Recently on the MajorHiFi YouTube channel, one of you asked about the differences between the new FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000. I was lucky enough to get my hands on both, and wow! I wasn’t expecting my experience to be one of the most fascinating comparison reviews of my young career. It was, however, so I’m very excited to share my thoughts with you through this FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review.
FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
First some facts…
In the Box – FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
|FiiO FH5||Final Audio E5000|
|FiiO FH5 earphones||Final Audio E5000|
|tuning eartips (4 different tunings, 3 sizes each)||eartips (5 sizes)|
|cleaning tool||ear hooks|
|hard shell clasping case||silicone carrying case|
|soft zipping case||karabiner|
Specifications – FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
|FiiO FH5||Final Audio E5000|
|Drivers||1 dynamic, 3 balanced armature||6.4 mm dynamic|
|Frequency Response||15 Hz – 40 kHz||—|
|Sensitivity||112 dB||93 dB|
|Impedance||19 Ohms||14 Ohms|
|Weight||8 g||24 g|
|Cable||1.2 m, MMCX with 3.5 mm connector, mono crystalline silver-plated copper||1.2 m, MMCX with 3.5 mm connector, oxygen free copper (OFC)|
Design – FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
Look and Fit
Both the FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 have wonderfully classy looks. In a general sense, the E5000 has a simpler look and the FH5 is flashier. Both look clean and mature. Additionally, both have pretty cables, although I prefer the look of the individually insulated wire bundles of the E5000.
I’m sure you can see it just by looking at the pictures alone, but it is worth noting that the Final Audio E5000 has more of an earphone-type style. Its cable can either hang straight down, or tuck behind the ears, making it versatile for folks who have different wearing style preferences.. On the other hand, the FiiO FH5 has a more tradition in-ear-monitor style with its cable sporting built in ear-hooks. However, despite this difference, both fit quite well, although the FH5 was quicker to fit easily. The E5000 needed a little bit of extra care when positioning it, but once in place, it was snug and comfortable.
Build and Durability
Both the FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 have strong and durable driver housings. The FH5 is made of machined aluminum-magnesium alloy. By comparison, the E5000 is made of stainless steel. Additionally, both earphones’ cables are detachable and connect to their respective driver housings via MMCX connectors. As a result, they are both easy to replace if the cable accidentally gets tugged the wrong way.
The FiiO FH5 cable is thicker and more rigid than the cable of the Final Audio E5000. As a result, it is a bit easier to manage, as it feels less quick to tangle. However, the E5000’s design allows room for bending in all directions, whereas the ear-hooks of the FH5 limit its movement (or at least limit where it wants to move).
Sound – FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
The low frequencies of the Final Audio E5000 have a healthy amount of weight. They sound round and sustain fully. They seem to have quick retraction which gives them wonderful impact without feeling accented or dramatically punchy. By comparison, the FiiO FH5 have a remarkably similar amount of weight and tonality. However, it’s response to transients feels less round, and rather is extremely punchy. I can feel the transients pumping with movement which contributes to the groove of the song.
For example, when I was listening to the song Prince Johnny by St. Vincent, both earphones can describe the kick in its entirety with a full expression of the low frequency sustain. The biggest difference between the two, however, is their relationship to the transients of the kick drum and the dynamics of the lows as a whole. The extremity of the jumpy, dancy dynamics of the FiiO FH5 is great for this song and great for genres that rely on groove for impact (like funk, rock, and hip-hop). On the flip side, the Final Audio E5000 is smoother, prettier, and more subtle, making it sound great with genres that don’t want as much attention focused on the transients of the lows like folk, female vocals, classical, and jazz. Additionally, it’s lows feel a bit more matched ear-to-ear.
The midrange of the FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 are smooth and sweet. The E5000 feels silkier in general whereas the EH5 feels slightly quicker and slightly more ducked. As a result, the E5000 feels more cohesive and even whereas the EH5 feels more spacious and exciting. Similarly to the low frequencies, the middle frequencies of both earphones have similar tonality. However, the EH5 has slightly more bite to the high-mids and slightly more emphasis to the low-mids. When I say slight, I mean, slight. It really is remarkable how similar, for example, guitars sound in both.
For example, when I was listening to Somebody to Anybody by Margaret Glaspy (which consists of a single electric guitar and her single vocal), both earphones represented the general frequencies of everything almost exactly. The biggest difference in the frequency expression was slightly more texture to the distortion with the FiiO FH5 versus slightly smoother distortion with the Final Audio E5000. However, the more dramatic difference was the jumpy energy the FH5 gave to the electric guitar. As a result, it sometimes seemed to steal my attention away from the vocal. The E5000 on the other hand had less dramatic activity which kept the vocal as the centerpiece of the song. My preference for the FH5 and the E5000 kept shifting as I listened through the song because I liked the way the E5000 treated the song as a whole, but I liked the way the FH5 provided joviality to the musical, yet tastefully skillful guitar part.
The high frequencies were where the FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 started to shift from each other tone-wise. Where the FH5 felt a little thicker, the E5000 felt more nuanced. In a general sense, the E5000 had a high frequency emphasis that was a little higher in the high frequency region than the FH5. As a result, it felt more spacious and left plenty of space for the highest region of the high-mids to sing and breath. On the other hand, the FH5 emphasised a lower piece of the high frequencies. This made the high frequencies feel fuller and even more harmonically rich at times. However, it also had a little less space in the vocal region of the high frequencies.
For example, when I was listening to the song Cleva by Erykah Badu, the high hats felt thicker and took up more space when I listened with the FiiO FH5. With the Final Audio E5000, they sounded more delicate, even though they sounded similarly loud in the mix. Additionally, the high frequencies felt slightly more extended with the E5000 but more active dynamically with the FH5. As a result, they both had a nice sense of space, but their feeling of texture was slightly different from each other with the FH5’s being more textured and energetic and the E5000’s being more smooth and organized.
The differences between the transient responses of FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 affect the presentation of their soundstages remarkably. For example, the FH5’s sense of width is accented because the active dynamics draw one’s attention out to the sides. Likewise, the focus and matched left and right of the E5000’s transients give it an accurate sense of depth. The sense of height of both earphones is great although they feel quite different. The height of the E5000 feels more focused with precision, whereas the height of the FH5 feels more energetic with movement.
For example, in the song Miles Runs the Voodoo Down by Miles Davis, the widely panned guitars, keys, etc gives the FiiO EH5 more width because the speakers are so reactive to their parts and changes. As a result, its presentation comes across as a very textural soundstage. Meanwhile, the placement of the cymbals feel much more precise and consistent when listening with the Final Audio E5000. The focus and attention is more accurate to the mixer’s wishes probably because nothing is distracting from the movement of whatever instrument is most important at any given time.
Overview – FiiO FH5 vs Final Audio E5000 Comparison Review
The FiiO FH5 and the Final Audio E5000 are two great earphones, especially for the price! They have a similar tonality, but differ in their overall presentation because of the ways they handle transients differently. In a general sense, the FH5 has a more fun sound and the E5000 has a prettier sound. If you’re listening to music that wants more excitement, you might enjoy the FH5 more. However, if you’re listening to music that wants more straightforwardness and more prettiness, you might find you like the E5000 better.
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