The A83 Hybrid IEM by Fidue
Tonality7.7
Build8.5
Fit7.5
Matchability7.5
Value For Money7.5
7.7Our Score

Chinese IEM specialists Fidue have just recently released their new flagship hybrid IEM, the A83, and Headfonics was lucky enough to be contacted by Fidue and asked if we could put the A83 through its paces with a review. I must admit I have not really tried Fidue earphones before but the consensus out there in the usual forums seem to be that previous releases have been quite well received in the IEM community. Visiting their website I actually gathered more information regarding their lineup of earphones through Google Translate than the English version which seemed rather empty in comparison.

Right now Fidue have 4 IEM’s, the A31s which we covered a few weeks ago at the budget end of the scale right up to the A81 and now the A83. All have a deep personal connection to Benny Tan, who in China is rather a well know headphone designer and is the founder of Fidue. It is also no surprise then to find out he also designed the entire Fidue range of earphones. What makes the Fidue A83 unique to the rest of the product line is that this is the company’s first step into hybrid driver and BA technology. The previous 3 models from Fidue have all taken their cue from single dynamic driver implementations. The A83 on the other hand is a hybrid design consisting of a dual BA for the mids and highs and a single 10mm dynamic driver for the lows.

Priced at around $350 US the Fidue A83 is $150 more than the older A81 dynamic IEM and competes directly with the likes of the UE900, older Westone 4R and some of the cheaper 2-3 driver custom IEM’s to name but a few. I have seen a lot of comparisons with IEMs already such as the DUNU DN2000 and the RE-600 but the only other hybrid I have had a chance to extensively try and use has been my 4 BA single dynamic UM Merlin custom and I can tell you right now the A83 is nothing like the Merlin and in a very positive way also.

What you get

Out of the box the A83 is a striking IEM with a full bodied and artfully adventurous design complimented by a red blue color scheme for left and right driver units (red right and blue left). It passes a strong resemblance to a cross between a miniature custom IEM and a Shure/Westone type unit and is designed for over the ear use as opposed to straight down. The A83 also comes packed with a pelican type small storage case, single detachable cable, tips, quarter jack and airline adapter and a collar clip. The tip selection includes s/m/l silicon, a single pair of large Comply and dual flange tips in small and medium.

The connectors

The Fidue A83 uses a gold plated MMXC connector type similar to the likes of Shure and the new range from Westone but unlike these two brands Fidue have made a small adaptation to the connector to stiffen the connection and prevent unintended disconnections. Looking carefully on the external facing side of the connector on the cable there is a small metal wedge that fits into a socket on the driver unit. This ‘tweak’ is intended to give you a more stable connection but it does mean the swivel ability of stock MMXC connectors are lost. The A83 shells do not have that swivel capability like the Westone W50 or the UE900 or some of the Shure units. I was a bit worried when I initially used them the driver units fell off with little or no pressure but after a few weeks it seems to have stiffened up noticeably and the connection is indeed pretty strong and stable.

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The cable

It is possible Fidue had the confidence to try out this MMXC connection mod due to the rather awesome cable they have decided to pack with the A83. Probably one of the most pliant and forgiving silver-plated OFC memory retention-free cables I have had the pleasure of using with a mid-fi IEM. It feels more durable than the Westone EPIC cable (and a good deal more revealing also) and just edges out my UE900 blue braided cable for flexibility and weight or pressure on the ear. Fidue have also seen fit to terminate it with a nice custom 3.5mm branded jack as well as a similar type metal tubing around the y-split for stress relief. The top end is encased in heat shrink which is a little bit more flexible than the UE900 equivalent when shaping around the ear and very light also.

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The case

From its unassuming cardboard box finally an IEM manufacturer from China who does not insist on suede frilly display boxes or generic pill box zipper cases for storing an IEM. The faux 1010 transparent pelican case is just perfect for any IEM user. This is usually the preserve of the likes of Westone and customs manufacturers like Heir and 1964Ears so a $300 IEM with a similar case gets my vote. And pleasingly the inside foam unit holder is not a nightmare to use for once though I did notice a little pressure during wrapping did loosen the glue from the layers. Naturally a touch of super glue put that issue to rest permanently in 30 seconds.

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The fit

The fit was hit and miss for me to be honest with the A83. The design is unique but in some way I felt it hindered the fit just a little more than it should have. In my hand it looked like a cracking design for a seal but the seal was much harder to achieve with the provided tips than I had imagined. The fit around from the concha to the tragus and anti-tragus was smooth and firm but the unit didn’t quite sit flush with my ears tending to stick out a bit. The angle of the nozzle didn’t quite work for my ear canals meaning often the seal felt a bit loose, especially in my rather crooked and deformed left ear canal. This had repercussions for my tip selection also. The silicon tips felt too slippery and the foams actually created a slight bit of discomfort. In the end the double flange tips felt the steadiest, most secure and provided the best seal out of the range offered. Isolation wise the seal was good but not as complete as the UE900 or the Westone W50. Background noise was audible on quieter tracks during some instances taking away from an otherwise engaging performance.

I had actually spoken to Michael from Fidue during the review write up on the tip issue. I did advise looking into the possibility of testing with triple flanges to see if they gave a bit more depth and a stronger seal without the placebo of immanent loss of seal I got with the existing tip selection even if none occurred. I do mean placebo by the way because at no time did I loose the seal but I honestly found myself pushing them in every few minutes thinking I was about to. This is just my personal preference of course and you could be one of the lucky ones with a perfect fit.

Click here for sound impressions…

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About The Author

Editor

Founder & Owner of headfonics.com. I first started reviewing in the late 80s (ouch!). Back then it was albums, rock concerts and interviews with a typewriter for the local rag. Now its desktop/portable and digital 2.1 audio on a rather nice laptop. How time flies.

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  • giorgio

    Hi all,
    very nice IEM the Fidue A83… Indeed I’m really close to buy them.
    Did someone ever try the new IEM Fighter by Ubsound? it’s an Italian brand and, believe me, the sound is really good being an IEM of only 69€…
    I bought them on Amazon Germany, but I’ve seen that the Fighter are now available in Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany and Switzerland… not in the UK so far, but available online everywhere.
    If someone already tested them please let me know your feedback.
    Cheers
    G

    • headfonics

      Have you tested them Giorgio? Say hi to Sandra and Stefano also for me – quite the Italian demand for a review of these eh?

      • giorgio

        G’day,
        yes I did, and I think it’s a nice iem considering the price. However, now I have to decide if buy Altone 200, DN-2000 or indeed this new Fidue A83…
        Sorry, I did not understand what does it mean say hi to sandra and stephan?!?

        • headfonics

          Hi Giorgio

          I had 4 indivdual requests to review the UBsound Fighter IEM in the last 2 days – was wondering if you are all together or know each other. All Italian 🙂

          Good luck with your choices, hope you can demo before you buy but if not the A83 is a good pick.

          • giorgio

            G’day,
            yes I’m really thinking about the Fidue, but as I really like the v-shaped sound (bass & highs onwards) I’m a bit affraid that the A83 could be a bit n-shaped Vs the Dunu dn2000 or the Altone 200… this is why I’m deeply reading all the worldwide reviews in order to better understand this mess. If you have some suggestions please go ahead. This is why I’m writing on Headfonics.
            Reagarding your kind opinion for the “4” Italian individual requestes, thanks, now I understand your sentence of yestarday (although a bit paranoic). Which also means that you have 5 persons interestes about this iem fighter (as in facts I never asked for any review… did I? I just asked, and still asking, to receive some feedback from some of your readers/followers about this product, only to understand if my good feeling is agreed and shared from the HF comunity as well).
            I think (in my humble opinion) that there are 3 main reasons if you are (and will) receiving many tweets from Italy regarding this iem:
            1) for instance, I bought them seeing many many reviews in Europe about this products, plus a huge adv campain everywhere online.
            2) consider that it is produced by the first Italian vendor in the history of the audio segment, therefore the iem fans are obviously proud and happy about this. Here in Italy all the main newspapers and specialized audio magazines are talking about Ubsound… plus the world of mouth.. I’m sure you can imagine… 🙂 We are not a large country as the US, so the gossip is quick and easier.
            3) maybe you didn’t know that, after the several main Italian blogs & forums, the two most important foreign iem’s blogs known in Italy are Head-Fi & Headfonics… (strange you didn’t know it). In fact many many links of your articles/reviews are posted very often on the Italian blogs/forums, only for those who speak in English (a little bit) like me obviously.
            So, maybe this could be the reason. But, sorry for my question: did someone really ask you for an article about the product? beacuse in this case it’s a real goal… isn’t it? which would means that you are famous in Italy too. You should be happy… at least ’til you are.
            Anyway, I’m just a follower also of Headfonics, so I don’t want to be involved in these bs.. beacuse I’m not interested at all and honestly I don’t care too. So I virtually accept your excuse in advance (and I forgive your team already) for your huge mistake implicating me in this useless mess. Don’t forget I’m a follower of your blog… so please let me know if you’d like I stop to read and share your reviews all around Italy. It would takes a minute to stop it, sharing the dumb reasons of this bs all around the Italian & European blogs.
            Regards
            G

          • headfonics

            Bravo spoken like a true Italian with heart 🙂 always a roller coaster ride. Not all of us are from the US actually smaller countries than Italy. Lets talk to Ubsound and quench the national thirst eh?

          • giorgio

            Hey mate! pissed off with me? Are you blaming or just joking??
            First of all, yes, I’m Italian, and? I have an heart, like you I hope, and? I don’t understand the lout tone of your message.
            Even though I grammatically understood your sentence “always a roller coaster ride”, I do not understand the sense and the real meaning… is it a caveat?? About what??
            Also I didn’t understand the sense of your second sentence “Let’s talk to Ubsound and quench the national thirst eh”. Appease the thirst of what? Water? Fame? May you please explain both sentences considering the level of my English? I mean I understood the translation, but not the sense… are them US proverbs?
            Anyway, you didn’t answer to my several questions in the post above so far… may you? Including my question concerning if I’m a welcome guest on your blog or not.
            Lastly, also please explain if the problem (in your mind) is that you think I’m writing for joke, spam, etc? Is your problem tied to the Ubsound sentence or Fidue sentence?
            when you’ll understand your mistakes, it would be appreciated and kind to receive a message like “I’m sorry”… Think about it… I hope anyway this is just a misunderstood… otherwise I kindly ask you to explain. Bye.

          • headfonics

            Not at all – all are welcome eh? I am not from the US by the way, much closer to Italy. Buy the A83 amico, you will love it, its got some amazing highs and looks great.

            Since I have never tested the other IEM’s yet I cant give you an insight however we just touched based with some of the DUNU distributors so we are hopeful of being able to do some reviews on this also and do some comparisons.

            Not sure when though so if you are in a rush then why not try the A83.

            the topic is the A83.

          • Hi
    • Franco

      Hi,
      I’ve got Fighter iem since May, a would say a complete and great iem. Nice design and accurate materials. The sound is good imho, very v shaped.
      Bass: powerfull, deep and textured
      Mids: warm and a bit backwarded
      Highs: precise and without distorsions
      The flatwire is quite confortable and tangle free.
      Taken on amazon italy at 65€
      Best
      Franco/Rome
      P.S. did you buy the Fidue?

      • headfonics

        The Fighter IEM is on its way in a few weeks for a review. 🙂

        • Franco

          Hi Headfonics,
          no reviews about the iem Fighter so far? I’m waiting for this 🙂
          Best Franco
          ps. I’ve just received the A83 taken from amazon uk… great performance at the first test… let me finish the burn-in then I’ll let you know more details.

          • headfonics

            Thanks Franco, hope you enjoy your A83.

            One of our writers has the Fighter for a review – lets wait to see what he thinks.

          • Franco

            Hi Headfonics,
            thanks for your reply, I will wait for the Fighter reading the next reviews as I always do.
            The Fidue are really nice… but I think they need a long burn-in as still too hard and not enough textured so far.
            Take care
            best

  • Franco

    Hi,
    can someone pls suggest the best price online where I could buy the Fidue A83?
    Here in Italy are too expensive.
    Thx
    Best
    Franco/Rome

    • headfonics

      I believe some ebay shops sell it for a little less but its quite new and lowest I saw was about $330.

  • NeilQ

    Hey marcus! How do you think will this pair with the Cayin c5? Thanks!

    • headfonics

      This might be a decent match Neil given the A83 has a good top end and the C5 has excellent staging.

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