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Head-Fi Buying Guide (In-Ear Headphones)
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[Review] Impressions of the Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS versus the SM3, FX700 and e-Q7 - Page 15post #211 of 2688/26/11 at 11:05amOn their way to the next destination!
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #212 of 2688/26/11 at 12:04pmThread Starter
Thanks for the heads up and for your excellent write-up, that I somehow (stupidly) missed earlier on.Quote:Originally Posted by shotgunshane
I’ve had a chance to spend a few days with the loaner FADS and put together a few thoughts. I decided to compare them with my Sony EX1000’s since they are the clearest, most transparent competitor I have. I must say that I really like the design of the FADS in chrome. They have an art deco 1950’s Americana look to them. Very classy.
Quantities are not too far off but the Sony’s do have more. I had to do volume matching as the FADS are a lot more efficient, so determining how much is difficult but I’d say the Sony’s have approximately 15% more. The Sony’s also have more bass weight and more easily display pieces with subtle bass but texture is really good on the FAD’s and surprisingly (for me) holds its own here. In fact I’d say the FADS may have better bass texture than the Westone 4’s dual bass drivers. (I say may b/c I’m going by memory on that one.)
The FADS mids are a little forward and distortion guitars have very good bite. Mids in general and vocals are extremely clear sounding. The Sony’s do not have the same bite for distortion guitars but are just as clear in vocals, which are not as forward as the FADS. I think vocals have neutral placement with the Sony’s and FADS are consequently a tad forward to me. I hear the same level of vocal detail between the two but the extra weight of the Sony’s sound provide for a more accurate vocal timbre and evoke more emotion.
The FADs treble is much more forward than the Sony’s and extends further. The FADS are overall clearer in their treble than the Sony’s. I didn’t expect that! Treble details are brought front and center for a very revealing presentation. In fact on some songs (not a majority) the treble can be too forward with cymbals and put their sound in front of everything else, producing a strange soundstage.
Soundstage, Instrument Separation & Dynamics –
The FADS are fairly wide but not very deep to me, as well as having excellent instrument separation. The Sony’s are wider and deeper but do not have the level of instrument separation of the FADS. Both can have spikes in treble at high volumes but I think the FADS fair better here without any blurring of instruments. The FADS have some of the best dynamics I’ve heard on a BA and are fast and snappy. I almost think they are a little too fast and their speed takes away from some emotion in slower or vocal focused songs but there is never any congestion.
Other thoughts –
The FADS sound really good with steel guitar (nice twang). Overall timbre falls short of the Sony’s and lack of bass weight and note thinness affects realism for me. For instance acoustic guitars sound very thin to me. The FADS have really good distortion guitar crunch and along with that do not have the romantic note presentation the Sony’s tend to have. Sadly the FADS do not much like the zo and no real benefit obtained.
All in all I’m pretty impressed that one armature can produce this kind of range and sound. They are the transparency kings as far as I’m concerned. That being said, the sound they produce is not really in the range of my preferences (thicker note, heavier bottom end) but I can certainly respect what they bring to the table. Thanks to James for giving me the opportunity to experience these!post #213 of 2689/11/11 at 2:08amQuote:Originally Posted by takoyaki7
Great review James!
I am also loving my FI-BA-SS and I agree with just about everything you say! Their clarity is pretty much unmatched and I do find them very "fun" too.
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
I also agree the aesthetics of these really have to be seen and felt in person. I just love how solid and classy they look and feel without being ostentatious.
in your review on FI-BA-SS you said you tested the e-q7's and you had the e-q5's for a brief moment. I was just wondering which one is better for Japanese female vocals the e-q5 or e-q7? Especially for music like Zard.
Edited by Love Music - 9/11/11 at 2:27ampost #214 of 2689/11/11 at 10:08amThread Starterpost #215 of 2689/11/11 at 2:11pmpost #216 of 2689/12/11 at 1:28amQuote:
Thanks. I decided that i am going with the e-q7s. I just ordered it from music acoustics Japan and should arrive next week. Excitingpost #217 of 2689/15/11 at 4:02pmpost #218 of 2689/15/11 at 11:04pm
Never was a fan of the eQ-7. I listened to it for more than a week or so and gave it to my brother. Surprisingly he said it was very good. Then after some months I got him the Westone 4 as birthday present (I was already using the UE18 Pro and the Westone ES5 custom mades so I don't bother with universals any more), and he shelved the eQ7 ever since. To me the eQ7's mids is coarse and harsh and the bass is shallow. Much like the SE530 which I disliked most. I prefer BAs to dynamics any day.post #219 of 2689/16/11 at 12:41amThread Starter
^ Well, the SE530 are triple-BAs and the e-Q7's are arguably closer to BAs than dynamics in technical terms.
That said, I don't perceive the e-Q7 as coarse and harsh, but agree that the Westone 4 are more refined.post #220 of 2689/21/11 at 12:23amQuote:
when i first opened my e-q7 playing from my j3 sounded good, in terms of clarity and sound reproduction is very realistic. But i used my ipod touch to burn in the earphone for around 11 hours and then played it again in my j3 and the sound all of a sudden became harsh and the seperation of instruments wasn't as good as before and sounded a bit muddled. I don't know is it just me or is it true but burn in only makes it sound better right?
Edited by Love Music - 9/21/11 at 12:25ampost #221 of 2689/21/11 at 3:02amThread Starterpost #222 of 2689/21/11 at 3:13ampost #223 of 2689/21/11 at 5:51ampost #224 of 2689/21/11 at 7:00ampost #225 of 2689/25/11 at 4:30pm
Okay, here we go! When a man is wrong he should quickly admit his mistake and come clean. So I am here to atone. At first brief hearing of the loaner FI-BA-SS I have to admit that I hated it (yes hated it!!...and I know those are strong words). There was just too much treble and not a bass (well, if there was enough bass or great mids, I couldn't get to it because the harsh shrill highs were just too unbearable for my ears - even more so than the EX1000). I listened to it one time and put it down - set in my mind to send it on to the next victim (if he can't take these type of highs like I can't). I made mention of this on another post and the good (but weird) Anax made comment that made sense: don't count them out yet without trying various tips. This, of course, is something I knew to do, but I was so shocked by the highs that I just mentally shut down in thinking I could ever like this FAD.
Well, today, while watching my beloved Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers, I decided to throw my one of my favorite tips on the FI-BA-SS (my Monster foam hybrids). WOW!!! Am I ever glad did that! First, coming straight out the last iPod Classic model on flat, we have bass. Wonderful clear bass. The mids are clear as window just drenched and wipe clean with Windex; and the highs are severly toned down. So, these now may be the best universal BAs I've ever heard (they definitely beat the W4 in most aspects except instruments separation), and I haven't heard any BA this transparent. Vocals and acoustic guitar are a joy to hear through the FI-BA-SS now. And electric guitars are wonderful too. Is it the best universal iem I've heard? I'm not quite ready to give it that status (drums are important instruments in my music enjoyment experience, and as much as love my newly purchased Sony MDR 7550, I still haven't heard drums replicated in a universal better than I have heard in the GR07). This FAD is definitely up there as one of the best universals I've heard, but it's not worth its $1,000 price tag in my humble opinion. Half that price, and I would consider purchasing as the most expensive universal that I would give a second thought to. Strings are marvelous and such beautiful decay! I think I would put them ahead of the W4, but just barely because the Westone does some things better than the FI-BA-SS (as I mentioned earlier about the instruments separation). But yes, this is one of the best universals I have heard, and pushes close to the quality in sound of my custom. I'm going to milk my enjoyment out of these until I have to send them on to the next.
Oh, yes, I find the FAD better sounding than the three high-end Sony iems (more energy in the sound basically), but the Sonys are still great. Again, the transparency and clarity in the FI-BA-SS are simply stunning!! Thank you James for the chance to hear these!!Return HomeBack to Forum: Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors
- [Review] Impressions of the Final Audio Design FI-BA-SS versus the SM3, FX700 and e-Q7
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