It is well known that FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. likes to take things to the extreme, to explore what is technically possible. The Chinese specialist’s in-ear headphones are already distinguished by their numerous drivers, but what they have now achieved with the new FiiO FA9 is unparalleled…
FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. has been a renowned specialist for personal audio devices, especially headphones, and especially in-ear headphones. The Chinese company’s developers are known to care little or nothing about conventional conventions. On the contrary, they are always striving not only to improve existing concepts but also to break completely new ground, in short, to question what is considered technically feasible.
Like no other manufacturer, they push the limits, even exceeding them in most cases, for example when it comes to the components that ultimately fit into such a tiny product as an in-ear headphone.
One might think that there are “natural” limits to the “play instinct” of the developer of an in-ear headphone simply because of its compact dimensions, since the wearing comfort alone requires a restraint in terms of dimensions and weight. Each driver causes an increase in weight, requires the appropriate space to actually be able to play out its performance potential, so elaborate multi-way systems can only be realized here with immense effort and state-of-the-art components.
FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. has always been astounded when it presented a new pair of in-ear headphones that were designed as an elaborate multi-way system, but what the company now presents in the form of the latest in-ear headphones is unparalleled.
No less than six drivers are used in the new In-ear headphones from FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd., which are balanced armature drivers. It is understandable that the company even includes this technological approach in the name of the new headphones, so the new In-ear Headphones from FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. are presented as FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM.
The developers’ aim was to optimally reproduce as wide a frequency band as possible, so that the use of six drivers is relied upon, as described. These are known as Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers, three in number, each of which comprises two drivers. Specifically, an SWFK-31736 is used for the high frequency range, an EJ-33877 for the midrange, and a HODVTEC-31618 for the low frequency range. According to the data sheet, a frequency range between 15 Hz and 40 kHz can be reproduced, whereby, as with a conventional loudspeaker system, a crossover network provides for the division of labour.
This is an electronic four-way crossover, whereby as a special feature, direct intervention in the sound characteristics is also possible. Unlike many other manufacturers, FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. has designed the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM not with filters screwed on at will and thus influencing the sound characteristics, but directly and electronically via the crossover. Three switches in miniature form are available for this purpose directly on the outside of the in-ear plugs, with eight different possibilities resulting from the different combinations. In fact, each of the switches controls a frequency range, i.e. bass, midrange and treble.
The impedance of the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM is specified at 16 to 32 ohms, and the sensitivity is a remarkable 110 dB.
Another key feature of the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM is the extra-long sound tube, which winds inside the tiny cabinet and is no less than 80.6 mm long. Each driver is “tapped” separately, so that the different shape and length of the three connections in combination with the crossover results in optimal tuning.
The new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM also features a unique design that has been developed to accommodate the lush interior while keeping the dimensions as small as possible and saving weight wherever possible. So the decision was made to use a special plastic that originates from the medical technology sector and is therefore absolutely unproblematic in daily use, and can also be processed using 3D printing. According to the manufacturer, this is the only way to realize the complex structure.
Of course, the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM features an ergonomically shaped housing that is designed in such a way that almost the entire earplug disappears inside the auricle, optimally covering the ear canal to eliminate external noise as much as possible, thus guaranteeing a clear, full sound. A diamond-cut faceplate has been integrated into the top plate, which shines through the transparent plastic housing and gives the FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM a particularly elegant look.
The connection cable is routed from the front via the ear to the back, ensuring a perfect fit at all times.
Speaking of cables, the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM features a detachable cable that can be easily changed at any time by using MMCX connectors.
The FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM comes from the factory with the usual high-quality cable, which is constructed with eight conductors of mono-crystalline silver-plated copper and ends in a gold-plated 3.5 mm stereo mini jack plug.
In addition, the new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM comes with a wide range of earmolds, in a variety of designs, materials and sizes. There are no less than 15 pairs in the pack, so there should be something for everyone. A cleaning utensil is also available, a leather cable clip, a small transport case and a high-quality leather carrying bag.
The new FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM is available in two versions, black or silver. It is expected to be available in stores within a few days, with sales expecting to be available in mid-May 2020 and a recommended retail price of € 549,-.
Getting to the point
It is the new flagship in the field of in-ear headphones from Chinese specialist FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd, which is now available with the FiiO FA9. The new in-ear headphones from FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. feature no less than six balanced armature drivers. It is understandable that the company even includes this technological approach in the name of the new headphones, so the new in-ear headphones from FiiO Electronics Technology Co Ltd. are called FiiO FA9 6 Knowles Balanced Armature IEM.