Here are my impressions of Fiio's new single DD flagship.
Firstly, the unboxing experience was an enjoyable one. All the components are presented in a neat manner and the overall presentation exudes quality.
In the box, you get the following:
- IEMs on the modular cable.
- Faux leather case with a thick velour interior. Also has a velcro compartment for storing each shell.
- 5 different sets of tips (Vocal, balanced, bass, foam and tri flange).
- MMCX removal tool
- Cleaning brush (not sure why I would use that)
- An additional set of narrower nozzles (will get into that later).
- 2.5mm & 4.4mm plugs for the cable terminations.
Now onto the review...
I will start off with the hardware. The IEM shells do have some heft to them and have a high polish finish, aside from the faceplate which has some bead blasting on either side of the air vents.
The vents are described as semi open. Initially I didn't believe this to be the case due to the IEMs isolating well. It was when I paused my music or turned down the volume, I could hear the environment around me.
The cable, although slightly stiff is pretty fantastic. The modular plugs are well implemented and alleviates the need to swap cables.
The included case is on the larger side, however you can fit the IEMs and the BTR5 or any equivalent sized dac amps into it.
It is worth noting that despite the heft, these IEMs are quite comfortable.
Now onto my setup.
I have plugged these IEMs into the IFI ZenDac, Fiio BTR5 and Hidizs AP80 pro.
Single ended on ZenDac (as balanced induced noise), balanced on BTR5 & AP80 Pro.
These IEMs do scale well and sound the best on the ZenDac, but please keep in mind my sources are limited.
On the wide nozzle, I'm using Spinfit CP145 in medium. On the narrow Nozzle, I'm using the included vocal tips in large.
Here are my thoughts on the sound.
The FD5 has a very energetic presentation. Initial listen I was so wowed by these IEMs with everything in the frequency range coming right at me.
Sub bass extends well and there is also great midbass emphasis. I will say the speed and texture of the low end is impressive. The low end is very much present with good thumps and rumbles. It's worth noting I'm not a basshead,
however I find the bass to be more than enough. Double bass on metal tracks are rendered beautifully with natural timbre.
Despite the elevation on the mid bass, it doesn't bleed into the mids. The mids overall are slightly recessed, but at no point do they sound hollow. There is decent clarity throughout the mid range with micro details easily detected. Vocal timbre is very natural too.
Despite well over 100 hours of burn in, treble is still well extended. Keep in mind this taking into account the tips I'm using. I have tried Spiral Dots and Final E tips, however what they correct in the treble, also impacts the rest of the frequency range and just doesn't work for me. During long listening sessions I did find the FD5 to be fatiguing, mainly with percussion instruments.
I will say my impressions on the treble changed when switching to the narrow nozzle. More on that later...
Soundstage & Imagining:
These aren't the widest stage I've heard in an IEM, however they do sound open, airy and natural.
There is a great amount of air around instruments which makes instruments easily discernible. It is this characteristic that gives these IEMs excellent timbre, imaging and a near holographic stage. Think semi Spherical around your face.
In order I will rank the soundstage from width > depth > height.
Now finally onto the narrow nozzles!
I tried the narrow nozzles on day 1, however written them off almost immediately, as they subdued just about everything. I immediately wanted that super energetic, bouncing all over the place sound that the wide nozzle offered.
When the honeymoon phase was over, I kind of grown tired of that overly exciting sound and started to switch to the narrow nozzle. It was at this time, I watched Currawong's review on Youtube on the FD5. Despite our different tastes in music, I agree with his statements.
Treble became more refined and with it, longer listening sessions. Treble still maintained the sparkle, so it's not like it's rolled off completely. It just sounds... well...more refined. No other way to describe it.
The soundstage is now deeper, albeit narrower to my ears. It has a more forward image. Gone is that around you head semi-circle. Now it's like a stage in front of you.
I must say that out of all the included tips, the large vocal tips and only the large vocal tips are the only ones that sounded best to my ears.
I honestly like the FD5 a whole lot. I can highly recommend these, as there are 5 different sets of tips and 2 nozzles to change the overall tonality. This is an IEM you can truly make your own. One person's configuration can differ to another and it does seem the majority love the wide nozzles.