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Following you can find all the reviews of Fiio FA7, including the article review and Youtube video review.
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Stated in their marketing materials FiiO hopes to deliver powerful bass, clean mids with good positioning, a resolving trebles that does not fatigue. The tuning is for modern pop rather than audiophile reference. FiiO is also pitching the FA7 as being able to handle both small and large scale music with an out of the head experience also good depth in the soundstage.
Read on to see if it lives up to FiiO’s description!
The FA7 is an L-shaped presentation with a fairly linear but stronger low-end emphasis and some warmth creeping into the lower midrange. From 600Hz to 2k the mids dip a touch robbing lower pitched vocals of some air and presence.
You do get a decent rise from 2-3k that delivers a better higher pitched vocal and percussion focus. Female vocals in particular benefit from this rise sounding smooth and fuller-sounding with a touch of forwardness in the staging. Treble is detailed and never harsh but it lacks a little energy and sparkle. It does roll off a fairly quickly after a small 7-8k bump giving it a slightly darker tone.
Testing the Sound
I ran the FA7 on an iPhone6, an AK120, and FiiO’s own M6 DAP as these are popular lower powered devices. On these pairings, I am hearing good resolution especially on the upper vocal range. The dynamic range is good with decent texture in its low-end and excellent articulation and detail in its treble performance despite it rolling-off at the very top-end.
The FA7 performs well technically, yet the low-end quantity can be a bit overwhelming at times. To me, lower pitched vocals are a bit laid back, particularly male vocals which, at times, compete with that stronger bass bias. You may find equalizing down the midbass by 2-3dB effective in delivering more clarity to the FA7’s vocal presence.
For this reason, I also switched to the vocal tips with a smaller bore diameter, resulting in a better treble presence and a tighter bass performance. These tips make the whole mix less bass intensive. Using the Hiby Music R6 and their MSEB DSP slider scale I also adjusted the ”Note Thickness” option to tweak it more towards my preference for more body lower pitched vocals.
Again for what you are paying for, the technical capability is high and you can hear good detail in the upper-mids. There will be a better synergy if your source is more neutral or you can EQ/DSP additional weight to the vocal presence.
In contrast to the bright colored design theme, I find FA7 more enjoyable with slower, emotional songs or maybe Canto/ Chinese pop songs which has more mid-bass content originally.
Impedance and sensitivity
The FA7 is rated at 23Ω with 110dB/mW sensitivity. The impedance is average and the sensitivity is fairly high. Being a relatively sensitive IEM DAPs alike the latest release FiiO M6 will still drive it loud within 50% vol. Higher-end DAPs and an additional amplifier will absolutely boost the sound quality pumping more power to the CI bass driver.
The FA7 is quite sensitive to cable rolling and you could play around with aftermarket cables and try mix and match for your own preference, but for me, it is more recommended to use higher end source for a cleaner and more resolving bass
The slightly high impedance on FA7 make it easier to pair with higher output impedance devices for example the Hiby R6 that has 10Ω OI. The tuning will also be more consistent on different gears and it is not likely to spot any hiss from most systems with the FA7. The background is very dark on the FiiO K3 and M6 but you will hear very faint hiss on amplifiers with higher gain.
The FiiO FA7 is a Quad Driver Balanced Armature IEM with a 4 way crossover system. It’s produced via 3D printing technology with a skin-friendly resin material. FiiO claims this is the first mass produced Quad BA monitor with the 3D printing method.
They also claim the process takes 60 minutes to make a pair. This 3D process ensures a consistent production. Therefore all of the FA7s they produced should have the exact same sound.
The material for the shell is Germany-imported resin . We recently also saw that with the Hyla Audio IEMs. The result is a very high quality chassis with one extra benefit: a healthy contact with the skin. This solution prevents bacteria breeding around your ears. The resin is also very durable, and it’s promised to retain the crystal clear, transparent look in the long run.
The package and its content is reminiscent to the FH5. The only difference I spotted is the inclusion of the bi-flange tips. Other then that, everything is the same.
You get both foam and silicons and the tips are presented beautifully and they affect the sound in different ways. That’s why the tips are indicated as “bass”, “vocal” and “balanced”. The fourth types are the foam tips indicated as “memory foam”, but there’s no sound indication for them. We know from experience though; foams generally reduce the bass impact and create a more relaxed sound with taming down the treble.
The tips are easily recognizable since they all have different colors. Once you memorize their color you know which is which. Lastly you get bi-flange tips as I mentioned. You get a transparent capped carrying case, a carrying pouch and a cleaning tool of course.
Design and Build Quality
FA7’s design language is “inspired by nature,” with a fluid, contiguous shell and faceplate motif drawing inspiration from gentle streams, turbulent waves, or taking a whizz by the road. It is, though, undoubtedly pleasing to the eye. I could stare at the faceplates for hours; they carry a hypnotic quality like watching hot dogs cook on a roller.
As for the build, FiiO is pretty proud of its materials and 3D-printing technology. The earpieces are made of German high-transparency, skin-friendly resin and come with EU IIA medical device (!) certification. The resin is resistant to discoloration too, implying that the FA7 will maintain its clean, transparent looks for years to come.
More tech talk
FiiO collaborated with 3D printing specialists HeyGears, using industrial-grade printers with digital light processing (DLP) technology and a printing resolution of up to 25um. Each earpiece is precision-printed for 60 minutes, promising consistent sound between different pairs of FA7 and ensuring that unit variances are minimized. This is the part not inspired by nature.
For the common folk (which includes me), the FA7 is a well-designed and well-built piece of work that hopefully withstands the tests of time and grime.
disclaimer : im not some hardcore audiophiles who enjoy music with all kind of premium luxurious hardware, i just enjoy listening to great sound with my limited resource and equipment. so what i think great about something, might not be great for you, since sound is pretty subjective anyway.
all of the sound part of this review here is done with FiiO M6 + FiiO LC-3.5B Cable and LC-3.5C Cable + SpinFit CP145 Eartips
Bass / Low :
the low frequency emphasis on FA7 is more on the bass to mid bass range, this creates overall tonality of this IEM to warm almost darker sounding, the bass quantity is great, a lot of bass, and a fast bass thanks to the balanced armature driver on this set, if you like to listen to rock music with a lot of electric bass guitar, this IEM able to reproduce a lot of detail of the bass strings from the music, and for RnB, Rap music, this have more than enough punch to make the music feel alive.
with LC3.5C cable :
i think the quantity of the bass is a little bit reduced, causing less bass bleeds into the lower mid
thanks to the bass – mid bass emphasis, the mid on FA7 is sounds rounder, full, warm, vocal both male and female on this set sounds great but sometime male vocal especially male with bassy sounding voice sounds a bit weird or sounding a bit too authoritive if i would say.
Instruments like guitar, violin, bass guitar, trumpet sounds very detailed and sweet on this set with LC3.5C cable :
Mids sounds more cleaner especially on the male vocal, the resolution, layering of overall instrument is enhanced
The balanced armature that takes care of the lower frequencies reproduction of the FiiO FA7 is the Knowles CI-22955 – balanced armature model belonging to the CI series; the largest and most powerful model’s series from Knowles.
The overall lower frequencies on the FiiO FA7 are fun but not overcooked with an amount and quality of bass that can provide a very rounded and full-bodied sound signature that does not risk to become conservative nor anemic at any given time.
At the same time, they are not a standard consumer-grade sounding type of bass. Their mid-bass is very punchy but not bouncy and the lower end can get as deep as needed by any music genre and/or track without shortage but does not get all-over the place muffling nor killing-off their sound.
The mid-bass and sub-bass of the FiiO FA7 can make happy demanding listeners looking for a refined but confident bass style and even to normal users that enjoy a fun and full-sounding listening experience – if you were looking for a bass-only sounding earphone, this is not the model for you.
Applying an EQ, their bass can be pushed for a very bassy and bass-centered response that somehow is still able to leave some space for midrange and highs.
Sometimes we feel the need to remind our readers that a higher score in the Bass & Sub Bass does not necessarily mean a stronger bass and the FiiO FA7 is one of those cases in which it’s 9.5/10 score represents a more refined yet equally powerful bass instead of a massively impacting and insanely bassy one.
Major Hifi Review
When the FA7 arrived on my review desk, I was reminded of the FH5. Indeed, this earphone even comes with the same accessories – 12 pairs of eartips, a cleaning tool, a cable clip, and two carrying cases – a hard carrying case and a soft zippered carrying pouch.
Holding the FA7 in my hands, I’m struck by the lack of weight and the eye-catching design. The pair I received for review features the blackish-gray “smoke” color. FiiO also offers the FA7 in a red-blue color scheme that looks a little flashier or downright garish, depending on personal tastes.
Peering through the translucent housing sides and back of the FA7, you can see the driver configuration. Four Knowles BA drivers sit inside, offering 4-way crossover a helluva sound.
Each housing features a contoured, sculpted look that also offers improved comfort. While a tad bit irksome to dislodge, the FiiO FA7 has a habit of staying in my gigantic ears once situated. Sitting almost flush with my ears, it’s a fit that’s secure enough to wear on my daily commute, and slim enough to wear to bed.
Cabling comes in the form of a 4 ft (1.2 m) mmcx cable, with a right-angled 3.5mm plug. The cable feels strong and resilient, but just as light as the earphone. However, if you’re hankering for a balanced sound, FiiO also offers an accessory cable of similar build with a 4.4 mm connection – and all for the scant price of $69.99.
The FiiO FA7 has a pretty U shaped sound signature where the midrange is behind the strong bass and sharp treble range. The general tonality is warmer than neutral, with a warm & entertaining bass and slightly warmish midrange and treble tonality.
The subbass of the FiiO FA7 has good extension for an IEM with balanced armature driver. It’s warm, entertaining, goes pretty low and is dominant in its presentation.
The subbass of the FA7 is maybe not as soft as a dynamic driver but is good in terms of quantity and intensity.
It was possible to hear and to feel the very deep and strong bass notes in Lorde’s “Royals”, Massive Attack’s “Angel” and Armin Van Buuren’s “Vini Vici”.
The midbass have a warm and entertaining tonality and are also fairly dominant in the overall presentation. The midbass have a strong impact, while the slam is quite noticeable. There is a small midbass hump in bass intensive tracks, which can affect male vocals in a small margin, while female vocals and instruments such as cymbals are unaffected.
The general presentation of the midbass region is powerful and solid in its character. This tuning will be a joy for those who listening to cross drums, trumpets, bass guitars etc. and loving a strong midbass presentation.
The bass of the FiiO FA7 is a bit loose in the presentation and hits from a fairly close position of the ear. The speed is average and may from time to time bleed into the midrange, but is still successful in most songs with fast passages. The quantity is pretty high to be described as linear and will satisfy most users who are looking for a strong bass presentation.
The FiiO FH5 arrived in quite a large (~ 155mm x 206mm x 78mm) retail box with very simple black over-sleeve (just the words FiiO, FA7, Hi-Res Audio logo, and a graphic image of the FA7 on the sleeve). Inside is a large book style case, simply embossed with the FiiO name/logo. Opening this reveals the FA7 safely held inside a foam cut-out.
Under the cut-out are two compartments – one holding the large array of tips and the second holding the carry and storage cases. The storage case is very similar to their other Pelican type cases and provides pretty good protection as well as storage. Because of it’s size, its more suited to jacket pocket than pants pocket use.
There is also a pocketable soft-case (similar to the one from the FH5). Its essentially a neoprene fabric clamshell (zipped) which has sufficient padding to protect, but is small enough to fit in a pants / jeans pocket. Its a perfect size.
The full accessory package includes:
- 1 pair FiiO FA7 IEMs
- 1 x 3.5mm MMCX stereo cable
- 3 sets of “balanced” silicone tips
- 1 set of “bi-flange” silicone tips
- 3 sets of “vocal enhanced” silicone tips
- 3 sets of “bass enhanced” silicone tips
- 3 set of foam tips
- 1 x cleaning tool
- 1 x magnetic cable tidy
- 1 x velcro cable tidy
- 1 x rigid Pelican type case
- 1 x soft neoprene carry case
- Instruction manual & warranty card
FiiO is calling their all new cool looking flagship FA7 in-ear-monitors as SSS (Simple Symphonic Synergy), I’m however calling them to my close friends as BASS (Big Ass Sound System) lovers dream IEMs.
There is something about them I just never experienced in a fully armature-based IEM, which I’ll write about later on.
F9 put a high standard in the affordable IEMs category, F9 PRO raised that bar, FH5 did it again and now FA7 created a new, higher tier category in the FiiO line-up.
Yet another FiiO IEM tier? Yes please!
From the moment you unpack them and start touching them you understand that this was made completely from the ground-up. Almost everything is new.
They decided to go with a very efficient 3D printing technique that will save a lot of time and money into making a quality and long-lasting IEM.
FA7 are completely made from a German sourced resin, it has a very smooth surface – a very important aspect since I feel FA7 is sliding inside your ear much easier than their former designs (plastic or metal made).
FA7 exterior design resembles custom IEMs a lot, that custom-like face plate is very cool looking, FiiO is offering few face-plate designs and colors and I do hope they will offer even more very soon. I’m always choosing a neutral IEM color but with FA7 I felt that red and blue face plates will be looking really cool when I’m jogging outside. My 5-year-old son asked why I am putting candies inside my ears and I started laughing out loud.
They indeed are looking quite tasty in this particular color.
The shell of FA7 is made with German high-transparency resin, specifically medically designed for ears and with EU IIA medical certification. The FA7 is the mass-produced, 3D printed quad balanced armature IEM in the market. I would like to congratulate FiiO making this breakthrough. FA7 looks fascinating with the 3D printed shell and a shiny face-plate. The fitting is considered good for most of the ear size. Most of my friends have no issue with the fitting for this IEM.
FiiO is using a high-purity monocrystalline copper-plated silver cable, LC-3.5B. The build quality seems rigid and I believe it can sustain a reasonable amount of strain. Great improvement is observed on the MMCX connector. I always find it hard to attach and detach the cable from my FiiO F9 Pro. This is not found in the new FA7.
The headphone collector
Used ear tips: only largest included “Balanced” silicone ear tips.
Used driving gear: only low impedance DAPs, DACs and Amps.
In notes/key points and with a few selected comparisons, that’s the FiiO FA7:
- punchy bass that extends deep without rolling off (ca. 10 dB elevation compared to an in-ear that is tuned for a diffuse field-flat bass such as the Etymotic ER-4S/ER4SR; therefore slightly bassier than my Campfire Audio Andromeda or the NocturnaL Audio Atlantis or the first-gen Brainwavz B200 (not to be confused with the inferior and differently tuned 2nd generation with removable cables);
- some root/deep lower midrange warmth (comparable to NocturnaL Audio Atlantis, Campfire Audio Andromeda or Brainwavz B200 (the first generation with permanently attached cables, not the inferior and differently tuned 2nd generation with removable cables); maybe even a tad more);
- quite inoffensive upper mids (even a bit more so than the Andromeda and B200 (the original, not the inferior 2nd generation), but less so than the Fischer Amps FA-4E XB) that are heading into the somewhat darker direction;
- rather neutral upper lower and central treble (just a little relaxed by diffuse field-standards), quite neutral to probably just a little bit emphasised upper treble (more quantity than the darker first-gen B200, less than my Andromeda that tends to more sharpness and splash);
- good super treble extension.
There are different included ear tips labelled “Balanced”, “Vocal”, “Bass”, “Memory foam” and “Bi-flange”. As it could be expected, they mainly affect central and upper treble response to some degree (the mids are also slightly altered).
The “Vocal” tips place the mids the closest in the mix, although just in relation, because ultimately they still leave the upper mids that heading into the darker direction and quite inoffensive.
With an emphasis of around 10 dB in the bass, the FA7 is definitely on the more powerful, bolder side for BA standards. Warmth is there but doesn’t overshadow the mids.
Extension into the sub-bass is great and the very lows don’t roll off but are audible and powerful.
Upper mids take a step back wherefore voices are on the darker side in contrast to many Asian in-ears where they are powerfully lifted and bright. As a result the mids are never offensive or exhausting, in fact they are even lacking a bit of glare/presence in the upper midrange – this, around 2 kHz, is the only area where the FA7 could be re-tuned for a bit less upper midrange relaxation. But as it is the timbre is still good (the mids are on the darker side but not to a degree where they become too unnatural) and what I would definitely choose over an overdone upper midrange/presence range lift.
Going up, between 3 and 4 kHz, the upper section of the lower treble is back around rather neutral level again, maybe a bit less, but certainly not lacking but also clearly not emphasised.
Except for another (although not narrow) dip around 5 kHz (mainly audible using sine sweeps), what follows is about neutral treble quantity from 7.5 kHz on, maybe just a little more than that in this area. Super treble extension past 10 kHz is good.
The result of the interaction between the upper midrange and treble is a treble response that appears inoffensive and rather relaxed, however not lacking or veiled dark (I’m referring to the highs since the mids are definitely on the darker side) – easy listening without lacking clarity or brightness in the treble, that’s it, and that’s a good thing.
My only gripe with the tuning is that voices are a little too dark/inoffensive in the upper region (for my taste). With more quantity between 1 and 3 kHz, the tonal balance and timbre would have been nearing perfection. But that’s maybe just nitpicking. And I definitely favour this midrange tuning (with a little too little upper midrange quantity) over a typically over-lifted upper midrange.
And it’s a sound signature that is quite ideal for worry-free, relaxed, easy listening. Frankly I also like it quite a bit for relaxed, non-reference listening – I just pop it in my ears and I’m ready to go for hours of music without any fatigue or exhaustion while doing other things or while only listening to the music.
Resolution is good and the separation is precise over the entire frequency range.
The bass has got the typical BA control, speed and tightness and is nimble. It’s ultimately just slightly on the softer side (compared to the tightest in-ears) which was quite expected due to the lift, utilised driver and general tuning, although it’s among the tighter implementations for this driver. So the balance between a little more body/decay and still high control is done really well and the bass doesn’t feel sterile but is also far from being sluggish. Friends of usually softer dynamic drivers will very likely still find it slightly sterile though. However, I’m definitely a Balanced Armature woofer loving guy.
The texture doesn’t soften towards the sub-bass but remains clean and precise.
The midrange can appear a bit veiled at times due to the tuning with the recessed level around 2 kHz. It’s really just the tuning though; “actual” midrange resolution is just held back by it and vocals could benefit from a bit more upper midrange quantity (I’m talking about neutral or slightly-less-than-neutral levels here, not the commonly found “Asian” bright upper midrange lift) to give vocals the perceived resolution they deserve, because as the tuning is, separation in busy midrange-heavy tracks is very good on the FA7 and nothing is foggy in the mids – they just have a bit too little glare.
Treble separation etc. is just as clean and precise as the rest.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y23Z1m3_Q8o (FiiO FA7 & FA1, Z review, 144K followers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWg-wG75MJQ ( Porta.fi, 18K followers )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igrBN5kU9pU ( Bad Guy Good Audio Reviews, 14K followers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD2qI1AvIsc ( Audiophile Heaven, less than 1K followers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwiqFaVoqL0 ( Currawong, 10K followers )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttjkpo_Nht0 ( Soundnews, less than 1K followers)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIfu231mCiU ( FiiO FA7 IEM Review and comparison with the FH5, Currawong, 10K followers)