Hidizs MS1 Galaxy
Hello friends, this is my full written review of a brand new Hidizs Budget iem aptly named the “Hidizs MS1 Galaxy“. I was asked to review this set awhile back and have had plenty of time to digest its sound and really get a feel for it and how it may fit against the current crop of iems in the under $20 price point. In fact, the actual retail price of the MS1 will hover around $15 to $17 US which is pretty great to see.
The audio company Hidizs was founded in 2009, so they have been ingrained within the audio community going on 14 years which, if you have been paying attention, is not the norm. Obviously, they are doing something right. Beginning in 2012 the R&D Team within Hidizs took three long years of extensive research into the global Hi-Fi market with a team of audio professionals, R&D specialists and personalities to finally launch their first digital audio player (DAP) the Hidizs AP100 in October of 2014. Since that time Hidizs has been on a roll creating dac/amps, daps, etc. As well as many iems that usually are built and designed well past their relative price point. I also feel that Hidizs has really dialed in their tuning of late as well creating different sound signatures for different situations I reviewed the Hidizs MS5 (MS5 Review), Hidizs MS3 (MS3 Review), as well as the Hidizs MP145 (MP145 Review) and I have to say that I’ve been completely impressed and gave high marks and high praise for each.
We have actually seen a couple other Hidizs MS1 versions, the Hidizs MS1 Mermaid and the Hidizs MS1 Rainbow. Now, this latest installment of the MS1 moniker is actually the cheapest of the bunch and surprisingly probably the best tuned of the bunch as well. However, that is a very subjective statement. I am happy to have been able to spend plenty of time with the MS1 Galaxy and I’m ready to get into it, the MS1 Galaxy…
-Very well built for such a low price
-The design is gorgeous (reminiscent of the MS2)
-Big Bulbous Bass (close to basshead levels)
-Lush & smooth male vocals
-Non-fatiguing treble region
-Overall fun and relaxed V-shaped sound
-Neutral & Airy lovers may not be fans
-Bass may be too much
-Could use more treble emphasis
Gear used for review
The box and all its contents are pretty basic and a mostly utilitarian packaging and unboxing. Which, we should all expect at this price. Open the box and you’ll see the beautiful MS1 iems sitting in cardboard cut-outs. Under the iems is the cable, the eartips and some reading material. Nothing fancy and no case but truthfully nobody should expect anything luxurious at $15. Put the extra cost in the tuning and build and I’m a happy man.
Nothing too fancy here either. Within the packaging Hidizs provides three sets (S, M, L) of white silicone eartips which have a narrow bore on them. They are pretty firm and can certainly be used with any number of earphones which need a bit of upper-mid glare brought back to earth. However, for the MS1 Galaxy I don’t think that the included tips are what works best for this set. I think you need at least a firm & semi-wide bore with a firm flange as well. Open up those mids with something like the KBear 07 tips like I used or go with something like a wide-bore and shallow fit eartip. The sound signature is thick and heavy with a warmth across the mix and so anything you can do to offset that will be beneficial.
For ultra-budget earphones, the cable is actually pretty nice looking. Hidizs provides a gray colored and braided 0.78 2-Pin, two strand Silver-plated Oxygen free Copper cable which ends in a right angle 3.5 single ended gold-plated jack. You may also opt for the mic version of the cable. I find the included cable to be perfectly good for any listening and as I said it is a nice-looking cable which functions perfectly. However, I did have to swap out cables for balanced sources and I chose a blue colored 4.4 balanced Tripowin Zonie cable which matches the color of my MS1 very well.
Hidizs always takes cables into account and seems to fully understand that we hobbyists love having the best cable we can get. The included cable won’t change your life or anything but compared to other ultra-budget releases it is a huge step-up. I found the included cable to be very nice for any single ended listening.
Build / Design / Internals / Fit / Drivability
The Hidizs MS1 Galaxy shells & faceplates were made using German Makrolon Resin by injection molding. Supposedly this type of resin is “high density” and makes your earphones more structurally sound and not as easy to crack or break. In my opinion the build is pretty good and has a nice feel to it. Of course, let’s manage our expectations a bit because this set does cost $15. Still, for $15 I’d say that the MS1 is one of the better built iems that you can purchase. The shape (as you can see) is in a nicely ergonomic and fit friendly style which is actually very light in the ear. The MS1 nozzles are medium length, and they have a regular nozzle mesh. I have nothing bad to say about the build, especially at this price. If this set costed $50, I would likely call it a “con” but for this price it’s a “pro”.
The actual look & design is one of the highlights of the MS1 Galaxy if you ask me. They look almost chic, trendy, even bougie and definitely stylish. If you ask me the MS1 has a striking resemblance to the much loved and adored Hidizs MS2. Friends, I honestly don’t think you can buy a better looking iem at this price unless maybe the KZ Krila is more up your alley as far as looks are concerned. I think it’s the best-looking set under $20 and they come in four different gorgeous colors; Blue (My set), Black, Red, & Transparent.
The first thing you notice is the faceplates as they have a truly unique refraction of metallic light which shoots out at different angles, much the same as the Hidizs MS2. You’ll see different polygonal shades of different colors sparkle and shine as you turn them in your hand. The Shells are also completely transparent which is very cool. I love being able to see the inner workings of my earphones. Hidizs added the logo on the faceplates which doesn’t bother me as it isn’t overtly obvious but instead looks classy. I think Hidizs did a wonderful job making a very nice-looking set of earphones at a great cost to the buyer. They are unique, they are solid and the MS1 Galaxy are striking in appearance. Nice job Hidizs!
Hidizs chose upon a single Dynamic Driver for the Hidizs MS1 Galaxy. That being a 10.2 mm Single DD with a PU+Peek Composite High-Polymer Diaphragm. I don’t have a ton to say about this except o don’t get any undue distortion at high volume levels that I’ve noticed. Also, I do believe that this driver will reward you with some lengthy burn-in.
The fit is one area of my review that almost makes no sense for me to include. However, I will always get at least a couple questions pertaining to fit & comfort. Obviously, the fit that I get is 100% subjective and personal to me and I have zero idea how the MS1 will fit you. That said, these things fit me like a glove. I found no issue at all with fitment. Simply find some eartips which suit your ears and listening style and you should be in business. Honestly, I find the MS1 quite comfortable. Isolation is what you should expect. The MS1 isn’t going to attenuate outside noises like something with ANC but get a nice enough fit and the passive noise isolation does a decent job.
The MS1 Galaxy is a very easy iem to drive to good fidelity. Rated at 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 108 dBs the MS1 was made to be able to drive off of just about anything. I even liked the way the MS1 sounded straight off my iPad. However, as far as sources goes, I used the MS1 extensively with the Fiio UTWS5 and feel that this was a mobile match made in heaven. I like how the MS1 reacted to the AK4332 dac/amp of the UTWS5. Using the IFi Go Blu was nice as well with 3.5 single ended listening but in my opinion opened up a bit when I used the 4.4 balanced cable. The MS1 is great for those who don’t have super powerful sources, but I will say that they will scale a hair with source quality and power.
I don’t think you need some ultra-powerful dongle dac if this is your favorite way of listening. However, I mainly used Hidzs’ own Hidizs S9 Pro because I think the MS1 reacts very well with the source tonality. Much better than when I used the Fiio KA3 for instance. The S9 Pro with its ES9238Q2M dac chip has just the right amount of neutrality and dynamism to really help the MS1 to sound nice.
I always use my daps the most, I’m a Dap man. Always will be. For me the MS1 actually paired much better with my iBasso DX240 as the DX240 has a closer to neutral sound yet is highly resolving as it is equipped with a flagship ES9038Pro dac chip and I also use the Amp8 MK2 module to beef up the power. The warmer hue to the MS1 is countered nicely with a slightly brighter source. I enjoyed the Shanling M6 Ultra very much as well but it is more velvet in its sound which casts a slightly more stuffy veil across the mix. The iBasso really hit the mark for me.
In the end
I wouldn’t worry about power as much as tonality. Try to pair with a more neutral, analytical and energetic source if you can. I don’t think that power plays a huge role apart from some minor upgrades in soundstage and bass density and impact with more power. The MS1 reacts much more to the quality and fidelity of the source and the source tonality.
I find the Hidizs MS1 to have a nicely warm, relaxed and easy going sound which comes across as warm V-shaped to L-shaped tonal color to me. The sound is very much weighted and thick across the mix with a dense and full note structure. What I hear is a very full bass region which has some serious ability to thump and rumble. I would say that the MS1 Galaxy is approaching basshead levels and certainly could earn that distinction from many hobbyists. Obviously not everyone loves a big and Bulbous Bass so keep that in mind. The midrange is very lush and “smooth as silk” with slightly recessed male vocals that sound pleasant and present to go with slightly more forward females. The treble is relaxed and easy going. This is a treble that can be listened to for quite some time without fatigue. Perhaps too laid back for some but for the majority of hobbyists and target demographic this will suit them just fine.
The stage is actually decently sized as it is a sound that is slightly intimate but also pretty large (I’ll explain later). Details suffer a bit from the tuning but what you get in return is a fun sound that you can bump your head too.
If this is all you read
All in all, the sound is nice for the price. We are talking $15 US and even lower if you are one of the first to purchase this set. The sound comes across lush and thick with pervasive warmth which forms a canopy over the entirety of the mix.
Not the norm
Don’t let that dissuade you, the sound is uniform and clean for such a bassy & fun signature. Macro-dynamics are not lost in the warmth as the stage is filled with dynamically present sound and each area of the mix is represented. Granted, it may not be to your liking or a tuning that agrees with you, but I cannot call this bad. Not by any stretch. It is well composed for what it is, and we all have to remember that before we judge a set like this. It is a particular tuning, much like other Hidizs sets. Hidizs isn’t afraid to jump off the bandwagon and do something different. So, if anything, the MS1 is certainly a nice counter tuning to some of the usual warm/neutral, neutral, neutral/bright tunings that we so often are presented with. Also…the MS1 can flat out bang!
The MS1 can get it! Thick and warm bass sets the foundation for the mix with a euphonic type note delivery. It hits hard, but it does so with a softly layered density. I liken this type of a sound to a “hammer inside of a sock”. The note definition is not ultra crystalline and hard edged, but it is soothing and very meaty. To put things bluntly, if you dig a bigger bass than you’ll probably enjoy what the MS1 offers. This is a huge portion of the hobby, bass lovers, bassheads, or bass apologists who enjoy a little more fun and low-end energy to get that blood pumping. For $15 it is very hard to complain.
The sub-bass is rock solid and can get pretty low with great haptic energy and resonant vibration without coming across as flabby. Though it’s big it still has good control which is not always the easiest waters to swim. Songs like “Groove” by Ray Wylie Hubbard is a track I always use to explain sub-bass as this track will tell you right away how dense the sound is or how much resonant vibration and tactility your earphones give off down low among other things. Let’s put it this way… The Hidizs MS1 Galaxy will please fans of Hip-hop etc. The sub-bass gets very gritty, guttural and has nice depth and extension though it does have a softer note edge.
The mid-bass is also very thumpy with a hefty slam and plenty of torque for tracks that offer it. For instance, “How it Feels” by Lil Baby & Lil Durk is a banger friends and the MS1 acknowledges this fact and reciprocates with a rotund boom, full-bodied note weight and visceral tactile texture to the sound. The mid-bass can flat-out BOOM! And boy does it sound nice with the right library. Also, keep in mind that the bass does impede on the midrange quite a bit, adding a soft warm blanket over the sound as well. Still, for the most part the sound is exactly what fans of this style want. Bass guitar is very plump, kick drums have that booming quality yet with a soft edge and even male “Bass” singers like Avi Kaplan will sound very sonorous to anyone who listens. Is it the speediest? No, it isn’t. Do fans of this style care? Um… no! Is it clean for what it is? For the most part it is.
Downsides to the Bass region
The downsides to a bass like this are pretty obvious but also, I hesitate to call this a downside. Anyone purchasing the MS1 should know what you are getting and for this type of L-shaped rumbly sound the MS1 is fantastic for the price. That said, the midrange does feel the effects of the bass region which casts a slight veil over the mix. Also, the bass isn’t the most detailed or resolving and transient attack & decay isn’t super speedy. Is this a bad thing? Maybe. I happen to like that atmospheric low-end quite a lot. It lingers, adds some of that good old school feel to the sound. However, fans of snappy and speedy bass will likely want to steer clear. The bass is not one that is overbearing however which is something important to note. Somehow it works well with the rest of the mix.
The mids are relatively clean in the face of pervasive warmth which covers over this area of the spectrum. Certainly, fans of a neutral & airy sound could possibly call the sound “veiled”, but I think of it more as lush, rich and smooth. Also, “veiled” has more of a negative connotation. In truth, I don’t get anything negative from the MS1 and I don’t think the low-end negatively covers over the mids. In my experience the sound is simply musical & thick as with that thick note weight the MS1 also has a very mellifluous and melodic sound. Now, you won’t hear the shimmer like most sets in this range, and there isn’t that detailed and separated sound coming from instrumentation but what you do get is a nice presence from the mids which is great for a simple and casual listening session. There’s no hint of sibilance or shout and the timbre is quite nice.
Male vocals are stellar on the MS1. They are forward in presentation with a very bold sound and a very emphasized sound in the face of a slight recession. Especially males with deeper voices due to the warmth and weight from the low-end. Dermot Kennedy sings “Dreamer” and his voice sounds very nicely chiseled out, coming across vivid while he has an almost kinetic texture to his voice. Yes, even in $15 iems. You won’t hear an uplifted and airy sound but instead it comes across refreshingly organic. Dermot has a very coarse voice and the MS1 can reproduce this, but I like that his voice sounds even more voluminous in body. “Cover Me Up” by Morgan Wallen is actually a smooth rendition of a crisp southern voice which sounds more natural than it doesn’t. I’m telling you, the smooth and bodied sound of the MS1 does male vocals very well.
The upper midrange still has the remnants of some warmth from the low-end as well as the fact that they aren’t as emphasized as most iems in this area of the mix. For example, female vocals also come across pretty lush while also having a thicker note heft and organic type timbre. Obviously, there is some color to the sound but as far as note structure and inflection it simply sounds more natural. Take Lady Gaga in “Always Remember Us This Way“. Her voice doesn’t have that shimmer or levity like you would usually hear when her voice reaches the higher notes. Instead, those peeks are slightly smoothed over. Now, females are still more forward than males and this pays off for instruments in this region as well.
Downsides to the midrange
The downsides of the midrange are the exact thing which makes them different and unique in a good way. If “different” is a downside than please, someone let me know what the “correct” sound actually is. I’m obviously Joking but the sentiment remains. At $15 what do you call bad? Okay, no the MS1 is not a detail king. No, the MS1 doesn’t exhibit perfect separation of instruments. Yes, the sound has a warmth that covers over the sound in comparison to other sets. No, the transients aren’t lightning quick. However, the MS1 is also… musical, melodic and organic. The midrange has an almost facile and perfectly fluent smoothness that is very nice. Will this set be for everyone? Absolutely not, but also… what is? There’s no sibilance and the timbre hedges on being more analog/organic than anything.
The treble region has a laid-back approach with once again a thicker and fuller body & note presence. The treble region doesn’t overexert itself with any glaring peaks or spikes. It doesn’t have any moments of processed timbre up top and definitely zero forced resolution either. There is none of that in the MS1. Now, I could absolutely use a bit more of a rise in this region beginning at the ear gain through the treble, but I’ve actually grown to enjoy this effortless symmetry and congruence of the sound as a whole. There are no surprises here and nothing that makes you wince.
Not perfect / Not bad
The treble could use a bit more air and a bit more treble bite. This region could also use more speed and could definitely use some more treble sheen to add some sparkle to the sound. However, that is not what this set was tuned to be. The treble as a whole is a bit pushed back and toned down and doesn’t feel like the cherry on the top like many sets are tuned to nowadays. Is this a bad thing? Of course, it isn’t. Not everyone wants a sparkly treble. Not everyone wants this heightened response to the nuances in a track. To be 100% honest, I actually didn’t miss a thing after spending actual days with the MS1 while critically listening. This also isn’t to say the MS1 is detail deficient either. I’d say they are about average in this regard up top.
Listening to Billy Strings track “Ice Bridges” I was happy with what this $15 set could do. The MS1 was actually keeping up with his banjo play, though at times there was a slight mixing of sounds. Still, overall, the MS1 performs better than you’d think. Extension into the upper treble is actually decent as there is nice info past 10k and the sound is pretty clean too.
Downsides to the Treble Region
The downside here has pretty much already been explained from my point of view. I usually prefer a more airy presentation and some folks will likely feel the same way. Of course treble heads will not enjoy the sound of the MS1 up top either. The MS1 could probably use a bit more treble bite with a bit more crispness to the sound. That said, the super airy sound up top is not what this set was tuned to be so calling this a con or a downside is slightly misleading. Furthermore a benefit to this tuning is you won’t come across sibilance or anything even remotely splashy.
I find the soundstage to actually be well laid out on the MS1. The sound as a whole is actually more intimate and cozier, but Hidizs was able to fill the entire sound field. So, the sound is big, wide, even slightly deep, but the presentation is close & intimate. I see this from time to time and kind of like this way of presenting my library. It’s great for less complex tracks like acoustic for instance or any track with less moving parts. Honestly the sound is quite large friends. Basically, it isn’t some flat wall of sound, it isn’t narrow, and it isn’t ultra congested either. It’s big but it’s also close.
Separation / Imaging
As far as separation of instrumentation is concerned, the MS1 Galaxy does a relatively good job of parsing out elements of a stage. This is certainly not a strong suit of the MS1. On more complex tracks you will hear a bit of blending going on. With more simple arrangements the MS1 performs perfectly fine. The Imaging is nice though. Left to right & front to back sounds nicely laid out. I don’t hear any glaring weaknesses in this category. Again, if a song is more complex or ultra bass heavy then you may have a harder time mentally placing instruments. For the most part the MS1 creates a nice mental image of an imaginary psycho-acoustic stage.
I would hope that after reading this far you wouldn’t still question whether the MS1 is a detail king or not. I can tell you straight up that it isn’t. Also, it isn’t supposed to be, and honestly, I wouldn’t want it to be. I like the organic and warm approach. Yeah, it’s a bit cozy and intimate but that is the charm of this set. With that said, details are about average of what you should expect from $15. Simpler tracks will yield better results and just like separation & imaging, more complex tracks will not be as refined and decisive in note definition. Also, the sound is lush, it’s rich, it’s smooth and that is not the recipe for a heightened state of nuance reproduction. Still, average is pretty darn nice.
Is it worth the asking price?
This is a question that can only be truly answered subjectively. It really comes down to preference. If what I and others have described sounds appealing and that warm and lush sound with big bass suits you… Then yes, this set is easily worth the price. Heck, I’d even say if you don’t like the sound, it’s worth that. $15 is pretty darn cheap friends and it’s nice to fill your collection with different sound signatures. To answer for myself I’d say absolutely! I enjoy this type of sound.
First off, the build is pretty nice, but the look of this set is almost a reason alone to buy it. It’s a gorgeous looking iem in my opinion. However, it will ultimately always come down to sound when asking this question. The bass is very hearty and really does move your feet without sounding muddy or flabby. It’s a solid bass region with nice density that bassheads should enjoy. Note weight is another appealing quality as the thick and rich sound usually comes across too veiled at this price but in the MS1 there is some refinement to the entirety of the mix. Also, if you re after a non-fatiguing and non-offensive sounding iem then the MS1 is your guy because there truly isn’t anything offensive about it.
Note: all ratings are based upon my subjective judgment. These ratings are garnered against either similarly priced sets or with similar driver implementations or styles with the unique parameters of my choosing. In the case of the Hidizs MS1 Galaxy ratings below, that would be $10-$20 bass heavy styled iems of any driver configuration. This set is certainly one I would need to categorize its tuning style. Please remember that “ratings” don’t tell the whole story. This leaves out nuance and a number of other qualities which make an iem what it is. A “5” is exactly average and please take into consideration the “lot” of iems these ratings are gathered against. $100 – $200 US is a small scope of iems and so seeing a 9 is easy to understand. My ratings are never the same and each set of ratings tells a different story. Each time you read one of my ratings it will be unique to that review. Basically, I create a Rating that makes sense to me.
-Build Quality: 9.0
-Accessories: -.- (At this price Accessories don’t apply)
This is one Rating that needs at least a little bit of explanation from me, I think. The first thing to iron out would be the “Treble” Rating of “6.2”. On the surface this may seem fair to most, it isn’t sprightly and energetic or detailed or punchy and so naturally that should knock it down a few notches. However, for those who thoroughly enjoy a non-offensive sound without any glare or sibilance than those people would obviously rate this a hair higher. I feel a 6.2 makes sense but that’s up for debate. The treble basically fits the tuning. Once again, another reason why Rating things on a number system simply doesn’t tell the whole story.
Also, the “Technicalities” category is questionable. On one hand the staging is awesome and on the other hand the detail retrieval is about average. Both are technicalities. Imaging is good, separation is about average. Both are technicalities. Roll them all into a ball and you get a “7.0”…my opinion.
Bass heavy iems never score high, they simply don’t. Too many areas get clouded over or muddied. So, seeing a score overall of an “8.1” in the sound section is quite awesome. It says a lot about Hidizs ability to take different styles and make them work. There are other debatable calls in my ratings, but I think you all get the gist of what to expect from the Hidizs MS1 Galaxy.
To conclude my full written review of the Hidizs MS1 Galaxy I first have to thank the awesome people of Hidizs (you know who you are). Thank you so very much for providing this set and never asking me to speak favorably or skew my words to fit your company. I truly thank you. Also, thank you to anyone who spent any time reading my review, I do hope it helps you. Please comment any questions below or catch me on my email at [email protected]. You can also reach me on Facebook as well and I’d be happy to get back. Just keep it cool and don’t be one of those weirdos in the hobby who take everything too seriously.
I always end every review with this little blurb; please take in other thoughts about this set. Do not simply rely on my version of what the MS1 Galaxy sounds like. I am only one man with my own perspective, my particular taste in music, my particular gear I use to test, and I form these opinions from my own personal journey through this audio game. Take in other reviews as it’ll surely help you to make a more educated decision. $15 can be an enormous amount to many people (I know because I’ve been there) and even a purchase at that price has to be right for many people. So, reading, listening to or watching other thoughts will only be a benefit to you. After all, you are why we do this, at least that “should” be one of the main reasons. To help. Take good care, stay as safe as possible and God Bless.