Current testing methodology is v1.2
June 28, 2023
3.94 x 1.97 x 3.94 in
I’ve been a fan of Hawaiian Bad Boy (HBB) of Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews for a while now. This was since I got my hands on the QKZ x HBB – one of his collab IEMs from way back.
I recently got the Tripowin x HBB Kailua, which is one of HBB’s latest collab. LinSoul reached out to me and I immediately grabbed the chance to get my hands on a review unit. I was excited to try it out, so here goes.
Huge thanks to our friends at LinSoul for doing us a solid and sending out this unit for an honest and unbiased review.
Tripowin x HBB Kailua
Unique looks, fun colors, solid, build, and impressive sound
The Kailua is a new addition to Tripowin and HBB’s hefty list of collaborations. It has a warm V-shaped sound signature and utilizes two dynamic drivers working together to produce a luscious and bassy sound that you’d normally get with HBB’s IEM collabs.
I like the dark-sounding nature of the Kailua, which sits well with the genres I often listen to. They’re versatile in terms of sound but lack technicality, which can be a problem for some.
- Driver: 10mm DLC Titanium-Coated Dynamic + 6mmTitanium-Coated Dynamic
- Cable: 3.5mm angled plug / 0.75mm detachable cable
- Frequency: 12-36,000 Hz
- Impedance: 19Ω
- Sensitivity: 106±3db
What’s in the Box?
- Tripowin x HBB Kailua earphones
- 2-pin detachable cable
- 3 pairs of wide-bore silicone ear tips (S, L)
- 3 pairs of narrow-bore silicone ear tips (S, L)
- Instruction Manual
Stuff I like
- Low frequencies have good depth and presence
- Good texture on the bass
- Free from treble peaks
Stuff I like less
- A bit lacking in terms of technicality
- Lack of treble
- Noticeable hiss on some tracks
Let’s start with the packaging and presentation.
The packaging of the Tripowin x HBB Kailua differs from what companies usually do with their IEMs. It does come in a sleeved box with some graphics and product information, which is common, but the unboxing experience is quite nice since the IEMs are well-presented and have this classy appeal.
The Kailua’s odd bean-shape aesthetics are very pleasing and the color options available fit the aesthetics very well. I got the black and purple ones. Apart from the detachable cable, the accessories include several pairs of ear tips.
The fit and finish of this IEM are consistent with Tripowin’s standard and it nailed the lowkey appeal that it’s trying to bring forward.
Although the Tripowin x HBB Kailua may seem like it’s made of metal, its shell is actually hard plastic with a textured finish, making it relatively lightweight. This type of hard plastic material is sturdier and much more durable compared to the usual resin.
The included 2-pin detachable cable is silver-plated and of high quality in terms of its construction and feel. They’re free from any microphonics, which you typically get from cheaper cables, which proves that this is of higher quality.
The cable is thin, lightweight, and very comfortable, although it took me a while to get used to their pre-molded ear hooks since they’re thinner than the ones I usually use. Overall, the cable is of good quality and I don’t see myself swapping it out.
The Tripowin x HBB Kailua came with several pairs of ear tips in varying sizes: three pairs of wide-bore tips and three pairs of narrow-bore tips. While ear tips are normally designed to get a good fit, these also alter the sound.
The narrow-bore tips improve the bass, while the wide-bore ear tips improve the treble.
Overall, Kailua’s build quality gets high remarks because of consistency. The IEMs themselves, the cable, and the included ear tips are all of good quality.
Fit and Comfort
The Tripowin x HBB Kailua is pretty comfortable in the ears, even with its odd bean shape, reminiscent of a few IEMs from BLON.
Its insertion depth is average and even though it may be a step away from the usual IEM shape, it’s pretty ergonomic. Its simplistic and straightforward shape provided just the right fit and comfort for my ears./image
Because of its hard plastic shell, it’s lightweight and doesn’t cause any strain on my ears, even when worn for extended periods.
The included ear tips of the Tripowin x HBB Kailua didn’t disappoint as well. With the varying sizes provided, I was able to get the best fit for my ears. The ear tips are pretty comfortable as they’re softer compared to other silicone ear tips.
Overall, the ergonomics are on point as I didn’t encounter any problems with the fit and comfort.
Now, let’s get to the sound quality.
The bass of the Tripowin x HBB Kailua is highlighted due to its V-shaped sound signature. Its tuning focuses much more on the mid-bass, which is prominent in the mix. In terms of presentation, the mid-bass is punchy and tight, with a quick attack and decay.
Its sub-bass region, on the other hand, has average depth but can get deeper depending on the demands of the tracks you’re listening to. For the most part, it has a decent amount of rumble.
With this IEM, there’s some bleeding through the mids, which can give tracks a smeared presentation at times. Although it doesn’t happen that often in my experience, you still need to be wary of that.
Since the Tripowin x HBB Kailua has a V-shaped sound signature, the mids are recessed.
The instruments and vocals in this frequency are darker than your usual V-shaped sound signature. This is because the extension on the upper mids isn’t excessive. I like the dark sound but it’s not for everyone.
As I’ve mentioned, the lower mids suffer from a bit of bass bleed from the mid-bass since it’s much more elevated in the mix. Still, it’s tolerable, especially considering that the Kailua is meant to be entertaining as per the bassy presentation.
The mids are lush and still have decent detail and clarity but it’s not as natural-sounding as it has a slightly darker presentation. Male vocals often get smeared on some tracks but this phenomenon happens much less with female vocals.
The treble of the Tripowin x HBB Kailua is a bit rolled off or smoothed out in its presentation compared to what I usually hear from other V-shaped IEMs. This adds to the already dark sound presentation.
This toned-down tuning on the treble does have some advantages. For example, it’s free from treble peaks or harsh frequencies, although you sacrifice soundstage and clarity for this.
The treble on the Tripowin x HBB Kailua needs more work and refinement for it to cater to a broader set of people. It may not be as detailed or doesn’t have enough clarity as your average V-shaped tuning but for those familiar with HBB’s tuning and fond of it, you may find this fitting for your needs.
I’ve tested the Tripowin x HBB Kailua on different genres of music to get a proper understanding of how they sound, and here are my findings.
- Metal / Rock – Guitars sound massive on the Kailua and although the vocals get pushed back for this genre, listening to some instrumental tracks was such a treat. The elevation on the bass helped a lot in producing a thick and heavy sound. Tracks used: I Don’t Love You (My Chemical Romance), All The Small Things (Blink 182), Ignorance (Paramore), Cold (Korn), Cliffs of Dover (Eric Johnson)
- Pop – The Tripowin x HBB Kailua worked well for this genre in terms of sound and presentation. However, the lack of depth on the soundstage produced average layering, which was crucial for me as it revealed the different layers of instruments and vocals. Still, the Kailua made up for it with its groovy and clean lower-frequency region presentation. Tracks used: Snooze (SZA), As It Was (Harry Styles), Yours (Maye)
- Hip-hop – The Tripowin x HBB Kailua worked great with this genre. The bass was highlighted and impactful due to the elevated mid-bass. The instruments had this darker quality, and the highs weren’t as snappy or showed harshness. Tracks used: LOVE. (Kendrick Lamar, Zacari), sdp interlude (Travis Scott), I Wonder (Kanye West), Superhero (Metro Boomin & Future)
- R&B / Soul – The instruments on the lower regions of the tracks were a lot more highlighted. This was very evident in the drums and the bass instruments present in the test tracks. The vocals sometimes didn’t appear to be pushed back in the mix but showed some recession. Tracks used: LA FAMA (Rosalia, The Weeknd), Blessed (Daniel Ceasar), Moonlight (Kali Uchis), Traingazing (Sam Wills ft. Honey Mooncie), Always (Daniel Ceasar)
The Tripowin x HBB Kailua does an excellent job of producing HBB’s signature tuning. HBB tuned it, after all. Although it’s not perfect, it gets that warm and dark presentation that you’d usually get with HBB’s work.
Overall, this IEM is a banger, especially if you’re an avid fan of HBB’s work. HBB had some hits and misses but Kailua is definitely a hit for me.
A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.
This post was last updated on 2023-11-29 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.