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Fidue A63 Review

57


Reviewed March 2014

Details: Part of the first IEM lineup from Fidue, a new manufacturer hailing from mainland China
MSRP: est. $65 (manufacturer’s page)
Current Price: $60 from amazon.com / $59 from ebay.com / $60 from mp4nation.net / $63 from CTC Audio
Specs: Driver: Dynamic | Imp: 16Ω | Sens: 101 dB | Freq: 18-21k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ I-plug
Nozzle Size: 5mm | Preferred tips: Stock bi-flanges, MEElec M6 single-flanges
Wear Style: Straight down or over-the-ear (preferred)

Accessories (3/5) – Single-flange (3 sizes) and bi-flange (2 sizes) silicone tips; soft carrying pouch
Build Quality (4/5) – The A63 features aluminum shells and cabling identical to my older ViSang and Brainwavz earphones – internally braided and covered in a smooth, glossy sheath. It’s a little stiff and lacks a cable cinch but in my experience these cables tend to be quite durable. I also like the soft strain reliefs where the cables enter the housings, as well as on the aluminum I-plug and y-split. A raised dot on the right strain relief makes the earpieces easy to tell apart in the dark
Isolation (3/5) – Isolation is about average for this type of earphone
Microphonics (4/5) – Present when worn cable-down; low otherwise
Comfort (3/5) – While the A63 is lightweight and not too large, I did have an issue with the housings – the metal ridges at the rear are quite tall and sharp. The corners hurt after a while unless I either switch to bi-flanges and position the housings farther in the ear, or simply wear them cable-up. Not a deal breaker, but I would have preferred smoother housings nonetheless

Sound (8.2/10) – If there was one sound signature I could single out as being unpopular with manufacturers of reasonably-priced in-ears, it would be mid-forward sound. There are a few good earphones with forward mids, but the vast majority of budget in-ears are either bass-focused or v-shaped. A solid mid-forward set is a rarity, which is why I was intrigued by the Fidue A63 from the start.

The A63 is a punchy earphone, but not downright bass-heavy, and presents a mild mid-bass “hump”. On the whole it has less bass, especially deep bass, compared to the popular Sony MH1C, but bass control is similar between them due to the more midbass-oriented nature of the A63. Next to the VSonic GR02 Bass Edition, however, the low end of the A63 is significantly tighter and cleaner. That’s not to say that the bass is in any way lacking in quantity – the similarly-priced Astrotec AM-800, another capable dynamic-driver earphone, is rather light on impact compared to the A63.

The Fidue A63 sounds quite clear and impressively detailed through the midrange. The prominent mids provide absolutely fantastic vocal clarity compared to most mid-range IEMs. The Sony MH1C, for example, sounds mid-recessed and has poorer vocal intelligibility next to the stronger midrange of the A63. The rather v-shaped GR02 Bass Edition, likewise, has very recessed mids and misses out on much of the clarity (the GR02 is, generally speaking, the inverse of the A63 in sound signature). Only the brighter-sounding Astrotec AM-800 manages to keep up with the A63 in midrange clarity at the expense of sounding more harsh and sibilance-prone.

At the top, the A63 is pretty smooth and inoffensive. It’s not quite as forgiving and refined as the Sony MH1C, but the Sony is more an exception than the rule. The A63 definitely has an upper hand in treble quality on brighter earphones such as the VSonic GR02 BE and Astrotec AM-800. Maybe it isn’t for fans of energetic, sparkly top ends but I much prefer this approach to treble that brutalizes bad recordings and sensitive ears. The soundstage is as one would expect – the A63 is a spacious earphone that presents a good soundtage without compression or congestion, but the forward mids pretty much guarantee that it won’t sound as out-of-the-head as, say, a VSonic GR07 or Fidue’s higher-end A81 model. That said, for the price there’s certainly nothing wrong with the presentation of the A63.

Select Comparisons

VSonic VSD1S ($45)

Like so many of the best-performing budget sets, the VSD1S emphasizes both its bass and treble for a lively, v-shaped sound. It has more bass impact than the A63 and presents a warmer tonal character and more full-bodied sound. The A63 has less bass and more prominent mids, which at times give vocals greater intelligibility compared to the VSonics. The VSD1S is brighter and more sibilant compared to the A63, which has smoother, less prominent treble. Both earphones impress on the soundstage front and are as spacious and well-layered as anything I’ve heard in the price bracket.

SteelSeries Flux ($50)

These two earphones lean only slightly on different sides of “balanced”, with the Flux coming out just a touch v-shaped and the A63 going the opposite way. They have similar bass quantity overall but the Flux boasts better extension and more subbass presence. Its mids, however, are a little recessed while those of the Fidue A63 are prominent. At times, this gives the A63 better vocal clarity and intelligibility. The A63 also places more emphasis on its upper midrange while the Flux is a touch smoother all the way through the treble. As a result, it tends to be a bit more forgiving when it comes to harshness and sibilance. There is also a large difference in efficiency between the two earphones, with the A63 being significantly more sensitive.

MOE-SS01 ($65)

The somewhat v-shaped MOE-SS01 makes for a strong contrast to the mid-forward Fidue A63. The SS01 impresses most with its bass depth, which is superior to the A63, and clarity, which is about on-par with the Fidue set. The A63 has similar bass punch to the SS01 but is more midbass-oriented and warmer in tone. Despite this, its strong mids manage to avoid veiling quite well and maintain good vocal clarity. The SS01 has more upper midrange and treble presence and sounds more harsh and splashy than the relatively smooth A63.

Dunu DN-23 Landmine ($69)

Dunu’s mid-range Landmine model is a warm, bass-heavy earphone that also has good presence in the midrange. Compared to the Fidue A63, the bass of the Landmine is noticeably more powerful, but also more bloated. The low end of the A63 is tighter and cleaner, though perhaps less well-suited for bass lovers. The mids of the Landmine are prominent, but still sound veiled thanks to the plentiful bass. The A63 sounds clearer and more balanced. The two earphones differ less in the treble region, with the DN-23 being only a touch smoother.

Value (8.5/10) – The Fidue A63 may be the company’s first mid-range in-ear monitor, but it ticks pretty much all the boxes for sound quality. Solid bass impact and strong midrange presence are complemented by an uncongested soundstage and treble that is neither harsh nor sibilant. I like the construction, as well. The only downside is that the sharp edges of the housings necessitate some fiddling to find a truly comfortable fit, especially for those with small outer ears – a small concession as there are precious few IEMs that can hope to keep up with the A63 in intelligibility, but it takes away slightly from what is otherwise an outstanding design.

Pros: Excellent sound quality and solid construction
Cons: Housings have sharp corners

Note: the Fidue A63 earns a recommendation badge for pursuing a unique and enjoyable sound signature while keeping up with the segment leaders in overall audio performance. 


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About Author

Living in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles, ljokerl has been using portable audio gear to deal with lengthy commutes for the better part of a decade. He spends much of his time listening to music and occasionally writes portable audio reviews across several enthusiast sites, focusing mostly on in-ear earphones.

57 Comments

  1. Felix on

    Did you had a opportunity yet to try the Fidue A65? I am looking for an upgrade from my Piston 3 with better isolation, a solid construction and a rather balanced sound signature for about 50€. I wonder if this will be a good purchase.

    I also want to thank you for all the reviews and for answering to all the comments!

    • ljokerl on

      Yes, I have one. In terms of sound it’s just more of the same when compared to the A63, isolation doesn’t seem to be improved, and it feels heavier in the ear, but I’d still get the A65 just to avoid the sharp corners on the A63’s housing. Construction is nice, too. It’s a solid buy if you’re looking for a pretty drastic change from the more v-shaped Piston 3 in the more midrange-focused direction.

  2. Joey on

    Any plans to do an A73 review?

    • ljokerl on

      I don’t have one yet but I’ll review it eventually. I still have to do the A71 first. Also curious to try the A65.

  3. robin on

    hi joker,
    i listen mainly to indie/electro pop, alternative rock, post rock and some metal. i like vocals to be the main focus, i would also like to be able to hear the minute details in post-rock tracks, which one should i go for between fidue a63 and re-400/re-400i? i don’t like vshaped music and bass is not very important to me, but bass should be plenty sufficient for some electro/indie music. Thanks and regards

    • ljokerl on

      The A63 tends to be a little warm so I personally would go with the RE-400 for what you want, but also recommend you consider the Ostry KC06: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-vsd3s-ostry-kc06-havi-b3-pro/ . The KC06 has forward mids a-la the A63 but with a brighter overall sound that’s closer to the RE-400 in neutrality (but still not quite there). If you’re concerned with accuracy, the RE-400 is still a better choice than either the A63 or KC06, but if you want something fun and detailed, and don’t care too much about bass, the KC06 is a good option.

      • robin on

        thanks, since ostry-kv06 is not available here, i will go for re-400, appreciate the help. god bless you

  4. Eyuhio on

    Hi Joker, in terms of durability of the cables of the Fidue A63’s when compared to the Ostry KC06, which one do you think has the better durability?

    • ljokerl on

      I haven’t had any problems with either so it’s hard to say for sure, but from past experience with these types of cables, strain reliefs, and other hardware I’d say the A63 is more likely to last.

  5. touji666 on

    The damn thing looked just like the ID America Spark except for the cables and color scheme.

    Tested it and it sounded like a very slightly refined soundmagic e10 which is one of my current favs.

    Very nice review btw 🙂

    • ljokerl on

      Thanks!

      Good eye, it does look like the Spark. I actually really liked the Spark design (it’s more stylized than these) and I think it was a little smaller and more comfortable as well, but the sound is much more v-shaped.

      • touji666 on

        ^thumbs up to that (y)

  6. Keshav Sharma on

    Another great review..

    Among brainwavz s1 , a63 and MOE-SS01 which is good for sub bass, clarity and extension ? Is s1 v-shaped compared to these two ?

    • ljokerl on

      A63 would not be as good as the S1 or MOE-SS01 for those things. It’s more of a smooth headphone with a mid-bass emphasis.

      Between the other two, the S1 will give you more bass quantity with excellent extension, and a more deeply v-shaped sound. The SS01 has less bass emphasis but still excellent extension. It also has a less v-shaped response (still somewhat v-shaped though) and clearer sound.

      • Keshav Sharma on

        Thank you joker.

        One more question. I have heard that s1 bass is not controlled and overshadow the midrange . Also instrument separation is not good. Is s1 good for rock and classical genres ?

        I need tighter bass (not bassy), decent instrument separation. Mid clarity is a must.
        Also any other iem would you recommend in the same price range.

        • ljokerl on

          Well, generally speaking every time you increase the bass you overshadow the midrange more. The S1 is the bassiest of the sets you’re considering and has the most mid-recessed sound. Compared to other earphones with similarly powerful bass, though, it’s par for the course. I probably wouldn’t get it for rock and classical, but then I generally like more balanced/less bassy sound.

          I think the SS01 would be a better match for you, or the VSonic VSD3S or Ostry KC06: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-vsd3s-ostry-kc06-havi-b3-pro/ I personally prefer the VSonics for their bass and overall sound balance, but the KC06 has more forward and clear mids.

  7. TJ2K14 on

    Hi Joker! I’m deciding between the fidue a63 and the ostry kc06. Which one is better? I’m coming from a normal Flux. I have money for one only.

    Thanks in advance!

    • ljokerl on

      So I think the KC06 is technically the better earphone, though tonally the A63 is actually the better match for the Flux, being a more warm and smooth earphone. It comes down to whether you want to stay with a warmer tonal character that’s already somewhat familiar or take what might be a risk with the brighter, clearer, more “out of the head”-sounding Ostry.

  8. Lord Sinister on

    Hi ljokerl, how do these compare to Steelseries In-Flux Pro in every category? Thanks.

    • ljokerl on

      The Flux Pro is just a little better here and there. Bass is more linear (but has less of a mid-bass hump), mids are more balanced and refined, and the treble is more smooth and forgiving. Don’t think either has an advantage in soundstaging. Overall, the Flux Pro is just a slightly more balanced and refined earphone all around, but perhaps a little less “exciting” as well.

      • Lord Sinister on

        Thanks for the reply ljokerl.

        I almost purchased the A63 yesterday on Massdrop for $40 but stumbled across “Fidue A71 Dual Dynamic – Appreciation Thread” and based on the comments, especially by H20Fidelity, I ordered the A71 while on sale at “Lend Me UR ears” instead of the A63.

        • touji666 on

          How is the a71?

  9. zion on

    As a fan of Brainwavz M2 should I consider those an upgrade or try something else.
    Do those have less bass than m2s? Do you have any other recommendations I don’t mind a little v-shaping and minimal bass bloat, bear in mind I hate flat cables and my price limit is around 80-90$. Also living in poland limits me in term of shipping.

    Sony sbh80/mh1c is very interesting option but battery/flat cable choice is just awful

    • ljokerl on

      The A63 is good if you don’t mind moving in a more midrange-focused direction. The deep bass is a little lower than with the M2, but it’s still punchy. Treble is smooth. It’s not the best signature match but I can’t think of an outright better option without flat cables.

  10. Bhargav Desai on

    Hey!
    I love your reviews and they have been of great help since I have gotten into headphones and earphones.
    I wanted to ask which of these would be better- the A63s or the Hifiman RE-400 or the VSonic GR07s?
    I listen to rock and metal mostly and own the Grado sr80es(They are fabulous!).
    I know the GR07s or RE-400 are the better choice(The GR07 more so).But I find myself leaning towards the A63s.
    So,I am confused which ones to go for!
    Can ya help me out?
    Thanks!

    • ljokerl on

      The A63 is an interesting choice for a Grado fan because it has a warm and smooth sound – not something Grados are generally known for. The forward midrange on the A63 should be right up your alley but it’s possible that there just won’t be enough excitement and energy for you after the SR80. In that regard, the GR07 would be a better option. If you’d rather stick to the A63 price range, the new Ostry KC06 may be worth checking out as it provides a similar sound to the A63, but brighter. See here for review: http://theheadphonelist.com/brief-impressions-vsonic-vsd3s-ostry-kc06-havi-b3-pro/

      • Bhargav Desai on

        Oh Thanks!
        But budget isn’t a constraint
        So, should if go for the GR07s?
        Because I am not sure whether the neutral signature of the RE-400 will suit me or not.
        I know it is a steal for the great mids and highs.
        But I am of two minds over it
        And yeah,the Ostrys do look quite good!

        • ljokerl on

          Sounds like the GR07 might be a better match for you than the RE-400.

          • Bhargav Desai on

            Thanks a lot!
            I am thinking of going for the Ostrys atm and will get the GR07 next year.
            I checked out the Ostry KC06A too.But I’ll go for the KC06
            i feel it is more suited to my taste and is value for money.

  11. Eliezer on

    Joker, Your reviews are really the best.. And I have silently followed them for years and they have never failed me… Not Once!

    Well, my VSD1S broke and I need a replacement. I live in India so my options are LIMITED!(Seriously Limited). I don’t actually need an upgrade in sound quality from the VSD1s and since I am a student on $50-$60 budget, I just want something that has decent sound quality and will last for ages(if possible).

    I use to have a Klipsch S4,(they broke way too soon) but I loved the mids. I am looking for clarity and Bass like the VSD1S(without the sibilance if possible) but with the mids of the S4 or maybe, more mids then the S4 with a wide sound-stage, and this is why your review of the A63 got me hooked on and I am kind of considering a pair of these A63’s myself. Also I prefer over the ear rather than wearing them straight down but I can live with either.

    Here’s the options that I have where I live:

    1> Fidue A63
    2> HifiMan RE 400, (a little over my budget and I don’t think they will last very long)
    3> Vsonic VC02
    4> Brainwavz M3
    5> Astrotec Am-90
    6> SoundMagic E30, (had them one, loved them for everything they were but the mids were lacking)

    Also I don’t plan on using any amps with my headphones and my music source will be my smartphone, which I picked based on how good they sound through headphones. I know they are not the best source but they make do for now. So Joker, I humble ask.. WHICH ONE?

    • ljokerl on

      What you are asking for is an upgrade to the VSD1S (same sound but with better mids and smoother treble). As far as I know you’re not going to find one without spending substantially more, so if you want better mids than VSD1S, you’ll have give up something else. Which brings me to your options.
      1. Fidue A63 – less bass, but the mids are more forward than VSD1S
      2. HiFiMan RE-400 – not as well-made as the VSonic and Fidue, and has less bass than both. It does have very smooth treble, though.
      3. VC02 – low (compared to VSD1S) bass, like the RE-400 but also more harsh. Not what you are looking for.
      4. M3 – nicely balanced, not really as impressive as any of the rest of these overall, but no huge downsides.
      5. AM-90 – lower bass and lacks clarity compared to some of these others
      6. E30 – like the M3, a good all-rounder with no huge strengths but also no major flaws

      I think you should go for the A63, M3, or E30. The A63 will provide the biggest contrast to your previous earphones, which might be fun in and of itself. The M3 and E30 are “safe” options that don’t do much wrong. Here in the US the M3 is at least 2x more expensive than the E30, though, and hard to justify at that price, which just leaves the A63 and E30 for you to pick between.

      • Eliezer on

        Thanks, joker. You really narrowed it down for me. I did have the E30 before and I loved them for everything they were, value for money, extremely comfortable, decent sound and very very durable. they would probably still be with me if I hadn’t put then in the washer!

      • Eliezer on

        I dont mind going back to the E30’s if the A63 don’t provide a significant improvement over the E30. The E30 cost around $36 and the A63 $61

        Also in your review of the Xiaomi Piston 2.0 you compared it to the VSD1S, which was very helpful and I decided to try them out. I found them around $15 and it seems to be the 2.1 version with the shirt clip. If they are really not my taste I will get the A63 or E30 later on.

        Really appreciate your work Joker, You are the best…

        • ljokerl on

          Be careful of counterfeit Pistons – they’re pretty common on ebay and such.

          • Eliezer on

            yeah, I heard about the fake pistons. Fortunately in India…. Flipkart has an exclusive tie up with Xiaomi so they should be the real deal but, if they do turn out to be fake I can always return them.

            By the way, just asking… are the Fidue A63 significantly better than the E30 in overall sound quality? I don’t really mind loosing Bass with the A63 but I expect it to deliver an overall higher sonic experience from the E30 considering the A63 cost almost twice as much as the E30.

          • ljokerl on

            The A63 doesn’t have less bass than the E30, but considering you’ve had the E30 in the past and it’s significantly less expensive, I’d go for that.

  12. jojje on

    Nice review as always! 😀

    I have a question for you though. I’m thinking about getting a pair of new in-ears as my MH1C are breaking down any day now. Should I go with these or the Steelseries Flux? I can get both for the same price which makes me wonder which of these two headphones is the better choice?

    • ljokerl on

      Markedly different sound between these and the Flux. They go in different directions from the MH1C – the Flux is more balanced/v-shaped, with less bass emphasis, similarly laid-back mids, and slightly more energetic treble. The A63 is much more mid-focused with a stronger/more forward midrange, less deep bass, and similarly smooth (to the MH1C) treble. I think the Flux is closer to the MH1C overall but if you though the mids of the MH1C weren’t prominent enough or aren’t willing to risk slightly more treble energy, go for the A63.

  13. jc on

    Hi Joker,

    Your review of the A63 got me very intrigued. I’m not a hardcore audiophile but I do enjoy mid-centric/forward IEMs. I have a pair of SuperFi 5vi from 2010 and am absolutely captivated by its midrange. I’ve always wondered why nobody really talks about them. I have auditioned the TripleFi10 and SE535 but still prefer the SuperFi 5. Recently I scored an Audio Technica M50 for my wife and thought it sounded pretty good (albeit weaker mids than the SuperFi5). I did some reading up on headphones with good mids and bought the AKG K550 for myself but was disappointed. The bass wasn’t even that great in my opinion. As such, I’ve decided to stick to IEMs.

    Anyway, the reason I’m writing is because in addition to your review of the A63, I’ve also read your review of the UE600 over on Head-Fi and it’s pretty spot-on with how I feel. So I thought you might understand why I like my SuperFi 5 so much. I’ve never heard the UE600 but I reckon it should be the same or similar.

    I am wondering if I should get another pair of the SuperFi5/UE600 from eBay while I still can or if I should try another IEM. In addition to this A63, I am considering A161P, HF5 and RE-400. I am thinking I should probably stick to single BA but thought the RE-400 might fit my tastes even though it is dynamic. What do you think? Ideally, I would like to have the UE600’s mids (or better) with slightly better bass (quality not quantity) and possibly wouldn’t mind if the highs were even a little less sparkly than the UE600. Sometimes I find the highs just a little bit harsh on the SuperFi5. Would any of those IEMs I listed above be an upgrade in the mids compared to the UE600? What are your thoghts? I’m all ears. Thanks.

    • ljokerl on

      The SF5 is the UE600 so you’re correct there. I really enjoy its sound, and I wouldn’t call the A63 an upgrade – it’s got strong mids and greater bass quantity but it’s not really as detailed and refined as the UE600. Still a very fun earphone for someone who likes mids and wants to try something different.

      I can recommend the RE-400 – the HF5 and A161P don’t really fit your requirements for treble quality. The RE-400, with a good seal, is very smooth, and I found its bass to be more natural than that of the UE600 – not necessarily tighter, but having better weight.

      • jc on

        Thanks Joker, your recommendation is enough to tip me towards giving the RE-400 a shot. I’ve already placed an order on Amazon.

        I’ve been looking at freq responses on GoldenEars and wondered what you thought of the Ortofon e-Q5 given my preferences? Also, would you have any recommendations if I increased my budget to around $300?

        • ljokerl on

          Overall the e-Q5 is a great earphone but it is not as smooth up top as the RE-400 and I find it hard to say it’s worth 2.5x the price of the HiFiMan. Definitely try the RE-400 first and then see if a slightly brighter/less forgiving sound is something you can live with, and how much you’re willing to pay to move up in sound quality slightly.

          • jc on

            Great advice I very much appreciate it. I’m looking forward to the RE-400.

          • jc on

            Hi joker, a month later and I’ve tried both the RE400 and eq-5; and your recommendations are pretty spot on. Compared to the ue600, I found the RE400 to have much more detail but weaker bass and treble. The mids also felt a little less thick and meaty (perhaps that allowed the details to show up). The eq-5 on the other hand seemed to be almost perfect – good lows and mids and nice details but I found the highs a little harsh and fatiguing after a while. Also, I thought the RE400 had just a touch more detail than the eq-5 which was unexpected. I really wanted to like the eq-5 but anyway, after this little detour, I’m still back on the ue600 at ~$40. I’m curious to know if you might have any thoughts. Cheers.

          • ljokerl on

            Honestly, not sure. I like the Final Audio Heaven II that I got recently but again the treble has that same slightly edgy character compared to the RE-400.

            I am looking forward to trying the new e-Q8 later this year – Ortofon certainly has the potential to deliver an earphone with the sound signature you’re after.

            Some others that come to mind in the meantime:

            UE900: Pricy, but balanced-sounding earphones that share a lot of tuning characteristics with the UE600. I thought the upper mids on the 900 were a bit recessed compared to the 600 and the treble was somewhat brighter (neither of which is ideal). However, the UE900 is also more detailed and extended, and has better soundstaging.

            Westone W2: It’s been a while since I’ve heard these, but they’re also very balanced-sounding with good resolution and smooth treble. These never quite blew me away but they might be more to your liking than the RE-400 in terms of treble energy.

            TDK BA200: Warmer in tone than the other earphones mentioned, but still plenty balanced and generally smooth. My recent review of these has a head-to-head against the RE-400.

          • jc on

            I am keen to read your review of the eq-8. From reading headfi though, the treble on these might be too strong for me. I did think about the ue900 but the price is the main deterrent.

            The TDK BA200. This wasn’t even on my radar till you mentioned it; but I am excited just looking at the freq response on Golden Ears. I’ll find a way to check them out. In the meantime, I’ve placed an order for the Sony XBA1. The freq response looks good for my tastes and at ~$25 why not.

            As always, I appreciate you taking the time to reply. It’s almost like you can offer some sort of sound consultation service! 🙂

          • ljokerl on

            Yeah… almost :p

            Good luck with the XBA-1 and BA200. I liked the XBA-1 when I heard it briefly. It didn’t blow me away, but it’s pleasant.

  14. Jamz on

    Hey Joker!

    First of all I want to thank you for your effortless work towards the audiophile community, many thanks for the extensive reviews over the years 😉

    I’m quite interested in the A63 as I’ve had the SoundMagic E10 for about a year or so paired with a FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp. I very much enjoy the sound signature of the SoundMagic E10 with its’ great, rumbling bass and smooth treble and presentation. The only thing I feel that is lacking as I’ve grown into this hobby is some more clarity and midrange presence.

    As an avid EDM listener that means that my preference in music lay towards the electronic side, that being mostly liquid/jazzy/soulful drum and bass, disco house/classic house/chicago etc and some chill out/ambient music. But I also do enjoy some nice R’n’B and funk music once in a while, depending on the mood of course :).

    Now to the point: I’m in search of an upgrade from the SoundMagic E10 and what I’m striving for is an exciting, lively, smooth and clear/spacious iem which handles the aforementioned as well as having a nice bass presence, mostly sub-bass do to my primary preference towards soulful D’n’B music.

    The FiiO E10 USB DAC/amp is very musical and engaging (3+dB bass boost and spacious with forward mids) if you haven’t had a chance to listen to it and is quite the perfect match for the SoundMagic E10, but as I’ve stated earlier I’m in search of an upgrade. I also own the Vsonic GR02 Bass Edition which I tought would be an upgrade to the SoundMagic E10 but I didn’t experience that at all! Sure, the bass presence was somewhat stronger, but overall the sound signature was quite more harsh/peaky than the smooth E10 and didn’t appeal at all to me. Maybe the pairing with the FiiO E10 isn’t at its’ best or most optimal but I don’t consider the purchase as an upgrade over the E10 iem at all. Likewise with the Astrotec AM-800 which I own but don’t consider an upgrade over the E10. Different strokes maybe :).

    I’ve scoured the Head-Fi community and taken in some recommendations but not pulled the trigger buying a new iem as I’m still somewhat undecided to which iem to get. The MOE-SS01, Dunu DN-1000, Yamaha EPH-100 (not sold anymore?), RHA MA750 are all on my possible upgrade list but I wanted to hear your opinion first. The Fidue A63 is dirt cheap and I’m willing to give it a try, though it apparently has more mid-bass than sub-bass presence while certainly being clearer than the SoundMagic E10. I do like some good, strong bass presence but not at the expense of losing clarity and spaciousness on an iem. Could the coming T-Peos Tank be something worth waiting for, more bass presence but not as forward/clear as the Fidue A63???

    What’s your recommendation and input, I greatly appreciate any tips towards my never-ending audiophile journey :). Btw my budget stretches towards 150$ but I’m willing to go higher if I find my match (iem) made in heaven hehe.

    Cheers!

    • ljokerl on

      Interesting question. For someone who values smooth treble you sure keep considering some bright and often harsh earphones – the GR02BE, AM-800, SS01, even DN-1000.

      The A63 is pretty smooth – its treble sounds similar to the E10, with maybe just a hair less sparkle. It also has slightly punchier bass – not a big deal, just a bit more of a mid-bass “hump”. The more prominent mids do have better clarity than those of the E10, lifting the slight veil that bothers me in the Soundmagics. That’s probably the most noticeable difference between them. The only real advantage the E10 has is that wide presentation – the forward mids of the A63 prevent it from having that same sort of expanse.

      The T-Peos Tank is good but not the right signature – it’s more bass-focused than the E10 and A63. It’s also got a smaller soundstage than both of those.

      Anyway, it sounds like the A63 is worth trying if you’re willing to trade off a bit of the width/openness of the E10.

      • Jamz on

        Thanks for your input Joker!

        I’ve pulled the trigger and ordered the headphone through Ebay which I hope to be to my satisfaction, fingers crossed :).

        Do you think that the Fidue A63 is in need of a long burn-in period or did it sound smooth and engaging out of the box so to speak?

        If I were to spend let’s say about 100-150$ on an iem with my preferred sound signature and musical taste which iem do you think would suit me best?

        • ljokerl on

          I was enjoying it right out of the box. I think you should give the A63 a try before considering your next upgrade as it should help you better hone in on what you’re looking for.

          There’s really not much that I would consider a direct upgrade to the E10 and A63 – the DN1000 will most likely have too bright a top end for you. The MA750 lacks the midrange forwardness. The EPH-100 is the closest but there’s a chance it’ll be too warm and forward coming from an E10.

          • Jamz on

            I’ll make due with the A63 for now and thanks once again for the recommendation and guidelines!

  15. itsvel06 on

    Hey ljokerl, how does the A63 compare to Meelec A161P?

    • ljokerl on

      The A161P is a balanced armature earphone with a more or less reference (flat) sound. These are much more colored, with more bass, a midrange bump, and less treble presence overall.

      The A161 also has better noise isolation but the A63 should be more durable.

  16. getclikinagas on

    Great review Joker.

    Very interesting to see this sig under 60$. It does sound like my cup of tea. Forward clear mids, solid bass, smooth treble.
    More mid-bass than sub.Lesser than MH1C and Flux. would you say it lacked any presence and extension?(true to the track)
    How do they compare (esp mids,value) to the VC02, A151p, M1(all cheaper)
    Is the A81 an improved A63? Similar sig?

    “I much prefer this approach to treble that brutalizes bad recordings and sensitive ears.”. Amen to that!

    PS: (Specs) Isn’t it an “I plug” (not L)?
    Is the shiny new badge intended for reviews henceforth or will we see it on older reviews too?
    That smexy packaging is worth 10$ and at least a mention 😀

    • ljokerl on

      Thanks!

      For me bass extension is not a problem at all – it’s only noticeable that there’s more mid-bass than sub-bass when doing direct comparisons with something like the Flux, which extends all the way down with no drop-off and no mid-bass lift.

      The VC02 is significantly brighter, flatter, and more “analytical” than the A63. The A151P, too, is flatter through the bass and midrange but dips down somewhat similarly in the treble. The A63 is not a flat, reference-sounding earphone – if you’re after something like that, the UE600 would be a better choice in this price range.

      The M1 is closer to the A63 in sound but the A63 has better bass and treble, as well as a slightly more focused and “crisp” presentation. Even the ViSang VS-K1, which improves on the M1 in some ways, is a little muddy next to the A63. If we’re only talking about sound quality, the A63 is worth the small premium over the M1.

      The A81 sounds quite different – it’s actually bassier and has more of a v-shaped sound signature to it.

      Regarding the plug – you’re right, fixed. The packaging is nice but nothing compared to the A81 😛

      I’m not applying the badge to everything retroactively, though I may go through and added it just to the products that are in the main Buyer’s Guide when I have time.

  17. abhi_jollyguy on

    WOW, they have got an amazing rating 🙂 Kudos to you once again.

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