I fully expected FiiO’s FD1 to be all about bombastic, bubble-gum fun, without much technical grunt or nuance. Instead I discovered a mature tuning complete with quality components and accessories that reminded me more of FiiO’s hybrid flagships than it did a dime-a-dozen Chi-Fi IEM.
I’ll go as far as saying that to significantly better the sound of the FD1 with its particular choice of tuning, you’re going to spend at least $400 more for a FiiO FH7. You simply won’t do much better than this at three or four times the price.
There is so much competition in this segment, so much ‘noise’ from dozens of Chi-Fi companies releasing new models every other week, that the FD1 will likely be just one among a huge number of IEMs vying for your attention (heck, it’s one of three entry-level models from FiiO). In a world where hybrids, tri-brids and all-BA IEMs are turning heads for their complexity, the FD1 does it all, and does it better, with single driver simplicity.
If you want an IEM that sounds more sophisticated than your average plastic fantastic, that has the pedigree of a recognised brand like FiiO, and the unmistakable combination of quality and value, put the FD1 on your shortlist.
The Headonist Verdict
There wasn’t a song or genre that sounded poor on the FD1, and even those that it’s tuning isn’t ideally suited to sounded good. For acoustic, folk, electronica and jazz, the FD1 gives you the range, resolve and balance for a seriously quality listen. Even classical music was pleasant – if not overly technical or airy. It plays well with anything, is happy on most sources, and the sheer value of the build, accessories and package make it worth far more than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended for the budget audiophile.
Fit and Finish
Sound Quality - Bass
Sound Quality - Mids
Sound Quality - Treble
Sound Quality - Stage, Imaging, Separation