Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – new design and back to bass

Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – new design and back to bass

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xiaomi hybrid earphone review

Ears on with Xiaomi’s 4th generation earphones. Do they make up in the bass dept where the Piston 3 failed? Find out in our Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review.

Xiaomi are on their 4th generation earphone model, with an all new design, new packaging and the return of deep heavy bass. The Xiaomi Hybrid launched a few weeks ago in China and already online stores like Shop.Gizchina.Com are offering the IEM’s on sale internationally, so how to they fair?

Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – Design

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

As soon as the Xiaomi Hybrid earphones arrived on my desk I knew I was about to see something different. The new Hybrid comes in an all new packaging, which in all honesty doesn’t do the earphones justice.

Past Xiaomi earphones have come in plastic cases with rubber inserts for winding the Kevlar coated cables around and space in the rear for optional earbud covers of different sizes.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

The Xiaomi Hybrid come in a plain cardboard box. There are no luxurious such as a carry case or even a carry bag, and spare earbud covers come in an unmarked package that could easily be thrown away it is so lightweight (so be careful with the packaging).

The lack of a fancy box might be seen as a downgrade, but in my personal use I never attempted to place my Piston back in the packaging once I unraveled them. What’s more important to me is the Xiaomi Hybrid earphones themselves and they are top quality items.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

On the Chinese Xiaomi website the Hybrid are called the ‘Iron Ring’ which sort of explains parts of the design of the earphone shape. The body is made of light weight CNC machined alloy, with a ‘ring’ design, before an angled sound channel.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

I was reminded of the original UMi Voix earphones when I unboxed the Xiaomi Hybrid earphone, but the Xiaomi’s are much more compact, better finished, lighter weight and much more comfortable in the ear (so generally all round better).

The cables exist the metal body of the Hybrid through a black plastic structure that looks like it is holding on to the main metal body like a Lego arm or small plastic spanner. It sounds odd, but take a look at the photos to see what I am on about.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

A simple alloy bodied remote control is built-in to the right side ear cable. It’s a 3 button design exactly the same as the control on the Xiaomi Piston 3 earphones.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

At the point the wires join to for the ‘Y’ shape there’s a plastic piece (the Piston 3 has an alloy piece) then a Kevlar, anti-tangle coated wire makes its way to the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – Sound and Performance

The Xiaomi Piston 3 were already a pretty good earphone, but in comparison to the Xiaomi Piston 2 the general conclusion is that they lacked in bass. The 4th generation Xiaomi Hybrid have really been redesigned to solve this complaint.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

The new design really sees a huge improvement in bass, while not having much of an effect on the overall clarity of the audio. The change in Bass between the Piston 3 and Hybrid is so great that I had to drastically reduce the use of Bass Enhancement when listing to music on the OnePlus X.

What really sets the Xiaomi Hybrid apart from other budget earphones are the hybrid dual drivers. Mids and highs are handled by an armature driver while a dynamic driver takes care of lows. This is usually a feature kept in reserve for more expensive audio hardware, and a real benefit of the Xiaomi Hybrids design, especially at the low retail price of just $24.99.

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

Another benefit the Xiaomi Hybrid over the Piston 3 is noise isolation. I found the Piston 3 leaked a lot of sound, but the Hybrid’s closed design really helps to prevent that leakage, and the increase in speaker sensitivity from 98dB (in the Piston 3) to 101dB.

Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – Gallery

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Xiaomi Hybrid Earphones Review – Conclusion

If you are one of the people who tried the Piston 3 and were disappointed by the lack of bass, then you are going to certainly appreciate the upgrades made to the Xiaomi Hybrid. Bass is only part of the picture the overall sound stage is impressive and the build/design is much more upmarket (in my opinion).

xiaomi hybrid earphone review

If you are a GizChina regular then you will likely be on Android and so compatibility isn’t an issue, but if you are an iOS user then the remote isn’t fully compatible, so keep this in mind (not that it affects the audio experience).

Overall the Xiaomi Hybrid are an improvement over the Piston 3, and well worth the update. I’ll certainly be switching to these for my daily drivers.

  • Design - 9/10
    9/10
  • Performance - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sound isolation - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 9/10
    9/10
9/10

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  • balcobomber25

    I still use my original 1st Gen pistons to this day. Got them free with my Mi4.

    • Tajwar

      You lucky…

      • balcobomber25

        I didn’t even know I was getting them, I ordered the Mi4 and then when I looked at the DHL invoice it said 2 items. When it arrived there was a note in the box from the shop saying it was a free gift to the first 100 people who ordered the Mi4, guess I was one of them lol.

  • MaxPower

    my wife already ordered the piston 3 to put into my xmas stocking when i found out of these ones.
    man, I’m so pissed 🙁

    • balcobomber25

      Mine is buying me the new Meizu headphones.

      • MaxPower

        she saw me sad and i explained why, so now she’s keeping the Piston3 for herself.

        I’ve just placed the order on shop.gizchina.com :

        I’ve bought the new Hybrid earphones and the new MiBand 1s (both in stock) for $70, DHL fast shipping included.
        pretty good deal 🙂

        • balcobomber25

          Lol mine sees my sad and she takes my credit card and goes shopping which makes me even sadder when I get the bill. But usually she returns with something for me.

          • MaxPower

            lol

            • balcobomber25

              But she always keep plenty of beer stocked in the fridge and she will drink beer and watch sports with me!

            • MaxPower

              well, that’s good.
              we only watch cartoons lately.

              i think I’ve watched the last Minions movie about 70 times already

            • balcobomber25

              No kids here, but we did see that movie in theaters voluntarily lol.

              But my nephew forces me to watch the same 3 episodes of Blaze, Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol every single day….

            • MaxPower

              3 times only?
              you’re a lucky man!

            • Tajwar

              Wow am I the only little kid in here?

              I watch anime btw

            • MaxPower

              i hope not Paw Patrol

            • Tajwar

              No god, what’s even paw patrol… (does a search in the interwebz and finds info)
              Is this what Balco has to go through?
              https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/745cc80ac9d72ed1e69ca363cb69227a2243e59d26a1617db20c5284e5aca9fb.jpg

              And I thought me having to re-watch episodes of Doraemon my already sister watched(while denying she did)for +50 times was a pain in the a.

            • MaxPower

              People from Elephone use to watch Doraemon 🙂

        • Saqib Majumder

          Piston 3 and these new piston earphones are completely different pair of headphones. They are not an upgrade over the previous generation, but catering to an entirely different genre altogether. If you like decent highs and mids, I suggest you reconsider going for piston 3 as it will be better in that regard. Otherwise if you like bass more, the new ones will do just fine.

          • MaxPower

            thanks for the tips.
            both are on their way so I’ll pick the ones that suits better for me.

            I’m probably going for the Hybrid since I’m more bass person (i used to play the instrument when i was younger as well)

      • MaxPower

        mine are better :-p
        lol

        • Tajwar

          Lol Nooope my audio technica ath-m50x and piston 3 are better. [:-P

          • MaxPower

            now i need a new phone with HD audio chip 😉

            • Tajwar

              Meizu pro 5, mx5(maybe),mx 4 pro, Vivo Xshot, Vivo 5x Max, lg v10, ki note pro and some other that I don’t remember

            • MaxPower

              i was hoping something cheaper than those ones :-p

            • Tajwar

              Hmm… Vivo ?
              (random dominc laugh in the background)

            • Saqib Majumder

              Try Meizu phones, they used to produce Daps, so they are experienced in the music part of the phone. Also Samsung phones in the galaxy range have pretty good dacs.

            • Lazar Prodanovic

              Only Exunos ones.

            • Lazar Prodanovic

              Pick a Meizu with newer Wolfson codec DAC.

            • Dante

              ki note pro????

          • Dante

            the Ath-m50’s are the most ovverated headphones ever

            • Tajwar

              But… I… like them T.T

            • Dante

              They have good value , but go on head fi asian thread and youll be amazed . Now let me go back to My beats

            • Tajwar

              Before the Audio T. I used to have a pair of Bluedio Hurricane(Bluetooth), got them for €29 and honestly they sounded really (I mean reaaaally) good with great distance range and near unlimited battery life but wasn’t a looker. Got my Audio T. as a birthday gift.

            • Dante

              they looked pretty good to me

            • Tajwar

              When you put them on the head it looks a little stretched-out.

            • Dante

              eh – the best looking headphones ever will still be the white UE6000 , im said that they discontinued it – but it had great value when the price was 200 dollars , when they discontinued it you got get it at clearance for 100 bucks … Really i slowpoked on that deal , good that i got the white ones god

            • Dante

              EDIT: IF YOU BELIVED THE THING I SAID ABOUT BEATS THEN
              https://youtu.be/2dbR2JZmlWo

            • Tajwar

              Thanks, but I didn’t I

        • balcobomber25

          Well they are different, the Meizu’s are over the ear. I have the Piston 1 for in ear, which I still use everyday when I go running. The Meizu’s are replacing my Seenheisers, which have excellent sound but a boring design.

          • Saqib Majumder

            Meizu’s are on ears. Sennheisers usually have a flat sound signature, if you like bass, then go for Sennheiser Urbanite.

            • balcobomber25

              The Meizu’s are kind of an oversized on the ear, depending on your ear size. I have a friend who got try them out and he said they completely covered his ears, I don’t consider those on ear. I hate headphones that have too much bass. That’s the specific reason I went with Senn’s.

            • Saqib Majumder

              really? They look way to small to be on ears. I have a Beyerdyanmic t51p on ears and the meizus look exactly the same size.
              Which Sennheiser model do you have? Sennheiser momentums have a more balanced sound signature and it might interest you more.

            • balcobomber25

              They are kind of deceptive looking and they border between on and over the ear design. But you can see in this picture below they do cover the entire ear (depending on ear size). I had HD598’s the sound quality isnt a problem, i’m just bored with the design. There aren’t too many Senn’s that look good to me, they are all kind of boring and bland. I like the HD700 but I just can’t justify spending $500 on headphones.

            • Saqib Majumder

              HD 598 will be a way better headphones than Meizu’s. lol. It’s like comparing 2 different things altogether. Senn’s are open back, large over ear and non portable headphones. While Meizu’s will be closed back (more bass usually), portable and definite on ears (notice how the ear pad resting on the ear, not over them). HD 700 is pure bliss. 500$ would be well worth spent. Senn’s are geared more towards people who are audiophiles and care more about the sound. Meizu’s are going to be fashion oriented and stylish. It’s your choice at the end.

            • balcobomber25

              You must not know much about Meizu then. They are one of the originators of using dedicated audio chips in their products. For years they (and Vivo) where an audiophiles dream, a flagship cell phone with flagship audio to match it. I have no doubt their dedication to incredible sound will continue with their headphones.

            • Saqib Majumder

              dude it’s not about the individual companies. I know about Meizu. I used to own one of their daps and their phones usually have great dacs within them. I am comparing headphones. I have no doubt Meizu could come up with awesome headphones. But the HD50 are definitely more towards portability and usually that comes with some audio compromises. Even Sony or Senn don’t have really good on ear headphones. 598s are for classical, flat signature music; home listening. HD50s are surely for more of a lively sound, which is good for music on the go.

            • balcobomber25

              Doesn’t always mean compromises and that’s where the company comes into play. Some companies are more about audio quality than others.

            • Saqib Majumder

              it’s not possible to make closed back headphones to sound as good as open back ones because of soundstage, no matter which company the headphones are from.

            • balcobomber25

              Who said it was possible? Your under this impression that I am saying these are going to be the greatest sounding headphones ever. All I said was they would be good…

            • Saqib Majumder

              Ofcourse not. You mentioned Meizu would be over ear. It isn’t. Also you said you were bored with the design of 598, it isn’t meant to be on the go pairs. All I am saying is that if you have already tried 598s, then the Meizu’s will have a hard time sounding ‘as good’ (still could be a great pair of headphones). But you will look good with them.

            • balcobomber25

              If they completely cover my ears i consider that over ear. From people I talk to who have them already, they sound just as good as 598s. Proving you don’t have to sacrifice style for good sound.

            • Saqib Majumder

              they are being marketed as on ears, they look like on ears. It might be different for you but I can’t apologize for going by marketing incantations.
              haha. yeah… I think I will wait for more seasoned reviewers and myself to verify that.
              It’s not always the case. MW60, H6, M2 are the exemplary cases. I will reserve my judgement until I hear them. I will be buying them but I will not expect things that they won’t be able to provide.

            • balcobomber25

              They are being marketed as headphones. Meizu makes no mention of on or over ear on the product listing page which you can view below. Differing sites list them as both. Again anything that covers the ear entirely (which you can clearly see in the pictures) is over the ear to me, you may have a differing definition of over the ear.

            • Saqib Majumder

              I don’t want to continue this pointless argument over which headphones are on ear or over ear. There is a universally accepted definition of over ear; one that completely envelops your ear lobes. On ear might cover the ears but it will sit on the ear lobes. for more info, please go to the headfi site.
              http://www.gearbest.com/headsets/pp_265038.html
              they are listed as on ears. they look as such because of the holes in them, even if the earpads are big.
              Meizu HD50 will probably end up being one of the best in that budget segment but comparing it to better headphones will do it no good. Only it will raise the expectations too high to keep.

            • balcobomber25

              I don’t care about universally accepted definitions, what you can’t seem to understand is that this entire thing is my opinion. If a headphone covers my ears completely that is over ear to me, the HD50’s cover my ears.

              If Gearbest is your source of information, you just made yourself look clueless. Especially since I used the actual company as my source. But since you want to play that game here you go:

              http://www.gizmochina.com/2015/11/08/meizu-unveils-over-the-ear-metal-hd50-heaphones-for-399-yuan-62/

              According to this article Meizu actually collaborated with Sennheiser, AKG and Beats when making these.

            • Saqib Majumder

              have you actually tried it? you can’t just point to an iphone and say it is a Xperia phone. If that’s how your opinions work, then okay, cool. I have tried to be as informative as I can be.
              oh dude. I just gave a link to a buying option which stated they are on ears. It doesn’t mean shit in broader sense. The fact that they are on ears is quite transparent. Again, go to headphone sites for your own peace of mind. Don’t take my words for it, although you can tbh.
              Meizu HD50 was clearly designed by Beoplay (I read this somewhere). The inspiration from H6 is obvious.I am sure the collaboration is being used loosely here cause the techniques used are good innovations by Meizu. I don’t convincing to know that they are good pairs. On ears are usually never better than over ear open back headphones.

            • balcobomber25

              That depends on the over ear open back headphones you are talking about, I have used some with terrible sound quality and some with excellent. You just got really butthurt when I said the Meizu’s will sound good, and you took that to mean they will be the greatest headphoens ever. I actually received mine yesterday, they completely cover my ears and the sound is excellent. Case closed.

            • Saqib Majumder

              true. there are always good and bad headphones. But you compared it to 598s, which are pretty good in their price range. I am just trying to keep a realistic point of view.
              Why>lol? I am not prejudiced against the company and I hope they make great headphones to compete in the market, which will really give a kick in the ass for other companies to take notice. (ahem Xiaomi ahem) No headphones can be the greatest headphones because personal opinions will vary; some like bass, while others like balanced or others like prominent mids. So to counter your claim that I took HD50 as such, No sir! On the other hand, you kind of put them on a pedestal.
              if you can get over your initial excitement of them, I would really like to get a neutral point of view about the headphones. How are they? How do they sound; balanced, neutral or bassy? How is the comfort? Do they need an amp to perform to their potential? How is the design in real life, as good as in the pictures? I hope you will oblige.

            • balcobomber25

              We found the problem. You think 598’s are better than they actually are. To me they are good but no where near great. Saying the HD50s are better, which after using them I can say they are, isn’t putting them on any pedestal.

            • Saqib Majumder

              I am yet to use the HD50s. So can’t judge them against 598s. But I am skeptical about the comparison and that a closed back on ear headphones can be better from personal experience. 598s are great for the price. Only SHP9500 give them a good go. It’s unfair for closed backs to be compared to open backs. They are not the same instruments and should be judged based on their market targets.
              So elaborate on your hd50 experience if you really like them over 598s. How are their soundstage? also answering the questions I mentioned before would really help.

            • balcobomber25

              Which amazes me that you can state something as fact for a product you have never used.

            • Saqib Majumder

              experience. I have used t51p, akg y50, vmoda lp, major ii, soundtrue on ears, kefm500 etc. I have never found on ears as comfortable or as good sounding as open back over ear headphones. It’s a general idea, not a personal judgement of HD50. Open backs can reach the sound potential because of their design freedom. I am surprised that you would compare a closed back on ears to an open back over ears.

            • Saqib Majumder

              and you don’t care about universally accepted definitions? lol what? opinions can form about personal preferences but you can’t twist a fact to suit your need unless politics interest you :3

            • balcobomber25

              It’s called having a personal opinion. If headphones cover my ears they are over ear to me. And judging by the number of sites that have listed, that definition isn’t universally accepted outside that forum. Some list it as over ear, some list it as on ear. Meizu, who makes it doesn’t list it as either.

            • Saqib Majumder

              personal opinion is having an unique idea or perspective. It’s not about ignoring the facts. It isn’t listed as such because it is obviously on ears. They are designed to be like that. I’ll try to get in touch with Meizu over this.

            • balcobomber25

              The only facts in this debate is Meizu made headphones which they classify as neither. They are designed to be like headphones, and for those of us who equate over ear to covering our entire ear, they are over ear. Good luck getting through to Meizu.

            • Saqib Majumder

              I blame Meizu for this argument. tbh an on ear can cover your ear but it will still sit on your ear lobes. Over ears will fully envelope the ears. If you equate as you have, then there are 4 kinds of full size headphones, which is confusing for the headphone community. Your descriptions will only
              I just tweeted them. not holding my breathe for their reply. :3

            • balcobomber25
            • balcobomber25
          • Lazar Prodanovic

            When it comes to on ear with really good balanced futures & pricing hardly anything comes close to AKG K 451 & I mean sound quality & listening (wearing) experience, also design is good.

            • balcobomber25

              I’ll have to check them out.

            • Lazar Prodanovic

              Well you will find out how they have a rather good reviews anywhere you look from Amazon to audiophile (org) sites. They are also mature product so you will also find that the built quality is good.

              Best regards.

            • Mujahid Abbas

              I have heard pretty good reviews about

              KZ ATE Copper Driver Ear Hook HiFi In Ear Earphone Sport Headphones.

            • balcobomber25

              Not a huge fan of in ear, only use them for running and have a good pair already

      • I have a pair of those on the way, look awesome

        • balcobomber25

          Yea im pretty excited to get them and try them out. If they sound half as good as they look, we will both be in for a treat.

        • Saqib Majumder

          hopefully the one plus icons are on their way too. :/

        • Dante

          they look a lot like the mi headphones , if they sound the same ill lose my interest ( Not that they dont sound good) I want a nes sub 100 champion thats gonna blow the socks of Audio technica m50’s

    • Tajwar

      Xiaomi’s Pistons are getting very famous but what’s getting more famous are the clones, yup CLONES. There was this sidewalk stall selling Piston 2’s for €5 and I was thinking waaa dis can’t be right so I bought a pair and took them out of the box and No surprise Fake as F. even the buttons didn’t work that well(if at all). “braided” cable was made out of the cheapest of the cheap material, sound quality was very bad and the rubber(!?!?not sure) paddings where awful.

      Next time I find them, from inside whichever drawer I threw them in, will post some shots.

      I believe shit clones are bad publicity for Xiaomi or any other “small” companies.

      • MaxPower

        yep, I’m aware of that.
        that’s why we urge Xiaomi to sell their goods internationally ASAP!

        I always buy from trusted resellers though and I’m happy i did on Gizchina this time.

        • Tajwar

          Especially the eu warehouse, it literally took 3 days Shop. Gizchina to ship & delivery a le1(x600) that I ordered. Totally worth the extra pennies I paid.

          • MaxPower

            they ship from Slovenja so no VAT (IVA in your case) nor custuom fees.
            And we both know how greedy people of customs in Italy are.

            • Dante

              really ? oh finally someone that does that

  • V.K

    I had all versions of Xiaomi pistons, I loved the design, quality and sound of them, but all of them, one after another stopped playing from one of the two speakers or the sound from one of the speakers became very low! I can’t explain it! I also have the mi headphones which are perfect except the fact that they are backopen speakers and sometimes this is very annoying for others.

    I will give a try with these also,if they are available from a EU warehouse like gizchina shop.

    • balcobomber25

      You sure they were all genuine? There’s a lot of counterfeit Pistons. I have had the original ones since launch and never had any issues.

      • trapchan

        so do I. purchased it from official retailer in my country. I abused it a lot, and it’s still working just fine. maybe almost or more than a year already

    • Twister12

      Same here. I thought I am alone in this glad that somebody had pointed this out. When one of the speakers of my Piston 1 stopped working I bought another thinking that maybe I had damaged it unknowingly. When the Piston 2 came out I purchased it as well and the same thing happened with the left speaker gone. Both of them did not last a year.

      Having said that I am using the Piston 3 currently and surely will buy this latest version. Hope the durability is improved this time.

      • Scott Rennie

        Same here! I thought that it was an odd error to have. I have had many earphones die and the pattern of their death is remarkably predictable. These symptoms were entirely new. Purchased from BangGood, which seems like a decent enough retailer. They also sounded excellent so i’m not at sure they were fakes.

      • Scott Rennie

        Like I said below I had the same issue with Piston 3’s. However i fixed it by removing the little metal grating with a pin and cleaning the inside. I think it’s consequence of long term use in a context of not perfectly clean ears. If you still have them you may be able to fix those prior pairs. If it happens to the new ones, this may also be a good fix.

        • Twister12

          I don’t think that’s the problem with mine. I’m getting an audio (come & gone), when I keep on twisting the cable near the headphone jack.

          • stephendt0

            I had this exact same issue. Totally baffling. Did anyone manage to find a fix?

    • Maxiao

      I had the same issue with two pairs of piston 3, both died within a couple of months of buying them, unlike Piston 2s which I still use. I bought from mi.com in China.

  • Maxiao

    I’ve owned all the Xiaomi headphones and initial impression is that these are the best to date. Soundstage is wide with good separation but definitely lacking mid range in comparison to the bass. Isolation is much better than the pistons which is a huge, important improvement for me. Design-wise I have a soft spot for the gold pistons but as an overall package these are definitely better – look great and have great build quality and overall are a much better IEM, especially if you play around with EQ to boost the mids or reduce the bass, Absolute bargain too, very little comes close in the price range.

  • Ville Laitinen

    Hi! Any of these Xiaomis a match for my Koss Porta Pro/ Sennheiser PRX40??? (U know, Porta Pro has good quality sound even if the base is too much indoors and the Sennheiser is well, a gym-set…)
    I’m just pondering because of the remote and mic…..

  • Faux-News

    Compared to the soundmagic E10s ?

    • Mattias

      Night and day….E10s are so much better.

  • Aeonia

    @Gizchina:disqus, any chance we we will be seeing how they stack up against the One Plus Icons? One reviewer mentioned it’s as good as some $400 earphones?

  • shishimaru

    Please stop with all this “ok, if there’s bass then it’s good”. What if I like mids and highs in classic rock music (from Led Zeppelin to Pink Floyd)? I really don’t care of supermega bass for tunz tunz tunz music.