Picture Sunday: JVC HA-FD 01

Disclaimer: This is a Picture Sunday post where we share some very first impressions of equipment. Check out recent Picture Sunday posts HERE. I bought the JVC HA-FD 01 from e-earphone in Akihabara.

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.

Picture Sunday: JVC HA-FD 01
4.5 (90%) 8 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.

7 Comments

  • Reply June 14, 2018

    Arysyn

    Nathan,

    Your review has me very interested in these iems. Neutral bass and forward upper mids in a non-Vshape dynamic driver iem? How is the treble on these and do they compare well with the FlaresGold? The sound I’m interested being as I described, a neutral (or lesser) bass, forward mids/vocals, with a very detailed, but non-sibilant treble.

    • Reply June 18, 2018

      ohm image

      Treble isn’t sibilant, but the entire upper range is brightish. Not as peaky as Flares Pro, and not as warm through the mids as the Gold can sometimes be. I prefer Gold for a variety of reasons, but this one captures my tinkerer’s heart.

  • Reply June 18, 2018

    Litho

    So I assume it’s not for the Techno lover – think Donato Dozzy or Wata Igarashi – who prefers dingy bunkers over glowstick festivals? I generally prefer a darker, more intimate presentation.

    • Reply June 18, 2018

      ohm image

      It’s not the sort of dark, intimate sound you’ll probably like.

      • Reply June 18, 2018

        Litho

        I do like that rotating nozzle though. I’m one of those mutants with his canals angled back. All those universals with their tips angled forwards simply push their sound onto bone (or is it supposed to be cartilage?) in my ears.

  • Reply June 23, 2018

    Kenn U.

    Is this FD01 highly recommended? planning to get one.. Thank you 🙂

    • Reply July 3, 2018

      ohm image

      I prefer the Sony EX1000, but these are more affordable, offer more sound-toning options, and are so much better engineered.

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