Powerful and lively.
PROS: Powerful and lively signature, great build quality, excellent comfort, generous selection of accessories, great synergy with LC-2.5D upgrade cable.
CONS: Treble brightness, coherency not the best with stock cable, upgrade cable makes a notable difference.
I would like to thank FiiO for providing me with the FH7 IEMs and LC-2.5D balanced cable in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.
- Drivers: 1 x Dynamic + 4 x Balanced Armature
- Frequency response: 5Hz – 40kHz
- Sensitivity: 111dB/mW
- Impedance: 16Ω（@1kHz）
- Price: US$449.99
- Wires: 4-wire cable
- Material: sterling silver Litz
- Connectors: MMCX
- Termination: 2.5mm balanced
- Price: US$99.99
Available for Sale on Amazon and other retailers.
Back in March of this year FiiO made a splash by announcing 7 new products on one day during its 2019 Spring Launch Event held in Guangzhou, China. These were their new flagship Q5s Bluetooth portable DAC/Amp, the AM3D headphone amp module, the AM3.5PRO (China only) headphone amp module, the M5 micro DAP (similar to the Shanling M0), the M11 Open Android-based DAP that I will also be reviewing, and the FH7 IEMs and LC-2.5/3.5/4.4D cable that I will be reviewing here. A whole selection of interesting products and FiiO made no secret of the fact that this was just the start of what will for them be an exciting year with several more new products in the pipeline.
Although FiiO has earned a reputation for developing products that offer great performance at an affordable price point, it seems that they are now ready to push that value-driven philosophy to a higher segment as well and the FH7 are another step up from FiiO’s previously released hybrid flagship IEMs, the FH5 (US$299). Hybrid IEMs have become increasingly popular and with that the designs have also become increasingly complex, but FiiO made more of an evolutionary step by going from a 10mm to a 13.6mm dynamic driver and from 3 to 4 balanced armatures. Also added to the FH7 is a filter system to allow three different tuning options to better fit personal preferences.
The FH7 come in a massive box that is by far the biggest I have seen for a pair of IEMs. [Insert your compensation-joke of choice here.] Beyond the size it follows the trend of a black box covered by a sleeve, which gives a nice classy presentation when opened up. FiiO opted here for a layered approach with in the top layer only the IEMs and the small tube for the filters on display. Underneath a layer with a proverbial buffet of tips to choose from, which I think is great because tips can make a real difference in terms of fit and sound. There is something here for everyone: foam, SpinFit, Final, double flange, etc, etc. Pick your favorite! Also included is a leather hard case of the sort I have seen popping up more frequently in recent times and I really like them. Very convenient and pretty to boot! Surprisingly, inside I found another soft case for on the go, which I personally do not use, but will no doubt be very useful for others. Further a cleaning tool, a magnetic cable organizer and a small booklet with warranty information (etc) in it.
Overall, I like what FiiO did here. The FH7 come with a healthy selection of accessories that make sense and I especially appreciate the huge selection of tips. I almost always have issues getting a good fit and am often glad that I already have a large collection of tips, but not everyone will have that and so including those is a really considerate choice by FiiO.
Build quality and fit.
The shells of the FH7 are made from a CNC’d aluminium-magnesium alloy and it feels excellent. I love this sort of build quality. The shells are quite light but feel really solid and I would happily stuff them in a pocket or leave them lying around without worries, which is not something I can say of all my IEMs. I feel compelled to baby some of my most expensive IEMs because they feel fragile, not so with the FH7.
FiiO describes the styling as ‘avant-garde style’, but I will say that I am personally leaning more towards describing it as art deco style. Of course, I haven’t the faintest clue about art, so don’t take my word for it, but the wavy pattern and the contrast between the black and the copper invoked that association with me. (I can just see the lead designer at FiiO sniffing at me and with a snooty tone commenting… “What an utter philistine!”)
The FH7 of course also have the filter system and in my experience, this can be a bit of a weak point. I have previously owned IEMs where the filters had poor threading and after playing around with them too much, I ended up with filters that would barely thread in place. FiiO however have done an excellent job with these and even though I have exchanged them frequently, I am confident in how they thread in place. I still would not recommended switching them five times a day, but I think most people will find their preferred filter and stick to that anyway.
While I might have mentioned that I appreciate the large selection of tips that FiiO included because I usually have trouble getting a good fit, I did not really need them for the FH7. The fit was excellent straight out of the box. The FH7 sit flush in my ears and are very comfortable to wear for long sessions. I certainly rate these among the most comfortable and easy to fit IEMs I have tried.
FiiO also included an 8-wire stock cable that is comfortable, has good ergonomics without any noticeable microphonics. It does have quite sturdy pre-bent ear guides, but even with my glasses I did not really have any issues with the cable at all. Of course, later in this review I will also discuss the LC-2.5D aftermarket cable that FiiO sent along, which is a 4-wire pure silver cable that could make for an interesting upgrade.
All listening was done with the Cowon Plenue 2 and FiiO M11 from the SE out (stock cable) and 2.5mm balanced out (LC-2.5D).