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FLC Technology FLC8P

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. NymPHONOmaniac
    Overwhelmingly versatile and capable earphones
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Aug 6, 2019
    4.5/5,
    Pros - More than 36 tuning possibilities, great imaging, good mid bass, energetic and detailed, comfortable design, lot of accessories
    Cons - Bright timbre, thin lower bass body, plastic construction look fragile, cheap cable
    FLC8P REVIEW :
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    SOUND: 8/10
    CONSTRUCTION: 7/10
    ACCESSORIES: 9/10
    VALUE: 8/10


    Based in China, FLC are commited to create high end hybrid iem since 2011, they are among the first to have introduce dynamic driver plus balanced armature earphones on the market. They got quite praised by audiophile for their high end multi tuning ciem call the FLC8S, with its (more) than 36 tuning possibilities that can change soundsignature from bassy to mid centric to bright and analitycal and its pristine unique all metal construction, these 8S was quite revolutionnary at the time and still are today.

    Now, for the one that can’t afford to pay more than 400$ for the 8S, FLC Technology introduce a more budget oriented version of this legendary marvel. Seen as the little brother of FLC8S, the FLC8P is priced 270$,it score the same drivers implementation but sacrifice quality of construction for an all plastic shell.
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    With its 8.4mm dynamic driver and dual balanced armature, the FLC8P have like its big brother 36 soundsignature to play with. Its include same 4 filters and tuning thumbstacks and cylinders as well as all the same accessories for 130$ less than the fancier looking FLC8S.

    With a quite balanced, slightly bright and revealing stock soundsignature that will be injected in 36 different soundsignature, the 8P is targeted towards audiophile searching a foward and accurate sound that they can play with to either make it even more revealing and accurate or funnier and bassier, depending the mood they are in.

    You can buy the FLC8P directly from LEND ME UR EARS

    DISCLAIMER: I wanna thanks Lend Me Ur ears for sending me this review sample. I'm not affiliated with this nice store and want to thanks them to to let me be objective in my subjective taste and hearing.

    INFO& SPECS:

    The FLC8P is the baby brother of the critically acclaimed FLC8N. It retains the FLC8N housing but now in a plastic shell. It also adopts the critically acclaimed FLC8N versatile tuning system that allows for 36 different sound signature.

    Difference

    FLC8N FLC8P
    Metal housing Plastic Housing
    4 core copper cable Single core cable
    Similar Sound signature but FLC8N has better clarity


    Specification:

    • Driver: 8.6 mm dynamic driver and dual balanced armature driver
    • Sensitivity: 107 dB/mw
    • Frequency response: 20- 20 000 HZ
    • Connector: 0.78 mm 2pin connector
    • Housing: Metal


    ACCESSORIES, CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN :

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    UNBOXING is nice and have Grandeur to it, this isn’t your normal earphones packaging and you can even be overwhelmed (if not puzzled) by number of accessories that are hide in the beautifull box. You have a nice metal round case for your precious earphones, lot of silicone eartips as well a foam one, a basic single core cable and most of all, a plenty of different tuning accessories wich even include a little clamp. As well, there a very practical metal cylinder case for storing nozzle filter and tuning cylinder so you can change soundsignature of your FLC on the go.

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    CONSTRUCTION isn’t very impressive for the price and here the sacrifice is quite big from FLC8N or S, this is rather cheap plastic housing with golden paint on it, it do not exactly feel like a 270$ iem and will sure disappoint some user that are very sensible to quality of craftmanship. Still, they look good, but its litteraly to piece of plastic stick togheter with a standard 2pin connector, only metal you will find is when you add the metal nozzle filter to the shell. To make it worst, the cable too is extremely cheap and prompt to unwanted bent that would be hard to solve afterward. I don’t understand this punitive choice of cable due to the fact its isnt very expensive nowadays. I would even wish to have 2 cables at this price, but thats just me.

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    DESIGN of the rather small shell is curvy and well polish, due to the plastic use, this have the advantage of being very light and the shape fit perfectly inner ears wich make the 8P extremely comfortable for long time listening. Most of all, their LOT of venting hole with the FLC8P , wich are make for customizing sound with filter but you even have 3 little holes at inner side as well. About the filter, i’m a little mitiged, not about sound result, but difficulty to change them even with the clamp included, in fact, I prefer using my finger nails and suggest you doing the same...tough you will need long nails, nozzle filters are very easy to change tough and do not tend to unscreww freely like some other iem I try (Macaw GT600, NiceHCK M6).

    ISOLATION is average, but music always create a nice wall of sound anyway, the problem is more about soundleakage, due to all this venting system, well, the sound leak a little, but stil, its not extremely problematic as their just one back venting hole and hes very tiny when filled with cylinder filter.


    DRIVEABILITY is quite easy with its 107db sensitivity, but you will get better result with a midly powerfull DAP that deliver pristine clarity and have perfectly blach noise floor. FLC are revealing and bright iem, they do not like congested audio source or distorted amping.






    SOUND :


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    INTRODUCTION TO THE SOUND TUNING SYSTEM :

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    Let be clear here, these earphones are for audiophile geek passionate about sound tuning, and perhaps i’m not one of those, in the sens that i’m an iem collector as a wine collector, so I can choose whatever flavor I need for pairing with my audio source or music taste.

    The FLC8P disoriented me at first and still is a very complex iem to use, but this is what is fascinating about them : the overwhelming freedom of sound tuning you have. It say you can tune it 36 different way, but you can as well not use some filters, cylinders or thumbstack, you can decide to put sticker or mesh on venting or nozzle, still, yes, the drivers in their were tuned meticulously to interacte with sound flow modification of diverse filters type. The FLC8P are like a DIY earphones project that you can play with indifinetely, for this very reason I cannot cover whole soundsignature and will mostly review it’s ‘’soul’’ and the inherent flavor of 4 customization I choose, all with a different filters nozzle.

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    Number 1 signature (Golden vocal filter, medium mid bass grey cylinder, medium lower bass black thumbstack) :

    So, let’s begin with the treble here, without any treble boost nozzle this tuning sound quite sharp in upper range to my ears and I can say whatever the tuning I make, the soul of FLC8P is a bright one that push fowards the texture of instrument while keeping good level of transparency. Even with the vocal pushed mroe fowards, the highs are crips and detailed delivering a natural analytcal sound, still, i hear some metallic timbre that should’nt be there with some instrument but this do not make percussion splashy, just a little agressive. Treble Yes, is Very extended and agile, and the level of microdetaisl it dig is already mroe than enough for me, its crisp with good brillianc and a tigh decay too it, and even if it have some emphasis, it do not sound unatural or too peaky, as well, I think this is the part of sond you can modify the most here, in the sens mids or bas sgain is more subtle while you can litterally make the upper treble sound recessed with reference or super vocal nozzle filter.

    The MID RANGE being push forwards, it tame this treble sharpness a bit and permit a very lively and energic sound presentation that will as much benifit for rock that earn grip to the electric guitar distortion than folk signer that will sound marvellous due to a very accurate imaging. We have extra emphasis in upper mids here, wich give to female vocal, violin and electric instrument incredible attack and lively presence.

    BASS is fast, very fast, and this tuning kind of sound as I wish it would be by keeping mid and lower bass controled and enough weighty without being shadowed by mid range wideness. Yes,I would like a little more body to the kick, but the timbre is so accurate and underline that its help to give it an ultra tigh and clear attack. Sub bass in other end is the flatter with a slightly dry body, but separation is again impressive so its easy to follow lower bass line. Yep, the FLC are revealing in whole frequencies range.



    Number 2 is the POP&ROCK setting suggested by FLC user manual, its use Super vocal nozzle filter, medium mid bass, and Most low end :

    To be honnest, my (low) expectation about this tuning setting was surely corrupted by what we got from a music player or phone EQ, because, man, this is my favorite go to choice. To me, its the funnier, liveliver and more dynamic presentation that still keep a well balanced sound. Now, we got Weight everywhere and the treble feel more natural.

    Highs keep their sharpness and impressive crispness, but within a bigger soundstage than first setting, it really dig lot of microdetails wich make marvel for electronic music as much as rock and jazz. The FLC are in a hurry to wow you here, its vivid and energic with excellent separation and accuracy. The versatility of this tuning make it very good for instrumental music as I can hear right now with Rameau ‘’Tendres plaintes’’ play on classical guitar, picking notes have weight and impact and rich texture timbre, you can hear the fingers sliding without feeling its unatural, yes, as said, FLC cannot hid how analytical his soul is whatever the filter you will use, but the brightness can be dealt with filter so now we have mroe brilliance that naturally flow in upper mids. We have a mix of organic sound and slightly bright timbre, wich make it for a very spectacular listen.

    MID RANGE is very detailed too, and difference from vocal to super vocal nozzle are marginal in term of fullness, the mids have a hint of brightness and do not sound very meaty, neither particularly warmed by extra bass we get. They are impressive in term of clarity but lack a hint of weight and lushness to my ears. Vocal presentation is perhaps the most subjective part of audiophile judgment and here, well, it have too much balanced armature flavor for me to have goosebumps.

    Well, there you go, the low end really earn in weight and body, playing Aphex Twin ‘’Produk 29’, the synth bass have great authority and even a tigh rumble, its juicy and very very addictive. All the talen of dynamic driver is fully expoit with the ix of ‘’Mid low end’’ and ‘’Most ultra-low freq’’, it do not sound boomy and have a surprising agility and control, the mid bass even earn slam and weight in kick without feeling too mixed up with lower end. Man, I really really dig this Rock&Pop tuning setting even if I rarely listen to rock and never listen to Pop!


    Number 3 is Balanced Setting (grey cylinder, gun metal thumbstac, gun metal nozzle) :



    As we could expect, this is among the flatest response you can get from the FLC, but it still keep its slightly V shape signature where mid bass bump and upper treble is more emphased compared to softer brightish mid range. To me this tuning lack attack in mid range wich make it sound thin. Reference nozzle really affect the whole sound spectrum to my ears.

    TREBLE is so extended and vivid with the FLC that whatever tuning you use, it will still have some brightness and upepr brilliance to it, sometime you can tame upper mids and it make the treble even more emphased like with this tuning. As i’m not treble sensitive, it isnt a problem for me, but the bright flavor of FLC stole some naturalness to overall presentation tomy ears. Still, high are very crisp and clear, they ahve their own well definate space in soundstage wich make it for high level of accurate imaging.

    MID RANGE feel flatter than all rest of specrum here, wich affect body and make timbre feeling thin even if well textured and detailed. Male vocal lack hint of lower mids warmth, while female vocal have slght dryness to it, anyway, again, level of clarity is mesmerizing but they struggle with their presence between punchy mid bass and sharp highs.

    BASS is more V shape than U shape, the mid bass is energic and fowards without sounding too agressive, it feel right while sub bass feel tamed and lack body. For cello this isn’t an issue as much as acoustic bass or synth bass wich aren’t very well rounded. Lower bass is light and on the neutral side, a little like mid range.


    Number 4 is CLASSIC SETTING (grey cylinder, red thumbstack, Green filter) :


    So, if I was already a little disapointed by mid mid-range, this setting put it even more in the back seat, wich is strange for a ‘’classic’’ tuning setting as one would thin mind range is more important for piano, violin and flute, but here we have instead the red thumbstack filter tha add lower bass and green nozzle that add extra treble.

    TREBLE is very hot here, too fowards for my taste, wich make background hissing or noise very invasive. Its a very niche treble that will benifit for classical guitar and harpsichord, but percussions sound too agressive even if not splashy. I know that I would not love treble boost because the FLC need to calm down its vivd and fowarded highs in fact, now we have an unapolegical super analytical presentation in upper range that really distract from rest of audio spectrum.

    MID RANGE is dark compared to rest of spectrum, even if overall bright nature of FLC permit to have enough clarity to make it detailed. The imaging in this range is less accurate that upper range. Still, as said, we have good clarity and enough impact to make the piano alive, less so for the violin that have all its energy showed in upper mids with the FLC. Real issue is about body, this range sound very thin.

    BASS is now overshadowed by sub bass, and make the mid bass kick tamed in impact and energy when both bass and kick play togheter. For solo instrumental, this setting is good, but for quartet or symphony it will sound muddy.




    Number 5 is Piano& String setting (white cylinder, transparent thumbstack, Green filter) :


    Well, so, Classic isn’t make for those instrument? That’s a little odd….but its true this setting is sure not made for cello, wich question if it should sound good with piano too?

    TREBLE is again pushed foward, even more than all other setting due to less low end and mid bass setting, this make for a rather shouty and bright presentation that is very agressive with evertyhing that got bass in it. Still, for harpshicord, we have a little more brilliance and decay and cleaner background, but again, it marginal and overall bright and fowards soundsignature of 8P is dominant and affect timbre fullness.

    MID RANGE is better tough, strangely, I like how flute and saxophone sound and they feel fuller lusher than reste of instrument like violin or classical guitar or piano. Separation in this department is accurate tough a little dryish in timbre. We have a fast attack too, but the grip isn’t really there. Another thing is that upper mids go even more freely wich make vocal very sibilant and unpleasant.

    BASS is tamed to its max and gain in thinnest and dryness, the mid bass keep its punch tough less accuratly especially at end of attack. This settins was clearly thinked to cancel low bass response and rumble and smooth mid bass to extend mid range clarity, and I think it kinda do its job even if its not for me and make this setting the less versatile of all the one I try.


    OVERALL SOUND FLAVOR OF FLC8P is something W shape in (multi) signature, bright in timbre, have mid bass emphasis that barely warm lower end but give energical attack, mid range is neutral, neither particularly fowarded or recessed, it have upper mids peak that help attack and imaging and clarity but to the cost of affecting naturalness of tonality and timbre, treble is vivid and fowarded with peak in mid-upper highs that help to extend air and deepnest in soundstage but make highs harsh sometime. As a basic sound flavor, it can be tweaked, but the FLC soul will stay, so I think its neither for audiophile that are treble sensitive or do not like bright sounding iem, for the one that like balanced, brightly realist and analytical iem, this might be very very interesting.



    COMPARAISONS :




    VS ORIOLUS FINSCHI (180$) :


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    Oriolus is a Japanese audio company and the Finschi is their entry levelm Hybrid 1DD+1BA hybrid uiem. Now let’s see if it can compete with a 36 tunable 1DD+2BA iem.

    For this review I use my favorite FLC8P tuning setting wich is the POP&ROCK setting, I will take in account overall possibilities of other tuning as well.

    SOUNDSTAGE is deeper but more intimate with the FLC, while the Finschi have notable wider presentation with a more out of your head feel.

    IMAGING is clearer and more accurate with the FLC, space between instrument benifit from extra clarity, Finschi have a more accurate sens of spacility tough, wich is more natural and balanced than FLC.

    BASS is thicker and fuller with the Finschi, it extend lower too wich give extra body to timbre, FLC sound dry and thin in lower bass while very foward in mid bass that have a bright attack to it. Finschi mid bass is excellent, it is round and punchy but not in an agressive way, both this earphones have extra presence in this region but the Finschi is more elastic and smoother on top of the attack, wich make it never shouty compared to FLC. Strangely, this make the Finschi better with pop rock than the FLC with Pop rock tuning.

    MID RANGE is slightly more recessed with the Finschi as well as warmer, it have thicker body and more natural timbre and tonality as well, here, FLC is again bright and fowards and kinda thin compared to fuller mid range, but this permit to FLC having better imaging in this region. The Finschi is never sibilant, the upper mids of FLC can be, even more with the treble boost.

    TREBLE is more emphased with the FLC, whatever tuning you will make the highs will tend to be more agressive and even harsh with some tuning. Finschi is less sharp and peaky but still have plenty of details. As well, the highs are more sparkly and have longer decay with the Finschi, wich make plucked instrument like classical guitar sound more natural and musical. Foward treble of FLC is something that annoy me whatever tuning setting I do.

    All in all, the bright and fowards flavor of FLC please less my ears than the very musical and lush sounding Oriolus Finschi.


    VS FINAL AUDIO DESIGN B2 (300$) :


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    B2 is a single balanced armature while the 8P score 1 dynamic and 2 BA, but thinking this battle is unfair is forgetting how masterfull are audio engineer and tuner of Final Audio team.

    CONSTRUCTION of the FLC look like a joke compared to the sumptuous and ultra sturdy metal housing of B3. The thick metal is just invincible, while FLC cheap plastic used can be surely easily broken by accident, as well, B3 have screw toopen the housing in case of damage...like dust, water or such. Its thinked to last, FLC is not.

    COMFORT is both great, but isolation is better with the B3.

    SOUNDSTAGE is slightly wider with the B3, but its minimal, while FLC is taller in presentation and just slightly wider, anyway, again, FLC presentation sound less airy and out of your head.

    BASS is more emphased with the FLC, and B3 perhaps begin to drop just before 20hz, but the timbre is more realist and thick thant FLC dryier presentation, as well, mid bass is better rounded up even if less fowards and punchy, the separation tough is less clear and can mix up with lower mids.

    MID RANGE is well balanced and near flat in the mid centric approach of B3, it sound lusher with better tonality and smoother thicker timbre, the FLC have slight artificial push to it, especially in upper mid range wich can make vocal a little shouty or sibilant, taming upper mid range with tuning setting is possible but this will not change overall tonality and timbre, making in this case more recessed than B3. With complex music, B3 can sound a little congested, especially at high volume, this do not occur with FLC very agile attack and imaging. Anyway, for vocal lover, the B3 is sure better and mora natural sounding as well as more versatile for female and male signer that have lush and thick body.

    TREBLE is more emphased with the FLC, while the B3 have extra emphasis in mid treble the FLC climb to the top and have a more analytical approach to the cost of sound overly agressive with some tuning, the B3 have an organic treble that do not offend the ears and can still crave rich details. This make it for a more balanced overall tuning, whatever the setting you will use with FLC. So, yeah, brighter as well as more clinical is the treble of FLC .

    Now, i’m a little surprise to prefer a single BA to multi drivers Hybrid, but this is really about the soul of musicality, and the FLC timbre and tonality is just not natural sounding to me. You can’t change his soul whatever the tuning you choose.



    CONCLUSION :

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    FLC Technology make an audacious statement creating the FLC8 serie, it litterally open tuning possibilities to the mass and we do not talk about simple change in soundsignature with nozzle screw filters like we can find with multiple other iem. No, they target the perfectionnist audiophile that will want to be able to modulate very bit of sound spectrum with tuning accessories.

    Sure, its not everybody that will have the patience to play with the more than 36 tuning setting you can make, and to be honnest i’m perhaps one of those. This isn’t meant for iem collector that like to choose different soundsignature from diverse earphones flavor they have, but more for the one that a want to invest in a do-it-all earphones and would enjoy tremendous freedom all this tuning filters offer.

    Still, the FLC8P soul is a bright one, and its analitical side is hard to hide too, but this is a plus if you are an audiophile avid of details because the level of accuracy and liveliness the 8P can achieve is just mesmerizing.

    If you always wish to be able to tune your reference earphones in multiple of way to please your diverse music style, and you got a curious mind for sound tuning, the FLC8P might be the only choice that offer as much freedom to the inner audio engineer in you. The sound it deliver is mature, detailed and slightly bright, but most of all, this earphones can represent great value as if you now own 36 different iem.

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      iBo0m, havagr8da and B9Scrambler like this.
    1. iBo0m
      This was some very nice reading! Awesome review! :) However, I'm wondering whether all those tuning possibilities doesn't cause a slight confusion. I can't sometimes choose even if it's just a ear-tips rolling :D
      iBo0m, Aug 19, 2019 at 12:23 AM
      NymPHONOmaniac likes this.
    2. NymPHONOmaniac
      Thanks! Sure it can, but i think once you find your favorite tunings mix you will not continuously explore the (more than) 36 possibilities. (exploration is a long one tough!) I use 5 tunings and I listen to very wide variety of music style. What affect the more the sound is nozzle filterso its easy to change this on the go with portable kit!
      NymPHONOmaniac, Aug 19, 2019 at 8:51 AM
      iBo0m likes this.
    3. iBo0m
      Yea, if you can settle with just a few you're fine. The portable kit is awesome, I can second it from the previous FLC IEMs :)
      iBo0m, Aug 19, 2019 at 9:01 AM