In today's review we present you the FiiO FH1S. Let's see how it performs in the entry-level budget category with a $60 USD price. [responsivevoice_button] Disclaimer: The FiiO FH1S was sent me from FiiO directly as a review sample.
FiiO has been diversifying its products to appeal to larger crowds with different price levels for a long time now. A few years ago we were thinking about FiiO solely as a DAP and DAC/Amp brand. Now they’re recognized for their IEM business as well, releasing good bang for buck products in the process.
I reviewed many FiiO IEM models over the years, including the original FH1 model. The F9 Series, FH5, FA7, and FH7 were also reviewed by me. Of course, we also reviewed every possible FiiO product from the new flagship DAP M15 to entry-level M3 Pro. So I don’t think FiiO needs any introduction in this review. If you don’t have any knowledge about this brand, then you must be super new to this hobby and you can find the information anywhere on the web.
About FiiO FH1S
The Fiio FH1S is an improved version of the FH1. It has the same 1+1 configuration with a 13,6mm dynamic driver coupled with a Knowles 33518 Balanced Armature Driver. The nozzle design is also the same with a brass sound tube on the tip of the earphone. Hybrid designs are all over the market nowadays and it’s nice to see how they have very affordable prices.
The FiiO FH1S also has a new “pressure relief technology”. This reduces ear fatigue and improves the bass quality with 2 ports on the back and the front of the shells. This method is nothing new, but I’m fond of this inclusion for a budget model.
The FH1 was the most likable IEM in their entry-level IEM collection to me. I wasn’t a fan of the F9 and F9 Pro models, but the FH1 pleased my ears to some degree. I’m curious to find out how the S model performs in that regard. Let’s find out.
Design & Build
The FiiO FH1S doesn’t share the same shape as the FH1 model and the overall appearance has changed quite a bit. The only design element that is reminiscent is the brass nozzle. Everything else is changed in terms of shape except the nozzles. To be honest with you, the FH1S looks like a KZ earphone from distance.
I didn’t like this new approach simply because the FH1 had a more original look. I regard uniqueness highly, and FiiO’s approach has been satisfying for me regarding the F9 series and the FH1. This new FH1S simply looks like just another KZ iteration. The only separating element is the face-plate, which is made from celluloid material. FiiO claims that each face-plate looks unique with each earphone, which I can confirm from my sample, as left & right face-plates look a bit different.
The housing is probably from acrylic material. It is transparent with a smoky color in my unit, so there’s nothing special here. That’s exactly why I didn’t like this new design. The FH1 had a silver elliptic frame that looked very distinctive on the face-plates. As far as the build quality goes, the brass nozzles feel rugged and I don’t think we will hear complaints about broken nozzles this time around though. But of course, quality control checks are very important in production as always.
The housing doesn’t feel cheap in any way, and it has its advantages like the reduced weight to have a more comfortable fit compared to aluminum designs. The 2-pin sockets are very good, and they can withstand forces for a long long time. As a side-note, the MMCX connection of the previous model has been criticized so I think this is a good move from FiiO.
So I’m unimpressed by the design, but the build quality is good for the price.
Fit & Cable
The fit and isolation are ideal and the earphones are very comfortable in the ear. Despite the huge dynamic driver, the footprint is considerably compact and small so the earphones don’t protrude from your ears. However, I wished the nozzles were longer just to provide a flush and tighter fit overall. But I liked the inclusion of foam tips that weren’t present with the FH1.
The cable is another thing that resembles KZ earphones. It feels a bit more high quality though, especially because of its chin slider and 3,5mm jack. The braiding is nicely done as well. But again, I didn’t like it appearance-wise since it looks a bit boring and repetitive because of those KZ IEMs. So good quality, but dull looking.
The review continues on PAGE 2 with package content & sound performance.