Pros: Alas! A basshead's IEM, brought justice!
Cons: Yet another Frankenstein-esque design, which I can live with, but can't say I prefer to.
Disclaimer #1: In my experience, I've come to discover that the term basshead is tossed around very loosely, and (more often than not) carries a negative connotation, when that need not be the case. Where I'm concerned, such terms must be put into context. As I've used it here, the term basshead merely implies a listener who admires (and/or maybe even prefers) a moderate to heavy bass lift. That, of course, says absolutely nothing about the quality of bass, as some of us are far more concerned with quality than others. I believe it's no mystery then, when I've made it clear that the FXZ200 is, in my honest opinion, a basshead's IEM done right!
Disclaimer #2: While this is hardly a review, think of it as merely a collection of my personal, preliminary thoughts behind JVC's newly released HA-FXZ200, which I acquired via Amazon.jp, with the help of Tenso's forwarding service. After nearly 30 hours of use, my impression is as follows:
1) Compared to the sound of the FXZ200 straight out of the box, versus 30 hours in, and testing them under the EXACT same conditions (same source, same AMP/DAC, and same track), is there an appreciable change/improvement in their sound?
Yes, there is an appreciable change. But, the key word here is appreciable. IMHO, the thread is plagued with confusion, with some listeners questioning whether or not these are basshead IEM's (was there ever any doubt?), while others still claiming that the bass isn't overemphasized (), etc. Personally speaking, I can't imagine for the FXZ200 to be characterized as anything OTHER THAN a basshead's IEM, and to claim otherwise is, in my opinion, misleading to the reader(s) or prospective buyer(s) out there. In any case, I'll say this much. While the low end does seem to convey more control and sound less obtrusive overall, said change/improvement is heavily exaggerated, and hardly day and night, at least up until the 30 hour mark. The latter claims I'd have to attribute to brain burn-in, where the listener is merely becoming more and more acclimated to the FXZ200's sound signature.
2) Would I recommend the FXZ200?
Yes and no. Why yes? I've said it before, and I'll say it time and time again; the FXZ200 is the epitome of a basshead's IEM, brought justice & done right! Why no? Because I don't think the FXZ200 is nearly as versatile as, say, the e-Q5, EX600, PFE1xx, GR07 MK II (among others). Sure, the FXZ200 does cater to the audiophile, but most importantly, it caters to the basshead, in the audiophile, and that's my true one statement summary of the FXZ200. So, for those listeners wanting the best damn basshead IEM around, the FXZ200 will be welcomed with open arms. In fact, with the right track, the FXZ200 has a tendancy to bring out the closet basshead in us all. It's no jack-of-all-trades, but it IS the best bass-heavy IEM I've owned, to date. Yes, even above the MG7, FX700, and Miles Davis Trumpet & Tribute (all of which I've previously owned).
3) The big question; is the FXZ200 worth it?
That's entirely relative, of course. For me, since I was merely in search of a bass-heavy alternative to my GR07 MK II and FI-BA-SS, I'd have to say yes. On the other hand, if I was in search of a versatile IEM, capable of handling any genre, the FXZ200 would fall short of my list of recommendations. But, to someone who primarily listen to genres where a bass-heavy sound signature is desired, the FXZ200 is simply high and above the competition.
Furthermore, I hope my good friend james444 doesn't mind me sharing the following, which I'll quote below, directly from a PM james and I exchanged recently. When I came across james' review of Sennheiser's newly announced IE800, I couldn't help but think that his description of the IE800 was almost word for word, perfectly befitting of the FXZ200. And I quote:
The above statements, which I've shown in red and bold, are WORD FOR WORD, EXACTLY how I'd describe the FXZ200. With the exception of whatever isn't in bold, it's almost as though james' was describing the FXZ200's.
It'll be interesting to see comparisons between the two within the coming weeks/months. Meanwhile, I'll update my FXZ200 impressions as is necessary, and where appropriate. Feel free to PM me with any questions. Oh, and Happy New year guys and gals!
Lastly, a word from JVC, with regard to the drivers and technology implemented in the FXZ200 (translated to English). (Click to show)
HA-FXZ200/100 using a newly developed "LIVE BEAT" system, designed to take into account the strong low-frequency and high-resolution high-frequency. The system consists of a woofer and two treble unit.
Woofer diameter of 8.8mm, diaphragm carbon fiber material, the unit uses a Kelton-type speaker design, closed with a metal shell constructed acoustic space, through the draft tube specially designed to attenuate the audio above 100Hz, which lead to a more realistic, pure low frequencies.
In the high frequency part consists of two parallel arrangement of 5.8mm diameter neodymium magnet driver unit responsible for the above unit "carbon nanotubes" diaphragm following unit uses a carbon fiber diaphragm material, in order to obtain higher resolution in the high-frequency.
Oh, and a little something for the listeners...