FiiO FD1 Review
FiiO FD1 & FH1s – A twin’s tale
Pros: – Sound quality well above it’s price point
– Great custom like fit
– Low weight
– Detachable cable
– Carrying case
– Large selection of ear tips
Cons: For the price nothing at all
FiiO FD1 & FH1s – A twin’s tale
Edit – After the release of the FD3 rating was lowered to 4 stars.
This is a comparative review of both FD1 and FH1s as it originally appeared at www.hxosplus.gr and now translated for Headfi.
The FD1 sample was kindly provided by FiiO and is still under their ownership.
The FH1s was a loaner from their Greek distributor.
You can get it from FiiO.eu
FiiO after releasing their top tier FA9 iem (review here https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/fiio-fa9.24424/review/24076/ ) have returned at last to the category that they know perhaps the best of all, that of the entry level value for money iems.
And it does so by presenting us at the same time not with one but with two brand new iems the FD1 and the FH1s with the exact same low selling price of about 75€.
The FD1 is a single dynamic driver iem featuring a 10mm beryllium plated unit with a N50 dual magnetic circuit that delivers 55% stronger magnetic field than traditional designs resulting in an energetic bass performance and an even full transient performance.
Beryllium is four times harder than steel and ¾ lighter than titanium resulting in a better sense of movement and power.
The FD1 is designed with a gold plated aluminum alloy retaining ring and sound tube providing stable cavity for the audible unit.
The FD1 has an impedance of 32 Ohm with a sensitivity of 109dB and a weight of 4.5g per unit.
The FH1s is the evolution of the older FH1, a new dual driver hybrid iem with a larger dynamic 13.6mm unit for the low frequencies and a Knowles 33518 balanced armature unit for the middle and high frequencies.
The diaphragm of the dynamic unit is made of bio polymer material while the high frequency unit is placed closer to the ear canal which reduces high frequency loss and improves treble extension.
The BA driver play it’s higher frequencies through a brass sound tube which reduces unwanted resonances.
The impedance of the FH1s is 26 Ohm with a sensitivity of 106db while the weight is 4.3gr per unit.
Sharing the same DNA
And the differences between the two models practically stop here since they share the rest of their features.
Firstly the patented precisely tuned pressure balancing system that equalizes the air pressure between the front and the back of the body greatly enhancing the soundstage and reducing ear fatigue while listening.
Secondly they share exactly the same body and appearance and the only way to distinguish them is the FiiO logo which in FD1 is gold while in FH1s it is silver.
The construction material is layered celluloid, which allows for a precision finish with a custom like fit and low weight.
Thanks to the randomness of the layering procedure every faceplate made has it’s on unique appearance.
Both earphones feature the same detachable 2 pin cable made of 120 strands of high purity monocrystalline copper in litz braiding.
The quality is really impressive and we wonder how FiiO has managed to put such a cable at this asking price.
Equally impressive are the accessories included with a hard carrying case and seven pairs of ear tips including a memory foam one.
The similarities continue in the sound as well as the two earphones have the same overall tuning.
The sound is slightly warm and tonally balanced with a very pleasant signature suitable for continuous listening.
As with FA9 FiiO gladly have opted for a more musical approach favoring natural sound and timbre instead of an analytical and sterile presentation.
Bass extends quite well and can reach low notes without exaggerating or overlapping the rest of the frequency spectrum.
Quality is very satisfying with fast performance and adequate layering even during bussy passages.
Transition to the mids is great without midbass bloat
The middle area is slightly forward helping voices and related instruments sound lifelike with presence but without unwanted coloring.
The highs are crispy rendering details with a very physical manner never sounding analytical or harsh.
Decay is good and instrument timbre is quite natural for the price point.
Clarity is excellent and distortion is kept low even at higher volumes.
The headstage is very enjoyable with enough width and instrument separation but don’t expect 3D layering or pinpoint accuracy although it is more than enough for the category.
Dynamic performance is very acceptable and both iems can cope with ease with large symphonic works
Fit and comfort are excellent almost custom like and aided by the low weight both iems are suitable for extended listening sessions.
Cable is tangle free , easy to use and without microphonic noise.
So far the performance is extremely good in both models but let’s dig now at the small differences that will make for the final choice.
The FD1 stands out with ease at the low frequencies with more energy higher quality and quantity while being clearly more dynamic better layered and full bodied.
In the middle range the performance is generally the same but the FH1s is sounding a bit fuller and more forward.
The FH1s is the better performer regarding detail retrieval and is offering a more airy presentation with finer nuances.
Transient response is a little bit faster as is the decay of higher pitched instruments with the side effect of a little artificial sound.
Headstage is just a bit more accurate with better instrument placement and a sense of extra breath but some users may find it a little bit dry for their tastes.
The differences we are talking here are small but enough to define two separate personalities with the same tonal identity.
At the end
FiiO’s FD1 and FH1s are the same blooded twin brothers who share DNA but with two different temperaments.
Both are excellent performers in every way reaching well above their price point and are offered in a fully loaded package without anything missing.
They are one of the best values on the market right now, a top offer from FiiO in the introductory category and unreservedly recommended for a blind folded purchase.
FiiO has redefined the category raising the bar too high writing the rules from the beginning and clearly stating that low on budget doesn’t mean in any way low on performance.
The test playlist – http://open.qobuz.com/playlist/5669033
Copyright 2020 – Laskis Petros