The Hieroglyph of Life
- Great sound quality, from midrange onwards, with excellent treble.
- Remarkable clarity and separation.
- Outstanding stage and very good three-dimensional feel.
- Good accessories and remarkable cable.
- Very good build quality and design.
- The design is a mixture of other models.
- Slightly heavy.
- Limited bass, with a somewhat cold and not very natural sonority.
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After a couple of months of reviewing the first product from the still little-known Chinese brand Hessian, I’m here to review the Ansata Pro. If on that occasion it was a rather inexpensive TWS, now it’s a pair of earbuds, whose design is halfway between several models from Ourart and the ISN Rambo II. With a completely generic and identical outer packaging to their other model, the contents of this new model are much more complete, in keeping with the price range to which they belong. Without much more to discuss in this introduction, let’s move on to the complete review of this model.
- Driver Type: Dynamic 14.5mm
- Frequency Response: 15Hz-42kHz
- Sensitivity: 115dB/mW
- Impedance: 35Ω ± 3%
- Jack Connector: Straight, 3.5mm, 2.5mm balanced plug available on request
- Capsule Connection Type: MMCX
- Cable length: 1.2m, without microphone.
- Waterproof: IPX4
- Dustproof: IP4X
The Hessian TWS7 come in a generic dark box, sealed in cellophane. The dimensions are 203x143x41mm. On the lid is a drawing of a man, done in glossy black ink. The drawing is not complete, you can see the head and the chest. Below it, the name of the brand can be read. On the back, there is a white sticker, with the specifications in Chinese. Nothing else.
When you open the box, you can see that the product is very well protected, with a large foam mould. On the left, there is a transparent plastic box containing the earbuds, with their cable. To its right, a nice zippered pouch, made of imitation leather. There is also a large warranty card and instructions. In summary, the complete contents are as follows:
- The Hessian Ansata Pro.
- 1 x 8-strand mixed cable with MMCX connectors.
- 1 plastic case.
- 1 round zipped pouch, made of imitation leather.
- 9 plastic washers.
- 1 leather strap with an insert for storing the cable.
Additionally, the package comes with two bags with a good assortment of donut foams and also complete.
As an additional accessory that would have been advisable to add, I miss rubber rings to increase the diameter of the capsule, improve the grip of the foams and provide a better, more comfortable fit.
Construction and Design
In my opinion, the Ansata PROs are a mix of the Ourart ACG, Ti7 and the ISN Rambo II. From the first ones, they take the front part of the capsule and the colour. From the second ones, the rear part of the capsule and the piece where the MMCX connection is located.
In this way, the side from which the sound is emitted is reminiscent of an old car rim. The large openings reveal a spiral of silver braided cable, which is the driver’s diaphragm. The back of the capsule is conical and regular. There are vertical grooves in the back of the capsule, running in the direction of the apex of the cone. Welded to the apex of the cone, at 90 degrees, is a tubular piece, which consists of two half-cones, a short one, which forms the upper part, and a longer one, at the end of which is the MMCX connection. The face opposite to the weld with the capsule is flat and on it is printed the symbol of the ansata cross, accompanied by two + symbols. The construction is entirely made of aluminium, the surface of which has a sanded micro-texture.
The original cable consists of 8 strands, with 360 cores. 4 strands are silver foil and the other 4 are mono-crystalline copper. It is reminiscent of the cable used in some IEMS models of the BGVP brand. The change is in the metal parts. The MMCX connectors are housed in shiny metal cylinders, with a ring whose colour indicates the channel. They are attached to the capsules using a rubber washer, to improve the fit and prevent rotation. The divider is a metal cylinder, with a narrowing in the centre. The pin is a transparent plastic sphere and the sleeve of the 3.5mm jack connector is a regular cylinder. The connector is gold-plated.
Although the shape is not entirely original, such a design has not been given before. Hessian has, in my opinion, tried the best of other existing models, achieving a very nice, beautiful and eye-catching product, as well as robust and very well built.
Adjustment and Ergonomics
Where the ergonomics of the Ourart ACG and Ti7 could fail the most was in the size of the rim on the front of the capsule. In this case, following the shape of the ISN Rambo II, the rim is narrower, which helps to improve the fit. One downside to the use of metal as a construction material is the possible rotation of the foam on its surface, which can make the fit more slippery. To solve this, rubber rings can be purchased and adapted to this edge. Then use donut or complete foams. This is how I have improved the fit in my ears. In addition, you get a more occlusive fit, even improving the performance of the lower area. On the downside, adding this ring may mean an increase in the outer diameter of the capsule, which may be detrimental to some users.
In any case, the standard fit is good to good and the ergonomics are fast, but it also feels limited by the weight of the metal capsule, which is always heavier than the classic PK and MX500 capsules.
Another thing that conditions the comfort is the weight of the cable, the complete set feels slightly heavy on the ears.
The profile is balanced. The low end has a very slight emphasis in its centre, the mids are present, close, clear, open and descriptive, while the highs are visible, but very well measured, with a very adequate level of sparkle, which is never excessive, they are able to provide a great level of detail, definition and resolution, resulting in a delicate and airy sound. Their huge soundstage is worth noting.
For the evaluation of the sound of the Hessian Ansata Pro, I subjected them to a long burning.
The low end feels restrained, somewhat dry and limited depending on the setting obtained. These characteristics are most pronounced in the sub-bass area, where the tonality is somewhat forced, coloured and a little unreal. As the frequency increases, the timbre becomes more realistic and natural. There is a slight emphasis in the mid-bass area, which further limits the depth of the ensemble and accentuates the hollowness of the lower end. As a result, the range feels incomplete, slightly trimmed, lacking that sense of depth and punch that fills the area.
Technically, the driver is fast, with a good level of decay and little sediment. The texture is fairly smooth, but in the low midrange it is more perceptible and descriptive, a feature that enhances the overall feel of the zone. However, this does not prevent the impression of a loss of depth and roll-off in the sub bass, which limits the natural representation of the bass.
The central area is outstanding and remarkable. The presence and closeness is patent. The voices are projected in a foreground that can become predominant, although they are not intimate, nor do they displace the instrumentation, but manage to cohabit with enough harmony and respect. The tone is good, but not perfect. The male voices lack more depth and a more complete body, especially in the lower part. This limited natural sonority in the lows also suffers in the first half of the mids, resulting in a soft transition, with a tone that is again somewhat cold and sparse in the drums, basses and other instruments with a predominance up to 1000Hz. The result is a tone with a slight muddy tendency and subtle nasal timbre, plus that hollow feeling, which still lingers in the ambience. As a result, I can’t say that my perception of the first half of the range comes across as natural and realistic. From then on, the sound is more coherent, something that is noticeable, right from the start, in the female vocals. Moreover, they feel supported by a sparkle that adds delicacy and a multitude of detail, but without being overwhelming. Far from being obtrusive, this feeling also adds to the spatial enhancement of the vocals and instrumentation in general. Undoubtedly, the sense of air and openness in the Ansata Pro’s midrange is a high point of its sound. The sense of separation outweighs the clarity, although the latter is quite high. The sound is not analytical, although it is excellently defined and possesses a remarkable degree of resolution. The expressiveness and responsiveness of the driver in this range is outstanding, something that gives it a level of dynamism only available to very good earbuds.
As a first impression, the treble is relatively soft, with a great timbre, but the sound is not characterised by a cool or bright tendency. The Ansata Pro has a measured treble, which enjoys very good precision. Although they are quiet, they are very splashy and expressive, shimmering when needed, providing high but subtle qualitative detail, fast and fleeting, with very calibrated energy and quick dispersion. All this contributes to a sound that is clear, but not blatantly bright. Thus, the sense of clarity is instantaneous, but not treble-dominant. In my opinion, the ratio of energy, presence, sound impact, speed, dissipation, precision and zone detail is another of the Ansata Pro’s strengths. The amount of air provided to the set is also very remarkable.
The star of the show is the stage: it is very involving, spacious and airy. The sound has a vaporous, volatile and escapist tendency. The sense of air is high. The separation is not so great, but it is noticeable, there is no hint of congestion at any point. Positioning is not as precise, it is possible that the spatiality of the sound impairs its provenance and positioning in the scene. Even so, details are not lost and are very well marked, with great resolution and definition.
ISN Rambo II
With a very similar shape, the ISN Rambo IIs are slightly more comfortable, as if the diameter of their capsules were a little smaller and their rims a little softer.
The profile is similar and, at first glance, there are more similarities than differences. But, going into detail, the low end of the Rambo IIs is better, both qualitatively speaking, and in presence and body. Its bass is deeper and more complete, which has an impact on both the representation of the low end and the first half of the midrange. This fundamental characteristic gives the Rambo IIs a more natural and realistic sonority in this first half of the sound. In this zone, the ISNs appear larger and wider, with superior presence and power. From 1kHz onwards, the Ansata Pro’s start to catch up, sounding clearer, more separated, more precise and more delicate. The Rambo IIs sound a little more cohesive and foregrounded, which can be more oppressive and less clear. Meanwhile, the Hessians, with their more ethereal sound, offer a greater amount of detail and nuance. As a result, they are more pleasant and harmonious. In the upper range, the ISNs are more persistent, while the Hessians are more precise and faster. The slower dissipation of the treble slightly muddies the sound of the high end of the Rambo IIs, although the closer presence of that first part of the sound also contributes negatively in this respect. However, the Ansata Pro’s fine, precise, fleeting flash gives it a higher level of resolution, elevating the quality and quantity of detail.
The scene is larger, more expansive and more vaporous on the Hessian. Their separation is also superior, as is the clarity. If the Hessians had any of the Rambo IIs’ first part of the sound and respected the Ansata Pro’s quality from their midrange onwards, it would be hard to beat them. The bad thing is that the first part of the sound is a drag on the Hessian’s final result.
To talk about Smabat earbuds is to talk about continuous development in the search for the best bass, within one of the most innovative designs on the market. Its R&D does not stop at these parameters, but is now concerned with offering a mouldable sound, in the same way that all the parts that make up an earbud can be disassembled and assembled without the need for tools, being able to choose from a wide variety of these parts to alter the sound. In this sense, Smabat is different and unbeatable. But before the arrival of this revolution, several earbuds were born, under a similar design, which evolved into the ST-10S. In this case, it is the Silver version, with a 40Ω driver.
In terms of design, both are very good, both in terms of their construction and their peculiar and distinctive shape. The Ansata Pro seems sturdier and more robust, but also a bit heavier. The Smabat’s over-ear fit is striking, but may be cumbersome for some. Personally, though, I find the Smabat to be more comfortable and a better fit. When it comes to the cable there is no doubt about it, the cable of the ST-10S is stiff, thin and form-fitting, while the cable of the Ansata Pro is very soft, manageable and has 8 mixed strands.
The profile of the two earbuds is very different, with the Smabats focusing on their powerful low end, while the Ansata Pros focus on the mids and highs. Just switch between the two and you realise that what one has, the other does not. The Ansata Pro’s have a smooth, recessed low end, the ST-10S’s have a relatively hollow, slightly dark midrange and a treble that tries to emerge, without much success. The gap between the low end of the two models is overwhelming, as is the quality of the Ansata Pro’s treble. In comparison, the Smabat’s sound is dominated by a large and wide, but not too fast low end, which muddies the sound, further widening the bass weight and representation. In the Ansata Pro, the bass is limited, roll-off in its deepest part, which colours its sonority towards the cold side. Technically, it has quality, but a less natural timbre. Being stiff, the Sambat’s timbre is not correct in this respect either, being darker and muddier.
The Smabat’s mid-range, which drags a lot of warmth and punch from its bass, is in clear competition with them. They don’t usually stand out, but when they do, they are enjoyable. They have body and width, a warm tone, with little sparkle, not very detailed, but smooth and harmonious. Switching to the Ansata Pro is like turning on the light and sitting 10 rows closer. The Smabat’s vocals feel distant, sunken, fully kneaded and moulded. Whereas, in the Hessians, they are much more nuanced and detailed, more delicate, but also finer. The male voices have that cooler, less natural timbre. But they don’t sound bushy or coarse as in the Smabat, although there are tastes for everyone and situations where a sound or source can enhance the profile of each model. With female vocals there is no doubt, and as the frequency increases, the scales tip hopelessly towards the quality of the Ansata Pro. If the gap between the low end of the two is large, the same is true from the second half of the sound onwards. The Ansata Pro’s sense of clarity is far superior, offering a more precise, higher-resolution sound, with much finer details, more vivid and present nuances. The treble also benefits from this greater presence, but without ever intruding. On this occasion, their timbre is very natural and accurate, while the Smabat’s brightness is muted and limited. Their soundstage has only one parameter that can compete with that of the Hessians, and that is depth. In all other parameters, the Ansata Pro is superior, wider, cleaner, more ethereal, more airy, with more separation, definition and detail.
The Hessian Ansata Pro has a design inherited from other models, as well as a sound that is also based on those, but with the intention of improving. The result is a slightly unbalanced ambivalence: very positive from the centre onwards, but somewhat less successful in the low end and first mids. Among its great virtues, its stage and three-dimensionality stand out, as well as its remarkable level of separation, definition, resolution, quantity and quality of detail and nuances. Its treble is also excellent, without being brilliant, it possesses a truly differentiating descriptive capacity. All this, without the sound leaning completely towards the high end, but only providing it with a superior richness. At the other extreme, there is a limited and less realistic sub-bass, a low end with little body and a cold, incomplete and shallow sonority. The confluence of the two ranges is concentrated in a close and present mid-range, with a lot of prominence, which has all the positives of the Ansata Pro, but also that less natural and incomplete sonority coming from the low end. More lights than shadows in a model with a high score, which is slightly weighed down by the result of its low end.
Sources Used During the Analysis
- E1DA #9038B.
- Hidizs S9 Pro.
- Earmen Sparrow.
- S.M.S.L Sanskrit 10th MKII + iFi ZEN CAN.
- Burson Audio Playmate.
- Hiby R3 Pro.