FiiO FD1: pretty, pretty, pretty, good...
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Hey guys welcome back to the neighborhood. It’s Your Friendly Neighborhood Reviewer with InToit Reviews.
I wanted to thank the Neighborhood for being so supportive of the channel recently. I’ve recently got a Thieaudio Legacy 3 in the house thanks to a very special viewer sending them in. So look forward to that review in the upcoming weeks.
Also, another special viewer also sent in the FiiO FD1; just because so many of you were asking about it. So, I really appreciate all of you, and especially want to thank them!
But I also have some sad news about the FiiO FD1 to report. Unfortunately, there is a driver imbalance or failure issue going on within the left side of the set itself, but, nevertheless, I think I can still wrap my head around what the FD1 has to offer.
If you’re interested in the build of the FiiO FD1, you can check out my review of the FH1s, because it’s pretty much exactly the same, other than the color, and the included accessories are exactly the same.
With regard to sound of the FD1, the big-picture take-away would be that FiiO decided to tune the FD1 in a very similar manner to the Jade Audio EA3, in my opinion- but with a few, minor, but notable differences.
In general, the FD1 has the smallest hint of metallic timbre, which proliferates the sound. This is a Berylium driver, and you can hear it, but it isn’t terribly offensive either. I also found that Final Type E tips helped this out quite a bit. Compared to the EA3, the FD1 has additional sub-bass presence, and the EA3 has some additional midbass. Bass intensity between the two sets is somewhat similar, but the EA3 seems to tighten up quicker.
With regard to its presence, the FD1 is more reserved at both ends, compared to the EA3, but the mids and treble are somewhat harsher sounding overall than in the EA3 as well- for the most part. The only exception to this is the 8K peak in the EA3, which is notably more present, and although it does not bother me, this might cause the EA3 to present to some as sharp- here or there. Additionally, vocals may be somewhat more forward on the FD1, but generally speaking, the FD1 presents mostly as a more, well-reserved EA3, to me. Which means, I ultimately do like this earphone, because I loved the EA3, and this is like its more well-behaved brother in some ways; minus some mild harshness.
Having said that, to me, the EA3 is smoother overall, and more enjoyable to listen to, but I can see someone else preferring the FD1 for its slightly more forward vocals or more restrictive presentation in comparison.
Nevertheless, the newer Jade Audio EA1 also exists, and I’ll have a review of that IEM out shortly, so stay tuned, because it’s a special one. What I will say, for now, is that the EA1 requires a tip change, to either RHA Dual Density silicones or Dekoni TWS foamies, but it offers a more resolving, detailed presentation, compared to its FiiO counterpart, at least based on the FD1 unit that I have here to evaluate.
Did I mention that the Jade Audio EA1 has the same beryllium driver as the FiiO FD1? So once again, the Jade Audio equivalent appears to outpunches the FiiO version for a cheaper price-tag. The EA1 is like a really good bookshelf. Its tight, and well-controlled; with great imaging, but in this case, it emphasizes mids and vocals particularly well.
What I can’t see; however, is someone liking the EA1 less than the FD1, as the tonality of the EA1 is simply superior in comparison, even though the two IEMs share the same driver. But, because other reviewers have insisted that the FD1 is “fire,” and “destroys the Jade Audio EA1,” I have ordered an additional FiiO FD1 from Amazon just to verify my findings. The new set is currently burning-in, and I will update the channel if I change my mind, or come to any alternative conclusions. But for now, if I were you, I’d stick with the Jade Audio variants rather than the FiiO ones. And with that, I’m out for now!
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