First I would like to thank Robin at hifiheadphones for sending me this sample for review, I will write as honest a review possible, and these received more than 50hrs of burn-in, they smoothed out a bit so don't judge them straight out the box.
IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) > Heaven VI
IPod Classic 160gb (rockboxed) > Silver LOD > JDS Labs O2/Rhapsodio K2 (LME 49720NA) > Heaven VI
Driver Type: Custom made balanced armature
Cable Length: 1.2m
Weight: 17g per earpiece
Packaging, Build quality and Accessories:
Packaging is a cardboard box covered in a black shiny coating with a crocodile skin texture, it is odd but feels quite premium. Inside it is velvet covered foam and when you open the box you find the user manual and underneath a shiny metalcase, similar to cigarette cases. In this case you will find the IEM's and underneath the case are the extra tips.
Very well laid out box and packaging, premium feel for premium IEM's.
Build quality is excellent with a chrome copper one piece housing that feels very sturdy, although the gold coating will be prone to scratches I think that the hairline scratches they will pick up will actually add to the charm of the IEM's. The cable is brown and flat so it doesn't tangle, the strain relief on the 90 degree plug is sufficient, the y-split is nothing special, they come with a chin slider, and the strain relief in to the housing could be a bit more flexible.
Accessories included are few, you get a very nice metal carry case which has a mirror finish and Final engraved on to it, inside it is velvet to protect the IEM's, and you get some extra tips, S, M and L brown single flange tips that come in 2 different designs, you get the wide bore and smaller bore, are included. I would have liked to see some more tips, maybe some bi and triple flange tips.
Comfort, Isolation, Driver flex and Cable noise:
Comfort is very good, these can be worn straight down or over the ear, I found straight down the most comfortable and once you get a good seal they are comfy to wear for long periods of time. The housing is very thin so you can get deep insertion which means better isolation.
Isolation with deep insertion is good, they block out most outside noises and would be fine for public transport.
Driver flex is not present as they are single BA IEM's.
Cable noise is a bit annoying, the flat cable has some very present cable noise, using the chin slider does help somewhat but it would be nice if they just didn't have it in the first place.
For a single BA driver these pack some punch but they never overwhelm, staying controlled and fast throughout, but when you play some bass heavy music they suddenly come out of nowhere. They may not have the quantity for bass heads, but for normal listening they have the perfect presence to give a slightly warmer, lush sound which will have you bopping your head along to the beat. Quality wise they are excellent being well defined and separated, never bleeding in to the mids, they have a very natural tone to them and extension goes right down to around 30hz, from there they roll-off gently.
Slightly mid forward, but with the most natural presentation i have heard to date, stunning mids. Listening to Diana Krall in FLAC you can hear every detail rendered perfectly, every nuance, but never clinical or harsh. It sounds as if she's singing right in front of you as her vocals are so naturally portrayed. They don't throw detail at you, but every pluck of a guitar string, every breath a singer takes is heard. I hear you guys saying FAD IEM's sound organic, i now know why, I can honestly say i've never had an IEM that sounds so natural and real in timbre, and the only headphones that have interested me for a long time because of their natural sound are the Hifiman HE-6.
Sibilance is not present, as that went away within the first few hours of playing, smooth, natural, real and detailed are how i would sum up the mids on these.
Again natural and realistic like the rest of the sound. The highs are never too bright or harsh, and never become splashy, they are smooth and airy with great detail, but don't feed them bad quality recording as you will notice a difference, they are not ruthless as such, just good recordings and lossless do make a difference.
The highs are quick and snappy for snares, but also have perfect decay for cymbal crashes, they render everything well, and extend very well.
Soundstage , Imaging and Instrument separation:
Soundstage is also the widest of an IEM i've heard, the sound comes in from all around you, you get sucked in to the music, wide and deep.
Imaging is convincing and has great panning capabilities.
Instrument separation is excellent with good air between all the instruments.
Amping: Using the O2 amp, these can take all the power you throw at them, they are sensitive but do improve a lot with amping. With the O2 the lows became fuller but almost speaker like in presentation with a powerful kick and excellent body. The overall sound became cleaner and better defined with better separation and sparkle.
Well yu can guess I enjoyed these a lot, from the moment you open them you know they are going to be something special. Forget all the multi-BA IEM's, one well tuned BA driver can beat most of them.
These IEM's, my first from FAD, are excellent but come with a price, but once you listen to them, you dont care about the price as they just transport you to a world of incredibly natural music reproduction. Very impressive IEM's, from build quality to sound quality they succeed very highly.
Sound Perfection Rating: 9.5/10
Skrillex – First Of The Year (Equinox) (320kbps MP3)
Paramore – Franklin (320kbps MP3)
Diana Krall – The Girl In The Other Room (FLAC)
Deolinda – Passou Por Mim E Sorriu (live) (ALAC)
Suicide Silence – Unanswered (FLAC)
Massive Attack – Angel (ALAC)
Eat Static – Dzhopa Dream (ALAC)
The XX – Crystalised (FLAC)
Funeral For A Friend – Bend Your Arms To Look Like Wings (ALAC)
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man (FLAC)
The Scene Aesthetic – Humans (259kbps MP3)
A Hero A Fake – Swallowed By The Sea (254kbps MP3)
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring Allegro (ALAC)
Johnny Craig – Children Of Divorce (161kbps MP3)
Deadmau5 + Kaskade – I Remember (Caspa Remix) (320kbps MP3)
Black Uhuru – Utterance (ALAC)
We Are The In Crowd – Never Be What You Want (226kbps MP3)
Silverstein – Discovering The Waterfront (320kbps MP3)
Concept Of Thought – Our Thought (FLAC)
Nirvana – Something In The Way (Unplugged) (ALAC)