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FiiO EX1 Nanotech Titanium Diaphragm In-Ear Monitors

  1. NewbieSteve
    Amazing sound, bad implementation
    Written by NewbieSteve
    Published Oct 14, 2016
    Pros - soundstage, highs, neutral and balanced
    Cons - Sound leakage, slightly heavy and can be uncomfortable
    I had very high expectations before buying the Fiio EX1 AKA Dunu Titan 1. Before owning these I had the Soundmagic E10 and the Sennheiser CX 300 II Bass Enhanced. Afterwards, I bought the E80 and the GR07 as well. When I got the EX1 I immediately slipped on a pair of comply tips T-400 on the EX1 and was overwhelmed. I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I'm happy to tell you that the other reviews are very correct. These sound amazing. I was worried they would be too bass shy compared compared to my other earphones but... I was wrong. The bass hits hard and quick. There isn't much bloat compared to the CX300 II, allowing the midrange and high to be much clearer in contrast. The midrange is not veiled at all, giving vocals a clear and smooth sound. The highs are sparkly yet not fatiguing. The soundstage really excels, giving accurate imaging and a wide sense of depth. While my E10 had good imaging as well, the soundstage is much narrower. This is likely because of the ports on the Fiio EX1 which are open almost like an "open" pair of headphones.

    Now, there are downsides to this implementation, and the reason I had to return these. To me, earphones are suppose to be portable and usable outside. However, due to the open design, they let in a lot of sound. Suddenly, subway rides and office use are a lot louder compared to my other pairs of earbuds. I can't even turn up the volume to my regular listening levels in the office because they leak so much sound. You'd be surprised how much sound these leak because of the open design. If you like the sound signature of these earbuds but want to use them on the go/ in office, then take a look into the Dunu Titan 1ES which is a closed version of these earbuds.
    In terms of comfort, these are fine as long as you insert them at an angle. The metal housing is heavy and they can rest on the inner parts of your ear depending on how you insert it. While the edges are not sharp, they do feel uncomfortable after a while if they touch your ear. Don't let the comfort stop you from buying them, because they are very comfortable if you adjust the angle correctly.
    Build Quality:
    Fiio EX1 > E80 > GR07 = CX300II > the average earbuds

    Bass Quantity:
    CX300II > E10 > E80 > EX1 = GR07

    Bass Quality:
    GR07 > E80 = EX1 > E10 > CX300II 

    E80 > GR07 > EX1 > E10 > CX300II

    EX1 > GR07 > E80 > E10 > CX300II

    EX1 > GR07 = E80 > E10 > CX300II

    E10 = CX300II = E80 =  GR07 > EX1

    E80 = CX300II = E10 > GR07 = EX1

    Value (in my opinion):
    E80 > EX1 = GR07 > E10 > CX300II

    Overall, these sound pretty darn impressive for the price. However, it was not for me since I need the sound isolation for travel and work.
      stalepie likes this.
  2. ExpatinJapan
    Fiio EX1 is a nice airy earphone best suited for the outside
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Sep 19, 2016
    Pros - Well built, decent price, sound great and good fit.
    Cons - The vents mean sound leaks, so not ideal for a train or bus commute

    Fiio EX1 Earphones Review - Expatinjapan

     Head Pie  
    FiiO EX1 review - expatinjapan.​

    The Fiio EX1 is sturdy, solid titanium. Mine are in black and I was sure they were plastic until I tapped my teeth with them. These IEMs aren`t going to get damaged anytime soon.
    The plug is L shaped which will appeal to many users.
    The housing is small enough to sit comfortable within ones ear, the nozzle is on an angle and fits nicely into the ear canal.
    The cable casing is clear and gives it that custom cable look.
    There are some slight micro phonics as they are designed to be worn hanging down.
    The IEMs have eleven vent holes on the inside shell, and one on the outside which leads to leakage when the volume gets turned up, so perhaps not the best choice for those busy commutes.
    Beautiful and solid.


    I tested the FiiO EX1 with the Centrance Hifi-Skyn as they scaled up well with added amplification, ipod touch 6G 128GB using Flacplayer app by Dan Leehr.

    I set the volume at around just over halfway as they don`t need much juice to sound great.
    The FiiO EX1 is a very clear sounding IEM, has a great sound stage, extended highs without ending up being sibilant.
    It is very balanced between the lows, mid and highs, a very coherent sound.
    It has great clarity, detail and imaging is beautiful presenting a spacious almost ethereal sound on some tracks.
    The vents certainly add to the sense of space, the large and wide soundstage.
    I could not find any signs of distortion. They are very fast in terms of response.


    As mentioned in the build section they are designed very well and a comfortable satisfying fit can be had very easily. 
    I sometimes have trouble getting the right fight with IEMs but the FiiO EX1 slipped right in very easily and provided a satisfactory isolation.
    FiiO have been nice enough to include a wide range of tips to suit most peoples ear canal size.


    At around $70-$90 on amazon.com they fit within the budget zone for most but the very casual shopper, many readers of Head Pie seem to own IEMs in the $500 - $1000+ area.
    So in that sense, yes they are great value.
    The sound is clear and clean, they look fabulous and are built strong and sturdy.
    Lots of tips and that oh so sexy cable.


    The FiiO EX1 as a cousin to the Dunu Titan is a breath of fresh air. 
    I really enjoyed listening to these whilst going through the review process.
    They are well built, a decent and fair price, sound great and fit very well.
    The only drawback for me is that most of my listening time is spent whilst I am commuting by train so the vents which add to the magic mean I can`t generally use these day by day.
    For the price the sound is wonderful and reminds of some of the satisfaction and joy I had recently listening to Echobox X1, both perform very well within and above their asking price.
    Great pies.

    Thank you to FiiO for providing Head Pie with the EX1 for review.​

    1. Intensecure
      Just a correction, you state that they are "made of titanium", then show the marketing picture that states "duralumin/stainless steel". Titanium would be a very nice feel, wish!
      Intensecure, Jan 29, 2017
  3. reihead
    Fiio's first, EXcellent first
    Written by reihead
    Published Feb 27, 2016
    Pros - Great engaging sound, lots of details, value
    Cons - Highs can be a bit harsh, light on bass (can be a pro), not the lightest iem
    1. I was part of the Fiio EX1 world tour. I had the chance to evaluate the unit for 10 days thanks to Fiio.
    2. I have no affiliation with Fiio in any way.
    3. The following words are my personal opinion, I wasn’t forced to give a favorable review or leaded in any way.
    Big thanks to Fiio for allowing me to evaluate the earphones.
    About me
    I'm an avid music lover. I'm all about listening music on the go, I have tried several Apple product but never own one. To carry a brick has never been an option for me. Used many Creative players for years. The original Fiio X3 was my first hi-definition portable player.
    I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but certainly can appreciate quality and I drive myself to find it with the better value possible. My music taste goes from Jazz, to Industrial, to Rap. My digital library is now mostly flac files but also a lot of lossy mp3 files (224 kbps or more) and some 24bit flac files.
    I’m a web developer and app developer for smartphones, technology is part of my life.
    About this review
    This review comes after evaluating the earphones for 10 days straight.
    Many files type were used in the evaluation, FLAC, mp3 at different bit rates.
    First and foremost, let's get the obvious out of the way, the EX1 are based on the Dunu Titan1 iem. I never heard the Dunu's myself, but is well known their IEM are very good.
    Packing and Built
    Box is fairly simple, the EX1 comes with an excellent number of tips and a small but rigid carrying case.
    These iem are solid, from the metal housing (made from fancy duralumin and more common stainless steel) to the cable, there is a great sense of quality, also durability comes to mind, but beware with this assumption given my limited number of days with the earphones.
    Cable length is 1.20 meters long, the right length for portable use, non detachable, which at this price point is something it should be expected. Microphonics we not tested properly on the go, but during the hours of daily use zero to minimum noise here. If needed the included shirt clip will help keeping the cable under minimum movement.
    Comfort and Isolation
    Isolation was average to good once I found the right tip size. I haven't used iem straight down in a while, but found these very comfortable, easy to insert. The metal housing can get cold (winter time!) and the insertion in your ears would be like grabbing a cold can of soda!
    I couldn't test how they will fare while walking but given the weight of each ear piece, a good fit would be very important to keep them in place while moving, again, I couldn't jog with these but from experience these wouldn't be a good choice for exercise earphones.
    So how do they sound? Clear, neutral sound leaning towards the warm side comes as first words to describe them. There is a lot of details with this iem, more than I would expect from an earphone at this price level. Certainly enjoyable sound while the amount of details makes them engaging.
    Bass is fast and punchy, but I found it a bit light, I believe the reason for this is lack of extension, but I'm being very picky here. No reason to discard these earphones because of the bass.
    The warm side to them could be result of the player used, but I found this to be surprising since the highs can be a bit pronounced. This edgy highs occurs sometimes, but when it happens is easily spotted and distracting.
    Same as the level of detail, the EX1's soundstage is above average. Very good in use with smartphones, they are easy to drive and will have enough volume to enjoy.
    At the publish date of this review (February 2016) the price in the UK is around £50, around 70 US dollars in North America. With Fiio there is a recurrent theme in most of their products: value, the EX1 is no exception, great value.
    At this price point, including a remote is probably a good idea, but if that is not a deal breaker and you are looking for a good IEM under 100 US$, definitely the EX1 deserve a good look.
    Other considerations
    Only the included stock tips were used.
    All testing was done indoors, so please take the isolation comments with a pinch of salt.
    Players and smartphone used: Fiio X5 1st gen, HTC One m8, Moto G 1st gen.
    To my knowledge this was a retail product and package.
      zanox likes this.
    1. zanox
      I do agree with your review. Upper treble is superbly extended, but the lower treble is edgy. There's a bit metallicness to the treble that i dislike and it's accentuated with some tracks making them sound analytical . Even though the mids are a bit warm, they are neutral most times and pushed back in the presentation. The bass is on the lighter side, but with some tracks the bass just sounds fine. The soundstage and imaging is extremely good for the price.
      The EX1's are great detailed sounding and incredible value for money, but not that musical to my ears.
      zanox, Feb 28, 2016
  4. BloodyPenguin
    The Dark Side of the FiiO EX1
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Feb 1, 2016
    Pros - Well Built, Great Hard Case, Fun Sound Signature, Very Comfortable, Good Controlled Lows, Cool Smoothness
    Cons - Slight Drop In The Mids, Black Version Not as Premium Looking as the Silver Version, Highs Can Be Harsh at times
    **Disclaimer - I was provided the EX1 from FiiO in return for an honest review**
                                                 ~ All Photos Taken By Me ~

    The EX1 is FiiO's first stab at producing an IEM. 
    [The Dunu Connection] - The FiiO is based off the Dunu Titan 1. The Dunu name can seen in multiple locations on the FiiO EX1.
    - EX1 IEM
    - Multitude of Eartips
    - User Manual/Warranty Card
    - Hard Case
    - Shirt Clip
    Type:  Dynamic(13mm)
    Frequency response:  20Hz-30kHz
    Sensitivity:  102dB/mW
    Impedance:  16Ω
    Plug size:  3.5mm Gold-plated
    Cord length:  1.2m
    Weight:  18g
    Color:  Black

    The EX1 is built very well with its tough metal housing and soft yet very reassuring cable. Stress reliefs are very well thought out and it seems as though the EX1 could take a beating and keep on going.
    The milled out vents on the housing and on the nozzle are quite nice. You can tell that this is a very well produced earphone.
    Design wise, they look good, but IMO the silver version is a little more premium, as the alternate black color makes the EX1 look like it is made of plastic, until of course you hold it in your hand. I LOVE the Red/Blue trim, I think all IEMs should have this, makes figuring out right/left a breeze, plus it looks cool.
    The cable is a thing of beauty; soft and easy on the eye.  There is a touch of microphonics that can be heard, but is reduced significantly with the use of the shirt clip.
    The EX1 is a smaller IEM and only is half in-ear. For me, that equals a much smaller footprint in my ear canal which is a very good thing. Insertion can take a little getting used to as the housing is not the easiest to get a good grip on, even with my small fingers. Once inserted, I could wear the EX1 for days with great comfort. I think at this point, while I type this, I have had them in my ears for almost 2 hours and I don't mind at all.

    Lows - Listening to [Deadmau5 - Failbait (feat. Cypress Hill)], I notice that even with a song with strong bass that the EX1 handles it with ease and control. Lows are present with a touch of sub-bass and a smooth mid-bass (which I very much like). Bass is never bloated or overwhelming, but also not lacking in anyway. For me, the lows of the EX1 are a highlight and my favorite of their sound signature.
    Mids - Listening to [Beck - Cold Brains], Mr. Hansen's voice is taken back just a bit, I don't want to say recessed, but not just as prominent. I find there to be a relaxed smoothness to the mids, easy listening. Even though vocals might not be as forward as I personally like, I still found quite a lot of enjoyment in the middle frequencies.
    Highs - The upper range can be hit or miss depending on what you are listening to. While playing [Bassnectar - The Matrix] the highs borderline being harsh and are a little rough on the eardrums. Though on the other hand, when I put on [Cat Stevens - Wild World] I was greeted with excellent playback and detail of his guitar strings.
    Isolation - The EX1 is not the best at sound blocking, but for me, it is not a bad thing. There are plenty of IEMs out there that isolate well, but it is nice to have a pair that I can wear and still hear a bit of what is going around me. For example, as I write this review, I am testing the sound signature of the EX1 AND listening to see if our 9 month old has woken up. I am not completely isolated from the world and that is good. I will also say, my wife is also right next to me and she can hear my music which on the other hand might not be the best thing. She just asked me why I am listening to my music so loud, which it not at a high volume. So I guess the isolation or lack there of will either be a plus or minus depending on what use you have for them.
    Soundstage - The rather low isolation, due partly to the abundant vents, has a positive affect on the width of the music. I found there to be good distance between instruments. I did not notice any congestion or narrowing with the EX1. Soundstage is most definitely a highlight of the EX1.
    Smoothness - I wanted to add this extra category for the EX1, to touch on the easy going, non-fatiguing sound signature. It almost seems contradictory when I just posted about how the highs can be harsh, but for most of the time I find there to be a smoothness to the EX1 that is quite wonderful. Right now I am listening to [RÜFÜS / RÜFÜS DU SOL - Blue EP] and each song is silky smooth with the EX1 at the helm, like the two were meant for each other. I think I will just hit repeat and take this album for another ride with the EX1.

    *Overall Thoughts*
    The FiiO EX1 has a lot of personality. It is complex IEM, with a curious sound signature and design features. It makes for a good earphone for review as there is a lot to touch on, as it does not blend in with of the other products out there. From its big soundstage, to its at times harsh highs and very controlled bass, the EX1 will never be called boring.
    The EX1 is a very interesting IEM, it does a lot well, but also has a few places it could see a little improvement. I think with a touch of tuning, the EX1 (2.0?) could really be something special.
    My review should be over now, but I still have the EX1 in my ears and I am honestly really enjoying them, much more than I thought I would when I started this review. The EX1 really do grow on you. The more I listen to the FiiO EX1, the more I like them.
      Raketen and twister6 like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. leovince
      I currently own this but the silver color. All I can say is they sound soooooo nice!
      leovince, Feb 2, 2016
    3. Lifted Andreas
      Very nice review, I'd pick some up but I am way too involved with my OnePlus Icons atm
      Lifted Andreas, Feb 2, 2016
    4. Podster
      Good review BP, the EX1 is a great little iem for the price. Like you having it with the M3, would also be a great pairing with X1:)
      Podster, Feb 4, 2016
  5. fleasbaby
    Logical, tactical approach to entering the IEM market for FiiO
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published Nov 25, 2015
    Pros - Great sound, for a great price
    Cons - Microphonics, tip-rolling, all the things I hate about IEMs basically...
    FiiO continues to rampage through the audiophile market. Maybe rampage is the wrong term. FiiO are more like a fox with a burning brand tied to his tail, sprinting through the wheat fields of audiophilia. 
    Their core mission statement of high quality audio products at humane pricing is popular, and everywhere they touch catches alight. They started with amplifiers, and have an extremely respectable range of units for all tastes at incredibly competitive pricing. Chances are, your first foray into portable audiophilia probably involved a FiiO amp. Mine was an E7. The X3 was their first DAP, and once they had made it through the growing pains of development, release and a lifecycle management the gloves were off in the DAP market for them. The X5, Xii, X5ii came, saw and conquered. Early indicators show that the X7 is about to blow a hole through the high-end market as well. The M3 and M1 are on the cards, and who know what they will do in the super-portable segment.
    And now they are waltzing into the headphone market with an IEM. This time the approach is different. They have partnered with Dunu and taken one of their most successful headphones and re-branded it. Openly as well. This is an understandable strategy. The sub-$100 IEM market is jam-packed with amazing deals at the moment. To attempt to reinvent the wheel would be foolish.
    I volunteered to participate in their global tour. I received no compensation for this, aside from ten days with the tour unit. I am not usually a big fan of IEMS. The deep insertion, cable-noise and excessive isolation I find bothersome. I focus mainly on earbuds and over-ears. My daily drivers are a pair of Pono-balanced VE Zen or my Pono-balanced self-woodied Grado SR60 pinks. I keep a pair of Tpeos Altone 200, Zero Audio Carbo Tenore and VE Dukes (Pono-balanced as well) on hand for those situations in which I cannot get by without isolation. I use a Pono, my work-supplied MacBook Air and a Sansa Clip+ as sources. Occasionally I’ll pull out my old iPod Touch 1G as well. My listening is done primarily at work, in my office, which is closed off. I listen to mostly jazz (from Hard Bop though to Spiritual), left field electronic music (like Four Tet, Flying Lotus, etc, etc) and blues.
    After popping on my usual tips (a pair of clear, double-flange tips that can deal with  my funkily contoured ear-canals) I found the X1 to be not quite as resolving as my Altone 200, but with equivalent bass depth. It was superior to the Zero Audio Carbo Tenore, but not as “fun”. I always find myself keeping the Tenore simply because everyone has those days where they don’t want to hear the Coltrane cut a fart as he starts blowing his solo, they just want to enjoy the track. The X1 didn’t catch the fart :). The Duke beats out the X1 in the treble department. Some might find this a turn-off though. 
    Overall it was nicely placed in the middle. It was the Goldilocks of the bunch. Not too hot, not too cold. Not too hard, not too soft. Juuuuust riiiiiight. And that explains why FiiO chose the X1 as their first foray into headphones. It will most likely pair well with all of their players. It will please the widest audience with a little fun, some accuracy, a durable build and best of all, it cost them nothing to develop. It was Dunu’s brainchild. FiiO’s resources are all tied into developing their DAPs. It is the headphone equivalent of their first DAP, the X3….a tentative, exploratory shot into the field. 
    This leads me to believe we should all be looking out for their next move. Whether it be something they do themselves, or something they partner with someone else on, its likely to be a knockout. 
      Hawaiibadboy and Horton like this.
    1. swannie007
      I have these and love them! They are my go-to earphones and I use them a lot, even though I have numerous earphones. They are just so easy to slip in your ears and are so comfortable and sound great(to my ears). I would recommend them to anyone without hesitation and they certainly offer GREAT value! Cheers.
      swannie007, Nov 26, 2015
  6. areek
    The Titan that everybody deserves: A Fiio EX1 review
    Written by areek
    Published Nov 17, 2015
    Pros - Amazing sound, great soundstage, Clarity, Accessories, Value
    Cons - Highs too sparkly, springy cable, Isolation. non-detachable cable
    Hello again guys, I am Areek Nibras, a junior Head-fier and a recently graduated physician from Bangladesh. Today I will be reviewing the recently released Titanium diaphragm in-ears called the Fiio EX1, which is essentially a slightly altered and cheaper version of the Dunu Titan 1, the IEMs that came and won over every budget audiophile out there. The EX1 currently goes for just 69.99$ from amazon.com whereas the dunu's version goes for 118$. I was the proud owner of the Titan 1 when these released and soon after the release, Fiio arranged the 'Fiio EX1 World Tour'. I was instantly interested in taking part in the tour to find out if the EX1 could hold the sq of the original Titan 1 at a lot cheaper price. I was selected on the 1st list and the 3rd and candidate to receive the Fiio EX1 after @Tobius89 and @ezekiel77 in Asia. But unfortunately I had visited Canada in the meantime and lost my Dunu Titan 1 there during my travel. :frowning2: So after I came back, I decided to try the EX1 out and if it were similar sounding, I would go for these instead. 

    Thanks to @Joe Bloggs for arranging the tour and helping the members whenever an issue came up during the tour. 

    I tested the iems in both my pc and portable setup, tried out music, movies and gaming with these. Even took these outside while riding a bus to my pg classes, to test the isolation and should these really be used while commuting. I will try to describe my thoughts and experiances in this thread.

    I have received the Fiio EX1 demo unit as a part of a world tour arranged by Fiio. I am in no way affiliated with Fiio other than being owners of other Fiio products like the Fiio X1 DAP and the Fiio E12 amp. I, like the other participants were given the demo unit for a duration of 10 days in exchange for my honest review regarding the EX1.

    The Fiio EX1 comes in a slender box that is much smaller than the Titan 1 came with and feels less premium but compact. This is cost effective this is a fair compromise. There is a transparent portion on the box that shows the earpieces and rest is hidden under the packaging. Upon opening, we can see a box at the bottom, which contains all the accessories that come with the iem and acts as the carrying box for the iems. 

    Inside the box, there is a paper with manual and warranty info, a shirt clip and the supplied tips. The single thing that is mising from the Titan 1 packaging is the 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold plated adapter, which is rather useless for me, I have a lot of those sitting in my drawers not being required. 

    As you can see, these come with  total 3 types of different silicone tips, each type having 3 sizes (S/M/L). This is really good considering the price. I wished that the Titan had included the comply tips but they didn't. But for these, no complaints. These tips are quite comfortable. Although, for review purposes, I tried out the comply isolation tips as well, I will get to that during the sq part.
    So, enough talk about the accessories and packaging, time to check out the IEM itself. The driver housing looks similar to the Titans but come with a shiny chrome finish which gives these a sparkly look.There are 11 holes on the inner aspect which contribute to the openness of the iems. These are half in ear designs with the housing sits partly outside the tragus of ear. The R/L drivers are easily distinguishable by red/blue color coding around the housing. the big difference from the Titan is the cable, which now has a plastic like sleeving instead of the clothed sleeving that came with the titans. These are non detachable, feel really strong and might provide better protection than the Titan 1, but these feel springy and if you don't get a proper fit, these can pop out off the ear. The Y-splitter is matte silver and is quite compact and feels solid. There is a chin slider as well. Another awesome thing is that they kept the rubber cable tie from the Titans, which is a Dunu patent and I feel is an absolutely brilliant inclusion. All the in-ears should have it. The cable terminates into an L shaped 3.5mm gold plated jack. Overall, even though the packaging did not look much, the build surely looks premium with the EX1 and are these are built to last.
    5K1A6255.jpg 5K1A6258.jpg
    Next up, the sound.
    Coming from the Dunu Titan 1's, I was pretty much expecting a slightly U-shaped sound; slightly boosted but accurate bass,  airy and lifelike mids and sparkly and clear highs. I got what I expected. I had used the Titan 1 about 15 days before I got these in my hands, and from my memory these sound almost the same, although I felt the highs were a bit more controlled and the bass might have been slightly altered. Description below-

    Gears used- 
    PC > JDS labs Odac+O2 > Fiio EX1 ( 2.5x gain, 10 o' clock position)
    Fiio X1 > Fiio E12 > Fiio EX1 (low gain, 11 o' clock position)

    Lows- 8.5/10
    The bass has really good quality and comes with just the right amount of quantity that is loved by most of the people. There is slight mid bass boost which never tends to bleed too much and gives a feeling of satisfaction. The bass punch feels great, although with some songs I felt the a bit of extra thump. Remember that this are not in any way a bass heavy iem, these just have a very rich bass which compliment with the overall SQ of the iems.

    Mids- 8.5/10
    The mids have the airy feeling that sounds magical and even when these are U shaped, the mids really shine on their own. These can sound ever so recessed due to the prominant lows and highs, but the airyness along with the soundstage makes up for the flaws.Guitar tunes feel almost lifelike. The clarity is superb. Some of the female vocals sounds really sharp. I really enjoy these with tracks by Norah Jones, Ed Sheeran but even in hard rock and metal music these can bring out the voices to an quite clear and understandable level and I enjoyed these with Eluveitie and other metal bands. 

    Highs- 8.5/10
    Sharp, revealing, sparkly. Might be a bit too much for the sensitive ears but as I am used to the signature, I really enjoy the clarity these produce. Although, some rock/metal tracks can be a bit fatiguing, specially when heard with the ODAC+O2 combo. The X1 with E12 stack sounded a bit more rounded and less fatuguing. But highs are still one of the stronger feats of the EX1.

    Soundstage- 10/10
    These are open iems with a big soundstage. This is the factor which takes it a step above the other budget iems at sub 100$. These sound like I am listening to a room during a live performance. Imaging is accurate. Every instrument feels like in their right places. Other than music, I also play compatitive counter strike global offensive and in some cases I have found these to be more accurate in positional audio than my Hifiman HE-400 cans. These open up more with the O2+ODAC combo which is known for providing a larger soundstage and the effect is astonishing. I can hear foorsteps easily and pick up a lot on in game ambient sound that I usually couldn't with my HE-400. So if there is any fps gamer looking for iems, this could be a really good option.

    Isolation-  3/10
    The major setback for these would be the lack of isolation due to the open nature of the iems. If I put these on without any music on, they barely isolate and I can hear my ceiling fan and my pc hardware running. With soft music, there was slightly audible ceiling fan sound during the quieter segments. Then I took these outside while riding a bus to my pg class. The local buses running in Dhaka are mostly old and noisy, there is also a  lot of traffic. Here's a picture of the bus I ride mostly, just for fun :p

    So, as you can guess, pretty noisy. And while listening to the EX1 while riding one of these......well, I could hear every other car horns, traffic whistles and people talking inside the bus. So, if you need your iem to be super isolating and keep the noises away, this won't cut it. Not even with the comply isolation tips, they don't help here at all. But, being said that, it's a common scenario in my country so I wasn't bothered much by it. Not sure about the passenger sitting beside me though, because the sounds leak quite a bit and anyone sitting closer can hear it.. 
    Silicone vs Comply tips
    The 200 series tips by Comply can be used with the Fiio EX1 as well as with the Titan 1. I had the T-200 isolation tips and tried them out. These alter the highs a bit, making them a bit more rounded, but I feel it also somehow alters the sound a bit. I feel like the silicone tips articulate the sound a bit better or maybe it's just me. The silicone tips are quite comfortable and provide a good fit. Anyways, it will be the users preference to use the comply tips, just do not go for the active series tips, those alter the sound quite a bit. 

    Comparison with Philips SHE3590
    A lot of people know and praise the 3590 as the sub 10$ king of iems, producing clear, rich sound that can compete with iems 2-3 times or more of it's value, and I agree. However, the EX1 is clearly a couple of steps up. The huge soundstage of the EX1 along with the airy mids, clear highs, tight bass make the 3590 sound cluttered, slightly congested and a lot less sparkly. Vocals lack the depth and texture the EX1 can produce. Higher frequencies feel rolled off. The bass lacks quality and punch. Well, this is no way a fair comparison but the 3590 has got enough praise to make me compare these with the EX1. I really like both iems at their price point. The build with the 3590 is awful though and these demand a lot of care.

    Comparison with Soundmagic E80

    Another budget iem closer to the pricing of the EX1 is the Soundmagic E80. Luckily for me, my friend had recently bought one and lend me his pair for trying out and compare with the EX1(Sorry I forgot to take a picture). The E80 sounds truly neutral with a flat SQ. The bass has almost no impact but is accurate. Mids are really good with this one although there is not a hint of sibilance. And the highs have good clarity but these never get too sharp with any kind of songs. Compared to these, the EX1 sounds like more consumer friendly, has good bass punch which purists might say feel a bit fake, but is liked better by general people. The mids in the EX1 feel a bit recessed but the airyness makes up for that. Vocals sound almost similar with great texture on both but the EX1 gives a bit of sparkle to the female vocals which is rather a love/hate thing. The highs in the E80 feel less sparkly than the EX1 and is well controlled, never becoming painful, but lacked a bit of clarity compared to the EX1. The EX1 wins due to it's bigger soundstage with the U-shaped SQ. But those who prefer flat SQ might prefer the E80 more. I personally like the EX1 due to it's fun signature.


    So, Dunu Topsound came up with the Titan 1 which took over the 'below 150$ market' by flash. And I can safely say that the Fiio EX1 is here to rule the 'sub 100$ market'. I have previously owned the Monoprice 8320, Soundmagic E10 & E30, Steelseries Flux iems and tried out the Hifiman RE400, Vsonic GR07 BE and a few other iems before and these took me away completely by surprise. It comes with a big sound at an affordable price and I believe with more availability as Fiio has dealers in a lot of countries around the world. I believe that these are the best value iems below 100$. So, if you are looking for a pair of fun sounding iems you wanna use for music, movies or games, the EX1 should be the 1st pair you should be demoing. And yes, I am getting one for myself. :p
      B9Scrambler, ezekiel77 and bolmeteus like this.
    1. bolmeteus
      Excellent review! How does it perform without external dac/amps? Are the highs untolerable?
      bolmeteus, Nov 20, 2015
  7. originalsnuffy
    FIIO EX1 Appeals to those Favoring a Bright Sonic Signature. Good open soundstage.
    Written by originalsnuffy
    Published Nov 15, 2015
    Pros - Good bass and midrange. Fairly eficient. Good overall sound for price
    Cons - Open design results in sound leakage. Make sure you have the right fit; you may need a larger attachment than you normally us. Bright presentation .
    I have tested the FIIO EX1 as part of the North American Tour.  No compensation was received for this review.
    By now you have seen multiple reviews that reviewed the accessories that come with this unit, its Dunu heritage, etc.  So I will focus on sound signature, fit, and sound leakage.
    In summary, I think that if you are looking for a headphone with a bright sound and is not bass shy, these are worth considering.
    I did find it took larger tips than I am used to in order to get a proper sound signature.  I had to place the units a bit further in to my canal than I found comfortable to get the proper levels of bass.
    When properly fit, the sound signature presented a good level of bass but not bass head worthy, which I think is a good thing.  The midrange is pleasant.  I found the treble a bit overdone, but then again I tend to favor IEM units with a slightly tailed off high end and the EX1 has heightened treble. I did find these to have a nice open soundstage, and instrument clarity was gratifying.
    I was unable to get a good fit with my usual comply tips.  I had pulled them out on the theory that maybe I would not have to insert these units too far in to the ear canal to get full bass, and that they might tamp down the high end a bit.  Unfortunately, that did not work out.
    I enjoy my IEM listening in public places such as airplanes and before going to bed.   These IEM units may not be the best choice for those locations.  The open design does lead to sound bleed.
    These did help out my old FIIO X3 first generation running firmware 3.34b, which tended to be more midrange driven and needed some high end help.  With firmware 3.4 the benefit was reduced, as that sound signature is more balanced. On the oriignal X3, I fiddled with the hardware level eq  and had some success.  I turned the bass up one or two notches and treble down three notches and achieved a somewhat better sound profile to my taste.  On the X3 second gen unit that is no hardware level eq so that did not work.  Note:  I play quite  a bit of hi res material, jazz and classic rock, and so hardware eq is needed in the FIIO line.   And as you may know, the X3 gen two can't provide eq to hi res material.
    I was hoping that the EX1 units would knock the ball out of the park for me based on some early reviews.   Instead, I am looking in to more tunable IEM units and did order one unit on 11-11 called the LZ-A2 which by most accounts is more like the Carbo - Tenores which are my current "go to" units.  The Carbo -Tenore's a comfortable in a sleeping configuration, and do not have leekage.  If your taste
    runs a bit more to the treble forward side you will be rewarded with these units.
    I should mention that I took these to a Minneapolis head-fi gathering.  I would say that more than half of the group was favoring over the ear headphones not in-ear.  But for those who were willing to try out headphones, only one person particularly enhused about the EX1.  This person also noted that they had hearing problems in the high end from a scuba diving accident, so I suspect the sound signature was perfect for their needs.  But it also reinforced my feeling that the sound signature it not going to find universal acclaim, but will find favor with those that favor elevated high end sound profiles.
    . IMG_1609.jpg
      Hawaiibadboy and Peter Hyatt like this.
  8. kamcok
    One of the best sub$100
    Written by kamcok
    Published Nov 13, 2015
    Pros - Build, Sound, Accessories, Sound Stage
    Cons - No remote, Highs could be tuned better, Not too different from Titan1
    Since there are many reviews of both the Dunu Titan1 and the FiiO EX1 I’m not going into too much technical detail or packaging contents of the earphones.
    The Titan 1 and the EX1 share a different box, the Dunu looking more premium and costs more but both have completely identical contents.
    The only physical difference between the FiiO and Dunu is that the EX1 has a nicer uniform cable (as opposed to the fabric/rubber hybrid on the Titan) that is less prone to tangling.
    In addition to that the EX1 also has a matte finish as opposed to chrome on the y-splitter and the jack.
    DSC_1539.jpg DSC_1559.jpg
    Above: What you get out of the box. All the ear tips and the shirt clip is in the case.
    Despite the different finish on the y-splitter and the jack, the earphone housing however, is chrome like the Dunu.
    I would’ve liked to see the housing to also be matte as it would make the IEM more consistent.

    DSC_1552.jpg DSC_1553.jpg
     Some logos have changed to FiiO but some footprints of DUNU are still present which shows the obvious fact that Dunu had the original design.
    DSC_1556.jpg DSC_1562.jpg DSC_1554.jpg
    Sound & Comparisons
    In general the EX1 is a great sounding earphone that delivers an excellent bang for your buck.
    Compared to its (literally chronologically) older brother the Titan1, the EX1 provides slightly smoother highs to my ears.
    This makes the EX1 more forgiving, and therefore is more suitable for a wider range of genres.
    Other than that, the mid-range, soundstage and the bass sound pretty much identical to my ears.
    This is further supported by the image (courtesy of Brooko on the FiiO EX1 tour forum) which shows more significant difference in the upper range of frequencies in comparison to the lower spectrum.  
    Going into further details by comparing to other In-ears, Compared to other Chinese IEMs in its class such as Vsonic VSD3(S) / Hifiman RE-400, the EX1 wins over both (in my opinion).
    Unlike the unnatural and sibilant prone highs of the Vsonic VSD3(S), the EX-1 presents a slightly shimmery top end that isn’t as prone to sibilance.
    It sounds far more natural, but can still be ever so slightly sibilant on some tracks.
    How shimmery is the top end you might ask? Compared to what most refer to their most neutral and flat in the price range, it extends further and has more shimmer than the RE-400, but not to the extent that it’s splashy or harsh (on most tracks).
    In my opinion the RE-400’s highs are simply too dry, hence one of the reason I prefer the EX-1.
    The bass is smoother and faster than the VSDs but still reaches quite deep, deeper and in greater quantity than the RE-400 but without muddying the mids.
    It may not satisfy absolute bassheads but should be enough for most.
    Furthermore, depending on the tips being used the bass presentation may present to be thinner / thicker.
    In regards to the mids, I’d say it’s almost on par with the RE-400. It’s not as neutral or water clear as the RE-400 but it sounds natural enough that I can’t point any flaw on it.
    Female vocals sound good, male vocals sound good, guitars sound crisp, nothing to complain for here.
    Despite the slight v-shape signature the EX-1 is quite a controlled unit.
    In other words, the bass or highs won’t be in the way when the music doesn’t call for it.
    This, in addition to the above average soundstage, due to the half-in-ear design makes the EX-1 a very well rounded contender in the sub $100 range.
    Overall, the EX-1 is a more refined, better controlled and more detailed and in my opinion is simply superior than the VSD3 in almost every way.
    It is also a lot more fun than the RE-400 and is more well-rounded without sacrificing much.
    In comparison to more expensive headphones like the CKR9(LTD) the EX1 is outperformed in all parts of the sound quality.
    The two however, in my opinion are in completely different class categories; whereas the EX-1 is more portable, the CKR is more for home use.
    Despite the different sound presentation, the CKR9 (being warmer and bassier) has far better separation, more detail and more spacious sound stage.
    The most noticeable difference is in the bass region, despite presenting in greater quantity, the CKR9 is able to produce a lot more detail and sense of realistic sound placements, without interrupting the mid-range in any way.
    The CKR9 gives users an experience almost like listening to home speakers with a well-tuned separate subwoofer unit.
    The EX1, despite not being able to reach such grade of presentation is still a great earphone for its price.  
    In contrary, the CKR9 might not be that much better when the two are compared in a more noisier environment.
    The spaciousness and detail of the CKR9 is something to be appreciated in a quiet environment like the library / at home.
    Take the two on the bus or train and you probably won’t get that much more enjoyment with the CKR9LTD.
    Furthermore, the EX1 is lighter, more portable, fits in a smaller case and has a cable cinch/ chin slider which the CKR9 doesn’t even have!
    So if you’re planning to use the IEM to commute and walk about and what not, the EX1 is probably the one to go for.
    Plus it’s also far cheaper, so if you do end up damaging the IEM your wallet wouldn’t cry as much.
    Overall, the EX-1 is simply outclassed by earphones such as the CKR9 and probably others alike, but considering the individual MSRP of the products the EX-1 fully justifies its asking price and delivers even more.
    Comparison Summary
    - VS - CKR9LTD
    CKR9 wins in overall sound, looks, premium feel
    Ex 1 wins in portability, comfort, accessories, cheaper
    - VS - RE-400
    Ex 1 wins in more fun in sound, build quality, accessories, sound stage
    RE-400 wins in more neutrality
    - VS- VSD3(s)
    EX 1 wins in sound overall, build quality, accessories
    Some VSD3 wins in removable cables (some), cheaper, over ear
    Who should NOT buy the EX1 ?
    • Already own Titan 1
    • Require a device remote/ microphone
    • Want over-ear fit
    • Already own a higher tier IEM
    • Those who’d rather own 10 Philips SHE3590 :p
    Recommended for those who :
    1.      1. Need a capable portable daily IEM
    2.      2. Appreciates natural, non-overly boosted bass
    3.      3. Are looking in the sub $100 market
    4.      4. Need extra ear-tips to come in the package
    5.      5. Looking to upgrade from budget earphones
    The EX1 sounds not too different from the Titan1 with smoother highs, making it a more forgiving set of earphones. It has the same housing but better cables and is cheaper.
    One of the best sub $100 entry grade IEM.
    Apologies for typos/ errors.
    Do point them out if it needs to be corrected
    Thanks for reading :)
    1. Hawaiibadboy
      Nice review. I like the who should and who shouldn't buy opinions. That is actually a smart idea. Nice.
      Hawaiibadboy, Nov 13, 2015
  9. afterstory100
    such a great iems for the price, this is a true open back iem lol
    Written by afterstory100
    Published Oct 29, 2015
    Pros - huge airy soundstage, heavenly treble, smooth and punchy bass texture
    Cons - isolation, recessed mid
    first of all i'm sorry for my bad  english
    from the first time i saw this iem i fell in love with how good they looks, shiny metal pieces, damn they do looks expensive, even it's case is beautiful
    i own some iems for different purposes such as dunu dn 1000, shure se 215, and dbe pr 30 rev iii
    fiio ex 1 is always my number one iem for home use. simply because i really love how great they sounds but they lacks in isolation, so in order to appreciate these iems true potential, use in when you're home, a warm sounding amp is reccomended.
    ergonomics : they sit in your ears quite nicely with that angled nozzle, spinfit eartips will provide better fit and better sound. the isolation is bad due to their airy sound they sacrifice the isolation
    so how they sounds to my ears?
    the bass of these iems are quite fast for dynamic, they are quite punchy, not really deep, but for my ears it has a smooth nice texture which kind of unique. i have other iems with great amount of bass such as dunu dn 1000 and shure se 215 but the bass texture of fiio ex 1 is more favorable for me, it has an airy rumble...(i don't know how to describe it) like a true bass speaker, so yeah i love the bass of this iem
    if this iem has a flaw.. this is it.. a little reccessed mid and has and emphasized upper mid. it makes male voice sounds thin and less powerful, but good for female sound actually
    this is the best point of fiio ex 1, for me the treble extend really well without being sibilant, just when you think that there will be sibilance you'll hear smooth edge instead, perfect for violin, strings, piano and guitar
    i also hear no distortion on loud volume ... great... simply great
  10. El Zilcho
    Fiio EX1 - Solid Build, Solid Sound
    Written by El Zilcho
    Published Oct 24, 2015
    Pros - Clean, Detailed Sound. Well Built. Comfortable. Good Value
    Cons - May Be Bright For Some Tastes.

    I received these headphones for evaluation from Fiio.  I was not paid for my review and the headphones were returned after the review period.  
    Music can evoke real emotion.  It can be a powerful experience to listen to a good song.  The type of music that stirs you is different for everyone.  Luckily, music is as diverse as its power is universal.  And the variety of headphones available is almost as diverse as the music they are designed to reproduce.
    I love music.  But I am a bit of a beginner when it comes to headphones.  I’ve only recently begun to really get into headphones as a way to listen to music more often.  I don’t have the huge stable of headphones that many headphone reviewers have.  I do appreciate good sound, and I hope my thoughts and opinions can help someone considering the EX1 headphones from Fiio.

    I listened to the EX1s on my Fiio X5ii, my Denon receiver, my computer and my iPad.  As expected, all were able to provide more than enough volume, with ample headroom to spare.  There were a variety of sources, including Netflix movies, Youtube, lossless, AAC, etc.
    The EX1s are brighter than my other headphones (currently: Bose Soundtrue In Ear, Bose QC25, Apple Earpods, Samsung in ear), and those I’ve had previously (Bose AE2, Klipsch Image One).  No detected sibilance, or other problems with the treble, but it’s noticeably more present/forward.  Initially, the extra brightness of the EX1 seemed to make parts of the song sound almost harsh.  However, this was in comparison to my other headphones.  In comparison, my others sounded a bit smoother, but at a cost of some of the perceived detail and airiness which the EX1s have.  
    As I listened to the EX1s I quickly got used to the bright sound and they no longer sounded harsh.  I found them to be very clean sounding across the range.  They aren’t fatiguing, nor do they have the undefinable quality (or lack thereof) that some headphones possess which makes me perpetually feel the need to turn the volume down.  I began to appreciate the added detail and clarity of the EX1s.  They are bright, but balanced.  After a while listening to the EX1s I switched back to the Bose Soundtrue and they sounded downright muffled in comparison, rather than smoother.
    If the recording/song has hiss, it was slightly more noticeable with the EX1s than my other headphones due to the brighter sound signature and, possibly, greater treble extension.  Not a fault, just an effect of the more forward treble.  I happen to have a few older, hissy songs, and the hiss is a bit more noticeable (along with the rest of the treble) in the EX1s.  That didn’t stop me from enjoying those songs at all, it’s just something that’s more noticeable with a brighter headphone.  It is a small difference, but it’s there.  Also, bear in mind, the vast majority of what I listened to had no hiss, and the background on my X5ii was as inky black as ever with the EX1s.  So any background hiss was definitely not an attribute of the headphones.
    While these phones are brighter than my others, they still have decent bass.  The bass is crisp and defined, hits when it should, and doesn’t bleed into the rest of the song when it shouldn’t.  It is a flat bass response though.  Unlike many of the headphones available today, which tend to have a dB bump in the bass range.
    There are songs that do benefit from a little extra bass, but if you have to err on one side or the other, I would say the EX1s are a better choice for me than an overly bass-heavy pair of headphones.  In my opinion, balanced (meaning flat, not boosted) bass won’t ruin a song that would benefit from more bass.  But too much bass can nearly ruin some songs for me.  Again, the EX1s do have bass, but these are not bass-head headphones.  Interestingly, the sub-bass does seem to extend a little further down than on my Bose Soundtrues.  This may be due, in part, to the better seal/isolation.  My Soundtrues do have a warmer sound with a bit more bass overall, but the EX1s have impact when I feel they should.  Songs that have a lot of sub bass surprised me with how powerful the bass sounded in the EX1s.  
    The brightness brings a level of clarity and detail I don’t quite get with any of my other headphones.  I have some Samsung in ear headphones (came included with a phone) that are nearly as bright on the top end, but the highs aren’t quite as clear.  The Samsungs have an almost grainy and artificial sound to the highs at times, compared to the EX1s.  I know it’s not a fair comparison.  The Samsungs are cheapos; they are outmatched by the EX1s in every way.
    Compared to my Bose QC25s, I would say the QC25s have a bit more upper bass/lower mids, leading to a bit more “fullness” to some songs.  But actual bass “slam” and low end power seems about the same, and the EX1s have a cleaner sound, with easier to pick out detail, particularly in the higher frequencies.
    I like the sound of the EX1s.  If you are looking for an in ear headphone with a fairly flat response, and good treble and bass extension, give the EX1s a try.  The sound is clean, clear and while nothing is boosted, nothing is missing either.  

    The shallow fit of the EX1 is great for me.  Deeper insertion in-ear headphones become uncomfortable after a while for me.  These have a shallow insertion depth, and the “body” of the earphones just tuck against the back of the ear, holding them in place.
    The isolation may not be quite as complete as some others because of this shallow depth, but I’ll give up a little isolation to get long term wear-ability any day.  Comfort wise, at first I’d have still given a slight edge to my Bose Soundtrue In Ears (the EX1s do provide much more isolation than the Soundtrues).  But I got used to them quickly and they basically “disappear” in my ears now.  Comfort for me personally is very good.  They strike a good balance between isolation and comfort.  They isolate much more than my Soundtrues, but are still comfortable for hours.  
    The EX1 headphones stay put in my ears much better than I anticipated.  This is particularly surprising since it takes so little effort to insert or remove them.  Even if I shake my head around quite vigorously, they don’t budge.  Fit is a very individual thing, and the experience of others will surely vary.  For me the fit is great.  They do include various silicone tip sizes to match your ear canal as close as possible.  Because the body/housing of the earphones tuck against the ear, there is a chance that with larger ears than mine they wouldn’t hold as securely.  Likewise, with smaller ears they may end up too tight and become uncomfortable.  I don’t know how prevalent these issue would be, since they fit without issue in my ears.
    Now that the temps are dropping, the metal body is cold on the ears for a moment when you first put them in.  I imagine if they were left in a car in winter they could cause quite a shock when you pop them in your ears.  Probably not a huge issue for most, but just something I noticed.

    Build quality is very good.  The metal is smooth and polished, with no rough edges, tool marks or obvious issues that stand out.  The gaps are tight and even and everything seems to suggest quality.  The cord ends with a 90* plug, which is something that could be debated.  I typically prefer a straight plug, but there are situations where a 90 degree is preferable, so I wouldn’t count for or against a straight or 90 degree plug.  There is a bit more cord noise/microphonics than my Bose Sountrues, which is likely due to the increased seal they have rather than any differences in the cord.  This is to be expected, and it’s not too bad. 
    There are colored rings around the body of the earphones which add a little flair and help differentiate between right and left.  Right and left are easy to tell apart just as a result of the shape, but the color adds a quick, visual key that will never leave you guessing.  There is also an “R” and “L” etched on each respective earphone.
    The cord is reasonably supple and doesn’t cause any unusual annoyances.  The insulation is a more slippery feeling material than what my Bose Soundtrue cord has (it is also very slightly stiffer than the Bose Soundtrue cord).  This makes the EX1 cord a bit less apt to tangle, as the cord doesn’t hang up on itself as readily.  The cord is not detachable, but it does give the impression of being fairly durable.  Nothing about it stands out to make me think it wouldn’t hold up over time.    

    I think a simple way to wrap this up is to say that if I was in the market for some in ear headphones I would feel very comfortable buying the EX1 headphones from Fiio.  They have a fairly flat, balanced sound signature with clean, detailed sound across the range. They have decent isolation and a secure, comfortable fit.  And finally, considering the build quality, included tips and hard case they are a pretty good value for money as well.  
    The EX1s are a well rounded pair of earphones.  They may not be for everyone, but no headphone/earphone can claim that honor.
    Happy listening.
      Denzea likes this.