MS1 Review - HEADFONICS
HIDIZS MERMAID MS1 AND MS4 REVIEW
Nathan | February 10, 2019
The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 are two brand new Kickstarter-funded hybrid universal monitors priced at $99 (discounted) and $249 respectively.
Disclaimer: The Hidizs Mermaid MS1 and MS4 sent to us are samples in exchange for our honest opinion. We thank the team at Hidizs for giving us this opportunity.
To read more about Hidizs products we reviewed on Headfonics click here. To access their Kickstarter campaign click here
Headfonics is no stranger to Hidizs But maybe a stranger to me. Hi. I’m Nathan. My specs are as follows:
Height: 183cm tall
Blood type: 0
Favorite food: Leek soup and/or East Japanese udon.
I like audio things and have written for TouchMyApps, ohm-image, Headfonia, as well as the Japanese magazine, Headphone Book. I shoot audio gear and jewelry and the like for a living. But I live for my favorite music, cyclocross bicycling, and Christmas cookies. Blessings of all blessings, Marcus invited me to write for Headfonics late last year. Bet you can’t guess what I said in reply.
Anyway, back to Hidizs.
Their Mermaid series is brand new. In fact, even Hidizs’s Kickstarter page carries scant, or scattered information about either. What both the MS1 and MS4 share is a custom-cum-universal design, a 10,2mm dynamic driver, a classic two-prong cable, and twelve sets of ear tips.
They diverge from there, and in subtle ways.
Both utilize the same proprietary 10,2mm dynamic driver, which, according to Hidizs, is engineered for consistency of loss, and which ‘delivers clear highs and warm, rich bass’. For the MS1, this is the only physically moving thing inside the earphones. To it, the MS4 adds three balanced armature drivers. One is a single Knowles 33518, which covers highs. The remaining two drivers are a 30017 bundle. They cover mids, highs, and mids-to-highs transitions.
Hidizs must have known that I love hybrids and large-diameter driver dynamic earphones. You might also know that I love mild to severe V-shape sound signatures and warm mids. I feel targeted. I feel used. And I’m totally happy to be used so.
Both earphones are solid, bulbous affairs. Each is clad in metal, the MS1 wearing matte aluminum from the backside to cap, while the MS4 wears shiny resin on its face under which the Hidizs marque shines in silver. Structurally, both could serve as anti-vehicle caltrops. Each is finely finished, completely pit-less, and free of excess glue or other defects of reckless design and manufacture.
To be honest, I’m not keen on the custom-cum-universal stylistic cues. Such designs work, but, as I mentioned above, really look like biological plugs. I think they’d look better without the shiny fastening ring between their backsides and faceplates. Their finish is excellent, and they catch light really well. But there is little in their shape that defines shape in any way but baby tulip terms.
While not as neatly buttoned up or tightly stylized as Campfire Audio’s Comet, both earphones are free of excess/stray glue, metal finish errors, and poor alignment. From a strict finish quality perspective, they are immaculate. A clearer and better-defined stylistic theme would have been a nice touch, but Jeez, for 99$ and 219$ to start (on Kickstarter), these are well-made.
I have interacted with earphones and headphones from 20$ to 3000$ on the daily for years. Had Hidizs presented either the MS1/4 to me, given me thirty minutes to touch, try, and listen, I’d not have guessed that one went for 99$ and another for 219$. I’d probably have started from 250$ and tip-toed up from there.
Cables and Connectors
The dual-prong connectors slide in and out a bit too easily on their mounts, presaging possible signal/connection problems down the road. Their L/R indicators face inward, for some reason, and both the earphones and the cables lack color-coding. The cable only barely stretches when really yanked, and its y-split isn’t just robust, it is handsome. It matches perfectly the plug, and instead of a simple rubber grommet, it sports a nicely pressured metal slider. Its diamond-patterned is grippy.
While the plugs don’t really sit tight in their mounts, they aren’t countersunk or aligned on proprietary nubs. If you want a different cable, you can plug one in, lickety-split.
Why you’d want to is anyone’s guess. Both the MS1’s nor the MS4’s cable are dead to most touch-based microphonics and only really resonate when flicked between the earphone and y-split. The cables are strong, resiliently coated against sweat and oil, and can’t be yanked apart.
There’s no stress relief between the Y-split and the earphone, but I expect that that won’t much matter. The thick rubber around the cables only barely dents when I pinch it hard with milk-fed fingernails. Nice.