FiiO FH5s Pro Hybrid IEM Review
FiiO FH5s Pro Hybrid IEM Review
The FiiO FH5s Pro is basically the original FH5s with 2x Balanced Armature Drivers (TWFK-30017) + 2x Dynamic Drivers that comes bundled with a brand new LC-RC upgrade cable that is made of 19 strands of 8 core High Purity (8 core x 19 stands = 152 strand in total) Litz braided Single Crystal + Silver Plated Copper wires that features interchangeable 2.5mm/3.5mm/4.4mm headphone plugs with FiiO’s patented twist-lock system
- Product Website: FiiO FH5s Pro
The FiiO LC-RC upgrade cable can also be purchased individually. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Please Note that my review below will based on the FH5s review with additional sounds comparison to the original FH5s.
I would like to thank FiiO for providing the FiiO FH5s Pro as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and all these words do reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
The actual price for the FiiO FH5s Pro is about 299,99 USD. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package and Accessories:
The FiiO FH5s Pro comes in a fancy rectangular black box with a silky smooth surface coating that shows the product illustration and the motto “Born for Music” on the top.
Inside the box of the are the following items;
- 1 pair x FiiO FH5s In-Ear Monitors
- 1 piece x LC-RC Detachable Upgrade Cable with MMCX connectors
- 3 pieces x Interchangeable Headphone Jacks (3.5mm SE, 2.5mm & 4.4mm Balanced)
- 9 pairs x Silicone Ear tips (Balanced, Vocal, Bass and Bi-Flange)
- 3 pairs x Memory Foam Ear Tips
- 1 piece x HB5 Storage Case
- 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
- 1 piece x Metal MMCX Assist Tool
- 1 piece x Warranty Card and User Manual
The FiiO FH5s Pro comes with a very rich package of accessories that includes a wide variety of ear tips collection. This collection includes 9 pairs of silicone ear tips (Balanced, Vocal, Bass and Bi-Flange) and 2 pairs of memory foam ear tips.
Inside the box are also 3 different Interchangeable Headphone Plugs that do come with the LC-RC upgrade cable, which are the 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm & 4.4mm Balanced plugs.
The HB5 is a nice looking storage case with a premium appearance.
Tools like the Cleaning Brush and the stylish metal MMCX Assist tool are some useful additions.
Design & Build Quality:
The FiiO FH5s Pro has a very nice looking robust monitor shell that continuous the design language of the FH series In-Ear Monitors. It has a TRISHELL “sandwich” structural design, which is a combination of a 5-axis CNC machined aluminum-magnesium alloy rear shell, body and front cover that are fixed together at 3 points to reduce excess resonance and distortion.
The FH5s Pro is available in two different color options, which are silver and the one in black color like my review unit.
On the front of the monitor shell is a unique looking “Dragon Scale” motive with a semi-open back design. The cavity was refined through computer simulations to ensure the air pressure at the front and rear cavities are balanced. The open-air mesh guides do blend the “Dragon Scales” nicely, which are in the same gold color like the metal frame around the faceplate.
At the rear body of the monitor housing are the L (left) and R (Right) markings and the sound nozzle that do have a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of strange particles such like dust and ear wax.
On the top of the monitor housing is the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors with left and right color indicators, which is in blue for left and red for the right connector.
At the rear side of each monitor are 3 sound tuning switches to adjust the lows, mids and the highs.
The overall build quality and craftsmanship of the monitor shells is very high and fulfils my expectations from a product at this price range.
FiiO LC-RC Upgrade Cable:
The FiiO FH5s Pro comes with the all new LC-RC upgrade that uses High-Purity Silver-Plated Monocrystalline wires specifically, 8 strands of 19 cores each for a total of 152 wires. Each wire is individually isolated and all are braided together in the Litz style. This greatly minimizes the adverse skin and proximity effects and thus reduces the resistance of the wires, letting signals travel through the wire more easily and purely
The cable features special isolation made from environmentally friendly German TPU material in black color. This TPU material is also resistant against yellowing after long-term use and against stiffening when in low-temperature environments.
The MMCX connectors have a transparent housing and on each connector is right left indicator, which is a red ring on the right and a blue ring on the right connector. Near the MMCX connectors are transparent heat-shrink ear hooks for a better over the era wearing experience.
The detachable cable has a unique Interchangeable Headphone Plug design and offers 3 (three) plug variants, which are the 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) plug, 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) plug and the 4.4mm Balanced (TRRRS) Pentaconn plug.
The housing of the headphone plug has a strait profile and is made of the same metal material in gun metal color.
Fit – Comfort & Passive Noise Isolation:
The FiiO FH5s Pro has a quite ergonomic monitor shape that fits comfortable to my ears with an average ear concha. It doesn’t hurt my ears even after longer listening periods.
The passive noise isolation of the FH5s is on an average level, due to the semi-open back design. However, the passive noise isolations is fairly enough for the use in environments such like a bus, metro r train.
The FiiO FH5s Pro has an impedance of 40 Ω and a sensitivity of 106 dB, which makes it to a relative easy to handle IEM. Sources with relative weak amplification such as Mobile Phones, regular Headphone Adaptors and Tablets are able to power the FH5s Pro to pretty high volume levels.
- Driver Configuration : Hybrid Driver Configuration
- Driver type : 12mm Beryllium-plated Dome + PU Gasket Dynamic Driver (Bass)
6mm Beryllium-plated Dynamic Driver (Midrange)
2x Knowles TWFK-30017 Balanced Armature Driver (Treble)
- Frequency response : 10Hz ~ 40kHz
- Sensitivity : 106 dB/mW
- Impedance : 40 Ω
- Plug : Interchangeable Plugs (3.5mm SE, 2.5mm & 4.4mm Balanced)
- Connector type : MMCX Connector
- Cord length : 120cm
- Wearing type : Over the Ear
Sources used for this review:
- IEM : FiiO FH5s & FiiO FH5s Pro
- DAP/DAC/AMP : FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO Q5s, ddHiFi TC35 Pro
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama “Party Favor Remix” (Deezer HiFi)
- Christian Reindl (Lucie Paradise) – Cernunnos (Spotify)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Deezer HiFi)
- Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The FiiO FH5s Pro offers a very spacious and detailed sound presentation with a great sense of clarity and definition thanks to its semi-open back design and the new hybrid driver configuration, which is a combination of 2 Balanced Armature + 2 Dynamic Drivers.
The bass response is pretty fast, nicely layered and tight in its presentation, with better sense of depth and body compared to the FH5S. The midrange has an impressive sense of airiness, transparency and resolution, while the treble shows an above average performance in terms of extension, separation and resolution that is now much better in terms of control with the new LC-RC upgrade cable that comes bundled in the Pro version.
Please note that my sound impressions below are mainly based to the FiiO FH5S Pro + LC-RC cable combination with the sound switches set to “Reference Mode” (all Switches positioned to OFF).
Sound Tuning Switches Explained:
- B Switch On : Increase of Bass intensity, reduced Treble forwardness
- M Switch On : More forward Midrange Character (Vocals are slightly more intimate)
- T Switch On : Treble Boost, mildly increase in treble intensity and overall brightness
- Switches Off : Reference Tuning that shows a linear bass response
The FiiO FH5s Pro shows a minimal coloration in the lower frequency area and offers in general a pretty balanced and natural bass response with good level of layering, resolution and control. The subbass region has good depth and rumble, especially if you activate the bass switch. Songs like Christian Reindl’s “Cernunnos”, Lorde’s Royals or Massive Attack’s “Angel” are reproduced with a good sense of subbass rumble and authority.
The FiiO FH5s Pro is producing the midbass region in a pretty balanced and natural manner, with good level of tightness, impact and intensity. The sense of resolution, speed and clarity is top notch thanks to the well tuned new generation 12mm diameter Dynamic Driver with Beryllium Coated Diaphragm. Songs like Bro Safari, UFO’s “Drama “Party Favor Remix” or Jo Blankenburg’s “Meraki” do sound highly entertaining, with good level of impact and intensity when the “Bass Switch” is activated. Even songs like Gogo Penguin’s Raven that do have some very complex bass passages do sound pretty clear, controlled and detailed.
String instruments such like electro or bass guitar or drums like kick drums or toms are represented with an adequate sense of body, depth and intensity. Other instruments such like violas and acoustic guitars do sound nicely transparent and emotional.
What really impressed me about this In-Ear Monitor is the general midrange character that shows a great sense of clarity, airiness and detail retrieval that can easily compete with much higher priced products on the market that are sold double or even triple the price of the FH5S Pro, which comes bundled with a good upgrade cable.
The lower midrange area of the FH5s Pro shows a moderate sense of depth and intensity and sounds in general pretty clear and free of any type of muddiness. Male vocals from Barry White to Elton John, from Isaac Hayes to Sting are reproduced with a good level of body and do sound nicely emotional, especially when you activate both the B (Bass) and M (Mid) switches in combination of the LC-RC upgrade cable.
Instruments like violas, trumpets or an acoustic guitar do have an above average fullness and intensity and are reproduced in a pretty emotional way.
The upper midrange of the FH5s Pro is nicely highlighted and is able to produce a very good sense of clarity and resolution when I do listen to female vocals such like Edith Piaf, Dionne Warwick, Hayley Westenra or Sarah McLachlan. When it comes to instruments like violins, flutes or pianos, I can say that the upper midrange of the FH5s Pro is able to add them a nice level of brightness, clarity and liveliness without to show any remarkable sibilance or sharpness, which is a noticeable improvement that the new LC-RC upgrade cable offers.
The general midrange tuning makes the FH5s Pro in combinations with its quite efficient open-back design to a very spacious and open sounding In-Ear Monitor in this area.
The FiiO FH5s Pro has a relative bright treble tonality that is now much smoother, controlled and fatigue free thanks to the bundled LC-RC upgrade cable that addressed some minor issues in this area, without to affect the great level of resolution that has been produced in this area.
The transitions from the upper midrange towards the lower treble region are now nicely controlled without to show any remarkable unwanted peaks and harshness. The lower treble range still energetic and detailed, when I do listen to instruments like such like a hi-hat, ride or crash cymbals.
The upper treble region of the FH5s Pro offers a pretty good sense of brilliance, airiness and sparkle when I do listen to a wide variety of genres that includes metal to electronic music, from jazz to pop music. The “T Switch” on the monitor adds a slightly boost to the lower and upper treble region and does increase the sense of brightness, airiness and sparkle, which will be for sure a big selling point for treble-heads or for listeners with an older people.
Soundstage & Imaging:
The FiiO FH5s Pro offers an impressive soundstage atmosphere that is pretty airy and spacious, thanks to the well implemented semi-open back design. This makes it a quite successful In-Ear Monitor in terms of separation and positioning of instruments and vocals.
The soundstage of the FH5s Pro shows very good sense of depth and wideness, while it has an average height.
FiiO FH5 Pro versus FiiO FH5s:
The FiiO FH5s Pro shows how much difference a single upgrade cable upgrade can do to the sound performance of an IEM. I will list now the audible differences between the FH5s that comes with the stock 4 core Monocrystalline Silver-plated Copper cable and the FH5s Pro, which is basically the FH5s with the LC-RC upgrade cable which is made of 8 core High-Purity Silver-Plated Monocrystalline wires.
The first noticeable difference is the bass response, which is now in general tighter and more controlled, compared to the FH5s variant. The lower frequency area has now also a slightly better sense of layering and dynamism. The midbass have gained more body and is also slightly more impactful.
The lower midrange shows better level of depth and body, while the most noticeable difference is audible in the upper midrange area that sounds slightly more smoothed out that adds the overall midrange presentation a better sense of authority without to show any remarkable compromises such like drop in detail retrieval of transparency.
One of the most audible improvements that the LC-RC upgrade cable do offer, occurs in the treble region especially in the lower treble area, which sounded a bit peaky and sharp in moments when instruments did play with high distortion. Here are also some minor positive chances in terms of clarity and definition, while the upper treble region sounds smoother and more forgiving, when I do listen to poor recorded tracks.
The soundstage performance stills in general the same in terms of depth, wideness and imaging.
The FH5s Pro is another highly successful product of the company that has a fantastic design with its fancy “Dragon Scale” faceplate and offers also an impressive overall sound performance thanks to its well implemented hybrid driver configuration. It has a balanced & fast bass response, an airy and transparent midrange character, and a treble presentation with a great sense of extension and sparkle. Moreover, it comes bundled with the LC-RC upgrade cable that has 3 interchangeable (3.5mm/2.5 &4.4mm) headphone plugs that worth’s every single penny, which can also purchased separately.
Pros and Cons:
- + Transparent & Detailed Midrange Presentation
- + Balanced & Controlled Bass Response
- + Treble Extension, Sparkle, Airiness
- + Beautiful Design & Robust Build Quality
- + Sound Tuning Switches
- + Rich Accessory Package (LC-RC Upgrade Cable, Interchangeable Headphone Plugs, etc.)
- – Not the suitable IEM for Bass-Heads
- – Average Passive Noise Isolation
- – Couldn’t find any other remarkable things that could be described as negative
Thank you for the Read!