HZsound Bell Rhyme Review: A legacy of Maturity

THE PLUS:
-excellent tonal balance
-realistically textured and dense timbre
-weighty attack (piano note, kick, even treble)
-good imaging (especially layering)
-holographic yet intimate soundstage
-versatile tuning

THE CONS:
-intimate a bit compressed soundstage
-lack of air in treble to sound fully open
-bass lack sub extension

TONALITY: 8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8/10
SOUND VALUE: 8.2/10


SUBJECTIVE EXPECTATIONS

As self-proclaimed biggest fan of HZsound Hearth Mirror on planet Earth, I was utterly over excited about the lauching of a new HZ products after all this time. I mean, what’s going on with this elusive yet masterfull audio company? It seem they exist in a parallel universe but don’t care that much about visibility and marteking in other market apart China…They do have a website and other IEM and Earbuds, but not available for western countries it seem.
So, when these new HZ BELL RHYMES earbuds was available on KEEPHIFI, i sure jump to grab a pair. But in all honnesty, i was a little ”Hearth Broken” if you see what I mean…since it’s the next HZ single DD IEM i’m obsess about and pray for every night.

Now, HZ decide to share with the world their first earbuds, which sell for budget price of 25$ and have an elegant metal construction and rather big 15mm composite DD. Man, this is quite exciting too! And let me say it already, HZ know how to tune earbuds!

To note: with earbuds im a DONUT foams guy, cause i feel its best of both world since it doesnt kill bass and seal like no foams and doesn’t darken and warm the sound too much like full foams.

EVERYTHING ABOUT SOUND


TONALITY:
Balanced slightly bright L shape to energic neutral with smoothen upper treble and boosted mid bass, which is round, juicy and have a weighty slam to it. Versatile and safe tuning, not too sharp nor to laid back, with good resolution up to 10khz. A hint warm too at lower buttom and crisper on top, which is a surprise coming from HZ but here I think they try to do a tuning that will please the mass, something versatile and not peaky in treble, perceived as neutral enough.

TECHNICALITIES:
For an earbuds, these Rhymes are sure no slouch, the attack is fast but not super edgy or snappy, it avoid being shouty too, another sign of well controlled speed. Resolution is above average but not the cleanest. Extension at both end is a bit tamed-rolled off, which for bass is understandable but for treble a little less since it affect openess and airyness of spatiality.

BASS is very fit dependant, it can go from super light to near basshead if you push the earbuds in your ears for supreme seal (which will not hold a minute). Still, for an earbud it got more bass punch than average, all concentrated in mid bass slam, which is warmish and weighty and can move a bit of air on lower mids. The bass is what warmed up the sound here, and it isn’t a thigh clean well define thump, more of a physical hit. For bass line, it lack flexibility, texture and definition, but when you need kick weight in a track it sure can deliver. For sub rumble, it’s hit or miss depending of how low it resonate. All in all, for an earbud, bass is far from bad even if it’s more about quantity than quality here.

MIDS are a bit intimate and flat in dynamic, but with good density in timbre and natural tone apart upper mids zone where you have some artificial spice going on like plasticky breathyness, just a hint that can occur with female vocal but no sibilance, no shoutyness. Piano are a bit underwhelming still, lacking proper weight of impact note as well as resonance in higher octave…violin in the other hands sound lush and natural but again not very open or transparent. This is the kind of earbuds that hesitate between going warm or bright and decide to be lukewarm by smoothen attack edge and dangerous treble zone, unfortunately it affect the sens of precision in attack as well as instrument separation so overall presentation is a bit compressed for an earbud, especially with fast busy jazz, rock or classical.

TREBLE is smoothen yet not lacking in fullness and average amount of details. It feel roll off after 10khz (it can be 12khz too….im not a measurment mic). I love the treble here even if it lack lot of thing I find important like snap, brilliance, natural decay, air. Definition isn’t edgy, but sound info are generous still. It’s a cohesive treble that mix in the music naturally, doesn’t stole the show yet can surprise you with micro details.

CONSTRUCTION

Not alot to say here, apart that the construction is more than decent for 25$. Especially the metal shell, its beautifull and not too big so it fit well in place. It look solid and metal housing is less prompt to unwanted distortion due to acoustic resonance. These are fully closed metal shell without any venting so for an earbud sound leakage is a bit lower. Cable isn’t detachable and of basic quality, but it have an L shape jack which is appreciate. All in all, construction doesn’t look cheap and have an elegant yet sturdy look.


COMPARISONS


VS QIGOM WHITE LOTUS (15$)

These are freakin 300ohm earbuds, so way harder to drive! As well, these are more warm V to W shape with slight extra upper mids presence and rather dark treble. What hit first is how more open and holographic they sound, soundstage is just way more huge and airy, so imaging have more space for proper instruments placement too even if definition is a bit more blurry. In term of tonal balance, HZ have the upper hands here since it feel fuller and more cohesive as a whole and more spiky with the Lotus. Bass is weightier and more boosted with the Lotus, rounder slam and deeper extension. Mids are more natural and smoother with the HZ, but more centered, thinner and intimate and less weighty, flatter in dynamic. Treble dig less micro details with the Lotus. One important drawback to note if you listen at high volume even if your mother tell you not is: the cheap plastic housing of Lotus can easily vibrate and create distortion at very loud volume. As well, since its super light, right fit is hard to achieve and this is the only way to get full basshead experience.

VS TINGO TC200 (first gen) (8$)

Again, the huge soundstage size make the HZ feel super closed sounding, fowards and intimate. Ok, TC200 is a little like the HZsound Mirror in term of sound value: just insane. And this show again, since it’s the best of 3 buds here, in term of balance, fullness, weight dynamic, imaging, timbre…it’s all superior to HZ. In term of resolution, HZ is a bit cleaner-clearer due to less bass warmth. Bass is more weighty and both kick and sub bass have more presence and energy with TC200 though its not as tight and textured. Mids are leaner cleaner with HZ, while fuller lusher with TC200. Treble is similar with both but have more space to be properly separated with TC200.
Both are excellent earbuds, but the more open and holographic presentation of TC200 is way more enjoyable to my ears.


CONCLUSION


Due to now legendary status of it’s IEM sibling, the HZ Hearth Mirror, the expectations for Bell Rhymes were extremely high, and while I can’t say these sound bad, they are far from being an audio miracle like the Mirror.

So, since it’s an earbuds, let’s low down our anachronical hopes and attemps and look at it objectively: the Rhymes are well balanced near neutral earbuds, with good clarity, natural timbre and an intimate yet complexly layered sound spatiality.

View this way it’s far from being bad. And while it’s signature is not as reffined, crisp and clean in presentation like its technically superior IEM Brother the HZ Mirror, it’s sure finely and maturely tuned, confirming that HZ Sound is an excellent audio company that we should continu to follow.

———-I wanna thanks KEEPHIFI for sending me these earbuds after my request. As always, i’m fully independant of mind and can’t be influenced by sponsors.
You can order HZsound Bell Rhymes for 24$ here:https://keephifi.com/products/hzsound-bell-rhyme——-

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