We had our first taste of FIDUE audio equipment earlier in the year and we were unanimously impressed. So it is interesting to try the more specialist FIDUE A73 IEM (in-ear-monitor) earphone release which features a dual driver system for £99. The ambition of this driver design is to achieve accuracy of sound with rich definition and we’ve been playing a large catalogue of audio to see if it’s necessary.
Design & Control
A plain aluminium outer-casing is sandwiched together with a translucent red plastic inner-casing. The construction feels very solid, yet the aesthetic appeal isn't present in the way it was with the charmingly luxurious FIDUE A65 earphones. Pleasingly, plenty of rubber strain reliefs at the ends of cables should help to prevent splits and unintended damage. The cable measures 1.3m in length and is made from silver-plated oxygen-free copper. Along it is a single button remote for pausing and playing music. It can also answer calls from a smartphone with the integrated microphone too.
What the FIDUE A73 earphones may lack in design flare, they make up for in comfort. A supplied zipped carry pouch reveals small, medium, large and one pair of dual-flanged silicone tips. It should be noted that this style of earphones embed themselves into your ears more so than other earphone designs and each ear actually locks it into place so to speak. Furthermore, to keep them balanced the cable feeds behind the ear, making them a great choice for runners if using the supplied silicone ear guides to keep the cable in place. The medium silicone tips were primarily used in our usage and they were so comfortable it was hardly noticeable that they were even sitting in-ear. One complaint with this style of earphones is that they’re not quick to pop in and out of ears due to the nature of their design. This can be frustrating when you just want to play something quickly.
A dual driver design does, in fact, go a long way in securing rigid definition that doesn't weaken when multiple ranges are competing in busy songs. They space out instruments, vocals, etc., and whilst we can’t actually hear the distinct presence of two drivers in each of our ears, we can’t fail to notice a character of sound that seems like it’s coming from much larger drivers. FIDUE pitch the A73 earphones as being neutral because of the hybrid nature of a 10mm dynamic driver and armature driver co-working. This seems to be a fairly accurate description, although the bass is a smidgen more impactful. In contrast the £180 RBH EP3 earphones might be a more energetic listen, but the A73s have more dissection. For technicality amongst many industries this is why in-ear-monitors, like the A73s, are useful and why so many purists prefer the style. If that’s you, these are a treat for the ears!
The lively song ‘Over And Over’ by Hot Chip, played at volume levels of ear-aching heights which these earphones will attain, sounds controlled and the audio doesn't get hissy or distorted. Bass is hoisted and adds lots of impact to drums, but is gentle with both the mid and high ranges so not interfering. In fact, the mid-range is rather intricate with detailing and lends well to acoustics. ‘Sunrise’ by Norah Jones sounded very pure and direct - again more equated to headphones. There is a weak spot though, which is the high range. If we really scrutinise performance we notice that the pronunciation of ’sh’, ‘th’, etc from a collective of contrasting vocals can often sound distorted. Albeit a very minor criticism, but a flaw nonetheless, and Amy Winehouse seems to highlight it better than anyone. In general the highs are sparky in character and try hard to give music justice and authenticity. Hence the aforementioned issue.
Stereo imagery performance is a stand-out area about the FIDUE A73 earphones and is possibly the most immersive we’ve ever heard from any earphone set we’ve reviewed. The stereo is fluid and clear and the levels are impeccably tuned. ‘Ikarus’ by Ladi6 has a rippling intro instrumental, along with airy audio effects, that make a good tester for stereo ability, and the FIDUE A73 earphones whisk the fast paced audio seamlessly from one ear to the other. Stereo performance is often just so plain or acceptable from earphones, due to the tiny drivers, but these really are competing with on-ear headphones.
The FIDUE A73 earphones may not be the most fashionable in presentation but the audio performance definitely makes us overlook this. This dual driver design is something very special and produces a richly accurate sounding pair of comfortable IEM earphones for £99. However, the jewel in the crown is the stereo performance that springs into headphone territory.