The P5 has great performance in terms of technicalities and staging is one of the impressive parts. Thanks to this particular presentation, the stage is wide and deep with a 3D feel. It’s by no means at the level of high-end gear, but for a price like this, it’s not easy to find a stage of this magnitude. So the sound stage is excellent.
Timbre is not the best I’ve heard in its own price bracket but it’s not bad at all. The mids are well-balanced with good tonality and the instrument timbre is quite nice. It could’ve been better but I think for the price it manages to be well-balanced in terms of tonality.
The neutrality factor of the Performer 5 is very impressive. Usually, at this price range, the presentations vary between too full/warm, V-shaped, and too thin. Performer 5 is in none of these territories. You might argue that’s because it doesn’t have a distinctive character. But I’d say it’s because it’s very well-balanced and colourless, so it gives a truer music presentation.
The overall balance could’ve been better with a bit more definitive mid-range with a bit more warmth. Well, when you’re an audiophile, you always want more I guess. I’m not sure it’s fair to expect even better performance for a price like this, but still, I would’ve liked a bit more accentuated response in the mid-range.
In terms of other parts of the technical performance. there are a lot of positives here and the biggest one is the resolution. The P5 is a very resolving IEM with high-performing transparency. The instrument separation is also very good, with great layering ability and micro-detail pickup.
The Performer5’s shell is acrylic versus the aluminium shell of the FH15. They both fit very well but the FH15 has a slight edge there in terms of ergonomics and it’s clearly better for isolation. AFUL comes with a better cable in my opinion. But its package content is no match for FiiO.
Sound-wise to me AFUL brings more to the table with better coherency and balance. Its bass is much more controlled, the treble is more pronounced with better articulation and extension, and there’s more resolution and transparency overall. FiiO offering has more bass with much more impact, it sounds smoother across the spectrum with much more body and fullness.
AFUL Performer5 has a wider soundstage and better layering with better separation. The FH15’s timbre is better with more realism. They sound quite different and both have their strengths. But to my ears, AFUL performs truer for the purist audiophile.
The Legacy 4 is one of my favourite monitors in the sub-300$ category. It has more impressive packaging with a zippered carrying case included. They both fit with almost identical chassis shapes. So the fit is quite the same.
Performer 5’s presentation is a bit more balanced and more neutral. The L4 is more energetic and dynamic, especially in the treble region. Its treble is just a bit more peaky and aggressive at times with certain recordings, whereas the P5 is more controlled.
The mid-range of the P5 is smoother and more neutral, whilst the L4 has the mids on the back of the stage. Bass is a bit more impressive with the L4 in terms of quantity, but I think the presentation of the P5 is more realistic and more audiophile oriented.
So it comes down to fun vs. neutral at the end of the day. If you love the v-shaped and energetic/fun sound, the L4 is more suitable. If you seek out for a more neutral and balanced presentation while retaining a certain clarity and crispness, the P5 is the answer.
Here’s another crisp and clean-sounding IEM, the Softears Volume. Like Legacy 4, the Volume also has impressive package content. It has a larger shell though, so the P5 fits better and doesn’t protrude as much. Both have good builds.
Softears Volume has a moderate bass, laid-back lower-mids, and boosted upper-mids and lower treble. So from that perspective, the Volume is more like a Japanese IEM. The P5 on the other hand has a more linear and seamless transition between the frequencies. When you combine that with its neutrality, you get a more truthful monitor versus the Volume.
The AFUL Performer 5 is one of the most surprising IEMs I’ve listened to recently. The neutrality, balance and resolution are the most impressive parts, and I think it performs better than what the price suggests.
I would say that the P5 is a great “performer” and it impressed me since I opened its package and put it in my ear. This is a highly competitive market, especially in this price range, but the Performer 5 is definitely a great choice. The AFUL Performer 5 is now featured on our Best UIEM list where you can find all our recommended buys.
Please can you recommend some IEMs (under $500) that are of the musical & full/warm sounding variety, that you have enjoyed or that have left an impression on you? Thank you!!!!