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The Virtue of Versatility – A Review of the FLC8s

MusicTeck provided the FLC8s free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
FLC8s on Amazon

MSRP: $355
Hybrid design
2x BA
1X Dynamic Low
Impedance: 11 Ohm
Sensitivity: 93 dB/mW
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz

That stalwart chap Andrew over at MusicTeck emailed me one day and asked if I was interested in reviewing FLC Technology’s flagship IEM, the FLC8s. Understand, this is a famous earphone. It took the community by storm a year or two ago. I did quite a lot of reading on it back then, and even had the briefest listen to a set in a café when I met up with a friend and fellow reviewer in my area.

Naturally, I told Andrew “Yes!”

I like almost everything about the FLC8s.

Beginning with size and shape. These are seriously comfortable IEMs. They are light-weight, and ergonomically righteous. You can insert deep, or shallow, if you have the right size tips. They do not fight you. Wherever your desires lie, the FLC8s will accommodate.

The cable is… okay. It’s light, which is good, but it’s also rather springy, and can get a little out of hand. I would like to see a tamer solution in their next release. This is really just about my only complaint about these earphones, and it’s a minor one, all things considered.

FLC Technology includes a high-endurance, anodized aluminum puck-shaped travel case. I’ve used a number of these over the years, and they work quite well. Very protective.

This IEM can be tuned using swappable parts at three points. Each point has three possible filters. This makes for a tuning variety of 36 distinct signatures. Some of these filters can be tricky to work with, due to their ridiculous small size. Always work on a flat surface, and be ever so careful. Losing one is all too possible.

Now… there’s no way I’m going to describe all 36 signatures. In fact, I have not listened to them all. After reading the manual, I installed Red, Black, Gold. Then, after speaking with a friend, switched to Red, Black, Gunmetal. I have not experimented further. That is the sound I like. It is the most bass-heavy and warmest, despite what the manual claims.

So as you read my sound description, remember, the other filters can give you significantly less bass and more treble, if that’s your thing.



Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

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.


14 Responses

  1. Does anyone knows if the flc8s is 0.75 or 0.78 2-pin cable? I have a pair under utilized because its default cable is too microphonic. After storing it for so long now it’s worse haha the cable is a tangled mess.
    I have trouble finding out the exact pin configuration detail online. I wouldn’t want to risk buying the wrong cable online that won’t fit my flc8s.

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

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