This is the first hybrid planar iem that I’ve tried, and it really does what a hybrid should; combine the strengths of the different driver types. If you’ve tried a planar iem before and loved the crisp detail and realistic instrument placement, but wished it had a little more of the dense buttery low-end of a dynamic driver – then this might be the iem for you. The hook-x has a really pleasing warm tuning which highlights the bass while also allowing for a great sense of clarity and detail.
This is a bone-conduction bass which kind of has its own type of sound – in many ways a very opposite sort of bass to a planar. It feels a lot more physical than a planar bass, but sacrifices some detail and texture. The Treble is really well tuned, keeping to a very pleasant level, but because it’s a planar, you’re still getting a lot of detail without exaggerating the treble. That said, when I tried EQing the treble on this set, I was able to squeeze a good amount of extra detail out of the hook. But the level of treble on this set is perfect for long listening, as everything sounds sweet without hurting you. The lower mids are little problematic for me sometimes, as the planar and bone conduction driver seem to battle it out here during fuller parts of a song, creating some mud and bloat.
This is an open back iem, but it seems to still do a very good job of keeping noise out, and sound leakage is not noticeable unless you stick the back of the iem right up to your ear. The sound stage on the hook is average, as is the imaging. This was a little surprising to me because ive come to understand that open back drivers tend to open up the perceived space. My guess is that the bone conduction driver is to blame for this, since it’s vibrating your inner ear through contact, rather than vibrating the air. The imaging is a is a lot more left-right than front-back, and the placement within the stage is not very precise. Again, I suspect this is related to the bone conduction driver.
I definitely recommend this set. It’s a great set for comfortable relaxed listening that won’t put you to sleep. The tuning is really well done. There are a few drawbacks with the technicalities, but overall, I wasn’t too concerned about them while listening, because the set brings a lot to the table in other ways. But if you are looking for the sound of planar bass, you should be warned – the bass on the hook x does not have that texture and precision that you might get out of other planar sets. But what you do get is a bigger, more present and thumping bass. It took a bit of listening to adjust to it, but after a few days, I’m decidedly a fan of how this set sounds.
Also I love the cable this thing comes with. It’s a cloth-wrapped cable with interchangeable terminations. It feels very premium and matches the look of the iem. The entire packaging felt very premium and the carrying case it comes with is the perfect size.