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FitEar F111 — Impressions, Reviews & Discussion (previously TO GO! 111)

post #1 of 835
Thread Starter 

First off, a HUGE thanks to tomscy2000 for being ever so alert and always looking out for new, often exciting and not infrequently innovative offerings in the world of IEMs. It was through his TO GO! 334 thread that I first became aware of the FitEar F111, which was then called TO GO! 111.

 

However, the above thread has mostly been focusing on the TO GO! 334, so I thought it was time to start a dedicated FitEar F111 thread. I will be adding links to reviews and/or relevant impressions to this post (see below). Here's a link to the FitEar F111 page (in Japanese).

 

I'd like to ask those posting here to try and keep on topic as much as possible so that those visiting (and posting on) this thread can benefit from the contents of it.
 


 

Review of F111 & comparisons to Westone 4 and Grado GR10 by HeroicPenguin:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/661625/review-fitear-f111-westone-4-and-grado-gr10-a-beautiful-midrange

 

 

Impressions by music_4321:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-to-go-111-appreciation-discussion-and-reviews-thread-aka-fitear-f111#post_8542073

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-to-go-111-appreciation-discussion-and-reviews-thread-aka-fitear-f111#post_8542962

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-to-go-111-appreciation-discussion-and-reviews-thread-aka-fitear-f111#post_8544821

 

Impressions by Omphalopsychite:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/270#post_9360379
http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/285#post_9363118

 

Intitial Impressions by audionewbi:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/315#post_9418212

 

Video review by luisdent: http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/720#post_9806742

 

Impressions by luisdent:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/645#post_9690256

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/660#post_9699837

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/675#post_9710105

http://www.head-fi.org/t/619034/fitear-f111-impressions-reviews-discussion-previously-to-go-111/705#post_9716236

 


 

A few photos of the F111 and ALL accessories:

 

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Edited by music_4321 - 9/16/13 at 1:18am
post #2 of 835
Care to share what comes with the 111s? Wondering if it's the same package as the 334s. smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 835
Thread Starter 
^  See photos above I've just uploaded. Apart from the IEMs themselves, that's all you get (see last photo). You don't get a 1010 Pelican case like you do with the 334s.

 


 

Initial Impressions

 

Right -- got these earlier today and have spent about one hour already listening to the 111s. I have to say that I'm impressed, very impressed.

A few observations:

--- My 4G iPod Touch drives the 111s very well --this was one of my concerns-- so absolutely no issues there.

--- Cable is microphonic, but wearing them over the ears reduces microphonis significantly, though a Westone type cable remains less microphonic. Unilke the Westone & Ultimate Ears memory wire which can be bothersome for some --never was for me, BTW-- the FitEar's memory wire is much better, you truly don't feel there is a wire there somewhere, that part of the IEM is very, very flexible.

--- Excellent strain relief at the jack, very glad FitEar use an L-shaped plug, which has always been my favourite. Beefy cable form the Y-split down, rather thin (like the FI-BA-SS cable) from the Y-split up, but feels strong -- besides, the 111s have a removable cable, so no major worries there.

--- The housings don't stick out as I thought they might, and I guess many people could easily sleep with these IEMs on (not me, though, as I don't tend to do that). These IEMs are incredibly comfortable -- I'm using the stock medium silicone tips.

First sonic impressions:

--- Wonderfully flat. Smooth treble --smoother than I thought-- and definitely not recessed.

--- These IEMs are about the midrange, in my view --I'm a 'mids-head', and this was the MAIN reason I bought the 111s-- and what I'm hearing in the midrange is quite impressive. All I can say is that it's the sort of midrange that simply sounds right, very right, precise, present, clear, not lush (hate the term, really), but not thin or dry, seems only boringly --yet wonderfully-- natural. FANTASTIC to these ears.

--- Bass is flat, lovely, really --dare I even say delicate?-- understated perhaps but most definitely present, and no, no need to try hard look for it (though if coming from bassier phones that may indeed be the case), but it just draws no attention to itself -- bassheads or those with so-called sub-bass and/or mid-bass preferences better look elsewhere. I've never liked the cliched phrase "X IEM/phone presents bass when called for it", as I think any phone will present more bass if the recording in question is more bass-heavy. So, in that sense, the 111 obviously allows the listener to hear and feel more bass when it is there in the recording, but even bass-heavy music will not rattle your ears. However, this remains a BA type bass, ie I still find that timbre-wise and impact-wise dynamic drivers do have the edge over BA drivers. BUT, make no mistake, the bass on the 111s (and FI-BA-SS & Heaven-S) is very, very competent.

--- This IEM is not exciting in the normal sense of the word --and many people thinking of spending this kind of money would most likely be fairly disappointed because of the lack of 'excitement'-- but its neutrality is remarkably exciting to these ears. The midrange really takes the cake without a shadow of a doubt. Without this being necessarily a midcentric IEM, the way the low & high frequencies take a backseat, so to speak, allows for quite a stunning midrange presentation.

Much like I felt with the Heaven-S and FI-BA-SS, to think that a single BA-based phone is capable of such refined sound is absolutely remarkable and just goes to show, in my not so humble view, that more drivers definitely does not necessarily get you better SQ.

I'll spend more time with the To GO! 111s and will pay more attention to dynamics, imaging, speed, timbre, etc. All I can say for now is that the tonal balance of the 111s is simply superb. If the Etymotic ER4S sounds (very) close to this, I can fully understand now why they are a revered IEM.

Hats off to FitEar for creating an 'unimpressively' brilliant-sounding IEM. .

post #4 of 835
Oh man... They should at least come with the pelican case. The soft netted case feels good but I'm not sure about it's protective values. Should I still get the 111s even though I already have the 334s?
post #5 of 835

Any idea of the impedance? If not given, could you measure the resisitance at the plug. It would give us clue to what they chose as load on the 7 ohm driver.

post #6 of 835

I'm more concerned about the length and diameter of the sound bore. The biggest reason why I went custom was that my left ear never fits right for IEMs because its insertion angle and bend is very specific. My ear canals are also somewhat narrow. My biggest concerns are with the fit, but it definitely looks much better than the fit of the ER4. Absolutely zero concern regarding sound signature (I know I'll love it) or driveability (even the ER4S/B aren't that hard to drive if people don't listen at eardrum bursting levels).

post #7 of 835
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post

Any idea of the impedance? If not given, could you measure the resisitance at the plug. It would give us clue to what they chose as load on the 7 ohm driver.

 

Sorry, no idea, and no information provided, which, I have to admit, is very odd. I've no means of testing the resistance at the plug, either, I'm afraid. Don't know if this is of any use to you, but the 111s are not hard to drive AT ALL. They can get pretty loud on my Touch (not the EU volume-capped version, BTW, mine was purchased in the USA).

 

------------------------------------

 

Apologies for the following but this one (live) track is rendered very accurately and beautifully by the 111s -- excellent dynamics!

 

post #8 of 835
Thread Starter 

Further impressions:

The 111s have the best treble I've ever heard -- flawless, quite smooth for what is, in affect, a very detailed, transparent IEM, absolutely never harsh--not even at higher volumes-- with just the right amount of sparkle & shimmer, and there is indeed sparkle and shimmer.

Although I am personally addicted to the Piano Forte IX's midrange and lower treble/upper mids --and I'm still unable to adequately describe the mids and the whole Piano Forte IX presentation, which is unlike any other IEM I've heard and has me still quite puzzled and deeply fascinated-- I do know for a fact the 111's mids are simply stellar, solid, (near) impeccable, with no enhancements of any sort that I can detect.

Detail retrieval on the 111s is excellent and seems effortless -- then again, I've been listening to three very revealing and airy phones for the last 6 months (FI-BA-SS, Heaven-S & K3003s) so the 111s don't seem to me to be that analytical, but they are indeed an analytical phone, but in a VERY good way -- I can decide to analyse, dissect what I'm hearing, yes, but I, personally, can easily get lost in the music, all things coming together quite naturally and effortlessly.

One thing that is noteworthy about the 111s is just how cohesive it all sounds, transitions along the whole frequency range are smooth, seamless -- some may think this should be pretty obvious as the 111 is a single BA IEM, but these transitions seem as if they flowed somewhat more naturally from one freq to another and back again. Been listening to some classical music, particularly some of my favourite string quartets in the last couple of hours and it becomes more evident in this sort of music. I guess that's why, apart from the (hybrid) K3003, most of my favourite IEMs are single-driver-based phones, DDs or BAs (PF IX, 1601SS, FI-BA-SS, Heaven-S, EX1000).



Another very curious aspect I've found is that I expected music to sound more closed-in --more in your head, so to speak-- but it doesn't, or perhaps, at least, my brain seems quite capable of creating a fairly decent soundstage. The subject of the perception of soundstage has always interested me, and it is one of those areas where people seem to have very divergent views -- I tend to find claims of a very wide soundstage, along with descriptions such as "3D" often quite exaggerated, as well as some who describe things as too "in your head' or claustrophobic. This, I often find depends more on the type of recording, but there's more to it than that, like vented IEMs and several psychological aspects, but suffice to say that the 111 sounds fairly open for a non-vented (BA) phone.

post #9 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by palestofwhite View Post
Should I still get the 111s even though I already have the 334s?

 

Hm. Having heard both, and owning the 111s, I'd say you'll be using the 334s more often enough that the 111s would be sitting idle mostly.

 

Don't get me wrong, I love my 111s but the 334s are hard to beat.


Edited by gkanai - 7/18/12 at 11:44pm
post #10 of 835

I'm considering getting my own Pelican 1010 case and just making a foam bed for my 111s.

 

music_4321, have you owned the ER-4S or 4P?

 

We need someone who currently has a ER-4S to compare it with a TG! 111.


Edited by gkanai - 7/18/12 at 11:56pm
post #11 of 835
Quote:
Originally Posted by gkanai View Post

I'm considering getting my own Pelican 1010 case and just making a foam bed for my 111s.

 

music_4321, have you owned the ER-4S or 4P?

 

We need someone who currently has a ER-4S to compare it with a TG! 111.

Too bad I don't have the 111s to compare. I do own the ER6i and ER4P/S till they broke. As far as I can remember, this Etymotic sound brought me into this audio business. I love ER4S out of the iQube. Argh... good times... But you're right about buying the 111s and I'll be using the 334s more.

 

I suppose the Pelican case comes with rubbered walls. Don't see the need to put foam inserts unless you buy the version with clear front cover.

post #12 of 835
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gkanai View Post

I'm considering getting my own Pelican 1010 case and just making a foam bed for my 111s.

 

music_4321, have you owned the ER-4S or 4P?

 

We need someone who currently has a ER-4S to compare it with a TG! 111.

 

I'm afraid I haven't. I'd been wanting to try the ER-4P/S for about 10 years and have nearly pulled the trigger at least 5 times, but I do know for a fact that I would have serious fit issues, as the Etymotic fit (read: deep, deep insertion required to get optimum SQ) would hurt my ears. Also, I've nearly always had comfort issues with bi/tri-flange tips AND foam tips..

post #13 of 835
Thread Starter 

Just added a few photos to the first post..

post #14 of 835

That sound tube seriously looks gorgeous.

post #15 of 835
Thread Starter 

OK, I got the following question from a HF friend last night. I'm sure he won't mind my posting it here, and my reply to it, as I thought his was a very valid question:

HF friend: "How is the note thickness in them? My biggest complaint as you get closer to neutral is the note starts to thin out…"

My response: "Good question and a rather tricky one at that, as that is an area where you might get differing views. Here's how I hear things: as close to perfect as it can get for an IEM of this nature, or any nature for that matter. The EX1000s, to these ears, sounded thinner in the midrange, though the Sony's bass is practically unparalleled. However, the 111s strike a great balance between a flat-ish low end and stunning midrange which transitions beautifully into higher frequencies and back to lower freqs. There definitely is authority to the midrange and I'd never describe it as thin, but there's no mid-bass to (slightly) lift the lower midrange that generally helps with the perception of note thickness. The details --and quality of sound-- you get from the mid & upper bass up to the low & mid treble is absolutely remarkable and just wonderful, really.

I'm sure that didn't really answer your question, but that's the best I can come up with."

 

I'd like to add that, as I've been listening more to the most EXCELLENT 111s, there is indeed bass presence on them -- it'd be wrong to call the 111s bass-light, but the bass does not 'insist' on being heard, it's not fighting for the right to be 'king', but at the same time it would be wrong to say the bass happily lies in the background. And extension is very good, and with excellent texture. However, when compared to the one and only bass performance of the EX1000, I haven't yet heard and IEM that has the extension, and magnificent texture & timbre of the EX1000's bass -- the K3003 often comes very close --and at times seems to even match it-- but that certainly was one of the EX1000's strong suits, extraordinary bass without ever being boomy, bloated, sloppy or uncontrolled and never bleeding into the midrange.

 

On busy passages the 111 has the uncanny ability to remain a very solid performer and extract all manner of details, it seems to keep up in said complex passages with aplomb. It almost feels as if on very busy passages the 111 felt quite at home (!), ie "no problem, go on, give it to me baby, I can handle that", and it bloody does. The EX1000, and even my excellent ES3X, just can't/couldn't do that, or not so effortlessly.

 

There's absolutely no question in my mind I would take the 111 over my $850 customs (ES3X), W4, UM3X, TF10, CK100, UM2, & W3 in a heartbeat (not even worth mentioning the SE355, SE530, CK10 or SM3 as I found those rather poor sounding, particularly the Earsonics). I'd also take the 111 over the one and only brilliant EX1000 because of the 111's rendering of mid and high frequencies, which are simply more accurate --true(er) to life-- and refined. I haven't yet done a direct comparison between the 111s & the pretty stunning FI-BA-SS but the FAD faces some serious competition -- I do know they both present music rather differently, the FAD being a fairly --and 'shamelessly'-- raw IEM, but in a very good way (at least to me), in an sort of very child-like, direct manner, and I'm inclined to believe that at such high SQ level of performance, it ultimately comes down to one's own preferences. I'm just very glad I can afford to keep both.

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