Drop + JVC HA-FDX1 DUAL CARBON IEM
Drop + JVC HA-FDX1 DUAL CARBON IEM
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Product Description
Our latest IEM marks the long-awaited return of JVC audiophile products to the US. With dynamic drivers among the largest in their class, a premium all-metal housing, and three pairs of interchangeable nozzles, the HA-FDX1 delivers next-level sound you can fine-tune to your liking.
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BadSeedTech
114
Sep 5, 2019
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DROP x JVC HA-FDX1 Dual Carbon
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Disclaimer: Massdrop provided the HA-FDX1 as an advanced sample for the purposes of this review. They did not influence the review in any way and they have not seen the final video prior to it going live. Please feel free to check out my YouTube review if you like - https://youtu.be/3LrpDcI5ulM

Overall Impressions Wow. When I first heard about the nature of the product and the fact that JVC took input from a hobbyist audiophile community I was interested. When I started reading through the thread I got my hopes up. The HA-FDX1 delivers on all fronts. I'm sensitive to highs and I have some products here that cost a mint that just don't do it me for personally. I need some bottom end in my music too. Stuff like the Focal Elex and the Noble Kaiser 10s are lost on me. I appreciate the detail and the technical execution but the presentation just isn't my flavor. So when I heard this gave you options to reign in the highs - I was similarly hopeful and skeptical.
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So...About These Nozzles 3 options here. White - Unfiltered factory tune. No dampening - nothing to reign in the highs. While these still have a sustained, round, tonal bass, AND sub bass to stand up against them, this would be too much for me. Green - A bit of dampening that gives more of the "consumer neutral" v-shape. Still have some energy on the highs. I like these for gaming actually. Blue - Heavy dampening. Highs are softened considerably. These are my go-to for music listening. This also depends on the amp I'm using. Off my phone - which drives these EASILY - these are automatic because the Note 9 doesn't have a lot of character. Off some of my darker or warmer amps, I may opt for green as the combo of the darker amp and these nozzles may push the high too far in the other direction. Big Takeaway? These make a difference. Nothing to be skeptical about here. The fact that you can almost instantly tailor the sound depending on what you're doing or what other you're using is amazing. I can't overstate it.
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Sound I'm a headphone guy. My experience with IEMS is very limited. In house, I have the Kaiser 10, the NU Force EDC, MEE Pinnacle PX, and the Philips Upbeat wireless (review unit). My headphone collection is fairly fleshed out. Close to 30 pair now so I know what I like in terms of tuning but I can't you a lot of detailed comparisons and measurements. I like bass. I'm not afraid to admit it. Problem is that most consumer headphones tuned to deliver bass usually fall short in areas like detail, layering, sound stage, imaging...Stuff that usually excels in THOSE areas usually lack in the bass department. So first things first - these have big, round, low bass. Not fast and punchy, not athletic, lowwww and loooong - these hit. BUT - they also have high-mids and highs. They have sound stage. They have imaging. They have detail. They have an airy spacious quality that makes me think immediately of the Fidelios. I'm in love with these. Blue tips and the Burson Playmate with the Everest Op Amp config makes want to literally never leave my desk. The "shine" you get off the ESS9038 just rubs these the right way. These are anything but boring - I've been listening to everything I can get my hands on for the past couple weeks. Cons? I mean....I review a LOT and its extremely rare that I can't find fault with a product. Put a gun to my head? They're heavy. Like 23 grams on my scale with a bit of cable. BUT - they're also extremely comfortable. I usually don't like things in my ears at all. These tips are great - JVC Spiral Dot+ - really thick and gummy. Cable is a work of art as well - I prefer to wear these over ear. They do have a tendency to get fiddly after a while if I wear them down.
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In Closing Amazing. A combo I really never get in headphones is air, sound stage, AND bass....like *never* subbass. There is a lot of gear I would part ways with to be able to gift these to loved ones. You start with such a solid product, a tune that feels like it was literally custom tailored to how I enjoy music, and THEN give me the option to tailor the audio in a meaningful way? $250? $280? No brainer. Suitable for gaming as well? This is probably the only pair of IEMS I would personally ever need. THANK YOU to James444 and the crew from SBAF. Thanks to CEE TEE for pursuing this and to JVC for being open to it. The community won with this one. Rating 5/5
(Edited)
Sep 5, 2019
purr1n
78
Aug 21, 2019
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Drop x JVC HA-FDX1 Dual Carbon IEM

This article is a collection of what I wrote throughout several posts and includes some edits. The original thread is here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/drop-x-jvc-ha-fdx1-dd-iem-the-second-coming-of.8169/ Before we even say another word about this, we need to start here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...vc-fd01-a-new-contender-for-best-dd-iem.6500/

@james444 is always digging up random IEMs and modding them with impressive results. He posted a few before and after measurements of the mods, and before long, we purchased a JVC HA-FD01 from a Japan to send along on our loaner program. Most of the folks who heard the loaner, at least those earlier in line, should be aware that I had only implemented a quick and dirty version of the mods. The "authentic" @james444 mods were much more intricate. I think @zerodeefex can tell you guys what a pain in the ass it was for him to do it right. I hindsight, I guess I could have paid my kids (with their smaller fingers) to do the proper mod for me. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that the proper mods result in better bass quality compared to the quick and dirty version. GENERAL SUBJECTIVE IMPRESSIONS As far as words, not much more to say that already hasn't been said by others Is this a TOTL DD candidate? Sure! Why not? What's interesting is that the highs are fast. I don't think I stated this before, but we are talking about BA fast, but without the BA timbre. And most important: no f'ckery in the highs (and this is my issue with the Sony EX1000). There's no nasty lower treble peak that every DD IEM seems to have. But you guys who already have a modded FD01 already know this. This is a legit TOTL DD for $350? Get this and flip the bird with both fingers when you walk by a goober at the next CanJam wearing bright red IEMs with a white angel silk screened on the faceplates. Sucker... And oh, BTW, I'm retiring my Andromeda (actually my kid had had them for a while now). The FD1X has worked its way into my high-end portable lineup. This will be my fourth IEM in the past decade, the others being UERM (sold), Andro (given to son), Solaris and FD1X (these latter two will be in rotation). As far as the general tonal balance:
So pretty much the Blue Filter is pretty warm without the V-Shape BS? Sounds like my type of sound on the go.
Yes, sort of. Still has some upper mid-3-4kHz emphasis, but lower and mid-treble is fine, even slightly sedated with blue. The frequency response plot below is with the blue nozzles. The most amazing thing is that every DD I've heard has issues with the lower or mid treble. This may be the first time that the highs are smooth as silk for a DD! I will discuss more on the sound (bass quality, timbre, etc.) in the measurement sections below. NOZZLES The Drop x JVC HA-FD1X comes with three different nozzles.
  • White = stock (same FR as HA-FD01)
  • Green = modeled after @zerodeefex's mod tuning
  • Blue = like green above, but just slightly pushed down more in the highs
The difference between the green and blue nozzles are not huge. I do say that I prefer to the blue. The frequency response differences between the nozzles are indicated below. The white nozzle with the stock sound is too bright and too forward in the upper mids for my taste. Note that if we are not happy with the provided green and blue nozzles, we can easily do our own mods on the white nozzle. This is why it was provided.
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Here are some harmonic distortion plots. Note that the distortion pattern is very different from that of IEMs that use balanced armature drivers. We have second-order dominating over third and fourth. BA drivers have a higher third or odd-order distortions. IMO, this is often heard has a lean sound loss of texture in the bass and a "squarer" sound in the highs. These DD drivers have the same characteristics of the more typical dynamic or compression drivers that most people have in their homes or hear in movie theaters. Typically BA drivers do sound "faster" (transient response) than DD drivers. In the case, I did that that these particular DD drivers sounded faster than most other DD drivers in the bass and almost just as fast in the highs compared to BA drivers. JVC is definitely on to something with their dual carbon drivers. Finally, note that the distortion distribution of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th orders is consistent! This is a huge deal for me because it means the sound rendering is cohesive from the lows to the highs. It doesn't sound like a cello is being rendered by three different IEMs.
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BURST RESPONSE AND BASS QUALITY Do I think the bass quality on the same level at the legendary Sony EX1000's? From memory not quite. However, I no longer hear the bass quality as a possible liability as with the FD01. While not the bestest, the bass is solid and something I cannot fathom as a weakness. Texture rendition is better than the Campfire Audio DDs, but speed isn't as fast. Traditional DD sound in that sense. The Campfire Audio DDs could be said to sound like a hybrid between BA and DD tech (the distortion characteristics bare this out somewhat - another topic for discussion.) FD01 125Hz Ten Cycle Burst with Decay
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Drop FDX1 125Hz Ten Cycle Burst with Decay
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I saw no differences in the 50Hz 10-cycle burst, so I did not post them. However, I saw significant differences in decay behavior of the 120Hz and 500Hz bursts. 120Hz can be considered mid-bass, but 500Hz is well above the bass region and into the 2nd and 3rd harmonics of what we would consider bass. I do wonder if the 120Hz and 500Hz signals (as opposed to lower frequencies) might be more reflective of "bass quality", or specifically, bass control and articulation. If we think about it, there's no such thing as "fast" bass because bass is inherently slow. Perhaps the lack of bass control we are hearing with the JVC HA-FD01 is really the lack of dampened decay from overtones pf the bass region, which are not so slow as bass proper. (Note 500Hz burst not shown here, but see here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/drop-x-jvc-ha-fdx1-dd-iem-the-second-coming-of.8169/page-2#post-267688) Burst response measurements are still experimental, but I think it would be fair to say that the behavior seen in the decays of the 10-cycle bursts for the 120Hz and 500Hz signals on the JVC HA-FD01 is not typical. I don't want to jump to conclusions because of the lack of data points (we really need more data and better analytics), but maybe this explains what @shotgunshane and I are hearing in terms of "tighter" bass on the Drop HA-FDX1 Drop x JVC definitely did something here. Looks like the answer is a little bit clearer now to the guys who have asked me on whether the Drop version should be purchased on top of the earlier JVC FD01 purchase. SUMMARY
  1. Agreeable if not ideal frequency response. Warm with a touch of upper-mids to bring out vocal overtones. Amazingly gentle highs!
  2. Great timbre: inherent warmth, natural overtones, evident textures
  3. Impactful and hefty lows.
  4. Fast but natural transient response.
  5. Highly resolving of low level information in recordings.
  6. Not cheap, but IMO priced too low. In many respects, the DROP + JVC HA-FDX1 DUAL CARBON IEM is a groundbreaking product and something that I have waited for a long time.
(Edited)
Aug 21, 2019
mkubota1
31
Aug 18, 2019
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JVC HA-FDX1   A Review… sorta. (More like a few opinions and observations.)   Good: Excellent resolution, neutral-plus tonality, dynamic driver bass, A+ hardware, and of course- tunability. Meh: Nozzles just a tad on the large side, a bit heavy. Given: Hardware is functionally identical to the FD01- Same cable, same fit, same isolation, same tip size- even the same carrying case.   tl;dr: $250 would be a great price for the stock FD01. The FDX1 is better. With this deal you essentially get both with a quick nozzle swap.
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  Me: I’m an old guy. I have to take off my glasses to see things up close. I can't hear much past 14KHz. My first decent IEM was the Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi. I also grew up with stuff like the Monster Turbine Pro, Sennheiser IE8, a few random Sony and Audio Technica models, and the JVC HA-FX700.   Since most sound descriptions mean little without a reference point, I'll leave most of that information down below in the comparisons. And because the FD01 has been out for a while, I won't get into the common aspects of that and the FDX1. I will say that having only heard the FD01 once before this, I was quite surprised at how good of an IEM it is in stock form. But the modded filters really do seal the deal for me. In stock (FD01) form, it does run bright. Keep in mind that I am a life-long, card-carrying member of the Treble Head Club: I listen to my HD800s un-modded. I prefer the HD600 over the HD650. I don't know what all the fuss is about with ESS Sabre DACs. And so on.   One question that I've heard thrown around: "Is this the IEM version of the HD6XX?" In terms of SQ, it's hard to compare because to me headphones inherently sound different than IEMs. I would say that the FDX1 sounds a bit more analytical and forward than the HD6XX- perhaps more in the direction of the HD600/800. But the HD6XX's true claim to fame is value: For a while it cut the price of its non-Massdrop sibling in half. The problem with comparing the HD6XX to the FDX1 is that the former is still an HD650 at heart. On the other hand, while the FDX1 can be the FD01 if you use the included stock filter, by using one of the other tuned filters (which to many will be seen as mandatory) you are getting something quite different.   So again, is this the IEM version of the HD6XX? No. That would only be the case if the HD6XX were already modded. What you are getting here is a rather heavily-discounted version of an already excellent IEM that includes additional tuning from the manufacturer, with all that entails (QC, warranty, etc.). It's more like if Drop came up with an HD6XX-MOD and sold it at a very deep discount.   "Well, that's great. But can't I just do this mod myself?" Sure you can. Go ahead. Call me when you're done. I've re-terminated IEM cables, re-cabled headphones, built an amp or two, and have modded a few headphones. But I have yet to do any HD650 mods, despite even having bought a second pair. Go figure. Also, the way that JVC has done this (re-)tuning is a bit different from what I've seen within the DIY community. So not only will this have better quality control and consistency than most of us can guarantee; but it simply may not be possible to duplicate at home. Granted for DIY there is the element of self-achievement and everybody needs a hobby- right?. But most people would rather spend their time doing something else. This is sort of an easy one for me. Did I mention, this is also cheaper?   Compared to…   NOTE: Not all of these are meant as direct comparisons. Most of it is to give context to what I am hearing from the FDX1. I settled on the blue filter nozzle:
  • white = stock FD01/brightest/no dampening
  • green = somewhere in the middle/some dampening
  • blue = the least brightest/most dampening
  Massdrop Noble 'X': I mention this IEM because not only are they from the same Drop 'house', tuned by the same folks, and around the same price; but it's one that many are familiar with. Tonally, there is no comparison between this and the JVC. The Noble was always just a bit too warm for me. The upper vocal registers (roughly between 2 - 4KHz) are a bit recessed, and it could also use a little more air. The JVC has good midrange presence and no shortage of air, even with the warmest (blue) filter. The Noble's bass, one of its strong suits, ends just a bit too quickly for me (has less decay) and doesn't have the sub-bass extension of the JVC. This is despite the Noble being a more bassy IEM overall.   Noble Savant: Tonally, this is somewhat close to the JVC. To many the Savant is a bit on the bright side. For me it is one of my references for tonality, with the understanding that it leans slightly forward and bright. But despite the tonal resemblance here, these IEMs sound very different. Treble clarity and air is far better on the JVC. Headstage on the Noble is a bit more of a wall of sound, while the JVC displays good depth and more distinct instrument placement. The Noble has more fundamental bass (~100 - 150Hz range), whereas the JVC is a bit more restrained in that area while extending further into the sub-bass region. Overall, the Savant is a bit more in-your-face and has a more simplified presentation; while the JVC is just a little bit better in almost every way- tonal linearity, headstage, and resolution.   Tin Audio T2p (Comply tip mandatory- way too vee without them!): This is my EDC. It has my ideal tonality, along with a nice amount of low-end grunt/fun-factor. Given that it's also a dynamic (dual-driver) it shares some characteristics with the JVC such as smooth tonal transitions, deep bass impact, and smooth treble. The overall presentation of the T2p is a bit warmer and smoothed over compared to the JVC. It is also more forgiving on bright recordings. (Remember… Comply tips!) The pay off with the JVC is literally in the details. Bass is quite similar between the two; but a bit more articulate and extended on the JVC. Instrument separation and sense of space is also better. Given the price delta between these two, this shouldn't be a surprise. UPDATE 9/25/2019: I recently lost and had to replace my Tin T2 Pro, and discovered that they made a few changes- most notably to the sound. The newer version, distinguishable by the different cable attachment location and finer nozzle screen, is noticeably brighter. There is more upper-midrange and treble- my ballpark guess is on the order of 4-5dB around 7kHz. Still, using the Comply tips (TSX-500 and TX-500), they sound good to my ears. But they are definitely brighter than what I was comparing the JVCs to before. Interestingly, I borrowed a friend's T3, and with the Comply tips they seem much closer to the older T2 Pro than my new T2 Pro. But I always thought that the T2 Pro and T3 sounded fairly similar. BGVP DM6 is fairly neutral, with a slight upper-midrange recession. Bass is nicely articulated ala BA; but you're definitely not getting the extension or natural decay of the JVC. The DM6 also has a tiny bit of that grittiness inherent in many multi-driver balanced armature IEMs. This makes things sound a little bit warm (harmonically) and at times a bit crunchy. The JVC has that coherence often found in the better dynamic IEMs. This is a good example of the differences between multi-driver BA and single dynamic driver IEMs. The DM6 is fast but has a slight haze or harmonic warmth that some may find appealing. The JVC's bass extends further and it has more natural treble timbre. It also has more upper midrange as well as slightly better resolution. I like both IEMs; but I like the JVC a bit more for it's lack of coloration. JVC HA-FX700 (modded tips): I thought I'd throw this in just because. Though very different sounding, there are still similarities in the naturally smooth treble, smooth tonal transitions, and deep-ish headstage (for an IEM). I would also say that they both prioritize vocals; albeit in slightly different ways. All of the JVC 'Woodies' that I have heard (FX500/700, FX750/850/1100, FW01) have a mid-bass bump that made them ideal candidates for modding since it's the single glaring flaw in what are otherwise excellent sounding IEMs. The FD01/FDX1 is a clear step away from those- almost going in the complete opposite direction with the (relative) brightness and more linear bass response. What has stayed the same or similar is the natural treble timbre (especially with the blue filter) and coherent sound that good dynamics are known for having. If you're looking for that warm, romantic sound that the 'Woodies' are known for, you won't really find that in the FD01/FDX1- for better or for worse.
(Edited)
Aug 18, 2019
shotgunshane
99
Aug 18, 2019
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What is the FDX1 and how is it different from (or the same as) the FD01? The Drop FDX1 is essential the same as the FD01 with minor changes and community tuned filters.
  • Same dual carbon 11mm driver (DLC diamond like carbon inner dome and black carbon outer ring)
  • Same great pleather JVC magnetic case
  • Same great robust OFC cable; On the slightly thicker, heavier side, yet very soft and pliable; virtually memory free with excellent tangle resistance
  • Same CNC machined Stainless Steel housing minus the knurled ridges; housing is a two piece design that swivels to accommodate wearing up or down and any shaped canal
  • FDX1 ditches the Titanium and Brass nozzles and comes with 3 Stainless nozzles
  • 1 nozzle is empty for stock FD01 tuning and/or modding, and 2 nozzles contain community tuned filters
  • Spiral Dot + tips (the best wide bore tips on the market IME)
Pre-Sale starts 9/5/19 for $250. FDX1 will be $280 thereafter. Frankly, the FDX1 is a no-brainer at this pricing.  Backstory Most of us find the stock tuning of the FD01 to be too strident. In mid 2018, super friend community mod-wizard James444 presented us with detailed instructions (with measurements) on how to mod the removable nozzles of the original FD01. The results were a smoother, more even response that competed with in-ears double in price and more. The modded FD01 has natural timbre and tonality with great dynamics. It’s got the boogie without loosing the realism. The mod was a hit. Many community members purchased their own sets and began performing the mods to great satisfaction. A few even sold off their more expensive rigs.  Once I was able to perform the mods on a community loaner set myself, I was so excited with the results, I instantly started blowing up CeeTee’s phone with texts. He needed to hear this and he had to figure out a way to bring this to the masses. There was this one poor guy that loaned his set out to Drop; little did he know how long that loan would last but thank-god he did. I’m not sure how CeeTee and his team pulled this off, but somehow they were able to get JVC to the table and bring this thing to life.  The first set of prototypes weren’t really close but did show some promise. I was able to compare them with that poor guy’s well modded set. I think he’s been without it for close to a year now. His modded set was then sent to Japan, so the JVC engineers could hear what we were so in love with. The second set of prototypes nailed it. Again, I was able to compare to this poor guy’s set. They were extremely close to his DIY modded set! Was this poor guy going to get his set back now? Nah, a final comparison to pre-production models was going to be the required! In early August, I sent James444 an email: IT IS HAPPENING. The pre-production model had arrived. While this time I don’t have that unnamed poor soul’s modded FD01 to compare, I knew the FDX1 was better. Somehow, someway, JVC had figured out a way to tighten the bass up. The slightly hazy bass of the modded FD01 was its biggest criticism. The FDX1 betters the modded FD01 with tighter, cleaner bass (this has been confirmed by a notorious purring cat friend, who compared the FDX1 to that same poor guy’s modded FD01). What was once a criticism is now a strength.    Sound The two community tuned filters are more similar than different. Basically one sounds a hair smoother, darker (blue) and the other is more lively, energetic (green). The empty filter is ripe for the modding! In general, my preference is for the green set but I do enjoy the blue set as well, particularly on the go in noisy environs. The FDX1’s dynamic driver excels in its more life-like timbre when compared to pricier all armature sets. It’s more even tuning also makes it more realistic sounding than the typically more colored and bassier dynamic driver offerings form the competition. Strings and percussion are the FDX1’s forte, highlighting low level nuances easily glazed over. While distortion rock guitars have solid crunch and bite, it’s the drums that I love to get lost in with the FDX1. Vocals are forward and intimate- male vocals are rich with heft, and female vocals are clear and energetic. Staging is better than average. While not as expansive left to right as Andromeda, it sounds open and effortless with a deeper reach front to back. While not as tall as something like Solaris, it’s sounds taller than the typical in-head, in-ear presentation. While single dynamic drivers usually don’t have the separation and layering of multi-armature or hybrid sets, they produce a more organic and natural sound. The FDX1 has plenty of space to breathe around individual instruments and singers, and it does it all while simply sounding effortless.  Comparisons via SDAC>Liquid Carbon X (less than 1 ohm OI) FDX1 with green filter and Spiral Dot tips Massdrop Plus (with Mee Audio dual flange tips)
  • Plus has a more diffuse field neutral target tuning
  • Plus has thinner overall note weight
  • Plus middle treble is more present for more brightness and sparkle overall
  • Plus bass tilted to deep bass; FDX1 sounds more balanced in bass with less emphasis in any specific area (deep, mid, upper) in direct comparison; however FDX1 bass feel more elevated overall and is more solid, palpable 
  • Plus has quicker bass decay
  • Plus cleaner but less natural sounding
  • Plus vocal placement is similarly forward; male vocals sound thinner but female vocals have more energy than FDX1
  • Plus doesn’t have the same perception of depth; less space around instruments and performers; shorter stage in height
  • Plus transients are faster; distortion rock guitars have more bite and attack; FDX1 is smoother overall

Andromeda (with Mee Audio dual flange tips)
  • Andromeda has noticeably faster transients; better attack; FDX1 sounds smoother, warmer
  • Andromeda sounds a good bit more natural than the Plus but still less so than FDX1
  • FDX1 bass is slightly thicker, denser with better texture overall; similar extension 
  • Andromeda treble is overall brighter with better presence, better sparkle
  • Andromeda female vocals sound a little more blunted, huskier, less energetic
  • Andromeda is wider sounding, more upfront; similar height but slightly less depth and sense of space front to back
  • Andromeda distortion rock guitars sound bigger, bolder
  • Andromeda is more resolving of background details and treble resolution, whereas FDX1 sounds more nuanced and micro-dynamically resolving in decay of percussion and plucked/strummed strings
  • FDX1 sounds more dynamic and effortless from quiet to loud transitions; whereas Andromeda sounds more enveloping, more surrounding my head with a wall of music

Parting Thoughts The modded FD01 has consistently been a recommendation from me, if a buyer is willing to perform the mods. I’ve long thought the modded FD01 was a bargain at $330-$380 imported from Japan at the time, but the FDX1, with it’s changes and factory mod applied filters, pretty much make it the biggest no-brainer I’ve seen in a long time. For anything less than a used/B-stock Andromeda, it will be my go to recommendation.
Aug 18, 2019
dom1234
41
Aug 22, 2019
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Give the poor guy a free pair please
Aug 22, 2019
CEE_TEE
3410
Aug 27, 2019
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Yes. :)
Aug 27, 2019
j444
90
Sep 5, 2019
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JVC FDX1: Questions & Answers

Disclaimer: The modded JVC FD01, on which these new FDX1 are based, have been my favorite IEMs for more than a year now. No one should assume, that this is in any way, shape or form, an unbiased Q&A. What’s your background with IEMs? I’ve been an avid IEM collector for many years. In the heyday of my collector’s passion, I must have owned well over a hundred IEMs (I stopped counting at some point). I’ve since downsized my collection, but kept the ones I consider „essential“. That’s why I still have classics like the ER4S, EX1000 or UERM and can directly compare them with more recent IEMs. I read you’re a fan of dynamic drivers? Yup. While I have all sorts of technologically different IEMs in my collection, my preference has slowly, but steadily been shifting towards single DDs over the years . The reason for that isn’t easy to explain and I believe there’s quite a bit of „gut feeling“ involved. Here’s one post, in which I tried to shed a little light on this topic: [QUOTE]„Well, the short answer is, that while I think that (multi-)BAs sound usually clearer and more resolving than DDs, I also think that the timbre of acoustic instruments tends to sound somewhat more artificial on BAs, when compared to DDs or live acoustic music. To borrow a metaphor from photography: BA timbre reminds me of a slightly over-sharpened picture. Impressive, contrasty and eye-popping, but not necessarily all that realistic. Still, note that this is first and foremost just a personal opinion. I arrived at it after years of listening to classical music with many different IEMs... DDs, BAs and Hybrids. And noticing a few things in the process: for instance, that I intuitively and predominantly would pick DDs for classical, whenever I had several different IEMs at hand. And that upon switching from DDs to BAs, I would always need some time to adjust to BA timbre. Whereas the adjustment would happen almost instantly, when switching the other way round from BAs to DDs. Subjective anecdotal evidence, of course. However, it made me stop buying BAs some time ago, since I listen a lot to classical and found myself not using them much. I still like to audition BAs though, and find many of them (like the Andros and PP8) technically very impressive. There are likely also several scientific aspects relevant to the perception of BAs vs. DDs, like differences in transient response, the amount of odd order distortion, or potential phase issues with crossovers. But that's a multi-faceted and very complex subject, that I still don't know enough about to make any bold claims.“[/QUOTE] Another aspect not mentioned here, I think we’re just used to the sound characteristics of moving coil transducers. And that could very well be the reason why many regard them as more „natural“ than other driver types. Think about it, most home speakers and headphones are based on moving coil. And most recorded music is mixed and mastered with moving coil monitoring equipment. So, if you want to hear things „like the artist intended“, what would be more natural than choosing moving coil (DD) IEMs over others for music reproduction? And you’re obsessively modding these DD IEMs? I hope not obsessively so. But when I hear something like the stock FD01s, which sound 90% close to my idea of perfect, then I can’t help but try to go the extra mile. That’s how the FD01 filter mod originated, and after some trial and error, I settled on those alcohol swabs as DIY-filters. Some of my best audio friends took up the mod suggestion and liked it. Well, and the rest is (audio community) history, a story that @shotgunshane has already, very eloquently, told in his review. Ok, so the modded FD01 (and the FDX1) are "perfect" now? Not quite. As always, the „extra mile“ turned out longer than expected. And like all IEMs, the JVCs come with compromises of some sort. There‘s still a bit too much upper mids boost over what I‘d call perfect. And bass falls just a tad short of the EX1000, which still have the best bass of all DDs I’ve heard. But overall, the FDX1 come very close to my ideal sound signature and are my favorite DDs out of those I’ve heard. Personally, I prefer them over some much more expensive DDs, like the Vega, Xelento and IE800S. Back to the filters, what’s the deal with that hole in the middle? Well, it’s there for a reason. In my modding experiments, I noticed that if dampers occupy the entire nozzle, they cause a slight loss of bass clarity and dynamics. Therefore I tried these tube-shaped dampers, and found they do the job just as well, but without that negative side-effect in bass . How would you describe the sound signatures of all three filters? First of all, the three filters differ only in upper mids and treble. But since we perceive sound signatures as a whole, the FDX1 also seem to get a bit warmer and bassier as you move from the white to the green and the blue nozzles. The white nozzles have no damper and hence sound leanest in bass and most forward in upper mids and treble. They create an impression of very high resolution, but that’s partly due to what I call „fake detail“ (an overemphasis on high frequencies). They can also sound quite fatiguing with music that has a lot of energy in the boosted range, like the brass section of a classical orchestra in full blast. However, for low volume listening at nighttime, they may still prove useful. And last not least, they can easily be modded with DIY-filters if desired. The green nozzles have been tuned after my recommendation for FD01 „reference filters“. I would describe the sound signature as well-balanced, with a tasteful slight bass lift and a touch of warmth. The mids are mostly neutral with a moderate upper mids bump. And treble is smooth, free of sibilance and non-fatiguing, but with good presence and extension. There’s no „fake detail“ with these nozzles, just very good clarity and resolution throughout the full spectrum. These are the most versatile nozzles in my book, and they sound excellent with a wide range of music. The blue nozzles are just a smidgen more pushed down in the highs and sound more relaxed than the green ones, while clarity and detail remain almost the same. They're the most warm-ish and laid-back sounding nozzles, and also my favorites for outdoors, where a slight tilt towards the low end comes in handy. But Head-Fi’s measurements show the white (empty) nozzle actually closer to their target than your „reference“ filters? Yes, I’ve seen that. What can I say... with regards to upper mids and lower treble, I’d call that target into question. Most people who’ve heard the stock FD01 (or empty nozzle FDX1) would agree that upper mids are clearly too much forward. And that we really don’t need even more low treble in the sibilance range, like the Harman IE Target would suggest. But in the end, FDX1 buyers will get three different pairs of nozzles and will just use the ones they like best. So, regardless of whether they prefer the Harman IE Target or a more downsloping signature in the high range, the FDX1 will come with a matching nozzle for them. How about bass? Is it really better on the FDX1? That’s a tough one. I’ve spent hours A/B comparing the FDX1 to the modded FD01, but without reaching a solid conclusion. However, the majority of experienced listeners who heard both, confirm tighter bass on the FDX1. And there are burst and impulse measurements that seem to back their assessment. Therefore I tend to agree with the majority, even though I personally didn't really catch a significant difference. So, what’s your advice to current FD01/FD02 owners? Are the FDX1 a worthy upgrade? Another tough question. It’s actually easier for me to answer that for FD02 owners, since you'd get a better cable and the option to swap nozzles. Plus, the micropore tape mod on the FD02 is less robust than the filter mod on the FD01, so the JVC-made filters on the FDX1 would be a more substantial upgrade in robustness for FD02 owners. For owners of properly modded FD01s, the upgrade would obviously be a less significant one. Needless to say, the professional JVC-filters have excellent channel matching and could improve imaging compared to DIY-filters... particularly, if you don't have a measurement rig to ensure consistency of your work. As for bass... I’d probably say that those, who‘re satisfied with bass quality on their FD01, don’t have much reason to upgrade to the FDX1. But for those, who feel that bass sounds a little too loose on their FD01, the FDX1 might well be worth a try. I’ve been thinking about buying and modding the FD01. Should I go for the FDX1 instead? Are you kidding me? Why would anyone buy and mod the FD01 any more, if they can have the professionally damped FDX1 for less money instead? Thanks to @shotgunshane, @CEE_TEE and the team, the FD01 filter mod should be pretty much obsolete by 9/5/2019!
Sep 5, 2019
phaysaal
62
Sep 15, 2019
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The comparison graphs are really helpful. Do you have anything to say about FR comparison with er4xr? It would be very appreciated.
Sep 15, 2019
j444
90
Sep 15, 2019
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I haven't heard or measured the er4xr and can only comment based on Crinacle's FR comparison tool: https://i.imgur.com/iSdauPe.png I'd expect the FDX1 to sound noticeably stronger and more textured in bass (yet still well-controlled). Female vocals will probably sound a tad less intimate, since the upper mids emphasis is a little higher up in the FR. Treble should actually sound pretty similar, with possibly slightly better air and openness on the JVCs. Soundstage will likely be larger with the FDX1, but isolation, of course, better with the er4xr.
Sep 15, 2019
ShazMan
75
Dec 17, 2019
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At last!
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Ok, I shall preface this by saying I have never been into IEMs and for the longest time I've avoided them like the plague because of many comfort issues. I also may have had a bad streak of trying many that just sounded too bright for my taste. So you can consider this review from a perspective of someone getting into IEMs and may have had doubts before. Also, in my haste, I really didn't have time to plug them into my various thinga-ma-bobs.. I just jacked them straight into my RME ADI-2's IEM jack. But I will probably edit this once I get a chance to plug them into my Monolith Liquid Platinum, the THX 789 and eventually my travel-buddy the FiiO Q5 (looking into upgrading to the Q5S to get that yummy LDAC (CSR8675 chip) and the upgraded DAC (AK44933 chip). But here goes my initial impressions: Comfort Wowza.. I love how these feel in my ear. Granted, I am cheating here.. not using the stock tips. I had ordered the variety SmartCore pack from Comply ahead of time and they had been sitting in my drawer waiting for this moment. I must say, I am REALLY glad that I bought them because the stock tips just don't do it for me. I suppose I am one of those that have odd shaped canals where everything hurts.. well, except for the Comply tips. They are comfy, they are secure in my ear, I can bob around without any worry.. and surprisingly, no microphonics from the cable which is made of this very interesting smooth yet supple vinyl material. It does not grab on clothes and doesn't cause any noise. I do have a longer balanced Linsoul 2.5mm > MMCX but I have not tried it on yet. Another big plus is the fact that the head of the headphone ACTUALLY ROTATES.. That blew my mind.. they designed the unit in a way that the driver sits inside the pot while the piece attached to the tip is completely free to move around. That means you can wear these with the cables tucked behind your ears or simply dangling downward... I've never seen a headphone that can do that. That may be the biggest comfort point for me. I absolutely love it. Sound I started with the white tips, and was instantly blown away by the detail and soundstage. Granted, I tend to favor a bit more bass, but I knew getting into it that I have the blue tips in my back pocket to try once I've given them a good listen. Not going to lie, this morning I woke up with a funky vibe, so I spent it all listening to Instrumental Funk.. Funk, Inc., The Haggis Horns, The Filthy Six, Lettuce, The Olympians.. the list goes on. Guitars sounded creamy, the brass just shined, absolutely no fatigue. Cymbals and drums were present, granted.. not as punchy as I wanted them at first but that immediately changed the moment I swapped to the blue tips. Bass is tight, punchy, pronounced, and my face is grinning. I cannot say anything about the 3rd tip but I will update when I get a chance to listen to it. In case you're wondering about the source.. it was a mix of Tidal FLAC/MQA and offline FLAC I had stored on my mac coming through Audirvana. 2nd day, I tried Electronic this time. I am still floored by how Doppel - Melt sounded.. I had sound coming at me from every direction. That track is also one of the most meticulously produced that I haven't really been able to find anything that can compare to it. I remember listening to that track on my HD800s and while I don't get the massive soundstage they provide, the low-end makes for a very fun listening experience. I was rather impressed. A sub-$300 IEM can bring about quite a lot of detail compared to a +$1000 pair of open cans. Not that you should ever compare the two as they are rather apples to oranges but just in terms of clarity, openness and detail.. they give you a ton for your buck. I got to try balanced > MMCX but unfortunately the only thing I currently have that takes 2.5mm balanced is my Q5 and no matter how good BT aptX is, it just isn't anywhere close to being directly jacked. I hear a lot of swimminess in the highs due to the compression. Q5S is arriving tomorrow but I may not be able to test it until I'm back from vacation. I did notice better channel separation on balanced vs. the regular 3.5mm but I need my 2.5mm to XLR adapter to arrive before I can test with the THX 789. I don't know what else to say, these are just absolutely fun to listen to.. And have completely dwarfed all my chi-fi headphones that I used to muck around with. Which was really what I was hoping would happen. I know you get what you pay for, but I have always been and will probably remain as a sit down and listen to loudspeakers kind of guy but I wanted to something decent to carry with me when I'm out and about and this more than fills that gap. Nozzles Ok.. so looks like they swapped the rings in production.. The "blue" that I like is the review unit's green, and vice versa. Also, the Comply SmartCore tips add a whole lot of low-end when compared to the SpiralDot+ tips that came with them. Comply + Green Ring nozzle was so bassy I felt my head was going to pop. So, ultimately, it is the blue + comply that give me the best experience overall. Although, green + spiraldot+ is almost the same amount of low-end as the blue + comply but with the highs being a tad more recessed. I think the green + comply is the perfect blend of both worlds. I get punchy bass without sacrificing detail and clarity. The white ring nozzles are.. interesting? I feel like if you're listening to classical/violins/acoustic they would probably give you the most airy-ness and soundstage but they were quite fatiguing to my ears with little to no low-end. To break it down: White - Super treble-y, sparkly, bright almost to a fault Blue - Very V-shaped, super fun to listen to, can be bright at times depending on the track but a pair of Comply tips will tame the high-end just a tad bit more that you eliminate any extra brightness Green - Very bass-y. So much rumble, so much thump.. I can imagine it being the basshead default. But you do lose a tad bit of the high-end. They do sound very good with the SpiralDot+ that come in the box. Just not comfortable in my years. Build These things are tanks, metal on metal on metal. Snapping tips in and out feels solid, the connectors are nice. There's nothing cheap about them. Granted when you buy a P1 and get a massive box with faux leather and all that presentation.. you don't get any of that here. And perhaps I kind of like that.. The emphasis is on the headphones themselves, not the fancy packaging. So I appreciate that all of the money went towards the thing that matters! Closing Thoughts I took a leap of faith and got these. I generally like to test things before I buy them but this was impossible for me in this case.. Finding FD01's where I live would be a challenge and I am not versed with all the loaner programs out there. I can't say that these will be earth shattering for everyone. Some of you already have fancy $500+ and $1000+ IEMs that would probably have a more distinct sound signature, these more than do the job and I am very happy with them. They were worth the money and then some. Definitely a keeper and I think it will be a while before I find a pair that can replace those for me. Remember, sound is subjective, it's also a very personal experience. Like my old lady says "One man's meat is another man's poison" or if you're into french idioms.. "À chacun son goût". Next.. I want to plug these into my Phono and pop a few records in to get a sense of what they sound like via a full analog/tube setup as I tend to get a much warmer and wider soundstage than I do on the solid state counterpart. (Not by eons, but discernible enough to warrant a try) just for the hell of it :)
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Dec 17, 2019
Firestorm7
5
Dec 25, 2019
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Hello - Can you, please send the Amazon Link (Canada / US) for the Comply Earbuds Tips ? Thanks
Dec 25, 2019
Grifficus
20
Jan 2, 2020
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I interested how they work out with your Liquid Platinum when you get a chance to try them out.
Jan 2, 2020
joeftan
155
Jan 19, 2020
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My original review: I give these IEMs 4 stars, b/c they require too much tinkering or EQ to sound really good with anything other than purely acoustic instrumental music.  The drivers do need to burn in for a while, which causes the bass to open up a lot more (they sounded very anemic to me at first), and smooths the edges of the treble and upper mids a little.  I’m usually not too finicky about ear tips, but I need to use Comply foam tips to get these to sound even.  I’ve settled on the green (most damped) nozzles.  To my ears, they sound the most balanced. These can be very detailed and resolving IEMs, and rival a lot BA drivers, yet have the more natural sounding timbre of DDs.  The FDX1s definitely sound best with classical and jazz, however a lot of female vocals and electric guitars sound so very “shouty” that I have to turn the volume down to the point that everything else is missing.  There is a very prominent sounding spike from around 3.2KHz to 4.8KHz (peaking around 4.2KHz).  At the recommendation of a Drop member, LGCi, I applied a very narrow Q reduction of approx. 4 dB at 4.2KHz, and it did remedy the intensity of the sound I was experiencing.  I’d rather not have to use EQ, so I took the green nozzles and placed a paper film, similar to micropore tape, over the nozzles, with one centered pinhole.  The 4.2KHz peak sounds better, but unfortunately it tames the upper treble a bit too much. These IEMs sound a lot different from their FR graphs.  The bass is less, and the 4.2KHz peak is much more prominent that the graphs suggest.  I think I’m going to end up limiting use of these IEMs to classical and jazz.  I have at least a 1/2 dozen other IEMs that I prefer for general use, including the Tin HiFi T2s, even though they give up quite a bit in ultimate resolution. I really wanted to like these a lot, but for me, they have limited use.  There’s an awful lot of potential, but it all comes down to tuning.
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Update: I now give these IEMs 4.5 stars, but I’ll be generous and round up.  I truly have been more confused and conflicted about these, than any other IEM I have ever tried.   There is just so much potential, but I couldn’t get these to work for me.   Well, I finally figured out my ideal combo. Placing a thin paper film over the green nozzles, with just a centered “push pin” hole, tamed the 4.2KHz peak enough to make these enjoyable, but it still sounded quite uneven.   I already tried multiple different tips that typically work well for me, including a couple of different SpinFits, and the only ones that worked well were Comply foams, and I usually don’t like foam tips much.   Well, I was messing around with my TFZ No.3 IEMs, and decided to try those tips on the JVCs.   They worked amazingly well.   The combo of the paper filter and the TFZ tips, has finally provided a very even, balanced, highly detailed, smooth, and quite neutral, but mid-centric sound.  The upper treble is much clearer and crisper with these tips vs the Comply tips. Incidentally, I’m now using TFZ ear tips on at least 4 different IEMs.  I really wish I could buy them separately. These are most secure when wearing the cables over the ear, but they often need a lot of adjustments when first putting them on that way, and the chin cinch helps. I often prefer to just wear the cables down, but due to the weight of the cables, a shirt clip really helps. Well, I found that the Etymotic clip fits well. I can now recommend the FDX1s, but buyer beware, these are very finicky, and may take a lot of tuning/tinkering to achieve an ideal sound for you.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Jan 19, 2020
hma101
11
Dec 17, 2019
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Perfect!
These sound far better than they have any right to be. Background: I have too many headphones/amps /dacs to list here but my current desktop setup is the focal elex through the thx789/r2r dac. Also using the Spectra dacx with campfire Andromeda for my go to portable setup. I only use tidal for source material. I listen to just about everything. I did not but these in and I used the default filters. To my ears these sound just about perfect with any genre. While they don't do any one thing perfect, the sum of its parts far outweighs any particular attribute. I think overall the combination of wide soundstage, deep bass, solid mids and just enough treble extension without being fatiguing- in addition to crazy quick PRaT make it a joy to listen to. It's not the most detailed, the widest, nor does it excel in any particular frequency. Yet I find these just an absolute joy to listen to; I can't bring myself to put them down. In terms of build quality these things are built like a tank. They're also the first in ears that I don't find myself fiddling with every 30 minutes to get the best fit. I just forget I'm wearing them. I'm extremely finnicky when it comes to my audio setup but this is one of the few audiophile purchases that just seem to "work" without lots of tweaking to my setup. I also never post reviews. Thank you Drop, this is truly an amazing product and an easy recommendation for anyone looking at a pair of wired headphones.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Dec 17, 2019
PENETRATOR1369
21
Dec 21, 2019
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JVC delivers!
When I received them, the first thing that came to my mind when grabbing the box was "THIS IS IT? $250 for THIS?" I proceed to take the items out and notice how HEAVY these buds are and then i get transported to that familiar feeling... HEAVY JVC Hasz 2000 type feeling. Next is the cable, it is simply spectacular. Tangle free, smooth, hefty and robust. Moving right along! The ear tips and the filters were on my palm and truth be told, they are garbage tips, but don't despair yet! I quickly pulled out my New Bee, T2 & T3 foam tips and they fit like a glove. I did try it with the stock tips and was just like expected, not enough bass for my liking. Reading the recommendations from the manufacturer it says 48 hours burn in at low volume... OK... NERO GUILT AND INNOCENCE + Cayin C5 amp, because I'm old school like that, full bass EQ and then the drooling began. Cranked up, no distortion like the SZ 2000s and plenty of the good BOOM with great mids and highs. I couldn't be happier with a set of IEMs and these will see lots of use like my Accoustic Research E10s.
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Dec 21, 2019
achelgeson
46
Jan 9, 2020
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One of the best dynamic driver IEMs right now.
Yes, I am hyping up this IEM to the extreme. I've had it for a little less than a month now, enough time to play around with the filters and some EQ settings, as well as listen to almost my whole music library with them. In short, these are a huge upgrade to the already amazing Etymotic ER2SE. Before the FDX1, I've been exclusively using the ER2SE and Sony MH755. I actually prefer the MH755 to the ER2SE because of the bass response, but the FDX1 completely blow both out of the water. I didn't know bass could sound this tight and impactful from an IEM. I was just listening to Test Drive from the How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack, and it's just an overall incredible experience. With the most dampened green filter, I'd describe the overall sound as neutral in the mids with smooth treble and some warmth in the bass. I'm definitely in the honeymoon stage with these, but as great as they are, there is always room for improvement. They can be a bit too much in the lower treble (4-6 kHz), so I use EQ in that area. This is even with the green filter, which already brings down those frequencies. With EQ however, they quickly turn into some of the best sound I've heard in a headphone, and that includes open back headphones. If interested, here are my updated EQ settings for EQ APO: Preamp: -4 dB Filter: ON PK Fc 3500 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 2 Filter: ON PK Fc 4000 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 2.5 Filter: ON PK Fc 4500 Hz Gain -3.5 dB Q 2.5 Filter: ON PK Fc 5000 Hz Gain -1 dB Q 3 Filter: ON PK Fc 6000 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 2 Filter: ON PK Fc 6200 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 3 Filter: ON PK Fc 7000 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 8 Filter: ON PK Fc 7500 Hz Gain 3.5 dB Q 3 Filter: ON PK Fc 8500 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 4 It looks like a lot of adjustment, but that's just me ultra fine tuning to what my ears hear to be a warm/neutral sound, with a bit more treble presence at 7.5 - 8 kHz. I don't know how, but these give my HD58X and 600 a run for their money, at least with the right EQ. Yes, I'm comparing them to open back headphones. Maybe they don't have quite the same smooth treble texture as the Sennheisers, but they come very close, plus much better bass. The dynamics and impact remind me of the Focal Elex as well. I have only two complaints about them that have nothing to do with their sound. One, they are heavy and a bit difficult to get the right fit in the ear, so they sometimes slip out. Two, the included cable gets on my nerves. The bottom part is like a vacuum cleaner cord material, and it's a flat shape so it doesn't wind up very well. It's an MMCX connection so the cable is easily replaceable anyway. Other than that, highly recommended and probably the best dynamic driver IEM on the market right now regardless of price.
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Would recommend to a friend.
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Jan 9, 2020
Jval
19
Jan 31, 2020
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Lol you listed a $30 iem and a $130 iem as your main listeners, then claim that this $250 is better than any other DD on the market regardless of price? What a nonsensical claim
Jan 31, 2020
achelgeson
46
Feb 12, 2020
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I changed the review title, I admit it was kind of misleading. But I still think they are some of the best neutrally tuned DD IEMs you can get, especially for only $250. Granted I haven't heard $1000+ IEMs, but come on, these are already hitting the point of diminishing returns.
Feb 12, 2020
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