We get many headphones, earphones, earbuds, and other head audio products for review here, but we rarely get real IEMs like the FiiO FH7 in-ears. Let’s be clear here, IEMs are basically earbuds but with one distinguishing difference. They are generally (not always) made for users who need a better separation of frequencies.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
I’ve been playing guitar for many years. I’ve played live performances in rock bands and many church worship teams. Before IEMs became standard, we often used wedge speakers on stage to hear ourselves. Using wedges on stage can take a toll on your ears. This is why most live performers now use IEMs only. Removing the wedges also helps with the house sound, and IEMs can give the entire band a click track that they can only hear.
Performers need to have a neutral soundstage to hear exactly what the audio engineer hears; this way, they can give the best performance possible. Using earbuds or earphones with a colored soundstage affects how you adjust your sound and performance. The FiiO FH7 are outstanding at producing a neutral soundstage with excellent frequency separation. But they also have tips for adjusting the sound if you want more bass or more treble. Read on for the full FiiO FH7 review.
The chart below shows the frequency response of the FiiO FH7 IEMs with the neutral filter tips installed. You can see the frequencies remain flat across the spectrum and waver a bit on the bass end, then drop off. This is a flat or neutral soundstage and is the closest you can come to what a track actually sounded like when mixed. Or, in the case of live performances, what the engineer is mixing at the soundboard. If you add the bass filter tip, this chart will spike at the bass frequencies, and the treble tips would spike at those frequencies.
The FiiO FH7 has the following features and specifications:
- Frequency Response: 5Hz – 40kHz
- Driver Type: 1 Dynamic + 4BAs(Knowles)
- Impedance: 16Ω（@1kHz)
- Sensitivity: 111dB/mW
- Maximum Input Power: 100mW
- Plug Type: 3.5mm
- Cord Length: 120cm
- Single Earbud Weight: About 8.15g
What’s In The Box
- FiiO FH7
- Leather Carrying Case
- Canvas Pouch
- Braided Cable
- Filter Tips
- Assorted Ear Tips
- Cleaning Brush
- Cable Clip
- Manuals and Documentation
If you have used IEMs in the past, you know that most of them aren’t the prettiest things in the world. Most of them are similarly designed with an almost utilitarian aesthetic. Thankfully, FiiO took a different approach with the FH7’s.
Most IEMs are really lightweight and made of plastic, but the FiiO FH7 IEMs are made of metal and look amazing. The exterior shell has this contoured wave texture that looks like rippling water or sound waves. The design of the FH7 is striking, and they certainly have gotten a question or two from observers.
As I mentioned, IEMs are usually lightweight, but the FH7’s are a little heavier than other brands I’ve used. They’re not overly heavy or intolerable, but they weigh just over 8 grams each without the cable. The nice thing is that the fitment is glorious.
I had no issue with the pre-installed ear tips these come with, and they fit snug in my ear, providing excellent and outstanding noise isolation. The cables swoop around the ear nicely and button up the whole package keeping the FH7’s in place.
The FiiO FH7 IEMs come with a variety of ear tips you can choose from. There’s just about everything there, and no one should have an issue finding comfortable tips. Even better is that these are some of the only earphones I can tolerate for a long time in my ears. I usually have comfort issues with earbuds, and the Apple AirPods Pro are the only other pair that I can tolerate like these.
The FiiO FH& IEMs also come with an excellent blue leather carrying case that provides outstanding protection for your investment. For gigging musicians, a carrying case is essential to keep your in-ears from being damaged. You can also store your ear tips, filters, and cleaning tool in the included canvas case. The canvas case can be placed in the leather case too. It’s just a good way to keep things organized.
The build quality and craftsmanship of these earbuds and accessories is amazing. FiiO didn’t skimp on anything and paid attention to detail, and really made a standout design.
Overall, the FiiO FH7 design is outstanding and a step above the competition when it comes to aesthetics. Everything from the cable and housing to the ear tips and case were well thought out and implemented.
Ease of Use
There’s really not much to say about the ease of use. These are wired IEMs, so there is no Bluetooth connection and no apps to putz with. This is all plug-and-play. The hardest part of the whole process is maybe changing the sound filters. They’re tiny, so you should take care when removing one pair and replacing them with another.
So in this section, I’m going to go over my main use case for the FiiO FH7 IEMs, and that’s for live performance use. I tend to use over-ear headphones like the Apple AirPods Max for at-home music listening, but I did test these at home as well.
First, I should quickly explain how these work in a live performance setting. In most live performances, the band has a mixing station to which you plug your IEMs. There are several different kinds, and the good ones have multiple channels where each member of the band lives.
It’s like the sound engineer’s mixing board in the sound booth but strictly meant for you. Here I can tweak the mix to what I need to hear. I tend to have the lead vocalist, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, drums, and keyboards turned up to a solid hearing level. Backing vocals, piano, orchestra, and others, I push back.
It’s important to note that I’m only in control of volume level in my mix; the signal is coming from the soundboard so whatever the engineer is doing out there is what I hear in my ears, minus any effects I’m putting on my own guitar.
Simply put, it’s like having your own mixing board, which really helps you perform better since you can isolate the instruments and vocals that are important to you.
That all being said, the FiiO FH7 IEMs have a very crisp, clean, and neutral soundstage using their neutral filters. This is exactly what I am looking for in a live performance situation. Using regular earbuds that may be tuned to a heavy bass frequency colors my sound, and that could cause me to compensate where I shouldn’t.
The clarity of the FH7’s is amazing, and the separation of the instruments was spot on. I could hear each instrument as I should be able to, no muddy mess, no confusing keyboards with bass, just a good clean sound. Vocals are especially crisp with these earphones.
That being said, I also tested these with my iPhone 12 Pro Max with Apple Music Lossless. I used the FiiO BTR5 DAC, and these headphones absolutely shine. Since I left the neutral filters on, I could hear the music just as the producer and engineer intended it to be heard.
Overall, the FiiO FH7 IEMs are some of the best and damn near the best IEMs I’ve used. I’m sure there are better IEMs out there, but IEM’s can reach some crazy price points, and these I think are reasonable.
Alex’s Headphone Playlist
The FiiO FH7 IEMs are priced at US$399.99, and that is certainly a lot of cash for wired in-ear headphones. But I do think they are well worth the investment, especially for audiophiles and live performers. They offer everything a live performer needs and then can also be used for regular headphone listening.
The FiiO FH7 IEMs are outstanding. It’s hard to call something the best of the best because there’s always another product around the corner I have yet to review. But right now, at this moment, these are the best IEMs I’ve personally used to date for live performance. Until the next pair.