FiiO KA5


New Head-Fier
Pros: - Quality construction
- Very light
- Portable
- OLED display
- Many features (Gain, Filters, UAC, etc)
- FiiO App Control
- Price/performance
- No background hiss
- Excellet sound quality
- Good amp power
- 2 outputs: 3.5mm & 4.4mm Bal
- Supports many types of files
- Cables: USB-C, Lightning, USB-A (adapter)
- Protective case (sold separately)
Cons: - No MQA support
- Creases on design can get dust/specks
- USB-C to USB-A cable instead adapter


>>I am brazilian and I speak portuguese, so forgive my english, I’ll use translator tools to help<<


Following the timeline of FiiO USB dongles, the FiiO KA5 DAC/AMP dongle is the latest release and also the company’s flagship. The dongle has the 3.5mm SE and 4.4mm balanced outputs, as well as an OLED display to access the equipment settings.

Official price: $129,99 USD

FiiO’s previous reviews: JD7 (in english), FH3, KA1, HS18 (in portuguese)

FIIO store:


General Specifications

-Name/Model: KA5
-Color: Black or White
-Weight: About 19g
-Sampling rate display: OLED display
-Balanced output interface: 4.4mm socket
-Max sampling rate support: 768K/32bit, DSD64/128/256, 192K/32bit (Coaxial)
-DAC chip: Cirrus Logic Dual CS43198
-OP-AMP: SGM Dual 8261-5
-Headphone impedance: PO: 16~150Ω, BAL: 16~300Ω
-Firmware upgrade: The system firmware can be upgraded using USB
-FiiO control: Supported
-Dimensions: About 56.3*22*12mm

Buttons and Ports

-USB: Type-C USB
-Buttons: Menu selecting, function setting, volume adjusting, song switching
-OLED display: Displays sampling rate and working state

Audio Parameters

Parts of performance parameters of headphone out (3.5mm)

-Output power: L+R≥136mW+136mW (16Ω, THD+N<1%, USB IN)
L+R≥122mW+122mW (32Ω, THD+N<1%, USB IN)
L+R≥13.5mW+13.5mW (300Ω, THD+N<1%, USB IN)
-Frequency response: 20Hz~20kHz, crosstalk≤0.1dB
20Hz~50kHz, crosstalk≤0.2dB
-THD+N: <0.00037% (0dB, 32Ω)
<0.00035% (0dB, 600Ω)
-Max output voltage: ≥1.99V (32Ω, THD+N<1%)
≥2V (600Ω, THD+N<1%)
-Output impedance: <0.3Ω
-Channel crosstalk: ≥72dB (1kHz, 32Ω)
-Noise floor: 1.6uV&1.0uV”A”
-SNR: ≥124dB (32Ω, A-weighted)
≥126dB (600Ω, A-weighted)

Parts of performance parameters of headphone out (4.4mm)

-Output power: L+R≥154mW+154mW (16Ω, THD+N<1%.USB IN)
L+R≥265mW+265mW (32Ω, THD+N<1%, USB IN)
L+R≥54mW+54mW (300Ω, THD+N<1%, USB IN)
-Frequency response: 20Hz~20kHz, crosstalk≤0.1dB
20Hz~50kHz, crosstalk≤0.2dB
-Distortion: <0.00037% (-6dB, 32Ω)
<0.00024% (0dB, 600Ω)
-Peak output voltage: ≥2.9V (32Ω, THD+N<1%)
≥4V (600Ω, THD+N<1%)
-Output impedance: <0.35Ω
-Channel separation: ≥115dB (1kHz, 32Ω)
-Bottom noise: 1.8uV&1.1uV”A”
-Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥128dB (32Ω A-weighted)
≥130dB (600Ω A-weighted)


– FiiO FH3
– FiiO JD7
– Tin HiFi P1
– Questyle M15
– MotoZ3Play
– Dell Inspiron (W10)






Let’s talk about the KA5’s build. The dongle is coated with metal (aluminum alloy) and has glass on the top surface and in the bottom surface. The side buttons of the product I believe are made of plastic, I couldn’t be sure because they are very similar to the body’s dongle. The positive point of the buttons is that they don’t make noise if you shake the product, they are firm.

The design is very elegant and futuristic, although this is a personal perception, but I liked. Now, I already mentioned this in the KA1’s review as well, FiiO dongles have some “creases” on the surface that I always think it could accumulate some dust/specks there, it’s evident that the company won’t think too much about it to not change the aesthetics of the product. The dongle is very light and small too, excellent for portability. They have no sharp edges, all edges are very well polished.

Display. One of the big differentials of this dongle is having an OLED screen to be able to change the settings. The equipment has several features, and I think that to change so many configs this was the most appropriate solution. On the display we have the following information: Sample rate and file type, volume levels and selected volume mode, High Gain or Low Gain, selected digital filters, selected UAC mode, S/PDIF on/off, and buttons control mode. To turn the display on or off, just press the main button twice.

The KA5 has an independent volume control, that is, you can put a volume on the dongle and a different one on the source (computer, smartphone), one doesn’t control the other. So the configuration is up to the user, for example I set the KA5 at the maximum and I only control the volume using the Windows volume scale, because it’s easier for me, but it may be that for someone else it’s more interesting to use the dongle volume as the main.

FiiO Control App. FiiO provides an App for Android and iOS, through which it’s possible to control some of the features available on the dongle. I’ll take advantage of the App screenshots to detail the features available in KA5.



The features available in KA5 are:

-Change the gain: High or Low gain
-Enable or disable the S/PDIF function: if you need to make a connection with a 3.5mm to RCA cable
-Dimmer. Adjust display brightness: from 1 to 10 levels of intensity
-Timer to turn off the display: from 1 to 60 seconds, or never turn off
-Rotate the display information by 180°
-Volume Control: A – 120 steps, B – 60 steps
-Choose volume behavior: Mode A (1 by 1), Mode B (fast forward)
-Increase or decrease the volume
-Change digital filters: 5 options
-Adjust the balance between channels: left and right
-Dac mode Cass H or Class AB: changes the power efficiency mode of the amplifier
-Hardware mute: Prevents some unwanted sounds when switching tracks

The KA5 also has the option to change the USB Audio Class (UAC) from 1.0 to 2.0.

While I’m writing this review, the KA5 doesn’t have any firmware updates available. If this happens in the future, this page provides the necessary information:

Battery consumption on 3.5mm output. Using the FiiO JD7, the battery consumption was 13% The smartphone I used has a 3.000mAh battery. The test was performed during 1hour of playback with the screen off and WiFi off (airplane mode). The KA5’s screen was also turned off for the test. The volume was set at level 10 out of 15 available by Android. The dongle was at max volume. 120 steps and in High Gain mode (with gain on).

Battery consumption on 4.4mm output. Using the Tin HiFi P1 (OG), the battery consumption was 17%. The test was carried out along the same lines as the previous one, the only difference being the volume at level 12 of the 15 available on Android. Have in mind that this is a simple test just to get a baseline, these aren’t extremely accurate numbers, my smartphone’s battery isn’t in the best conditions either…

Heating. During the time that I’m evaluating the battery consumption, I’m also evaluating the surface of the product to see if it is heating up disproportionately. On the 3.5mm output, the dongle got a little warmed up, something subtle, I consider it as normal, nothing out of context. On the 4.4mm output, the surface temperature was almost the same as when using the 3.5mm output, maybe a tiny more warm, but no differences as a whole.

Accessories. Of included accessories, the KA5 comes with a USB-C<>USB-C cable, another USB-C<>Lightning cable, and a USB-C<>USB-A adapter. The quality of the cables is great, they are made of Paracord and this is the best material for this type of cable (in my opinion). I think the kit was very complete, it manages to contemplate the main USB ports. They could have put an exclusive cable for the USB-C<>USB-A connection, which in my opinion the kit would be even more complete, although the adapter was also providential.

SK-KA5 Case (protective cover). Another accessory that the dongle has is a protective cover made of synthetic leather, the product is named “SK-KA5”. The accessory is very well made, both in quality and in design, usability has not been compromised at any time, it’s possible to see the screen, control the buttons, and connect the cables of the respective inputs and outputs. It’s worth having the KA5 with the SK-KA5 together. You can buy the case together with the KA5 at the time of purchase, or buy each one separately, on the product page you have this option to choose from. Here is the product link for those who want to take a look:




It must be remembered that this analysis is subjective, based on my experience with the product and also on the synergy with the other equipments I used here. I also already inform you that the more objectivist part of the hobby isn’t really my beach, so it may be that some information is limited, I’m not an expert in the technical side of this type of product.

The audio quality of the FiiO KA5 is excellent. According to the company, the DAC chip used in the dongle was from the company Cirrus Logic, model CS43198. The KA5 was implemented with two DAC chips to run the balanced system on the 4.4mm output, so the CS43198*2 is precisely to elucidate this duplication. The sound I could hear with the KA5 was excellent, I found the performance of the dongle very good, 100% transparency, definition, clarity and detail. I didn’t notice any distortion, coloration, noise floor or strange sound during the time that I was testing the dongle.

High Gain and Low Gain. The KA5’s gain feature is very functional, in High Gain it’s possible to feel that the sound gains more expansiveness, the bass is more vigorous, it increases the feeling of spatiality in the songs. In fact, not all IEMs will scale with more gain activated, some can even make the sound worse, I don’t have any sensitive IEM right now to do the test, so I preferred to always set the KA5 on High Gain and control only the volume. With the JD7, FH3 and P1 I didn’t have any issues, on the contrary, the sound in High Gain was even better (to my ears).

Analyzing the amplification capacity of the KA5, for me the dongle was able to push the Tin P1 on the balanced 4.4mm output in High Gain mode, basically what I reported in the paragraph above happened. Lately all dongles with 4.4mm output are showing the ability to amplify the P1 (to my ears). As for the 3.5mm output, both the JD7 and the FH3 are easy to push IEMs, so I can say that the single ended output capacity is also good, it will play a large amount of IEMs without having to worry.

About the digital filters available in the equipment. Honestly I didn’t hear any difference between them, this isn’t the first DAC/AMP that has this type of filter and I couldn’t distinguish changes in the sound either. Another feature available on the KA5 is H-DEPOP, it prevents some unwanted sounds from appearing when switching tracks. I also didn’t notice any change in the sound while I did the tests, with the feature activated or deactivated, the playback of the songs occurred without problems. Perhaps the necessary situation has not appeared for the feature to take effect. The good thing is that the more features, the better it is.

Comparative: Questyle M15 x FiiO KA5



This comparison will be something very quick, I didn’t have much time to do a more detailed analysis between the two devices. I say this because on the same day I made the comparison, I was saying goodbye to the M15 and opting for the KA5 as the new DAC/AMP for my next evaluations.

In physical terms, the KA5 is a little smaller, narrower, which makes it even more minimalist than the M15. By weight, I can’t tell the differences, I’m referring to the feeling of handling, for me both are very light. Both have glass on the surface, but the M15 ends up needing more care, as the glass is the product’s eye-catcher. The KA5 has much more features than the M15, the KA5 has a volume control button and play/pause directly on the body’s dongle, the M15 only has a gain selector switch. The M15’s cables are thicker, which gives the impression of being more durable/resistant, although the KA5’s are also good. The M15 plays MQA, the KA5 doesn’t. Both have a synthetic leather protective cover (sold separately).

Amplification. Using the FiiO FH3 on the 3.5mm output of the dongles, for me they have basically the same performance, both in low gain and in high gain. The FH3 is an easy-to-push IEM and has always played well on simpler sources or less “strong” dongles. In terms of volume, it’s even difficult to do a complete test, because in the range of 40-50% – with both dongles – I already think that the sound is at a very high volume and I can’t go beyond that to not affect my hearing.

Using the Tin P1, I noticed that at the 4.4mm output and with both dongles on high gain, the KA5 performed better, because I could put the maximum volume and the sound didn’t present distortion. On the M15, when I set the high gain to max, it’s noticeable that there is a bit of distortion in the sound. But this is something I had already mentioned in my M15 review, so it’s nothing new. I’m hardly going to listen to music at maximum volume, it’s just to test the product.

In terms of sound, I thought the KA5 was a little cold/brighter than the M15, and in my opinion this latter was more “neutral”. Other features such as imaging and soundstage, I didn’t notice performance differences from one to the other. It’s evident that these are very tiny differences, and I always think that these differences are only real when you compare the two dongles with the same earphone, if you don’t have another source as a reference the sound will always be the “normal”.


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Reviewer at hxosplus
Pros: + Stellar sound performance
+ Balanced and musical sounding
+ Timbre realism and minimum digital glare
+ Low noise floor
+ Powerful and impactful
+ Low power consumption
+ Plenty of configuration options
+ Can be configured through the local OS without the need of an application
+ Multi Platform compatibility
+ User selectable 120 or 60 steps of precise volume adjustment
+ Spdif output
+ OLED display and hardware buttons
+ Lightweight and compact sized
+ Excellent build quality
+ A lightning cable is also included
Cons: - A few instances of cellular antenna interference
- A carrying case would be welcomed
The FiiO KA5 was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I didn't receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don't use affiliate links.
The price of the FiiO KA5 is $129 and you can order it from here.

FiiO KA5

The FiiO KA5 is the brand new flagship USB DAC dongle by the brand which seems to be an updated or better a slightly different version of the FiiO KA3.

The most notable difference is the inclusion of a tiny OLED screen which, except for displaying sample rate and other useful information, is also used for navigating into the settings without the need to connect with the FiiO control application.

The FiiO KA5 FiiO utilizes dual CS43198 DAC chips that provide decoding for high-resolution audio signals including PCM up to 32-Bit/768kHz and native DSD256.
Furthermore for powerful output and serious amplification, the FiiO KA5 comes equipped with dual independent SGM8261 AMP chips delivering up to 265mWPC/32Ω of clean power through the balanced port.
Even with the single ended 3.5mm output it provides up to 122mWPC/32Ω, plenty to power most earphones.
The circuit utilizes a 6-layer immersion-gold PCB as well as high performance, ultra low noise op-amps.

The FiiO KA5 also includes three physical buttons for controlling music playback, adjusting the volume and navigating through the menus.
Furthermore, except for the dual headphone outputs, the FiiO KA5 now includes an S/PDIF digital output (shared with the 3.5mm port) which transforms it into a mini digital UBC to S/PDIF converter.


Appearance and build quality

The FiiO KA5 is not that bigger than the KA3 and it is also made from aluminum but it is more luxurious looking because of the front and rear tempered glass surfaces.
Despite the extra OLED screen and the buttons, the increase in weight is minimal, the FiiO KA5 weighs 19g, only 1.5g more than the KA3.
Build quality, finish and overall construction are excellent.


The FiiO KA5 comes bundled with USB type C to C and lighting to C cables and a USB type A to C adapter so you don't need to buy anything else except for a 3.5mm to S/PDIF cable in case that you need one.
The only thing missing is a protective case, even a plastic one like that of the BTR5.


User interface and operating system

Besides the FiiO control application which is only available for Android devices you can now use the local operating system to configure the KA5.
This is very good news for iOS and PC users because all the features of the KA5 are available "in situ" and you don't have to rely on an Android device in order to configure it.
You can use the multifunction and the two volume buttons to access all the available features through the OLED display.

The buttons can be operated as follows:

Multifunction button: short press once to play/pause music,short press twice to turn on/turn off the display, hold for 2s to activate/exit the settings menu.
There are two operation modes available for the volume buttons.

Mode A: Volume+ button: short press once to increase the volume for 1 level, hold for 2s to play the previous track, page up on the settings menu.
Volume- button:;short press once to decrease the volume for 1 level, hold for 2s to play the next track, page down on the settings.

Mode B: Volume+ button: short press once to play the previous track; hold for 2s to continuously increase the volume, page up on the settings menu.
Volume- button: short press once to play the next track, hold for 2s to continuously decrease the volume, page down on the settings menu.
At mode A the volume has 120 steps of adjustment and at mode B there are 60 steps.

The other settings are:

  1. GAIN: select high or low gain.
  2. FLT: digital filter, 5 filter levels are available.
  3. VOL-CTL: volume level control, 120 levels for A mode, 60 levels for B mode.
  4. DAC-OM: DAC output mode, ClassH and ClassAB modes are available.
  5. SPDIF: after the SPDIF mode is enabled, you will get the S/PDIF signal through the 3.5mm port with an adapter cable
  6. ADJ-L/R: channel balance settings of the left/right channel.
  7. H-DEPOP: display whether the hardware mute switch is on. You can set whether the hardware switch cuts off the output.
  8. DIMMER: dimmer setting of the display.
  9. ROT-DISP: rotate the display. It can be set to rotate 180 degrees.
  10. OFF-DISP: the display can be auto-locked if there is no activity, and the time control can be chosen from 1 to 60 seconds. "NVR" means Never.
  11. HID-KEY: choose the A/B mode of Volume+ and Volume- buttons.
  12. VERSION: firmware version display.
  13. RST-DEF: restore default settings.

FiiO Control application

All the above mentioned functions and parameters are also configurable through the FiiO control application which is only working on Android OS.


Power output and associated gear

The FiiO KA5 has two output modes, class AB and H, that differ in the quiescent current.
Compared to that in class AB mode, the quiescent current of the device will be about 8mA lower in class H mode so the KA5 will operate slightly more efficiently.
Switching between the two operation modes I wasn't able to detect any audible differences but your mileage may vary.
Thanks to the extra amplification op-amps, the KA5 is quite powerful and didn't have any problem into driving full sized headphones like the Sennheiser HD660S or the Focal Clear Mg while it was silent enough for use with very sensitive IEMs like the Hidizs MS5.
During the listening evaluation I have also used the FiiO FH7S , the Penon Vortex and the ISN H30.
Generally speaking, the KA5 is well shielded against EMI but sometimes a hiss was audible while streaming from a cell-phone.
According to FiiO, the power consumption is
Power consumption:
110mA( Standby)
113mA(PO 40mV)
113mA(BAL 40mV)
The KA5 was burned for about 100 hours before listening


Listening impressions

The FiiO KA5 is absolutely fantastic sounding without any noticeable and worth mentioning drawbacks, this is a perfect example of how good the USB DAC dongles are becoming, successfully bridging the gap with entry level DAPs.
The frequency response is ruler flat but the sound character is balanced, natural , engaging and musical while maintaining excellent transparency and source fidelity.
It is not a secret that I am quite fond of the CS43131/43198 DAC chips when well implemented and the FiiO KA5 is definitely a good example of high quality engineering.
All digital filters sound good but my favorite is the last one that mimics a NOS impulse response as it is the most analogue and organic sounding.
The sound is characterized by its natural timbre and a great sense of realism while digital glare is almost absent or at least barely audible.
The KA5 is not artificial or sterile sounding, on the contrary this is a harmonious DAC that can resolve plenty of tonal variety and offers a multi shaded reproduction of complex music like the following recording featuring favorite tunes of Jean-philippe Rameau.


On a technical level, the FiiO KA5 is certainly up to the task with an impactful and well controlled bass that is also multi-layered, well defined and full bodied.
The KA5 has fast transient response and excellent clarity throughout the whole frequency range with an evenly voiced and precisely articulated mid-range and a resolving, fine sounding treble that is devoid of sharpness and brightness.
This is not the most detailed and analytical sounding DAC, there are others that offer deeper detail retrieval, like the FiiO KA5, but still you can hear pretty much everything or at least as much as is needed in order to feel the atmosphere of the recording venue.
It pairs well with every transducer, no matter how it is tuned, and is suitable for listening to all kinds of music from electronic to classical.
With the KA5 source and headphone matching are pretty irrelevant and shouldn't bother the potential buyer.
The soundstage is truly amazing, pair the FiiO KA5 with an opening sounding earphone, like the Hidizs MS5 and you will be rewarded with a vast and holographic soundscape that is also characterized by the precise imaging and plenty of dimensionality.

As is always the case with inherently balanced circuits, the single ended output of the KA5 is really good but you must use the balanced in order to get the maximum power output, better headroom and dynamics, more open soundstage and higher quality technicalities.


Compared to the FiiO KA3

(For the comparison the short delay sharp roll off filter was used in both devices.)

If you think that the KA3 is surpassed and made obsolete by the KA5 then you better think twice because it still holds on its own with sonic virtues that are going to be welcomed by a lot of users.
The KA5 has the more natural timbre and it is smoother, calmer and more relaxed sounding compared to the KA3, which is a little more aggressive and raw with a sharper treble and a touch of brightness but without over exaggerating as to make it sound unpleasant and harsh.
The KA3 has also faster transient response, it is more transparent and cleaner than the KA5 while it is definitely more dynamic and impactful.
So leaving aside the various functionalities and talking sound only, the two brothers offer different sound signatures and it is not about being better or worse, the KA3 is still very competitive with its own flattering temperament.


In the end

The FiiO KA5 is truly amazing and highly recommended not only for its solid sound performance but also because it offers plenty of functionality and user configuration options that are easily done thanks to the OLED display and the hardware buttons.
For just $129 this is another great hit for FiiO that continues to teach masterclasses to the competition.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2023.
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Please read the FiiO KA5 review in my website where you are going to find a comparison with the KA3 and the DC04PRO.
I think that you will be better served by the KA5 but please remember that the S12 Pro is a touch sharp in the treble.
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