Imagine clipping in and clipping out sound tubes the way you do bajonette camera lenses. Imagine swivel the earphone 360º on a central, rotating fulcrum, allowing you to wear it up or down without removing it from the ear. Imagine Zeiss ZM-like raised channel indicators, dual carbon diaphragm speaker, sturdy MMCX swappable cables, a stainless steel body- if you can imagine all that, the only outcome is the JVC HA-FD 01. No other maker goes anywhere near this level of ground-up engineering.
I first tried he HA-FD 01 when shooting this spring’s version of Headphone Book. It blew my mind. Later, it won Headphone Book’s award for engineering excellence. As well it should. Right after, I ran down to e-earphone. Then did this YouTube video of the Yongnuo 60mm macro lens whose raft of examples are of this lovely earphone.
It’s not a relaxed-sounding earphone. There is lots of upper-midrange sound pressure, not to mention a bit of upper frequency bloom. Both are controlled enough to work well in live trance, where it creates the spaciest upper midrange I’ve ever heard in an earphone. I’ve yet to exhaust every sound tube and ear piece options, so when I say that its bass is pretty neutral and I wish there were more of it, my opinion is still juvenile. Right now, I’ve got Armin Van Buuren’s A State of Trance 700 blasting at a volume of 26/60 from Onkyo’s giant-killing DP-S1. You can’t really get better drive control than that player. Even under its auspices, the HA-FD 01 shows a bit of smear in the vocal range. But it also shows the sort of deep, detailed, and bright stage, the makes trance and EDM. It’s the sort that puts fixes you, small and lost, in something huge, swarming, and ready to gobble you up.
It will take weeks to properly suss the HA-FD 01 real sound signature. I’m pretty sure it’s at least bright, and plugged by neutral bass. I’m pretty sure that vocals are pretty forward. At the moment, my personal sound preferences are for the warmer-sounding HA-FD 02. But I need time to experiment. When my review rolls around, it could be that I’ll have found my jive, and that it’s the gold, not silver sound tubes I prefer. Who knows. All I know is that I’ve never, ever, seen or handled an earphone as well engineered, or as ridiculously made. There’s also more that could go wrong. I hope it doesn’t. JVC are the only manufacturer consistently doing crazy, near-impossible stuff. I hope the HA-FD series brings in some serious dosh and some well-deserved recognition, because damn, this earphone inspires me.