The F9 is a striking earphone with a beautiful rippled design and two-piece aluminium construction. They are easily among the best-constructed earphones around $100 if not the best with finish and solidity that matches earphones costing several times more. Further yet, their smooth satin finish serves to accentuate the fascinating quality of their undulating outer face, creating a stunning visual package that belies its asking price.
Fiio have also carefully considered ergonomics when designing the F9. Though not especially compact, the F9 is a far from a large in-ear, about the same size as the Shure SE215, with long but low-profile housings that make them perfect to sleep on. The earphones also generate little wind noise when outside despite their rippled design.
Through smooth sculpting and longer nozzles, the F9 achieves nice fit depth and great stability in the ear. They were perfectly comfortable for me even after extended listening, forming no hotspots. That said, due to two internal vents, the F9 doesn’t quite isolate as well as some competing models like the Rose Mini 2 and Pinnacle P2 but they still block more noise than the semi-open F5, K3 HD and EN700 bass and will be sufficient for public transport.
Up top, the F9 utilizes a removable MMCX cable. Fiio were quick to note that the MMCX connectors are much tighter than those on the F5 before and that newer batches of the F9 have a slightly larger MMCX connector angle that permits the use of 3rd Party cables (where intial untis were a bit too tight). This enables users to swap the cable in the event of damage or upgrade to a superior unit in the future. That said, the stock cables are quite good, the remote cable is rubbery but serviceable while the balanced cable is genuinely compelling.
Both have well-formed pre-moulded ear guides that I vastly prefer over memory wire and the balanced cable has a nice loose braid that is exceptionally supple and soaks up microphonic noise. The cables also have an integrated strap that keeps everything organized. Otherwise, the cables are mostly well relieved, more so than the cables that came with the F5 and the connectors are tight without intermittency.
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