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FiiO EX1 Nanotech Titanium Diaphragm In-Ear Monitors

Rating:
4.15789/5,
  1. Hawaiibadboy
    Well built evenly tuned. FiiO EX1
    Written by Hawaiibadboy
    Published Oct 2, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Build quality, lots of tips, fairly neutral tuning (good mids)
    Cons - Isolation, Bass is light
    [​IMG]
     
     
    I used 3 tracks only. I have O.C.D and can get lost in music. I prefer stuff I know like the back of my hand for comparing.
     
    I have listened to these three hundreds and hundreds of times.
     
    I used the Alpha & Delta AD01 (dual dynamic)  and the Sony xb90ex (single dynamic) for all three songs to compare with the FiiO EX1 (single dynamic)
     
    All 3 files are .flac 24/192 played from a Note 4 > Cozoy Aegis which played them back at 24/192 using U.A.P.P and no eq
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

     Earth Wind & Fire - "That's the way of the World"

     
     
     

     
    [​IMG]
     
     
    Listened to IEM in this order:
     

    EX1

    1. Bass - Hard to hear... more than usual however I use elevated bass eq almost always so this could have been my ears adjusting.
    2. Mids - Sounded forward or "loud", vocals were good but horns and studio mixed layers were getting lost as the treble approached.
    3. Highs -  Singers voices in EW&F reach very high and the highs had a glare. The whole song sounded  ( ___/ ) shaped.
    4. Stage - Not wide and not narrow. didn't strike me as a item worth noting except it is
     
     
    I assume the freq graph for the Dunu Titan would apply so the response should not sound like so
     
     

    AD01

    1. Bass -Sub-bass and bass clearly elevated but pleasing
    2. Mids - nice but slightly muted or less forward than the EX1
    3. Highs -  Singers voices in EW&F reach very high and the highs had no glare but sounded very smooth, not too detailed which is bad for some. I like smooth highs
    4. Stage - More compact than the EX1
     
     
     

    XB90EX

    1. Bass - Less sub-bass than AD01 but more than EX1 which had none. Bass is present and feels true to master
    2. Mids -  sound is natural and has no clear recess and not forward.
    3. Highs -  Sound crisp and detailed.
    4. Stage - Very very large presentation. Unlike AD01 and EX1
     
     
    I would take the AD01>xb90ex>EX1
    The sub bass of the AD01 is just so damn nice. The XB is Xtra Bass but without an eq it is not so. The EX1 seems to lack bass.
    The graph of the Titan shows a semi flat region from 10-100Hz which is like a Planar. Very nice for an audiophile I imagine but too much info was simply not there.
     

    Paused review as some things were off in my mind.
    The EX1 had fantastic mids the night before but were in my face now?
    Decided to alter the order of listening but leave these impressions as they are real.
     
     
     
     
     

    Tupac Shakur (2pac)  - "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted"

     

     
    [​IMG]
     
     

    AD01

    1. Bass - sub bass and bass transition to mids very nice.
    2. Mids - slight recess or falling into the treble area but not scooped
    3. Highs -  very nice and smooth. Clearly a type of genre' the AD01 shines at
    4. Stage -  Again, the AD01 is close to being compact but only compared to BA having units
     
       

    EX1

    1. Bass - This track has a lot of bass beyond sub-bass which was again not there but familiar 80Hz hit was there.
    2. Mids -  sounded loud, forward but for this track that is good. What was shouty in the Earth Wind & Fire track is bouncy joy on this track little info gone (dip in freq?)
    3. Highs -  maybe it's the master but the highs sounded great and I know this track inside out and it was bass light but otherwise fine
    4. Stage - Not of note. Track not mixed in a way that sounds wide but holographic ghostly sounding women's voices were hard to catch (late mids?)
     
     
     

    XB90EX

    1. Bass - Less sub-bass than AD01 but more than EX1 which had none. Bass is present and feels true to master (same as previous track)
    2. Mids -  sound is natural and has no clear recess and not forward. (same as previous track)
    3. Highs -  Sound crisp and detailed. (same as previous track)
    4. Stage - Very very large presentation. Unlike AD01 and EX1 (same as previous track)
     
     
     
    would take the AD01>xb90ex>EX1.
     
     So a R&B and a Hip Hop track are better listens at least on a flat eq as the other 2 pair have an elevated bass tuning.
    The xb90ex should dominate this track but without an eq and an amp it does not. AD01 sounds best.
     
     

     

    Crosby Stills Nash & Young - "Helplessly Hoping"

     
     

     
    [​IMG]
     
     
     

    AD01

    1. Bass - mostly guitar notes in the bass area and generally not much info here, what is mastered seems fine and no roll off or anything lacking
    2. Mids - sound is nice but appears a bit recessed. I listened to this with the EX1 last night so I know what's going to happen here
    3. Highs -  voices are smooth like butter but rolling off
    4. Stage -  Again, the AD01 is close to being compact
     
     
     

    EX1

    1. Bass - Not much bass in this track and what is there sounds present and nothing seems lacking in lower guitar chords resonance
    2. Mids -  What was in my face on the Earth wind and Fire track is really nice on this track (first track is vinyl rip....hmmmmmm)
    3. Highs -  The vocals sound really awesome which I heard last night. knew this was coming. Very good recording or just a perfect match for these IEM or both
    4. Stage - Not of note. Track not mixed in a way that sounds outdoor stadium. there is a live version but quality is not great for testing
     
     

    XB90EX

    1. Bass - Bass is not prominent in track and sound is not better or worse than other two IEM
    2. Mids -  sound is natural and has no clear recess and not forward. (same as previous track (s))
    3. Highs -  sound is nice but not as pleasing as the EX1
    4. Stage -   This track does sound around your head with these IEM.
     
     
     
    would take the EX1>xb90ex>AD01
     
    Guitar and vocal-centric music seems to be the sweet spot for these IEM and I listen to  a lot of that. Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and the like.
    The AD01 is an excellent set for rock but the clarity in the mids and detail of guitar plucks and pulls is superior on the EX1.
     
     
     
     

     If I were a Dummy :wink:

     
     
     
     
    The Fletcher Munson curve
     
    If you note the dip at 4Khz and look at the Golden Ear curve it is almost a compensation graph. The bump they are placing is almost exactly where in a relative manner the human ear has an issue.
     
     
     
     
     
    Assuming that is a pleasant line where the average human ear can hear the most musical information in the most appealing way (Golden Ear curve)...then it doesn't matter if it's your best line. It's mine for this exercise and the other 3 are relative to what I find appealing. I am the black line.
     
     
    The EX1 are rising into the audible and are not elevated in the sub bass.
    The AD01 clearly enter audible elevated with a boosted sub-bass .
    The xb90ex are also rising as they require power and eq.
    The EX1 have a mid section that is either ideal or it is slightly forward.
    The Highs of the EX1 have an airy feeling and seem as though the peak is slightly further up the register.
     
    **click to enlarge**​
     
     

    EQ me

     
    If I were to EQ the EX1...and I did. I'd raise 35-70Hz with 55Hz as the peak of that bass hill  of +5dB with a cut hard down to 250Hz at -2dB. I would also drop 2k a tad and raise 3-4khz and 8Khz in amounts depending on the genre'.
     
     

     

    4U

    The reviews on Head-Fi are results in search engine queries. The  # of folks who see these reviews will very often...especially later.. be from non members with little knowledge or care about warm,dry,hot,wet,stage,separation etc.
     
    Some love pictures others love analogies others love videos and on an on.
    My review is one view.  It's mine. I like bass and I like mids and I like highs. The sound is kind of airy and thin to me. Fit is not great but that's why god made lots of tips. There are lots of tips in this sets package. I think a set of foam Comply would be a really good idea.
     
     
     I cannot try 10 songs and keep track honestly in my mind. I can do that with 3.
    I chose 2 bass heavy genre' which is not this IEM's strong point but a world tour is underway and a bass lovers input is a slice of the pie
     
    If i were to tip roll and eq which is natural for me it would certainly sound better and it's larger driver and vent modding could eclipse the "fun" of the AD01 in all manner but that is a rabbit hole. Stock, no eq....not my thing but much easier to follow if your a reader/listener.
     
    I will edit and refine the presentation of the review but the general observations will stay. I d not believe in burn in but do believe in brain burn in and don't want that to be a factor.
     
    Many thanks to @Joe Bloggs for letting a bass lover and person in Japan take part.  FiiO should give you a raise. You help make them look very good.
     
     
     

    C.R.E.A.M.(y)          4 me  n  U

     
    Gotta  end this with a blast.
     
    If I have one regret it is that I did not see the enormity, the massive power of this review system sooner. It has been used well and abused well.
    Credibility is the real currency on Head-Fi.  Takes time to build and moments to throw away. Just like in real life. "Joe P. Public" cannot see who is who and even if they could it wouldn't matter if they didn't know exactly what they wanted ....(how many folks know exactly what they want??) ..and to be honest 1/2 the folks doing reviews have not found what they want.
    End game items mean end of game.  I'd be gone and so would they. 
     
    It's a journey marked by levels of financial investment. Not accurate markings but as good as any.  Are these (FiiO EX1) worth the amount of money at this point along the way? Sure, with a bonus of being backed by a company that will respond to any issue related to the item. I have had my ups and downs with em' but never about value for your money or inquiry and interaction. FiiO is peerless on Head-Fi in that way (10/01/2015)
     
     
    The big question is...would I rec these to you? I dunno you..so no.  You come back here saying my rec was off and you mess my cream. No way.
     
    Are these good IEM? Yes. Well made and tuned relatively neutral and backed by a solid company. So they are good.  3.5
      Brooko, ZMan2k2, gikigill and 9 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hawaiibadboy
      @knorris908  it's a Hawaiianese mash -up 4 sure :)   FiiO e18 is my fave. Gets little love round here but it plugs n plays with the droid and the power is just enough to send SZ into thunder mode. They make good stuff. I am hoping for a basshead capable unit from them in the future.
      Hawaiibadboy, Oct 23, 2015
    3. Luckbad
      Good to see Fiio in IEMs. Hopefully they make a basshead earphone soon!
      Luckbad, Oct 23, 2015
    4. Diego Davila
      Why almost everyone takes the isolation factor as an important thing?. Wasn't this IEM designed to get better soundstage?, therefore would not be suitable for the street.
      Diego Davila, Mar 4, 2016
  2. nmatheis
    FiiO EX1: FiiO Takes On The TITAN
    Written by nmatheis
    Published Oct 23, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Great sound. Open, airy soundstage. Comfortable. Attractive.
    Cons - Lacks isolation. Mids could be more prominent. Springy cable.

    Titan-19.jpg

     

    INTRODUCTION

    I'm going to let you in on a secret: I never tried the original Dunu TITAN 1. Why? The many excellent reviews were balanced out by reports of weak bass and aggressive highs. These discrepancies made me leery of trying them, but when I saw Fiio sponsor a tour for the EX1 (basically a FiiO-branded TITAN 1), I signed up without hesitation. Here was my chance to hear one of the most hyped IEM of 2015. If I didn't like it, no worries. If I did like it, maybe I'd end up buying it. Either way, I'd find out if the hype was deserved. 
     
    I'm sure most of you know about FiiO, one of the most popular portable amp and DAP manufacturers on Head-Fi. Their X3 DAP was my first DAP. I also own the X5 DAP and E12A and E12 DIY portable amps. I've reviewed their X3ii (LINK) and X5ii (LINK) DAPs and am excited to be one of the first-round reviewers of the X7 on Head-Fi. I provide you with this information so you understand that I do have a history with FiiO. I also recently received pre-release versions of the Dunu TITAN 3 (review) and TITAN 5 (review) for review and tour, so I'm confident I have a good understanding of where the EX1 falls amongst in the TITAN lineup.
     
    Here's some information about FiiO from their About Us page:
     
    About FiiO Electronics Technology Co., Ltd.

    FiiO designs, produces and sells high-quality products at favorable prices to those who love music and style.

    FiiO's aspiration: to raise the reputation of "Made in China".

    Brand spirit: innovation, quality, service

    Brand positioning: HiFi with style

    FiiO was established in 2007 and has experience in researching and developing countless portable music products of different types,
    and sell FiiO-branded products through sales agents worldwide.

    FiiO is focused on product quality, adheres strictly to ISO9001 standards in quality management and works hard to attain the lowest
    repair-related product returns rate.

    Several products from FiiO have created record sales in their respective product segments; our portable headphone amplifiers, DACs and
    high-resolution digital audio players have all received praise from the majority of users.

    FiiO places great importance on users’ needs and ceaselessly pursues perfection in product design and manufacturing, to supply users
    with the best audio products at the best prices. 





     
    FiiO's Website: LINK.
     
    Dedicated Dunu TITAN thread: LINK.
     
     

    DISCLAIMER

    There is no financial incentive from FiiO for writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with FiiO, and this is my honest opinion of the EX1.  I would like to thank FiiO for giving me a chance to test drive and tour the EX1, and I hope my feedback proves useful for my fellow Head-Fi members as well as for FiiO.
     
     

    ABOUT ME

    I'm a 43 year old father who loves music.  While I listen mostly to electronic and metal these days, I do listen to a wide variety of music - from electronic (Autechre, Boards of Canada) to modern/minimalist composition (John Cage, Philip Glass) to alternative rock (Flaming Lips, Radiohead) to jazz (John Coltrane and Miles Davis) to metal (Behemoth, King Diamond) to classic rock (Eagles, Rush).  
     
    I'm primarily a portable audio enthusiast. My portable music journey started with the venerable Sony Cassette Walkman and then progressed to portable CD players, minidisc recorders (still have my Sharp DR7), and finally on to DAPs like the Rio Karma, iRiver IHP-1xx, iPod 5.5, iPhones, and the newer crop of DAPs from Fiio and iBasso.
     
    Being a portable audio enthusiast, I typically listen with IEMs but am enjoying listening with full-size headphones more and more and tend to like u-shaped sound signatures, although I break out v-shaped IEM & HP from time to time for fun.
     
    As with a lot of people my age, I've got some hearing issues.  I've got mild tinnitus and suffer from allergies, which can affect hearing in my right ear.  I'll admit it, I'm not blessed with a pair of golden ears.  That said, I've been listening to portable gear for a long time and feel confident in assessing audio gear - just wanted to be transparent up front.



     
     
    SPECS
    1. Driver: 13mm titanium coated dynamic
    2. Frequency Response: 20Hz-30KHz
    3. SPL: 102dB
    4. Impedance: 16Ω
    5. Plug: 3.5mm Gold-plated L-plug
    6. Cord Length: 1.2m
    7. Weight: 18g
     
     

    PACKAGING & ACCESSORIES



    Packaging
    Titan-15.jpg
     
     
    Carry case
    Titan-5.jpg
     
     
    Tips

     
    Not pictured: Shirt clip + 1/8" plug adapter.
     
    To sum up: So you get the EX1, Heir and Hybrid style tips in S, M, and L, the hard carry case, a shirt clip, and an 1/8" plug adapter. Not bad. I'll say right now that I'm not a fan of Heir style tips. They always seem to slip out of my ear canals. The Hybrid style tips are grippier and stay put in my ears much better, so that's what I gravitated towards. The hard case works very well with the EX1. Since I have the TITAN 3 and TITAN 5 in for testing, I'll mention that it doesn't work so well for those. The larger housing size Dunu used to accommodate the detachable cable connectors makes them just a bit too large to easily snap the case shut.
     
     
     

    BUILD & ERGONOMICS

    The EX1 are a half in-ear design, which allows them to include a large driver without compromising on comfort. I'll walk through the various design and ergonomic features of the EX1 in pictorial format below.
     
    Here's a look at the EX1's inner face. I love the brushed metal finish and wish that was also used on the outer face. Note the numerous vent holes that give the EX1 its unique open, airy sound.
    Titan-16.jpg
     
    Here's a look at the EX1's outer face. Here you can see the candy colored strips sandwiched between the inner and outer housings that provide a quick visual distinction between L/R earpieces. While this is much easier than looking for the low contrast L/R markings on the inner face, I would've preferred more subtle dark red and black strips.
    Titan-19.jpg
     
    Since I've got the TITAN 3 and TITAN 5 in-house, I thought I'd show you just how much bulk the detachable cables add. You can also see a little of Dunu's cable, which I preferred to the FiiO cable. Dunu's implementation is quite supple, while FiiO's is springy. This makes cable management a bit more of a chore with FiiO's version.
    Titan-22.jpg
     
    Y-splitter and chin slider
    Titan-17.jpg
    Titan-18.jpg
     
    3.5mm L-plug
    Titan-20.jpg
     
    The EX1 feature Dunu's awesome cable management feature. Wish all my IEM had this!

     
    Here's what EX1 look like worn down vs. over ear. While they're designed to be worn down, they can be worn over ear fairly easily - although this will result in channels swapping (left earpiece in right ear and vice versa).
    FullSizeRender-10.jpg FullSizeRender-12.jpg
     
     
     
    To sum up: The FiiO EX1 are an attractive, ergonomic, well-built IEM. I can't find many flaws beyond the aesthetic choice to use candy colors to differentiate L/R earpieces (which I'm sure some will love) and the springy cable.
     
     
    SOUND
    I'm going to keep this section simple. There are already a lot of reviews for the EX1, so if mine doesn't fit your needs there are plenty more to explore. You can always hit up the TITAN thread, where they've been discussed across 150+ pages already.
     
    I mainly listen to experimental electronic and metal and use those genres to evaluate HP & IEM. During my time with the EX1, I mainly used them with the FiiO X5, Shanling M3 (LINK to review), and the newly released Shanling M2 I have in for testing and US tour (LINK to the M2 thread I started). 
     
    The original TITAN and the FiiO's EX1 have already received a lot of attention, and I know a lot of people are asking themselves how the new TITANs differentiate themselves from the TITAN 1 / EX1. So I decided to do a bit of comparative listening across the three and will go over how they differentiate themselves below.
     

    FiiO EX1
    It's the hardest to drive, has the worst isolation, but has the most unique sound. Regarding driving power, a comfortable listening level in a quiet rom was 35 on Low Gain out of my X5. That actually indicates to me that the X5 isn't actually hard to drive - just harder to drive than the other TITANs. To get an initial sense of isolation, I snapped my fingers by my ears while music was playing. The snaps were dulled but still clearly audible. Later I listened to them while walking in my neighborhood, and while they were definitely less isolating than my other IEM it wasn't night and day. It certainly wasn't egregious, and I clearly had a better sense of environmental awareness. Soundstage was open and airy for an IEM at any price point. I was quite impressed with the holographic sound. It actually reminded me a bit of my HiFiMan HE400 in this respect.  Not the same mind you but reminiscent nonetheless. The basic sound signature is a u-curve. Bass is relatively flat with just enough mid-bass emphasis to add a bit of punch - definitely neither weak nor boomy. Mids are neutral and clear but are a bit lacking in sweetness and emotion. The upper end is a bit edgy but didn't verge into sibilant territory for me and is something I could easily be happy with. 
     
    Quite honestly, the EX1 exceeded my expectations, pushing a lot of the right buttons for me. Soundstage was fantastic, providing a very holographic listening experience. Bass was deep enough for a satisfying listen with electronic music but also fast enough to keep up with the rapid fire kick drums oft employed in metal music. Mids were definitely the weak point but were present enough not to call EX1 recessed. They're the aspect of EX1 most ripe for improvement. While the upper end was a touch harsh, it wasn't as aggressive as I was expecting and provided a good level of detail without veering into fatiguing territory. I see what the hype was about now. EX1 sounds nice!
     
    Since I've got them, how do the new TITANs compare?

    Dunu TITAN 3
    T3 are the easiest to drive of the bunch. To get a comparable volume, I was able to turn my X5's volume down to 28 while listening in a quiet room. Isolation is on par with typical dynamic IEM. I could barely hear my fingers snapping when music was playing and environmental noise in my neighborhood was mostly blocked. Soundstage is much more conventional. Gone is the original's very open, airy almost holographic sound. T3's sound signature is just on the warm side of neutral. Bass sounds similar to the EX1's but a bit flatter. Nonetheless, it was still satisfying with a wide range of music. The key difference is the mids, which are more present vs. EX1. Whereas the EX1's mids were neutral, the T3 brings them forward - especially the upper mids. This makes female vocals pop. Those of you who know me know I'm a big Bjork fan and routinely use her Biophila album when testing new IEM. T3 were hands-down the best of the TITANs for bringing out the best in Bjork's voice. EX1 and T5 were still satisfying but failed to convey the same emotional presence the T3 did. Similar to the low end, the T3's upper end sounds similar to EX1 but takes the edge off. If you thought the originals were a bit on the harsh side, T3 should solve that issue for you.
     
     
    Dunu TITAN 5
    T5 are just a bit harder to drive than T3. To get a comparable volume, I had to turn my X5's volume up to 30 while listening in a quiet room. Isolation is identical to T3, so on par with typical dynamic IEM. Soundstage is still quite conventional, but I found the soundstage larger vs. T3. And just like the T3, you'll be missing the original's open, airy sound. T5's sound signature is a mild v-shape. Bass is the star of the show. It's more prominent than the other TITANs but is well-done - not loose or boomy. The mids are neutral and remind me of the EX1, whereas the upper end is quite reminiscent of the T3. Revisiting Bjork for a minute - where T3 really made Bjork's voice pop, the T5 made the bass drops more satisfying. But when switching to The Eagles, I found the T5's bass made the bass guitar more prominent than I was used to. EX1 and T3 feel truer to the music in this respect.
     
    TLDR
    1. T3 takes the general EX1 sound, adds in more prominent mids (especially upper mids), more refined upper end, and better isolation. It also brings a much more conventional soundstage.
    2. T5 takes the general EX1 sound but adds in more prominent bass, more refined upper end, and better isolation. It also brings a much more conventional soundstage but not as much of a compromise as T3.
     
     
    SUMMARY
    So what do I think of the FiiO EX1? Well, first of all I'm going to admit that I'm saddened that it took me this long to hear them. The EX1 are a superb IEM. Sure they've got a few flaws. Their mids could be more prominent, the upper end could be more refined, isolation isn't great, and they've got a springy cable. However, their open, airy soundstage, well-balanced sound signature, and high level of comfort more than make up for these minor flaws. In my opinion, they hold up very well against the upcoming TITAN 3 and TITAN 5. I can easily see people choosing any of the different models based on their sound signature, soundstage, and isolation preferences. And I'll be blunt, I don't think the new TITANs benefit much from detachable cables. I much prefer the fixed cable design of the EX1, which allows the earpieces to remain small and light. 
     
    I hope you found this useful and would like to give a hearty thanks to FiiO for giving the Head-Fi community the chance to review the EX1. I really enjoyed my time with them and put them on my "must buy" list. Be on the lookout for more reviews as the tour progresses. @Podster's next up on my leg of the tour
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Paulus XII
      Great review as always ; )
      Paulus XII, Oct 24, 2015
    3. Astral Abyss
      Well written, very descriptive review.  I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on the RHA S500 as they're on my radar as well.
      Astral Abyss, Oct 28, 2015
    4. BloodyPenguin
      Fantastic Review.  Really Impressive.  Well done nmatheis.
      BloodyPenguin, Jan 26, 2016
  3. ezekiel77
    Titan Reloaded, the EXcellent 1
    Written by ezekiel77
    Published Oct 21, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Best soundstage in its class, astounding clarity and detail, good bass quality, fun and exciting tuning, solid build quality, great looks and comfort!
    Cons - Mids slightly recessed, borderline sibilant in some tracks, bass quantity a bit lacking, springy cable, poor isolation, sound leak, not for vocalheads
    Introduction
    First off, many thanks and salutations to Joe Bloggs of FiiO for the opportunity to participate in the EX1 review tour. I missed the boat on the Dunu Titan 1 the first time around, because looking like they did I thought they were entry-level IEMs for earbud lovers. Since then they’ve become one of the best-reviewed IEMs in Head-Fi. So naturally, when FiiO released the EX1 (or Titan 1 reloaded), I jumped at the chance to review it. I had a loaner unit for a week before passing it on to the next reviewer. How different are they from the Dunus? Featuring a better cable and a lower price, that’s quite a pitch. The drivers and housings however, are identical.
     

    EX1.jpg

     
    Equipment Used:
    Astell & Kern AK100ii
    FiiO EX1
    HiFiMan RE-400
    VSonic GR07 Classic
    Audio Technica ATH-CKR9

     

    Albums Listened:
    Adele – 21
    Amber Rubarth – Sessions from the 17th Ward
    Diana Krall – When I Look Into Your Eyes
    Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
    Metallica – The Black Album
    Michael Jackson – Thriller
    Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles
    The Eagles – Hell Freezes Over

    EX4.jpg

     
    Packaging and Accessories

    It’s a functional packaging, that much I can say. Not blingy nor particularly attractive. Open the box up, you get a plastic carrying case, 9 pairs of eartips (from smaller to larger bore at 3 different sizes) and a tie clip. I used the large-sized medium-bore eartips with the red stems for most of the review. Gave me the best comfort and striking looks. Sound differences between the eartips are subtle.

     

    Design, Build Quality and Cables

    They look great! Like tiny shiny UFOs, with venting! The full metal housing, Y-split and connectors have a solid, reaffirming quality to it, at least when compared to IEMs of similar price. Definitely gives more confidence than my GR07 Classic or RE-400. The housings are made of anodized duralumin and stainless steel. Sounds great doesn’t it? The cables are made from OFC copper, intertwined with Kevlar strands. Again, solid comes to mind. They feel rather springy and rubbery though, and reminds me a LOT of the Ostry KC06 cables. Not particularly fond of it but it’s quality inside.

     

    Fit, Isolation and Comfort

    Here’s the thing. I’m very used to deep insertion IEMs, and have sort of taken isolation for granted. The EX1 is neither. They are very shallow-fit, and isolate poorly. In a noisy environment like taking the train, you’ll hear many things other than your fine music collection. On the other hand you can probably wear them while driv… I didn’t say that. The noise leak might be a bother too. Because of the numerous vents in each housing, expect people to comment on your music taste. I got more than that. The first night of listening, I didn’t know how bad the sound leak was until my wife gave me a look. She was trying to drift asleep but kept hearing Enter Sandman instead. Comfort however, is top notch. I wear them straight down, and while microphonics might pose a problem, it is easily solved with the tie clip. After a while you won’t even remember wearing earphones. They’re light as a feather.


    EX5.jpg

     
    Overall Signature
    To me the EX1 is tuned for fun and excitement. It's a slight V-shaped sig whereby the bass and treble are lifted above the mids. But if you ask me, it sounds more swoosh-shaped as the treble boost is more prominent. Definitely more bright than warm. Clarity and soundstage are phenomenal for the price. Overall balance and cohesion is good. The sweep from bass to treble sounds effortless with good air in between. Only in the case of cymbal-heavy tracks, however, does the treble seem isolated from the rest, and the balance is thrown off. Like, what are you doing over there, pal? This happens mostly in rock and metal tracks.

    Bass
    Well executed. This is bass done tastefully right. I hear a sub-bass boost for that all-important rumble and a very slight lift in the mid-bass. Crucially, there is no bass bloat and the mids are left well alone. It's clean, reasonably fast, and manages a good balance between quality and quantity. Sacrificing just a bit of fun for detail, it isn't as boomy or impactful for bassheads, but enough to get your foot tapping, head bopping. The bass carries the tune very well, like the friendly guy who hands out drinks at a party, making sure everybody has a good time. The most inoffensive part of the sound spectrum, if lacking excitement ever so slightly.

    Mids
    The mids are slightly recessed. Not very obvious, but in rock tracks the vocals and acoustics get less attention than the cymbals (and they WANT you to hear the cymbals dude!) and bass line. Note articulation is thin, not too engaging but with good detail. I hear a slight boost in the upper mids that increases clarity but can make vocals sound unnatural. This is more obvious in female vocals, and in the upper registers they can sound a bit tinny. Detail is certainly there, but lacks the smooth, syrupy and intimate vocals that I prefer, and the best mid-centered IEMs have. The mids here are content to come in, do their job, and leave the party on time. No after party, no fanfare. Just doin' m'job, sir.

    Treble
    I'm still on the fence about this one. The treble is upfront, great for trebleheads, but it has a sort of Jekyll/Hyde character about it. On one hand, clarity is extremely good. You hear nearly every nuance and detail of the music. They extend up and far seemingly without effort. Notes are light, thin, fighting fit, and very crispy! They blend well with the rest of the spectrum when I listen to jazz, orchestral, and generally downtempo tracks. Mr Hyde, however, comes a-knocking when I put on some heavy rock. The EX1 pushes the cymbals and hi-hats TO YOUR FACE. They want and CRAVE your attention, and become borderline sibilant and harsh. Try a cymbal-heavy track like Guerrilla Radio and the treble attack becomes all too apparent, separating itself from the rest of the sound spectrum. Coupled with the slightly recessed mids, rock and metal can be tiring, trying listens. Keep the treble in check however, and you're given an amazing time.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    Now this, is more like it! Are you sure these are budget phones? The soundstage is huge! It extends wide (I mean wiiiiiiiiiiide) and deep (deeeeeeeeep) giving each instrument enough space to shine on its own, yet maintaining overall cohesion and never sounding disjointed from each other. Imaging is top-notch as well! If you close your eyes and do that Daredevil thing you can zoom to and focus on a particular instrument/voice, like wandering around a stage. Height, however, I'm not a good judge of. I would think that it's pretty good, there's a 3D-like effect from the imaging, and you can't have that without good height. Just a few inches up and down, don’t expect to hear a piano tinkling from two floors up. So once again, probably the best part of the EX1, is the soundstage and imaging. I have not heard anything come even close to this at sub-$100. Not even sniffing distance.
     

    EX2.jpg
     
    Comparisons:

    HiFiMan RE-400
    The RE-400 has acquired legend status among audiophiles looking for a flat, neutral, reference tuning. Mention any of those words and the RE-400 should get a mention. For me it occupies a place in upper head-fi echelon for one reason, and one reason only. Its magical mids. Smooth, velvety and rich, in effect sounding astoundingly lifelike and intimate. Fire any acoustics, piano and vocals its way, the RE-400 can handle them no problem. The EX1, with its thinner notes, and good clarity, does its job quietly but doesn’t compare at all to the mighty mids of the RE-400. It does however, emerge victorious in all other aspects. The EX1 has tight, clean, impactful bass that has good quality and detail, but might be less quantity than preferred for a basshead. The RE-400 has equally good detail deep into sub-bass level, but seriously lacks impact, and sounds anaemic. For treble, the EX1 is more prominent, exciting and sparkly, with borderline sibilance on cymbal-heavy metal/hard rock tracks. The RE-400 treble is extended but smoothed out, perhaps too smoothed out. Soundstage is a wipeout. The RE-400’s intimate soundstage does not hold a candle to the EX1’s magnificence in width, depth, height and imaging. Overall, the EX1 is the better all-rounder, while the RE-400 shines in mid-centric tracks.

    VSonic GR07 Classic
    The GR07 is my go-to reference budget-fi superstar for the better part of 2 years, for its immaculate balance and neutral-ish tuning. Recently there are a few sub-$100 contenders that take the fight directly to the GR07, including the Ostry KC06 and Havi B3 Pro 1. I have to say the EX1 stands proudly among them. It’s a titanic battle between the two, with no clear winner. Overall the EX1 sounds brighter with more detail. GR07 takes the bass, which I thought had more impact and presence than the cleaner EX1, thanks to its mid-bass lift. GR07’s bass tuning, quality and quantity-wise remains one of my favourite regardless of price or drivers. I prefer the GR07 mids as well. It’s slightly warm, more smoothed out and natural compared to the clear, but slightly recessed EX1 mids. Vocals perform better on the GR07 too. That being said, the EX1 comes roaring back in the treble region, boasting better extension, more clarity and details and surprisingly, less sibilance than the GR07. Better air too? Yup. Which leads to soundstage… not much of a fight. The EX1 completely obliterates the GR07 in width, depth, height, imaging and separation. In the beginning of my head-fi journey I didn’t emphasise soundstage much. But now I hear the stark difference between a flat canvas of sound, and a large reverberating hall of enveloping, musical goodness. The EX1’s soundstage is exemplary for its class. Again, no clear winner. Both are extremely good all-rounders and equally fun. Entirely down to preference.

    Audio Technica ATH-CKR9
    Moving up a bracket, the $150 CKR9 uses dual-dynamic 13mm drivers. They are well-regarded for their realistic, natural, warmer-side-of-neutral tuning. Interestingly the lean and mean EX1 bass makes the CKR9 sound bloated and slow in comparison. Bass detail are equal, but note decay is definitely longer in the CKR9, with a noticeable subbass and midbass boost. This makes for a fun, rumbly, attention-grabbing bass, like how the treble does the headlining for the EX1. Great for some tracks, too heavy-handed in others. An acquired taste, I’m calling this a draw. The CKR9 mids, however, do a great job of being awesomely detailed with a good serving of smoothness and warmth. Notes are thicker, heavier, and more intimate than the EX1. Vocals are slightly forward but sublime, perfect for midheads like me. CKR9 takes this one. The CKR9 treble stretches very high, with a good amount of detail, sparkle and excitement, and the edges smoothed out slightly, never sibilant nor harsh. However it takes a backseat to the rest of the spectrum… while much better than its brother the CKR10, the treble will not be the first thing you notice. Suffice to say, the EX1 shares the same properties with the CKR9, but pushed forward, with more detail and excitement heard but at the risk of sometimes sounding harsh. But overall I prefer the more thrilling (albeit unpredictable) treble of the EX1. Soundstage is where they fight neck and neck. The EX1 has a slightly wider soundstage, but the CKR9 has more depth. Imaging, however, is a landslide victory for the EX1 helped by its light and airy notes giving a better sense of space in between instruments. The slower CKR9 suffers here, but the thicker note articulation pulls you in with its mesmerising, natural tone. It’s the more musical of the two, but the notes flow like rich chocolate syrup as opposed to EX1’s clear, sparkling water. Overall? Both phones have great, balanced sound with different flavours, on opposite sides of neutral. Just goes to show the EX1 can punch above its weight.

    So, just for kicks:
    Bass: GR07 > CKR9 = EX1 > RE-400
    Mids: RE-400 = CKR9 > GR07 > EX1
    Treble: EX1 > CKR9 > GR07 > RE-400
    Soundstage: EX1 > CKR9 > GR07 > RE-400
    Overall: CKR9 > EX1 > GR07 > RE-400

    EX3.jpg

    Conclusion
    The week has come and gone, and I’ve been a very happy reviewer of a solid, stellar pair of earphones I might end up buying in the near future. If fun, clarity, detail, and excitement tick your boxes, you’re in for an excellent time. Not to mention the class-leading soundstage which is like no other I’ve heard in this price range. Value for money is no question at all. Just be wary of the below average isolation and sound leak. Other than that there really is not much fault with the EX1, with a great many things to like about it. Job well done, FiiO. Job well done indeed.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RomanRise
      Nice review.
      So, they are , lets say, low/middle class earphones. Are they worthy to be used with X7? 
      RomanRise, Oct 22, 2015
    3. ezekiel77
      Thanks guys.
      I'm sure they are worthy for the X7. They are among the best in budget-fi earphones. Question is are the X7 ready for them? Lol.
      ezekiel77, Oct 23, 2015
    4. saikat1729
      Very good review indeed. Exactly what I need to replace my 598SE while travelling.
      saikat1729, Jun 1, 2016
  4. Tobias89
    Solid first IEM from Fiio
    Written by Tobias89
    Published Oct 9, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Rather balanced signature and is very detailed, which is rare at this price point. Good build quality. Cheap, excellent bang for buck.
    Cons - Poor isolation due to semi-open design. Springy cable that results in some microphonics. Some treble harshness. Identical to Titan1 (except cable)
    About Me
    I stumbled into the head-fi world when my itchy fingers picked up a Shure SE846 back in January’14. Since then, it has been a long journey, and I’m only just starting. Exploring the various IEMs and portable set-ups available, I’ve slowly learnt to appreciate good sounding gears at various price points, culminating in my decision to start writing reviews in order to contribute in my tiny way back to this community. I’m still looking to slowly develop a more consistent writing style as well. I’ll appreciate any feedback anyone has on any areas I could improve on!
     
    I have varying music taste, so I can listen to/ appreciate most genres of music too, from classicals to pop/rock and almost anything in between, and choose my listening genre at a particular time based on mood, although I’m still building up my music collection.
     
    Personally, I like my bass. It doesn’t have to be in huge, overwhelming quantities, but it has to be good, clean and deep base. I don’t like recessed mids, while I’m generally tolerant towards treble, and can appreciate both bright and rolled-off trebles.
     
    As with all reviews, this review is purely subjective, based on my own experience, gear and preference, so YMMV!
     
    About the EX1
    IMG_7209.jpg
     
    The Fiio EX1 is Fiio’s first IEM offering, and they have jointly partnered with DUNU to create the EX1 that is currently in my hands. It is based heavily on DUNU’s Titan 1, and it shows in their similarities, also featuring the same titanium dynamic driver that is found in the Titan 1.
     
    Build Quality
    IMG_7233.jpg  
    The EX1, as with the Titan 1, is built out a combination of CNC milled duralumin and stainless steel to minimize unwanted resonance. While it certainly felt heavy in my hands, once inserted into my ears, I didn’t feel any discomfort even after prolonged usage.
     
    The cable is made of Kevlar-reinforced OFC, and coated with TPE. While certainly well built, it is slightly springy and the TPE coating gives it a rubbery and slightly sticky feel which wasn’t to my liking. I also felt that there was a tad more microphonics with the EX1 vs the Titan 1. Sliding the chin slider up helps a lot, and attaching the included shirt clip all but removes any microphonics. I felt that that the Titan 1 had much less microphonic issue, but since I only used it while sitting down in quiet environment, it was not an issue for me.
     
    Comfort and Isolation
    The EX1 has pretty poor isolation, which I attribute mainly due to its semi-open design. Thus, I wouldn’t really recommend using it outdoors, such as in a train/subway or on a bus. While sound leakage isn’t as bad as a pair of open-backed headphones, it is substantial enough that my colleague asked if I was playing my music too loudly while in the lifts (oops). Thus, I only used the EX1 while sitting down in a quiet environment (as mentioned above). Despite that, its isolation isn't as bad as earpods or earbuds.

    As the EX1 is a shallow-insertion IEM, confort wasn’t an issue for me. I also did not find the EX1 to be uncomfortable for prolonged usage despite its size and weight. While its presence can be felt, it didn’t trouble me in anyway.
     
    Accessories
    IMG_7215.jpg
     

    Accessories provided are almost identical with the Titan 1. A very similar looking carrying case is provided, as is a similar selection of tips. 3 different types of tips were provided in 3 sizes (S/M/L). The one on the left that looks a bit like the Sony Hybrid has the smallest bore, with the middle red & grey tips with a medium sized bore, while the black one on the right has the widest bore of the lot. Later in this review, I will talk more about tip rolling.

    Also provided is a shirt clip, which I found to be especially useful to eliminate microphonics as mentioned above. However, missing from the EX1 is the ¼” adaptor, but this is a non-issue to me personally.
     
    Specifications
    EX1
    Type
    Dynamic(13mm)
    Frequency response
    20Hz-30kHz
    Sensitivity
    102dB/mW
    Impedance
    16Ω
    Plug size
    3.5mm Gold-plated
    Cord length
    1.2m
    Weight
    18g

     
     
    Sensitivity
    The EX1, as with most dynamic driver IEMs that I’ve tried, which admittedly isn’t a lot, is not a very sensitive IEM. While it varies from track to track, I found myself turning the volume higher than I normally do with my other IEMS, which are admittedly more sensitive BA IEMs. On my Samsung Note 3, I found myself hitting about 3-4 clicks below max volume most of the time.
     
    Sound
    Right, so now we're at the main point of this entire review, the SOUND!
     
    Source
    IMG_7266.jpg
     

    For the purpose of this review, my main source will be Foobar>Chord Hugo>EX1 (middle sized bore red & grey tips).
    [​IMG]
    Tracks Used
    Some of the tracks used for this review are:
    Storms Are On The Ocean
    Amber Rubarth
    Spanish Harlem
    Rebecca Pidgeon
    Angel
    Saybia
    Drum Impro
    Dali CD
    Ignorance (Acoustic)
    Paramore
    Just A Fool (ft. Blake Shelton)
    Christina Aguilera
    Cheek to Cheek
    Lady Gaga / Tony Bennett
    Royals
    Lorde
    See You Again (ft. Charlie Puth)
    Wiz Khalifa


     
    General Signature
    Very natural tonality. Good details, transparent and good imaging/soundstaging. Pretty balanced, with a slight tilt to U-shaped. Bright treble. Excellent bass. Above average midrange – clean and with good details and timbre for instruments, with just a hint of lushness. Vocals not the most engaging though.
     
     
    Bass
    Bass on the EX1 is slightly warm, but clean yet very slightly boosted. It is very quick, tight, and has good extension, with a good amount of sub-bass rumble
     
    While I mentioned that the bass is slightly boosted, it remained rather linear, with some added emphasis given to the mid bass. The bass still remains accurate however, and has excellent details, including all the way down in the sub-bass.
     
    Bass decay leans towards being slightly quick, but there is no bass bleed into the midrange, and I never felt overwhelmed at any point when using it despite it having a small bass bloom at times on some tracks.
     
    Mids
    The mids of the EX1 is slightly recessed, giving the EX1 its slight U-shaped signature. However, I never felt that it was recessed, just that in comparison to the bass and treble it is slightly further back. It is airy, clear and detailed, with a tiny hint of warmth in there, and never felt veiled.

    Instruments have a very realistic timbre and sounded great, and it really shines when listening to acoustic or classical pieces. However, while vocals are pretty engaging, it does exhibit some sibilance on vocals, and especially so for female vocalists.
     
    Treble
    The EX1 has a very detailed and well extended treble, which is bright and airy but also rather prominent. This prominence poses a slight issue, as the EX1’s treble also has a slightly metallic timbre, to the point that it did sound a bit harsh on some tracks, and cymbals do sound somewhat glaring. Treble decay though, is excellent, being neither too fast nor slow.
     
    Soundstage/imaging/presentation
    Likely as a result of its semi-open design, the EX1 has very good and coherent soundstage. While not the widest, it has good height, depth and width. Imaging is good, and instrument separation is excellent as well. I was easily able to pinpoint the locations of various instruments.
     
    Tip rolling
    Vyz-53egltest1.jpg
    Photo credit to @earfonia.
     
    The black tip with the smallest bore (sony hybrid look-a-like), had a noticeable bass boost, especially in the midrange. It had the warmest signature with the least amount of sibilance, but also resulted in a slightly more congested soundstage. My recommendations for modern genres such as Pop.

    The red & grey tip with a medium sized bore gave a slightly brighter sound, but a decidedly less warm signature. Bass is present but less emphasised compared to the black tips. The most sibilant of the 3 tips, but nothing unbearable.

    The black tip with the widest bore gave more bass than the grey tips without being as warm as the sony hybrid lookalike tips, but the treble was also more forgiving compared to the red cored tips. Also seeming provide the widest soundstage of the three.
     
    Comparison to Titan 1
    IMG_7307.jpg
    IMG_7328.jpg IMG_7335.jpg IMG_7341.jpg
     
    Again, I’d like to thank @earfonia for loaning me his Titan 1 for this comparison. However, before I start my comparison, I’d like to note that the EX1 is a very new unit, and I’m the first person on its tour, while the Titan 1 has been with earfonia for a period of time.

    The same type of tips were used for all direct (A/B) comparison, which are RHA’s silicon tips, as I neglected to borrow the original tips from him. However, I did use the medium bore, red cored tips to listen to both the EX1 and Titan 1 by changing the tips between prolonged usage.
     
    I felt that both the Titan 1 and EX1 sounded very similar, to the point of being almost identical. I did not notice any major difference in sound between the two, and only when I did direct A/B-ing did I notice some very minute difference.

    What tiny difference that I may have noticed may be attributed a variety of probable reason, such as the different cable, or difference in burn in length, or even just my perception that there is a difference (psychological). I am unable to say that any one particular is the main reason for the difference, as it felt too close to call for me (if there even is any difference at all).
     
    With that said and done, I’d just list differences that I noticed here for those who are still curious. Do not read too much into this though. I felt the EX 1 to be very slightly warmer, while the Titan 1 had a slightly more prominent and bright treble. I also felt that the EX 1 had a very slightly lusher mid-range. These differences were slight as mentioned, and not very noticeable without any direct comparisons. I will also not attempt to discern the potential reasons for these observations.
     
    Conclusion
    Being very similar to the Titan 1 from DUNU, but available at a cheaper price point, the Fiio EX1 is an excellent IEM, doubly so at its price point.
     
    Being almost identical to the Titan, it shares both the Titan’s strength and weakness. It has a detailed and pretty balanced (just slightly U shaped) signature, a touch of warmth at the low end. While not a bassy IEM, the bass coming out is of excellent quality and a decent quantity to boot. However, as with the Titan 1, it is also a rather unforgiving IEM, and poor quality recordings can be rather easily exposed.
     
    I’d like to say that I do love the EX1, and for what it offers at this price, it is nigh unbeatable. Its open design does make using it while on the go somewhat problematic, especially if ambient noise creeping into your little world of music is unwanted. Still, when in a quiet environment, the EX1 rewards you with a very detailed sound that still remains musical enough for enjoyment.
     
    While it is a rather versatile IEM, I feel that the EX1 shines with well recorded music due to its detail. It is excellent with natural acoustic recordings, classical music and even jazz, but I would advise against using it for modern POP recordings due to it being rather harsh with poorly recorded tracks, modern recordings have a tendency to be rather bright.
     
    If you don’t mind tip rolling, it is very enjoyable with most genres of music (ie. Changing to the smallest bore tips gave a less sibilant, warmer signature that sounds good with pop despite me just stating that the EX1 doesn’t really suit pop music!!!).
     
     
    Ending Notes/Suggestions
    I find the EX1 to be too similar to the Titan 1 for comfort. Perhaps Fiio should consider having an exclusive IEM in partnership with DUNU instead of a slightly varied version of one of DUNU’s offerings with a very similar signature.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. mayi
      This one is exactly the same as DUNU TITAN1, EXACTLY SAME
      mayi, Oct 11, 2015
    3. Cocki
      is this a re-branded product or a knock-off? either way i feel bad for dunu
      Cocki, Oct 12, 2015
    4. Tobias89
      Tobias89, Oct 18, 2015
  5. areek
    The Titan that everybody deserves: A Fiio EX1 review
    Written by areek
    Published Nov 17, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Amazing sound, great soundstage, Clarity, Accessories, Value
    Cons - Highs too sparkly, springy cable, Isolation. non-detachable cable
    INTRODUCTION
    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.

    DISCLAIMER
    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.

     
     
    APPEARANCE, BUILD, ACCESSORIES:
    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. 
    5K1A6251.jpg


    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. 
    5K1A6253.jpg

    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.
    5K1A6254.jpg
     
    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.
     
    HOW THESE 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
    dhklocal.jpg

    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.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    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
  6. BloodyPenguin
    The Dark Side of the FiiO EX1
    Written by BloodyPenguin
    Published Feb 1, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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**
     
    P1060282EDIT.jpg
                                                 ~ All Photos Taken By Me ~
     
     
    *Introduction*

    The EX1 is FiiO's first stab at producing an IEM. 
     
    P1060265EDIT.jpg
     
     
     
    [The Dunu Connection] - The FiiO is based off the Dunu Titan 1. The Dunu name can seen in multiple locations on the FiiO EX1.
     
    P1060290EDIT.jpg
     
     
     
    *Content*
     
    - EX1 IEM
    - Multitude of Eartips
    - User Manual/Warranty Card
    - Hard Case
    - Shirt Clip
     
    P1060269EDIT.jpg
     
     
     
    *Specifications*
     
    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
     
    P1060286EDIT.jpg
     
     

    *Build/Design*
     
    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.
     
    P1060277EDIT.jpg
     
    P1060278EDIT.jpg
     
    P1060280EDIT.jpg
     
    P1060281EDIT.jpg
     
     
     
    *Fit*
     
    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.
     
    P1060284EDIT.jpg
     
     

    *Sound*
     
    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.
     
    P1060288EDIT.jpg
     
     

    *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.
     
    P1060289EDIT.jpg
     
    ..
      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
  7. fleasbaby
    Logical, tactical approach to entering the IEM market for FiiO
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published Nov 25, 2015
    4.0/5,
    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
  8. originalsnuffy
    FIIO EX1 Appeals to those Favoring a Bright Sonic Signature. Good open soundstage.
    Written by originalsnuffy
    Published Nov 15, 2015
    3.5/5,
    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
     
    IMG_1608.jpg
      Hawaiibadboy and Peter Hyatt like this.
  9. NewbieSteve
    Amazing sound, bad implementation
    Written by NewbieSteve
    Published Oct 14, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - soundstage, highs, neutral and balanced
    Cons - Sound leakage, slightly heavy and can be uncomfortable
    Review:
     
    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.
     
    TLDR:
     
    Build Quality:
    Fiio EX1 > E80 > GR07 = CX300II > the average earbuds

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

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

    Mids:
    E80 > GR07 > EX1 > E10 > CX300II

    Highs:
    EX1 > GR07 > E80 > E10 > CX300II

    Soundstage:
    EX1 > GR07 = E80 > E10 > CX300II

    Isolation:
    E10 = CX300II = E80 =  GR07 > EX1

     
    Comfort:
    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.
  10. reihead
    Fiio's first, EXcellent first
    Written by reihead
    Published Feb 27, 2016
    4.0/5,
    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
    Disclaimer
     
    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.
     
     
     
    IMAG1154_r.jpg
     
    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.
     
     
     
    Specifications
     
    http://Fiio.net/en/products/43
     
      
     
    Packing and Built
     
    IMAG1114.jpg
     
    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.
     
    IMAG1133.jpg
     
    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.
     
    IMAG1127.jpg
     
     
     
    Sound
     
    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.
     
    IMAG1117.jpg
     
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    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