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4.6
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peterlask
18
Oct 5, 2021
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Bombastic, I have just reviewed them and they sound fantastic if you like heavy bass with excellent technicalities.
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Sound impressions The JVC FWX1 was definitely tuned with the bass loving crowd in mind but not in the overblown "bass rule 'em all" manner. This time Drop+ and JVC opted for a more balanced approach avoiding suffocation by allowing space for the rest of the frequencies to breathe and stay alive. There is a generous sub-bass boost followed by a downsloping bass emphasis with the result of a prominent, full sounding low end till the deepest of the notes. It is a weighty and bone rattling presentation with convincing dynamics while it exhibits a good level of technicalities as it is sufficiently controlled and tight without becoming boomy. The most interesting part is that despite the emphasis the mid-bass doesn't sound overly clouded and the masking effect is on the minimal side, so multi-layered bass instruments are well defined with sufficient level of detail although layering and articulation aren't top notch. Midrange, thankfully, isn't dominated by the bass and there is enough space left for it to shine and speak of it's story. Voices, guitars and other instruments are well portrayed, only slightly dialed back in favor of a treble prominence which is essential for letting the FWX1 breathe. Frequency graphs might be deceiving and someone should think the FWX1 is leaning towards the brighter side but this is far from the truth since there is a well thought contrast behind the frequency response, in order to add the necessary sparkle and clarity without becoming fatiguing. Higher frequencies sound smooth and well controlled and although they are not that extended nor too resolving they are very likable due to the convincing tonality. What is so special about the FWX1 is the timbre which has a wooden warmth and a natural feeling to it that in combination with the slower decay is giving a laid back, darker sound approach with great levels of musicality and a lifelike texture. The scene is portrayed with fairly natural proportions favoring width rather than depth while instruments seem to be loosely blended together instead of being tightly seated with pinpoint accuracy. Obviously the FWX1 will favor certain kinds of music and sound tuning preferences while it wouldn't count as the first choice for reference sessions and music where a balanced tonality is of primary importance as classical music.
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At the end The DROP+ JVC HA-FWX1 is a unique earphone with a specific tuning that was never meant to be a reference or an all rounder and honestly there is nothing wrong with that. Designed for a special audience, that if you happen to be part of it, you are going to love it, not only for the preferred sound signature but also for the technical refinement, the artisan looks and the excellent craftsmanship. The full review is available here - https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/drop-jvc-ha-fwx1-woody.25367/review/26967/
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Would recommend to a friend.
PrimeDefendr
28
Sep 11, 2021
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Warm, alluring, natural, and present.
WOW, DROP got this over to the Philippines in no time. This has been the fastest turnaround time for shipping from NJ to Manila. I ordered September 1st, got it today, 9/11. Kudos! Chain for initial impressions: Set up 1: Tidal > ifi hipdac > Drop x JVC HA-FWX1 Set up 2: Tidal > Roon > Topping DX7 Pro > Drop x JVC HA-FWX1 Set up 3: Tidal > Roon > Tooping DX7 Pro (DAC mode) > Xduoo TA-10R > Drop x JVC-FWX1 Select test tracks: * Interstellar OST - Mountains * Peter Gregson - Bach The Cello Suites - 3.1 Gregson: 3.1 Prelude * The Haxan Cloak - Excavation - Excavation Part 2 * Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon - Money * fun. - Some Nights * Andra Day - Rise Up * The Flaming Lips - Do You Realize? * SZA - Ctrl - Garden (Say It Like Dat)
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My early impressions:
  • Bass is pleasant; both quantity and quality are optimal to my liking. The texture of bass is pleasurable, never overwhelming.
  • Mids are present (not recessed), rounded off to sound sweet in my ears
  • Treble: sufficiently detailed and never piercing, there's enough air to appreciate the highs
  • Imaging: good enough but not entirely precise though not in a bad way. Instrument layering, vocal separation is sufficient for enjoyment
  • Soundstage: Not too wide (like the iSINEs are) but wide and deep enough to appreciate the decent presentation of layers presented
  • Ergonomics: It's supposed to be worn with the cable down, hanging straight. IEMs are on the heavy side, so the right choice of tips to secure them is vital.
Accessories: Love the minimalist packaging containing only the cable (nice cable), case, tips, and IEMs. Use case: For musicality and not for analytical listening (although you still get to do this to some extent). Value for money: Build quality of the IEMs, case and cable is superior. Add that to the sonic qualities of these IEMs meant to make you enjoy your music more. $449 is money well spent given these attributes, at least as far as early impressions go. Score: would have been a 4/5 for the product; gave an extra star for the quick shipping to the Philippines!
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Would recommend to a friend.
Mightygrey
77
Aug 17, 2021
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This review is an abridged version of my full review which is published over at Headfonia. Thanks go out to Michael at Drop for sharing a sample unit of the JA-FWX1 with us for review.
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Drop + JVC HA-FWX1 overview The HA-FWX1 (let’s go with ‘FWX1’ from here), like many preceding JVC IEMs, consists of a relatively large 11mm wood-dome, carbon diaphragm single dynamic driver housed in an equally large wooden shell. The FWX1 is designed to be worn in a ‘cable down’ configuration, with the detachable cable (which uses MMCX) connectors going straight down, like your garden-variety smartphone IEMs, rather than the looped/over-ear cable configuration that many higher-end IEMs use. I’m not exactly sure of the exact driver impedance of the FWX1, but if it’s closely related to the HA-1800, it shouldn’t be far off the 16-ohms quoted for the ‘donor’ model. The FWX1’s box cites a sensitivity rating of 95dB/mW which is on the lower side when it comes to IEMs. Speaking of specs, here’s the run-down of the other key details to note for the FWX1:
  • 11mm wood-dome drivers 
  • Carbon-coated diaphragm 
  • Acoustic Purifier 
  • Powerful high-energy magnetic circuit 
  • Detachable 48" copper-clad aluminum cable with gold-plated 3.5mm miniplug (attaches to each earpiece with pro-style MMCX connectors)
  • 5 pairs of Spiral Dot+ ear tips made with high-tech SMP iFit material for a natural and comfortable fit
  • Spiral Dot+ design diffuses noise and disperses sound naturally
  • Frequency response: 6-52,000 Hz
  • Included leather carrying case
  • 9/16"W x 3/4"H x 1-3/16"D
  • Weight: 34 grams
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Packaging and Presentation  Like many Drop collaborations, the FWX1 ships in a relatively modest small cardboard box bearing the ‘Drop’ and ‘JVC’ logos - the only hint that a high-end, wood-crafted IEM sits inside. I’m more than ok with products being packaged like this - firstly, because I find ostentatious packaging super wasteful; and secondly, because I’d prefer that my money is going towards the best value product package possible - and this is one way the Drop is able to pass on discounts to their community. Besides, I only ever deal with retail packaging twice when I buy any piece of audio gear: when I open it; and when I throw it out (or, sell it later). 
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Inside the smallish cardboard box, it’s a relatively modest but perfectly adequate accessory package for this sort of IEM: a warranty + brief instructional pamphlet; a nice leather carrying case with a magnetised clasp; five sets of Spiral Dot+ silicone ear tips; and the detached 3.5mm cable. The ‘JVC’ monogrammed carrying pouch isn’t quite pocketable, but it is made super nicely from a nice, soft leather and certainly looks the part when it comes to housing this little pair of ‘woodies’. Form-factor & design  The FWX1 is a little unusual in IEM design terms - most ‘straight down’ cabled IEMs are on the smaller size because they rely on their insertion grip only to defeat gravity, whereas the cable loop on an ‘over-the-ear’ cabled IEM can help them from falling out. The FWX1 is not a small IEM, by any means - and given that they’re designed to be worn in the traditional straight-down fashion, they certainly aren’t the most secure fit. The tug of their cable can, and will loosen them in your ears, and you are most likely going to need to readjust them from time to time. The FWX1’s nozzles are both relatively short and rather wide, which means that they don’t really ‘insert’ into your ear canal so much as stick into your outer ear, relying on suction and grip to stay in place. I was able to maintain a pretty good fit with the second-largest set of supplied tips, but let’s just say that you won’t be going to the gym with these suckers - these are for sitting down and making a dedicated plan to remain stationary and enjoy your music - at your desk, on the bus, or for taking with you while traveling and kicking-back in a hotel room. The FWX1’s fit really could be improved with the inclusion of a shirt clip, which would help mitigate the ‘tug’ of their cable, but unfortunately, there isn’t one included. 
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I did a little experimenting when it came to finding a good fit with the FWX1, and I found that you actually can wear them in an over-ear fashion, effectively wearing them ‘upside down’ and looping the cable of the top of your ear. This made keeping a secure fit markedly easier, and it actually made fit neater, and more flush in my ears. You see, the FWX1 doesn’t protrude straight out of your ear in a straight line - the nozzle is actually ‘kinked’ at an angle, and strangely that angle is forward, rather than backward, which would make it fit more flush in your outer ear. 
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The supplied cable that comes with the FWX1 is genuinely first-rate. It’s of the single-ended, 3.5mm variety, so if you have a balanced source you’re going to need to look into after-market solutions. However, I really don’t recommend that you need to because the cable is built exceptionally well from a soft, matte-covered plastic that is flat below the Y-split, and breaks out into two round thinner cables up to the MMCX-connectors. It doesn’t tangle, doesn’t make any offensive microphonic noises, and feels great to the touch. Full marks here.  The shape of the FWX1’s nozzles means that you might not be able to readily find aftermarket alternate tips for it, but the supplied Spiral Dot+ tips are more than fit for purpose. I did note earlier that it is hard to find a super snug fit with the FWX1 due to their shape and size, but of course, your mileage may vary here. It’s nice that there are 5 x different sizes of tips included, so most would-be owners ought to be covered. 
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I’ll finish the design overview of the FWX1 by remarking on their signature visual point of uniqueness - their gorgeous wooden design. The wood that JVC has used here is quite dark, and you have to look closely to see that actually is wood - depending on the ambient light and where it is that you’re looking at them. Look at them a little more closely under light, and it starts to become a more reddish-purple in colour, with their natural wood grain becoming more evident upon close inspection. Their overall build is nearly identical to the HA-F1800, the only giveaway that these are a different model externally is the use of dark copper highlights versus the gold colour used on the rear of the HA-F1800 shells, and of course the presence of the Drop logo on the rear of one of the FWX1’s shells.  The FWX1 really is extremely appealing both to the eye as well as in the hand - they feel crafted rather than simply machined or engineered - a little like the tiny musical instruments that they are. This wooden construction does set the FWX1 apart from its metal/plastic peers at the price range from other manufacturers, and it gives them a real ‘heirloom’ quality - they feel organic, rather than manufactured en masse.  Sound quality and performance My take on the wooden design of the FWX1 is that it gives off decidedly ‘organic’ vibes, so it really was no surprise to me that when it popped it in and fed it with some music that the immediate sense that I got was an entirely natural, organic sound. The last IEM that I reviewed, the 5 x balanced armature driver Kinera Skuld, couldn’t be more different from the dynamic driver tone of the FWX1. Whereas the Skuld cuts through music like a scalpel through jelly, the FWX1 is more like spreading Lurpak with a spatula - it’s smooth, baby. The voicing of the FWX1 is warm, laid-back, and decadent - it’s a real put-your-feet-up-and-kick-back sorta signature. That’s not to say that it’s shy or not detailed, far from it in fact.  When Drop explained to me that they wanted to tame the bass in the HA-1800 when developing the FWX1 I was expecting a more linear and flat response, but that’s certainly not the case here. The FWX1 is a gently V-shaped sounding IEM that is actually probably better described as being ‘U-shaped’. The bass is certainly very generous here, and if the HA-1800’s low-end was more than this, then Drop has definitely done a good thing here by dialling things back some because this is still a very bassy IEM - I certainly didn’t feel the need to give it an EQ nudge downstairs. Bass notes hit with impact and authority in the sort of way that only a dynamic driver can deliver, although it’s on the slower side of the bass equation, favouring body and tone over precision and articulation. For example, the bass guitar in Faye Webster’s ‘In a Good Way’ is a little on the ‘woolier’ side if we’re looking at things technically, but from a straight-out enjoyment perspective, the slower attack and decay of the notes just feels really...nice. The FWX1 makes instruments sound like instruments and helps you just relax into an album, rather than poring over it with a magnifying glass. 
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To elaborate on what I meant by the FWX1 sounding somewhat ‘U-shaped’, there’s a mild recessing in the mid-range that makes instruments and male vocals, in particular, feel less front-foot. Ryan Adam’s ‘Prisoner’ album makes this voicing fairly evident, giving you the sense that he’s a foot or two further back in the mix compared to a more mid-range focused IEM, which makes the bass guitar and upper treble-focused tracks like acoustic guitars and cymbals stand out more in the mix. This gentle mid-range scooping aids to the sense of sonic ‘bigness’ in the FWX1, helping to give you the sense of a wider soundscape, whereas a more immediate sort of mid-range can make an IEM feel either more intimate or even congested depending on the unit in question. Speaking of staging, the FWX1 isn’t hugely diffuse or ‘out-of-head’ when it comes to width or depth, but the scene it renders is a realistic one - one which is in keeping in theme with the natural characteristics of the FWX1. Individual tracks aren’t separated in an overly precise sort of fashion, but rather they’re blended together in a more liquid, smooth sort of fashion - rather than being a technical marvel that gives you enormous insight into a track, it’s simply a more ‘musical’ take on things - I know the ‘m’ word is a bit of a cop-out when it comes to labeling a headphone/IEM but it’s entirely appropriate here.  The FWX1 does a couple of things very well in particular: entirely believable female vocals, and acoustic music. There’s a slight rise around the 4-5kHz mark that makes female singers step slightly more forward onto the stage. Alanis Morissette’s 2005 acoustic version of her seminal ‘Jagged Little Pill’ album is an absolute treat on the FWX1, making you feel like you’re sitting right in the studio there with her, able to catch each little vocal inflection and emotional nuance.
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The FWX1’s voicing also lends itself really well to bass-heavy electronic music/IDM like Nicolas Jaar’s side project ‘Darkside’, with the additional sense of mid-bass body and low-end dynamics creating a nicely decadent, visceral treat.  The FWX1 isn’t a classic ‘rock-out’ sort of IEM - its restrained mid-range doesn’t give you the same sense of aggression or ‘crunch’ that you’d expect from electric guitars, but that’s not to say it can’t play rock or metal in an enjoyable way. The Smashing Pumpkins ‘Hummer’ gives you a nice big ‘wall’ of fuzzy guitars with the FWX1, but it also makes some lower treble stand out in the mix and sound slightly grainy and splashy at times. Going further up the frequency chart, there isn’t a ton of ‘air’ up there on the FWX1 - you aren’t getting the sort of hyper detail that you might be accustomed to in an audiophile IEM as it is gently rolled away as you get into the cymbal department and beyond, but it really is in keeping with what the FWX1 is all about - they’re natural, non-fatiguing and for lovers of tone and texture. 
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HA-FWX1 vs Final E5000 It felt prudent to compare the FWX1 to another similarly-priced, single dynamic driver IEM from Japan, and I happened to have one on hand in the Final E5000. Physically, these two IEMs couldn’t be any different in terms of form-factor, with the E5000 looking positively diminutive in comparison to the big, wooden shells of the FWX1. The E5000’s drivers are nearly half the diameter of the FWX1 as well, as a relatively small 6.4mm. The E5000 also has a meaty, dynamic tone with a slight V-shape, but it’s not as emphasised as the FWX1, and so sounds far more linear as a result. It’s interesting to note that the E5000 has an even lower sensitivity rating than the FWX1 at 93dB and requires quite a bit of juice to get up and going, needing 93/150 on the volume dial of the Astell&Kern to get to spirited listening levels, whereas the FWX1 only needed 80/150. The FWX1 is undoubtedly a smooth IEM, and while it’s more laid-back generally than the more linear and focused-sounding E5000, its lower treble is a little harsher and does sound a little grainy and splashy by comparison, especially with cymbal hits. 
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HA-FWX1 vs FiiO FD5 The FWX1 is even more starkly different when it comes to another dynamic driver IEM in the form of the $299 USD FiiO FD5. While the FWX1 is laid-back and full-bodied, the FD5 feels like a veil has been lifted away, offering a sheer boost in clarity and treble presentation - it’s a much more detail-oriented presentation, with vocals and information in the presence region being placed front-and-centre. Because there’s no sense of ‘scoop’ in the mid-range and lower treble like in the FWX1 the FD5, by comparison, sounds a lot more aggressive and almost ‘breathy’ at times, but this is, of course, relatively speaking. The FD5 is a far more neutral and linear-sounding IEM, and still maintains much of the natural characteristics that make the FWX1 sound as good as it does, but it’s done so in a much less overt way. ‘Default’ by Atoms For Peace almost sounds like a completely different track on the FiiO, with spades more air and ethereal decay compared to the more bass-focused signature and smaller staging of the FWX1. 
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Source pairing  With a 95dB/mW sensitivity rating, the FWX1 isn’t the most hard-to-drive of IEMs and does require a little bit of juice to get up and runnings versus some of the more super-sensitive BA IEMs out there. Having said that, you’ll be able to eke out more than adequate performance from most sources, including smartphones - provided yours still has a headphone jack, of course. My Samsung S9+ managed to get the FWX1 playing ‘loud enough’ at about 45% on the volume dial, and actually sounded pretty good, offering good bass control and overall levels of detail. Switching over to a much more dedicated discrete listening source in the Astell&Kern SE200, staging, and imaging improved by a noticeable degree, creating a more vivid 3D sound-stage and a more articulate dispatching of transients and bass notes. 
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Given the modest sensitivity rating of the FWX1, this actually makes it a pretty decent candidate for pairing with dedicated desktop equipment usually suited for full-sized headphones. I found that there was plenty of usable volume range with the Schiit Jotunheim 2 set to ‘low’ gain, and not a skerrick of hiss nor background noise floor present. Seeing as the form-factor of the FWX1 makes it more suited to lean-back, sit-down sort of listening sessions, this might be a good thing to keep in mind for your circumstances if you prefer the form-factor of IEMs and wish to pair them with your desktop system. 
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Final thoughts Drop and JVC have a pretty unique IEM on their hands in the HA-FWX1 - it’s unlike anything else in terms of form factor and build, and you’re getting a lot of IEM for your money with it - quite literally. The FWX1 is no shrinking violet when it comes to the way it’s designed - it’s decadently built from big, tactile pieces of wood, and it’s best suited for the deliberate listener who appreciates craftsmanship and wants to enjoy their music in a deliberate, lean-back sort of fashion. In a market where multi-BA, CNC-milled aluminium, or injection-plastic molded IEMs are a dime a dozen, the HA-FWX1 certainly offers an ‘interesting’ choice for the listener looking for a more organic, natural connection to their music collection. Sonically, while it isn't the last word in detail or insight, the HA-FWX1 is like a big, warm hug - lovers of bass, V-shaped sound signatures, and those looking for the ultimate expression of the organic tone that only a dynamic driver can provide will delight in them. 
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Would recommend to a friend.
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DMS_Reviews
7
Aug 6, 2021
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I’ve been testing the FWX1 for a solid week now so let’s get into it.

Build:
Excellent construction. The detachable cable is great. It’s flexible and feels durable. I can feel the weight of the cable after a couple hours of use, but given that it’s detachable with a standard MMCX connector you could swap out a lighter cable if it becomes an issue. For me personally I’m happy with the stock cable. The nozzle’s shape and contour of the chassis feel well planned out and cohesive with tight tolerances.

I’m personally a fan of the included spiral-dot tips. They are very soft compared to many other tips and tonally smooth out the treble.
The included case is also worth noting, it's thin enough to fit in my pocket comfortably, has a soft interior, and a firmly held magnetic lid.

Sound:
If you like Jazz, live music, or anything with drums, these are absolutely for you. The tone is very full, rich, and warm without ever getting bloated. The sub-bass is tight and articulated but a bit more relaxed on impact. Treble has a bit of a dip without sacrificing upper-treble so sibilance is rare and most cymbals are smooth.
I would describe the treble as “sweet” like the HD650 and 6XX but with a bit more upper-treble extension.

The warm/rich timbre of the FWX1 makes drums and piano sound large, powerful, and lifelike.
If you want a perfect example listen to the live drum solo in:
Artist: Cécile McLorin Salvant 
Album: Dreams and Daggers
Song Devil Mat Care
Solo: 4:25

This entire album as well as most live music fit very well within this IEM’s timbre. I think the most surprising factor is the level or detail the FWX1 delivers. Many products rely on boosting treble ranges (or spikes) to create a sense of detail and resolution. The FWX1 on the other hand manages surprising levels of detail with it’s sweet and gentle treble range. They offer enough resolving ability that I found myself using them with a variety of higher-end desktop amplifiers through the iFi IE-match (to reduce sensitivity) and my turntable. Though it’s worth noting they played extremely well on a phone, laptop, or DAP and strongly benefit from a quality DAC in any of these devices.

The conclusion? I found myself reaching for the FWX1 often. It delivers a premium experience (checking all the boxed on build and comfort) and manages to have a unique rich sound that calls to lovers of high-performance analog-audio and live music. 

-DMS

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Would recommend to a friend.
danny87
404
Aug 20, 2021
The FWX1 seems to be based on the FW1800 (despite the naming suggesting otherwise), which retails at $599.
rhpot1991
190
Aug 20, 2021
Flagship drivers in FW10000, FW1800, and FWX1 it seems. These will be a step up from the FW01.
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