The following is a Translated review of FiR Audio's M Series by Spill HK: https://spill.hk/headphones/FiR-Audio-M-Series-M3-M4-M5-review/
Original review by 耳水 Photos by S. Wong
American brand FiR Audio was established in 2018, with big roots, it’s founder, Bogdan Belenozhko and the rest of the R and D team has more than 10 years of experience crafting earphones. FiR Audio uses a space bunny as it’s logo. This represents the company’s drive to explore new frontiers and push limits in the IEM industry, bringing listeners new experiences.
The M series is their IEM debut, with 3 models, each containing a different driver combination. The highlight, however is that FiR Audio possesses plenty of in-house technology, posing them to be able to make their mark in the high-end earphone industry.
Larger Number: More Drivers
The M Series first made an appearance at last year’s Hong Kong Audio Visual Show, it was still in it’s prototype stage, some prototype shells were chromed, some were metal. After plenty of research by the design team, it was decided that FiR Audio’s M Series would make use of Metal 3D printing, with different models having different colours.
The names of each IEM are also taken from the number of drivers, the M3 has 3 drivers (1DD 2BA), the M4 has 4 drivers (1DD 3BA) and the M5 has 5 drivers (1DD, 3BA and 1 Electrostatic Tweeter). Even though a bigger number means more drivers and consequently, a more expensive earphone, more expense doesn’t necessarily make for better listening, each of the M-Series members have their own unique characteristics. Allow me to leave you hanging for a bit before I explain more later.
Proprietary DAA System
Besides the number of drivers, the manufacturer emphasizes that the M series makes full use of a number of FiR Audio’s proprietary technology known as DAA (Direct Aperture Acoustics) all of FiR Audio’s drivers are tubeless, increasing the sound’s coherence. Some of the drivers are also pointed directly at the earphone’s nozzle, reducing any unnecessary resonance and delivering bass using the entire chassis as a transducer.
The M Series also contains a pressure release system known as ATOM (Air Transferring Open Module) this controls the volume of air within the chassis resulting in a wider soundstage and a non-fatiguing listening experience.
Ergonomic and Close Fitting
Compared to the prototypes last year, the M Series has gone through a series of iterations from the manufacturer, the chassis is now made of metal and the nozzle has been readjusted slightly leading to a better, more stable fit.
There are plenty of stock tips to chose from, including memory foam tips, silicon tips and double flanged tips The prototype version shown last year also used RCX connectors, that is a connector merging the benefits of MMCX and CM connectors, they’re solid and prevent the earphone from spinning around. However, after repeated consideration, FiR audio thought that most hobbyists who would buy these earphones would likely be into cable rolling, and so FiR Audio’s M Series now uses a specially made MMCX connector, its more solid than the average MMCX connector and, more importantly, it’s compatible with other MMCX cables.
Sonic Performance: 3 Types of Tuning
All three models are quite a far apart in terms of price, but that doesn’t mean the the M5 is the best of all of them. It can be said that the 3 of them possess very different characteristics. The writer plugged into the A&Ultima SP2000 Copper DAP for this test.
First, for the M3, there’s a obvious impactful bass upon listening, it’s the model wit the most bass. It has a wide soundstage with full mids that retain detail
The four-drive M4 has an entirely different signature, for starters, its bass is a little more controlled and less voluminous, this however gives the M4 a signature that’s almost refreshing, meticulous and speedy. The M4 delivers both vocals and instrumentals well.
In 2 short years, FiR Audio has earned the love and support of hobbyist’s through their founder Bogdan Belonozhko. All 3 products in the lineup has their own specialities: The M3 is suitable for those hankering after a stronger bass, performing well in both pop and rock. The M4 places the spotlight on vocals and high frequencies, performing beautifully in classical and string music.
Despite emphasising that expense doesn’t necessarily equate to good sound, this writer likes the M5 the most, not only does it have the smoothest highs its airiness is also great, its melodic and comfortable and I enjoyed it immensely.