Drop x JVC HA-FDX1 DD IEM: The second coming of ...

Discussion in 'IEM Measurements' started by purr1n, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. jayeshrc

    jayeshrc Resident Crash Test Dummy

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    Last post about shipping/tracking - I had another shipment with the same status and was only a tiny bit quicker because it probably got on the same ship but different container:
    http://imgur.com/a/R8HKzK9
     
  2. likearake

    likearake Acquaintance

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    They did arrive quickly to Australia. In less than a week! Works for me... Sorry guys.

    I hope everybody involved with this IEM had a very Merry Christmas. It sounds absolutely amazing to me. Tuning/timbre with medium filter is incredible. Everything else is good enough that it doesn't bother me.

    I've tried a few @james444 mods so I know I like what he likes, but the FD01 was a bit expensive for me to be wondering whether I did the mod correctly. So I am very happy JVC and Massdrop ended up doing this. I know James mentioned the Hifi Walker A1 was about 90% of this but I think that is an understatement (although my modding skills are much more rudimentary... possibly I messed it up). I think the drivers of the FDX1 seem significantly more capable, even if the tonal response is not dissimilar.

    Only issue I have is that one of the earpieces is a bit looser around where you rotate it. Is that normal? When the cable moves I can hear a bit of a clicking metal sound. Not ideal. But otherwise incredible.

    Possibly new toy syndrome but I think it's time to put away my Andros. I always think the detail is amazing but with the FDX1 I don't think about the detail or equipment at all, it just sounds good. Best pairing is balanced with the WM1A and I think this is a significant step up over the Shanling M0 or the old AK120, although both sound pretty good.

    I have had a few good Australian craft beers while watching the Cricket so hopefully will not be accused of being a shill. Admittedly my writing is nowhere near a good press release to begin with, so probably overestimating myself. Cheers!
     
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  3. dBel84

    dBel84 Friend

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    Got to hear these as part of the loaner tour and agree with the general consensus that these sound great.

    I thought the weight would be a problem when I took them out of the case but they sit very comfortably, probably one of the more comfortable I have used ( but not quite as much as the Drop Plus )

    I used my general go to tips which are Spin Fit (nothing against the included spiral dots just wanted to stick to my own )

    My preference for all round listening was with the green ( medium damped ) nozzle. The undamped one works very well for folksy / acoustic vocal - has a good amount of energy.

    I found the bass to be not as tight as my BA type iems but it was not lacking in quantity not quality.

    With all the discussion around the little TRS / FiiO bluetooth adapter, these could become my go to if it all works as intended.

    glad i got to hear them, thanks SBAF loaner program !

    ..dB
     
  4. FlySweep

    FlySweep Friend

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    Absolutely loving these since I got them a couple of days ago. As others have started, the blue nozzles appear to be the "balanced/reference" tuning (not the green, as it was in the pre-production reviews).

    FDX1 reminds me a lot of how I wished the RE272 (another classic among neutral-tuned single DDs) would've sounded if it got re-tuned by SBAF in 2019. FDX1 feels like a more muscular, further refined version of it.

    Major props to @james444, @shotgunshane, @CEE TEE and everyone else involved in bringing this project to mass production. I can definitely see how it became @purr1n's "daily driver" (or his only IEM that gets serious use and replaced the Andro).. It's very accomplished.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
  5. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Cautionary note: the little nozzle-nozzle release lugs (seen just beside the tip on the left-hand unit in the photo below) can fall out! :eek:

    [​IMG]

    The lugs just drop in to a shallow hole in the spring-loaded sleeve, and don't seem to be held in by anything except tension against the outer housing or against your fingernail when you're pulling them back to change nozzles. Tweaking the nozzles around while they're inserted can release enough tension that the lug can fall out if it's facing downward.

    This isn't a big deal, as you can just drop it back in again; or if it's run off and hidden, you can just use a needle, paper clip or something similar in the hole to move the sleeve back to release the nozzle.

    This seems to be a design flaw. Possibly there was meant to be a dab of superglue on the bottoms of the lugs to hold them in (you could do this yourself if you wanted - a good magnifying lens will help!) but a bit of care when nozzle-rolling and the loss of the things not being fatal, I'm not bothered by it.
     
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  6. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Having a few days on these now, I find that when worn cable-down (the usual for me when mobile because prescription glasses/sunglasses) I prefer them with the 'classic' Spiral Dot tips over the Spiral Dot Plus that they ship with. The 'classics' are a bit thicker and more rigid, better supporting the weighty bodies and cables in my particular ears and giving me better comfort and isolation.

    And with those tips, the 'less-stuffed' of the two filtered nozzles (blue in my pack and it seems in most or all of this production batch) is my preference; I find the tonal balance of the 'more-stuffed' ones to conspire with these things' fast treble decay to make cymbal hits in particular seem unrealistically truncated, giving them almost a 'bad-BA' timbre.

    As for the rest, I can't add much to what's already been said as I don't have enough references at the price points of many of the models that have been discussed as comparisons. I've heard precisely one $500 DD, the Sennheiser IE 500 Pro, and I thought that was a huge POS. The first and lasting impression for me has been weight (note-wise, not just physically). The bass and lower mids have this great presence, but don't seem overbalanced wrt the rest of the range.

    Very happy with purchase.

    Edit: If there's a downside: they're very revealing of source.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
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  7. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Interesting.

    I've got Spiral Dot Plus Plus coming from jay-eypan, lets see if I can hear/feel a difference...
     
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  8. CEE TEE

    CEE TEE Free Agent

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    For me, the original Spiral Dots are more firm so I feel them more than the gummy + version that come with FD-X1. They feel a little more “positive” in fit, faster.

    The included Spiral Dot+ pick up a bit of dust and lint but are softer and gummier for a fit that disappears more but takes a little faith that they are sealing and secure (since I can’t feel them as much as originals).

    So it is a trade-off between security/comfort and I recommend giving different tips a shot plus spending time with them so you know all of your options.

    Overall, I really like the range of sizes/fit/feel/sound of the Spiral Dot tip range for my ears.

    Most silicone tips need to warm up and your ear will moisten to help get the best seal.

    And: I will reiterate here to at least try a size larger than you normally wear so you can try a seal with a shallower fit. This can help reduce unwanted interactions between IEM body shell and your ear.
     
  9. Superexchanger

    Superexchanger Friend

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    Summary of notes on FDX1 loaner. Thanks for the opportunity to hear this thing.

    Drive: Chord Mojo
    Source: Roon + Amazon Music HD

    Ergonomics:
    • Somewhat heavy (makes plunging sound when walking, prefer idle listening here).
    • Nice rubberized cable, flat, doesn’t tangle in pocket.
    • Articulation on nozzle waist; allows insertion angle to be adjusted to prevent rear of housing interacting with ear; can be worn cable up or down, which I really appreciated.
    • Comfort is moderate with long listens. Found best comfort with Final Type E’s using one size smaller than I'd usually attempt, going for deeper insertion.
    • Isolation is very good; ambient levels in aircraft on a recent flight were reduced to very comfortable levels without music playing.
    Sound:

    Filter choice:
    • White filters: extremely lively, upper mid/lower treble excited, somewhat piercing/shouty. Causes wincing on rimshots. Not an option for me.
    • Blue filters: Enhanced bass character + perceived reduction in the upper midrange/lower treble. Less shout, still somewhat sibilant though more balanced; low-end weight feels separated from the rest of the FR. Less coherent.
    • Green filters: very little sibilance, FR comes across significantly more natural than the others; personal perceptive neutral. Extremely coherent, comfortable at loud volumes, though still slight "sharp" sounding. Midpoint between the other filters. Selected these moving forward.

    Expounding, with green filters in place:

    The overall presentation across FR is very “forward” regardless of filter choice: impactful, immediate, slamming. The sound is bundled up and pitched like a 100 MPH fastball down my ear canal and into my eardrum. Very reminiscent of the Focal Elex with more sub-bass capability, with many of the same benefits. Temporal rendering is very tight; nothing across the FR sounds oversaturated or sludgy. Transients decay quickly, almost BA-like (here I'm reminded of the Andromeda, though I've not heard in a year), which is unusual for the structure. Superbly clean and detailed, despite this aggressive presentation.

    A highly articulated midrange immediately grabs attention. Midrange clarity and coherence from lower mids to treble is the standout feature, for me. This voicing seems to allow small details to cut through; pitch differentiation is very good, listening to fretless acoustic guitars, violin, cello. Branching the other direction, lower midrange into subbass is tastefully tuned; lack of midbass emphasis gives mids room to breathe, while sub-bass frequencies are present but don’t overwhelm. Lowest frequencies retain the same clarity present in the rest of the spectrum. Upright bass sounds natural and retains a realistic “sticky” texture.

    More appropriate direct IEM comparisons are limited, but with a CA Solaris immediately available for A/B swap, I notice the Solaris is significantly less lively, instead sounding more relaxed and spacious, exhibiting more layering ability. Solaris tilts warmer; less sharp, makes the JVC sound a bit harsh. General FR coherence of Solaris is exceptional, though the JCV is nearly on par here, which to me is the most impressive thing and the main takeaway when considering what these achieve.

    Overall impression:

    The value proposition here is great, and it's heartening to see a sub-500 dollar IEM come within striking distance of one a venerated TOTL one in how generally "together" it sounds, while possessing an exciting, highly tuneable presentation. I'm not able to really fault much, except perhaps noting that the lively sound won't be to everyone's taste. For me, this works well with aggressive, dense music, without sacrificing much by way of detail.

    These will be out to the next listener, @Soups, on Monday.
     
  10. surfgeorge

    surfgeorge Rando

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  11. Soups

    Soups Sadomasochistic cat

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    Thanks to SBAF for a chance to hear the loaner - below are my impressions.

    First off, I've been a happy FD01 owner (w/ james444 mod) for almost a year now. My main aim in signing up for the loaner was to hear any meaningful differences between the original and FDX1. Here are my impressions of the FD01 from way back, which I won't re-hash here since they haven't changed much.

    So, for comparisons sake I primarily used my Fiio M11 DAP and I zero'd in on the green filters for the FDX1 as they were closest to what I had been hearing for awhile now with the FD01. As other impressions seem to confirm, the green filters are Goldilock's choice for neutralish gruel, or rolling off just enough of that sharp treble without dampening the mids or overly boosting the low end.

    Cutting to the chase, after much going back and forth, the only meaningful difference I heard on the FDX1 was a mid-bass bump that was nice, sometimes. Sub-bass, and everything else (tonality, stage, resolution, speed) seems quite similar. And initially, listening to a lot of rock and hip-hop tracks, this difference alone made me want to sell my FD01 in order to purchase an FDX1. But then I started listening to a bit more jazz (which I also listen to more than anything else nowadays), especially tracks that I knew would be busier, and this is where the "boosted" FDX1 seemed to struggle a little bit. For instance, stand-up bass that sounded fine on the FD01 sounded a bit boomy and made some songs sound a bit congested (see Vijay Iyer - Accelerando - #3 Star of a Story). I wanted to mess with EQ'ing both pairs to see how much I could get one to sound like the other, but unfortunately work/life got crazy and I never got to it before needing to ship them off.

    Bottom line, I'd say both the FD01 and FDX1 are an incredible value, and if you like a little thicker tuned bass out of the box (that may push the driver to a reasonable limit in some cases) then go for the FDX1.
     
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  12. ergopower

    ergopower Friend

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  13. Soups

    Soups Sadomasochistic cat

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    Curious, does anyone know what filler material JVC is using in their "modded" nozzles for the FDX1? Don't want to feed nervosa since dried alcohol pads sound and work fine, but I did wonder how much more control over the tuning JVC's choice might offer.
     
  14. Taverius

    Taverius Smells like sausages

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    Please stop, you stand before the gates of insanity. o_O
     
  15. Soups

    Soups Sadomasochistic cat

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    Ha, yes, the idea isn't to enter in, but just to add some useful modding material for future DIY.
     
  16. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I heard they use single malt scotch dried alcohol pads. Smooths out the treble and adds weight to the bass, reportedly.
     
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  17. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    As a sanity check a week or two ago, I put 13mm of alcohol swab in the empty set of FDX1 filters. I could not tell a tonal difference in it and the blue filters (now the reference set) in a brief comparison. Granted I didn’t spend a bunch of time in the comparison, but I did use calipers to make sure the 13mm was spot on.
     
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  18. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

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    I was worried that these will sound bit rough in the upper mids based on some of the feedback and measurements, but so far I haven't really experienced that at all, and I'm quite sensitive to this area. Sometimes the upper mids maybe poke out by a tiny amount, but really not something to be concerned about.

    With the medium filters (blue i think), the bass is fantastic and feels more impactful compared to Andros (both from ZX2 source) - to me they are warmish sounding, but thanks to their fast decay they don't sound sloppy but quite funky/groovy.They remind me of ATC speakers with infinite baffle super tight fast and impactful bass. I can't detect any grain or weirdness in the frequency response like my Sony MDR7550.

    Amazing value. The JVCs stand together with the Andro's - both offering different qualities in return and getting the basics right- 95% of iems don't seem to get the basics, even over the 1k $ range.
     
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  19. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

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    Some more reports - even if I'm re-iterating some stuff I said before, I feel the need to share :)

    Burnin has loosened them up a bit - I think they sounded warm before now they have bit more bite to them, bit more crunch and more explosive dynamics (top to bottom).

    Now I prefer the thickest filters ( with the most filling inside ) - with the medium thickness filters the upper mids are just a touch too shouty and zingy but only by a few db. I would say they sound smooth neutral, with a touch of warmth. I do wish for a little more upper high treble now too but we are talking couple of db here and there, I'm perfectly fine without it. The lower bass has few db extra which I love, it gives everything a little more body and groove. As I mentioned earlier, the JVCs love to groove, they are funk machines thanks to their almost blocky, textured and tight bass. If these were speakers the bass would punch you in the chest instead of flapping your trousers.

    I'm struggling to find issues - this is what I would perceive as a natural/neutral signature akin to listening to a nice set of unhyped monitor speakers with some meat to them, with very good technicalities across the spectrum.

    After so many years throwing cash on subpar products I finally found something which delivers a correct audio performance - thank the lord...I can't think of any other portable audio product that can give me this level of correct top to bottom performance with good technicalities, apart from the Andros... and this includes most if not all open back headphones I've tried (including HD650 thanks to their lack of sub bass - I like my funk).

    The Andro's - they still offer bit more magic from the ZX2, in this case the extra cash does count for something I guess. Both are correct and coherent sounding, but the Andro's give you more of a surreal all enveloping feeling with more explosive dynamics. the JVCs on the other hand are bit more natural/normal sounding I guess, what I would expect of a nice speaker set... there's probably no speaker set that does what the Andro's do however, that ultra fast attack and decay, and ultra pure tone without a trace of grain or distortion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
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  20. randytsuch

    randytsuch Facebook Friend

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    So thought I would add a few observations.
    I have my jvc's connected to a es100 bluetooth adapter.
    I found the include cable to be too heavy, it would bother me. I had a campfire audio cable that comes with andros that was not in use, so I swapped cables and like it much more for ergonomics.
    I was also having trouble finding a good tip. Tonight I happened to see my old tips from old Sony MH1C, which were FOTM a long time ago. Always liked the tips that came with those. Put them on, and they are fit well. Feel more secure then with the JVC tips to me. I had tried a bunch of other tips, but like these the best.
     

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