Hello everyone. Today I am reviewing the Hidizs MS3. The IEM comes with a 1 DD + 2 BA hybrid configuration. The retail sample was provided to me in exchange for my honest impressions/ review purpose by HIDIZS. Greatly appreciate the gesture. No affiliation whatsoever. In fact, they even personally mentioned to me to point out as truly as I can be. So, before I proceed with my take, I would like to bring to your attention that the MS3 has already been reviewed by my colleagues and friends at MBA – Chris Love and Mahir Efe Falay. You may check both their reviews here and here. I reviewed a Hidizs product earlier at MBA – Hidizs Seeds and I find them sound pretty good at the respective price point. You may check the review here.
For the reader’s information, here are some disclaimers. I honestly believe reading or watching reviews of fellow reviewers can influence one’s opinion and can intervene in the review process, be it good or bad. Hence, I try to avoid reading or watching any form of reviews except for the impression posts on FB, which are unavoidable as you tend to browse, and the good thing is, the final impressions always tend to change for the most part. The same is evident with my initial and final impressions here as well. I wish to be as honest as I can be with my impressions/reviews even if the same varies with the majority. The hobby is subjective, and I can’t care much about the majority, just in case it varies. However, I truly care if I am being honest with myself. Any similarities with any other reviews can be purely coincidental and maybe we are sharing the same tastes. I am not an expert in audio by any means. I am like most of you. It’s a learning process throughout, training your ears to listen to various gears at different price points. I love writing about the stuff that I really enjoy and am passionate about, and that is music. And I can’t thank Mahir (MBA) enough for offering me an opportunity like this. I do hope it stays for posterity. And so, here I am. By any means, if this helps the reader make a purchase decision, I have truly accomplished my objective here. I use neutral sources without any sort of coloration to bring out the true qualities of the gear that I am testing. But still, there will be some inherent limitations with the gear/ source I use for testing such as synergy, quality of the track, etc. And the third-party tips that I may use if any, may alter the sound to a degree. Last, but not the least, the review is subject to the respective price point. When I say it is terrific, it just means relative at the price point. So, with all being said, let’s proceed with my take on HIDIZS MS3…
MS3 Specifications as per HIDIZS
10.2mm Dual Magnetic Circuit Dual Cavity Dynamic Driver
Knowles SWFK-31736 Composite Balanced Armature Driver
Aviation Aluminium Alloy Integral Molding Shell
Three Hidizs Pneumatic Tuning Filters
Oxygen-free Copper Multi-conductor Cable with 192 Ultra-small wires
Highly approaching the H-2019 target curve, and Hidizs Art Styles
“Shark Fin” 0.78mm/ 2PIN cable plug
Hidizs customized storage bag
Gears/ Audio used for testing:
Topping NX7 Amp paired with the above 2.
Foobar 2000 + local FLAC files
Build & Accessories:
MS3 is packed with a good carry pouch and some great accessories at the price point. I don’t mind not having a carry case here as the pouch is well-built and feels premium. It is much better than the pouch included with Hidizs Seeds. Expected from the price tag. 3 tuning filters and 3 kinds of ear tips are included.
Red filter – Bass
Rose gold filter – Balance
Silver filter – Treble
By default, MS3 is equipped with a balanced tuning filter. The Rose gold colour of the balanced filter matches with nozzle and overall design of the IEM. It is an excellent-looking IEM by design, especially with the balanced filter. The cable is one of the finest builds and a looker I have come across at this price point. Honestly, I wondered what’s with the fish fin design here. However, I felt it quite handy to pull out the 2-pin termination from the IEM quite easily than any other IEM I have tried. The cable comes in both 3.5mm and 4.4mm termination. Mine was equipped with a 3.5mm termination. Honestly, this IEM is better when equipped with 4.4mm termination. Why? Please read on. The ear tips are of 3 varieties – Bass, vocal, and balanced. I liked the balanced ear tips the best and I did not find the other two giving me a proper seal. Even the balanced ear tips are used to fall off during sleep. So, I reverted to my usual third-party tips which are one of my favorites – Spinfit W1 (L). Guess what? They are a match made in heaven. No need to look further. The seal is tight as well.
When it comes to drivability, MS3 is very easy to drive. I felt there was no need for me to test them with more power as I was already getting what I was expecting out of them. But then, before I was about to finalize my impressions, I plugged them with the Topping NX7, and I was truly amazed at how well they scaled without any sort of distortion and presented a very clean sound, tight Bass, and my final impressions were adjusted in line with the same. NX7 has the same output power (1400mW) from both the 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations. So, I did not mind much. However, if you don’t have a discrete Amp (portable or otherwise) I would emphasize you go for the 4.4mm termination as most of the DAC/AMPs come with lower/ higher power output for 3.5mm/ 4.4mm terminations unless you have something powerful like the Centrance DACPort HD. Even my Tempotec V6 (3.5mm 330mW) sounded well. But it shined when NX7 entered the picture.
When it comes to the 3 tuning filters, Hidizs has listed specific genres for each of the filters on their website. However, I have evaluated them in general across various genres and my impressions are as follows:
First, let me say that for most of the tracks, the three filters sound great. Tonally, MS3 sounds natural with all the filters. I did not come across the BA timbre that is impacting my listening experience in the entirety of my testing. Differences, and hence the preferences will be subjective based on certain tracks where there is much emphasis on either bass or the treble. And I believe, that’s how the filters were designed by Hidizs in the first place.
Very open, detailed, and airy sounding but with some intense, hot treble up top. Can be sibilant – subjective experience. I find them hot, but a bit smoother sounding compared to the balanced filter due to the airiness present throughout. However, at times, it crosses that thin line between energy and sibilance and appears to be elevated more than natural levels and shouty in certain tracks especially when I listen to SIA. Compared to the other 2 filters, this has less bass but is very much on par with the balanced filter. The interesting thing is that I find these more tolerable than the balanced filter in terms of upper mids and treble performance – The level of intensity is the same, but I find there is more airiness with the treble filter making it comparatively a better listening experience.
Great and best suited for most of the tracks retaining the crispy details but is sibilant in certain treble-heavy tracks and is a tad less airy compared to the treble filter. Balance and treble filters are comparable in terms of treble emphasis – Cymbal strikes can be intense. The bass is like that of the treble filter but is more balanced sounding overall. Out of the 3 filters, I feel the airiness is a bit lacking here – There’s a slight congestion up top. Emphasis on mids is better here of the three.
This is the most versatile for any kind of genre for me. The details are not as crispy as that of a balanced filter but tightly close. More rounded than crispier but the difference is subtle. With more power, this is where I notice a big difference. The bass gets more tighter, and the instrumentation becomes crispier. Bass is terrific out of the 3 here, well controlled and this is where I found the right tonal balance in line with my tastes. Nothing is over-exaggerated here. The name of the filter can be misleading, but the Bass filter is where I found the right balance. It is still a V-shaped sound but very well done. It appears that vocals are a half step behind compared to the other 2 filters, but not recessed by any means. This filter provides a good warm balanced tonality without bass bleed and no unnaturally elevated treble. If the IEM had come with only a bass filter, I would be pretty much fine with the kind of details this filter provides. Only because there are other filters, I can lay down some subtle differences. Fortunately, the treble performance is not dark either. It plays on the thin line between the energy and sibilance and it never crosses – Excellent. Sounds smooth and detailed for the most part even with the treble-heavy tracks.
Much of my testing has been with the Bass filter which I find to be the best sounding of the 3, and the entirety of the upcoming section is based on using the Bass filter and pairing V6/RU7 with Topping NX7 Amp. I have listened for more than 100+ hours at the time of this writing. So, here we go:
Bass is powerful, extends deep, and slams whenever called upon. Sub-bass and mid-bass are equally powerful. Good body and is nicely textured for the most part. No muddle, easily distinguishable, and the tone is pretty good. Bass is truly felt, rumbles, and shows authority without any noticeable bleed hampering the experience. The speed is fast enough, and the decays are well executed. Provides a slightly warm tonality overall leading to quite a musical experience rather than being overly analytical. Of course, you have the other filters for more critical listening if you have the ear for it. Well layered here segregating the bass frequencies from the rest. Overall, the bass is very well done here. No exaggeration.
Mid-bass slightly extends to the lower mids providing that needed warmth making the IEM more musical. Although the emphasis is on bass, mids are not ignored here and don’t take a back step. Mids have a very good note weight to them. There are subtle details present throughout. Both the male and female vocals sound great – nicely placed, lively with good tone, natural, and accurate with good depth and decay. The same goes for the Instruments. Instrumentation appears more rounded than crispier compared to the other 2 filters but details-wise, I don’t notice a big difference. Upper mids are tuned well with the Bass filter. The other 2 filters appear shouty in certain tracks and elevated to an unnatural level. Fortunately, with the Bass filter, the transition to the treble appears very natural and no shout is noticed. However, the mids are energetic irrespective of the filter choice. In my opinion, the mids are very well done.
Energetic, open, airy, and detailed. It is smooth sounding in general although it is energetic. Not dark sounding. This is the right kind of treble that I look forward to in an IEM. I have listened to IEMs with much better treble performance but at this price point, this is one of the best-sounding highs. It is below the borderline of being sibilant however, very well controlled. Sounds natural with no BA timbre. I did not enjoy the treble performance with the other 2 filters – More elevated than natural in my opinion. Overall, with the bass filter, very well done.
Layering and soundstage are the highlights of this IEM. The frequencies and instruments are segregated in such a way that one does not intervene much with the other. The stage enables perfect layering and instrumentation really shines. With the aid of terrific resolution and stereo imaging, the details just pop. You don’t miss much of the details, and everything appears well segregated. Stage height is great, and depth is adequate. Overall, the technicalities are excellent at the price point.
Great fit, build, and accessories.
Tuning filters that affect the sound quality
Sub-bass extends deep with a nice rumble. Mid-bass has a good body, authoritative, and slams when called upon.
The bass is tight, and controlled, and extends nicely to lower mids.
Warm-colored tonality that is quite musical over analytical
Vocals and instruments sound natural, lively with great timbre
Instruments have great body with nice depth.
Energetic, open, and airy treble performance
Wide soundstage and excellent layering
Resolution and precise stereo imaging.
Detail retrieval is very good, thanks to the excellent stage and layering.
Easy to drive.
The sub-bass texture could have been a tad better (Bass filter – nitpick honestly).
Bass performance is not as engaging using the balanced and treble filters.
Unnaturally elevated upper mids and treble – shout and sibilance. (Balanced & treble filter)
Energetic upper mids and treble even with the Bass filter (subjective – I don’t consider this a con)
Power requirement to shine at its best (subjective – not a con)
Here are two of my beloved IEMs at this comparable price point – Letshuoer S12 and Tin Hifi P1 Max. Not a fair comparison to be honest comparing DD/BA with planar. However, at this price point, these are the ones I have in my possession, and let’s see how the MS3 (Bass filter) stacks up against both:
The truth is one does not outperform the other one in a big way. There are subtle differences. The main difference is with the Bass and treble performance – MS3 and S12 are energetic in how they present the mids and treble whereas P1 Max has a mellowed presentation overall. MS3 has a good sub-bass depth and rumble compared to both. Both MS3 and S12 have good mid-bass authority as compared to P1 Max. Here’s a small and simple comparison based on my preference, paired with Cayin RU7 + Topping NX7:
Fit – MS3 > P1 Max > S12
Build – MS3 > S12 > P1 Max
Tonality – P1 Max > S12 = MS3
Sub-Bass – MS3 > S12 > P1 Max
Mid-bass – MS3 > S12 > P1 Max
Mids – P1 Max > MS3 > S12
Instrumentation – S12 = MS3 = P1 Max (subjective)
Vocals – S12 = MS3 = P1 Max (subjective)
Micro details – P1 Max > MS3 > S12
Treble energy – S12 > MS3 > P1 Max
Overall Treble performance – MS3 = S12 > P1 Max
Technicalities – MS3 > S12 > P1 Max
I like both the energetic presentation as well as the mellowed presentation of the IEMs here. P1 Max is so soothing to hear with quality mids and micro details. The energetic presentation of S12 and MS3 dominates my preference towards P1 Max at times and vice-versa. If I must choose one, I will go with MS3 due to the fantastic bass performance. Sub-bass is where it dominates both the S12 and P1 Max. For the rest, all three are equal and different – one is better than the other in a subtle way. I enjoy all 3. It’s all about the preference here.
Hidizs MS3 is a super solid IEM. It comes with replaceable tuning filters. However, the balance filter and treble filter did not impress me as much as the bass filter due to the unnatural upper mids and treble elevation. I don’t see any cons with the IEM when equipped with the Bass filter. The IEM is easy to drive, and scales very well with power – The bass gets more controlled, and tighter, and the performance is just great. Otherwise, it is less controlled, and Bass appears to be all over the place. Tonality is very natural with no BA timbre. Mids and treble are energetic without fatigue when paired with the bass filter. Sounds smooth for the most part. Technicalities are very good, especially the sound stage and layering. Do I recommend the MS3? Yes, they are simply a very easy rec at the price point. However, 4.4mm termination is much preferred here to get the most out of your DAC/DAP.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading through and cheers!!!
If you are interested in buying the IEM, you may buy from the below non-affiliated link: