Tripowin x HBB Olina – Building Benchmarks


  • Great for acoustic/vocal tracks
  • (Holographic) Stage
  • Imaging
  • Timbre
  • Technical
  • Price


  • Needs good fit/Tip rolling
  • Might be too bright for some
  • Might be too bass light for some
  • Some people prefer it with another filter on the nozzle

Disclaimer: This unit was sent to me, for free, by HBB/Linsoul. No incentives were given for me to say anything about the set, so what you are about to read are my own thoughts and opinions.

Price: 99 USD
Driver Composition: 1 Dynamic Driver (10mm CNT)
Shopping link: Linsoul


In 2021 HawaiiBadBoy teamed up with Tripowin to bring Mele to the public: an ambitious project to deliver good sound for less. Half a year later, this pair came out with a new release: Olina. By now, these need no introduction. This time, their goal is simple: to create a marginally similar IEM to Oxygen, one of the most acclaimed single Dynamic Driver set on mid-fi, for less than half the price and with better fit. But did they do it?

Packaging and non-sound characteristics


Olina comes in (very hard to open) cardboard box, well packed, and also containing:

  • A 2-pin gray cable, terminated with a 3.5mm plug;
  • 6 pairs of silicone tips – 3 wide, 3 narrow bores;
  • A circular, fake-leather carrying case;
  • 5 pairs of replaceable nozzle filters.

Regarding the shell of the IEM itself, those who already have his other collaboration, Mele, already know what to expect: a great fit to most people (YMMV), built like a tank, a premium feel for the bracket and a nice faceplate which I’m in love with.

Olina is one of the best fits to myself personally, but they don’t have the best isolation for me, since they don’t fill all my concha, but again, YMMV. I’d describe it as a bit shallow, but if the deeper you can get it to fit, the better its bass will sound. I got no fatigue from using them on long sessions, passing those with flying colors.

Cable feels good for a budget IEM and has some nice details on it like HBB’s logo on the splitter. The only downside being you can only purchase it as 3.5mm single ended. I personally will use other aftermarket cables with it, but there’s no real need to change.

Regarding tips, for silicone I used CP100 (Large) for all my impressions. They gave me the best fit while keeping the sound balanced. I’m not a foam lover, especially for critical listener, and I’m a publicly anti-foam person for this matter. With Olina, I made an exception – I feel Comply TS-500 sound fantastic on them, taming the treble and tightening the bass, giving the best isolation, and are what I use for commuting. For people that love foams, you can give these a try.

As for driveability, I would consider these not hard to drive, but enjoy some power. I don’t think you can’t get a good sound from a simple dongle, but they do seem to like some kind of amplification. I would also avoid neutral bright sources, as it will brighten the signature even more. From my testing, I liked it paired with Qudelix 5k on the go and I got the best results from iFi xDSD Gryphon and I used it for these impressions.


Sound characteristics​


graph (93).png

Olina’s signature is a harman-neutral tuning. I know that’s not the best explanation for everyone, so I will try to explain it deeper:

The bass has extension, some texture and speed. Rolls off a bit on the sub-bass zone (as seen on Hyper – Fckd,Trentemoller – Chameleon, Hans Zimmer – Why So Serious?) and has some punch on the mid-bass (Foo Fighters – Waiting On a War, KH – Only Human). I’d describe it as having a very clean bass, making it great for some other genres like acoustic music or jazz, while not the best for genres like K-pop, trip-hop or sub-bass heavy EDM. Kick drums and bass string guitars (RHCP – Throw Away Your Television) feel just right, with very good decay, on the tighter side. Regarding elevation, it has a bit of emphasys over flat neutral, but not into bassy levels.

This bass shelf also helps to give body to the mid-range, but without bleeding into them, as the dive is very clean, enough to not feel thin, but also just enough to not make the notes blurred or too heavy. The details are on point and together with the techs that I will talk in a bit, they just shine (Hania Rani – Glass, EWF – September). Upper mid-range is the usual harman, but with a twist. I usually find vocals to get overly shouty but not this time, but I can see how some people can. It just feels there’s enough energy for some bite on those female vocals, but never enough to come across as shouty – and my ears thank me for it. In fact, female vocals are even better than male vocals on this set, to my ears (JP Saxe ft. Julia Michaels – If The World Was Ending).
Overall they are clean, forward and detailed, which checks all the marks for me and my library, as I’m a mid-centric enthusiast.

Treble is nicely extended and energetic, although not yet fatiguing for me, but keep in mind peaks are personal. This was another surprised as, by judging the graph, I was ready to be murdered by this frequency, as I’m sensitive. Detail is very nice and the decay on electric guitar and cymbal strikes is on point (Iggy Pop – Lust For Life, Cory Henry – Seven, Joe Satriani – Snatch Boogie). This tuning also includes a lot of air that boosts the sense of separation, never leaving you feeling claustrophobic.


I’m gonna say it right now: technicalities in Olina are a beast for its price point.

Stage is wide and deep, only lacking a touch of height, but the overall presentation is just great to my ears. I’m not sure if it just hits my HRTF just right, but I get a surrounding type of sound around my head, like a 3D, which I value a lot. Most of my favorite sets have this characteristic, and because almost like a must for me and my library.

Example Tracks: Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles/Crossing, Tool – Fear Innocolum, O’Flynn – Tyrion, Lykke Li – Silent My Song, Jamie XX – Gosh.

Imaging is amazing – you can almost pin-point every drum-roll, – and one of its best characteristics, especially when paired with it’s good separation (Hilary Hahn – J.S. Bach – Violin Concerto no. 1 in A minor: I. Alegro Moderato), turning it into a joy to listen to. If you listen to Snarkly Puppy – Shofukan, starting around 5 minutes and 19 seconds, you can clearly find Olina’s imaging at work. Almost perfect drumm rolls, with speed, clarity and detail.

Example Tracks: Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles/Letter, Tool – Fear Innocolum.

Details follows the same path, as it is very detailed, even though it has some tuning (treble) help. At this price, nothing else to add, but just to sit down and enjoy.

Example tracks: Hania Rani – Glass/Esja, Ozy Ozborne – Dee.

Dynamics are good. Low to high without any effort or discomfort. The left to right pans are what blew my mind.

Example tracks: Mia Dora – After the Dog, Lorde – 400 Lux, Avenged Sevenfold – Bat Country, Jason Richardson – Titan, Disclosure – ENERGY.

Timbre closes this chapter with a golden mark, reinforcing why I love Olina for instrumental music, classic and jazz.


Test Tracks​

Here I will comment of some tracks I think that really shine on Olina:

Lorde – Still Sane

Lorde’s vocals are forward and the background pane goes from left to right, very dynamic. You can pick up most of the details while the presentation keeps flashing sounds from left to right. Once the chorus comes in, around 1:37, the back vocals just surround you, immersing you in the experience, while the treble extension takes care of far away sparkles. Vocals might be a step too forward, but they feel natural and every note has weight, like Lorde is singing in the mic with an arm around your shoulder while the universe is throwing sounds at you at the same time. I loved the presentation, so I had to include this track here, as it shows how great Tripowin’s set works well with vocals followed by sparkly sounds on good stages.

Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons – Summer 1

Chords instruments have great timbre and together with the detail and imaging, make this track a blast. The treble is just enough to feel present, borderline too much, but never crossing that line, even at louder levels. As the song reaches its climax, background instruments get more and more prominent, which Olina keeps separating with class, showing good dynamics. The best adjective I can think of is effortless. The sound is just effortless, the track just flows.

Snarkly Puppy – Tio Macaco

This is a great track to show the display of Olina’s technical abilities in a nutshell. The whole song is just enjoyable and rich. And then you reach around 4:05, and the imaging, separation, stage, detail and air just kick in, throwing at you a true display of skill on percussion instruments, making you get up from your chair, close your eyes, forget you have iems on and just join the freestyle jam. Try it if you can, I beg you.

Ani Difranco – Nicotine

Acoustic guitar with finger sliding and plucks detailed, dynamics kicking in through the notes, separation and layering doing its job, letting imaging do the rest of the work. Ani’s voice is just sweet and natural, correctly positioned while everything is well balanced. Everything is just right. By the end of the song you get a bunch of random noises that come from everywhere. Pure bliss.

Larnell Lewis – Change Your Mind

At around 5:54, Larnel’s drum solo begins. The record sits you on his bench and Olina just rides it. You can clearly feel the position and separation between everything he touches, dynamically. Kick drums and snares on your chest, timbre on point, left to right pans, clash cymbals decay very naturally and without being fatiguing or sticking out, hi-hats sweet like honey? No problem – Olina does it all, you just have to sit back, enjoy, and listen to it again and again.

Other Test Tracks

I will leave here a list of songs/artists/albums that I think Olina replayed very well and that I also used for this review, for you guys to listen, in case you interested or to find if it’s your jam:

  • Pearl Jam – Better Man
  • Gogol Bordello – Wonderlust King
  • Adele
  • Zoe Wess – Control
  • Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams
  • Katie Melua – What A Wonderful World
  • John Williams – Harry’s Wondrous World
  • Recomposed by Max Ritcher: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons
  • KH – Only Human
  • Fleetwood Mac – Landslide
  • Jonathan Roy – Keeping Me Alive
  • Disclosure – ENERGY
  • Iggy Pop – Lust for life
  • Black keys – Lonely Boy
  • Woodkid – Run Boy Run
  • Molly Johnson – What A Little Moonlight Can Do
  • J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos


LETSHUOER S12 (with Final E)

graph (94).png

Planars took the market by storm. Firstly with 7hz Timeless, followed up by S12, resolving power was never this cheap in the IEM world. It’s no news that S12 comes out as more resolving than Olina, but the Tripowin’s set has better stage presentation and imaging, a weak spot for the planar brothers.

S12 comes out as more clinical and bright than Olina, which feels more relaxed and natural. This is also due to planar vs DD timbre, that some prefer over the over, but for me they are distinct loves. Mids are better and more forward on Olina, while S12 have them slightly recessed. Treble feels more refined on Olina, but bass is fastar on the planar, while lacking some texture and rumble compared to the DD.

To me they fill different gaps in my library, for instance, the more acoustic and vocal tracks sound better on Olina, while I love planars for the more electronic side of my collection. I have to say that I’m reaching more for Olina than for S12 these days, since I’ve been shifting a lot towards classical and jazz, more and more, in which the DD helps with its timbre, but they are still apples to oranges in my setup.

Tanchjim Oxygen (with Spinfit CP145)

graph (95).png

The inevitable comparison that everyone wants to read: Olina vs O2.

Well, I’ll preface my impressions by saying that if you have to A/B very hard to find differences, you are comparing apples to apples. Secondly, the best IEM is the one you can fit and afford – Sony Z1R might be your end-game, but it will do nothing for you if you can’t fit it or afford it.

With this is mind, and after spending a couple of hours A/Bing both, here’s my take:

Tuning wise, they are 95%+ alike. They are around the unit variance margin of error, to my ears. I’ve debated this with other reviewers and owners of both sets and some will say Olina is a hair brighter, some will say the opposite. And this brings me to fit again. I think what is the major difference since the nozzles between the two are different, and Olina fits much better to me, so this will change your perception, as opposed to Oxygen that gave me fit problems. When taking my notes, during the Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run track, I felt Oxygen more fatiguing, but again, we are talking placebo or unit variance range here.

In the technical department, I would say they are very close. Oxygen might have a hair better detail but I prefer Olina’s presentation, as I found it wider and more holographic like, with better height. The overall presentation also felt more up to the eye level with slightly better depth. As always, YMMV.

I would pick Olina every time since it fits me much better and costs less than half. Given we were discussing a hair’s difference, I would say HBB’s goal was met.

Moondrop Aria (with Spinfit CP100)

graph (96).png

Olina is a bit brighter and cleaner than Aria. Also feel more technical around all the departments. Bass is very different, despite graphs, the Aria bass feels like a pillow without impact, lacking clarity, while Olina has the authority and less mid-range bleed. Stage and imaging are a step above in Tripowin’s offer, to my ears. I would pick Olina 10 out of 10 times for my own library, but Aria has the price savings in its favor.

Etymotic ER2XR (with Comply T-100/P-Series Foams)

graph (97).png

Fit, fit and fit. With that out of the way, I would like to say that, before Olina, Etymotic was my 100 dollars benchmark. I still think it’s an amazing IEM that I can’t recommend to anyone due to fit and, if you are an EU citizen like me, hard and more expensive to get.

Stage presentation imaging and timbre are better on Olina to my ears. Etymotic might feel more detailed due to tuning help, but they close.

I would say Etymotic is more neutral, with a less forward but cleaner mid presentation. If you like less warmth, this is still a great pick… if you can fit them. Bass on Olina has more elevation and impact, which most would appreciate. Treble is close, with ER2XR being a touch more refined and extended.

Olina fits my library better, but honestly I like both.

Moondrop Kato (with Spinfit CP100)

graph (98).png

Kato keeps some of the same characteristics as Aria like the pillow light bass, the mid blend with it and the typical moondrop treble curve, peaking at around 3k hz. It’s almost the case of you heard one of them, you almost heard them all – but again, compared to Aria, techs are on another level.

To me, Kato sounds thin, treble is well tuned but feels unrefined and bass hits like a spoon, when compared to Olina. They take the detail chasing approach, a more analytical or slightly colder version of this general harman tuning, which will appeal to some over the competition, and I can see why.

I’m not fond of Kato’s stage presentation, as it doesn’t come out very wide or deep, while lacking height, which I think Olina wins over for almost half the price.

Tanchjim Hana 2021 (with Spinfit CP100)

graph (99).png

Tuning wise, Hana 2021 follows the same harman curve, but has a couple DB boost in the low end, making it more V-Shaped than the Olina. It is clearly targeted at those that think the harman curve is a bit bass light or bright. They still pack some punch and texture, despite being warmer.

Mids and vocals got, of course, more recessed in the process, while still having some details to it. Of course male vocals are more emphasized than the female’s counterpart, but without being annoyingly obvious, which is the opposite of Olina’s replay.

Treble has a slight boost as well to compensate for the bass boost, but the ultimate replay comes down to a warmer set. Cymbals, cellos, electric guitars etc. still sound natural without any fatigue to my ears, so there’s that. Only place that, in my opinion, could have gotten a little boost as well would be extension, but it’s not bad per se.

Technically is also half a step down from its older brother Oxygen, and to my ears, Olina. While I feel they are 80 to 90% the same, especially on parameters like imaging, they give the feeling as not as technical. The most noticeable areas to me are detail, stage size and the pseudo 3D you can get from Olina and that Hana doesn’t have.

Dunu Titan S (with Spinfit CP100)

graph (100).png

Olina and Titan S share a fair share of the same tuning. I would describe Titan S as a more neutral bright IEM than Olina, with less warmth, less bass impact, but air and treble extension. Regarding technicalities, I would say Olina is a step above, but also costs 20 dollars more. Titan S would be more suited for someone that wants mids even more upfront and a lighter bass than the typical harman. I found the treble area very alike on both, so there’s that.

JVC FDX1 (with Final E and Green Filter on)

Edit as of 27th of February 2021: Addition of FDX1 comparison, now that I have them with me:

graph - 2022-02-27T085009.692.png

Olina is easier to drive and has better fit/isolation, while FDX1 needs more power and its heavy bullet style fit might not be for everyone.

FDX1 came across as more balanced in tuning, still also suffering from the 5k peak elevation, when compared to Olina. They are cleaner and airy, so less bassy and less energetic. FDX1’s bass is very pillowy and doesn’t feel as present as the others in these comparisons. This also makes the note weight to feel lighter and more clinical than the Tripowin’s set.

Technically speaking, FDX1 are slightly more detailed (which also helps with imaging) and give a sense of having a longer stage depth, but aren’t holographic like Olina is. They also don’t seem to scale as well with volume as Olina does.

What made me not buy myself a FDX1 to my collection is its (in)famous metallic timbre. There’s no way around it, it sounds really metallic with a weird decay, and for that, ruins the purpose of a single DD for me. Any cymbal strike or guitar pluck will show it, without much effort, or on average sounds like you can see here:

In short, I don’t feel they are compliments, but plain rivals, where I prefer Olina due to stage presentation, timbre and price, but FDX1 still shows why it is still considered one of the best, especially on it’s technical department. I don’t think you can go wrong with either, as long as you know what your preferences are!


In my honest opinion, these are a beast for 100 dollars. In fact, scratch that. These are THE benchmark for 100 USD. I would take them over ER2XR, which has been the 100 USD gatekeeper in my collection, and once you A/B them with more budget stuff, the difference is even more shocking. Given this, they have my biggest recommendation, if your library fits the criteria.

I think a great part of HBB’s goal was reached, but I wanted to spend more time to make sure these are real and not just a marketing trick. In my opinion, these will haunt the competition in this price bracket for a good while. Again, credit where it’s due, so touché.

To everyone on the fence, I would say give them a try if you can, as I don’t think they are just a marketing trick.

A word to tip roll to your pleasure and fiddle with it. People are already trying to do crazy stuff like using one of the included filters or tape on its vent:

graph - 2022-02-20T195948.183.png

Olina are staying in my collection and most likely be the daily beaters and more. I might even grab one more set.

Recommended. Value: 5/5 Ranking: A-

Edit as of 27th of February 2021:

As expected, people kept fiddling with it and a new consensus as risen: adding another included filter to the nozzle, on top of the existing one, while leaving the vent unblocked tames upper midrange frequencies, giving a better perception of its bass and turning now more holographic. With this mod, and according to my preferences, Olina is now closer to A ranking, but all the above review was done with the set in stock form.

Credits to @paulwasabii and @redrol for the graph and findings.

graph - 2022-02-27T085624.607.png

I would like to say that this mod is not needed and a lot of people even prefer it stock, so there’s that. It’s also fully reversible so you can just fiddle with it. Have fun!


Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Website Built with

%d bloggers like this: