So when I heard that FiiO was going ‘back to basics’ with a line of new entry-level IEMs, including the FD1 in this review, I was naturally curious to find out what the company was playing at.
After all, it seemed they were intent on pushing further up the performance ladder with their flagship DAP and IEMs to match. So what could a reputable brand like FiiO possibly offer an already overcrowded market of ‘cheap and cheerful’ wannabes?
Something very…different. That’s what.
The FD1 is FiiO’s take on an utterly affordable ($59 retail at the time of writing) single dynamic driver design, and the third in FiiO’s budget range (joining the single BA FA1 and hybrid dynamic/BA FH1s in the 1-series family). The difference between the FD1 and most of the other single-DD entrants: beryllium.
That’s right, beryllium in a sub-$60 IEM, folks. For the uninitiated, beryllium is one of the hardest yet lightest metals on earth, and notoriously difficult (read expensive) to manufacture. In its raw form beryllium (or rather beryllium dust) is highly toxic, but forged into a solid coating, there is no risk and much reward for us audio enthusiasts.
Being hard and light means the beryllium coated membrane in the FD1 can move the driver at a blistering pace with minimal distortion, and return to its resting position almost as quickly. Most beryllium-coated and solid beryllium drivers are therefore known for their speed of attack and decay, which makes for lightining-fast dynamic bass and more controlled, distortion-free highs.
The FD1 also features some unique design quirks, like a double-vented ‘pressure relief’ system (basically a two-sided vent) that’s meant to tame the increased pressure from the 10mm driver inside the tiny 3D-printed shell, and a double-sided magnet that does something cool according to FiiO (what it could possibly do other than move the driver I’m not sure, but there you go).
Find out what’s in the box on Page 2