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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

Jimbob54

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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.
Second paragraph of this reply applies. IF Amir measures the fd3 you'll get distortion and group delay, but... https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/fiio-fd5-review-iem.32578/post-1158054
 
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fricccolodics

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How much will that response change ear to ear, insertion to insertion?
Of course there will be much variation, but starting out from the measurements we have is the best possible way for any objective analysis.
Subjectively they might be perfect for me, who knows, but the given measurement data does not make me inclined to try them out....
 

audiofun

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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.
I got the engineering data from FiiO. FD5's THD is better than FD3's only in very low frequencies (<50Hz). Other data looks very similar.
So I just bought the FD3. From audibility point of view I don't think it justify the > 2x price difference.
FD5 wins in its beautiful design and solid manufacturing, and full range of accessories.
 

phoenixsong

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I got the engineering data from FiiO. FD5's THD is better than FD3's only in very low frequencies (<50Hz). Other data looks very similar.
So I just bought the FD3. From audibility point of view I don't think it justify the > 2x price difference.
FD5 wins in its beautiful design and solid manufacturing, and full range of accessories.
Is it possible to share it here?
 

audiofun

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Is it possible to share it here?
S815b600762f544cba9fe0305c8c97ec6B.jpg

FD5

Sf146d41e782a4d96a86a21b0d4c584592.jpg

FD3
 

Nicolas

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I gave up entirely on personal/portable audio a while ago; never had a really satisfying experience, certainly light-years away compared to music through large speakers. I have owned and tried a few headphones, mostly entry-level from Grado, Sennheiser, Bose, Sony, B&W, Audio Technica,...
Those ranged from over-ear to IEMs, wired/bluetooth, open/closed/noise-cancelling etc.
Not willing to spend any more time and money on uninformed and ultimately disappointing purchase decisions, I settled on the last one - sennheiser BT/NC over-ear headphones - for lack of a more satisfying option, or knowledge of such.

Although headphones will likely never be my favorite way to enjoy music, I still have a real and frequent use for them (lots of traveling) and would very much like a better option.
Namely comfort, best possible noise isolation and enjoyable sound in a compact, durable and simple package.
I thought of CIEMs (best fit + excellent noise isolation) but the perspective is rather daunting (sheer number of brands / hype / time-consuming and expensive process) and if what came before is any indication, I'd rather not add to the list of disappointments.

Reading this review, I wonder if the FD5 could fit the bill ?
- Not too expensive for a quality product if it does the job reasonably well (I am not expecting it to change my perception of headphones).
- I don't have to look for it and rely on random opinions: it was properly reviewed and measured with good results, which is a better starting point than any of my prior purchases.

Also, if the supplied tips don't fit properly (had that experience as well before), can I be reasonably certain to find third-party ones that will ? (even if I must go the custom way if it comes to that) ?

I would welcome and appreciate your opinions on this.
Thanks for reading.
A quick followup on my previous post on this thread: I ended up purchasing the FD5, with rather low expectations.
Well, I will still use speakers over these every time I get the chance, but disappointed I am not.
My experience is that, rather like a good tool it doesn't get in the way (good fit & noise isolation, no microphonics or pesky annoyances of any kind) and does its job very well (very satisfying, detailed and clean sound to my ears).

I don't much care for the jewel-like appearance -lots of bling to that cable- but it will do.
I was worried about the "semi-open" design leaking sound in or out but this is not an issue at all.

I do have a brand new problem though, in a be-careful-what-you-wish-for way: now I have to really pay attention to the volume... The clean sound makes me want to seriously crank it up way past reasonable levels.

Anyway, for me IEMs/cans are now a solved problem. Thanks for the review.
 

Jimbob54

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Small update from me 2 or so weeks in. With EQ (of course) these might be some of the most "natural" sounding IEM I have , whatever that means. Dare I say "airy"? (no, no I dont)

They might not be my favourite though because they only get a B- grade for comfort. For me only the Etymotic deep insertion or the Blessing style smooth "in your whole ear" shell types are good for long term listening. But a bit of a tip, the Fiio are infinitely more secure with the split behind you neck than under your chin- far less of the nervous pressing on the shells to ensure you still have a good seal.
 

mysiak

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I am debating myself over buying "outdated" Shure SE215 which are considered to be mostly "obsolete" these days and lacking in sound quality. However they are praised for their comfort and passive isolation which I am very interested in. Comparing measurements done by Crinacle suggests that FD5 and SE215 could sound roughly the same, although to my understanding they have different insertion depth. Is there by any chance owner of both IEMs who could chime in? :)

fd5 vs se215.png
 

Chuckv

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More than help, I need a bodyguard to protect me from all the riots that start when I test an IEM! :) It is more work to deal with them than the review itself. I have to psych myself up for all the aggravation before testing one!
@amirm Ordered one and will do what sensible donating folks should do that appreciate your work just as I did with my Focal Clears (which are incredible with proper PEQ); use your work as a starting point and go from there. Anyone with any objective sense knows that individual products will have variance within a particular model and there will inevitably be variances in test equipment, ear shape, experience, bias and subsequent data sets will never be uniform. In my eyes you are a scientist who publishes findings for pleasure. I have saved thousands of hours (and dollars) based on your generosity whether I agree with your findings or not. That sir makes me eternally grateful. This is audio science not peer reviewed oncology. Keep it fun man. Celebrity status creates enemies. Remind these clowns that this is your data for their pleasure; so go have a good time storming their own castle.
 
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Chyżwar

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I am debating myself over buying "outdated" Shure SE215 which are considered to be mostly "obsolete" these days and lacking in sound quality. However they are praised for their comfort and passive isolation which I am very interested in. Comparing measurements done by Crinacle suggests that FD5 and SE215 could sound roughly the same, although to my understanding they have different insertion depth. Is there by any chance owner of both IEMs who could chime in? :)

View attachment 202203

I don't have the FD5 but I do have the FD3 and SE215. To be honest, without eq both are just very bassy and muddy, and if I have good seal, the Fiio are even more bassy and muddy than the SE215 :D Typical bassheads headphones, I don't like them.
Amir's EQ helps for both... and give new life to my 215! :D
FD3 have better build quality and accessories.
Shure gives me better isolation.
I prefer the Etymotic headphones over both.

fiio shur.jpg
 

mysiak

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I don't have the FD5 but I do have the FD3 and SE215. To be honest, without eq both are just very bassy and muddy, and if I have good seal, the Fiio are even more bassy and muddy than the SE215 :D Typical bassheads headphones, I don't like them.
Amir's EQ helps for both... and give new life to my 215! :D
FD3 have better build quality and accessories.
Shure gives me better isolation.
I prefer the Etymotic headphones over both.
Thanks, I think that I will like SE215 with an EQ - I have Fiio FH1s and after subtle EQ they sound great to me, they just don't isolate very well and have bigger form factor, so when I'm on the move they tend to fall out from my ears. I moved away from Etymotic (HF5) after their cable broke, even if I already have custom ear tips so deep insertion comfort isn't that bad. I find them extremely boring and lacking in bass now. Wearing them "cable down" was causing a lot of microphonic noise, "cable behind ears" (my preferred method for all IEMs) was uncomfortable. ER2 XR are probably a tad better in sound than HF5, but I believe that they share the majority of Etymotic characteristics. I would give ER2 XR a chance at half their price, but it's hard to get them even at MSRP in Europe.
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks, I think that I will like SE215 with an EQ - I have Fiio FH1s and after subtle EQ they sound great to me, they just don't isolate very well and have bigger form factor, so when I'm on the move they tend to fall out from my ears. I moved away from Etymotic (HF5) after their cable broke, even if I already have custom ear tips so deep insertion comfort isn't that bad. I find them extremely boring and lacking in bass now. Wearing them "cable down" was causing a lot of microphonic noise, "cable behind ears" (my preferred method for all IEMs) was uncomfortable. ER2 XR are probably a tad better in sound than HF5, but I believe that they share the majority of Etymotic characteristics. I would give ER2 XR a chance at half their price, but it's hard to get them even at MSRP in Europe.
Drop might still have them on sale for $70 or so, even after import charges thats a bargain.

EDIT- they dont. They have the 2se for $70 or the 3 SR/XR for $95. The 3XR for your tastes might be ideal.
 

mysiak

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Drop might still have them on sale for $70 or so, even after import charges thats a bargain.

EDIT- they dont. They have the 2se for $70 or the 3 SR/XR for $95. The 3XR for your tastes might be ideal.
Thanks for suggestions, but yes, they sadly have only ER2 SE and once I add shipping costs, tax, customs duty fee I am pretty much at the local full price (with just 1 year of warranty abroad vs. 2 years local). Drop price of ER3 XR is more intriguing, but their measurements are even "worse" than ER2 XR, so I don't really feel like paying extra for "inferior" model. :\
 

Chyżwar

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Thanks for suggestions, but yes, they sadly have only ER2 SE and once I add shipping costs, tax, customs duty fee I am pretty much at the local full price (with just 1 year of warranty abroad vs. 2 years local). Drop price of ER3 XR is more intriguing, but their measurements are even "worse" than ER2 XR, so I don't really feel like paying extra for "inferior" model. :\

Oh man! The ER3XR are not inferior headphones compared to the ER2. Definitely not! And for less than $ 100, it's just a bargain of the century :D
But if you've tried and don't like Etymotic, look for something else.

As for the SE215, I don't know, I still like them, but the opinions about them are... strange. Crinacle said it's garbage. So I have a problem to recommend them ;) The fact is, they sound a bit different than modern headphones. I think the FD3 are a bit more "detailed" and "sharp", and the se215 are "softer" and "smoother" (after EQ 5kHz). It's like comparing the HD660s and HD650. Shure sounds more analog. It's just an impression :D

I'm really curious to see if anyone other than me is still using the SE215 :)
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks for suggestions, but yes, they sadly have only ER2 SE and once I add shipping costs, tax, customs duty fee I am pretty much at the local full price (with just 1 year of warranty abroad vs. 2 years local). Drop price of ER3 XR is more intriguing, but their measurements are even "worse" than ER2 XR, so I don't really feel like paying extra for "inferior" model. :\
PS- I have a pair of 2SE coming from Drop- $85 including shipping and it has just "cleared customs" into the UK and I havent had a bill. So you might get lucky.
 

mysiak

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Oh man! The ER3XR are not inferior headphones compared to the ER2. Definitely not! And for less than $ 100, it's just a bargain of the century :D
But if you've tried and don't like Etymotic, look for something else.

As for the SE215, I don't know, I still like them, but the opinions about them are... strange. Crinacle said it's garbage. So I have a problem to recommend them ;) The fact is, they sound a bit different than modern headphones. I think the FD3 are a bit more "detailed" and "sharp", and the se215 are "softer" and "smoother" (after EQ 5kHz). It's like comparing the HD660s and HD650. Shure sounds more analog. It's just an impression :D

I'm really curious to see if anyone other than me is still using the SE215 :)
I don't really like single BA IEMs, I find them lacking in bass even after EQ. I am fine with hybrids or single DD drivers. Anyway, ER3 would be about 140USD once delivered to my door, so it's not such a bargain anymore.

I know that SE215 are considered "bad" these days, but after comparing measurements by Crinacle with FD5 which are being considered to be "good", I started wondering if SE215 are really that bad as most say. :)

Btw. for example I like sound profile of Moondrop Quarks very much too (once I removed the 3kHz peak and 200Hz hump). ER2 XR with EQ might fit in my sound preference, but I strongly prefer form factor of Shure IEMs (bean shaped IEMs sitting flush with my ear, with thin nozzle and behind the ear cable).

PS- I have a pair of 2SE coming from Drop- $85 including shipping and it has just "cleared customs" into the UK and I havent had a bill. So you might get lucky.
Sadly, not a chance, all packages must pass the customs in EU - since they changed the rules not a single package slipped through their attention. Most major stores (Amazon, eBay, Ali,..) collect tax during ordering, so there are no hidden fees. Drop is not one of them, so I would have to pay tax + custom fees to the shipping company (about 10-15eur extra). ER 2SE would be about 110USD delivered. ER2 XR cost more imported than bought locally. :\
 

Chyżwar

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I know that SE215 are considered "bad" these days, but after comparing measurements by Crinacle with FD5 which are being considered to be "good", I started wondering if SE215 are really that bad as most say. :)

To be honest, they don't sound as close as it looks on Crinacle measurement. The Fiio FD3 are more V-shape, have more bass, more treble and sound maybe 10% "cleaner". The Shure are "softer" and "smoother" and more focused on the midrange. Just because Amir recommends the FD5 doesn't mean he would recommend the SE215. Of course, I would be happy to see his measurements.

But the fit and isolation in Shure is something unique. I had Quarks, Aria, Starfield, Blessing 2 and sold them all and I still keep my SE215.
fiio.jpg
 

phoenixsong

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I don't have the FD5 but I do have the FD3 and SE215. To be honest, without eq both are just very bassy and muddy, and if I have good seal, the Fiio are even more bassy and muddy than the SE215 :D Typical bassheads headphones, I don't like them.
Amir's EQ helps for both... and give new life to my 215! :D
FD3 have better build quality and accessories.
Shure gives me better isolation.
I prefer the Etymotic headphones over both.

View attachment 204931
Will using silicone tips alleviate the impression of muddy bass?
 
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