Originally Posted by Cecala
How does one go from extreme to extreme here?
Sorry if I speak in riddles. What I mean is this:
Objectively, the FA4 is a well-executed v-shape. I can see how people enjoy it. It's full of energy, if you want. Bass is clean, very clean! Treble is also smooth and mids are ok. Right now I see it as a welcome alternative to TF10 and PFE232.
"They are undoubtedly fine IEMs."
However, I do not see the FA4 as natural. At all. It's a fun sounding 'phone and due to the v-shape it's not only fatiguing but it provokes rumble and harshness. Mids are recessed and lack a bit of body, IMO.
I actually prefer the FA-3(E) (without XB) and thus, obviously, the SD2.
Thus: "... can be fatiguing with the amount of sub-bass."
I hope it's easier to understand now.
BTW, here's a pic of them worn.
Now as far as fun sounding phones go, I don't think the FA brings anything new to the table. After 30mins the highs wear me out. So personally I prefer some narrow bi-flanges. I will post pics later. If you tame the highs a bit, a lot of the separation and airiness dwindles leaving a flat soundstage. My guess is, if you boost bass and highs of FA3 with an EQ, you have the same result with a slightly lower separation. Maybe music_4321 was tricked by the forward highs?
I think what bothers me most, though, is that it reminds me very much of analytical BA phones. The presentation is dry.
My girlfriend - not knowing what FA is, what the FA4 costs, what technology is inside, not knowing my personal opinion - just told me that they sound flat and not musical. She is very accustomed to my SD2, though, which she grabs every chance she gets. (Which is the reason I bought the SD2 again after selling them since my 'soon to be' custom Stage 3 probably annihilates any neutral universal out there.)
As for SD3 vs FA4, here is what I think:
The StageDiver has far superior build. The FA doesn't even have the nozzle covered and dirt and ear wax can just fall inside the housing. This is a serious issue.
I have also posted a picture of my girlfriend wearing the SD in another thread - the StageDiver fits us both perfectly. I have no issues with the FA but my gf says they are less comfortable and it kinda shows if you compare both pictures.
The SD3 is not fatiguing although in quantity it has much more bass. Yet it feels tighter and bigger at the same time. Soundstage of SD3 is huge - it is still the biggest I have heard among any universal. The FA4 does not come close!
The bass and highs of FA4 are cornering me and pushing me to a wall. The SD3 feels more open and like it has infinite space in any direction.
This recording (LSO - Carmina Burana) also shows better separation in the chorus even though SD3 has recessed highs.
So, unfortunately, the FA leaves me unimpressed whereas the SD3 still can wow me. But do not mistake - the SD3 is not suitable for Classical music!
As I see it, only one of the two pushed boundaries this year.
If anybody wants, I can come back with objective impressions (without comparing to either SD) in a few days. I don't have to share if you don't want, I just wanted to silence my personal curiosity of this IEM and what Fischer Amps has to offer.
I do not want to talk the FA4 bad! My expectations and requirements have increased a lot since I spent some time with the Stage 3 (do not confuse with StageDiver 3).
I remember a time when I enjoyed the HJE900. No doubt the FA4 would have knocked me out my boots back then - but currently there are other IEMs that come closer to my personal ideal (neutral and fun).