Whizzer HE01: a mostly neutral reference under $100!
Everyone, welcome back to the Neighborhood! Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer here taking a look at yet another IEM, the Whizzer HE01. I started hearing rumors about this thing a few weeks back, and then out of nowhere, Whizzer contacted me, and asked if I’d give it an honest review. So here we are… the Whizzer HE01… Let’s get InToit!
So, this is not the first Whizzer product for this channel to review. A few months back, I took a look at the Whizzer, Opera Factory OS1. At the time, there was some confusion about who Whizzer really is. Were they their own company, part of KBEAR, or just the parent company of Opera Factory? Well, it seems to turn out that Whizzer is their own brand, and they have been ramping up, and producing a number of IEMs as of late. The HE01 is one of these, and it has been catching the attention of many audiophiles, both for its build, and its sound.
Let’s start out with the build. The shell of the HE01 is a thick, light-weight, ABS plastic construction. The shell is on the smaller size, and the nozzle has a nice general angle to it. I think that these will fit most people’s ears, and it will do so most comfortably.
The driver inside is a single 10.2mm dynamic; consisting of a high magnetic circuit and metal composite moving coil design. Whizzer claims that this a 4th Gen driver that improves a sense of sound density and transparency- creating a clear and mellow listening atmosphere. The HE01 is extremely easy to drive, and it could be just as easily powered off my cell phone as anything else.
The cable these come with have angled, c-pin connectors, but no ear hooks. The braided and wound OFC cable itself though is very soft and supple, so the lack of ear hooks does not result any discomfort for me. It terminates in a small, but somewhat fat, metal, straight 3.5mm connector. There is also a metal chin cinch, which integrates in the metal y-split. I really like this cable, but if I had one criticism, it would be for Whizzer to use a properly recessed 2-pin connection instead of c-pin on future designs.
The box also includes a metal tin carrying case, a cleaning brush, and two sets of ear tips, which allow you to tune the IEM in different ways. One of these sets is labeled “Reference TIp” and the other is labeled “Vocal Tip.” To my ear the included vocal tips sounded better than the reference tips, but ultimately, I abandoned both of these sets in favor of SpinFit CP100 Ear Tips instead. The HE01 is actually pretty tip dependent, and CP100 tips actually resulted in the most neutral, balanced sound. So, assume all sound commentary in this review is done with these tips installed.
So, this is only my speculation, but I think the goal of the HE01 was to create a more neutral, reference tuning to start to give Whizzer additional variety in their otherwise mostly V-shaped, bass-head focused line-up to date. If this was their attempt, I think Whizzer mostly succeeded- producing an earphone that is both relatively neutral to the ear in both its tuning and its timbre.
Highs are well accentuated, but tones here are never harsh, strident, or overly accosting. Instead, tones here are extremely unfatiguing, and buttery smooth in their delivery. There’s not a ton of air here, but the HE01 does possess airy qualities, here or there, which do present themselves well when called upon to do so by the track.
The mid-range is natural and life-like, and does not sound notably accentuated or recessed in any particular area, despite graphs, which show slight elevations between 2-and-5K. With that said, rest assured that the mid-range is definitely the star of the show with the HE01. In fact, for a single dynamic driver, its mids are very well articulated, and with good resolution and microdetails. Level of detail is at least on par with other standout sets in the $50 to $100 dollar price-range, such as the Shozy Form 1.1, Tin HiFi T4, and Moodrop’s newest iteration of the Aria. And, while I wouldn’t describe the HE01 as having a mid-forward sound, to the ear, per say; I would describe it as being mid-centric.
Vocals isolate well, and rest naturally atop the rest of the presentation. They are large in their scope at times, with male vocals less accentuated than their female counterparts on occasion, but this observation was mostly track dependent and suitable to it within appropriate expectations. Like the rest of the mid-range, the HE01’s vocal presentation was most pleasing, and vocal detailing; excellent.
The bass is delicate and softly delivered, but takes a definite back-seat to the rest of the presentation. In the HE01, it is apparent that the purpose of the bass is mostly to assist the rest of its mix. And, with CP100 SpinFits installed, the HE01’s bass does an excellent job with this. If you listen to the HE01 with CP100’s and say, “I’d like a bit more low-end,” then consider CP145’s instead. I enjoyed this tip with the HE01 as well, even though CP100’s would still be my preference between the two.
While the sub-bass is somewhat slower, softer, and less emphasized in its distribution, the HE01’s mid-bass and upper bass regions are decently dynamic, fast, punchy, and add to the articulation capabilities of this set. In general, you feel plucks on strings and strikes on drumheads without any fatigue or over accentuation. This results in bass tones, which are mostly natural in their sound. There does appear to be some sub-bass roll off towards the bottom of the frequency response, but I also felt that the sub-bass presented itself well enough when called upon to do so on a particular track- showing itself when necessary. For example, there was plenty of sub-bass present in the track, “Gone With,” by Charli XCX and Christine and the Queens.
Soundstage is pretty wide from left to right (although not the absolute widest I’ve ever heard) with good peripheral detailing, and accurate imaging and tracking from side to side. Depth of the sound field is above average, and good for the HE01’s price, but this is a more of a flatter, 2D image than a 3D one. I just reviewed the second generation of Moondrop’s Aria, and like Moondrop’s own SSR, the HE01 layers less well, but has a much larger stage overall compared to that set. So, stage junkies, might prefer the HE01 to the Aria, and vice versa, depending upon their individual preferences here. Layering of instruments, and individual note separation, are sufficient enough in the HE01; however, and do not hold it back from being somewhat of a neutral, reference point in the $50 to $100 dollar price-range.
So, the sound of Whizzer HE01 won’t be for everyone, even if it seems like it is small enough and sufficiently ergonomic to fit them. It is tip dependent in its sound quality, but well-built, and comes in a well-presented package for its price. If someone is seeking a neutral, reference-style earphone under $100 dollars, with CP100’s SpinFit Ear Tips, you’ll get just that with the Whizzer HE01. And while such a tuning is engaging enough for me, some may find it less than energetic for their tastes.
*Thanks to Whizzer for sending in the HE01 for Review!
Amazon (non-affiliate link): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08TTPKXY3
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