THhifi CHARACTER Review: Appealing bass persona

THE PLUS:
-Great bass quality AND quantity
-Well balanced V shape with clear mids
-Among best bass performance in sub-200$ market
-Fast and snappy treble
-Good enough resolution
-Energic, fun and versatile tonality
-Decent technicalities
-Decent imaging and soundstage
-Nice packaging-generous accessories

THE MINUS:
-Bit thin, lean and bright mids
-lack of treble sparkle, air and brilliance
-bass stole the show sometime
-not impressive cable

TONALITY: 8.5/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.2/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8.5/10
SOUND VALUE: 8/10

THhifi seem to be a new sister company of BGVP. For now they release 2 hybrid earphones, the Character 1DD+1BA that I will review today and the Face Red 1DD+2BA i hope to review one day. They call themself an ”a young and energetic music earphone brand. We have professional ID/MD design team, professional audio tuning team, professional 3D printing team and first-class processing supporting factory.” This company seem to take pround of chinese culture, especially Tang dynasty. I respect that.

Priced at a rather not very competitive 170$ price, the Character use a fascinating 9.2mm double magnet dynamic driver with a resin diaphragm, this type of material promise great flexibility in transient response due to ”light weight and natural rebound” as THhifi state.

The model of balanced armature driver used isn’t reveal, but we know Thhifi use 3d modeling to tube both drivers individualy, another proof of seriousness in term of proper acoustic design.

All of this is beautiful promises, but let see in this review if these can stand appart in sub-200$ IEM market.

SPEC

Model Name: Character
Driver: 1DD+1BA
Sensitivity: 106dB @ 1kHz
Distortion: ≤ 1.6%
Impedance: 10.5Ω
Frequency Response Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
Wire Length: 1.2m ± 5%
Net Weight: 6.7g

CONTRUCTION&PACKAGING

The Character are well built and feel sturdy. The housing is made of CNC metal which is both ligth and durable. For an hybrid, it isn’t the smalles housing but it’s not gigantic too. The nozzle being a bit short, this might be problematic for some, it wasn’t for me tough.
MMCX connector are protruding, which i’m not a fan of since it might be more prompt to cable connectors stress and damage.

The included cable is OK, but nothing impressive for an IEM of this price. It’s a basic 4 cores silver plated cable. It seem to keep it’s bend easily too.

Packaging is quite interesting, since it come in a wooden box. It’s generous enough in term of accessories too, we get lot of silicone ear tips (12 pairs-4 models), a clothes bag, a nice leather carrying case and the so-so cable I talk about. Yeah, we are so spoil with fancy cable in chifi world that we are snobbish about OK cable now. Oh, and we have a cleaning brush, which I personally use to perfectly brush my mustache.

SOUND IMPRESSIONS

(Gear paired with: Tri TK2, Questyle M15 and Xduoo Link2 Bal)

TONALITY offer a crisp V shape approach, near basshead level, with a chunky well rounded boosted mid bass that have heavy impact and lean bright mids and treble. It’s a fun tuning with capable enough technical performance, aimed to enjoy beat heavy music not so much instrumental or music without beat or bass like classical or folk music.

BASS is extremely addictive to my ears, thick and juicy, very round and heavy in it’s impact, with good attack grip and vibrant rumble with lot of physicality to it. It’s a club-like kinda bass, not a linear one that extend in a clean resonance, yet it’s not muddy or dirty, it have more grunt than long sustain rumble like a U shape tuning. Still, as shown in a track like Moonlight from IAMDDB the sub bass line are very meaty with well articulated rumble, so I do think the Resin dynamic driver can dig down to 20hz. The flexibility is there too, i mean, when you have a whole DD used just for low section, you expect great performance from it and it is the case here unlike lotta other hybrid on the market. It’s all betting on bass quantity AND quality, since texture is rich-lush-nuanced, extension is deep, attack is speedy yet not lacking in smooth articulation or swallowing upper low presence of kick drum. Kick drum is well define and it’s impact timing isn’t affect by either sub bass slam or line. Yet, the bass have hint of warmth to it too. I mean, I struggle to know if it’s guilty pleasure or not since it’s not boomy nor lacking extension, ok, perhaps separation with mids lack a bit of clean air

MIDS pay the cost of both the V shape balance and superior presence and timbre thickness of the bass response. Yep, it is leaner part of the audio spectrum here, but not to the point of feeling dark or lacking in sound info. One thing sure, the Character isn’t made for female vocal lover nor for mid centric enthusiast. Think about a warmer leaner Ikko OH10 and your not far from the mids of the TH, in fact, timbre here is smoothed, quite organic and non sibilant, yes, it’s a bit thin but not overly dry…it’s just the dynamic that feel a bit dull and static, while the bass seem bigger than nature, the mid range feel smaller. But you know what? I learn to like these mids because the resolution is quite good and the smoothed edge make it rather fatigue free, still, as said, instrumental or beat less music will not be immersive, have a distant and lean dynamic and lack sens of excitment up to about 4khz.…but at least, the presence is brightly and safely there and doesn’t feel veiled. For those that have listen to single balanced armature IEM, they will find the mid range very well done and gently crisp.

TREBLE is just slightly more lifted than mid range, so the presence and attack is more lively and energic, adding much needed excitment to sound balance with head turning (and banging) bass performance. It’s quite typical balanced armature highs here, fast and snappy with short sustain and hint dry timbre. Not alot of sparkle or decay to be found here but percussions are well define and sharp without going splashy or trebly as well as without feeling too boosted. Part of treble is a bit dark, so it’s not a details beast yet doesn’t feel lacking too much. I feel the TH are made for electronic and pop, or anything beat drive with simplistic instrumentation. Well, TH can deal with complex track like Elephant9 jazz rock but the resulst will be a bit fuzzy in excited passage, cymbals crash will cut short too and sens of openess on top will be lacking making instruments feel compressed against each other. Electric guitar doesn’t sound bad but have hint too much distortion gain-sustain and lack proper definition, so a bit shouty with softed edge. All in all, pretty average treble, yet not disastrous or agressive. Acoustic guitar have good bite and resolution, with minimal resonance.

SOUNDSTAGE is both average wide and deep, making presentation rather intimate as if your in a small circular room with 2 bookshelf speaker and a sub woofer in the middle.

IMAGING struggle with layering and bass presence stole proper positioning of other instrument. Presentation here isn’t realist and near in mono. Simply put: i can’t precisely pin point instrument placement because they lack space and air between them.

MUSICALITY APPRECIATION

Since the Character sound great with electronic, rap, soul and R&B and not too bad with Jazz, i tend to adore their rythm axed musicality. I rarely get addict to bass and this is the case here, this chunky heavy hitting and hint warm low end is so yummy to my ears, yet not to the point of overshawing everything in disastrous way like extremist basshead tuning can achieve…
I mean, the bass have both the well define grip we seek for, the heavy club like thumping and a flexible sens of rumble and tight but present resonance….what can we ask more and is it really guilty pleasur when definition is well rounded and impact well controlled? If TH have push 2db more the boost, this might equal in total wrongness, but the balance is there and I don’t struggle to feel and find the mids and even less the treble which have an energic snap and bit…
We never know when a love story is irrational or not, it might be here, but i’m not ashame of saying so, to me this is the side grade offering to Ikko OH10 brighter hybrid sub-200$ champ.
For mids and treble, the TH are ”jack of all trade, master of none” while for bass they are master of all trade.

COMPARISONS

VS IKKO OH10 (1DD+1BA-190$)

OH10 is crisper and more W shape. Resolution is higher as well as sens of openess. Bass is more textured and slightly less boosted as well it seem more rolled off since sub bass line are less extended and rumbly. TH bass is chunkier and rounder as well as more heavy. Mids have more upper mids bite and presence making female vocal more upfront and present, while male vocal are a bit more bodied with the TH and timbre less bright. Overall mid range is more recessed and less detailed with the TH. Treble is notably more vivid and detailed with the OH10, it dig more sound info and have an airier more open feel as well as more sparkle and brilliance. TH feel very tamed in highs edge and bite here. Now, for the soundstage, it’s both wider and deeper with the OH10. Imaging is notably more accurate too.
All in all, technical performance of the OH10 is superior, especially for mids and treble, this make the OH10 more versatile for wider music genre too, but if you search for warmer bassier version of these, the Character might be a great bet.

VS KINERA IDUN GOLDEN 2 (1DD+2BA-170$)

The Golden are intensely more detailed, clean and crisp….it’s quite a shock the number of extra micro details and nuance in sound layers I get here, yet it’s not agressive and offer a more realist and neutral tonality than the TH Character.
Bass is notably less boosted, dryer and leaner with minimal punch to it but a more textured timbre and better definition in term of separation, it feel faster tighter in attack too with better grip. TH extend deeper, is rounder meatier and have more rumble and weight.
Mids are fuller, brighter, cleaner and more detailed with better sens of layering and imaging and wide more open presence. It have more natural resonance too, less lean dynamic and overall technical performance like accuracy, attack speed, note weight and dynamic variation are all way better.
Treble follow same path than mids, it’s fuller and more detailed and it extend further too, making the TH feel quite dark and half cook in highs and more compressed in dynamic. Golden have more air, bit more brilliance but is quite similar in lack of sparkle (like with all BA in fact).
Soundstage is about same wideness but way way deeper. Imaging is from another league here, with excellent layering and static positioning which both lack with the TH.
All in all….while in same price range, the Golden 2 feel from another league here in term of plain technical performance while tonal balance is surely better too since it’s fuller and more cohesive, but more mature and neutral too so perhaps not as fun as the bassier warmer Character.

VS AUDIOSENSE AQ4 (1DD+3BA-180$)

AQ4 are basshead W shape, warmer and about 4db more boosted in mid bass. While bass quantity is bigger, quality is inferior to the TH which have deeper extension, cleaner less dark definition and hint more texture and grip. But the magic trick of AQ4 is being able to have more open wide and present mid range, thicker and more natural timbre, female vocal being so much more bodied and enjoyable. Again, its warmer tough, with more bass bleed from AQ4 and resolution isn’t as clean. Treble sound fuller thicker and less thin with AQ4, but if feel less snappy and airy too, again less clean.
Surprisingly soundstage is notably wider and taller as well as offering a more holographic-3D spatiality. Imaging have better layering, though it lack spacing between them, still, i can pin point instrument more precisely in the space as if TH is unidimensional.
I consider AQ4 as guilty pleasure due to big bass and warmed resolution, but musicality is way fuller and lusher as well as more upfront in dynamic, mid range especially is less lean and recessed here so my vote go to AQ4 which have inferior bass quality than TH Character.

CONCLUSION

The Thhifi Character might not have reinvent the wheel with this fun and balanced sounding hybrid, but at least they have well tuned it and create something very enjoyable and comfortable to listen too, very entertaining and even rewarding in term of bass performance and response.

With so much incoherent or unpleasant hybrid in the market (Thieaudio, Fiio and KZ come to mind to not name them), the fact BGVP decide to focus on easy listening headbanging musical ride will surely appeal diversify crownd since these are not immature V shape tuning, but a proudly bassy crisp L shaped tuned earphones with good enough technicalities and resolution as well as versatile performance.

If you search one of these not so common IEM that deliver both bass quantity and quality in high amount, and even find a special way to keep mids and treble presence clear and alive too without going too agressive, the Thhifi Character is a great bet.

This is the type of IEM that will please both audiophile and basshead.

THHIFI is a fresh chifi brand to keep an eye on.

———————-

PS: I wanna thanks PICKUP AUDIO store for reaching me out and sending me this review sample. I didn’t have any expectation about this IEM, and i’m not affiliated to this new Aliexpress store either. As always, you have my 100% honest unbiased audio impressions.

You can buy the Thhifi Character for 170$ here: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005004494912692.html

You can give a look and follow THhifi here:https://thhifi.com/en/#about

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s