FiiO FH7S Hybrid IEM Review
FiiO FH7S Hybrid IEM Review
The FiiO FH7S is the successor of the FH7 that has been released 2019. The FH7S comes with a 4BA+1DD driver Hybrid Driver configuration same like the original FH7, which now located inside an impressive looking monitor shell that comes with a so called Sci-Fi Armor Design. Moreover, the FH7S features FiiO’s 2nd generation semi-open design dedicated for the 13.6mm large DLC diaphragm Dynamic Driver.
Some other remarkable features are the Patented S.TURBO Acoustic Design, FiiO’s all new HS18 Silicone Ear Tips, a 8 strand Silver Plate Monocrystalline Copper cable with Interchangeable Headphone Plugs and a the brand new Notch Filter technology.
I would like to thank FiiO for providing the FiiO FH7S as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and all these words are reflecting my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual price of the FiiO FH7S is 399.99 US$. More information’s can be found under the links below;
Package & Accessories:
The FiiO FH7S has a rectangular box same like the lasted generation IEM’s of the company. However the box is relative smaller than previous models, which I do prefer this sort of box material since it is a more environment friendly choice. The main box comes wrapped with a fancy looking cardboard sleeve that features the product illustration and some product related brandings on the top.
After you remove the cardboard sleeve you will see the main box in black color that sport a sketch of the FH7S on the top and the motto of the company, which is “born for music”.
This box of the FiiO FH7S comes with the following items/accessories;
- 1 pair x FiiO FH7S Hybrid In-Ear Monitors
- 1 piece x 8 Core detachable cable with MMCX connectors
- 2 pieces x Swappable Headphone Plugs (1x 3.5mm SE, 1x 4.4mm Balanced)
- 3 pairs x Interchangeable Audio Filters (Green, White, Red “White one came Pre-installed”)
- 3 pairs x FiiO HS18 Ear tips (S/M/L)
- 3 pairs x Bass Ear tips (S/M/L)
- 3 pairs x Vocal Ear tips (S/M/L)
- 3 pairs x Balanced Ear tips (S/M/L)
- 3 pairs x SpinFit Ear Tips (S/M/L)
- 2 pairs x Double Flange Ear tips (M/M size)
- 2 pairs x Memory Foam Ear Tips (M/M size)
- 1 piece x HB5 Storage Case
- 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
- 1 piece x SK1 Magnetic Cable Organizer
- 1 piece x MMCX Assist Tool
- 1 piece x Warranty Card and User Manual
The FiiO is known for its rich ear tips selection that comes with their In-Ear Monitor and the FH7S is not an exception that I have already listed above. However, one of the ear tips are an FH7S exclusive that has the model description HS18.
FiiO’s all-new HS18 silicone ear tips are made from skin-friendly silicone material that offers extra durability and features merely 0.4mm thickness at the surface that touches the ears, in order to allow a better comfort and seal compared to traditional silicone ear tips. The HS18 come in 3 sizes (S/M/L), which you can also purchase separately. The MSRP price will be 9.99 USD (2 pairs for each size).
The HB5 storage case is a premium looking accessory in blue and brown color that we know from pervious IEM’s like the FD7, FH9 and FH5s/5S Pro.
The SK1 Magnetic Cable Organizer, a cleaning tool the and the FiiO MMCX Assist Tool are some nice additions.
Design & Build Quality:
The new FH7S reflects a more edge-like monitor shape with slightly rounded corner compared to previous IEM’s like the FH3, FH5, FH7 and FH9 that do have a more rounded overall monitor shape. The FH7s looks rock solid thanks to the carefully machined and assembled aluminum alloy housing that features a special oxidized surface for extra scratch resistance.
Inside the heart of each monitor is a 4BA+1DD Hybrid Driver configuration same like its predecessor the original FH7. However, it utilize a new Custom BA setup that is a combination of DFK driver customized by FiiO and Knowles that is dedicated for the Midrange and a SWFK-31736 setup that is responsible for the treble area. Another update is the 2nd-gen FiiO-developed 13.6mm dia. DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) Diaphragm Dynamic Driver that will be responsible for the lows.
On the front of the monitor shell is the gorgeous looking faceplate that is called “Sci-Fi Armor Design” by FiiO. Here are very small layers of carefully-placed holes that are stacked upon each other that forms the unique semi-open design.
This semi-open design incorporates FiiO’s balanced pressure relief system that is located between the front and rear cavities. This system reduces the resistance of the air created by the 13.6mm diameter large Dynamic Driver.
At the rear body of the monitor housing are the L (left) and R (Right) markings and the sound nozzle that do have a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of strange particles such like dust and ear wax.
You can install one of the 3 swappable sound tuning filters that do have a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of strange particles such like dust and ear wax.
On the top of the monitor housing is the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors with left and right color indicators, which is in blue for left and red for the right connector.
The overall build quality of the monitors is top notch same like other FiiO products, without to show any imperfections such like gaps, burs, etc.
The FiiO FH7S comes with an 8 strand High Purity Silver Plated Monocrystalline Copper wire cable that has 19 wires per stand, which makes 152 wires in total.
The cable features special isolation made from environmentally friendly German TPU material in black color. This TPU material is also resistant against yellowing after long-term use and against stiffening when in low-temperature environments.
The MMCX connectors have a transparent housing and on each connector is right left indicator, which is a red ring on the right and a blue ring on the right connector.
Near the MMCX connectors are transparent heat-shrink ear hooks for a better over the era wearing experience.
The cable sports a chin slider and y splitter made from metal material. The y splitter has the FiiO branding on the top.
A remakbale feature of the cable is FiiO’s latest Twist-Lock Interchangeable audio plug design that comes with 1x 4.4mm TRRRS Balanced and 1x 3.5mm Single Ended TRS plugs. The housing of the headphone plug has a strait profile and is made of the same metal material with a glossy finish.
Comfort & Isolation:
The FiiO FH7S is a relative small IEM that has a quite ergonomic monitor shape, which fits quite comfortable to my ears with an average ear concha. I really like the shape of the monitors that doesn’t hurt my ears even after longer listening periods.
The passive noise isolation of the FH7S is on an average level, due to the semi-open back design. However, the passive noise isolations is fairly enough for the use in relative noisy environments such like a bus or train.
Efficiency & Pairing:
The FiiO FH7S is a relative efficient In-Ear Monitor thanks to an impedance of 18Ω and a sensitivity of approx. 104dB/mW. Sources with relative weak amplification such as Mobile Phones, Tablets or regular Headphone Adaptors are able to power the FH7S to fairly high volume levels. However, to hear the true potential of this IEM, I highly recommend to pair it with more professional sources such like a DAP’s (M11/M11 Plus), DAC/Amplifiers (BTR7/BTR5) or USB DAC Dongles (FiiO KA3/KA1).
- Driver Configuration : Hybrid Configuration
- Driver type : 1x 13.6mm diameter Dynamic Driver + 4x Balanced Armature Drivers
- Frequency response : 10Hz- 40kHz
- Sensitivity : 104db/mW
- Impedance : 18 Ω
- Plug : Interchangeable Plugs (3.5mm SE and 4.4mm Balanced)
- Connector Type : MMCX Connector
- Cord Length : 120cm
- Wearing Type : Over the Ear
Complete List of Features:
- 1x Dynamic Driver + 4x Balanced Armature Drivers Hybrid Driver Setup
- 13.6mm diameter DLC Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
- 4 custom Knowles BA
- Sci-Fi Armor design
- Unique notch filter
- 2nd-gen semi-open design
- 8 strands totalling 152 silver-plated monocrystalline copper wires
- Twist-lock swappable audio plugs
- New FiiO silicone ear tips HS18
- Patented S.TURBO acoustic design
- 3 tuning filters
Sources used for this review:
- IEM : FiiO FH7S, Oriveti OH500, Dunu DK3001 Pro
- DAP/DAC/AMP : FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO BTR7
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- 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)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The FH7S is the successor of the original FH7 that came also with a 4BA+1DD Hybrid Driver configuration. The new hybrid IEM has a moderately warm tonality that is not overdone, while instruments are reproduced with a relative natural timbre. The general sound profile of the FH7s shows a nice fusion of dynamism, musicality and resolution across the sound spectrum. The lows are full bodied, impactful yet petty controlled. The midrange on the other hand sounds mildly warm, transparent and clear, while the treble range is shown with a decent level of brilliance, airiness and extension.
Tuning Filters Explained:
- White Filter:
This is the reference filter that came pre-installed on the nozzle of the FH7s. It has the most balanced frequency response, which is my favorite filter that I will use as main tuning during the review.
- Red Filter:
The red filter shows a more elevated bass intensity, while it reduces the upper midrange and treble response compared to the White and Green filter.
- Green Filter:
The Green filter is increases the treble response of the FH7s in a small but audible manner. The upper midrange and lower treble area do gain some weight and sparkle, without to sound sharp or ear piercing.
The FiiO FH7s review has been written after a burn-in period of about 70 Hours. I have used the stock 8-Core Silver-Plate Monocrystalline cable and the HS18 Silicone Ear Tips in combination with the White Sound Tuning Filter that are included to the package. My sound impressions below are mainly based on auditions over the FiiO M11 Plus and FiiO BTR7.
The lows of the FiiO FH7S are produced by the 13.6mm diameter large DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) Diaphragm Dynamic Driver, which doesn’t shows any driver-flex issues thanks to the semi-open acoustic design. The focal point of the lows is the midbass region that sounds slightly more pronounced compared to the subbass area. The subbass performance of the FH7S is quite decent that is powerful, deep and well extended. The subbass rumble that is an important part in tracks such as Lorde’s “Royals”, Massive Attack’s “Angle” or Armin Van Buuren’s “Vini Vici” sound quite exiting.
The midbass region, which is slightly more highlighted in the lower register, sounds pretty strong and impactful. Instruments such like cross and kick drums for example are reproduced with a good sense of body, speed and control. Songs with complex bass passages such like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven” and Charly Antolini’s “Duwadjuwandadu” are represented in a pretty fast and controlled manner. What I do really like about the general bass character of the FA7S is the softness and naturalness of the bass notes that are produced by the relative large 13.6mm dia. dynamic driver.
The FiiO FH7S offers a pretty transparent and airy overall midrange presentation, which shows an above average clarity and resolution. The midrange has a relative smooth character while the tonality mildly warm that is created in the lower midrange area.
The FiiO FH7S has just the right level of lower midrange depth and body, when I do listen to vocals like Barry White, Dave Gahan or David Bowie. The clarity and resolution is on a sufficient level that meets my expectation form an In-Ear Monitor at this price level. Instruments on the other hand are reproduced in a quite musical, clear and detailed manner. Strings for example like violas, acoustic guitars or cellos do have just the right grade of transparency, depth and fullness for a musical presentation.
The upper midrange stands out with its relative smooth and nicely controlled overall tuning that is able to create a good sense of clarity and extension when I do listen to both vocals and instruments. Female vocals from Adel and Diana Krall up to Sarah McLachlan are presented in a pretty lively, intimate and detailed manner. Instruments on the other hand do sound slightly softer & smoother than normal, while the level of clarity and resolution that is created in the upper midrange is on a decent level. Pianos, side flutes or violins do sound pretty vivid and detailed, and are shown with a good sense of extension, without to show any remarkable negative conditions like sharpness.
The treble range of the FiiO FH7S can be described as crisp yet controlled. This area sounds moderately bright, fatigue free and detailed from the brilliance up to the presence. The transitions from the upper midrange towards the lower treble area are highly controlled in moments when instruments such like an electro guitar is play with high level of distortion. The lower treble area is moderately highlighted, which shows a smooth and highly controlled character. Instruments like hi-hats, snare drums or violins are reproduced with an efficient sense of clarity and definition, while the extension is slightly short.
This upper treble region shows is slightly more pronounced and detailed compared to the lower treble region. This area shows an audible peak around the 7 kHz region, which is a popular adjustment these days in order to add the overall treble presentation airiness and sparkle. Percussions like snare drums and cymbals or to brass instruments like trumpets are reproduced with authority and dynamism, without to show any negative conditions such like over-sharpness. Here is a controlled roll-off right after the 8 – 9 kHz region that was quite audible even with the Green Treble filter, which offers a slightly better grade of extension compared to the White (Balanced) and Red (Bass) filters.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The FiiO FH7S offers an excellent performance in terms of separation and placement of both instruments and vocals, especially compared to similar priced IEM’s. The Semi Open-Back design is able to create a pretty spacious and airy soundstage atmosphere, which shows a good sense of depth and wideness.
FiiO FH7S versus Oriveti OH500:
The Oriveti OH500 is another Hybrid IEM with a 4BA+1DD driver configuration that stands out with its entertaining bass performance, which shows a relative warm sound signature.
The Oriveti OH500 shows a warmer tonality and fuller overall sound profile with focal point in the lows and lower midrange area. The FiiO FH7S on the other hand has a more versatile tuning that is more balanced in direct comparison. The subbass region of the OH500 shows more depth, rumble and has a sense of extension. However, the FH7S is superior when it comes to the decay, clarity and resolution in this area that the OH500 is missing. The midbass region of both IEM’s is pretty close in terms of impact and intensity, while the FH7S has the slightly edge when it comes to the resolution, authority and speed.
The midrange of the Oriveti OH500 shows a warmer tonality and a fuller overall character, with focal point in the lower midrange register. The FiiO FH7S sounds livelier, clear and airy thanks to its semi open-back design general midrange tuning. The lower midrange of the OH500 creates a higher sense of body and depth that is especially audible when I listen to male voices or instruments such like percussions. The FH7S on the other side sounds more transparent and a bit more detailed in this area.
The upper midrange and treble region of the FiiO FH7S is slightly more pronounced and offers a higher grade of airiness and resolution. The FH7S has also the upper hand in the upper midrange and lower treble register, when it comes to the authority, speed and extension that was quite audible when I have listen to soprano voices and to instruments such like cymbals, pianos or violas. The treble range of the Oriveti OH500 sounds a bit muddy and is missing some clarity and definition.
Both IEM’s are pretty successful when it comes to the separation and positioning of instruments and vocals. However, the FiiO FH7S sounds in general more spacious and airy, which creates more ideal conditions for genres like orchestral music. The soundstage of the Oriveti OH500 is a bit narrow and a bit closed in compared to the FiiO FH7S that offers a better level of depth and wideness.
FiiO FH7S versus Dunu DK-3001:
FiiO FH7S and the Dunu DK3001 Pro are Universal IEM’s with a 4BA + 1DD Hybrid driver configuration that are located in a relative small metal housing. Both IEM’s do come with a rich set of accessories and detachable cables with interchangeable headphone plugs.
Both IEM’s area relative close in terms of tonality and do come with fairly similar overall sound tuning. The subbass region of both the FH7S and DK-3001 Pro is pretty similar in terms of depth, intensity and extension, while the FH7S has the slightly edge when it comes to the control and decay in this area. The midbass region of the FiiO FH7S is a bit faster and impactful compared to the DK-3001 Pro, while both IEM’s do offers a pretty close performance when it comes to the clarity, resolution and layering.
The general midrange presentation of the Dunu DK-3001 Pro is slightly more recessed compared to the FiiO FH7S, which sounds more intimate and detailed while listen to both instruments and vocals. The lower midrange of the FH7S is a tad fuller and natural than those of the DK-3001 Pro. When it comes to the upper midrange, I can say that the FH7S has the slightly edge in terms of clarity and resolution in this area.
The FiiO FH7S shows a tad more balanced, smooth and controlled treble tuning, and offers also a higher grade of clarity and definition in the lower treble region. The Dunu DK-3001 Pro on the other hand has the slightly edge when it comes to extension and separation in the upper treble register.
Both In-Ear Monitors are pretty successful when it comes to the separation and positioning of instruments and vocals. However, the FiiO FH7S offers a more open and airy soundstage atmosphere with better sense of depth and wideness thanks to its semi open-back design.
The FH7S is a carefully tuned Hybrid Driver IEM from FiiO that shows well thought out entertaining sound profile with decent level of fun factor that can fine tuned with the interchangeable sound tuning filter. This sound is packed in to a very esthetic looking monitor shell with a solid build quality and pretty comfortable shape, which makes the FH7S ideal for longer listening periods. Moreover, it comes with a very rich accessory package that includes a good 8core detachable cable with swappable pugs, various ear tips inclusive FiiO’s new HS18 tips, a nice storage case and MMCX Assist tool.
Pros & Cons:
- + Carefully tuned entertaining sound profile with decent level of fun factor
- + Excellent Bass Performance (Depth, Speed and Authority)
- + Transparent & Airy Midrange Presentation
- + Smooth & Controlled Treble Response
- + Spacious Soundstage Atmosphere
- + Design, Comfort & Build Quality
- + Very Rich Set of Accessories (Swappable Plugs & Filters, HS18 Ear Tips, MMCX Assist Tool, etc.)
- – Upper & Lower Treble Extension is a bit short
- – Not for those who prefer a Reference Type of Sound Signature
- – 2.5mm Balanced Plug is missing that was included to previous models (FH5S Pro, FH9)
Thank you for the Read!