Whizzer A15Pro: Light as a feather
Today we’re checking out the Haydn A15Pro from Whizzer.
Whizzer is a pretty weird name for a brand, and I think they know it given it’s only found in the fine print on the A15 Pro’s box. That said, being different can draw attention, though it’s not always a good thing.
Let’s take a stroll with my new friend Haydn to see what makes him tick.
Thank you to Chi at Penon Audio for arranging a complimentary review sample of the Haydn A15Pro. The thoughts within this review are my own and do not represent Penon, Whizzer, or any other entity. There was no financial incentive provided to write this review. At the time of this review the A15Pro retailed for 124.90 USD: https://penonaudio.com/whizzer-haydn-a15pro.html
For at home use the A15Pro was powered by a TEAC HA-501 desktop amp with my Asus FX53V laptop sourcing music. For portable use it was paired with an LG G5, Shanling M1, HiFiMan MegaMini, or HiFi E.T. MA8, all of which easily brought it up to listening volume. Amping not required.
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, Brainwavz B400, and thinksound On2 offer examples of signatures I enjoy.
- Driver: 10mm dynamic with beryllium coating
- Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz
- Sensitivity: 98dB/mW
- Impedance: 16ohm
Packaging and Accessories:
The Haydn A15Pro comes in some pretty nice packaging. The exterior sheath keeps it simple on the front containing nothing but an image of the earphones, the model name, and the cable material. Flipping to the back you’re swarmed with information from features, to an exploded image of the A15Pro’s construction, to a specification list that oddly omits impedance. Sliding off the sheath reveals a matte black box with only Haydn A15Pro printed in glossy black writing on the front. Inside are the earphones and accessories, neatly laid out and presented front and centre. In all you get:
- A15Pro earphones
- MMCX equipped 6N copper cable
- Metal tip organizer
- Small bore single flange “Reference” tips (s/m/l)
- Wide bore single flange “Transparent” tips (s/m/l)
- T100 and T400 foam tips
- Faux-leather carrying case
- Cleaning tool
- A15Pro Manual
All of the accessories are of good to great quality, with the sole exception being the wide bore “Transparent” tips. The material used is hilariously thin and flimsy, so much so that they slide down the nozzle when you put them in your ear. It’s nigh impossible to get and maintain a seal, so they’re mostly useless. The small bore “Reference” tips are the same generic tips you get with a million other products but they fit the nozzle well and provide a good seal so they’re a good match to the product.
Overall I enjoyed the unboxing experience. It’s simple, attractive, and absolutely packed with extras.
Build, Comfort, and Isolation:
The A150Pro’s ear pieces are wonderfully build, made from a stainless steel alloy and painted in a classy matte black finish. The Whizzer logo graces the front and is painted in a strongly contrasting white. On the inside surrounding a well-cut vent is Whizzer Tec. and the L/R indicators printed in silver. Exiting at around 55 degrees, the 6mm long nozzles provide good ergonomics and feel natural in the ear. The gold colored grills are neatly seated as well and will undoubtedly provide plenty of protection from dust, dirt, and exr wax. Overall construction of the housings is excellent. The cable and MMCX connectors are another story.
Let’s start with the MMCX connectors. The good is that sound doesn’t cut out. And that’s it. The connection is extremely loose. There is no locking mechanism to prevent the cable from spinning, not necessarily a bad thing on it’s own. However, this combined with very flexible memory wire/ear guides means it doesn’t take much for the cable to move out of place and pop up and over your ear. Annoying. Even worse is that the connection just isn’t secure, like, at all. If you dangle the cable with the ear pieces plugged in, they easily detach on their own. Say you’re someone that likes to sling your earphones around your neck when not in use, or you leave one hanging around your ear so you can still hear what’s going on around you. The natural movement from walking is enough to detach these horrendous MMCX connectors. Say bye bye to that ear piece if you don’t notice. This would be less of a concern on something like the sub-10 USD QKZ W6 Pro which is a cheap way to get an MMCX earphone. The A15Pro is a 125 USD earphone though, and as such these crappy connectors are inexcusable.
The cable fares better but it’s still not fantastic. Starting with the MMCX plugs, the l-shaped connectors do a good job of guiding the cable naturally around your ears. The memory wire is quite unique in that it looks to be a spring wrapped in a silicone sheath. The memory portion isn’t particularly strong, but it works well enough. Attached to an earphone with more secure connectors, it actually works quite well. The rest of the cable leading down to the y-split is covered in a fairly slender, standard rubber sheath. I don’t find it very noisy, nor does it retain bends or kinks too excessively. Attached it also a nice chin cinch with the Whizzer logo printed on it that helps alleviate the above mentioned woes, aiding in keeping the cable behind your ear. Below the simple metal y-split the cable transitions to a fabric sheath. It’s not as stiff as the sheath 1More dumps on their products, but it’s still prone to kinking when twisted, and has already started to fray in common bend points around the jack and y-split. I guess I’m just missing the point of fabric cable, because to me they are nothing but a detriment to whatever they’re attached to. At least the 90 degree angled jack is well relieved and compact enough to likely fit in whatever phone or DAP case you need it to.
Comfort is a strong point for the A15Pro. It’s odd shape and fairly compact size lets it nestle comfortably in your ear. It is covered in soft, rounded edges which do not cause any hot spots. They never felt super secure, but they also never fell out or broke seal unintentionally so I really can’t complain. I must note that swapping over to a memory wire free cable, the A15Pro fit me more naturally cable down. I wore the left and right ear pieces in the opposite ears with the cable plugged in so channels weren’t swapped. If you’ve got a spare memory wire free MMCX cable lying around, give it a go. Just be wary that the connection still isn’t super with 3rd party cables (but it is better), so there is a risk the cable will detach unexpectedly during movement.
Isolation is better than I was expecting given the A15Pro’s large vents. Without music playing, it did a good job of dulling the sounds of typing, nearby lawn mowers and cars, and other obnoxious noises. Overall fairly average for a dynamic based product, and perfectly acceptable for transit use, especially once you’ve got music playing or are using the included foams.
The defining aspect of the Pro’s sound to me is a complete lack of weight and body behind it’s presentation. It places the lightest, most deft of touches on your music giving it an almost ethereal, otherworldly feel, and it completely throws me off. Heck, most earbuds and single BA earphones have a more visceral, impactful sound than these.
Bass on the A15 Pro reminds me of a 2D drawing of a 3D image. All the information to make it seem like a fully realized thing is there, but it’s just deception. There’s no real substance to it. In the case of the A15 Pro, it’s bass line lacks visceral feedback to go along with the impressive detail, texture, and speed. You get the slightest tickle of feedback, but that’s about it. I find it very distracting to be honest.
Mids are a big step up despite being quite lean and light too. I find this presentation better suits female than male vocals which come across too feathery and weightless, something highlighted when contrasting Big Boi and Sarah Barthel’s vocals on “Born to Shine” and “Run For Your Life”. Detail and clarity are excellent and timbre seems reasonably accurate, though a touch higher pitched than it should. Lastly, there is a hint of sibilance that creeps in, though I don’t find it particularly intrusive.
The overly lean presentation the A15Pro has exhibited so far continues into the treble. It’s super speedy and well controlled with tons of micro-detail that is quite impressive for a single dynamic at this price point. It’s also very smooth, but elevated quite a bit. This gives the earphone a bright tonality that is sure to bother those who are sensitive to upper frequencies, particularly when combined with the lean note presentation that can make cymbals and other effects come across overly sharp.
The A15Pro’s sound stage is intimate and forward but still great. It’s thin presentation gives notes tons of air and space that combined with varied layering and a fairly deep stage blends well. Even on extremely quick and busy tracks, the A15Pro avoided congestion.
Kinera IDUN: The IDUN is Kinera’s new triple hybrid. Ir has a thicker, warmer, and more weighty sound than the A15Pro which to me comes across more naturally balanced. It does not suffer from such a lean note presentation, and carries weight and impact behind everything it does. Detail and clarity is just as good, falling behind the A15Pro in bass texture. The A15Pro has a slightly larger sound stage but falls behind in terms of layering, separation, and imaging quality.
In terms of build, the IDUN certainly looks more attractive and premium to me with it’s wooden face plates and custom style shell, but there is little doubt in my mind the A15Pro’s steel alloy shells will be significantly more durable. Given the vast differences in material used, they’re not really comparable. Aesthetically, the IDUN is more appealing in my opinion. The IDUN’s braided cable is much more premium featuring 8 cores, evenly split between copper and silver-plated copper. The 2-pin connectors are firm and reliable.
1More C1002: The C1002 is more upper treble prominent giving it additional energy and sparkle. Control isn’t quite as tight as the A150Pro and as such it sounds slightly splashy. Detail and clarity are similar. The C1002’s mid-range is slightly thicker and more weighted with better clarity and balance. Bass digs deeper on the 15Pro but lacks the visceral feel of the C1002. Sound stage on the C1002 is more narrow. Layering isn’t quite as good but separation is similarly impressive and imaging is a touch more accurate.
In regards to build, the C1002’s aluminum ear pieces are just as well put together as the A15Pro’s steel alloy ones. Nitpicking, the C1002’s individual sections that make up the shell don’t line up flawlessly enough around the magnetic backplates giving the Whizzer a very small edge. One that is immediately taken away by it’s unreliable MMCX connectors. Cables are very similar with a rubber upper sheath, cloth below. 1More’s cable is fixed, stiffer, and retains memory of micro-bends and has taken on a wobbly appearance in the years I’ve owned it. It’s also very noisy. However, to my surprise it’s not fraying anywhere, unlike the A15Pro’s.
Overall I prefer the 1More’s sound and the A15Pro’s build. Both have sub par cables, but at least the Whizzer’s is replaceable, though the way MMCX is implemented here that isn’t really a plus.
I found the A150Pro rife with potential. The shell design is attractive and materials durable with excellent ergonomics. I absolutely love the fit when worn cable down and the ear pieces swapped, so much so that it would be awesome if Whizzer included a memory wire free cable alternative to permit more out-of-the-box flexibility in how these are worn. The clarity and detail on tap is also quite appealing, though the lean note presentation does lend to excessive sharpness at times.
There are two thing that really let the A15Pro down in my experience. First is the terrible quality of the MMCX connectors. This right here is enough for me not to recommend them. When using this earphone out of the house with the stock cable, I never truly enjoyed them. The connectors are so flimsy and the ear pieces release so easily, there was always a nugget of worry in my mind that I’d lose one. Second, the lack of any sense of weight behind it’s presentation. It is great that the drivers are super light and nimble, but there is literally no sense of impact. I found it overly distracting as an entire aspect of sound was simply missing. Music doesn’t feel complete when listening though the A150Pro.
Overall, the A15Pro is a decent earphone with a few critical flaws that keep it from greatness. Fix though, and it would be worth a look.
Thanks for reading.
***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Some Test Tunes:
Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid (Album)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Going to Eat That? (Album)
King Crimson – Lark’s Tongues in Aspic (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 – Grace (feat. LeAnn Rimes) (Track)
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)