Written by ngoshawk
Published Today at 5:46 PM
Pros – Easy to use (ingress/egress)
Good bass thump
Pretty good details
Good looking unit
Cons – Not the most detailed
Hypersense Hex02-$25 from Penon Audio: https://penonaudio.com/hypersense-hex02.html
Hypersense is a new company from China, and as such, this is their first attempt into the IEM/earphone realm. Posed as a replacement for stock Smartphone headphones, the Hex02 comes with a three-button remote/microphone, which can be used multi-platform (iOS & Android). With automatic detection, this is a nice trend forward from OS-specific headphones of the past.
Driver diameter: 9mm
Diaphragm material: PET / Ti composite material
Rated power: 10mW
Sensitivity: ≥95dB (@ 1kHz)
Frequency response range: 20 ~ 40kHZ
Wire material: 1.35m environmental TPE
Receiver: condenser microphone
Remote control: three buttons (volume and pause)
System compatibility: Android and iOS adapt automatically
Plug: gold-plated plug
S/M/L silicone eartips
The Hypersense Hex02 came in an interesting small package, with the wire wrapped around a foam “housing,” and the IEM filling the inside along with the extra tips. An interesting presentation focusing on the circular element, towards the center and the IEM. Accessories were laid out next to the IEM, except the earhooks, which were in a plastic bag laying on top of the exposed IEM. Folded neatly the cinch bag was tucked into a “pouch,” which lay on top of the unit, as a protective envelope. Also in that envelope were the straightforward directions.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank Penon Audio for the package. The Hex02 was given to me free of charge for the purpose of this review. All they ask is for an honest review in return. I would not have it any other way. That said, a hint would be that these are quite a decent first attempt for the company.
Getting back to that presentation, it was clear that the IEM was meant to be the center of attention (as it should be…), and what started as a highlight, continued into the sound aspects of the audition.
A bit about me:
I am older. I am happy that I have rediscovered the joy of music, through personal listening devices. Through this opportunity, I have become exposed to some wonderful kit. Much I now own, much I covet. Much I would never purchase, for various reasons.
My listening style has changed somewhat over the years…from old time Rock-n-Roll to the Blues to Reggae, to Bluegrass. I cut my teeth on Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, The Who, Santana, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, and Pink Floyd. But the music I hold dearest and nearest my soul, is Stevie Ray Vaughan. I was lucky enough to see him perform four times…twice in open air venues, followed by (that evening each time!!!) smoky blues bars, where intimate would be an understatement. Each holds a very special place in my psyche, and I can almost remember the whole of each concert in their entirety…
I enjoy a warmer signature in my equipment, and listening, with a good bass line (but not basshead), complimented by outstanding vocals. Combine the sweetness of SRV’s guitar and Billy Holiday’s voice, and you get my musical genre.
Through too much hearing loss of high end (loud car stereo as a teenager with a car…), I cannot quite fathom the differences of sound that those experts on Head-Fi do. So, I try to accommodate with subtle differences…detailed differences wrought from my days banding birds and working bird surveys where it was imperative that I separate what kind of Warbler, or Flycatcher, or Sparrow that was, and from what direction and elevation change the song originated. I used my deficiencies of treble-loss to my benefit; searching for that sound, which was not there a moment before. I got pretty darn good at it. And, I TRY to use that same methodology to separate details enough to offer a modicum of differentiation in the product at hand. I like to think I’m doing OK. But can always improve…
iPhone X (through Apple Dongle)
Fake You Out– Twenty One Pilots
Guns For Hands- Twenty One Pilots
Trees– Twenty One Pilots
Dragonfly– Ziggy Marley (of course!)
Live It Up-Ziggy Marley
Three Little Birds– Ziggy Marley on Live From Soho
Running Down the Dream-Tom Petty
Tell Me Why-Los Lonely Boys
Having a backlog is not a good thing. One didn’t plan their time very well if that occurs. And one must work their tail off to get back on track. Well…that really wasn’t the case here, I just wanted to state that right before the Hex02 came, I did in fact work hard to get caught up…and it paid off. As luck would have it, I had a wonderful source in which to use in the house, too. While one might not think the Opus#1S as a good companion for an entry level IEM, I would beg to differ. It works very well. Lending itself a more mature (so to speak) sound, the #1S can bring out deficiencies quite nicely in test units. Add in the Shanling M3s & M1 and you have a very good effort at affordable portables…
I would consider the Hex02 to have a slightly warm sound, but with good bite up top. A good bass lays down the trend for the overall signature, one that while quite nice in most situations, can bleed into the mids a bit to me. I would consider this a good signature for a portable source, and one, which could be considered for the gym, due to ease of ingress/egress.
The quality of the Hypersense shows in all characteristics. A fit and build, which belies the price at which these sell ($25), I found the quality to be quite good. Black plastic housing holds the polished aluminum unit snuggly. To me, it gives a snap-and-fit feel and look. One, which works well while looking quite nice. A deep ridge on the tip of the nozzle works very well for holding the tip of choice on for the user. Something in which I am VERY thankful. I very much like the look and feel of the Hex02, especially since that black plastic “frame” continues down the cable as protection. It also helps with ingress/egress.
Speaking of in and out, this is as easy as placing the unit into your ear, twisting it a bit for proper fit, then hit play. With a flush fit, the Hex has a very nice low profile, something, which can come in handy should you use these in the gym. I will add, that the 02 is tip dependent for best fit and sound, as well as a slight rotation within the ear. I did find myself moving the right IEM for a better fit occasionally, and this did alter the sound. With proper placement, the bass was indeed the best. Off a bit, and bass suffered in quality. So, be careful with fit. That said, it is worth it.
With a built-in microphone, which also controls play/pause & volume (+/-), the Hex automatically changes according to the type of phone between Android/iOS. A nice feature. Attached to a thinner rubbery-coated cable, which keeps itself free and clear, I have no qualms here. Of good build and quality it is sufficient for this pricepoint. The mic and controls worked quite well for music and phone calls, with good clarity of sound in conversation.
An overall pleasant sound is once again the highlight of the Hex02, to me. Pleasing deep reaching bass, and a good bit of treble (elevated albeit a bit artificially) are brought to the table, only brought down by the bass bleed into the mids, detracting from the sound. While not overly intrusive, it is worth considering if you are not a fan of too much bass. With a tall, but slightly narrower sound stage, one can overlook that bass deficiency.
Bass: What could be described as reaching for the big boys level of bass, but falling slightly short would be an apt description. While there is a good bit of bass, its untamed nature hinders what could have been a superb bass note and a foundation on which to build a stellar unit. That said, for a sub-$30 IEM it is quite good. The engineers did their research and almost pulled it off. Consider this the little brother who wants to play soccer with the big kids, and almost makes that fantastic save in goal, since that is all the big kids will let him play…
Mids: Defined apart from the bass bleed, the mids are quite competent in their own right. Good, but not great separation can be heard in guitar note, as well as male vocals, chalked up to the more forward lower mids. While they do tend to “comingle,” it isn’t without purpose. Presenting a semi-unified front, one could argue that this was meant to be…a good amount of detail but lacking that final separation of instruments and vocals. Again, one need be reminded that this is a sub $30 IEM.
Treble: This for me is the hardest to pinpoint, due to my hearing deficiencies. On more inexpensive units, I struggle…did I really not hear that? Was it really not that clear? So, to accommodate I try to isolate what sounds different on those I have heard before, often revisiting to verify. An old birding trick on which I relied, I listen for the difference…what wasn’t there a bit ago, or is now gone such as a new bird in my territory of survey. By and large it seems to work. Here, to me is where the Hex limits itself the most, by not having clear, concise, crisp highs of cymbals, the top end becomes a bit muddy, not rounded off, but a bit unclear. I wasn’t able to pinpoint as accurately as I would have liked where that cymbal hat played. Elevated, yes, but to me at the cost of clarity.
That may seem harsh, but it isn’t meant to be…it simply is the limit at which the Hypersense works. Then of course, Tom Petty’s Running Down the Dream starts to play, and I can clearly define those high-hat hits and cymbal crashes.
Soundstage/Separation: As mentioned above, the soundstage is not otherworldly, but nothing in which to be ashamed. Pleasantly tall, and a bit intimate add to a level of personalization. One I do like in this setting. When I work out, I don’t really want an IEM that acts as if I need to duck or dodge when anyone else or anything comes my way. I like that bit of personal space.
By and large, the instrument separation is quite nice, too. I can pick out pretty much where the drums and guitar work is on Los Lonely Boys Tell Me Why. Just not with the level of detail I would like in and IEM.
Detail/Clarity: While it may seem as if I have done nothing short of bash this unit, I would respectfully disagree. I do like the level of detail given its level of performance. There is enough clarity to pick out the details present and place them well. Ziggy Marley’s Live It Up is a good song in which to listen for that detail component. Succinct definition of detail would be a strong point here, and the clarity of which Ziggy sings adds to a pleasant overall sound.
Opus #1S: All of the above was written while listening through the Opus #1S. I would add that the Opus gives a nice energetic sound in which you can kick back and enjoy your music. Eric Bib’s Meetin’ At The Building is that knee slapping, clapping kind of song one can enjoy regardless, but here the combination presents themselves together to forge a very good sound, with that deep bass adding to the note. Acoustic guitar details coexist with the Harmonica and steel guitar in a very nice package. The positives are brought out well in this combination.
Shanling M3s: Listening to one of my all time favorites, Big Head Todd & The Monsters is always a treat and one in which I often call upon for auditions. Midnight Radio clings to the air through the Hex02/M3S combo. With more bass in the Shanling than the Opus, one can feel the rumble, and in this instance it is not a bad thing. With a wider soundstage, a sense of better placement is given as a result. I think the Opus provides a more clear sound, but the Shanling lets the bass expose itself in an almost “mean” sense. And that isn’t a bad thing. This would be a killer workout or “pump me up” combo. Follow that up with Junior Brown’s The Better Half, and you have that combination that makes you want to go run 17 miles…or punch something. This would also be a good commuting combo, as the isolation is pretty good, and that added bass would cover a good bit of outside noise.
Played at quieter levels, I am pleasantly surprised with the sound sig, lending itself to a nice end-of-the-day set up. A plus is the comfort-factor of the IEM, since they are a flush easy to fit IEM.
Shanling M1: I keep my M1 around mainly as my burn-in unit now that I have the M3s. That said, it lends itself to IEM’s such as this, because of its portability and quality sound characteristics. Still of very good sound, I have simply moved past it. Pink Floyd’s Time draws me back in from what I just wrote, and I simply listen. Listen to garner what I hear. Needing more volume to compete with the two above, the M1/Hex02 still provides a decent enough sound, where one could justify this as a throw in whatever bag combination and listen quite nicely as a result. It is sufficient enough for those purposes. I will say, that the upper mids do sound a bit over the top to me, which would limit my usage here. That is somewhat alleviated, when Lyle Lovett’s excellent Bears song comes on. Another of my favorite artists, his musical talent is pretty much second to none, and excellent for listening/auditioning purposes. Clean, clear and concise of character, the Hex02/M1 once again shines. For $125 (used M1), one could have a very nice combination. I do enjoy it.
iPhone X: Since Apple has gotten rid of the 3.5mm jack, one needs use a “dongle” to attach 3.5mm headphones to listen. A minor inconvenience to me, and one would hope to most. Connecting the Hex02 was quick and painless. And worked flawlessly. A quick push of the middle button, and the song was paused. Push again, and the song started. There was a second or two delay in doing so, but not too much of an annoyance to me. I chalk that up to the “dongle effect.” As for the sound quality, it was almost as good as with the Opus#1S…almost. Tidal did have a rich full tone, with a good bass note. An excellent commuting pair this would make.
Comparison to another:
Unfortunately I have not much at this price, other than the Tennmak Pro of which I held onto because I do enjoy the sound quite a lot.
Using my standby Ziggy gives an excellent test of strong, rich and deep note of bass as well as such a melodious voice of which we haven’t heard since his father. Ziggy is superb to use for auditioning purposes, and I do like that.
Covering Bob’s Three Little Birds in Live From Soho, the small venue oozes character giving an excellent chance to listen for that bass and voice. One is not disappointed, regardless of the source. For those comparative purpose, the Shanling M1 was used, providing one with that affordable sound set up.
Retailing for $27, the Tennmak Pro is a natural competitor, save that it is an over-ear IEM. It must be worn that way. Built on the assumption that it is for bassheads (or near-bassheads), one would expect the Pro to trounce the 02 in that department. And it pretty much does. I would say that what the Hex02 lacks in deep rumble to the Pro, it makes up for in clarity. An almost on par (there it is again…almost…) bass to the Pro, it does fall short in quantity. I do like the treble characteristic of the Hex02 better, though. Running a bit hot, the Pro has more treble reach than I remember. But, on Robert Cray’s The Things You Do To Me, that reach is a benefit. Here excellent levels of treble counter the clear winning rumble of the bass. Succinct, crisp cymbal hits define a very good treble quality. If bass is what you want, then the Pro is your choice. If you want ease of use, no worries about MMCX cables, or a cable, which isn’t the nicest at this level, then the Hex02 would be the choice.
Before this unit, I had never heard anything by Hypersense. Based upon the Hex02, it would be a good thing to find other wares by this company. While not world breaking, the Hex02 checks enough boxes in the correct column to be worth a listen. With good bass rumble; a treble, which doesn’t disappoint, and the ease of use factor the Hex02 is a worthy unit to throw into your to go bag as a fill in, or for those times when a quick listen necessitates that portability and ease of set up.
I want to thank Penon Audio for the review unit, it was an honor to be included.