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Fidue A73 Hybrid Monitor Earphones with universal single button remote and microphone

Rating:
4.23529/5,
  1. Hisoundfi
    Summarized: I have a new favorite earphone! The Fidue A73 Hybrid Monitor Earphones with universal single button remote and microphone.
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published May 30, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Audiophile grade sound, Great soundstage and imaging for an IEM, Good build quality, Ergonomic and easy fit, Awesome price to performance factor,
    Cons - No chin slider? Straight cable? (although neither is a big deal that's the best I could come up with)
    At the time this review was written, the Fidue A73 in ear monitor  was on sale for $149.00 USD on Penon Audio’s website. Here is a link to a listing of their product at the time of the review.
    DSC04601.jpg
     
    http://penonaudio.com/FIDUE-A73
     
    Introduction
    The highlight of my short tenure of writing reviews was covering the Fidue A83. It was my first time experiencing a Fidue in-ear monitor and after using the A83, I knew it wasn’t going to be my last. When the A73 was released I purchased it on the spot, and with absolutely no regrets. The A73 is an in-ear monitor that took the success of the A83 (I gave it five stars) and customer feedback (small issues regarding the fit and sound) and tweaked their tuning, ergonomics and PRICE. They made what is my favorite in-ear monitor to date. Please read more to find out why!
     
    Disclaimer
    The A73 was purchased from Penon Audio. I am in no way affiliated with Fidue or Penon Audio.
     
    My Background
    I AM NOT a numbers and graphs audiophile or sound engineer. Personal audio enthusiast? Absolutely! Headphone junkie? Possibly…
     
    There’s something about quality DAPs, DACs, Amplifiers and Earphones that intrigues me, especially if they can be had for low prices. I will buy the $5 to $500 earphone that looks promising, in hopes that I will discover that one new gem that can compete with the big names in this industry. If you look at my Head-Fi profile you will see that I have purchased MANY different headphones and earphones, ranging from from dirt cheap to higher end products. For me, this hobby is more about getting great price to performance ratio from a product, and have a variety of different gears with varying builds and sound to mix and match. With personal audio gear, we tend to pay a lot of money for minor upgrades. One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that just because a headphone has a higher price tag, it doesn’t mean that it has superior build and sound quality.
     
    I’m always looking for great audio at a great price. I’m after headphones and IEMs that give me the “WOW” factor. I can appreciate different builds and sound signatures as long as they are ergonomic, and the sound is pleasing to the ear. It is my pleasure to share my experiences with audio products and make recommendations based gear I have owned and used.
     
    REVIEW
     
    The Package
    DSC04574.jpg DSC04575.jpg
     
     
     
    The A73 was one of those packages that I had to make sure I checked the tracking on my phone several times each day, for no other reason than sheer anticipation. When they arrived, I was greeted with a sharp black and green box much similar to the A83. There was a description of the product and key features, along with a nice picture image of the IEM. The back of the box had specifications in three languages.
     
    Specifications:
    1. Driver: Φ10mm Exclusive Dynamic & Balanced Armature Drivers Frequency
    2. Frenquency Range: 13-27,000 Hz

    3. Sensitivity: 107dB

    4. Max Input Power: 20mW

    5. Distortion: <1%

    6. Plug: 3.5mm stereo, gold-plated (MP3, iPod, iPhone & iPad Supported)

    7. Cable: 1.3 m
    8. Sensitivity of Mic: -42+-3db
    9. S/N Ratio of Mic: >55db

    DSC04581.jpg
     
    Accessories:
    1. Silicone eartips (S/M/L)

    2. Double flange silicone eartips
    3. shirt clip
    4. High quality Leather Carrry case

     
    Housings
    The housings are a combination of metal and plastic similar to the A83, but with a more ergonomic shape that better fits my ears. The outside of the housings appears to be metal with a brushed nickel or aluminum finish. The inside of the housing is a transparent crimson/wine colored plastic that reveals the innards of the A73. I find the housings to be very nicely built and very good looking. The hozzle angles out of the inside of the housing and is designed for over the ear fit. All in all its sharp looking, has a sturdy build, an ergonomic design and a great fit.
    DSC04598.jpg
     
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    DSC04587.jpg
     
    DSC04582.jpg
    I think they checked all the boxes on this one...
     
    Cable, Y-split, Cable Jack, Strain Reliefs
    The cable is a rubbery transparent gray cable that shows traces of the inside cable cores. It has very little memory and a small amount of spring. It's nowhere near as solid or heavy duty as the A83 cable but it is sleek, discreet and ready for daily use.
     
    The Y-split is a Crimson rubber material coated in a aluminum tubing that displays the Fidue logo. The build is sleek and solid.
     
    The cable jack is a straight plug that uses the same materials as the Y-split. It's a straight plug and seems to be well built and able to withstand the test of time.
     
    Strain Reliefs are a rubber material that is a similar transparent crimson color to the housing. I find the material to be spot on and perfect for strain relief. I don’t see this cable shorting out any time soon.
    DSC04604.jpg
    Boxes for all criteria were checked for this section.
     
    Functionality
    The A73 has a single button remote and microphone that works for both Iphone and Android (very smart) and is located just above the Y-split on the right side. When talking to friends and family, most reported my voice clarity to be at a four on a scale from one to five.
     
    It checks boxes in terms of being just right for features I need, and nothing I don’t.
     
    Ergonomics, Fit and Microphonics
    The over the ear fit is perfect in my opinion. I had no problem getting them to fit. Once situated in my ear, I almost never had to adjust them. Your mileage may vary, and tip selection plays a big part in this, but for me they are one of the best fitting IEMs I’ve ever worn. They aren’t designed to be worn under the ear but it can be done without a problem. However it looks kind of awkward.
    20150530_182246_HDR-2.jpg
     
    Note: The cable didn’t have a chin slider. Although, not necessary, I feel that this is one feature that would have improved the product’s fit.
     
    Sound Review & Materials
    I primarily did my demo with my usual gear. I used an LG-G3 with the latest firmware, and Sony Walkman F806/Cayin C5 amplifier for portable use. For desktop I used my Toshiba Satellite Laptop in combination with a HIFIMEDIY Sabre ES9023 USB DAC/Bravo Audio Ocean Tube amplifier with a Mullard 12AU7 tube for higher impedance, and a Fiio E18 USB DAC & Amplifier for lower impedance products. Both were run at 24 bit, 96000 Hz. I also tested them with other DAPs/DACs and amplifiers as well. I used Google Music downloaded in its highest download quality (320 KBPS) and I also streamed FLAC via Tidal streaming service. I make sure that any gear I tested has has enough time play time for me to be able to confidently describe their sound.
     
    I used my usual same songs for testing gear:
    “Limit to your love” by James Blake (bass speed, punch, response)
    “Doin’ it Right” by Daft Punk (sub bass)
    “Get lucky” by Daft Punk (bass to midrange transition resolution, male vocals)
    “Madness” by Muse (soundstage, separation)
    “Some nights” by Fun (soundstage and male vocals)
    “The soundmaker” by Rodrigo y Gabriela (texture and imaging)
    “Bassically” by Tei Shi (bass to midrange resolution, female vocals)
    “Skinny Love” performed by Birdie (female vocals, acoustic playback)
    “One” by Ed Sheeran (male vocals, acoustic playback)
    “Outlands” from the Tron Legacy Soundtrack (symphonic presentation, imaging)
    “Sultans of swing” by Dire Straits (detail, separation, balance)
    “And Justic for All” by Metallica (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
    “Ten thousand fists” by Disturbed (driver distortion, treble response, rock playback)
     
    Note: Other tracks were used, but the listed songs were primarily used to asses and break down the gear’s response.
     
    Sound Signature
    I’ll be the first to say that I’ve been a huge fan of hybrid earphones because of their ability to have the bass of a dynamic driver in combination with the details of a balanced armature. As time goes by, this design keeps getting better and better. The A73 is incredible tuning that adds an ever so slight bass lift, warm midrange and treble response that is extended, detailed, crisp and pretty smooth all at the same time. Nothing seems to be over or under done from what I hear. It is a nice combination of power and finesse. It plays all genres of music well. They were especially spectacular for band genres due to their world class separation, timbre and detail. Jazz, Metal, Rock, Classic Rock, and Symphony all sound especially beautiful with these IEMs. I spent a long time listening to both these and the A83 and although the A83 is a more dynamic and entertaining sound, I caught myself reaching for the A73 more often. At the moment I prefer their slightly more linear tuning. Allow me to explain why as I break them down.
     
    Bass
    The A73 bass is slightly boosted, beautifully balanced, fast in attack and not intrusive whatsoever. Bass tones were heard/felt as low as 10Hz and rolled upwards to 130Hz before it topped off. There was no significant drop offs and all tones were relatively close. During music playback it seems very balanced to my ears. There is no part of the bass response that seems to jump out in front of the rest of the tuning.
     
    The bass is forward, present and lush, playing along with the music in good balance, hitting every note pretty flawlessly. When called upon by the track to bring some thump it can also do so just as easily. It is a very versatile bass response. During Daft Punk’s “Doin it Right,” the lowest of low bass notes were perfect in tone and not boomy at all (which is usually the case with most IEMs). During Tei Shi’s “Bassically,” there was a level of depth and speed playing the bass lines that yielded a great sense of space and energy. You get punch, you get rumble, you get speed. No, it’s not fast armature bass but in my opinion it's better. It’s more linear and balanced than most bass forward dynamics and more dynamic and weighted than balanced armatures. I hope that makes sense.
     
    Bass quality, Check...
     
    Midrange
    Midrange is an epic combination of warmth and resolution. I get a sense of forwardness in ranges just above midbass that make vocals pop. I really like how this is done. To my ears, the vocals take center stage on most tracks and that’s how it should be. Voices sounded very natural and forward at the same time. Pianos had great timbre and speed.
     
    The midrange is somewhat similar to the tuning of the Dunu Titan in the sense that they go from very warm and rich in lower midrange to very crisp and slightly dry upper midrange. The word that comes to mind is “shimmer.” They have a certain amount of upper midrange detail and shimmer that nicely compliments that rich lower mid presence. They are never shouty, and you catch every single micro detail with great resolution and accuracy. The balanced armature inside of these are gems. During Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing,” I got lost in picking apart all of the guitars and bass guitars playing at the same time. I think the level of separation on the A73 is world class.
     
    Midrange, Check...
     
    Treble
    Treble is my favorite aspect of the A73 in terms of its sound. Often times when higher end IEMs are released, they have a tweaked treble response with a bump somewhere in the upper mids or treble area. This is done to yield a good sense of top end extension and improve soundstage. This is done at the expense of some listeners not being able to tolerate the spike, or get the impression that the earphone is mild to considerably sibilant. The A73 is unique in the sense that it carries the same amount of extension and detail as higher end stuff, but isn’t forward enough to be harsh. It has very clean and crisp sound and feel. There were no harshly pronunciations of the letter S, and cymbal crashes were crystal clear and on the more mellow side of harsh.  I could listen to this type of treble tuning for hours without it ever getting fatiguing or feeling like it is lacking in any way. It sounds good at any volume. Dare I say it is some of the best treble I’ve ever heard in an IEM? I did, and with no shame!
     
    Treble response, check...
     
    Soundstage and Imaging
    The A73 sounds very open and airy. The beefy sound from the dynamic driver and very detailed and extended sound of the armature driver creates a huge soundstage for an IEM. Imaging is awesome because of the top notch level of detail and accuracy. Simply put, pop them in your ears, play your favorite tracks, sit back, relax, close your eyes, and you will be whisked away to your favorite songs being performed live just for you. The dynamic and armature driver playing in unison really makes the presentation sound multidimensional.
     
    Soundstage? Imaging? Check...
     
    Comparisons
     
    Fidue A83 ($275 to $325 USD on many sites)
    If the Fidue A83 is the Shaquille O’neal version of in-ear monitors, the A73 is Kobe Bryant model. While the A83 brings power and an aggressive tuning that impresses me every time I listen to it, the A73 has traits that sets it apart from it’s older teammate, making it equally as effective despite the differences in its game plan and approach.
     
    The A83 is more aggressive and forward in just about every auditory aspect. The bass is more robust and has more rumble. The A73 bass is more linear and with more speed. The upper midrange of the A83 is more forward and shouty in comparison to the A73 softer presentation. The treble of this A83 is more up front and some have said it is sibilant. While I don’t think this is the case, they are forward in comparison to the more relaxed and tolerable treble of the A73.
     
    A83 is up front and aggressive, the A73 is more laid back and relaxed, delivering all the details and balance needed for audiophiles to really appreciate it.
     
    The A83 is the entertainer, the A73 is the professor. A83 is the Incredible Hulk, the A73 is Bruce Banner. A83 is Superman, the A73 is Clark Kent. To make this review more fun, please post more analogies in the comment section below! Just keep it clean guys!
     
    So, while the A83 is in the paint throwing elbows, pulling down rebounds and dunking on people, the A73 is weaving in and out of traffic, picking the opposition's pockets and nailing twenty foot fade away jumpers.
     
    If I want to play an action flick with lots of music and explosions, or I’m listening to my favorite Daft Punk album, I’m going A83. This A83 also isn’t leaving the house because of the high price tag!
     
    If I’m going to listen to some AFI or Pink Floyd, or decide to play some acoustic artists, I’m going A73.  I prefer the A73 for long listening sessions, one thing I haven’t touched on is the that the A73 has a much better and more ergonomic fit than the A83. If I’m leaving the house I’m taking these over the A83 because they are sleeker, and half the price (so half the risk) of the A83. Yes, for me the A73 is good enough to reach for instead of the A83 more times than not.
     
    In terms of accessories, A83 takes the prize with its pelican case, airline adapter, ¼ inch plug, and detachable cable. The A73 accessory package is formidable and not lacking in any way, but not on the same level as the A83.
     
    Dunu Titan ($90 to $125 USD on many sites)
    The Titan caught a lot of people off guard with their solid build, and phenomenal resolution and aggressive tuning, turning many people’s attention towards the titanium single driver dynamic.
     
    Simply put, I feel the Titan is outclassed by the A73 at this point, which is saying a lot because I had the Titan ranked second at the time of writing this review (now third out of all of the IEMs I have). The A73 is more extended into sub bass regions and more linear at the same time, making the Titan seem more mid-bass forward and lacking sub-bass extension and soundstage depth. Vocals sound great with the Titan but separation in the midrange was not as good to my ears as the A73. While I preferred the upper midrange of the Titan, overall smoothness, extension and resolution of the A73 treble was more enjoyable to me.
     
    A-B comparisons, I can confidently say that the A73 is more detailed, higher resolution, more sub bass (and more bass overall) and has a bigger soundstage and better imaging. Now, all of you who have the Titan pop them in right now, give them a listen, and apply what I just said. Now, grab your wallets and go to the link at the top of the page and get these A73! HAHA! JKJK...kind of...not really...muahahaha...
     
    Dunu offers a slightly better accessories package. Their case is very nice and Sony like hybrid tips sealed the deal for me.
     
    Titan has a better under the ear fit. The fact that I can go over the ear with the A73 without swapping channels gives them the edge.  
     
    Conclusion
    The A73 checked just about every single box for me. It was a chin slider short of being perfect in my opinion. They took feedback from it’s reviewers and made another epic in-ear monitor. Fidue is quickly becoming my favorite maker of in-ear monitors. They make improvements based off of reviews and customer feedback. That is huge and a big reason why I have already made up my mind to invest in more of their premium products moving forward.

    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. espanarules
      Great Review...
      I'm pretty intrigued with these...I was just about to REbuy the DN-1000 (LOVE THEM), and then this...and then my friend recommended the SONY MDR-EX800ST....
       
      Any input???
      espanarules, Jul 17, 2015
    3. flippant1
      A73 v A83 How does he sound compare?
      Besides the cable, build etc, I have heard one of these two gems and it sounds incredible. Has anyone had the chance to compare the sound between the A73 and A83?
      flippant1, Jul 30, 2015
    4. dw1narso
      Hisoundfi, how is this compared to LZA2? If disregarding the differrent tuning, are they in 5he same class/level?
      dw1narso, Nov 10, 2015
  2. DJScope
    Absolutely brilliant: Beauty, Detail and Bass!
    Written by DJScope
    Published Jun 27, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Full and balance sound signature, amazing staging and imaging, beautiful design, mic/remote, super easy to driver.
    Cons - Grabby cable, no neck cinch, remote button is not universal

    Introduction

    I first noticed the Fidue A73 floating around on Penon Audio, and there was very little information on them anywhere, especially Head-Fi. I had to get my hands on them! So I acquired both the A73 and A65. Having previously owned the Fidue A71, I knew that Fidue is no joke. The A71 was great but had some qualities I was not a fan of; I had my fingers crossed that the A73 is going to improve on all front, and well, let’s just say that I was not disappointed.
     

    A little about the Fidue A73

    More info at the Fidue website: http://www.fidue.com/e_products/ Not yet on their website
     
    Frequency response​
      13 - 27,000 Hz

    Impedance​
      20 Ohm
    Sensitivity​
      107 dB
    Plug​
      Gold Plated 3.5 mm (1/8”) Straight
    Cable Length​
      1.3 m
    Speaker diameter​
      10mm Dynamic Driver Woofer & BA Tweeter
    Maximum Input Current​
      20 mW
    Sensitivity of Mic​
      -42 (±3) dB
    S/N Ratio of Mic​
      >55 dB

     
     
     

     

    Purchase them here:

    Asia: http://penonaudio.com/FIDUE-A73
    America: http://www.ctcaudio.com/products/fidue-a73-high-performance-hybrid-earphones
    Australia: http://www.noisymotel.com/product.asp?ProductID=892
    Europe: http://www.hifiheadphones.co.uk/fidue-a73-hybrid-monitor-earphones-with-universal-single-button-remote-and-mic.html
    India: http://www.hifinage.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&category_id=28&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=124&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=29

     

    FR Graph

    Thanks to Fidue for providing the frequency response graph.
     
    A73curve.png
     
     
     
     
     

    Packaging & Accessories

    The Fidue A73 comes in Fidue style, that is, it’s well presented and has a lot of flashy details on it. Black with the signature Fidue green square with all the juicy details on it. As well as the very nice glossy pattern that wraps around the box. You get a rendering of the Fidue A73s on the front. On the back of the box you get all the info in English, Chinese and German as well as contact info, a serial number and a QR code, and a picture of the jack. Not going to hang around here too long.
     
    Accessories are unfortunately quite scarce. You get 3 pairs of standard silicone tips and one pair of the Fidue double flange tips, which I actually are my favourite tips for quite a while now, but these ones come in a softer opaque grey silicone. With it you get a very nice clam shell carry case, shirt clip and a rubber cable tie, as well as a warranty card. It’s the exact same amount of accessories you get with the A65. I’m quite baffled by this decision. But OK. I hope they saved the money to bring us a more premium product instead. But I do feel like a pair of ear guides and maybe some extra tips or Comply foam tips would’ve been good at this price range.
     

    Design & Comfort

    The Fidue A73 is completely different to their previous A71, and I mean completely. The A71 had a dual dynamic driver setup with was a very unique separate chamber, sort-of a jet style setup where the driver on the back fired around the driver in front. The A73 uses a more traditional dynamic plus balance armature configuration. And not just the configuration is different, they look like completely different products, and I’m really loving what Fidue is doing with their current product line up in terms of looks.
    The A73 carries over the outer shell styling of its big-daddy-o the A83, and I think that its absolutely stunning, and the right direction to go. The top of the shell is cast aluminium that has this really awesome looking ridge styling; kind of looks like a wing. The rest of it is made from a really light, glossy plastic which is see-through red. When you shine a light through it at just the right angle you can see all the guts in all their glory. I personally love this look. Because they’re not just beautiful but they are also super comfortable. The plastic on the ear side is exactly the type of idea that works because it not only looks good but is absolutely 100% practical for its the purpose. Glossy plastic on skin is warm and soft and the shape of it sits perfectly inside my outer ear. The Fidue double flanges fit absolutely perfect in my ear and I’ve been waiting to get my ears on them again as I lost these ear tips from my A71 box and I was very sad because they were my all-time favourites. These new tips are made from a softer rubber/silicone and are grey in colour, as opposed to the black silicone you got with the A71. Great job to the Fidue R&D team, I hope they got themselves a bonus for their splendid work.
     

    Cable, Jack, Splitter & Mic/Remote

    The cable internals are made from hi-end silver plated OFC, though the sleeving is my least favourite part of the A73. The cable itself is a soft silicone or rubber which insulates some round twisted inner core wires. It gives a heat-shrink type of vibe. The cable is very rubbery and “grabby”, by that I mean, they grab everything they drag on; that includes clothes, skin and hair. You do get used to it and it does have a positive and that is they sit very nicely on you head around the ear and don’t move around.  The cable also twists a lot and grabs onto itself making them quite a nightmare to untangle if you didn’t coil them properly when storing them away.
    There is also no neck cinch which is not a huge deal breaker because what I do is just twist the wires around the Y splitter a few times, and bingo! DIY neck cinch!
     
    The jack, Y splitter and the remote. All look quite the same. They’re pretty much an exact copy of the Xiaomi Piston design with the machined groves but it works very nicely and looks fantastic. And yes that’s right, I said remote. There’s a mic and remote on this unit. Halleluiah! Unfortunately it didn’t work with my phone or the FiiO X1, which is a huge sad face for me, but I’m sure it works absolutely fine with other devices especially stuff from Apple.
     

    Isolation

    Isolation here is splendid. I find them hard to use at work because they block everything out, especially when my manager tries to get my attention. But I kid of course, I find this to be a bonus! The Fidue A73 blocks most of the outside noise very adequately and doesn’t leak a lot of sound out despite having 2 ports on each shell. The BA drivers however do blast a lot of high frequency sound out when you don’t have them inserted in your ears. Top marks in this department.
     

    Sound

    We’ve found ourselves in the most important section, and you probably thinking to yourself, “Too many good points, nothing is perfect, they must sound like Schiit”. Oh how wrong you are, my friend. They are absolutely divine! In a few words I would describe them to be: Fun, detailed, punchy, balanced, full, spacious and laidback. They’ve got it all.

    Treble

    Treble is extended but not super elevated. It has this really nice spike in the upper treble that gives it this very open and detailed sound. It never get fatiguing and I can listen to them all day long. The BA driver does a very fine job. There is lots of sparkle and sense of air. It’s very sensitive and can be quite revealing with some recordings. You can hear noise from effects applied on loops you don’t normally hear, and vinyl rips actually sound like you are listening to a really bad vinyl because you hear every single speck of dust the needle runs over. I actually haven’t heard this much detail since the Havi B3 Pro 1 and I actually think that the A73 has just a tiny bit more detail that a dynamic driver just cannot produce.
    There is just a little bit of track induce sibilance is the “S” notes because of the peak on the 10kHz region, but most of the time this is non-existent.

    Mids

    The mids are not the strongest point on the A73 but they’re pretty damn good. Mostly because they mesh so well with the rest of the spectrum. Vocals are place right in from of you, and that’s exactly where they need to be; not behind or far in front, they need to be right in your face, and that’s exactly where they are here. All vocals and acoustics are full and accurate in timbre, not getting dry, grainy, shouty or brash. I wouldn’t call them perfect, but balanced and neutral would be the best way to descript them.

    Bass

    I’d like to start off by giving the dynamic driver a round of applause. The bass is probably my favourite part of the A73. It’s big, it’s full, it’s fast and most importantly it goes down low. Using SineGen to sweep frequencies I can actually hear the drivers pulse at 18Hz and at 24Hz there is a lot of SPL and it feels like I need to pop my ears. It’s all there all the way up to the midrange. Not elevated in the mid bass, but the same level all the way. It hits hard, it rumbles and it complements the mids very nicely, doing all this without masking any of the detail. It’s quite the feat but the A73 has got it right.

    Soundstage & Imaging

    The sound stage is amazing. It’s wide and there is a lot of layering not just left and right but up, down, forward and back. It’s not distant like the Havi B3 Pro 1, and I actually prefer it this way. The B3 Pro 1s give you this really surreal and distant experience like everything is so far away. The A73 keeps that feeling of everything in its place, but without pushing everything away from each other, they keep all the elements together, playing together, in harmony.
     

    Ratings

    As Head-Fi doesn't properly show the ratings, this is how I've scored the Fidue A73:
     
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    Conclusion

    It’s with great sadness I have to say that the Havi B3 Pro 1 is no longer my favourite IEM, and with great joy I’m telling you that the A73 has taken this spot. They are like the B3 Pro 1 but with that awesome punchy bass I always needed to boost with the EQ. They retain that really nice, detailed and laidback treble I absolutely adored on the Havi and made it better. And not just that, they are nearly 3 times easier to drive than the Havi.
    Fidue has made an absolutely splendid and brilliant product here that not only looks amazing and is super practical for its intended use, and but they also achieved an impressive sound signature at this price range. All my hats are off to you Fidue, well done!
     
    Cheers!
     
    [​IMG] 
    1. View previous replies...
    2. kar13
      nice write up DJscope!Absolutely spot on with my own notes!!
      kar13, Aug 1, 2015
    3. DJScope
      Thanks @kar13 great mind think alike, great ears don't lie! :wink:
      DJScope, Sep 21, 2015
    4. harry501501
      Hey there, how do these compare to the Dunu Dn 1000s in terms of resolution and bass?
      harry501501, Jul 24, 2016
  3. vaibhavp
    Hybrid design benefits.
    Written by vaibhavp
    Published Jul 1, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Intimate lifelike vocals and soundstage, lively and dynamic, grainfree sound
    Cons - soundstage lacks a little depth
    Disclaimer: I would like to thank www.hifinage.com and Fidue for this review sample.I was supposed to keep it for 1 week for evaluation purpose free of charge. I am in no way affiliated to Fidue or www.hifinage.com. I will be writing this review in unbiased way as possible.
     
    To save reader's valuable time, I have structured review a little differently than usual.
     
    So lets see how it sounds:
     
    General: This is first time I am listening to a hybrid design. It comprises of balanced armature and 10 mm woofer dynamic driver. When I had a first listen I was surprised at how crystal clear, completely grain free the sound was. Later when I tried my other dynamic driver earphones, they all had a little grain in their sound. Another aspect I found different from dynamic driver was clean transient response. While listening to Rhythmscape from Bickram Ghosh, its a well recorded disc that has multiple precussion instruments like tabla, drum etc playing against completely black background. Changeover from one instrument to another was very clean on Fidue. I compared it with my dynamic driver earphones/headphones, even my AKG k550 which are technically capable headphones, had some noise. Also the background is completely black on A73.
     
    Bass: Bass is round, dynamic, goes deep, is well textured. It certainly makes its presence felt and is not a bass light iem, from headfi standards. Its punchy and satisfying.
     
    Mids: Mids are crystal clear as are grain free, a bit smooth than detailed, slightly warm and lush.
     
    Treble: Treble is lively, not overly rolled off but is not harsh at all. 
     
    Dynamics: Exceptional for this price range. I found sound to be very lively and dynamic.
     
    Soundstage: Soundstage is intimate, especially vocals are front and center and rather intimate. Other instruments are laid around vocals and are also intimate. One criticism I have is soundstage does not has lot of depth and layering is not as refined as some of my other headphones. 
    Outside of that, if you like me enjoy a rather intimate soundstage than an overly airy one, where you have to squint your eyes to hear any detail, this iem is for you.
     
    Instrument separation: Despite of intimate soundstage, instruments are very well defined and separated. I think intimate soundstage with great separation are one of its biggest strength.
     
    Overall tonality: A very even handed frequency response. Note edges are rounded, which gives them a little warm, lush presentation. Its lively and dynamic, thus not a very laid back sound. Detail presentation is relaxed, its their to hear but is not shoved in you face. 
     
    Comparison with Hifiman RE400:
     
    A73 a step up over RE400. It goes deeper in recordings and brings listener a little more closer to music. Outside of that it boosts a similar neutral frequency response as Re400. It does fixes a couple of shortcomings in RE400, A73's bass goes deeper, is more textured. Also sound is more dynamic.
    Where RE400 beats it is soundstage depth, it has very refined layering in its price class. RE400 has sharper note edges and is on colder side of neutral. While A73 is on warmer side and rounded edges.
     
    A Note on similarity with Sennheiser HD700: When I heard A73 for first time, it instantly reminded me of HD700. I know its unfair to compare two as HD700 was introduced at $1000, but they have some key similarities as far as tonality is concerned. Them being crystal clear grain free sound, even handed frequency response, slightly warm tilt, relaxed detail presentation. Technically A73 can't compete with HD700 but tonally I find similarities. 
     
    Now that the sound part is over I will present some mundane information:
     
    Fit: Included are 4 tips, S, M, L and double flange. Initially I thought it will be hard to achieve seal with just 4 tips, but surprisingly all 4 offered varying degree of seal. None of them was perfect seal but double flange tips gave me best seal and almost full sound potential. 
     
    Isolation: Once music started playing, I had no problem in listening at normal, "at-home" level volumes on my cell phone in metro. So isolation is acceptable.
     
    Build quality: Housing seems to be made of 2 parts, one plastic, one metal that is shaped beautifully. Cable seems to be robust, but is not very flexible. Also its non removable and strain relief, though good, not the best I have seen. If you take good care of them, I am sure they will last you a long time. 
     
    Accessories: It includes 4 tips, shirt clip and a hard zippered carry case. It is also equipped with single button remote that worked perfectly well with my Sony Xperia smartphone. It could be used for play/pause and also taking calls.
     
    Amping: I used Audinst HUD Mini for most of my listening. I also used Sony Xperia SP smartphone. Audinst is mostly neutral sounding dac/amp and has low output impedance so it had no problems in driving them. 
    Since its a hybrid design with 20 ohm impedance, I recommend using sources with less than 1 ohm output impedance for optimum results.
     
    Value and conclusion:
     
    At $150 I thing its well priced. I think as a overall package it offers great value. Though IEM world sees cut throat competition, it does enough to differentiate itself from other dynamic driver offerings and is well worth your consideration.
     
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      DJScope and infer like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. vaibhavp
      OK. thanks.
      vaibhavp, Jul 2, 2015
    3. arijitroy02
      Cool review, bought these from hifinage and got them this Monday! Very happy so far, doing a burn-in for now!
      arijitroy02, Jul 2, 2015
    4. vaibhavp
      awesome. they are a great buy. do share your impressions.
      vaibhavp, Jul 2, 2015
  4. krishtrinity1
    Fidue a73 Initial impressions
    Written by krishtrinity1
    Published Jul 27, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Audiophile quality,soundstage,treble detail,value for money,build
    Cons - over the ear design maybe hit or miss,constantly readjusting for better fit,well,you can't have everything i suppose
    [​IMG]
     
    My priority when i am buying a audio gear is value for money and Fidue A73 comes in the insane value category,although it is still early to tell if it's the best inear at the price because i just got this earphone.Although what the Fidue lacks in features and some minor hiccups,it more than makes up in audio quality,in my last review i praised the vsonic vsd 5 for it's incredible performance for the money the fidue is almost double the price and even before it's burned in i can say that it easily justifies the price.Will go into more detail in the final review,here are impressions of some of the songs i tested with the Fidue A73
    Played with Jriver media center with wasapi output,Schiit modi DAC and fiio E11 set at two and a half quarter in volume dial.
     
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    Victory song(320 kbps)-Ensiferum
    What better song to test the limits of a earphone than a folk metal song,to me if any earphone can play this song even moderately good they are worth buying,my ath m40x absolutely destroyed this song because it sound so compressed,i enjoyed listening to this song with vsonic vsd 5,it had good sound stage enough to tell where tell the instruments in the song apart and trust me that is greatest compliment i could give it to vsd5,if you have heard this song you will know what i mean.Fidue A73 is on another level compared to vsd 5 any hint of harshness is completely disappeared,instrument seperation is wider,the sub bass is also present but not enough to interfere with the rest of frequency range.Overall i am very impressed with Fidues performance,can't think of even one negative thing to say after hearing the song with the Fidue.
     
     
    Lonely Boy(320kbps)-The Black Keys
    Once again can't find anything negative to say,absolutely wonderful soundstage,vocals are not recessed at all,crystal clear highs,maybe a hint of sibilance but can't say for sure,bass is punchy.I can see the benifit of dual drivers if you listen carefully you can tell the audio is coming from 2 drivers but it just add to the immersion
     
     
     
    MAYDAY!!(320kbps)-Flobots
    At this point i can't concentrate writing this post when i am busy headbobbing to this rock/hip hop song.I can clearly tell where each and every instrument is placed,where the vocals are coming from,the violin is clearly heard from the right doesn't even remotely interfere with the vocals or drums.Think i am going to listen to the entire Flobots album after this post
     
     
     
    I am only Joking(320kbps)-KONGOS
    Absolutely love this band,they only have a few songs to their name by my knowledge but they kick ass.We can clearly tell apart the unique mix of drums and vocals.I am busy head bobbing to complete this so..if you get this earphone you should hear this song.
     
     
     
    [​IMG]
  5. wrathzombie
    Surprisingly good Hybrid Experience
    Written by wrathzombie
    Published Jul 29, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Build Quality, Instrument Separation and detail retrieval, Handles most of the genres well
    Cons - Fit can be a bit tricky, Source dependent?
    First of all I would like to thank Hifinage (http://www.hifinage.com/) for arranging a review tour and sending this to me. They are really stepping up their game and slowly increasing the product offering, which for us Indians is very good. I am not an expert reviewer and the opinions mentioned are purely subjective on the basis of audio gear that I have available with me at this point of time.
     
    Source: AV RX-375, Fiio X1, Huawei Honor 6.
     
     
    File Format: 320 Kbps, Flac
     
     
    Packaging: The packaging, is pretty straightforward and functional. There is a carrying case included with four set of tips. I would wish, there were a few additional tip choices (maybe a pair of comply)
     
     
     
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    Build Quality/Features: It is solid and overall it looks that a lot of effort has gone into the design of these earphones. Cables are rubbery, yet seem fairly strong and tangle proof. No chin slider, however, a shirt clip is included. These can be worn, only over the ear so  micro phonics is very minimal. The cable is not very long, and the perfect length for portable use. An in line mic is present which works pretty well out of my Android phone(it only consists of a mute button). Strain relief also look very solid. 
     
     
    Fit: I think Fidue, have put some effort in making a low profile iem, which fits over the ear. However, it is not very easy to get the perfect fit. I had to use the biggest tip to ensure, they were sitting snugly within my ear. I think this would be one of the cons for these iem. The sound is fit dependent and you might not be able to enjoy them 100 percent unless you get the right fit. Also, I don't think they can be worn, straight down.
    B612-2015-07-28-20-08-00.jpg
     
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    B612-2015-07-28-20-09-51.jpg
     
    Sound: This is the first time, that I am trying a hybrid iem and it did lead to a few surprises. Instrument separation is awesome(which led me to hear a few sounds, which I had not heard before. For eg: the song Vampires - Antsy pants has an egg shaker in the background which seems prominent), Bass goes deep(but not too deep), Mids are forward so vocals really shine. Also, I could slight separation on how the sounds were produced. I am not saying, there is something off with the tuning, but since I have experience with only dynamic earphones, maybe I found them a bit different. 
    To be frank, they were not really great out of my Honor 6 or X1, which makes me think they need an AMP to make them shine and so I plugged them to my AVR and the sound was surprisingly more cohesive. I wish, I had my Fiio now because that would have certainly helped. Overall, they seem to work for Electronica, Pop, Instrumental, Jazz but not really for extreme metal. Since, most of my listening consists of Death, Tech Death, Black Metal I am not sure these earphones are for me. One thing to note would be, that if you like slow instrumental music, for eg the song: Isis - Shakti, you can really hear how each instruments are slowly coming to life as the song goes on, the song starts with an acoustic guitar piece, and then the tabla starts and then the violin joins in. The 3-D like effect you get is really good. I hope I am explaining things correctly. Now, the problem I got with my Honor6 and X1 is that the treble sound a bit plasticy and piercing which makes it a little fatiguing. However, the same issue was not there when I plugged them to the AVR.
     
     
    Final Words:
    The iems are pleasantly surprising and do a lot of things with aplomb. The detail retrieval and instrument separation is top notch, however they are not an all rounder which would work for all types of music. However, if you like pop, electronica, instrumental, jazz, and even rock you should definitely give them a shot. They also, seem to be a bit picky on the source component so I am not sure, if they will work well out of your phone directly. Maybe, I need more time with them, because after listening to a lot of dynamic iems over the last few years, my ears need time to adjust to them, but sadly these are review pieces and have to go to  the next reviewer.
      ayaflo likes this.
  6. kar13
    Fidue A73 the new KING OF 150$ iem!
    Written by kar13
    Published Jul 31, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - No iem can match A73 SQ at this price point!
    Cons - Isolation and poor eartip selection

     
    This is not my first review, but it is the first time posting on Head fi.
    About my preferences:
    Qualities I look for in an IEM: Clean detailed treble, good sub bass, forward mids, isolation. Overall tonality leaning towards warmth, but balanced and musical. I am neither a bass head nor do I like analytical and cold signature.
    Price/Performance factor has tremendous weightage and importance for me, which is one of the reasons for this (rather lengthy) review.
     
    This review will also be a comparison of A73'S with GR 07BE.In all songs, the first part consists of A73 followed by comparison with GR 07BE.
     
    Listening Paraphernalia: 24 bit flac tracks, 16 bit flac tracks, desktop with E17 DAC (no eq) using foobar2k.
    Stock Bi-flanges, Monster tri-flanges, Meelectronics tri flanges for A73. Stock single flanges for GR07 BE.
     
    REVIEW :
     
    PACKAGING:
    I don't pay much attention to packaging. Here it is minimalistic and compact.
     
    ACCESSORIES:
    Leather Carrying case, Bi-flanges (1 set), S/M/L single flange ear tip, 1 Shirt Clip
    Fidue could offer a good range of selection of ear tips, which is in greater scrutiny because of the sub-par and cockamamie nozzle design.
     
    SPECIFICATION:
    Drivers: Dual-Driver Hybrid (10mm Exclusive Dynamic Woofer + Balanced Armature Driver)
    SPL: 107dB
    Impedance: 11Ω
    Frequency Response: 13-27,000 Hz
    Distortion: <1%
    Max Input Power: 20mW
    Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated
    Cable: 1.3m Oxygen-Free Copper Cable
    Plug: 3.5mm stereo, gold-plated (MP3, iPod, iPhone & iPad Supported)
     S/N Ratio of Mic: >55db
    Sensitivity of Mic: -42+-3db
     
    BUILD QUALITY:
    The shell has its outer part being metallic with silver colour and the inner part being made out of plastic, dark red in colour. The earphones are a bit heavy and also sturdy compared to GR 07BE.The cable quality is sturdy and good, but could use some memory to it. My main grouse is with the nozzle. The nozzle doesn't have a constriction that can hold the ear tips, especially the wide bore bi flanges in place. They kept getting stuck in the ears. Cabling gives a fair bit of micro phonics, even in over the ear position, and occasionally pops out of place. One can use the crocodile clips to tame the beast that is the cable. Again, Fidue had a lack of foresight for not using detachable cables and cable cinch.
    The strain relief so far seems to be good and the plug is gold coated.
    But overall, the build quality is nice.The mic and remote button is an added bonus.
     
    ISOLATION & COMFORT:
    Coming from the GR 07BE, in which the isolation is above average. If I'm working, I can't generally hear key strokes with GR 07BE on.
    With Fidue A73, the bass vents make the isolation average. This makes it difficult for using it outside home/quiet environment.
    For me secure fit was obtained with Stock bi-flanges, Monster tri flanges, Meelectronics tri flanges. The air vents make the attenuation of higher frequencies impossible. The A73 is also very comfortable and can be used for extended duration without any fatigue. I found Vsonic large ear tips also provide secure and good fit. I hope they work on the isolation in the next iteration.
     
    SOUND:
    Smoke and Mirrors (Gotye) :This track has so many transients and elements to it that 150$ iems  can't reproduce the detailing, imaging and sharp attacks while maintaining the tonality and vocals is a difficult proposition except for the most able ones like A73.Every micro detailing can be alluded to,  along with the position. There is no part of the track that sounds muddled even with the Monster tri flanges. The cymbals, the drums synth at the end of the track are heard clearly and thus the instrument separation is top notch.
    The rumble and the impact of sub-bass is fair to excessive when using Monster tri flanges. With stock bi flanges the airiness and the treble extension alone, put you on the path to heaven.
     
    Dangerous(Michael Jackson):I can't handle the sibilance, hotness and brightness of this track when listening to GR 07BE.It’s a habit of mine to turn the treble down in the EQ with GR 07BE.The A73 handles the cymbals and bass very smoothly like a playa with a hot chick. The tracks of 24 bit recordings which have greater dynamic range compared to lossless CD tracks and the whisperings by MJ are heard clearly throughout the track in the A73's. The high octave "he he" can be made out along with the imaging of his voice, what with the airiness and whatnot.
    The GR 07BE are beaten black and blue by A73 with superior resolution in treble, texturing of bass and vocals.
     
    I’m in Love (Meiko): The track has different textured bass and sub bass fair bit of it being punchy and some of it rumbling. A73's turn out to be jack of all trades. The rumbling of the sub bass is excellent and impact is punchy when needed. The saxophones have a nice rounded yet detailed sound. Her voice has never been this true to life and mellifluous.GR07 loses this round in texture and tonality due to recessed mids.
     
    Warrior (Laura Marling): She might be the next Joni Mitchell. This track has colossal soundstage (albeit artificial) .The A73 has the better width in soundstage compared to GR 07BE and also front-back presence. The vocals are terrific and has good imaging and separation with A73. The GR 07 come close to A73 representation in resolution, but lose big time in tonality.
     
    Sing(Ed Sheeran): A73 makes it possible for you to pluck the acoustic guitar along with the singer closing your eyes can be made out. Without paying attention, you can make out a woman's voice saying "Ah". One can easily make out the v shaped nature of Gr 07BE doing A/B with A73.
    The transparency of the A73 becomes quite clear. A73 's display top class treble extension, and surprisingly the bass is full bodied with superb control down to the sub bass range, conspicuously better than GR 07BE.A day and night difference. The tonality of GR07 takes a huge blow.
     The air around the individual chords are more natural and can be made out easily. Bass and "whoo whoops" in background don't affect the guitar chords and hooks. The decay of the chords is presented nicely being rounded.
     
    Grizzly Bear (Angus & Julia Stone): The micro details and resolution are easily better vis-a-vis GR07BE.The tonality of the brother-sister duo's vocals are oh so fine, one couldn't cut them with a knife. All the inherent vocal nuances are presented perfectly by A73. No complaints here. Overall presentation is terrific in A73 compared to paltry GR 07BE.
    For GR 07, there is glaring lack of texture in bass, vocals. Even the treble is muddy and lacks resolution.
     
    Chemical Reaction (Sucre) - This track has some of the best transients in a track, switching between synths, drums and vocals that I have come across.A73 handles it like a champ. The synth is full bodied, transparent and seems as though it occupies the whole room and really transports you to an amazing universe. The string section is life like, transparent with great attack, and A73 doesn't break a sweat while doing so. It seems effortless.
     
    Currents (Eisley) – Again, a big fan of this band. Check them out to find out what “melodious voice” means. This is the track I would make anyone listen to, if they were to ask me to demonstrate the soundstage of A73.The listener is front and center along with the singer and the magic happens all around him/her with superb precision in imaging of drums. No way does A73 let any detail slip by you. The GR 07BE, in comparison, sound congested and lifeless. The vocals and imaging are mauled to death by GR07BE. The V shaped tuning of the drivers is very palpable.
    Move like You Stole It (ZZ Ward): Everyone has to check out this under rated artist. The way she emphasizes the vowels very in her unique singing style and contain a lot of detail which can make or break a presentation. Her vocals have never sounded better to my ears. The vocals and extension in the upper treble are detailed with A73.
    The sibilance and muddied presentation, with GR07 is very obvious. However, the detailing on GR 07 is good.
     
    Sitting, Waiting, Wishing (Jack Johnson): All I can say is that the meaning of "musicality" is taken to a whole different league by A73.Excellent instrument separation, tonality and imaging. I will not even bother to mention GR 07BE performance against A73, as the latter remains the clear winner.
     
    Take Five (Dave Brubeck): This is one of my favourite jazz tracks, which introduced me to jazz. Tonality of sax, the air around the drums, their speed and impact and imaging are conveyed with finesse. You name it, A73’s got it. The GR07 also do not give up without a fight. The first and only time in this review, perhaps, will I be applauding GR 07.It’s a little bit tougher to pick out a winner, but the resolution of A73 carries it across the finishing line.
     
    My Parties (Dire Straits): This track has true soundstage and none of the artificial software reverb generated ones. The timbre of sax is good. The detailing, resolution and imaging on A 73 will beat Gr 07 single-handedly any day, any time. But, the GR 07 catches up with A73 in tonality.
     
    Heavy Fuel (Dire Straits): It surprises me that a laid back musical iem can reproduce the image of cymbals crashing with such authority and energy in attack with tonality and precision in imaging. The cymbals can awaken you from sleep. It's like A73's are like sleeping giants that can command hotness on demand despite being laid back. They do reproduce the recordings to the truest extent of the source.
    GR 07 will be proud to lose this one, as they give a good tussle to A73 in tonality and texture.
     
    In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins): In addition to the detailing and imaging, the soundstage created by bass drums near the end is superbly authoritative in energy and presence, as though you are in the recording room with Phil Collins.
    GR 07’s sing the same old song of congested treble and recessed mids.
     
    Thank You (Dido): The note presentation of flutes is carried with such liveliness in tonality that it put me to sleep! The superiority of A 73 with GR 07BE is in imaging, tonality and musicality, and come together to put the final nail in the coffin of GR 07BE.  The cymbals are cluttered, congested and lacking resolution in GR 07BE.
     
    New Year's Day (U2): You have to listen to this song to get an idea of the brilliant imaging, layering and soundstage these iem's can present. The GR 07 BE's don't stand a chance in treble and upper midrange. The clarity and imaging, treble extension of A73 is clear as the full moon on a summer night. Top notch overall presentation. Soundstage of A73 is better than GR 07BE in width and have some height in imaging. Again the spoilsport happens to be recessed mids, making GR 07BE less involving and musical. In general, less everything.
     
    Memories (David Guetta): The 3d presentation of this track along with the detailing in the mids and upper treble without any sibilance. The bass doesn't bleed into mids and remains clinically clean, displaying speed and surprisingly with good punch for the A73. The piano reproduction is effortless and notes seem to be presented with life. The GR 07's otoh, are easily sibilant and lack treble and bass resolution, and go down easy without putting up a fight to A73.
     
    ABC'S (K'naan): This a terrific rap track with serious substance, as you would always expect from K'naan. The transients between different textured bass and sub bass is handled excellently, while the vocals are prominent and engaging with the amazing texture.
    The GR 07BE sounds sibilant and congested, compared to A73.
     
    Phoenix by Midnight (Yppah): This is one of my favourite tracks of recent past. The A73's are heavenly for this Electronic genre track, creating an engaging smooth, good tonality immersive 3D soundstage around you. As extolled previously for its micro detailing, it never fails to amaze you with the detailing which is top tier.
    Whereas with GR 07, I wish I never heard this song with them.
     
    Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein (Bollywood Film):
    Film Title Track (RHTDM) - The Mridangum (an Indian percussion instrument) is full bodied, transparent and detailed. The harmonic frequencies of percussion and the texture of male voice, become perspicuous with the A73.The harmonic frequencies determine the timbre of tracks.A73 produces good decay and hence sound very natural.
    With GR 07's, your face cringes to an extent you thought was impossible. They are dismal in resolution & tonality, and high in sibilance.
     
    Zara Zara (RHTDM) - A mesmerizing track. Bombay Jayashree's voice is just plain heavenly. The air around the drums and cymbal crashing can easily be made out. The synth and the flute are produced in a beautiful manner. The reproduction of flute is damn good. One major addition in A73, is the perception of height in the imaging and the width of the soundstage.
    One can make out to a good degree the height and distance of placement of instruments in the track. The transients are like a slithering snake hissing from far left to the right front. The claps do sound a little artificial, presumably due to armature drivers.
    The GR 07’S are nowhere to be seen after being thrashed by A73 in timbre, imaging and vocals.
     
    Dil ko (RHTDM) - Cymbals and upper mid-range is smooth and detailed with mids sounding forward. You can hear the percussion notes being round and detailed. Excellent imaging and soundstage. The tonality of cello is awesome. Also, certain weight is added to acoustic guitar notes, but the timbre of acoustic guitar is what caught my fancy.
    The GR07 lose this round as well.
     
    Such Keh Raha Hai Deewana (RHTDM) - KK's voice is reproduced excellently in A73’S. This track is presented with zero sibilance, extremely smooth and laid back. The texture of the voice deserves a special mention. The higher octaves are produced effortlessly and engrosses the listener completely as though you are in front of him, in the recording room. If you use Monster tri flanges, you can hear the sub bass down to 25 Hz contiguously and scares you pleasantly in its ability to keep the mids transparent and smooth and uncluttered. The string section and piano in the track are present with height and you can pin point the instruments with your hand. Detailing, resolution and imaging are very good. The layering and sub bass extension is better than GR 07BE.The operatic mezzo-soprano voice near the end of the track is immersive and mesmerising.
    The GR 07 are no match for A73.
     
    SUMMARY OF A73 vs. GR07BE:
     
    Compared to GR 07BE, A73 has:
    ·        
    Be    Better vocal reproduction
    ·         Significantly better 3D Soundstage, Imaging and detailing
    ·         No Sibilance
    ·         Forward mids (mids are slightly forward)
    ·         Better Attack and Decay
    ·         Less isolation
    ·         Laid back treble energy and less bright
    ·         Amazing PRaT
     
    The soundstage of GR 07BE is more like a listener struck between 2 walls of close proximity whereas with A73 the listener is in a 3d blob standing away from its centre point.
    The number of times I have used “congested” and “muddy “for GR07BE alone gives out the answer.
     
    If the sound of A73 is a 10, then GR07BE receives a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
     
    SUMMARY OF A73 SIGNATURE:
    With stock bi-flanges the presentation is very airy and sub bass emphasis is present but not in bass head proportions like with monster tri flanges. With Meelec tri-flanges, these open up, but not as much as stock bi-flanges in soundstage and airiness.
    The texture of the vocals deserves a special mention. I have never heard such dulcet reproduction of female and male vocals alike across genres. The micro detailing and texture are top notch.
    You can make out to a good degree the height and distance of placement of instruments in most tracks in relation to the imaging of vocals. In many folk tracks, I could close my eyes and easily point out the height of the instruments, despite their positioning in the soundstage created.
    The layering compounded with superb attack and decay puts you in the room of the recording in many tracks.
     
    The PRaT is seriously amazing. This is another area where A 73 trounces GR07 BE hands down. In my opinion this is one of the main reasons A 73 sounds terrific.
    Sometimes, they are like mini sub woofers in your ears. Whenever need arises it goes boom and slam in your face, without bleeding into the mids, needless to say.
     
    In a sentence: Superb sub-bass and bass, with lush and organic mids, excellent treble extension.
    They tend to be unforgiving of poor mastering or recording.
     
    Presentation of Major Instruments by A73:
     
    Acoustic Guitar: The notes of acoustic end well rounded and each nuance represented without any issue. John Mayer tracks sounds like god
    Electric Guitar: The presentation of electric is toe tapping and is fast and visceral. These puppies can meticulously handle whatever you throw at them. This is the advantage of triple driver configuration. Well, single vs multiple driver configuration is not open to too much of a debate.I guess that’s the advantage of hybrid configuration.
    String section: The nuances of violin, the timbre of cello and the bass impact of double bass. The detailing and imaging on string section in classic compositions despite everything happening is mind blowing due to excellent instrument separation.
    Bass & Drums: The punchiness, impact and speed is just too good to be true. In jazz recordings, the airiness of the drums and subsequently the soundstage it conjures is amazing.
    Pianos: The representation of pianos is tonally accurate and when need arises appropriate weight is added to the notes.
     
    RESPONSE TO EQ:
    Since, the iem’s are easy to drive, they respond to EQ’ing very well. With EQ and proper tips these can be used by both bass-heads and demanding listeners. This speaks volumes about the extension at top and sub-bass without sibilance, unlike GR 07.
    If you use Monster tri flanges, with EQ ing, you can hear the sub bass rumble down to 35Hz-25 Hz and frightens you pleasantly in its ability to keep the mids transparent, smooth, laidback and uncluttered.
    So, one can’t be disappointed with this purchase on whichever spectrum of audiophile category one falls into, unless they dislike musicality and like textbook neutral iem’s.Its very hard to go wrong with these iems
     
     
    PROS:
    Very easy to drive
    Astounding sub bass, in texture, that puts GR 07BE to shame (with Monster tri flange ear tips and EQ),
    Terrific attack and decay
    Great micro detailing and resolution
    Imaging and 3D presentation
    Non-fatiguing and musical, puts the vocals (male and female) front and centre with amazing texture,
    Good for most genres.
    Astounding Price/Performance ratio
     
    CONS:
    The nozzle needs to have a constriction near the end to keep the ear tips from falling out and being stuck in the ear canal, which prevents deep insertion. This a little dangerous as it has happened to me with stock bi-flanges.
    Fidue need to provide good selection of ear tips bi-flange and tri-flanges of wide and narrow bore, that don't slip out of the nozzle easily and get stuck in the ear. This makes it necessary for you to have spare wide bore single flange ear tips or order them. Meelectronics ear tips are a good bet.
     
    MY REMARKS:
    I am rediscovering my music library and constantly hearing things which were hitherto unheard of and unbeknownst to me, as I'm writing. Is this what love feels like? Perhaps! I am transported to heaven when A73 goes in my ears. Lock me up in a cage with A73 in my ears and I can spend an eternity. Maybe an exaggeration, but hope you understand how good these A73's are.
    These are some seriously good iem's with superlative bang for buck.
     Now, I think I have got an inkling of what CIEMS and 800$ iems might feel like because of A73's. Fidue A73 is the S***.Enter the successor to hugely popular GR 07BE.
    Trust me, you will never go back to GR 07BE after you have given A73's a shot. The hype, if any, is definitely worth it. I will be watching out for Fidue with future releases as they seem to have redefined the meaning of "pushing the envelope” with this effort. Kudos to them.
    These are exciting times for an audiophile on budget for the kind of iems you can get for less than 150$. Now Fidue, has one upped and upended the rule of GR 07BE.Ball is clearly in Vsonic’s court. Maybe, the VSD7/9 just might have the answer.
     
     
    DISCLAIMER:
    I am in no way related to Fidue and its owners.
    Being an audiophile, I have an affliction of appreciating quality. I am not unduly showering heaps of praise. These are just THAT good, especially for the price point. Do consider your personal preference and also the eartips used; hence take this review with a grain of salt.
     
    REVIEW PROCESS involved extensive testing spaced across many days, with GR 07 and A73 and comparing notes of many listening sessions to minimize error and be as authentic and descriptive as possible.
    Feel free to point out any mistakes/criticisms.
    If you have made it till here without skipping, thank you for reading. Even otherwise, thank you for reading!
     
    Just want to give a shout out to Hifinage for making Fidue A73 available in India
    1. View previous replies...
    2. kar13
      kar13, Aug 1, 2015
    3. kar13
      @Paulus XII thank you, that was the intention, atleast!
      kar13, Aug 1, 2015
    4. kar13
      kar13, Aug 1, 2015
  7. getclikinagas
    Fidue A73 – Cool rain on a warm afternoon
    Written by getclikinagas
    Published Aug 11, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Well done warm signature, no midrange recession, price, in-line mic, easy to drive
    Cons - Edginess in female vocals at times, no cable cinch/earguides
    Fidue A73 – Cool rain on a warm afternoon

     
     INDEX (Clickable)
     Specifications
    1. Build
    2. Fit and Comfort                                   
    3. Isolation
    4. Sound
    5. Comparisons
    6. Some subjective drivel
    7. Conclusion
    1. 10mm Exclusive Dynamic & Balanced Armature
    2. Frenquency Range: 13-27,000 Hz
    3. Sensitivity: 107dB
    4. Max Input Power: 20mW
    5. Distortion: <1%
    6. Cable: 1.3 m
    7. Sensitivity of Mic: -42+-3db
    8. S/N Ratio of Mic: >55db

     

    IMG_20150716_095938.jpg
     
    I first heard of Fidue when they released the mid-forward-done-right A63 and the lavish titanium composite A81. As the A63 garnered some attention they released the basshead-fix A71, and the triple driver hybrid A83(replacing the flagship A81). Their budget offerings, the A33 and ultra-comfy A31 come in at the 30$ mark. The new A65(perhaps a replacement for the A63) sits at the 65$ point. 
    Following the success of their triple driver hybrid, Fidue have released the one way hybrid A73(150$), which I will be discussing in this piece.
     
    Build:
    P1010442.jpg   IMG_20150716_100637.jpg
     
     
    The half metal(?) half plastic housing maintains the same aesthetic as its bigger brother, with the terraced face, seashell shape, over ear design and angled nozzles. They’re deceptively light, carry L/R markings on the inside and small vents on either side of the DD. Visible through the translucent housing is the balanced armature driver mounted (ahead of the DD) in the sound tube leading to the nozzle.
     
    The strain relief exiting the housing isn’t beefy but does not look fragile either. Since durability is a long term concern, I will not be able to comment on it. But I can say that this particular review unit changed hands thrice and still looks untouched.
     
    The rubberized cable is on the thicker side, feels strong to the touch but can get grabby(term stolen from @DJScope ’s review because it is so apt) due to the texture. The Y split and in-line mic are discreet and meld well with the colour scheme. The single button mic can perform all the usual single button functionalities that I am familiar with on Android (Play/Pause/Double to change/Answer/Call). Mic quality is about on par with bundled headsets so no complaints there. The I shaped 3.5mm Jack is phone-case friendly, but doesn’t have a proper strain relief which I find worrying.
     
    Fit and Comfort:
     ​
    P1010434.jpg
     
    The light shells, angled nozzles and short strain relief should make for a comfortable experience in general. But, I did find it difficult to get a comfortable fit. The thicker-than-usual grabby cable plus the lack of a cable cinch or ear guides meant that regular movement would displace the cable from over my ear quite easily. This was aggravated by the fact that the angle of the nozzles was not right for my earcanals, so the housings would stick out a little extra(instead of sitting flush). The last cable-over IEM I reviewed was the Vsonic VSD1S. The swivel nozzles, thin cable and included ear guides ensured a good and effortless fit that I just couldn’t get with the A73. But, the extent is extremely subjective and does not generally apply.
    But, I strongly feel that Fidue should consider including a cable cinch or ear guides to help achieve a secure fit.
    The ear tip selection consists of the basic S/M/L silicone tips and one small-medium bi-flange pair. The basic tips are identical as the narrow bore tips that you get with the Ostry KC06. For this review I used the small size tips as these gave me the best seal (when I wasn’t moving).
    On the whole, I love the look. The colour scheme doesn’t make it look gaudy but is pleasantly eye catching at the same time. The build doesn’t seed doubt and while the fit was tricky for me, it may not be the case for others. The lack of a cable cinch/ear-guides is an oversight and it wouldn’t hurt to include a few more ear-tips at the asking price(maybe even foam, to help with the fit).
     
    Isolation:
     
    Isolation is above average with a tight seal. The vents do result in some ambient noise getting through but nothing that can really distract you once you have music playing. Cable noise is minimal due to the over ear design (This is with small motion as I couldn't maintain a good fit on the move).
     
    Sound :
     
    So, how does it sound? The A73(149$) sits just outside the bustling 100$ bracket and must put on quite a show to justify its place over the lower bracket while causing some restlessness in the upper bracket.
     
    Source: Listening was primarily done using my Geek Out 450. The A73 was easily driven to ear splitting volumes by my LG G2, Sansa Clip and Laptop Out. In the 7 days that I had the A73, I was unfortunately not able to pen my thoughts on differences between sources. I did notice a slight difference in the highs b/w the GO450 and Sansa Clip. The impressions that follow are with the GO450. A list of the primary music used for critical listening can be found here.
     
    The A73 seemed well extended at both ends, to these ears. Elevated bass that slowly rises beyond 30Hz but with mid-bass hump that is not too distinct. Following a slight bump at ~400Hz the midrange is mostly level except for peaks at ~4.3 and 6.3kHz. Apart from a peak at ~9kHz I found the highs to be well behaved.
     
    Bass: Bass quantity is definitely above what I would consider neutral and carries a some weight. This sort of bass is of the ever-present kind but thankfully not in an annoying way. There is a fair bit of rumble and punch, and is on the teetering edge of what I would consider natural decay. I have not detected any bleed into the lower midrange and this adds to its versatility. The quantity coupled with the decay results in a dip in perceived bass detail (especially in busy tracks) when compared to the Titan-1/RE400(more on this in comparisons). The amount of detail is commendable nonetheless, but is not as apparent if you do not know of nuances beforehand (through other IEMs).
     
    Midrange: I feel this is the strong suite of the A73. They feel forward but not outrightly prominent. The warmth lent to the lower mids results in the upper midrange and treble sounding clearer and airier than the rest of the spectrum. The texture of male and female vocals feels different with the former sounding weighty, smooth and rounded, but the latter sounds airier, and can have sharp edges at times. This is probably from the 4.6 and 6.3kHz peak. This is rare but does get distracting at times and takes away from the natural feel. Details level is excellent and is very engaging. On the whole, the slightly forward midrange has good presence and is mostly linear, with the male and female vocals holding level except for the aforementioned texture difference and occasional edginess to the female vocals.
     
    Highs: “Crisp but slightly laid back or relaxed”, is what comes to mind. In some ways it reminds me of the RE400(more on this in the comparisons). The transition from the upper midrange to highs is smooth. I haven’t detected any irritating sibilance up top. I do not know how much of the occasional edginess in the female vocals comes from this region and whether the 9kHz peak contributes (Female vocal sibilance usually manifests in the 4k-9k range). Detail levels is once again excellent and not in your face, which can get fatiguing otherwise.
     
    Stage, Imaging, layering and sonic space:
    The A73 presents good width in the soundstage and average depth. Imaging is highly track dependent. Positioning is easier to comprehend on airier, bass-light tracks but melds a bit on bass heavy tracks. The layering in the midrange is commendable (Not as effortless as the RE400). The sonic space seems limited, with the bass feeling confined at times.
     
    Comparisons:
     
     
    20150716_141314_RE400.jpg
    20150716_141314_Night.jpg
    HIFIMAN RE400 (79$)
    DUNU TITAN 1 (115$)
    The 79$ RE400 is a solid performer for anyone looking for a warm lilt to a neutral signature. The A73 takes warm to a whole other level though. The A73 seems bass-heavy compared to the RE400. The RE400 has the upper hand in speed and detail but is unable to conjure the “atmosphere” required for certain genres to be enjoyable. The midrange on the RE400 is more linear, accurate and is more convincing but not as engaging as the A73. The added warmth and full nature of the lower mids coupled with the airier and edgier upper mids triggers my foot-tap-itis. The highs of the RE400 are more laid back. Layering feels better on the RE400(especially the midrange) while soundstage goes to the A73.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
    The Titan 1 is a recently released half-in ear titanium driver IEM by DUNU, that is a solid performer at the price and all around(except isolation). The differences start with the ever-present A73 bass vs the out-of-nowhere Titan 1 bass. Both have a gradual midbass hump but the Titan allows the bass to breathe while the A73 fills the stage and can sound restricted when things get heavy. Both could do with a slight cut in the mid-bass but with different results. The midrange on the Titan 1 is relatively more recessed and thinner. The Titan 1 is more detailed through the bass and lower mids, and is on par in the upper mids. The soundstage is similarly wide(which is excellent for the level of isolation the A73 provides) but the Titan 1 does a better job at sonic space perception. On the whole the space where everything sits feels more natural. The Titan 1 is better at micro-detailing in the highs (especially in busy segments) but the more laid back A73 is no slouch either. As a result the Titan 1 will be relatively more fatiguing during long listening sessions. The A73 with its intimate midrange is better suited for low volume listening that the Titan 1.

     
    Some subjective drivel
     
    The last time I heard a Balanced Armature IEM I remember thinking how unnatural the bass sounded with the hard punch followed by ultra-uber-fast decay. The detail levels were off the charts though. Being my first hybrid experience, I was quite excited to see the amalgamation of the DD and BA worlds. At first listen I really couldn’t separate the benefits of a hybrid. The bass sounded just like what a DD would produce, the midrange sounded just like what a good DD would produce, the highs definitely sounded like a DD. The occasional edginess to the female vocals is probably my only clue that there was a BA in the mix, but I’ve heard DDs do that too. Given my lack of other hybrid IEM experiences, the only conclusion I can make is that Fidue done a fabulous job of crafting an IEM where driver count or technology is not their key selling point. Is it perfect for me? Maybe not. The tricky fit is debilitating, I prefer the bass of the Titan 1, the mids of the RE400 and treble of the RE272. I do like the overall versatility and engaging nature of the sound, the inline mic while I used a lot during my loan period and the look of the thing. I think Fidue can do wonders with this basic design and create a very good reference IEM that can co-exist with the A73, by slightly tweaking the sig. The A73 has me doubly interested in the A83 and I hope to audition them in the future.
     
    IMG_20150716_100808.jpg
    Conclusion:
     
    If you are looking for a warm IEM (with an extra touch of warmth) that isn’t V shaped or too bright, which is not a common or easy to pull off signature, the Fidue A73 should feature very high on your list. The performance justifies the price but Fidue should throw in a few extra accessories (tips/ear-guides/cinch) to help with the fit. There is room for refinement in the signature and with Fidue’s track record I’m sure they will keep improving.
     
    Disclaimers: This review is a part of the ongoing tour of the Fidue A73 organized by HiFiNAGE, one of the few Indian distributors of Head-fi friendly portable audio gear. It’s really nice to see this kind of initiative to reach out to the greater Indian community that holds music in high regard but hasn’t given much thought the different and better ways it can be experienced.
    I have only done a couple of reviews so far (5) and am constantly looking to improve my review style. Please let me know if you feel I’ve missed something or if something wasn’t covered properly.
     
    Links:
    More reviews of the Fidue A73
    Impressions and discussion thread
    Hifinage product page
      svyr, Brooko, H20Fidelity and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. getclikinagas
      @Tom22 : Thank you :)
      The A73 certainly get quite a few things right, but might fall into the try-before-you buy category.
      The amount of warmth despite being well executed is a subjective plus/minus, some (like me) hear occasional edginess, some hear deal-breaker peakiness, some don't hear it at all. Couple this with the highly subjective fit, maybe-think-twice price and what you have is an IEM where you end up weighing pros/cons more than you'd like.
       
      I hope you get to audition it. I'd like to know what you make of them.
       
       
      getclikinagas, Oct 7, 2015
    3. harry501501
      Hey, nicely done review, i really like the layout. Can i ask what tip you are using/used with the Titan 1? I really enjoy the Titan 1 but i don't think it gets close to the detail and separation of the Fidue A73. The A73 to my ears is way above the Titan 1 in sound quality. The Fiio EX 1 at £50 is a more accurate price point for the Titan 1 which still goes for close to £100 which i find too much for what you get.
       
      We all hear differently though :)
      harry501501, Nov 5, 2016
    4. getclikinagas
      @harry501501 I use the orange core (Sony clone) hybrid tips that come with the Titan. I also use spinfits at times. More for convenience though, as it does alter the treble a tad.
       
      We do indeed hear differently :). Detail and separation are two parameters where I feel the Titan has the edge over the A73. In fact, the Titans claim to fame is mainly due to its micro-detailing capabilities and sense of space & separation.
       
      Just so that I have another point of reference how would you compare the detail and separation of the Havi vs A73?
      getclikinagas, Nov 6, 2016
  8. T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Energetic and big hitting
    Written by T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Published Sep 5, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Keeps all frequencies in check while providing large scale sound
    Cons - Will be a bit overly bombastic for some people, not for mellow music or relaxing.
    I will mainly be comparing to A65.
     
    Build of these is excellent, but not quite as nice as A65 due to the half plastic housing. It is of very high quality though, it shouldn't affect durability.
     
    The bass hits way harder than A65, but is also faster compared to the slower thicker bass of the A65, It's a tie for me, I like some aspects of both bass performances, my ideal bass would be right in the middle of both styles. The mids on A73 are clearer and better separated than A65, but also thinner, male vocals sound better on A65 while female vocals sound better on A73. The treble of A73 is more detailed and better separated than A65, I prefer treble of A73. The sound stage of A73 is also bigger and airier than A65.
     
    Overall a good number of improvements in A73, but A73 also has an overall bombastic sound, while A65 is more mellow, so it will come down to preferences imo.
      DJScope likes this.
    1. DJScope
      Great stuff!
      DJScope, Sep 5, 2015
  9. fnkcow
    Fidue A73 the 1DD + 1BA Hybrid
    Written by fnkcow
    Published Sep 8, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Price, easy to drive, in-line mic & remote
    Cons - Tip-dependent, hot treble, poor tip selection, need earguides, cable is tangle-prone, lacks a chin slider, average isolation
    IMG_20150828_122238a_cr.jpg
     
    Disclaimer
     
    This unit was in my possession for about one week as part of the local tour. I'd like to thank @DJScope for organizing and including me in this tour.
     
    I listen at relatively high volume level, so my impressions will be based on this. Please be aware that there might be variations in impressions at different volume and issues present on different volume level may/may not exist on this product.
     
    Package

    - A73 with in-line mic & remote cable
    - Assorted silicon tips
    - Clamshell case
    - Shirt clip

     
    Usability
     
    The A73 earpiece is outer half metal whereas inner half plastic. The cable is very springy and rubbery, and very tangle-prone. It tends to get caught onto the shirt whenever there is contact and thank goodness for the shirt clip to reduce this issue and microphonics somewhat. Fit gets tricky as wearing them over the ears, the cable is hard to stay put. I'd have preferred the presence of a chin slider and earguides to be included for easier management of the cable. Also, the fit tends to be shallower than the average IEMs and I needed to get other tips instead of the limited stock ones to get a decent fit. Isolation is average and outer noise will subside once music starts playing. The in-line remote's button is very stiff and hard to press. It is a single button, press once to Play/Pause/Call, press twice to skip to next track, and press thrice to go back to previous track. Phone call quality was okay. 
     
    Sound Impressions
     
    Drive-ability: 
    The A73 is very easy to drive with my phone and Cayin N6.
     
    Sound:
     
    Overall the A73 is well-tuned with a balanced fun sound signature. Sub-bass has decent extension and nice rumbling texture, slightly enhanced mid-bass bump has good speed and impact with no bleed into the lower mids for a musical and lively head-bobbing experience. Mids have enough thickness and weight with decent details for dynamism. Highs have good extension but this is also where I had issues. The treble peak vary somewhat depending on the choice of tips and insertion depth. Even though I managed to bring it down after some tip-rolling, the hot treble still exists for me and sounds harsh. Soundstage is wide with good depth. This presents a good placement of instruments.
     
    Comparison to other IEMs
     
    vs Fidue A65: 
    A65's bass is slower and thicker, yet does not have the same authority as A73. A65's mids are lesser detailed and sounded thinner. Treble is smoother but lacking in airiness and details compared to the A73. A65 has a smaller and more intimate soundstage. A65 has a laidback signature whereas A73 is livelier.
     
    vs Ostry KC06A:
    KC06A has more subbass extension, mid-bass impact and bass detail. Lower mids are thinner with forward upper mids and come across as a brighter signature with grainier raw energy. Treble is crispier yet does not have hot treble like A73. KC06A's soundstage is flat in comparison.
     
    vs Yamaha EPH-100:
    EPH-100 has slightly more subbass extension and thicker midbass with slower decay, but lacks in mid-bass impact. The treble roll-off of EPH-100 is no contest to the A73. Overall EPH-100 has a thicker and darker signature across the board as compared to A73, which gives a sense of laidback smoothness compared to the much more musical A73.
     
    vs FLC Technology FLC8:
    FLC8 has more subbass extension but less mid-bass quantity, with similar bass authority. Thinner lower mids, with forward and brighter upper mids with more raw energy. Better treble extension and airiness. Soundstage is similar in width but FLC8 is more holographic. 
     
    Ratings & Conclusion
     
    As Head-Fi shows overall ratings for the audio gear instead of my own, here is a snapshot of what I have rated:
     
    2015-09-08_214051a_cra.png
     
    For someone looking for a relatively inexpensive IEM that offers a hybrid experience, the Fidue A73 is recommendable for those looking for a musical and lively sound signature. Those who are sensitive to sibilance and treble peaks need to audition first before purchasing. 
    1. View previous replies...
    2. DJScope
      Looks like Im not very sensitive in the 8-9k region, because I found them very laidback in the whole treble range, but without any of the treble taken out. I guess I more sensitive in the upper mids/lower treble more than anything.
      DJScope, Sep 8, 2015
    3. Hisoundfi
      I'm going to agree with @DJScope I didn't hear sibilance. It was extended but not sibilant to my ears. I do agree though, tip rolling can significantly alter the sound of the A73. I had tips that made these sound almost bloated and rolled off, and others that gave them a V-signature and everything in between. Nice review friend.
      Hisoundfi, Sep 8, 2015
    4. fnkcow
      Yeah YMMV individually and also tip-dependent, insertion depth and angle etc. Thanks for commenting @DJScope and @Hisoundfi
      fnkcow, Sep 9, 2015
  10. HiFiChris
    The Best of two Worlds
    Written by HiFiChris
    Published Sep 18, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - well-made sounding, bass body, resolution, value, no microphonics, very fast and arid dynamic bass transducer, fit
    Cons - no chin slider
    Preamble:

    Before I start with my actual review, I want to thank Fidue and especially Michael Lin for providing me with a sample of the A73 in exchange for my honest opinion.
    Please note that I am not affiliated with Fidue in any way.

    Benny Tan, Fidue’s chief engineer, has got more than 20 years of experience in developing and producing premium headphones and has already designed several products for some famous brands in the past, so says the text on the back of the A73’s packaging.
    That the team around Benny Tan and Fidue are no rookies in the audio industry becomes obvious when one starts listening to their products, such as the A73, but I’ll get more detailed further below in my review that also features some comparisons with dynamic and Balanced Armature earphones in about (more or less) the same price range.


    Technical Specifications:

    Driver: 10 mm Exclusive Woofer Dynamic & Balanced Armature Drivers
    Frequency Range: 13 – 27000 Hz
    Impedance: 20 Ohms
    Sensitivity: 107 dB
    Max. Input Power: 20 mW
    Distortion: <1 %
    Plug: 3.5 mm stereo, gold-plated
    Cable: 1.3 m
    Sensitivity of Mic.: -42 +/-3 dB
    S/N Ratio of Mic.: > 55 dB


    About hybrid In-Ears:

    As you can read from the technical specifications, the A73 is a little different from most In-Ears and doesn’t only use dynamic or Balanced Armature transducers, but combines both in one shell.

    Most In-Ears use dynamic transducers for audio playback which have the advantage of covering the whole audible spectrum and achieving a strong bass emphasis without much effort. Valuable dynamic drivers are often said to have a more bodied and musical bass that has a more soft impact and decay and lacks of the analytical character that BA transducers are known for. On the downside, in contrast to headphones with other driver principles, dynamic transducers often have a lower resolution.
    Higher-priced and professional IEMs mostly use Balanced Armature transducers, which usually have got a higher resolution than dynamic drivers, are faster, more precise and have got the better high-level stability, which is important for stage musicians that often require higher than average listening levels. On the downside, it is quite hard to cover the whole audible spectrum with just a single BA transducer and strongly emphasised bass is only possible with multiple or big drivers. Some people also find In-Ears with BA transducers to sound too analytical, clinical or cold (in several active years in a German audio community where I wrote multiple reviews, gave dozens of purchase advice and help, from time to time I heard people that got into BA earphones for the first time using these attributes for describing BA earphones, especially their lower frequencies).

    Hybrid IEMs unite the positive aspects of both driver principles and use one dynamic transducer for lows reproduction and at least one BA driver for covering mids and highs, wherefore the often as “musical” described bass character remains and the BA transducer adds resolution and precision to the mids and highs – and that’s what the A73 does with its technology. It is addressed to those people who perceive the clinically-fast character of BA transducers as unnatural, but want to keep the mids’ and highs’ resolution, speed and precision.


    Delivery Content:

    The A73 comes in a black cardboard box with a picture of the “illuminated” In-Ears on the front. On its right half are the model and manufacturer name including a short description with white text on green background, which I find unique and refreshing. The green colour, together with the “F” in Fidue that looks like a branch with two leaves, brings up associations of harmony, calmness and relationship with nature – but that was enough association for today. J
    Moreover, there is a chequered black pattern that gets visible in direct light and consists of the Fidue F and black squares above the Fidue logo on the front. The green band from the front continues on the bottom and has got the brief description from the front translated into Chinese and German, with the slogan “Original sound, beautifully voiced!” with Benny Tan’s printed signature beneath.
    On the back, there’s a picture of the four-pin 3.5 mm connector, a QR code with the serial number overhead and the technical specifications with a brief description of the company and Benny Tan on the right.

    Inside are the In-Ears, four pairs of silicone eartips (three pairs that differ in size and one pair of double-flange tips; the medium single-flange tips are already installed on the A73), a sturdy small zipper case, a shirt clip with the white Fidue logo on it, an unnecessary silicone cable tie (rolling it up with the fingers is in my opinion faster and better), a set of black silicone ear-guides and finally something that seems to be a warranty card.
     


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    Build Quality:

    The IEMs’ bodies are halfway made of matte-silver painted structured metal and halfway of semi-transparent red plastic, seem sturdy and have each got two vents. The straight connector, the y-split and the remote control are all made of finely grooved metal cylinders and have got red rubbery strain reliefs. Strain relief on the IEMs’ shells is also of superb quality and red, too.
    The sturdy premium tangle-free cable is very flexible and of greyish semi-transparent nature, wherefore the copper and silver coloured wires can be seen.
    Except for two small dust inclusions underneath the paint of the left shell, there are no flaws in the very well and sturdily built IEMs I received.
     


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    Comfort, Isolation:

    The Fidue A73 is intended to be worn with the cables over the ears, which is also my preferred method, as it improves fit, seal and comfort and drastically reduces microphonics. In this case, I don’t hear any microphonics at all, which speaks for the good cable.
    As there is no memory wire close to the IEMs’ bodies, two silicone ear guides come included, and I also use them, just like with my Phonak Audéo PFE 132, because the cable then also stays in place when I lay down. With the ear guides are installed, the IEMs barely fit into the case (there is not really any more space left then) and I have to roll them up tighter, but it is possible; without the silicone ear guides, they fit in easily.
    Because the IEMs have got an ergonomic shape and are worn around the ears, comfort is very good and the weight isn’t really high although the shells are halfway made of metal. The only thing that I miss is a chin slider, but I guess they didn’t include it because of the remote control.

    As the IEMs have each got two vents, isolation isn’t as good as with fully-closed competitors, but still clearly upper mediocrity.

     


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    In-Line Remote Control, Microphone:

    The single button in-line remote control works smoothly and without any flaws with all devices that support a microphone and remote control. The Button’s pressure point is rather high, but it is still easy to operate and not too stiff.

    Microphone’s speech quality is above average, with correct and realistic yet somewhat muffled voices, which can be tuned to sound clearer by turning the microphone towards one’s face.
     


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    Sound:

    The A73 received at least 50 hours of burn-in before I started critical listening (just in case that it has an effect).
    Source devices I tested with were my iBasso DX90 and the LH Labs Geek Out IEM 100; music material covered many genres and different speeds; files were stored as FLACs and MP3s (320 kBps cbr).

    Tonality:

    A73’s tonality is generally a warmer v-shape, meaning it has got an emphasised bass and emphasised highs, but in contrast to a classical v-shaped sound signature which mainly concentrates on sub-bass, the Fidue has got an evenly emphasised low range with just a slight subbass roll-off and doesn't have a sibilant treble (to my ears).

    Compared to a mostly flat In-Ear monitor, the A73’s low range is evenly emphasised by about 7 dB, also including a (lesser) emphasis of the lower middle ground tone area, wherefore the IEM gains a moderately warm character in the lows.
    Transition from ground tone into bass is superb and even and doesn’t bleed into the mids.

    Midrange is tonality-wise pretty much correct in my ears, although high voices are probably just a slight tad brighter than they should be. Despite the engaging moderate v-shaped tonality, I wouldn’t really call mids recessed.

    Presence area around 2 kHz is a bit recessed, then level evenly increases again, with a peak at 8 kHz that I could locate with a sine generator, but it is not overly present and not harsh - it is just a bit above the ground-line and therefore A73 has got a rather warmer v-shaped tonality. Treble extension is quite good and although a BA transducer is used, there is not much roll-off in the super highs, with audible subtle sparkle above 10 kHz and still enough level at 14 kHz.

    Luckily, the dynamic transducer’s potential of creating a bloated bass with ease wasn’t abused but well-tuned to gain a present low range that is full-bodied, but not exaggerated and great for doing sports, low listening levels and traveling where loud outside noise masks the lows.

    Sound in general is very coherent and the transition from the dynamic bass to the BA mid-high driver is even, smooth and unobtrusive.

    Resolution:

    The A73’s dynamic drivers’ bass is of the dry and punchy kind and totally free of any softness, bloat or sponginess, but is very precise and has got a dry and solid impact without losing the musical and dynamic body that is typical for dynamic transducers.
    In one evaluation, I read that somebody found the Fidue’s bass to be too dry and arid, but I think it is just perfect as it is in this configuration, as the A73 has got a smooth and unobtrusive transition between the dynamic and BA transducer that would probably have got lost if they decided to tune the bass softer.
    I just come out to say that privately, I am not the biggest fan of dynamic transducers for In-Ears and not many of them are convincing me, but the Fidue is one of the few In-Ears with (at least one) dynamic transducer where I have no criticism regarding bass quality.

    Typically for a BA transducer, mids and highs are high resolving, precise, fast and unveil tiny details with ease.
    Highs are very precise, differentiated and airy, although cymbals sound slightly metallic and unnatural due to the peak in the upper treble, but it’s not that bad at all.
    To my surprise, despite the (but more or less of moderate nature) peak, highs are never harsh, annoying or unpleasing, which is due to the pretty good resolution.

    The harmonic, coherent and engaging sound paired with the high resolution is just a lot of fun and very satisfying while listening with the A73.

    Soundstage:

    Soundstage is neither extremely wide nor extremely narrow, but in my ears somewhat wider than average.
    Spatial depth is present but of lesser amount than with some other dynamic and BA earphones (although not all BA earphones have got spatial depth). Layering in depth is precise, although some more expensive multi-driver IEMs (if they have got spatial depth) have got the slightly finer separation of single instruments in their depth layer.
    Instrument separation is, typical for earphones with BA transducers, on a high level, wherefore single tones and instruments are sharply separated from each other and have got a precisely defined place on the imaginary stage.


    In Comparison with other In-Ears:

    RHA T20 (Reference Filter: The Fidue’s bass is more arid, faster and has got less level and the better transition from bass to ground tone area. The RHA’s mids are more present, but the Fidue has got the better mids and highs resolution, unveiling more micro details. The RHA’s soundstage has got the wider and deeper expansion, but the A73’s instrument separation is superior and generates the better space between single instruments and sound elements.
    Victory of the Fidue.

    Shure SE425: The Shure is definitely the more neutral-ish sounding IEM out of the two and, due to its BA transducer for the lows, has got a faster and more arid impact, but lacks body compared to the Fidue. The Shure’s mids’ and lower highs’ resolution is better, but its upper highs sound unnatural and compressed due to the early treble roll-off, wherefore the Fidue has got the better upper highs and also the much better treble extension. The Fidue’s soundstage is wider, although the Shure has got slightly more depth. Instrument separation is just a tad better on the Shure’s side.
    Tie, more or less.

    Phonak Audéo PFE 132: The Fidue has got way less subbass roll-off and the better treble extension. The Fidue’s overall resolution is clearly superior, although the Phonak isn’t bad for a single-BA IEM. I never found the PFE 132’s soundstage to be successful, as it isn’t really coherent in my ears and has got gaps on both sides with unnatural sounding spatial depth. The Fidue’s soundstage is much better and coherent, and the A73 also has got the better instrument separation – the Phonak is a good single-driver BA earphone, but not more and gets easily beaten by the Fidue.
    Obvious victory of the Fidue.

    Etymotic ER-4S: That’s a little unfair, as I find the ER-4S to be probably the best single-BA earphone ever that even beats some dual-drivers. Sure, both differ pretty much in terms of tonality, as the ER-4S was tuned to have a reference-like approach with as flat as possible sound. ER-4S’s resolution is in my ears superior, but the Ety also beats some other, more expensive dual-drivers. Bad or mediocre recordings sound like cr@p with the Etymotic, as it has got an extremely analytical and revealing character, wherefore the Fidue sounds much better with mediocre recordings due to its less analytical character.
    The Ety’s soundstage is in my ears close to perfection with a very balanced width to depth ratio and a good instrument separation, although the A73 comes surprisingly close. The Fidue’s sensitivity is clearly higher, wherefore it requires less power to be driven, but is also extremely hiss-revealing, wherefore it requires a proper source with black background to unveil its full potential.
    Victory of the Etymotic (but it is overall my favourite IEM anyway).

    Fischer Amps FA-3E: This comparison is a little unfair, as the FA is much more expensive and has got a 2.5 way configuration, but the Fidue didn’t lack that much behind.
    FA-3E’s sound signature is more neutral, though it has also got a treble peak in the upper highs. The FA’s resolution is higher. Soundstage expansion is about the same with both IEMs, although the FA-3E has got the better instrument separation and therefore also the better perception of layering, wherefore its soundstage’s spatial expansion sounds deeper (although it isn’t). The Fidue has got the better bass body and you won’t like the FA-3E if you want that lows’ body of a dynamic driver (the v-shaped FA-4E XB has got a more “dynamic” bass body, but I will leave it out of comparison as it is a quad-driver IEM with three-way configuration).
    Victory of the (obviously more expensive) Fischer Amps.

    Summarised, I see the Fidue clearly above the Phonak, above the RHA and partly above the Shure, but below the Etymotic and Fischer Amps, but both are more expensive, too.
    The Fidue has got a great full-bodied, non-exaggerated, fast and arid low range with sparkly and high resolving mids and treble and great coherency and is just a hell of joyful IEM to listen to. It unites the best aspects of dynamic and Balanced Armature drivers and offers a great value for the money.


    Conclusion:

    The Fidue A73 could utterly convince me – it’s got the full-bodied bass characteristic of a dynamic transducer which is fortunately very arid, quick and controlled without any negative flavour, paired with the speed, clarity, air and resolution of the mids/treble BA driver. The overall package of sound, joy of playing and fun doesn’t really have any flaws. The only things that could be minorly criticised are the lack of a chin slider and a due to its peak slightly unnatural upper treble characteristic, but some other IEMs in my collection, also more expensive ones, have all in all got more flaws in their overall presentation/package, so it’s not really what I’d consider as criticism.
    Price-performance ratio is just superb and I think that it is extremely hard to find another IEM for the same price with the same technical level and the overall package and presentation, combined with the fun and joy of playing and with a bass that is strong and beefy, but not exaggerated.
    That said, I could honestly not find anything I didn’t like about the A73.

    Well done, Fidue!
      DJScope and triplew like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. HiFiChris
      @Brooko

      When I read some other reviews, I also noticed that they somehow differed in terms of perception of the A73's sounding, but I've just written down what I heard, with the IEMs in my ear canals. Being connected to sources with a low output impedance, I did multiple sine sweeps and compared them to my UERM and ER-4S (as the latter has the flatter highs, except for the emphasis in the lower highs/presence area), and that's just how they sound in my ears.
      It doesn't happen very often, but sometimes my perception of an IEM deviates from other enthusiasts. In this case, what I have written about the highs is plainly what I perceived in this case. As you will most likely know yourself, the angle and insertion depth sometimes have got a huge influence, and my tests with the Carbo Tenore earlier that year in a German community were a good example for it (regular depth: v-shaped, very deep insertion: warm sound with recessed highs). I'd consider myself experienced enough to know what I write about my own perception, as I have been one of the top-tear reviewers and purchase advisor in a large German headphone/audio community, receiving only positive feedback.

      As there no issues detected by me in my ear canals, I genuinely gave the A73 5 stars.

      I hope to jump into making IEM measurements myself in the near future when the VibroLabs Veritas arrives, maybe you have also heard of it. Imho a very interesting approach.
      HiFiChris, Sep 19, 2015
    3. Brooko
      Yep it's what I'm using now Chris (the Veritas).  Combined with the ARTA software, it is brilliant for the hobbyist objectivist :)
       
      And I seem to be the minority in my impressions of the A73 - but again my thoughts on the 5 star relate to things like the ringing in upper-mids / lower treble, peak at 9 kHz (sibilance), and the fact that there is no lip on the nozzle (almost no-one seems to have pointed that little gem out yet).
      Brooko, Sep 19, 2015
    4. HiFiChris
      @Brooko

      Ah, that's neat. :) Do you know if adding an HRTF compensation to the graphs is possible with the Veritas and ARTA?

      Well, I find the "peak" (which is, in my ears, by the way at pretty much exactly 8 kHz) to be of lesser amount than on the Triple.Fi 10 or Fischer Amps FA-4E XB or UERM. But then again, perception often differs and I've eve come across people that heard sibilance on the Westone 4R, InEar StageDiver SD-2 (okay, there is some sort of peak in the upper highs, but it is still below ground line) or Knowledge Zenith ATE.

      Indeed, there is no lip on the nozzle, but I honestly don't even consider it as a flaw and haven't even noticed it (and actually don't care as long as the tips stay on without moving or getting lost in the ear canals).
      Looking forward to reading your review though.
      HiFiChris, Sep 19, 2015