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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

xykreinov

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This AutoEQ result doesn't look too good, especially with the higher peaks at and after 8KHz, might result in quite a fatigue listening experience, I do think most AutoEQ results require manually optimization afterwards.

View attachment 199279
I have experienced the same problem first hand with the Sony ZX-110:
Sony MDR-ZX110 Frequncy Response.png

Similar issue with a peak around 8.5kHz. It's definitely noticeable and fatigueing. However, once tamed, this setup is a joy to listen to, especially on such a light and comfy $10 pair of cans! There previously was no proper GRAS measurement of the ZX-110, so Amir's measurements are very valuable!
 

GeekyBastard

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I have experienced the same problem first hand with the Sony ZX-110:
Similar issue with a peak around 8.5kHz. It's definitely noticeable and fatigueing. However, once tamed, this setup is a joy to listen to, especially on such a light and comfy $10 pair of cans! There previously was no proper GRAS measurement of the ZX-110, so Amir's measurements are very valuable!
Yep, so definitely check the graph before applying the AutoEQ result! Sometimes the computer generated result can't be trusted 100%.
 

Merkurio

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This AutoEQ result doesn't look too good, especially with the higher peaks at and after 8KHz, might result in quite a fatigue listening experience, I do think most AutoEQ results require manually optimization afterwards.

View attachment 199279

The peak at 8 kHz are almost identical to the stock tuning and nonetheless, measurements over 7-8 kHz (even lower) need to be taken with a grain of salt because their inaccuracy.

However, you could try the preset and judge for yourself, and if you don’t like the results with the high region, you could eliminate the filters in those regions and keep just with the corrections from 6-7 kHz and below.

That’s the magic part about EQ, it’s not strictly defined by an online preset and you can make corrections here and there that suit with your preferences.
 

Maiky76

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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.
View attachment 197519

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:
View attachment 197520

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:
View attachment 197521

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

View attachment 197522

View attachment 197523

Group delay is very clean:
View attachment 197524

Impedance is low but flat:
View attachment 197525

Sensitivity is typical for IEMs:

View attachment 197526

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:
View attachment 197527

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/

Here are some thoughts about the EQ.


Notes about the EQ design:


  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve (and other constrains) with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be therefore more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF and maybe at HF).
  • The range around and above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo, the boosts and preamp gain (loss of Dynamic range) need to be carefully considered to avoid issues with, amongst other things, too low a Max SPL or damaging your device. You have beed warned.
  • Not all units of the same product are made equal. The EQ is based on the measurements of a single unit. YMMV with regards to the very unit you are trying this EQ on.
  • I sometimes use variations of the Harman curve for some reasons. See rational here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-5#post-989169 NOTE: the score then calculated is not comparable to the scores derived from the default Harman target curve if not otherwise noted.
  • Occluding IE devices generally must have very good fitting/seal in the user's ear canal for best performance.
    please spend a few minutes to pick up the best ear tip... Be sure to perform this step otherwise the FR/Score/EQ presented here are just worthless.
  • 1. more bass = better seal
    2. More isolation from the outside world = better fit
    3. Comfort
Good L/R match.

I have generated one EQ, the APO config file is attached.

Score no EQ: 75.8
Score Amirm: 86.5
Score with EQ: 92.7
Score with Full EQ: 97.6 -> to be tested lots of sharp EQ...

Code:
Fiio D5 APO EQ [email protected] 96000Hz
April122022-131102

Preamp: -7.8 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 19.26 Hz Gain 1.43 dB Q 0.59
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 121.55 Hz Gain -2.32 dB Q 2.02
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 225.64 Hz Gain -3.63 dB Q 1.08
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1008.21 Hz Gain 1.43 dB Q 0.51
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3818.39 Hz Gain 3.18 dB Q 2.42
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5609.00 Hz Gain -3.97 dB Q 4.95

Fiio D5 Full APO EQ [email protected] 96000Hz
April122022-131210

Preamp: -10.5 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 18.76 Hz Gain 1.49 dB Q 0.59
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 122.80 Hz Gain -2.41 dB Q 1.87
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 231.89 Hz Gain -3.64 dB Q 1.08
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1050.83 Hz Gain 1.83 dB Q 0.51
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1227.36 Hz Gain -0.97 dB Q 2.29
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3881.89 Hz Gain 3.12 dB Q 2.42
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 5599.25 Hz Gain -4.22 dB Q 4.59
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 8238.75 Hz Gain -1.63 dB Q 4.95
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10766.78 Hz Gain 6.96 dB Q 2.82
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 13886.87 Hz Gain -6.74 dB Q 4.51

Fiio D5 APO EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz Dashboard.png

Full EQ
Fiio D5 Full APO EQ Flat@HF 96000Hz Dashboard.png
 

Attachments

xykreinov

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The peak at 8 kHz are almost identical to the stock tuning and nonetheless, measurements over 7-8 kHz (even lower) need to be taken with a grain of salt because their inaccuracy.

However, you could try the preset and judge for yourself, and if you don’t like the results with the high region, you could eliminate the filters in those regions and keep just with the corrections from 6-7 kHz and below.

That’s the magic part about EQ, it’s not strictly defined by an online preset and you can make corrections here and there that suit with your preferences.
Most of the time, it's not as easy as eliminating the filters generated by AutoEQ in those regions, as they are often too broad (Q value too high). I add one or more filters specifically attacking the unwanted peaks, and verify the result by listening to pink noise.

My current ZX-110 eq uses 15 bands.
 

Jimbob54

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My pair arrived today- so far so good.

As usual, tip selection is key- the silicon medium as fitted out of the box are just a little loose- several selections later the Spinfit CP100 medium work a treat. Feel pretty secure in seated wearing. Like most metal IEM I wouldnt be wanting to walk with these in (or indeed lie down) as I think they would work loose and forever have you tapping your ears.

Sound decent out of the box but have that boominess you would expect from that c200 hz overemphasis- I usually knock most headphones down a bit in that area anyway.

Side note- regarding tips. I have now tried far too many different IEMs and tips- rolling either 3rd party or tips between IEMs. Its pretty clear that there is no one tip that suits one listener on all IEM. Good fit is a combination of tip AND dimensions of the IEM casing and nozzle and of course your ear (ears plural really as mine definitely arent mirror images). A shell that sits nicely in your ear shape and doesnt have too long or short a nozzle will allow a wider range of tips to still get a good fit. A nozzle too long or short or a shell that wants to move around your ear will require very specific tip selection (and pretty stable listening position) to not constantly come loose.
 

Jimbob54

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Here are some thoughts about the EQ.


Notes about the EQ design:


  • The average L/R is used to calculate the score.
  • The resolution is 12 points per octave interpolated from the raw data (provided by @amirm)
  • A Genetic Algorithm is used to optimize the EQ.
  • The EQ Score is designed to MAXIMIZE the Score WHILE fitting the Harman target curve (and other constrains) with a fixed complexity.
    This will avoid weird results if one only optimizes for the Score.
    It will probably flatten the Error regression doing so, the tonal balance should be therefore more neutral.
  • The EQs are starting point and may require tuning (certainly at LF and maybe at HF).
  • The range around and above 10kHz is usually not EQed unless smooth enough to do so.
  • I am using PEQ (PK) as from my experience the definition is more consistent across different DSP/platform implementations than shelves.
  • With some HP/amp combo, the boosts and preamp gain (loss of Dynamic range) need to be carefully considered to avoid issues with, amongst other things, too low a Max SPL or damaging your device. You have beed warned.
  • Not all units of the same product are made equal. The EQ is based on the measurements of a single unit. YMMV with regards to the very unit you are trying this EQ on.
  • I sometimes use variations of the Harman curve for some reasons. See rational here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pro-review-headphone.28244/page-5#post-989169 NOTE: the score then calculated is not comparable to the scores derived from the default Harman target curve if not otherwise noted.
  • Occluding IE devices generally must have very good fitting/seal in the user's ear canal for best performance.
    please spend a few minutes to pick up the best ear tip... Be sure to perform this step otherwise the FR/Score/EQ presented here are just worthless.
  • 1. more bass = better seal
    2. More isolation from the outside world = better fit
    3. Comfort
Good L/R match.

I have generated one EQ, the APO config file is attached.

Score no EQ: 75.8
Score Amirm: 86.5
Score with EQ: 92.7
Score with Full EQ: 97.6 -> to be tested lots of sharp EQ...

Code:
Fiio D5 APO EQ [email protected] 96000Hz
April122022-131102

Preamp: -7.8 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 19.26 Hz Gain 1.43 dB Q 0.59
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 121.55 Hz Gain -2.32 dB Q 2.02
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 225.64 Hz Gain -3.63 dB Q 1.08
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1008.21 Hz Gain 1.43 dB Q 0.51
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 3818.39 Hz Gain 3.18 dB Q 2.42
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 5609.00 Hz Gain -3.97 dB Q 4.95

Fiio D5 Full APO EQ [email protected] 96000Hz
April122022-131210

Preamp: -10.5 dB

Filter 1: ON PK Fc 18.76 Hz Gain 1.49 dB Q 0.59
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 122.80 Hz Gain -2.41 dB Q 1.87
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 231.89 Hz Gain -3.64 dB Q 1.08
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 1050.83 Hz Gain 1.83 dB Q 0.51
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 1227.36 Hz Gain -0.97 dB Q 2.29
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 3881.89 Hz Gain 3.12 dB Q 2.42
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 5599.25 Hz Gain -4.22 dB Q 4.59
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 8238.75 Hz Gain -1.63 dB Q 4.95
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 10766.78 Hz Gain 6.96 dB Q 2.82
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 13886.87 Hz Gain -6.74 dB Q 4.51

View attachment 199289
Full EQ
View attachment 199291
Any idea why either EQ need such a large Pre-amp reduction? Nearly 8dB on the gentle one with only 2 peaks, the largest being 3dB- seems excessive? (Of course, many of us will set it lower than that or use clipping indicators/ limiters to check)

EDIT- Just tried the gentle EQ- sounds good! Not going near the one with all the sharp peaks though.

Interestingly- by ear I was pulling the 100-150 area down as well as the 200 hz cut Amir used- still had the boom with just the 205hz cut

Also, clipping limiter seems happy at -3db at the minute.
 
Last edited:

deniall83

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Sorry for the complete noob question..

I'm using Roon so can I just copy Amir's EQ settings from the OP and call it done? I've never EQ'd before so hoping I can do it simply as a starting point.
 

someguyontheinternet

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Sorry for the complete noob question..

I'm using Roon so can I just copy Amir's EQ settings from the OP and call it done? I've never EQ'd before so hoping I can do it simply as a starting point.
It's a good starting point and is more likely than not gonna be an improvement.
Though to really understand how EQ makes an impact, I found some time playing around, tweaking and listening back and forth to be a good exercise for me personally.
 

GeekyBastard

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Any idea why either EQ need such a large Pre-amp reduction? Nearly 8dB on the gentle one with only 2 peaks, the largest being 3dB- seems excessive? (Of course, many of us will set it lower than that or use clipping indicators/ limiters to check)

EDIT- Just tried the gentle EQ- sounds good! Not going near the one with all the sharp peaks though.

Interestingly- by ear I was pulling the 100-150 area down as well as the 200 hz cut Amir used- still had the boom with just the 205hz cut

Also, clipping limiter seems happy at -3db at the minute.
There might be some errors, paging @Maiky76 .

It seems that the first small set of EQ only needs 3.3dB reduction.
EQ1 Reduction.png

And the second full set of EQ only needs 6.5dB reduction.
EQ2 Reduction.png

Maybe the software generated faulty preamp value results.
 

Jimbob54

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I wonder how well Moondrop Kato can compete with this:)
Well, I can tell you the Fiio wins on comfort! If Amir gets the Kato and the distortion is low I am sure it will get a thumbs up given we know the FR pretty much. Doesnt hurt the the Kato is $50-100 cheaper.
 

Garrincha

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The FD7 is more expensive and has 100% beryllium diaphragm, but they don't provide the FR of this model, perhaps it performs worse than the FD5.
I really would like to know myself. The FD7 costs at Aliexpress more than 2 times as the FD5, so is it really worth the extra money?
 

staticV3

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The FD7 has less treble and less sub bass than the FD5. Seems like they went for IEF pinna gain instead of Harman:
graph (28).png
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks, but I would rely much more on measurements and judmentents done by @amirm
Your question may well remain rhetorical then.

However, as with all things in audio, even if the 7 has even less distortion than the 5 (it can't, really) and was measured by Amir to be closer to Harman target, the question as to whether that is worth teice the price remains in the ear of the beholder.
 

Garrincha

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Your question may well remain rhetorical then.

However, as with all things in audio, even if the 7 has even less distortion than the 5 (it can't, really) and was measured by Amir to be closer to Harman target, the question as to whether that is worth teice the price remains in the ear of the beholder.
Well, I am neither an electronics nor a headphone or IEM expert, but besides the Harman target curve and distortion there are still quite a few characteristics of a speaker, like imaging, soundstage, decay of transients, admittedly not all of them (easily) measureable, so there might be differences.
 

audiofun

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Your question may well remain rhetorical then.

However, as with all things in audio, even if the 7 has even less distortion than the 5 (it can't, really) and was measured by Amir to be closer to Harman target, the question as to whether that is worth teice the price remains in the ear of the beholder.
I'm actually very interested in the reverse of the above question. How's the $110 FD3 performs?
Seems they are built with similar technologies.
Sure I can find Frequency-Response graph online and it looks very much like the FD5.
But zero info regarding distortions and group delay exists.
If it has good enough group delay and similar low distortions I'll get the FD3 for sure.
 

Jimbob54

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Well, I am neither an electronics nor a headphone or IEM expert, but besides the Harman target curve and distortion there are still quite a few characteristics of a speaker, like imaging, soundstage, decay of transients, admittedly not all of them (easily) measureable, so there might be differences.
There may well be, but Amir doesn't cover those in his reviews unless his (short) listening impressions cover them.
The point is, if you see interested in a model not measured here you aren't advised to wait for a review here unless Amir has said there is one in the pipeline (like he has for the Moondrop S8). Better to use what data is available from other sources (like crinacle and oratory1990) to form your own conclusions.
 
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