FitEar MH335DW & Private 435

The Sound: MH335DW

NOTE (1): because I borrowed the universal version of the MH335DW, I imagine that my opinions should differ qutie a bit from the real thing. For one thing, I found the universal MH335’s sound tubes to be too big for my ears. In fact, they were less comfortable than the massive universal JHA Roxanne. I could only stand listening for up to an hour at a time. Also, ear pads exert their own influence on sound; they absorb minute vibrations that help you feel bass, and place instruments. In other words, your mileage may vary.

NOTE (2): prior to publishing this article, I met Tokyo’s muscularest headfier, AnakChan. Anak was smitten by the demo units and purchased the MH335DW, and now has the Studio Reference edition. His impressions of the universal version match mine to a tee. But he is less impressed by the custom. Therefore, please read this article as a review of the DEMO MH335DW.

MH335DW is faster and more explosive than the mids-are-king ToGo!334. That makes it eminently suitable to trance, though a worse partner for poor recordings/compression algorithms. Make sure your music files are up to snuff. Where the ToGo!334’s somewhat muted high midrange masks shimmer and tizz, MH335DW’s does not. 

Cymbals are more energetic, bass more bombastic; the initial feeling of space is that much wider. Once you finally settle down and stop banging your head, you will suss out that contrast. You might even call it v-shaped, but just.

This contrast is a thing of speedy beauty. Cymbals crash with resounding clarity against a heavy bass plate. Melodic elements weave in and out of both with ease. Nothing catches anywhere. But what drives everything neatly is the extremes. High mids are forward. Both bass resolution and power are high.

Midrange speed is very good. Bass speed trails midrange speed by a smidgeon. Treble has no flaws. It is speedy, ever clean, and blends in and out of high-mid passages with ease.

An interesting thing to note about high contrast sound signatures is that they produce a large sense of space- that space may sound larger than it really is. The good news is that it is easy to recognise. Contrast is at its nadir in the space between vocals and the coiled bass strings of a classical guitar. For this reason, the ToGo!334 parks a greater sense of space and detail in the vocal range. Again, the full custom version may be quite different. I’ll be honest here and say that I miss the soft/hidden details the ToGo!334 outs. In particular, key Nick Cave elements such as the fading echoes of guitar and piano, are missed when I’m in my Depressed Mode.

In older recordings, mids congregate in the middle of the head, creating a bubble of music in the skull. Vocal bands cant to the inner fibres of the skull while bass strikes the throat. Moving to newer, contrastier recordings, the bubble expands to engulf the space around your shoulders. Cymbals crash out horizontally from the temples, extending to the shoulders. Vocals trend to the centre and bass writhes from the centre out and back, to the spine. Electronic music’s psychoacoustic effects echo far and wide in a space larger than a basketball. Delineation is perfect, though I feel, damped by the ear pads. 

The MH335DW isn’t as emotional sounding of an earphone as the ToGo!334 is. It thrives on edge. It riles. And it digs grit. Perhaps the biggest plus of its contrasty personality is its affinity for some of the more psychedelic effects of trance music. Speed and paranoia-inducing contrast: the perfect mix for those big parties Armin throws every 100 episodes. By the same token, genres that rely on soft mouth sounds: jazz, acapela, etc., lose some of their emotion and beauty. 

Despite its immense bass pressure and reasonable sense of space, MH335DW is at heart, a studio-level earphone. Its timbre is unaccented, its speed is more than adequate, and its power good enough to retrieve bass details that otherwise could be lost to a musician or recording engineer. All of the above attributes lend themselves to the audiophile that is looking for contrast and front-line detail. Music lovers that value midrange detail and emotion will likely prefer the ToGo!334, or perhaps the ProAudio 334, which I hear, is closer in portrayal to the ToGo!334.

Finally, the MH335DW is less sensitive than is the 435. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a hard earphone to drive, but you will be hard pressed to find a player that spits it to acquit the need for an amp. 

Actually, I know a player that acquits itself perfectly with any custom earphone out there. It’s very hard to find today, and prices are skyrocketing. Good luck finding one.

Highly resolving amps such as the Vorzüge PURE II or the Portaphile Micro, are important in correcting the output of poorly endowed sources. 

Read more on the next page!

FitEar MH335DW & Private 435
5 (100%) 3 votes

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Back before he became the main photographer for bunches of audio magazines and stuff, Nathan was fiddling with pretty cool audio gear all day long at TouchMyApps. He loves Depeche Mode, trance, colonial hip-hop, and raisins. Sometimes, he gets to listening. Sometimes, he gets to shooting. Usually he's got a smile on his face. Always, he's got a whisky in his prehensile grip.

21 Comments

  • Reply May 29, 2014

    George Lai

    Hi Nathan, you’ll only get your 335 in October? Mine only took a month in Singapore and you live in Japan too. That’s ironic. I love your mention of the iPod Shuffle to drive it though. So, at the end of the day, your choice of the 335 over the 435 was more to do with your favorite genre of music? Cheers.

    • Reply May 30, 2014

      ohm image

      I won’t have the money until October, that is why my process is taking longer. It’s not about speed of service. The 435 really really grows on you. I found the tightness of the MH335DW to keep me for longer. But again, the demo may sound different to the final product. I am not sure.

  • Reply May 29, 2014

    K.

    Another great review Nathan. Time surely flies, but I do not know how we are meant to keep up with the pace of your delivery…It’s great that there are so many products, are we nearing a top? How would the 335 and 435 compare with the Ditas for example?

    • Reply May 30, 2014

      ohm image

      I didn’t want to compare a custom with a non-custom earphone for a variety of reasons. But also, because both models were universal demos, I can’t give exact rundowns. That said, the sound is very different. Contrast in all departments is where the MH335DW shines. The Private 435 is a much more airy sounding earphone, in some ways comparable to the Dita. But again, they use of these earphones will be custom and there is very little to really put them on even footing for fit or anything else.

  • Reply June 2, 2014

    Steven

    As usual the best headphone photography on the interweb!!

    • Reply June 3, 2014

      ohm image

      FitEar earphones look great under the light because their case works are impeccable. The Private 435 looks better when made up fully. The demo model was sort of cheaply made, which is a shame. But, thank you for the compliments.

  • Reply June 6, 2014

    Ford

    Do you think the 333 lose its place after hearing the mh335dw?
    I own the 333 and curious if the mh335dw is an upgrade version of it.
    What i love about the 333 is PRaT and its extremely fast note decay, Does the mh335dw has better PRaT than the 333?

    • Reply June 7, 2014

      ohm image

      Again, I’ve only heard the demo version. I will be able to update this review in a couple of months. But, the 333 retains a more u-shaped sound and has slightly less sound pressure in the lows. They are similarly fast, though. From what I hear, the MH335DW custom sound quite different to the demo. The demo was sexy enough that I got fitted up for the custom version.

  • Reply June 19, 2014

    arstoin

    I must say, thus far only 2 custom monitor companies have impressed me with
    -Service
    -Build Quality
    -Sound

    Some big names can’t even hit either of the 3 criterion, but FitEar is up there lonely at the top along with FutureSonics IMO. (I think these are the two companies that produce solid acrylic shelled CIEMs (with a bit of proprietary material wrt FS, but otherwise solid acrylic), but I
    could be missing out some others…)

    • Reply June 20, 2014

      ohm image

      FitEar CIEMS are manufactured very well indeed. No company makes perfect cases, but I think FitEar are top. FS is a company that really deserves more fanfare.

  • Reply July 18, 2014

    Lee ZH Edgar

    When using these CIEMs, as well as the 333s, with the iPod Shuffle 1G, is there any noticeable hiss during music playback?

    • Reply August 26, 2014

      ohm image

      I’m sorry to be late, Lee ZH Edgar. I don’t see comments in real time and end up answering too late. Yes there is noticeable hiss through the iPod shuffle 1G. It is similar in intensity to a circa 2006-2011 Walkman. If you could stomach Walkman’s of that vintage through sensitive to semi-sensitive earphones, surely you can stomach the Shuffle 1G and FitEar Private 435 and MH335DW.

      • Reply August 27, 2014

        Lee ZH Edgar

        Thanks for the reply! Well, in the end I got myself a 1G shuffle and really like it. Have a MH335DW on the way too!

        • Reply August 27, 2014

          ohm image

          Great. I had a few set backs to the ordering of my MH335DW, all to do with housing payments. I hope to join the camp very soon. Keep me up to date on your order and enjoyment.

          • Reply December 18, 2015

            Lee ZH Edgar

            Came back to read the review again and totally missed your reply!

            Hope you’ve got your own pair now, Shigzeo. Mine’s been providing many hours of enjoyment since I’ve got them. Now my only worry is that my ear canals are too small for the SR upgrade 😉

            • Reply December 18, 2015

              ohm image

              I have a pair! But the SR upgrade wasn’t possible. Ears too small.

  • Reply August 30, 2014

    Ab 7

    which is better in sound shure se846 vs

    FitEar MH335DW ? can you make short comparison

    • Reply October 3, 2014

      ohm image

      ‘Better’ is entirely subjective. I only heard universal demos of the MH335, so I can’t give definitive answers to your question. I suppose if you get perfect fit, the MH335 can deliver cleaner, clearer highs, and its sound tubes are larger so there could be better air flow. But it is all subjective. Especially since SE846 is universal and its sound relies 100% on the ear tips you use.

      I love both.

  • Reply October 10, 2016

    Jonathan

    Hi, I’m looking for an endgame iem. I’m currently finding it hard to narrow down. I currently own fit ear parterre, 535 ltd J, 535 and 530.

    Some people tell me that the 846 is better than 335 dw due to its true subwoofer technology and its 8 ohms easy to drive. I would like to plug it straight out of my i phone 6 plus, even though I own the sr 71B and hpp1 and also the chord mojo.

    I heard the 435 its, fast excellent for asian female vocals. But that is discontinued and its not very versatile.

    Also with the kse 1500 out, can the 335 beat it in some departments with detail? I really want to get an end game iem. Will the 335 be able to be driven good from an i phone?

    The Parterre, for some reason, I get ear fatigue after a while, even if the volume is low. Sometimes I wonder if the frequency is so high that my ears can’t hear it or something and it slightly hurts after a half hour. Would this problem prevail in the 335.

    One last question which is slightly irrelevant, 535 is about 36 ohms, people tell me it doesn’t need an amp as its very sensitive. Others tell me that its sensitive but an i phone won’t suffice as its 36 ohms. I’m no good at physics, and was hoping if you could shed some light on that query.

    Many thanks, terribly sorry for the long post!

    • Reply October 10, 2016

      ohm

      Jonathan,

      Very serious questions you’ve asked. I can’t answer all because SE846 and 435 were loaners. I can say this: SE846, as much as I love it, is too _hard_ to drive. Sure, it gets loud from any source, but 8Ω puts so much stress on the output of most devices that it won’t sound as it has been tuned to sound. Most devices (even very expensive AK380 etc.) can’t put enough current into the insanely small requirements of 8Ω, reducing output to frequency issues, larger IMD and THD distortion levels, not to mention reduced stereo discernment.

      Lovely earphone. Very hard to drive. And it is so sensitive that it hisses from most sources. A Mojo should drive it mostly well, but probably not perfectly.

      I don’t know the KSE1500.

      The 335 is driven well from many sources. It is pricey, and muscular sounding with less emphasis on midrange stereo and texture detail. If you’re into vocals, it isn’t perhaps as enthralling as the 435 but it is a great earphone.

      36Ω is an easy drive for most outputs. There is a rule of eights: if median impedance is 8Ω, you need 1Ω output to drive it reliably. Divide the median impedance by eight to find the basic requirement for steady drive. 36Ω is much easier. That doesn’t tell the entire story, but it gives a good guideline. The 335 is also quite sensitive so it gets loud from any source.

  • Reply October 15, 2016

    Jonathan

    Dear OHM,

    Thank you so much for the detailed reply and sorry for the late reply. Your answer on calculating how much output required from a device is very helpful. Would you possibly know about how much output does an i phone 6 plus give?

    Also would you also recommend the 334 for vocals, as 435 is discontinued and 435 does not have as much bass quantity hence not being as versatile. Would you also know anything about the Fit ear Aya?

    Many thanks, your help has been much appreciated.

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