Review: FiiO FH1 – All About The Tone

FiiO FH1

SOUND

The FiiO FH1 is a very good monitor for the money, just like the other two models in this range. But it takes a different approach to the music, and goes to the opposite side compared to F9 models.

The FH1 overall is a warmer and it’s a full bodied IEM, giving a punchy and impactful bass, good amount of mids which are better in tonality, and somewhat laid back highs. It’s a coherent and easy IEM to work with, and you can pair it with every kind of source, unless they’re not too bassy.

BASS

The bass shares the same characteristics with the F9 and F9 Pro, but I feel it has a little more rumble and punch in its hits. Actually I can say it’s a fun type of bass rather than audiophile-oriented, but when you use foam tips things get flatter and more balanced. Thankfully bass doesn’t bleed into the midrange so you can enjoy the middle part of the spectrum.

Other than slightly punchier response, everything is around the same with the F9 series. Good level of control, generous quantity and warmness, good layering for the price and good lushness. If you like those traits, than you’ll love the FH1. But I personally recommend foam tips to tame that rumbling bass.

MIDS

This is the area where things get rather different. The FH1 has lusher and thicker vocals and instruments by a notch, and that creates a less bright, warmer sound character overall. If you know my liking, than you should already have understood that I like the mids of this IEM.

To me, tonality is better with the FH1 than with the F9 Pro, so hearing that was a nice surprise in my first listening session. I wonder if it’s really the result of using a brass nozzle with the BA driver placed just inside of it, but sure thing is it feels very natural and effortless indeed.

FiiO FH1

FiiO FH1

While having a very nice and smooth presentation, the mids still are just a little behind in the stage. To me this can be solved with a DAP which has a good mid range performance, but to warn you; mids are definitely not upfront to be in your face. So the resolution and transparency are not on a very high level, as expected from the price. This is not necessarily a bad thing of course, as it creates a good staging for instance. And by the way, I should say it’s not v-shaped as much as the F9 series is.

All in all, I really liked the natural tone, separation and control of the mids. It made me more satisfied than the F9 and F9 Pro, since I love warm and sweet sounding mid range. But on the other hand the F9 Pro has more brightness and openness on its mids, not to mention a little more transparency and resolution. It all goes comes down to your personal choices.

TREBLE

To me, if you’re going to choose the F9 Pro over this, this has to be the reason. Due to its character and having one less driver, the treble of the FH1 is not the most detailed, transparent or extending. F9 Pro puts up a better performance in this regard, while the FH1 has less treble quantity and air. If your priority are cymbals, then you should go with the F9 Pro.

Treble has some amount of roll off, like the other two models, but this one has a little more roll off to me. F9 Pro in comparison, has more treble energy and detail than the FH1. The highs of the F9 Pro are also more articulated and better separated. Trebles overall are rather soft here, and have less dynamism.

FiiO FH1

FiiO FH1

TECHNICAL SUCCESSION

The FiiO FH1 puts a close performance to the F9 models in terms of technicalities. Good enough resolution, very nice separation and a wide sound stage for the price. But to me the FH1 has more depth in its stage, thanks to its bigger dynamic bass driver which is providing good deep lows. General resolution is a tad lower, because of the warmer and laid back approach (especially in treble). Dynamism takes a small hit as well, together with transparency.

The winning point of the FH1 though is its very nice tonality. I think if I would have to choose between the three models, I would go with the FH1 simply for that reason. The mids sound so good on it, it’s hard to deny this success in tonality and naturalness. In comparison, the F9 models have thinner and off the tone mid range performance. They’re more open and bright, but the FH1 has the correct position for note size and correct tones.

The driving factor of this one is similar with the other two, so it’s not a hard to drive IEM.

CONCLUSION

We have a winner. Great fit and good isolation, good content, nice build and design, all together in a sub-100 package. FiiO managed to get a great mid range performance from this IEM, thanks to the brass sound tube and Knowles BA driver right inside of the nozzle. Also, the bass hits a little harder and that’s a great thing for bass lovers.

But the whole story of this IEM is the mid range, and the tone. Therefore, while having the lowest price range between the three models, I don’t think it’s the low level performer here. In my opinion, the F9 is the least satisfying model, although still being pretty good for the money.

So in the end it’s a call between the F9 Pro and the FH1. The result will shape depending on the users’ taste. The FH1 contains an easier and more forgiving presentation together with a smooth and correct sounding mid range. The F9 Pro on the other hand, has a little more resolution, dynamism, transparency and treble extension.

The choice is yours.

FiiO FH1

FiiO FH1

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

46 Comments

  • Reply February 10, 2018

    dale thorn

    Good to have a detailed informative review at this price point.

    • Reply February 10, 2018

      Berkhan

      Thank you Dale.

    • Reply March 27, 2018

      Juan

      Hi,I’m currently using the Mee audio M6 Pro,it is worth to changed to the fh1?

      • Reply March 27, 2018

        Berkhan

        I don’t think so. I never listened to the M6 Pro but if you’re going to change your earphones, it would be better to select a higher level one.

    • Reply April 14, 2018

      ALBERTO MARTINEZ

      Fantastic review, I always think this last one can’t be improved but you do it one after the other.

      I am waiting for the coming HiBy R3 DAP. My around $100 shortlist to pair with this device is composed of iBasso IT01, FiiO FH1 and Brainwavz B200.

      I will use the selected one connected to the 2.5mm TRRS balanced output, playing Tidal and listening 70’s classical and progressive rock and jazz guitar. Which one do you recommend?

      I could ride budget to $150 if there is other model really worth.
      Thanks and congrats.

      • Reply April 16, 2018

        Berkhan

        Hi,

        I never listened the Brainwavz one, but between FH1 and IT01 I would recomment the IT01 most definitely.

        And thank you too.

        • Reply April 19, 2018

          ALBERTO MARTINEZ

          Thanks for recommendation, I will go with IT01. Only one last thing, which MMCX balanced 2.5mm TRRS cable do you recommend for IT01, as it’s not included as stock?
          Cheers

          • Reply April 19, 2018

            Berkhan

            I can’t recommend a specific cable for that, you should do a research and pick one

  • Reply February 11, 2018

    Omer

    Thanks for the review!
    Do you have any guess on how well the Shanling M2s should pair with the FH1 considering its fairly high output impedance of 4.8Ω?

    • Reply February 12, 2018

      Berkhan

      I think the M3S would be a much better pair.

  • Reply February 12, 2018

    Sk

    Hi, very nice comprehensive review. I’m using RHA MA750 and wanna change it bcz i don’t like its fit. Can you compare it with FH1, or have any suggestions for my next purchase.

    • Reply February 12, 2018

      Berkhan

      Thanks.

      Don’t know about the RHA I’m afraid. It’s not in my possession.

      • Reply February 12, 2018

        Darryl

        A couple of weeks or so ago, I left a comment on the video, wondering if the FH1 is enough of an upgrade from the Fiio EX1 2nd generation to consider purchasing. Have you compared them? Thanks.

        • Reply February 12, 2018

          Berkhan

          No I haven’t, but considering these models are best from FiiO yet, FH1 should be much better than the EX1 mk2.

          • Reply February 13, 2018

            Darryl

            Thanks for the reply. Now that Amazon has the blue version in stock, I might give it a try.

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    Andres

    These or the Massdrop Nuforce EDC 3? Regardless of the price 25$ price difference which would you choose?

    • Reply February 15, 2018

      Berkhan

      Different reviewers unfortunately. I don’t have the Nuforce.

      • Reply February 16, 2018

        Andres

        Ah, no problem. Thanks for responding

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    Trelag

    Thanks for the review! I just wanted to ask if you’re able to compare the FH1 with the Fiio F5 as well? There’s currently around $15 price difference between the two.

    • Reply February 15, 2018

      Berkhan

      No idea, I don’t have the F5.

  • Reply February 15, 2018

    DR.ALİ

    Thank you for nice review. I am realy enjoying while I was reading.

    I will buy this earphone in near future but I don’t have any music player without my phone (Xiaomi Mi5).

    I don’t know maybe I won’t use portable music player. Maybe I have a desire. Therefore I don’t want to buy expensive DAP. I was thinking to buy Cayin N5ii but now I thing to buy a amplifier for my mobile phone with Fiio FH1. I will listen to music on Spotify or Tidal.

    Do you suggest an amplifier or N5ii? If your answer is a amplifier which one?

    Thank you…

    • Reply February 16, 2018

      Berkhan

      Hi. Thank you for that.

      I would always recommend a dedicated DAP. Using an amp with the phone is not the best portable solution for me. I would definitely recommend the N5II to you, as it’s one of the best price / performance players around.

      No need to have an amp with the N5II.

  • Reply March 8, 2018

    Ricardo Pinheiro

    How you think it will sound with the Cayin N3? I have a tinaudio T2 and wanted to upgrade. You can also compare these with the ibasso t01?

    • Reply March 9, 2018

      Berkhan

      IT01 has a better fit and ergonomics. Sound wise IT01 has better treble, better resolution and separation and better tonal balance. Sound stage is almost the same.

      FH1 would be very good with the N3, they’ll make a nice pair. But I can definitely recommend the IT01 a little more and I’ll go in detail in its review of course.

  • Reply March 11, 2018

    HUGO SILVA

    hello friend, I am in doubt between Fiio F9 PRO and Fiio FH1. In the case of POP music like Demi Lovato, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, which one would suit the best or would both perform well this style? Many thanks for the answers.

    • Reply March 11, 2018

      Berkhan

      I recommend the FH1 for pop music.

  • Reply March 12, 2018

    Madhur Verma

    Hi!
    Can you tell me if the FH1 would be a good match with the Astell & Kern AK70?
    I currently own a pair of Klipsch X4i, however I’m looking to upgrade and these seem to be a good buy in the <100$ range.
    Thanks!

    • Reply March 13, 2018

      Berkhan

      If you have the AK70, I recommend to raise your budget and go for a little more premium IEM.

      But, the new iBasso IT01 is excellent for 100$. I recommend that one. As for FH1, yes, it’ll sound very nice with it but for AK70 you can try to get better IEMs.

      Maybe IT03?

      • Reply March 13, 2018

        Madhur Verma

        Thanks for responding! I was trying to get something below the $200 range, but I will certainly consider the iBasso recommendation.

  • Reply March 21, 2018

    Reggie

    Hi all, How about Fiio FH1 VS. Vsonic GR07 (37 anniversary or Classic)?

    • Reply March 22, 2018

      Berkhan

      Hard to say really. I listened the GR07 years ago. I wouldn’t compare with such a distant memory.

  • Reply April 19, 2018

    Durga Prasad

    Hi Sir, I have Sony xb50ap. that is good for me. Bass & Sound clarity. But FH1 is how much better than the sony?
    pls reply me..
    Thanks..

    • Reply May 30, 2018

      Aman

      Hi Durga
      You can’t compare Sony XB 50 ap with fiio FH1. Sony is a commercial earphone brand with extra bass, it doesn’t gives you the clear bass with the miss and low fadding away. FH1 is a premium IEM compared to Sony and are very decently price. If you have the budget FH1 would sound way better than Sony with your fiio X1. I picked mine from gurgaon and love them. Just go for it.

  • Reply April 19, 2018

    Durga Prasad

    my DAP is Fiio X1.
    thanks

  • Reply April 23, 2018

    Franky

    Hi, it is worth to upgrade to these earphones from the akg that comes with the galaxy s8?

  • Reply June 17, 2018

    Adil

    Is it worth upgrading from Bose SoundSport wire to Fiio FH1? Is there significant sound quality difference? I went with bose for sweat proof and comfort.

  • Reply July 16, 2018

    Jorge

    Hola, ¿El fh1 será buen complemento para un shanling m0?

  • Reply July 22, 2018

    sagar shah

    FH1 or IT01 which will be good to pair with Shanling M0?

  • Reply December 28, 2018

    Lastwood79

    Fiio FH1 pair it with fiio K3 it will be good?

    • Reply January 9, 2019

      Berkhan

      I guess so, but you have to try.

  • Reply January 9, 2019

    Markus Arike

    Why would the F9 be obsoleted by the FH1? That’s a pretty stupid theory. A great sounding IEM is still great sounding even when a shiny new pair is released. Besides, if the F9 had more bass, I would hate it. I was hoping the review would be of higher quality than the YouTube video, but…

    • Reply January 9, 2019

      Berkhan

      Hello Markus,

      To me the F9 is obsoleted because of the FH1 AND the F9 Pro models. With these two being available, there’s no point getting the F9, since it has problems in its sound presentation, especially sibilance. It’s not a theory, it’s an opinion and you can always buy the F9 if you want to. Not sure why you’re using the word “stupid”, but I guess you need to read reviews better first.

      I would’ve loved to see a higher quality comment.

  • Reply April 4, 2019

    Erwin Comendador

    Hello Sir Berkhan, I have a Sony NW-A45. Have you made a review for this? I just want to know how’s it perform against other dap’s. Thank you.

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