The Dunu Titan 1 was one of those earphones that provided a double take experience; I remember a lot of listeners stating how impossible such a sound was at their asking price. And now Fiio has worked with Dunu to evolve that sound complete with more balance, refinement and body to produce an earphone that is just as resolving but ever more natural. In the process, the F5 has been sapped of that instant appreciation, the sound is not as engaging, broad and dynamic as the EX1 that came before. Instead, it requires more long-term appreciation.
But as a purchase and under extensive critical listening, the F5 remains steadfast where the EX1, as with other earphones around this price, reveals some weaknesses. The F5 is therefore a surprisingly mature product with well-considered features and trade-offs enhancing the experience without inflating the price. The earphone isn’t to be seen as an anomaly, I won’t abandon my $200 or even $100 earphones in favour of the F5. Rather, they simply provide performance that justifies their asking price and I wouldn’t feel that I’m paying a premium for the brand, packaging, etc. So Fiio has wisely priced the F5; it is still lacking the detail, texture and coherence offered by $100-120 USD earphones, but at it’s proposed sub-$80 asking price, the F5 sits comfortably at the front of the pack.
Verdict – 9/10, Buyers will find much to love within the F5’s warm, balanced and spacious sound. Two cables are included from factory along with a very protective if somewhat impractical pelican style case. Great comfort and good build is combined with isolation that is now in line with that offered by other similarly priced earphones. The very tasteful asking price represents great value making the F5 another exemplary Fiio earphone that will be sure to impress the vast majority of buyers in both build and sound.