FiiO Q1 Mark II Vs FiiO A5

Sound quality is important for many of us, especially if you already invest a good amount on high-end headphones. To achieve a better sound from compact media players such as smartphones or other smart devices, a compact amp like FiiO Q1 Mark II Vs FiiO A5 will be necessary. They will bridge your device and headphone as well as improving the sound quality to deliver a better performance. If you are also considering the two, do check our comparison below to see what they can offer.

In this article, we are going to give you information about:

  • Why do You Need a Headphone Amp
  • What are FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5
  • What FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 Look Like
  • How are the Sound Quality of FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5
  • What else FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 can offer
  • FiiO Q1 Mark II Vs FiiO A5

Headphone Amp

Music is a part of our life and personally we are attached to them that it can be too lonely going for a day without your favorite music. It is all about personal preference however so it is normal to have different opinions on what music sounds best in your ears or which singer and composer have the greatest works. But, when it comes to audio equipment, chances are the more expensive, the better it is which makes you need to invest some to achieve a better experience.

Among various audio equipment you may already be familiar with, headphone amp is not as popular as the regular full-size amps, the headphone itself, or media player that you can bring anywhere. However, this piece of technology is quite important for some of us whose setup is not complete nor ideal yet. There is no requirement to have one because most consumer-grade headphones are not going to need them but there are still some that will benefit from being paired with a good headphone amp.

There are many reasons to buy a headphone amp and you may have one or more reasons to invest in one too. Headphone amps are going to be useful if you have a set of audio components but have no headphone jack in it which is quite common on the high-end level of separate equipment so if you want to listen through a headphone, then it is a must have. The most common reason however is because you have a high impedance headphone that cannot be played loud enough without an amp.

 FiiO Q1 Mark IIFiiO A5
Best Offerclick hereclick here
Product Dimensions3.9 x 0.47 x 2.32 inches4.88 x 2.6 x 0.59 inches
Shipping Weight3.56 ounces5.9 ounces

While in general most headphones can work well with almost any media players in the market, depending on the type of plug they have, some of them require much power to drive and deliver a loud enough sound. Typically, a high impedance headphone are those above 100 ohms and the amps in our computer or phones do not have enough capacity to deliver the proper power. In this case, putting an amp in between the equipment will bring a new experience to your headphones.

Headphone amps will also improve your sound quality because as we all know, not all devices such as smartphones or computers have the best audio component and it is understandable because they are focusing on something else. If this is your case, it is possible to improve the audio quality such as increasing the detail, letting you hear a more subtle sound in the mix with a good headphone amp as they can enhance the digital signal through the built-in Digital to Analog Converter.

About FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5

If you are here then we assume that you are also currently looking for a headphone amp and there are actually so many options out there that may suit your application or budget range. In the past, headphone amps were rather expensive so they are away for most people’s attention besides the reason that not all of us will need them as well but nowadays, manufacturers are making cheaper yet also better products to gain a lot of attention and even fans from the audio enthusiasts.

When talking about headphone amps, you can name Behringer, FX Audio, or AudioQuest but among those, FiiO will be the one you may want to check from if budget is a concern. They used to be not as well-known as today but after releasing good headphone amps at surprisingly low price, now you can see their name in plenty of recommendation lists for headphone amps. They are also known to always improve their products to give more options for customers and to solidify their line of headphone amp.

Due to this, they have plenty of options to choose from and it can be confusing as well since all will offer similar benefits but have different price points such as the popular FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 in which the latter is about $30 more expensive than the former. Both of them are not exactly new models however because now in 2021 they are about 3 to 4 years old already yet still being one of the best bets if you want to keep the budget fairly low.

If you need a cheaper option, do check the E10K in FiiO E10K Vs FiiO K3 or in our previous article which is also a great option for budget shoppers. In comparison between FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5, the latter seem to offer more in terms of capability to drive your headphones but the result among headphone types may differ and we do think you can go well with any of them because they are working equally impressive for the price point.

FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 Design

The first thing you notice above FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 is their build or design because as you can see from the sample picture above, they are almost identical to each other and what set the two apart in a glance is the edges because the latter is not smooth and rounded and in general it gives off a sharper look. However, the placement of control and ports are still the same where the main knob is at the top accompanied with the input and output port.

In our opinion, the shape and size of FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 are very compact and if you will be using them with a compact player such as iPod, we can use a band or such to combine the two in order to conveniently carry the pair. However, in comparison the A5 is just slightly larger at 124mm long, 65.5mm wide and 14.5mm thick while the Q1 Mark II is only 99mm long, 59mm wide, and 12.5mm thick. The casing itself is metal and it encapsulated the component completely with few screws securing them together.

Another prominent difference from the headphone amps is the position for the rest of the port and control because the new Q1 save your charging port, gain and bass switch at the back while the latter put the gain at the front with the bass switch and charging port are moved to the side of the unit.

FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 Sound Quality

Now for the most important part, let’s see what FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 can offer and we want to talk about how they sound. If you have listened to their older models, FiiO actually still has the same sound characteristics as what you are familiar with and this is balanced above anything else. In comparison however, we also think the A5 is just slightly warmer even without the bass switch on. The music will increase in sound clarity, details as well as space despite not being too wide.

Overall the neutral or original sound without tweaking is best in our opinion while compatibility wise your A5 has more than enough to drive anything as this amp is over 800mW (ohm/THD<1%) and ≥150mW(300ohm/THD <1%) while the latter is over 112mW (16ohm/THD+N<1%), 75mW (32ohm/THD+N<1%), and 11mW (300ohm/THD+N<1%). When the bass switch is activated, they will add around 5dB which is enough to add body but may not be enough for some people. Activating the bass however, will also mute some details especially on mid-range with A5.

The Q1 Mark II on the other hand is more modest with everything and if we have to choose, the mid-range is probably what is best from this amp. This area is rather cleaner and has good separation while the background is still dark. In terms of bass it is more laid back and not very serious so it is just slightly elevating the low-end, whether it is good enough or not however, comes back to your own preference.

FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5

The last part we want to talk about is their additional features and the most noticeable difference between FiiO Q1 Mark II and FiiO A5 is the balance output which is missing from A5 and this is quite surprising knowing balance output is quite popular in this brand. This port is great as newer models provide more juice but power wise, it is still lower than A5 and the older Q1. In addition, the Q1 Mark II is long lasting compared to A5 and almost double in working hours.

FiiO Q1 Mark II Vs FiiO A5

These headphone amps are good options if you are going to use a portable music player with a high impedance headphone and the two have FiiO signature sound as well which is pretty balanced and just slightly warm. They are not a boomy amp however so the bass area is more modest and relaxed while most of the qualities are shown in mid-range. The prominent differences beside the design is probably power as A5 is quite powerful, balance output as Q1 Mk II has it, and battery size with the Q1 almost double the capacity.

- Being equipped with the XMOS platform allows the Q1 Mark II to support decoding of more formats with outstanding performance – it is capable of decoding up to 384 kHz /32 bit PCM as well as up to DSD256 (the latter is indicated by a green light)
- The Q1 Mark II employs a clever ADC volume adjustment mechanism – by accurately reconstructing the ADC curve, problems such as volume imbalance between the left and right channels and noise when adjusting the volume are all avoided while also greatly enhancing volume adjustment accuracy with each turn of the knob
- The fully metal exterior is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also effectively protects the Q1 Mark II's innards from electromagnetic experience, ensuring sound quality is not compromised when it is used together with an iPhone
- The volume knob employs a unique obconical design, which allows us to maximize the knob's diameter to make it easier to rotate while still fitting it into a limited spac
- Utilizes MUSES02 & LME49600 op amps, resulting in near-zero distortion at .00003%
- USB 'smart-charge' circuit allow charging from laptop/PC, tablet or smartphone
- High/Low gain switch and a bass boost
- 1 year warranty, 6 month battery warranty

Conclusion

All in all it is best to choose the one that fits in your application and personally, we do like the Q1 Mark II better for the compact size and battery while sound wise they are very similar to each other and even cheaper to drive lower impedance headphones.

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