Hello there, and welcome back to The Neighborhood. Today we have a rather unique planar dynamic IEM by Hidizs: the MP145. This thing has a 14.5mm Ultra-large Planar Magnetic Driver and its got whale tale inspired venting? Let’s get inToit!
So Hidizs is doing a Kickstarter for the MP145, and part of the proceeds go to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, which I think is a really good cause. The face plate design is even inspired by a whale’s tale, and there’s unique venting for the driver in the crevasse on the side of this design. The shell material is comprised of two pieces of aviation aluminum alloy with interchangeable nozzles with different filters affixed. There’s a balanced rose gold nozzle, a treble filter that’s silver, and red bass filter. Bass, Balanced, and Vocal ear tips are also provided. The MP145 uses a 2-pin connection and comes with a silver-plated copper cable that terminates in a straight 3.5mm jack. There’s a metal Y-split and slider, but the hardware at the 2-pin connector is a bit large for my ears, and the loop extends beyond my earlobe- making it difficult for the hook to remain secure on my ear. Using a hair dryer to bend the hooks or swapping to almost any alternative cable fixed this, but from a fit perspective, the cable really isn’t the best match here, at least out of the box. A soft leatherette carry pouch that opens and closes by tension spring is also included in the box.
Overall, these fit my ears well outside of the cable, but this is a rather large IEM and it barely fits my medium sized ears. Someone with a smaller ear might have a difficult time fitting the MP145. I’ll also note that these things are rather hefty in the hand but, in my ears, they balance well due to their ergonomic design and I barely notice that I’m wearing them, but your mileage may vary.
In terms of the sound here, it’s a bit hard to nail down, because with all of the ear tip and filter adjustments the sound is truly variable. Sometimes alternative tips and filters like this don’t do much, but in the case of the MP145, it really does make a difference. I preferred the balanced filters, but the bass filters are “dirty,” in a good way, without over-bloating or getting too fatiguing to my ears. The treble filters did enhance the treble, and sounded almost as good as the balanced filters in the low-end, but did wear on my ears a bit over the course of longer listening sessions. But hey, I’m not a treble head, and if you are, I don’t think these go overboard here either really. The best balance for my ears for longer-term listening was the balanced filter with the bass ear tips, but the balanced ear tips with the balanced filters were reference quality.
The MP145 also is influenced by one’s source chain. It sounded wildly different being powered by different amps, dongles, and other components. For example, the Truthear Shio tended to blunt the treble a bit and caused some roll off that was not apparent on other sources such as the Hiby FC3 or Tanchjim Space. I also absolutely loved the MP145 off the Bravo Audio Ocean hybrid tube amplifier with a Raytheon 12AU7 tube installed. This is because it also absorbs power well, and scales with it. While these ran well-off dongles from my phone, they really benefited from the hybrid tube power of the Bravo Audio Ocean or the raw solid-state power of the DS-10 Plus’ headphone output- both of which delivered a higher output to the MP145. Still, the backdrop was relatively black and pristine, allowing the sonics of the MP145 to shine.
In general, though, the MP145 has a clean, large, and punchy sound. It does have some forwardness to its character, but it’s never really “in-your-face” aggressively, and this is also somewhat influenced by source. Still, even though sounds were rather malleable, from both source to source and with different filter and tip combinations; I never felt that the overall sound was ever “poor.” In fact, the MP145’s sonics were generally always a pleasing listen to, and a positive experience overall- just presenting in different flavors, but each flavor being mostly well done.
And, I may still be in a honeymoon phase, but considering the other planar magnetic IEMs in the price-range (around $100 to $200 dollars) that I have heard, this is my new favorite. In my opinion, right now it’s the one to beat. And yes, it satisfies me more than the S12, P1 Max, Timeless, and the others. In contrast to the S12, timbre is more neutral; and its less bright, and less spikey to the ear. Compared to the Timeless, the upper mids are less aggressive, it’s note weight is fuller, and it definitely has more impact. Still, the Timeless will likely be the planar for vocal lovers, as vocals, although really well done in the MP145, are not as standout of a characteristic as they are in that set. And, while the P1 Max may have the MP145 beat when it comes to stage width and smoothness, it’s certainly more of a flavored profile than the Mp145 is, which comes across to my ear as much more neutral and reference in its tonality, which this reviewer always prefers.
The MP145 also does something these others really don’t… It actually sounds like a planar magnetic headphone! The perspective it takes is a tall one- like one of the larger, ear-shaped HIFIMAN’s. And, like a large planar, the midrange is light, nimble, reactive, and reflexive. The bass hits deep, hard, and has really good rumble and slam. It’s not endgame detail, but its got an above average detail for its price, and with good texture to each note. It also avoids the pitfalls of some other planar magnetic designs- with limited smearing, sheering, glare, or grit. The treble is mostly crisp, clean, and clear, and without venturing too much into excessive sparkle, sharpness, or over embellishment. But with the good, also comes the bad, while relatively neutral sounding, it does have some planar tonality. What others might call a slight metallic timbre. Even so, if you can deal with a HIFIMAN, you’ll likely be able to not only tolerate, but also appreciate these.
Still, the stage isn’t huge from right to left. The sound only really expands just beyond the listener’s ears. But there is really good height and decent depth to the image as a whole, and the level of separation is also good enough for its stage. Instruments within it image well, are easy to distinguish from one another, and I never felt that any sounds were lost to confusion or under expression. It’s not the most technical performer, but it layers well, decays well, and is easy to track within its space.
So, there’s basically a lot to love here with the MP145! It’s a great IEM with a good cause, and it’s priced well to boot. But if you want t get your hands on one for yourself, you’re unfortunately going to have to back the Kickstarter and wait, which should go live on the same day that this video is released by the way. As of the making of this video, I’m uncertain when units of the MP145 will actually ship out to their customers, but I’m sure this information will be provided on the Kickstarter page for its backers to take into consideration.
Promotional Early Bird pricing is advertised at $109, but in my opinion, these are competing with the likes the of the Moondrop Kato and the Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite- both of which are priced higher at $169 and $249 respectively. And I will point out that each of those IEMs consists of different driver designs, with the Kato being a single dynamic and the Orchestra Lite being all-BA set. As the MP145 is a planar magnetic implementation, it might be the one to add to a collection like this; that is if one hasn’t taken the plunge on another planar yet, or wants to replace an existing planar magnetic IEM that might not sound as “planar” as this one does.
In the end, I simply can’t say enough good things about the MP145, and am thrilled that I already have one in my possession. I’ve been under embargo since I received my set, and I’ve just been itching to talk about it since slipping it into my ears. The only major drawbacks that I foresee with this set are that the planar sound might not be for everyone, and its large size may not fit those with smaller ears well, but otherwise, it’s a really well implemented set that can likely be tuned (by tips and, or filters) to almost anyone’s liking.