Okay, Heaven IV in my ears right now...
Some Initial Thoughts (please reach for some condiments):
- This is the first China-made FAD, which may be cause for some consternation amongst people. The Y-split has a massive 'CHINA' stamped on it, without a neck cinch.
- Overall, the build is not too bad. The strain reliefs at least seem capable this time around, so people will be pleased with that, but it's not the kind of rock solid engineering people will see from the likes of Shure and Westone. I doubt FAD will ever roll out anything as utilitarian.
- There's that 'new car' rubber smell to the cables, which is kind of annoying, but I think so people might get a kick out of that (it'll make them slightly high, at least, with those polyaromatic hydrocarbons doing a number on the CNS).
- I'm not a fan of the outward angling of the cables. It looks nice from an aesthetic point-of-view, but on the practical side, it's not really great when it comes to ergonomics. I foresee using these earphones almost purely straight-down as opposed to over-the-ear.
- When the cables are worn straight-down, there is quite a bit of cable noise.
- Sound-wise, they're not a disappointment in that they sound quite nice. Good bass impact, good clarity, and smooth highs --- practically zero sibilance (especially compared to the A1/SS).
- However, by sealing up the BAM, the Heaven IV seems to have lost a little bit of the soundstage magic that FAD has long had with their products. Nevertheless, it still sounds excellent, and by pricing these more realistically as well, FAD is probably going to sell a lot of these.
- My initial impressions of the sound (and take this with a little bit of crystalline powder) hint to me that it's a Heaven S without the brassy resonance. I distinctively noticed less of the 'offensive' treble that some people hated about the Heaven A/SS. Details are quite present, which I found to be very pleasant. At the same time, it's a fairly forgiving sound as well. Perhaps it's that it's now a fully closed system, and it's easier to hear details.
- However, without that extra resonant sound and without the openness of the vented system, that distinct FAD flavor (i.e. coloration) is a bit diminished. The sound is now distinctively vanilla, rather than the usual polarizing sound that FAD is used to pulling off.
- Being in the financial reach of the majority of Head-fi members at less than $200, the Heaven IV might actually be the first FAD to gain mainstream acceptance.
As you can tell, I'm not exactly raving about the Heaven IV because I think it doesn't quite have that uniqueness that FAD is known for, but I do think it's a very respectable product, and is by far the most practical earphone FAD has churned out. To me, it feels like the perfect entry level FAD Heaven --- it'll hint at the Final Audio coloration, but will mostly stay a middle of the road IEM. As a company, Final certainly has been working on gaining mainstream acceptance, which, depending on your viewpoint, may or may not be a good thing. I just hope they can continue to churn out ostentatious, ludicrously-priced Piano Forte X-CCs and simultaneously make more practical products like the Heaven IV.
To be honest, I didn't find my impressions to be much different from this. But I found them bright and cold, not as much as the SS however.