Review: FiiO FH5 – The Apex

FiiO FH5

After the Picture Sunday post, we finally take a detailed look at the FiiO FH5, the company’s most serious In Ear Monitor to date.

 

Disclaimer: The FiiO FH5 was sent to me by the company itself for this review. The price of the FH5 is 260$ at this time. The Sony WM1A Walkman is the source used for sound evaluation. 

Intro

For some reason, the IEMs from FiiO weren’t able to give me what I expected from them. I need to admit, they certainly did a good job from the price/performance standpoint. We even have a pair of their IEMs in our Universal IEM Recommendations Page. So don’t get me wrong here, but in terms of sound quality, there was room for improvement.

I’m a guy who gets too demanding sometimes and who is hard to satisfy. Yet, not delivering the utmost sound quality was quite understandable for me when I think about FiiO. They were simply a DAP and DAC/Amp manufacturer when they started it all. Therefore, their aggressive expansion in the IEM market is still something new.

The FH5

This is FiiO’s new hybrid in ear monitor, which aims to bring some fresh design and ergonomics to their IEM line up. The configuration consists of 3 Knowles BA drivers with an addition of a 10mm dynamic driver for bass. It’s certainly an exciting product for FiiO and budget IEMs overall.

I like this model simply because it proves to us that FiiO takes the IEM business very serious. Their know-how is still growing, their ambition is quite obvious and they want to transform themselves into a very good IEM manufacturer. If they keep their motivation at this level, I think the results will be great. One such great outcome could be the upcoming FH7 model, which will be their actual flagship when it is released.

FiiO FH5

FiiO FH5

Package

This is a new and quite different box than the ones that came with FiiO’s previous models. Now the box is much bigger, indicating the product’s assertion. Inside you get the same carrying case which now has a transparent cover, and eleven pairs of tips. You get both foam and silicone types in case you’re wondering. The tips are presented beautifully and they affect the sound in different ways.

That’s why the tips are indicated as “bass”, “vocal” and “balanced”. The fourth types are the foam tips indicated as “memory foam”, but there’s no sound indication for them. We know from experience though; foams generally reduce the bass and create a more relaxed sound with taming down the treble. The tips are easily recognizable since they all have different colors. Once you memorize their color you know which is which.

You also get a carrying pouch and a cleaning tool.

Design

The new FiiO FH5 has a very unconventional design to say the least. We have seen that “wavy” look on the face plates before with the F9 Seriesbut this is still a distinctive design language by FiiO.

To be honest, the F9 models remind me of some other products from another manufacturer, but the FH5 is quite original in its looks. Besides the face plate, there is a golden frame surrounding the top which gives the IEM a classy look.

FiiO FH5

FiiO FH5

Build

FiiO got this one right. The IEM feels very robust in hand, and I think it should be a reliable item for extensive usage. The whole body is made from an aluminum-magnesium alloy. The face plates are closed with multiple screws inside. The chassis is tooled with a 5-axis CNC machine. So everything is beautiful and complete, and you can clearly see and feel the difference between the FH5 and FiiO’s previous offerings.

The cable is named as “LC-3.5B” and you can purchase it separately if you want. It’s quite thick and sturdy but not very practical to me. It’s not as flexible as I would have liked, and it feels a notch heavier, compared to their other cables. The cable is made from silver plated copper wires and they’re coated with a transparent TPU material.

I really liked the build of the 3.5 mm L – type jack and the overall build of the cable, but maybe they could’ve used a thinner and more flexible one. Yet, it’s still a tremendously durable cable, at least that’s how it looks to me.

Fit

The FiiO FH5 has a great shape for most ears out there. It’s quite round, like the previous models, but the difference is that this design provides a fuller fit. The fit is more complete and ergonomic for a Universal IEM. It’s not fiddly anymore, it instead sits flush in your ears and it feels much more secure.

FiiO FH5

FiiO FH5

The supplied tips work very well. I chose the silicone ones, despite me usually liking the foam tips more. That’s because the IEM fits very well and I don’t have to use the foam tips to get a flush & secure fit. The silicone tips do the trick and they’re enough to give you a nice isolation. You can opt for foams to get more isolation though.

The IEM also feels quite comfortable and I did not feel any pressure with it. The isolation is not the best but still good.

The review continues on PAGE 2 with sound impressions

Review: FiiO FH5 – The Apex
5 (100%) 3 votes

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As a lover of personal audio, Berkhan always seeks perfection in his reviews. He chooses a simplistic expression of sound at all times, and tries to maintain his photography enthusiasm at the same level with audio. Sometimes the photography wins, and sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Either way, he will always do his best.

7 Comments

  • Reply November 21, 2018

    Long time listener

    This doesn’t make much sense to me:

    “The lower mids are slightly recessed while the upper mids are quite accentuated [… ] instruments sound a little warm and slightly dark…”

    How on earth do you get instruments that sound warm and dark with an upper midrange that is highly accentuated? I’ve never heard that before. An accentuated upper midrange tends to make everything sound uncomfortably bright and hard.

    • Reply November 21, 2018

      Berkhan

      Hi,

      Brightness and emphasis are not the same thing.

  • Reply November 24, 2018

    Lee

    Hi Sir, I need some advice for oriolus forsteni or fh5, if i use phone as my source, which will u pick?

    • Reply November 24, 2018

      Berkhan

      Forsteni

      • Reply November 27, 2018

        Lee

        Thank you =) waiting for ibasso it01s and it04w review.

  • Reply December 12, 2018

    Writer

    Thanks for a great review! Been using the Final e5000 for several months now and have been looking for an additional pair that could be a little brighter at the high end. This could be it… I must have gone through a dozen FH5 reviews and they all seem consistently positive. I enjoy reading to your interpretations of your experience with each of your reviews.

  • Reply December 13, 2018

    Lance

    Hi there! I’m considering the several earphones. I’m looking for something that provides intimate soundstage, punchy bass and more importantly a fun and engaging sound. My main genres are pop, acoustics and rap.
    1) Fiio Fh5
    2) BGVP dm6
    3) Oriolus finschi

    Thanks!

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