Disclaimer: The FiiO FH1 was sent me from FiiO directly as a review sample. The current price of this model is 74,99$. This review won't be very very detailed, as I've reviewed the F9 & F9 Pro already so there's no need to keeping it long. You can always feel free to ask your questions and state your opinions on the comments section.
Looks like FiiO are not only interested in releasing IEMs, but also in diversifying them to appeal to larger crowds with different price levels. I think this model, the FiiO FH1, is a result of that strategy. At the same time I also think that their starter of this new series – the F9 – is slowly becoming somewhat obsolete. That’s obviously not pretty for early F9 owners, but that’s only my opinion.
Manufacturers releasing IEMs with 1 or 2 drivers is very common lately, and the FH1 is no exception. This one has 1 larger Dynamic driver + 1 Balanced Armature driver, instead of the 1+2 setup of the F9 Series. But, the BA driver is also Knowles branded, like the F9 Pro. So that means we’ll have somewhat similar quality & control of the F9 Pro. Also, it has its own distinguishing features, such as a slightly bigger dynamic bass driver and unique nozzle design. So this IEM maybe is the cheapest of the three, but it’s definitely no slouch. Let’s focus on that in the sound section though.
DESIGN & BUILD
The FiiO FH1 has the same shape as the F9 Series, but the housing is now different for both looks & material. It now has a silver elliptic frame -which looks very cool- and its made from plastic material this time around. Downgrading from full aluminum to plastic is of course not great, but I saw many IEMs made from ABS material while having much higher price brackets than the FH1. Therefore, this is not something that I can criticize, especially when this one has a lower price than the other two.
And I have to say, the housing doesn’t feel cheap in any way, and it has its own advantages like the reduced weight to have a more comfortable fit. The blue colored version looks to me the coolest, but I got a black variant to review. Compared to the F9 models, this one brings a fresh look to the table. This is all about personal taste of course but I like all these IEMs from FiiO looks-wise. Good job.
The fit and isolation is the same as the F9 and the F9 Pro. This housing shape and design is sufficient for a nice and good isolating fit, which was proven many times in the past from different brands as well. I tend to use foam tips for a snug fit and good amount of isolation. Silicone doesn’t do very good for me with these IEMs. The process of finding the best fit is always going to be a personal matter though.
FiiO supplies several tips with the package but it doesn’t contain the foam tips I mentioned above. Only the F9 Pro model comes with those. Even so, it’s understandable based on the lower price level. It also doesn’t have the small zipper bag which comes supplied with the F9 Pro. Actually the package is exactly the same as with the original F9: One stock cable with mic and in line controls, one 2.5mm balanced cable which sounds better than the stock cable, 6 pairs of ear tips and the carrying case which I loved from the start.
The small improvements made on the F9 Pro are also included here: Cables have red & blue colors around the connectors and the earpieces have L&R marks which are easy to see.
An addition to the FH1 is that the inside parts of the earpieces also have blue & red colors for matching the cables with the IEMs. Pretty nice for making things easier. The stock cable works very well with smartphones, and overall the IEMs are very easy to work with.
Now the new thing here is the nozzle itself. The material chosen for the nozzle is brass, which is not a regular material we see with IEMs. Certain brands used this material before, but FiiO decided to use it exclusively for the nozzle. Also, they thought using the BA driver inside the nozzle is a good idea. Let me quote them from the product page:
To achieve the highest sound quality possible, we put the Knowles balanced armature inside the sound tube (to minimize its distance to ear) made of brass (with its higher density than aluminum). All of this results in a natural, yet effortless sound.
I’ll evaluate the sound shortly, but this brass nozzle looks just beautiful and gives quite a premium look. Especially with the blue version it looks very stylish.
For all three latest models from FiiO, you can check out my video post below if you haven’t seen it yet. I’ve talked about all three models and their differences in terms of looks and design. Sorry in advance for the focusing, it was a one-off problem and it won’t happen again.
Continue to PAGE 2 for sound impressions