Pros: Balance, Clarity, Soundstage and hint of Sweet Mids, Great Fit
Cons: Price, Limited Distribution Channels, Limited Resale Value
As nicely explained by Victor in his review of the same CIEM, this is the previous flagship model from FitEar. In fact, unless you are married to the emphasised bass of the MH335DW, this would still be top of the line for anyone looking for a balanced sound.
I have had the C435 since August this year. I ordered on 7th August and delivery was on last week of August. It took just over 2 weeks. I was impressed!
The C435 is a 4 way crossover configuration, 5 drivers (2 highs, 2 mids 1 low woofer) Custom In-Ear Monitor.
Initial Impressions during Demo
I must confess that Claire from Jaben, Singapore, had suggested this to me when I was first looking for a CIEM. I had fears about acrylic CIEMs after hearing horror stories about bad fits and the discomfit of having acrylic CIEMs. I ended up getting the ACS T1 as my first CIEM because it is silicon and therefore was an easier entry point in terms of comfort.
Once I had gotten used to the idea of something embedded into my ear, I tried out Wilson's personal C435 (who owns Jaben). What I will say is that I was gobsmacked: how can such a clear, balanced and complex sound be coming out of a small little bit of acrylic?
As a background, I have practically all the TOTL headphones: LCD 2 & 3, HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, Hifiman HE-500, Fostex TH900, plus all the wooden Grados (save for the PS1000) and most of the Final Audio Design earphones. Hence, you can understand why I was shocked that an IEM could be so clear, balanced and yet so vivid. It forced to me re-assess the way I thought about CIEMs and IEMs generally.
The build quality of the Fitear C435 (as with all their CIEMs) is fantastic - beautiful acrylic. The shells are then filled in with acrylic and hence have a hefty solid feel about them. I suspect that this solidness has a position impact on the timbre of the music - the same way that the ACS T1s sounds as it does with its silicon.
The only catch with this method of builidng is that I don't think you can go for a reshell. Further, while the connectors that are used are very solid, they are not the common ones which means that you may be more limited in your choice of after-market cables.
Comfort and Isolation
The C435 is, as with all Fitears, incredibly well fitting. I can pop it in and out with just one hand. And yet when it is in, I don't notice it is there even if I wear it most of the day.
The isolation offered by the C435 is fantastic. I suspect it has to do with the fact that it is solid because the shell has been filled up. I have used it on quite a few flights on both Airbus and Boeing: no issue at all - blocks out more than 95% of the noise. :D
I have a very wide repertoire of music in my collection: all the way from Tallis Scholars (medieval church music) to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra to Lee Ritenour to Diana Krall, Alison Krauss, Stacey Kent, Adele to Chinese pop to Popera to K-pop.
What I do like about the C435 is that it handles all these genres without batting an eyelid. While I have heard that if your music is focused on pop or rock music, then you may want to give the C435 a miss. I don't think anyone is saying that the C435 sounds terrible with pop or rock, but rather that it is not optimal - probably the Private 333 or MH334 or TG334 is a better choice.
I can honestly say that I can have my DAPs run on shuffle and not have to worry about the music coming out sounding anything less than stellar.
While the C435 may not make all genres sound spectacular, it will render all of them truly and clearly. It is pretty much transparent and balanced.
The C435 is amazingly balanced. The trebles are extended, the mids are just a bit sweet and lush, the bass is nice and tight. And it is incredibly clear with a big soundstage.
If you listen to singers like Alison Krauss, Stacey Kent, Sarah McLachlan, you will appreciate how smooth the C435 is as it can render their voices without a hint of sibilance and oh so clearly. You will be able to hear the voices of angels without wincing.
The C435 is currently still top dog even though I have some very good IEMs and CIEMs.
I currently run it with either Toxic Cable's Virus or Crystal Piccolino cable, depending on whether I want to emphasise the lushness of the mids or I want a clean smooth sound. I am still awaiting the arrival of the Toxic Cable Black Widow which I believe will add lushness to the sound.
I have no real preference what I run it with: usually it is the HM-901 when I am in the office and the AK120 when I am travelling.
Whilst I have some other Fitears and some really excellent IEMs, this remains the IEM I reach out for when I need balance and clarity - it is my default IEM. I suspect it will remain so even if I were to get more IEMs or CIEMs.