FiiO FD1 IEM Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

FiiO FD1 IEM Review

 

Introduction:

FiiO is a Chinese HiFi brand that has been established in 2007 and has experience in researching and developing countless portable music products of different types, and sell Fiio-branded products through sales agents worldwide.

The FiiO FD1 that I will now review for you is an In-Ear Monitor with Beryllium-Plated Dynamic Driver that comes with a detachable 4-Stranded High-Purity Monocrystalline Copper Cable with 2-Pin connectors.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO for providing me the FD1 In-Ear Monitor for review purposes. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

 

 

Price:

The MSRP price for the FiiO FD1 is $59.99 USD and can be purchased under the link bellow;

  

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The FiiO FD1 came in a rectangular black cardboard box with the illustration of the FD1 and some product related brandings on the top.

This box includes the following items/accessories;

  • 1 pair x FiiO FD1In-Ear Monitors
  • 1 piece x 2-Pin 0,78mm Detachable Cable
  • 3 pairs x Bass Silicone Ear Tips
  • 3 pairs x Balanced Silicone Ear Tips
  • 1 pair x Foam Ear Tips
  • 1 piece x FiiO HB1 pelican style storage case

 

 

Design, Build Quality, Fit & Comfort:

The FiiO FD1 is an In-Ear Monitor with an ergonomic and minimalistic design language. The monitor shell is mainly made of plastic with the exception of the sound nozzle, which is of gold plated aluminum material.

The FD1 is actually available in 2 different colors which are blue and black like my review unit.

On the front of the FiiO FD1 monitor shell is the so-called faceplate with the FiiO logo in gold color. The faceplate is inlaid with rich-layer celluloid materials specially chosen for its unique texture and style, each of which contributes to the glossy FD1. Alongside with the low-key golden FiiO logo, the whole FD1 is coming with glittering and translucent light.

The inner surface of the monitor shell is made of transparent plastic material that allows you to see inner part like the 10mm diameter beryllium-plated dynamic driver unit. On the top of the monitor shell is a second bass vent and the 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin female connector, which offers a tight and secure connection.

This surface features also FiiO’s patented balanced relief technology. With FiiO’s patented balanced pressure relief technology, the pressure is able to stay in a balanced state after precise counting and adjusting. The sound nozzle is made of gold plated aluminum material and has a fine woven metal mesh on the top to avoid the insertion of small particles such like dust or earwax etc.

The overall build quality of the monitor is fine and doesn’t show any imperfections like burs or opening.

The shape of the FiiO DF1 monitor shell offers a comfortable fit and an isolation that is on a sufficient level, for the use in moderate noisy environments like bus, train, subway, etc.

 

 

The Cable:

The FiiO FD1 comes with a detachable Litz cable that features 0.78mm diameter 2-Pin male connectors.

The cable has a braided design and is made of braided Litz wires, 30 cores per strand, 4 strands in a total of 120 cores. Each Litz wire is insulated from each other, ensuring better audio transmission performance under the naturally-occurring yet adverse “skin” and “proximity” effects.

Each connector housing is made of plastic material in black color. The surface of the housings sports left and right markings and color indicators (red for right & blue for the left earpiece).

The cable has also transparent heat-shrink ear guides that provide extra comfort.

The cable sports a metal chin slider and Y-splitter with the FiiO brand logo on the top.

The 3.5mm single ended headphone jack has a L profiled housing and features strain relief for extra protection.

The overall build quality of the cable is quite good for a product at this price range.

 

 

 

 

Some Technical Specifications:
  • Driver Type                 : 10mm Diameter Beryllium-Plated Single Dynamic Driver
  • Freq. Response          : 10 Hz – 40 KHz
  • Impedance                  : 32Ω@1kHz
  • Sensitivity                   : 109 dB @ 1mW
  • Max. Input Power       : 100mW
  • Earphone interface     : 2Pin 0.78mm
  • Plug                            : 3.5mm Single Ended

 

Some Remarkable Features:

 

N50 two-way magnetic circuit design

The FD1 earphone dynamic driver is designed with an N50 two-way magnetic circuit having a 55% magnetic flux promotion and nearly 1 Tesla of magnetic field intensity. The double magnetic flux activates forceful driven capacities that enable energetic, robust bass performances and even full and delightful transient responses.

 

10mm beryllium-plated dynamic driver

The FD1 headphone dynamic driver is made of high-end beryllium, known for being light, thin yet extremely rigid. It brings you a sense of movement and power, shaping sound performances.

 

 

Drivability:

The FiiO FD1is an easy to drive In-Ear Monitor with an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 109dB. My test with several devices shows that the FD1 can be used with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablets and smaller sized DAP’s.

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • IEM’s                           : FiiO FD1, TFZ T2 Galaxy, Shozy Hibiki MKI,
  • DAP/DAC/AMP          : FiiO M3K, FiiO BTR5, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus
     


 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Spotify)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)

 

  

 

 

The Sound:

The FiiO FD1 is an In-Ear Monitor with a V-shaped sound signature that shows a musical and full-bodied midrange presentation, along with a fast, controlled and deep bass response, and a treble range that is soft and lush in its tonality.

Please note that the FiiO FD1 review has been written after a burn-in period of about 60 hours. I have used the stock 4-Stranded High-Purity Monocrystalline  Copper cable and the Balanced silicone ear tips. 

 

Bass:

The FiiO FD1 has a bass presentation with a warm and soft tonality that shows a pretty strong impact and sufficient depth. The bass has a balanced quantity and intensity.

The dynamic driver of the FD1 is producing a subbass that has fairly good depth and extension, which is successful from instruments like the contrabass up to synthetic bass notes like does that we hear in genres like electronic music. The subbass region is superior to the midbass in terms of quantity and intensity, but don’t get me wrong the midbass are pretty controlled and have a sufficient intensity.

The tonality of the midbass is soft and musical, while the slam effect is quite impressive in combination with the rumble that comes from the subbass region. Instruments like cross drums are accented, while trumpets are full bodied and fast. Other instruments like bass guitars have a warmish tonality and are pretty musical.

The bass of FiiO FD1 is in general pretty tight, fast and controlled, without to show any unwanted type of muddiness or mixings. For example; the drum speed, intensity and tightness of the FiiO FD1 in songs like Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets” and Opeth’s “Windowpane” is quite successful and it is impressive to hear such a coherent bass performance from a product at this price level.

 

Midrange:

The midrange of the FiiO FD1 has in general a close to warm and soft tonality, and shows a moderate level of transparency and airiness. The midrange is slightly recessed, but the level of airiness, detail and transparency can easily compete with IEM’s around the 100 USD range.

The lower midrange of the FD1 is slightly behind the subbass region and shows a close to neutral tonality. Male vocals are not too thin or too thick, they do show a balanced tonality. The male vocal presentation of the FD1 is clear and musical, but slightly recessed compared to female vocals.

The FiiO FD1 is more successful with female vocals than male vocals. Female vocals do have a soft, emotional and pretty transparent tonality. Female vocals do sound detailed and have a good level of extension due to a slightly boost of the upper midrange, without to show issues/situations like sibilance or over-sharpness.

The FiiO FD1 performs pretty well in terms separation and clarity of instruments. They do sound fairly musical and have a natural timbre, with low amount of coloration. Instruments like acoustic guitars are slightly warm, bassy and soft, while violas have a warm, slightly bold and emotional tonality.

 

Upper Midrange and Treble:

The FiiO FD1 shows a mildly boost in the upper midrange region. The upper midrange is pretty controlled and the transitions are soft, without to show unwanted sharpness and over-brightness. The tonality of this region is musical and smooth. Instruments like violins are bright and have a good level of extension. Other instruments, for example like pianos are slightly warm and soft.

The treble range of the FiiO FD1 has a soft/smooth and musical tonality. Here are no issues like harshness or over brightness, while the level of extension and brightness are quite good for an In-Ear monitor with such a price tag. In addition, the airiness is on a quite good level and there are no negative situations like thinness or unnaturalness. The overall detail retrieval and tonality of the treble range great for a product in this price range.

The emphasis in the treble is generally in the low treble region, while quantity and intensity decreases towards the upper treble region in a controlled manner. Overall, I can say that the treble performance of the FiiO FD1 is quite good when it comes to treble speed, intensity and control.

 

 

Soundstage:

The FiiO FD1 shows a pretty good performance in terms of separation & positioning of instruments and vocal, especially for an In-Ear Monitor below the 100 USD mark. The soundstage shows a better performance in terms of wideness than its depth, which is on a moderate level.

 

 

 

Comparisons:

 

FiiO FD1 versus Shozy Hibiki MKI:

The Shozy Hibiki MKI has strongly V shaped sound signature compared to the FiiO FD1, which offers a fuller and warmer overall presentation. The FiiO FD1 has the upper hand when it comes to the subbass depth and rumble that the Shozy Hibiki is missing. The FD1 is superior in terms of midbass impact, slam effect and speed, while the Shozy Hibiki performs slightly better when it comes to the overall tightness.

The midrange of both IEM’s is recessed due to the V shaped sound tuning. The midrange tonality of the Shozy Hibiki is a bit dry and neutral, while the FiiO FD1 shows a lusher, fuller and more musical tonality. The SHozy Hibiki has the upper hand in terms of female vocals due to the more pronounced upper midrange, while the FiiO FD1 is superior in terms of male vocals with is better tuned lower midrange.

The upper midrange of the FiiO FD1 is slightly less highlighted and more forgiving compared to those of the Shozy Hibiki, but has the upper hand in terms of overall control. The Hibiki has a brighter and sharper tuning, with a slightly higher detailed retrieval, while bright and sharp nature of the Hibiki makes it quite prone to sibilance.

The FiiO FD1 shows a more accented and lively treble presentation compare to the Shozy Hibiki. The FD1 has also the upper hand in terms of treble extension and intensity.

The soundstage of the Shozy Hibiki is more successful in terms of soundstage wideness, while the FiiO FD1 is the winner when it comes to the depth.

 

 

FiiO FD1 versus TFZ T2 Galaxy:

The TFZ T2 Galaxy is an In-Ear Monitor with a V shaped sound signature with a bass that is pretty fast and soft, a midrange that sounds quite lush and full bodied and a treble range that shows a fatigue free / relaxing presentation.

The FiiO FD1 is more successful in terms subbass depth and quantity, while the TFZ T2 Galaxy has the upper hand in terms of midbass impact and intensity. The FiiO FD1 is superior in terms of bass speed and layering.

The midrange of both In-Ear Monitors is slightly recessed due to the V-Shaped sound signature. The main difference between those tow IEM’s is that the TFZ T2 Galaxy shows a better lower midrange depth and fullness which makes it more successful with male vocals, while the FiiO FD1 has a more highlighted and detailed upper midrange which is a big benefit for female vocals.

The treble range of the FiiO FD1 is more emphasized and upfront compared to the TFZ T2 Galaxy which shows a controlled roll-off. The FD1 is superior in terms of treble extension, quantity and detail retrieval.

The soundstage performance of both IEM’s is pretty close. The FiiO FD1 is tad more successful in terms of soundstage width, while the wideness is nearly identical.

 

Conclusion:

The FiiO FD1 is a product with a great value for your money that offers a well-tuned V shaped sound signature with its pretty fast and controlled bass response, clear and detailed midrange, and musical/mature treble presentation, which is able to easily compete with In-Ear Monitors up to the 100 USD mark. The 4-Stranded High-Purity Monocrystalline Copper Cable and the HB1 storage case are also some nice additions.

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Well tuned V-Shaped Sound Signature
  • + Bass Speed & Control
  • + Midrange Clarity & Musicality
  • + Treble Detail & Tonality
  • + Great Value for the Money

– Really nothing noteworthy for such a competitive pricing

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

 

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