1. B9Scrambler
    HE 150Pro: An Earbud for Those That Dislike Them
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Dec 1, 2017
    Pros - Cable - Sound stage - Bass depth - Easier to drive than you would expect
    Cons - Poor strain relief - Merely average treble quality

    Today we're checking out the HE 150Pro, an inexpensive 150Ω earbud.

    The earbud renaissance is still in full swing. The market is being inundated with many, many options and just as it has gotten quite difficult to pick your first hybrid, it's a challenge to decide which earbud to go for. There are simply too many options, many of which share shells, specifications, and price.

    While I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a newbie in the earbud world at this point, I haven't quite experienced the same variety as other established members of this hobby like bloodypenguin or ClieOS. Still, with what experience I do have I'd happily recommend the HE 150Pro as a fantastic starting point. Why is that? That's why you're here, so let's check it out in greater detail.

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    The HE 150Pro was sent over free of charge in exchange for a fair and impartial review. There was no financial incentive provided to write this. The opinions within this review are my own and do not represent HE, Penon Audio, or any other entity.

    At the time of writing, the 150Pro could be ordered here; https://penonaudio.com/HE-150PRO


    For at home use the 150Pro was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp. I also used it straight out of my Asus FX53V laptop which worked just fine despite the high impedance. For portable use it was paired with my LG G5 or Shanling M1, both of which brought it up to listening volume without any effort or amping required. I also ran it though the Walnut F1 which served to remove some of the warmth and improve low end punch.

    Personal Preferences:

    I listen primarily to various EDM sub-genres (liquid drum and bass, breakbeat, drumstep, etc.), hip hop, and classic rock. While I enjoy a variety of signatures in my headphones I generally lean towards slightly warm with elevated treble and sub-bass, an even and natural mid-range response, with reduced mid-bass. The HiFiMan RE800, MacaW GT600s, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.


    • Sensitivity: 103dB / mW
    • Headphones sound principle: Dynamic driver
    • Impedance: 150Ω
    • Frequency response range: 20-20000Hz
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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The HE 150Pro's packaging is about as simple and basic as it gets. They arrive in a small cardboard box with a large black and white sticker on it announcing the brand and model. Flipping open the lid reveals a generic clam shell carrying case and a small black cardboard box for the accessories which are also fairly basic. In all you get;
    • HE 150Pro ear buds
    • clam shell carrying case
    • two pairs of solid foams
    • two pairs of donut foams
    Not much more to say here. What's included is straightforward and functional with little in the way of flash or frills.

    Build and Comfort:

    While many budget ear buds use a generic plastic shell, such as that from Sennheiser's classic MX500 or one of Yuin's more stylish designs, the HE 150Pro goes with one that is somewhat less common though I have seen it around and used by other brands like TY. The main body is all metal, likely an alloy of some description, with a large open metal grill on the back. The front plate is also metal, held in place by a ring of dense plastic. There are a few embellishments like the HE logo and some silver rings etched around the stems where the cables connect, but other than that they're very simple and unassuming.

    The cable is really quite nice for the price with four strands tightly braided up to the y-split where it divides into two strands per side. Looking at older reviews of this model, it seems there may have been some changes made to the jack and y-split. The well-relieved 90 degree angled jack and rubberized y-splits have been replaced with a slender straight jack and relief-free metal y-split. Strain relief is lacking leading up into the housings too, which has me worrying somewhat about long term durability. Still, this is a relatively inexpensive ear bud and these changes may have been necessary to address cost or QC concerns, so I can forgive such alterations. The sheath is dense enough to support itself so the lack of acceptable strain relief isn't as much of an issue as it would otherwise be, and other positive qualities like strong memory and tangle resistance are present. It's a good cable for the price.

    When it comes to comfort the HE 150Pro is a typical ear bud. It's either going to fit you well or it won't. The drivers are quite large resulting in the face being about 17mm wide and 4mm deep before the housing starts to taper in. That early taper does help with fitment in my experience and as a result the 150Pro sits in place more securely than something like the Penon BS1 or OurART Ti7, both of which are a little thick and pudgy.

    Overall the HE 150Pro feels like a durable product with a good cable attached to. I would love to see future revisions add better strain relief for improved longevity, particularly leading into the housings, but as is they still feel like they'll last a while. Comfort is pretty good for me, but ear buds seem to be even more personal than iems in this regard. If you've had fitment issues in the past with ear buds, the 150Pro probably won't be any different.

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    Foams: The 150Pro is pretty bassy for an ear bud and as a result I found foams to make a more significant difference here than on most other ear buds I've tried. For me personally, I found them best naked or with the donuts installed. With the full foams the 150Pro comes across overly thick to my ears, especially in the mid-range and mid-bass. The donuts ended up being my preference as they maintained the treble presence and improved bass prominence when listening in less quiet areas. While relaxing at home in the quiet of my apartment, the 150Pro sounded at it's best naked where it's presentation was more even.

    With the exception of the Rose Mojito, I can pretty confidently say that the HE 150Pro is one of the most coherent and complete sounding ear buds I've come across. It takes on a mild u-shaped signature instead of the usual mid-focused or treble/mid heavy lean that ear buds seem to be best known for.

    The He 150Pro's low end is very robust and full-figured for an ear bud, extending well beyond what I've come to expect in terms of sub-bass presence. The large drivers move enough air to really feel it, especially on EDM tracks like The Crystal Method's “Name of the Game [Hybrid's LA Blackout Remix]”. This combined with a prominent and punchy mid-bass makes the 150Pro quite appropriate as a daily driver, able to mostly overcome the usual loss of bass many earphones and headphones experience when used out in public.

    While ever so slightly recessed, the 150Pro's mid-range remains coherent and well-defined with a truthful tonality to it. Male vocals have some weight and gruffness to them which combined with the buffed low end make this an awesome bud for rap, hip hop, and reggae metal (Skindred anyone?). Aesop Rock's “Daylight EP” and his crossover album with Rob Sonic, “Hail Mary Mallon”, really shine. Female vocals are well-represented too having a natural warmth and silkiness to them that's really apparent on tracks like “Run For Your Life” by Big Grams.

    When it comes to the top end the 150Pro extends well and in a controlled nature. They are lacking a bit of sparkle though, so cymbals are missing some of the shimmery decay you would expect. There is also a mild metallic edge present on some tracks. This presentation is a double-edged sword. It's not the most realistic sounding treble but it does give the 150Pro some impressive long term listenability. Since I found this ear bud best for casual daily use, that's an acceptable trade off.

    One aspect I found particularly well done on the 150Pro was it's sound stage. The open back nature of the housings combined with the lack of seal inherent to the ear bud design gives it a very open presentation with a distinct out of head feel. This expansive nature does hinder imaging accuracy somewhat, but given the price and performance on tap vs. competing products, it's perfectly acceptable. Layering and separation are also quite decent with the 150Pro avoiding any congestion, even on busy tracks like King Crimson's “Starless and Bible Black”.

    General detail retrieval is quite good, particularly in the mid-bass and bass regions. Detail in the treble regions tapers off slightly, with finer nuances being smoothed over or obscured. Texturing is phenomenal in the bass and mid-range which is heavily emphasized on guitars and gruff vocals.

    Overall the HE 150Pro is a unique sounding bud, at least compared to those others in my possession. It's low end is prominent and powerful with very good extension. The mid-range, while set back a notch, retains a lush and commanding presence. The HE 150Pro's treble is to my ears the weakest aspect if only because it doesn't do anything particularly special. It's purely average there. Lastly, the large staging and great layering and separation really serve to surround you with your tunes.

    Select Comparisons:

    Penon BS1 (39.00 USD): The BS1 has been my go to ear bud since I reviewed it back in June. It's build quality is excellent and it uses one of my favorite cables of all time. While the 150Pro is a solid ear bud, the BS1 simply looks and feels that much more premium. In terms of sound, they're comparable though for different reasons. I found the BS1 a treble/mid focused ear bud with great clarity and detail. The 150Pro is a more mid/bass focused bud with impressive texture in those regions. They compliment each other quite well with the BS1 being my pick for in-home critical listening, and the 150Pro being my pick for everything else. I also find them equally comfortable, though the 150Pro's slightly less thick body might help some achieve a more secure fit.

    OURART Ti7 (59.00 USD): The Ti7 performs well enough but falls short of the HE 150Pro to my ears. With a thick sound and a heavy mid-range focus, the Ti7 gives up clarity and detail. It also lacks in end to end extension but takes back some ground with a comparably grand sound stage and more accurate imaging. While the Ti7 isn't the best sounding, it earns it's keep with it's rock solid build quality and unique design, but of which are a clear step up from the humble and plain HE 150Pro. It's the most durable and stylish ear bud of the bunch and with MMCX removable cable is the most versatile too.

    Rose Mojito (259.00 USD): The Mojito is a truly impressive flagship. It's an energetic ear bud with a very full, close to neutral signature, all backed by a massive sound stage that makes it a joy to listen to. While the 150Pro lacks the frequency balance and raw technical performance, it shares some key aspects and gives me a similar overall experience at a fraction of the price. Like the Mojito, it has a very full presentation with a proper low end that doesn't feel lacking, a clear mid-range, and tight treble. The Mojito is brighter and notably more detailed with a more prominent mid-range, but the 150Pro doesn't embarrass itself when listening to the two back-to-back.

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    Final Thoughts:

    After spending a couple weeks with the HE 150Pro, it is an ear bud I'd happily recommend to headphone and iem users interested in trying out this style of product. It's in no way lacking low end with a level of sub-bass prominence you just don't get very often with ear buds. That feature right there puts it ahead of most of the competition for me. In addition to that killer quality you also get a lush and textured mid-range. The large sound stage is welcome too and should certainly satisfy headphone users that detest the comparatively congested presentation of an iem. The HE 150Pro for me really is the best of both worlds, minus isolation which is non-existent.

    Still, if you're thinking of trying out an ear bud, don't want to spend a ton, and refuse to give up a proper bass presentation, the HE 150Pro should be right up there near the top of your list.

    Thanks for reading!

    - B9Scrambler

    ***** ***** ***** ***** *****​

    Some Test Tunes:

    Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
    Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
    Skindred – Roots Rock Riot (Album)
    King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (Track)
    Supertramp – Crime of the Century (Album)
    Infected Mushroom – Legend of the Black Shawarma (Album)
    Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (Album)
    Massive Attack – Mezzanine (Album)
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (Album)
    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels (Album)
    The Prodigy – The Day is My Enemy (Album)
    Tobacco – F****d Up Friends (Album)
    Felt – Felt 2 (A Tribute to Lisa Bonet) (Album)
    Michael Jackson – Thriller (Album)
    The Crystal Method – Community Service (Album)
    Jidenna – Long Live the Chief (Track)
    Skrillex – Ragga Bomb (Track)
    Big Grams – Run for Your Life (Track)
    Funkadelic – Maggot Brain (Track)
    Aesop Rock – Fishtales (Track)
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  2. Zelda
    All-rounder earbuds
    Written by Zelda
    Published Nov 16, 2017
    Pros - Build quality, Comfortable, Well balanced sound
    Cons - Strong source to shine; fit dependent
    Review: HE 150Pro – All-rounder earbuds

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    • Driver: Dynamic
    • Sensitivity: 103dB/mW
    • Impedance: 150Ω
    • Frequency: 20~20000Hz
    • Plug: 3.5mm, L-angled
    • Cable length: 1.2m

    Price: U$D 30 from PenonAudio

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    The 150Pro earbuds have a compact shape with good build quality. The shells are all metal yet light and fit very comfortable. They have a large vent on the outer part which is needed for the best sonic results. Unlike the generic plastic housings from many budget earphones, the HE 150Pro is much more ergonomic, well rounded and smoothly finished. However, the proper fit is essential and can be a bit finicky to achieve. The cable consists of four wires tightly twisted from the plug to the earpieces; it is very comfortable to use and easy to store. If anything, the cable is missing a slider and a proper relief on the shells’ end, but overall it is very well made.

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    With a 150ohm of rated impedance, the HE150 Pro are meant to be used with a good source, DAP or amplifier to achieve the best sound quality possible. Unlike similar rated earbuds, the HE150 Pro still sound good enough with a low output player and distort less than expected. They played well straight from a HP and Asus notebooks, with a very wide sound, open and airy enough to enjoy the music reaching less than the half volume steps.

    However, for best performance I used the Xduoo X10, Aune M1s as portable players, and Topping NX5, Pico Slim and VE RA+ as extra amplifiers. The sound presentation was very similar, though my favorite combination was with the NX5 amplifier.

    The overall sound of the HE150 Pro is very well balanced, lively and energetic. The open back shell design really contributes in giving a more natural and airy presentation, well weighted and quite energetic. It can be perceived as a slightly U-shaped signature, but it manages to keep the whole midrange forward enough. In fact the whole sound is rather forward and yet has a well sized sense of space.

    Bass is strong, quick and well bodied. The sub-bass reach is quite good considering the earbud form factor; doesn’t have a powerful mid-bass impact, but rarely sounds missing. The mids are kept clean of bass bleed, detailed and with some extra energy. The tonality is a bit more towards the cooler side, so not the best option for a sweet and engaging midrange where vocals are the main focus. Treble is above of neutral, quantity-wise, carrying very good detail and nice extension. Control is great for the price, without a certain peak, and free of harshness or sibilance.

    Interestingly enough, the HE150 respond very well to an amplifier bass boost or different EQ options. They do seem source dependent somehow, but fairly transparent as well.

    Compared to the lower standard TY-HP32 model (from the same manufacturer), the HE150 Pro sound is less ‘flat’ and less bright. However, it can easily be considered as an excellent improvement and strong upgrade over the low budget option. The HE150 sound is much richer, fuller and much more natural, with a more coherent stage and dynamics; but the extra driving power is really needed for the HE150 to shine.
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  3. audio123
    HE150 Pro - Excellent Neutrality
    Written by audio123
    Published Oct 4, 2017
    Pros - Neutral Sounding, Controlled Treble, Accessories, Build
    Cons - More Bass Extension
    HE is an earbud company and started out with the HE150. The HE150 has now been revised with a new edition, HE150 Pro. I would like to thank Penon Audio and HE for this review unit. At the moment, you can purchase it from https://penonaudio.com/HE-150PRO .


    • Sensitivity: 103dB / Mw
    • Driver: Dynamic driver
    • Impedance: 150Ω
    • Frequency response range: 20-20000Hz
    • Plug : 3.5mm L-shaped
    • Cable length: 1.2m
    Unboxing & Accessories
    It comes in a cardboard box with a sticker pasted on top of the box. The sticker has the words – “HE Hi-Fi End HE 150PRO Hi-Fi Audiophile Earbud” . There is a soft circular carrying case sitting inside it. Inside the case, you will get the earbud and 4 pairs of foams.


    Earbud Build & Design
    The earbud shell is made up of plastic. I find the shell to be light weight and it sits in my ear comfortably. There are L & R markings on the left and right shells respectively. Below the logo on each shell, there are 2 stripes for design purpose. There is a HE logo printed on each shell too. It has an open back design.


    Cable Build & Design
    The cable is 4 core braided. There is no chin slider and the y-splitter is made up of a soft rubber. It has a 3.5mm gold plated right angled jack with strain relief.

    Sound Analysis

    The HE150 Pro has a good amount of sub-bass extension with a quick rumble. It extends decently and the bass is smooth. I find it rather neutral. There is a good decay to it and each bass note is presented effortlessly. The bass texture is rendered well with a soothing feeling. The mid-bass does not have a great slam to it. The bass is clinical with a good extension to it. The quantity may be lacking for some though.

    The midrange on the HE150 Pro is rather neutral. The lowers mids has a decent amount of body to it and sufficient to tackle male vocals. The upper mids are slightly boosted and it aids in the overall definition of the midrange. I find the midrange to not be congested. It is clean in its presentation. It definitely packs a good amount of details. The midrange is controlled and smooth. Resolution is good with decent layering.

    The treble is extended great without any sibilance and harshness. The amount of air presented at the top end is sufficient. There is a slight sparkle to it. I find the presentation to be quite smooth and there is hardly any aggression. It is soothing to listen to. One can probably listen to it for a long listening session. For those who crave for more bite, I feel the sparkle may be insufficient. The overall definition is good with crisp.

    The HE150 Pro has a good width and depth in the soundstage. The expansion is very natural. The depth is not too close. The overall positioning of vocals and instruments is good. There is no congestion and it makes the HE150 Pro operates in an effortless manner.



    HE150 PRO vs PMV B01 AOEDE
    The HE150 Pro has similar sub-bass extension but PMV B01 AOEDE edges ahead in its quantity. PMV B01 AOEDE has slightly more body and it is warmer. The bass decay on the HE150 Pro is better and the presentation is tight. Rumble on the PMV BO1 AOEDE is slower than the HE150 Pro. The speed on the HE150 Pro is definitely better and each bass note is presented with more ease. The bass texture on both is rendered smoothly. The mid-bass on the PMV B01 AOEDE has more slam and it makes the overall music more punchy. The lower mids on the PMV1 B01 AOEDE has the edge in the amount of body and it tackles male vocals better. The upper mids on the HE150 Pro is more forward and female vocals are being stretched more. In the treble section, HE150 Pro has the upper hand in extension and it packs more details. The air exerts from the HE150 Pro gives a light feeling to the overall sonic performance. The articulation is more precise on the HE150 Pro. HE150 Pro has a wider soundstage and the width helps to elevate the positioning of the vocals and instruments. The depth of PMV B01 AOEDE is more close. I feel the resolution of HE150 Pro to be better.

    HE150 PRO vs TY Hi-Z 150S
    The 150S has more sub-bass quantity and extension than the HE150 Pro. The 150S has a bass that presents itself tightly with a quick decay. Rumble on the 150S is being articulated with more precision. The bass note is being rendered with more clarity on the 150S. I personally feel 150S is more fatiguing in the long run as its bass has more slam to it. The mid-bass on the 150S adds extra dynamics to the overall sound. The lower mids on the HE150 Pro is more neutral and I personally feel it tackles male vocals better than the 150S. The upper mids on the 150S is more forward and there is more definition to it. The midrange on the HE150 Pro is slightly more controlled than the 150S. Moving on to the treble section, the 150S has more extension and operates on a slightly higher level than the HE150 Pro in details retrieval. The air on both is quite similar. I find the 150S to be much more clinical than the HE150 Pro but the control the HE150 Pro has, is superior. The width of the 150S is slightly better while the HE150 Pro excels in the depth. Layering and separation is approximately the same and 150S edges very slightly ahead in definition.

    HE150 PRO vs Penon BS1
    The HE150 Pro has less sub-bass quantity and extension than the BS1. The BS1 has more body to it. The decay on both is very similar. Rumble on the BS1 has more speed than the HE150 Pro. The approach in how BS1 tackles the bass section is definitely more clinical and the bass note is presented with more tenacity. The mid-bass on the HE150 Pro has slightly less slam than the BS1. Lower mids on the BS1 has slightly more body and it is more full than the HE150 Pro. The upper mids on the BS1 is slightly more forward and the impact is greater. Next, the treble on the BS1 has similar extension as the HE150 Pro. The HE150 Pro has slightly more air than the BS1 but BS1 packs more details. Treble precision is better on the BS1. BS1 has the better depth in soundstage while HE150 Pro has the edge in the width which helps to improve the positioning of vocals and instruments. Resolution on both is very similar.

    HE150 Pro is a rather neutral sounding earbud with a controlled treble that will appeal to most. It is light weight and very comfortable to use. I find the overall sound to be very pleasing and soothing to listen to. The HE150 Pro, being a revised model of the HE150, is definitely an upgrade over its predecessor.

    For more reviews, visit https://audio123blog.wordpress.com/ .
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