The Virtue of Versatility – A Review of the FLC8s

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My reference player is the Opus#2, and this happens to be a wonderful choice for FLC8s. With its neutral-warm tuning and strong dynamics, it adds an uncolored, bold flavor to these IEMs. Opus renders weighty notes, and a robust, yet refined production. This helps to put some meat on the bones of those thinner FLC mids. Last but not least, Opus’ truly expansive soundstage pushes the 8s to its full potential.

Cayin’s very, very, VERY soon to be released N5II is also neutral-warm, but with a little extra treble energy. It’s a whole hell of a of lot like the Opus#2, but just a small step down in quality, and much less expensive. It pushes the clarity and smoothness of the 8s. The treble seems to take on more air. The bass grows in liquidity, but loses a touch of that visceral impact. Vocals render a crystalline image that is not as natural to my ears. Still, this pairing is awesome and oh so enjoyable.

For the very best in budget range, the Shanling M3s is a delightful choice for the FLC8s. It has a killer low-end, vital, transparent mids, and superb treble presence. It renders at a higher resolution than any of the other budget DAPs I’ve tested, which helps to showcase the 8s’ special talents in that arena. Shanling’s relaxed presentation nudges the 8s a little further down that path, reducing the overall dynamics. It’s a player that performs beyond its price, and brings out the best in some of my more shockingly expensive IEMs. The FLC8s gets everything it needs, and then some.

Alright. There you have it. FLC Technology created a fiendishly good IEM with their FLC8s. Now I understand where all that hype came from. These perform well outside their expected range. The 8s is comfortable, light, easy to use (except some of those filters are a right pain to replace. Be careful!), and did I mention, sounds incredible? The fact is, at this price, I’ve never heard anything better. The FLC8s is an unequivocal recommendation.

-~::Pinky_Powers::~-

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About Author

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.

13 Comments

  1. infinitum4 on

    I bought the FLC8S too and I really like it. My configuration is Red – Grey – Gold, and I really like it!

    Now I’m looking for a bluetooth IEM for use on commute / workout, that has a similar sound signature as these, do you have any recommendations on what to buy?

  2. Lord Sinister on

    Thanks Pinky.

    Waiting for delivery of Kaiser K10U. Might try for a TOTAL CIEM later 2018 but haven’t decided yet. Primarily listen to EDM – mostly some variation of techno, trance, goa/pys, drum & bass and dubstep.

  3. Lord Sinister on

    Very nice Pinky! Thanks. I bought the original FLC8 few years back based on |joker| review and really like it. Been tempted to buy a better cable to get a slighly more refined or improved sound but kept holding back. Glad to see the Dunu comparison as it gives me a really good idea how well the 3001 is.

    Might be different signature type but could you please compare FLC8S to Andromeda and Rhapsodio Solar? Curious how different or far up the ladder these 2 are from FLC. I should be getting the Kaiser K10 in few weeks…

    Many thanks!

    • Pinky Powers on

      I’m sorry, but I’ve yet to try Andromeda.

      Solar, I sold a few months back, so this will be based on memory:

      Solar is more detailed, with better note weight. Soundstage is about the same, but vocals are smaller and further back. Bass bight be even bigger on Solar, but don’t hold me to that. They are close.

      Solar is a reasonable upgrade. I would imagine Andromeda is, too, from what I’ve read about it.

      Are you getting the K10, or Encore?

    • dc655321 on

      Having just spent a couple of weeks with the Andromeda and having used the FLC8S for the last couple of years, I can take a stab at that comparison.

      In short, if you like the FLC8S in its warmer configurations, you will like the Andromeda.

      As to “how different or far up the ladder” is Andromeda, my opinion is not that incredibly far. If you use the red sub-bass, black bass, and green filter filters then, at lower volumes, you’ll get a sense of the Andromeda’s signature: warm with good extension/sparkle on the top and full, deep bottom. But, the Andromeda also is smoother up top than the FLC in this config, and is fuller in the mids (less v-shaped, more mid-forward). IMO, the Andro gives up some sub-bass extension and power to the FLC as well. OTOH, the Andro’s resolution and wall-to-wall vividness are quite a bit ahead of the FLC.

      Both great earphones for their prices. Beware that the Andro will get substantially leaner sounding out of sources with only a few Ohms output impedance. The difference between 0.5 Ohms and 4 Ohms is easily apparent (and not for me: I likes the junk in the trunk).

      • Pinky Powers on

        Great information! Thanks for sharing.

      • dc655321 on

        Addendum:

        Re-experimenting has me thinking that the red and black bass filters with _no nozzle_ filter is even closer to Andromeda-ish sound. Sounds odd, I know, but try it out…

        • Lord Sinister on

          Will definitely try today. Thanks.

      • Lord Sinister on

        Awesome! Thank you!

        Regrettably, I haven’t plunged into the DAP/DAC world yet and mainly use a Galaxy S7e or iPhone as the source with 320k & flac files but have been extremely tempted to get either a iBasso DX200, Shanling M3s, OPUS#1/2 or HiBy Music R6. Think I’ll join the campain for the R6 which should handle all I have so far nicely including FLC8. Though Pinky’s take on the Opus & M3s is pulling me in that direction too.

        • Pinky Powers on

          At this point, I HIGHLY recommend the new Cayin N5II. Fabulous device. Incredible sound.

        • dc655321 on

          At 10 Ohms output impedance, the R6 would be a no-go for me with something like Andromeda. That would give something like a -10 dB drop in sub-bass and bass, resulting in a lean, bright sound.

          10 Ohm OI seems like a mistake to have in a high-end (ish) DAP if IEMs are a target. That would not do any favors for just about any iem with balanced armatures.

          Still… very cool device!

          • Lord Sinister on

            Hmmm…..I’m glad I mentioned it. Thank you both!

            I’ve added the N5II high on my list! …..might even add to my xmas list.

            • dc655321 on

              Yes, the Cayin N5II ticks all the right boxes for me. Thanks for the tip, Pinky Powers!

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