In the box
I didn’t expect too much by way of presentation and accessories for the FD1, given the price point, but true to form, FiiO somehow managed to squeeze a fair amount of added value into the box.
For starters, the box itself is really well made. Yes, it’s just a box, but you can see attention was paid to the printing quality, finish, and even the magnetic latch used to open and close the box. It feels more fancy than it should.
Inside you’ll find the IEMs housed in a laser-cut foam block, complete with what turns out to be a very well made, top-quality single crystal Litz copper cable with moulded ear guides and gold-plated 2-pin connectors and 3.5mm plug. It reminds me of the cables that FiiO includes with its higher-end IEMs.
Along with the IEMs and cable, FiiO saw fit to include the same Pelican-like hard case that comes standard with the FH5 and FA7, and a selection of tips (bass, balanced, vocal and foam) that together probably cost more than the asking price of the IEM if purchased separately.
Unlike ultra-hyped Chi-Fi IEMs like the BLON-03 and others of its ilk, you don’t need to change a thing – at extra cost – considering what comes standard in the box. From the tips to the cable to the earpieces and their gold-plated nozzles, the quality is every bit as good as I’ve come to expect from FiiO, regardless of price, and is a particularly good value given the price of the FD1.
Fit and finish
Before we get to the meat of this review and find out how the FD1 sounds, a word about the fit. No matter how well-endowed an IEM may be accessory-wise, or even how good it sounds, if it doesn’t fit you well enough to wear it for hours on end without discomfort, you may as well pack it up and sell it on.
I used to pay lip service to comfort and made excuses for ‘fit issues’ if I really liked the sound (and more to the point, if I really liked what I paid), but now it’s the first thing I look for in an IEM. I want to want to use it, not wince to use it.
The earpieces are made from medical-grade resin and beautifully shaped into a soft-to-the-touch ergonomic shell. The material is transparent with a warm hue on black finish (the FD1 also comes in a sky blue version), perhaps not as swish as FiiO’s gem-like finish on the FA7 and FA9, but I’ll remind you (and continue to remind you throughout this review) that you’ll get change from $60 for the FD1.
The FD1 is almost as comfortable as it looks. The shells are small and sit flush against my ear, and the fit – while not quite ‘shallow’ like some of FiiO’s other IEMs – isn’t exactly deep either. It did take some tip rolling for me to find the most comfortable fit, so I’ve currently got a pair of JVC Spiral Dot+ doing tip duty on the FD1, which, I must point out, cost as much as the FD1 itself.
That said, small as it is, the FD1 isn’t the most comfortable IEM I’ve ever worn, and that’s partly a result of its rather thick nozzle. Combined with harder silicone tips, the overall girth can end up hurting after a while, especially if like me you have smaller ear canals. Ideally find some very soft silicone or foam tips that conform to the shape of your ear, and try get a size just large enough to get a proper seal.
As for the overall build quality, no complaints. The material seems robust enough to handle daily knocks and bumps, though I wouldn’t go throwing them loosely in my bag, or keeping them in my pocket with keys (even though for 60 bucks you might be tempted to do just that).
With all that build-up out the way, let’s get to what you really want to know…
Page 3 is where you’ll find sound impressions