Fir Audio VxV

Before starting the review, I would like to share technical aspects and package details. Also, special thanks to Bogdan for this great opportunity.

Specifications

  • 1x Dynamic Driver
  • 2x Mid-Driver, Balanced Armature
  • 1x High-Driver, Balanced Armature
  • 1x Ultra-High Driver, Balanced Armature
  • MMCX Connectors
  • 2.5mm TRRS Balanced Connector
  • Chassis: Hybrid 6000 Aluminum and DuPont Engineering Plastic

Package Details

  • Leather Carrying Case
  • VxV Earphone
  • Stock SPC Cable
  • 4 pairs Silicon Tips
  • 1 pair Foam Tips

Test Equipment

  • Opus #1
  • Lotoo Paw Gold
  • THX AAA 789 & Topping D50s
  • JDS Labs Odac and Amp
  • Earment TR-Amp

Package, Design, and Isolation

Fir Audio VxV comes in a cute little white cardboard box. The tops of the box displays a Firry (rabbit) logo, which is designed and used for the first time with the VxV. It is a wonderfully cute logo and I hope Fir Audio will use it with their future products. Do not be fooled by the plain and simple cardboard! After opening the box, you are welcomed into the luxurious world of Fir Audio with the high-quality leather carrying case. The black and rounded shaped leather carrying box is made of soft quality leather, with a Firry logo on the top of the lid. Overall, the quality feel of the carrying case, with its soft leather material and its flawless stitches, is simply wonderful.

Moving inside of the box, we have the obvious earphones and cables, some silicone and foam tips and various Firry stickers. The stock, silver-plated copper cable is excellent in both construction and material quality. The cable comes with a 2.5mm TRRS balanced terminal end, so those who want to use it with 3.5mm and 4.5mm sources will need to grab an appropriate adapter. The cable is ergonomically very comfortable, extremely light, and tangle free. The connectors are MMCX and have a very rigid, and solid feel. The pre-shaped ear hooks offer good ergonomics and provide a pretty secure fit behind the ear. A BIG Thank You to Fir Audio for not using memory wires in their cables. The stock cable is so nice, in fact, that you will not feel the need to use an aftermarket cable.

The body design is extremely cute with the Firry logo on the faceplate(I really like the logo). I’d love to get some multi-colored markers and paint it wildly with colors like a nice purple/green/pink mix. Besides being cute, the body is also made of high quality materials, including a combination of hybrid 6000 aluminum and DuPont plastics, which give the VxV a very high-quality feel. The body is basically built like a tank and feels quite solid. The faceplate has a white Firry logo on its right and a Fir Audio logo on its left. Like Fir Audio’s other models, the VxV only has one color option. I also really like the white and black color mix, which creates a very nice contrast. The body has a relatively small size that fits comfortably in the ear. Its rounded design does not cause any pain or discomfort in the ear, which makes it possible to listen for long, long hours without the need to take any breaks. The nozzle is average in length and also helps to provide good isolation.

Lastly, let’s talk a little bit about the technical details. As you may or may not know, VxV has a 5 drivers hybrid design in each earphone. These consist of a 6mm dynamic driver which takes care of the bass, 2 armature drivers for mid coverage, 1 balanced armature driver for high coverage, and 1 balanced armature driver for super high frequencies. Of course, there are some technologies inside the shell that improve the sound quality, such as Fir Audio’s patented design, “Direct Aperture Acoustics,” which provide a more physical feel in bass frequencies. Additionally, the ATOM (Air Transferring Open Module) system offers a more comfortable, airy, and spacious listening experience, as well as keeping the VxV fatigue free. I’d like to say that I definitely feel this Atom feature while listening, which I certainly can. I listened with an average sound level for 5 hours without the sensation of ripping the earphones out of my ears after I was done, which I think is a record for me. In conclusion, with magnificent body quality, design, and technologies, the VxV is an absolutely fantastic IEM.

Sound

The VxV is an earphone that plays every frequency in a balanced way, does not put any frequency in the foreground while suppressing others, pushes mid frequencies forward, keeps the bass tight, and extends the treble very well. At a technical level, it is incredibly successful, especially in its mid frequency which I feel is the star of the show. The textured, emotional, and forward presentation of the mids makes it very enjoyable to listen to vocal-based or instrumental music. The upper frequencies are crystal clear and extend extremely well without sibilance. The bass isn’t super powerful but it is not forgotten when it kicks in, and is surprisingly tight and fast for the dynamic driver. The stage is incredibly wide, which I believe is due to the ATOM system. Solaris is one of the few earphones with the largest stage I’ve listened to, and the VxV is wider and more spacious than that. I can easily say that the VxV is the best earphone that I’ve listened to in 2020, as I received it near the end of 2020. I’ve listened to many musical genres with the VxV, such as Classical, Progressive House, Jazz, Pop, etc, and I have never felt a shortage in any genre. Basically, the VxV is a great all-rounder earphone.

The VxV has great detail and resolution on its high frequency and there is absolutely no roll off, and no sibilance either. Balanced is perhaps the most accurate description of the VxV. Although the treble is extremely well extended and sparkles, it is quite balanced and does not exaggerate in any way. The natural presentation does not create a dry and clinical atmosphere. The trebles are bright and crystal clear, and with all the sources that I used, and never tended to be harsh. The performance of the stringed instruments is absolutely great, and I highly recommend trying them out with the VxV.

The mid frequency is pretty natural and transparent without any coloration. It is so smooth and clean that I’ve listened to vocals and instrumentals more with the VxV than any other IEM I’ve tried. Although the mid is forward, it is not thick and meaty and it does not create a mid hump and stress the stage. The instruments are spread over an extremely wide area in a spacious way. As an example from string instruments, it does not play with any coloration by exaggerating the sounds from the thick notes, on the contrary, it offers a very natural and transparent concert. In terms of detail and resolution, it definitely does things above its price. It is possible to catch and listen to the sub-details in the track with critical listening. Both male and female vocal performance is great here. Although the mids are forward in presentation, the vocals are not right up in your ear, which is awesome.

The 6mm dynamic driver is responsible for bass frequencies, and does a great job here. The bass can go pretty deep and has a decent amount of punch, but it should be noted that it is not at a bass-head level. The beats are strong and punchy as well as tight and controlled. The dynamic driver acts like a balanced armature driver and achieves great recovery time. Even in very fast passages, it does not lose its control and does not tend to turn muddy. It’s an extremely fast driver, although it cannot compete with the balanced armature in terms of speed, but it gets very close. The bass is strong and doesn’t exaggerate, which is something the VxV does very well. The bass has a delightful tuning in quantity and intensity and in no way dominates other frequencies. I can say I was amazed by the performance of the bass with certainty, and the VxV is a great performer in this area.

Lastly, the soundstage is another area I love about the VxV. The stage is extremely wide and airy and the ATOM system creates an extremely realistic atmosphere, making it easy to listen to for long hours without fatigue. The stage definitely doesn’t feel artificial, like those Bose Acoustimass Home Theatre systems do. It puts an excellent amount of distance between instruments and makes them very easy to distinguish. 

Comparisons

VxV vs Rai Penta:

Both the Rai Penta and VxV share some similarities in materials and technical specifications. Both earphones are hybrids and they have 5 drivers per side, with 1 dynamic driver and 4 balanced armature drivers. Although the configuration is the same, they are very different in tuning. Both earphones are beautifully made with aluminium bodies. Rai Penta is slightly smaller but somehow the VxV provides better seal and fit for my ear. The Penta also comes with a high quality custom cable but the VxV’s cable gives off a higher quality feel. Overall, they both have great build quality and materials. Soundwise, the Penta has more tamed and smooth trebles while the VxV has better sparkle, details, and expression while providing a much cleaner and clearer sound. The mids are forward, transparent, and natural on the VxV while the Penta is more bodied, warm, and smooth. The clear and airy presentation of the VxV provides better details and a fresh atmosphere in the mids while the Penta feels more limited and narrower, but it has a nice organic texture. Vocals are slightly more forward and have great tonality on the VxV. The Penta is bold in male vocals and somehow feels veiled to me after switching back and forth between the two. Bass goes deeper and hits harder with the Penta while the VxV is faster and more controlled with better detail and also bass notes are absolutely better on the VxV as per my taste. The soundstage is wider and deeper on the VxV and puts more air between instruments than the Penta does. Overall, both are great earphones but the winner here is the VxV for its technical capability, tonality, and overall performance.

VxV vs Campfire Audio Solaris:

The Solaris is one of my all-time favourite earphones with its looks, sound, and design, but today it has to deal with a very tough competitor. I have the original Solaris, not the 2020 model. Good luck Solaris! Both earphones are beautifully made with aluminum and their build and material qualities are fantastic. The Solaris has a relatively bigger body than the VxV and sits well in the ear, but the VxV provides a better seal and fits without a doubt. The VxV doesn’t require any frequent adjustments. The Solaris is a 4 drivers hybrid earphone and has 1 dynamic driver with 3 balanced armatures per side. The VxV has 1 more driver but that really isn’t much of an advantage. I really hate the ‘more drivers the better’ sound arguments. Well, it’s time to get down to business: which one sounds better. They both have similar extension on trebles but the VxV extends slightly better and has more sparkle. VxV trebles are more natural and transparent while Solaris’ are warm, smooth, and creamy. The details and resolution of both are pretty similar but due to its clean and clear presentation, the VxV provides more in this department. The mids are more bodied and textured on the VxV and its clean and clear presentation continues on here as well. The Solaris is warmer and smoother and is more V-Shaped in the mid area. Vocals are laid back and more distanced in the Solaris while the VxV has a forward and more emotional presentation. The bass is slightly more powerful, punchy, and deep on the Solaris at the cost of being slower, where the VxV has better decay, control, and tightness. I thought the Solaris had a huge soundstage and its stereo-like performance is unbeatable but the VxV has a wider, deeper, and more holographic soundstage than the Solaris. Wow. The Solaris is super sensitive and you might hear some background noise from your source, but the VxV has a pitch black background. I really like the Solaris and its warm, musical, and enjoyable presentation but I like the VxV more with its balanced, transparent, and beautifully detailed presentation.Good job rabbit.

VxV vs Oriolus Percivalli:

The Oriolus Percivalli is another great gem to me, and I always enjoy listening to any genre with it. It is more than double the cost of the VxV, so it is not a cheap earphone. The Percivalli is also a 5 driver hybrid IEM and has 1 dynamic driver, 2 balanced armature drives, and 2 electrostatic drivers per unit. The Percivalli is made with resin and has a wooden faceplate with a smokey grey translucent body. The materials and build quality are top notch, just like the VxV. They are pretty similar in size and both provide great comfort in the ear. Soundwise, the Percivalli is more engaging, warm, and musical while the VxV4 has great transparency with fantastic balance and a natural presentation. The Percivalli’s treble has more quantity and sparkle, and also has better technical performance. Surprisingly, the VxV holds its own against the electrostatic weapons of the Percivalli. The VxV is slightly less extended but the clean and clear presentation with fantastic transparency brings out some great performance. The mid frequencies are similar overall, but the Percivalli has organic and warm mids while the VxV has a slightly more forward and natural presentation. Vocals are slightly more forward on the VxV, and the Percivalli has laid back vocals but both male and female sounds are just a bit thicker. The clean presentation of the VxV feels great in details and resolution, but the Percivalli pulls ahead slightly as there is no significant difference. The bass is more powerful, heavy, and punchy on the Percivalli but the VxV answers back with its fast, controlled and tight bass. When you play both earphones back-to-back like an A/B test, it becomes more obvious. First, the Percivalli’s bass becomes more excited and fun, but after that you realize it feels slow and perhaps even muddy when compared to the VxV’s bass performance. It is more obvious with EDM-like music. Soundstage is more open, airy, and white on the VxV which makes it very unique, but the Percivalli also has an excellent and fresh soundstage where you never feel congested. Overall, the Percivalli is better in some areas, but it’s over double the cost of the VxV, which gives a lot for a lot less money.

VxV vs QDC Anole VX:

The QDC Anole VX is well known and is a pretty famous earphone in the audiophile community. It has a fully acrylic body and is simply beautiful. Unlike the hybrid VxV, the Anole has 10 balanced armature drivers per side. The build and material quality is fantastic, much like the VxV, but it’s design provides a better seal and fits like a glove. The Anole VX has tuning switches that you can make minor adjustments on sound and I have all the switches turned on. The VX is also more than double the cost. The sound signatures are quite similar but they are different in some areas. The trebles are similar in quantity and quality but the VxV has better clarity and cleaner presentation. The VX mixes both technicality and musicality that present a great harmony on the mid frequencies, while the VxV is slightly less fun but it has a slightly more forward and emotional presentation. Both earphones are great in transparency and technicality, but they don’t drown you in the details either. The bass is more clinical, drier, and faster on the VX. The VX definitely takes advantage of the balanced armature drivers here. On the other hand, the VxV’s bass response is fantastic for a dynamic driver which has great recovery time, and keeps the bass tight and controlled. On the VX, bass notes mostly come from low mids while the VxV has a better sub-bass feel and goes deeper but in much lower quantity than the VX. The VxV definitely has a wider and deeper soundstage and has a better airy feel while the Anole VX is slightly narrow and doesn’t have the feeling of freshness like the VxV has. Overall, both earphones are great and it really comes down to preference, but the VxV has bang for your buck.

Verdict

This is my first Fir Audio product review, and I had a chance to listen to the M5 for around 5 minutes which was awesome with its thunderous bass with hyper detailed lights. After listening to the M5, my expectation was quite high for the VxV before I got it, and the VxV did not disappoint. When we look at the pricing of the VxV on the Fir Audio line up, we see that it has an almost entry-level position, but don’t be fooled! The VxV is an earphone that salutes the TOTL level with its sound performance, material quality, and ATOM system for long listening hours. It is a fantastic earphone with an ability to handle all kinds of genres and it’s easy-to-love sound presentation. I know it’s hard to use price/performance definitions for $1,000 earphones, but these days, TOTL status earphones almost go up to $5,000 and the VxV deserves to be recognized as a fantastic earphone with a reasonable price.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: