Hidition T1 Gaming IEM Review

I normally don't review gaming products, but a new in-ear headphone tailored for the gaming community, recently came out caught my attention a couple years ago when the product was announced and released on Kickstarter. This is the Hidition T1.

Yes, Hidition. Many people have never heard of this Korean brand, but those who have fallen down the audio IEM well may have come across this highly-regarded brand and seen the many stellar reviews of the Violet, the Viento, the New Tears series, and the Waltz, among other custom products that this small brand has released over the past decade. It caught my attention because, as long-time readers are likely aware, I own and absolutely love my Hidition Viento custom in-ear monitor, and it is one I continually bring up as a reference product for what great tonal balance sounds like. 

So when I heard some random product with Hidition's branding on it, I was highly skeptical. I was not sure if this was a random name stealing or what, as Hidition is not a brand you think of when you think of gaming, or mass produced budget products. But here we are, and yes, Hidition is involved in this product as they have advertised it on their own website

The Basics

The T1 -- It's a single balanced armature IEM with a special mmcx cable that has an attached boom mic loosely connected to the left channel. When worn, the user has both IEMs in each ear, and the boom mic wrapped around the left ear (along with the IEM), and mic extending towards the mouth. It's a setup that reminds me of a generic image of a customer service agent, but it's a concept that should improve the voice quality of the speaker, when compared to wireless in-ears or buds where the mic is at the ear location and not near your mouth, or a mic cable where the mic is at chest level.

The product feels cheap in all its glory. The IEM is ultra lightweight. It's made of relatively cheap-plastics, and the cable is springy and not the easiest to use. Putting the boom mic over your left ear is not super easy, and doesn't always feel stable, and can take a little time to get on correctly. But it works. It all works fine. It just does not exude luxury, premium, or even the $179 retail price tag that Hidition Gaming is asking at full price. (It was $109 for early Kickstarter backers)

But, hey, the feels are only part of the equation. The function part of this IEM setup is actually pretty good. The mic, in my limited testing, was very clear and surprisingly good, as described my testing voice chat compadre "Fc-Construct." And the sound, well, its quite solid, and everything I'd expect from Hidition.

Sound Impressions

The initial sound impressions lean more towards a typical audiophile sound with a light bass, even-keeled mids, and a slightly elevated treble range. This is the sound that Etymotics should have gone for, but does not quite match. Where Etymotic has similar bass and mids, the T1 has a much improved and more elevated treble range that extends more, and provides more dynamics and openness.

But does this meet the target audience well? I'm not sure.

The typical gamer/consumer may find this IEM really lacking on the low end bass response. It's not even remotely as bassy as many consumer in-ears and headphones that many may be used to. This is a very typical Hidition sound. It actually matches the New Tears 6 frequency response quite closely, and isn't too far off a Hidition Viento-A either. I dig it, but it may take many users who are more accustomed to more bass quantity more time to adjust, and perhaps never satisfied.

For having just a single BA driver, I am impressed with the treble extension and the fact that it has sub-bass. The bass is a tad light for my taste, but it does really well for some of the acoustic genres that I really enjoy listening to a lot. I found soundstage to be wide and precise, and perhaps that would be good for the FPS gamer who needs to pinpoint "footsteps" or where stray bullets are coming from.

For me, I really enjoyed how open it sounded, especially compared to the reference single BA Etymotic series. Sound may find this to be a tad bright however. The treble range is elevated, but if you're using to listening to Tin Audio stuff, it's not quite that bright.

I paid $50 on Amazon for these T1. It is easily my favorite $50 IEM, and I actually listen to the T1 a lot more often than I would have anticipated when I found the random listing on Amazon.com (now not available) and ordered it. Heck, I wasn't even expecting the order to be fulfilled. Luckily, it turns out it was a real listing, and it sounds good.

I like the T1. Is it worth $179? Probably not. Is it worth $99? Maybe, if you want a light but solid tuning, and a boom mic setup. To be fair, I actually don't use the default cable, as I've replaced it with my mmcx cable I received from my Hidition Viento. Hey, its a solid pairing!