Compendium updated February, 24th, 2021
With the K5 PRO, FiiO continues their path of wanton disruption in the audio industry, obliging us to reassess how much a DSD512 amp should properly cost. $149?! If you say so, FiiO!
We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in.
From Z Reviews' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on September 15th, 2019:
“I’m giving [the FiiO K5 PRO] an A+.”
“It’s got everything you want. It’s got all the inputs you want.”
“Overall, if we’re judging just on sound...this is an absolute beast of an amp for under $200.”
“As a combo under $200, it wins.”
From Headfonics' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on January 19th, 2020:
“At just $149.99 the stealthy K5 Pro is capable of decoding up to DSD512, linking up your PC, gaming machine, and DAPs to active speakers and headphones for a better home entertainment experience. So far this is the only device in FiiO’s range with such specs and features. There is plenty of detail in the design including a modernized ADC digital volume and 0+dB gain for sensitive earphones.
“The features and tuning make the K5 Pro an ideal hub on the desk, with great power that will boost the dynamics on different headphones for movies and sound content.
“The overall product experience is very satisfactory and I can easily recommend the K5 Pro if you are looking for a powerful entry-level DAC Amp.”
From Audio Science Reviews' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on September 24th, 2019:
“The typical approach in a product like this is to build a DAC that performs very well. And then throw in a headphone amplifier that is just adequately. Here, the DAC is just good enough to drive the amp. The amp is designed to produce a lot of power and at low enough distortion to not be an audible issue. For a budget product and its intended use which is with headphones, it is a fine compromise.
“In that regard, and in the context of a budget product that is designed reasonably well, I am going to recommend the Fiio K5 Pro.”
From Audiophile-Heaven's review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on August 18th, 2020:
“The value of FiiO K5 PRO is excellent, and for 150 USD, it is simply the easiest to drive DAC/AMP for desktop if you don’t have something uber versatile and high-quality already.
“The only downside is that it works much better with larger and harder to drive headphones than with IEMs, so if you mainly needed an IEM driver, there may be other options that do not sound worse on lower gain.
“In fact, the value is so great that I am adding it to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame right now, it really deserves a place to relax with the other great products there.
“The package is great, the build quality is great, and it is a real looker, with that blue light around the volume wheel. To add to the value / experience, it has a great build quality (since I smashed mine on concrete, and it still works without an issue), and it has a multi-purpose design, working both as a headphone DAC/AMP, but also as a desktop-class DAC that can give signal to go to your speakers.
“All in all, it is a great DAC/AMP with a great price, and if you’re looking for one of the best priced, high-quality, sources for your harder-to-drive headphones, and if you want to spend very little, but get the best value for your money, the K5 PRO from FiiO it is.”
From Hi-Fi Trends' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on October 31st, 2019:
“The K5 Pro has a great combination of excellent design, significant power, and great sound. The DAC is very good, and the full complement of connections on the back makes this a versatile Amp/DAC combo. If you’re looking for a desktop amp/DAC that can power pretty much any headphone for around $150, this one should be high on your list.”
From Soundnews' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on August 28th, 2019:
“I’m so glad FiiO didn’t forget their old customers that are still shopping for desktop DAC/Amp units. At last those people have an upgrade path, if you are still using an older E07K, E17K, E18, then I think I found your replacement. Even K3 users will see a big appeal in the K5 PRO with its robust build and easy to like sound performance.
“Build quality wise there is nothing to complain about: it’s black, it’s entirely metal made and looks futuristic on any desk.
“Sonically, as a DAC and headphone amp combo it kicked ass even with hard to drive planars and drove those to ear-bleeding levels. IEM users are blessed with unity gain at 0 dB (low gain) that made wonders with my IEMs and if you are craving for some hard-hitting slam, K5 PRO will deliver that to any multidriver IEM.
“Can you ask for more at ~$159? I personally can’t and if you are on a low-budget and headphone listening is important to you, then I consider it the best current production student-fi DAC/Amp combo.”
From iiWireviews' review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on April 3rd, 2020:
“Fiio K5 pro is a very versatile device. It can be used as a DAC only or AMP only, but where it really shines is when it’s used as a whole. If headphones are your primary way of listening to music, it’s easy to fall in love with K5 pro. It has a great set of features, it’s fuss-free to use and most importantly it sounds great, offering both subtlety and power. It’s one of those devices – the more I use it the more I grow attached to it.
“Of course, the recommendation is in order. Just be sure to pair it with a capable set of cans and K5 pro will show you its skills in return.”
From Tek Everything's review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on January 14th, 2020:
“Fiio had a clear goal in mind when making the K5 Pro. Build a compact and affordable headphone DAC/Amp for PC users desktops, that looks good, and has best in class sound.
“For beginners to the audio space, this is a fantastic low cost Amp. The K5 Pro sounds infinitely better than on board audio controllers, and trumps the other offerings in its price range like the Schiit Modi/Magni stack.
“As long as you don’t do most of your listening via speakers, the Fiio K5 Pro is more than worth its price and highly recommended.”
From Porta.fi's review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on September 23rd, 2019:
“FiiO have released an interesing model for those who care about price and quality ratio. Just add some interesting headphones, such as Sennheiser 6×0 or Meze 99 (and this list can be long) and you will get a great desktop setup that will please your hearing with quality sound.”
From Headfonia's review of the FiiO K5 PRO, first published on February 16th, 2016:
“Sound wise the K5 is OK but when using my full sized headphones, the K5 doesn’t do miracles. The USP of the K5 to me is the docking ability for the Fiio DAPs and making your portable desktop an easy desktop setup where you can either use the DAP or use the DAP as a DAC for your pc (drivers needed for Windows).
“I like using the dock with the X7 at work because it is easy, because it charges the unit and because I can use its DAC with my laptop. Purely looking at sound quality, I prefer the headphone out of the X7, especially with AM2 installed. If you need more power, the K5 is a good and cheap option, but power isn’t everything and it does show sound quality wise. AM2 which is going for more or less the same price might be a better option for those who don’t need the other possibilities/advantages of the K5 Docking station.
“If you are interested in the K5 because you have one of the other Fiio DAPS and want to use the K5’s amp, I recommend demoing it. Take your DAP with you so you can hear the difference between the DAP and the Fiio K5’s amp yourself. I’m sure some will prefer the DAP’s amp over the K5’s and the other way round while others of course won’t hear any difference at all. From the other Fiio players (X3SG, X5SG as the X1 didn’t connect) I especially liked the X3SG + K5 combo.
“Anyway, it’s great to see Fiio release a docking station with an integrated amp for this price. I’m sure a lot of people will love that they’ll get to use their DAP now as a desktop setup. Well done Fiio, even though there still is some margin for improvement in the amp section.”
Editor’s note: Emphases ours.