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[Review] Impressions of the Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS versus the SM3, FX700 and e-Q7 - Page 2

post #16 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

No offense, but I don't think that in a critical review like this you can evaluate these IEMs out of portable source like Sansa Clip or Cowon whatever.


I disagree with this one. Most of these IEMs will be used out of a portable device much of the time, so impressions on how they perform with typical sources is important. Like testing cars out at the track - it's nice to know what the car's peak performance is like, but if it's a road car then road use performance will be just as important. However, if you have a issue with a specific combination (e.g. I remember some Sonys have a treble emphasis with some IEMs, so if someone says a Sony+IEM combo has shrill highs it might not be the IEM's fault) that's a very legitimate point. 

 

My view is that rather than viewing these review as a scientific guide to transducers' top performance under ideal conditions, reviews are useful as subjective views under typical use conditions. 


Edited by Ypoknons - 7/25/10 at 1:35am
post #17 of 268

This is one of the review that I really enjoy reading in a long time. Perhaps once I get my custom, I can consider the SS, if it's really cleaner sounding than the sm3. But then again I need isolation. How is the isolation of the SS? Is it much better than the FX-700?

post #18 of 268

Once again your review has spark my interest. FAD = HD e-Q7? If that's the case it makes it even harder for me to resist despite its hefty price tag.

post #19 of 268

Excellent review James.

post #20 of 268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pianist View Post

No offense, but I don't think that in a critical review like this you can evaluate these IEMs out of portable source like Sansa Clip or Cowon whatever. Also, all IEMs should be equipped with custom tips to prevent fit issues which may significantly degrade sound quality.


I couldn't disagree more.

post #21 of 268
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by takoyaki7 View Post

Have you tried them with complys? I use the gray 400s. I find those do an excellent job of keeping them in the ears on the move, and also calm down the treble just a bit, but I do like the stock tips too. I am curious to try your method too


Hi, thanks again takoyaki, I've not tried complys, but I've tried de-cored Shure olives which are also made of foam. I agree they calm down the treble a bit, but the difference to my ears is minor. The main reason why I'm sticking with silicons is that they're much easier to put in when I'm on the move.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by koonhua90 View Post

This is one of the review that I really enjoy reading in a long time. Perhaps once I get my custom, I can consider the SS, if it's really cleaner sounding than the sm3. But then again I need isolation. How is the isolation of the SS? Is it much better than the FX-700?


Thanks koonhua, the FI-BA-SS are really extremely clean. Regarding isolation, there's a short section about that in my (admittedly long) review. I think Final Audio have accomplished a perfect compromise between openness (vents in the back) and decent isolation. They isolate much better than the FX700, it's really no comparison.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by helljudgement View Post

Once again your review has spark my interest. FAD = HD e-Q7? If that's the case it makes it even harder for me to resist despite its hefty price tag.

 

They share very similar sound signatures IMO, more than any two of my other IEMs. It really makes me wonder whether the FAD's ultra-wide frequency balanced armature driver has some affinity to the Ortofon's moving armature. There's slightly more bass rumble with the e-Q7, but bass impact and texture are very similar. The FAD's mids are a bit less forward than the e-Q7's and the highs are a bit more forward and extended, making them slightly more agressive with certain material. Yet the most striking difference is refinement and detail resolution where the FI-BA-SS win hands down. That's why I used the catch phrase HD e-Q7 and I believe takoyaki thought about the same when he compared them.

post #22 of 268

I really wonder how do the final audio dynamic driver series sound compared to this. Anyone has the chance to hear both of them?

post #23 of 268
Thread Starter 

^ I have them both. Those are in fact the "other FADs" I was speaking of, the 1601 model. I gave a link in my review, but it seems to be broken, so here's another try:

wow-the-final-audio-design-fi-dc1601sb-also-known-as-don-t-go-to-yodobashi-lol/120#post_6345362

(is it only me or is this new hyperlink system somehow messy?)

 

In short and to my ears: no comparison. The DD model has a lot of issues, the BA one almost none.

post #24 of 268

Do you mind if I ask you where do you buy the BA-SS from? I checked out pricejapan.com, and it is like a ¥100,000 there, which is near $1200, which is more than the price that I paid for the jh earphone. If it's 700-800, I can still give it some consideration, but at this price, I'd sit back and enjoy my FX-700, while waiting for the custom iem to come.

 

Another thing, I read in takoyaki7's impression that the DDM has better depth than the BA-SS (link here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/493538/fad-final-audio-designs-fi-ba-ss-mini-review-initial-impressions/15#post_6662473 ), what do you think about this? Is there anything special in the imaging and soundstage of the BA-SS that is better than those on the sm3/fx?

 

I noticed you mentioned about the slight harsh treble on it, and I also saw that mentioned in takoyaki7's impression. Is that still an issue after some time of listening/burning in? Since you said that it's highly analytical, would you say that it's 'Etymotic'-like?

post #25 of 268

it's about $1150 on Amazon and Tenso so price is around there

post #26 of 268

^ Well, at almost 3 times the price of the sm3, I'd expect nothing less than near perfection. 

post #27 of 268

At that price range, it seems like they should be compared with top-tier Custom IEMs. Perhaps the JH-13, JH-16, UE 18, etc. Unless the FI-BA-SS can compete with these headphones, it seems like a small market.

post #28 of 268

Well I remember the previous thread about FAD started by bender or someone and shigzeo mentioned that they aren't marketed towards people like us but a totally different and even more a niche market that this one.

post #29 of 268
Thread Starter 

@koonhua, nothing wrong with sitting back and enjoying your FX700! In fact they are still my favourite bedtime phones, because their isolation is just too little for commuting and on the other hand I'm reluctant to use the FI-BA-SS while laying down. Btw afaik you have the JH16 coming, so if I were you I'd wait for them before even considering the FADs. If the JH16 turn out to surpass the FX700 in every single aspect then the FADs should be no longer of interest to you, because they are not that better.

 

As for the rest of your questions, I believe they have all been already answered in my review. I did order from Pricejapan as stated and of course paid their asking price. I don't think there's much chance to get a niche phone like this discounted.

 

Concerning depth, the FI-BA-SS' soundstage is about the same as the e-Q7's, yet they are airier and more open sounding due to their vents. The FX700 are even more open sounding and closest to full sized phones, but this comes at the cost of isolation. And treble is like I described it in my listening notes, I did the auditions after two weeks of heavy use during which (as stated) I noticed a bit of softening, but not sure if that was only due to better fit/placebo/brain burn-in.

 

Those who have been following my posts here over the years know that I tend to be rather sceptical and cautious in my assessment of new phones. I also would have preferred to wait a bit longer this time, but that would have meant to compare the loaner SM3s from memory, because they are going back to their owner this week. On the other hand (like I already said) the FADs have not been changing significantly during the first two weeks and I have no reason to assume they'll change in the future. 

 

As for perfection, I've yet to hear a 100% perfect pair of phones, but experience and instinct both tell me that these tiny FADs are a very special piece of equipment. While listening to my favourit classical pieces I get so enthralled at times that I literally have to take a break because I can hear my own heart throbbing and interfering with the music. Of course that's no basis for recommending a phone, lol.

 

Speaking of which, so far I feel reasonably confident recommending these IEMs for lovers of the e-Q7 who are looking for an upgrade in the same veign. Likewise also for CK10 lovers who strive for slightly better timbre and a bit more low end. But that's about it for now. And of course the FAD's hefty price tag doesn't mean that they are 5 times better than the aforementioned phones. But neither have these been 10 times better than the Soundmagic PL30, at least not to my ears.

post #30 of 268

^ Thanks for your reply. Seems like I should wait till the x-jays come out. Basically, I want something with slightly more forward mid than fx, and that's less warm sounding than sm3. I am still putting this on consideration though.

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