FiiO JH5 Review: Outstanding in-ear headphones

It feels like just yesterday (although it has actually been four years) when I was introduced to Jade Audio’s first in-canal hybrid headphones, the EA3. Jade Audio, a sub-brand of FiiO...

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It feels like just yesterday (although it has actually been four years) when I was introduced to Jade Audio’s first in-canal hybrid headphones, the EA3. Jade Audio, a sub-brand of FiiO Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., has come a long way since then, expanding its range of audio products and continuing to develop their headphone segment. Recently, they even released their first full-size headphones, the JT1.

Not only did Jade Audio focus on full-size headphones, but they also actively developed their in-ear headphone segment. They released a number of dynamic models such as the JD1, JD3, and JD7. And let’s not forget about their hybrid headphones, with the budget-friendly JH3 being introduced two years ago. Therefore, the release of the JH5 headphones feels like a natural progression for their hybrid line.

The JH5 headphones are structurally designed with one dynamic driver and four customized armature drivers, totaling five emitters. This is why the slogan “Just Hear 5” is prominently displayed on the JH5 official page, as it perfectly aligns with the model index. So, let’s welcome the new addition to the FiiO family – the JH5 headphones.

Technical characteristics:

  • Construction type: intra-channel;
  • Type of driver: hybrid (1 dynamic 10 mm and 4 armature custom);
  • Resistance: 13 Ohm;
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB;
  • Frequency range: 20–40000 Hz;
  • Total cable length: 1.2 m;
  • Interchangeable cable, 2-pin connector, L-shaped plug, 3.5 mm
  • Weight of one earphone (without cable): 7.6 g.

Packaging and assembly

 

The headphones are enclosed in a sturdy silver cardboard box with a magnetic lid. The model name is prominently displayed on the cover using the foiling technique, accompanied by a photo of the headphones. As is customary for FiiO products, the box also includes a Hi-Res Audio certificate.

Inside the box, along with the headphones, there are several accessories. Let’s start with the cable, which consists of four thick cores and a silver-plated copper main conductor. The cable is terminated with a two-pin connector on one side and a 3.5 mm L-shaped plug on the other. While the cable is of good quality, it is not balanced and does not feature interchangeable plugs.

Additionally, the set includes not only replaceable silicone nozzles but also sound filters in Balanced and Bass options, each available in three sizes (S, M, L).

Furthermore, there is a unique clear plastic case provided for the JH5. This case offers a different approach compared to regular headphone storage accessories. It resembles a Lego component and can be used to build customized shelves for various audio accessories. These cases-boxes are also available for separate purchase in the official FiiO store.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this complete case. On one hand, it presents an innovative and interesting way to store headphones and their accompanying set, allowing for the creation of audiophile “closets” if desired. On the other hand, if portability is a priority, this bulky case may not be the most convenient option. Personally, I prefer the more traditional approach of using “classic” covers or cases for headphones. Overall, the FiiO JH5 configuration is not overly generous, but it includes all the necessary components.

Design

 

Over the years, the design of FiiO headphones has evolved in accordance with changing trends. Different styles have emerged, such as wavy faceplates, medical resin housings, and experiments with metal alloys and rounded cylindrical shapes. However, distinguishing between models based on appearance alone has not always been easy, especially with the introduction of the new “Bionic conch” series.

When I first laid eyes on the FiiO JH5, it immediately reminded me of the budget-friendly FiiO JD1. The resemblance is striking, with both models featuring metal zinc alloy bodies that have been meticulously hand polished. The manufacturer proudly labels this as “quality excellence”. Unlike the JD1s, which sported Jade Audio on their faceplates, the JH5s proudly display the FiiO logo. I personally find the design of the JH5 to be quite appealing, and their ergonomic shape adds to their overall appeal.

There is a possibility that the metal alloy used in the JH5 housings may cause discomfort in colder temperatures, but this assumption cannot be confirmed at present. Nevertheless, thanks to their well-thought-out shape, the JH5 headphones fit securely in the ears without causing any strain or discomfort, even during extended listening sessions.

Sound

 

To begin with, it is worth mentioning that the FiiO JH5 headphones have a relatively low impedance and high sensitivity, making them compatible with most portable devices. As is customary with FiiO headphone models, the company’s website provides the “Harman curve” and frequency response level to describe the sound characteristics of this model. The sound settings of the JH5 are typically defined by the company’s engineers as “professionally tuned, pleasant, and magnificent.”

Overall, the FiiO JH5 headphones offer a relatively balanced sound with subtle emphasis, and an average level of soundstage width. Considering their price range, these headphones excel in creating a sense of spaciousness and instrument separation. However, they do not focus on intricate details, prioritizing the overall musical experience.

The low frequencies are delivered with clarity and moderate speed. They are enjoyable without exceeding their boundaries. It is important to note that these headphones are not designed for bass enthusiasts, as the bass is well-defined in the JH5.

The midrange frequencies do not stand out in terms of detail, but rather contribute to the overall sound. The upper midrange area enhances the density and richness of the sound, improving the clarity of certain instruments.

The high frequencies are well-balanced, avoiding excessive sharpness and intricate details. They do not exhibit any sibilance issues. The high frequencies are skillfully processed, seamlessly integrating into the overall sound and ensuring a fatigue-free listening experience, at least in my personal opinion.

Conclusion

FiiO is actively expanding its sub-brand Jade Audio by introducing new portable audio products, including their latest addition, the FiiO JH5 in-ear headphones. With its sleek and appealing design, comfortable ergonomics, practical accessories, and balanced music-audiophile sound, the JH5 is a remarkable model. In my opinion, it caters to both music enthusiasts and those seeking an affordable option to embark on their audiophile journey. Moreover, the JH5’s technical specifications allow it to seamlessly pair with various sound sources, including the USB dongles from Jade Audio.

FiiO JH5
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