ISN Audio H30 Review
ISN H30 Review
The ISN Audio H30 was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.I didn’t receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don’t use affiliate links.The price of the ISN H30 is $129 and you can order it from Penon Audio.
ISN Audio H30
ISN Audio is an earphone and cables manufacturer distributed by Penon Audio.The ISN H30 is a two Balanced Armature and one Dynamic Driver Hybrid Audiophile IEM with a detachable MMCX cable.The ISN H30 features a 9.2mm dynamic driver with beryllium frosted diaphragm for the low frequencies, one Sonion BA driver for the mids frequency and one Knowles BA for the high frequencies.
Build quality and appearance
The lightweight ear shells are made from a medical grade, resin compound that has a custom-like, anatomical shape to offer a better user experience.The ISN H30 is a little bulky but the mildly extended, longer, sound tube helps a lot with the fit which is very comfortable, stress free and stable, making it suitable for extended periods of use while they have very good passive noise attenuation.The appearance is nothing special to talk about, the ear shells have a stabilized wood, blue – violet, faceplate with the ISN logo at the front and build quality is really stellar.
The ISN H30 features a 1.2m detachable cable with MMCX connectors that can be ordered with 3.5mm, 2.5mm or 4.4mm plugs.The 8-core braided cable is exceptionally well made, it is soft, it doesn’t get tangled and it doesn’t induce microphonic noise.The review sample came with a balanced 4.4mm cable.
The ISN H30 comes with two sets of different silicone ear-tips at three sizes each, two pairs of memory foam ear-tips, a cleaning brush, a shirt clip and a premium looking, high quality, hard carrying case with a magnetic lid.
Power requirements and associated gear
The ISN H30 is rated at 18Ω/118dB so it is very easy to drive and you will be just fine with an entry level USB DAC dongle although I would suggest something better, like the iBasso DC04 Pro, the iBasso DC03 Pro, the FiiO KA5 or even the FiiO Q11, because they scale pretty well.The earphone was burned for about 100 hours before listening evaluation.
The ISN H30 has an even, reference – critical tuning with great tonal balance and sound homogeneity where no part of the frequency range stands out as too boosted or subdued.Well extended and linear bass response, present mid-range and a well realized treble with plenty of energy and sparkle but without sounding bright, harsh or irritating.
Sub-bass extension is more than enough for most kinds of music but it doesn’t draw attention and will not appeal to people who like too much of a bass presence and impact.
The neutrally tuned bass is exceptionally fast, tight and controlled with good timing and excellent inner definition, you can hear every last note of every last instrument without a single trace of masking.Macro – dynamic response is good and despite the relative lack of physical impact and rumble, the ISN H30 is still very capable of sounding dynamically contrasted and realistic.
The texture is rather lean, but not dry or sterile while it gets slightly leaner in the upper frequencies but not that much as to cause lack of cohesiveness.
The mid range is engaging and musical, it has a slightly warm and lush texture while it is transparent enough and the lack of bass bleeding helps a lot with definition and clarity.It is evenly and neutrally tuned, just a bit prominent without upper-mids emphasis, so it doesn’t induce listener fatigue, and with a linear transition to the treble.
Vocals are beautifully presented, breathing and articulate, there is plenty of harmonic variety on tap and a good tonal balance that adds a sense of realism and a natural instrumental timbre.The highs greatly balance between prompt extension and smoothness, the ISN H30 is lively and energetic but not bright or harsh.
The sound is airy and resolving with good detail retrieval but is somewhat lacking in finesse and refinement while it will not appeal to people who like an analytical and brilliant sound signature.As said earlier, the texture gets slightly leaner in the treble but not that much to make it thin and uneven.The timbre is still quite natural, the ISN H30 doesn’t have much of the infamous balanced armature timbre and it doesn’t sound too artificial in the treble while the three drivers are well implemented so the sound is cohesive and homogeneous.
The ISN H30 is fast and furious, it has an energetic and speedy presentation that reminds a lot of an electrostatic headphone, with all three drivers keeping up the same pace and timing so no one sounds detached and out of phase.The soundstage is wide but intimate, the listener is positioned quite close to the performers, the presentation is not that grand and holographic, depth proportion is limited, but it has an accurate positioning and a well centered image.The ISN H30 feels at home with all kinds of music and ensemble sizes but it really excels with more medium forces and shines with vocal recitals.
In the end
The ISN H30 has an audiophile oriented tuning, it is balanced and even with plenty of natural timbre and musicality, offering the listener a smooth and fatigue free experience.
It is also lightweight, comfortable, well made and comes with a high quality cable, a premium carrying case and plenty of eartips, easily earning my highest recommendation.
Copyright – Petros Laskis 2023.
+ Natural and balanced tuning
+ Great driver integration
+ Natural timbre without artificial treble
+ Fast and lively presentation with speedy transients
+ Communicative and musical
+ Very comfortable and lightweight
+ Good passive noise attenuation
+ Easy to drive
+ Good quality, detachable cable
+ Plenty of spare ear-tips
+ Premium carrying case
– Mostly flat and intimate soundstage
– Not that full bodied and impactful
– Somewhat lacking in finesse and refinement
– A little bulky with ordinary appearance
– The cable isn’t modular