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The NEW JVC FX850..Woodie perfection?. (A review)

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  1. Dsnuts Contributor
    As the title suggest do I think these are perfect? No they are not I don't know if such a phone exists but my experience with this iem in the last week of constant use has brought me nothing but enjoyment and here are my thoughts on these wonderful iems..
    There are no pictures that can do these justice. These have a quality to the build and looks that gives a hint of how they might sound but they are about as close to works of art for earphones I have ever seen.
    Newly developed 11mm housed in "Wood dome unit"
    16 Ohms
    1.2M Silver coated OFC wire
    Foam fitting box, 2 foam tips and silicone eartips included

    It is no secret that the older FX700 was a popular woodie that got some favorable reviews for their awesome sound stage and that woodie timbre. Though a clearly V shaped sound still garners much fanfare among enthusiast around the world..These FX850s are the newest earphones from JVC and call it a feeling I had but these were on my want list as soon as I read about their existence. So after a week of going through my ritual of analyzing, breaking them in, and ultimately enjoying these I felt it was due time for me to tell my fellow enthusiast about JVCs newest masterpiece.
    Many of you guys that follow the threads know of some of the more experimental earphones that JVC has made being the FXZXXX 3X dynamic phones and even newer SZ1K and SZ2K headphones using dual drivers per cup.. Both these phones were met with some mixed results and I can sense that JVC has perhaps learned a thing or two since and has resorted back to focusing on a single dynamic transducer in their most popular form the Woodie.. The results is simply one of the best sounding earphones I have heard.. Will get into more detail later.
    BUILD: Solid for certain. These have a museum quality build that is nothing short of stunning in person. I never thought a wood earphone would look this nice in person. I would throw these right up there next to the Cardas EM5813 as physical works of modern art..Not only in looks but the build quality is right up there. It is the only one out of the new FX series that has the upgraded detachable silver coated OFC cables.. The cable itself is supple and also of very high quality. I noticed very minimum microphonics which many of you guys will appreciate. These also come with a very nice box to carry around these works of art that have a custom fitted foam pattern inserts for the earphones to fit perfectly in.

    I have to agree with JVCs choice of protection for these as I would not want anything less for these. Tip selection includes 2 pairs of foam tips as well as the usual silicone selection so nothing really worth noting here except that these silicones that was included are the best tips JVC has ever made. They match up perfectly with the wide sound nozzle of the earphones and at the perfect angle..I have had zero need of tip rolling as JVCs tip selection matches the ergonomics of the earphones perfectly and gives optimum sound out of the earphones from the get go..
    These are very comfortable as they can be worn straight down though the housing sticks out. Or be worn over the ears which secures the housing that leans more parallel on the ear versus sticking out. Worn both ways these phones fit perfectly in my medium sized ear canals. So no comfort issues here. For guys that worry about the sheer size of the phones. Yes these are fairly large but the angled nozzle help secure the phones in the ears worn both ways and is not a real issue. These are not light but are not necessarily heavy in the ears. Slightly weighty but not terrible.. A good seal in the ears and even worn straight down I can do my chores in the house with no issues. Very comfy for me.
    These have a complete and utter WOW inducing sound from open box..I think what caught me off guard was how large and spacious the sound was. I have owned plenty of the larger sounding earphones.. My H3 and EX600s come to mind but I did not expect, full sized headphone like sound stage and depth from the get go. Then there was the sound itself.. Open box listen was interesting in that while I don't take stock on open box sound..It threw a smile on my face immediately because how great they sounded. The sound was not as tight as I would have liked but they sounded heavenly none the less. A warm lush fully realized sound that took me to that level of enjoyment that I get from my full sized SRH1540s..Some faults I was hearing on open listen was a few things. First the sound was a touch bloaty over all. Yes these do have bass and I have never heard the old FX700 but these were reported to have about a similar amount.. The bass was big the mids was bigger and a touch diffused sounding hiding some of the highs. That wonderful timbre while could be heard from open listen was clearly not where they needed to be.. Yet they had a lush quality to the sound that I found absolutely fantastic even on the first tune I listen to.. Then they got the treatment.
    I was keeping in touch with my good friend DannyBai and letting him know any changes I was hearing on a daily basis and I do have records for anyone that wants to read them but just know. The sound changed..What I am hearing today is different from the sound I heard on open listen and I do believe these are close to their final settled sound. I have around a 100 hours of burn in on them now and the sound..
    The foundation of the sound is one that is musical in approach in that they have this full deep and amazingly wide sound. Now this approach to earphone sound can be done right or wrong but I do believe JVC has pulled some magic out of their hats to make an earphone sound every bit as involving as a full sized can. The sheer space and scope of sound on these earphones are done in a way that I have not heard too many earphones do right. I can tell you, these don't sound like in ear phones. The sound and dynamics equal some of the best sounding full sized cans I have heard. This is quite the accomplishment imo.. 

    The center of the housing has a large deep brass chamber that is also vented out back. The overal tuning of the phones encompasses one of the best balanced sounds I have heard from JVC.  Yes these have bass emphasis but also has a forward large sound signature that blends in this controlled bass end to a degree that I find is not only a non issue but sounds completely and utterly natural..To me there is clear difference between bass phones and high end bass.. These have high end bass..These have the ability in the low end to let your ears know exactly how emphasized the low notes are in the recording.  A transparent bass that is big and bold for your EDM/ Hip hop yet is not emphasized on recordings with little bass emphasis.  It is a combination of excellent balance, fantastic detail, precise woodie timbre, fully dynamic controlled bass. Then you add that enormous stage, and immersive depth and you get one of the best sounding earphones my ears had the pleasure of enjoying.
    Treble extension is excellent..The balance in the treble region is exemplary of what proper tuning can do for your music. Smooth yet precise the treble region is not emphasized more than the mids or the bass, unless the recording has it. I never realized just how much treble is emphasized on many headphones and earphones. Yet what is music without that sparkle, that shimmer,  That timbre. These have one of the best treble I have heard for anything..Highs can be shimmery filled with the type of microdetailing one expects out of a higher end sound. layered in the way that presents the completeness of the tune, energetic when called for and the effects of the high hat note or string instruments are tonally spot on to my ears..
    Mids of these are leaning towards just a touch of warmth. No coldness or sterile sounding experience to be had. Yet they stay away from the overly smooth sounding off tonality that can happen with too much warmth..Tonality in the mids and how they present vocals and instruments are done extremely well here.. Norah Jones can be made out front and center.. Instruments are separated from her vocals with clear distinction effect and spacial separation... Phones with lesser ability just simply don't have this type of proper sounding stage you would get from these phones..The mids was the one area that Ericp was saying that he did not miss from the older FX700. The great news is. These have some of the best mids I have heard from a larger sounding earphone to date with no recession to be had in any of it. In fact the entire sound has this forward yet bold sound signature that I have not heard done quite like these earphones.. The sound signature is decidedly not an analytical one but one that envelopes you in your music with every bit of emphasis the recording has..  
    Done so well that it will let you realize just how limiting other earphones in your collection is when it comes to proper dynamics in a large sounding earphone. A complete sounding phone that incorporates the best of JVC has to offer for the enthusiast..These are what I consider a masterpiece of engineering.. Simply enjoyable beyond belief... Get that image of a cheaper bass phones done wrong completely out of your head. Think TH600/TH900 in an earphone and you might have a good idea what I am talking about here.. An absolutely fantastic example of a single dynamic done right...
  2. ericp10
    Nicely done as usual Dsnuts. Very well written! I hope to see mine early next week.  Happy listening.
  3. audionewbi
    Thanks, i always get really happy when i see a new dynamic driver iem out in the market.

    hopefully i can buy this down the road, i don't mind having a th900 for on the road purposes.

    any chance doing a more in depth review on how they behave with amping?
  4. DannyBai
  5. Dsnuts Contributor
    Thanks my friend. Your gonna love these is all I can say.. [​IMG]
    Using my 2Stepdance and X3. The stage is even more wider, with better clarity and instrument separation.. Love the 2 Step.. I noticed the FX850 does benefit from more power, tighter sound and cleaner bass..Treble has a touch more air and emphasis.. I noticed these don't need a dedicated amp to sound as engaging as they are but with one it hones down the sound of the FX850 more so..I burned these in using my Audinst MX2 on the MX2 they sound wonderful as well. In fact I don't have a source that actually makes these sound bad.. Equally as engaging on a simple dap as it is on an amp. I will try out my NFB-5 and ICON dacs soon with some results. I have mostly just been burning them in to get to their final sound and I believe I am very close to that final sound. 100hours of burn in..
    These amp better after burn in because the sound is much tighter after burn in. I did try using the DX50 and 2Step earlier on the burning cycle and it didn't sound as transparent as I am hearing it now. I do strongly recommend burning in these phones.  I will get into that more so later but consider it a part of the package when considering purchasing one of these. 
    Remember how I was telling you these don't amp as well as the H3 when I was burning them in.. They sound freaksauce with the 2step now. Silky smooth treble, Truly fully rendered vocals and instruments and a tout deep rumble of the sub bass in full force.. Sounds truly incredible. You guys will know soon enough.
    Head-Head likes this.
  6. DannyBai
    Does it sound better on the X3 or DX50?
  7. Dsnuts Contributor
    Sounds great on both. I was gonna mention that I can make out the strengths of both players using these with ease. I do like the deepness of vocals on the X3, and helps the player with what is a larger wider sounding X3 than the stock sound normally portrays, and also enjoy a more neutral presentation of the DX50 and actually helps the low end of the DX50 with the FX850 full quality low end which makes music from the DX50 sound that much better..This large balanced sound signature with 16 Ohm sensitivity just sounds great on everything I own actually. Even better amped.
  8. kahaluu
    Nice write up. I'm probably going to have to pull the trigger on these soon.
  9. Dsnuts Contributor
    Both Ericp and Dannybai pulled the trigger on them as well I pretty much insisted..Lol...I expect impressions from everyone.. These need a proper fan base and I will make this the appreciation thread for the JVCs new woodies. I suspect the FX650 and FX750 both to be excellent as well. I am so impressed with these I am curious about the FX650 myself and will wait till the prices drop a bit on them and probably get them as well.
  10. audionewbi
  11. Dsnuts Contributor

    I will add to my write up the more I get used to their sound. I think ericp will have his this week and Dannybai will have his toward the end of the week maybe early next week. So more impressions very soon..
    audionewbi likes this.
  12. audionewbi
    Certainly looking forward to that. I love to get a pair in a months time i just first have to pay off the th900.

    i always felt dynamic iem is where it is at for me. I have sas good bye to the balance armature world. Long live dynamic drivers.
  13. ericp10
    I think the concept of burn in fits even more with these dynamic drivers in the JVC woodies. Many usually think, "okay nice wood shell to help shape the timbre....," but they forget that the drivers are also made out of wood! That adds to the unique sound signature and flavor of the earphones.
  14. mochill
    :sob:....my one died a horrible death today from a schiity Chinese cable...i can't live without them :sob:...im going buy another ASAP:sob:
  15. audionewbi
    The driver is really made out of wood? I thought they only had some wooden ring somewhere, this things getting more and interesting.

    i hope it sounds good with acoustic jazz and jazz. Interested to see how it compares against dita truth edition, can the new king be dethroned?
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