PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
The Fiio Ex1 arrived in an approximately 180mm x 80mm x 35mm retail box in Fiio’s traditional black and red colours. The box is fairly simple with a window to display the EX1, and specifications and descriptions of the EX1 on the rear.
Opening the outer box reveals an inner plastic moulded tray – holding the Ex1, carry case, tips, and shirt clip
The carry case is a sturdy moulded plastic rectangular hinged lid box (with nicely rounded pocket-safe corners) measuring approximately 90mm long, 65mm wide and 23mm deep. It has a catch/lock to keep it closed, and has a matte exterior on the rear and sides, and shinier plastic top (personally I’d prefer matt all around – better for both scratches and finger prints). The only thing missing with the case is no internal pockets for spare tips etc. – but I’m OK with that considering how pocket friendly and sturdy it is. I really like this case.
The accessory pack includes 3 different varieties of silicone tips (all in S,M,L) – including some that look very close to the Sony hybrid type design, some more standard red and grey tips (again with very sturdy mounting stems) and some flatter silicones with a wider bore. There is a reasonable variety here that should suit most people – and my only personal wish would be for a pair of S200 Comply foams.
Also included is a warranty card, adapter, and shirt clip for the cable.
The accessory pack included is essentially the same as the DUNU Titan – except for the omission of the 3.5-6.3 mm adapter.
|Type||Single dynamic driver inner ear monitor|
|Driver||13mm dynamic titanium driver|
|Frequency Range||20 Hz – 30 Khz|
|Plug||3.5mm gold plated|
|IEM Shell||Polished aircraft grade duralumin|
For a while now, I’ve been creating my own frequency graphs. To do this, I use a calibrated SPL meter (C weighting) with a tube to simulate the ear canal, and set tones at different frequencies to plot a frequency curve. I then use a spreadsheet to convert the C-weighted data to frequency data we would hear.
I’ve included measurements for the EX1, Titan 1, and a comparison graph for both. The differences between the Titan 1 and EX1 are very small – and probably more likely to my not having the exact same position of both IEMs in the measuring tube.
I’m hearing a reasonably well balanced (mild V shape) and very clear signature. There is a slight mid-bass hump, very slight recession in the lower mids, and peak at around 3kHz. There does seem to be reasonably good extension into the sub-bass (test tones are just audible at 20Hz), and plenty of sparkle in the upper registers.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Fiio EX1 is really well made with a polished metal outer shell (aircraft grade duralumin) – which is very reminiscent of an earbud type shape – but with an angled nozzle designed to take an IEM tip and provide some measure of isolation. The circular part of the body is 15-16mm in diameter, and designed to snugly in your ear with, the rear of the EX1 shell against your antihelix, and the front underneath your tragus, with the nozzle angled forward into the ear canal. It is designed to be worn cable down, and with a shallow seal into the canal.
On the underside of the body is 11 vent holes plus there is also one more smaller one on the exterior adjacent to the cable. The right ear piece is designated with a red ring around the circumference of the main body. The left ear piece has a blue ring.
The nozzles are approximately 50mm long, have a generous lip, and have a pinhole mesh type of opening with 7 holes to allow the sound into your ear.
The cable is the main point of difference to the original Titan 1, and Fiio have replaced the black cloth / rubber cable with an all transparent sheathed cable from jack to earphone. The Y-split is metal with the top piece sliding off to form a cinch. The plug is a right angled gold plated 3.5mm plug, and is designed to be very friendly for portable devices. No issues with my 5S with fitted case. The cable shows good flexibility, with no real signs of kinking (it does have the occasional issue with tangling if not coiled properly though), and has excellent strain relief at all the required major points (plug, Y-split and IEM body).
There is a moderately high amount of microphonic noise present with the cable – but this can be alleviated by using a combination of the neck cinch (or shirt clip), and cable management under clothing.
One of the most simple but innovative designs with the cables is the inclusion of the black rubber cable tie actually on the cable itself. When not in use it sits unobtrusively close to the plug (I never notice it). When you’ve finished listening to the EX1, simply carefully coil the cable and use the tie. Simple, elegant, and brilliant. I’ve loved this with all of DUNU’s earphones, and I’m really pleased Fiio included it with the EX1.
FIT / COMFORT / ISOLATION
I have one ear canal slightly different to the other one (my right is very slightly smaller) – so I tend to find that usually single silicon flanges don’t fit overly well. This is often even more of an issue with shallow fitting IEMs. I initially tried the included medium and large silicone tips (wide and small bore), and whilst they fit OK, they simply weren’t to my particular preference. My usually preferred tips are the Sony isolation tips I have, and also Comply T200/S200. Both gave me a very good seal.
I also tried Spinfits, SpiralDots and Ostry Blacks and Blues. All fit the nozzles really well and stayed intact.
The EX1 is designed to be worn cable down only (I have tried wearing them cable over ear (inverting them) – and although it is doable, it is not “long-term” comfortable). The nice thing about the new Fiio cable though is that it is so light and flexible that it is possible to wear them cable down, and then lightly loop the cable back over your ear, and secure it with the cinch. This works passably well for exercise, but I have to admit at times I’ve simply thought about reterminating them (soldering a new jack), and simply swapping the channels.
They are extremely comfortable to wear though (cable down), and I’ve had no issues sleeping with them intact.
Isolation is below average, but this is due to the extensive venting, which is what contributes to the EX1’s open and wide sound profile. You won’t be using these on public transport (at least I wouldn’t be anyway) – but they are ideal for walking where you still need to be aware of your surroundings. Also, because they are not full sealed/closed, they are ideal for exercise as I don’t get much in the way of bone conduction sound.
There is also a reasonable amount of leakage depending on your listening volume. I’m a lower volume level listener generally, but sitting beside my daughter, she is usually able to tell me what I’m listening to.
The one other thing I do wish these did have was an i-capable cable option – as they would be brilliant for phone calls I think (allow me to finally retire my earpods).
Sound on the next page, click HERE