Out of all the top IEM brands today, Fiio is the one I am most unfamiliar with. Their top-of-the-line earphone selection has escaped me for a long time. However, I have listened to a few of their more affordable models, like the F9. I recently got to check out another one of their more economical options, the FD1. Although this is a $59 IEM, it’s presented with the same prestige as their higher-end models. As you will see, some of the complex components make the FD1 seem more valuable than it may seem by the price point. Does the FD1 impress?
What You Get
- Balanced ear tips (large*2, medium*2, small*2)
- Bass ear tips flarge*2, medium*2, small*2)
- Memory foam ear tips* 2
- HB1 carrying case*1
Look and Feel
On the outside, the FD1 appears like a capable IEM, sporting a stylish aesthetic with fine materials. The part that stands out the most is the celluloid faceplate, which has a unique glossy finish, with a gold logo written upon it. I was given the black version of the FD1, but the blue edition is just as visually pleasing. The body of the FD1 features an ergonomic design and the lightweight housing makes a great fit. Its size makes the level of comfortability very sustainable, as it never feels too large for the cavity. A fashionable look and a great fit.
Here’s where things get complicated. For a sixty-dollar earphone, Fiio packs a considerable amount of components to make up its driver system. Its main highlight is the driver’s beryllium diaphragm, a flagship-grade that aims to deliver a certain amount of power. Beryllium drivers do a great job delivering a lively sound, shaped by light and rigid materials. The driver is designed with an N50 two-way magnetic circuit for superior transient response. Lastly, this combination of components is supported by a stable cavity made from a gold-plated aluminum alloy. It provides stability for the driver system, as well as provided extra shape for the sound signature.
The FD1 promises a lot adding all of these interior components. I found that even with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack on a computer, the FD1 is able to pass a powerful signal. DAC adapters will only make the signal appear more full and balanced, but any smartphone or laptop will give you massive volume. High levels of amplitude can prove to be harmful when listening for long periods of time, but sustainable with the right adjustment of gain.
The FD1 sets itself apart from a lot of these IEMs that go for less than a hundred dollars by offering a much more substantial soundstage. With the FD1 you get a very surprising amount of width and combined with a scaled-up image quality makes this a considerably engaging sound field. Spatial imaging is accurate and highly articulate for the price, culminating in an immersive stage that rewards track with many elements a respectable amount of clarity. Each range of frequency has its place in the sound signature, with careful positioning and layering.
If you’re asking for a bass-heavy set of earphones, you won’t get that here. Instead, you’ll get a balanced low-end with a quick movement and a punchy tonality. Textures here are minimal but mostly clean and consistent. You won’t get much sub-bass, but the lows still have a noticeable level of impact that gave the frequencies just enough energy for me.
One of my favorite characteristics of this sound signature was how spacious the midrange is. The frequencies receive an airy texture that helps certain instrumental feel a lot freer. Tracks with heavy reverb became a lot more ideal here, emanating from their proper source and dissipating with noticeable tails. It’s a bit thin, but the body of the sound still stays intact, especially with vocals, which appear light and ethereal in moments.
Although I found the treble to be very digestible, it didn’t show me a particularly enticing response. The texture here is smooth, but almost to a fault as the upper-end starts to roll off. It is not a particularly hard or sibilant response, but it also lacks the character of the mids and the balance of the lows.
With the price tag alone, I would say that the Fiio FD1 shows its worth. Especially over a lot of the competition in this price range. For less than a hundred dollars you get a grand soundstage with an appreciable amount of space with some clean textures and a non-fatiguing treble. Even though I would have liked to see more coloration, the sound here is wildly satisfying. It’s not quite an automatic steal, but definitely worth looking into.
Pros and Cons
Pros: Design, Beryllium components, Soundstage, Fit, Spacious mids
Cons: Bland treble
The Fiio FD1 is available at Audio 46.