Stories of FiiO FH5s--From @FiiO Kang
May 10, 2021 at 6:10 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

FiiO

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Chapter 1 Prelude: HiFi is more than business, but also music and care

The story began with the 2021 Shanghai International Headphone Show in March 2021. And this was the first time that we took the FH5s to a big show (Before that the FH5s had gone through two rounds of internal review by users and media). An interesting story happened at the show. There was a senior local audiophile, who has been devoting himself to HiFi stuff for decades, and also enjoying researching semiconductors and electronic tubes on his own.
After trying many headphones at the exhibition, he came to our booth to try the FH5s. He was reluctant to leave and wanted to buy our sample FH5s. However, since the price was not determined at that time and the sample has some bumps and flaws, we suggested he order an all-new one after the FH5s is officially released. But this senior audiophile insisted that sound is the most important thing for headphones. Finally, he took it home. The appearance and undetermined price could not stop him from buying this sample. But he was a considerate man who took the sample home after the exhibition, giving a chance to other consumers to try the FH5s. During the process, he also assisted us to serve other users to try the headphones. This unprecedented experience really helped to dissipate our tiredness of working the whole day.
There were many similar stories. The FH5s was sent to a third-party institution for testing before the release. The person in charge decided to buy the FH5s once trying it. But the sample was limited at that time, so we suggested he buy it after the mass production. After waiting for more than a month, he placed an order as soon as the FH5s was available.
For a company, profit is important. Because in addition to the survival of the enterprise, there are countless employees and even family responsibilities behind it. However, earning money is not the most important. What matters is users' recognition of our products and trust in our brand.
In FiiO's culture, users always come first. A long-term vision and a down-to-earth approach are our constant beliefs. Born for music! We hope to be a century-old company. We hope to help more people to enjoy good music through excellent and versatile music products at affordable prices. We respect and cherish every user. No matter for praise or criticism, we will do our best to serve our users with a worthy experience.
On April 26th, FiiO's 14th birthday, the FH5s, 2 balanced armatures and 2 dynamic drivers in-ear monitors was officially released. Thank you so much for your company with us along the way. We will keep on working hard to live up to your expectations!

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May 10, 2021 at 10:26 AM Post #2 of 17

gadgetgod

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Chapter 1 Prelude: HiFi is more than business, but also music and care

The story began with the 2021 Shanghai International Headphone Show in March 2021. And this was the first time that we took the FH5s to a big show (Before that the FH5s had gone through two rounds of internal review by users and media). An interesting story happened at the show. There was a senior local audiophile, who has been devoting himself to HiFi stuff for decades, and also enjoying researching semiconductors and electronic tubes on his own.
After trying many headphones at the exhibition, he came to our booth to try the FH5s. He was reluctant to leave and wanted to buy our sample FH5s. However, since the price was not determined at that time and the sample has some bumps and flaws, we suggested he order an all-new one after the FH5s is officially released. But this senior audiophile insisted that sound is the most important thing for headphones. Finally, he took it home. The appearance and undetermined price could not stop him from buying this sample. But he was a considerate man who took the sample home after the exhibition, giving a chance to other consumers to try the FH5s. During the process, he also assisted us to serve other users to try the headphones. This unprecedented experience really helped to dissipate our tiredness of working the whole day.
There were many similar stories. The FH5s was sent to a third-party institution for testing before the release. The person in charge decided to buy the FH5s once trying it. But the sample was limited at that time, so we suggested he buy it after the mass production. After waiting for more than a month, he placed an order as soon as the FH5s was available.
For a company, profit is important. Because in addition to the survival of the enterprise, there are countless employees and even family responsibilities behind it. However, earning money is not the most important. What matters is users' recognition of our products and trust in our brand.
In FiiO's culture, users always come first. A long-term vision and a down-to-earth approach are our constant beliefs. Born for music! We hope to be a century-old company. We hope to help more people to enjoy good music through excellent and versatile music products at affordable prices. We respect and cherish every user. No matter for praise or criticism, we will do our best to serve our users with a worthy experience.
On April 26th, FiiO's 14th birthday, the FH5s, 2 balanced armatures and 2 dynamic drivers in-ear monitors was officially released. Thank you so much for your company with us along the way. We will keep on working hard to live up to your expectations!

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Man this story makes me order one :/
 
May 10, 2021 at 2:53 PM Post #6 of 17

Bilious72

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Can you talk about the only review I have seen so far by Bad Guy Good Audio? I've been really excited about the release of this IEM, and then I was a bit deflated by the review. Is it possible he just got a bad unit, or should I just wait for more reviewers to get their hands on one? Thanks.
 
May 10, 2021 at 6:03 PM Post #7 of 17

zeissiez

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The semi-open design of the FH5S made the Fir Audio M5 sound boomy. The wide soundstage and the balanced sound make it my long listening set. The big screen TV experience is really nice, though I wish there’s more increase in the depth. Quite a departure from the old FH5 sound, from raw, exciting to mature, polite and balanced. Up a notch in refinement, and it scales very well with desktop setup. Not your typical V-shaped tuning by default, but the switches make obvious difference. I like them set as 0,0,0, but when I want to have more fun, I set it to 1,0,0. For symphony I set it to 0,0,1 for more airiness. I read somewhere that the treble is fatiguing, but to me who thought the original FH5 treble was fatiguing, this is just right. Not as refined or nimble as the treble of the FD5 though, which is the FD5’s unique quality. The mid is nice, not as dense as BA-based iems like the DUNU SA6, but the DD timbre is just different. As a BA fan for mids, I find this DD mids nice in a different way. More “wet” than the BA setup. I prefer the vocal from the FH5S than from the FD5. The reduced bass and treble energy of the FH5S allows the mids to shine. Bass is not as big and bold as the FD5, but I like it more. The FD5’s bass is too forward for my taste, and can be a little loose. Overall tuning is less V-shaped than the FD5, more neutral, less dynamic. When I AB them, i was reminded of a comparison between a Klipsch speaker VS a Dynaudio speaker. Exciting VS natural. It never wowed me, but the sound grew on me. I could imagine someone dismissing in the first audition. It seems that the older headfiers (like me :wink: ) or the more seasoned headfiers prefer the FH5S. For my tastes, and my music (live recording), I don’t like too hyped up tuning. For a more lively sound, it’s best to pair it with a lively source. The size is pretty big, it fills the whole of my outer ear, for smallish ears, I would advise to try it out first. In the beginning the soft bone of my left ear got a little uncomfortable. I have to turn it a little away from the optimum position to avoid the discomfort. Great bang for the buck, my fav Fiio iem so far (comparing FH5, FD5, FH7). But I could imagine some people like the FD5 more.

Edit: I suggest Fiio to categories the products based on sound signature. Like: reference line, fun line, etc. For example, a former owner of the FH5 who upgrades to the FH5S could find the sound changes and unsuitable for his preferred music anymore. Also, the low price of the FH5S could lead the young headfiers who listen to a lot of pop records to purchase it and finding it not as good as some cheap low end iem due to the neutral tuning. And the seasoned headfiers who are used to the high end iems to miss it because of the low price. Yes, the ones who got the chance to listen to it come away laughing in disbelieve how good they are for the money. But I do think a lot of miss marketing happens.
 
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May 11, 2021 at 2:42 AM Post #8 of 17

FiiO

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Man this story makes me order one :/
Wow,we need to share more stories here!!

Can you talk about the only review I have seen so far by Bad Guy Good Audio? I've been really excited about the release of this IEM, and then I was a bit deflated by the review. Is it possible he just got a bad unit, or should I just wait for more reviewers to get their hands on one? Thanks.

To be honest, the FH5s is selling pretty well in China , and the users in China loved it. Different person has different taste, we do suggest all of you waiting for now reviewers's review. As i know from one famous IEM reviewer here, he thinks FH5s is not bad.

Well, that's why it is here.
Thanks for all your support!!
 
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May 11, 2021 at 5:27 AM Post #9 of 17

FiiO

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Chapter 2 Deep thoughts behind the all-new acoustic architecture

The primary goal of the FH5s project was to improve the sound quality to a step relative to the FH5. After doing lots of tests and verifications, we chose the best 2+2 architecture, i.e. 2 dynamic drivers +2 Knowles balanced armatures. So, what are the considerations behind this new acoustic architecture? And what are its advantages?

The previous generation, the FH5 took an architecture of 1 DD+3BA. On the basis of it, we used a 6mm dynamic driver to replace the ED balanced armature used in the FH5 for the mid frequencies, which allows for rich and full sounds, a grander soundstage, better and attractive vocals.

As a dynamic driver is used for the mid frequency, it has a wider frequency range. Therefore, there were chances to develop the low frequency driver better. Simply put, the bass driver takes less responsibility for the mids, which allows better focus just on the bass performance. We upgraded the bass driver of the FH5s to a large 12mm one. Compared to the FH5, the diaphragm area of the driver has been increased by 44%. The benefits of the large bass driver are obvious. Especially when coupled with an external magnetic design capable of 1.5 Tesla, both the bass dynamics and extension of the FH5s have been significantly improved. Meanwhile, the diaphragm plated with beryllium and surrounded with PU gasket, consistent with the all beryllium-plated mids diaphragm, achieves smooth frequency response and coherence. In order to contain this large 12mm dynamic driver, we had to move the MMCX to the outside so to give more space inside the cavity. This change also led to a dramatic cost increase when processing the front cavity. However, the improvement of the sound quality brought by this price is quite worth it!

Similarly, the high frequency has more room for adjustment after the mids were well handled. The classic Knowles 30017 balanced armature set, with critically-acclaimed sound quality, was placed near the opening of the sound tube. The reason is that, relatively speaking, the higher the frequency, the easier it would lose during transmission. So, this highs balanced armature set allows audio signals to reach the ear canal directly with hardly any signal loss, thus making for more transparent, extensive and penetrating highs.

To sum up, the adjustment of the dynamic mids driver matters most for the all-new 2DD+2BA acoustic architecture of the FH5s. The mids are richer with better vocals. In the meantime, it lays the foundation of improving the sound quality for the bass and highs-larger bass driver, Knowles 30017 balanced armature for highs which was placed nearer to the sound tube and carefully-tuned four-way electronic crossover. The overall sound quality has reached a higher level-- deeper bass with stronger dynamics, more extensive highs with greater resolution, wider soundstage and smooth coherence among all the frequency responses.

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FiiO Stay updated on FiiO at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
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May 13, 2021 at 3:53 AM Post #11 of 17

FiiO

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Chapter 3 What kind of sound is a good sound?

This is a sensitive topic. Here, we have no intention of elaborating or defining a standard, but to share some of our own understanding of sound tuning. If you are interested, welcome to join the discussion.

No earphones ever can entirely make everyone satisfied, and no one will be completely satisfied with all earphones. Just like some people like to listen to Taylor Swift, while others like Michael Jackson. Some like classical music, while others like pop music. From the perspective of listening preference, there is no question of who is right and who is wrong.

However, it does not mean that the sense of music listening is totally a subjective feeling which has no objective scientific basis at all. Next, I would like to share some of my views from the following three angles.

1. From the perspective of science, the correct sound is a good sound.
The essence of HiFi is the accurate reproduction of sound! Theoretically speaking, "sound tuning" should be completed on the stage of singing (or performing) and music production. As a terminal device for sound reproduction, it should restore the original music to be qualified as a good sound. In other words, the frequency response curve of the earphones is in direct connection with the sound reproduction.

However, due to the limitations of technology and materials, it is basically impossible to restore the original sound with 100% accuracy. Therefore, there is room for adjustment or trade-offs in this scope close to the ideal sound, that is, the tuning of headphones. It can be understood that the correct sound of the earphone tuning is the process of infinitely approaching the original sound.

2. From the perspective of individuals, the sound you like is a good sound.
From a personal point of view, in addition to subjective listening preferences, the adaptation of personal auricle to wearing and the difference in the frequency response of personal hearing will affect the evaluation of the sound. Therefore, if you want to buy yourself a pair of earphones, others' feelings are for reference only. The sound you like is the best. HiFi headphones are relatively expensive even though our products are cost-effective. It is suggested to buy the earphones after they actually try them. FiiO has local sales agents almost around the world. You can check here (https://www.fiio.com/wheretobuy) to get the contact and address.

3. From the perspective of brand manufacturers, better selling means better sound.
As mentioned earlier, HiFi headphones are somewhat a high-priced product, so consumers are more cautious in their choices and purchases. What's more, it becomes convenient to buy, return and exchange goods from e-commerce sellers. Therefore, more sales mean the product is more welcomed among consumers, and also mean better sound, better quality and service!

To sum up, the secrets of sound tuning of FiiO headphones are these: excellent materials, rigorous data indicators, science-based acoustic theory, and numerous user feedback, so to achieve an ultimate quality of the product within a limited cost/a certain price range.

From FiiO's first earphone model in 2015 to now, 6 years have passed. FiiO has successively released rich types of earphones, such as pure dynamic earphones, pure balanced armature earphones and hybrid earphones. A large number of user support and market sales have brought us not only commercial success, but also laid the foundation for our strong R&D investment. At the same time, a large amount of user experience data provides us with insight into user needs, and provides key data support for further improvement and enhancement of the product performance.

At present, FiiO earphones are sold to more than 70 countries and regions, which owns a big market share. All the support from our users is more than any word. It is the best proof of our product competitiveness.
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May 14, 2021 at 3:41 AM Post #12 of 17

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Chapter 4 Behind a good sound is dedicated R&D and design


In the previous chapter, we talked about how we got to know what kind of sound our users really need. In this chapter, I would like to talk about how to accurately achieve the desired sound. Every inch inside the earphones counts a lot. Multi-drivers must be arranged reasonably, with the position and distance of the sound tube of the physical frequency crossover being accurately calculated, so as to better match the crossover frequencies and phase difference in a better way. It is not only about theoretical calculations, but also about repeated verification of deviations between theoretical data and practical data through actual samples, so as to correct these deviations. From the initial 3D printing cavity to the later metal samples, the FH5s has undergone more than a dozen rounds of cavity modification and thousands of comparisons of measurement data. Eventually, it was determined. In addition to the cavity space and physical frequency crossover, it also needs the cooperation of electronic frequency crossover. The FH5s adopted an architecture of four-way electronic frequency crossover, allowing combination and overlap at the best frequency point for the bass, mids highs and ultra-highs, which achieves smoother and more coherent sound performance. At the same time, the FH5s was also designed with three sound tuning switches marked at each position respectively with B, M and T, which is responsible for the adjustment of bass, mids and highs. Other than the standard sound, more ways to play with meet different needs of different music preferences, styles and moods. Many users and media have also given high praise for the process of the 3 sound tuning switches of our FH5s. Exactly, in terms of the structural design, we worked so hard in order to make the window of the switches as exquisite as it can. Therefore, the CNC machining was extremely hard. With it was the greatly increased cost. Another key point of the FH5s is the semi-open acoustic design at its rear cavity. This design was first applied in the FiiO FD5, which has received much positive feedback. As for the semi-open acoustic cavity design, there are two important advantages. First, it can bring a wider soundstage with better space for listening. Second, it can better balance air pressure so as to make for a natural and unfatiguing sound. When putting the earphones inside the ear canal, there will be a sealed space between the diaphragm and eardrum. When the music is playing, the diaphragm will vibrate forward and backward to push the air through the ear canal, which seems like a coil spring. If it is pressed too tightly, the eardrum will fight against it. As time goes by, ears will feel so fatigued. Therefore, to quickly relieve air pressures in the ear becomes so important when designing earphones. That is what we call pressure relief. Except for the pressure relief, we also have to take considerations to balance the air flow at the front and rear cavities. Only when pressures are balanced at the front and rear cavities and the diaphragm vibrates coherently forward and backward to ensure no distortion, stress-free listening can be possible. Practices have also proved that the semi-open acoustic design applied in the FH5s has significantly improved both the data and listening experience! In addition, the continuation of the TRISHELL structure of the FH5 helps to reduce unnecessary resonance and distortion. The side-mounted direct-driven way helps to lower signal loss during transmission. The hidden pressure-relief tuning hole at the front cavity which will not be covered when wearing helps to relieve air pressure completely in the ear without obstacles. Numerous technical applications plus dedicated research and development were all for tapping the potential of the driver setup and maximizing their performance.

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May 24, 2021 at 3:46 AM Post #15 of 17

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Chapter 5 Good design is an art that serves functions

The appearance of a product gives the first impression for users, so it is so vital during R&D. With the development of individual needs, manufactures are starting to attach great importance to the appearance design of their products increasingly. In front of so many similar products, an excellent appearance design can grant the product distinctive characteristics, which even represents the style of a brand.

"Form follows function" is the basic concept of appearance design. The styling of the product must reflect function and achieve natural harmony with it, so that they can create a more valuable aesthetic. A serious follow to this concept helps the FH5s win wide recognition from users!

As an earphone, wearing comfort is quite important. A good wearing design can not only improve the sense of comfort, but also provide a better fit to create a better acoustic space and improve sound quality. The external cavity of the FH5s is based on carefully-designed curves. In other words, it is a modeling manner that allows the earphone shell to be shaped at will. The benefit is that every curve connects with each other completely smoothly yet with a softer and more comfortable wearing experience.

The design of the faceplate is the essence of the FH5s. It continues the same design language with 3D textures as FiiO's other earphones. The faceplate was inspired by "dragon scales" with a layered design, giving the entire earphones a powerful and stunning look. The golden steel mesh embedded in the layered faceplate not only shows a better stereo aesthetic for the faceplate, but also is the window of the semi-open acoustic rear cavity, which is a perfect combination of art and function. The processing of the faceplate was extremely hard. A CNC machine working continuously for 22 hours can only process 20 pairs of faceplates per day. At present, we have invested 6 CNC machines for the production of it. This is also the main reason why the FH5s will be currently in short supply.

In order to place a large 12mm bass dynamic driver inside the FH5s, we designed the MMCX connector in a raised manner at the front cavity. This small difference also led to a big increase in processing difficulty and cost. But in FiiO's project management, sound quality and ID design are far more prior to cost and schedule.

The color scheme of the FH5s was also very particular, of which the Black and Gold is the most popular, representing classic, luxuriousness, nobility, sophistication and reliability. While Silver and Gold is an expression of vitality, youth, tension, positiveness, and passion. This silver in front of us is not just ordinary silver. It was a titanium silver going through several trials before a final determination. The processing was quite hard that only had less than a 30 percent pass rate at the beginning for the anodizing.

An excellent earphone design focuses first on a comfortable wearing experience and great sound quality, while beauty and gorgeousness come second. A good design is an art that serves functions. The diligent design of the FH5s finally won the heart of its users. Never give in and pursue perfection are our attitude towards every product from the beginning to the end.

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