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  1. Wyville
    FiiO FH7 and LC2.5D - Powerful and lively
    Written by Wyville
    Published Jun 26, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Powerful and lively signature, great build quality, excellent comfort, generous selection of accessories, great synergy with LC-2.5D upgrade cable
    Cons - Treble brightness, coherency not the best with stock cable, upgrade cable makes a notable difference
    FiiO FH7 - LC-2.5D

    Disclaimer
    I would like to thank FiiO for providing me with the FH7 IEMs and LC-2.5D balanced cable in exchange for my honest opinion. No incentive was given for a favourable review.

    FH7
    • Drivers: 1 x Dynamic + 4 x Balanced Armature
    • Frequency response: 5Hz - 40kHz
    • Sensitivity: 111dB/mW
    • Impedance: 16Ω(@1kHz)
    • Price: US$449.99

    LC-2.5D
    • Wires: 4-wire cable
    • Material: sterling silver Litz
    • Connectors: MMCX
    • Termination: 2.5mm balanced
    • Price: US$99.99

    Links:
    https://www.fiio.com/Home
    https://www.facebook.com/FiiOAUDIO

    Preamble
    Back in March of this year FiiO made a splash by announcing 7 new products on one day during its 2019 Spring Launch Event held in Guangzhou, China. These were their new flagship Q5s Bluetooth portable DAC/Amp, the AM3D headphone amp module, the AM3.5PRO (China only) headphone amp module, the M5 micro DAP (similar to the Shanling M0), the M11 Open Android-based DAP that I will also be reviewing, and the FH7 IEMs and LC-2.5/3.5/4.4D cable that I will be reviewing here. A whole selection of interesting products and FiiO made no secret of the fact that this was just the start of what will for them be an exciting year with several more new products in the pipeline.

    Although FiiO has earned a reputation for developing products that offer great performance at an affordable price point, it seems that they are now ready to push that value-driven philosophy to a higher segment as well and the FH7 are another step up from FiiO's previously released hybrid flagship IEMs, the FH5 (US$299). Hybrid IEMs have become increasingly popular and with that the designs have also become increasingly complex, but FiiO made more of an evolutionary step by going from a 10mm to a 13.6mm dynamic driver and from 3 to 4 balanced armatures. Also added to the FH7 is a filter system to allow three different tuning options to better fit personal preferences.

    Unboxing
    The FH7 come in a massive box that is by far the biggest I have seen for a pair of IEMs. [Insert your compensation-joke of choice here.] Beyond the size it follows the trend of a black box covered by a sleeve, which gives a nice classy presentation when opened up. FiiO opted here for a layered approach with in the top layer only the IEMs and the small tube for the filters on display. Underneath a layer with a proverbial buffet of tips to choose from, which I think is great because tips can make a real difference in terms of fit and sound. There is something here for everyone: foam, SpinFit, Final, double flange, etc, etc. Pick your favourite! Also included is a leather hard case of the sort I have seen popping up more frequently in recent times and I really like them. Very convenient and pretty to boot! Surprisingly, inside I found another soft case for on the go, which I personally do not use, but will no doubt be very useful for others. Further a cleaning tool, a magnetic cable organiser and a small booklet with warranty information (etc) in it.

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    Overall, I like what FiiO did here. The FH7 come with a healthy selection of accessories that make sense and I especially appreciate the huge selection of tips. I almost always have issues getting a good fit and am often glad that I already have a large collection of tips, but not everyone will have that and so including those is a really considerate choice by FiiO.

    Build quality and fit
    The shells of the FH7 are made from a CNC'd aluminium-magnesium alloy and it feels excellent. I love this sort of build quality. The shells are quite light, but feel really solid and I would happily stuff them in a pocket or leave them lying around without worries, which is not something I can say of all my IEMs. I feel compelled to baby some of my most expensive IEMs because they feel fragile, not so with the FH7.

    FiiO describes the styling as 'avant-garde style', but I will say that I am personally leaning more towards describing it as art deco style. Of course I haven't the faintest clue about art, so don't take my word for it, but the wavy pattern and the contrast between the black and the copper invoked that association with me. (I can just see the lead designer at FiiO sniffing at me and with a snooty tone commenting... "What an utter philistine!")

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    The FH7 of course also have the filter system and in my experience this can be a bit of a weak point. I have previously owned IEMs where the filters had poor threading and after playing around with them too much, I ended up with filters that would barely thread in place. FiiO however have done an excellent job with these and even though I have exchanged them frequently, I am confident in how they thread in place. I still would not recommended switching them five times a day, but I think most people will find their preferred filter and stick to that anyway.

    While I might have mentioned that I appreciate the large selection of tips that FiiO included because I usually have trouble getting a good fit, I did not really need them for the FH7. The fit was excellent straight out of the box. The FH7 sit flush in my ears and are very comfortable to wear for long sessions. I certainly rate these among the most comfortable and easy to fit IEMs I have tried.

    FiiO also included an 8-wire stock cable that is comfortable, has good ergonomics without any noticeable microphonics. It does have quite sturdy pre-bent ear guides, but even with my glasses I did not really have any issues with the cable at all. Of course later in this review I will also discuss the LC-2.5D aftermarket cable that FiiO sent along, which is a 4-wire pure silver cable that could make for an interesting upgrade.

    Source
    All listening was done with the Cowon Plenue 2 and FiiO M11 from the SE out (stock cable) and 2.5mm balanced out (LC-2.5D).

    Filters
    Before going into the presentation, I would like to draw attention to the filters that FiiO included with the FH7 because I think something is going on there that is well worth noting. FiiO include three filters with the FH7 that provide a slightly different tuning: Bass Boost, Reference Sound, and High Boost. When the FH7 arrived the Reference Sound filters were installed.

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    -Reference Sound (black)-
    I personally do not quite rate this as a reference sound. The bass is quite strong with plenty of body, although it does not overpower the mids. The mids themselves feel perhaps a hint back to create a slight U-shaped signature. The treble is quite sparkly and has a sharpness to it, giving a brightness that might be a bit much for more treble sensitive people. [Raises hand.]

    -Bass Boost (red)-
    To my ears the bass is not boosted as such, but it feels like the filter attenuates the treble to become more laid-back and give the signature an overall warmer feel. The bass itself becomes more prominent to add more excitement, but without becoming too bloated and while maintaining a brighter overall feel that can still be a bit too bright for some.

    -High Boost (green)-
    When I first listened to the FH7 with the Reference Sound filters I found it a touch too bright and a little fatiguing because I am somewhat treble sensitive, so the High Boost filters felt like they would be the stuff of nightmares. Of course being a reviewer I knew I had to risk life and limb for the benefit of my readers, who no doubt counted on me to sacrifice my wellbeing in order to provide a comprehensive review. So I installed the High Boost filters and, as sweat started dripping over my forehead, put in the FH7 and pressed 'play'... Wait? What?! Did I install the wrong filters? Nope! But... But... The treble... It is smooth.

    I do not know what the filters do precisely, but the High Boost filters are completely open, where the other two sets have inserts that appear to act as a vent. I have read suggestions that those might mask the treble drivers, but whatever it is, I think they affect the treble adversely and the only way to appreciate the FH7's treble is to go for the open 'High Boost' filters. These don't actually boost the highs, but allow them to flow freely, more evenly. The overall signature is still on the brighter side, but (at least for me) easier to deal with, even compared to the Bass Boost filters. The bass is still plenty powerful, but now sits more linear with the mids.

    Because of the, in my opinion, better quality treble with the High Boost filters, my impressions will all be with those filters. I have also tried a variety of tips and I ended up using the silicone tips that were already installed, the medium 'balanced' tips.

    Presentation
    The FH7 with High Boost filters have a neutral-bright signature, but with a dynamic bass that can come up with great authority so you never feel like there is anything lacking in that department. The sound is far from thin and yet the FH7 manage to create quite a spacious and airy sound. The thicker notes do mean that the FH7's separation is not the best I have come across, as I feel the FH7 tend to get a little congested in the midrange with complex and layered classical music. The stage has great depth, but lacks the width to separate the thick notes well enough in such pieces. It works better with band-based music where the stage gets filled up with music, while individual instruments are still easy to pick out.

    Imaging is not the most clearly defined/stable I have heard. There is a slight fuzziness to notes so they don't contrast as clearly against the otherwise black background. Like is often the case with hybrid IEMs, cohesion seems less than optimal as well. It might seem like I am being very critical here, but at this price point there is some stiff competition where I feel these technical aspects are done better. In terms of detail retrieval I think the FH7 on the other hand do very well and the holographic stage often tingles with details everywhere.

    Bass
    The bass of the FH7 is quite powerful and thick sounding with a dynamic character where in sections of the music without bass it is completely absent, but when the bass does kick in it is certainly not something you are likely to miss. I very often listen to Caro Emerald and love tracks such as Back It Up for the delicious double bass that accompanies her voice and in this track the FH7, even with the High Boost filters, present that double bass as thick and lush. It is quite dominant in the signature and as such adds to the musicality of the FH7.

    The bass can dig quite deep and provides a delicious rumble when asked for, something my inner bass head can appreciate. It is the sort of bass that can resonate throughout my head to give that wonderful 'brain massage' feel I enjoy when listening to down tempo EDM. A track like Massive Attack's Angel also works great with the FH7 and shows off what the FH7's bass is capable of. My only point of criticism is that it does not have the tightest impact or the most detail, which does surprise me a little considering that the dynamic driver is a pretty big one.

    Mids
    Owing to the brighter tonality of the FH7, I find that the midrange is not the most natural or accurate sounding and instead leans more towards the articulate side, bringing excitement to compliment the powerful bass and lively treble. As such I find that the FH7 do (relatively speaking) better with energetic music such as rock or metal than with more nuanced music such as classical where the tone is a much more integral part of the emotion in the music. The FH7 feel lively and energetic, and reward you for feeding them the right type of music.

    Vocals sit in a neutral position, neither too forward, nor so far back that you need a search party to find Agnes Obel among the instruments. The FH7 might in some cases feel like they favour female vocals over male, again due to the brighter tonality, but they also have a trick up their sleeve with growling male vocals such as David Draimain of Disturbed. Yeah, play some Disturbed and you will quickly learn that the FH7 do growling male vocal pretty well. This is in my opinion another indication that the FH7 are tuned for popular and energetic types of music.

    Treble
    As indicated when I addressed the different filters, the FH7 perform best in the treble with the High Boost filters, which are the most even/smooth. They are however not entirely smooth and there is definitely a bit of brightness to the treble that might not work for everyone. It depends a lot on the type of music you listen to, but with a lot of high notes being played by instruments such as violins or brass sections, it can feel a little too bright. It can also be noticeable with vocals where I feel the treble can cause some brittleness in, for instance, the voice of Norwegian singer Aurora Aksnes (known simply as Aurora). Aurora's voice has a natural brightness that can at times be quite emphasised by the FH7, such as in the track Running With The Wolves. However, when I switch to soprano Elin Manahan-Thomas that brittleness disappears and everything, while bright, is wonderfully smooth. Based on this I would say that the FH7's treble can be quite unforgiving at times, but with the right music also a joy for people who love treble.

    The treble in general is, as I said, a little on the brighter side and not the most natural sounding, but does extend well and adds plenty of sparkle without being pushed into the foreground like I have heard with some IEMs. Cymbals sit right where I would want them while still being easy to pick out. For more treble tolerant people this will work very well and I am sure there are plenty of people who will appreciate what FiiO have achieved here.

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    LC-2.5D
    The LC-2.5D is a 4-wire, pure silver cable that comes with MMCX connectors and a 2.5mm TRRS balanced termination, but can also be had with a 3.5mm Single Ended (LC-3.5D) or 4.4mm balanced (LC-4.4D) termination. It comes in a simple white box without any notable extras.

    Side-by-side with the stock cable of the FH7 the differences are obvious. The stock cable is an 8-wire that uses a thinner gauge so it is only a little bit thicker than the LC-2.5D. In terms of ergonomics the stock cable was already very good, but the LC-2.5D is even more supple and due to the thinner ear guides provides more comfort around the ears. Certain things remain the same, such as the connectors, termination and y-split/slider. These components are a really good quality to begin with and I can see why FiiO used them for their upgrade cable as well. The 2.5mm balanced termination is a right-angled one and that is something I have not seen very often. I think that a lot of people will appreciate this.

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    I know that aftermarket cables are always a controversial topic and for those who do not think that cables can make a difference to the sound it can still be an interesting option purely for the improved ergonomics and the possibility of a balanced termination.

    In terms of sound I find a few notable differences with the FH7 (again with the High Boost filters). First and foremost I hear a tighter, more impactful bass that has better detail coming through. It is not just that it feels like there is more control over the bass, but it also sits more coherently in the signature. The bass is less dominant and while this might reduce the musicality a little, gives a better balance for classical music. The stage also extends in width and, more importantly, does not have the same tendency to congestion with complex and layered classical music. In fact, the FH7 do classical music really well with the LC-2.5D. The tighter bass also means a bit less warmth to the signature and yet I find that the treble is once again slightly smoother, something that I find quite noticeable with (for instance) Aurora. It is of course still bright, but not a brightness that I personally have that many problems with. Pairing this with a more relaxed source such as my AK70 even gives a really nice result.

    This also made me curious about switching back to the Bass Boost filters to see if the treble would end up more laid-back with the additional warmth of the bass. The result was really good in my opinion and it felt like everything came together perfectly. Pretty much every bit of criticism I have had before faded away and the FH7 started to excel, encouraging my toes to tap and my bum to shake. The bass was delicious, with impact and detail, more natural and controlled than before. More importantly coherency was improved and imaging more stable to a point where everything just felt right. A powerful signature with great clarity, detail and a sparkly treble that felt more natural. There was still a hint of brightness, but well within my own personal tolerances.

    Comparisons
    -Custom Art FIBAE Black-
    I mentioned previously that there is some stiff competition at this price point and the Custom Art FIBAE Black readily spring to mind as among the most notable. These single BA driver IEMs offer outstanding performance at their price of €450. In terms of technical performance they are a step ahead of the FH7 with an extremely coherent signature and rock solid imaging. The signature of the Black is more natural and laid-back. Their bass is more agile and punchy, but does not get the level of rumble that the FH7 are capable of. The mids of the Black feel more airy/spacious and are very natural and accurate sounding, where the FH7 have a more articulate midrange. The treble is where these two differ the most with the Black going for a laid-back treble with a polite sparkle to it and the FH7 of course are going for the brighter and livelier treble.

    Build quality on both is excellent, but completely different. Where the FH7 go for a standard universal shell made of an aluminium-magnesium alloy, the Black are offered in universal and custom shells where both can be customised to personal tastes. Of course this will take time and so the FH7 offer instant audiophile gratification because you can take them off the shelf at a local retailer.

    -TP Audio Aurora-
    The TP Audio Aurora come in a bit cheaper at $350 and offer quite a different proposition, but much like the FIBAE Black, the Aurora offer the FH7 some stiff competition. The Aurora are very accurate sounding single BA driver IEMs with a more neutral tonality compared to FIBAE Black. As such the Aurora come nowhere near the FH7 in terms of bass. The main difference is in the mids where the Aurora excel in the faithful reproduction of instruments, compared to the articulate FH7. Vocals can sound tangibly realistic with the Aurora, something the FH7 can't really compete with. In return, the Aurora can't come close to the treble of the FH7. The Aurora have quite a rolled off treble by comparison and even I can find them lacking in sparkle at times.

    Once again the Aurora is offered in both universal and custom form. Although customisation options are not quite as extensive as with Custom Art, there are still more options to choose from than the single option for the FH7, which is nonetheless very pretty art deco style ("Philistine!"). I personally get an excellent fit with the universal Aurora, possibly the best out of all my universal IEMs, and the FH7 come very close to that.

    Conclusions
    The FiiO FH7 are interesting hybrid IEMs with an energetic signature that does carry a warning for people who are more treble sensitive. The bass is powerful, the mids are exciting and articulate, and the treble is lively and bright. This can be a bit too bright, but the FH7 include different filters to change the signature slightly. Surprisingly, the High Boost filters offer the smoothest treble response. The FH7 have great build quality and comfort, and come with an excellent selection of accessories. The LC-2.5D upgrade cable is a great match for the FH7. It has better ergonomics, is offered in a variety of terminations and the synergy with the FH7 is outstanding. In my opinion the LC-2.5D allows the FH7 to show off their full potential and is definitely an upgrade worth considering.
      syn959 and Pizza Funghi like this.
  2. FlammableWalrus
    Superb Chi-fi, better than Andros..?
    Written by FlammableWalrus
    Published Jun 25, 2019
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Excellent bass depth and full-range clarity
    Build quality is top tier
    Very good for the price
    Cons - Heavy and bulky, may not fit everyone
    Not the widest soundstage
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    I purchased these for personal use and am not affiliated with any company. I'm not being paid by anyone for this write-up. I wish I was being paid for this writeup.

    I've tried these and the Campfire Andromedas, plus a few others at Headphone Bar, a physical store in Vancouver. If you’re local, I highly recommend you check it out.

    I should clarify these are my personal opinions only and everyone has different tastes, different ears, and different opinions. With that said, my personal opinion is tantamount to absolute truth. And, in my opinion, the Fiio FH7s are superior to the Campfire Andromedas in most areas and overall. Bring out the pitchforks.

    Songs/albums I've tried, in no order:

    Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

    Discovery by Daft Punk

    The College Dropout by Kanye West

    Eldorado by E.L.O.

    Heart of Gold by Neil Young

    GKMC by Kendrick Lamar

    DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

    TPAB by Kendrick Lamar

    Oceanborn by Nightwish

    Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

    Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

    Hotel California by the Eagles

    Demon Days by Gorillaz

    Mezzanine by Massive Attack

    2112 by Rush

    some random metal songs

    Leave Home by the Ramones

    The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders from Mars by David Bowie

    Greatest Hits by Queen

    Art Angels by Grimes

    Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe

    Grace by Jeff Buckley

    I'm not gonna analyze every song/track, just a reference to what I listen to. Pretty sure I missed a bunch. I haven't listened to every track on the albums I've mentioned (yet).

    • Basics
    The Fiio FH7s are a 4BA 1DD hybrid universal IEM with MMCX cables. 13.6mm beryllium-coated dynamic driver, 2 Knowles BAs for mids, 2 Knowles BAs for highs. MSRP 450 USD.

    • Build Quality
    Built from an aluminum-magnesium alloy, they feel like a tank. Quite heavy and bulky too. Not too much to speak of, simple and elegant with a clean aesthetic but if you have small ears this might pose a problem. I've tried the FA7s as well and those definitely fit me better, but couldn't hold a candle next to the FH7s in terms of sound. I felt like the Andromedas were built just a tiny bit better, but honestly that could just be the industrial aesthetic giving that impression. The Andros were more comfy for my ears though, just due to sheer size.

    The included cable is very nice, 8 braided and sparkly with a solid connector. But I wish it had memory wire in the loops like the Shure SE-series. These just have a plastic guide that forms around the ears. I know many people dislike memory wire but personally I found it to be a big help.

    • Packaging/Accessories
    Honestly go look at a more professional review, they laid out everything you get with the IEMs. An absurd number of tips, a really premium case, and a soft, tiny, portable case inside like a matryoshka doll. The smaller case can just barely fit the FH7s and ES100s.

    They also have 3 sets of nozzle filters that come in an adorable little cylinder you can use to modify the sound, and the eartips themselves modify the sound as well.

    • Isolation
    I'd give these a 8/10 with the single-flange tips, 8.5/10 with the foam and double-flange ones. Above average but nothing crazy. As a reference I'd say the Shure SE-series with included Shure olives are 10/10, practically earplugs and a generic silicone-tip IEM is around 6/10. Isolation is mainly based off the tip but I think the sheer size of these do help in that regard. I'm sure CIEMs can go higher but I've never tried them myself.

    • Sound
    I will say that I don't necessarily have a "preferred" sound signature, and have found a variety to be enjoyable. What I dislike, however, are "strong V-shaped," "no treble," and "extra bass" headphones/iems. Wouldn't call myself too treble sensitive but I've owned the Klipsch HP-3s for about a week and those were pretty harsh sounding. I loved my HD650s but the LCD2C (classic not closed) sounded pretty bad to me, especially while directly comparing to LCD2Fs. I also disliked bass-centric IEMs like IE80s and Campfire Atlas. While great for hip-hop and certain electronic, they just sound... "off" with many genres of rock and metal.

    Speaking of "off", the Focal Elears have this weird quality in the treble that I can only describe as ****y unnatural on an otherwise a superb headphone.

    Anyways, the sound signature of the FH7s are...? I don't really know what to call them. I never felt that the midrange was recessed. But balanced/neutral isn't quite right either, the bass is kicking. Treble has presence. Maybe harman-neutral is the correct term. The best term I can use is "proper," as in, they sound righteous. I'll go more in depth:

    • Lows
    This is where that 13.6mm dynamic driver really pulls through. For those without a frame of reference, 10mm is considered large, and anything beyond that is known as "yuge" drivers for IEMs. Extension down to subbass is perfect, and a bit emphasized. Not overwhelming in any way, but what's far more impressive is how clean the rest of the spectrum remains even with the bass. This was the main flaw I could find in the Andros, that the subbass didn't extend like the FH7s and the midbass is quite dense, bleeding into the mids.

    I've tried another hybrid IEM, the AAW A3H. Those were tuned to be much more modest in terms of bass, and I question why even go for a hybrid design? My previous pair was the FLC8, a 2BA 1DD hybrid, and those had excellent bass response as well. Eventually the dynamic driver died on me and here I am. Also tried a bass-centric CF Audio IEM (Atlas) and the bass on that is certainly more, but sounded too thicc for anything aside from HH/electronic.

    I'm startying to buy the hype behind Beryllium-coated drivers. Some manufacturers like Audio-Technica uses "diamond-like carbon" coated drivers on some of their headphones and I believe they serve the same purpose: to give the driver the resilience necessary to be punchy and not bloated. For example, the kickdrums in Raining Blood by Slayer is crisp as hell, and doesn't become muddled into a thick bassline.

    But when it gets overemphasized hiphop sub-bass, like in "Humble" or "Money Trees" by Kendrick, man these can deliver like no other. The 3rd bass line from "Doin' it right" is more felt than heard, and it is most definitely felt here. I'm being redundant at this point but even with overpowering bass the rest of the spectrum remains crisp and not distorted.

    BA IEMs may have bass in terms of volume, but that impact, slam, the "oomph," so to speak, cannot be matched. As a comparison, the Andros had lower sub-bass as expected, but I felt the mid-bass to be higher in quantity (not sure about quality) over the FH7s.

    I don't want to give the impression that I'm a basshead in denial and/or these are basshead IEMs in disguise. I'm not and they're not. But using EQ to bump up the low end a few decibels can certainly change that.

    • Mids
    The mids are mids presented in a way that sounds natural, cohesive, and neither forward nor recessed. I think this is why the headphones sound great with practically everything I've listened to, excellent to poorly recorded/mastered tracks. They are plenty detailed but not in a hack way (boosted upper mid/lower treble) so even poorly mastered songs don't sound egregious.

    Quick rant: I respect a musician's artistic imperative to intentionally use outdated gear and inferior techniques make "lo-fi" music. Don't get me wrong, I still hate you for it (Jack White, you son of a bitch). But when done well, like the White Stripes, it can add a rustic charm. What I really have a problem with is just ****ty mastering by bands trying to get their CDs just a bit louder than others (I think the greatest achievement of the music streaming era is that artists aren't incentivized to compress the **** out of their tracks anymore). Enter the 36 Chambers and old school HH in general too. On some sound systems this sounds terrible but on the FH7s I have no complaints.

    Complexity is handled well. Instrument separation is superb, and at no point did I hear any bleeding/blending. Instruments sound realistic and one of very few IEMs that represent string timbre properly. Electronic tracks had this definitive nature that sounded much cleaner than other IEM I've tried. With that said, more simple, vocal-focused tracks by Norah Jones or Jeff Buckley sound divine.

    As an aside, after extended listening I can sorta see why the Andromedas are hyped as the second coming of Christ. They have this holographic quality and timbre that is special, so to speak. But would I take that quality over the rest of the advantages of the FH7s? No. Not to mention they are more than double the price.

    • Treble
    The highs are high presented as slightly more forward than neutral. What's noteworthy is the airyness and soundstage of this IEM. It's not artifically wide like my AKGs but impressively wide, especially for a non-openback. Snares/hi hats are crisp and splashy. Cymbals shimmer properly. I suppose you could describe it as bright, but I've not felt harshness on treble-heavy tracks such as "Reckoner" by Radiohead or Melodrama by Lorde (that whole album sweet lord).

    The cymbals on "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac sound absolutely gorgeous, from the impact to the end of resonance. But that track tends to sound good on most setups, just by nature of how it was recorded. I think a better test for treble are electronic songs.

    Art Angels by Grimes is IMO a good mix of pop and obnoxiousness. And just how balanced (not flat, but cohesive) the whole spectrum sounds is truly impressive.

    I can't really tell if these were brighter or darker than the Andros in treble, nor can I say one is objectively better. Both were superb in this area IMO, but some would be adverse to this kind of treble.

    • Closing Thoughts
    FH7s sound sublime with anything I throw at it, but I'm not sure I could call it a jack of all trades. That phrase implies master of none, which I think is categorically incorrect. If I had to pick 1 genre, I'd say it works best with electronic and alternative rock. But that is probably just my personal taste.

    I didn't rate any specific part /10 because I can't say "oh this headphone has 10/10 mids" and compare something else to it, at least not objectively.

    I love the little ring of blue and red for L/R near the connector, should be on standard on every IEM.

    I wish it included a shorter cable to use with the ES100, or a balanced cable. But those are niche needs and even more expensive ones often don't include extra cables.

    For its price (MSRP 450 USD) I think the Fiio FH7 is a steal. Is it better than the Sennheiser Orpheus or the 64 Audio A18t? Probably not, but I haven't heard them (Senny and 64 Audio pls send me a pair I'll pay for shipping).

    If these and Andros were the same price, I'd still pick these. I wouldn't pay Andromeda prices for either though.

    Testing was done using my Note 9 3.5 output, ES100 2x current mode using LDAC, and a Dragonfly Red while in the store. Quality wise DFR>Note 9=?ES100. The DFR sounds better, enough to make me regret selling mine but not enough to make me give up the wireless aspect of the ES100. Sounds pretty good out of my Note 9. (Andros sounded like trash out of my Note 9 though, heard they were picky with sources.)

    One thing I learned later is that with silicone tips wind turbulence is very loud.

    Can we truly say that any headphone over ~300 are a "good value" for regular people? Regular as in those who don't spend hours reading audio reviews? Well, I like to think so. But diminishing returns are absolutely a thing; LCD4s are not 4x or 2x the sound quality of the LCD2s. The greatest value is the jump from no headphones to cheap trash ones that make some kind of sound. Yet people spend hundreds, thousands, even hundreds of thousands on setups for a reason: to enhance their enjoyment of music (and to flex on plebs). If that's what makes you happy, then more power to you. With that said, 450 is nowhere near TOTL prices and I have no reservations recommending this product.

    I think people over-analyze graphs, sure they provide a basic outline but they are no substitute for a listening test. Think sizes for clothing or shoes, no substitute for trying them in person.

    This was way longer than I originally intended, so I hope you at least enjoyed reading it and it helps you decide whether to purchase these or not.

    Lemme know if this review was helpful, and constructive criticism is always appreciated.

    TL;DR: Fiio FH7s are incredible, I like them more than Andros. Well-engineered and well-built. Excellent for the price.

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      dsrk, TYATYA, Sp12er3 and 10 others like this.
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    2. Wildcatsare1
      Great review, I really enjoy your writing style!
      Wildcatsare1, Jun 29, 2019
    3. dsrk
      Excellent review, we need reviews like this very simple and helpful.
      dsrk, Jul 1, 2019
    4. FlammableWalrus
      Thanks to everyone for the kind comments. But I would appreciate some constructive criticism; I've only gotten positive feedback both here and on r/headphones where I posted this originally.
      FlammableWalrus, Jul 5, 2019