FiiO FH5s Semi-Open Hybrid IEM – Review

Fiio FH5 Semi-Open Hybrid IEM

FiiO is a company I’ve just been starting to dive into after years of hearing buzz about them. Their FH5s IEMs sit in the middle of their price range at $269, which, as I always note, is a very saturated, competitive price range in the market right now. However, just opening these up and taking a look at them, it’s clear the FH5s have a few tricks up their sleeve. Let’s talk about what they bring to the table. 

If you want to watch my video review on the Fiio FH5s, click here. 

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What’s in the Box

– MMCX cable

– Swappable 2.5/3.5/4.4 plugs

– Carrying case HB5

– Bi-flange ear tips (1 pair)

– Vocal ear tips (3 pairs)

– Bass ear tips (3 pairs)

– Balanced ear tips (3 pairs)

– Foam ear tips (3 pairs)

– MMCX assist tool

– Cleaning brush

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Look and Feel

The FH5s have a very high tech, modern look. Their gilled, metal backing and shining, glossy exterior makes these feel like quite a fancy gadget. They’re definitely an eye-catching IEM. Fit wise, these are fairly standard for the IEM world right now, and they settled in and stayed snug in my ears just fine. 

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Design

These use 4 drivers in each IEM, 2 dynamic and 2 balanced armature. They have a semi-open back design, which is meant to improve their soundstage. This open back design is a unique feature, but even more special is their tuning switches, which let you alter the FH5s’ lows, mids, and highs.

Soundstage

Given that these are semi-open IEMs, I had high hopes for their soundstage, and was not disappointed. These have a very lofted, airy soundstage that leaves a good amount of space in between instruments. The width on these allows for wide, cinematic compositions to get the entirety of their point across, and gives more minimal tracks a great sense of surrounding atmosphere. For the price, this soundstage definitely felt far above the competition, and was one of the first things to impress me right off the bat about these.

Lows

The FH5 have a classic beefy low end response. It’s not a bass response you’ve never heard before, following a common pattern of boosting the sub a bit and giving the rest of the lows a healthy, but not absurd, dose of presence. However, the FH5s executes this low end with great precision and consistency. I’d call it neutral bassy, in that it is definitely a bass-heavy IEM, but I wouldn’t call its low end boost far above the average. 

Mids 

These have a slightly sharpened mid range, which makes them great for bringing out vocals, snares, and other pointed elements. If you’re very sensitive in the high mid range, these may not be right for you at high volumes. At moderate volumes, this extenuation will likely not bother many, and be a pleasant, slightly colored aspect of the FH5s’ timbre. They have some added presence in the low mids too which helps to balance out the extended high mid, and keep things feeling balanced and more neutral. 

Highs

These are fairly bright, but definitely not intensely shining or sparkling. If you want a more unassuming, transparent high end that still retains an overall crisp, snappy feel, these are right up your alley. They won’t darken up any song, but they may not feel like they’re heightening the brightness to an obvious extent. Regardless, details come through beautifully on these and ear candy is delivered in abundance. I found the high end on these took me a few songs of getting adjusted to, as I’m a fiend for brightness, but once I did, I was a big fan of it. 

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Tuning Switches

While listening to the FH5s initially, I kept thinking about how for my personal taste, they’d be perfect with a few more decibels of low and high end and a few less decibels of the mid. That’s when I noticed the switches on the back, and suddenly felt like my mind had just been read. The low switch boosts the bass, the mid switch cuts the mids, and the high switch boosts the highs. I ended up flipping all three and then being truly impressed by these. Flipping the switches doesn’t create a dramatic shift in the sound, but an appreciable one. They’re a bit tedious to use, as you have to use the small point on the end of the cleaning brush, but there’s only so much real estate to fit them on, after all. I’d like to see these types of switches on more IEMs. 

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Overall

The FH5s are quite versatile with their full bodied lows, extended mids, and neutral highs paired with their customizable tuning. The sound quality and unique technology offered by these with their semi-open design and frequency adjusting switches make them a great deal for the price. I think other companies could take a few pointers from FiiO and maybe give their IEMs some less conventional designs and expanded abilities. 

Pros

Cons

  • Customizable Tuning
  • High-end look
  • Punchy, full lows
  • Snappy mids not for sensitive ears
  • Sound signature could be more unique
  • Tuning switches tedious to change

You can purchase the FiiO FH5s at Audio46

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