HillAudio S8 Review Hybrid IEM

HillAudio S8 review. HillAudio S8 is IEM with hybrid drivers and exchangeable filter. This is OEM product by Hill Audio. Hill Audio is an online store based in Malaysia (They do ship worldwide and accept PayPal). they are very active on Facebook.

Let’s review then the HillAudio S8 hybrid. The HillAudio S8 priced at about 58 USD for super saver package and 68 USD for their audio pro packaged.

What’s the difference between the saver package and audio pro package? it’s the cable, the super saver comes with standard SPC cable and the audio pro comes with the 8 cores braided SPC cable with carbon fiber design.

The HillAudio S8 review in this blog is covering the super saver package with the standard SPC cable. it has the same earphone, hybrid one dynamic driver and two balanced armature drivers.

HillAudio S8 Unboxing

HillAudio doesn’t have any fancy box, just the a with a zipper opening. well, who needs a fancy stuff if that means I could get my earphone at a cheaper price.

Since the case is not a hard plastic, there might a possibility that it couldn’t withstand great pressure during the shipping but for a normal drop, it should be fine.

HillAudio provides 1-year limited seller warranty for the IEM.

What’s inside the box?

  • S8 Hybrid IEM (In-ear Monitoring)
  • SPC cable
  • 2 pairs of translucent white silicon tips
  • 3 pairs of black silicon tips
  • 3 pairs of foam tips
  • 3 pairs of Filters
  • Pouch
  • and a fish bone 🙂

HillAudio S8 Accessories Review

HillAudio S8 cable

The detachable SPC cable is silver in color and pretty light. it has MMCX connection, silver Y splitter, and 3.5mm jack.

The cable has a decent quality. It has a good strain relief at the 3.5 connectors. it comes with some imperfection, I found out that it has a red dot on the silver cable, not that obvious but the QC needs to be improved.

The cable is flexible and it’s tangle free, it’s very easy to keep and wear it. the combination between the translucent white (or silver) cable and the black earphone is pretty nice design.

The audio pro version has a very beautiful cable! look at this picture.  Just for another USD10? I think you should get this instead of the standard cable.

HillAudio S8 Pouch

It’s a standard pouch, this is the same case that I’ve received normally for IEM under $100. it could protect your earphone from the drop, scratches, etc.

I think it’s very important to put your earphone in the pouch for protection whenever you are not using it. make it a habit, you don’t want that beautiful shell get scratches.

 

HillAudio S8 Tips

Wide selection of tips and foam tips? that a rare sight for this price range.The foam tips are similar to the comply tips but it still can’t beat the comply tips in term of flexibility and grip. once I find the right size, the seal is superior compared to other tips.

the foam tips pair pretty well with the HillAudio S8 sound, it’s able to reduce the sharpness but in return, you’ll have less clarity a little bit.

The foam tips are a dirt magnet, especially those wax on your ear will stick on the surface and it’s not that easy to clean it up. if you take care of these foam tips, I think it could last for a while. just be gentle with it.

The translucent white tips are wider compared to the black tips. the translucent white has a smooth texture compared to the black.

 

HillAudio S8 Build and Design.

HillAudio S8 is using a black and shiny 6063 Aluminum alloy shell material, I’ve no idea what the 6063 means. But I’m pretty curious so this is what the Wikipedia said

6063 is the most common alloy used for aluminum extrusion. It allows complex shapes to be formed with very smooth surfaces fit for anodizing.

What an interesting shell, it shaped like a bean with interesting outer contour. at the inner side of the earphone, you can see the left and right marking

The placement of the nozzle is pretty interesting, instead of at the corner, S8’s nozzles are placed towards the middle. with this kind of placement, you could be sure that you put in the IEM in the correct way simply because if you put it in a wrong way you’ll feel uncomfortable and impossible to insert that nozzle into your ear.

It has 3 holes near the MMCX connector, I believe that’s bass vent to allow the air to flow. there is no driver flex detected so far.

The nozzles are special because you are able to change the filter to have a different sound signature. it’s easy to change the filter with its screw system.

Because of the shape of the earphone, there’s a possibility that it will put a pressure at the upper lobule (the antitragus).

overall is comfortable and I don’t have a problem wearing them more than an hour. just make sure that you insert them correctly.

HillAudio S8 Review: Sound Quality


One dynamic driver and two balanced armature driver, that should have a pretty good coverage for the sound spectrum. when opening the filter I can only see 1 BA.

Hill Audio mentioned that the dynamic driver is a 10mm custom tuned dynamic driver enhanced with graphene diaphragm for a deeper bass impact with low distortion and the balanced armature driver is from China Armature (AMT) produces clear and crisp sound with rich details yet not piercing to the ears.

Bass

Blue filter – Balance

The bass is subtle in the low frequency but still deliver the punch for the upper bass to feel the thump. Listening to the Aston Martin Music, the bass is fast and do not linger around which is a good thing. the bass is a little bit boosted but I don’t find it muddy.

Silver Filter- Bass Boost

I feel that the bass is reduced in the sound output a little bit for the silver. the thump is a little bit stronger but you’ll lose a little bit of clarity. the sub-bass is more diffused and becomes a little bit muddy.

if you take a look closer at the filter, you can see that it has a white mesh. that acts as a membrane to allow more response from the bass.

Black Filter – Treble Boost

While the bass is not as thumpy compared to the silver and blue but the sub-bass suffered a little bit more, it’s become more subtle and has a gap in the output frequency.

the filter doesn’t have anything else other than the metal mesh to allow more unfiltered sound to come in.

 

Mids

Blue filter – Balance

Listening to Set Fire on the rain, When we were young – Adele, Tightrope – Michelle Williams I feel that the vocal sound a little bit artificial and thin because of the emphasis of S8 on the treble. it doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s still able to deliver details and good reproduction of the male vocal (John Legend) like in Like I’m Gonna Lose you while the female vocal (Meghan Trainor) sound a little bit thin.

Jazz time, my favorite Limehouse Blues – Arne Domnerus reveal that the clarity is good in the mid-range, it’s able to retrieve some details and good enough for an IEM under $100.

Silver Filter- Bass Boost

The mids are fuller with the silver filters, the female voice is better but the bass is affecting the mid little bit. you’ll lose some clarity, that’s a give and take relationship that you need to take if you don’t like the Blue filters.

Black Filter – Treble Boost

welcome back clarity. the lower mid aren’t that much different with the blue but the upper region is emphasized because of the brightness of the treble.

Even with the treble boosted, the mids are still pleasing to listen to. especially after your ear adapts to its sound, normally for me it takes one or two days (about two to three hours per day).

 

Treble

Blue filter – Balance

The treble has a good clarity for sure. the treble is a little bit grainy and sensitive to hiss at a high volume. listening to Towards the bending of the light was a satisfying experience to hear all those tinkle sound around your head.

Even though it’s sparkly but it still within a comfortable range for me. if you use a warm IEM before perhaps you’ll find it that it’s too bright. but for people that like bright IEM this one certainly is not disappointing.

Sibilance is a little bit over my acceptance range. especially with female vocal, you can hear the sibilance.

Silver Filter- Bass Boost

the treble is much smoother because of the presence of bass. clarity on the treble is still there and not affected too much.

Black Filter – Treble Boost

it’s kind like an unfiltered filter for the treble, it’s as if as the clarity just go straight into your ear without any filter. it does have more sharpness compared to the blue filter.

if you really like a bright tonality, this is certainly the filter for you. just remember that it will affect how the vocal will sound. if you need a fuller voice you might want to try the silver or blue filter.

HillAudio S8 Review Summary

Are earphone’s filters just a gimmick? certainly not, there’s a difference between those blue, black and silver filters. Don’t expect that the sound signature really changes 180 degrees, it doesn’t.

What you can expect? you can be sure that the sound tonality will shift between warm to bright within certain limit based on which filter that you’ve chosen.

HillAudio S8 is a budget IEM that offers something special with its filter. in my opinion, for 58 USD IEM, HillAudio S8 has a good value with a decent sound quality.

HillAudio S8 vs TRN V80

Design and build, the TRN V80 feels more durable and heavier while the HillAudio S8 looks more like a plastic but it actually made from aluminum 6063. fit and comfort, it almost hand in hand but HillAudio has a better insertion and ergonomic shape compared to TRN V80. HillAudio S8 doesn’t have any logo which I like, it’s a good decision. Please don’t add HillAudio word into the outer shell in the future, I don’t mind if it’s on the inner part.

TRN V80 comes with a nice packaging, presented very well while HillAudio doesn’t have a very good presentation but it comes with a pouch. HillAudio S8 provides a wide selection of tips including foam tips.

HillAudio use a silver cable without any control while the TRN V80’s cable has a microphone. TRN V80 has a better functionality.

Sound quality: this is tricky because you are comparing like one vs three slightly different sounding earphones. the closest would be HillAudio S8 with the blue filter. the TRN V80 has a better bass texture, HillAudio S8 produce a better treble with less sibilance. the mids are much smoother for HillAudio S8.

Which one should you choose? especially when it’s unlikely you’ll have a chance to try them before deciding. My recommendation: go for HillAudio S8, you can still tweak a little bit with the filters to suit your taste. but if you are somehow limited by the budget, by all means, go for TRN V80, it’s still a great earphone at around 40USD and if you don’t pay attention to the details they do sound similar so you can’t go wrong with TRN V80 as well.

You can buy HillAudio S8 from Hill Audio, do contact them from their Facebook (they have a speedy response, thumbs up for Hill Audio). They have PayPal option for payment and international shipping.

I believe you’ll enjoy talking to them and they would be more than happy to help you.

HillAudio S8 Review

Product Name: HillAudio S8

Product Description: illAudio S8 Hybrid, the iem that combines all the best features we've ever seen from other mid to high end IEMs in similar price range. Hybrid driver configuration Exchangeable nozzle filter Graphene dynamic driver CNC-machined aluminium alloy

Price: 58

Currency: USD

Availability: InStock

Overall
7.6/10
7.6/10
  • ACCESSORIES - 7/10
    7/10
  • BUILD - 9/10
    9/10
  • BASS - 8.5/10
    8.5/10
  • MIDRANGE - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • TREBLE - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • SOUNDSTAGE & SEPARATION - 7/10
    7/10

Summary

HillAudio S8 is a budget IEM that offers something special with its filter. in my opinion, for 58 USD IEM, HillAudio S8 has a good value with a decent sound quality.

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