In FiiO decided clearly to make 2017 a year of strong market entry IEM. Starting with a good model F5, they continued another good hybrid option in the face of F9, expanding it up to three modifications. The normal F9 I have already described, F9SE anything except the cable, not different from it, but that’s about F9 Pro we will discuss today.
The main feature that stood in the way F9 to “world domination”, was a pronounced peak in treble around 7 kHz and, depending on the personal preferences of the listeners reviews on headphones ranged from “masterpiece” to “horror.” Traditionally, the voices of people who confuse “not like me” and “nobody likes”, it sounded louder than others, but learn to filter those wishing to give a subjective opinion for the ultimate truth — the key to successful information gathering in the Network.
In FiiO decided that the peak of HF can be smoothed, and generally — hybrid headphone not much happens, and there F9 Pro, the main difference of which was the use of perhaps the most famous reinforcement “parenica” Knowles TWFK, which gave change the sound on upper half frequency response. Also, improved delivery, and the price tag grew to about $ 140. What did that do to the ordinary listener — we now try to understand.
- Transducers: dynamic + 2 × balanced armature (Knowles TWFK-30017)
- Frequency range: 15 Hz – 40 kHz
- Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW
- Impedance: 28Ω
- Maximum input power: 100 mW
- Cable: 2 × 1.2 m, exchangeable with MMCX connectors
- Plug: 3.5 mm TRRS, TRRS 2.5 mm balanced
- Weight: 3.76 g (1 headphone, without the wires)
Packing and delivery
Externally the box is almost the same as the previous model F9, and other FiiO products it differs a little: sealed in plastic outer box made of black cardboard inside another cardboard, but more dense. The earphones themselves are fixed in the insert of soft material that protects them from any damage. The accessories kit is also very good, except F9 in the box are:
- plastic box for storage
- a comfy little pouch with zipper for quick winding headphone
- 3 set of three pairs of silicone ear tips
- three pairs of foam tips
- balanced wire with 2.5 mm plug
- “set” cord with three-button remote control
Here we can make two observations. The first tips here is not regretted, in theory, they should affect the sound, but in practice the difference is quite weak (although not zero). Second FiiO all the forces pushing users out of the balanced output, and because now, two of the most successful companies of the market of portable audio (FiiO and A&K), I think, can be considered a 4-pin 2.5 mm plug of the winning format.
Design and comfortable wearing
Appearance expected has not changed compared to the normal version F9, the same metal oval case with a stylish wave pattern, the same ergonomic shape, sits perfectly in almost any ears. The level of performance is also very good, no obvious flaws is not observed.
Headphones are designed to be worn behind the ear, and put their cable down would be problematic. Soundproofing in the typical for this form factor level, in other words — for the street or public transportation will suffice, but on the subway or airplane noise would interfere.
In FiiO has considered the complaint in the first revision F9, consisting in the fact that their cable is very hard to detach (usually with Chinese headphones complaints rather consist in the fact that the cable disconnects too easily), so they changed the MMCX connectors, complete wiring, making them slightly larger and adding “notches” to improve handling. In this situation, it really helped, and the cable now detaches much simpler, but, of course, only if the necessary effort. The connectors here are quite tight, and if they do not deliberately undermine, spontaneous shutdowns can hardly wait. Was also changed slightly the angle of exit of the wires from the body of the earphone, which improved fixation of cables behind the ear. Those changes were not only Pro-version, but the new revision of conventional F9.
Complete wire traditionally two pieces. Set — the most simple, but reliable, he has good thickness in the cold to harden a little, the microphone effect is weak. Three-button headset that will please owners of fresh players FiiO that can work with all the buttons, MIC quality is slightly better than average.
But, of course, the main complete wire — balanced. It is soft, twisted, very easy to operate. Plug was changed from direct to angular, which should benefit the longevity of the cable and socket of your player.
To listen following equipment was used.
- Yulong DA9 and Resonessence Labs Concero HP in the role of DAC and amplifier
- Apple MacBook Pro Retina 2016 as the source
- Fidelia in the role of player
- Lotoo PAW Gold, theBit OPUS#2 and iBasso DX200 and the role of other portable players
- Recording high-resolution Lossless-formats (Dr. Chesky have The Ultimate Headphone Demonstration Disc and others)
Before listening headphones were heated for 48 hours.
I start by discussing the perception of sound F9 Pro “in General”, and then write what you think of them relative to the “normal” version.
Bass “proshek” is quite fast, a little stressed-shock with a slight accentuation of elasticity and hlestkost that adds glamor, especially bass-oriented styles. The texture and separation of instruments is good for its price level, the depth is also satisfactory, bass is very linear, without large dips and rises.
Since the frequency response headphones kept the same small V-shape, the lower midrange is slightly lowered relative to the midbass, but the difference is only about 10 dB and kompensiruet unevenness of sound perception by hearing, so talking about “taste the flow” or “savinesti mid” would be a clear nonsense. In nature this is a typical reinforcing good mid-range with emphasis on upper mid: neutral, detailed, with a slightly accelerated attacks and a nice underlining emotions high votes. Imaginary scene a little more than average in width and depth, with a clear division of plans and tools.
HF is still accented, and, as in the case of conventional F9, this will become a major stumbling block. For me, for example, HF F9 have not passed the threshold of what is permitted, unless, of course, choose a very bright source, and frankly poor quality recording, on the contrary, the peak on the treble is often added to the airiness and lightness to many compositions. The offset of this peak and decrease sharpness, to my ears, even more improved the situation, the treble sounded more natural and comfortable, although typical for expensive models of separation of instruments and study of the attenuation still not enough. Just in case I will repeat the obvious — I’m talking about my personal perception of sound, which may not coincide with yours, so if you’re sensitive to treble region — listen to the headphones before buying.
If we talk about the comparison of the normal version and F9Pro, you must make a small digression.
The world of audio (including portable) seen different cranks, one of the most interesting varieties which are “listeners” graphics users, loving to draw conclusions about the sound of the headphones according to the measurements, hiding behind the “objectivity”. Especially funny are those who relies only on one graph the frequency response. Of course, the graphics and the measurements are important, but, first, only one frequency response is clearly insufficient to draw conclusions, and secondly — still a personal audition will not replace anything, because our auditory apparatus is still subjective. Don’t be like Patricia Vetinari, who enjoyed the music “in perfect form” — reading sheet music.
F9Pro well demonstrate that one AFC not make conclusions. Judging by the measurements, the difference between the regular and Pro version is the minimum, below 1 kHz, their schedules are generally identical (though a speaker is to have the same, so it’s not surprising). Above 1000 Hz the difference is not too drastic, the Pro is a little above the region of 2-4 kHz, and the peak on the treble became smaller and shifted in the frequency response slightly higher (7 to 8 kHz), plus a little more detailed treble above 10 kHz, it would seem that sound should be almost identical, but in fact the difference is still noticeable.
If you compare the two options hybrids FiiO, then changed the emphasis on VSC and RF had helped to open up the bass, it has become a bit drier and adarna. Telesna sound a little midrange and a little less critical of the quality of the recording and the treble became more comfortable and naturally.
Of course, in this price range there are other good models.
Ostry KC09. Perhaps the most “universal” sound model I boldly just would recommend to take without a wire. They do not have a pronounced wow effect, but play it all in confident level. A little dark flow with smoothed treble makes them a good choice for poorly recorded music over the “top”. Compared to F9 Pro serve slightly smooth and dark.
MEE Audio Pinnacle P1. F9 Pro is a small step up from the usual F9 to “pinnacles”. P1 have a very characteristic sound with the unusual length of the high frequency range, and slightly elevated above 10 kHz HF F9 Pro and make them sound closer to P1. In General, the flow model MEEAudio more linear and has a pronounced V shape frequency response.
12 Meze Classics. A good example of a good dynamic model with comfortable, not very bright presentation. Here, of course, no resolution and scene study F9 Pro, but the treble sound softer, and the bass a little more weight.
Simgot EN700 Pro. Another pretty fresh and interesting player in this price range. On “common perception” of the lower half of the range “semisotka” is very similar to F9 Pro version, but SC and HF becomes clear that the hybrids in this land still meets the armature driver, offering better detail and cooler, monitor the sound.
Overall headphones you can listen with different smartphones and other simple sources, set the wire in the kit is not made in vain, but still they are the best players combined with the initial and mid range, particularly good options in my ear are FiiO X5-3 and Lotoo Paw 5000 Mk II.
Genre these universal IEM in General for my taste, they can listen to anything, but is sensitive to the RF people should avoid aggressive or poorly recorded music. Sensitivity to the quality of the recording, I would estimate somewhere in the 7 points out of 10.
Traditional tracks are examples
Duke Ellington & John Coltrane — In a Sentimental Mood. And another masterpiece in the Treasury of the great collaborations of musicians who are icons of the genre. Beautiful, minimalistic in form, but amazing in depth piece, played on the fact cosmically perfect level that features jazz artists from around the world. F9Pro plays this composition is not perfect (after all you need something the top level on HF), but very exciting — with air, with the pleasant physicality of the instruments, we can say with soul.
Supertramp — The Logical Song. The main hit of the band Supertramp, reached maximum (for them) success in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Catchy tune, awesome solo trumpet in the middle, excellent work of the sound engineers — this is not a complete list of advantages of this track. The heroes of this review are playing it strictly as it should be — with a striking density of the drums, with a clean and detailed midrange, great surround stereo, which is so rich composition.
Amy Winehouse — Rehab. In the works of this brilliant and early deceased singer is full of hits, but perhaps Rehab is best suited to serve “proshek”. Confident based of the shock, on top of which to build fancy design of the tools and emotional vocals — something a good hybrid earbuds and updated F9.
One of the main issues for many, reading a review is “should I upgrade F9 to the Pro version?”. If you already have a regular nine and their sound suits you, then the answer is no. A radical breakthrough in sound is clearly not Pro version in this case it’s more of an evolutionary improvement. If you are only going to buy headphones and consider F9 as one of the options, then I would advise pay a little extra, advanced package and the “corrected” flow make a good F9 Pro is even better.