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Fiio FD5 review : The budget flagship


I dont think there is anyone who hasnt heard about Fiio, if not used a product Fiio. They are one of the biggest household names in the audiophile market. They make some of the most popular products in their respective price range and has been making some of the most interesting consumer products for the last few years. All kind of audiophile products can be found under their name. They started with speakers, small amps and then DAPs. Their X5 was one of the best audio players on the market at that time. They started adding earphones to their inventory. Fiio F1 and F3 were mildly successful but then they came up with their Hybrid F9 pro IEM which was one of the most successful IEM back then. Since then they have ventured into various price brackets and very recently launched the Fiio FD5, their single dynamic driver flagship.

It houses a 12mm Beryllium coated dynamic driver which uses N52 magnet with 1.5 Tesla of magnetic flux which is tuned to for less distortion and accurate sound production. FD5 follows the market trend and ships with a lot of accessories which includes switchable plugs and interchangeable nozzles. That’s not it, it too has an open back design for an expanded stage. It ships with only chrome paintjob and has a retail price of $319 or 28990 INR.

It faces competition from a lot other earphones, UM 3DT, BGVP DM8 and Audiosense T800 are a few of them.

Get one for yourself from these links:

Indians will have to wait a bit but these authorized sellers will have them once the Covid situation is under control.


Fiio FD5 gives an interesting unboxing experience. It ships with a huge retail box. The first thing that greets us is the IEM and beautiful looking HB5 carry case. The cable is placed under the earphone in a paper compartment and all the tips (inserted in foam) are placed under it. Few more accessories like the extra plugs, a pair of narrow bore nozzles, a cleaning tool and Final Audio MMCX removal tool are placed in a paper box under the carry case.

Watch the detailed unboxing:


I am big supporter of good quality cables with all IEMs. Even when the cable is not the best sounding one, it should be complimenting the looks of the IEM at least. If the IEM is priced over $100, aesthetics matters. Fiio used to ship their IEMs with average cables when they started bit have been providing very good cables with all of their earphones. The specialty of this cable is its swappable plug arrangement. Unscrew it from the metal jacket, pull the plug out and insert the desired termination in to the notch lined up with the groove.

It is an 8 strand monocrystalline silver plated copper cable. It utilizes Litz Type 2 structure with 19cores in each strand with a diameter of 24awg. Unlike the BGVP cable this Fiio cable is not very supple and has some memory to it. This tightly braided cable with a bit of stiffness can induce some amount of Microphonics but it’s not bad. Compared to competition Fiio cable feels premium and compliments the chrome colored FD5 aesthetically.

The cable guides are supple and hold the ears securely without being uncomfortable or loose. The cable splitter is minimal in size and weight. The cable slider or chin slider is slightly on the tighter side. The straight jack is heavy due to the mechanism inside it but feels solid to the hand. The MMCX connectors fit tightly in the socket.


FD5 has a lot going for it here. Fiio says it has “A unique timeless industrial design”. In their words:

“The FD5 is designed for comfort and stunning looks. The curves are inspired by majestic mountains and waterfalls. It also effectively reduces unwanted sound reflections.”

Fiio FD5 has stainless steel housing with chrome finishing, indeed, it looks stunning. The 3D embossed face plate gives it more character. Fiio says this face plate helps in reducing harmonic distortion and the curved cylindrical inner body reduces resonance and produces more accurate sound.

All this things aside I like the nozzle design. It is not shallow and has a lip which helps with better tracking with the tips. The body is not a lot ergonomically designed but has the curve at the right places to feel fairly comfortable even for longer hours.

The internals have a few interesting features too. First of all the driver opening is not aligned with the nozzle. It is off centered and Fiio says it helps with phase reduction and more accurate imaging. The semi open “Volcanic Field” design also helps with distortion reduction by relieving the air pressure. Even after all this it still have a small pressure releasing vent at front.

Sound quality on next page…



Suman Sourav Meher

Suman Sourav Meher

My humble audiophile journey started in 2010, when I was in college, where I fell in love with the elements, nuances, and variations of this mesmerizing world. The ability of tiny earphones to recreate amazing sounds made my bad days tolerable and good days better! Now I am a full-time audiophile with a preference for musical tracks, especially vocals and engaging ones. I must admit I am addicted, but not to drugs or alcohol, but to earphones. Come join me as I share my experiences, bad or good, and let’s have some fun!


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