The Hype 2 employ a slight V-shaped tuning with some upper-mid emphasis, ultimately limiting genre versatility.
After radically downsizing my headphone system from a gargantuan Kevin Gilmore CFA3 and Schiit Yggdrasil combo, I decided to dip my toes into high-quality IEMs. My entry ticket was the Thieaudio Monarch MK1. I was floored by how good they sound.
- Great build quality
- Elegant faceplates
- Class-leading bass
- Great soundstage
- Too much lower treble
- Mids too low in level
- Technical performance is only okay
My main draw to the Hype 2 was to check out another implementation of the isobaric double 10mm dynamic driver array and the new Sonion balanced armature drivers. My previous exposure to isobaric bass solutions in an IEM was the Moondrop Blessing 3, which didn’t impress me.
So read on to see whether Thieaudio has the design prowess to get the best out of these new components!
- Form: Vented shell universal hybrid IEM
- Drivers: 2 dynamic + 2 balanced armature
- Crossover: Passive electronic 3-way
- Sensitivity: 108dB/V
- Frequency Response: 20 – 20 000Hz
- Impedance: 25Ω@1KHz
- Cable Entry: 2-pin, 0.78mm
Like most Thieaudio IEMs, the Hype 2 comes in a flat, sleeved cardboard box. From all of the IEMs I’ve unboxed, Thieaudio gets the top spot for the hardest-to-remove sleeve. The secret method how to not start screaming and resorting to just cutting the sleeve is as follows:
- Grab the sleeve and part both the upper and lower edges from the box
- Push the box out of the sleeve with the fingers you have free
The inner box has a nice magnetic flap that covers the foam cutout holding the Hype 2 IEMs and the hard carry case. The case has copious room inside for the IEMs and a dongle DAC/amp like my Qudelix 5K. The inside pocket will hold a baggy of ear tips as well.
In the box
- Thieaudio Hype 2 IEMs
- 1.2m silver-plated copper cable
- Carrying case
- Silicone ear tips (S/M/L)
- Foam ear tips (S/M/L)
- Cleaning cloth
- QC certificate
Are there any Thieaudio IEMs that look bad? I don’t think so!
The Hype 2 are no exception – the faceplates have an understated, elegant look. The logo doesn’t get in the way of the colored particles, which give visual depth to the faceplates.
Like with my Monarch MK1, the Hype 2 have pretty loose sockets where the cable plugs in. I can’t tell whether it’s a Thieaudio thing, or maybe I’ve been unlucky. Of course, the looseness varies with cables, but I would have preferred a more solid connection with the stock one.
Overall, the cable seems of decent length both for portable and desktop use. I can’t detect any microphonics while on the go, and for my 1.85m height, it reaches my pants pocket without much extra sag.
Despite being a bit on the large side, the Hype 2 earshells seem to agree with the shape of my ears. Like with many IEMs nowadays, the bores are on the thick side. However, with the right tips equipped, I don’t feel them even after a full day in the office.
Like many ported IEMs, the Hype 2 provides decent passive isolation. I have heard better with all-BA designs that don’t use acoustic porting but don’t usually have the nice dynamic driver low-end that I like.
Thieaudio Hype 2 have two main selling points parts-wise. One is the ‘Impact 2’ isobaric subwoofer, which uses two 10mm dynamic drivers.
The main draw of isobaric is higher output from smaller enclosures compared to more traditional ported alignments. An isobaric bass alignment has a few different arrangement options.
Why isn’t everyone using these? Because they’re tricky to model and usually require more complex filtering to clean up the output.
The Hype 2 also use the newest balanced armature drivers from Sonion – the P2356HF/4 for mid and high frequencies and E25ST001/D for high treble. Both drivers tout higher output and lower distortion as advantages over previous options.
Interestingly, the Hype 2 are the only IEMs where I notice audible driver flex upon insertion. After I tap on the shell, the drivers also exhibit a spring-like decaying sound.
Hype 2 Sound
Like many other IEM brands, Thieaudio seems to be using measurements to aid the design process of its products. While it’s not immediately apparent what tuning they are shooting for, most of their IEMs so far have had pretty well-behaved responses.
The overall sound signature of the Hype 2 sre slightly V-shaped with elevated bass, subdued mids, and low treble that’s a bit hot for my taste.
Bottomless, tight, and sometimes a tad too much bass is the name of the game.
Like many IEMs coming out these days, the Hype 2 have high-shelved bass. It’s a popular technique to increase the appeal of the sound signature, as many people like elevated low-end. On the Hype 2 the elevation starts higher than the Monarch MK1.
With music with a lot of significant info down low, the Hype 2 absolutely shines. Movie soundtracks, traditional dubstep like Burial, and bassy electronica like Lorn sound superb. Even on more traditional rock music, kickdrums come through very tight, if a bit too prominent.
While decently resolving and neutral, it’s not the mids you’re buying the Hype 2 for.
Relative to bass and highs, I’d call the mids about 3dB too recessed. While the overall tuning is hard to hate, the mids aren’t in the spotlight here. With most modern popular music, it’s hardly a problem. With more mid-heavy genres like classical rock, it’s a different story.
When listening to many classical and progressive rock albums, I found that Hype 2 wasn’t a bad experience at all. The elevated bass greatly helped as these recordings are often known for an anemic low-end. And the mid-frequencies are good enough not to fall behind – just not spectacular.
My main gripe with the Hype 2 is the amount of lower treble around 4-5k.
While the treble boost in this region doesn’t bug me like too much ear gain at 3k, the elevation imbues everything with sort of a sheen. It’s most apparent with aggressive music that employs distorted strings or synths, which usually have a lot of energy up there.
Interestingly, this doesn’t give the Hype 2 a fatiguing character for me. There’s also a resonant peak somewhere in the kilohertz teens, which I don’t find to be a nuisance. It gives the overall presentation extra sparkle without any real drawbacks.
Despite using a supertweeter-balanced armature driver, the Hype 2 lacks a bit of airiness in the upper octaves compared to other IEMs at this price point. I really only notice when making direct comparisons.
While good, the V-shaped tuning overshadows the apparent technicalities of the Hype 2. In other words, they are up there with the best at the price point but exhibit themselves with specific content.
In terms of imaging and soundstaging, the Hype 2 place the listener a bit further from the performance. It’s mostly due to the pulled-back mids. I wouldn’t call the soundstage exaggerated, as more intimate recordings will still place instruments pretty close by.
Compared to other IEMs at this price point, the Hype 2 have similar resolution. The Moondrop Blessing 3 feel more detailed mainly because of the brighter tuning. The Yanyin Canon 2, on the other hand, outpace the Hype 2 in the mids but lose when it comes to bass.
Where to Buy?
I find the Thieaudio Hype 2 easy to recommend on their own. They do very little wrong, and the overall tuning will find many fans in the music-lover community.
In terms of sound signature, they have a slightly dark V-shaped tuning that brings flagship-level bass performance to an accessible price point. The midrange performance is nothing to write home about. However, it’s very much in line with offerings from other manufacturers.
The physical presentation is excellent, as always with Thieaudio IEMs. The Hype 2 have looks that aren’t far behind the flagships of most IEM makers. Technicalities-wise, they can’t really touch the best out there, yet there’s more than enough for a fun time.