Fiio x Crinacle: FHE Eclipse Review

Fiio is one of the big names in Chi-Fi audio and is well-known for their long line of portable amplifiers and digital audio players, as well a small series of in-ear monitors. My personal past experience with Fiio has been interesting. I find their lineup has some great value but also nothing that I have personally kept. But despite that, their popularity and success is well known in the personal audio world, and it's hard to not to miss their products when searching for your next portable audio gear.

I was a little surprised when Crinacle, the famous IEM audio reviewer, announced a partnership with Fiio. Up until that point, he had worked with Fearless and Moondrop: two much less known brands in the industry, though Moondrop's popularity continues to rise. With Fiio, and also the recent KZ partnership, Crinacle's tuning is now being made available to much larger audience that has a bigger reach than previously, as both brands are sold in many online retailers, and Fiio even being carried in stores across the globe.

The Fiio x Crinacle FHE: Eclipse, or Eclipse for short, is this collaboration. It's Crinacle's re-tuning of the Fiio FH3 IEM and this Eclipse model sells for $149 USD. Crinacle and Fiio provided me with this review sample.

The Eclipse is a 1-dynamic driver, 2-balanced armatures hybrid model that comes in a black metal shell that looks very much like the other Fiio IEMs of the past, including the FH3. The cable is a browner-tint than the silver used elsewhere, and relatively thick but quite usable, and terminates in an L-shaped 3.5mm connector on one end, and mmcx angled connectors at the ear pieces.

I found the design to be very comfortable for prolonged usage, and the weight to feel hefty in the hands, but not very noticeable in the ear. So this brings a nice feel overall to this IEM and the quality is representative of the price tag.

Fiio also includes a series of tips and cleaning brush, along with their Fiio branded hard shell case. The case reminds me a lot like a custom-sized Pelican case, but has a wavy texture appearance on the transparent top that makes the case pop a little bit giving it a nice finish and look.

Sound Impressions

The Eclipse very much follows Crinacle's general target tuning with a well-balanced sound profile that has a weighted bass, slightly recessed mid-range, and a generally smooth, but extended treble response. The Eclipse is definitely bass-leaning, but also exhibits some enough mid-range and treble to be considered perhaps the most V-shaped Crinacle-branded IEM product to date.

With all IEMs, there is no perfect flawless IEM. With the Eclipse, I really like the general tonality of it, especially the extended treble and the warmer body of the low end. Both of these give both a clarity and definition to the upper harmonics in instruments such as cymbals, hi-hats, and orchestral strings. With the warmer body in the bass and low-midrange, I enjoy listening to bass guitars and deeper male vocals, and all of this gives off a pretty convincing and enjoyable listen for these areas.

But, I do find the Eclipse just a little hot and forward at times in the upper-midrange. While in many parts of Norah Jones' "Shoot the Moon", I found the Eclipse to handle it quite well and sound very nice, but there certain parts where the snare drum hits or the some of the guitar solos just get a little too forward and emphasized, and I feel it becomes borderline harsh when listening at a moderate to loud volume. This also occurs with Jones's vocals every so often as well. 

The uneven upper mids I think is the biggest flaw on the Eclipse, as it causes this type of harsh fatigue occur when listening to a lot of the music I do. Now, this IEM isn't bright in general, but the little FR bump at around 2KHz, can cause some wincing every once in a while, but its no way as bad as many other IEMs I have listened to, and for the most part, a little listening adjustment can help the brain compensate for this, for the most part. This area's sensitivity will vary from user to user as well.

At $149, the technical performance of the FHE Eclipse is about on par to others in this class. It doesn't present any real wow factors in its technical performance, and nothing truly stands out, but nothing really performs poorly either. If I had to nitpick, I'd say that the bass texture is a bit flat, and lacking resolution and dynamics. Let's say, it performs fine for the price, but also doesn't outperform something lesser in cost like the Moondrop Aria or Dunu Titan S either.

The soundstage, depth and general sense of openness are all about average here. No big giant soundscapes, but also not claustrophobic either, which is typically a problem with some of the under $200 sets, but again, I do run into the occasional zingers from the forward upper-mids peak.

Quick Final Thoughts

All in all, I find the Fiio Eclipse to be just about what I expected it to be. Crinacle's tuning is solid, but it still has some flaws which I can more or less live with at the asking price. I don't think this is my favorite Crinacle IEM release to date, as that probably belongs to the Blessing 2 Dusk, which is double the cost, and doesn't fit nearly as well for my ears, but this is a decent addition to the IEM lineup which I think will make a lot of users happy with the results.

Whether this out-performs its contemporaries here such as the Moondrop Aria/Kanas Pro/KXXS/Kato, etc is probably going to go down more to preferences. I think I prefer the Moondrop offerings just slightly more, but this is a perfectly acceptable and good set at its selling price.

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