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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. Shane D
    That is about what I figured. I don't see me using it on every headphone, every band or every song. Just like to have the option.

    Shane D
  2. Slater
    Agreed. It’s nice to have, but nowadays I rarely use it.

    Only on really boring/anemic headphones or some pre-loudness war music that lack dynamics due to deficiencies in recording gear or poor mastering.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  3. Shane D
    I am curious as to how my Grado's will handle it. I love their sound, but they feel a little bass shy. I tend to EQ a little bit of bass in, depending on the music, but this might be a little easier.

    Just testing out my new to me T5p.2's.Wow! I can't even use high gain on balanced output from my DAP.:L3000:

    Shane D
  4. Slater
    My beef with bass boost (not just FiiO but any bass boost), is there’s no control over the frequency range or boost amount. You may only want to boost sub bass to address some roll off, but if a bass boost switch is also boosting the whole range all the way through mid bass too, you may not want that. Especially if a particular headphone already has too much mid bass to begin with. Now you have a bloated bleeding mess.

    That’s why I tweak with pad rolling and EQ long before I ever use the bass boost switch.

    Or I use it when listening at reaaal low volume, to help boost the whole bottom end like the old loudness switches. But when I do that it’s because I’m using headphones for background music while studying or something, not for critical listening.

    To each his own though. I’m glad my FiiO amps have the switch. I’d rather have it and not use it, then not have it and wish I did.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
    Shane D likes this.
  5. TheGiantHogweed
    As I said in my earlier post, this is the worst FiiO device I've had in terms of the bass boost. It swamps all the bottom end of the midrange and just messes it up to much. If it was a badly mastered recording, using this would just sound horrid. Even though I think my FiiO E11 boosts it even more, it clearly focuses it at a lower frequency and doesn't have this effect on the mid range. The Boost on my E10, A3 and X3 all are cleaner too.

    There was nothing wrong at all with the quality of the A5. It did slightly improve the sound quality over the A3, but only slightly. But it wasn't much louder at all and I personally had too many niggles with the design of the build. Because of that and the bass boost, I'm unfortunately going to return it. But that shouldn't put anyone off it's performance with headphones that are easier to drive than mine.


    I will also add something that I found in a members review on the frequency response of the bass boost. This was on the review by Brooko. The A5 first.


    On the close up picture of the bass boost with it on, you can just see how much it boost the frequencies right up as high as 500hz. As if that is bass?! It rolls off so slowly that according to the graph, the "bass" boost is still boosting the volume at 1000hz. I should have seen this before buying I guess.


    This is the A3 review. If you find Brooko's review again, you can see how much more focussed the A3 is at actually boosting the bass at a more realistic frequency. It has a very steep bump at around 75 hz, then very quickly drops off. By the time the graph is at 200 hz, the bass boost line is only just above it which indicates it is not boosting that frequency much.

    I find the A3's boost excellent for my DT880s. They have very bright treble and midrange and are a little lacking in bass. But it boosts that without messing up anything else. I don't know who would actually benefit an improvement sound wise using the bass boost on the A3 unless they want a midrange boost too.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  6. Shane D
    I probably don't need an amp as my 'phones are pretty easy to drive and I don't listen real loud. I Just want to see what kind of difference it makes and if bass boost is any use at all to me. I am thinking that my HE4XX and possibly my Grado might get something out of it. I have my Z7's packed away for sale, but if it comes in while they are still here I would be curious to try it with them. Bass boost would definitely be a no go with them.

    Shane D
  7. TheGiantHogweed
    I sometimes find having features that make devices sound worse good because you then still have an option to make it sound better than that. turn it off! :) Basically like a direct button on a stereo amplifier. So nice to have other features even if they mess the sound up, but you at least have a pure sound option.
  8. TheGiantHogweed
    I'd edited my post you quoted shane and it has some more information now about the boost if you are interested.
  9. Brooko Contributor
    To make it easier - here are some comparisons - I remeasured this morning

    bass boosts.png
  10. Slater
    This is very useful to see this comparison. What I’m hearing makes total sense.

    I only wish FiiO implemented the A5 like they did on the E11K.
  11. Shane D
    It was interesting and got me thinking. I can't help but wonder if the A3 wouldn't be a better option for me.

    I almost bought a Liquid Spark or Atom, but this was a tiny bit cheaper, I didn't really need the extra power and I like the idea of a bass option.

    Shane D
  12. Shane D
    Also...Happy New Year!

    Shane D
  13. TheGiantHogweed
    I think it is interesting to see the direct comparison that brooko has just posted. It just shows how much the A5 boosts EVERYTHING in the low end and even more than that too. Even looks to be boosting 1000hz by 1db. The Q1II doesn't look much better. Maybe older FiiO devices were usually boosting the bass in a very specific area which usually seems to be below or around 100hz and then steeply rolls off.
  14. Xyrium
  15. Slater
    It’s only bass heavy when you turn on the bass boost switch. With bass boost off, it’s extremely neutral.
    Xyrium likes this.
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