The Fiio FH5s review was one I had been looking for forever since the Chinese company announced that they would be hitting shelves in 2021. The design looked great, as did the driver configuration and the price. However, after spending the past couple of weeks with them, I can’t help but think they are yet another Fiio flop due to their off-putting tuning. A shame, really, because if tuned well, they would have been an instant recommendation due to how many things they got right on the design.
Warning this is not going to be a long review -Im not going to go into too much detail because I would rather spend my time writing about products I like and recommend to people. This isn’t one of them, but I think many people are interested in the FH5s enough to warrant some comment on them.
Video Review by Audio Levels
Written Review of the Fiio FH5S
The styling of the FH5s is stunning. It’s an all-metal earphone with an ergonomic design meant to be worn monitor style over the ear. The look and feel far more premium than their price point would suggest. Slightly industrial aesthetics but solid construction that will last a long time. The color scheme with the brass and black combo adding some refinement to the look.
The Fiio FH5s has a medium depth insertion, but they are not good isolators due to the semi-open back design. As a result, the dual drivers need venting, and with that, you lose something in the ability to block out external noise. The good thing is that you also open up the presentation of the earphone in that trade-off, but more on that later.
Accessories are on point. Fiio really does a great job here as they do with the packaging and presentation. They include lots of ear tip options to ensure you get a good fit, and they include a really nice carry case in the box. The cable is brilliant, and they have really stepped up their game to help them compete with Dunu in this regard. They use their own interchangeable plug system to allow you to pick and choose what adapter you need to be compatible with your source device. I like it and hope they keep it going forward with future earphones.
The internal configuration is that of a hybrid IEM. It has dual dynamic diaphragms to handle the lows and dual balanced armatures to handle the upper frequencies. This, in theory, gives the best of both worlds with a design that can give a good impact on low notes while still being detailed and airy on the treble and midrange. When done right, hybrids are some of the best-sounding earphones on the market. Unfortunately, however, the Fiio FH5s is not done right, and it’s hard to recommend them due to the poor performance in the treble.
The sound quality is not good here, it sounds disjointed, and the treble is harsh and metallic sounding. I consider myself a bit of a treble head, but these don’t have any redeeming qualities in the upper frequencies. So much so that I found them quite offputting and distracting to listen to. The Midrand was decent with good clarity and detail retrieval, but there is a harshness even in the upper mids.
The sub-bass response was good, and I found some nice texture and detail mid-bass I found to be lacking a little compared to the similar competition in the price range. The Shure Aonic 3, for example, are a far more pleasant headphone and cost far less.
In fact, there is a range of earphones that outshine them for less, like the Tin Hifi P1, Shuoer H27, and Dunu DK-2001, to name but a few. Most of those are almost half the price. I would take them all over the FH5s.
So it all seems pretty negative. If that is the case, you read the review wrong. Fiio made an amazing earphone in an amazing package with amazing accessories. The only area where they messed up was with the sound. That’s obviously why I won’t recommend them, but it does bode well if they can do something about their tuning going forward. I have never really been a fan of the company. More often than not, they have put out well-designed and good-looking gear with great build quality and then threw in either very flat or cold-sounding tuning. The FH7 is a standout, so it proves they do have it in them, but as for the FH5s, this is a hard pass.