FLC Technology FLC8 Review

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FLC Technology FLC8
Brief: Variable-tuning triple-driver hybrid IEM with a massive 36 possible sound settings

MSRP: approx. $350
Current Price: $350 from lendmeurears.com$350 from amazon.com
Specs: Driver: Hybrid, dual BA + dynamic | Imp: 11Ω | Sens: 93 dB | Freq: 20-20k Hz | Cable: 3.9′ L-plug
Nozzle Size: 5.5mm | Preferred tips: Stock single-flanges; MEElec M6 single-flanges; Comply T400
Wear Style: Over-the-ear

Accessories (5/5) – Single-flange silicone tips (3 sizes), treble/midrange tuning nozzles (4 pairs), bass tuning ports (3 pairs + spares), sub-bass tuning ports (3 pairs + spares), keychain container for tuning parts, tweezers, over-the-ear cable guides (pair), cleaning tool, airplane adapter, 6.3mm adapter, and nice semi-hard carrying case
Build Quality (4/5) – The angular plastic housings of the FLC8 are well-made and surprisingly small considering the 3-way hybrid driver configuration. What really sets it apart from other high-end earphones, however, is the tuning system. The housings boast prominent front and rear ports, each with its own set of interchangeable plugs, as well as interchangeable nozzles. A word of caution – be careful when working on the earphones for fear of losing and/or damaging the small parts. Changing sound settings is not something I’d recommend doing on the go.

The cables are detachable, with 2-pin sockets that are slightly recessed on the cable end. Oddly, the included cable is a little on the short side, especially considering the over-the-ear fit. The 1.3m length listed in the product specifications is optimistic by about 10cm.
Isolation (3.5/5) – Good, though mild audio leakage through the vents can occur at high volumes
Microphonics (4.5/5) – Very low
Comfort (4/5) – In the standard over-ear configuration, the FLC8 is very lightweight and comfortable. Next to conventional ergonomic in-ears, like those manufactured by Shure and Westone, its nozzles are slightly unusual – wide and not angled relative to the earpieces. While maybe not perfect for those with narrow ear canals, this, together with the memory wire-less cables, allows the FLC8 to be worn cable-down as well as cable-up in some ears. The stock eartips of the FLC8 also have an unusual design and only come in three sizes but work well, perhaps reducing bass a touch compared to more conventional tips.

Sound (9.4/10) – The tuning system of the FLC8 is far more complex than any other I’ve come across, utilizing three different types of adjustment. There are four interchangeable nozzles, which control the mids and treble, three sets of plugs for the front tuning ports, which control the sub-bass, and three sets of plugs for the rear ports, which control the bass.

Altogether, this allows for 36 different sound signatures – a massive number compared to the three that you commonly get with other variable-tuning earphones such as the AKG K3003 and RHA T10i. To put it another way, if I were to A:B all of the possible sound configurations of the FLC8 against one another, I would have to perform over 600 comparisons.

I’ve summarized how each of the FLC8’s parts is designed to affect sound in Table 1 below. As always, the tuning parts work by restricting flow through the respective aperture of the earphones. They range from open ports, to various filters, to completely plugged vents. I attempted to determine the hardware setup of each part and included that information as well.

Table 1: Effects of FLC8 tuning parts

Type Color Sub-bass level Bass level Midrange level Treble level
Front Port (sub-bass adjustment) Red (sealed port) High
Gray (filtered port) Med
Clear (open port) Low
Rear Port (bass adjustment) Black (open port) High
Gray (thin filter) Med
Clear (thick filter) Low
Nozzle Filter (midrange and treble adjustment) Gold (thin filter) High Med
Green (no filter) Med High
Dark gray (thin filter) Med Med
Blue (thick filter) Med Low

 

Subjectively, the sound tuning filters do perform as promised for the most part. In some cases the differences are immediately audible and in others – quite subtle.

The manufacturer includes five sets of recommended combinations for the tuning parts, by music genre. These are listed in Table 2. I’ve also added my own preferred setting, which is identical to the “balance” setting save for the heavier sub-bass port.

Table 2: FLC Technology’s recommended sound setups, plus my preferred modification of the default tuning

Recommended configuration Front Port (sub-bass) Rear Port (bass) Nozzle Filter (midrange and treble)
Balance (default) Gray (sub-bass=med) Gray (bass=med) Dark gray (mids=med; treble=med)
Pop/rap Gray (sub-bass=med) Black (bass=high) Dark gray (mids=med; treble=med)
Vocal Clear (sub-bass=low) Clear (bass=low) Gold (mids=high; treble=med)
Light music Clear (sub-bass=low) Clear (bass=low) Dark gray (mids=med; treble=med)
Strings/Piano Clear (sub-bass=low) Clear (bass=low) Green (mids=med; treble=high)
My preferred Red (sub-bass=high) Gray (bass=med) Dark gray (mids=med; treble=med)

 

All of the manufacturer-recommended tunings can be grouped into two categories – those with flat/light bass (vocal, light music, and strings), which differ in the relative balance of mids and treble, and those with the FLC’s equivalent of flat mids/treble, which differ in the amount of bass (balance and pop/rap). My own preferred tuning falls in this second grouping as well.

In my view, then, the FLC8 is best viewed not as an earphone with 36 discrete sound signatures, but one with two or three base configurations that may then be subtly adjusted to one’s liking.

I spent some time trying to ascertain the exact effects of each set of tuning ports. I thought the light bass tunings – the clear sub-bass and bass ports – lacked a little in the way of depth and punch for my liking. The gray medium sub-bass port and the red high sub-bass port, on the other hand, provided plenty of depth and only differed from each other minutely. I ended up preferring the red front sub-bass port – the high setting.

The effect of the rear bass tuning port was more apparent. With the gray medium bass ports, the bass has very nice punch. FLC Technology utilizes the gray ports in their default “balance” tuning, but realistically the impact is greater than with a reference-flat earphone. The clear low bass port is closer in bass quantity to a flat unit such as an Etymotic ER4 or the VSonic VC1000, but I found this setting to also impact the treble curve of the earphones with my preferred midrange/treble ports, moving some of the treble peaks closer to the “sibilance” range. Since the extra bass impact of the gray bass ports doesn’t take away from the overall clarity and resolution, I find that setting to be preferable.

The black high bass port increases the impact even further, to the level of enhanced-bass dynamic-driver earphones like the Shure SE215 and Sony MH1C, albeit with better bass quality. While this doesn’t do bass control any favors, high-end earphones with enhanced bass are few and far between, so it is a welcome option. However, I thought the black bass ports, like the clear ones, caused the highs to sound less smooth and refined compared to the gray medium bass filters.

The relative levels of the mids and treble are controlled by the nozzle filters, of which there are four sets. The dark gray filters, which FLC Technology uses in their neutral setting, ended up being my favorites as the smoothest and most pleasant all around. These are said to offer medium midrange and medium treble levels.

The green high treble filters were too bright for my liking and made the earphones more harsh and sibilance-prone. The gold high midrange/medium treble filters perform as expected, raising the midrange and upper midrange. This setting is still brighter than the gray filters I preferred, though fans of a forward midrange may very much enjoy it. The last set of filters, the blue medium-mids/low-treble, were the least impressive to me, lacking a little in the way of clarity compared to the stock gray filters with no discernible gains elsewhere.

Keep in mind that the filters are only independent to an extent – making changes to one outlet can affect airflow through others. Therefore, swapping from one filter to another may have slightly different effects depending on the settings of the other ports.

 

After testing all of the filters, I used the neutral configuration of the FLC8 in most of my listening and A:B comparisons, except where it was an especially poor signature match.

In this configuration, the FLC8 has powerful bass that hits harder compared to most balanced-armature in-ear monitors, even relatively bass-heavy ones such as the EarSonics SM64. The SM64 has a noticeably less rich and impactful – though also marginally more controlled – low end. Same goes for relatively balanced-sounding dynamic-driver sets, such as the Philips Fidelio S2 and VSonic GR07 Bass Edition. The bass quantity reminds me of another hybrid earphone, the Fidue A83, and falls short of truly bass-heavy sets such as the Sennheiser IE 800 and JVC HA-FX700. Bass extension is very good and bass quality is superb for the quantity.

Equally impressive is the clarity of the FLC8 – the mids, while not at all forward in the stock configuration, can’t be called recessed either and are impressively close in clarity to high-end analytical earphones like the Brainwavz B2 and VSonic VC1000. The FLC8 is noticeably clearer than the very capable TDK BA200, EarSonics SM64, and Philips Fidelio S2. There is no upper midrange dip as there is, for instance, on the SM64 and Fidue A83, which allows the FLC unit better crispness and overall resolution, as well as superior vocal intelligibility.

Moving on up into the treble, the FLC8 strikes a fine balance of presence and smoothness. Even in the stock configuration it’s not a very forgiving earphone and can probably be classified as “slightly bright” on the whole. At higher volumes it gets harsher, as is usually the case with this type of sound sig, but still fares better than the excellent DUNU DN-2000, for instance. As expected, darker-sounding earphones like the TDK BA200 and EarSonics SM64 are smoother and more forgiving, but lack the sparkle and energy of the FLC8.  Its strong treble presence and excellent end-to-end extension also give the FLC8 some advantage in dynamics in soundstaging, beating the TDK BA200, SM64, and Fidelio S2 in width and, with the exception of the SM64, depth and dynamics, by a margin.

Interestingly, I also found the sensitivity higher than implied by the earphone’s specifications – despite the 93dB/mW stated figure, the FLC8 actually exhibited above-average efficiency in my testing.

 

Select Comparisons

Note: unless otherwise noted, the neutral configuration of the FLC8 was used for comparisons

VSonic GR07 Classic ($99)

VSonic’s mid-range heavyweight generally competes well with pricier earphones, but the FLC8 is out of its reach. The bass of the FLC8, even in its “neutral” configuration, is deeper and more powerful, but the GR07 still impresses with its bass quality, matching if not beating the FLC8 in control and the overall realism of its bass presentation.

The biggest advantage the FLC8 has over the GR07 is its midrange. There, the FLC8 is more natural, with a more crisp, resolving sound and vocals that are more upfront and realistic. The slight midrange recession of the GR07 causes the mids of the VSonic unit to sound less clear, less detailed, and significantly more laid-back, even distant, compared to the FLC8.

The FLC8 is a touch brighter overall. It can be more revealing, but still sounds more natural than the GR07, thanks in part to the more level midrange and to the GR07’s greater sibilance. Also worth noting is the higher efficiency of the FLC unit.

DUNU DN-2000 ($280)

The DN-2000 is perhaps the closest overall match for the FLC8 in my IEM collection. Like the FLC8, it is a triple-driver hybrid earphone with a sound signature slightly on the v-shaped side of neutral. Both earphones have similar strengths, including bass punch, clarity, and soundstaging. The differences between them are subtle, but add up.

The DUNU boasts a little more of both bass impact and depth, for instance. Modifying the configuration of the FLC8 from “neutral” by moving to the high sub-bass port helps in this regard, but the DN-2000 still maintains slightly better depth. On the whole, the FLC8 sounds a little warmer than the DN-2000, thanks largely to its less bright treble presentation. Its bass still provides plenty of impact when called for but on average is a little more subtle and less intrusive compared to the DUNU unit.

The FLC8 has an overall less v-shaped sound signature with a little more midrange presence. Combined with its marginally larger and more dynamic presentation, this makes for a slightly more natural sound. Up top, too, the DN-2000 is slightly brighter and more metallic-sounding, though both earphones tend to be rather revealing. In fact, depending on track I sometimes found the treble curve of the FLC8 to be more bothersome in terms of harshness and/or sibilance, and other times the DN-2000 was the bigger culprit.

InEar StageDiver SD-2 ($450)

The SD-2 is a warmer, more mid-centric sort of earphone than the FLC8, but it is one of the most capable such sets I’ve tried and makes for an interesting comparison with the “neutral” configuration of the FLC8. First, the FLC8 is a bassier earphone all around – depth, impact, rumble, and so on. The bass of the SD-2 is slightly tighter, but that is as expected due to the bass quantity difference. Taking the FLC8 into its low-bass configuration creates more parity between the two in bass quantity and quality, but makes the already-brighter FLC unit even brighter – a poorer signature match on the whole.

The FLC8 is clearer than the SD-2, due in part to its stronger treble, while the more level SD-2 appears mid-centric thanks to its lower bass quantity and duller highs. One advantage the SD-2 does have is smoother and more forgiving treble, which is something the FLC8 can’t match in any configuration. The presentation of the SD-2 is competent, but a mid-centric sound is never an asset when it comes to dynamics. On the whole, I found the FLC8 to sound more convincing more of the time thanks to a combination of better soundstaging and dynamics, clarity, and bass punch.

Westone W40 ($500)

The W40 is a quad-armature monster with a bit of bass enhancement and a warmer, darker sound signature. In its “neutral” configuration, I did indeed find the FLC8 to be more neutral than the W40 thanks to its brighter sound and broader frequency response. The bass of the FLC8 is not too different the W40 in overall power, but appears deeper thanks to a greater sub-bass focus and a less audible mid-bass hump.

The FLC8 is clearer through the midrange, but up top it sounds more harsh and sibilance-prone than the smoother, darker Westone unit. The FLC8 also has a wider and more “broad” presentation, as v-shaped earphones tend to do when compared to warmer or more midrange-focused ones.

I also switched the FLC8 to its bassier “pop/rap” configuration, but it didn’t make much of difference in this comparison. In this setting, the bass of the FLC8 was clearly more powerful than that of the W40 and the bass quality was more equal between the two. Despite this, the remainder of the comparison above still held true with the FLC8 remaining the brighter, clearer, and “wider” of the two earphones. Also, the FLC8 is more efficient than the quad-driver W40 in any configuration.

Audiofly AF180 ($550)

The signature of the AF180 is an interesting one, with some traits from smoother and more mid-focused sets such as the StageDiver SD-2 and TDK BA200, and others from brighter, more analytical earphones. Audiofly’s flagship IEM turned out to be a stronger competitor for the FLC8 than its counterparts from Westone and InEar, the W40 and SD-2/SD-3.

Once again, the FLC8 is the more efficient earphone. Its sound signature is more v-shaped, with deeper, more enhanced bass and brighter, more sparkly highs. This brighter tone is most noticeable with vocals. The FLC8 is a bit clearer as well, though also more prone to sibilance thanks to its extra treble energy. Where the AF180 shines is in providing a very flat and neutral midrange. Though vocals are a little more dull compared to the brighter FLC8, they end up sounding more prominent, full-bodied, and natural on the whole.

Value (9/10) – Despite the ever-increasing number of IEM offerings on the market in 2015, it’s rare to come across an earphone as unique as the FLC Technology FLC8. The main draw is the flexible 36-setting sound tuning system, though I found it best viewed as two or three “base” sound signatures that can each be altered slightly to one’s liking.

TheHeadphoneList Recommended Badge 2015Not all of the possible tunings are brilliant and swapping out the ports is an exercise in patience and finesse even with the included tweezers and spare parts, but it’s pretty easy to alter the sound once you get the hang of it. Those who get tired of listening to the same sound signature – or aren’t yet sure of exactly what sort of sound they want – are certain to find extra value here.

It’s not just the tuning system that makes the earphone special, however – even if limited to the default tuning, the FLC8 would be a superb-sounding set with one of the lightest and most comfortable form factors among hybrid IEMs, and that already makes it worthy of a strong recommendation.

Pros: top-tier audio performance; functional sound tuning system allows for more adjustment than other variable-tuning IEMs; very lightweight and comfortable for a 3-driver hybrid
Cons: small, easy-to-lose/damage parts mean this is an earphone solely for enthusiasts

 

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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.

221 Comments

  1. Hey Joker,

    I have been debating on trading in my ER4PTs for the FLC8S and was hoping to get your opinion on it. I am looking for a highly detailed neutral-ish sound with controlled treble and a good soundstage with instrument seperation. While the ER4PTs are great on most of the above, i feel that the soundstage on them is really lacking and i cant wear them for extended periods because of the design (my ears really start to hurt). I remember testing the UM30Pro once and i found the soundstage in them to be really good with a clear direction of the incoming sound but they were too dark for me. How would you rate the soundstage in the FLC8S compared to the Etys and the detail reproduction as well?

    Thanks for the great reviews btw!

    • In terms of your sound requirements, the FLC8 is really only an upgrade in soundstage – in every other way it’s at best on-par with the ER4PT – detail, separation, clarity, etc – but of course not as neutral.

      If you’re also interested in the additional bass impact of the FLC8, it’ll be hard to do better. However, if you don’t need the bass capability of the hybrid driver and are not looking for a v-shaped sound, it may not be the best fit.

      You can find other ergonomic IEMs that are more neutral than the FLC8S, have a good soundstage, and don’t sound dark like the UM30Pro – the UE900, for example. The UEs have a bit of an upper midrange dip, but otherwise are more balanced than the FLC8 by a margin and also have a good soundstage.

  2. Ceyer Wakilpoor on

    I apologize for the recent influx of comments, but would you say that this can be altered into a competitive smooth sounding iem? As in, if it is tuned to be smoother would it take a large hit on its sound rating (for the sake of keeping it measurable).

    • Honestly, I don’t think the FLC8 is the one to get if you plan to try and get it to compete with the smooth-sounding IEMs in its price range. There’s plenty of those already, and FLC8 is just not the best tool for the job.

  3. Hi ljokerl,

    Actually i can’t still decide which headphone of my list should i buy. The price of all of them is ok
    Of course I would best performance for budget.
    Currently I have the Shure se 425 but because of because of lack of bass i don’t want this headphone anymore!
    I like a clear sound with normal to strong Bass.
    Source: iPhone 6s and iBasso DX50
    My Buy-List collection (price in Germany):
    – Sennheiser IE 800 (599 Euro)
    – Dunu dn-2002 (350 Eu)
    – Ultrasone IQ (499 Eu)
    – FLC8 (360 EU)
    I read your reviews for all of them but can you please compare them a bit more in details?
    Please let me know your last decide.
    Thanks

    • You’ve asked me a very similar question on a different page, I don’t think it’s very respectful of my time and effort to disregard the discussion there and ask it again here in a slightly different format. All of the sets you’re looking at have a lot more bass than the SE425, and all have a relatively clear sound for the amount of bass they have – that’s what makes them all top tier earphones – so they all fit your basic requirements. Beyond that, please read the reviews for more details. There is never a perfect choice, all headphones have their pros and cons, but if you know exactly what you want there should be enough info to push your decision one way or the other.

  4. great site, as always…wish you’d do a review on the newly released trinity audio delta v2, with filters.
    and compare it to the flc 8s.

      • that would be a great ‘slam down’ column: battle of the tuneable iems.
        esp with the new trinity phantoms coming out shortly, too.

      • well, I tried the trinity delta v2…gold and purple damped, and gray filters…didn’t do it for me the way the sony 7550 can..so off they go to some happy person….but incoming in a week or so will be the flc 8s.

        • FLC8 and 7550 is quite a contrast. Very rare for someone to enjoy two IEMs with such different sound signatures equally, but at least the comparison will definitively tell you which side of the fence you’re on.

          • how so do they differ in your op, jokerl? i’m no seasoned critic like you so am still trying to ‘find my way’ per what sounds good (a retailer also suggested i try the cardas a8, one of his fav iems and he also carries the JH line)

            anyway, for now at least, as i’m still exploring iems and cans, i like balance, detail, resolution and good bass slam (like the 7550) , but for not the iem/cans to be overly boring or analytical. and i haven’t heard the flc so we’ll see…but just ‘had to try them’ due to the hype.
            i do like the vsonic gr07’s sound (but could be at times a bit sizzly to me ears, lacked a bit of warmth)

            • The 7550 is a warmish, smooth, perhaps even slightly mid-centric IEM. IMO it’s what the classic Shure SE530/SE535 would sound like it they used a dynamic driver driver instead of BAs. Very easy-going sound that’s well-suited for many types of listeners. Perhaps not quite bassy enough for the mainstream, but neutral enough for music professionals and a good sound sig for audiophiles as well.

              The FLC8 is more like the GR07, can still be relatively neutral but it’s never mid-forward and hard to call smooth as it has very energetic treble. The tuning system makes it a little harder to generalize, but I tend to think of it as mildly v-shaped. Don’t see anyone finding the bass excessive, but it could be a little bright for someone used to an SE530, for example. That’s just sound signature, from a technical standpoint the FLC8 is extremely capable in every way.

              • Thank you…so which side of the musical fence am I on? I guess we will find out. On this note i was reading Twisters recent review of The Campfire Andromeda and he said this is a rare iem that is able to combine both sides of the spectrum ..is it really that difficult to find such? I mean I love musical sounding cans and itms but also equally so detail, separation, balance and resolution.

                • Very difficult – the last one that made me feel that way was the EarSonics Velvet, which is ~$700 and not always readily available.

                  But it’s really not all that black and white. All earphones fall somewhere along the spectrum, it’s the “midpoint” that will differ from one listener to another.

                  Perhaps the MDR-7550 captures just enough of the “analytical” side of things for you, and anything beyond that will be too much, or perhaps you’ll have a tough time going back to it after hearing the level of resolution the FLC8 is capable of.

                  Or maybe the opposite is true and the 7550 is a little too much on the neutral side already. There certainly are people who prefer Sony’s ridiculously bass flagship (the Z5) to the 7550. Some probably even consider its sound more natural.

                  • Well my Sony 7550s are toast…enjoying the more details I’m picking up with the red, blk and dark gray nozzles…great bass slam too with this combo imo equalling the 7550s.

                    Have you reviewed the new fender fxa5 or fxa6 series…lots of good stuff for those too.

                    • From what I know Fender bought Aurisonics in order to manufacture those monitors… and I don’t get along too well with their musicians’ monitors (the Rockets are pretty much the only Aurisonics products I like). Maybe the Fenders are different though, won’t know until I get a chance to hear them.

  5. Hi Joker,

    Got these after reading your review and couldn’t be happier with the sound, fit and tuning options. Thanks so much for your thorough reviews.

    Couldn’t resist getting the upgraded FLC crystal cable and the improvement in clarity and tightness was indeed noticeable over the original FLC8 cable.

    If you get the opportunity, i’d recommend an addendum to your review using the new cable… this IEM could perhaps be a 9.5 or more and rival the current Universal champ TG334 at a considerably lower pricepoint.

    I know scores aren’t everything, but in a hobby where huge premiums are paid for sound quality, a company like FLC technology are leading the way in performance/value and for this are worthy of further recognition.

    • Will keep an eye out for a cable to try these with, but I think they’re already quite high up there considering how reasonably-priced they are 🙂

  6. Hi, I am currently searching for some end-game IEM

    So I came down to the Earsonics SM64/Velvet and FLC8s.

    Obviously all three have very different sound signatures, so I am deciding by that.

    Sadly I can’t try any of these before buying (and the FLCs include customs for me, living in Germany).

    So my question is what (reference) IEm(s) sound similar to the FLC 8s?

    For what IEM would you say the FLCs are a direct upgrade, so when i like these will probably like the FLCs too?

    I allready owned the Fidue A83 and had some treble harshness issues, but I also used a bad source/no dac.

    I am particullarly interested in the piercness of the treble and the bass quantity and general clarity and brightness of hem.

    Do any IEMs come to mind?

    PS: I am aware that the tuning system prohibits to break down the sound into one.
    So Iwould most likely prefer
    either
    SUB: Med/High , Bass:High , Mids:Med/High) Treble: Med/Low
    or the reference setting

    • Interesting question. Listeners who would like the FLC8 are those who enjoy any of the popular VSonic IEMs, as well as some of the more balanced-sounding hybrids such as the DUNU DN-2000 and AKG K3003. With that said, the FLC8 is not as suitable for someone who is sensitive to treble harshness as the EarSonics sets – it does tend to be pretty bright, and if you didn’t like the A83 you’d definitely be taking a risk here (again, as opposed to going with the Velvet or SM64). The FLC8 looks good on paper and unquestionably offers tons of value, but if it doesn’t deliver what you want, it’s not worth much, especially considering you’ll have to import it.

    • The EX1000 is a more balanced and neutral earphone overall. The FLC8 tends to be a bit more v-shaped. Bass is a little more enhanced and the highs are a bit more bright and sparkly. Signature/tuning aside, technical performance is about on par.

      • funny how this iem and the related ex800st (or 7550 over here) are still so popular despite being 4 or 5 yrs old…esp at a ‘used’ price you can pick them up for.

  7. Hi joker,
    And, I used to have the Fidue A83, which was nice, but had one big problem, that sometimes piercingingly high sounds appeared out of nowhere(like gigh bleebs, cymbls, etc.), which forced me so turn down the overall loudness to levels lower than I wanted to so that I could listen to them.
    I e.g. relly like the texture of the bass nd if i turened up the volume, the quantity was fine, but sometimes had to turn it down again, which interrupted my listening experience immensally.
    Can this maybe be fixed by the tuning system of the FLc8s?

    • I probably wouldn’t risk the FLC8 in this case – the A83 does have some treble peaks, which is why you’re hearing what you’re hearing, and the FLC8 *can* be tuned to be less peaky, but it’s still a relatively bright-sounding earphone in most of its configurations. Like the A83 it also doesn’t have very forward mids, so I’m not sure it’ll go far enough in remedying your A83 issues.

      A safe choice would be something smooth and maybe with a bit of enhanced bass – like a Westone UM 30 Pro or Sony XBA-H3 or Yamaha EPH-100 if you’re aiming for <$300. Or an EarSonics Velvet if you're feeling rich.

      • I own a pair of XBA-A3(kinda like the Z5), which I already quite like.
        But when compared to the Fidue A83 the sound can be muffled, a bit dull. The bass is boomy and intense, but not precise enough. Everything sounds like a good version of what I already knew, but nothing really surprises me about the sound. The songs did not change into a new version in which I discover new sounds or nuances of them, like wioth the Fidue. One thing I like is the impactfullness the sound can have, due to the bass, but at the same time the bass is to present in parts of the song where he does not belong and is missing some texture. Another thing that I like is that I can crank that baby up without any piercing sounds at all, unlike the with the Fidue, which consequently was to quiet and not impactfull enough (bass impact needs volume impact for me).
        So the FLC mybe won’t do the trick (allthough I am still thinking about buying one and filter/EQ to my like)
        I don’t think the mentioned IEMs are a big improvement over the XBA-A3, except for the Velvet maybe, which is quite expensive for 700€.
        Could the cheaper S64 be a match?

        Btw thanks for all the fascinating work you are doing here, without ressources like this I would have been really confused and bought the first best expensive thing from my electronics shop ( and thought of it as an end-game 😉 )

        • This is an interesting dilemma because the very things you don’t like about your A3 are part of what makes it possible to crank them up (unlike the A83) and reach the smoothness, volume, and bass impact you desire.

          The FLC8 is an upgrade from the A83, but mostly in ways that you seem to be already satisfied with like clarity and soundstaging. It is not an upgrade in bass impact and, while it is more refined, isn’t that much smoother through the treble so I personally wouldn’t want to crank it up too much. You probably will like it slightly better than the A83, but my gut feeling is that it won’t be end game for you. The Velvet would have a higher chance of being endgame, but it would be great to try it before even considering saving up for it.

          The SM64 could be a viable option but it doesn’t have the bass impact of the sets I was thinking of (Sonys, Velvet, Yamaha EPH-100, etc). Instead it has more controlled and accurate bass. It is very non-fatiguing, though, and does play well at higher volumes compared to the FLC8 and A83.

  8. Hi,
    I use a JVC fxt90 and i love listen to this iem but also want more resolution.
    I tried JVC fx850 and JVC fx200LTD but they didn’t had enought treble energy.
    Do you think the FLC8s could be an evolution of my fxt90 considering i like a kind of neutral/V-shape sound?

    • Not sure about the FX200LTD but the FX850 is definitely dark-sounding in comparison to the FLC8. You shouldn’t have any issues with treble energy.

      As for whether they’re an FXT90 evolution, only in the general sense of also being a v-shaped earphone, albeit one that’s flatter and more neutral than the FXT90. The FLC8 is very clear, has almost no mid-bass bloat, and has a pretty wide and airy presentation – all things I can’t say about the FXT90.

      • Thanks ljoker! i just received the FLC8s and they are awesome! I use this configuration:
        -subass=red
        -bass=black
        -medium/hight=gold
        Funny thing i tried the FLC8s tips on my FX850 and the sound of the JVC became clearer !
        Anyway, I still prefer the FLC8s.

  9. Hello,

    Can you please let me know if you prefer the Oriveti Primacy or FLC8S? What’s the difference between FLC8 and the FLC8S? Do you also recommend getting the Single-Crystal Pure Silver cable? Do you know where I can buy this cable?

    Thanks!

    Richard

    • The FLC8S was discussed a few comments down on this page. Don’t think the Oriveti sounds better than the FLC8 but I haven’t spent much time with it yet and they have different sound tuning (Oriveti tends to be warmer, FLC8 clearer and more crisp).

      No opinion on any aftermarket cables for the FLC8 but I’m not real big on upgrade cables in general.

  10. I recently tried the Fidue A83 and the Sennheiser Ie80s.
    The Fidue were very nicely detailed, nice precision and resolution. Vocals and treble instruments sounded very nice,
    but overall it was a bit too analytical, bright for me. Also I wasn’t able to listen on higher volumes as the treble was overemphasized for my taste.
    Listening to the ie80s back to back I immeditely felt more comfortable with them,, because of the less fatiguing warmer, bassier sound they provide, but they lack the surpising microdetail of the Fidue.

    Now I am searching for an IEM that has a nicely detailed everything with dreamy mids and clear non sibbilant highs. In addition a detailed, but hard hitting hitting base, that leaves the mids alone.
    Basically a less fatiguing Fidue with more base emphasis, to create a more engaging experience, as I found the sound pleasent, but not as engaging, immersive as I want to.

    Finally I came up with either the FLC8s or the XBA-A3.
    Which one would you recommend? Is the FLC8s recommended as a fun sounding IEM with engaging base or more like a lets lay back and listen to music kinda IEM, or both?

    • You probably won’t like the FLC8/S if you thought the A83 was too bright. It’s a pretty analytical earphone compared to something like an IE80 or Sony XBA-H3 (haven’t tried the A3 so the H3 and Z5 are all I can go on for Sony’s hybrids).

      What you’re looking for sounds like the best of both worlds of “warm and smooth” and “detailed and analytical” type earphones, which is a fine balance that’s extremely difficult to accomplish. The closest I’ve heard to this is the EarSonics Velvet (https://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/earsonics-velvet-in-ear-earphone-review/), but that costs an arm and a leg.

      Barring that option, I’d err on the side of smooth (IE80, Sony XBA-H3, Yamaha EPH-100) rather than risking something like the FLC8 – even if you do miss out on a bit of micro detail it’ll be easier to live with considering your sound sig preference.

      • Thanks for the fast reply. I was hoping that the FLC could be changed into a warmer, smoother IEM with heavier base, when playing around with the customization, while keeping the microdetail, soundstage, precision, sepertion of the analytical side of it. That would make it A Reference class IEM with basshead capabilities, but I guess that would be to good to be true. As my music taste is EDM flavored, but also rock, chillout, hip hop, I could use both worlds.

        I think I will go with the A3. Considering that the A3 sounds similar to the Z5.
        Do you have any further recommendations sub 400 € forIEMs that strike that fine balance?
        (Or maybe sub 600€ so I can buy a used IEM)

        Thamks for alll the reviews you do. They helped me a lot.

    • The gold tuning bore is different and the cable is also different. People say that FLC8s is slightly brighter, not too much difference.

    • Thanks for the detailed review, Im very tempted to purchase this but Just have a few questions.
      I previously had a UE TF10 for about 5 years and I’m looking for an upgrade now.
      My budget is around $400 so this seems perfect, but seeing that you rated the isolation to be 3.5/5 worries me a bit.
      I want something that can block outside noise pretty well, as I will be using this in public settings and want to be able to enjoy my music without background noise.
      Would you still recommend this? or should I find a CIEM in this price range?
      Music genres I listen to the most are metalcore, rock, pop some rap.
      Stuff like Asking Alexandria, Parkway Drive, Miss May I and Bring me the Horizon.
      Good Sound stage and instrument separation (guitar, drum clarity) is my priority.
      Thanks.

      • 3.5 isolation for me is definitely acceptable for public transport and other outside use. Maybe if you’re using them for a lot of subway or plane travel that would be a concern but for other applications they’ll serve you nearly as well as the TF10s. Sound-wise they are an excellent choice coming from the TF10s. If you’re looking at CIEMs that will do the same you’ll be shelling out upwards of $500.

        • Thanks for the reply. I’ve been doing a lot of researches since.
          Have you tried the Alclair Reference?
          I’m debating to get it, was wondering if u have any insight.

            • Ah how did I miss the review, after reading your review and joes.
              I understand that this earphone is supposed to be more neutral and although there isn’t tons of bass emphasis its more detailed and controlled.
              That might be what I’m looking for since I find that TF10’s bass to be a little muddy at times.
              I’m coming really close to pulling the trigger soon, this ciem seems like the best at the $400 price point.
              Do you have any other ones in this price range to recommend me checking out?

              Thanks.

              • There’s not really anything that competes with the Reference directly in the sub-$500 CIEM space that I’ve tried. It’s the closest to what you’re after out of the inexpensive CIEMs, just not sure it’s closer than the FLC8/S. Coming from the not-very-neutral TF10 the Reference may sound a bit too flat and harsh, but then again it sounds like you’re not opposed to a change in that direction so perhaps it is the correct choice.

  11. Hey Joker! Thanks for the review. I just bought my pair of flc8 after reading your review here and it was the best decision I made. It is one of the most transparent detailed iem(advantage of BA based iem) like my earsonics I owned and smoothness/cohesiveness of sound(advantage of DD based iems) like my hifiman’s. I found my liking in the triple gray configuration. This may not be the most flat-reference-like iem but it is really awesomely detailed. The sound tuning is a bonus to me though I didn’t really spend alot of time playing around with the filters because they are too fragile and easily misplaced, this is an iem that I would definitely keep and sell my others! This may possibly my endgame!

    • Awesome, that’s great to hear – I’m so glad you’re enjoying them! Totally agree about the detail and the fact that this could easily be an end-game for some.

      Happy listening!

  12. Hi Joker! I’m torn between purchasing either the dunu dn-2000j or Flc8s. I can get a good deal price wise on the dn-2000j, but I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to save up some money to purchase the flc8s in the long run as I read from your review and others that it is slightly better.

    I’m in no rush in purchasing, just like to get your opinion. This is coming from using a Sony MDR-XB90EX that I thoroughly enjoyed on a everyday basis, but sadly got damaged. So I’m looking to upgrade and purchase a hybrid IEM that is enjoyable to listen with good clarity and soundstage.

    Thanks!

    • Depends on what the price difference is, I suppose – if you’re saving $100+ by going with the DN-2000J and feel like its sound tuning is exactly what you’re looking for, it’s tough to justify the FLC8. They will be much more similar to each other than to the XB90EX.

      I wouldn’t put much weight on the FLC8 being objectively better for the simple reason that you’re coming from something that sounds very different, so you’ll be getting a totally different audio experience either way. However, if you aren’t sure the sound of the DN-2000J is what you want, or just want more flexibility to the sound tuning, I’d save up the extra cash for the FLC.

  13. Found the flc8s on Amazon I dont know what the difference are between the s and non S. But which setup for the color you recommend for pop/edm for the best vocal

    • I would go with my preferred configuration listed above but the beauty of the FLC8 is that you can just spend a few hours playing around with it and find the mode that works best for you and what you’re listening to.

  14. hi joker, im upgrading from the eph100 and im considering the FLC8, W40, dunu 2000, and IE80. im looking for about the same bass response as the eph100 with more clairty and detail in the mids and more treble quantity. how would you compare these 3 choices? also, do you think there will be a significant difference in clarity and detail in these 4 compared to the eph100? thanks!

    • It’ll be hard to find something with as much bass impact as the EPH-100 but better clarity. Usually these things to against one another. The DN-2000 and FLC8 will give you better clarity for sure but even the FLC8 in its enhanced-bass configuration won’t have the same impact as the EPH-100.

      The W40 gives you neither the same bass nor better clarity.

      The IE80 will be the closest in bass quantity but I don’t think it gives you more treble quantity or clarity, so it’s not much of an upgrade.

      • that makes sense from what ive read. im thinking about getting the flc8. how would you compare the EPH-100 and FLC8? im not an audiophile so im just looking to get the right sound signature vs small details in the sound. i listen to EDM, hip hop, and r&b/soul so i like the bass to be more than neutral but not overpower or veil the mids and highs. im thinking even if the bass response on the FLC8 is less i could eq the lows up a bit.
        also, do you think there will there be a significant improvement in this upgrade? thanks for your help!

        • The FLC8 is an improvement in most ways – better clarity and resolution, wider soundstage, more treble energy. The areas where it’s not necessarily an improvement are things that come down to personal preference anyway, like its lower bass quantity/boost, brighter tone, etc.

  15. Hi Joker,

    Thanks for the great site!
    Have you heard of LZ A2? It is a 2BA-1 dynamic hybrid as well. How does it compare to the FLC8?

    • Hi ljokerl, I also second the comment on the LZ A2 IEMs, very curious how they come out in your list. I bought a pair, and was astonished how good they sound for the $100 price.

      On a similar topic, what do you think about these hybrid IEMs in general? The concept came out about 5-6 years ago and really hasn’t got a whole lot of praise, but now I see the DUNU 2000 and the FLC8 score really well on your list at relatively low costs compared to the multiple BA or custom fit IEMs. They’ll never get great in isolation because of the venting for the dynamic drivers, but otherwise I’m seeing great sound for low prices.

      • It wasn’t until the AKG K3003 that hybrids started to become mainstream, but I reviewed those when they first came out (I believe they were the first 3-way hybrid as well) and liked them very much. You can read that review here: https://theheadphonelist.com/headphone_review/akg-k3003-k3003i/ .

        I think hybrids have the potential to sound very good when tuned well, but so do BA (single or multiple) and pure dynamic-driver (again, single or multiple) units. There’s not much I can assume about an earphone just from knowing the driver setup.

  16. joker…say you found a stellar off the shelf iem…would you ever consider it a good idea to spend another 100 or so and get custom moulded ear impressions (as you would for truly custom $$$ iems) …or just keep experimenting til you find a decent seal? …or are there any after market products you can suggest as helping to create a better seal? i find one of my ears shaped different from the other, and always have a helluva time with a good seal.

    • Probably wouldn’t try to custom mold a random universal earphone because I wouldn’t be sure if the effect on performance would be a positive improvement, nothing at all, or worse. That said, I’ve never had too much trouble finding tips that seal – my answer would probably be very different if I had consistent problems with fit in one ear. But I’d still try to exhaust all universal options first – foam, different types of silicone (soft, firm, shallow, deep, etc), and maybe even those new spinfit eartips,

      • many thanks for the spintips lead…hadn’t heard of them before.

        one thing on the much touted FLC…while i do like the ability to mod one’s music,
        having all those filters to fuss with is a bit of a turn off esp when i’m often listening to different artists and genres at one sitting… instead i prefer the simpler approach: the 1-3 filters that you get with rha or shure, or the ability to tune the bass up/down as you can on one of the earsonics or senn ie 80 models…just keep it simple, imo.

          • I think the FLC8 system requires a different approach. You won’t want to try every combination (like you’d do with a T20 or SE846) but rather figure out a starting point and then adjust from there.

  17. Hi Jjokerl, I followed your advice and got myself a pair of FLC 8. Love it since day 1. It sounded like the best qualities of the Gr07 and Re 400 all rolled into one package then being refined and doped. It sounded good out of my iphone but do you think that it would benefit from a dap ? I was thinking the X5

    • Glad you’re enjoying your FLC8!

      For me an X5 wouldn’t be worth the investment (and loss in user-friendliness) coming from an iPhone because the FLC8 just isn’t that hard to drive, but this answer will be different depending on who you ask. Many are happy to invest hundreds into their audio setup for minute improvements, while I prefer to have my portable setup light and user-friendly.

  18. Hey Joker, thanks for the review. I’m looking to purchase a new pair of earphones and I’ve been trying to decide between the FLC 8S and Music One (by CustomArt). I mainly listen to rock/jazz and some classic and I was hoping you could help me decide. Cheers!

    • If you are certain in your sound preference and are after something that sounds quite flat, with the highs just a bit smoothed-out, go for the Custom One. It’s a rather straightforward earphone in terms of sound tuning, and one that’s quite hard to hate. You also can’t really beat the custom form factor for comfort and isolation.

      If you’re not 100% dialed in to your preferred sound, like brighter treble or enhanced bass, prefer excitement over accuracy, and so on, I think the FLC8 is the safer, more flexible choice. You can spend some time dialing the sound in to match your personal preference and could even make some on-the-fly changes based on what you’re listening to (although I doubt you’ll be doing that). It is generally not as accurate as the Custom Art but can sound quite a bit more colored and “fun”. It’s also resell-able if you decide to get something or just wish to upgrade later.

  19. Sorry for being late to the conversation. How much trouble is it changing the plugs and nozzles? I enjoy a large range of music, but mostly acoustic jazz, so I’m wondering if I got these headphones if I would want to change the sound signature to match my musical mood or just find a decent compromise and leave it.

    I hope you get a chance to review Torque t096z and/or t103z; I would be interested in a comparison.

    Thanks…Juan

    • It’s pretty easy so long as you have steady hands and don’t lose any of the parts. Definitely possible to change the sound sig back to match your mood, but after a while I’d guess you’ll settle on one or two tunings that you like and won’t want to run through the rest.

      • I tested your recommended setup but it felt pretty sibilant… I switched to the gold one and improved but the sound it’s pretty harsh in the treble for me… I notice it more than with my DUNU dn 2000… I’ll give it some time to settle

  20. Hey ljokerl – great site! Looking to get into first pair of high-end IEMs and interested in how the FLC8 compare to SM64 and Velvets. Velvets are intriguing but I wonder if there is significant difference in sound quality for the price differential. Thanks

    • Not necessarily in sound quality, but the difference in tuning/sound signature is sizable, and that’s really what should inform your decision. The SM64 and especially the Velvet are warm-sounding earphones with smooth treble. If you want this type of sound then the FLC8 is not a good way to go. On the other hand if you want brighter, more “v-shaped” sound (with some possibility of adjustment), the FLC8 is a much better option than the EarSonics.

          • Thanks – that helps. One last question. I know you have had an opportunity to listen to AF180 – is it’s signature similar to either SM64 or FLC8 or is it a totally different beast?

          • Just wanted to send an update on my search. I ended up auditioning several mid-range units including FLC8s, Audiofly AF180, Shure SE535, Grado GR10e, DUNU DN2000J, and Final Audio Heaven VI. My sound preference is relatively flat/balanced with good mid-range and vocals. Long story short, I ended up keeping FLC8s. GR10 and DN2000J just too bright although I did not let them burn in for any extended period. AF180 were nice but IMO vocals were a bit veiled relative to FLC8s (and you can set up FLC8s for a bit more bass if desired). SE535 had similar sound but FLC8s provide a bit more air/space and separation. I really enjoyed the Heaven VI – sound was very comparable and they have nice form factor – but not worth cost differential to me. All in all the auditions were a nice way to spend two weeks (although my wife probably didn’t think so) and I am extremely pleased with my FLC8s.

          • Sounds like an excellent experience! The AF180 has an upper midrange dip which is probably what’s causing that veil you heard. This dip also kills sibilance, so there’s some good in it.

            Anyway, I’m glad you ended up with the FLC8 and this is great info all around for anyone else reading!

      • They are better if the criteria is better accuracy/fidelity – I think the DN-2000 is slightly better in this regard than the DN-1000, and the FLC8 is (even more) slightly better than the DN-2000.

        Plus, the sound of the FLC8 can also be modified to your liking more than that of the DN-1000, which makes it a harder comparison to make. If you keep them as near as possible to the same sound tuning it’s not a night and day difference.

  21. Hi jokerl thanks for thr great review. I am considering between this and the Inear SD 2 as an upgrade to my just dead Re 400. I mostly listen to EDM with female vocals. Which one would you rate higher for the job ? Thanks

      • getclikinagas on

        “direct RE-400 upgrade”
        The words have been uttered!!

        Until you notice ….”more of a”

        The wait continues…………..

      • Hi Jokerl, I just demoed the DN 2000 and the Dn 2000j today and felt that the 2000 has too much sub bass without enough midbass (maybe i am just too used to the re 400). The Dn2000j is better in this regard but WAY too bright and metallic treble nearly ripped off my eardrums. Do you think the FLC 8 will present a more mid centric and less bright signature ?

        • Depends on how you have the FLC8 set up but yes, I thought it did all of that in comparison to the DN-2000, but by a small margin.

          From the FLC8 vs DN-2000 comparison above:

          “On the whole, the FLC8 sounds a little warmer than the DN-2000, thanks largely to its less bright treble presentation. Its bass still provides plenty of impact when called for but on average is a little more subtle and less intrusive compared to the DUNU unit. The FLC8 has an overall less v-shaped sound signature with a little more midrange presence.”

    • Can’t go wrong with either but I would take the FLC8 for its brighter, clearer mids/highs and potential for more powerful bass, not to mention its lighter and more comfortable for factor. However, it should ultimately depend on your preferred sound signature more than the genres you’re listening to or anything else.

  22. Thanks Joker for the recommendation of the FLC8. I’ve had this for a week and loved it since day one. Played around with the tuning for the first two days and my favorite setting is the red subbass, grey bass and gold nozzle. To my ears they are a direct upgrade to the GR07 with authoritative bass, crystal clear mids and treble, with an exciting sparkle hard to beat. To me the balance is fantastic, and beats any hybrid I’ve listened to. It’s immensely fun to listen to and I’ll surely keep this for a long time.

      • I depends on what you’re after. If you happen to be looking for the DN-2000 sound signature (moderately enhanced deep bass, mildly enhanced mid-bass, pretty flat mids with boost increasing up into the treble for a “u-shaped” sound signature) the DN-2000 will be better. If the greater balance (in my preferred configuration) and overall tune-ability of the FLC 8 appeal to you, I’d say it’s better and worth the extra cash.

        Likewise, whether they are the best universal IEM to get (on my list) also depends on what you’re looking for. For many listeners they will be the best, but for instance for someone who’s looking for a flatter type of sound the ER4S from Etymotic would be better, and someone who likes warmer, smoother sound signature will be much better off with a FitEar TG334 or EarSonics Velvet (or even SM64).

  23. Hi ljokerl,

    If I were to choose between Westone 4R and FLC8, which one would you recommend more? This will be my first top-tier IEM. I liked the GR04 Pro Flagship, rather enjoyed the A161P although found it slightly too aggressive, and I enjoy the soundsig of the portable HD668B cans very much, especially its clarity. How different is Westone 4R and FLC8 and which one would you say fits me more?

    Thanks!

    • The Westone 4R and FLC8 are very different. It sounds to me like you’d enjoy the FLC8 much more – in the default configuration it has a more v-shaped sound and is generally clearer, brighter, and thinner than the Westones, which is in line with the other sets you’ve liked. The W4 tends be warmer and more muffled, and has more recessed upper mids, i.e. the opposite of something like the A161P.

      • Thanks for the advice!
        How about the Brainwavz B2 vs FLC8 – they both sound like something I might like:P
        Thanks for your extensive reviews, they make researching hifi so much easier!

        • I believe the B2 is not made anymore but either way it’s again a very different experience from the W4 and (less so) the FLC8. I do consider the B2 to be a good upgrade to the A161P and it’s not as forward for sure. If you think you’ll be happy using a reference-flat earphone 100% of the time, it’s a great buy, but the FLC8 is much more flexible with that tuning system and gives you way more options in terms of sound, especially if you don’t mind a bit more bass punch. While I don’t think you can get it to sound as flat as the B2, it doesn’t have any real disadvantages aside from price.

    • I had an SE846 but unfortunately the housings were too large to fit my ears comfortably. I did like the sound, but it wouldn’t be fair for me to comment on any specific aspects since I probably didn’t hear them at their best.

    • Even in its neutral tuning the FLC8 is not as neutral as the VC1000. It’s a good upgrade as long as you’re not looking for something as flat as the VX1000, especially if you’re craving more bass than the VC1000 is capable of providing.

  24. I’m torn between the FLC8 and RHA MA750, I will be using these to listen to music from my phone. do u believe that FLC8 will work close to its potential using phone or does it need amp for that and if that the case do u think the ma750 will be better fit given the price difference.
    thank you

    • It depends on the phone, I suppose. It sounds okay with my Nexus – still better than an MA750. As for whether it’s worth 3x the price, that’s really up to the individual, and also whether you’re looking for a brighter, clearer sound (which is what the FLC8 is best for) or just something warm and smooth, with impactful bass. Even in terms of sound tuning these two aren’t direct competitors.

  25. WOW! I bought these after the enthousiastic review. Mine are still burning in.

    Part of the reason is I’d want to discover what sound signature I really like for classical music (especially piano and piano & orchestra). And I think I’ve found it. I always thought my Ety’s where best suited for classical, but I was totally wrong.

    I love these. With the red sub-bass, grey bass and yellow mid/treble tubes. My question is: what is this sound signature called? Is it warm & smooth? And how would you call the sound signature if I substitute the red for the grey sub bass tube?

    Thank you for the wonderful site and grandiose reviews.

    • Glad you’re enjoying them so far!

      The yellow filters raise the mids a little while the gray/red (or gray/gray – they are pretty close) bass/sub-bass combination is close to what FLC themselves consider “balanced” bass, but by Head-Fi convention is actually a little on the bass-heavy side. Treble quantity is not lacking by any means, either. I don’t know if there’s a conventional name for this tuning, but I don’t think it fits under the umbrella of warm and smooth. It’s a bit like the Ostry KC06/KC06A sound signature.

      • Benedict Yappy on

        Martijn and |ljoker| ,
        I have been looking for an IEM to supercede my Ety ER4, which I sadly lost. Like many others, my complain with the Etys is the way the cable terminated on the drivers and lack of subbass. So I am looking for an upgrade (or should I buy ER4 again?)

        Does the FLC8 qualify as an upgrade to the Ety ER4? Would you care to elaborate on:
        What would we gain switching to FLC8;
        What would we lose switching from ER4?

        I’m really into lifelike reproduction of sounds (a violin and cello player like me can be quite discerning on how these instruments should sound).
        Since my budget would be limited into purchasing ONE good IEM, what is your opinion? Would save high end customs such as Hidition NT6, UM Merlin or Miracle a better upgrade from ER4?
        I listen mostly to pop like Josh Groban, jazz like Norah Jones and classical like Giuliano Carmignola (excellent quality, sound and performance wise, for most of his works).

        • The FLC8 is an upgrade from the ER4 in the ways that you want – subbass and comfort/fit. Keeping in mind that the FLC8 is not a neutral-sounding IEM, there’s really not much you lose with it compared to the Etymotics. Obviously if having an Etymotic-like tonal balance is a major asset to you then you probably shouldn’t switch, but if you’re willing to give up a bit of that flat, ultra-detailed sound, then the FLC8 is a good choice.

          You can find flatter/more accurate earphones in the custom realm. These will give you a more neutral/Ety-like tonal balance and in some cases will also deliver deep bass, but it will cost you 2-3x what an FLC8 costs and you’ll still run into some of the same compromises. So the FLC8 is definitely a more cost-efficient way to give moving away from Etys a try.

        • Hi Benedict, sorry for the late reply! I just re-auditioned the Ety’s and I think they are still wonderful. Except the comfort! That is terrible! There is a new version of the ER4, the ER4XR, which should cover all your needs. I think the Ety’s are very fast as well, with lots of energy. Another difference is that you can HEAR the bass, but you cannot FEEL it (altough that might be different with the XR-version).

          You probably already bought new ones. What did you get?

  26. So can we use stock/after-market TF10 cables? from Forrest Wei’s comments below.did anyone try with any TF10 cables with FLC8?

    “The wiring of the cable is same as UE TripleFi 10, you can use any TripleFi upgade cable”

    • Forrest Wei wrote me this afterwards: ” You are right, the pins on Triple Fi 10 are the same as the pins on FLC8 cable.” So, yeah, same pins + same cable = it seems that TFT10 cables should do the trick.

      • Yes DZ,
        He confirmed me too and also said there will be their spare cables as well to order thru lmue. so lot of AM cable choices being tf10 compatible, that’s really good. below is Forrest’s reply on the matter.

        “TF10 cable can use on FLC8, we’ll ship the original cable to LMUE, you can order the cable from them.”

  27. Hello Joker,

    I think the review needs a correction: the blue one is supposed to have the lowest treble, not the grey filter. It is said in the manual that the blue has low treble while the dark grey (or gun-metal blue) has medium mid and medium treble.

    Anyway, I have received the FLC 8 recently and I have chose your configuration: the red-grey-and the dark grey filter, and use the Sony’s hybrid tips. For some comments, I have to say the treble is sibilant – maybe because I have been spoiled by DN-2000’s treble. I noted how cymbals and hi-hats have more peaks in FLC than the Dunu’s. But, what I like bout the FLC’s is the sub-bass is more present than the Dunu. The Dunu’s does have significantly better isolation and cable while I am not fond with the FLC’s because it is somewhat harder to loop. The cable reminds me of AKG K518’s cable. Overall, I still like the Dunu’s sound over the FLC 8 but I praise FLC 8 for its customized tuning system.

    Have you burned the FLC 8 before using it?

    • Yes, I think you’re right about the filters… that explains why I thought the blue filter sounded muffled. I didn’t get an English user manual with my unit so I had to rely on some poor translations. I think they added an English manual now.

      Thanks for the correction – I’ve also re-arranged the tables for clarity.

      And yes, I had been using them for a very long time prior to doing the bulk of the review… probably 6 months total. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re past the 500-hour mark in terms use.

      • One more thing Joker, which eartips would you recommend? I’ve had problem with the seal of the stock tips. I’ve got good seal the Sony hybrids but the ear tips create suction. Yet I ordered the M6 single flanges with fingers crossed hope that’ll be the last eartips that would fit.

  28. I have a vsonic vsd1 and I find it a bit harsh for my liking, how do you compare the treble of the flc8 to vsd1 and is it less sibilance prone or on bar with the vsd1, also do you have an idea on the availability of replacement cables and parts for the flc8. thank you

    • Yes, it’s less harsh and sibilance prone. The VSD1 is about as bad in that regard as the GR07, which I compared to the FLC8 in the review above and the FLC8 won out in treble quality. The top end of the FLC8 is somewhat bright (in my preferred configuration), but its treble smoothness is slightly better than average for the brightness level, whereas the VSonics are slightly worse than average in this particular regard.

      Not sure about cables – that’s a good question. Will try to find out. I usually don’t think of earphones with proprietary sockets as being detachable-cable – they don’t really add any value, nor take any away.

      • Regarding the socket, it looked familiar so I looked around a bit and it seems to be near-identical to the one used on the UE Triple.Fi 10 / Super.Fi 5. Here are some comparison pics:

        FLC8 socket/plug: http://image.space.rakuten.co.jp/d/strg/ctrl/12/9ad890630ff9aee5b30d173b5fc5f7cb0e2fdc22.52.1.12.2.jpeg

        UE TF10 socket/plug:
        http://cdn.cultofandroid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ultimate-ears-triplefi-6.jpg
        http://www.inearcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/Ultimate-Ears-Triple-Fi-10-Reshell-In-Progress.jpg

        UE SF5 socket/plug:
        http://the-gadgeteer.com/assets/ultimateears-5pro-6.jpg
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/UE_SuperFi5pro.JPG

        Now, I know the socket/plug are a tad bit different on the newer UE CIEMs:
        http://cdn.head-fi.org/4/44/449b794f_P1000929.jpeg

        But the new cables apparently fit the TF10 and as some of you know, are very good quality:
        http://cdn.head-fi.org/e/ed/ed84a3f1_IMAG0210.jpeg

        Plus they are angled…looks like it could possibly work? There are also a few aftermarket cable makers that still offer the TF10-style plug since that IEM is still quite popular. As long as the pin diameters are actually the same, this could open up alot of options for replacement cables 😀

        • As mentioned in the review, the conventional 2-pin socket size (which the TF10 uses) doesn’t quite fit the FLC8, despite appearances. The FLC8 cable is way too loose when plugged into my TF10, and the TF10 cable won’t go into the FLC8. It might go in if substantial force is applied, but I didn’t want to risk damage to either the cable or the IEM.

          Perhaps they intended for the FLC8 to have the conventional 2-pin connector and something went wrong during manufacturing with the size of the pins, or perhaps the plan was to have a proprietary socket all along – not entirely sure.

          The only other 2-pin size I have is the FitEar socket, but that’s bigger and doesn’t fit the FLC8, either.

          • The FLC CEO, Forrest Wei, juste wrote me this about replacement cables for FLC8: “The wiring of the cable is same as UE TripleFi 10, you can use any TripleFi upgade cable.The pins of A81 cable is same as us, but I’m not sure if the wiring is the same. Our cable is with single crystal copper coductors, it seems very common, but it’s a good cable.” So, same pins as Fidue A81 but not the same cable and same cable as TF10 but not same pins.
            And thank you very much for this review, |joker|. You made me buy these fantastic IEMs and their price/quality ratio never ceases to amaze me… though personally I am a huge fan of the golden nooze filter. 😉
            By the way, Forrest Wei also told me that FLC Technology has upgraded that golden nooze filter. I don’t know more about this but I asked him to send me one of those “new” golden noozes… More on this on french forum “Tellement Nomade” as soon as I receive them!

      • I’m looking for upgrade to the vsd1, with the same bass quantity or a bit more, less sibilance prone with better clarity and overall performance. and must be on the comfort level of the vsd1 or better ( durability is also a factor ). preferably less than 300$. but I can go for $300+ iem if the price is justified and it has detachable cable. also I don’t mind slightly going for slightly warm dark sound if the other factors are met.
        thank you for the effort

        • The FLC8 would be quite good for this, but see the conversation above regarding detachable cables – at this point it’s unclear if they’re a real asset or not as they don’t seem to follow either of the common standards for detachable cables.

          As a cheaper option, you can consider the DUNU DN-1000. It’s not as smooth as the FLC8, but its treble emphasis differs from that of the VSD1 and is less sibilance-prone. I don’t find it quite as comfortable, either, as it’s heavier and has a conventional straight-barrel form factor, but other than that it’s a good way to go from the VSD1.

          • thank you for the response, I send email to flc regarding the cable and they said that triplefi cable should work with flc8

  29. I currently use Klipsch x10 (treble lacking and bass a bit muddy, but nice form factor) and Dunu DN 1000 (great bass and treble, but mid range a bit laid back, and too heavy for my ears).
    I listen exclusively to Jazz, mostly acoustic.
    Would the FLC8 be a good upgrade for me?

  30. got my flc8’s on the basis of your review, joker. thank you. your site is a real community resource. it also helped me decide to get ety4’s some time ago.

    i listened to some test tracks with the flc8’s and switched in the green nozzle. i left the other 2, bass adjusters, gray/neutral. this is for acoustic music, mostly classical, some jazz. i don’t expect to change the tuning again.

    i think the flc8’s are great, and great bargains as well, for classical and jazz. and with my tuning, for my music, they don’t really sound v-shaped. the mids are solid.

    i posted some impressions in a review at head-fi and referred people to your review to get the background and tuning information. i found your explanations very helpful- with a little listening and the information you had provided i could quickly figure out exactly what i wanted to adjust.

    in addition, for me, the mediocre isolation is a plus. i have ety’s with custom tips for isolation. with the flc’s i’m less likely to get run over. and if i’m in a quiet place, i think the flc’s have a richer tone than the ety’s.

    also, btw, comply 400 series tips fit these iem’s. [i just tried them.] so you can get somewhat more isolation if you want. their shallow insertion, though, means that you’ll never get the isolation of e.g. ety’s. i’d say that with the comply’s, the isolation would be 4 or maybe even 4.5, instead of 3.5.

    in a number of your comments you mention the bass bias of these ‘phones, but your own tuning is enhancing that. with the 2 gray, neutral bass, plugs and with the music i listen to, i find the bass quite natural.

    • Thanks, very glad to hear that you’re also enjoying the FLC8!

      Yes, I am using one of the many enhanced-bass configurations. I find the bass control and dynamics of the FLC8 superior to many other IEMs, even in this high performance tier, so it doesn’t bother me from a quality standpoint. Based on the recommendation requests I receive, I feel that more people will use the FLC8 in this configuration than in a less bassy one, but of course the other settings are all present and functional for those who prefer them.

      P.S. Everything has mediocre isolation compared to the Ety + custom tips 🙂

      • it was your write-up about the custom tips that convinced me that i could get those tips and stop lugging around mediocre noise cancelling phones when i travelled.

        you might want to add the comply 400’s to your recommended tips. their availability and their increased isolation might make this iem attractive to more potential users.

  31. Hello Joker,

    I am interested of buying one FLC 8 earphone as a B-day gift present for myself, but before that I have some questions:

    1) How is the soundstage/transparency/separation of the FLC 8? I find that they are not stated throughout your review.

    2) I recently have the Dunu DN-2000 and I love its soundstage/transparency/separation. Does the FLC 8’s soundstage equally as good as the Dunu?

    3) With the medium midrange setting, would be the midrange be forward? I thank the DN-2000 that it’s not too forwarded but still retain fullness and clarity

    4) The cable is questionable because it looks like it would detach easily and don’t look securely attached like the one I see in ATH-IM70 and the UM30pro’s . Is the cable tightly attached? Also, How supple is the cable, in comparison to the Dunu DN-2000? I find the Dunu’s cable is quite supple and easily loops over the ear.

    5) Just to comment that the overall design look like the earphone is still under a prototype design. In regards to the non-angled nozzle, I hope it can be fixed with Spinfit tips ,which I just ordered to fix the fit issue of ATH-IM70, because the tips can angle in 360 degree fashion as I heard.

    Thank you for your consideration!

    Best,
    Sam

    • I don’t know if the FLC8 is something I would recommend coming from the DN-2000. As I mentioned in the review, the DN-2000 is one of the closest IEMs I have to the FLC8 in performance, so going from the DN-2000 to the FLC8 is pretty much the smallest gain you can have (as opposed to going from any other $300 and under IEMs to the FLC8). But maybe that’s just me – I quite like the DN-2000 to start with.

      Now, answers:

      1) Fine. Not the absolute best I’ve come across, but on par with what you would expect from a high-performing IEM in this price range.
      2) They are about on-par
      3) The mids are only forward if you use the “high midrange” setting (gold filter) but I don’t recommend this because it doesn’t sound very natural. The regular setting has a very slight v-shape to it, less than the DN-2000. I mentioned this in the DN-2000 comparison in the review above.
      4) The cable is very hard to detach, it’s not something you will want to do unless you have to. Cable quality is fine, slightly stiffer than the DN-2000 cable but with the angled cable connectors this is not a problem to loop over-the-ear.
      5) As an overall package it’s actually pretty polished, but the odd combination of features and design choices has a bit of that “barnyard engineering” feel. Like it was put together by a bunch of audiophiles for personal use, not for the general market. For me that’s part of its charm, and so far the build is holding up.

  32. |joker|,

    Have you had the opportunity to listen to the Westone W30 IEM yet? I’ve read several of your opinions on a number of IEMs, and have usually agreed with them, in general, so I would like to see where they fall in your rankings.

    Personally, having listened to a number of IEMs, including TF.10, UE900, GR07 and Heir Audio 4a, I feel that these are the best in-ear monitors that I’ve used so far. Westone really nailed the tuning of this monitor, which from what I’ve read about W3, is far from a re-release of the older Westone model.

    • Nope, I only have the W40 and the W10, which are remarkably similar to my W4 and W1. The W3 had some room for improvement, so maybe Westone managed to capitalize on that!

      • From what I understand, the W3 had a fairly exaggerated V-shaped sound signature, and my experience with the W30 does not mirror that in the slightest. It’s very well-balanced in general, and provides a reasonably neutral sound.

        Since I’ve never heard the W3 for myself, I can’t say this with absolute certainty, but based on my understanding of the W3, its replacement represents a huge improvement over the original.

        • That was my impression of the W3, though in general I found it to be a very good earphone. I think it would have done better if it was released later.

          There are lots of significantly more v-shaped earphones that have a positive reputation these days, but back then there were only a few high-end earphones on the market, and IIRC none of them were very v-shaped except maybe the TF10. These six or seven high-end IEMs ended up being compared against each other again and again, with less regard for sound signature than we see in today’s more crowded market.

          Also, at that time, lots of people had trouble getting smooth treble out of the W3, which didn’t help. Without that issue it could have been a much more popular IEM, and that’s definitely something that can be affected in a positive way by a different physical shape/design, as with the W30.

  33. getclikinagas on

    What an A/B nightmare!!

    The variety of signatures is not the main appeal for me. Everyone of us must have had the “If I could only tweak (insert acoustic quality) a bit, this IEM would be perfect”.
    One or two of those FLC8 combinations will be really close to my preferred signature. And once I find it, I can set-and-forget.
    Or so I assume… 😛

    350$ seems like a bargain.

    PS: Excellent review ljokerl. One of your best.
    PS2: That Audiofly AF180 keeps getting more tantalizing with every review 😀

    • Thanks 🙂

      Yes, I doubt I will switch the FLC8 over from my preferred configuration much, except maybe when necessary for A:B with something.

      The AF180… not as much of a bargain to be honest, being $550 and all, but it’s a great earphone with another one of those “almost perfect” sound signatures. It’s probably going to end up as an InnerFidelity review first because it happens to measure quite well.

  34. Ordered, thanks Lord Sinister! Sir ljokerl – Please tell me (may be you described in review, but I’m blinded with my order…) can I “mix” some treble quality like CA Music1 or VC1000? Nice , not prone to sibilance – but energetic…

    • You can use the blue nozzles but they sound a little muddier to me. I would go with the gray nozzles – I think they are the best compromise. Definitely more VC1000 than CA Music One, though. The green +treble ones are too bright and the yellow +midrange ones are… unusual, and not reminiscent of the VSonics and CA Music One.

  35. Hi ljokerl

    Great reviews, thanks. You’ve mentioned the AF180 favourably a few times, I’m looking forward to your full review. Your comparison in this review seems pretty close, but you mentioned the AF180 neutrality in the midrange – would you say the AF180 is better choice than the FLC 8 for someone looking for a neutral sound signature?

    • Yep, the AF180 is quite neutral overall – more so than the FLC8. Review is coming soon.

      The AF180 is a very interesting earphone, it’s warmer and less bright than what might be classified as “neutral/analytical” (e.g. a VSonic VC1000, Brainwavz B2, etc), except that it has an upper treble peak that allows it to maintain very good clarity (a-la TDK BA200). At the same time, it is brighter and less warm than your typical smooth-sounding set (e.g. Sony MDR-7550, HiFiMan RE-400/RE-600, StageDiver SD-2).

      So it can be classified as being somewhere between neutral-bright and neutral-warm. Neutral-neutral? Not sure yet. It’s not perfect, but it has a lot of promise.

      • I was looking forward to your review of the AF180 because I wanted a new IEM that’s like a combination of my SE530 and ER4S and it seems the AF180 fit that description. Unfortunately (for my wallet) I read your glowing review of the FLC8 and just ordered it from Amazon.

  36. Great reviews ljoker.

    I know it’s more than a numbers game, but based on this write-up shouldn’t the flc8 have a higher average rating than the Dunu-dn2000 and etymotic er4s on your iem list? Thinking about adding the flc8 and getting rid of a bunch of other iems (Sony ex-600, hifiman re-600, etymotic er4s), but wondering if that’s a wise move. My preference is for a neutral presentation with a clear, natural treble and very mild sub-bass lift.

    Thanks!

    • I don’t set the average scores manually – they are literally an average of all the other scores (sound, build, isolation, cable noise, comfort, accessories). The formula is weighted so that the sound score matters most and the accessory score matters least, but it’s still just math.

      The FLC8 may indeed be what you’re looking for but I don’t really consider it a neutral IEM – the bass is definitely lifted (somewhere between mild and moderate, I would say) and the treble has some extra energy – definitely more than the RE-600, but maybe just short of the EX600. If you end up trying it, I would hold off on selling your other, flatter IEMs until you receive it and have a chance to try it out.

      • Bought these and absolutely love them! The best fit for me was with the Comply 400 tips. Still exoerimenting, but a slight albeit very clean treble emphasis with the neutral tuning I prefer appears to be cleaned up nicely with the Comply with the added benefit of a better seal. Good call on these earphones ljokerl!

        The uetf10 cables definitely work. I bought the FIO version just to confirm this and have now ordered some higher end aftermarkets from ebay to see if they make a difference. One word of caution: the stock cable appears to be quite good and has the benefit of almost no microphonics. By comparison the FIO appears to have a slightly more etched signature, but sounds like a freight train when it rubs on my shirt!

        It appears to me that the potential for tuning this further is quite high with a potential market for additional reference filters and nozzles. Hopefully either FLC or some enterprising 3rd party will pursue this.

        On sound quality alone I am wondering how far these are behind the big gun ciems with a similar tuning?

        • Very glad to hear that you’re enjoying them!

          I don’t think there’s much more tuning potential left in the bass ports – you pretty much have all of the options there already, from fully-sealed to fully-open – but the front nozzle filters have a lot of variety and there are probably other viable configurations for that. I’d love something between the dark gray and the blue nozzle filters.

          As for CIEMs, accounting for sound signature difference the FLC8 is about on-par with similarly-priced ones like the Alclair Reference. I did compare it to the closest top-tier I have in terms of signature (the Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro). The main differences in favor of the Custom Art are the presentation/soundstaging and treble quality. Overall it’s really not a night and day difference, but give the choice I’d use the CIEM. Of course the tuning of the Custom Art is more neutral, so it’s not quite an apples to apples comparison.

          • Received my Baldur mkiii tf10 cable upgrade from Zee’s music on ebay today. Exceptionally quick shipping from HK to Toronto and although pricey an excellent match with the flc8!

            Only listening for less than an hour now, but with the neutral configuration midrange and treble performance take a huge step forward in clarity, cleanliness and refinement. Slight reduction in upper bass bloat. Sub-bass is tighter and faster, but subjectively a bit reduced likely due to the more open midrange or maybe more cable/ear break-in required. Changing to the red sub-bass filter brought everything back in level with no noticeable downside. The combination used with Comply tips is definitely a keeper for me. Source is a modded Colorfly C4 (more extended and less warm) so your experience might vary.

            ljokerl I know it’s been said many times before, but the quality of your reviews and willingness to assist is truly a wonderful thing and is much appreciated!

            That is all.

  37. … last night i drink more as usual, but ljokerI you are the king of iem reviews! read them from years and learned what your words mean in real sound signature, from meelec m9 to ca music one. i need this beast! keep on!

    • Thanks. I’ve come a long way since the M9, both in terms of review quality and just general knowledge and perspective. It’s really cool that people who read my reviews 4+ years ago are now here on The Headphone List.

      P.S. I still have my original M9 – it’s one of my budget benchmarks. Any budget IEM I try has to at least measure up to the M9 to be considered for a review.

  38. Hello Joker,

    Your reviews are such a joy to read! Really enjoyed it.

    Looks like the FLC8 is a stellar performer and a superb value at its price point. Would you mind doing a very brief comparison with the Velvet and Harmony 8 Pro?

    Thanks!

    • The Velvet is a very different earphone – it’s much warmer and tends to be bassier even on the minimal bass setting. Also doesn’t have nearly as much treble energy as the FLC8 and sounds smoother and more relaxed up top.

      The Harmony 8 Pro, on the other hand, is flatter and more neutral than the FLC8 (in neutral tuning). The H8P has tighter, less enhanced bass, smoother and more refined treble, and a slightly less forward/more distant sound. The FLC8 is more v-shaped and less refined overall.

      Really depends on what you want, and budget of course – the FLC8 is way more inexpensive than the other two.

  39. ljokerl – Your reviews are internet bangers! Suppose you know about your influence on IEM market… I mean positive of course 😉 …

    Hi Lord Sinister, LMUE $380 -10% if review on HF. Missed something?

    • Thanks. I certainly don’t take that lightly – I think I’ve had this FLC8 since September or October of last year :). Kept on telling myself I need to spend more time with it before posting anything.

    • Lord Sinister on

      Hi Garcs, I bought the FLC8 yesterday from LMUE while onsale for $304 and there is an additional 10% discount after if you post a 300 word review on Head-Fi. I just check their site and it’s now at $380 but I got the Paypal and emailed invoice/receipt to prove it. 🙂

        • Lord Sinister on

          Actually, they are still on sale for $304 USD + an additional 10% discount for posting the review on Head-Fi. Make sure you change the site default currency from SGD to USD otherwise it will be listed as $380 in Singapore dollars.

          • Thanks! Ordered from LMUE some dozen times, and always the same (good) surprise: its SGD not USD. Seems I have to restart my brains OS…

  40. Lord Sinister on

    Wow! Another excellent review ljokerl! Many thanks.

    In almost every sentence, all I basically extract is something positive for the FLC8 and I think I’ve found the next IEM to add to my collection. I was planning to get either the SM64, Velvet or DN-200J (once released), which should be a very good upgrade to my BA200 but I’m gathering from this review that the FLC8 is probably the better choice based on its capabilities at current price. I’m not a die-hard basshead but love bass, good in quantity but quality must be high. Based on the below you replied to me a while back, how would you modify to include the FLC8? How is the sound leakage with volume at medium to medium high?

    “Let’s see… I would probably arrange the bass of the four I’ve tried like so:

    Quantity: SD-3 > SM64 >> SD-2 > BA200
    Quality: BA200 > SD-2 > SM64 > SD-3”

    • Lord Sinister on

      Just snagged the FLC 8 from “Lend Me UR Ears” for $304 + free shipping. There is an additional 10% discount if you write a review on Head-Fi so this beast can be taken for about $274 USD. Do I dare say “Freaking Awesome” considering the above scores.

      • I’d say that’s a pretty good deal 🙂

        If we’re talking about the neutral tuning, I would put the bass qty of the FLC8 about on-par with the SD-3, but it has more of a sub-bass focus with less mid-bass compared to the SD-3 (and thus better quality). Quality is just behind the SM64, which has less bass and is one of my top recommendations for the best quality/quantity ration among warm-ish earphones.

        Sound leakage is not an issue at medium volumes. In a very quiet environment someone would have to come right up next to your ear to hear faint sound. Cranking it up, the leakage increases faster than with a sealed earphone like a DN-2000. I think it’s still tolerable, but maybe if you blast them at full volume in a library it might become an issue. At the absolute highest volume I can tolerate, they are just faintly audible from ~4 feet away.

        • Lord Sinister on

          Hi ljokerl,

          Considering the A83 and FLC8 are both listed at $344 on LMUE, and you made a comparison to their bass quantity in the review, can you please compare them a bit more in details? Trying to help a colleague decide between these.

          Thanks.

          • The bass of the FLC8 is a little tighter while the A83 is a touch more impactful (I think it has more of a mid-bass hump).

            The biggest difference is that the FLC8 lacks the upper midrange dip of the A83. This makes it a little less forgiving on some tracks (especially when it comes to sibilance), but helps with the clarity, crispness, and detailing and makes it appear more neutral and balanced.

            Tonally the A83 is warmer and its presentation is a little more laid-back.

        • Lord Sinister on

          Received the FLC8 yesterday and been listening/burning for about 12 hours in default/balance config. I really like these and very impressed by the sound quality, and that bass when the track calls for it….soo sweet. Stock tips are more comfortable than expected. I’ve been using my KC06A for the last few week and loved the slight forward presentation and big soundstage so I’m still adjusting to the FLC8 but like everything I’m hearing. I think I prefer over my Altone200 and BA200 already 🙂

          • Haha, yeah – agreed on the bass. It has almost a chameleon-like effect – at times totally unobtrusive, and at times quite strong all around.

            That’s quite a varied collection you’ve got there, FLC8 seems like a good addition – more accurate than the Altone but not as flat as the BA200, and opposite in some ways to the KC06.

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