FiiO has created two stars with the FH5 and FA7. Despite the numbering difference, they are both the current flagships of the range, and rightly so.
The differences in balance and presentation can be put down not only to the tuning, but also the differences between all-BA and hybrid drivers, along with nozzle length and thickness.
Sound-wise, each seems to cater to very different tastes. There’s no semblance of a ‘house sound’ here. The FH5 is big, bold, fun, punchy. The FA7 is a smooth operator; warm, smoky, laid back. With the FH5 you’re on stage with the band, while the FA7 puts you in row F, taking it all in without losing anything from the performance. Interestingly I find the stage width and depth of both to be on par; not too intimate and not too wide. Just right. Like any IEM it’s an in-your-head sound, compared to the best over ear headphones, but on occasion they’ll both surprise you with sounds seeming to come from well beyond your ears.
And that’s not the only surprise. For less than $300 FiiO has given us a choice of two superbly made, superbly tuned IEMs that cover a very broad range of listening tastes. Both are versatile enough to do almost any genre justice, as long as you enjoy the sound profile they’re tuned for.