>>I am brazilian and I speak portuguese, so forgive my english, I’ll use translator tools to help<<
FiiO and its subsidiary company Jade Audio bring another earphone to the audiophile community, the FIIO JD7. The IEM has a dynamic driver per side and features a semi-open design. The JD7 has attracting a lot of attention due to its sound signature, the tuning follows the Harman target, a compensation curve developed by the research of audio engineer Sean Olive, from the Harman International group.
Previous reviews (only in portuguese language): FH3, KA1, HS18
Official price: $79 USD
Cable: No Mic
– (1) 10mm Dynamic Driver (PU PD)(Semi-Open design)
– Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz
– Sensitivity: 108dB/mW@1kHz
– Impedance: 32Ω
– Max input power: 100mW
– Termination Plug: 3.5mm (L design)
– Cable size: 120cm (detachable)
– Cable: Monocrystalline silver-plated copper
– Connectors: MMCX
– Shell: 316L stainless steel
– Weight: 8.3g (without cable)
Eartips. FiiO is always generous with the amount of eartips included, here came 2 types of silicone eartips and 1 type of foam eartips. The first type is a very simple eartip, all in white color, I like them, they are comfortable, but the tube of this model here is very narrow, which makes the bass gain more prominence. The other silicone type is FiiO’s newly proprietary eartips, the HS18. To talk about the HS18, nothing better than an entire evaluation of these eartips, so click here on this page (sorry but the content is only in portuguese language). The last type are in foamtips, and as you know, I don’t use that type of eartips anymore, but it’s always good to have a pair in the kit for people to be able to test this type of eartips.
-The evaluation was made with the HS18 eartips in size M.
I started listening to the JD7 with the HS18 in size G, and soon I noticed that the bass was very increased, so I decided to put the ones in size M. After the change, it still had a good amount of bass, but there was a reduction in this region, so the sound become more “balanced” for me with the size M. An observation is that some people didn’t get along very well with these new FiiO HS18 eartips, that’s a very subjective point, I particularly liked them, comfort is a strong point, now it can really take away some of the mid-bass compared to these more conventional eartips (vaulted style).
Cable. It’s impossible to talk about this cable and not mention the FH3 cable, they look very similar. Honestly, the FH3 cable is one of the few things I can criticise in the product, despite I keep using it nowadays, it’s like if had well-balanced pros and cons. As for the JD7 cable, I think it’s a very positive point, even being a simpler cable than the FH3. The JD7’s cable is lighter, the coating material is much softer to the touch, it’s easier to roll up for storage, and it also doesn’t have microphonics. I think it will only lose to the FH3 cable in two aspects: the durability, because the FH3 cable is very sturdy, and in terms of “memory”(wavys), I unroll the FH3 cable and there are no marks, while the JD7 cable leaves a few bigger curves, it gets that “snake body crawling” shape. The cable comes with a chin slider, and the piece isn’t very efficient for what it was intended to do, it can slide when shakes the cable.
Earhooks. Here is another positive point. This is a subjective question, but here is the type of earhooks that I always say in my reviews as being the ideal format for me, it have a good curvature and a tubular format. The comfort for me was excellent, even better than the FH3 earhooks, if you read my FH3 review, I didn’t like the FH3 earhooks because they already came “pre-molded” on the product box, they came all neatly in the box to the unboxing experience be the best possible, however this left the earhooks with a very open curvature, bad for my ears… here on the JD7 this didn’t happen, cause cable and earphones came separately from each other. A small change in the product box that makes a big change in the usability.
Connectors. FiiO is one of the only companies to still use the MMCX type connector nowadays, and I particularly prefer 2 pin connectors. The case for me is that the MMCX connectors can rotate – some models I tested – but this one from the JD7 doesn’t rotate. Now, the earphone is brand new, I can’t guarantee if this characteristic will stay over time. What I can guarantee is that this unit I’m evaluating, this rotation issue didn’t happen. So, for me, it could be MMCX, it just can’t spin freely. The one on my FH3 is still rigid at the place.
The fit. To talk about the fit, first it’s necessary to mention the construction of the JD7. Undoubtedly one of the best built IEMs I could test in this price range. I can mention the Form 1.1, Hexa, and C3 as good as the JD7 in this sense, but the JD7 is only with this form factor. FiiO really is one of the companies that put the most quality in their products, everything is very well finished, everything is very well polished, everything is very well cared for, I have nothing to complain about. The JD7 has a design that was easy to get a good fit, after inserting it I give a little push to gain more depth – and the nozzle of the IEM I think it’s quite long – but that’s just to ensure a good fit. The stability is great, it doesn’t wobble, the earhooks helps a lot here. The IEM become just a little protruded in my ears, but something within normal. The insertion is medium to deep, fortunately I didn’t feel any sensation of pressure in my ear canal. The isolation is average.
Comfort. The comfort is another positive point of the JD7. I didn’t feel any discomfort during the time I was evaluating the IEM. I didn’t have any pressure points, it’s even difficult for that to happen because the IEM practically doesn’t touch in my ear shells. It’s true that this isn’t a so lightweight IEM, but it stay within normal limits, I have already been able to test lighter IEMs and also heavier IEMs than the JD7. In this “wheel” style lighter than the JD7 has the TRN TA1 MAX, and with the same weight – I believe – has the Letshuoer D13. I would say that this is a good IEM for those with small ears, and also for those who want to spend more time listening to music, I usually always take a break between 2-3 hours of session – with all the IEMs – in the case of the JD7 I didn’t notice any problem. There’s just the matter of weight, isn’t heavy, but it could be lighter, I didn’t see that as a problem (in my opinion).
Accessories. The JD7 comes with a pretty cool accessory kit. I always thought that FiiO deliver great accessories in relation to the cost benefit of the product. Beyond the eartips already mentioned in the first paragraph, the product also comes with a good carrying case, it’s rigid in “Pelican” style (although this one is FiiO proprietary). It reminds a lot of the carrying cases that comes with the Audiosense IEMs, however this one is smaller, more compact and lighter. The kit also comes with a key to remove MMCX connectors, and really the key is great, it worked well.
PS: The case has a very strong glue smell (I don’t know which type is), I believe it’s the tray (that black part). Anyway, that doesn’t change the experience with the product at all, I recommend leaving it open for a few days to get the smell out.
The sound of the FiiO JD7 is the famous Harman target (Harman company’s compensation curve), FiiO itself makes a point of mentioning in the product announcement that the IEM follows this curve, so there’s not much mystery. Of course, here we will find a small variation of the original curve, but it’s possible to conceive that it’s the same proposal. In short, the Harman target sound is basically: emphasized bass, recessed mids, slightly more enhanced upper mids, and more moderate treble.
The JD7 really has a great tonality, that’s what immediately catches your attention when you start listening. My first listenings with the IEM were very enjoyable, so much that I spent a long time without taking the IEMs out of my ears, just listening to music, with no obligation to evaluate (it’s very hard for those who do reviews). I listened to a lot of things and I was satisfied with almost everything I heard, so I understand that the JD7 is an IEM that enters in the gallery of all rounder earphones (that go well with many musical genres). But so, I still have the FH3 as my favorite all rounder, and this is something very subjective, the very concept of all rounder in this hobby is subjective, also because for me, even playing a lot of things, there will always be one thing or another better with another IEM (different sound signature), there’s no way, for Jazz for example I prefer IEMs with less bass, and even with more detail, leaning towards to bright/cold.
Let’s go to the bass of the JD7. In quantitative terms, I understand that here the bass was moderate to high. The IEM has a good presence here in this region, and both in the sub-bass and in the mid-bass, I understand that they are “in line”, that is, without overlapping one region with the other. I didn’t feel roll-off sensation, the extension is good. I believe this IEM has a bass that doesn’t reach basshead level, but I understand that the amount here is good for all sides, because it doesn’t make the presentation boring, nor does it generate excessive bass. I like bass and could be pleased with the amount of bass on the JD7 (it also has the plus of changing the eartips). The FH3 for example, I think it has a little more bass than the JD7, mainly the difference is more in the subs, the FH3 has more.
In qualitative terms, certainly – in my opinion – the IEM’s star is the bass. The presentation gains a more fun character because of them. They have texture, they have their dose of physicality, they are controlled, they have great definition. It has a strong impact and at the same time is outlined, like the “kick” of a bass drum, it has power and sounds very accurate. The JD7’s bass isn’t boomy, it’s not muddy, it’s not muffled, and it doesn’t bleed into the mids either. One observation I make is that maybe for those who want a smooth bass, with less subs, to listen to Jazz for example, then I think it may not be so suitable, but for the most popular genres I see it as a very well made bass. Songs that have some emphasis on the electric bass, the JD7 manages to enhance the sound of the instrument very well.
The midrange of the JD7. At first, the IEM has a “smoothness” (recess) in the central mids, but in the upper mids they gain more prominence, they are more forward. In my opinion, I consider that these two regions have a good balance, because it neither sounds recessed nor aggressive. I understand that there are other IEMs that bring more clarity and forwardness to this region, by e.g. the BGVP Melody, the NF Audio NA3, or the Truthear Hola. But of course, here comes the question of taste, there are people who will prefer something like what these mentioned IEMs have, whereas I preferred what the JD7 provided. The JD7 does bring good clarity and transparency to this region, as I said before, it has a very good balance, it brings a feeling of being “natural” (to my ears), and as the IEM has a good dose of bass, the sound here it will lean more towards the full and rich side. Snare drums always play smoothly and without harshness, Guitar riffs sound full bodied and warmish.
The voices. Here in the JD7 I found that the IEM manages to be versatile with both types of voices – male/low voices and female/high voices, but it’s undoubted that the IEM manages to extract more potential from male/low voices, the JD7 manages to provide more texture, more “snoring” for this type of voice. So, in my opinion, I think the battle has been won by the warmish voices, and as such, low and baritone voices will come out on top. This doesn’t mean that cold/higher voices didn’t work, it’s just a matter of extracting the maximum potential from each voice style. I even prefer the way here at the JD7, because my music library is much more male/low voices than female/high voices.
The amount of treble from the JD7. This is certainly the region with the lowest prominence on the IEM (in my opinion), the presence is moderate. But also, nothing lacks, nothing exceeds. Of course, there will be people who will want more than what’s here, the so-called trebleheads, for those I admit that the JD7 can give a feeling of “I want more”. But otherwise, for those looking for an IEM with “just right” treble, without peaks or making the presentation fatiguing, the JD7 is a great option. This really is an IEM that you can listen to for hours without bothering with salient treble. True enough there is a slight roll-off feel to the higher treble, so the range was a bit limited, although it played everything I heard ok, just a little less loud.
The treble in qualitative terms. I understand that the treble of the JD7 are smooth, “linear”, controlled, balanced, and without coloration. The JD7’s treble aren’t shrill, aren’t sharp, aren’t harsh, and don’t have sibilance. The sparkle is very consistent with the real, it doesn’t sound thin or “crystalizing” (like the sound of crystal rubbing). I think the detail Ok, it doesn’t reach a level of micro details, the aery I think Ok too, and these two aspects are really the only things in this region that I could make an observation, I do think that they could have a little better performance in these questions, even if it’s not a bad thing, it’s just a wish for something more elaborate (in my opinion). In a general context the definition is good, I heard all the instruments clearly. Hi-hats play without harshness, chimes has a very pleasant and coherent sparkle, cymbals (ride) always sound moderate and without piercing.
Soundstage. The sound stage feel is very good. I found a good dose of spatiality in the sound, there’s a bit of “echo” here. In depth I found the best part, the sound isn’t “glued” to the eardrum, it has a good sensation of distance. In height and width I also found that the sound develops well (height I found it less, but this is also influenced by the mix). The JD7 is an IEM with a semi-open design, and this in theory could contribute to a difference in the sound of the IEM. In practice, I have no way of measuring to what extent this detail actually influenced the sound. For me, the tonality on this IEM certainly had more importance than the opening detail on the faceplate to the sound be more open (in this case and in my opinion).
Imaging. The instrumental separation I thought was good. I always think that hybrid or multi-BA IEMs have the advantage in this regard (but of course it’s not general), however, I liked what I heard here. Quite true, the soundstage manages to be a more outstanding technicality in this IEM, the imaging is in the background, but it’s good too, it’s possible to hear the instruments clearly and without congestion. The spaces between the instruments are clearly noticeable (remembering that this can also vary according to recording and other processes during music production).
Driver flex test. The FiiO JD7 is a single DD IEM, that is, only one dynamic driver per side, and when this is the case, it’s necessary to test whether it presents the sound of the driver flexing. During all the time I was using the JD7, it didn’t show any driver flex noise, so I can say that the IEM is free of this problem.
Amplification. I used the Questyle M15 connected to my computer to do this evaluation. The output used was the 3.5mm SE and the device with the selector in “Low” mode, that is, without gain. The volume used was the 40% level of the 100% available by the Windows volume scale. In my opinion, the JD7 is an easy to play IEM, it doesn’t need high power amplifiers, any smartphone or computer is capable of doing the job. But as I always say, it’s interesting that you have at least one dongle or some portable equipment to play your IEMs. I did the review using a dongle, so it’s already a better situation than a trivial devices (smartphone, iPad, etc).
Music is subjective, so below is the list of some musical genres that I personally think that was better with this IEM. Remember that were only few genres and few artists tested. If I describe that one genre was better and the other don’t, it doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to your favorite music genre with this IEM and love it. So, here goes:
*Brazilian musical genres.
Not so much:
COMPARATIVE: FH3 vs JD7
- FH3: $129 USD, JD7: $79 USD (official price)
- FH3: Hybrid (2BA+1DD), JD7: Single DD (1DD)
- FH3 treble brings more detail
- JD7 mids are fuller and warmer
- Sub-bass on FH3 are more present
- FH3’s mids/upper-mids bring more resolution
- Treble extension on FH3 is better
- Both with good bass extension
- Mid-bass on the JD7 are a little more present
- Bass from the FH3 is generally faster and more defined
- JD7 treble has less amount
- FH3 has a more energetic sound
- JD7 has a more “balanced” sound
- JD7 with “natural” sound and fun bass
- FH3 towards to the basshead side
- FH3 with better imaging
- FH3 with better soundstage
Graphs by FiiO:
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