| Knowles Balanced Armature |
🎧 We are reviewing the FiiO FA1, a single balanced armature earphone from the brand.
Despite a market pushing for insane amount of drivers and various hybrid configurations, FiiO decided to approach the design of the FiiO FA1 with a different style: a single driver.
In fact, the FiiO FA1 features a single balanced armature per earpiece and is the second model from the brand that has a pure balanced armature configuration (being the FiiO FA7 the first one).
The specific balanced armature inside the FiiO FA1 is a high quality, Knowles ED-33357 model. This is also the first time that this Knowles balanced armature is seen inside any FiiO earphone.
The housings of the FiiO FA1 have been 3D printed and customly designed. Each earpiece is translucent and has a form factor inherited from the FiiO FA7 – a model with a housing’s design that provides outstanding comfort.
The cable of the FiiO FA1 is detachable, with MMCX connectors and a helix, rubberized design. Each MMCX connector end has a colored ring that eases the process of identifying the right and left side (blue=left, red=right)
The cable bifurcation section, strainer ring and MMCX connector sections are made of metal while the L-shaped 3.5mm jack has a rear metal cap and a main rubberized body.
You can buy the FiiO FA1 in 2 options:
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FiiO FA1 Review
Tests & Scores
FiiO FA1 weight in Ounces and FiiO FA1 weight in grams.
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Accessories & Packaging
The FiiO FA1 unboxing results in the detachable MMCX cable, a waterproof hard carrying case, a silicone cable organized, a cleaning brush and 6 pair of eartips of 2 types. FiiO says that 3 of these pairs are optimized for bass while the other 3 pairs are optimized for balanced sound.
Everything comes inside a white packaging with a book-like opening system and a clean, minimal design.
Bass & Sub Bass
The FiiO FA1 bass is fairly punchy but not very deep. Their lower end is rolled-off and will not provide an intense response for EDM tracks but will grant a clean, non-boosted bass that will never get out of control nor step over the sound signature.
We would not rate them as an overly shallow earphone but listeners will well-notice that their sub-bass will not get as deep as many other consumer earphones.
Usually, budget models tend to be tuned for the general consumer that enjoys bassy sound, the FiiO FA1 is a budget model from the brand but has aimed for a totally opposite sound signature. To avoid confusion it is fair to highlight that this is not a basshead earphone – we can, even, safely say that this is not a bassy earphone. As so, listeners looking for intense bass, crazy-deep sub-bass or a bass-centered sound signature should look elsewhere; for example, check the headphones in our Top Fun Sounding Earphones Chart or our Best Basshead Earphones Chart.
Applying an EQ, a considerable amount of sub-bass can be filled-in but do not expect massive results.
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Mids & Vocals
The FiiO FA1 mids have super clean mids with absolutely no mid-bass bleed, nor any kind of lower mids congestion – this is helped by their controlled bass tuning.
Despite this, their midrange does not sound thin nor cold, with male vocals that sound sufficiently full and well-represented.
Higher mids are very crisp and clear, with a nearly forward tuning. Due to this, the FA1 might show some harshy peaks, depending on each track and volume setting.
Overall, the midrange of the FiiO FA1 will be a delight to listeners looking for clean mids that do not suffer from bass congestion and who also enjoy spicy vocals.
With an EQ, their harshy peaks can be sedated without loosing too much of their characteristic sound – we do not consider that they need much more “re-tuning” than this.
Highs & Treble
The FiiO FA1 highs have a very bright profile with some detail and open sound.
This bright sound signature also translates into an earphone tuned with aggressive highs and treble but that can show piercing and sibilant peaks.
An EQ can reveal their true potential to resolve detail with highly-noticeable results and can be also used to adjust their fatiguing peaks.
The sound leaking out of the FiiO FA1 is fairly less than on many average earphones but will be hearable in libraries and while listening to music at elevated volume settings.
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The sound isolation provided by the FiiO FA1 is very strong with a capability to isolate from the environment way above normal headphones.
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The housings of the FiiO FA1 combine several features that make them an extraordinarily comfortable earphone to wear.
The second fact that adds up to their comfort is their extremely light-weighted earpieces weighting approx. 4.5 grams.
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Response to Equalization
The response to EQ of the FiiO FA1 was substantial on highs (mostly on detail) and showed good results filtering out some of their harsh peaks in their midrange.
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FiiO FA1 Frequency Response Curve
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FiiO FA1 Technical Specifications
|Plug||Stereo mini plug|
|Supplied Accessories||6x Earphone tips; waterproof case; brush; cable organizer|
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