HiBy Crystal6 IEM Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HiBy Crystal6 IEM Review

 

 

Introduction:

HiBy was established in 2011 and is specialized in research, development and sales of Hi-Fi grade portable audio products such like DAP’s, USB & BT DAC’s and earphones. HiBy has also an experienced software team that has developed HiBy OS which is also one of the most widely used professional portable audio Operating Systems (OS) on the market.

The Crystal 6 is the flagship In-Ear Monitor that features a 6x Balanced Armature Driver configuration with a 4-Way Crossover Design that are located inside a handcrafted monitor shell with 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin connectors.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank HiBy for providing me the Crystal6 as review sample. I am not affiliated with HiBy beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.

 

  

Price & Availability:

The actual price for the HiBy Crystal6 is $459.00 USD. More information can be found under the link below;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The HiBy Crystal 6 comes in a rectangular box that was wrapped with a cardboard sleeve with a fancy opalescent Crystal 6 brandings on the top.

 

This Crystal6 comes with a very rich set of items & accessories that are listed below;

  • 1 pair x HiBy Beans In-Ear Monitors
  • 3 pairs x Crisp Silicone Ear Tips
  • 3 pairs x Bass Silicone Ear Tips
  • 2 pairs x Balanced Silicone Ear Tips
  • 1 pairs x Foam Ear Tips
  • 1 piece x 3.5mm Single Ended Detachable OFC Cable with 2-Pin Connectors
  • 1 piece x 4.4mm Balanced Ended Detachable OCC Cable with 2-Pin Connectors
  • 1 piece x Leather Storage Case
  • 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
  • 1 x User Guide

 

The Crystal6 comes with a very rich ear tips collection that is placed in a foam layer that is showing a short description about the sound effect and the size.

The leather case in blue color that came with the Crystal6 has a premium look and feel, while the Cleaning Brush is a nice addition.

The Crystal6 comes with two cables, one with 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) headphone plug, while the other one has a 4.4mm Balanced (TRRRRS Pentaconn) headphone plug.

The 3.5mm Single Ended cable is a 4 core Silver Plated OFC copper wire cable with 18 strands, each stand has a diameter of 0.05mm.

The 4.4mm Balanced cable is also a 4 core cable but the wires are made of OCC (Ohno Continuous Cast) copper wire with 24 strands (same 0.05mm diameter strand).

The cables do have a braided design and have a soft PVC coating in brown color.

The 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin connectors of both cables do have transparent plastic housings with Left & Right markings.

Both cables do have the same metal Y splitter and chin slider in dark grey color.

The headphones plugs of both cables are gold plated and do have a strait profiled metal housing in the same dark grey color like the other metal part of the cable. The plastic stain relief on both cables offers extra durability.

 

 

Design and Build Quality:

The HiBy Crystal6 is a beautiful looking Universal In-Ear Monitor with a Semi-Custom like monitor shape that has a pretty comfortable shape that features 6 Balanced Armature Drivers on each monitor.

The Crystal6 has a hand crafted monitor shell made of German Nice-Fit™ UV cured enamel exterior and Epoxy-filled interior. The transparent shell is very well made and you can see all the internal parts like the 6 BA divers, wires, PCB and tubes, etc.

The beautiful faceplate is the focal point of the Crystal6 which is made of Dyed Stabilized Wood with in turquoise (blue-green) color. On the top of each faceplate is a stylish “HIBY MUSIC” brand logo in sliver color.

The transparent inner surface has a curved shape that fits great to the ear concha.

The monitors have slightly angled sound nozzles that are made of metal that do feature removable screens, which are making the cleaning of the monitor nozzles much easier.

At the rear side of each monitor shell is the Crystal6 branding that looks pretty nice.

On the top of the monitors are the 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin female connectors that do offer a quite save and tight fit.

The overall build quality of each monitor is top notch from the connectors up to nozzles.

 

 

Fit, Comfort and Isolation:

The HiBy Crystal 6 has a pretty comfortable shape that fits nice to my average sized ear concha. The shape of the monitor was archived with data collection from different sized and shaped auricles.

The isolation of the Crystal6 is above average and that makes it ideal for the use in fairly noisy environments such like a bus, metro or train.


 

 

Drivability:

The HiBy Crystal 6 is a quite easy to driver In-Ear Monitor thanks to an impedance of 14ohms and a sensitivity of 107dB, which makes it to ideal earphone for the use with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablets and smaller sized DAP’s that do have low level of amplification.

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • Model                                    : HiBy Crystal 6
  • Driver Type                           : 6 Balanced Armature Drivers per Monitor with 4-Way Crossover
  • Driver Configuration             : 1x Knowles 22955 BA for Bass, 2x Custom 1006 BA for Mids,                                                      1x Custom 30098 BA for Highs, 2x Custom 31735 BA for Highs
  • Frequency Range                   : 5Hz – 60kHz
  • Impedance                             : 14Ω
  • Sensitivity                               : 107dB/mW
  • Cable Material 3.5mm            : 4core Silver Plated OCC copper 18 strands x 0.05mm strand
  • Cable Material 4.4mm Balanced :  4core OFC copper 24 strands x 0.05mm strand
  • Connectors                             : 0.78mm 2-Pin Connector
  • Cable Length                          : approx. 120cm

 

 

 

Features: 

Driver Configuration:

The HiBy Crystal6 come with 6 Balanced Armature drivers per side with a 4-Way electronic crossover design. 1x large Knowles 22955 BA is responsible for the Bass reproduction, 2x Custom 1006 BA drivers do produce the midrange, 1 x Custom 30098 BA is responsible for the treble, while the last 2 x Custom 31735 BA drivers do produce the ultra-highs, which are able to reach up to the 60 kHz frequency region.

 

Other Remarkable features:

  • 4-Way Crossover with 4 independent acoustic tubeways
  • Thin-film audio-grade capacitors
  • Dual layer immersion-gold-plated PCB
  • HiRes certification
  • Hand Crafted Monitor Shell

 

 

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • IEM’s                           : HiBy Crystal6, FiiO FA9, Oriveti OH500
  • DAP/DAC/AMP          : HiBy R3 Pro Saber, iBasso DX300, FiiO M11 Pro

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey (Dezzer HiFi)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  •  Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
  • Jo Blankenburg – The Magelan Matrix (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The definition “Crystal Clear” fits perfectly to the definition of the Crystal6 IEM that shows a very clear and highly detailed sound character.  The Crystal6 offers a fast and controlled bass response with focal point in the midbasss region. The midrange on the other hand is slightly recessed but very transparent, detailed and airy thanks to its upper midrange tuning that is strongly pronounced, while the treble range shows a great sense of extension, resolution and airiness.

PS: Please note that my impression below are based on my experiences with the stock foam tips and bass ear tips that are included in the package. I highly recommend you to you to use the HiBy Crystal6 with the bass ear tips (or similar tips) or with foam tips if you are sensitive to upper treble brightness.

  

 

Bass:

The bass of the HiBy Crystal6 is produced with the large Knowles 22955 LF Balanced Armature driver that shows an outstanding performance in terms of bass speed, authority and control.

The subbass region of the Crystal6 is less pronounced compared to the midbass area and shows a moderate level of depth, extension and rumble. The subbass region offers a great sense of decay while the intensity is not on a basshead level.

The midbass region of the Crystal6 is more highlighted and energetic compared to the subbass area. It offers a good sense of speed and control thanks to the well-tuned Knowles 22955 LF BA driver. The midbass is pretty tight and impactful when I do listen to Toutant’s “Rebirth”, Really Slow Motion’s “Deadwood” or Jo Blankenburg’s “The Magelan Matrix” that do sound very satisfying.

The bass of the HiBy Crystal6 can be described as detailed, energetic but very controlled, without to show any unwanted conditions like muddies, mixings or a midbass hump.

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the HiBy Crystal6 shows a tad warmer than neutral tonality and offers a highly transparent, detailed and vivid/lively character with focal point in the upper midrange region. The Crystal6 is a successful IEM in terms of midrange clarity & resolution, moreover it shows a good performance in when it comes to separation and space of instruments and vocals.

 

Vocals & Instruments:

The HiBy Crystal6 shows a moderate level of lower midrange depth and body that adds the overall presentation an efficient sense of warmness to avoid a dry or too analytical tonality. Male vocals from David Bowie to Barry White are reproduced with a soft, slightly thin yet detailed manner.

Female vocals do sound more upfront/intimate and detailed compared to male voices, in addition to a highly transparent, crisp and lively presentation. Only Soprano vocals such like Hayley Westenra or Sertap Erener can do sound slightly sibilant and harsh from time to time when I do listen to them at higher volume levels, which can for the most part solved with the bass or foam ear tips.

The Hiby Crystal6 shows an impressive performance in terms of placement and separation of instruments and vocals, without to have negative situations like muddiness or mixings. The instrument presentation of the Crystal6 is in general transparent, lively and detailed. For example; instruments like pianos and violins do have a bright tonality with great sense of clarity and resolution. Other instrument like acoustic guitars or violas are reproduced with an good level of depth and body, while the extension is on an moderate level.

 

Upper Midrange & Treble:

The HiBy Crystal6 has a strongly pronounced, detailed and well extending upper midrange presentation. The upper midrange transitions can sound a bit sharp or fairly soft depending of the quality of your music library. Female vocals do sound very detailed and are shown with an impressive level of extension. Jazz vocals to pop vocals, sopranos to trance vocals do sound very transparent and detailed.

The HiBy Crystal6 has a strong treble emphasis with great sense of extension and detail retrieval, while it is unforgiving if you listen to songs with low record quality. This tuning makes the general presentation of this area energetic and highly dynamic.

The lower treble range of the Crystal6 is less pronounced compared to the upper treble area, while the general presentation is a pretty bright and shows a good level clarity and extension.

The upper treble region of the Crystal6 shows a quite audible peak around the 7 kHz region. Due to this peak, instruments such as pianos or crash cymbals can do sound a bit harsh in fast and complex passages, depending of the quality of the recorded track. The Crystal6 offers an above average treble performance for its price tag in terms of quantity, force and sharpness and will be satisfy most treble-heads.

The detail level retrieval in the treble range is quite successful. Moreover, the treble quantity will satisfy “trebleheads” who prefer a bright top end, while it can be a little bit hot for those who are a bit treble sensitive, for that I recommend to use the stock foam or bass ear tips.

 

Soundstage & Imaging:

The HiBy Crystal6 is successful In-Ear Monitor, especially for its price when it comes to the soundstage performance and the separation of instruments and vocals. The soundstage shows an above average wideness and offers a good sense of depth, along with a sufficient amount of neutral air between the instruments, which makes the soundstage atmosphere quite airy.

 

 

 

 

Some Comparisons:

  

HiBy Crystal6 versus FiiO FA9 (with default settings):

Both the FiiO FA9 and the HiBy Crystal6 do have a similar price and specs like 6 Balanced Armature driver per side a semi-custom shell.

The FiiO FA9 shows a slightly warmer tonality compared to the HiBy Crystal6 that has a tad more neutral tonality with additional brightness. The subbass region of both IEM’s is pretty close in terms of resolution and extension, while the FA9 shows a bit more rumble & intesity in this area. The midbass region of the Crystal6 shows slightly better speed and control while the while the impact and detail retrieval pretty similar.

The midrange of the FiiO FA9 sounds warmer, fuller relaxed in this area with its slightly more pronounced lower midrange tuning. The Crytsal6 on the other hand offers a better sense of clarity and dynamism in this area due to the upper midrange boost that makes it also more detailed in the midrange. The upper midrange transitions of the FA9 are more controlled.

The lower treble range of both In-Ear Monitors is pretty similar in terms clarity, detail retrieval and extension. Things to change when it comes to the upper treble range where the Crystal6 sounds more energetic and detailed. The Crystal6 is superior in terms of treble extension, resolution and sparkle, while it more prone to sibilance and sharpness compared to the FiiO FA9 that shows an audible roll-off in this area.

Both the HiBy Crystal 6 and the FiiO FA9 are successful IEM’s in terms of separation and placement of instruments and vocals. However, the Crystal6 has a more holographic soundstage with better sense of wideness, depth and airiness.

 

 

 

HiBy Crystal6 versus Oriveti OH500:

 Both the Oriveti OH500 and the HiBy Crystal6 do have a nice looking semi-custom monitor shell with great build quality, while the main difference is the driver configuration. The OH500 has a Hybrid Driver configuration with 4BA+1DD.

The Oriveti OH50 has a warmer tonality with fuller and smoother overall presentation. The OH500 shows a better sense of subbass depth, intensity/rumble and extension thanks to its pretty large dynamic driver. However, the Crystal6 is superior in terms of speed and control in this area. The Oriveti OH500 has the upper hand for midbass quantity and intensity, but doesn’t sound as controlled as the Crystal6 that offers also slightly better resolution especially in complex passages.

The midrange of the Oriveti OH500 is more upfront, full bodied and shows a warmer tonality compared to the HiBy Crystal6 that has a more recessed tuning with better sense of clarity, brightness and airiness. The upper midrange of the Crystal6 sounds slightly more energetic and detailed compared to the OH500, which is otherwise pretty successful in this area.

The treble range of the HiBy Crystal 6 offers a better level of extension and sounds also more airy and spacious compared to the Oriveti OH500 that has a shorter extension and less detail retrieval in this area.

Both the Oriveti OH500 and the Hiby Crytsal6 are successful Universal In-Ear Monitors at this price range when it comes to the soundstage performance. The Crystal6 offers a slightly better sense of depth, wideness and airiness that gives it an advantage when it comes to the separation and placement of vocals and instruments.

 

 

 

Conclusion:

The Crystal 6 is the flagship IEM of the company that comes with many interesting features such like 6BA’s per side, a 4-Way Electronic Crossover with 4 independent acoustic tube-ways, Gold Plated Dual layer PCB and many more, embedded in to a beautiful looking handcrafted monitor shell. However the main attraction is the sound that fulfils the description “Crystal” with a impressive sense of clarity, airiness and detail retrieval.

 

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Overall Clarity, Resolution & Technicality
  • + Treble Performance (Detail, Extension, Sparkle)
  • + Transparent and Detailed Midrange
  • + Bass Response (Decay, Control/Authority)
  • + Soundstage Performance (Wideness, Depth & Airiness)
  • + Beautiful Hand Crafted Monitor Shell
  • + Rich Set of Accessories (2 x Cables, Ear Tips, etc.)

 

  • – Treble Sounds a bit too Energetic (Needs to be tamed with the Bass or Foam Tips)
  • – Would wish a bit more Subbass Depth & Intensity
  • – Not the Most forgiving IEM with poor recorded songs

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

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