JVC HA-FXT90 Review

A dual dynamic driver IEM offering from JVC.


Specs:
Driver: Dual Dynamic (micro drivers)
Frequency Response: 8Hz~25KHz
Impedance: 12Ω
Sensitivity: 107dB
Cord Length: 1.2m
Plug Type:  : L-Plug
Price: $99 from FutureShop.ca

Packaging / Accessories:  
The FXT90 comes in a squared, transparent plastic packaging, showcasing both earpieces on the front. The accessories include 3 pairs of silicone tips (S,M,L), a carrying case, a shirt clip, and a cable winder. The cable winder is a good addition and certainly very useful as was the extra compact carry case. Accessories wise, the FXT90 does not give you too much, but I am very fond of all the included accessories and would still give it a 8/10 in this regard. 

Build Quality / Appearance / Cable:
Although the housings of the FXT90 are made of plastic, it is very well built. The drivers are 5.8mm each and are built of carbon and with carbon nanotubes. I did experience driver flex but only when putting them on. There are some people who reported that their pairs don't have driver flex, but the overall sound isn't affected. The FXT90 has angled nozzles and an interesting design with part of the housing translucent. On the left ear, there is a little raised dot to distinguish between left and right for when you are in the dark, which I find to be very convenient. The cable is quite nice - not too thin, not too thick, yet still very sturdy and tangle free. What made me most happy though was seeing that JVC decided to make the cable "normal" length, unlike the it's bigger brother, the FX700, where the cable is only 0.8m. Everything on the FXT90 is well reliefed and I don't foresee any issues with the cable.

Comfort / Isolation: 
The FXT90's design and angled nozzle fits well in my ears and are very comfortable. They are designed so that they can be worn cable up or down. Personally, I find wearing the cable down more comfortable, but regardless of how they're worn, both ways create a snug fit and never did I find myself adjusting them even in long listening sessions. Isolation however, is subpar (there's a little vent) and not very isolating. It is a little better than the FX700, by just a teeny bit. 

Sound: 
The overall sound is very dynamic and "fun". Compared to the FX700, the FXT90 is brighter, has less sub bass and more forward mids. It is transparent and nicely detailed; a solid all rounder that is good for all genres. 
Lows: Bass is strong and punchy, but it does not overpower the mids or the highs. Quantity wise, they do not have enough to be classified as a true basshead IEM, but they do extend well into the sub bass region. Although there is just a hint of mid bass hump, the bass is not muddy and is very well textured. The bass is tight, with just the right amount of weight and impact without being offensive. I can see some bassheads finding the FXT90 lacking in bass, especially with an overall brighter sound. However, to most people, the bass should be just right, and if a song calls for it, the bass will still turn it up a notch. Overall, the bass is very musical without being overpowering or bloated.
Mids: The mids are slightly forward and not recessed like I find the FX700's mids to be. It is a little warm and very engaging. Guitars sound absolutely amazing on the FXT90. Vocals are also rendered extremely well with a sense of intimacy and lushness. The note presentation isn't soft, but not too aggressive and still has good detail retrieval. As a whole, the midrange is smooth, refined and quite transparent. I actually find the FXT90 to be slightly mid-centric, especially when compared to the FX700 side by side.
Treble: The treble is forward and bright, yet it is not too harsh nor is it piercing. It is energetic while still retaining the smoothness of the midrange for a non-fatiguing listen. The treble balances out pretty well with the mids and lows, never becoming too bright for me. The FXT90 does have some treble sparkle and I did detect just a tiny bit of sibilance that does not interfere with my enjoyment of my music. 
Soundstage
As a big fan of the FX700's, I had high expectations for the FXT90. The FXT90's soundstage is above average with good width, lots of depth and is very well layered. It has great timbre and instrument separation could not be better. The FXT90 does not have a laid back sound, instead it seats you pretty close to the stage and really engages you in the music.  

Summary:
The FXT90 is dynamic and very musical; it is fun and exciting to listen to. Combined with great build quality and nice useful accessories, these are definitely worth a listen and competitive in its price range. At less than $150 (edit: FutureShop now has them at $99), they have great price performance ratio and are really a great value in my honest opinion.