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With the right ear tips and fit, the Mega5EST offer stunning performance and sound quality.
- Balanced, revealing sound
- Smooth, seamless coherence between the drivers across all frequencies
- Ergonomics, comfort, and isolation are above-average
- High-quality materials, fit, and finish
- Excellent included accessories
- Extraordinarily ear tip and fit sensitive
- Nothing especially stands out; a generalist for all genres
- Slightly relaxed treble may limit detail and EST driver potential
- The shells are subdued for a special edition
- The FEBOS acronym is confusing
Hisenior has recently made quite a splash with the stunning design of the less expensive Okavanaga model. While its product portfolio is small and growing, Hisenior is taking its time to emphasize and produce high-quality gear.
The Mega5EST are currently available as the Anniversary Edition, Clear Shell + M22 Art FB (standard version), and as a custom configuration with the choice of almost 50 unique faceplates (for USD$50 more). These are the second generation of the Mega5EST and now have smaller shells, a new sound nozzle, an improved inner driver configuration, and new air vents.
Unboxing and First Impression
Design and Build
The resin shell is smooth, ergonomically sculpted, and provides a claimed -20db of passive noise isolation. The faceplate feels securely attached to the shell and appears coated over to create a seamless effect to the touch. The metal nozzles are collared, wider than average in diameter, and covered with a filter.
Hisenior uses a vent hole to optimize air pressure, increase comfort, and reduce fatigue. Presumably, the hole affects the tuning as well. I do not experience any driver flex.
The included premium Hisenior WhiteWhale braided cable is quite a beauty. Due to the ultra-soft PVC Insulation and anodized aluminum plugs, it looks as smooth and slick as it feels. Even though it’s flexible, the 24AWG UP-OCC (silver-plated) wire results in a secure weave that won’t likely come undone.
The cable terminates in a 4.4mm balanced gold-plated brass straight plug, securing to the IEM bodies with gold-plated 0.78mm 2-pin connectors. Despite lacking a recessed connection, the fittings seem secure.
The universal fit Mega5EST are very comfortable despite their large size.
The sculpted, ergonomically shaped bodies work almost perfectly for my ears. I experience some fatigue due to the tight cable ear hooks and the weight of the cable.
Under the Hood
Each Mega5EST houses 5 drivers:
- 10mm bio-cellular diaphragm dynamic x1 for low-frequencies (bass)
- Sonion balanced armatures x2 for mid-frequencies
- Sonion electrostatic super tweeters x2 for high frequencies (from 7kHz and higher; super high frequencies extend up to 80Khz)
Hisenior has employed a 4-way integrated passive crossover, triple-bores, and three dampers. The electrostatic super tweeter leverages dual electret technology with a miniature transformer.
How Do the Mega5EST IEMs Sound?
For evaluation, I listen to a great variety of music through numerous sources, including DAPs (FiiO M15S), phones (LG V20, LG V60), portable DAC/amps (HELM Audio Bolt, DB12 AAAMP, TempoTec Sonata E44, Khadas Tea, Qudelix-5K) and desktop DAC/amps (S.M.S.L SP200, HIFIMAN EF400).
After spending over a dozen listening hours to the Mega5EST, I was unhappy and a touch irritated.
The sound was oversharpened and oddly inflected in a way that was out of sorts with my expectations. I found the bass lacked authority with most of the silicone tips. The widest bore tips exacerbated this deficiency, accompanied by hot and shouty upper mids and lower treble. The foam tips slightly improved the sound.
Grumpy, I experimented with my extensive ear tip collection. I finally mounted the Divinus Velvet tips and literally shouted out loud, “WTF?!?!” I’m glad no one was home.
My experience flipped from pain to pleasure after all those hours of listening and evaluating. Now, the Mega5EST are not just better; they are outrageously excellent.
Man, I was mad. Why?
My prior evaluations were entirely invalid, except for discovering that the Mega5EST’s sound is drastically affected by the ear tips, and a complete redo of my assessment was necessary. Grrrr.
Sound quality and bass performance vastly improved with the HiFiGo Divinus Velvet tips.
Now, the Mega5EST sound more like what I expect from the graph – overall, neutral-warm. The Mega5EST are among the most brilliant and coherent implementations of a tribrid configuration I’ve heard. Smooth and, at times, stunning.
No EQ is necessary – the balance is exquisite.
The tone is gorgeous, lush, deep, and full. There is so much texture and musicality that I get lost in my music. Natural resonance is supported by the bass, while the detail is clearly beyond what dynamic drivers can deliver, save for the very best available. I hear no BA timbre or metallic sheen in the sound profile.
The soundstage and sense of space are impressive without any part of the sound presenting as artificially distant. Imaging sounds precise and accurate. Speed and resolution sound like an easy-to-listen-to-balance.
The 10mm dynamic driver is well implemented, finding an almost perfect balance between depth, punch, resonance, and warmth. The bass is plentiful and weighty without ever overwhelming other frequencies or rattling to distortion. At times, the bass can sound boosted, maybe too much. Give it a minute – nope! Not too much.
The bass texture is marvelous and musical. This must be experienced, as it’s not easy to translate into words.
I am biased toward dynamic drivers for low-end reproduction, and the Mega5EST reinforces my bias. The driver’s speed is moderately fast. It never sounds thin or boomy and helps reproduce an organic-sounding low-end.
Full-bodied and superbly present.
Deep sigh… simply beautiful. Everything sounds present with male and female vocals. Neither are hidden behind the music unless it’s intentional in the mix. The complement of the bass and midrange are seamless and addicting. Vocals are balanced and present, well-placed between intimate and distant. There is nary a note of sibilance to be heard.
The treble is smooth and pleasant with no aggressive spikes, which is surprising, given the Mega5EST’s inclusion of EST super tweeters. Paradoxically, treble is restrained and has excellent resolution and clarity without making me wince and afraid my ears will bleed. I’m not missing much “air” in the upper treble.
The treble extension sounds much greater and more detailed than the graph suggests.
The most apparent comparisons I can conjure up are the exceptional Kinera Nanna 2.1 Z-Tune Edition and SHUOER (now LETSHUOER) EJ07M. All three are tribrids with similar configurations and Sonion BAs and ESTs.
Bottom line: they are more similar than different in sound and performance.
Still, the Mega5EST bests them both in almost every way, especially if you prefer a warmer, more full-bodied sound. Bass is the lightest on the Nanna 2.1Z, with the EJ07M next and the Mega5EST overpowering them both.
The Nanna 2.1Z is the most politely balanced and audiophile-like neutral with the finest grain micro-detail by a hair. The EJ07M has more intensity in punchiness and crispness with high treble energy. The Mega5EST has more weight, body, tone, and texture than both without losing significant detail and resolution.
If you’re trying to decide and evaluate beyond the sound, all three have taken a vastly different approach to design, ergonomics, packaging, presentation, etc. The accessories included with all three are distinct and excellent.
The most significant difference is the badge and price tag each wears, with the Nanna 2.1Z being far more expensive: 40% more than the EJ07M and a whopping 70% more than the Mega5EST at their current asking price (with a USD$100 discount from MSRP).
Bottom line, I have no debate or reservation in saying that Mega5EST are the most enveloping and engaging of the three, followed by the EJ07M. The Nanna 2.1Z are the most polite, reserved, and safe.
Excuse me while I return to listening in my happy place with the Mega5EST.
Where to Buy
Who Should Buy This?
If you can afford the Mega 5EST, they could be end-game IEMs for anyone who wants to experience sound vastly superior to the deluge of budget models available these days. I stand by my assertion that these are a bargain for top-tier performance. The Mega5EST are simply outstanding across the board in every dimension.
With the proper ear tips, the Mega5EST deliver an unqualified “wow” experience. They perform well with every genre and generally sound fantastic. There are tracks I prefer not to listen to as the Mega5EST transmits every detail and will only smooth over the minor issues.
There is a trend of intentionally introducing noise into tracks that sounds like the popping and crackling of an old record player, which I find grating and intolerable. It becomes even more noticeable with the cleanliness and clarity of the Mega5EST. For example, you can hear this noise at the start of Popular Monster by Falling in Reverse.
Perfect recordings play back perfectly.
After I resolved my emotional overreaction to all of my reviewing rework, I cannot stop gushing about the Mega5EST, which are now easily one of my all-time favorites. The more time I spend with them, the more I love them. They are nearly perfect.
The Mega5EST are my first experience with Hisenior. I took a risk to buy these, sight unseen and sound unheard. The Mega5EST are easily worth their cost, feel built to last, and I cannot imagine tiring of their magic. 做得好 (well done) Hisenior!
What’s in the Box?
- Hisenior Mega5EST Tribrid In-ear Monitors
- WhiteWhale Premium Cable
- 1010A Gen2 Pelican protective case (waterproof/crushproof)
- Eight pairs of silicone ear tips (S, M, L) + two pairs of foam tips
- Cable clip
- Cleaning cloth
- Style: In-ear monitor
- Shell Material: Resin
- Drivers: 5 drivers per side (one 10mm bio-cellular diaphragm dynamic, two Sonion balanced armatures, and two Sonion electrostatic super tweeters)
- Impedance: 25 ohms
- Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
- Frequency Response Range: 10Hz – 50kHz
- Plug Type: 4.4mm balanced gold-plated brass straight plug
- Pin Type: 0.78mm 2-pin
- Cable Length and Type: 1.2m (4 ft) WhiteWhale silver-plated cable
- Weight: 6 grams/IEM (including ear tip)