaceable so that can be easily fixed.

For Sports

No. I don’t see the Hibiki Mk2 doing well for any type of active sports. They are more suited for more dormant activity. Additionally, they are not IP rated too.

For Hibiki Owners

No. For the original Hibiki owners, I don’t see any additional benefits at all unless you are gunning for that redesigned “AS” logo faceplate.

Buy “Hibiki MK2” on Amazon

Shozy Hibiki Mk2 Accessories

Conclusion

The Shozy Hibiki MK2 tries to differentiate itself in crowded budget IEM market by going for the CIEM-inspired direction. It’s great to see Shozy doing something different instead of another OEM-looking IEM with just a label slapped on it.

There are many little details that Shozy should iron out to give customers a better experience but there are no deal-breaker.

Technical Specifications

  • Driver: 10mm Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 40 KHz
  • Sensitivity: 102dB SPL@1mW
  • Impedance: 18 Ohm@1KHz
  • Socket: Universal 2-pin socket