Pros: great detailed upper mids, quality bass (though not the highest quantity), excellent build quality
Cons: the edges of the shell's back might not be as comfortable for some
This is a Review of Fidue A63 in-ear hi-fi headphones. http://www.fidue.com/e_products_show/?id=16&big_id=2, available from Penonaudio: http://penonaudio.com/Fidue-A63 (currently on sale for $59).
With so many high quality in-ear headphones introduced recently for under $100, it becomes very difficult to make a decision which one to choose. For those who appreciate the quality of a sound, and you don't even have a to be an audiophile, the journey of finding that ONE end-game headphone is next to impossible. Therefore, you look for headphones with different unique signatures to compliment each other. With popularity of commercially driven v-shaped sound or balanced enhanced bass signature with slightly recessed mids, often you have to settle for something neutral if you want more focus on vocals. Unfortunately, that category often means sacrificing in bass. When I got a chance to test Fidue A63 in-ear headphones, right from the start I knew I have something different and unique. Here is what I discovered.
As I found with my previous review of Fidue A31s, this company pays very close attention to details of design down to their packaging. The outer sleeve of the box packaging had a very accurate description of the sound and design details, including specification, and even a story behind Fidue as a company. All this demonstrates a lot of pride this company takes in their product and a designer Benny Tan who stands behind it. With sleeve out of the way, you are presented with a classic black box with headphones under the magnetic flap, which kind of reminded me of HiFiMAN presentation. Beside headphones, included accessories are S/M/L pair of single flange tips and two pairs of double-flange tips, and also a quality velvet storage pouch with a spring closure.
Headphones themselves had a very unique look with a double aluminum housing with inner silver cylinder and outer bluish one with cutouts at the back of the shell. Though it had a very unique and sexy design, the edges of the cutout were a bit on a sharper side, but not to the point where I felt it hurting my ears. But since we all have a different ear anatomy, for those with smaller ears it could be a bit uncomfortable. There is also a vent at the base of the nozzle and a very hard to see another pinhole vent all the way at the back between overlapping pieces of aluminum design. I was very impressed with a solid strain relief, and clear R/L marking (on the shell itself) with a bump mark on the right strain relief which helps to identity these symmetrical earpieces even in a dark. Cable was soft, easy to manage, with braided wires inside of a thin flexible shield. Y-splitter and headphone jack had a similar cylindrical textured design, where headphone jack itself was slim and had a gold plated connector. Both y-splitter and headphone jack had a nice strain relief as well, though I was a bit surprised a cable cinch (chin slider) was nowhere to be found. It's not a deal breaker when wearing cable down, but might come handy using A63 wire up. In general, design and build quality was excellent!
I started my review by mentioning these have a unique sound quality, so here is more about it. Considering they have micro-dynamic drivers you would expect a more bass driven sound, but instead you get a surprise with a detailed mid-centric sound signature which is more typical for balanced armature drivers while still retaining some warmth of a dynamic driver. But make no mistake, you still get a nice bass with these! Not as extended down to a deep sub-bass level, you still get a noticeable low end rumble but of a lesser quantity. It works really well while adding some weight to mid-bass punch where surprisingly you do get a slam. I wouldn't put it exactly in bass-enhanced category, but it's definitely in quantity above neutral. Upper mids are very clear, detailed, upfront, and yet smooth and easy on your ears. Their power becomes especially evident when it comes to vocals and how well they stand out. Though I labeled these as mid-centric, the upper mids are balanced really well (against low end and treble) without being too much in your face. Treble has a nice sparkle and extension, and there is no sign of sibilance which is great for extended ear-fatigue free listening. Soundstage width/depth was definitely above average. A63 is easy to drive directly from DAP or a smartphone, and I actually found them to be quite forgiving even with some lower quality mp3s.
Overall, I really enjoyed the sound and the design of A63, and I think they complement nicely the sound of my other headphones. Without a doubt, they have an interesting design and a high quality build, but on top of that they also have a rather good sound quality for those who don't want to compromise with recessed mids quantity or weak bass to artificially "boost" mids. Here you have a nicely balanced sound with enhanced mids, something that is not as common with so many other headphones, and what makes A63 stand out from the crowd!
Here are the pictures.