Fearless Audio has been around for quite some time, and I’ve never been able to hear anything from their catalog until now. They mainly provide custom IEMs for professional use, like engineering and stage monitoring, but their universal line aims to deliver a set of earphones everyone can enjoy. The Barcelona is one of their more inexpensive models at only $118, which is a pretty competitive range if you think about all of the ChiFi brands occupying this space. Does the Barcelona stand out?
What You Get
- 1.2m earphone cable(±5cm)
- Earphone silicone sleeve*3 pairs(S,M,L)
- Earphone cleaning brush
- Portable earphone storage box
- Wipe cloth
Look and Feel
The Barcelona presents itself to you with a striking look no matter which variation you choose. Mine was the neon, which provided me with sparkly blue and silver scales, making for a stylish faceplate. It sits atop a completely clear shell for the driver’s housing, which you can see for yourself. The shape of its cavity is an ergonomic design that lines up naturally with your concha and is meant to sit still causing no signs of discomfort. For the most part, it succeeds in giving you uncompromised comfort, but the shell itself can stretch out your ears depending on size.
For its driver system, the Barcelona uses one 10mm dynamic driver and one balanced armature. The dynamic unit uses special pole magnets that strengthen tension and increases performance. Its balanced armature is made by Sonion, and helps relegate mids and highs with precision and accuracy. It also comes with a great stock cable that is a silver-plated Litz with 8 strands and made from pure oxygen-free copper.
- Sensitivity 110dB(@1 kHz)
- Impedance 24Ω (@1kHz)
- Frequency response range 15Hz-20000Hz
- Passive noise reduction 26dB
I have no frame of reference for Fearless Audio, so listening to the Barcelona is an exciting new experience for me. In the soundstage, what I got was mostly enjoyable, but it isn’t the most articulate image. Even for its price, there are IEMs out there with better separation and imaging, but its depth is still impressive at points. Being that this is a fairly dark IEM, the stage is sometimes clouded with frequency resonance that tends to cozy up a little too much to other ranges across the spectrum. Spaciousness is not its strong suit, but in terms of layering, the instruments, effects, and vocals all stack on each other nicely. Some height is established, but it is a limited response because of the specific tuning the sound signature is given.
The Barcelona’s biggest display of texture comes in the form of its bass response. It forms the exact opposite of a clinical, neutral tonality, and goes right for that brash, thick timbre that gives the lows dominance over the sound signature as a whole. The sub-bass rumbles with assertive vibrations that delve deep, and give the response a throaty feel. It punches and booms with a sense of grip and tightness in the mid-bass, making for a dramatic counter-balance between the two bass ranges.
While being less focused than the bass, the midrange offers clarity where it is needed. The low and high mids are definitely the most vivid regions of the frequency spectrum, leaving some recession in those fundamental bands. It establishes a dark tone, but still accentuates itself when it comes to delivering vocals and instrumentals. It all comes together musically in the end, giving vocals their area to shine and pronounce themselves with clarity.
For the type of sound profile the Barcelona is going for, it’s apparent that the treble would take a hit in terms of fidelity. It does an admirable job trying to reach for those upper-high frequencies, but they just can’t quite get there. The highs are left somewhat hollow because of this, with few instances of clarity.
If you’re looking for a dark IEM with an expressive bass response for a good price then the Barcelona might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s not perfect, but it is hard to not recommend for the price, as it is bound to bring an enjoyable listening experience to those with a certain sound profile in mind. It’s thick and rumbly with tons of power but lacks detail outside that realm. For something different, there are tons of great options out there, but for a purely bass-centric listen, it is hard to come to the level of the Barcelona.
|· Good depth
· Impactful bass
· Striking design
· Great stock cable
|· Weak highs
· Recessed mids
The Fearless Audio Barcelona is available at Audio46.