I will admit that I haven't been a Fiio fan for the majority of my journey within portable audio. I always found their players dark sounding or oddly tuned and lost interest in them some years ago. Similarly, the budget IEM models failed to catch my attention. However, their recent move into higher-end IEM's has caught my eye, and I will admit, I'm interested. This Fiio FH7 review comes at a time that the earphone market is beginning to look more than a little saturated. However, after having spent the majority of the past week testing them out, I have been mightily impressed with both the design and the sound. They are a mid-priced flagship IEM with a Hybrid driver setup consisting of 4 balanced armatures and one dynamic driver.
Packaging and Accessories
The FH7 box is simple, and it's classy, I like it a lot. It comes with an outer sleeve with information about the package contents. It has a big image of the earphone on the outside, so you know what's lurking inside. If you slide off the sleeve, you come to the inner box and its very nice indeed. High-quality, dense cardboard sleek and stylish and a simple Fiio logo on the outside.
It is one of the better presentations I have seen this year and certainly feels like a premium offering when compared to the similarly priced competition. On the inside, the earphones, and part of the cable get suspended in foam — the accessories, beautifully laid out in the section below.
This does two things. Firstly it keeps the earphones well protected in transit and secondly it adds to that special feeling when you first open the box.
The FH7 accessories are plentiful and of excellent quality. You get two carry cases with these earphones. A high-quality leather box with enough room to store your earphones and accessories. Plus you get smaller soft zipper case. The leather case is beautiful, with a nice shade of blue and beautiful embossing on the outside, its little touches like this that show a company is going the extra mile.
The selection of tips is brilliant. Fiio have thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this package with a variety of styles, sizes, and bores. There is high-quality tip like Comply foam and Spinfit ear tips; they don't cheap out by using generic models. Something that I haven't seen done before was the inclusion of tips labeled with bass, vocals and balanced. Many audio enthusiasts practice tip rolling, (using different tip styles to alter the sound), but this is the first time I have seen a company directly tell you what tips work best for certain tunings.
Finally, you get a small pill style bottle that holds the adjustable filter tips with which you can change the sound signature. These are some of the smallest filters I have seen. They are said to alter the sound to make it suited for low-end response, high end, and balanced tuning. I will go into more depth about how the filters affect the Fiio FH7's sound signature later in this review.
Looks and Build Quality
The Fiio FH7 is an excellent looking set of earphones, and they are every bit a match for more expensive flagship models when it comes to aesthetics. They have an all-metal body to them, which inspires confidence as to the long term durability of the FH7 and they feel great when you get them in hand. Every bit the premium product they are aiming to be
The housings have an ergonomically efficient design that will suit the shape of many ears. The driver housing is on the broad side of normal as you would expect to hold the hybrid setup inside. The good news is unless you have small ears you should find them a very comfortable fit due to the smooth edges ergonomically efficient style. Insertion depth is at a medium with the metal nozzles going deep enough to ensure a good seal is made and unwanted external noise ingress is significantly reduced.
Im a big fan of the matte black and gold color scheme. It is tastefully done, and the FH7 exude class just based on looks alone. I also like the tasteful yet subtle wave pattern on the faceplate, which keeps this interesting as opposed to just a flat black outer.
It is a better approach, as opposed to putting Fiio branding all over the FH7. It takes them up a level and makes them both look and feel capable of competing with other premium earphones.
There are recessed MMCX connectors at the top of the housing, which of course means these earphones are designed to be worn monitor style and over the ear. The connectors have a secure click to them and spin only when pressure is applied. It is right from the standpoint that you will not need to readjust them too often when taking the earphones in and out during the day.
The cable is ok and pretty typical of what we are seeing on Chinese earphones in the past year. Its streaks ahead of the wires found on earphones just a few years ago, but I did find that this one was prone to tangling and retained some memory in its form.
The connectors and splitters are excellent. They feel like they will be a long-lasting and hard-wearing. There is a little memory guide to go over the top of the ears, and the connectors have a decent amount of strain relief on them at all critical points. The opposite end of the FH7 cable terminates in a standard 3.5mm right angle jack. If you want to use a balanced setup, I believe Fiio also has such a cable for sale separately. However, the FH7 will also be compatible with most of the aftermarket MMCX cables of the market.
These are a seriously good sounding set of earphones, and I was somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed my time with them. They are incredibly versatile and perform very well with all the genres they were tested. They can go low on EDM and yet the refinement from the BA drivers to work great in classical and jazz. Realistically they are going to sound good with anything. They were not fussy with the sources we used for the review. That's perfect if you want to use them straight out a smartphone (even though they shine with higher quality sources and files.)
It is a neutral-ish sounding monitor. I say that because it can extend either way in the sound spectrum yet doesn't lean too far in one direction or the other. Its as if it is just playing nice and that big dynamic driver is sitting back until it gets called into action. It certainly delivers on the low end but not at the expense of the excellent mid and top range.
Bass is deep and fast, and it also retains a lot of detail making for a great listening experience on any genre. It's the ability to punch hard and rumble when required that impresses. On more nuanced tracks and genres it behaves itself beautifully with zero bleeds into the midsection and it never really dominates the overall sound.
It's not the deepest in terms of sub-bass, but it does have a lot of it, which makes it suitable for people who have varied tastes in music. Pure EDM fans will still find better options out there like the TFZ No.3, but those won't have the refinement in any of the other categories in which the Fiio FH7 excels.
I found the mids to be more in my face than I had expected. They are a little to the brighter side and quite prominent. I like that there is the slightest hint of warmth, but they are not a lush sounding earphone. They instead present with more emphasis on clarity and detail retrieval than a forced sense of intimacy.
The balanced armatures do an excellent job of resolving detail, and the transparency in the upper midrange allows the overall sound to open up. You can distinctly pinpoint notes and instruments because of it. Tuning in the midrange doesn't lean overly bright, but it is crisper than some of the earphones that I have tested lately like the Fearless Audio S8P.
The FH7 has crisp and emphasized highs with a lot of detail but little ingress into the sibilant territory. I had started using an older Sabre DAC, which was prone to shining on the upper end. I found this to be too much, but when I changed the source, this concern was somewhat laid to rest.
I consider myself someone who likes treble but with the wrong source its a little off. However, if you pair the Fiio FH7 up with a neutral or warm source, then this benefits them a lot. In the absence of having multiple source choices changing the filter, using comply tips, and utilizing EQ settings, all brought this well into check. There is a lot of detail and clarity , which helps to emphasize the overall soundstage of the earphones.
Soundstage & Imaging
The FH7 displays a goodsized soundstage. Slightly above-average levels of width and depth were observed throughout multiple test tracks. It's the imaging that stands out more with the hybrid design making it easy to pinpoint instrumentation, layers, and vocals.
Custom tuning filters.
I'm not going into depth on the filters because honestly, they do exactly what they say. The adjust the tuning either in a more high or low based emphasis from the stock filter setup. T
he thing I like about them is they are one of the more subtle implementations of the technology I have seen to date. The FH7 with whatever filter you use to keep their core sound and only nuanced changes were observed when switching between them.
I personally really enjoyed the stock tuning and saw no need to install the other versions permanently.
Fiio FH7 vs. Tin HiFi P1
One of my favorite earphones of recent times has to be the P1 from Tin Hifi. These exceptional planar earphones were released to the usual hype, followed by the even more predictable contrarians.
In my eyes, the P1 is the absolute best bang for buck earphone on the market. The sound and detail retrieval are outstanding and rival the top end of the earphone market.
I wouldn't buy the FH7 over the P1 as I think the price and sound are more appealing on the latter, but in truth, they are not comparable. Build quality, styling, and accessories on the Fiio FH7 are miles ahead of the P1. The sound is also too different from putting them in the same category.
The P1 has a brighter top end and less impact on the low end, especially in regards to the lows. Which one is right for you will vary significantly on the type of music you listen to and whether or not you have a sufficient source with which to drive the P1.
Fiio FH7 vs. Campfire Audio Polaris 2
These two are equal in a lot of ways with a similar price, standard of build quality, and accessory set. However, Campfire doesn't look such good value dollar for dollar, and the FH7 have them handily beaten on sound. The Polaris 2 is more of a one-dimensional thick mids and heavy bass. The Fiio FH7 is a lot more refined and nuanced and destroy the Polaris when it comes to both an accurate portrayal of the source files and micro-detail retrieval.
Fiio FH7 vs. Fearless Audio S8P
These two are very comparable with both offerings above average value for money. By this I mean they can compete with far more expensive IEMs and remain a viable option. The significant differential here lies in the tuning.
The Fearless Audio S8P is a ruthless revealing and transparent earphone with outstanding detail retrieval; they are one of my favorite earphones released this year. The Fiio FH7 will be for people who like just a bit more warmth and an enhancement in the low end.
The bass is stronger on the Fiio earphones. Of course, the build quality couldn't be more different with the FH7's metal body going up against the Fearless's Acrylic shells. Durability wise the FH7 easily win but the S8P fire back with superior comfort.
Both earphones are far apart in what they do and how they do it, but they are both some of the best options on the market at this price point.
Conclusion - Fiio FH7 Review
Having never been a fan of Fiio's products, I have to admit they hit the nail on the head with the FH7. Its a serious step up for the companies in-ear line-up and they tick almost every box for what I would want from them.
They are incredibly well made, look beautiful, and come with one of the best accessory setups you can get. All that is topped by excellent sound quality and the ability to slightly tune them to suit your tastes better. This gives them some edge over the competition in regards to versatility.
Excellent earphones that should have a lot of the more expensive brands worried. Highly recommended.
The Fiio FH7, as usual, are available to buy from both Linsoul and Amazon.