FIR Audio VxV

rev92

100+ Head-Fier
Fir Audio VxV
Pros: Fantastic storytelling
Those stickers!
Great case
Very comfortable cable
Cool design
Superb build quality
Non-fatigue, natural tuning
Great technical capabilities
One of the best customer services
Price is more than fair
Very comfortable
Cons: Safe tuning might not suit everybody
dscf6486c.jpg


Five x Five is the newest release from Fir Audio. It uses a 1DD + 4BA driver configuration, and its design is like nothing else on the market. This little bunny costs $999.

Sound quality for the price
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Build quality and design
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Value
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
⭐
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.



Introduction

Even though Fir Audio is one of the youngest companies in the High-End IEM market, they’ve already gained a lot of attention, thanks to their M series. Founded in 2018, these fellas have already released five different models, all of which have been quite successful among both audiophiles and professionals.

Today we’re looking at their newest release – the VxV, Five x Five, 5×5…well, you can probably call them however you want. It is a hybrid in-ear monitor with a very original approach to the design. Needless to say – these have a bunny on their faceplates. Yes, a bunny. Overall, this mascot and a couple of other things create one of the absolute best story-telling in IEM market.

It’s great to see a new company with such a different approach to marketing and previously mentioned story-telling. These two things are often undervalued by many manufacturers. I’ve been working in marketing though, also in the IEM industry and I truly believe, that this is where the interest in your brand starts – in creating a fun, attractive story around your product.

Packaging

Every Day Carry – Fir Audio couldn’t have been more right with that.

That bunny theme leads us directly to the unboxing experience, which is a very pleasant experience.

First of all, the original packaging comes in outer cardboard, and it is wrapped with bunny-themed tape. How pleased I was when I first saw it in the hands of the courier. I remember thinking – damn, these fellas really know their stuff, they even used a freaking custom tape to further emphasize the whole story about the IEM itself.

Just after I closed the door, I quickly rushed to get my butcher knife and I ripped this little guy apart. Inside, there’s an original box with…you guessed it, a bunny on top!

VxV – Even though I’m not a big fan of this kind of theme, I can’t stop loving the overall feeling and story around this IEM.

Other than that, it’s a pretty basic white cardboard box with a yellow seal. But don’t make it fool you, this seal has something very important in terms of this review. “EVERY DAY CARRY”, which is written on it is essentially the perfect way to describe the VxV, but more on that later on.

Inside, you’ll find a round leather case with that fantastic Fir Audio logo on top. Open it up, and you’ll find the IEMs themselves, the cable and a pretty generic set of eartips, so I won’t waste your time with those. Lastly, you’re getting a set of stickers, and I must admit – I’m a huge fan. They are quality, fun and company/product oriented and you could proudly stick them to your laptop or basically anything. Yet another fantastic aspect of story-telling.


I believe you cannot go to space with the VxV, but this little buddy seems to not really care about it.

Cable

Attention to detail is absolutely extraordinary.

The cable included is actually one of the absolutely best stock cables I’ve ever used, at least in terms of comfort and flexibility. It is a silver-plated copper mmcx cable terminated in 2.5mm, which is both the least popular choice on the current market, but at the same time there are the most adapters going from 2.5mm to 3.5mm and 4.4mm, so that’s fine.

Onto the most important thing about the cable – it is fantastically well-built, super flexible and comfortable. If you’re about an absolute sound perfection, you’re probably gonna replace it anyway. But if you simply want a good cable that is a joy to use with your new IEMs, I truly believe this is an absolute stunner. Also, thanks to its coaxial geometry and clear TPU jacket it simply looks like fine jewelry in good lighting conditions. Fantastic.

Build quality and design

Well thought, well designed and well executed.

I’ll start by saying that the VxV feels and looks much better than it does on the official photos (not to say, that they look bad, not at all), but when I touched them for the first time, I’m not gonna lie – it was a positive surprise.

The shells are made of Hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont ® engineering plastic. They feel very solid and lightweight in the hand. The shape is nearly identical to the M-series, which provides great comfort.

Design-wise it’s a great IEM as well. The faceplate of the left IEM has a Fir Audio logo on it, while the right one is a home for yet another bunny. They do reflect the light a little bit and look stunning in good lighting conditions. Overall, a well-build and fun looking IEM.

Comfort

One of the most comfortable IEMs I’ve ever used.

As stated previously, the VxV inherited the shape from its older brothers in M series. That resulted in a very ergonomic shape that is not too big and sits just about perfectly in the ear. Thanks to the MMCX connectors, the cable can spin and you can easily put it behind your ears, and the overall shape of the IEM makes them easy to insert.

On top of that, the nozzle has an elongated shape which is beneficial to use those in a deep-fit fashion. All of that makes the VxV one of the most comfortable universal IEM I’ve used.

Tech

The fun begins even before turning on the music.

In terms of the tech inside the VxV, there’s not too much to say. It uses a 6mm dynamic driver for the low-end, a 2BA driver for the midrange, 1BA for the high frequencies and 1BA for ultra-high.

Also, there are two Direct Aperture technologies from the M-series implemented: The Direct Bore and Tactile Bass, as well as a modified ATOM module, that provides a pressure-free listening experience.

All of that makes for a refined hybrid construction, which may not be too revolutionary, but the focus is being held on taking the well-known hybrid array and polishing it in a well-thought manner.

Sound

Tech meets enjoyment.

Let’s put one thing straight in the beginning – The days of calling $1000 IEMs “High-End” are long gone. With that change, more and more manufacturers are pushing this segment hard, releasing some screaming edge constructions, utilizing EST drivers, Planars and many others. Why am I even mentioning that? Because the VxV offers a different approach to this segment. Instead of pushing as many drivers and as many technologies inside, these are all about being refined and just fantastically tuned.

The bass was the thing that surprised me from the get-go. “Is that really a DD driver?” I thought. Then I focused a little bit and yea, it is. But it is tuned as a BA bass, which is quite impressive actually. Flat, clean, fast and precise, with just a hint of rumble. If you’re looking for a hard-hitting, elevated bass response – these are definitely not your IEMs.
Nonetheless, it has a lot of strengths. Just imagine a well-tuned, precise BA bass and add a bit of an attack and punch from a DD driver, and you’re basically getting the VxV’s bass response. I haven’t heard a single track when it was too weak, or too strong. It might not satisfy bass-heads, but everybody else should be pretty happy with it.
An album by Nils Lofgren called “Acoustic Live” showed how natural and revealing this bass is. I strongly recommend checking this one out.

The midrange is natural, with a slight focus on the lower and upper parts. That means that male vocals have this slight warmth and body to them, which is the best thing that could have happened. Also, thanks to the latter, female vocals are well-pronounced, and they step forward a bit, resulting in a captivating and energetic sound. Melody Gardot really shines thanks to that, with her voice pleasantly vibrating and being full of air. Actually, the VxV has a tendency to create a sense of spaciousness around the mid frequencies. This reminds me of one IEM on the market, which does a similar thing – Vision Ears Elysium.
In terms of detail retrieval and timbre, these are basically as good as it gets in a $1000 price bracket.

What a good tuning can make.

The treble is also natural, extended and pleasant sounding. It may lack a bit of an edge if you’re into more Asia-oriented tuning, but hey, there’s plenty of options on the market if you like that kind of presentation. Nonetheless, it’s a very neutral kind of treble that is neither dark nor bright sounding. A good amount of details, yet it’s smooth and refined. It complements the rest of the frequency range perfectly, giving you that signature that is both very universal yet engaging.
While metal could use a bit more energy, it’s still a pleasure to listen to with VxV. Overall, this IEM is well suited to every music genre thanks to its neutral presentation.
Let’s get back to Nils Lofgren “Acoustic Live” album for a while. This is a great showcase of acoustic guitar’s sound with a lot of strings action. The Five x Five handles this music perfectly if you’re looking for an overall natural and pleasant listening experience. Of course, you’re getting more energy and an overall more spectacular sound with IEMs like Campfire Audio Ara or Unique Melody Mest, but those 2 might be tiring after some time actually. You won’t be having this problem with the VxV.

Based on the previous impressions you might actually get a hint of what staging characteristics the VxV has, and you’d be totally right. It sounds natural, simple as that. It’s wide and deep, but it’s not exaggerated in any way. Its biggest strength is imaging, provided by the great separation between instruments and fantastic layering. Thanks to that, the IEM creates a musical sphere around your head, with each instrument placed in its place. While it’s not as impressive as MEST or Solaris 2020 by Campfire Audio, it has its own way of creating an immersive and lifelike soundstage.

I’ve got a couple of thoughts about the Fir Audio VxV. I believe this is an IEM that is easy to overlook as a reviewer. I usually find myself looking for something exciting, different, even crazy about the product, that might differentiate it from the rest of the market. That’s totally true with the Mest, Solaris 2020 or Elysium for example. And then we’ve got the VxV, which stands out by…not having anything that stands out.

And that’s its biggest strength. Remember the “Every day carry” sentence written on the packaging? That’s totally it. This is a remarkable IEM for your everyday listening sessions. Pairs with just about everything, sounds great with every music genre and could meet everybody’s expectations.

A great “everyday” companion.


VS Campfire Audio Dorado 2020

These two are as different as they could be. The Dorado is a spectacular sounding IEM with heavily boosted bass frequencies and an edgy treble response, resulting in a fun and super engaging sound. VxV on the other hand is much more neutral, calm and universal sounding, and they will suit more people – no doubt about it.

VS Campfire Audio ARA

These two are also different. While both are neutral sounding, the Ara has more edge to the upper midrange and lower treble, resulting in a more brave sounding IEM, which might be more fun sounding in acoustic music. The VxV has a better bass response thanks to the dynamic driver and thicker notes in the midrange.

VS Vision Ears EVE20

I somehow see the EVE20 and VxV as the IEMs competing for the same type of customer. While the EVE is a good every day IEM, I find the newest release from Fir Audio to check more boxes. It is definitely better made, has a more intriguing design and on top of that, the sound is more detailed and neutral.


VS Campfire Audio Solaris 2020

The Solaris 2020 is a thicker and more analog sounding of the two, no doubt about it. It also has a bigger soundstage and more refined, moist vocals. The VxV on the other hand is more neutral and has a more flat bass response. While the CFA is all about charming the listener, the Fir Audio aims more for an easy and forgiving listening experience.

Down to the rabbit hole.

Pairing

The Fir Audio VxV pairs well with just about everything. It sounds good with Shanling UA1, but tended to sound a bit too dry with that combination.
The JDSLabs Atom stack provided a great energetic boost, which gave them a bit more excitement.
Cayin N3Pro has been a great companion for the Five x Five, both in ultralinear and in balanced mode. While the ultralinear warmed up the midrange and turned them into a quite warm and lush sounding IEM, the balanced output gave me similar results as the Atom stack.

Lastly, a brief listening session with the Lotoo Paw Gold Touch resulted in a stunning amount of details and the staging being absolutely great for a $1000 pair of in-ear monitors. This pair-up could be a bit too neutral and uhm…unexciting for some, but to say it sounded great in terms of technical performance, would be an understatement.

Summary

If Fir Audio continues to launch such great products so often, they’ll be one of the best IEM manufacturers in no time.

Fir Audio VxV is a phenomenal IEM tuned nearly to perfection. Fantastic, one of a kind story-telling and unboxing experience make for a different, fresh approach to handling a rather expensive audio product. Great stock cable and build quality, in addition to a very mature and pleasant tuning, makes it one of the absolute best IEM that 1000 dollars could get you in the present market. Add an absolutely mind-blowing and super friendly customer service, and you’ll end up with the product that you’re gonna like immediately.

Highly recommended.




Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Campfire Audio Dorado 2020, Vega 2020, Lime Ears Aether R, Vision Ears EVE20, Elysium, Meze Rai Penta, Audeze LCD3, Campfire Audio Ara, Noble Audio Khan, Final A8000, Unique Melody MEST, Campfire Audio Solaris 2020, Solaris LE
  • Sources– Cayin N3Pro, Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, Cayin N5ii, Fiio M15, Cayin N6ii, Cayin N8, JDSLabs Atom stack, SMSL SU-9 + SH-9
corgifall
corgifall
Great review! I really need to try these out sometime.
  • Like
Reactions: rev92
rev92
rev92
Thank you! Yea, definitely give them a try :)

justrest

500+ Head-Fier
Fir Audio VxV
Pros: Fantastic Sound
Great Ergonomics
Material and Build Quality
High Quality Leather Case,
Fatique Free listening experience
Desing
Comfort
Price and Performance ratio
Cons: Some people find bass light
Fir Audio VxV

Before starting the review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details. Also, special thanks to Bogdan for this great opportunity.

img_3300-1.jpg
img_3338-1.jpg


Specifications
  • 1x Dynamic Driver
  • 2x Mid-Driver, Balanced Armature
  • 1x High-Driver, Balanced Armature
  • 1x Ultra-High Driver, Balanced Armature
  • MMCX Connectors
  • 2.5mm TRRS Balanced Connector
  • Chassis: Hybrid 6000 Aluminum and DuPontⓇ Engineering Plastic

img_3310-1.jpg
img_3337-1.jpg


Package Details
  • Leather Carrying Case
  • VxV Earphone
  • Stock SPC Cable
  • 4 pairs Silicon Tips
  • 1 pair Foam Tips

img_3312-1.jpg
img_3336-1.jpg


Test Equipment
  • Opus #1
  • Lotoo Paw Gold
  • THX AAA 789 & Topping D50s
  • JDS Labs Odac and Amp
  • Earment TR-Amp

img_3314-1.jpg
img_3335-1.jpg


Package, Design, and Isolation:

Fir Audio VxV comes in a cute little white cardboard box. The tops of the box displays a Firry (rabbit) logo, which is designed and used for the first time with the VxV. It is a wonderfully cute logo and I hope Fir Audio will use it with their future products. Do not be fooled by the plain and simple cardboard! After opening the box, you are welcomed into the luxurious world of Fir Audio with the high-quality leather carrying case. The black and rounded shaped leather carrying box is made of soft quality leather, with a Firry logo on the top of the lid. Overall, the quality feel of the carrying case, with its soft leather material and its flawless stitches, is simply wonderful.

Moving inside of the box, we have the obvious earphones and cables, some silicone and foam tips, and various Firry stickers. The stock, silver-plated copper cable is excellent in both construction and material quality. The cable comes with a 2.5mm TRRS balanced terminal end, so those who want to use it with 3.5mm and 4.5mm sources will need to grab an appropriate adapter. The cable is ergonomically very comfortable, extremely light, and tangle-free. The connectors are MMCX and have a very rigid, and solid feel. The pre-shaped ear hooks offer good ergonomics and provide a pretty secure fit behind the ear. A BIG Thank You to Fir Audio for not using memory wires in their cables. The stock cable is so nice, in fact, that you will not feel the need to use an aftermarket cable.

The body design is extremely cute with the Firry logo on the faceplate(I really like the logo). I’d love to get some multi-colored markers and paint it wildly with colors like a nice purple/green/pink mix. Besides being cute, the body is also made of high quality materials, including a combination of hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPontⓇ plastics, which give the VxV a very high-quality feel. The body is basically built like a tank and feels quite solid. The faceplate has a white Firry logo on its right and a Fir Audio logo on its left. Like Fir Audio’s other models, the VxV only has one color option. I also really like the white and black color mix, which creates a very nice contrast. The body has a relatively small size that fits comfortably in the ear. Its rounded design does not cause any pain or discomfort in the ear, which makes it possible to listen for long, long hours without the need to take any breaks. The nozzle is average in length and also helps to provide good isolation.

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about the technical details. As you may or may not know, VxV has a 5 drivers hybrid design in each earphone. These consist of a 6mm dynamic driver that takes care of the bass, 2 armature drivers for mid coverage, 1 balanced armature driver for high coverage, and 1 balanced armature driver for super high frequencies. Of course, there are some technologies inside the shell that improve the sound quality, such as Fir Audio’s patented design, “Direct Aperture Acoustics,” which provides a more physical feel in bass frequencies. Additionally, the ATOM (Air Transferring Open Module) system offers a more comfortable, airy, and spacious listening experience, as well as keeping the VxV fatigue-free. I’d like to say that I definitely feel this Atom feature while listening, which I certainly can. I listened with an average sound level for 5 hours without the sensation of ripping the earphones out of my ears after I was done, which I think is a record for me. In conclusion, with magnificent body quality, design, and technologies, the VxV is an absolutely fantastic IEM.

img_3317-1.jpg
img_3318-1.jpg


Sound

The VxV is an earphone that plays every frequency in a balanced way, does not put any frequency in the foreground while suppressing others, pushes mid frequencies forward, keeps the bass tight, and extends the treble very well. At a technical level, it is incredibly successful, especially in its mid-frequency which I feel is the star of the show. The textured, emotional, and forward presentation of the mids makes it very enjoyable to listen to vocal-based or instrumental music. The upper frequencies are crystal clear and extend extremely well without sibilance. The bass isn’t super powerful but it is not forgotten when it kicks in and is surprisingly tight and fast for the dynamic driver. The stage is incredibly wide, which I believe is due to the ATOM system. Solaris is one of the few earphones with the largest stage I’ve listened to, and the VxV is wider and more spacious than that. I can easily say that the VxV is the best earphone that I’ve listened to in 2020, as I received it near the end of 2020. I’ve listened to many musical genres with the VxV, such as Classical, Progressive House, Jazz, Pop, etc, and I have never felt a shortage in any genre. Basically, the VxV is a great all-rounder earphone.

The VxV has great detail and resolution on its high frequency and there is absolutely no roll-off, and no sibilance either. Balanced is perhaps the most accurate description of the VxV. Although the treble is extremely well extended and sparkles, it is quite balanced and does not exaggerate in any way. The natural presentation does not create a dry and clinical atmosphere. The trebles are bright and crystal clear, and with all the sources that I used, and never tended to be harsh. The performance of the stringed instruments is absolutely great, and I highly recommend trying them out with the VxV.

The mid-frequency is pretty natural and transparent without any coloration. It is so smooth and clean that I’ve listened to vocals and instrumentals more with the VxV than any other IEM I’ve tried. Although the mid is forward, it is not thick and meaty and it does not create a mid hump and stress the stage. The instruments are spread over an extremely wide area in a spacious way. As an example from string instruments, it does not play with any coloration by exaggerating the sounds from the thick notes, on the contrary, it offers a very natural and transparent concert. In terms of detail and resolution, it definitely does things above its price. It is possible to catch and listen to the sub-details in the track with critical listening. Both male and female vocal performance is great here. Although the mids are forward in presentation, the vocals are not right up in your ear, which is awesome.

The 6mm dynamic driver is responsible for bass frequencies and does a great job here. The bass can go pretty deep and has a decent amount of punch, but it should be noted that it is not at a bass-head level. The beats are strong and punchy as well as tight and controlled. The dynamic driver acts as a balanced armature driver and achieves great recovery time. Even in very fast passages, it does not lose its control and does not tend to turn muddy. It’s an extremely fast driver, although it cannot compete with the balanced armature in terms of speed, it gets very close. The bass is strong and doesn’t exaggerate, which is something the VxV does very well. The bass has a delightful tuning in quantity and intensity and in no way dominates other frequencies. I can say I was amazed by the performance of the bass with certainty, and the VxV is a great performer in this area.

Lastly, the soundstage is another area I love about the VxV. The stage is extremely wide and airy and the ATOM system creates an extremely realistic atmosphere, making it easy to listen to for long hours without fatigue. The stage definitely doesn’t feel artificial, like those Bose Acoustimass Home Theatre systems do. It puts an excellent amount of distance between instruments and makes them very easy to distinguish.

img_3319-1.jpg
img_3320-1.jpg

Comparisons

VxV vs Rai Penta:


Both the Rai Penta and VxV share some similarities in materials and technical specifications. Both earphones are hybrids and they have 5 drivers per side, with 1 dynamic driver and 4 balanced armature drivers. Although the configuration is the same, they are very different in tuning. Both earphones are beautifully made with aluminum bodies. Rai Penta is slightly smaller but somehow the VxV provides a better seal and fits for my ear. The Penta also comes with a high quality custom cable but the VxV’s cable gives off a higher quality feel. Overall, they both have great build quality and materials. Soundwise, the Penta has more tamed and smooth trebles while the VxV has better sparkle, details, and expression while providing a much cleaner and clearer sound. The mids are forward, transparent, and natural on the VxV while the Penta is more bodied, warm, and smooth. The clear and airy presentation of the VxV provides better details and a fresh atmosphere in the mids while the Penta feels more limited and narrower, but it has a nice organic texture. Vocals are slightly more forward and have great tonality on the VxV. The Penta is bold in male vocals and somehow feels veiled to me after switching back and forth between the two. Bass goes deeper and hits harder with the Penta while the VxV is faster and more controlled with better detail and also bass notes are absolutely better on the VxV as per my taste. The soundstage is wider and deeper on the VxV and puts more air between instruments than the Penta does. Overall, both are great earphones but the winner here is the VxV for its technical capability, tonality, and overall performance.

img_3321-1.jpg
img_3322-1.jpg


VxV vs Campfire Audio Solaris:
The Solaris is one of my all-time favorite earphones with its looks, sound, and design, but today it has to deal with a very tough competitor. I have the original Solaris, not the 2020 model. Good luck Solaris! Both earphones are beautifully made with aluminum and their build and material qualities are fantastic. The Solaris has a relatively bigger body than the VxV and sits well in the ear, but the VxV provides a better seal and fits without a doubt. The VxV doesn’t require any frequent adjustments. The Solaris is a 4 drivers hybrid earphone and has 1 dynamic driver with 3 balanced armatures per side. The VxV has 1 more driver but that really isn’t much of an advantage. I really hate the ‘more drivers the better’ sound arguments. Well, it’s time to get down to business: which one sounds better. They both have a similar extension on trebles but the VxV extends slightly better and has more sparkle. VxV trebles are more natural and transparent while Solaris’ is warm, smooth, and creamy. The details and resolution of both are pretty similar but due to its clean and clear presentation, the VxV provides more in this department. The mids are more bodied and textured on the VxV and its clean and clear presentation continues on here as well. The Solaris is warmer and smoother and is more V-Shaped in the mid area. Vocals are laid back and more distanced in the Solaris while the VxV has a forward and more emotional presentation. The bass is slightly more powerful, punchy, and deep on the Solaris at the cost of being slower, where the VxV has better decay, control, and tightness. I thought the Solaris had a huge soundstage and its stereo-like performance is unbeatable but the VxV has a wider, deeper, and more holographic soundstage than the Solaris. Wow. The Solaris is super sensitive and you might hear some background noise from your source, but the VxV has a pitch-black background. I really like the Solaris and its warm, musical, and enjoyable presentation but I like the VxV more with its balanced, transparent, and beautifully detailed presentation. Good job rabbit.

img_3325-1.jpg
img_3330-1.jpg


VxV vs Oriolus Percivalli:
The Oriolus Percivalli is another great gem to me, and I always enjoy listening to any genre with it. It is more than double the cost of the VxV, so it is not a cheap earphone. The Percivalli is also a 5 driver hybrid IEM and has 1 dynamic driver, 2 balanced armature drives, and 2 electrostatic drivers per unit. The Percivalli is made with resin and has a wooden faceplate with a smokey grey translucent body. The materials and build quality are top-notch, just like the VxV. They are pretty similar in size and both provide great comfort in the ear. Soundwise, the Percivalli is more engaging, warm, and musical while the VxV4 has great transparency with fantastic balance and a natural presentation. The Percivalli’s treble has more quantity and sparkle, and also has better technical performance. Surprisingly, the VxV holds its own against the electrostatic weapons of the Percivalli. The VxV is slightly less extended but the clean and clear presentation with fantastic transparency brings out some great performance. The mid frequencies are similar overall, but the Percivalli has organic and warm mids while the VxV has a slightly more forward and natural presentation. Vocals are slightly more forward on the VxV, and the Percivalli has laid-back vocals but both male and female sounds are just a bit thicker. The clean presentation of the VxV feels great in details and resolution, but the Percivalli pulls ahead slightly as there is no significant difference. The bass is more powerful, heavy, and punchy on the Percivalli but the VxV answers back with its fast, controlled and tight bass. When you play both earphones back-to-back like an A/B test, it becomes more obvious. First, the Percivalli’s bass becomes more excited and fun, but after that you realize it feels slow and perhaps even muddy when compared to the VxV’s bass performance. It is more obvious with EDM-like music. The soundstage is more open, airy, and white on the VxV which makes it very unique, but the Percivalli also has an excellent and fresh soundstage where you never feel congested. Overall, the Percivalli is better in some areas, but it’s over double the cost of the VxV, which gives a lot for a lot less money.

img_3342-1.jpg
img_3341-1-1.jpg


VxV vs QDC Anole VX:
The QDC Anole VX is well known and is a pretty famous earphone in the audiophile community. It has a fully acrylic body and is simply beautiful. Unlike the hybrid VxV, the Anole has 10 balanced armature drivers per side. The build and material quality is fantastic, much like the VxV, but its design provides a better seal and fits like a glove. The Anole VX has tuning switches that you can make minor adjustments on sound and I have all the switches turned on. The VX is also more than double the cost. The sound signatures are quite similar but they are different in some areas. The trebles are similar in quantity and quality but the VxV has better clarity and cleaner presentation. The VX mixes both technicality and musicality that present a great harmony on the mid frequencies, while the VxV is slightly less fun but it has a slightly more forward and emotional presentation. Both earphones are great in transparency and technicality, but they don’t drown you in the details either. The bass is more clinical, drier, and faster on the VX. The VX definitely takes advantage of the balanced armature drivers here. On the other hand, the VxV’s bass response is fantastic for a dynamic driver that has great recovery time, and keeps the bass tight and controlled. On the VX, bass notes mostly come from low mids while the VxV has a better sub-bass feel and goes deeper but in much lower quantity than the VX. The VxV definitely has a wider and deeper soundstage and has a better airy feel while the Anole VX is slightly narrow and doesn’t have the feeling of freshness like the VxV has. Overall, both earphones are great and it really comes down to preference, but the VxV has bang for your buck.

img_3334-1.jpg
img_3332-1-1.jpg
img_3339-1.jpg


Verdict
This is my first Fir Audio product review, and I had a chance to listen to the M5 for around 5 minutes which was awesome with its thunderous bass with hyper-detailed lights. After listening to the M5, my expectation was quite high for the VxV before I got it, and the VxV did not disappoint. When we look at the pricing of the VxV on the Fir Audio line up, we see that it has an almost entry-level position, but don’t be fooled! The VxV is an earphone that salutes the TOTL level with its sound performance, material quality, and ATOM system for long listening hours. It is a fantastic earphone with an ability to handle all kinds of genres and its easy-to-love sound presentation. I know it’s hard to use price/performance definitions for $1,000 earphones, but these days, TOTL status earphones almost go up to $5,000 and the VxV deserves to be recognized as a fantastic earphone with a reasonable price.

honey-boney.jpg

HansBarbarossa

New Head-Fier
FIR Audio VxV: chasing a naughty hare
Pros: Sound, ergonomics, design, build quality, kit, price.
Cons: No (if you leave the price behind the brackets).
FIR Audio VxV: chasing a naughty hare

Hi everyone!

Last summer, we told you about the amazing custom CIEM (there is also a universal version of IEM) earphones FiR Audio M5. And now, in parallel to its cool M-line (M2, M3, M4, M5), this American brand with funny bunny ears on the logo (how I like them) has created its new sound wonder under the VxV (5x5) index, which has slightly different, but no less interesting sound signature and is produced exclusively in the IEM version.

This model has, as you might guess from its name, five drivers: one dynamic (DD) and four armature (BA) drivers, as well as a built-in atom-X module. The sound of today's hero is somewhat different from its also "five-fingered" brother M5, built according to a different hybrid scheme, using an electrostatic driver as a super twitter (1-ESTAT, 1-BA High, 1BA High-Mid, 1-BA Mid, 1-DD Low).

I must say right away that I was delighted with the acquaintance with VxV. The sound, design and ergonomics are fully consistent with the model's slogan: EVERY DAY CARRY. Yes, you always want to have such musical and visual beauty with you and take it with you.

In general, it seems to me, given the quite humane price tag for such a sound, FIR VxV may become one of the most interesting IEM representatives of 2020 in the category "above average". And much higher, this must be emphasized.


So, we ran after the hare, he knows the right way!



01.jpg



Text by Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa



Specification
1x Dynamic Driver
2x Mid-driver Balanced Armature
1x High-driver Balanced Armature
1x Ultra-high Driver Balanced Armature
MMCX connectors
2.5mm TRRS balanced connector
Chassis: Hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont ® engineering plastic.



Appearance kit and ergonomics

VxV IEMs are delivered in a small laconic white cardboard box with a fun and witty design. On its front surface there is a drawing of a mischievous hare "Firry" in a space helmet, and his ears are also victorious two fingers up - "Victory", and sly eyes with a nose indicate the model "VxV" (5x5). Detailed specifications can be found on the back of the package.

02.jpg

03.jpg



The box is protected by a yellow seal, which contains the brand's logo, model name and the already familiar motto "EVERY DAY CARRY", as well as the proud clarification that the product is made in the USA.

04.jpg

05.jpg

06.jpg



In the box we find a stylish black leather case-washer with the brand logo, designed for storing and carrying IEM, and a scattering of various beautiful stickers, as well as warranty documents.


The whole set neatly fit inside the case: VxV IEM with a removable cable (MMCX / 2.5 mm balance) installed in them, 4 pairs of silicone and one pair of foam tips, and a brush for cleaning the sound guides.
In general, there is everything we need here that we may need to use these IEMs.


07.jpg

08.jpg

09.jpg



Black IEM shells are made of aluminum, and the front panel - faceplate - is a white thermoplastic (Delrin) with a metal central insert. On the left IEM there is a logo of the brand in the form of bunny ears, on the right - the very winning hare we first met at the very beginning of the review. Everything looks stylish, cute and humorous - I really like it.

The elegant teardrop-shaped VxV body is quite lightweight, durable and extremely comfortable. It is smooth and tactile to the touch. The straight sound pipe is covered with a metal mesh that protects the headphones from moisture and sulfur. On the upper side of the shell there is a connector for a removable cable. The IEM is expected to be worn behind the ear.


11.jpg


Nice braided cable made of silver-plated copper litz wire. It is silvery white in color, elastic, MMCX connectors with a "key", balanced jack TRRS 2.5 mm, and a splitter made in the same style. The cable length is 1.2 meters. If you wish, you can replace the cable with any other with MMCX connectors, although personally to me it seems very attractive and effective. Well, in my case, the cable was replaced, but due to the fact that it is much more convenient for me to use a regular 3.5 mm jack. And the fact that I already have a cool cable that fits VxV connectors made me want to replace it.

12.jpg

13.jpg

14.jpg



As I mentioned, this IEM model has a hybrid design and is built on five drivers: four BAs and one dynamic (DD, 6mm) with an integrated Atom module. Let me remind you that the Atom-X is a metal cylinder-valve that acts as an acoustic filter for fine-tuning the sound of headphones. It also releases the air lock that forms between the earpiece and the ear drum. Thus, the pressure on the eardrum is reduced, and our hearing is not exposed to any risks.

15.jpg

16.jpg




The VxV uses the tubeless technology we saw with the FIR "M" series, but this time in a slightly different design, like a reactor.

18.jpg

19.jpg



I support this innovative approach in every possible way. FIR Audio engineers are trying to bring technical innovations into every new development, and they are great at it! The brand's designers are also keeping up with them, creating a unique IEM look from FIR. As a result, we get, like this time, a thing that looks great, is incredibly convenient, and is extremely interestingly implemented from a technical point of view.


21.jpg





After the first acquaintance (kit, appearance, workmanship and convenience of these IEMs), I sincerely liked the VxV with great sympathy, but the most important thing is ahead of us - let's move on to the sonic yummy that is hidden inside these IEM!


Sound impressions

Listening (audio testing) was conducted on: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, Lotoo PAW S1, iBasso DX220 (AMP7), iBasso 220 MAX, QLS QA-361, iFI micro iDSD BL & iFi HIP DAC.

The VxV were burn-in for 50 hours before listening.

With all sound sources, the earphones played at a decent level.

I strongly recommend that you take a responsible approach to the tips selection process, as it makes a noticeable contribution to the creation of a sound picture.


22.jpg

23.jpg



The sound of VxV is balanced, with a well-developed low-frequency range, tight, precise punch, smooth, charming and rich, emotional mids, as well as clear and unobtrusive high frequencies. The audio landscape is drawn broadly, in contrast, moderately expressive and naturalistic.





The main emphasis here is on maximizing the potential of the mid-frequency range, while Lows and Highs are clearly and harmoniously woven into the overall unusually melodic sound canvas.


This is a neutral and at the same time extremely expressive manner of sound presentation, with a bodily filling of audio images in the mid-range register, a light velvet background added by low frequencies, as well as an accurate, unobtrusive and clear high-frequency range. VxV strikes a good balance between serious academic manners and the emotional component of the music. I also note their competent configuration of these IEMs with good driver matching.

In general, universal IEMs have a slight advantage over custom CIEMs, which, I suppose, not everyone knows about. The fact is that with the help of thoughtful and leisurely selection of tips, you can achieve various nuances in the sound. So personally, after playing a little alternately with different tips, I opted for small silicone single-leaf tips. This variation makes the VxV sound as neutral as possible, only gently adding emotion to the mid-highs. Another good variation with two-flanged silicone or foam tips. But here, for the most part, everything will depend on the diameter and structure of your ear canal. In any case, try to keep the IEM as deep as possible in the ear and the tip to close the ear canal tightly. Well, okay, let's get back to the sound experience directly.


26.jpg



These IEMs perfectly build a stereo panorama and have good detail, presenting compositions wide, spacious and very musical.


The bass for the dynamic driver is pretty accurate and fast, with good control, tight punch, and good texture. In fact, if I didn’t know that the VxV has a dynamic driver installed, I would probably think that it is a BA receiver.

Well, the truth is, FIR managed to masterfully and gracefully make the manner of sound something between the warmth of DD and the bite of BA.

The bass is delivered quite evenly and smoothly, with a slight casual accent in the lower mids. It clearly interacts with the mid-range register, complementing it with depth and rhythmic basis. The drum set sounds accurate and rather polished: the rumblings of beats briskly and fractionally scatter on both sides of the delighted listener. Midbass is almost on par with the middle.



The mids is flat, smooth and natural. Here, each musical image is endowed with volume and its own bodily basis. This is an extremely melodic manner, where all sounds or instruments are in the right place in space. Strings, brass, piano and vocals sound gracefully and at the same time monumental. It is also worth noting the overall smoothness, good detail and harmonious work with micro and macro contrast.

There is a light and elegant rise in the upper mids, which adds gloss to the vocals, and expressiveness and sophistication to the strings. This was done as clearly and correctly as possible, you will not find fault. The sound canvas is drawn harmoniously, reliably, with a spreading stereo panorama, in neutral and expressive colors. It is a well-balanced, smooth and at the same time emotional performance, where all the elements of the composition are presented accurately, large and multifaceted.



High frequencies are reproduced clearly and harmoniously. Their quantity and quality also does not cause any serious criticism. They harmoniously contribute to the overall sound picture, precisely matching the play of the entire frequency range. The register is transmitted cleanly, accurately and distinctly, without harshness and distortion. This is an authentic and maximally correct manner, with good articulation, served in a light, graceful and comfortable manner.


27.jpg

29.jpg



In terms of genre preferences, FIR VxVs are not whimsical at all. They play instrumental music, jazz, electronic, rock, and brutal genres quite interestingly.

I am sure that quite a few people will like this approach to sound tuning.


Conclusion

FIR VxV is definitely a good model!

These IEMs have a remarkable appearance, high-quality assembly, excellent ergonomics, a decent kit, outstanding technical implementation, and as a result - great sound!

Well, their slogan - EVERY DAY CARRY - was written not for the sake of a catchphrase. The model has received such a competent sound setting that you can listen to music and enjoy it from morning to evening and from dusk to dawn - there will be no discomfort or other unwanted side effects.

At the same time, the manner of sounding FIR VxV, in my opinion, can satisfy the tastes of both the widest circle of music lovers and demanding audiophiles.

It remains only to inform about the price of this pleasure. You can purchase the VxV model on the official website firaudio.com for $ 999. Considering all the above mentioned advantages, I recommend FIR VxV for purchase without a shadow of a doubt. These headphones are simply made for endless listening pleasure.

Attachments

  • 17.jpg
    17.jpg
    329.4 KB · Views: 0
  • 22.jpg
    22.jpg
    524.9 KB · Views: 0

Zelda

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Solid build quality
Comfortable design and more relaxed fit
Sound quality: Detailed, airy and open. Accuracy, speed, imaging
Cons: Accessories (lack of quantity/quality)
(Uninspiring unboxing?)
Review – Fir Audio VxV (5x5 / Five x Five)

vxv (1).JPG


Website – Fir Audio

vxv (2).JPG

Features
1x Dynamic Driver
2x Mid-driver Balanced Armature
1x High-driver Balanced Armature
1x Ultra-high Driver Balanced Armature
MMCX connectors
2.5mm TRRS balanced connector
Chassis: Hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont engineering plastic


Specifications
Frequency response: 20-20Khz
Impedance: 16 ohm


Price: $999

Official VxV page.

The VxV unit here was provided directly by Fir Audio company for review.

vxv (3).JPG

The Fir VxV arrived in a compact, simple and plain box. Not sure if this is the official box and package or not, but you get everything inside a white cardboard box with a few funny stickers of Firry, the company mascot, and a round leather-like case where the VxV earphones, cable and included ear tips are all tightly arranged. The cable is already attached and the tips selection is limited to very generic single silicone tips in 3 sizes, a pair of small bi-flange and a pair of foam tips, and a cleaning tool. Nothing fancy, nothing special, and if made to cut prices as low as possible, then there is no room to complain.

vxv (4).JPG

Design

The Fir VxV has a fixed over-ear IEM fit in a metal and plastic mix and fairly comfortable shells. Build quality is very good made from aluminum for the main chassis (inner body side, nozzle and faceplate base) and DuPont plastic applied on the outer faceplates contour. It is only available in the black and white color theme, that while less fancy, does look sleek. The only part that breaks this discreet look would be the added artwork on both faceplates, with the rabbit ears company logo on the left side and the more cartoon-like image on the right side of featuring the company ‘mascot’, “Firry”. The nozzles have proper length and are angled upwards (40~45º) for a more natural fit into the ear-canal, and have the needed lip to hold ear tips easily. A filter is placed deeper inside the nozzle tube, so would be challenging to replace it if ever needed. The design may not look specifically ergonomic in shape but in practice fits really comfortable in the ears and the isolation is surprisingly good for everyday use. I should note that the included ear tips didn’t work well for me and aftermarket ones were needed. Personally, I settled with larger bi-flange tips for best seal, comfort, isolation, and ultimately, optimal sound results.

vxv (5).JPG

The VxV adopts a traditional hybrid drivers’ formula, and as its name suggests has five drivers per side. A combination of a single dynamic driver and four balanced armature units. However, like the previous Fir M series, the VxV differs from the common hybrid IEMs in its inner structure having a tubeless design and the five drivers inside arranged in a specific arrangement, Direct Aperture Technologies – ‘sound reactor’, as named by the company. This ‘tubeless’ system in which the drivers’ sound reaches the nozzle without any tube separating them can have its technical advantages over the usual multi-driver systems and also become less limited, providing a greater acoustic performance. However, it can be a risky gamble and demand more dedicated R&D.

Moreover, the dynamic driver used here is unexpectedly smaller than many hybrid IEMs, being just of a 6mm diameter diaphragm versus the more common 9mm and larger ones. For the balanced armature part there is a dual BA for mids and for highs a single BA twitter and single BA super- tweeter. There is no mention of the specific BA models used on the VxV (but I had confirmed Fir Audio are using a mix of Knowles and Sonion), the dynamic coating material, and actually there are limited specifications data shared about the VxV (just frequency response and impedance).

Another key feature of the VxV is the use of the Air Transferring Open Module, ‘ATOM’ in short, that consists of an internal valve installed as an essential component of the whole earpiece structure. A similar idea to the Apex modules of 64 Audio, but differently applied. Like the other Fir universal models this module is fixed, and in the case of the VxV, placed right next to the dynamic driver. As you may know, this feature is not only meant for actual sonic performance but also should help to relieve the constant air pressure produced by the vacuum-like seal usually found on in-ear monitors. The result is a more comfortable listening experience, and in the long run healthier, too. And it seems to work just right; the fit is more relaxed and in a way feels like a more open-back design earphone.

The detachable cable is of the standard MMCX connection type. However, the sockets on the earpieces side are exposed, instead of being completely flushed with the main metal body surface like on most IEMs. To complement this design, the MMCX plugs’ covers on the cable side are extended in order to completely cover the sockets, so once connected there is no space left, and while it can still rotate, is more secured. While the cable cannot be used on other earphones with the traditional MMCX installation, any standard cable should still work on the VxV side, but do note that the connection won’t be as fixed and secure as when using the included stock cable. The cable itself looks pretty nice and of fair quality for a stock cable (reminds quite a lot of the BGVP DMG cable). Silver plated copper (SPC) wire of two twisted strands on the lower half and single for each side. It is terminated in a balanced 2.5mm plug and there is no 3.5mm adapter included; both the plug and y-split are well assembled, surrounded by TPU layers and covered by solid metal shiny pieces. There are pre-shaped plastic tubes installed at the upper-end that act as ear guides.

vxv (6).JPG

The Sound

Having already described all the special design and drivers’ setup, here’s the most important section, the real sound quality. Hybrid combo, ATOM and tubeless system all considered, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the VxV. In fact, upon first listening to this IEM I must admit that I wasn’t very impressed (or at least not $1K impressed). Blame it to the cable or source pairing, or probably the selected ear tips, but if felt that there was something missing on the sound dept. to be worth the $1K tag.

Luckily, it didn’t take much work and time to start to appreciate the VxV audio performance. A brief break-in period, the use of better tips (extra bi-flange in this case) and sticking to the included balanced cable, revealed a great sound quality with a pleasant and somehow unique presentation. As mentioned before, there are no specs about the VxV, though from real use it proves to be a very effective IEM. Do note that it was used mainly with the 2.5mm cable connected to a balanced source (both 2.5 and 4.4), and so gains a greater output driving power. Even so, there was no hiss, even at higher gains.

Main DAPs used here were the Shanling M5s, M6, iBasso DX220 (Amp1), and on the higher level, the Lotoo PAW 6000 and the larger Shanling M8 as top model. On a more portable option, the Hiby R3 Pro, and the Oriolus BA300s for a tube-amp.

Worth noting that the VxV scales well according to the playing source and the final signature may vary a little (more details at the end of this section). But in general the VxV presents a nicely tuned sound that goes from very even to slightly more midrange forward, yet keeping always a very good overall balance. There is a hint of warmth from the dynamic driver with good extension on both ends, high level of detail and especially a great sense of air and openness.

Starting from the low-end, the small dynamic unit impresses with its quality. It is not very pronounced in quantities for what could be expected from hybrids models compared to most offers out there. It is still above neutral with a linear boost that starts from the sub-bass region down to the low-mids, yet without classifying as being ‘warm’. Technical abilities are very strong, and part of the reason might be addressed to the ATOM tech applied here. ‘Agility’ and ‘dynamics’ could be the best words to describe. The bass is fast and very accurate with a natural decay and timbre. Very tight and well layered, and with sufficient impact when called for. Very even from sub to mid-bass, never interfering with the midrange.

The midrange is neutral to slightly forward, mostly depending on the paired source. Equally balanced between low to upper mids. Very transparent and surprisingly very airy and open. Low midrange is a bit lean to my preference and missing some texture and richness, especially for male vocals that could benefit from having more weight. Upper mids are more energetic and sparkly, if occasionally a bit edgy. The VxV is not harsh but not sibilance free; wouldn’t suggest the foam tips, though, unless you want to miss the transparency and airy presentation. It is a less liquid midrange than other BA based IEMs like the qdc Fusion or Fibae 3, and similar to the RE-2000 in its nice texture, if a little less sweet for upper vocals.

Highs extend very well and are present all the way up to the upper-treble area with little effort. Coherent and very clear; not completely smooth but not harsh or too sharp either, just a little sizzling. The detail is excellent on the VxV and among the best I’ve heard on the ~$1K range; instead of an analytical character, it is capable of showing small micro details naturally. Again, the presentation is particularly special with VxV. While the soundstage is not particularly large in width or depth dimensions, it is still good and tends to scale well the better the audio playing source. What is more unique here is the open and more out of the head feel and more height, very rarely found on IEMs. And if it is thanks to the ATOM or specific structure or whatever, so be it.

Like with any IEMs, the selection of the right ear tips can have a very important effect on the sound, and with the VxV I found it specifically crucial. I didn’t care much about the included tips and opted for better aftermarket tips. While I tried SpinFit and a variety of single flange tips, the best results were with larger/wider dual flanges (which unfortunately are impossible to find online). Not just for the better fit, seal and isolation, but mainly the sound that is more vivid and revealing, more solid in bass impact, air and extension on the highs and more open transparent midrange.

Pairing with different players also shows the transparency (or versatility) of the VxV. With the Shanling M5s it has a more ‘fun’ presentation, where there is a stronger mid-bass lift (and less sub-bass presence), smoother midrange that is fuller on the low-mids and yet an energetic complementing low-treble. Vocals with the M5s sound particularly nice textured. Well-rounded stage, still not the best the VxV can reach but a great portable combo for everyday use.

Going a bit higher with Shanling M6, the soundstage is wider and more open. The extension is further on both ends, especially on the low-end. Sub-bass is more focused than the mid-bass (typical effect of the M6). Midrange is detailed, but colder in tonality, less forward and a bit leaner. Treble is more even than with the M5s, less aggressive though sharper. Overall, the most ‘neutral’ synergy for the VxV.

With the Lotoo PAW6000 it has a more midrange-forward presentation, greater dynamics, bass speed and more accuracy. Midrange is more natural, very airy and sweeter with vocals (more with females’). Excellent control on the treble with no hint of sibilance. Soundstage is not really wide from right to left but the imaging is more coherent.

Lastly, the top players Fiio M15 and Shanling M8 boost the VxV to a higher grade. First since to notice is the wider and larger presentation in all dimensions with greater distance and space and excellent dynamics. I prefer the M8 synergy with VxV over the M15; on the M15 it sounds drier and more neutral on the midrange. The M8 is more flavored and engaging, bigger bass response, very smooth and clear midrange with still high separation. Treble is very smooth with the M8 and more natural and forgiving but with a lot of micro details. The more open effect of the VxV is really appreciated with this higher DAPs, sounding less than traditional IEMs and more like open headphones.


Comparisons

qdc Fusion


The Fusion is also a hybrid IEM of 4BA+1D. The dynamic driver is physically a bit larger than on the VxV, while the BA setup consists of 2 dual BA (same) units, and all arranged in the usual tube hybrid setup to the 3 bore nozzle. Acrylic shells with metallic nozzle, good build quality but behind the all-metal VxV. The Fusion may look more ergonomic in shape but in practice they are both equal in comfort and fit, and I find the VxV to have even better isolation.

Sound-wise, both models share a similar evenly balanced signature, accurate and very little colored. The Fusion is even more neutral than the VxV, with a less mid-bass impact, very neutral mids and with a cooler tonality. Treble quantities are about the same, but timbre doesn’t sound as natural, and can be more annoying on a A/B test when it gets to sibilance next to the VxV. The VxV can be fuller on the lows and more forward on the mids, more resolving and especially more open. It extends better on the treble and sounds more natural and comfortable. Wider stage and airier presentation and better detail.



Dunu DK-3001 Pro

Another 5-driver hybrid, 1 dynamic, dual BA for mids and dual BA for highs. A box presentation and accessory pack that will embarrass almost every product. The Dunu’s is tougher built with thicker stainless steel shells and while more shallow-fitting it isn’t as comfortable as the Fir and isolation is low to average at best.
As for the sound, they are quite different, the DK-3001 Pro being more midrange-centered with decent bass and treble. Despite the 13mm dynamic driver inside, the bass is very polite, small in impact and not too extended. Mids are more mellow, smooth and well-tuned for vocals thanks to the sweeter texture. Treble is inoffensive, laid-back, but of the best quality I heard in the sub $500 price. At a double price, the VxV is more balanced, pushing more bass power and boosting much higher clarity and detail. It is more accurate and brighter on the treble, less forgiving but more extended and much greater sense of air. The mids are more dynamic and resolving, though more neutral and more equal when it gets to instruments and vocals balance.



Hyla Sarda

The Sarda is a triple driver type hybrid (or tri-brid, aka ‘chimera’) of a dynamic, 2BA and Piezoelectric combination. The sound is opposite to the VxV, having a v-shaped tuning. Full and powerful bass with among the best sub-bass presentation, depth, rumble and extension. Midrange is relatively distant yet thick, mostly on the lower mids, though the timbre is rather off and not natural. Treble is strong and extended while it can be occasionally tiring. The VxV instead is light and tighter in the bass, and cannot reach the same depth but has quicker attack. Midrange is more favorable, leaner, thinner but more open and clear, and natural too. Treble is similar in quantities, though the VxV is less aggressive. The Sarda has still the widest soundstage I’ve heard on an IEM so far, while the VxV offers better imaging.


Oriolus Reborn LTD

Yet, another hybrid of 1 dynamic and 3 BA. The Reborn LTD has a smooth and warmer signature and in a rather mellow ‘safe’ tuning. While stage dimensions are similar, the VxV sounds more open and airy. Bass is more emphasized on the Reborn LTD with a gain towards the mid-bass area, deeper and slower in decay, while the VxV is lighter and faster. Midrange is more forward on the Reborn, and probably the best part of the IEM with its rich, smooth and sweet texture, very suited for vocal focused music. Treble is much more relaxed and a bit rolled-off on the Reborn, whereas the VxV is easily brighter and less forgiving. Details are easier to pick on the VxV, too.


Hifiman RE-2000 (Silver)

The RE2000 is probably the closest in sound (tuning) to the VxV I’ve heard so far. Putting aside all the build, fit and cable that are all way better on the VxV, both IEMs focus into accuracy, resolution and detail. The RE2000 demands more power to sound best, while the VxV is much more sensitive. Bass quantities are very close, though the VxV can deliver a little bit more mid-bass impact (specifically with my preferred dual flange tips) and is a bit faster. Midrange on the RE2000 balance is shifted towards the upper-region, while the low-mid is lean. It also has a critical up-mid/low-treble peak and is more prone to being sibilant. The VxV mids are more even and forward, and the highs easier to handle, and overall sound is more natural. Soundstage: about the same in width, but the VxV has more height and better front to back distance. The RE2000 suits well for acoustic instruments, while the VxV is easily a more all-rounder in comparison.

vxv (7).jpg

All-in-all, the VxV might be of the more affordable option within the Fir Audio’s line but definitely packs very good features. Solid build quality from the outside in addition of the interesting and well applied technology in its whole structure, all in a smooth and well finished design that proves to be surprisingly comfortable and more relaxed for long listening periods. Audio quality is pretty good at this price, very competitive in the $1000 and above segment. Easy to drive from any music source and very transparent, scaling even higher with the better source. The sound presentation is fairly natural and very accurate with excellent level of detail.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Palfim
Palfim
Palfim
Thanks Zelda and the other reviewers.. great reads and impressions.
These are the coolest looking IEMs ever! Nice simplistic design language, not too bulky , ingenious and cute bunny logo , nice job for boosting their brand recognition. Haven't had the oppertunity to try them out, but I'd buy it on looks alone (as soon as I'm rich haha) but seriously , those look awesome ( same should be true for sound , considering all the good reviews)
Top