FiiO FA7S Six Balanced Armature IEM Review

FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEM

$319.99
FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEM
8.3

Build

9.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Sound

7.0/10

What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Natural, Detailed and Balanced Sound
  • Comfortable Fit

What To Think About

  • Dynamics Are A Little Soft
  • Bass May Be Light For Some

FiiO FA7s Review: Get the low-down on the FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEM. This in-depth evaluation includes expert insight, sound tests, and more. Read on to learn more!

TL;DR

The $ 319 FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEMs are, on paper, an audiophile’s dream come true. With six balanced armature drivers and an impressive frequency range, these earphones offer a presentation that is both detailed and rich in sound.

The FA7s earphones boast a comfortable fit, allowing hours of listening without fatigue. With a sleek design and robust construction, the FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEMs are built to last.

Whether you’re looking for a compact and convenient option for on-the-go listening or a pair of headphones to take your music to the next level, the affordable FiiO FA7s is worth a look. Read on to find out more about what these earphones have to offer.

FiiO FA7s Review: Features/Build

The FiiO FA7s is a beautiful set of in-ear monitors driven by six Knowles balanced armatures inside of (hand-polished) medical-grade stainless steel housings. There’s a refined 3-way crossover system that divides the high, mid, and low frequencies between the drivers. The round earpieces are hefty with a nice hand feel and are semi-open for an airier sound.

Those earpieces connect to the (included) silver-plated, braided copper cable via angled MMCX connectors. Truth be told, I’m typically not a fan of this type of connector, as it tends to loosen over time, but the connections on the FA7s seem to be quite sturdy and secure, at least out of the box.

FiiO FA7s Review

On the other side of the cable is a twist-lock swappable plug that allows you to quickly swap terminations, moving from the pre-installed 3.5m plug to a 4.4mm (or 2.5mm) plug in just a few minutes. That’s a pretty neat trick, negating the need to have multiple cables on hand.

As far as comfort goes, the FA7s are outstanding. The lightweight earpieces fit my ears like a glove (i.e. securely), and the smooth surface caused no bothersome irritation of my outer ear.

Plenty of Accessories

Additionally, these IEMs come with a wide range of accessories. That includes the aforementioned cable and termination plugs, a hard plastic waterproof case, a Cleaning brush, and a magnetic cable clip.

You also get more eartips than I can remember receiving with any other IEM, including three sizes each of Fiio’s “Balanced”, “Bass”, and “Vocals” silicone ear tips, along with a set of Foam ear tips in a medium size, and a set of medium dual-flange ear tips.

As you may suspect, the different tips are designed to provide customization in fit and sound, and I found that all provided a secure and comfortable fit in my ears.

If I had to rate the tips in terms of comfort, it would be the Silicone coming in at number one, the Foam at number two, and the double flange last. That said, all the tips are of good quality, and I believe most folks won’t feel it absolutely necessary to buy aftermarket tips to use the FA7s.

FiiO FA7s Review

That’s unlike some IEMs that come with absolutely horrible tips that are both flimsy and narrow, making me feel the need to swap them out almost immediately.

As far as sound customization goes, there is some variance between the sound when switching tips. However, as with most IEMs that provide this controlled “tip-rolling”, don’t expect the changes to be substantial, just slight “tweaks” that can be fun to try. For more notable sound customization, EQ’ing is probably your best bet.

That said, I personally liked the pre-installed “Balanced” tip, and that’s what I did the majority of my listening and evaluation with.

Specs

  • Frequency response: 10Hz-40kHz
  • Driver: balanced armature x 6
  • Impedance: 18Ω@1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 11dB (1kHz@1mW)
  • Max input power: 100mW
  • Cable: High-purity silver-plated monocrystalline copper wire
  • Cable length: 47” (120cm)

FiiO FA7s Review: Listening Notes

Rather than relying on a single driver to manage the entire frequency range, the FA7s divides it between six distinct balanced-armature drivers. This is intended to permit a quicker, more precise, and more detailed performance. From my understanding, The low- and high-frequency drivers are off the shelf from Knowles, while the mid-frequency one is a custom model designed solely for FiiO.

Dividing the frequency range between six drivers is not a simple task. If not done correctly, it may lead to an unnatural overlap of certain frequencies, as the drivers usually produce higher and lower frequencies than their assigned range.

To prevent this from happening, the FA7s has a three-way crossover system that keeps each driver in its respective “pocket” so that all frequencies blend together seamlessly.

Listening to the FA7s, I have to say the sound is quite cohesive, making the usage of six separate drivers almost imperceptible. This is definitely a strong point of these IEMs.

Another strong point is the balanced sound profile that provides a transparent canvas for the musical performance to shine through. The Bass is fast and punchy, not overblown, which I liked. The treble is sweet, presenting details without trying too hard or veering into sibilance.

Bassheads may find them a touch thin, but I found the bass quantity to be adequate for all but the most bass-heavy hip-hop tracks.

That said, at the end of the day, the Mids are the star of the show here, receiving a slight emphasis and creating a natural tone for vocals and instruments.

FiiO FA7s Review

In addition, they manage to be both detailed and resolving without being overly edgy, especially if you use a quality source like Fiio’s M11 Plus Digital Audio Player or their KA3 DAC/Amp dongle.

On the other hand, dynamics are a little soft, which robs the sound of some immediacy, and transients are a little dulled, which takes away from realism just a bit. I also found them to have a somewhat narrow soundstage and a slight lack of openness for a six-driver IEM.

However, the remarkably articulate midrange and overall naturalness of the sound make the FiiO FA7s a distinct pleasure to listen to. Listening to “This Place, That Place” by Makaya McCraven, I was quite impressed at how vivid a picture the FA7s painted, providing beautiful separation and layering on a very complex piece, a song that lesser earphones would flatten and homogenize.

I also loved how natural and full the percussion was. It felt like these IEMs were wringing every note out of the recording.

The depth was really good, although I felt the separation could have been a little more defined at times. Also, due to the slightly soft macrodynamics I felt like the rhythm’s movement was a little constrained at points, but not to the point of being overly dull.

In short, if you’re looking for a pair of IEMs to blast bassy hip-hop tunes, or to rock out with, then the FA7s may be a little laid back for you. That said, if you’re looking for a pair of mid-centric headphones that can provide loads of detail without edginess and effortlessly articulate complex pieces of music, then these IEMs may be what you’re looking for.

FiiO FA7s Review: The Wrap Up

In Conclusion, The FiiO FA7s Six Balanced Armature IEM is a well-built, great-looking, and very comfortable to wear IEM. Its sound is easygoing yet detailed, with remarkable separation. While it may be a little too laid back for blasting hip-hop and dance tracks, if you’re looking for a reasonably priced earphone that can beautifully render acoustic and jazz pieces, this one may be for you.


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