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Fiio Q5s Portable DAC & THX Headphone Amp Review

Veri

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I am considering the Topping NX4 now instead of the Q5s. My only complaint would be the channel imbalance at low volumes as tested by Amir, because both the Q1 and Q5s have perfect channel balance. Also the frequency response is not as flat as the Q1. I’ll probably just have to try it for myself, it’s most likely inaudible.
Can always compensate with digital volume control to get better channel tracking. 82% volume in Windows is -3dB, for example.
 

Asylum Seeker

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I am considering the Topping NX4 now instead of the Q5s. My only complaint would be the channel imbalance at low volumes as tested by Amir, because both the Q1 and Q5s have perfect channel balance. Also the frequency response is not as flat as the Q1. I’ll probably just have to try it for myself, it’s most likely inaudible.
I am not hearing any channel imbalance on IEMs at my normal listening level of around 11 o'clock on Low Gain.
 

AudioSceptic

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I am considering the Topping NX4 now instead of the Q5s. My only complaint would be the channel imbalance at low volumes as tested by Amir, because both the Q1 and Q5s have perfect channel balance. Also the frequency response is not as flat as the Q1. I’ll probably just have to try it for myself, it’s most likely inaudible.
Don't forget that there is the Topping NX3s if you only need an amp <https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...attery-operated-portable-headphone-amps.6312/> Not perfect but you save a lot of $.
 

raif71

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I am considering the Topping NX4 now instead of the Q5s. My only complaint would be the channel imbalance at low volumes as tested by Amir, because both the Q1 and Q5s have perfect channel balance. Also the frequency response is not as flat as the Q1. I’ll probably just have to try it for myself, it’s most likely inaudible.
I have both and I like them. However, these days I usually go for nx4 coz it's smaller than Q5s. Also, if you don't need coax or optical, just get the nx4.
 

DivineCurrent

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I am not hearing any channel imbalance on IEMs at my normal listening level of around 11 o'clock on Low Gain.
Great to know, that was my main concern with IEMs.

I have both and I like them. However, these days I usually go for nx4 coz it's smaller than Q5s. Also, if you don't need coax or optical, just get the nx4.
Yeah, I'm not going to be needing optical or coax. I'll give the NX4 a shot.
 

EchoChamber

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I love the headless panther...
 

Degru

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This is further evidence to me that the day of the portable DAP/ DAC&amp needs to be over. If the soon (maybe) to be released E1DA single ended dongle packs enough punch to power 300 ohm cans and has the performance of earlier models, there should be no need for devices such as this to exist.

Existing dongles like the Meizu, Hidizs S8 and of course Apple USB C should be the default for anyone on the go for lower impedance cans or IEMs

For 200-300 dollars you can have a great desktop DAC/amp stack and for another $40-$100 a great portable dongle- still have change for a few months of lossless streaming over buying this!
There is still a place for analog portable amplifiers I think.. analog input offers more flexibility and compatibility where USB can be annoying on some phones, and also doesn't consume battery. I really like my A5 and I wish Fiio still made it so I could recommend it to people. I also think the traditional "stack" use case is not really that great, and instead it's better to have a longer lightweight 3.5mm interconnect with the amp in a separate pocket. This also lets you use weaker but less cumbersome USB dongles and still have "only a wire" connected to your phone while having powerful amplification too.
 

raif71

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This measures so badly that I can't help but think there was defect, or the settings were misconfigured.
I can only hope that in the background and hush hush Fiio already contacted Amir and send him another Q5s unit to double check the measurements. . :D
 

PeteL

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This is further evidence to me that the day of the portable DAP/ DAC&amp needs to be over. If the soon (maybe) to be released E1DA single ended dongle packs enough punch to power 300 ohm cans and has the performance of earlier models, there should be no need for devices such as this to exist.

Existing dongles like the Meizu, Hidizs S8 and of course Apple USB C should be the default for anyone on the go for lower impedance cans or IEMs

For 200-300 dollars you can have a great desktop DAC/amp stack and for another $40-$100 a great portable dongle- still have change for a few months of lossless streaming over buying this!
To me it would be amazing if @amirm could measure the apple dongle, that would be an incredible contribution to the community since so many people use that for music listening, a benchmark if there has to be one. Of course IOS devices being input less it's a bit more tricky, you have to upload the files to the phone but isn't it the case for every usb measurments? I don't see USB outs on the apx555? But they advertise Asio drivers, I'm a bit confuse on how USB measurments are performed. In all cases even tough Lightning is a usb connection, Apple being apple it won't talk to non IOS devices. Maybe it could also be a legal nightmare. I assume you can post measurment of a FIIO device without hassle, but I wonder if Apple would let unflattering results float around on the internet, regardless if he has the right to publish that I assume, still Apple is strong enough to shut down this site if they feel like it. Wondering if it's why it hasn't been done yet, since the dongle is less than 10 bucks and Iphones are certainly easy to borrow for a few hours. To me the apple Dongle is subjectively not a good sounding audio output device, but agree with most here that subjectivity can't always be trusted.
 

PeteL

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https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pple-vs-google-usb-c-headphone-adapters.5541/
it is, probably, the best $10 DAC in the world. not bad at all and I don't have any audible issues using it

Great to see, Impressive, Pardon me if I still have doubt that the lightning version (not USBC), designed to connect to a phone, and save battery, actually output 31 mW in 33 ohms in real life. I certainly sound very anemic, those are great measurments, but those things don't have a power supply! The performance will be directly impacted by the power that can be fed to them, so altough I admire the prowess being done with so little money, I was more interested in what it could achieve when connected to a phone since we are on a portable amps tread.
 

Jimbob54

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Great to see, Impressive, Pardon me if I still have doubt that the lightning version (not USBC), designed to connect to a phone, and save battery, actually output 31 mW in 33 ohms in real life. I certainly sound very anemic, those are great measurments, but those things don't have a power supply! The performance will be directly impacted by the power that can be fed to them, so altough I admire the prowess being done with so little money, I was more interested in what it could achieve when connected to a phone since we are on a portable amps tread.
Have a Google, I think I've seen the lightning one measured but can't recall where

Edit https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/amp/apple-lightning-audio-adapter-a1749.php
 

Veri

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Great to see, Impressive, Pardon me if I still have doubt that the lightning version (not USBC), designed to connect to a phone, and save battery, actually output 31 mW in 33 ohms in real life. I certainly sound very anemic, those are great measurments, but those things don't have a power supply! The performance will be directly impacted by the power that can be fed to them, so altough I admire the prowess being done with so little money, I was more interested in what it could achieve when connected to a phone since we are on a portable amps tread.
It won't drive a HifiMan Arya or HE-6 lol, but I mean for sensitive headphones and IEMs it works very well :) and otherwise there's a 2V meizu dongle that's also USB-c and not much more expensive.
 

PeteL

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Have a Google, I think I've seen the lightning one measured but can't recall where

Edit https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/amp/apple-lightning-audio-adapter-a1749.php
Thanks, interesting way of presenting results not sure I understand exactly what they means but if we translate their classification of class a as "region where the THD is as specced" or the "linear region" , the max voltage does drop to about 200 mV at 32 ohms which feels about right and is closer to the other android dongles with 6 mW and change, but those classification are far fetch, the kind of graphs we see here on ASR are much more logical to look at.
 

Jimbob54

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It won't drive a HifiMan Arya or HE-6 lol, but I mean for sensitive headphones and IEMs it works very well :) and otherwise there's a 2V meizu dongle that's also USB-c and not much more expensive.
BTW, are we sure the meizu (either model ) outputs 2v from a phone (on high impedance mode )? Pretty sure amir only tested from pc. Think I've read it's lower from phone. I might be wrong
 

Veri

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BTW, are we sure the meizu (either model ) outputs 2v from a phone (on high impedance mode )? Pretty sure amir only tested from pc. Think I've read it's lower from phone. I might be wrong
I think there's different modes but the default is the one Amir tested I believe? Pretty sure it would work but with these dongles there's also compatibility issues... Apple dongle on Android, meizu on iOS, you read all kinds of issues online I'm afraid.
 

PeteL

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I think there's different modes but the default is the one Amir tested I believe? Pretty sure it would work but with these dongles there's also compatibility issues... Apple dongle on Android, meizu on iOS, you read all kinds of issues online I'm afraid.
All the dongles will have the same problem, they can't take more current than the phone can supply.
 
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