FiiO FA9 IEM Unboxing & Quick Review:- Beautiful and Thick!!
It was just last month when FiiO announced its latest flagship pair of in-ear monitors, the FiiO FA9. The FA9 is the flagship model from the FiiO FA series of IEM’s. FiiO FA9 Coes as an upgrade on FiiO FA7 that featured quad BA driver setup. The latest model features six Knowles balanced armature driver units on each side with 3D printed skin-friendly resin shells. Ear shells have long 80.6mm acoustic tubes that bring sound from the drivers to the ear nozzle providing a crisp sound output that is free from any kind of multi-driver distortion. The pair comes with a 3-way tuning switches that users can use to tune the sound output as per their preference this feature was not present in the previous models. It is priced at 599$, you can check more details about it here. We have got a unit of FiiO FA9 a few days back, and today we are going to share our unboxing impressions and quick review for the same.
Who doesn’t knows FiiO, it is one of the most famous audio equipment brands from China. They specialize in manufacturing all kinds of audio products in all the price ranges. They make DAP’s, Desktop DAC/AMP’s, Portable DAC/AMP’s, and much more. Their products are highly acclaimed by audiophiles all around the globe. Their flagship DAP FiiO M15 is one of the best DAP’s currently available in the market. You can check more products from them at our store link here.
Unboxing & Accessories:-
FiiO FA9 has a packaging similar to FiiO M15 flagship DAP from the brand. It is a flagship pair of in-ear monitors and comes with a lot of accessories. Including an HB3 leather carry case, 15 different pairs of ear tips including 3 custom Spinfit tips, 2 pairs of foam tips, 1 pair of double-flange tips, and 9 different pairs of silicone tips. The included ear tips are of very good quality and represented in a beautiful foam cut casing. It is similar to the previous FA7 ear tips packaging. The package includes a high-quality premium 8-strands monocrystalline silver-plated copper cable with a gold-plated 3.5mm termination plug and MMCX connector type. There is also a cleaning brush in the package with a flat screwdriver type plug at the other end that users can use to turn the tuning switches with ease. The packaging is very classy and elegant, and the accessories are rich and add to the premium feel of the entire package.
>One Pair FiiO FA9 in-ear monitors.
>One 8-Strands Single Pure Crystal Silver Plated Copper Cable.
>One HB3 Leather Carry Case.
>Three pairs of Balanced silicone ear tips.
>Three pairs of Bass silicone ear tips.
>Three pairs of Vocal silicone ear tips.
>Three pairs of Spinfit ear tips.
>Two pairs of Foam ear tips.
>One pair of Double Flange silicone ear tips.
>One Cleaning Brush.
Build Quality and Fit:-
FiiO FA9 build quality is very rich with high-precision 3D printed ear shells. The ear shells have a unibody design with no gaps throughout the cavity. It has a diamond-cut design on the faceplate that adds a premium look to the pair. The inner cavity is transparent and we can see the driver placements. The main attraction through the transparent inner cavity is the acoustic tube chamber inside the earpieces. The FA9 features 80.6mm large acoustic tubes that take the output signal from the BA driver setup to the ear nozzle. It features a three-way sound tube with four frequency division that is controlled by three tuning switches at the back of the earpieces. You can explore through different settings using these tuning switches to get your preferred sound output. We have tried and found some noticeable differences in these which we will be discussing in the next segment in this article. At the bottom, we have got gold-plated MMCX connector points. The earpieces surely look beautiful and carry a jewelry look with the diamond cut faceplate design. The cable included in the package has a crystal shine to it. It has 8-Strands of pure crystal copper with silver plating and has red and blue color markers on both the MMCX connector points to identify right and left points. The cable has a 3.5mm termination plug.
The earpieces are made with high precision 3D printing technique with an ergonomic and lightweight design. The earpieces gave a comfortable and firm fit for us, we used M sized Spinfit ear tips included in the package. The earpieces have a medium size, they sit firmly into the ears covering the ear canal completely and provides good noise isolation.
Both the earpieces have three tuning switches on the back, S1, S2, and S3. The tuning switches are very small and we had to use the flat screwdriver plug on the back of the cleaning brush to switch them. We tried multiple tuning options and here are the results noticed by us. Please note that tuning switched brought like 5% sound tuning change, don’t expect a lot of difference with these.
>S1, S2, S3 All Switches Turned On:-
The output has a crisp clarity to it with amazing details and deep bass. The output feels neutral and powerful with all the three switches on.
>S1 off, S2, S3 On:-
The output feels dull here initially when we checked with FiiO S1 switch enables lower impedance and higher sensitivity when turned on. The output with our smartphone feels really dull here, but with powerful sources like FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO M15, and Shanling M6 Pro the output showed crisp detailing with a dark background.
>S1 Off, S2 Off, S3 On:-
Again we are on Shanling M6 Pro, this brings mids a bit in the front as compared to previous tuning preferences. The bass was a bit deeper as well here.
>All Three Switches Off:-
The output was crispy and detailed. Instrument details came out good and balanced.
>S1 On, S2 Off, S3 On:-
This tuning preference is what we liked the most, it had the best-balanced output as per our preferences with good output on any of our dap’s, and smartphones, the vocals felt natural and upfront with crisp acoustic details. The bass portion showed good thumps and beats. This tuning is what we used the most since the beginning as it suited all the genres of music.
We know there are more possibilities with the tuning switches, in our opinion, these give a minor change in the sound output. So we will move forward now to the Powering section.
Powering the FiiO FA9:-
We used multiple sources for this review, we tested the FA9 with our smartphone Huawei P30 Pro. DAP’s that we used are iBasso DX160, FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO M15, and Shanling M6 Pro. The pair is very easy to drive and show good details with my smartphone though while using higher impedance mode(Switching S1 Off) we preferred our DAPs more. The pair is very easy to drive and can be used portable easily without any issues.
The sound quality output of FiiO FA9 is rich and energetic. The pair holds its strength in the lower end and mid frequencies. While the high and ultra-high frequencies also show crisp details, the treble portion rolls off in the ultra-high region. The beautiful thumpy response in the lower end paired with astounding acoustic details in the mids section is a mesmerizing experience. Acoustic songs like cover sessions by Boyce Avenue shows a beautiful balance between the airy guitar notes and the voice of the lead singer. The output has a soothing relaxed feeling to it, there is no sign of harshness in any of the instruments or vocals even at louder volumes. Instruments have natural timbre and tonality with crisp airy representation on a wide sound stage. The pair shows brilliant imaging capabilities. We fell in love with the beautiful soothing sound output from the FA9 the moment we put it into our ears for the first time, it sounds musical and enjoyable. There is no hissing noise that we noticed with any of our tried sources the background is dark and details pop out beautifully.
Usually, BA driver IEM’s don’t produce bass comparable to DD driver, though here the case is entirely different. The Knowles BA drivers here are tuned precisely and provide a deep thumpy bass response. The pair produces snappy details in the lower end with full-body slams and powerful thumps. Bass shows quick speed and decay. The sub-bass portion shows vibrant rumble, that will compliment any genre of music. Bass portion is contained well in its region and shows great extension. It never overlaps with other frequencies I guess that’s the work done by the long acoustic tubes in the earpieces. EDM tracks and bass-heavy tracks are a bliss to listen with the FiiO FA9.
FiiO FA9 produces beautiful thick mids with lush vocals and outstanding acoustic details. The vocals sound soft and dynamic, with natural texture and tonality. The lower mids section feels a bit recessed but there is a bump in upper mids that brings vocals upfront. Acoustic instruments show a beautiful airy representation. Listening to artists like Damien Rice, Yao Si Ting is just mesmerizing. The mids portion is very transparent and articulated. There is no harshness or peakiness in the vocals or mids section, everything sounds warm and soothing.
FiiO FA9 produces a buttery smooth treble section. It sounds energetic and sparkly. Though we feel like the treble portion rolls off in the upper treble region, the pair produces decent micro details. Instruments have an airy representation with smooth detailing, whether it be violin, flute, or drums and cymbals, there is no fatiguing or sibilance of any kind. Metal and other heavy music genre shows good details and sound energetic.
The FiiO FA9 produces a decent wide soundstage that feels adequate for any genre of music. It is not humongous wide, but it provides a beautiful airy representation of our music and brilliant imaging capabilities.
The FiiO FA9 is a flagship pair of IEM that sounds energetic and musical. It produces a Hi-Fi quality sound output with rich deep bass, natural vocals, and airy details. The overall sound signature is fun and enjoyable, it suits almost all genres of music with its warm smooth sound output. The pair has beautiful looks with 3D printed skin-friendly resin shells and diamond-cut faceplate. The entire package feels very rich and premium with quality accessories. The pair is priced at 599$, and you can check out more details about it here.