FAudio Dark Sky

General Information

From Zeppelin:

The latest to emerge from personal audio's original proving ground is Dark Sky. Hong Kong's FAudio release this 10mm single sandwich dynamic driver to command the UIEM segment.

Living up to its name, Dark Sky promises lovely liquidity through the entire frequency response, from bass to mids and treble. Shunning any association to the term 'veiled' however, the full-on transparency and musicality of the diamond-like-carbon (DLC) coated driver grabs you and shakes you from first listen.








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500+ Head-Fier
Faudio Dark Sky: A Remarkable Audiophile Experience
Pros: Powerful bass
Great Soundstage
Amazing clarity, crispness and resolution
Great build quality and fit
Premium Accessories
Cons: Tricky fit, needs tip rolling

FAudio, a Hong Kong-based brand, has long been trying to mark its presence as a reputable brand in the audio industry (Asian countries), with a few good releases in the past. However, with the release of the Faudio Dark Sky, they have truly surpassed expectations, demonstrating their ability to create a true gem of an in-ear monitor (IEM). While not many enthusiasts were familiar with FAudio's expertise, the Dark Sky came as a delightful surprise, showcasing the brand's mastery in audio engineering and craftsmanship. This IEM represents a significant leap forward, solidifying FAudio's position as a top-tier manufacturer capable of producing extraordinary audio devices.

FAudio Dark Sky is a true gem in the realm of audio enthusiasts, offering an immersive listening experience that is sure to captivate even the most discerning audiophiles. With its impactful bass, clear mids, and extended highs, this IEM (in-ear monitor) boasts a wide soundstage, remarkable layering, and imaging capabilities.

Dark Sky impresses not only with its exceptional sound quality but also with its thoughtful and high-quality accessories. The included cable, featuring both 4.4mm and 2.5mm terminations, ensures compatibility with a wide range of audio devices. The IEM also comes with a generous selection of eartips, allowing users to find the perfect fit for their comfort and sound isolation needs. The Dark Sky's build quality is top-notch, combining durability with a compact and ergonomic design that ensures a comfortable and secure fit for extended listening sessions.



The extended high frequencies of the FAudio Dark Sky shine brightly without causing listener fatigue. The crispness and clarity in this range are truly exceptional, allowing intricate details to be effortlessly revealed. The highs are smooth, well-extended, and meticulously controlled, resulting in a delightful listening experience.

Lows: One of the standout features of the FAudio Dark Sky is its impactful bass response. The deep, resonant lows are expertly handled, with the dynamic driver providing impressive bass slams that truly pack a punch. Despite the emphasis on bass, the Faudio Dark Sky maintains excellent control, preventing any muddiness or overpowering of the other frequencies. Whether it's the rumbling notes of a bass guitar or the thunderous beats of a kick drum, the Dark Sky brings a sense of cohesiveness and fluidity to the lower frequencies, providing a solid foundation for the music. Bass lovers will find themselves in audio nirvana with these IEMs.

Mids: Contrary to some reviews, Dark Sky offers clear and detailed midrange reproduction. Vocals shine through with admirable presence and accuracy, allowing listeners to fully immerse themselves in the intricacies of the music. The midrange strikes a delicate balance between warmth and neutrality, ensuring that no instrument or vocal is overshadowed.

Soundstage and Imaging: The FAudio Dark Sky presents a large, open, and airy soundstage, allowing the music to expand beyond the confines of your ears. The instrument separation and layering are masterfully executed, resulting in a three-dimensional sonic experience. The imaging capabilities of these IEMs are commendable, providing precise placement and positioning of instruments within the soundstage.

Oriolus Isabellae

The Oriolus Isabella is awesome for its mid-range centric tuning, offering a natural and warm sound that is particularly captivating for vocal enthusiasts. Its single dynamic driver design provides a beautiful presentation of the human voice, showcasing a realistic and rich tonality. The Isabella excels in rendering simple acoustic music, allowing the listener to appreciate the subtle nuances and delicate details of the instruments. Its emphasis on the mid-range creates an intimate and engaging listening experience, making it a go-to choice for those seeking a captivating vocal performance.

On the other hand, the Dark Sky takes a different approach as an all-round IEM. While it may not excel in the vocal and mid-range aspects like the Isabella, it compensates by delivering amazing lower-end frequencies. The Dark Sky exhibits a powerful and impactful bass response, adding depth and excitement to the overall sound. It offers a broader range of versatility across various music genres, ensuring an enjoyable experience for listeners who prefer a more dynamic and energetic sound.

In terms of fit and comfort, the Dark Sky holds an advantage. It provides a better fit, allowing for a secure and comfortable experience during prolonged listening sessions. The Isabella, however, is designed for relaxed listening, offering a comfortable and laid-back experience that caters to those seeking a more leisurely and immersive engagement with the music.

In summary, the Oriolus Isabella and the Dark Sky cater to different listening preferences and moods. The Isabella shines with its mid-range centric and natural sound, particularly enhancing vocals and simple acoustic music. On the other hand, the Dark Sky excels in delivering an all-round performance with its impressive lower-end response and better overall fit. The choice between the two ultimately depends on the listener's desired sonic characteristics and the mood they wish to experience – the Isabella for relaxed and introspective listening, and the Dark Sky for a fun and energetic musical journey.

CampfireAudio Andromeda
The Dark Sky, with its dynamic driver configuration, offers a notable emphasis on impactful bass. It delivers a powerful low-end response that adds depth and weight to the music, creating an engaging and energetic experience. While the bass of the Andromeda may not be as impactful as the Dark Sky, it compensates by providing a more balanced and nuanced representation. Andromeda, an all-balanced armature (BA) driver IEM, presents a controlled and accurate bass reproduction, focusing on precision and clarity rather than sheer impact.

One area where the Andromeda truly shines is its expansive soundstage. With its BA drivers and meticulous tuning, it creates a wider and more immersive soundstage, allowing instruments and vocals to be presented with greater separation and spatial accuracy. This enhanced sense of depth and imaging enhances the overall musical experience, bringing a heightened level of immersion and realism.

In terms of mid-range performance, the Andromeda is often praised for its sweeter and more refined presentation. The mids are characterized by a smooth and detailed rendition, elevating vocals and instruments to a level of clarity and emotion that captivates listeners. While the Dark Sky delivers a solid mid-range performance, the Andromeda's BA drivers excel in providing a sweeter, more nuanced, and overall more satisfying mid-range experience.

Overall, the Dark Sky impresses with its impactful bass and energetic sound, catering to listeners who appreciate a dynamic and bass-forward presentation. On the other hand, the Andromeda takes a more balanced and immersive approach, offering a larger soundstage, a sweeter mid-range, and a more refined overall musical experience. The choice between the two ultimately depends on personal preference, with the Dark Sky appealing to those seeking a bass-driven sound, while the Andromeda entices those who prioritize a wider soundstage, an immersive experience, and a sweeter mid-range performance.

1. Solid and all-round performance; I cannot complain of any particular thing missing in the iem. And that bass is super addictive.
2. Try bigger tips for that perfect seal. You will realize how well it sounds only when you have a great, snug fit. My SednaEarfitLight size L did wonders.

In conclusion, the FAudio Dark Sky is a formidable contender in the realm of high-quality audio. Its powerful bass, clear midrange, and extended highs work together harmoniously to deliver an immersive and captivating listening experience. With remarkable resolution, clarity, and detail retrieval, these IEMs excel at recreating music with stunning realism. The elegant and lightweight design ensures a comfortable fit, complemented by the inclusion of premium accessories. The Faudio Dark Sky is truly an all-rounder, catering to a wide range of musical genres and pleasing the most discerning audiophiles. It is a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship of Faudio, to offer a product that exemplifies excellence in both sound and design.
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Thank you. A fine write up I can second long owning both DS and Oriolus Isabellae.


Headphoneus Supremus
FAudio Dark Sky
Pros: Large, open, airy soundstage
Powerful bass
Excellent timbre and imaging leading to sublime realism
Stunning resolution, clarity and detail retrieval
Beautiful shells; lightweight and comfortable
Premium cable with interchangeable adapters for 4.4mm and 3.5mm
Wonderful unboxing experience, befitting a product of this level
Good all-rounder
Cons: Male vocals can lean thin
Upper mids at times challenging with complex music
Fit might be tricky for some - I need large to get a good seal
Adapters for both 4.4mm and 3.5mm are useful but I prefer a modular system like DUNU
Disclaimers & Caveats

I purchased the FAudio Dark Sky from Musicteck at a reduced price in exchange for my honest impressions following discussions with Andrew (owner of Musicteck, for those of you who may not know him!) on how it might compare to other single DDs - Andrew generously offered me the opportunity to find out for myself - all he asked in return is that I share my honest impressions by way of a review.

Also, it should go without saying but I will note none-the-less: this is indeed an incredibly subjective hobby and many of us hear things very differently in terms of what actually equates to listening pleasure. With that said, it should be reasonable to map out findings that provide context for others to take a position on whether the item under review might meet their preferences. My review won't be deeply technical, as I'm not deeply technical - I am however a technology nerd and music fanatic so will attempt to best convey my impressions in this review. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments and I will do my best to respond with a meaningful response! Alert: YMMV (your mileage may vary) - this is what I have heard with my music preferences relative to other IEMs in my collection.

To burn-in or not burn-in: a hot topic, pardon the pun but it does indeed divide. In my experience, brain or technology, I have perceived changes over time and ensure that I allow time to burn-in, while listening at various intervals. For Dark Sky, I allowed approximately 60 hours in the first week but after that, just clocked up listening hours - I estimate I’ve listened in total for about 100 hours.

FAudio Dark Sky is available from Musicteck at $1,150 MRSP - LINK



As previously noted, I am a self-proclaimed music and technology nerd. A large part of my career was in consumer electronics, starting from my teens in the mid-90’s while working in electrical retail, and up to more recent years working for well-known electronic brands and sourcing / distributing audio products around the globe. I don’t work in that industry anymore unfortunately (imagine, I was once paid to search for audio products!) but the passion lives on and what ultimately brought me to this hobby - combined with my life-long love for music, right from my youngest childhood memories, to a DJ in the 90’s and amassing a vast collection of CD’s and records for over 30 years.

Over the last year or so, I’ve landed on single dynamic drivers as my preferred transducers in IEMs - the coherency, natural timbre and overall engagement factor better suits my listening preferences and this has led to a quest to learn more about various implementations. The focus at the moment being the higher-end of the market but I fully intend to explore other segments - it is clear that products of a much lower price are incredibly capable, the oft-mentioned ‘diminishing returns’ can’t go ignored, my recent purchase of the infamous BLON-03 certainly supports this - not to mention what buds can do at a fraction of the price.

I had never heard of FAudio until brought Dark Sky was brought to my attention in September this year. I was immediately curious - a single DD sitting in a similar price category and launched in the same year as the formidable IE900 by Sennheiser, arguably one of the best single dynamic drivers launched in 2021 - and indeed a personal favourite, which reveals my bias.

FAudio - Dark Sky


Who are FAudio?

FAudio are a Hong Kong based IEM company, founded in 2014 by Fung Wong, ex Head Engineer at Miniwatt. I couldn’t find much information about the brand, it appears they are more known in Asia based on comments on social media. There are some other products featured on their website but oddly enough, Dark Sky isn’t.

Evaluation Setup: Sources, Tips, and Music...

My sources are the Sony NW-WM1A, Cayin N6ii-Ti, and the L&P W2 dongle.


I haven’t used the stock tips as I have my go-to tips for all IEMs. In this case, I’ve rotated AET07, Azla Standard, and Symbio F - all of which provide an excellent seal and great listening synergy. I like tip rolling, part of the IEM experience and always interesting to hear how they perform.

I will note specific tracks further on but for now, please be aware that I have a rather broad interest in various music genres, these include: ambient, modern classical, D&B, techno, trance, house, jazz, downtempo, IDM, hip hop, indie, some rock to name a few. For the purpose of this review, I chose a selection of go-to tracks that in my experience, test the sonic capabilities of an IEM and inform me as to their suitability for specific genres in my collection. I don’t believe in the existence of a single IEM that meets all of my music needs, this drives the hunt to explore many DDs with the objective to uncover their various ‘superpowers’.

Unboxing & Accessories

I mentioned in the preamble that I worked in consumer electronic for many years. As part of my role, I often had to evaluate product suitability for sale in various markets - this meant not only the need to determine the need/want in the market for the product offering, but also get a good sense of the brand ethos - do they make a product because they see a market gap, or is there evidence of pride and passion for what they do, a desire to actually ‘delight’ the customer - which in my experience, was typically evident not only in how I engaged with the brand but their packaging often screamed passion; the desire to anchor the customer with a fantastic unboxing experience, providing an instant appeal in first impressions before even opening the box. I was sent a lot of samples and spent many hours going through products, often met with cheap/tacky packaging and overall lack of creativity in their branding. While it’s not essential or indeed a prerequisite, I prefer a delightful unboxing experience - it should be memorable from the moment the box lands in your hands. When a new item arrives to my house now as part of this hobby, I make sure to pick a quiet room - ideally make a coffee (or beer, depending on time of day...) and enjoy the whole experience. But hey, I know that may not matter for all and often folks might be so excited they just rip the box open to get their shinny new toy in their hands (or ears) ASAP…

The good news is, FAudio absolutely deliver in this regard, offering an unboxing experience that one would expect at this price tag.

Dark Sky is presented in a compact rectangular box with minimal aesthetics - plain black finish with both the brand name, model and what I assume is the company motto or slogan. I love this minimal styling, it immediately ticks that premium box and starts to suggest FAudio fall into my preferred brand category, i.e. they care about the customer and have pride in what they do.


Upon opening the lid, you are presented with a card and a message from the Chief Sound Engineer (what an incredible job title!). I love this personal touch, again it demonstrates a connection to the customer and a passion for their creations.


We are then greeted with the main event, revealing a very nice presentation of the earphones in a familiar style layout, along with the various adapters, the circular carry-case, and a ‘service pack’ which includes a cleaning cloth, carry pouch, warranty card. There is a well-considered care instruction card with guidance on protecting your audio investment.


In addition, a cleaning tool is supplied, IEM protective cover and silicone covers for the shells themselves. Oh and of course a selection of tips: grey/black tips in small, medium, and large with a wide bore - white in the same size selection but this time a standard bore width. Interestingly, they only supply one set of foam tips which I suspect are small, they were certainly too small for my ears and measure noticeably smaller than my chosen foam tips, the Symbio F in Large.


There is also a beautiful and practical carry case included, one of the nicest I’ve experienced which is finished in a leather-like material with a soft interior - it works very well when you carefully wrap the cable around your fingers and position in the case, using the supplied leather strap to secure - I love the chrome finish to the button, it feels and looks expensive.


The cable is really beautiful and looks almost like you could pay the full cost of this entire package just for the cable if you slapped some well-known brand logo on it. It looks and feels wonderful with a matching deep blue finish - soft touch and little or no microphonics. The cable terminates with a 2.5mm connection but FAudio supply adapters for both 4.4mm and 3.5mm, all bases covered. Nitpick but I would prefer a modular system as per the excellent solution on offer from DUNU, it is a tidier finish from an appearance and ergonomics perspective.


The shells themselves are beautifully constructed and again present a premium level of workmanship. They are lightweight with a deep matt blue finish and sit incredibly comfortably in my ears (with the right tips - this can take a bit of work) - the combination of the excellent cable and lightweight ergonomic shells allow for long listening sessions without fatigue. The aforementioned silicone sleeves unfortunately made the shells uncomfortable and too big in my ears, a great idea though if they fit.


The supplied adapters for 4.4mm and 3.5mm are of excellent build quality and feel sturdy when affixed to the 2.5mm terminal and indeed upon connection to your source. Isolation isn’t fantastic, even using foam tips I can generally hear my surroundings quite well.




What do they sound like?

The important bit I guess and one I must admit has caused me some challenge over the last few weeks, I’ll come back to that in a bit. What instantly jumped out at me when I first listened is the expansive soundstage - as wide as IE900 but taller, it actually reminded me of MEST MKII almost but with better coherency - or should I say, more to my taste. It’s quite amazing to think there is just a single dynamic driver delivering the goods - the technicalities are remarkable, highly resolving with not only a large/airy stage, but with to my ears, excellent imaging - I’m inclined to say they are very mildly U shaped as I hear emphasis down low and up high but the mids delivery is more or less level, just not quite as prominent - maybe a mild V shape is a better description - this is some of the challenge I previously referred to, I’ve wrestled over it in a few listening sessions. The timbre is the best I’ve heard when it comes to non-electronic instruments and vocals: bass, strings, percussion, and female vocals in particular are outstanding. Dark Sky performs well with any genre I’ve tested and I consider it a very capable all-rounder but leans spectacular for instrumental, jazz, and vocals - especially less complex music. I would say it has a slightly cool hue to its signature and this amplifies the strong technicalities.


Let’s try a few songs - I've linked to them on Bandcamp where possible

In the song ‘Body’ by Julia Jacklin, her voice sits dead centre and slightly forward - instruments surround her voice and seem to sit exactly on stage where I expect them. Delivery is expansive but still intimate - I can hear a cohesive whole but still zoom in on specifics if I choose to, like holding an item in front of your eyes, and shifting focus from the item to the wider surroundings and back again. Every instrument sounds accurate to my ears. Julia’s voice so perfectly rendered, reminds me of hearing her play in Dublin back in the days of gigs pre-COVID (sigh!) - not a hint of sibilance and that wonderful sense of like she’s singing in the room beside me. The slow percussion rolls along in support, stretching out from the middle in both directions, occasional cymbal strikes come and go with yet again, stunning realism.

Staying with Julia Jacklin but moving to a more energetic song ‘Pressure to Party’, I’m greeted with the same vocal treatment and as the track is significantly busier with the addition of electric guitars and more upbeat percussion, Dark Sky put more to the challenge of handling competing frequencies in the mid to high frequencies in particular. I feel at times that it might tip towards harsh but never actually goes completely over the edge, but that close proximity must be noted.

This has become a huge favourite to put IEMs to the test: ‘Harmony with Nature’ by Matthew Halsall (spiritual jazz). There is beautiful build of atmospheric melodic sounds before the upright bass enters - Dark Sky grabs hold and positions right in the middle, respectful to the sax which joins at about the same time - the bass digs deep, sounding uncannily natural, the strings vibrating as they pluck with wonderful realism. I hear a striking balance across low, mid and high - again, an emphasis on a natural delivery but instruments are allowed to take centre stage as appropriate. I’m increasingly drawn to jazz with Dark Sky, a genre I don’t listen to enough.

On to some hip hop - Dr Dre. ‘The Day the Niggaz took Over’. This is again a go-to track for me to test new toys. I love the wide range of instruments and vocals ranges from the various rappers. The soundstage, layering, and imaging is yet again, stunning - the zoom in/zoom out sensation again apparent, allowing a focus on the individual parts or the cohesive whole. I sense a slightly thinner tone to Dr Dre’s voice, but marginal.

Next up is some classical and while a genre I don’t listen to that often, I’m keen to hear how a single DD manages the complexity of passages, ‘Summer 1’ from the Vivaldi Recomposed by Max Richter always a top choice. Dark Sky as one might expect by now, presents yet again its large stage. Instruments sit centre and support out wide, all perfectly clear and with beautiful timbre. I again feel a struggle between focusing versus musical, the strong technicalities play a bit of a tug of war with the engagement factor and I’m still not sure which wins. Some might prefer a straight-up emotive factor, others specifically analytical but this is rather interesting how it seems to sit in the middle. I will note, I am enjoying this album immensely while listening for this review and actually finding it hard to press ‘stop’ as a I move to another song.

Ok, time for some dub techno in the shape of the classic ‘Phylyps Trak’ by Basic Channel. This is all about pounding bass and accompanying dark synths. Kick drum thumps with deep club-like authority, providing a guiding line for the synths and cool but melodic atmosphere that surrounds. Percussion treble hits around 2 minutes in and the track develops to more complexity, Dark Sky has no problem coping with the peaks of potentially conflicting energy. Strangely, when I first listened to Dark Sky, I didn’t think they would perform quite as well with electronic music but time has proven otherwise - incredibly capable in some cases and dub techno indeed sounds fantastic.

Now some more electronic but more mid-focused and uplifting - the relatively recent but 90’s rooted ‘Glue’ by Bicep. There is an uncanny amount of airiness but still, this amazing sense of cohesion - captivating and detailed. Melodic synths float over the breakbeat percussion, bass flows beautifully and the sampled voices arrive and take position without interruption.

Next up is ‘Big Question Small Head’ by Tipper. A fantastic artist to test sonic capabilities and his recordings are always of the highest quality. Detail retrieval is stunning, beautiful clarity and pinpoint accuracy of every component in the track.

To test ambient, I’m listening to ‘The Shape of Modern Tragedy’ by Still Harbours. This track features on the fantastic album ‘Armature’, released in 2020. Technically, it sounds excellent - a wide soundscape of atmospheric ambient music. I must note, I don’t get as much musical engagement as I do say with Isa or ZEN PRO - the slightly cooler tuning doesn’t lend as well to the emotive connection I often seek with ambient music, typically to relax and unwind, not to delve deep in the detail. That said, it can be deemed another route to explore with ambient music - and it's not devoid of emotion by any means.


Sennheiser IE900 ($1,299)

The pristine, pinpoint tuning of IE900 is to my ears without competition in single DDs I’ve heard - it is the SACD (Super Audio CD) of IEMs - a clear, fast, digital-sounding tuning that has an immediate grip on whatever you throw at it. They share similar levels of bass but IE900 is faster with a better control of more complex passages, especially those in electronic music sub-genres such as breakbeat, techno or D&B - IE900 is the one to beat here and I suspect it will be a while before we see a contender to this throne, Sennheiser have achieved a remarkable feat in their implementation of bass. Dark Sky triggers higher levels of upper mids/lower treble where IE900 spikes in the higher registers of treble: to my ears, this means IE900 has better control when it comes to the upper limits of treble energy, crisp and succinct high hats that hit quickly and pull back just as fast, especially in energetic electronic music (techno, house, EDM, trance etc.) - Dark Sky on the other hand, drives more energy into snare rims for example, leaning more towards a slightly better representation of non-electronic instruments that are less about precision and more about authenticity. They are both spectacular single dynamic drivers and absolutely complementary to one another, offering a different take on a music collection - IE900 more pristine/precise tuning with a CD-like rendering, with Dark Sky pointing in a more organic, maybe vinyl-like take on things. Something in common I would say is they are both rather energetic IEMs, more fun than intimate and while I have that ‘tug of war’ with Dark Sky in terms of analytical versus musical, I lean more musical with IE900.


Oriolus Isabellae ($599)

Isa is the gentle giant, or maybe sleeping giant - offering incredible value for the price point. Polite, relaxed tuning that to my ears, zooms in on ambient, vocals, acoustic and generally more subdued genres. My go-to when I just want to relax and not spend time trying to focus on the delivery, simply sit back and enjoy. Isa does a better job of ambient music in particular - there is a unique charm, allure and intimacy about the tuning that lends itself very well to this genre, allowing me to appreciate the music and not think about or get distracted by detail. When switching from Dark Sky to Isa, there is a dramatic drop in stage size and overall ‘wow’ factor. Bass falls off a cliff, mids step forward and treble leans more toward higher frequencies, but never harsh.



I participated in a recent tour of the DUNU ZEN PRO. This was open to existing owners of the original ZEN, the remit being to compare the new and improved PRO - small refinements that significantly enhanced the overall tuning. ZEN PRO stands out as the most balanced of this selection - performing very well with every genre but again, not with the same level of finesse that Dark Sky manages in areas of speciality such as jazz and others that have a clear focus on excellent timbre rendition of instruments and vocals. The stage is smaller, more like IE900 I would say in terms of width but doesn’t reach the same heights as Dark Sky. Bass doesn’t dig as deep but honestly, once my ears have tuned back to ZEN PRO, I don’t feel at a loss. Likewise there is more upper-end energy available from Dark Sky, a somewhat cooler hue in comparison which is what I believe injects more analytical capability - ZEN PRO has more foward mids also, adding enhanced emotion to the mix. ZEN PRO can comfortably allow micro focus as well as a cohesiveness of engagement but I feel leans more to the latter, I’m less inclined to focus on specific elements, but have the option to if I choose.



I have enjoyed my time getting to know Dark Sky over the last few weeks. They have challenged my existing understanding of the capabilities a single dynamic driver can deliver, and led me to listen to a lot of music that previously had less focus. I didn't expect an IEM to shift my music direction on a new path, but Dark Sky has certainly paved the way to more jazz, female vocals, and instrumental music - mostly of the more relaxed varities where to my ears, Dark Sky shines bright. The fact that I listen to a wide variety of genres has very much driven this quest to explore IEMs and I am clear where Dark Sky now sits in my collection, delighted it has broadened my listening horizons. Overall, I feel Dark Sky is an incredible performing dynamic driver that clearly a lot of passion has gone into its development.



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Great review with some pertinent comparisons too. Keep 'em coming and thankyou!
Gorgeous photography!
Matthew Halsall=LOVE. Nice review mate. (and diversify music taste)


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Beautiful and comfortable design
Build Quality
Cable & Accessories
Sound quality and tuning
Cons: Isolation is about average (or slightly above)
Silicone covers add extra volume and may affect the fit
FAudio Dark Sky

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  • Driver: 10.2 Double Diaphragm Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz ~ 38kHz
  • Sensitivity: 114dB @1mW
  • Impedance: 24Ω @1kHz

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The FAudio Dark Sky was arranged by MusicTeck store.

Price: $1150.
Available directly from

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FAudio presents the new Dark Sky flagship in-ear model in quite an elegant and discreet box. Premium and luxury unboxing experiences can be all nice and cool but not something necessary and definitely not what determines the quality of the actual product inside. The Dark Sky is well packed and all of the contents neatly organized. The earphones are placed with the cable already attached and softly wrapped by a leather strap hidden under the ‘Service pack’ small box, which holds a small pouch, soft cleaning cloth, and user guide and warranty card. As the cable is terminated in a balanced 2.5mm plug, there are two small adapters to 4.4mm balanced and single 3.5mm. The adapters quality is quite good, all metal and in black color (though don’t really match the blue and silver theme). Lastly, there is a leather round case that includes 6 pairs of silicone ear tips (2 sets of 3 sizes), 1 pair of foam tips, cleaning brush and mesh pouch of dual design to safely store each earpiece separately. Finally, there is an interesting extra accessory: silicone soft covers (or sleeves), perfectly tailored to fit the metal shells. The silicone material feels skin-friendly and they have proper holes for the cable sockets and vents. I saw these types of sleeves made for some other brands’ IEMs, but no company has ever included a set of these in their accessories’ pack. As for the round case it looks of high quality, very nicely finished with good attention to details, matching the dark blue color theme and printed logo at the case cover. A very complete package, indeed.

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Design / Build Quality

The FAudio Dark Sky is quite complex in its whole design. From the outer shell to the inner components it mixes different materials all of high quality in a single elegant, premium looking and relatively compact design. I admit that the all metal finish and color theme applied on the shells and cable are of my liking, but of course it is not all just about looks.

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Even sporting a single dynamic driver of ~10mm, the shells remain compact enough while being made entirely of very thick metal elements, a combination of CNC aluminum and stainless steel. The machined aluminum is for the main outer body shell, inner side and faceplates – the deep dark blue colored part. There is no further info regarding what final processes are applied on the shells, but nonetheless, they are fairly thick and feel very durable, and less prone to scratches than shiny steel shells found on other IEMs (which also are fingertips magnets by nature). The faceplates have a flat surface and a small ‘FA’ logo printed on them, while R and L markings are on the inner shells’ sides. The stainless steel is applied on the more internal components as part of the (complex) acoustic chamber and as the whole sound tube that also makes the nozzle with an added metal grill as filter. The nozzle is of standard width with a proper lip to hold the ear tips, suited for most of aftermarket options; Spinfit, final E, Sedna, SpiralDot, all fit securely. There are two vents, one on the upper side next to the 2-pin socket and another placed close to the nozzle’s base.

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At the core of all this sturdy and elegant design, there is the 10.2mm single dynamic driver held inside the complex triple acoustic chamber which is composed by the various shells’ sections. I won’t get into details about this as, 1) it isn’t something you can really see unless you completely disassemble the whole earphone structure, and 2) what really matters is the actual sound quality. As advertised, the dynamic driver is composed of a double diaphragm, one is of D.L.C (‘diamond-like-carbon’) and the other is of Fiber; no idea whether these materials are applied as coating of the dynamic drivers or something else. As can be seen on the images, the drivers are located inside the patented ‘Triple Built-in Acoustic Chamber’ (T.B.A.C). The Dark Sky already performs really well in its sound, and that’s what you’d care about, whatever the fancy tech applied may imply.

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The included cable. Just from its components, build and looks, it is a cable that could be classified as a ‘custom-made’ one that some companies would charge a high sum for it. Yes, it is part of the accessory pack, but the most essential one and as such should be of good quality. Now, the inner wire is of pure silver mixed with silver and gold alloys, which are more expensive than the typical copper or silver-plated-copper included on most earphones (including the very expensive ones). Moreover, the gauge is also of thicker 24AWG; much more rare to be included on bundled cables which usually are of 26AWG at best. In theory, the wire material and gauge might have a certain impact on the conductivity (even if very slightly) and sound signal – whatever the case, I found little yet noticeable micro differences when pairing the Dark Sky IEM with other aftermarket cables. The outer design of the cable consists of the common four separated strands that are softly braided, instead of simply twisted. The covering jacket is of PVC in a strong dark blue color like that of the main earphones’ shells. Extra solid materials are applied on the different sections: thick CNC-machined metal parts cover the audio plug, y-split and 2-pin plugs, and also make the cable slider. They have a shiny finish that combined with the blue jacket of the cable perfectly matches the color theme of the earphones of blue aluminum and stainless steel. However, these shiny metal parts are also prone to scratches and do add extra weight to the already thicker and relatively voluminous wires. If you use the extra dual mesh-pocket with the silicone earphones’ covers installed it all fits too tightly into the round case.

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Even so, the added fixed ear guides help to keep the earpieces in place and alleviate the cable weight and the whole metal earpieces can balance the weight to a very comfortable wearing. Also, the shells have a well-rounded shape with zero sharp parts and prove to have a very comfortable fit, despite not having a particular ergonomic or custom-like form. In fact, the Dark Sky is one of the most comfortable in-ear models I’ve tried among these high prices with a fatigue-free fit for extended listening. Getting the right fit is quite easy, though not every ear tip provides an immediate seal. The soft silicone covers not only act as a protective accessory for the earpieces but also will affect the fit of them. Even though the metal earpieces are not particularly large, when applying the covers they gain about 1~2mm on their entire circumference, and that limits the depth the nozzle can get into the ear canal or how much of the shells’ volume actually sits on the outer ear area. Using tips with some longer flange or core can help in this regard. For instance, I alternated between the Sedna long and short tips. The silicone covers will also make a more snugly, fixed fit in the ears due the sticky surface. Isolation may or may not be improved with the covers, as while they cover and block a larger outer ear area, the fit is more shallow. Overall, I’d rate the isolating as about average or slightly above.

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Main gears used: qdc Anole VX; final A8000; UM MEST (MK2); Fir Audio M5 and VxV. Shanling M8 (also M6, M5s, UP5); Lotoo PAW6000; iBasso DX300 and DX240.

Even for their new flagship model, FAudio kept things simple, holding a single dynamic driver. It may sound like a more traditional take next to multi drivers, hybrid/tri-bid and even more complex offers by other brands, but the single driver trend is still very strong and favored by many users. The Dark Sky may implement just one driver – of dual diaphragm – yet still rivals some more expensive IEMs and even wins in a few technical aspects such as dynamics, cohesiveness and timbre. The D.L.C. + Fiber driver is clearly of a high level as proved in its quality sonic performance. I admit the tuning of the Dark Sky is of my liking so some bias cannot be avoided, but even on a more objective, critical take, the Dark Sky rates high for its price when compared to more expensive models from well regarded brands.

The general sound tuning of the Dark Sky could be described as a mild and wide u-shaped signature. It clearly deviates from a sharper v-shaped signature as while there is some added emphasis on the lows and highs, the midrange is well present and the whole presentation very nicely balanced. Despite the ‘dark’ part of its name it is not a dark kind of tuning at all. It has a very enjoyable sense of warmth that starts from the low frequencies and spreads through the whole midrange with sparkly, energetic highs, and particularly wide, open presentation, ranking among the very few IEMs that offer a realistic larger than average staging. Weight and fullness in notes accompanied with easy to catch micro details without getting to an analytical tendency.

The bass is a strong characteristic of the Dark Sky. It has a very, very good balance of quantity and quality: easily above neutral and lean levels but never getting overwhelming. Not really suited for those seeking for a neutral, flat sound and not for true bass-heads – everyone else might find the bass here just spot-on. The bass elevation starts from the lowest regions with an easy to discern sub-bass presence that has depth, rumble and good layering; it is agile, articulated and full – clearly there is a true good dynamic transducer implemented here. The mid-bass is strong as well, fast and impactful, but not too thick to sound congested or to overshadow the rest of the sound. Always present when called for and rarely adding more quantities than needed. Speed and dynamics are very good – not excellent, but yes really good. And it does require extra driving power to shine to its fullness, despite what the technical specs may suggest being ‘easy to drive’. At the moment (in the $2000 and below segment), the only one IEM I found that can beat it in pure dynamics is the final A8000, but the Dark Sky gets very, very close, and at almost half the price of final’s current flagship. It may not have that quick attack or snappiness that pure multi-BA sets can offer (e.g., qdc VX, InEar PMX), but in exchange it trades that for much more natural pace and decay still being very agile.

Midrange is rather neutral and very clean. The advertised graph may describe the midrange not being the strongest point of the Dark Sky tuning; however, from my listening with different ear tips, sources and music genres, I found that not to be the case. That kind of graph should be taken with a grain of salt, and if anything, it should suggest the mild u-shaped signature of these earphones where the midrange is not immediately prominent/forward as the lows and highs. Thin, distant or dry definitely it is not. It remains mostly neutral, not adding much ‘color’ to the sound yet has a nice sense of warmth that brings richer tone and fullness to instruments, without sounding thick or congested. In fact, the separation is very high making it easy to discern between multiple elements that play at the same time on different frequencies and separate planes. Transparency on the midrange is another strong suit on the Dark Sky – maybe not the highest I’ve heard on an IEM, but hard to beat at its price point and above. It does take some time to appreciate, as it is not as immediate from the first listening like sets as the A8000 or Mest MK2; some run-in period may be needed (if you believe in that). Generally, it is smooth and very articulated with great dynamics and harmony coming from the single driver that does not suffer from incongruence of multi drivers and hybrids, and has the very natural texture of good dynamic ones. On more vocals oriented tracks they do tend to get some extra priority being pushed a bit more forward on the mix, and pulling the instruments half a step behind. Well textured – low male voices are full and females’ are quite sweet. It is very difficult to get any sibilance or harshness, too, even with brighter, more revealing sources.

Treble elevates above the more neutral midrange, and about the same level of the bass and mirrors it really well in quantity-quality balance completing the general lively signature. Clean, fairly smooth with no grain, yet sparkly and energetic. It could be described as leaning towards a ‘bright’ tuning but it is never overwhelming or harsh. Again, the treble dynamics are of very high level; texture feels more natural than balanced armature or EST drivers, at least around these prices, with more ‘correct’ timbre. It takes some time to open up, but then it has very good and effortless extension up to the upper treble registers sounding open and airy. Ear tips do play an important role, and especially in the highs area; wider bore tips like the Azla Sedna will bring out the best of the Dark Sky treble and keep a right balance through lows to mids.

When it gets to soundstage, the Dark Sky ranks among the top ones I’ve heard so far. Stage dimensions usually are not too expansive in the in-ear realm; most are about average, which is good, and only a few can extend higher, giving a little more ‘out of the head’ effect. I had run the Dark Sky primarily on a balanced output so that helps to achieve a bit extra separation and space. It has a rather wide presentation with good right to left separation yet very coherent, maintaining a precise center image. There is also very good front-to-back distance, though the width is still better. ‘Height’ is not as impressive, but overall the soundstage is better presented than on more v-shaped in-ear sets that feel kinda unnatural (e.g., Hyla Sarda, Campfire Atlas and Dorado). Micro details are of very high level. They are not presented immediately forward that obligate you to listen to them, rather they flow smoothly within the music mix.

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Moreover, with ‘easy to drive’ specs the Dark Sky is easy to drive out of any sources without needing high volumes. However, it does require a bit of extra power to be fully appreciated in its bass performance and reach its best resolution. For example, the Hiby R3 Pro (which is a very portable player that I use on a daily basis for many IEMs) is not able to reveal the proper speed of the Dark Sky, sounding kind of slow and lacking in dynamics. And same goes for the Shanling M0, Q1, Fiio M5 and M6, and even Hidizs AP80 Pro (balanced). The only exception I found was with the new UP5 that proved quite a good synergy with the Dark Sky when set at LDAC codec – very good and deep bass response, detailed and sparkly highs and very decent speed. Paired with a Shanling M5s, M6/Pro and anything above does bring out the better characteristics of the Dark Sky: speed, dynamics, stage and detail. The larger soundstage was obviously with the Shanling M8 and iBasso DX300 (Amp11). It responds quite well to the source sound ‘tuning’; rich and fuller bass and midrange out of the M8, drier and a tad brighter on M15, and more mid-centered (to slightly bright) with the PAW6000. I actually quite liked the pairing with the DX240 because it has a rather powerful sound with very solid bass presence, rich midrange and a bit aggressive treble of the ESS DAC.

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Lastly, it presents some fine changes when switching cables. The nice stock cable is already pretty good and gives a very balanced sound with a smoother treble. With the PW Audio Monile it is a bit brighter and more open/airy, but leaner/thinner in bass and mids, for what I’d still pick the stock cable. The recent Plussound Copper+ gives the smoothest treble and darkest tonality with thicker bass and more elevated lower-mids. With the Satin Audio Zeus it has the widest stage and depth and a more lively presentation. Of course, all these changes are not game-changers at all, and trying different ear tips can give a more immediate effect to the overall sound.

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Time for the fun because as mentioned I found the Dark Sky to perform really well for its price, both in technicalities and tuning, competing even with more expensive, and well-regarded popular rivals. I am listing some of the most relevant ones:

Campfire Audio Solaris (2020)

In build quality, both IEMs are pretty much equal. I already rated the earpieces on Solaris 2020 as top-notch, featuring very solid materials and excellent finish, mixing CNC-machined aluminum alloy and stainless steel. Same materials are applied on the Dark Sky and on the same parts, aluminum main shells and steel inner tube and nozzle. FAudio reaches higher when taking in count the better cable quality and finish. Fit and comfort is always very personal. I found the Solaris to have a very fixed fit and require very specific ear tips to get the most comfortable wearing, and they are still on the large side forcing some pressure on the ears after extended listening. Dark Sky has a much more ‘relaxed’ fit with its more ‘universal’ shape, though it results in lower isolation.

In their sound, they are not similar but do share a great soundstage performance being large, wide and well extended; the Solaris gives a more 3D-surrounding effect, whereas the Dark sky has a wider right-to-left feeling. The Solaris is not as balanced, with a bit more mid-bass kick, thinner, less bodied low-midrange and more enhanced upper-midrange gain, occasionally more prone to sibilance. Treble quality is quite favorable on the Solaris, but then the Dark Sky has better extension and natural texture, and especially a more realistic timbre. Overall, Solaris has a more wild, bold take, while the Dark sky is ‘more correct’ through the whole frequency, still being just as fun and engaging.

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Unique Melody MEST MKII

Jumping to a more complex hybrid model, ‘quad-brid’, that includes Bone-conduction drivers and EST as super-tweeters, the MEST is technically very strong when analyzing each of the main frequency areas and presents an imaging that is indeed, very unique. Even so, FAudio manages a performance that is on-par with this “quimera” packed IEM with just a single (dual) dynamic driver. Both follow a balanced lively signature that is more of a wide u-shaped – instead of sharp or aggressive v-shaped response. Even so, the Dark sky has a warmer touch on the whole sound and richer tone through its midrange, while mids on the MEST are more liquid, and very slightly more forward on the upper-mids. Bass quantities are very similar; the MEST has a bit less deep sub-bass reach and it is a tad quicker in decay, while the Dark Sky is more dense and solid in impact. Treble is more forward on the MEST, not too surprising as it mixes BA and EST drivers, and tends to put the clarity more forward. Dark Sky has also a sense of brightness in its treble, though still feels more relaxed. Yet, the level of detail would actually rank the same on both IEMs. Like with the Solaris, soundstage on these 3 IEMs is among the largest ones I could try at the sub $2K price range. Again, the Dark Sky gives more width, while the MEST offers more equal front-back distance and height. The one thing the Dark Sky triumphs over the MEST is in cohesion – keeping it simple at a (good) single dynamic saves from suffering the multi drivers hybrid sets issues; not matter how harmonic they can get, some incoherence is still audible when battling against a full range one driver.

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Fir Audio VxV

The closest in price to the Dark Sky and that also rates quite well in price-performance ratio. The VxV includes a 4-BA (Knowles & Sonion) and 1-DD drivers’ setup, with a tuning that may sound less typical for a hybrid. It has a more neutral to bright signature. Next to the Dark Sky, it is leaner, softer in bass impact and has less extension. Midrange is very neutral in its positioning, less weighty, with a brighter tilt towards the upper-mids that gets more forward at the whole treble region. Despite its brighter tuning, the treble does not reach the same extension as the Dark Sky and still can get sharper or more sibilant. Overall treble quality is really good on the VxV and rivals more expensive options, though I still prefer the more natural and dynamic treble take of the Dark Sky. Soundstage is not a match to the Dark Sky, which is wide, large and layered with more realistic imaging.

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final A8000

The most relevant comparison should be against another single dynamic driver model. The A8000, still current final’s flagship model, features a pure Beryllium driver in a whole luxury shiny stainless design.
Sonically, the final A8000 is still above in pure critical technical performance (and not just over the Dark Sky, but out of many other expensive flagship IEMs). It has the upper hand in dynamics, layering and precision. It might be by a small margin, but easy to notice when doing a close comparison. Micro detail reveal is also higher on the A8000 and it is faster in overall speed. However, the A8000 is much less forgiving with its much brighter treble that can get peaky and picky on tips and source. It does present a clearer image and more air and space between instruments. However, it has colder (or rather, ‘cooler’?) tonality in its midrange, with slightly more emphasis on upper-mids, and while separation is better it is also sharp, at the cost of some ‘musicality’. On the other hand, the Dark Sky has a fuller and warmer sound. Sub-bass hits with more rumble and mid-bass is more authoritative. Once properly paired, speed can get almost as good as the A8000. Lower mids have more body and weight, well suited for male vocals. Whole midrange is a bit less forward but then has a sweet, richer tuning. It is easily more forgiving towards the upper regions and yet extends really well and balanced on both ends. As compared to the Solaris and MEST, soundstage is a very strong point and win for the Dark Sky over the final – it has more width and a bit more depth, though less ‘height’.

I personally find the Dark Sky very pretty in its complete design and finish, and not as flashy as the A8000. Getting the right fit is a bit quicker with the A8000, once you choose ear tips with proper length, but the Dark Sky wins when it gets to ergonomics and comfort for much longer listening sessions – more compact and more rounded design with no sharp edges and a bit more flush fit. Isolation is about the same, and super dependent on the tips used on both IEMs. Also for those who may care about a more attractive box presentation and variety of included accessories, the FAudio would be more appealing.

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Great review and fully agree with your analysis. I've had Dark Sky for about a week and love it more with each listen - easily ahead of MEST MKII. It has a stunning soundstage which again agree is wide but not massively tall, I would liken to a powerful set of floor-standing speakers. Timbre is some of the best I've heard in any IEM.
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Thank you!. And glad we share similar impressions of the Dark Sky
Same impressions even here on Dark Sky, thank you for sharing😉
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