Saturday, 22 October 2011

Fischer Audio Falcon Review

Fischer Audio Falcon Review

Thanks to Frogbeats for the sample


First Impressions: Well they look nice, the packaging is very grown up. I’m not sure I like the shape of them as its going to mean they have to be worn down. Actually it reminds me of the Klipsch x10 and x5 in shape. Cable is nice too with its braided cloth covering. Me thinks they really are taking inspiration from Klipsch on this one. A shame it has no case just some baggie thing. Oh well. A little listen to them and it seems like FA is up to their old tricks, I really wish they wouldn’t seal their dynamics as it gives me nothing but venting / air pressure issues and driver flex. Since I have some foamies to hand (the ones off the Brainwawz Beta v2’s) I’m shoving them on. I just cannot be arsed dealing with venting issues when it’s an entirely solvable issue. If you are going to use a dynamic driver then accept it shouldn’t isolate like a BA IEM! It’s very annoying and frustrating. Yes it’s less of an issue if you are sticking in your ears and leaving there for several hours at a time but especially when reviewing that’s pretty much the opposite of what I’m doing. Grrrr.

First listen with the foamies on and I can’t say I’m loving, of course it doesn’t help I’m in a bad mood but they are just meh, meh in spades. I see them described as mellow and I think that a rather polite way of putting it. Actually it reminds me of the Ety mc3 a bit, I can’t say I dislike them but they make me feel nothing but indifference and boredom. Maybe a 100 hours burn in will change things?


Source 1G iPod Shuffle with and without a 75 ohm adapter added

Lows: Well they are pretty abundant compared to the rest of the spectrum but they still feel polite and restrained yet somehow it still feels too much. They are a bit on the woolly side if I’m honest, the edges have all been sanded down to make sure no offence is caused but they have gone a bit too far. These are really rather boring. They, in pure technical terms are not bad though, they do tick the boxes in terms of being able to do whatever you ask of them and they stay well behaved. My heads telling me I should like these more than I am but they don’t excite me. Yeah sure the bass can sort of keep pace if you throw fast punchy stuff at it but it’s always that step behind. It never punches quite as it should it just always feels as though it’s holding back. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just unexciting and given its rather bass heavy you can’t really help but notice it.


Mids: See above. These don’t actually do anything wrong but I’m just bored. Bored bored bored. They have no life at all to them and sound a touch woolly and closed in. They are of course super well behaved with no spikes, sibilance or ever getting shouty. They are on paper faultless but much like the mc3 they are just boring and lifeless. Actually I could see these making some pretty reasonable dirt cheap monitors. The mids are somewhat behind the bass but they are readily apparent and never get lost. They won’t capture your heart but they do a very competent job of rendering vocals if they have rather sucked the life and air out of them.


Highs: Adequate. The highs feel much like the rest of the spectrum, muted and a touch woolly. It feels like the Falcon has aimed at being as inoffensive as possible and the highs therefore are very much non stand out. They are reasonable and they are pretty credible too, actually if you catch them on the right song they are pushing towards being impressive. However if you feed them fast edgy treble and they don’t like it so much, they will get a little confused and blur a little. Still they remain paragons of inoffensiveness which I can’t deny is no mean feat. I can see these really beginning to grow on me. A bit boring they may be but they get nothing wrong.


Soundstage: These are much more about presenting a uniform sound field rather than presenting any sort of stage before you. Its narrow and is pretty much a line from left to right.

Fit: I think you’ll either love it or hate it. I personally love deeper sitting IEM’s and the Falcons do seem to want to sit that way. I can’t say I loved the silicon tips but on shoving some foamies that happened to be near me (came off the Brainwavz Beta v2’s) and fit greatly improved. Still they are pretty big so you may have to experiment with tips to get the right balance of depth and comfort.

Comfort: Well with the foamie tips they were comfortable but that they must be worn down does mean they will pull and tug slightly from time to time, their large size too meant these never melted away. That said they were never uncomfortable and I’d have no trouble wearing these for hours.


Cable: Nice. It’s got a woven cloth covering and its very flexible. I rather like it.

Microphonics: There is no way to sugar coat it, it sucks balls. Yes it has a chin slider to help and it does help but you have to wear these down. So that right there is asking for a lot of noise and then there is that cable. Now it’s a nice cable but its woven cloth covering rubs on my collar and all that noise goes straight up into my ear. Okay if you never wear collars then it may not be such an issue for you but I always do and it really annoyed me.

Accessories: A bunch of tips and a little baggie. A little case would have been nice though.


Amped/Unamped: These really liked power, really, really liked it and they loved getting more impedance added. Given their cost they aren’t likely to ever encounter much in the way of amping but if you have a 75 ohm adapter laying around then add it. It doesn’t transform them but gives a nice little clarity boost. A shame it doesn’t do anything to put that bass in its place.

Isolation: Excellent, absolutely fantastic. These in more ways than one remind me of the Etymotic mc3/5. They have the same basic shape, same lifelessness and pretty much the same levels of isolation. These isolate great and I think these would be just outstanding Library IEM’s. They won’t bother anyone around you and you won’t hear anything from around you. Would also make good cheap flight IEM’s, not so much for the Tube as the microphonincs would be an issue. However anywhere you’re sat down and not moving about these would be great.


Value: Well at £35 it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want the best sound for your money then it’s unfortunately not these. They aren’t terrible but you can do better. However if you want shed loads of isolation or are looking for a cheap monitor then these rocket to the top. As I mentioned if you are looking for an IEM to use in the library (I know when I’m there I need all other distraction blocked out) then these are perfect. They isolate great and their inoffensive sound is perfect for that.


Conclusion: I don’t love these, I don’t hate them either. Actually I find it hard to really care about as they make no emotional reaction but then there are times when that’s probably what you want. I think these would make the mast perfect library IEM’s as the combination of their unexciting sound and the isolation means you could stick these in and never find them fatiguing. Sure they aren’t going to rock your world and I can’t imagine listening to these you’ll ever find yourself dancing round your living room but that’s not what you want when you’re sat in the library trying to get 5000 words on Gustavus Adolphus and his trip to Germany out. You don’t want to be distracted with this that or the other. You want mellow and inoffensive and the Falcons are just perfect for that, made for it if you ask me. Their relatively low cost means I think anyone in need of such an IEM should seriously think about getting a pair just for that purpose. The other thing I thing they do well at is as dirt cheap monitors. Granted they aren’t ruler flat, that bass is really quite elevated but they have no spikes anywhere. You could listen to these all day and never find them tiring on the ear. Excitement and dynamics aren’t always what’s called for and if you should find yourself in need of such then these are great. Like I said though don’t expect to find yourself dancing round the room to the Falcons, they just aren’t that sort of IEM.

You know what though, as I’ve spent more and more time with these with I can’t say I’ve grown to love them any I have come to realise that I could live with these. I may never love them but you know what, I’d never hate them either and that’s quite an achievement for something at this price.

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