• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Fiio A5 Portable Headphone Amp Review

OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
28,203
Likes
72,781
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #83
Is it possible that the worse measured performance on high gain is due to the 60hz grounding issue being amplified?
High gain always has worse noise performance whether it is due to mains hum or other sources.
 

Degru

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
115
Likes
70
Location
Beaverton, OR
#84
High gain always has worse noise performance whether it is due to mains hum or other sources.
I guess that makes sense. The other thing I was wondering about was why you didn't test the low gain mode power past 100mW. It should be able to accept more voltage input and the 789 amp used as reference is in fact tested all the way into clipping at all gains.. Unrealistic scenario for portable use I guess?
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
28,203
Likes
72,781
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #85
The other thing I was wondering about was why you didn't test the low gain mode power past 100mW. It should be able to accept more voltage input and the 789 amp used as reference is in fact tested this way. Unrealistic scenario for portable use I guess?
It is unrealistic in any use since it is unlikely that you have an external DAC that outputs more than 2 volts unbalanced. As it is, most phones will likely struggle to get to 1 volt.
 

Degru

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
115
Likes
70
Location
Beaverton, OR
#86
It is unrealistic in any use since it is unlikely that you have an external DAC that outputs more than 2 volts unbalanced. As it is, most phones will likely struggle to get to 1 volt.
I actually used it with my Geekout 1000's 4V output on several occasions :) but I get your point. I'm assuming it will flatten out until clipping like the high gain graph does
 

deafenears

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
193
Likes
180
#90
It's still technically Fiio's flagship portable amp, but oddly enough it appears to be unavailable on their aliexpress page as well.. Can still find it on US Amazon tho. Perhaps they're getting ready to release a new one soon?
Maybe... in 2 days?
The launch event will be held on Saturday, December 28 in Guangzhou, China, starting from 15:00 Beijing time. This time, we will release "4" new products in total, ...
https://fiio.com/newsinfo/359743.html
 
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
14
Likes
12
#92
High gain always has worse noise performance whether it is due to mains hum or other sources.
Amir, does this mean applying a ReplayGain tag to my file is bad? So currently i am using Cayin N3 (High Gain) > Topping NX5 (Low Gain) but at 100% Volume Level, and sometimes i feel like it is not loud enough.
(Cayin N3 doesn't have a true line out port)

I read somewhere (i think in this forum but i can't find it) that even if you output the same amount of voltage(hence volume), using high gain still gives you more noises.

So, remove ReplayGain tag and avoid using high gain as much as possible?
 

Nango

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
688
Likes
346
Location
D:\EU\GER\Rheinhessen
#93
@amirm: You mentioned here you heard at maximum levels severe bass distortion in high Gain mode ...... Was it with all the music you listened to or just with selective tracks? Can you remember this??

The source I am checking my A5 with delivers in SE mode only 1,5V so I need to crank up the volume on A5 to the maximum with the source's output at 90% volume. A5 here drives the Sundara (37R, 94 db/mW) only to levels I would call "moderate loud", so not really loud and no way to listen extra loud. But I noticed only one time, maybe two, clear bass distortion while listening to my 10-11 reference tracks, so to me it is dependent from the recordings.

Very decent amp by the way, in real it is much much smaller than I thought. My A5 was offered as "refurbished item" but it seems to me brand new, even the label where you can scratch a code to register the item was intact. They probably sell the last ones before they present a new amp in their upcoming meeting (see above).
 
Last edited:

ninetylol

Active Member
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
106
Likes
93
#94
@amirm: You mentioned here you heard at maximum levels severe bass distortion in high Gain mode ...... Was it with all the music you listened to or just with selective tracks? Can you remember this??

The source I am checking my A5 with delivers in SE mode only 1,5V so I need to crank up the volume on A5 to the maximum with the source's output at 90% volume. A5 here drives the Sundara (37R, 94 db/W) only to levels I would call "moderate loud", so not really loud and no way to listen extra loud. But I noticed only one time, maybe two, clear bass distortion while listening to my 10-11 reference tracks, so to me it is dependent from the recordings.

Very decent amp by the way, in real it is much much smaller than I thought. My A5 was offered as "refurbished item" but it seems to me brand new, even the label where you can scratch a code to register the item was intact. They probably sell the last ones before they present a new amp in their upcoming meeting (see above).
You can reach 120db with 400mw with the sundara and the A5 can achieve 600mw. It should be plenty loud. Check your source input.
 

Nango

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
688
Likes
346
Location
D:\EU\GER\Rheinhessen
#95
Yes, but Amir's measurements were done with an input 2,5V while my source is only capable of 1,5V in SE mode. Will try it's balanced mode with 2,25V output but need an adapter 2,5 TRRS to 3,5 regular.
 
OP
amirm

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
28,203
Likes
72,781
Location
Seattle Area
Thread Starter #96
@amirm: You mentioned here you heard at maximum levels severe bass distortion in high Gain mode ...... Was it with all the music you listened to or just with selective tracks? Can you remember this??
This was only with my super inefficient Ether CX headphones. But yes, it was with the bass heavy tracks I use for every headphone test.
 

Degru

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Messages
115
Likes
70
Location
Beaverton, OR
#97
Got mine back, man I almost forgot what I've been missing after using integrated only (and apple dongle) for a month :)

Much better dynamics when I'm not pushing tiny integrated dac/amps to their limits
 

tential

Active Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2018
Messages
140
Likes
64
#98
Wish we knew how bassboost performed. After seeing @amirm not like the n1s bassboost, kind of worried this and the q5s have a good bass boost.
 

mkawa

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2019
Messages
364
Likes
326
Eagerly waiting to get my review sample back! Also, fiio launched their new products and it was a bunch of bluetooth headphones, an affordable fh series iem and a new ak4499 based dap. They seem to be perfectly happy with the a5 as their flagship portable amp
 
Top Bottom