GizAudio (aka Timmy) is an audio reviewer that has quickly built up a strong following on YouTube in the last couple years. As he’s based out of Japan, I had the opportunity to meetup and hangout with him when I visited on vacation in August 2023. There, I also had an early listen of the Chopin, his latest collaboration IEM. My initial impression of it was quite good, and I was curious to hear how the final product would turn out. Ironically, I’m quite late to the party with my impressions, but let’s finally take a closer listen at how the Chopin (1DD/3BA, $200) sounds.
This unit was kindly provided for review by Gizaudio and HifiGo. As always, what follows are my honest thoughts and opinions to the best of my ability.
Build and Accessories
- 3.5mm or 4.4mm 2-pin cable (either option is available for purchase)
- Cleaning tool
- Silicone ear tips s/m/l
- Hard plastic carrying case
The Chopin’s form factor is inspired by the Hidition Viento IEM which uses a teardrop shell. Thankfully, the Choppin’s nozzles are not nearly as long, and the shells are smaller overall, so I had no trouble fitting the IEM and listening for a couple hours. A small detail that I appreciate is the utilization of recessed 2-pin connectors which provide increased stability for the pins.
I’m a big fan of the Chopin’s cable as someone who values practicality above all else. It’s extremely pliable and resistant to microphonics (the crinkling/shuffling sound that you'll sometimes hear with cables if the cable brushes against other objects). However, listeners who enjoy thicker, fancier cables probably won’t be as satisfied with this cable as I am.
Don't understand how to read this? Read this article on the new measurement standard. The measurement above was taken off an IEC-711 coupler. It should only be considered accurate up until ~8kHz as there is a resonance peak. If you'd like to compare the Chopin to hundreds of other IEMs I have measured, then please see here. I
Sound-wise, I would consider the Chopin to be like a lite version of the Moondrop Variations, which is one of my favorite Moondrop IEMs. Generally, the Chopin is a little more V-shaped, denoting a stronger focus on sub-bass and lower-treble.
Indeed, one of the first things that stands out about the Chopin is its bass response. It tacks on extra presence from 50-100Hz; there’s a hint of extra thump to the way sub-bass lines are executed. In terms of quality, I would say that the Chopin’s bass is decent but not incredible. The lack of a depression at 200 Hz like the Variations keeps bass lines from being extremely delineated and, ostensibly, slight peaks in the treble keep the Chopin’s bass on the drier side.
Moving upwards, there’s not much to say about the Chopin’s midrange other than that it is solid. The pinna notch is centered just before 3kHz, but it’s not enough to noticeably color the midrange. Some listeners might want more weight to male vocals; some listeners might want more presence to female vocals; most listeners will be satisfied. Overall, I would consider it to be a neutral, balanced midrange.
Treble on the Chopin can get slightly crunchy at times, especially in the mid-treble, but I wouldn’t say it’s to the point of being harsh. It’s a minor inconvenience that mostly becomes evident in comparison to the Variations which has a very smooth treble response. The treble extension of the Chopin also masks some of this roughness, as the extension past 10kHz is surprisingly strong.
For subjective performance, I think that the Chopin is a solid performer. It has good tuning fundamentals and, as a result of the aforementioned treble response, it has a nice sense of detail for $200. Granted, I can’t remember exactly what I said in my initial impression to Timmy (when I didn’t know the price or driver configuration at all), but I believe I ballparked it around the ~$300 range when I first heard it.
Of course, when I am ballparking IEMs’ prices, it’s a moving target within the context of the other IEMs I have listened to. Outside of the comparison to the Variations, the TruthEars Nova is the next obvious point of comparison.
The Nova uses a similar driver archetype (it tacks on an extra BA), it costs $50 less, and it’s tuned remarkably similarly. That being said, I find the Chopin to be a step up in terms of build quality and accessories. And when it comes to the sound itself, I also find the Chopin to be noticeably more suited towards my preferences. A combination of extra sub-bass and pulling back the 3kHz pinna region a notch on the Chopin leads to a more forgiving, exciting sound signature. Those looking to maximize their value might turn to the Nova; however, I would personally recommend the Chopin when the dust settles.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the Chopin gets a lot of things right for $200 and I don’t have many bad things to say about it. It’s difficult for me to assess how it’ll age given how quickly the market has been moving in its price segment. But at least at this point in time, I think it’s a shoo-in for listeners that 1) not only want a fun and well-tuned IEM that plays near the top of its price bracket, but 2) also want to support one of their favorite content creators. I’m curious to see the direction Gizaudio decides to take collabs in the future, especially if Binary Acoustics is going to be part of the equation.