Today a lot of headphone manufacturers are pushing technology envelope with innovations of new miniature driver designs with a big sound. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that I will be reviewing in-ear headphone a size of M&M with a bass that can rattle your brain and have it packaged with a high quality wire and in-line remote/mic for under $30, I probably wouldn't take it seriously. But here I am, sitting with a pair of new Fidue A31s in-ear headphones which can probably satisfy any basshead or those who favor Beats commercial bass-heavy sound at a fraction of a cost. Here is what I found.
Arrived in a very slick package with a nice open display box, beside a detailed specification list, I also enjoyed a little write up in the back about Benny Tan who is a designer of these headphones. You can clearly see that beside a pride in their new 8mm micro-dynamic driver, Fidue also takes a lot of pride in the overall design and presentation of the product. For sure, these headphones do look unique. Right out of the box they come with a slick double-flange eartips that look twice the size of the actual headphones. As I mentioned before, the headphones shell is about the size of a regular M&M candy with a very narrow nozzle that looks like a miniature hair-dryer The shell itself is translucent and you can see a small driver inside of it. Though, there is no typical strain relief due to miniature size, the headphone shell is extended to form a small plastic relief where the wire comes out. Here, they used a high quality silver plated twisted wire with a soft shrink-wrapped rubbery coating. The wire is easy to manage, it's not stiff, and doesn't spring as much.
The wire from the right earpiece has in-line remote control with a single multi-function button and mic. Taking an universal approach without volume control buttons, this remote works with any android or iOS phone and I tested it with my Note 2 where single click worked well with play/pause, double click to skip next, and triple click to skip prev, and long press to start Google NOW. Mic worked great with my phone, and on the other side people said my voice came through clear. The wire from left/right earpiece joins in a rubbery y-splitter and goes down to a straight slim 3.5mm connector.with a nice short strain relief. In addition to a pair of double-flange tips, there is also S/M/L silicon eartips, a shirt clip, and silicone earhooks for over-the-ear fitment in addition to default wire down. It also comes with a very unique plastic headphone case with a pebble like rounded shape and zippo-lighter like flip open top. Very impressive quality and amount of accessories for a pair of budget priced headphones.
So, how about the sound? Here is where I had a little mixed feeling because of their unique fitment (and my ear-canal anatomy) and bass-dominant sound signature. Due to their inner ear design, intended for a deeper insertion for a better sound isolation, I wasn't able to take advantage of included tips since I have a wide shallow ear canal opening. Fortunately, I had Comply foam eartips handy where T100 size is a perfect fitment for A31s model. I got an excellent fitment with a perfect sound isolation using TSX100 tips. To make sure these dynamic drivers got a proper burn-in, I let them "warm up" for about 30hrs before doing sound analysis. I found A31s to have a v-shaped fun signature sound with a heavy emphasis on bass and recessed mids with a sharp treble roll off. It wasn't my personal cup of tea sound signature, but based on their original tuning - they delivered it REALLY well!!! I even tried it with included double-flange tips for confirmation, though I was able to get a better fitment and isolation with Comply tips. The bass extends pretty low with a rumbling sub-bass and a rounded mid-bass hump. It does spills into mids which are recessed and warm, but still clear enough to deliver smooth laid back vocals. Treble didn't have as much sparkle and had a sharp roll off, but that is expected with such sound signature. The soundstage was average in width, which is also expected in this case.
Overall, I was a little more excited about the actual design details than a sound, but only because we all have our own personal sound preference. Without a doubt, Fidue A31s represents an amazing value offered for a price of $29.90 where you are dealing with one of the smallest and lightweight in-ear designs, a high quality silver-plated OFC twisted cable, in-line remote/mic for your smartphone, and a selection of quality accessories. It has a very popular commercial fun sound signature where you would have to pay 4x-5x as much to get the same from other big brand names. Though the sound wasn't my cup of tea, I'm sure a lot of others will appreciate and enjoy it!
Here are the pictures.