This is our in-depth review of the Yanyin Aladdin which is a hybrid single bio-diaphragm dynamic driver and 3 BA universal in-ear monitor. It is priced at $245.
Disclaimer: This sample was sent to us in exchange for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or status. We thank Linsoul Audio for their support.
To read more about IEM products we have previously featured on Headfonics, click here.
Note, that this article follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.
The sub-$300 tier for IEMs is essentially a universe filled with monsters that continually eat each other. It is the most difficult tier to keep up with from an audiophile reviewer’s viewpoint.
There are so many options out there in the budget to the very low-end side of the middle tier, that one can almost expect that it will take a short week to find another diamond in the rough.
Yanyin is a brand-new company to me. I’d never heard of it before the arrival of this package that contained their Aladdin IEM. But I enjoy taking on the unknown for review so let the challenge begin.
This is a hybrid IEM, implementing a 3 balanced armature and 1 dynamic driver design that results in what aims to be a good split in tactility between the low end, mids, and highs.
It is nice to see more and more headphones in this price tier go the true hybrid route, after all, that invokes a higher sense of audiophilia, doesn’t it?
Well, it does to me. Almost as if someone wished for the tech to be pushed to the boundary and for companies like this to take chances with interesting designs and internal structure layouts. Gone are the days of a single dynamic driver being the norm at the higher end of our niche hobby.
Design & Stock Cable
Interestingly, Yanyin cites that their cable is also a hybrid cable/copper design. Typically, I am not fond of silver-plated cable designs, they tend to emphasize treble and I feel like the mythos around copper vs silver cable is verified in my experiences.
I am going to say that the physical build of the IEM is subpar, and it feels very low-end. It feels almost hollow and empty inside, lacking any sense of heft or weight in a tactile sense. The cable quality is generic and standard, with nothing shouting quality material at me and nothing shouting below average.
While they visually look nice, these shells feel low-tier, but that should be offset in your brain when you also get hit with the notion that they are made of medical-grade resin and likely intended to be this way.
The Aladdin cable also comes in a 2.5mm, 3.5mm, or 4.4mm option on checkout. I chose the 3.5mm and the termination adapter seems also to be a fairly generic design, but extra points for the detachable mechanism to allow for future alterations to the adapter you need.
Comfort and Isolation
The Aladdin being so lightweight makes the IEM, of course, fairly comfortable to wear. I was able to use the Aladdin for nearly an entire full day during the testing phase. So, the fatiguing fit is not an issue, at least not for me.
They also seemed very stable and didn’t require me to opt to use foam 3rd party tips to gain extra fit potential. The only downside was the thickness factor of the IEM shell itself. This IEM is a hefty boi’, no doubt. But, thankfully, the shells are so light that it doesn’t really matter too much.
Now and then, I did require an adjustment and when the IEMs do dislodge (not often) your ear can feel the thickness factor of the IEM shell pushing against the top side. Again, because it is so large, that happens and is understandable. Once fit properly back in, you can’t feel anything pushing or touching the top part of your ear.
Also, the IEM being fully closed in design does isolate just a smidgen while wearing it. With some low-volume tunes on, the outside world does dim a fair bit. Although, this is no different than most other IEMs out there that I have tested recently. I do not think the medical-grade acrylic does much to help the isolation factor.
Packaging & Accessories
The box experience is actually really nice for an IEM of this price. The exterior box is basic, but the inner box is actually really neat and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen anyone use anything like this.
The inner protective box folds up like a quality piece and inside lays a plethora of IEM tips. A small carrying pouch is also included. I just find the box useful and easy access is something I enjoy.
I would rather have a flip-up design like this that lets me store it and access it without picking anything up and fumbling the box. Good stuff. If I had a genie on my side, I might wish for more nice boxes like this.
Typically, a crossover BA design like this would result in a nice split between the lows and highs of the experience. At least, that is the aim of even using them all in the design.
In this case, the Aladdin low-end blurs too heavily into the midrange, and the lines drawn between low and mids is simply not there. It blends and stealth camouflages itself without my ability to really pick it out in the listening experience.
What I mean here is that the low end and the lower mids are too closely tuned and they bleed into each other without a discernable line between what is bass-high, and what is mid-low.
It becomes a real issue when playing bassy tracks in some of my favorite Chillstep and Retrowave artists who use onset bass in electronic synth sound, where the lows are generally impactful and omnipresent.
Purity is fine for the price; fidelity isn’t the problem. It is the physical substance factor and coherency factor that worried me. A Genie rule: can’t make anyone fall in love with any substance factor.
The Aladdin midrange is forward, but not overly so. The IEM is engaging in that sense and lacks recessive traits in the vocal experience. This is good, but the issue is that the bass and the lower mids are generally too hard for my ear to pluck apart, and there is a stark contrast in tone between the upper mids and the treble.
This is a hybrid design, so the moment I heard the blur between the lows and mids, I knew for sure the mids to highs were going to also be a problem for me. The upper minds are energetic and maybe even slightly overboard in that regard. They are bright and punchy.
The vocals feel a bit icy and lack a heft and substance factor that I find satisfying. This is a thin-sounding IEM, lacking physicality from top to bottom. In that regard, the vocals feel detached.
The fidelity factor for the price is a moot point when referencing the lacking physical heft of the experience, i.e., if it sounds too thin, then it is harder for me to engage and enjoy the experience.
Some listeners like this type of sound, but I am not one of them. I cannot fault the thin vs thick substance debate, and I don’t take points off for it. Its preference. If you are used to a higher-end substance factor, this is not the IEM you want.
The top side of Aladdin is engagingly impactful and bright. I find it personally fatiguing after a short period of time. It is difficult to swap between this set and something like the Moondrop Stellaris which feels rock solid and has significant heft to the spectrum while at the same time still offering a bright signature.
Akin to Jafar when he started to mess with the stars and sky in that one scene from the Disney movie. It’s bright here, pops of bright there, but overall impacting like a meteor shower.
That is not to say it sounds unclear, it is just bright and a little ‘Slammy’ in physicality factor.
I listen to a lot of Polyphia, an awesome instrumental band and the likes of Tim Henson and his bandmates are simply masterpiece-tier musicality geniuses of our time. But their recording quality is absolute trash. I need them to start using better gear to record because sometimes their stuff can sound really harsh on some headphones out there.
In this case, they are a rock band with some metalcore in there, and this sound on a bright treble headphone is not really the best idea. In that regard, I opt for something darker and slower to negate the hostile upper end that Aladdin can sometimes exude.
Does anyone remember the old Fischer Audio Eterna? I think I reviewed it more than a decade ago on Head-Fi. I wonder if my article is still up there.
Anyway, this Aladdin is basically an Eterna revised and grown-up. I feel like the Eterna trained with Goku and learned to go Super Saiyan and came back to the fight as the Aladdin. The sound staging experience is almost entirely left or right and lacks a center image feel.
Sometimes, some headphones and IEMs are so stereo left and right, that the center cut image is almost a total void and missing. The Eterna had this problem.
Funny, because the Fischer Audio Silver Bullet (its brother) was very wide and lacking height. But this Aladdin feels like two huge mono speakers placed at your 1 and 11 o’clock positions. It is very tall but lacks width.
The depth of field is just ok and the air and separation qualities generally lacking on IEMs that use a sound stage shape like this. Another example of this type of sound field is in the older Phiaton MS-400. Almost identical in feel and placement.
At a rated 10Ω, the Aladdin does not require any amplifier at all. In fact, amping did nothing for it in terms of substance factor or any real qualities whatsoever.
Adding in better sources over just my phone only made the experience sound a bit cleaner overall but did nothing for the expansiveness of the IEM or the bass weight carried that sometimes can come from extra voltage.
The Aladdin is a bright IEM with a taller-than-wide stage, so it is nicer for spoken word than it is set up for wider live recordings or performances. In that regard, you will want to look for an amp or source that offers a taller-than-wide imaging setup. And that is very hard to find.
The Stellaris is significantly thicker, due to it being a planar driver. The Stellaris is also significantly heavier and less comfortable than the Aladdin.
The Aladdin is airy, but the Stellaris has more depth of field and lacks the height factor of the Aladdin in the imaging. Both are quite bright, but the Stellaris doesn’t physically impact nearly as hard as the Aladdin in tactility.
The Stellaris is a monster-needy IEM that requires a ton of voltage, while the Aladdin doesn’t need much at all to sound its best.
Flare Audio E-Prototype
The E-Prototype sounds hyper-realistic and well-formed, with a completely coherent sound field of good height, depth, and width. The Aladdin severely lacks width and depth of field, and realism compared to the Flare e-prototype.
Also, the bass experience on the Flare product is significantly deeper and thicker. Imaging in depth and realism is so drastically different between these two IEMs.
The Flare is a little picky on the source power needs, while the Aladdin doesn’t care what source you use. While being about $50usd more than the Aladdin, the quality hike between them is significant.
The Yanyin Aladdin has a very unique and hard-to-find imaging presentation. I had to dig back over a decade to find something that sounded similar.
If you like taller-than-wide sound, and an emphasis on treble, then this is a good option for you. It is mildly engaging in physical slam, so if you want that type of experience, look no further. The bass end and the lower mids have some issues but the IEM is still very enjoyable with forward-sounding singers and vocalists.
You can tame the treble with some EQ magic, but otherwise, the IEM doesn’t seem to want to change no matter what source or amp I pair it with. That can be a blessing if you don’t want the stress of DAP or amp hunting.
Yanyin Aladdin Technical Specifications
- Driver 1 Dynamic + 3 Balanced Armature
- Frequency Response 5Hz-22kHz
- Input Sensitivity 108dB
- DRC 10Ω
- Material Medical Resin Custom Earphone Shell
- Cable Low Loss 2 Strands Silver-Plated Audiophile Cable