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The Fiio A5 thread: an upgrade of E12A, MUSES02+LME49600, 800mW, 19Vp-p, 12 hours

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by holypal, Sep 10, 2016.
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  1. TjPhysicist
    Hey guys, I'm considering buying this amp for use with my xdp-30r. Quick question for those of you who have paired this with X5 3rd gen, i understand that the A5 added on sounds a bit better? Or at least gives it a bit more volume etc (both the X5 iii AND the xdp-30r sounded good but had not enough volume).

    That being said, if the main attraction for A5 is the increased audio quality due to more Watts and Voltage swing, why not just use Balanced X5 3rd gen? How much better is the A5 than X5 iii in balanced mode?
  2. TjPhysicist
    hey i just bought the A5 (on the way) to try with the AEONs. From what i can tell on paper, A5 should be able to swing way more voltage than the AEONs require, and it would certainly be an improvement in terms of pure Watts pushed through from say X5 (iirc). I'm still not sure though, will let you know what I find out.

    THe aeons, though low impedence, being planars are quite hard to drive: deceptively so IMO. AFAIK, it's not the Vp-p as much as the mA that the Amp can push through.

    I currently have the XDP-30r which is similar price point to the X5 iii, to my ears though both sound good, they need more "power" (or current, as the case may be), even at max volume and high gain.
  3. Dobrescu George
    Well... I like A5 much better because it has better treble, by a large margin. X5-3 was far too smooth for me, A5 really fixes that.
    TjPhysicist likes this.
  4. TjPhysicist
    do you mean that you get more pronounced/discernable dynamic range with the A5?
  5. Dobrescu George
    The dynamic range is much less of a problem rather than the top end extension, X5-3 is.... rolled off in the treble for me :smile_phones:

    A5 is much better in this aspect, it has a linear response and it sounds much much clearer.
  6. golfinggino
    I am using the a5 with the x5 3rd gen and it sounds great with my isine 10's, I recently picked up the hifiman edition x v2 and it sounds amazing off this fiio combo - it sounds even better then my jds labs the element running off my surface book with foobar2000, I am really impressed with the fiio combo and would highly recommend it
  7. abesh
    Hey guys,

    Just got a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 880s and I am considering the A5 to power them. Will they make a good pair?

    I know it is generally suggested to get a tube amp for the 880s but I would prefer something portable as I travel a lot for work.
  8. jaxz
    Hi, i have 880s 250 ohms. The A5 powers them fine at low gain. If your source it's a little weak maybe you will need high gain on A5.
    abesh likes this.
  9. abesh
    That's awesome to hear ! How does the DT880 sound with the A5 ?
  10. jaxz
    I feel, as other forum members, that this amp it's pretty transparent. You will hear 880s sound signature without any (audible) coloration. Of course, the DAC part of your chain it's gonna play a role here but IMO the sound differences between dacs chips are overrated if well implemented.

    For desktop use, I use the Project Ember 2.0 with RCA 6SN7 tube. It adds a touch of warmth to the sound I really like, specially in the mids.
  11. Darren Cotter

    I've had a couple of Xiii, but never used them in balanced mode, but the balanced output has been canned by reviewers. Isn't it less powerful the the SE ouput?
  12. alexandros a
    I own E12A...and feel deeply satisfied as a pair with X3ii...
    Is A5 sound wise an upgrade on E12A ??
    Even a small upgrade or refinement would matter to me.....
  13. Darren Cotter
    How about getting an X5ii from eBay etc and keeping the E12A? I think its more of an upgrade going from the X3ii to X5ii than E12A to the A5. I had an E12A and it drove the Sennheiser HD650 really well, so you're not limited to IEMs and easily driven headphones.

    Plus you have the added bonus of selling me the X3ii for use in the gym, because of its small size.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
    Dobrescu George and superuser1 like this.
  14. alexandros a
    To be honest man....not thinking of selling that one ....pairs so well with E12a...
    Just getting in a few days H4XX Plannar magnetics from massdrop and even a 32 ohm load there makes me a bit nervous...
    BUT despite that with Icarus III (which ask for more power) iems in low gain E12a goes surprisingly well....
  15. Darren Cotter
    But if you pump a better signal into the E12A or any other amp, you will get a better sound at the other end.
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