FiiO and Shanling are companies that deliver fantastic sound for cheap. Many reviews have already been written about the FiiO FH1 and the Shanling ME100. So, this review is for those who are acquainted with at least one of these models, but need a comparison before they pull the trigger. These two models have quite a few similarities in terms of sound and build. Which IEM will suit your taste and listening style? Let’s find out in this FiiO FH1 vs Shanling ME100 Review.
FiiO FH1 vs Shanling ME100 Review
Both models are equally comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. However, the FH1 provides slightly more effective sound isolation.
The FiiO FH1 is on the left.
The FiiO FH1 has a hybrid setup, sporting a 10mm dynamic driver for the lows and a balanced armature driver (Knowles 33518) for the higher frequencies. The ME100, on the other hand, employs a single dynamic driver. But as my great aunt Judy likes to say, more drivers don’t always mean better sound.
The FH1 come out of the box with a 3.5mm cable that has a mic and remote. And FiiO has also thrown in a balanced silver plated copper 2.5mm cable. So, if you’re looking to upgrade your sound to a balanced connection, FiiO has saved you the added expense.
The ME100 only comes a single 3.5mm cable. But it’s a nice one. Thick and sturdy, the ME100’s oxygen free copper cable uses 18 conductors per wire.
Both of these IEMs are super easy to drive and can reach dangerously loud levels if you dare. (Careful kids! Tinnitus sucks). The FH1 and the ME100 also share the same frequency range of 20Hz – 40kHz.
You can expect a punchier, more forward leaning bass from the FH1. In contrast, the ME100 has a more natural and tighter sounding bass. But the ME100 offers sufficient oomph to make pop tracks pop, and the fast response adds nice energy to the track. Listening to rock, you’ll get a little more warmth in the lows from the FH1. But on the flip side, the ME100 offers a cleaner profile with better separation.
The comparison is tough in this range because both models show similar presence and balance between the low and high-mids. And the vocals on both models in this range sit a touch forward. But again, in terms of clarity, the Shanling ME100 delivers a tidier presentation. Listening to acoustic guitar strums in the lower mids, for example, the ME100 offered superior separation and a more natural timbre. And in general, it’s a faster, more crystalized sound. So, for genres like folk, the ME100 may be the preferable headphone.
Moving back to pop, both IEM models deliver a similar level of snap and crispiness with respect to percussion. Which is more transparent? Listening to string solos, the FH1 revealed more nuance and timbre. It’s also slightly more colored, bringing out a richness that was missing on the ME100. Therefore, at least in this range, I preferred the FH1 for classical music. Finally, both IEM models avoid too much brightness, so they are equally forgiving on the ears.
The FH1 delivers a more spacious soundstage than the comparatively compact ME100. The imaging is also more precise on the FH1, with more accurate gradations in width, depth and height. And in general, the FH1 offers the more holographic experience.
Both of these IEMs have fantastic skill for the price point. So, it’s a tough call. That being said, if you like a warm and juicy bass and you require a yuge soundstage, the FH1 should be your pick. However, if you prefer a clean, fast and well delineated sound, the ME100 is the ideal choice.
You can buy the FH1 and the ME100 for the best price here: