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I remember the days when FiiO was more known for their budget portable amplifiers than anything else. I myself had an E7, an E10 and even an E17 back in the day and they all served me well.
It wasn’t even that long ago that I had my opportunity with the FiiO F9, their cautious entry into the hybrid scene that had pretty lukewarm reception; not quite the market shaker but not exactly a horrible purchase either. Now it seems that FiiO has moved on from its portable amp/DAC days and built its name on the success of their many IEMs and DAPs, and have since established themselves as basically a mainstream-audiophile brand.
One of their big breakout moments was with the original FH5 hybrid, an IEM that I was actually surprisingly impressed with. At least, I would hold the opinion that FiiO basically peaked at the FH5 with all subsequent releases unable to better it. The FH7, FA7, FA9… if you asked me to pick, I’m going FH5 every time.
Now like many other brands, FiiO seeks to reinvigorate interest in their aging model with a refresh now dubbed the “FH5s”. Sporting a radical new 2+2 configuration and a spiffy 3-switch tuning system, they’ve definitely captured the attention of the IEM community at large.
You all know the drill at this point, IEF is here to answer the burning question: how good is the FH5s actually?
Product page: https://fiio.com/fh5s
Driver configuration: 2BA + 2DD hybrid
This FH5s was kindly provided by FiiO.
My unboxing posts are pretty much the only times I’ll ever talk about build quality, accessories and the like. I’m not really the person to ask about these things as I don’t really care about them that much.
- Leather hard case
- Interchangeable 2.5mm balanced adapter
- Interchangeable 4.4mm balanced adapter
Cable: 4-wire configuration in a round braid. Good flexibility and skinfeel, though a little tacky to the touch.
Build: fairly decent full-metal build, no complaints.
Fit: pseudo-custom. Nothing out of the ordinary for my ears, though nozzle length could be a bit longer for a deeper insert.
Isolation: not as bad as I was expecting, but also wouldn’t be my first choice for outdoors use.
- I still prefer the original FH5.
- Switches don’t do much once volume-matched. No hard favourites.
- A little weird in tonality overall, bass doesn’t seem to be as good as the FH5, FH7, or even the FH3.
- Just… “meh”. No strong feelings towards the FH5s in any way. Not exactly a competitive sub-$300 IEM especially given the current state of the market.