FiiO FH1 is the part of line-up which contains the like of FiiO’s Single Driver, Triple driver and Quad Driver earphones, but the FiiO FH1 falls between the lines of Budget IEM which make them more appealing to budding Audiophiles and Audio enthusiasts alike.
FiiO FH1 Packaging:
Right from the start FiiO FH1 is going for minimalist design and it shows from the matte black box with just “FiiO” written on top and Black Earpieces placed inside along with the pelican style carrying case. I am now a bit hasty to take out the earpieces but kept a leash on my fingers and pulled the pelican case. There lies the two cables one with mic two buttons and 3.5mm jack and the other one is 2.5mm balanced cable. I said “nice” out loud and pulled out the balanced cable and the top cap on the jack fell out.
Apparently it was just glued on and the QC team passed it without checking it. I took a drop of FeviQuick and glued the cap back, the first wave of disappointment had just hit me but I took the blow and pulled out the other cable and checked the cap, it was glued well, I am relieved now.
Next up are the earpieces and they are solid and has a weight to them which is assuring. A precise look in the nozzle where the eartips fits and I see another failure by the QC team. The residual glue is not cleaned from the nozzle and now hindering the shimmers of the bronze nozzle. Again optimistically I look at other one and it is cleaned well.
Below that their lies a box with 6 pairs of silicon eartips with various sizes and shapes. I choose a medium one and snap them on the earpieces. Next step was to snap the earpieces on the 3.5mm Cable and the left one clicked leaving a smile on my face, who doesn’t love a “clicky” sound. Now here comes the right earpiece which is a bit reluctant to get on the cable and then “dup” no click??? I am disappointed…
But worry not I am impressed by the fit and comfort of these. For scale they are a bit behind from Shure and a two-step in front of RHA T20… I can feel the cable running behind my ears but I can sleep wearing them which is good.
As for the isolation, they are great for me even with the provided eartips and I think this depends on the listener’s ears so you be the judge of it.
FiiO FH1 Build Quality:
Earpiece is built like a rock, though the Brass nozzle is glued down but still t looks solid. The Paint job is also great, shiny like a new sedan. Both the earpieces are streamlined and does not reflect “budget IEM” on any front. The Cable on other hand is a disappointment, at least there should be a serrated cable just like SONY does with their Budget IEM (direct comparison with Sony XBA H1 Hybrid IEM).
The MMCX connectors in FiiO FH1 are not as good as Shure SE215 but they do the job sometimes with a click sometimes without the clicks, but the connection is secure and you can surely rely on them. The hooks on the cable is not like Shure’s so they are fix in one position but soft enough that they do not meddle with your comfort. As we go down the cable we meet the best part of the cable, the Three-Button mic which is great for making call and using Google Assistant easily. The buttons are compatible with both my Android devices and can be used to increase and decrease volumes easily.
Down as we go we meet the Yolk or “Y” of the FiiO FH1 and it is a capsule like in structure but the connection is cased by a plastic caps on both sides of the capsule and the upper side is not well sealed, leaving a small gap seen easily and could lead to misfortunes in future. At the end of the cable is the 3.5mm gold plated jack. The strain relief is good but not great like in HiFiMan’s RE400. The Jack connects securely and does not create a hiss when rotated…looking at you A-Jays 5….
FiiO FH1 Soundstage:
Soundstage is wide, for the asking price it is good and sufficient for most of the songs but for symphonies the instruments kinda feels like mushed up and overlapping a bit. Carmine Burana’s “O Fortuna” is awesome as is but the vocals are not as spread as in Shure SE215 or RHA T20. In Monique Klemann’s “The Look of Love” gives a mixed reaction on my face, there are not many instruments in Jazz but still the separation fails here and lets me down. Metallica’s “The Frayed Eyes of Sanity” brings a smile on my face, you can actually feel the tightness of James’ rhythm with Lars’ bass drum.
FiiO FH1 does gives me a lot of mixed feelings but I am a Guitarist and if the guitar is pitch perfect in my favorite band’s songs then I am sold and will praise the hell out of them…
All jokes aside the IEMs are good for distortion filled songs and Bass heavy music but as soon as you try to get technical and stuff they let you down.
FiiO FH1 Sound Quality:
Thanks to the Dynamic driver present in FiiO FH1 is a lot of bass present and always ready to punch you in the face, case in point Metallica’s “The God That Failed”. The intro starts with Jason’s Bass and Lars’ slow and impactful drumming which mesmerizes me…. I am searching for a Sub-Bass and I find it in the back, recessed a bit but present showing up here and there. Next up is the “Suicide and Redemption” by Metallica, why? Because Robert’s awesome Bass intro….and here is the sub bass I was looking for. Yayyy…One last song from Metallica “Orion”. Late Cliff Burton and his masterpiece. Flanger soaked Bass intro lays the path for bass heavy guitar riffs, tight and heavy just as I like it, on the very edge of the soundstage there remains the Cliff’s Bass….Whooaahh..(Insert mindblown emoji here).
Now time for some A R Rehman, “Behka” from Ghajini I am liking the Bass but again I am unable to find that Sub-Bass… rest everything is accurate tight as it should be.
Just as the same what you hear is tight and accurate including the midbass which never lets you down and never lets you rest either.
Male vocals are to be tested by listening to Metallica as you’ve guessed by now and in “One” I am bit under-impressed by the performance they are not as painful and hopeless as they sound in Shure SE215.. Any song from the “Black Album” sounds great in these IEMs but just lacking a bit of impact. Now its time for Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, Roberts vocals are alive and soul piercing, the war cries in the song is just ripping my soul.
Next in line is Judas Priest’s infamous “Painkiller”, Robs vocals are a bit piercing and trying to hurt my ears, I think this is due to the high pitchy vocals and presence of the BA in the IEMs, but after a while my ears are accustomed to the new sounds and adding “The Touch of Evil” in the playlist. Both are 320kbps MP3 and I am not going to judge these IEMs on the basis of inferior formats.. but I like how these performed under these situations and impressed by them too.
My friend let me tell you about the female vocals. I am totally in awe by how accurate the BA is in these IEMs. Adele never sounded that emotional at Royal Albert Hall while singing “Someone Like You”. I think I need one more song to confirm and that would be K S Chitra’s “Kehna Hai Kya”. It’s like I am listening to it the first time. Everything feels so new and her vocals are so focused that I have to close my eyes for the full immersion.
Starting where we left with “Kehna Hai Kya”, there is a lot of small nuances in the song put here and there by A R Rehman and the BA easily pick them and gives you like you are standing in a scorching heat and someone is sprinkling water on you….
You feel awesome, cool and relaxed but not every drop falls on you leaving you wanting for more. This one line sums up the reproduction of higher frequencies in these IEMs.
For my last song I chose Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for the cymbals that stays there in the spectrum for a lot of time after they are hit. The decay is good but not full, not that detailed and not that impressive. You can pick the impact point between two consecutive High-Hat hits but not as precisely as in Sony XBA H1.
Our Verdict for FiiO FH1:
You can find a lot of issues in FiiO FH1 but there are moments when you praise them for being such affordable for the price and forget about those small issues. FiiO has done a great work creating this combination but a 1000Rs hike in MRP would have allowed them to create a solid contender against Shure SE215 and easily leave HiFiMan and Sony behind in this category. I have to say keeping everything in mind I will have to recommend them if you are never going to buy Shure SE215 or 1More Triple Driver.
Click here to buy FiiO FH1 from Amazon.in.
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