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FiiO FD5 Review (IEM)

Rate this IEM:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 7.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 47 25.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 126 67.4%

  • Total voters
    187

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the FiiO FD5 IEM. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $299.
Fiio FD5 Review IEM.jpg


The FD5 is very elegant looking and feeling. It is solid weight wise yet has those fine features. It is not too big so fit my ear easily.

Note: The measurements you are about to see are made using a standardized Gras 45C. Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don't be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don't do). As you will see, I confirm the approximate accuracy of the measurements using Equalization and listening tests. Ultimately headphone measurements are less exact than speakers mostly in bass and above a few kilohertz so keep that in mind as you read these tests. If you think you have an exact idea of a headphone performance, you are likely wrong!

FiiO FD5 Measurements

Let's start with our usual dashboard and special target for IEMs:
Fiio FD5 Measurements Frequency Response IEM.png


I was pleased to see proper amount of deep bass response albeit, with some overshoot in upper bass/lower midrange. We also have a small trough and a bit of peaking from 3 to 6 kHz. Overall compliance is very good.

Here is the relative response which is useful for developing EQ filters:
Fiio FD5 Measurements Relative Frequency Response IEM.png


Distortion is exceptionally low, beating a some "high-end" audio electronics!

Fiio FD5 Measurements Relative THD Response IEM.png


Fiio FD5 Measurements Distortion THD Response IEM.png


Group delay is very clean:
Fiio FD5 Measurements Group Delay vs Frequency Response IEM.png


Impedance is low but flat:
Fiio FD5 Measurements Impedance IEM.png


Sensitivity is typical for IEMs:

most sensitive efficient IEM review.png


FiiO FD5 Listening Tests
As soon as I played my standard playlist, I could immediately tell the neutrality but with great precision/clean sound. I almost didn't develop an EQ but I thought I should to see the validity of our target response. I am glad I did because it did provide an improvement:
Fiio FD5 Equalization EQ Parametric Filter IEM.png


Without the filter, you thought the bass was just fine but put in that dip, go back and forth, and you realize that it is a bit boomy without EQ. Typical of this type of correction, the sound can then be a bit bright but pulling that the peak with filter 3 did the job nicely. Band 2 just filled the last piece of the puzzle. As much as I like the sum of these three filters, I could see someone thinking the sound is better without them which is fine by me. We are not talking about big correction here.

Once done, I could not wait to take the picture of the FD5 for the review, and return to listening to them. That is what I am doing as I type this! The sound is so gorgeously detailed and clean without a hint of brightness or distortion. Deep bass while not the same as the over the ear best-in-class headphones, is actually able to impart the impression of sub-bass. It is hard to ask for more.

Spatial effects at times were startlingly good such as the intro in the Pink Floyd track you see above. This kept repeating in other tracks where such effects existed. The level of realism made you want to turn your head to see what is behind you!

Conclusions
The FD5 shows excellent engineering with a response curve that is close to our target. The deviations in it are minor and easily corrected. Once there, you are treated to superb fidelity with amazing lack of any flaws/distortion. It is a joy to listen to. $299 is high compared to budget IEMs but at the same time, is way below high-end ones that fetch thousands. So depending on your perspective, it presents a nice bargain.

It is my pleasure to recommend the FiiO FD5.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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  • Fiio D5 Frequency Response.zip
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sweetchaos

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amirm

amirm

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It looks like these have interchangeable 'sound tubes' for tuning. Did you measure these with the wide or narrow tubes @amirm?
Wide ones.
 

phoenixdogfan

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They are expensive, but they seem like a good value. Inasmuch as these might be used OTG, does any member have a recommendation for an Android PEQ app that could accomplish these corrections Amir, or, for that matter, Crinacle shows?
 

Earfonia

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So the trend of in general dynamic driver is superior in distortion performance against BA drivers continues.
Can we see the dominant harmonic of this IEM? Is it the odd or the even harmonic?
My observation so far is dynamic driver usually (not always) have dominant even harmonic.
Thanks @amirm for this review!
 

milan616

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They are expensive, but they seem like a good value. Inasmuch as these might be used OTG, does any member have a recommendation for an Android PEQ app that could accomplish these corrections Amir, or, for that matter, Crinacle shows?

Wavelet is very popular, but it uses a graphic equalizer. You would have to convert the given PEQ filters to match the format used, but there's also a chance someone has added this headphone to the Wavelet built in database already!
 

xaviescacs

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But... wait a second... is this better than the majority of over-ear headphones or what I'm missing? The only trade-offs are sub bass and comfort?
 
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amirm

amirm

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But... wait a second... is this better than the majority of over-ear headphones or what I'm missing? The only trade-offs are sub bass and comfort?
That's it.
 

xaviescacs

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IEMs are not my territory and never will be, but from a technical point of view their product page looks really nice!

3680852.gif
True! With FR measurment against the Harmann target included. Now they can add the ASR badge to the prizes, next to others! IMHO companies would love to have an special one (with the panther?) for recommended products.
 

Vict0r

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Solid IEM from a solid company! Btw, Fiio is currently developing their first pair of powered desktop speakers. Can't wait to see how those turn out.
 

Nango

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So the trend of in general dynamic driver is superior in distortion performance against BA drivers continues.
Can we see the dominant harmonic of this IEM? Is it the odd or the even harmonic?
My observation so far is dynamic driver usually (not always) have dominant even harmonic.
Thanks @amirm for this review!
I thought only electrostatic drivers are the way to go in iems despite their price.
 

Merkurio

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Great performer from FiiO and other surprising review with a relatively modern (within IEM time frames) model, great job Chief!

Not too far from crinacle's measurements, including the great channel matching, so it correlates well:

graph.png


This thing alongside with the JVC FD01/02 (and their Drop version, the FDX1) are really solid options in the single dynamic range from under 300 bucks (the FD02 even lower than that from Amazon Japan), I hope to see a review of the JVCs one day in order to corroborate if they are as competitive in terms of distortion as this FD5, but I suspect they are.

Moondrop cheap dynamic drivers as the Aria, Starfield and Kato are super hot IEMs too, and I suspect a similar value proposition with them as the HE400se and HD560S in the over-ear realm.

ASR gets more and more interesting over time, like good wine!
 
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