HZSound Bell Rhyme Review: The Ordinary

Pros:
  • Meaty, clean textured lows
  • Smudge free metal shells

Cons:
  • Subpar resolution in the mids
  • Details could be improved
  • Cable feels cheap and flimsy

Introduction:
Coming from China, HZSound is a company that produces portable audio products. They seem to have gone under the radar over the past few years but they made a big comeback when their most recent IEM, the Heart Mirror, became the talk of the town in the audiophile community. Hoping to ride the fame and success, they released the earbud Bell Rhyme. The Bell Rhyme currently retails for 25 USD, and was provided to me for free by KeepHiFi in exchange for this review.

Specifications:
Driver unit: 15 mm dynamic, composite polymer diaphragm
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 116 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Source:
Poco X3 paired with FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Bell Rhyme comes in a rectangular sleeved black box. Opening it up will reveal the earbuds inserted in a thick block of foam, with a small flap right below it that contains a cloth pouch for storage, two pairs of donut foams and two pairs of full foams, and finally the instruction manual. Also included in the cable is a velcro strap.
Build:
The shells are made of metal with a smooth, shiny finish, while the driver caps are made of translucent plastic. The medium length stems are also made of metal, with printed left and right side indicators near their ends. Like some other earbuds, there is no way to tell which side is which if you're in the dark. The faceplates are decorated with the HZSound logo.
The cable is a very basic oxygen-free copper. Microphonics is not an issue but it is slightly stiff, and the insulation used feels very cheap compared to other earbuds in the same price range. It doesn't feel like it will not take long before it peels off or tears due to regular usage. The splitter and chin slider are made of hard rubber, while the L-type 3.5 mm gold plated plug is made of metal.
Now let's get to the sound.

Lows:
The lows have a good balance between being rumbly and punchy. Subbass and midbass are both positioned slightly forward. Subbass has an average depth with a tight, fast dissipating presence. Midbass has just the right amount of weight, and never invades the mids nor sounds bloated even in very bassy tracks.

Overall, this is the best part of the Bell Rhyme's sound. The texture is smooth and clean. The subbass never felt insufficient despite decaying relatively quick.

Mids:
The mids are slightly below average in terms of definition and clarity. There is a boost in the lower mids that causes both male and female vocals to sound veiled or somewhat muddy. Instruments have a tendency to sound dull and lacking vitality; most noticeable in acoustic tracks.

Overall, the Bell Rhyme needs more clarity in the mids. The sound opens up a bit when the provided donut foams are used compared to the full foams, but there is not much difference.

Highs:
The highs are on the relaxed side of things. Treble doesn't have that much presence and reach, with a slightly below average decay that renders cymbals in a hollow, grainy manner. There is also a substantial amount of details that is barely audible or easily lost on most tracks.

Overall, HZSound vastly reduced the shimmer in the Bell Rhyme, which is a major contrast to the Heart Mirror considering they tuned it to be bright and sparkly.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage is intimate. There is noticeably more expansion in the height than the width. Despite the relatively small space in the stage, imaging is actually good. It has sufficient accuracy. However, some tracks can feel congested right away. The deficiency of air due to the lack of extension in the highs considerably affects the layering and separation of instruments.

Conclusion:
HZSound made it known that they are capable of producing great sounding gears with the Heart Mirror. The Bell Rhyme, while not sounding bad at all, needs a few tweaks to be able to withstand the competition. It is understood that the Heart Mirror is about twice the price of the Bell Rhyme, so a reduction in build quality is to be expected. But, looking at other earbuds with the same price, it is only fair to say that the Bell Rhyme is an outlier for its build.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post