FiiO FH9

Ceeluh7

500+ Head-Fier
Fiio FH9 The Best Fiio yet
Pros: -Fantastic build
-Beautiful looking iem
-Very full sounding
-Bass response
-Great Midrange performance
-Different tuning options (Tuning Filters)
-Unboxing
-That cable
Cons: -Noise isolation isn't perfect
-May be too heavy/large for some
-Rare occasions of sibilance on prone tracks
-Tuning Filters difficult to handle
I found the Fiio FH9 to be a very fun sounding and full sounding iem which does well for its price point. Built exceptionally well with great accessories the FH9 in my opinion is Fiio's best iem to date. Review at the link below:



https://www.mobileaudiophile.com/fiio-fh9-review/
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Cessnas172
Cessnas172
what is a prone track
Ceeluh7
Ceeluh7
Haha... Sorry man. Any song that lends itself more to sibilance. I have some songs in my library that are more "prone" to those sss sounds in voices. Or lesser quality tracks. I suppose I could elaborate more.

Subhunter

New Head-Fier
My first hybrid flagship love - FiiO FH9
Pros: Pretty much everything tuning-wise, soundstage, imaging, extension, versatility. It's fun, forgiving, lush, full and detailed. A great balance between analytical and immersive/enjoyable. For a hybrid set, they have sensational coherence. Put on some EDM and you almost feel like you're in a dance club...

Exceptional value for the $ - which seems to be generally across the board for FiiO (and no QC/marketing issues like other ChiFi companies that shall rename nameless here!)

Cable - convertible (2.5/3.5/4.4) pure silver cable that is solid yet flexible. My cat won't be biting through this one easily and he'd better not as it seems like it could cost an arm to replace. Best cable I've ever seen or used. Doesn't tangle easily either.

Build quality - I've never come across something so small and light yet so strong thanks to the titanium shells, which also supposedly help acoustically. TItanium and aluminum are great metals that are generally dry (non-resonant) to my (drum-related) knowledge.

Accessories - as FiiO is known for, they provide a generous amount of tips - even more so in a flagship item - see photo. Filters & tips provide additional tuning options for dare I say all tastes.
Cons: With speech, there seems to be the slightest amount of siblance at times... it might depend on the voice, microphones or recording quality though. It doesn't bother me per se since the top end is generally quite smooth, but with speech, I notice it even if it's always quick/minimal. If anything, I may have noticed it more with the bass filters than the neutral filters.

Semi-open shells. This is not a problem for me as in fact, I welcome this. It helps expand soundstage and even allows me to slightly hear what's going on around the house or when I'm in bed with them. If you want better isolation for office or on-stage/studio use, I'd say look elsewhere (Ety's?) - unless you also don't mind lower levels of isolation. I use my FH3's for studio/stage use and could always use almost any other of my IEMs too if I wanted. The important thing for me is that listening in bed at reasonable levels doesn't bother my wife at all.

Nitpicking here... bass texture and deeper/deepest extension could be slightly more detailed along with overall detail, even if detail isn't exactly lacking. This might make them too analytical or bassy at the same time so I say this with considerable reserve.

They might make you want to upgrade other gear, like headphones lol
After going down this rabbit hole for 4+ years now (even after essentially being born into it due to my father who made a killing selling tons of high end Japanese audio gear from home back in the 70/80's - before all the big box stores took all his business and being a pro drummer for the last 25 years), I think I've finally got my endgame IEM.... (famous last words?) I think like many of you, covid restrictions helped go me quicker & deeper down the rabbit hole since a couple of years too....

Even after appreciating good audio all my life, it was a pair of Treblab X5 TWS (!) that turned it into much more of a passion. I then tried Tin T2's and was blown away for the $... Then Tin T4, then FiiO FH3, then etc., etc. (IEM's, speakers, receivers, cables, tips, headphones, subwoofers, DACs, soundbars, PA systems, you name it)... Since covid, I just stopped holding back. My last two and best wired IEM purchases were Moondroop Blessing 2 Dusk followed lastly by 7Hz Timeless... I also really enjoyed the slightly warmer fun tuning of my 1More ANC TWS. I was looking for a top shelf IEM that essentially had all of the qualities of the above mentionned IEMs and more without going into kilobuck territory.

Well... I found it! In fact, I think I'm in love as one can be with a pair of IEM's.

I blind buy pretty much everything after rather thorough research. Although I very much enjoy my Dusks and Timeless, the Dusks are quite natural/neutral sounding with bass boost tuning but not filter or tip friendly from my experience (a bit high maintenance IMO). Timeless soundstage is quite intimate / restrained whereas the bass and driver speed/detail is right up my alley. My 1More ANC TWS are fun and convenient for being out and about but lack in soundstage, natural timbre, imaging, upper extension and detail. The 1More max volume is a little restricted too, but it's only really been a problem once while on a Teams call in a loud environment.

Even if there wasn't/isn't that many English reviews on the FH9 yet (especially on YouTube), they were all quite positive with generally around 9/10 score. So, I took the plunge on a slightly used pair and saved almost a couple hundred bucks compared to new retail cost...

Once they arrived a couple weeks ago, I tried them for a few hours with the neutral filters before changing them for the bass filters. A few days pass and I realize that they are quite the bass cannons (even for a borderline basshead/treble sensitive like myself) and I go back to neutral filters along with changing the SpinFit medium tips for large... What a good move... The bass filters seemed to affect the lower mid range and reminded me a bit of a high end BLON-BL03 or something. Going back to neutral filters expanded soundstage and improved natural timbre + midrange while still providing plenty of nice low end and overall lush, immersive, complimenting & forgiving fun.

Of all my 15 or so (less expensive) IEM's, the FH9 have the best everything, except for maybe detail/speed which can be borderline matched by my Dusks and Timeless (that says a lot for the Timeless for the $ IMHO).

Tuning wise, compared to the Dusks, they have a bit more of a V / fun tuning with better/smoother extension on both ends, lushness and soundstage. This is what I felt the Dusks were lacking and are more reference / analytical IMHO. The FH9 timbre sounds plenty natural/organic with a little more warmth compared to the Dusks which seem a little more mid-forward. Comfort wise, even though they are similar in size, the FH9 are more comfortable for me, even with SpinFits on both models.

Compared to my Tin T4, the FH9 are quite similar in terms of smooth mids and highs but with much better soundstage, seperation, imaging, overall extension, etc... They are almost like T4's on an quasi-overdose of steriods. T4 comfort and easy-listening is on par with the FH9.

Compared to my Timeless, they have rather similar tuning, except soundstage again is night and day. Everything related to soundstage is improved too (imaging, seperation, height/depth/width, etc.) The DD driver of the FH9 also gives that low end punch that the Timeless can arguably lack. Mid bass & lower mids are somewhat cleaner on the FH9's too.

Compared to my FiiO FH3's, the FH9 are much less U tuned. The FH3's in comparison sound like they considerably lack mids, natural timbre and ability to handle complex musical passages in a less open/large soundstage. I still find the FH3 are a good value, especially as an on-stage/studio IEM (due to isolation and extension) or for EDM/pop.

I haven't yet tried the treble filters as I'm borderline treble sensitive and the neutral filters already offer me everything I've ever wanted in an IEM. I find that hitting the Truebass button my Zen DAC provides easier, better and more forgiving low end should ever I want more bass anyways. Maybe one day I'll try the treble filters but feel no rush to do so.

- My Apple Music lossless & Spotify sources from iPad/iPhone or Windows are:
Dragonfly Red
Zen DAC
Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 DSP
Qudelix 5K

- My ''test tracks'' are generally:
Micheal Jackson
Gorrilaz
Magic City Hippies
Snarky Puppy
David Bowie
Anything funk/jazz/RnB/hip hop/older pop basically

A special thanks to all other reviewers here + in other forums for sharing their thoughts on the FH9 prior to my purchase.

Bottom line, I don't see how anyone could go wrong with these babies.
CT007
CT007
"I blind buy pretty much everything after rather thorough research." Isn't buying blind = knowing nothing about it..?

Contrary to first assumption, the treble filter does not make the treble boosted, but rather opens it up more(I have heard).
S
Subhunter
I thought blind buying was buying without hearing for yourself first. I'll try those treble filters then
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Moonstar

100+ Head-Fier
FiiO FH9 Hybrid IEM Review
Pros: Overall Bass Performance (Power, Control, Resolution),
Highly Transparent & Detail Midrange Presentation (with Balanced Audio Filter),
Smooth, Airy and Controlled Treble Tuning (with Balanced Audio Filter),
Great Looking Ultra Robust Monitor made from Titanium Material,
Accessory Package (Pure Silver Cable, Interchangeable Audio Plugs & Audio Filters, etc.)
Cons: Sounds a bit unforgiving in the upper register with the Green Filter,
Solid Looking Titanium Shell is a bit heavy,
Average Passive Noise Isolation

FiiO FH9 Hybrid IEM Review




Introduction:


2021 was a very productive year for FiiO, especially when it comes to In-Ear Monitors, whether Hybrids (FH5s/FH5s Pro), Single Dynamic Driver (FD3, FD5, FD7/FDX) and Pure Balanced Armature Driver (FA7s) In-Ear Monitors.

The FH9 is the brand new flagship Hybrid IEM of the company that features a 6BA+1DD driver configuration. The Hybrid Driver configuration is a combination of 6x Balanced Armature Drivers + 1x Dynamic Driver with a 13.6mm Diameter Self-Developed DLC (Diamond like Carbon) Diaphragm. The High frequencies are produced with the Knowles SWFK-31736 drivers.

Some other remarkable features are a Titanium Alloy Construction, Interchangeable Audio filters and a Semi Open Acoustic Design.

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Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO for providing the FiiO FH9 as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and all these words are reflecting my true and unaltered opinions about the product.





Price & Availability:


The actual price of the FiiO FH9 is 599.99 US$. More information’s can be found under the links below;




Package and Accessories:

The FH9 came inside a rectangular box that was wrapped with a fancy looking cardboard sleeve that features the product illustration and some product related brandings on the top.

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After you remove the cardboard sleeve you will see the main box in black color that sport a sketch of the FH9 on the top and the motto of the company, which is “born for music”.

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This box of the FiiO FH9 contains the following items;
  • 1 pair x FiiO FH9 Hybrid In-Ear Monitors
  • 1 piece x 8 Core detachable cable with MMCX connectors
  • 1 piece x Interchangeable Headphone Plugs 4.4mm TRRRS, 2.5mm TRRS & 3.5mm TRS
  • 3 pairs x Interchangeable Audio Filters (Green, Black, Red “Black came Pre-installed”)
  • 3 pairs x Bass Ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs x Vocal Ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs x Balanced Ear tips (S/M/L)
  • 3 pairs x SpinFit Ear Tips (S/M/L - 1 pair came preinstalled)
  • 2 pairs x Double Flange Ear tips (M/M size)
  • 2 pairs x Memory Foam Ear Tips (M/M size)
  • 1 piece x HB5 Storage Case
  • 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
  • 1 piece x SK1 Magnetic Cable Organizer (can also be purchased here separately)
  • 1 piece x MMCX Assist Tool
  • 1 piece x Warranty Card and User Manual

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The FH9 comes with a very rich ear tips collection same like other FiiO products that I have reviewed in the past, which has been placed in to a foam layer that is showing a short description about the sound effect and the size.

Here are 3 pairs of balanced ear tips (S/M/L size), 3 pairs of vocal ear tips (S/M/L size), 3 pairs of bass ear tips (S/M/L size), 2 pairs of SpinFit Ear Tips (S/M/L - 1 pair came preinstalled), 2 pairs of memory foam ear tips (M/M/ size), 2 pairs of Double Flange ear tips (M/M Size).
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Inside the box are also 3 different Interchangeable Headphone Plugs (the 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm & 4.4mm Balanced plugs), which are part of the 8 core High Purity Monocrystalline Pure Silver upgrade cable.
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The FH9 came also with some nice additions such like the SK1 Magnetic Cable Organizer, a cleaning tool and the FiiO MMCX Assist Tool.







Design & Build Quality:


The FH9 is an extremely stunning looking In-Ear Monitor that reflex FiiO’s next generation industrial design language. The FH9 features a Pure Titanium Alloy construction that is a very rigid material, which is also according to FiiO, able to greatly minimize unwanted harmonics and resonances to improve the overall sound performance.

The monitor shell of the FH9 is precisely made with five-axis CNC machining since titanium is a harder to process material compared to aluminum and stainless steel material.
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Inside the heart of each monitor is a Hybrid Driver configuration, which is a combination of 6x Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers (SWFK-31736) + 1x Dynamic Driver with a 13.6mm Diameter Self-Developed DLC (Diamond like Carbon) Diaphragm.

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The inner shell design is engineered to eliminate unwanted harmonic resonances generated and reduces negative conditions such as sibilance in combination with the new sound tube design.

On the front of the monitors that we also describe as faceplate is are two openings with a impressive looking design shape that features a fine woven mesh, which is part of the latest Semi-Open Back Cavity design.

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At the rear side of the monitor housing are L (left) / R (Right) markings, a pressure relief vent and the slightly angled sound nozzle.
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The FH9 features 3 pairs of Interchangeable Audio Filters, which are the Green (Treble), Black (Balanced) and Red (Bass) filters. You can install one of the 3 filters that do have a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of strange particles such like dust and ear wax.
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The top of monitor shell sports a new expanded female MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) connector design with blue (left) / red (right) blue indicator circles. This new design offers a more stable connection.
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The overall build quality of the monitors is top notch same like other FiiO products, without to show any imperfections such like gaps, burs, etc.







Detachable MMCX Cable:

The FiiO FH9 comes with a very good stock cable, which is made of High-Purity Monocrystalline Silver wires. It has 8 cores and 28 strands per core that makes 224 wires strands in total. Each wire is individually isolated and all are braided together in the Litz style.

The cable features special isolation made from environmentally friendly TPU material in grey color. This TPU material is also resistant against yellowing after long-term use and against stiffening when in low-temperature environments.

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The MMCX connectors are made from stainless steel material and do have a curve shaped that is based on scientific research to make the FH9 more comfortably for longer listening periods and on the go.
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The expanded angled MMCX connectors with left "blue" and right "red" indicators make it easy to connect and detach the FH9. Near the MMCX connectors are transparent heat-shrink ear hooks for a better over the era wearing experience.

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The cable sports a chin slider and y splitter made of metal in silver color. The y splitter has the FiiO branding on the top.
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The detachable cable of the FiiO FH9 has a unique Interchangeable Headphone Plug design and offers 3 (three) plug variants, which are the 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) plug, 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) plug and the 4.4mm Balanced (TRRRS) Pentaconn plug.

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The housing of the headphone plug has a strait profile and is made of the same metal material in silver metal color.
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Comfort & Isolation:


The FiiO FH9 is maybe not one of the smallest IEM’s on the market since it features 7 drivers per earpiece and a very complex acoustic design. However, the shape of the monitor shell fits perfectly in to my ears with an average ear concha, and doesn’t hurt them even after longer listening periods.

When it comes to the passive noise isolation, I can say that it is on an average level, since it has a semi-open back design and a monitor shape that doesn’t allow a very deep insertion of the nozzle. But don’t get me wrong, the isolation is efficient enough for the use it in fairly noise environments such as metro, bus or train, while it is not suitable for the use on the stage.
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Efficiency & Pairing:

The FiiO FH9 is a relative efficient to drive In-Ear Monitor thanks to an impedance of 18Ω and a sensitivity of approx. 108dB/mW. This makes the FH9 to a pretty compatible IEM for most audio sources form Smartphone’s to Tablets or small Digital Audio Players/Mp3 players with a relative weak amplification.




Technical Specifications:
  • Driver Configuration : 6x Knowles BA +1x DD Hybrid Driver
  • Frequency Resp. : 10Hz ~ 40kHz
  • Sensitivity : 108 dB/mW
  • Impedance : 18 Ω
  • MAX Input : 100mW
  • Plug : Interchangeable Plugs (3.5mm SE, 2.5mm & 4.4mm Balanced)
  • Connector Type : MMCX Connector
  • Cord Length : 120cm
  • Wearing Type : Over the Ear
  • Weight : 12.8gram (Single Monitor)




Sources used for this review:

  • IEM : FiiO FH9, Final Audio B1, Oriveti O400
  • DAP/DAC/AMP : FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO Q5s




Albums & Tracks used for this review:
  • Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
  • Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
  • Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Michael Jackson - Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • 2Cellos – With or Without You (Spotify)
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)





The Sound:

The FiiO FH9 is a Hybrid In-Ear Monitor with a mildly warm tonality, which offers pretty dynamic, lively and entertaining sound profile from the lows up to the highs. The bass of the FH9 is powerful yet controlled; the midrange is nicely transparent and detailed from the lower midrange up to the upper midrange, while the treble area is shown with a decent sense of extension and clarity.



Tuning Filters Explained:

  • Black Filter : Reference Tuning that shows the most balanced frequency response
  • Red Filter : Increase of Bass intensity, slightly reduced Treble forwardness
  • Green Filter : Treble Boost, mildly increase in treble intensity and overall brightness
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Please note that my review below is mainly based on my sound impressions with the Balanced Silicone Ear Tip Black in combination with the Black Audio Filter, which is the default Reference Filter of the FH9. I have used the stock 8-core Pure Silver cable and have paired the FH9 with the FiiO M11 Pro and FiiO Q5s.



Bass:

The bass of the FH9 is produced by FiiO’s self developed second generation 13.6mm diameter DLC (Diamond like Carbon) diaphragm dynamic driver that is able to create an decent subbass performance, which shows great sense of power, depth and extension when needed. What I really like about the subbass character of the FH9 is that it shows a good level of rumble and intensity without to affect the clarity in this area, when I do listen to string instruments such like a contrabass and bass guitar or to percussion instruments like kick drums. The subbass depth and rumble of the 13.6 diameter DLC diaphragm dynamic diver in songs like Lorde’s “Royals”, Massive Attack’s “Angle” or Armin Van Buuren’s "Vini Vici" is very exiting.

The midbass area of the FiiO FH9 shows an above average intensity that is always in control, especially with the Back Balanced Audio Filter. It is punchy, shows a good level of resolution and the best part is that is offers a fast response and quick decay for such a large dynamic driver, which shows how further FiiO has come with its second generation DLC diaphragm Dynamic Driver. Percussion instruments such like cross drums or brass instruments like trumpets do sound pretty accented and are reproduced with a mildly warm and nicely soft tonality.

While the FH9 has not a reference oriented bass presentation, it offers a solid bass performance whatever you listen, from pop to electronic from rock to dub step.

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Midrange:

The FiiO FH9 shows a highly transparent and spacious midrange presentation and offers a decent performance in this area in terms of resolution. The tonality of the midrange is slightly warmer than neutral while the sense of airiness is on an impressive level thanks to the well-adjusted Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers that are dedicated for the midrange as well as the new Semi-Open Back design.

The lower midrange has a moderate level of depth and intensity that is sufficient to show a good sense of depth and body when I do listen to romantic male voices such like Barry White and Isaac Hayes or Sting. The level of clarity and resolution of this area is impressive and can easily hold up with higher priced Top Tier IEM’s, while I maybe would wish a tad more body in this area.

Female vocals on the other hand are reproduced in a very lively, detailed and controlled manner, without to show any remarkable sibilance or harshness, even while listen to soprano voices such like Hayley Westenra or Sertap Erener, when I do use the Black (Balanced) and Red Audio Filters. The Green Filter on the other hand is a slightly more prone to sibilance, especially if I do listen to records with poor quality. The level of detailed retrieval and realism when I do listen to Adel, Aretha Franklin and Diana Krall was quite impressive.

The FiiO FH9 shows a fairly natural, lively and detailed instrument presentation with decent sense of airiness and separation. Instruments pianos and clarinets do sound pretty vivid, clear and are shown with an above average level of extension, while violas and trumpets do sound moderately bold, pretty natural and detailed.

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Upper Midrange & Treble:

The both the upper midrange and the lower treble area of the FiiO FH9 are quite pronounced, while the transitions are in general pretty controlled, especially with the Black and Red Audio Filters. The FH9 offers a good sense of authority when instruments do play with high level of distortion, only the Green Audio Filter sounds a bit prone to sibilance and sharpness.

The lower treble area sounds fairly bright and is able to produce an above average level of clarity and definition. Instruments such as organs, pianos and soprano voices are shown with a good grade of presence.

The upper treble range of the FH9 sounds pretty natural and detailed, especially for an In-Ear Monitor at this price level. It is able to create a good sense of airiness and sparkle when I do listen to tenor saxophones, tenor and soprano voices.

Instrument such as hi-hats in metal music do come slightly from the background, while the hits still quite audible. Crash cymbals on the other hand do sound in general pretty realistic and detailed, while the extension is on an efficient level.

Overall, the general treble quantity and intensity will satisfy most users. I really liked the balance of the treble range when I do listen to the FiiO FH9, especially with the Black Audio Filter and Balanced Silicone Ear Tips.



Soundstage & Imaging:

The FiiO FH9 offers an impressive performance in terms of separation and placement of both instruments and vocals offers, thanks to the very spacious and airy soundstage atmosphere that is additionally supported by its Semi-Open Back design. Both the depth and the wideness of the soundstage are on an above average level.

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Some Comparisons:

FiiO FH9 (599 US$) versus Final Audio B1 (699 US$):


Both the Final Audio B1 and the FiiO FH9 are hybrid driver IEM’s, while the FH9 has a 6BA+1DD and the B1 a 1BA+1DD diver configuration. The Final Audio B1 needs much more power do show its true potential, while the FiiO FH9 is much easier to driver. Both IEM’s do have a solid build quality and do shows a pretty good fit and isolation, while the B1 is slightly pricier.

The subbass region of both the FH9 and the B1 is quite pronounced, while the B1 shows slightly more rumble and intensity towards the midbass region. The FH9 has the upper hand when it comes to the clarity and resolution in this area, while the grade of decay and control is pretty similar. The midbass region of the B1 sounds more pronounced and shows a higher level of impact and intensity. The FH9 offers a better sense of clarity and resolution in this area.

The midrange of the Final Audio B1 is a touch warmer in tonality and shows slightly more body and depth in the lower midrange area, which makes it slightly more successful with male vocals and instruments like acoustic guitars and cellos. The FiiO FH5 on the other hand offer a more natural and neutral tonality with better sense of transparency and airiness. The upper midrange is more highlighted and detailed, which is audible when I do listen to female vocals and instruments such like violins and pianos.

The both the Final Audio B1 and the FiiO FH9 do offer a good treble performance in terms of resolution, brightness and extension without to sound overly sharp. However, the FiiO FH9 is superior when it comes to the lower treble presentation, which shows a better level of extension and detail retrieval. The Final Audio B1 on the other sounds more highlighted in the upper treble region, where it has the slightly edge in terms of airiness and resolution.

The FiiO FH9 is the better IEM if soundstage performance and the separation of instruments and vocals is important for you. It offers a better level of depth and wideness, thanks to its semi-open back design.





FiiO FH9 (599 US$) versus Oriveti OH500 (499 US$):

The Oriveti OH500 is also a hybrid driver IEM that offers a 4BA+1DD configuration, which are located inside a very comfortable resin housing. The FiiO FH9 on the other hand looks more robust and fancy in direct comparison while it is slightly more expensive.

The Oriveti OH500 has noticeably warmer tonality compared to the FiiO FH9, and shows a more V shaped sound signature with emphasized lows and highs.

The subbass region of the Oriveti OH500 sounds more highlighted and shows more depth and rumble in this area. However, the FiiO FH9 is superior when it comes to the resolution and control. The FH9 offers also a better level of layering, tightness and speed especially when I do listen to complex bass passages like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven”.

The midrange of the Oriveti OH500 is warm and soft, while the level of transparency and airiness are on an average level. The FiiO FH9 on the other hand offers a more natural, neutral and transparent midrange character with better sense of airiness and resolution. The lower midrange of the FiiO FH9 is slightly more emphasized then those of the Oriveti OH500, while the biggest difference is in clarity and resolution of this area when with male vocals and instruments such as cellos and violas.

The upper midrange and lower treble regions of the FiiO FH9 are reproduced with a higher grade of intensity and detail retrieval, while both IEM’s are pretty controlled in moments when instruments do play with high distortion. The upper treble range of the OH500 is more pronounced especially around the 8kHz region. However, the FH9 offers a better sense of authority and smoothness.

Both the FiiO FH9 and the Oriveti OH500 are successful in terms of soundstage performance. The main difference is that the FH9 has the upper hand for soundstage width, while the OH500 has the slightly edge when it comes to the depth of the stage.

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Conclusion:

The FH9 is another solid product from FiiO that has an impressive sound performance with its highly transparent and detailed midrange, airy and well extending treble tuning, and a bass response that is powerful yet controlled. This sound is produced with a brand new 6BA+1DD hybrid driver configuration and semi open-back design, which are located inside a gorgeous looking monitor made from titanium material. All this features are crowned with a very rich accessory package that includes a high quality 8 core pure silver cable with Interchangeable Headphone Plugs, the HB5 leather case and many ear tips.


Thank you for your Read!

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Moonstar
Moonstar
@dsrk Thank you! Same here, lol
CT007
CT007
"...a new expanded female MMCX". This MMCX connector looks just like every other one..?
Moonstar
Moonstar
@CT007 The housing of the MMCX connector has a longer profile compared to previous FiiO Cables. Its not a game changer, but helps a bit to increase the comfort if you do plan to wear the IEM for longer listening periods. Cheers
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Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Guilty pleasure
Pros: + Big and bold with real sub bass extension and explosive dynamics
+ Fun and exciting
+ Clear and well defined mids
+ Smooth yet extended treble
+ Detailed and crystal clear
+ Flagship level of technicalities
+ Open, spacious and out of the head soundstage with precise imaging
+ Excellent build quality
+ Masterpiece cable
+ Full accessory pack
+ Quite comfortable despite the size
Cons: - Low end is too dominant
- Mid bass is lacking in clarity and layering
- A little more technical than musical
- Quite bulky and heavy
- Medium passive noise isolation
The FH9 was kindly provided by FiiO free of charge, I only covered import fees and taxes.
As always this is my subjective and unbiased review.
The price is €699 and you can buy it from this - not affiliate - link FiiO.eu.

Introduction

FiiO's hybrid line of earphones is distinguished from the letters FH and the available models are named FH1s, FH3, FH5 (now OP), FH5s, FH7 and the brand new FH9, the latest flagship hybrid driver in-ear monitor.

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Design features

FiiO has designed the FH9 with a seven-driver hybrid configuration on each side.
The pair houses a 13.6mm 2nd generation DLC diaphragm dynamic driver, one of the largest to be found in an earphone, paired to six premium balanced armature drivers designed by Knowles.

The FH9 is FiiO's first hybrid IEM to feature a self- developed 2nd generation DLC (diamond-like carbon) bass driver.
Compared to the 1st generation driver, the magnetic circuit structure has been redesigned resulting in 20% higher magnetic density to better push the massive 13.6mm DLC diaphragm - which means an even more dynamic sound.
And thanks to DLC's outstanding rigidity and high damping coefficient, the FH9's bass driver is capable of providing extremely quick transient response with extremely minimal distortion.

All 6 BA drivers in each ear unit of the FH9 are from Knowles.
High frequencies are handled by three of the proven SWFK -31736 drivers.
For the mid frequency drivers, FiiO has partnered with Knowles themselves in over 2years of extensive research on how to best implement such drivers to achieve perfect harmony between multiple drivers for an absolutely coherent sound.

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The FH9's shell is specially engineered to eliminate unwanted harmonic resonance generated as sound waves travel through the shell, sound tube and cavity - which greatly eliminates undesirable sibilance in the sound.
FiiO has designed the cavities for FH9 based on their latest-gen industrial-grade design.
They feature precisely crafted CNC machined Titanium alloy ear cavities. The Titanium-alloy construction is extremely rigid and helps to minimize the unwanted harmonics and resonances in the output signal.
Each FH9 unit is made with great precision using a five-axis CNC machining process.

The FH9 features a semi-open acoustic design incorporating FiiO's patented system of balanced pressure relief between the front and rear cavities.
The result is more natural sound, and more comfortable listening in longer sessions due to greatly minimized pressure on your eardrums when listening.

FiiO FH9, like most of their latest earphones, comes with three interchangeable sound filters, each filter has its own damping and filter density.
They help adjust the sound a little bit, and can be used as per the user’s preferences.
The pair comes packed with a red filter for enhancing bass response, a green filter for transparent and balanced sound and a black filter for highly-resolving detailed treble sound.

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Cable

Included with the FH9 is a high-purity pure silver cable with 8 branches of 28 wires each, for a total of 224 wires.
Each wire is individually isolated and all are braided together in the Litz style.
The outer sheath of the cable is made from environmentally friendly TPU, which not only sports a radiant transparent look but is also resistant against yellowing under long-term use and stiffening when in low-temperature environments.
The stainless steel angled MMCX connectors are designed to make the wearing experience as painless as possible.
Details such as the special angle allow you to more easily connect your IEMs for more comfortable wearing as well as the left blue right red indicators to quickly get you going.
The cable features the interchangeable plug system so the user can use it with a multitude of devices without the need to use adapters.
The package includes 3.5mm, 4.4mm and 2.5mm plugs.
The included cable is a masterpiece and such aftermarket cables usually cost more than the FH9 itself.
Excellent and congratulations on FiiO for including such a high-end cable at this price.

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Accessories

When it comes to accessories, FiiO is number one in providing the customer with everything that is needed for a complete listening experience.
The buyer along with the FH9 gets the following:

HB5 carrying case*1
Bass ear tips*3 pairs (SML)
Balanced ear tips*3 pairs (SML)
Vocals ear tips*3 pairs (SML)
Foam ear tips*2 pairs (M)
Double -flange ear tips *2 (M)
SpinFit eartips*3 pairs (SML)
Cleaning brush*1
MMCX removal tool*1
Magnetic clamp*1
Green/Black/Red audio filters*1 set
2.5/3.5/4.4mm interchangeable audio plug*1 set
8 strands of 224 wires each high-purity monocrystalline pure silver cable*1

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Wearing comfort and isolation

Too many drivers need a larger housing to accommodate them, so the FH9 is quite bulky especially when compared to some single dynamic driver Iems like the FiiO FD7 or Sennheiser IE900.
Thus said, the shells are anatomically designed with an extended nozzle that helps with deep and snuggle insertion while the shell rests into the outer ear without causing any extra annoyance.
Despite the increased weight (12.8gr per unit) I would rate the fit as comfortable but the user will not fail to notice that there is something large snug in his ear and while the design is beautiful and contemporary, the FH9 is not the most discrete earphone.
Needless to say that the FH9 is not suitable for outdoor activities and exercise not only for the fit but also for the semi - open design which doesn't help a lot with passive noise isolation.
It is not that you can't use it outdoors but you better avoid some very noisy places.

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Build quality

Build quality is excellent, this is one of the best - if not the best - earphones that I have ever laid my hands on.
It is premium and classy with top notch finish and the most excellent craftsmanship, the same goes for the cable which is simply top tier, from the interchangeable plugs, to the braided design and the aluminum MMCX connectors.
Kudos to FiiO for the excellent job.

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Listening impressions

I left the FH9 playing music for more than 200 hours but I haven't bothered to observe if there were any sound changes, I have just started listening after that period of time.

The FH9 are rated at 18Ω@1kHz with a sensitivity of 108dB so they don't pose any significant requirements for driving them.
But while they can get pretty loud from most portable sources, the user must remember that they are a set of transparent and revealing flagship earphones so a good quality source is a must.
I have mostly used the FiiO M11 Plus along with the iBasso DX240 and DX300.

Upon starting the listening sessions my first move was to swap the pre-installed Spin-fit ear tips for the balanced ones.
I don't know about you but I never had good results with the Spin-fits as I find them to be too forward sounding for my liking.

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The first impression is that of a huge sounding earphone with top notch clarity across the range and a bass dominant sound signature that thankfully doesn't end up masking the rest of the frequencies.
And when I say huge, I mean really huge, like listening to some great open back headphones, the FH9 is the most spacious and grand sounding iem I have tested till now.
And bassy, really bassy as the FH9 has bass-head level emphasized low end, starting from the sub-bass and extending to the upper-bass.
I am not talking here about mere frequency response but rather about the style of the overall presentation.
In the FH9 the dynamic dynamic driver is the dominant force, the one that sets the pace, it is like a giant standing above the armature drivers blocking the sun out of them, letting them dwell under his shadow.

Macro dynamics are utterly impressive, the bass is so full bodied and thumping that it gives the most realistic impressions while sub-bass kicks like there is hidden a subwoofer inside the FH9.
The bass is not lacking in quality as it is tight, controlled and fast but due to the excessive mid-bass coloring the end result is lacking in ultimate clarity, the bass line gets masked and layering is not as satisfying at least when considering reference standards.
So from now on we must split the listening impressions in accordance with the music genre and the listener preferences.

Fans of electronic music, RNB, modern pop and such will be jumping in their feets from joy, oh boy the party is on and the night is still young and full of possibilities.
Listening to the "Disco" album by Kylie Minogue is a pure joy thanks to the punching bass and her fine voice which is expressed with clarity and outstanding articulation without getting lost in the mix.

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The mood gets even higher with bass beating re-mixes where the listener feels like being in the club dancing to his favorite tunes.

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The FH9 also excels in movie watching or listening to your favorite soundtracks.
The experience is reminiscent of a well calibrated multi-channel home cinema system.
Watching the "Black Panther" movie and then listening to the title ``OST was utterly impressive with exploding and earth-shattering action scenes.

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On the other hand with more reference friendly material like the "Cello Concerto" by Eduard Lalo, the solo cello was more intense and forward-sounding than it should be, overpowering with its presence the delicate orchestral accompaniments.
Even more in the large orchestral tutti the bass instruments sounded too dominant and thick, lacking in ultimate layering and definition that is needed in order to clearly pick every single note of each individual instrument, especially when playing at a different dynamic range.
As an example, it gets quite difficult to hear "ppp" bassoon playing under the dominant "fff" double basses and cellos.

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Thankfully this mild masking phenomenon is only effective as far as the dynamic driver frequency range goes and from the point where the balanced armature drivers kick in, everything stays clear, unaffected and well defined, as such the FH9 manages to sound cohesive and comprehensive despite the bass dominant sound signature.
The mid-range is mostly neutral tuned with good presence, well articulated voices and some fine sounding instruments with a natural timbre.
Texture is a little lean, more precise, airy and transparent, less rounded and organic, not as full bodied but it doesn't sound artificial or clinical.
It is not the most musical presentation but it still gets communicative and enjoyable with all kinds of music but don't expect a lush and mid - forward presentation.

Transition to the treble is exemplary with excellent integration between the drivers and nothing sounds detached or out of phase.
The tuning is smooth and stays under control but still extended and present, able to resolve some fine detail without sounding analytical.
The FH9 is tuned to the opposite direction of the forward-sounding FH5s, more relaxed and not too sharp but not as far as to sound muted or blunt.
It is balanced and natural sounding, one of the most musically tuned high frequencies in the FiiO stable, with good body weight, fine texture and even decaying but the attentive listener will not fail to notice the slightest hint of the so-called balanced armature timbre.
But I am nitpicking here and I have to admit that I am very fond of the FH9 upper frequencies response, especially with the "balanced" tube.

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Sound tuning tubes

Users who prefer a more spicy treble presentation can switch for the "treble" tube which adds some extra sparkle, enhanced clarity and more presence with only a touch of brightness as a side effect, while it also helps for the bass to sound clearer and better defined.
On the opposite side the "bass" tube mutes the higher frequencies adding more heft and impact to the bass which however becomes boomy and less controlled but bass lovers will certainly appreciate the extra oomph and weight.

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Soundstage

I am a little short of words to describe the FH9 soundstage which is one of the best available from an iem and rivaled only by the top tier, highly expensive competition.
The FH9 sounds more like a good open back headphone as it draws a soundscape that extends in front and around the listener in a very enveloping way.
Wide and extended but always natural and perspective, it adapts accordingly to the listening material, be it a solo instrument or a large symphony orchestra, always feeling open and spacious with accurate and precise imaging.
The overall feeling is holographic with good depth layering, high levels of transparency and excellent spatial cues, a truly remarkable performance that will make you forget about the semi open design and the lack of relative isolation.
Movie watching is awesome.

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Compared to the FH5s

Unfortunately it's been a long time since I have reviewed the FH7 and I wouldn't risk a comparison so I will limit my impressions against the FH5s.
The FH9 is almost two times the price of the FH5s but worthily so because it is better in various parameters.
Treble tuning is more balanced, leaving behind the FH5s sharpness for a smoother approach although with better micro detail resolution and better perceived extension.
Timbre is more natural and the drivers sound better integrated as a whole, leading to a more cohesive sounding experience.
Bass is not so overbearing on the FH5s and tuning is more neutral but the FH9 wins in overall technicalities and in the intensity of the presentation.
Also transparency, presence and definition are of higher caliber in the FH9 as is the spaciousness of the soundstage.
Thus said the FH5s is miraculously performing for the asking price and if you need a spacious, open sounding, highly detailed iem and you don't mind the treble forward presentation then it is a great choice.

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Compared to the FD7

The FD7 is a single dynamic driver earphone and is currently seated at the top of the FiiO "FD" line.
On first glance someone might think that a single dynamic driver iem can't compete with a multi driver hybrid set but this is far from the truth.
The FD7 holds on it's own with a more reference and balanced tuning and that is not only in the bass range.
Bass is more tight and controlled without any signs of masking or bleeding into the upper bass so the FD7 has higher layering capabilities and sounds more clear, precise and defined in the low end.
Of course it can't compete with the FH9 in sub - bass extension or power and kick, you can't party with the FD7 as you can do with the FH9 but on the other hand it can do much better in resolving complex bass lines.
Mids and treble are quite close regarding the overall balance and tuning, the FH9 is a touch more forward in the upper mids but the main differences that we should concentrate on are timbre related.
The FiiO team has done an excellent job regarding the integration of the FH9 multiple drivers and the final result is pretty homogeneous sound.
But still nothing can beat a good single dynamic driver when it comes to the integrity and cohesiveness of the frequency bands.
The FD7 is more accurate and precise with greater unity across the spectrum while the timbre is more organic, natural and lifelike with greater musicality.
In the end both earphones are great, certainly worth their flagship status and as always individual musical preferences should be the judging criteria for choosing the one over the other.
As an example the FD7 is unbeatable when it comes to classical music but I should prefer the FH9 for movie watching and some Disco tunes.

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In the end

The FiiO FH9 is a great sounding iem with a huge, bold and spacious sound signature.
No, it is not a strict reference in it's tuning but not everything needs to be tuned this way.
With explosive bass performance and an exuberant personality this a fun and utterly exciting earphone that without sacrificing in flagship level technical performance, is going to reward the happy owner with great moments of sheer (and a guilty one for some of you) pleasure.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021.
Ichos
Ichos
Thank you.
Unfortunately it's a long since I reviewed the FH7 and I don't have it anymore.
But I can %100 remember that the FH7 wasn't so huge and open and didn't have the same bass quantity nor the same clarity and technicalities of the FH9.
If you like the extra bass then I would consider the FH9 as an upgrade.
It is technically better.
whitedragem
whitedragem
The Beryllium coated Diaphragm is likely to take ‘a very long time for break in’. I would expect ‘down the track’(time), the bass qualities to improve (more nuanced and ‘greater texture’).
(based of the breakin time on some Ultrasone edition 5, with ‘metal’ drivers/‘hard drivers’; was well north of 1200+ hours before sound started to settle)

The impressive (crazy high) sensitivity on these buds would demand a ‘high slew rate’ amplifier I would image.. or a class A in balanced mode operation should give the driver the utmost of responsiveness and ‘control’.
Given the only notable weakness in the (FiiO) M11+ (line) of players is the amplifier section (when driving large ‘over ears’), the pairing of these ‘buds on those ‘all in one’ HiFi rigs, might be a fantastic matchup - budget entry cost to top tier /totl sound ?

Ichos; thankyou for your incredible write up (with typical insight given), cheers!!
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Ichos
Ichos
Thank you very much!

I can assure you that the matching with the M11 Plus is awesome
The same is true with the iBasso DX240 for even more agile sound, if that is someone that is after.

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
Fiio FH9 6 Knowles BAs+ 13.6mm DLC bass dynamic = Disco in your ears
Pros: Very nice premium packaging with some of the best accessories in the business. Premium thicker pure silver modular cables with every type of termination you need for your sources. Titanium alloy CNC precision made shells means these will last. Open design letting the drivers breathe. Flagship don't mean it has to be neutral. FH9 has a big bold sound signature with bass that will satisfy a basshead enthusiast. 3 different takes on the FH9 easily changed out via tuning caps provided. A large grand stage for earphones. An absolute blast to listen to especially for bass genres.
Cons: Passive isolation suffers a bit due to the open grills out back. shells are somewhat on the larger size. Tuning caps are small, they are the thickness of the tips of the nozzle diameter. Sausage fingers might not like. Not the most accurate or the best timbre for earphones at this price. Colored sound signature will depend on if you like some coloration
Fiio FH9
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Flagship products don’t come by often but when they do. It should be everything a manufacturer has learned in making a product that culminates into the very best of what they have done and a bit of extra that would make it a flagship product. Fiio has broken out this year as being more than a hardware manufacturer. They have released their highest performing earphones to date and the new flagship FH9 is the end result of years of making all types of earphones and one type that has been the mainstay of their earphone popularity. The tried and true hybrid IEM. In evaluating the new FH9, I took a good look at their previous FH line up. Their older FH5, FH3, FH5S, FH7. The FH7 unfortunately is the only hybrid Fiio made earphone I was not able to hear or own. The FH9 is in many ways an extension of the previous FH designs now incorporating 6 Knowles BAs and a stout 13.6mm 2nd gen DLC bass dynamic. The sound of the FH9 reminds me the most of their number one seller of all time, the FH5.

Arguably the most popular earphones Fiio has made is their hybrid line of earphones and it was only a matter of time before they threw down a whole bunch of drivers in an all metal shell, opened up the back end for proper venting and tuned them to possibly recapture that success they had with their FH5. This is what the new FH9 is. This type of design and tuning for the FH9 is not something a manufacturer whips up out of the blue. These have been in the works for several years, which is what I was told, meaning they had these on the drawing board before the pandemic and probably did a lot of trial and error to figure out exactly how they were going to make what has become the FH9.
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Standardly disclaimers. The FH9 was provided by Fiio for the purpose of a review and analysis. You feel the need to get yourself a FH9 you can purchase a set here on Fiios aliexpress home page or on Amazon here. I have burned in the set for a week and are now ready for evaluation using my sources. IBasso DX300Max, Fiio M15, Shanling M6 pro, M5s, M3s. IBasso DX160, Sony ZX300, Fiio K3 2021,KA3 w Samsung Galaxy. IBasso PB3 and IFI Black Label for amping.

The package.
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If you have never bought a Fiio made earphone. What you get included for their earphones are world class. It should be the standard for IEMs. I have mentioned in my other reviews that I feel other manufacturers can learn a thing or two from Fiio about including accessories. Sure accessories are not the bottom line when it comes to sound but it sure influences how we think about a company based on what they throw in the box. Inside the box, you get a whole lot.
Their top of line HB5 case lined with separators for the shells, a set of bass silicone tips 3 pairs, a set of vocal tips 3 pairs, Balanced tips 3 pairs, 2 pairs of foams,2 pairs of double flange tips, spinfit tips 2 pairs, an mmcx removal tool, magnetic clip, 3 sets of nozzle filter caps that change how you hear the trebles, and a remarkable 8 strands, 224 wire high purity monocrystalline silver cable with Fiio’s modular plugs in all terminations. That my friends is a proper accessory package.
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I noticed the cable this time is double the strand count of their monocrystalline pure silver cable used on their FD7. Why does this matter? From my own experiences with thicker cables in general. Thicker pure silver cables are rare in the industry as it counters the one aspect about silver cable properties that has a tendency to lean out a sound signature. Silver cables are the most resolving of cables but in doing so your perception of the body of sound will have a leaning effect. With a thicker pure silver cable this counters this by adding a fuller sound while retaining all the benefits of pure silver. I felt the FD7 cable was an excellent throw in cable. While the materials are the same for the new FH9. It adds to the end sound of how the FH9 presents. Absolutely superb match up with the FH9 sound. This is one of the rare instances where you don’t need to go out and spend extra on a nicer cable. You're getting an absolute superb cable that matches extremely well with the FH9.

Build.
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Titanium alloy shell means, these are gonna last. The shells are precision machine crafted titanium alloy and while it is always a good idea to treat your earphones with kid gloves. These are one set of earphones where if you were rough with them, I can honestly say they can probably take quite the beating. Love the added touch of how the cables mmcx plug has a curved Titanium alloy stem to it as well, which gives the FH9 a slick premium modern look. The cable itself is pliable for a thicker cable, a touch springy but does not have annoying noodling and is not a heavy cable despite being a bit bulky.

The housing design is clearly vented here so while passive isolation suffers, I would say isolation is about average for such designs meaning passive isolation is slightly below average for earphones in general. It's not terrible when it comes to sound leakage, but I do notice the FH9 will not be the best for your noisy commutes. They are more ideal for stationary use. What counters that moderate passive isolation is that the FH9 has some stout bass which actually works better for busy commutes. As you know outdoor noise lowers bass perception, so I suppose it will be a matter of trial if you would like to use these for your commutes. It is certainly not a bad thing to hear the surrounding environment at times. The mmcx has solid connections due to being encased in titanium alloy so I can’t see the mmcx end becoming a problem. Please do use the included mmcx tool everytime you plan on switching up the cable. Tool is perfect to help with your other mmcx earphones as well.
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Sound.
All recent Fiio offerings, the FD7, FA7S and now the FH9 all have some fundamental balanced signatures. They all have their strengths and each does its own sound to a proficient degree. The FH9 is kind of a throwback in sound design. As mentioned above these remind me of the bass on the FH3, the tuning of the FH5 and the spacious nature and fullness of the FH5S. It is a much more musical and full-bodied colored sound signature vs their FD or the FA offerings. It is another variant of their V shaped signature but this time with some tricks up its sleeves as to how you perceive this full-bodied signature. It comes with 3 tuning caps, not a tuning nozzle this time around. Since the FH9 uses two Knowles BAs in the nozzle as a design, they had to resort to screw-on caps for the tips of the nozzle with some filter screens. The negative in this particular design is that the bigger fellas with sausage fingers can and will have some issues with the tiny caps. Just take your time and you should be fine.
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The 3 caps are labeled bass red, balanced black, treble green. Both the bass and the balanced caps have a baffle design for the cap screen with the central baffle portion that has a thicker mesh material that seems to dampen the treble output of the two balanced armatures that are in the nozzle of the FH9. Bass cap has the most material in the central baffle cap so it lowers the treble perception, increasing how you hear the bass. Less material for the more balanced presentation which still leans the tuning to be a bit more for the mids and bass. Then there is the treble cap.
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Don’t be afraid of trying out the treble cap folks. I will say that out right. This cap is different from the balanced and bass cap. It does not have the baffle pattern underneath the cap mesh. Therefore, the entire sound is now open. This does not mean you're getting a healthy extra dose of treble. I can argue this actually makes the FH9 sound more proper, more higher end sounding vs having that constriction on the treble. Sound becomes more airy, more open sounding with this cap and with a proper treble emphasis. Using the Treble cap sounds less of a L shaped signature for the bass cap, a v shaped using the balanced cap to more of a U shaped signature. If you own the FH9 or would like to try it. Before you quickly judge the earphones based on its balanced filter. Try out the treble filter before judging the FH9, and please do some burning in.
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So there are some concerns with the treble BAs in the nozzle design and I can assure folks that you will not have to worry this time around. The tuning of the FH9 is much more superior to the likes of their previous FH5S that used a similar treble BA in the nozzle design. Treble this time is blended in with the sound tuning of the FH9 much better to the point where unless you know the design was as such, you will not notice how that is different from the treble BAs being inside the body cavity vs being in the nozzle. A better designed hybrid in general to achieve the end sound is what the FH9 seems to be. Lets just say I can tell Fiio took to the criticism of the BA in the nozzle design and they figured out how to make it work and in being much better balanced with the rest of the sound tuning.
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My treble perception of the FH9 has to do with the treble cap attached to the FH9. Again this does not turn your FH9 into a treble head paradise. I can see some folks thinking the FH9 treble might be a touch reserved actually and that is if you're using either the bass cap or balanced cap. One of the big changes for Fiio in their newer tunings for their earphones is a better improved treble tuning and that is clearly evident in the FH9 even with the treble cap. How I can tell is by critically listening for tonal changes using the caps. Crash cymbals do not grind in your ears and cause fatigue. This time around crash cymbals have power with a proper sustain, but sounds clean and does not step out of bounds. If anything treble has a slight subdued clarity but has ample emphasis with very good sparkle and shimmer. I can tell Fiio has “detuned’ the treble to not interfere with the rest of the tuning and in doing so the treble aspect here plays a supporting role more so than being highlighted. And this is the reason why you should not be afraid to try out the treble cap. In other words the treble cap actually sounds balanced showing some tuning finesse of the FH9 trebles tuning which is more proper this time than bringing the rays of the sun.
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The treble in the nozzle aspect of the design gives a straight shot directly closer to your ears vs the rest of the drivers so in order for proper sound balancing the treble actually has to be adjusted accordingly. This is how I can tell Fiio was able to maintain a very good balancing act with the FH9. Treble has good fundamental crisp detail and has its main emphasis in the lower to mid trebles with a decrease of treble emphasis toward the upper trebles. It has good extension with a quicker agility and you can say is more transparent due to the nozzle treble design. Its shimmer aspect is addictive, which adds to the fun aspect of the F9 tuning. The treble is aligned with how it is emphasized vs the mids and bass. With the balanced or bass this treble emphasis is attenuated a bit further.
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Mids
Mids have a remarkable fullness to its sound. It was one of the aspects of the FH9 sound that impressed me on open listen. Since burning in, I don’t feel the mids fullness or body of sound is as full sounding but it still has a large bodied sound signature that is very addictive. Mids are handled by 4 BAs for its mid to upper mids. Dynamic handles bass to lower mids so you're going to get a lot of drivers pointed at your ears to do the mids giving the mids some serious projection and space. Mids can sound a touch forward using the balanced cap to a bit laid back in the mix using the treble cap. Again I think for the overall tunings the treble or open cap gives the most natural and open sound presentation vs the other two caps but this is all subjective and the great aspect of the FH9 is that you don’t have to compromise. You're actually getting 3 sound signatures in one. I think this is the best aspect of the FH9. Up till now you got some minor changes with tuning nozzles Fiio has done for their prior earphones, but the FH9 does a great job of actually giving you 3 different sound profiles with not much sacrifices in sound quality. Mids tonality can sound a touch warm and forward to neutral in emphasis depending on which cap.
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The one consistent however is it gives a full on spacious well layered dimensional sound for the mids. 4 BAs and a large dynamic will do that for you. BAs gives an imaging and a precision factor to its sound, especially when multiple BAs are used and that is evident in the FH9. Mids have supreme control, very good precision, clarity, images amazingly well, sound separation is superb and its detail qualities are clearly evident in the hearing space of the FH9. Vocals have full on note weight be it female or male vocals and stringed instruments sounds natural. The FH9 does have BA timbre but that should not be a surprise. Tonality wise the immersive qualities far outweighs any coherence issues one might perceive with the FH9. The added plus to utilizing 4BAs to focus on the mids are the nuanced micro details like reverb and room ambient effects come through with ease on the FH9.
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I have seen rumblings of folks that do not like BA timbre and such. For those folks the FH9 might not be for them but I can tell you the Knowles BAs being used here are not some run of the mill cheap BA or do they sound unnatural. Sure something like Fiios own FD7 has better timbre, one of the very best for its price but the FH9 makes up for it with a dimensional full bodied sound signature that absolutely blankets how you're hearing your favorite tunes. Imaging and its technical ability comes full force and while I have heard some aspects done better in much higher end IEMs, the FH9 does a fine job giving you gobs of full bodied sound all up in your grill. Something akin to much higher end offerings that I own actually. Their big bold sound reminds me of Fiios version of the UM Mest and the a more mid forward IER-Z1R. The stage perception is what reminds me of these earphones. All 3 being large big with a wide earphone stage.
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Bass specialist.
Bass for the FH9 is most definitely for bass fans.It utilizes Fiios patented S.Turbo tube emanating from the bass driver. If you're taking a look at my read and want neutral or rolled off stuff. You should stop your reading right here and move on. The FH9 will not be for you. The new 2nd gen 13.6mm DLC big boy bass dynamic Fiio is using throws down some meaty physical bass. You're not getting some off the shelf bass dynamic here. You're getting one of Fiios top manufactured bass specialist dynamics and they fully utilized the larger vented shell of the FH9. I can tell the dynamic here breaths and that low bass rumble is full on. You're the type that need you some big boy bass, the FH9 can and does deliver. Even using the open treble cap there is plenty of physical bass to go around for any of your tunes. The bass cap is full on bonafide basshead. You're not a basshead you say? Time to look up a weaker bass end.
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Bass tuning is not as easy as you would figure. Too much in the way of mid bass and that starts to encroach upon the wide open mids. Too little and your tracks will lack any real soul and will be lacking that power that punch that boom stick. Since the FH9 is an open design. You will clearly hear much more bass emphasis when listening indoors. Like I mentioned previously even with the treble cap it has plenty of the low end. But since ambient noise in outdoor environments lessen bass perception. Using the balanced or if you really want that bass the bass cap will add a healthy dose of bass. Bass caps does just what it says; the tuning now focuses more on the bass end and has the most prominent bass infusion on the FH9 sound. In the mood for a big bold bass end from your earphone? You can certainly change up and crank up the bass emphasis. The balanced cap still gives a bigger bass profile but the mids are now lined up better with the bass end giving the FH9 sound a more balanced sound but at the cost of not having that full treble end of the Treble cap.
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The reason I mention the treble cap is the best sound for the FH9 is that you will now get all of it full trebles, full mids and a full bass. This works because the overall sound of the FH9 has a big canvas for sound to work with. If the stage was more intimate or confined these tunings using the caps will not work as well. Bass requires a proper stage to come correct and that is why the FH9 actually works and gives the user 3 different sound profiles to work with.

Bass quality is right up there with the quantity. It can get brawny but with that brawn comes with a high-octane rumble. It digs deeep in the mix. Bass is tight for being bigger in the profile. It is speedy too and has a supremely high-quality texture to the subs. Metal guys that love a beefy lower end yet want that bass speedy and tight. Look no further. The FH9 was made for you. Hip hop fellas want that low end grunt to be all that. I can tell you the bass end of the FH9 is supremely satisfactory and will surprise you just how beefy the bass can be using the bass caps. Going from the FH3 to FH5, FH5S and now the FH9. It is actually the hybrid series by Fiio that has that brawny bass. While their dynamic series does a good job at bass. When you dedicate Fiios top dynamics for the sole purpose of bass. This is what you get on the FH9. High quality, big authority room filling bass. So ya you have to be a bass fan. You can say the FH9 is truly more of a 5.1 system in your ears.
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In the end
The FH9 is full on with a forward bold sound signature that is very immersive in how it portrays sound. Wide, tall and deep energetic sound that will encompass what you are hearing. A hybrid should be the best of both worlds, and this is clearly what the FH9 represents. BA precision, imaging, detail sound separation with an added dimensional character due to having 4 BAs for its mids. An airy, well extended detailed shimmery treble and a bass end that lets you know these have some brawny subs with an extra slab of top sirloin in the mix. The FH9 is the disco of Fiio earphones.

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You want that club experience in an earphone presentation? The FH9 has a versatile sound but one thing is consistent. It has that bold full-bodied well-balanced sound large and in charge signature. Sure, there are others that do accuracy, detail and imaging and timbe better but be prepared to spend a whole heck of a lot more to achieve it. The FH9 is the type of earphone you throw in your ears to get your soul shaking, your blood pumping, heartbeat racing, hearing immersive renditions of your favorites. They are not the best for analyzing but analysis be damned, when you have a discotech in your ears. Absolutely one of my all-time favorites for EDM and bass genres. The FH9 is one of those guilty pleasure IEMs. You know the type. In the earphone world there is too much caught up on what is proper and what is timbrally accurate. Sometimes a bold immersive proper 5.1 in your ears is whats needed to get into my music. That is what the FH9 delivers in spades.
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They are easy to drive, are built to last and most importantly have the best FH sound ability with 3 distinctively different tunings in 1. This is absolutely one of Fiios best guilty pleasure offerings to date and if you're in the market to hear what a Fiio made earphone is all about the FH9 is most definitely for folks that want them some disco in your ears. As always, thanks for taking the time to read.
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jmwant
Thanks for the review. It was an informative read. The cable and the shells look awesome together.
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Dionietzscheus
Dionietzscheus
@Dsnuts Brilliant, detailed review, as usual. FH9 incoming. This should nicely complement my FD7, for those times when all I want is to get me some bass!!
A
adrianp
great review. purchased mine few weeks ago and already tuned them a bit. here's the eq settings i'm using for the green treble cap


Preamp: -6.4 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 81 Hz Gain -5.9 dB Q 0.24
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1559 Hz Gain 3.2 dB Q 0.66
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 6716 Hz Gain 6.2 dB Q 2.84
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 10874 Hz Gain -4.0 dB Q 3.82
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 2428 Hz Gain 2.7 dB Q 3.26
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3180 Hz Gain -2.8 dB Q 1.70
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 3967 Hz Gain 3.1 dB Q 4.88
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 12698 Hz Gain 1.5 dB Q 3.84
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 19171 Hz Gain -8.0 dB Q 1.30
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 113 Hz Gain 0.75 dB Q 3.5
Filter 11: ON PK Fc 3766 Hz Gain 0.63 dB Q -2.3
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