There are already quite a few reviews out there about the FH5 and the FA7. But with these two IEMs selling at a similar price, a lot of folks have been writing in to ask about the differences between the two models. So, this review is for those who are familiar with at least one of these models, but want to avoid any buyer’s remorse. Which earphones better suit your taste and listening style? Let’s find out in this FiiO FH5 vs FiiO FA7 Review.
FiiO FH5 vs FiiO FA7 Review
I’m a much bigger fan of the FA7 in this department. It not only provides a better seal, but is also a more comfortable wear. I didn’t get nearly as much sound isolation from the FH5. And I had a nagging need to to push the FH5 deeper into my ears, while the FA7 required no adjustment. And judging from photos alone, you can already tell that the FA7 is the more ergonomic design.
The FH5 has a hybrid driver design, using a dynamic for the lows and balanced armatures for the higher frequencies. The FA7, on the other hand, is a quad balanced armature pure breed. But don’t judge headphones by their drivers. These buds might surprise you.
The FH5 and the FA7 share a similar frequency range of 15 Hz – 40 kHz and 20 Hz – 40 kHz respectively. With an impedance of 19 Ohms and a sensitivity of 112dB, the FH5 is slightly easier to drive than the FA7. That being said, I had ample volume from my phone with both models.
Both IEMs use the same silver-plated copper cable with MMCX connections. I found the MMCX connectors on the FA7 easier to work with. The FH7 requires brute force to unplug the connectors from the cables, while the FA7 snaps in and out with relative ease.
Overall Impressions: The clean and intricate FH5 vs the rich and full-bodied FA7.
The FA7 has a more forward leaning bass, making the FH5 seem slightly vegan in comparison. And listening to rock, you’ll get a much warmer low-end from the FA7, while the FH5 presents a cleaner sound that is well separated from the higher frequencies. In terms of clarity, you’ll get a lot more texture and overall nuance from the FH5 when testing out strings in this range. So, if you listen to a lot of classical and jazz music, the FH5 might be preferable. But for the pop and rock palette, the FA7 would probably be the better choice.
Both IEMs have present midranges. But the FH5 emphasizes the upper mids, while the FA7 has more low mids in play, giving tracks a much meatier sound. So, if you enjoy a heavier feel, you’ll definitely want to go with the FA7. That being said, listening to folk, strums were cleaner and more crystalized on the FH5. And it presents a more intricate feel when listening to acoustic instruments in general.
You’ve probably figured out that the FH5 is the brighter headphone. And listening to pop, you’ll get much more snap and sparkle from percussion instruments with the FH5. The downside to this is that it makes for a more fatiguing listening experience. And if your ears are sensitive to high frequencies, they’ll definitely prefer the more forgiving profile of the FA7.
The FH5 offers a more spacious feel and a better sense of depth. The FA7 seems a little compact in comparison. I think fit is a factor as well, and those who find a more snug seal on the FH5 might yield a different impression.
In terms of sound, these two great earphones are apples and oranges. But all in all, the FA7 is the better fitting and easier listening IEM of the two models. It’s warmer, richer and more moderate in the high frequencies. I also think it’s the more versatile choice with respect to genre. But if you’re a sucker for super clean and light sound, the more delicate FH5 is a great option.
You can find both of these IEMs for the best price here:
Audio 46: FiiO FH5 In-Ear Headphones
Audio 46: FiiO FA7 In-Ear Headphones
Amazon: FiiO FA7 Best Over The Ear Headphones/Earphones Detachable Cable Design HiFi Quad Balanced Armature Driver in-Ear Monitors for iOS and Android Computer PC Tablet(Smoke Geometric with Silver Panel)