FAAEAL Iris

General Information

15.4mm driver
Diaphragm:PET
Coil:Daikoku
Magnet:Rubidium Iron Boron / (RbFeB)
Sensitivity:106db
Unit diameter:15.4mm
Frequency Response Range:20-20KHZ
Vocalism Principle:Dynamic

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Pros: amazing price/performance = very high value
mid-bass quantity, speed, tightness and texture
sub-bass tightness, texture and quantity (not rumble, but the punch)
forward female vocals
very natural male vocals
extremely big soundstage
high detail reproduction
very good instrument separation
very good timbre
airy treble
cable thickness, should be quite durable
Cons: few accessories (only 2 pairs of full foams)
non-replaceable cable
want more rumble and better extension
maybe a bit lesser upper-mids would make it less fatiguing
Stiff cable
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Disclaimer: I bought this at my own expense during the 2020 April sale.

Disclaimer 2: This is the commemorative edition.

Price: Around 5-7 usd (bought at 5,45 usd)

Specifications:

Wire Material: OFC

Cable diameter: 2.5mm/1.8mm

Plug: 3.5mm

Mic: Optional

Diaphragm:PET

Coil:Daikoku

Magnet:Rubidium Iron Boron / (RbFeB)

Sensitivity:106db

Unit diameter:15.4mm

Frequency Response Range:20-20KHZ

Vocalism Principle:Dynamic

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Accessories:

Pouch

2 pairs of full foams

Clip-on

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Cable: It is a 4-core cable but since it is wrapped by another material it is essentially a 2-core cable. It is a bit stiff but divider/connector (made of metal) and cable thickness isn’t thin so it is quite good.

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Build: The build itself is made entirely out of plastic but it does not feel like “cheap” plastic. Non-detachable cable so that is a con for me.

Fit: It fits me good, not too big or too small for me.

Comfort: Being an earbud it doesn’t go into your ear canal so that means that there is less physical contact between the bud and your ears. So, there is not much heat generated and comfort is very good.

Isolation: None, it is an earbud after all.

Setup: Ibasso DX160 (low gain, volume around 44), stock cable, stock full foams

Lows: Not a lot of rumble in the sub-bass but it is present. Bass is overall very tight, fast, textured and clean. No bleed into the mids either.

Mid-bass: on Metallica – Fight fire with fire (01:26-01:37) bass quantity is enough so that you feel each individual bass strike and also not make the sound muddy, it also adds some warmth which is needed on this track.

Although on Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (0:00-0:55) I would still like some more quantity to make it more fun.

Sub-bass: Extension isn’t that good but you can at least hear the rumble on a track like Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30) and the punch has good quantity to make it fun and it is also very tight.

On a track like Will Spark – sick like that (03:08-03:22) the quantity is very nice, tight and textured so it is clean while being fun.

Mids: Very well balanced between male and female vocals but the female vocals are a bit more forward.

Female-vocals: Incredible female vocals, beautiful and natural but can be a bit too bright on some songs. On a track like Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday it is very beautiful (and the bass keeps it from being too bright).

But on something like Hiroyuki Sawano – Might (03:30-04:00) the vocals can be a bit too much for some (for me it is just a bit under my limit).

While on Evanescence – Bring me to life (0:56-01:36) it is a bit shouty but not sharp and certainly not sibilant for me. It does give it a lot of energy though.

Male-vocals: On Hiroyuki Sawano – Call your name (0:15-01:06) there is some needed warmth and thickness to make it sound natural but still clean.

And on Linkin Park – A place for my head (02:02-02:17) it has the needed amount of brightness for his voice to sound energetic while avoiding any kind of sharpness (there is some warmth from the bass too).

Highs: Natural and no sharpness at all. On Hiroyuki Sawano – Call of Silence (02:20-02:47) the violin in the background is very beautiful and not sharp.

Very airy treble too, without being a bright iem. But since the female vocals are quite forward, that combined with the treble can make some songs a bit fatiguing.

Soundstage:
Extremely big

Tonality: Very close to neutral, only needs more sub-bass extension and rumble for it to be “true” neutral. Timbre is excellent across the range.

Details: Very high detail reproduction and extremely impressive especially at this price.

Instrument Separation: Very good instrument separation.

Music: Sounds really amazing and well suited for songs like Hiroyuki Sawano – Bios delta where the female vocals together with the piano sounds really natural and non- fatiguing, without being too thin.

And on a song like Hiroyuki Sawano – CRYst-Alise where the drums (tight, clean), vocals (natural and beautiful) and violins (well textured) sounds really good together.

Songs that highlight the IEM:
Good genres: Acoustic songs, OSTs, Rock, metal, J-pop

Bad genres: Bass focused (EDM, Trance, Hip-Hop), it can play them but the bass extension needs to be better and with more rumble for it to sound accurate and fun.


Comparisons:

NiceHCK DIY MX500:
the treble is near identical both in quantity and quality.

Female vocals are a bit more forward on the Iris. Male vocals have a bit more warmth and thickness in the Iris and sounds more natural. Female/male vocal balancing is a bit better on the MX500, and female vocals on it is less fatiguing.

Sub-bass extends a bit lower in the MX500 and also have more rumble quantity. But the Iris has a tighter bass, bit more texture/quantity. Mid-bass has a bit more quantity in the Iris but speed, texture and tightness are similar.

Soundstage, details and timbre are similar. Instrument separation is a bit better on the MX500 due to it sounding less “chaotic” and the vocals are more distinct on Hiroyuki Sawano - bL∞dy f8 -eUC (01:15-01:30).

I would recommend the Iris over the MX500 solely because they are extremely similar sounding and the iris is half the price of the MX500. But if you are extremely sensitive to female vocals (upper-mids) then maybe the MX500 would be the safer choice.

DQSM Turandot: Turandot has a bit higher treble quantity and is more fatiguing than the Iris.

Mids are very similar in quantity on both, but quality is a bit better on the Turandot.

Bass extends lower and rumbles more on the Turandot, also has more quantity. It is also tighter, faster and more textured.

Soundstage, detail and instrument separation are better on the Turandot but timbre is better on the Iris being more natural sounding.

Bass is the biggest difference, where the Turandot is clearly better, but other than that the SQ are very similar between these 2. My recommendation goes to the Iris, because of the massive price difference (and also because of comfort).

Conclusion: An earbud with really high sound quality that is dirt cheap, without any big weaknesses that might otherwise be deal-breakers. I highly recommend the Iris as it is clearly punching way above its asking price.
LostnAmerica
LostnAmerica
Nice review, thanks for the info of budget buds...
Cheers
RikudouGoku
RikudouGoku
@LostnAmerica Thanks, just amazing how little you need to spend to get this good SQ from earbuds. Makes iems look overpriced as hell lol :joy:

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