FiR Audio 5×5 (VxV) – Take 2

Renaissance Bunny!

PROS:  Very durable build quality, excellent balanced stock cable, balanced and fun sound with great versatility, excellent coherency, great clarity, bass is fast and articulate while maintaining DD texture and detail, competitive price point.

CONS:  High versatility might mean less excellence for specific music genres.

Disclaimer

I would like to thank FiR Audio and Project Perfection for providing me with the FiR Audio VxV in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favorable review.


VxV
  • 1x 6mm Dynamic Driver
  • 2x Mid-driver Balanced Armature
  • 1x High-driver Balanced Armature
  • 1x Ultra-high Driver Balanced Armature
  • MMCX connectors
  • 5mm TRRS balanced connector
  • Chassis: Hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont ® engineering plastic.
  • Price: US$999
Links:

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Preamble.

Back in September 2020 disturbing eyewitness accounts started to surface of a rabbit unlike any other, as this particular bunny came with megalomaniac tendencies. Subsequent investigation of a crash site appeared to confirm this was the sole survivor of family of rabbits cruelly shot into space in a misguided attempt to clear up a rabbit infestation. Left to fend for himself in outer space, far beyond the reach of human control, Firry (as he was named) started to plot his revenge on the “evil, lazy humans”. The means to his revenge would become a device by the name of ‘VxV’, which -and I speak from experience here- seems to be some kind mind control device because every time I use it, I seem to lose all track of time and space while I drift away into sonic bliss. I know it is a trap and still I want more of it, every day, everywhere, even if it means subjecting myself to the autocratic tendencies of a vengeful and power-hungry bunny. We welcome you, oh Leporidaen overlord!

As far as marketing campaigns go I think FiR Audio hit a home run with their viral Firry cartoons and story. From the very first day the campaign launched I have loved following the super creative and hilarious little teasers. It is a very effective way of getting away from the sterile, boring and endless droning on-and-on about specs and details that distract from the real purpose of it all: enjoying our music to the full. Not that the specs and technical details are not interesting (more on that later), but I for one love to take things lighthearted. What better to do that with than a firry little bunny whose sole purpose in life it is to dominate the human race, one city at a time (the VxV launched first in Hong Kong)?

The VxV have been launched specifically as “EDC” (EveryDay Carry) IEMs and this makes them especially interesting because it adds additional criteria that I think they need to meet to be practical to carry everywhere. They would need to have an excellent build quality to take everywhere and stuff into pockets, bags, etc. without worries. They would also need to have a very comfortable fit for using them all day long and, very important, they would need a versatile signature to allow you to listen to your entire music library with them. Spoiler alert: I think FiR Audio absolutely nailed it with the VxV.

Unboxing.

Firry’s strategy for spreading the VxV as far and wide as possible is clearly to make them dangerously unassuming. The VxV come in a small and very simple looking white box with his deceptively cute little face on the front. From what I understand the VxV were actually developed with a higher price point in mind and I suspect that some savings were made on keeping the box nice and simple. I personally like that, as it means I can get to the good stuff without distraction.

firaudio_VxV_IMAGE_01

On the other hand the VxV do come with a round case very similar to the one that came with the M4 and I love that one. Perfect in size and comes with a foam insert that holds a good selection of tips in silicone and foam, as well as a cleaning tool. Because Firry knows he is cool, he ensured we never forget his face by including a number of stickers celebrating his greatness. Shame the box did not also fit the awesome Firry pluche. (Dear floppy-eared Santarabbit, can I have one for Christmas? I will be extra nice to rabbits all year long!) Finally, of course the VxV themselves in all their glorious glory.

firaudio_VxV_IMAGE_02

Build quality and fit.

After having been forced into submission by Firry, the VxV were developed by his minions at FiR Audio in collaboration with their Singapore partners Project Perfection. From what I understand FiR developed them with a higher price point in mind than what Project Perfection intended for them. This meant that FiR Audio’s lead audio designer, Alex Belonozhko (yep, from that omnipresent family), went perhaps a little further in this process than intended. The end result is an ingenious Sound Reactor, which is a big tube into which the sound of the 6mm dynamic low driver and dual mid drivers comes together before being combined with the sound from the high drivers. It is complimented with FiR Audio’s Atom pressure release module that is placed super close to the dynamic driver and reduces pressure build up from the low driver by around 30-40% before it goes into the Sound Reactor. This greatly contributes to the superbly easy and fatigue free listen that the VxV provide. I have worn these for hours at a time and never experienced fatigue even though I can be quite sensitive to it at times.

firaudio_VxV_IMAGE_03Images courtesy of Fir Audio

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The build quality of the VxV is very similar to the M4 I reviewed before with the same metal shell, except that FiR Audio asked Project Perfection to come up with a newly designed faceplate. It is fairly low-key in black and white, which I think works very well for something you want to use everywhere because it draws less attention than faceplates that are all blinged-out and scream “This is expensive, please rob me”. Firry doesn’t want you to get hurt. He has other plans for you. [Insert evil bunny laughter here.] It consists of a black medallion with in white the FiR Audio logo on the left shell and of course Firry’s face on the right one. The medallion has a bezel made of Delrin, a very high quality plastic that can be easily combined with metal and even replace it, so should be very durable. The resulting build quality is excellent and the shape is also very comfortable. For me personally the VxV are among the best fitting IEMs I have used. In an act of boldness Firry put the coordinates for his base of operations on the left shell, which seems to be buried underneath FiR Audio’s headquarters. The right side has a prototype number on it, but I suspect there might be a code to that. I tried to decipher, but after following the trail I ended up lost somewhere in Montreal. He is a clever little bunny!

The VxV come with MMCX connectors and an SPC cable that is very well designed. It is very supple, feels nice and light and the parts used for the y-split and plug show attention to detail. Those parts too are very light and fairly small, which means the cable is not pulled down by them, as you can often get especially with heavier y-splits. Overall I would say that every part of the VxV is designed with comfort and durability in mind, exactly what I think is essential for IEMs that are intended as EDC.

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Of note here is also that I have used the VxV extensively during training and find them absolutely fantastic for that. They are light, the fit is great and very important is that the Atom module is super effective in reducing any pressure fluctuations that can occur during exercise. With closed IEMs I often get a feeling of the seal pushing and pulling my eardrum with every physical movement or (for instance) when pressure builds up while pushing weights. A while ago I did an “Audiophile Boot Camp” review of the Shanling M0 where I used the Final E4000 because their vented design had similar qualities. The VxV offer everything I got with the E4000 at a higher level, including of course sound quality. Superb IEMs for training (where traffic awareness is not an issue).

Page 2 – Source and Sound Presentation.
Page 3 – Comparisons and Conclusions.

4 thoughts on “FiR Audio 5×5 (VxV) – Take 2

  1. Sorry for going off topic here, but I’m wondering what ever happened to the iBasso SR2 review you had in the works more than 6 months ago?

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    1. This 5×5 review is by Erik, he doesn’t have SR2. I (twister6) have SR2 but never got to it because I don’t know what to compare it to since I only review IEMs and DAPs. Animagus showed interest in these and he recently reviewed a few headphones already, so I will be shipping SR2 to him for review.

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  2. Hey mate would you be able to say how it compares to sony ier m9, how does timbre and tonality between the two and which one would do you prefer

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