When FiiO posted a picture of a new headphone without a name on social media a while ago, I was already very impressed with the design. It was fresh, unique, and round. I already suspected that something completely new would come to us from the Far East. However, some data and facts were still unknown. At some point, the cat was out of the bag. It was the concept of the FiiO FD5 with a dynamic driver. This is something we like to hear these days again. A pure dynamic!
The FiiO FD5 Review
The demand has shown it and is becoming more and more evident. “It doesn’t have to be multi-drivers or hybrids. A good dynamic is just as good”. This is what it sounds like again and again in the forums and groups I attend. Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic have shown in Germany and around the world for a long time that the concept works well with a dynamic driver and can make the audiophile world happy. The popular TWS headphones also skilfully do without hybrid technology. The hybrids or even the tribrids are primarily known from the Far East. The fact that a new trend is slowly developing here is also noticeable in FiiO’s premium division.
- Excellent bass, both in terms of quality and extension + Natural tuning + Excellent imaging (narrow tube)
- Sound tubes that can be swapped out
- High-quality construction
- Good cable with plugs that can be swapped out
- A practical carrying case
- Excellent value for money
- Wide Tube is default
- The refining of TOTL units is lacking.
- The Narrow tube has a limited number of ear tip selections.
With the FD5, FiiO is launching in-ear headphones that are equipped with a dynamic driver. This is packed in pure stainless steel and has a beautiful shape. In terms of sound, he also knows how to convince. Moment!
Scope of delivery & packaging
I was a bit surprised when I held the packaging of the FiiO FD5 in my hands. It looked more elegant and different from FiiO right away. Even the packaging of the FiiO FH7 was much more subtle and simple.
The printed headphones look elegant against the black background. A beautiful gold Hi-Res seal is decorated in the upper right corner. On the left side, on a silver-gray accent, the name of the FiiO FD5 is presented in a lovely and shiny silver tone. Underneath the label “Dynamic Driver In-ear Monitors.” That’s precisely what we want to see.
After removing the cover, you get to the familiar black cardboard, which has also been redesigned. The outlines of the FD5 mentioned in the introduction have found a perfect place here. Unfortunately, underneath, the “born for music” logo is also in silver. But homework was done there.
After opening, the display speaks to me and presents the FD5 in the usual necklace display, and next door has an entirely new case for me.
The paperwork has found its perfect place in the lid. This makes unboxing seem almost hurdle-free and elegant.
The next surprise is already waiting for us under the foam with the headphones and the case. The large selection of silicone and foam tips and a small black cardboard box where the rest of the scope of delivery is packed. Tips from Spinfit are entirely dispensed with here.
Packed in bags are the two other cable adapters, the interchangeable Noozles, a cleaning brush, and an MMCX tool.
The scope of delivery
Nine pairs of silicone tips with bass-heavy / balanced and voice-heavy character each in S, M, L
2 pairs of Triple Flange Tips S and L
2 pairs of foam tips S and L
two sound tubes
MMCX auxiliary tool
2.5 mm jack and 4.4 mm jack adapter
Design & processing of The FiiO FD5
Anyone who has read my review of the Campfire Ara already knows my fable about CNC technology and the manufacturing process itself. The background is that I worked in production myself and have been accompanying it in QA for several years now. What should I say? My heart pounds at the sight of the FD5. I know that machining stainless steel is a little more complex than machining aluminum. The CEO of FiiO has already mentioned this in one of his FB posts. When I look at the surface and the processing, I can tell that there is a lot of work behind it. But one after another.
The basic design is transparent. A cylindrical housing for the driver with an angled Noozle and an attached plug with MMCX for the cable. Sounds very sober at first glance. BUT.
The processing is very high, and the design is by far better than some other headphones in this price range. The industrial look is simple, elegant, and minimalist, almost like a beautiful piece of jewelry. The faceplate in the combination of matt and glossy has an entirely new wave design. Is it now a homage to the FH series? I don’t think so. This design here is bursting with elegance and completely stands out from the rest. Madness.
The compensation hole is located on the underside of the receiver next to the Google. So this will not be noticeable even when wearing. The model designation on the MMCX connection has also been lasered on the underside.
The MMCX connectors have been marked with red and blue as a bit of eye-catcher and orientation of the connection sides. If you still have problems with the colors, you can look up the side of the handset on the underside of the handset. A slight hint from my side. The first letter in red is R, so the listener with the red marking is also the right one. It is the same for cables.
With the Noozles, you can see the processing very well, as a few grooves from the turning process can be seen here. The knurling of these is also made good and easy to grip. Overall, I can only say that the design and quality are absolutely TOP. The gaps are perfect. The surfaces are polished without scratches, and the design is excellent!
The cable has a comfortable length of 1.2 meters. For me, it could be a little longer, but it’s sufficient for mobile use. It consists of 152 single ladders made of monocrystalline silver and is beautifully presented by a clear coating. The silver of the strands and the MMCX connectors also match the listeners themselves perfectly.
The gimmick on the cable is the connections. Because the supplied cable has also been given the function of the LC-RE cable. The 3.5 mm jack is pre-assembled as standard. By changing the adapter, the cable can also be used symmetrically on the 2.5 mm jack or the 4.4 mm jack connection of the player. The cable alone is convincing, although it is a little bit rigid.
Yes, the case I think it’s nice that a new issue has been considered in this price range. But it’s not my case personally. Thanks to the fluffy inner lining, it is well made and offers good protection when transporting the FiiO FD5. There are also two loops inside for the listeners themselves. I like that a lot. Thanks to the magnet, it stays very well closed.
The choice of colors takes getting used to. Unfortunately, this interplay of blue and light brown synthetic leather seems too playful for me. I also find it a little too big.
Nonetheless, it’s grumbling at a very high level. Other manufacturers do without a case entirely.
The cylindrical shape of the earphones has a big advantage in terms of comfort. There is nothing to do with the ears here and, therefore, never bothers you. The position of the Noozle and the MMCX connections were also chosen optimally. I was amazed at how well the FD5 sits in my ear.
The nozzles are interchangeable and thus offer even better / extra comfort. If you screw on the thinner one, you can also use the Triple Flange Tips. Anyone who has already owned a pair of Etymotic headphones knows how well they fit. What can I say? It feels the same with the FD5. Only that the more significant case applies here, this also means that the sound is entirely different.
I liked the comfort straight away. Together with the supplied cable, this makes it almost perfect for carrying. Thanks to the tips given, an optimal seal is also achieved. That fits!
I have an all-time favorite with me. The Beyerdynamic Xelento. This is also a single driver. This plays very pleasant and never sounded. Occasionally it should be a little more with the Tesla. This is where the FiiO FD5 comes into play. He turns it up a bit higher and lets the pig-out, especially with rocking tracks.
How is it now coordinated? I would classify the Xelento more in the subtle bathtub than I would classify the FD5 as more sound. The bass is crisp and very present. The heights go high, but not too high. Occasionally he does too much. But it’s fun.
The sound impressions were created on my Shanling M6 Pro on the 3.5 mm jack connector and the Topping NX4 DSD.
Lows and basses
The basses generally come to the fore and are very present. They are presented very naturally and have a friendly and slightly softer punch. The bass is powerful and almost palpable. I think it’s a lovely set-up because you never really have the upper hand and play very humanely. The male vocals are minimally subordinate to the bass but are still presented very precisely and with natural warmth. It doesn’t matter if it’s ballads or rock. The singing is always present.
In the middle
In a bathtub, the centers often go under not so with the FD5. Instruments such as guitars, pianos, and orchestras are very present. Despite the dominant lows, they are outstanding in resolution and appear very natural, like the lows and the highs. The female vocals sound nice and wide, precise and airy. You play very naturally up to the heights.
The highs are a lovely addition to the overall look of the FD5. They look wide and airy. There is no lack of brilliance in any way, and they give the songs a good liveliness. Generally, they look very nicely coordinated. In some pieces, they reach their limits with the sibilants. You can almost hear that they are about to be overheard. The FD5 manages to curb the heights before that.
Stage and separation
The stage looks refreshingly further than initially expected. For a closed in-ear, I perceive this as a means and roughly classify it between the ear and the shoulder. The instruments are straightforward to locate and remain resolved regardless of the title.
Cosby – Everlong
The cover of the Foo Fighters continues to have an effect on the stage and in the vocals from the start. The singing seems a bit more distant and can be felt in front of the forehead. The bass is very crisp and very direct. Since the song is more of an electronic interpretation, the synthesizers and hooks also come into their own. The song feels a lot like the dance floor. Lean back and enjoy is the order of the day.
Meat Loaf – Bat out of Hell
The piano convinces with clarity right from the start of the song. The electric guitar also knows how to impress with its brilliance. The mix cuts an outstanding figure. The vocals play very naturally and precisely for this old hit. The whole song has a musical feeling and stays true to itself over the entire 10 minutes. The switch from quieter phases to a good crowd of instruments remains very soft and warm. Similar to a sound system at home.
Metallica – Master of Puppets
Now we come to the prime example of the FiiO FD5. Heavy metal! The small symbol for you. The FD5 jumps on his chariot and dashes straight into the opposing army. Right from the start, the FD5 has complete control of the track and knows how to bring out Hetfield’s bass, guitars, drums, and vocals. Just how the played strings of the bass sound. Dreamlike.
FiiO FD5 vs. FiiO FH5s
I am lucky that I currently have both headphones with me and can compare them with each other. Therefore, I will not go into the sound characteristics per se and try to make a direct comparison in a few words.
Comparing a closed dynamic with a semi-open hybrid with two dynamic and two BA drivers might sound a bit unfair. But it is not. In terms of price, they are almost identical to purchase. Moreover, both listeners know how to convince. The FD5 has a sleeker exterior and interchangeable nozzles. The FH5s has a new dragon scale design and, like the FA9, has a switch lever for sound adjustment on the listener itself.
The scope of delivery is almost identical. Both have a perfect cable with interchangeable plugs and the same case. The FH5s do not skimp on tips either.
But now to the sound. The FD5 rushes forward in terms of sound and shows what a powerful in-ear it is. He plays naturally and convinces with powerful bass. The FH5s are holding back a little. However, the sound adjustment via switches does not make it boring. He plays a little more precisely, and for me, a great audiophile.
I’ve already chosen my favorite. Both know how to convince. However, it is entirely up to the listener’s personal tonal preference.
With the FD5, FiiO has succeeded in creating an incredibly good in-ear with a dynamic driver who does not fear the competition from Germany. In terms of price alone, it is almost unbeatable.
Convincing quality with an exquisite design is rarely found for less than 300 €. Finally, a slightly heavier headphone is also made of stainless steel and boasts a powerful sound.
FiiO. I am thrilled to be able to test this hot in-ear!