Sunny from Better Audio/HifiHear recently approached me about reviewing the F30. I purchased the F30 through Amazon, but was reimbursed by the Vendor for doing so via paypal. Thoughts posted are my own and no preview or requests for alteration was provided to or by the vendor.
Unboxing / Packaging:
The F30 comes in an unassuming black cardboard box with the HifiHear name and logo emblazoned in gold on the front. Inside the box is a small square soft case with a foam surround. All the accessories are hiding within the small case (a cramped fit). There are 6 sets of tips included, 3 black silicone in S,M,L and 3 gray and red spinfit like tips that were all roughly the same size in my kit. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be different sizes or if they are simply provided as an option to tune signature. Product literature did little to clear that up as I was able to find no reference to the tips. Underneath the case is a card thanking you for your purchase and requesting that you rate the company on Amazon’s review system.
The earpieces themselves are a clear shell with a choice of black, red, or blue faceplates. The Nozzles and mmcx connectors appear to be gold plated and are well fitted as no gaps or glue can be seen at the junctions. Nozzles have a fine screen at the face and a pronounced lip to hold tips firmly in place. L/R designations are clearly marked on the inside of the shell just below the connector. Earpieces are mid sized and similar in size and shape to the Kz Zst.
I have seen the F30 listed as both 2 DD + 1BA and 2BA+1DD. Once you have one in-hand to look at, it is clearly a single 10mm dynamic driver that handles the bass duties and two small bellsing BA drivers that handle the upper frequencies. As can be seen in the photo below, the two BA drivers are mounted immediately behind the nozzle next to the Dynamic driver. A single sound tube can be seen if looking down at the nozzle from above. The overall impedance is listed as 22Ω with a sensitivity of 116dB. As a result, these do not benefit from an external amp and actually pick up a notable hiss when run at high gain on my Opus#1s. They are very easy to drive and will pair well with most low powered sources like phones and tablets.
The cable starts with a 90° 3.5mm TRS jack with a brushed aluminum housing and gold plated Jack. As the cable exits the jack, strain relief is good and the cable itself has a very pliable rubber like casing without being tacky or tangle prone.. The cable itself is a twisted pair braid of silver plated copper up to the splitter which is brushed aluminum as well. A chin slider is mated to the top of the splitter and the cables exiting the splitter are single strands of the same materials used below. The upper end of the cable terminates with a 3 inch pre-formed earhook followed by a brushed aluminum mmcx jack with blue and red rings to identify L/R. Overall the cable is well made and finding a silver plated copper cable in a <$50 iem package is somewhat uncommon.
All sound impressions were done using the supplied large tips. As a side note, I did have to struggle a little to get a proper seal even when using the largest of the supplied tips and found that Foams or Auvio wide bores did seal a bit more easily than the provided tips.
The F30 has limited sub-bass reach with roll-off beginning at around the 50Hz mark and being very pronounced by 40Hz. Mid-bass by comparison is pushed forward giving the f30 a small amount of bleed into the mids and a bit of added warmth. The mid-bass while pushed is not bloated and speed is good. Overall bass is well controlled and texture is good. Bassheads won’t be satisfied with the F30 but most looking for controlled bass will be happy to see a well rendered bass line that is only mildly pushed forward.
With the V tuning we’d expect mids to take a backseat and they do but not by as much as one might expect. The mid-bass is elevated and falls as it enters the lower mids leaving the lower mids somewhat forward while the true mids and upper mids are behind the rest of the signature. A bit of Eq work and the mids are back to near balanced as the f30 does react well to EQ unlike some of its direct competitors that struggle with mids regardless of Eq.
The lower treble climbs back forward of the mids and reaches a higher level than the mid-bass at about the 5kHz mark. Presence is good and vocals feel intimate like front row seat at the concert. Treble falls back a bit above about 7kHz but still retains some air and sparkle. Cymbals are well rendered for the most part by high-hat does have a bit of a metallic edge to it.
Soundstage / Imaging:
Soundstage is wider than deep with some height but no dimension is particularly large. The F30 gives a fairly intimate portrayal and is best used for individuals or small ensembles. It can feel a bit crowded with large orchestral pieces especially during particularly busy passages. Imaging is reasonably good but breaks down as tracks get busy. I found that I didn’t notice the congestion with Classic Rock or Pop but began to see the issue with larger ensemble pieces and full orchestra performances.
With a large number of hybrid designs being introduced to the market in 2018, the F30 has plenty of competition to contend with. Build quality is good but the F30 is plastic and with the proliferation of metal shelled IEMs in the same price range the F30 will need to compete on sound quality and cable quality in order to win votes.
Luckily, I find the F30 to have a more pleasant signature than the Revonext QT3 as its treble is not as forward and harsh. Low end extension is slightly better on the QT3, but honestly close enough that in real world listening I don’t think the difference would be noticed.
The BQEYZ KB1 is another competitor to the F30 with a similar signature. The F30 has a bit better detail in the lower mids and the bass is a bit better layered and textured when compared to the KB1.
The ZsN shares a very similar shape with the f30 but a very different signature. Those looking for V will like the F30, those looking for balanced lows with a bit more treble emphasis will probably opt for the ZsN.
Thoughts / Conclusion:
The HifiHear F30 falls into the category of sub-$50 hybrids that have exploded in the last year. The configuration of 1 DD and 2 BA being probably the single most popular configuration in that category certainly puts the f30 in with a lot of company competing for the buyers dollars. The f30 does a lot well. It has a mild V signature that does not let bass get too far ahead and get bloated or treble get too far out front and get shouty or sibilant while still bringing enough energy to not feel congested or constricted when listening to most popular genres. For lovers of rock and pop, the f30 will do well. The faults of the F30 are some congestion with larger orchestral pieces, and a sub-bass that rolls off a bit higher up than some competitors in the class. I don’t see this being the in-ear for bass heads and it likely wont satisfy those looking for an in-ear for classical music. Overall the F30 is well made, sounds good, has a better cable than many at its price point, and offers the user a lot of for the price. I look forward to seeing what HifiHear comes out with next as this is a great early effort.