Last summer, we told you about the amazing custom CIEM (there is also a universal version of IEM) earphones FiR Audio M5. And now, in parallel to its cool M-line (M2, M3, M4, M5), this American brand with funny bunny ears on the logo (how I like them) has created its new sound wonder under the VxV (5x5) index, which has slightly different, but no less interesting sound signature and is produced exclusively in the IEM version.
This model has, as you might guess from its name, five drivers: one dynamic (DD) and four armature (BA) drivers, as well as a built-in atom-X module. The sound of today's hero is somewhat different from its also "five-fingered" brother M5, built according to a different hybrid scheme, using an electrostatic driver as a super twitter (1-ESTAT, 1-BA High, 1BA High-Mid, 1-BA Mid, 1-DD Low).
I must say right away that I was delighted with the acquaintance with VxV. The sound, design and ergonomics are fully consistent with the model's slogan: EVERY DAY CARRY. Yes, you always want to have such musical and visual beauty with you and take it with you.
In general, it seems to me, given the quite humane price tag for such a sound, FIR VxV may become one of the most interesting IEM representatives of 2020 in the category "above average". And much higher, this must be emphasized.
So, we ran after the hare, he knows the right way!
Text by Alexey Kashirskey aka Hans Barbarossa
1x Dynamic Driver
2x Mid-driver Balanced Armature
1x High-driver Balanced Armature
1x Ultra-high Driver Balanced Armature
2.5mm TRRS balanced connector
Chassis: Hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont ® engineering plastic.
Appearance kit and ergonomics
VxV IEMs are delivered in a small laconic white cardboard box with a fun and witty design. On its front surface there is a drawing of a mischievous hare "Firry" in a space helmet, and his ears are also victorious two fingers up - "Victory", and sly eyes with a nose indicate the model "VxV" (5x5). Detailed specifications can be found on the back of the package.
The box is protected by a yellow seal, which contains the brand's logo, model name and the already familiar motto "EVERY DAY CARRY", as well as the proud clarification that the product is made in the USA.
In the box we find a stylish black leather case-washer with the brand logo, designed for storing and carrying IEM, and a scattering of various beautiful stickers, as well as warranty documents.
The whole set neatly fit inside the case: VxV IEM with a removable cable (MMCX / 2.5 mm balance) installed in them, 4 pairs of silicone and one pair of foam tips, and a brush for cleaning the sound guides.
In general, there is everything we need here that we may need to use these IEMs.
Black IEM shells are made of aluminum, and the front panel - faceplate - is a white thermoplastic (Delrin) with a metal central insert. On the left IEM there is a logo of the brand in the form of bunny ears, on the right - the very winning hare we first met at the very beginning of the review. Everything looks stylish, cute and humorous - I really like it.
The elegant teardrop-shaped VxV body is quite lightweight, durable and extremely comfortable. It is smooth and tactile to the touch. The straight sound pipe is covered with a metal mesh that protects the headphones from moisture and sulfur. On the upper side of the shell there is a connector for a removable cable. The IEM is expected to be worn behind the ear.
Nice braided cable made of silver-plated copper litz wire. It is silvery white in color, elastic, MMCX connectors with a "key", balanced jack TRRS 2.5 mm, and a splitter made in the same style. The cable length is 1.2 meters. If you wish, you can replace the cable with any other with MMCX connectors, although personally to me it seems very attractive and effective. Well, in my case, the cable was replaced, but due to the fact that it is much more convenient for me to use a regular 3.5 mm jack. And the fact that I already have a cool cable that fits VxV connectors made me want to replace it.
As I mentioned, this IEM model has a hybrid design and is built on five drivers: four BAs and one dynamic (DD, 6mm) with an integrated Atom module. Let me remind you that the Atom-X is a metal cylinder-valve that acts as an acoustic filter for fine-tuning the sound of headphones. It also releases the air lock that forms between the earpiece and the ear drum. Thus, the pressure on the eardrum is reduced, and our hearing is not exposed to any risks.
The VxV uses the tubeless technology we saw with the FIR "M" series, but this time in a slightly different design, like a reactor.
I support this innovative approach in every possible way. FIR Audio engineers are trying to bring technical innovations into every new development, and they are great at it! The brand's designers are also keeping up with them, creating a unique IEM look from FIR. As a result, we get, like this time, a thing that looks great, is incredibly convenient, and is extremely interestingly implemented from a technical point of view.
After the first acquaintance (kit, appearance, workmanship and convenience of these IEMs), I sincerely liked the VxV with great sympathy, but the most important thing is ahead of us - let's move on to the sonic yummy that is hidden inside these IEM!
Listening (audio testing) was conducted on: MyST DAC 1866OCU V.2, Lotoo paw Gold, Lotoo PAW S1, iBasso DX220 (AMP7), iBasso 220 MAX, QLS QA-361, iFI micro iDSD BL & iFi HIP DAC.
The VxV were burn-in for 50 hours before listening.
With all sound sources, the earphones played at a decent level.
I strongly recommend that you take a responsible approach to the tips selection process, as it makes a noticeable contribution to the creation of a sound picture.
The sound of VxV is balanced, with a well-developed low-frequency range, tight, precise punch, smooth, charming and rich, emotional mids, as well as clear and unobtrusive high frequencies. The audio landscape is drawn broadly, in contrast, moderately expressive and naturalistic.
The main emphasis here is on maximizing the potential of the mid-frequency range, while Lows and Highs are clearly and harmoniously woven into the overall unusually melodic sound canvas.
This is a neutral and at the same time extremely expressive manner of sound presentation, with a bodily filling of audio images in the mid-range register, a light velvet background added by low frequencies, as well as an accurate, unobtrusive and clear high-frequency range. VxV strikes a good balance between serious academic manners and the emotional component of the music. I also note their competent configuration of these IEMs with good driver matching.
In general, universal IEMs have a slight advantage over custom CIEMs, which, I suppose, not everyone knows about. The fact is that with the help of thoughtful and leisurely selection of tips, you can achieve various nuances in the sound. So personally, after playing a little alternately with different tips, I opted for small silicone single-leaf tips. This variation makes the VxV sound as neutral as possible, only gently adding emotion to the mid-highs. Another good variation with two-flanged silicone or foam tips. But here, for the most part, everything will depend on the diameter and structure of your ear canal. In any case, try to keep the IEM as deep as possible in the ear and the tip to close the ear canal tightly. Well, okay, let's get back to the sound experience directly.
These IEMs perfectly build a stereo panorama and have good detail, presenting compositions wide, spacious and very musical.
The bass for the dynamic driver is pretty accurate and fast, with good control, tight punch, and good texture. In fact, if I didn’t know that the VxV has a dynamic driver installed, I would probably think that it is a BA receiver.
Well, the truth is, FIR managed to masterfully and gracefully make the manner of sound something between the warmth of DD and the bite of BA.
The bass is delivered quite evenly and smoothly, with a slight casual accent in the lower mids. It clearly interacts with the mid-range register, complementing it with depth and rhythmic basis. The drum set sounds accurate and rather polished: the rumblings of beats briskly and fractionally scatter on both sides of the delighted listener. Midbass is almost on par with the middle.
The mids is flat, smooth and natural. Here, each musical image is endowed with volume and its own bodily basis. This is an extremely melodic manner, where all sounds or instruments are in the right place in space. Strings, brass, piano and vocals sound gracefully and at the same time monumental. It is also worth noting the overall smoothness, good detail and harmonious work with micro and macro contrast.
There is a light and elegant rise in the upper mids, which adds gloss to the vocals, and expressiveness and sophistication to the strings. This was done as clearly and correctly as possible, you will not find fault. The sound canvas is drawn harmoniously, reliably, with a spreading stereo panorama, in neutral and expressive colors. It is a well-balanced, smooth and at the same time emotional performance, where all the elements of the composition are presented accurately, large and multifaceted.
High frequencies are reproduced clearly and harmoniously. Their quantity and quality also does not cause any serious criticism. They harmoniously contribute to the overall sound picture, precisely matching the play of the entire frequency range. The register is transmitted cleanly, accurately and distinctly, without harshness and distortion. This is an authentic and maximally correct manner, with good articulation, served in a light, graceful and comfortable manner.
In terms of genre preferences, FIR VxVs are not whimsical at all. They play instrumental music, jazz, electronic, rock, and brutal genres quite interestingly.
I am sure that quite a few people will like this approach to sound tuning.
FIR VxV is definitely a good model!
These IEMs have a remarkable appearance, high-quality assembly, excellent ergonomics, a decent kit, outstanding technical implementation, and as a result - great sound!
Well, their slogan - EVERY DAY CARRY - was written not for the sake of a catchphrase. The model has received such a competent sound setting that you can listen to music and enjoy it from morning to evening and from dusk to dawn - there will be no discomfort or other unwanted side effects.
At the same time, the manner of sounding FIR VxV, in my opinion, can satisfy the tastes of both the widest circle of music lovers and demanding audiophiles.
It remains only to inform about the price of this pleasure. You can purchase the VxV model on the official website firaudio.com for $ 999. Considering all the above mentioned advantages, I recommend FIR VxV for purchase without a shadow of a doubt. These headphones are simply made for endless listening pleasure.
Sound, ergonomics, design, build quality, kit, price.
No (if you leave the price behind the brackets).