Review : FiiO Q5S – S for Super

Fiio Q5S

Design and Build Quality

Casing

If you already own a FiiO Q5, you won’t see much difference between the old and new versions. The new Fiio Q5S enjoys the same dual finish aluminum case, with beveled edges and replaceable amp modules.

You have to look close to see the differences with the new FiiO Q5S :

  • The Hi-Res Audio logo is now grey and followed by the Hi-Res Audio Wireless one
  • The power button is now gone, replaced by an input button, not red circled
  • There is only one USB port now, the side port has been taken out
  • You have 4 leds on the side, to check which source is playing
  • The AM3A module is now replaced by an AM3E module

The asymmetrical design is still there, as is the red circle around the volume control wheel. The assembly quality is almost perfect, with no gap or visible screws apart those of the module. The FiiO Q5S still has the PU leather back, and while I like it, some might find it a bit “kitsch”.

What’s surprising, is how FiiO never mentions the name of the Q5S on the case. The brand logo is written on it, as the type of screw you have to use for the amp module, but never will you see the Q5S name written anywhere.

Let’s take a look at the layout.

Layout

Again, the FiiO Q5S layout is almost identical to the FiiO Q5 one. The sides are used for the controls and the upper and lower side have all the inputs/outputs.

The upper panel comes with :

  • 1x Line out, to connect an external Amplifier
  • 1x Coax/Optical/Line in, which allows the FiiO Q5S to pair with almost any type of source
  • 1x Low/High gain + 1x On/Off Bass-Boost

The FiiO Q5S even comes with coaxial and optical adapters. A nice attention as you most of the time have to order them separately.

The lower panel comes with :

  • 1x 3.5mm headphone output
  • 1x 2.5mm balanced output
  • 1x 4.4mm balanced output
  • 1x micro-USB port (yes, NO USB TYPE-C)

The new AM3E module comes with two balanced options now, so you can plug all your headphones. The 4.4mm Pentaconn is fully gold plated, where all the other ports are made of plain, black, plastic. Not a big concern for me, but aesthetically some might prefer a fully gold-plated layout.

The left panel retains the same buttons we had on the Q5 :

  • Play, which can also be used to activate the pairing mode for the Bluetooth connection
  • Fast-forward/next song
  • Fast-reverse / previous song
  • A pinhole to reset the Q5S

And finally, the right panel :

  • the volume scroll-wheel, which now serves as a power on-off switch
  • the input button, press it to change the source type – USB/Line/Opt/Coax

For information, the Bluetooth connection is not mentioned in the input list, because this mode takes the upper hand on all the other modes.

Let’s check the bundle now, shall we ?

Bundle

Inside the box

The FiiO Q5S bundle is very comprehensive, that alone makes it a good product. And I’m just half-kidding there. So we have :

  • 1x micro-USB cable, for charging and USB connection to your source
  • 1x Coaxial-Jack adapter + 1x Mini-Toslink-Toslink adapter
  • 1x Jack-Jack adapter
  • 1x Lightning to micro-USB adapter (the Q5S is MFi certified)
  • 1x Torx T5 screwdriver, to change the amp module
  • Various silicon bands + silicon sleeve so you can bundle the DAC with a player/smartphone
  • 1x fabric cover to protect your Q5S

So yeah, the bundle covers almost every need. My only complain would be the lack of micro-USB to USB Type-C connector, but since you can get it almost everywhere, it’s a minor inconvenience. On the other hand, the 8-pin->micro-USB cable is great for all the iPhone users out there, you won’t have to buy a CCK from Apple (39€ here in EU…)

On this good note, let’s start up the FiiO Q5S and see how it behaves.

The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

    4 Comments

    • Reply October 17, 2019

      Vinicius Passos

      Hey, was wondering if you’ll do a review of the AM3D module, since it has that THX amplification technology stuff, and the M11 Pro. Also, is the Q5S more portable than the M11? You wrote you thought the M11 was a little bit thicker than you’d like for portable gear.

    • Reply October 18, 2019

      Alex

      It’s hissy as fuck. You won’t notice it on normal music, true, but try listening to classics. Piano for example. 16 Om headphones would be hissing, including FH7.

    • Reply October 22, 2019

      B.T.

      Billie Eilish song name is Bad Guy, not bad boy. 😉 Nice review!

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