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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: 14 7.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 48 25.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 129 67.2%

  • Total voters
    192

Somafunk

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Will there be considerable improvement? Anybody please with a well put and believable answer?

I like the reviews by Audiolevels, he compares his vast range of iem’s with each other along with thoughts on what iem works well with specific music styles.

I found his review of the 7hz timeless to be spot on with what I experience of them.


 

Blorg

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@Somafunk Blessing 2 Dusk is a very good choice for that, or if you wanted to spend a little more, the Variations. Variations has a huge sub-bass boost but it's very clean and far down, it's one of the closest IEMs to Harman bass. It also has better timbre and treble extension than the B2D. It's particularly suited to electronic music I think. Some non-electronic music, I feel the size of the dip down to 250Hz can sort of suck out the mid-bass excessively, the B2D has a little more mid-bass, it's still nowhere near muddy. Just less boost (6dB rather than 10dB) and slopes down slightly more gently, it still gets down earlier than most bass boosts and is very clean.

I don't have the Monarch Mk2 yet but I will probably get it at some point, it looks very good to me. Unfortunately it is a Linsoul exclusive and never seems to go on sale.


1654179379309.png
 

Somafunk

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Blessing 2 Dusk is a very good choice for that, or if you wanted to spend a little more, the Variations.

Been looking through Crinacles ratings for a while and that’s the view I’ve came to, don’t have a “need” for anything else but I want something that’s a noticeable improvement over the 7hz and I’d rather buy once than go through the expense of laying out a significant amount of £ to try a few different iem’s.

I’m not in any rush to purchase at the moment, merely browsing with intent ;)
 

Garrincha

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@Somafunk Blessing 2 Dusk is a very good choice for that, or if you wanted to spend a little more, the Variations. Variations has a huge sub-bass boost but it's very clean and far down, it's one of the closest IEMs to Harman bass. It also has better timbre and treble extension than the B2D. It's particularly suited to electronic music I think. Some non-electronic music, I feel the size of the dip down to 250Hz can sort of suck out the mid-bass excessively, the B2D has a little more mid-bass, it's still nowhere near muddy. Just less boost (6dB rather than 10dB) and slopes down slightly more gently, it still gets down earlier than most bass boosts and is very clean.

I don't have the Monarch Mk2 yet but I will probably get it at some point, it looks very good to me. Unfortunately it is a Linsoul exclusive and never seems to go on sale.


View attachment 210375
If there isn't a big difference in spatial effects (soundstage, imaging, layering and the like) or in "speed", i.e. transient dynamics, which I don't know if it is the case, for the frequency response alone the Monarch Mk2 does not seem to worth the extra money (double the price), as both follow extremely well the target curve, the Variations seems even a bit more well behaved at frequencies above 4kHz.
 

Garrincha

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That's bullying =P

Please, report back your thoughts about Kato :)
I have tried the ThieAudio Monarch Mk II, that's not a bad IEM at all! But... this is 5x a Kato and that's completely out of my ballpark and for me it isn't 5x worthy. I don't know, maybe my ears saddly (or happly, for my wallet) are not trained enough to perceive all that difference.
I have the Kato now for a week and I am loving it. For me a much better deal than the Blessing 2. It looks nicer with all the slim and shiny silver appearance, has a better cable (this is something I don't get, even for the $520 Variations the cable looks ugly and cheap), comes with the new spring tips, fits very nicely my narrow ear canal and allows comfotable listening for hours and, most importantly, has a very nice tuning and sound. If I switch on the specific Kato-Eq in SoundSource, there is hardly any audible difference, meaning that it is already from factory quite close to Harman. And I bought it for R$865, so it was even at a good price.Since I sold my Blessing already, I can not make a direct comparison anymore, but I doubt the Kato would loose in any respect. Will try to compare it to the FD5 and the Timeless in the future, though.
 

Leiker535

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Been looking through Crinacles ratings for a while and that’s the view I’ve came to, don’t have a “need” for anything else but I want something that’s a noticeable improvement over the 7hz and I’d rather buy once than go through the expense of laying out a significant amount of £ to try a few different iem’s.

I’m not in any rush to purchase at the moment, merely browsing with intent ;)
I have the Variations and the Shuoer S12 (which is spot on Timeless with a treble boost) here and been listening to both for a week or so. I first got the S12 and then the Variations, while looking for more refinement (and to see what the fuzz was about). I like them both very much but can tell you with certainty, it doesn't get much better than your Timeless, and considering that iems, specially chifi ones, tend to bring much more value than headphones or speakers, I'd just enjoy the one you have, if the desire to get another one is pure "upgrade"filia.

FR-wise the Variations is the most Harman compliant iem of Moondrop, and if the research is something to go by, the end subjective result for me is as expected: I have yet to find something that sounds bad on these. It's the best all-rounder transducer that I've had, it does everything remarkably well. However that was also something that bothered me: while it doesn't do anything bad, I must say it is so well rounded and polished that I sometimes think it can be kind of bland. I know some people that found it soulless albeit very good, and I can understand those criticisms very well. For instance, I think the not so graciously implemented pinna gain on the Timeless/S12 in relation to harman and the Var makes it reproduce guitar crunches better than the variations as it makes them more "tactile" for me, bringing the illusion of more grungeness (a coloration to be sure). Also, while the harman mid-bass dip present on the Var makes it more versatile and true to stastistical preference, I find that the smooth slope of other iems, just like the FiiO FD5's might make they seem less analytical and thin in tambor.

In terms of "audiophile subjective" terms, it is also very well rounded, it has a soundstage that projects almost like a headphone, very good separation and imaging and is very detailed although not overly so (it doesn't smudge detail in your face like bright iems). Only criticism I have on that front is that, sometimes (rarely), the subbass gain can sound a bit much depending on the track, and it makes the iem sound muffled (maybe there's some auditory masking going on, not sure). I'd pull it down to harman base or even less depending on taste.
 

Leiker535

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comes with the new spring tips, fits very nicely my narrow ear canal and allows comfotable listening for hours and, most importantly, has a very nice tuning and sound.

Indeed, comfort is something that should not be taken lightly with iems. Although I love the Variations signature, I'm catching myself using other iems because of fit. The single DD makes much more sense in that aspect for me, as filling the monitor with 12+ drivers as has been the norm for mid-high priced iems just make them heavier and bigger and thus more prone to discomfort.
 

Somafunk

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it doesn't get much better than your Timeless, and considering that iems, specially chifi ones, tend to bring much more value than headphones or speakers, I'd just enjoy the one you have, if the desire to get another one is pure "upgrade"filia.

You've hit the "nail on head", I have absolutely no need that is justifiable in performance vs cost for another iem apart from a bad case of "want that shiny new one" :facepalm: , saying that I am still browsing and will probably try out the new Dunu Vulkan when its released for online sale in my country and i've read a few reviews to see if the hype is justified. Is it shallow to say I like the styled finish/design of the Dunu?, kinda reminds me of my forged Damascus Santuku kitchen knife.
 

Garrincha

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And it achieved that without using BA or multiple drivers.

Guess there goes that myth.
What myth? Isn't Sennheiser demonstrating since years that 1 DD might be a very good option for IEMs (despite some questionable tuning choices) ?
 

Jimbob54

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So- here is a thing. Still looking for the most comfortable way to wear these but I have maybe found a winner:

Wearing them upside down! They sit very nicely with the cable pointing down rather than hooking around one's ear. Decent seal too.

BUT- it needs a cable without the stiffened ear hook. I happen to have one on another pair that I have borrowed and it works well- long term comfort to be confirmed. I wear them sitting so less chance of them working loose.

Does anyone happen to know an aftermarket IEM cable make/ model that have little to no stiffening on the first few inches after the earpiece? The stock cable is way too formed and bent to be useful for this.
 

Garrincha

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Jan 11, 2022
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So- here is a thing. Still looking for the most comfortable way to wear these but I have maybe found a winner:

Wearing them upside down! They sit very nicely with the cable pointing down rather than hooking around one's ear. Decent seal too.

BUT- it needs a cable without the stiffened ear hook. I happen to have one on another pair that I have borrowed and it works well- long term comfort to be confirmed. I wear them sitting so less chance of them working loose.

Does anyone happen to know an aftermarket IEM cable make/ model that have little to no stiffening on the first few inches after the earpiece? The stock cable is way too formed and bent to be useful for this.
At this one you can choose, with or without earhook: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001832194805.html?spm=a2g0o.store_pc_groupList.8148356.49.7d0b87281WyAqt&[email protected]!BRL!R$ 130,25!R$ 59,[email protected]!12000017789125767!sh
Looks nice and is comparatively cheap.
Or this one: https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/4001...37460.0.0.44e72e0ef7CEq3&gatewayAdapt=glo2bra
Or this https://pt.aliexpress.com/item/3305...016552671531846632ec9e9!12000018965542921!sea
 
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SeriousSam70

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It's just me or that treble roll-off is way too steep at 10 kHz? I mean, there is a difference of about 15 dB between the 8 kHz peak and the 10 kHz dip !
 

Garrincha

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It's just me or that treble roll-off is way too steep at 10 kHz? I mean, there is a difference of about 15 dB between the 8 kHz peak and the 10 kHz dip !
On the one hand, it is very similar to the target curve, and on the other hand, as far as I know, measurements above 10kHz are not very reliable and I also heard there is a resonance from the measuring unit itself around that region, so I would take these data with a very big grain of salt, focussing on the frequency response below 5 or at most 8kHz.
 
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Garrincha

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Jan 11, 2022
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So- here is a thing. Still looking for the most comfortable way to wear these but I have maybe found a winner:

Wearing them upside down! They sit very nicely with the cable pointing down rather than hooking around one's ear. Decent seal too.

BUT- it needs a cable without the stiffened ear hook. I happen to have one on another pair that I have borrowed and it works well- long term comfort to be confirmed. I wear them sitting so less chance of them working loose.

Does anyone happen to know an aftermarket IEM cable make/ model that have little to no stiffening on the first few inches after the earpiece? The stock cable is way too formed and bent to be useful for this.
Surely, wearing depends very much on individual anatomy. For example, in my case the Blessing 2 (and consequently all Moondrop models with this shape, which unfortunately includes the Variations, I am still keen on) is too big for my ear canal and hurts after a few minutes. The FD5, by contrast, with the tiny nozzle and the smallest spring tips from the Chu, sits perfectly, isolates very well and allows listening for hours. The Kato sits however even better.
 

Blorg

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How does the FD5 compare to the Timeless?
The FD5 has more bass impact but subjectively sounds to me also boomier, it has too much in the mid-bass. The Timeless is also V-shaped but it sounds more natural. EQ is more needed with the FD5, I like the stock tonality of the Timeless a lot more. The FD5 is quite wobbly in the upper mids, it has peaks around 2.7, 5.4, 7.6kHz (for me). The Timeless just goes up to around 2.9 and then very smoothly drops to around 6kHz before going back up for the insertion peak at 7.6kHz. It's a much smoother, more natural response. Amir's EQ for the FD5 both fixes the boominess in the bass and smooths over this wobbliness in the upper mids, by bringing up the valley at 3,700 and bringing down the peak at 5,560. This significantly improves the FD5. But Timeless just has less of the boominess and upper mids wobble in its stock response, it is a lot more natural sounding and less problematic out of the box.

The FD5 has a sort of visceral thump in the bass (even after EQ to reduce the mid-bass) that is less present on the Timeless, Timeless has "planar bass", it's there, and at quite a high level and very well extended into the sub-bass, but there's a certain lightness to it compared with the 12mm dynamic driver on the FD5. Ascribing this to the driver type could be fanciful, but that's my subjective impression, and the thing I particularly go back to the FD5 for, the sense of impact in the bass.

Timeless also comes across as having more detail to me. Overall I would rank the Timeless as being quite a bit better.

Crinacle has graphs of both:

 
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Garrincha

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The FD5 has more bass impact but subjectively sounds to me also boomier, it has too much in the mid-bass. The Timeless is also V-shaped but it sounds more natural. EQ is more needed with the FD5, I like the stock tonality of the Timeless a lot more. The FD5 is quite wobbly in the upper mids, it has peaks around 2.7, 5.4, 7.6kHz (for me). The Timeless just goes up to around 2.9 and then very smoothly drops to around 6kHz before going back up for the insertion peak at 7.6kHz. It's a much smoother, more natural response. Amir's EQ for the FD5 both fixes the boominess in the bass and smooths over this wobbliness in the upper mids, by bringing up the valley at 3,700 and bringing down the peak at 5,560. This significantly improves the FD5. But Timeless just has less of the boominess and upper mids wobble in its stock response, it is a lot more natural sounding and less problematic out of the box.

The FD5 has a sort of visceral thump in the bass (even after EQ to reduce the mid-bass) that is less present on the Timeless, Timeless has "planar bass", it's there, and at quite a high level and very well extended into the sub-bass, but there's a certain lightness to it compared with the 12mm dynamic driver on the FD5. Ascribing this to the driver type could be fanciful, but that's my subjective impression, and the thing I particularly go back to the FD5 for, the sense of impact in the bass.

Timeless also comes across as having more detail to me. Overall I would rank the Timeless as being quite a bit better.

Crinacle has graphs of both:

Come on, you hear all that?? 'The FD5 is quite wobbly in the upper mids, it has peaks around 2.7, 5.4, 7.6kHz (for me)' So you hear the peaks at exactly 2.7, 5.4 and 7.6 kHz? Don´t be silly. I have and like both and honestly, it is very hard for me to tell the difference. The bass is very punchy on the Timeless as well, there is a lot of talk of planar bass vs dynamic bass, but is it really true? If you look at the crinacle measurements they are VERY similar in FR, they basically differ only between 4 and 7 kHZ (and also above 10kHZ, but these measurements are never reliable). Since it is very difficult or even impossible to make blind test, it is not easy to challenge you, but I really doubt you hear all that.
The bass here for example is very accentuated, punchy and kicks heavily on the Timeless, it is hard to ask for more:
 
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Blorg

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Come on, you hear all that?? 'The FD5 is quite wobbly in the upper mids, it has peaks around 2.7, 5.4, 7.6kHz (for me)' So you hear the peaks at exactly 2.7, 5.4 and 7.6 kHz?
Yes, I can, using a tone generator and going through the frequency range and listening for the volume going up and down. This is part of the process for generating an EQ curve, you want to verify measurements. Where the peaks are exactly, particularly the 8kHz peak (it's a bit lower, around 7.6kHz in my case) will vary depending on your individual ear anatomy and insertion depth- this is why I said "for me".

Try it yourself, I'd be surprised if you can't hear them. Do try it with the FD5 and tell me how many peaks you hear in the upper mids, and roughly where they are. I'd be very surprised if you come back and say the FD5 sounds totally level in that region and there are no peaks.

2.7, 5.4, 7.6kHz is roughly where they peak for me, I'm not claiming pinpoint accuracy here but they are around those points, give or take a few hundred Hz. It's very notable listening to that range that there are three peaks on the FD5 but only two on the Timeless, the first is also much smoother and it doesn't have a peak around 5.4. My experience with other IEMs is that excessive peakiness in that region tends to result in a harsh sound, and while the FD5 is not the worst for this, it is there. This is why Amir smoothed that out in his EQ with an adjustment UP at 3,700 and DOWN at 5,560, it brings up the first dip and down the second peak and smooths over that region. It's very effective and to me, makes the FD5 sound better.

If you look at the crinacle measurements they are VERY similar in FR, they basically differ only between 4 and 7 kHZ (and also above 10kHZ, but these measurements are never reliable).

Crinacle's measurements back up what I'm saying I hear, there is excess mid-bass that leaks into the lower mids and there is clearly a large peak around 5.5kHz that is not there on the Timeless. The FD5 has three significant peaks in the upper mids while the Timeless is much smoother, with a smoother initial ear gain peak and really only the coupler resonance peak. You can see this in the graph, the FD5 clearly has much bigger peaks in this region. I confirmed this by actually listening with a tone generator, but it's right there in the measurements you reference.
1655526287449.png

What isn't there on the graph is my subjective impression that the FD5 has more visceral bass impact, even when EQed down to Harman, that it has a more physical or tactile impression in the bass. I qualified that by saying it was my subjective impression and ascribing it to the driver type might be fanciful, but to me, there is a physicality to the FD5 bass that isn't quite the same on the Timeless, and that is the one thing for me it does better and that I go back to it for. This isn't saying that the Timeless doesn't have bass, it has plenty of bass, but there is a different quality to it on the FD5. And again- this is my subjective impression.

If you can not tell the FD5 and Timeless apart in a blind test, or you cannot hear any peaks in the FD5 response in the upper mids, I suspect you may have hearing damage. Not being able to tell apart a competent DAC or amp is expected- a good one is totally flat. There is nothing to tell apart. I certainly can't. But IEMs / headphones are quite different from each other. For me, the Timeless is better tuned stock, it is less bloated in the mid bass/lower mids and less peaky/harsh in the upper mids/treble. This is in the graph, and it's my subjective impression listening to it too.
 
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