Android Central Verdict
The FA7S feature a six-driver design that allows them to be versatile across various genres, and they manage to deliver wonderfully detailed sound that's well-balanced and has a wide soundstage. You also get a high-quality cable, plenty of accessories in the box, and the stainless steel design means the FA7S are built to last. In short, these are among the best-sounding IEMs you'll find for under $500.
Excellent performance with a wide soundstage
Detailed mids and a vibrant treble
Comfortable fit with extensive customizability
High-quality cable bundled out of the box
Durable design with a stainless steel shell
Neutral sound may not be to everyone's tastes
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Fiio isn't a name that you would have come across if you don't pay attention to the Hi-Fi category, but the Chinese brand is doing all the right things in this area. It makes everything from wired earbuds to portable DACs and Bluetooth dongles, and it is slowly venturing into the true wireless segment.
But where Fiio truly shines is in wired audio; I used the $100 FD3 wired earbuds last year and was pleasantly astonished at how great they sounded. So when Fiio asked if I'd want to take a look at the $340 FA7S, I was immediately interested. With Fiio doing such a good job with budget IEMs, I wanted to see how the brand fares in the premium segment. After using the FA7S for five months, I can safely say that these are among the best IEMs you'll find for under $500.
Fiio FA7S: Pricing and availability
Fiio launched the FA7S in October 2021, and the earbuds are now available globally from Fiio and its resellers. The earbuds retail for $340 in the U.S. and are available from Amazon, B&H, and Hi-Fi audio stores.
Over in the UK, the FA7S retail for £290 ($367), and they're sold on Amazon and audio retailers. In India, the FA7S are available for ₹28,990 ($373).
Fiio FA7S: What you'll love
After using the FD3, the design of the FA7S feels very familiar. The earbuds nuzzle into your ear cavity and provide a snug fit, with the angled MMCX connector positioned just right. Noise isolation isn't quite on par with the likes of the best wireless earbuds that are designed to tune out all external sounds, but they do a decent job nonetheless.
The FA7S are comfortable to wear for an extended duration, and I didn't have any issues in this area. The earbuds come with an exhaustive selection of eartips, including the standard silicone options alongside memory foam, bass, and vocal-focused eartips. The FA7S are fitted with a 3.5mm plug out of the box, and you'll also find 2.5mm and balanced 4.4mm connectors — you can switch out these plugs for connecting the earbuds to various sources.
Fiio did a magnificent job with the package, providing all the accessories you'll need for the FA7S, including the eartips, connectors, and an MMCX cable tool that lets you switch out the cable if you wish to do so. On that note, the bundled LC-RC high-purity silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable consists of eight strands of 19 wires each for a total of 152 wires, and is one of the best cables you'll find for IEMs in this category.
The cable doesn't tangle and holds up just fine in long-time use, and the angled design for the color-coded MMCX connector means you can easily get a comfortable fit without tweaking the FA7S too much.
Coming to the shell itself, the earbuds are milled out of 316L stainless steel, and they definitely look premium. The minimalist design makes the FA7S look striking and allows them to stand out from Fiio's other products. The silver variant looks good in and of itself, but the FA7S are also available in a black and gold option if you want your earbuds to stand out just that little bit more.
The build quality is fantastic; that's a given for $300 wired earbuds anyway, but it's good to see that these things are built to last.
The FA7S are a part of Fiio's balanced armature (BA) series, and the earbuds feature six drivers on each side. They have a high sensitivity of 111dB and 18 Ohms impedance, and they don't produce any hiss whatsoever. I used the FA7S with Fiio's K5 Pro as well as Schiit's Modi 3/Magni Heresy, and Shanling's UP5 portable DAC for pairing with my phone.
If there's one word to describe the sound, it would be nuanced. The FA7S have a full bass that's clean and detailed, and because they're geared to deliver a neutral sound, the bass isn't exaggerated. That said, you get plenty of definition and character, and the earbuds never sound harsh.
The earbuds also deliver a smooth mid-range with good vocal tonality, and the highs have excellent clarity and vibrancy — there's no sibilance here. The mid-range in particular has a lot of presence, and I found that I was able to make out small notes and other details in tracks that I've heard dozens of times previously.
The soundstage is very wide thanks to the array of drivers tuned for individual frequencies, and that allows the FA7S to deliver a much more immersive sound. You'd want $300 earbuds to be detailed and impactful, and the FA7S absolutely manage to deliver on that front.
Fiio FA7S: What needs work
The FA7S are very versatile and hold their own across various genres. Fiio hasn't put a foot wrong here, and I can't think of any negatives with the product as such.
The only issue as it were is that the bass rumble isn't quite strong here, so if you listen o a lot of bass-heavy songs, you may not like how these sound. If you need engaging bass, you'll need to look at earbuds with a dynamic driver, like the FD5.
Fiio FA7S: The competition
The FA7S will set you back $340, about the same as the best wireless headphones from the likes of Sony and Bose that have a lot of additional features. These earbuds are aimed at an entirely different audience, however, and the sound quality you're getting here is on a different level to anything you'll find in the wireless category. But if you're unwilling to justify the cost, Fiio's FD3 continues to be a great choice that costs a third as much.
If you're looking for IEMs under $350, MoonDrop's Blessing2 is a stellar alternative. It uses BA drivers for the treble and mid-range, and a dynamic driver for rich bass. You get a stainless steel shell here as well, and the bundled cable is of a high quality. Coming in at $320, the Blessing2 undercuts the FA7S by a small margin.
If you're looking for something different, Tin HiFi's P2 feature a planar driver that delivers outstanding sound, and the earbuds come with a balanced 2.5mm cable.
Fiio FA7S: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if:
- You want wired earbuds with phenomenal sound quality
- You need a well-balanced sound signature that's great for diverse genres
- You want earbuds with a high-quality cable and plenty of accessories in the box
- You need earbuds that are built to last
You shouldn't buy this if:
- You listen to a lot of bass-heavy music
The FA7S bring a lot to the table, including a premium design with a high-quality cable, all the accessories you need, and a BA driver design that allows them to shine across genres. The neutral sound signature makes them a stellar option if you want IEMs that are faithful to the source recording, and they have a comfortable fit that's great for extended listening sessions.
Ultimately, the FA7S have been a revelation. Fiio has done a masterful job here, and if you're looking for sub-$500 IEMs with a neutral sound and wide soundstage, these are one of the best options currently available.
The FA7S deliver well-balanced sound that allows you to make out the finer details in your favorite songs. These are among the best-sounding IEMs in this category, and the durable design combined with the bundled accessories means you get a great overall package.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
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