Disclaimer. We received the EX1 free of charge from Fiio directly. Fiio is also a site advertiser. This is Paul’s first official review as a Headfonia writer. Please give him a warm welcome! Lieven
In the last 5-6 years (since I’ve become more involved again with personal audio), I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a lot of different IEM and earphone set-ups. And as my knowledge of what is out there has broadened, so has my appreciation for how much really good sounding audio gear is available for very affordable prices nowadays.
Nowhere is that more apparent than with the Fiio Electronics company (makers of affordable but very good quality DAPs, DACs and amps), and also with DUNU Topsound (makers of some really excellent and innovative earphones).
So what happens when the two companies collaborate together – to allow Fiio to bring to market their first earphone (based on DUNU’s design)? The result is a little very affordable audio magic – in the shape of the new Fiio EX1. Read on for more information about this new offering from Fiio.
Fiio was first founded in 2007. Their first offerings were some extremely low cost portable amplifiers, and DAC/amps. As they grown, they’ve listened actively to the audio community (and involved us in their design choices), and slowly expanded and refined their product range, becoming perhaps best known for their range of digital audio players including the X1, X3 (1st and 2nd gen), and X5 (1st and 2nd gen). Lieven and I have jointly reviewed the X5ii earlier in the year, and I think it is air to say we were both impressed at the fidelity it delivers without breaking the bank. I still use mine every day.
Fiio’s products have followed a very simple formula since 2007 – affordable, stylish, well built, functional, measuring well, and most importantly sounding good.
DUNU Topsound was established in 1994 originally as an OEM supplier to other companies. Since then they have developed their own branded line of high quality earphones, and gone from strength to strength with each release.
The name DUNU is simply an acronym of the principle design points that the company strives to implement in their product range – Delicate, Unique, Utmost
DUNU have brought together some truly innovative designs in their earphones and in particular their triple hybrid series DN-1000, 2000, and 2000J which have been able to go toe to toe with earphones costing hundreds more than their RRP. But perhaps their biggest selling earphone was the Titan 1 dynamic (released late 2104) – and priced between $80 (promotion) and $140. And it is this earphone that DUNU have collaborated with Fiio – to release as the Fiio EX1.
I personally also own the DUNU Titan1, Dn-1000, 2000 and 2000J.
PREAMBLE – ‘ABOUT ME’. (or a base-line for interpreting my thoughts and bias)
I generally tend toward headphones that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences. I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.
I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent. I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue. All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
I tend to be skeptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences. I am not a ‘golden eared listener’. I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 48, my hearing is less than perfect.
For the purposes of this review – I used the Fiio EX1 straight from the headphone-out socket of my iPhone 5S, X1 and X3ii – choosing these sources because they link more closely with the Fiio EX1 being a budget friendly high quality earphone (current RRP is $89.99 USD)
In the time I have spent with the EX1, I have noticed no change to the overall sonic presentation (break-in), and for these particular earphones I did not require any brain burn-in at all as I know them well (from my time with the Titan1) and very much liked their sound signature from the very first listen.
This is a purely subjective review – my gear, my ears, and my experience. Please take it all with a grain of salt – especially if it does not match your own experience. For a full list of my audio gear – I have linked my Head-Fi profile here.
Click HERE or below to go to the real review on the next page.