Today we review the FiiO FT5, a full-size open-back planar headphone from FiiO, which goes for $499 USD.
Disclaimer: The FiiO FT5 was sent to me by FiiO. Many thanks for the opportunity. This review reflects my honest opinion as always.
FiiO needs no introduction. Every audiophile in the market knows them. You don’t? Then you can go to FiiO’s store here and their official website here. They now produce almost everything when it comes to audio. They strive for competitiveness in all fields they operate in, and I admire their diligent work.
You can check out our take on the recent FT3 below:
We’ve reviewed dozens of FiiO gear over the years and you can check the reviews out here. Also, do note that we’re going to take a look at their new FT3 32 Ohm headphone very soon.
The new FiiO FT5 is FiiO’s take on an open-back planar headphone. It features a 90mm planar driver with an ultra-thin 6um diaphragm and a specially engraved micron-plated aluminum-silver alloy coil. The cable is made from high-quality monocrystalline copper, while the outer chassis is crafted from premium aluminium alloy.
The FT5 defies expectations with its low 36Ω impedance, making it an exceptional choice for audiophiles seeking high-performance headphones without too much power need.
The headphones come in a sturdy cardboard box, which contains a high-quality brown-coloured bag. You have three different cable plugs and they’re interchangeable (XLR, 4.4mm, and 3.5mm, and a 6.3mm adapter). This provides you with all the plugs you need for any situation, which is convenient. Swapping them is not difficult at all, and it’s a good design and solution by FiiO. Speaking of plugs, the connectors to the headphone are 3.5mm standard, so aftermarket cable rolling is easy. Good choice there.
The stock copper cable is better than on the FT3 with a much lighter and shorter design. The previous cable was unnecessarily long and thick. Additionally, the package includes two different earpads: suede and leather. I will discuss the differences between the earpads’ comfort and sound in detail later on in this review. Overall, considering the price, the unboxing experience is worth it.
Design & Build
The design of the new FiiO headphones is industrial, like the FT3, but it is understated and restrained. The full black aluminium design is classier and more premium-looking than the FT3, and the earcups look more original and authentic. FiiO has used a fan blade design for the earcups, which didn’t look nice on the FT3 but looks better on the FT5 in my opinion.
The build quality is strong, with no plastic parts on the FT5, which feels excellent. The earcups, grills, headband, and yokes are all aluminium and look and feel extra durable. The inner side of the headband and the suede earpads have a very soft and high-quality finish as well. Overall, this is a fantastic build quality for a $449 headphone.
The FiiO FT5 weighs 456 grams, which is not very light so be aware that it can cause a bit of fatigue on long listening sessions. Considering the driver type (planar), size and aluminium parts, this is not abnormal. That’s the weight disadvantage of planar driver headphones.
Unlike most headphones, the earcups are not slideable. Instead, you only need to slide the headband to adjust the size. The best part is that you can adjust the headband even while wearing the headphones, as it slides itself with the force of wearing. Additionally, the FT5 headphones have a 3-axis swiveling design to ensure maximum comfort. You can also choose between suede and leather earpads according to your preference.
In my opinion, the comfort level of the FT5 is fair but not very good. I found the earcup size to be an issue as they should have been larger and deeper for better comfort. This is the same criticism I’ve made for the FT3. Additionally, the headband could have been wider and with less resistance. Although it should improve and loosen up over time, I still don’t find the FT5 headphones very comfortable. However, your experience might differ. Do note that I find the leather pads more comfortable for this one.