Big thank you to Hidizs for sending the MD4 to review!
Full disclosure: This is a paid review but I made it clear to them that I do not guarantee positive reviews or recommendations – I make in-depth, honest evaluations based on my impressions and the ultimate value that the product may or may not provide.
Greetings mate and Welcome aboard! Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear) all over again, so…
In The Box
1x MD4 Earbuds
1x 3.5mm Cable
1x Leather Carrying Box
9 pairs of Eartips
1x User Manual
1x Warranty Card
1x Cleaning Brush
- Price: Check Hidizs! (10% OFF until 6/24/22)
- Product Name: 4 Balanced Armature Drivers HiFi In-ear Monitors
- Model: MD4
- Type: Custom HiFi in-ear monitors
- Custom BA drivers: High-frequency x1, midrange x1, low frequency x2
- Tuning Switch: 4-level selection (balanced, warm, treble, bass)
- Appearance: Aluminum-alloy CNC integration, rose-gold middle frame, Handmade celluloid faceplate, aluminum alloy output nozzle
- Internal audio transmission structure: High-precision 3D printing straight acoustic sound tube
- Frequency Response: 20Hz – 40kHz
As most of you know, I’m not a huge IEM guy but have some experience with them.
In fact, these are fairly difficult to review because I don’t currently have a measuring stick to pit them against. In other words, the vast majority of my listening time is with headphones as I have no IEMs on my desk at the moment.
That said, I’ve gathered up a bunch of impressions and by the end of this article, you’ll know if the MD4 is worth the investment based on my personal experience. Keep in mind these are my opinions and that your mileage may vary.
I haven’t read anything about these and because they’re a new release at the time of this article’s publishing, there really isn’t much out there anyways.
So take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt because my opinion isn’t THE truth. It’s just one guy’s musings.
Let’s start with build.
Very few complaints here.
The braided cable feels really nice, but it may be a tad short for some.
Still, I’d rather have short rather than long because long cords tend to cause a lot more headaches than their worth.
You may feel this cable tug a bit at times depending on what you have around your desk area, but all in all, I’m very happy with it.
It terminates in a 3.5mm and the other ends seem to be of the 2-pin variety, similar to the HD600’s terminations.
It also has a nice velcro strip attached for when you want to coil it back up again. I appreciate the thought that went into this aspect since very few companies include one.
Because the cables are detachable, you can also utilize the MD4 with balanced 2.5/4.4mm cables if you wish.
The physical stature of the MD4 seems sturdy enough as they look and feel like a premium product.
They’re not overly heavy or light, but the package as a whole is rather impressive.
Hidizs dons their logo on each of the buds which are blue and look to be a really neat looking marbled design.
You’ve also got 9 sets of tips so mixing and matching should yield some sort of approved combination. More on that in a bit.
Before doing anything, you’ll have to click each wire into both buds.
Hidizs designed these so the cables wrap around your ear and it can be a bit daunting at first if you’re new to the world of IEMs.
Just remember that the logo should always be facing up so you can read it. Sounds rather obvious but it can be a bit tricky at first. Insert it in your ear and then just wrap the cord behind your lobe. After a while, it becomes second nature so don’t panic.
I thought it would be neat if I did a quick demo for you as well. Take a look:
All in all, the comfort here is excellent. Most tips feel pretty good inside the ear canal and I’m never really suffering from any hot/burning sensation as I have with the few IEMs I’ve demoed in the past.
The biggest challenge for me was evaluating the sound because many conflicting emotions were felt during the duration of my listening sessions.
Let’s dive in.
- Playlist: Here!
- Amps/DACS Used: iFi Gryphon, iFi Zen, FiiO K9 Pro, FiiO K3, iFi Go Blu. More coming soon!
In some respects, the MD4 sounds perfectly fine and seems to be rather neutral and balanced for the most part. There are some caveats we’ll get into later, but let’s first start with the bass.
The bass digs deep and doesn’t suffer from any bloat in the mid frequencies which is a breath of fresh air. For the most part, notes strike with decent authority but I do like the bass tips for a bit of added weight.
Without them you’ll notice at times kicks fall a little flat.
Such was the case on Flying Lotus’ “Getting There” which has an incredibly flamboyant kick drum that didn’t quite sound right out of the MD4.
You’ll notice this “not quite right” sentiment to be a running theme in my writeup, but it isn’t all bad.
Most of the time, the MD4 does a wonderful job of mimicking a flat line variety bass response and I really do prefer it most over its rolled-off and too boosted counterparts.
I will say that a sense of rumble and roll that I get with the Ananda is missing, as the bass here doesn’t make me want to do flips or anything.
That said, I’d much rather not be complaining of mid-bass bloat (as is the case with lots of other headphones), so I suppose I should probably shut my mouth now.
The real problem with these for me lies in the mid-range as there’s something very strange going on.
I will do my best to convey my thoughts, but I noticed that at times they suffer from the same issues as HIFIMAN’s TWS600.
That is to say that vocals seem to be overly forward and aggressive/in your face, while the bass and treble sort of take a backseat.
It’s as if someone is way too close to you and singing into your ear from 2 inches away (thus violating your personal bubble).
I noticed this on Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”, but it could be the way that track was recorded.
Other tracks seem to be really hollowed out and empty sounding, as there’s a lushness and richness missing which definitely bothers me a bit.
The other glaring issue I had was the sound as a whole, but also vocals in particular. In other words, the way they come across – their timbre or unique tonality.
I listened to many songs out of the MD4, but to really try and hone in on my issue and figure out exactly what it was, I decided to fire up Common’s “The Light” which is a track I’ve heard hundreds (maybe thousands) of times over the years since it came out in 2000.
With this track, I can immediately identify that his voice seems strangely compressed and dare I say a bit honky/nasally sounding. It also seems like most songs suffer from this – as if you’re listening to music in a slightly wet box or something.
So, in theory, these should sound natural and fairly even but the tuning is a bit off and instead, they end up sounding slightly artificial.
The interesting thing about the MD4 is that it can have good resolution at times, but I honestly feel like there’s character and personality missing from this sound signature.
An example of good resolution would be on a track like Apollo Brown’s “What Up”. I’ve been listening to this song since 2020 and only now noticed (through the MD4) that one of the samples is a female voice.
This is a very subtle distinction since the voice in the sample doesn’t really sound like a voice in passing. It kind of sounds like a subtle instrument hum at first. It’s only when the MD4 highlighted the fact that it’s actually a woman’s voice that I was a bit blown away.
Even so, the sound as a whole kind of seems like it’s almost trying to be too many things at once – natural and effortless, but yet also overly sanitized/sterile which causes it to end up being neither and ultimately not all that enjoyable.
You may be listening to music and not know exactly how to react – in effect shrugging your shoulders and sighing in resignation more than anything else.
The treble here is the least of your concern, as it’s the second-best handled behind the bass. I will say that it can lack sparkle and zip which will be a problem for some.
So perhaps somewhere in the middle? In short, I don’t really have an issue with the treble for the most part and thought it was handled decently enough.
It honestly seems like the MD4 is a mid-range focused IEM that can be very hit and miss depending on the track in question.
The same goes for Apollo Brown’s “Imagination”. Everything sounds crisp, detailed, and revelatory – in effect highlighting Brown’s chopping prowess.
With others like “Shelter” (also from Foreign Exchange), it falls flat (no pun intended) and sounds overly tinny and artificial.
There are a couple of switches on each bud that you can also adjust, and I found these to be rather subtle but still kind of noticeable.
When all switches are in the up position, it seems to help un-hollow out the lower mid-range.
Instrument textures and detail seem to improve a bit, but I have a hard time reconciling the boxy/hollow sound these give off.
I think you will notice it in some capacity and it may or may not bother you all that much. It’s hard to say.
Out of all the tips I used, I think I prefer the bass tips first, then the balanced, and lastly the vocals.
I have no real use for the smallest tips out of each set and mainly stuck with the medium to large-sized variety.
I also don’t think the vocal tips are all that necessary because of the lower mid-cut and then rise back up around the presence regions.
In other words, there are vocals A PLENTY here in most cases and any additional emphasis is probably redundant at best.
I think they work with most genres, but I’d say Hip-Hop, EDM, Pop, etc. probably pair best as you’ll get some nice impact depending on the track.
Soundstage and Imaging
These aren’t going to be too out of your head, and they mostly play left and right with not a whole lot going on as far as height and depth.
They’re definitely not as closed-in sounding as traditional closed-back headphones which is nice, but don’t expect miracles as far as a very grandiose image.
It’s mostly about as you’d expect – narrow-ish with decent separation. Perhaps a bit more open than an HD600.
These are very efficient and won’t need much, but I tested them out with various sources and right now prefer the Gryphon. I think a neutral source is probably overkill given what we discussed earlier.
That is to say that I think these need a bit warmer of a DAC to balance out the sanitized/boxy sentiments, but your mileage may vary. The Gryphon to me is a cross between warm and neutral and works pretty well here.
I didn’t like these paired with the K3 as I thought the sound leaned too gruff and sterile. So an already super clean signature gets even cleaner sounding with the K3 and it just ends up making it sound all the weirder.
The MD4 is a pretty straight-shooting IEM with some issues in the mid-range; namely a sometimes overly forward vocal region as well as some strangely artificial/honky/boxy/compressed sounds as a whole.
The issues I have with these lie more in the overall sound portrait rather than one specific frequency, but the sentiment still remains.
I went into this demo REALLY wanting to make a recommendation.
Why? Because you’ve got all the makings of a perfect package: 9 sets of tips, an incredibly nice Brown magnetized case, and a well-built IEM that’s very comfortable.
But the sound is what’s holding me back. It’s just not quite on par with my standards, but in theory, it should be!
What I mean by that is that on paper, these should be a slam dunk since they mostly follow my sound signature preferences.
I just don’t think they were tuned quite right and it’s something I haven’t been able to shake even after attempting to force myself into accepting it and even trying to fall in love.
At the end of the day, I can’t.
I look at the MD4 as I do a girl who looks the part, but your personalities and quirks don’t quite mesh. In other words, she’s beautiful to look at and ticks some boxes, but isn’t someone you could see yourself with for the rest of your life.
In all honesty, to me, the MD4 is a $99 IEM (sound-wise) and not quite worth the asking price of around $170-$190.
FINAL SOUND SCORE: C/C-
OVERALL SCORE: B
So what would I recommend in its place?
I think the Tin Audio T2 sounds more natural and is tuned almost perfectly. It’s also priced right and in fact, ends up being a steal at around 1/3 the price of the MD4.
Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Hidizs MD4 Review and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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Would you invest in this IEM? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,