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Fearless Audio S10 Genie

Rating:
5/5,
  1. LMka
    Fearless Audio S10 - The best IEM I've heard
    Written by LMka
    Published Jul 24, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Balanced sound, wide sound field, detailed yet smooth, sweet vocals,non fatiguing yet revealing, tight textured bass.
    Cons - Quality control issues on Fearless side, some may prefer a thicker sound signature
    Introduction

    Hey guys, this is gonna be my take on S10 Genie model from Fearless Audio. There were some issues initially but all of them were resolved thanks to Lilian from Linsoul.

    I have purchased these IEM through Linsoul around mid April and it took some time since it was basically a period when Fearless hype was at it's maximum. First off when I just received them and plugged in into my DAP which was F.Audio FA2 at that time I thought "This is the worst sound I have ever experienced" which was quite quickly replaced with "Something is not right". After about 30 minutes of trying different cables and sources I have figured out that my pair came with "reversed phase" issue. Basically it means that inside one of IEM wires should be soldered vice-versa. Thanks to 2-PIN cable I was able to check it out by simply pluggin in cable in a reversed manner.

    I have contacted back Lilian shortly and informed her about this issue. One day later my IEMs were on their way back to Linsoul so Fearless could check and fix them. During that time I have tried to contact HawaiiBadBoy to explain him that his sample was probably with the same issue but he already sent them as part of his giveaway program. That also explains why he did not make a review for them and had a very weird first experience since they probably were the same as mine. Being an owner of S6RUI previously I cannot imagine anyone who would like S6 and dislike S10 because they are like twins with S10 being better in every area compared to S6.

    I will leave comparisons for a further part of this review so to cut the long story short. I have received my Fearless back in a month or so and all the issues were fixed. As an apologize for this unpleasant experience both Fearless and Linsoul have sent me their balanced upgrade cables which I will also make a part of this review as a way to say Thank you to them for being so generous but I think it's Lilian whom I should address most of my gratitude since she was very supportive and tried the best she could to resolve this issue for a satisfaction of both parties.

    photo_2019-07-24_13-51-29.jpg photo_2019-07-24_13-51-28.jpg


    Package

    They come with the same package as all other Fearless Audio IEMs. There is a white box which has a serial number and a model number on it. Soft Blue carrying case and a set of grey/green eartips of different sizes.
    Default cable is the same as for other Fearless models as well. At least S6RUI and S8F come with the same cable as far as I can tell. It's a pure silver cable according to how it looks. It's nothing special but nothing too bad either. You will be more than fine with it unless you are obsessed with the possibility to push IEMs to their limit.
    Another reason why you would want to switch is to use them balanced if your DAP supports that option. I would say that in this situation it's more reasonable to switch even though difference is not night and day.
    I won't concentrate much on packaging part since you probably already have an idea how Fearless Audio lineup package looks like. Since there is no difference let's move further.

    photo_2019-07-14_01-48-12.jpg

    Comfort & Isolation

    They have a little bit bigger shell than S6RUI as far as I remember but it's shape is anatomic and I personally have normal to big ears so I have not had a single issue with how they fit.
    Nothing stands out, no harsh edges or any sign of uncomrtable experience even after long listening sessions. I can easily sit with them in my ears for the whole day and won't feel any discomfort about it.
    Those of you who have small ears should be a little more careful and I would advice to try before you actually buy them but commonly you won't experience any trouble.
    Considering all of the above their isolation is great for me. I would not say that it's better than general competition because it all depends on how good they fit. Most of my recent IEMs isolate about on par with them since I have not had any fit issues with them either. I can comfortably listten to S10 even on low to middle volumes.

    S10.gif

    Sound Impressions

    Here goes the best part. I would say that these are the best IEM both Price/Performance and overall quality wise from my personal taste point of view. At least I have not heard anything which would be significantly better so far.
    I have not tried 3000 USD TOTL iem but all IEMs below 1000 USD in my experience sound worse or not to my taste compared to this model. I also think that S10Genie is an easier recommendation than many other IEMs because it is more balanced than some other models which try to emphasize certain regions.

    BASS:

    Considering that it uses 4 x Sonion BAs for Bass you could think that they would be bass heavy but they are not. Bass is close to linear with good texture and subbass going quite low. It's tight and fast but never lacking. It's not boomy nor loose. I would say if you are a basshead you might want something else since they are close to linear and not bass heavy. It's nothing like Etymotic ER4 style of being linear but still it's not emphasized either.
    I personally think that this way it is perfect because it does not drag attention to itself and never bleeds into Mids region. On the other hand I would also understand those who'd prefer to have more bass quantity. Quality wise it's close to perfect though.

    MIDS:

    Best way to describe them would be - SMOOTH. What always bothered me in my S6RUI is that their high mids / lower treble region is a little emphasized and despite it's being focused somehow it also felt that they are congested and cannot easily reproduce complicated tracks. After a little while my RUI ended up being a little fatiguing while it's never been so with S10.
    Genie does not have any sibilance, does not have any extra brightness yet still they can easily reproduce all the detail and even more than some other models with emphasized "details" region. They are tuned almost perfectly in mids region. If you have heard Sony M7 you would know what means totally smooth and S10 are not THAT smooth but somewhere in between M7 smoothness and S8F brightness.
    These do not sound thick or warm so if you look for IEM which emphasize lower mids region and if you prefer overall thick & warm tonality then these are not for you. S10 are again close to being neutral in that area with only a little lack of weight which I would personally prefer.

    TREBLE:

    High region compliments Mids and allows these to have a lot of space and air yet keep being natural and smooth more than anything else.
    I perfonally think that Highs are also done right here, there are more high frequencies than in S6RUI but they are never synthetic or overly emphasized.
    If you like "crispness" or "refreshing" tonality of highs then you should also skip S10. These do not drag extra attention to detail through highs being boosted. Instead these keep being natural all the way yet still bring out all the detail and air through amount of drivers they have.

    If you are interested in Frequency Response and other graphs you may find them here:
    https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/hp/fearless-audio-s10.php
    I won't post images without owner's permission so feel free to use that link.


    Comparisons

    Fearless Audio S10Genie vs Sony M7:

    Sony M7 are more smooth that S10Genie. From sound thickness point of view they are close to being identical. At some situations Sony can sound too smoothed out while S10 sound more balanced overall. S10 also sound wider and more detailed in comparison but that's not night & day difference.
    Overall I like both of these models.

    Fearless Audio S10Genie vs Fearless Audio S8F:

    S8F are more bright while S10 are more smooth. S8F might be fatiguing since it tries to push out more detail into focus. They share an overall Fearless Audio signature but S10 are overall more balanced and more polished. They do cost much more than S8F so I cannot easily recommend one against another. You should listen to both and make a decision personally.

    Fearless Audio S10Genie vs Fearless Audio S6Rui:

    Even more unfair comparison pricewise. I personally think that sound signature is closer between S10Genie and S6RUI than between S8 and S10 models. S10Genie are better in every area than S6RUI as they share almost identical signature with S10 being a level above and cost 2x times more. Most important fix in my opinion is that high mids focus of S6RUI is redone with smoothness without losing detail.

    Fearless Audio S10Genie vs Audiosense T800:

    T800 costs less than 2 times of S10 and even though both sound well they are way too different. T800 has more bass quantity wise, even less lower mids and have a boosted high mids & treble region. I can recommend T800 for those who like V shaped sound signature with focus on bass and refreshing feeling in treble. In comparison S10 sounds more wide, more detailed, with better separation and sense of space between instruments. Both male and female vocals are more emphasized and more emotional on S10 than on T800. Money wise I can't recommend one above another. You should listen yourself to judge if paying extra worth it.

    DAP compatibility

    For most of the time I have listened my S10Genie through 2.5 mm balanced output of Fiio M11 and I am absolutely satisfied with how they pair together. Before I received my Fiio M11 I have listened to S10 through my phone and I also did not have any signfificant issues with that. These IEM are quite easy to drive and are not very source dependant. They preserve their sound character across all of the devices I have heard them with which are - Ibasso DX200, Ibasso DX220, Fiio M11, F. Audio FA2. Even though you can easily notice how they grow together with source if you decide to stop at something like Fiio M11 you will be absolutely fine with it. There is no need to pay extra money for higher quality DAP if you listen to it with S10.

    Upgrade cables

    Fearless Audio IEM upgrade cable:

    Aesthetics: For me it looks better than cable fron Linsoul. It's a black cable with silver parts which visually perfectly pairs with S10 and Fiio M11.

    Comfort: I think Linsoul cable is more comfortable than Fearless cable. It has quite stiff area near IEM 2-pin connectors which always reminds me that I wear an IEM.

    Sound: I feel that it is more smooth and laidback than cable from Linsoul. It adds a little weight in lower mids region and overall expands sound field a little. However it also may make an effect of "overly smooth sound" so I would not indicate that this cable is better. You should judge according to your own perfonal taste.

    photo_2019-07-24_13-51-27 (2).jpg

    Linsoul Supreme 7N OCC Silver Plated Balanced Cable:

    Aesthetics: It looks too bright for me personally. Gold yellow color drags a lot of attention but that's just a personal taste thing.

    Comfort: Much more comfortable than Fearless upgrade cable. It's connectors are very soft and at some point you may even forget that you wear an IEM.

    Sound: It adds more treble and makes overall signature a little more focused and a tad bright. At first I liked Fearless cable more but eventually I prefered Linsoul cable over it. Overall signature being more articulate and precise is what I liked about it.

    photo_2019-07-24_13-52-54.jpg

    Conclusion

    700 USD region is way too high for blind recommendation of any IEM. You should find a way to evaluate an item before you actually buy it. In my opinion these IEM worth the money. They are balanced, smooth, without any incoherence or peaking regions.For most of the people this level of sound is close to endgame. Is the difference worth it? You have to listen yourself to decide. For me it is. If Fearless have figured out their quality contol problems then this might be the last purchase you make in IEM world. At least for a while :)
      Aink, gklai3, Redcarmoose and 7 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. iBo0m
      I can only second the very competitive price/performance ratio. Also, the build is quite solid.
      iBo0m, Jul 31, 2019
    3. gklai3
      Thanks for the review!
      gklai3, Aug 2, 2019
    4. Aink
      Thanks for the review. It is informative.
      Aink, Aug 11, 2019