FAudio - Discussion and Impressions Thread
Jan 4, 2019 at 3:42 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 70

Deezel177

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Introduction

FAudio is an in-ear monitor manufacturer based in Hong Kong. The company was founded in 2014 by Fung Wong - former head engineer of Miniwatt - after years of OEM and OTM work.

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Photo courtesy of FAudio's Facebook page

Initially established as a reshelling service for third-party in-ear monitors, they eventually launched their own line-up of custom IEMs in 2016; dubbed KF. This line-up comprised of the KF2, KF4, KF5 and KF8. By virtue of performance and visual appeal - their cosmetics were lauded as both beautiful and affordable - they eventually became among the biggest names in Hong Kong. Following that was the FAudio Engine which implemented a whopping 22 balanced-armature drivers.

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Photo courtesy of Earphone King

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Photo courtesy of FAudio's Facebook page

However, their biggest break yet occurred in 2018: The launch of a brand new custom IEM product line, as well as two single-DD universal IEMs. The former is comprised of four offerings: the 2-driver hybrid Scale, the 3-driver Chorus, the 5-driver Harmony and the 7-driver Symphony.

Uniquely, all four make use of a full-range balanced-armature driver - with additional drivers supporting and adding to it - rather than segregating each of them to specific frequency ranges. This is similar to Custom Art's flagship Harmony 8.2 (funnily enough) which uses a pair of full-ranged drivers supported by pairs of low, mid and high drivers as a natural EQ of sorts. In addition to that is an innovation they call T.C.T (True Crossover Technology), drawn from their experiences as both an OEM and a developer in the balanced-armature industry.

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Photo courtesy of FAudio's website

Complementing this line-up are two universal IEMs dubbed Major and Passion. Both are comprised of a single proprietary dynamic driver and FAudio's T.B.A.C (Triple Built-in Acoustic Chamber). What T.B.A.C does is treat the room between the driver and the listener's ear in three stages, as illustrated in the image below:

m-p2.jpg

Photo courtesy of FAudio's website

The Major is the flagship of the two with a double-layered 10.5mm dynamic driver, CNC'ed aluminium shells and an OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) sound tube. In addition, the Major comes with FAudio's premium Black Sprite copper cable. The cable is comprised of Litz conductors, a high strand count and PE insulation - all indicative of a high-end, aftermarket cable already included in the Major's MSRP.

m-p1.jpg

Photo courtesy of FAudio's website

The Passion is the more affordable model with a 9mm dynamic driver and a stainless steel sound tube. But, it also comes with the Major's T.B.A.C technology and CNC'ed aluminium shells, so there's certainly some trickle-down there. The Passion was just released a week ago as of writing, so there haven't been many impressions of it out there online. Nevertheless, based on their recent slew of successes, anticipation for it is marvellously high on social media.

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Photo courtesy of e-earphone
 
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Jan 4, 2019 at 3:42 AM Post #2 of 70

Deezel177

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Here's an excerpt from my e-earphone article covering FAudio's latest line-up of custom in-ear monitors:

FAudio is a brand I’ve watched closely for quite sometime now. Their stunning designs – which include multi-colour swirls, stabilised-wood faceplates and intricate watch-part inlays – have been featured prominently on Instagram. Their 22-driver FAudio Engine also made noise at a Hong Kong trade show. At e-earphone, I had the chance to briefly listen to their entire line-up: From their 2-driver, entry-level, hybrid Scale, all the way to their flagship, universal, single-DD Major.

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FAudio Scale: The Scale is a warm, lush and forgiving piece reminiscent of in-ears like the classic UE5. It’s rich, smooth and musical the way most in-ears were in the 2012-2014 era – a nostalgic, audiophile sound. However, there’s sufficient articulation here for even the most upbeat genres of music, and adequate bass authority prevents it from sounding congested or overtly-veiled. Soundstage expansion is probably its weakest point, as well as midrange resolution. But, those looking for a safe custom in-ear monitor- perhaps as their first ever – will find the Scale worth considering.

FAudio Chorus: The Chorus is an intimate, vocal-focused piece. The midrange is forwardly-placed, but neither overtly-saturated nor smeared. Rather, it’s balanced beautifully against an articulate lower-treble. The upper-treble is left linear for tonal balance, imbuing the air with a tinge of warmth. Unfortunately, extension isn’t the Chorus’ fourte. The stage – again – is intimate. As musical and absorbing as it is with simpler arrangements, the stage may get crowded – and resolution subsequently lost – with busier tracks. The Chorus is a great mid-tier option for vocal aficionados or jazz enthusiasts, with sufficient presence, finesse and organicity to serve ballads to a tee. Just don’t play any Metallica on it.

EE-29 copy.jpg

FAudio Harmony: A-ha! Some upper treble! The Harmony is FAudio’s first true all-rounder (including technical aspects as well) with a fun, well-balanced, dynamic sound. This is certainly one for fans of rock and EDM, where dynamic contrast, clarity and bass impact are prioritized. The Harmony has a healthily thump-y mid-bass. Combined with a laid-back upper-midrange, the Harmony’s melodic instruments are more compact relative to the thick bass line. But, enough balanced is maintained – in upper-treble sparkle, especially – to prevent the low-end from overpowering the rest of the range. Harmony is one for uptempo music, with enough body, warmth and finesse for adequate vocal reproduction too.

FAudio Symphony: The Symphony is FAudio’s custom top-of-the-line. Consequently, it’s their most technically-capable too. Superior treble extension gives the Symphony great headroom, and peaks here provide clarity and articulation. It’s more balanced down-low than the weightier Harmony, whilst maintaining similar energy due to superior extension. So, the Symphony is more neutral in tone, with its treble adopting a brighter profile. But, appropriate control in the lower-treble allows an inoffensive signature at all times. The upper-midrange again takes a backseat, so this is certainly a piece for those looking for detail and definition (in addition to a guttural bass line), rather than blooming warmth or lushness.
 
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Jan 4, 2019 at 3:43 AM Post #3 of 70

Deezel177

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Here are impressions from the same article of FAudio's universal Major:

FAudio Major: The Major was undoubtedly one of my favourite listens throughout the entirety of my trip. It shares some tonal DNA with similarly-configured flagships – like Dita’s Dream and Sennheiser’s IE800S. Consequently, its signature is driven towards fun, energetic hi-fi; equally bombastic in dynamic energy and technical performance.

Immediately, its stage is outstanding. The single-driver design grants high linearity and flawless coherence, which in turn constructs a vast, spherical, concert-hall-like stage with no shortage of background blackness, stereo separation or air. In terms of imaging precision, I’d rank it a hair above the aforementioned flagships, because it achieves this performance whilst delivering more resolution. And despite its compromises, the Major performs adequately in tonal realism as well.

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Its low-end is an absolute highlight as well. Satisfyingly guttural and visceral, the Major’s bass is woofer-like in ways that’s reminiscent of EE’s dual WIX drivers, but a touch more thwack-y and upper-bass-inclined. It works equally well with 808 beats and kick drums as a result. The lower-mids are shelved for cleaner definition, alongside a neutral upper-midrange for depth. This is where the Major pushes its luck most in naturalness, but the refinement and linearity it manages to maintain prevents any artificiality whatsoever. No more than half-a-track’s worth of adjustment should be required.

There are peaks along 7-8 and 12kHz for sparkle and clarity, but the treble region as a whole is cleverly positioned; effortlessly balanced with the rest of the frequency response. The Major may read like a very typical, hi-fi, clear-cut universal, but how it comes together is a treat to listen to. Due to outstanding spatial performance, near-flawless linearity and a sufficiently warm timbre, it sets itself apart from the crowd as a one to watch in the universal space.
 
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Jan 28, 2019 at 5:40 AM Post #10 of 70

ahmedie

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I was going to buy the Solaris which I audition 3 times. Then I found major in display but out of stock. For bass lovers these destroy Solaris in term of tonality. Specially if you like bass, they are also very good at high volume with almost no peaks at all. I prefer them over atlas too. Soundstage is average but very good details and separation. They dig bass deep and slow low end. Mid and high frequency are fast and details. Laid back 3d image.
 
Jan 28, 2019 at 7:12 AM Post #11 of 70

Focux

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I was going to buy the Solaris which I audition 3 times. Then I found major in display but out of stock. For bass lovers these destroy Solaris in term of tonality. Specially if you like bass, they are also very good at high volume with almost no peaks at all. I prefer them over atlas too. Soundstage is average but very good details and separation. They dig bass deep and slow low end. Mid and high frequency are fast and details. Laid back 3d image.

how'd you rate them against 1650CU?
 
Jan 28, 2019 at 7:24 AM Post #12 of 70

ahmedie

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They sounded extremely similar in term of target audience. They are both natural sounding dynamic sound with good bass. 1650CU have more or less similar bass quantity but are less technical in term of separation / image / tonality / details / smoother etc... 1650CU is good for money but i rather buy major to not regret it later. major sound is closer to top-fi offering (i think top), while 1650CU is top of mid-fi at best. They are very light and fit extremely well into my ears compared to big / heavy Solaris.

Below are japanese reviews of this IEM,

1- https://www.e-earphone.jp/shopdetail/000000212554/ct4132/page1/recommend/

2-
 
Jan 28, 2019 at 7:27 AM Post #13 of 70

Focux

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They sounded extremely similar in term of target audience. They are both natural sounding dynamic sound with good bass. 1650CU have more or less similar bass quantity but are less technical in term of separation / image / tonality / details / smoother etc... 1650CU is good for money but i rather buy major to not regret it later. major sound is closer to top-fi offering (i think top), while 1650CU is top of mid-fi at best. They are very light and fit extremely well into my ears compared to big / heavy Solaris.

Below are japanese reviews of this IEM,

1- https://www.e-earphone.jp/shopdetail/000000212554/ct4132/page1/recommend/

2-

i feel that 1650CU can be abit too sub bass focused with certain tracks

but that aside, i like how it sounds

how about the Passion?

edit: just realised major costs about twice of 1650 wow
 
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Jan 28, 2019 at 7:35 AM Post #14 of 70

duaned

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They sounded extremely similar in term of target audience. They are both natural sounding dynamic sound with good bass. 1650CU have more or less similar bass quantity but are less technical in term of separation / image / tonality / details / smoother etc... 1650CU is good for money but i rather buy major to not regret it later. major sound is closer to top-fi offering (i think top), while 1650CU is top of mid-fi at best. They are very light and fit extremely well into my ears compared to big / heavy Solaris.

Below are japanese reviews of this IEM,

1- https://www.e-earphone.jp/shopdetail/000000212554/ct4132/page1/recommend/

2-
Now what's all that you-tube video about in english?
 
Jan 28, 2019 at 7:46 AM Post #15 of 70

ahmedie

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Now what's all that you-tube video about in english?

He said, they sound like headphone in term of space and extension. He is so impressed he is out of words. The bass is not at all boomy but of highest grade quality.
 

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