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I recently discovered some IEM earphones that sound absolutely stunning. I don't think there's anything better, but I haven't heard many of the very expensive headphones such as Stax electrostatics. I own Grado HP1 and RS2 headphones as well as Koss ESP/950 electrostatics. I also own a number of other IEM and earbud earphones. However, these new FiiO earphones beat them all. There are two models, the FiiO FD5 and FD7 IEM earphones.
Both of these are sold on Amazon. The FD5 came out first and cost $300. They are truly exceptional for their price. Next came the FD7 and the price doubled to $600. They are definitely better sounding than the FD5, but only slightly. However, it seems that when I hear something only slightly better I don't want to go back to the lower quality pair.
The main difference between the two is that the slightly better sounding pair have pure beryllium diaphragms while the FD5's have diamond-like carbon (DLC) diaphragms with beryllium coated surrounds. The pure beryllium diaphragms sound slightly more transparent with cleaner bass. They also use pure sliver cables rather than silver plated copper like the FD5's. Nevertheless, both are truly exceptional earphones; better than any others I've heard including my Koss electrostatics.
On the other hand, if you prefer earbud style earphones over the IEM style, the FiiO EM5 earbuds might be more to your liking. They cost $300 like the FD5's and they sound just as good to me. However, I prefer the isolation from external noise provided by IEM style earphones.
John.....Do you hear the advantage in balanced headphone operation? thanks
No, I don't think I hear any difference between balanced and unbalanced. However, I always use balanced for earphones because I think it's supposed to sound better. Additionally, the balanced outputs always go through the volume control while the unbalanced can be set to headphone out or line out in the menu.
My Brooklyn Bridge has an unbalanced analog line input so I connect the unbalanced line outputs from my FiiO to the Brooklyn Bridge when I want to listen through my Thiel speakers with Rythmik Servo Subs. If I always use balanced outputs for my earphones, I don't need to worry about switching the FiiO back-and-forth between headphone out and line out. I can just leave it in line out continuously.
My little B&W PM1 speakers are connected to my Parasound Halo A21 power amplifier and I always drive it directly from my FiiO's balanced earphone outputs.
Thanks for your input John.....I have the 10E Grado with a Sony Walkman digital player. I'm happy. (I use Sony's recommended SensMe adjustment.
swear you are a fiiO shill...
Cut to razor sounding violins
No, but I'm definitely a FiiO fan!
I discovered FiiO just over two years ago and I've never been as impressed with a company as I am with FiiO. Their products are truly high-end, but their prices are low-fi to mid-fi.
It's really unfortunate that the fire at the AKM factory nearly put FiiO out of business because they used AKM DACs exclusively. I sure hope AKM reopens their factory and begins making DACs again because I think AKM DACs were quite likely the best of the best.
Anyway, if you've ever heard the FiiO M15 with its dual AK4499EQ DAC chips you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the best sounding digital player out there, portable or otherwise. It sure beats my Mytek Brooklyn Bridge.
my bad. I confused FiiO with iFI and thought you HAD to be a shill
Cut to razor sounding violins
The best dap I have heard is the Shanling M8. Fiio has made some great sounding DAPs, but so have other Chinese and Korean companies . You ought to try some Moondrop IEMs. The Blessing 2, S8 or a somewhat cheaper Kato. Add a Satin Audio Chimera II to the Kato and it will make you forget Fiio.
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