HiSoundAudio Studio Disection and impressions
I really was not planning on opening the sample of HiSoundAudios Studio so soon, but i was left with no choice as the microsd slot’s ejection spring would not work and the recessed microsd port made it impossible to use my nails or anything else to fish it out. I was able to use the device for a little while, but today the earphone socket developed a fault and i can’t get sound from the left earphone. I think this maybe in part to me opening it and needing to reset the position of the PCB board.
Form factor and body design:
The studio is a metallic brick with some serious weight, it has one of the most tried and tested form factors and to some, they will really like the feel and wight of the Studios body, others will not be as impressed. I actually like the feel of the player, the heavy metallic body feels very nice in my hand. On the front are five copper colored metallic buttons, as well as the 1.1″ oled screen. The line in and headphone out, aswell as the reset button, all sit on the top of the player, the USB and microsd slot are located on the bottom.
As i have opened the Studio i can confirm that the actual metal body shell is very thick, this is why the earphone ports and the microsd slot are all recessed. This isn’t really the most ideal design, i have heard HiSound will change the recessed earphone slots, but i hope they also make the microsd slot not recessed, if it wasn’t recessed, i probably wouldn’t have needed to open the studio up to get my card out.
The back is acrylic, but the Hisound logo and ‘class A inside’ wording are engraved on the actual metal body. The acrylic is held to the back with some double sided adhesive, making the acrylic easy to remove, below it are the 4 screws.
I think this will cause a bit of controversy. The Studio uses the Sigmatel 3770 as both its main chip and dac, this chip is used quite often in Chinese MP3 players, normally in the mid price range mp3 players.The actual amp was covered under a metallic case which has HiSounds logo engraved onto it. This was easy to remove, there was some sort of adhesive used, this made it hard to see what the chip was, after some cleaning it was possible to make out an engraving on the chip:
The only component that i don’t know the actual individual price of is the amp chip, the rest of the components (minus the 4GB Samsung flash) don’t cost that much, my estimate would put it below USD$25 (estimate doesn’t include the body cost, labor or R&D that may have been spent). Hisound did say their aim isn’t about using expensive chips or using the brand names of certain components as leverage to make the device seem better or to make the price more expensive, but let the SQ be the determining factor.
Sound Quality impression:
I am going to leave this very short, i wasn’t really able to listen to the studio to much and i certainly didn’t use it with headphones, but rather with IEM’s, this device is really meant to be used with headphones. Those that have heard music from Sigmatel 3770 devices will know this is quite a good chip for audio reproduction. I find the 3770 audio reproduction to nicely detailed with good separation, but somewhat flat on the bass, on the Studio i found the sound the same way, but off course the bass wasn’t flat.
The bass on this was just great, the headphone out is very loud and it will certainly drive most headphones and earphones without problem. The amp chip used does a very good job to really enhance the audio to make it louder.
There is a hiss on this, i think people who are shelling out $345 may not be too happy with that.
I think those who will buy this device, which is to retail for USD$345, will be pairing it with some very highend headphones and earphones, i am sure combining two such items will deliver very pleasing sound quality to the user.
However if you take account the hardware being used you maybe very right to question if this is worth $345. I can’t really compare how this stacks to similar devices. I was hoping to see how the line out from the S:Flo2 used with the line in of the Studio would sound, but i can’t do that at the moment.
Well to be honest, its not very good, i do think this is a beta firmware, so i won’t try to judge it just yet. I will say, currently, i was not able to get a 16GB microsd card (full of music) to work, the player kept crashing when it tried to read the card. The actual UI layout is similar to that of other 3770 based players, but this one does not sort by ID3, it works by folder browsing.
Hisound certainly know how to put together a nice sounding device, but like most Chinese companies they can do the hardware and the software is lacking. In the case of the Studio there are other issues, such as the hissing and to a certain extent, workmanship and qc. The Studio will probably be scrutinized by users for even its most minor flaw and people will question a lot if it’s worth the hefty price tag of USD$345.00.
I do not think we will carry this model, not yet and certainly not with the its current software. I will look to genuine user reviews as they come out to see if this product would be worth carrying and recommending.
Categories: PMP Review