Whizzer Kylin HE01: This ain’t your grandma’s jewelry…
Pros: Gorgeous looks
Vocals are quite good
Very good clarity of note
Hence, good air
Cons: Could use better defined bass note
some do not like the “Grandma look”
Not mainstream, so many will not like it (they should)
Whizzer Kylin HE01 ($79): This ain’t your grandma’s jewelry…
AliExpress link (Discount code NGOSHAWK, of which I receive no benefit, this is simply a courtesy from Whizzer; in other words, a benefit to you)
Intro: Whizzer contacted me through Instagram to see if I wanted to review the HE01. Having had and reviewed the Kylin HE03, which I liked very much, I agreed. We set up a discounted price, that was amenable to me and roughly two short weeks later the unit arrived. Not bad. I had and have read some of the other HE01 reviews, and most sounded fairly positive to positive. Many also commented on the gorgeous looks, similar to your Grandmother’s older jewelry. That’s all right in my book as I liked the look and knew the fit would be similar to the HE01. Using the new BRIGHT dynamic driver, Whizzer continued to move forward with this new model.
The model is mine to keep but not sell (still really uncool). Other than the unit for a discounted price, I have no incentive regarding anything other than an honest review. The link was asked for by Whizzer (standard) and the discount code provided is a discount provided by Whizzer. I receive no financial gain from the discount code.
*As per all of my reviews, the unit was opened, checked fully for functionality then placed on a unit (Shanling M0) for over 75 hours playing random music. It is my belief that the user wants to know what the unit may sound like after approximately 6 months of use. Any differences are noted in the sound aspect, if I am able to discern any. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do not.
- Driver: 4th gen BRIGHT series 10.2mm dynamic driver
- Impedance: 18Ω
- Earphone sensitivity: 112dB/mW
- Frequency range: 14-40000Hz
- Interface: 3.5mm Gilded
- Cable Length: 1.2m±3cm
- Earphone interface: 2Pin 0.78mm connector
- Cable: 5N OFC oxygen-free copper
Thinksound in20+ ($99)
CCA CKX ($79)
Whizzer Kylin HE03 ($160)
BQEYZ Spring 2 ($69)
HiBy R3 Pro
Joey Alexander-Warna album and others
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever
Elton John-yep, still good, still cool
Tidal MQA (don’t care…) playlist
In The Box:
Whizzer Kylin HE01
5N OFC copper cable
2 sets of tips (s, m, l of each): reference & vocal
Aluminum lidded round case
The HE01 comes in a book-type opening black box tucked into the proverbial black sleeve. And as per the latest flavors, the lettering is a subtle black glossy print as well. I don’t mind this if the verbiage is readable, but when it isn’t; what’s the point? There is a nice copper tinge to the lettering, but it is all but unreadable under most circumstances. The inside box is of a nice textured flavor, with “Kylin” writing in script.
Opening the cover, you are met with a “secret pocket,” which houses the manual. On the main side are the IEM’s tucked into protective dugouts, replete with curved lines of a large size, which mimics the shape of the driver. I do like the presentation. Simple, direct, yet subtle. Pulling the IEM form out, you have the case of bendable aluminum (?) on one side and a rectangular box housing the cable and brush. Nicely protected in form fitting hard foam. Inside the case are two round paperboard “slides,” which house the tips. My first thought was of HeadPie and his View Master collection (amazing it is, too). Keep the tips in the case and you still have plenty of room. Take them out and you could fairly easily fit a Shanling M0 or equivalent DAP in with the HE01’s. Nice to see this happening more and more.
A nice box presentation, which fits Whizzer from my experience. Nothing too extravagant nor too simplistic.
Coming with the 4th generation BRIGHT 10.2mm dynamic driver, virtues include a composite diaphragm and a 1.2 Tesla magnet. The driver itself is combined with a copper ring, said to improve sound density and possibly transparency, creating a cleaner and mellow listening atmosphere (some verbiage here taken from Headfonia’s excellent review, https://www.headfonia.com/whizzer-he01-review/2/). Many dynamic driver units of today stick to either 8mm or 10mm, so size-wise this is a bit larger, yet still fits into a smaller sized shell. Nicely done.
As per my Whizzer Kylin HE03, the build is very good. Set above typical entry ChiFi the HE03 was, and it had sound to back that build. I would say that even though the HE01 is an acrylic shell, the build might be raised a bit from its big brother. I still really like the HE03 and listen when I can (foreshadowing).
Made of the typical three pieces, the faceplate has that rose gold (love it or hate it, I don’t care) ring, which can be felt over the main shell. The inlaid “W” logo looks like a pearl with etched monogram in it. That main shell is of typical teardrop shape and leads nicely to a slightly angled forward-facing nozzle of good girth. The whole nozzle is in rose gold as well and has a VERY solid lip. One that may be hard for other tips to fit. I used the stock tips, and had little problem placing on/taking off the tips. A vent hole directly on the “backside,” which is at the top of the
“W” allows for breathing of the driver, and you can clearly see that driver through the clear shell. Call it your grandma’s jewelry, I don’t care; I like the look.
In-ear fit is very good, and I had no trouble getting an excellent seal with the stock large-sized “reference” tips. The unit also fit near-flush inside my ear. To say that it is one of the most comfortable IEM’s of late would be an understatement. Combined with the subtle, soft bend of the ear guide and the fit is all-day-long comfortable. Combined with a raised and shielded 2-pin 0.78mm connector and you do not get any pressure on the top of your ear; where rubbing against glasses might exacerbate a pinching. Nope. Nothing there.
A note about that 2-pin connector though. I found the right jack came loose twice before I realized there is a very subtle “click” when fully engaged. Maybe not a click, but a harder push seals over a slight increase in size of the connection point. Either way, once my foggy brain caught on to that I had no trouble at all.
The rose gold cable is of 5N OFC copper variety, and it does lend a nice warmth to the sound. Tightly woven four-strand much like jewelry of old highlights a subtle cable with only a minimal amount of stickiness. The dark gray y-splitter and cable guide add to the classic old school look. Add in a large, but not too large jack on the business end of the 3.5mm se variety and the whole unit exudes quality. Subtle “HE01” lettering highlights on the y-splitter as well; with “Kylin” script on the jack. The presentation is quite good and fitting of a higher priced model.
To sum up: short of the feel of the ring at the faceplate/shell junction and the brain fart at the 2-pin connection; the HE01 is built to very high standards. I am glad the quality of build from the Far East is catching up to the rest of the world. This shows through here.
The Whizzer HE03 came across as a very pleasant sound back in the day when much of what came out of ChFi was a screeching mess. I do not fault those who like a brighter signature, and if that is their pref, good on them. The HE03 came across as mature, detailed and with a good foundation of bass that supported, not overran the sound from within. The HE01 raises that sound again making a mature detailed sound with a bit more bass than the HE03 at its core. Solid sub-bass provides the relationship link to warm and thorough mids, with detailed vocal support. Robert Plant’s aging voice on Bones Of Saints sounds every bit of his 72 years old. But not droll or dull and lifeless. No, it sounds thoroughly engaging with only a hint of lower mid bleed into the nether regions. On top of that, a sparkly stridentless sound emits from above. Treble is tight and clean, adding in a crisp nature that I also find pleasant and not grating. I do sense a bit of complexity issues, but that could stem from a single dynamic driver trying to run the whole show. Not bad mind you, just not as controlled as hybrid or all-BA units can give. A thoroughly fun sound, which can wear the Whizzer badge well.
As stated, bass comes across as reaching and fairly taut. The bass guitar on Jeff Beck’s seminal Brush With The Blues is soulful and forlorn of sound. Deep, rich and down low and dirty, that guitar work is of legendary status. The live version of this song would be worn to bits were it vinyl. String pluck and each push of the bass drum and bass guitar can be felt. Not heart pounding like the Hero or Legend X, but like it is meant to be: solid, foundational and present in enough quantity to keep you engaged and lower your head from side to side as you soulfully swing with the song. Repeat the song, you know you want to. I did. Raise the volume, too. Goosebumps.
This is the reason I love dynamic drivers. Balanced armatures are so very good and catching up to DD’s down low; but they still cannot match that soulful sound, which emanates from Blue’s songs. Period.
The acoustic guitar of Shane Hennessy on Rain Dance sounds sublime, and to me highlight the mids. Strumming along, there is enough air between the notes to give you a good sense of space. This song alone is one that plays on the senses, and I first heard it on Woodsong’s Old Time Radio Hour, where he was simply phenomenal. I am still looking for a decent live version of that. But the album version allows you to judge where the notes are coming from. Near the back to seems. The reverb across the stage add to that sense of spaciousness as well. Roadie Man from the Pretenders highlights the treatment of female vocals as well as snare hits & cymbal hits. Realistic and vibrant with a bit of soul, her voice sounds as good as ever. Snare hit and cymbals also fit the bill with a realism that plays nicely across the board.
Adding to that connectivity, on Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield, I played this because her voice is saucy, sensuous and just plain dirty (in a really, really good way). Neil’s distinct fret hits giver excellent detail adding to the support of her voice in the treble region. She has such an excellent formally trained voice; we can sit back and marvel at the treatment here. Not quite as distinct as the others here in the comparison, the HE01 nonetheless still plays enough to keep the energy going and your interest. While this may not be the best for rock music, the strength of the Whizzer shows up across multi-genre.
Going back to Shane Hennessy, his works highlight the vibrant nature of the soundstage. Width is good, but not overly wide. You do get excellent spatial recognition here, though. Add in a higher than deeper stage and you get that layering effect of good air between each note. While a single dynamic driver simply cannot give ultimate definition across the whole of the three dimensions (unless you spend $$$$), the Whizzer gives its all in the fight for respectability.
As mentioned indirectly above, spatial definition is good due to all of the aforementioned items. I liked the HE03 quite a lot, so I am impressed with the maturation of the HE01 from big brother. Improvements in dynamic driver technology most definitely show through with the HE01.
Whizzer HE01 ($79) v Thinksound in20+ ($99):
The new offering (review forthcoming) from the once defunct company is a hearing for sore ears from this reviewer. I am thoroughly in love with my ON2 from Thinksound, so when this showed up as a Kickstarter, I jumped. I am not sad that I did, either. Running a single 8mm dynamic driver the force unit is smaller, and the shell is made from sustainable wood. With an included mic, the in20+ can be worn over ear, but for me the best and easiest was down, much like the CFA Atlas or an earbud. Also, harder to drive, the in20+ comes across with a darker, warmer signature. I prefer that, but do not hesitate to like something with an open and more vibrant signature, such as the HE01.
Here, bass hits harder on the in20+, as I would expect even with the diminutive size of the driver. Known for hard hitting, but fun sounding bass the in20+ does not hesitate. Reach is deeper, and I can definitely feel it. As a result, that does bleed over into the lower mids when called upon, but not to the detriment to me. If you prefer a more open and airier noted signature, you should opt for the Whizzer. The in20+ is near-classic V-shaped, but mids are not forgotten, just not the point of reference here. Treble is politely rolled off with no sibilance or grating. If you can live with a bit of bleed and that deep reach of the bass, then the in20+ is a fine choice. Yet another Thinksound I love.
Whizzer HE01 ($79) v CCA CKX ($79):
On loan from another reviewer, the CKX surprised me (review forthcoming) as did the CS16. While I like the CCA iterations the most of the three KZ in-house brands, they are not my favorite. They do sound quite good and brought a level of maturity to ChiFi of old, when it was much needed. But they did not lose that spunky ChiFi treble-based sound. They simply made it more listenable to me.
Open and airy would describe the CKX nicely. The plunk of Hennessy’s guitar promotes a level of distinctness in the CKX, which belies offerings of yore. There is very good distinction between guitar plucks and the feeling of an open, crisp sound is promoted as such. I am impressed with this latest offering from CCA, and it can certainly go toe to toe with the Whizzer due to the balance armature architecture. I would say that there is even a better definition of the sound here than through the Whizzer. But, it simply cannot match the Whizzer down low. If you value clarity, then the choice would be the CCA. If you appreciate that single dynamic driver and what it can do, then the Whizzer would be a worthy choice here.
I like both and since they are oriented differently, cannot really choose a “favorite.”
Whizzer HE01 ($79) v Whizzer Kylin HE03 ($160):
I will admit that the HE03 does not get the listening privilege from me that is deserves. One of my favorites from days gone by, it still performs really well. A gorgeous cable and build quality of fine jewelry (see how I did that?…) it has the sound to back it up. While it does not quite have the bass reach of the little one, it does present a warmer and richer sound signature. Again, I do not mind this. I will say that to me the airiness of the HE01 is quite good even when comparing the bloodline, here. I would say that maturity of years has paid off and yesterday’s sub-$200 is not the sub-$100 market. Amazing for all of us!
Whizzer HE01 ($79) v BQEYZ Spring 2 ($69):
With a gorgeous look, and a cable, which might look at home on your much more expensive IEM’s, there isn’t a whole lot to dislike on the Spring2. One of my hits from early 2020; it fits nicely with the other wares from BQEYZ. I do have the Summer unit inbound and my hope it that the sound is as good or better than the Spring2. Of all the offerings here, the Spring2 has the furthest forward mids, making it much less V-shaped than the others. As a result, I find it brighter than the others as well. While it does not have the bass reach of the HE01, it does provide enough for a very good foundation. Clarity is easily as good as the Whizzer, and nearly on par with the CCA offering. Not quite as warm as the older Whizzer, the Spring2 still provides a rich warmth to the sound but think of it as that spring blanket instead of the thick winter blanket.
I would be hard pressed to choose here, but if you value bass and an open sound, the HE01 fits the bill. If you want a slightly darker, richer signature the Spring 2 is a breath of well, you get it.
I will admit to the peculiarity of how the Whizzer came to me. It was only after talking to other reviewers that they received the same form of contact. The shipping time was a scant short of two weeks, so not bad in this day of shipping eccentricities. During the time, I did read Prime Audio’s review, which came out as positive as did Heafonia’s. I trust both reviewers and their judgements at the top of whom I look to, and if they gave positive notes, then I had my hopes up. Also, I thoroughly liked the Whizzer HE03, so that bode well, too.
And I can say that the HE01 lives up to what the others say. For ½ the price of the original HE03, you get a better bass response, without losing much in the clarity department. While not the cleanest or crispest, but not meant to be; Whizzer has shown that you do not need multi-driver units to succeed. The saying KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) most certainly applies here, and I can say that Whizzer has pulled it off.
I thank Whizzer-Official for making contact with me, and for the discounted price. If you feel the need or urge for another, please use the discount code listed above, of which I receive no benefit.