Fidue A65 Review
Thanks to hifiheadphones for the sample.
First Impressions: You know I do believe this might be the first Fidue I’ve had in. Not quite sure how I’ve managed that but hey, I’ve always read good things about them. Titanium drivers it says, fancy. Hmm and how do you get the things in the black foam out of the box??? Gravity and a vigorous shaking apparently. Ooooh have a look at that copper. It looks freshly milled which for some reason I find vastly more visually appealing than the polished Monster Turbine Pro Coppers ever were. It’s a curious visual choice, are the whole enclosures copper?
In the ears and there is a certain scale and darkness to them. The bass seems rather abundant but it’s not very warm, it’s ever so slightly warm but with a darkness, it reminds me a little of the C751 but it had a thoroughly cold darkness to its bass. No gently smoothing nor softening. Gosh the mids are rather nice, Erasure’s acoustic version of “Piano Song” is a grandly darkened abundance of depth and, and, I don’t know, something, something in the vocals, not warmth but something symphonic. I can’t quite put my finger on it, some tangible texture, something that’s right there but I can’t quite grasp it. How very curious.
Source: FiiO E7/E9 combo, Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anv., HiFiMAN HM-650, 1G Ipod Shuffle, Nexus 5, Lumia 735 and Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear.
Lows: They are actually really quite variable. It’s been a while since I found something I felt that changes so much dependant on power. Out of the Solo it was gloriously behaved. Very clean very articulate, still a bit of a rounded hump but that while slightly on the decline as it hits the mids it’s still an itty bit elevated. Mids therefore a bit lower mid centric. The bass though it’s curious. It isn’t rich nor warm but it’s got a certain viscosity to it but I can’t bring myself to say thickness. There is a darkened tone to it. The limitations of language leave not quit being able to express the darkened nature that isn’t warm. It’s not exactly cold but just ever so slightly above room temperature. They are too clean, to clean to be warm, warm has a softness, a gentility to the edges but this isn’t that. I’m not sure I’m making any sense at all here to anyone but I just cannot find a way to verbally describe its tonality.
Quantity levels, it’s boosted, a reasonable bit boosted but so are many things and this isn’t particularly stand out. Honestly its gently sloping backslash sounds signature actually works totally fine for me. It’s a simple, easy sound signature to get right and it’s popular too.
N.B. Fire up Owl City’s “On The Wing” amped, and woahhhh, it can really thunder out a vigorous low end.
Mids: They are inclined to favour the lower vocal ranges than they are the upper. Thus males tend to be more suited than girly ones. That said all sound good on them. They aren’t particularly soulful, detailed, breathy, nuanced nor any of that but there is that texture, that quality I cannot for the life of me put my finger on. I know they are skimming over some vocal nuances, I know it, I can plainly hear it but there is something there. There is something symphonically languid about them. Some near detached quality that separates them from the truest rendition but they are in some way capturing the essence of the vocalists intentions. Yes I know I may not be entirely making sense in this descriptor but like I say, its something I just can’t quite put my finger on. I know what it’s lacking, where it misses something but there is this something else there that I’m finding wildly appealing but I don’t know why.
Quantity wise they are a touch elevated in the lower range so males tend to go better, girlies that sit in the upper ranges are most noticeably lacking in air. Not warmth nor creamy thickness but some gentle darkness to everything.
Highs: In quantity they are rather moderate. A little subdued and so while I keep going back to the term “dark” the treble is the little shimmer and sparkle of a starlit night sky. Just so long as you don’t think that light or sparkle are ever going to dominate because they won’t. I personally am totally fine with it. It does shift a little in that direction of you pair with something brighter like the Studio but these are never going to be one for treble junkies. It’s all about the delicate little dash here and there, a gentle sparkly a, a little cymbal crash. There is a bit of a monitor-esq timidity to the upper end. Always easy on the ear while giving an adequate clarity. That coolish, dark tone pervades everything.
In some grand symphonic style these feel like they attuned to replicate an orchestra in the focus it has in terms of acoustic dominance. Strings are so cleanly rendered as to be dominant, timpani drums up next the cymbals are mere accompaniments. Maybe a bit gritty if you push them, so don’t push them.
Soundstage: Glorious. Not the biggest in the world but there is something of wonder to it. It is at its most happy when they are thundering forth Elgar’s Cello Concerto, so darkly grand, so enveloping and enrapturing. Squeeee!!!!!! Its super fun.
Fit: Great for me. Worn up or down they gave me no issues, just shove in and done.
Comfort: Likewise with the fit, I had zero issues. They are a touch big and a touch weighty so some might, I’d also wager wearing down for long will result in ear tugging fatigue. So just wear them up.
Cable: It’s a nice cable though I’ve see that red and grey with a translucent grey sheath before. It looks rather like the one from the Finder X1. Seems like a good cable to me. Feels sturdy and I rather like its look too.
Build Quality: Time is the only real way to tell but…. they look super nice for the price. The buds with their copper clad housings and other bits metal too, all very nicely put together.
Microphonics: As the cable is a touch on the stiffer side if you insist on wearing down it was noticeable and irritating. Also there is no chin slider so I’d very much suggest wearing them up. That way there is hardly any.
Amped/Unamped: Well for a thing that costs just £50 I wouldn’t expect that in the real world they are much likely to encounter much amping. If they do, it’s probably a little FiiO baby amp. It’s not going to be a real, desktop amp like the Solo I’ve been mostly using. I know that but……. these soooooo like getting amped. If you’ve got it throw all the power you can at them. They take on a new level of dynamics and wonder. Their soundstage and their symphonically inclined sound signature both work together to sound fantastic. Plugging into a phone, even the reasonably decent Lumia 735 and my heart would sink. It’s not that they sucked or anything, far from it but they just weren’t having their legs stretched. They wanted opening up, like changing a TV from the muted cinema setting to suddenly slapping it on vibrant. Everything seemed more, more dynamic, more alive, more colourful, just more everything.
So you don’t “need” an amp to use them, they will still sound good but with an amp they will sound better.
Oh and usually, adding impedance can go some way to replicating what an amp can do, not here. Adding in the Ety impedance adapter did largely nothing.
Isolation: So so. They are adequate for a dynamic but as I type this I can hear me hitting the keys. They would probably be fine for out and about, maybe on a bus. Not one I’d pick for a flight nor Tube commute but I suppose better than nothing. However my usual warning, they are still quite sufficient to get yourself run over if you don’t learn to use your eyes when near traffic.
Phone Use: It has a standard control. It’s only got the play/pause/skip button. No volume controls but it should work on every device the same. The mic does site a little high on your face when you wear them up so you may sound a little distant to the other party. However it seemed to work fine as best I could tell.
Accessories: You get a shirt clip, a bunch of tips, 4 pairs I think and a little baggy. There is also a cable tie thing attached to the cable, though you can remove it if you want. I’d have rather seen a little hard case but oh well.
Value: Acoustically they are great and if you can amp them then they just get even better. Its sound signature is more or less a near perfect fit for me so I may not be the most objective reviewer as I would personally take this over a great many other things. As is often the case with relatively new brands, they are great buys for the money
Conclusion: Yep I like these, I them rather a lot too. They practically nail what is the ideal sound signature for my ears. A bit subdued in the highs, goodly capable mids and a bit weighty in the bottom, I mean who doesn’t love a shapely and weighty bottom? So at times it came maybe a little sedate, too staid perhaps for some tastes but you throw some power their way and they come to life like magic. It’s like something out of a Disney cartoon, things going from a drab, mottled grey everything to some cartoonish vibrancy. For me they are nearly perfect fits for my ears, for my hearing curve and for my own tastes. Sure they aren’t all that in detail retrieval but they are gloriously pleasing.
Fidue may be one of the “new” companies coming out of the Far East and they may have a fairly flavoured sound, a certain darkness and warmth but not warmth to them and I get that as a rule the hard core audio world would want a more neutral sound. These are not that, these are more towards the consumer sound with their elevated bass levels but I find their granular, tangible middle mids to lower mids there is just something so captivating, a texture a, feeling, a something I want to reach out and grab it.
So would I buy these? Yes. My only reservation for regular use is they don’t really isolate so much and I know I’d miss that but otherwise….. I’d be fine. I know they aren’t detail monsters but they don’t pretend to be. They do what they do, they do it well, with a weirdly cold, not warmed up bass yet dark and big and imposing. Something, there is a something there I just can’t describe it but whatever, they are great, they are fun, they are dynamic, they a lively and they are lovely. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go dance around my living room listening to Relient K’s rendition of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”