Friday, 15 November 2019

Fosi Audio Q5 - DAC Amp With a Bite

We are one spoilt community! Spoilt with choices to fulfil our audio desire. Comparing audiophile with headphile, I believe the latter have waaaayyy more options within a given price range. This time around, again courtesy of a demo unit of TechX, I land myself with a Fosi Audio Q5 DAC headphone amp. 

Comes in just in a size that is slightly bigger than my palm, this DAC headphone amp comes fully loaded with 3 digital inputs (USB, optical and coaxial) with one RCA output on the rear. On the front fascia, you get the input selector, power button, volume knob and headphone socket 6.35 mm. The unit also comes with its own USB cable to connect to a PC, headphone adaptor to 3.5 mm and a power plug.

The overall built is solid with smooth finishing. No sharp edges to worry about. A bit industrial looking but I guess if it can keep the cost down, why not?

  • Headphone output power: 305MWatt @32Ohm RMS
  • Frequency response: 10Hz- 20Khz(+/- 0.5dB)
  • S/N ratio (DC to 20Khz): >110dB
  • THD+N: (1 KHz FS 96 kS/s)<0.002%
  • Input sampling rate: Up to 192KHz
  • Input bit depth: Up to 24 bits (upsampled)
  • Input type: Optical/Coaxial/USB
  • Output type: RCA and 6.35 headphones jack
  • Power requirement: 12V, 1A or more (power supply included)
  • Headphone impedance: 10 ohms to 300 ohms
  • Headphone amplifier: TPA6120 + OPA2134
  • D/A converter: CM6642 + CS8416 + CS4398
  • Size: 235*210*65mm


I mainly used my Audeze EL8 for all my session with this unit. Music was fed from my Mac via USB and the files are mainly WAC 16/44 or 24/44. Connectivity to Mac was seamless.

First up was Take Five by Dave Brubeck. The intro caught me by surprise. While I usually builds up the mood once the sax starts to play but this time the mood kicks in as soon as the music starts with the drums and piano. The presentation sounded big compared to playing it through either my phone or previously reviewed Oppo HA2SE a couple years back. Although this Q5 is not portable like the Oppo, this Q5 sounded really clean and straightforward. Comparing to my dedicated HA1 amp, this Q5 do sound a bit thin on the bass but the energy that it produces through the huge ambient compensates that.

Cue in Enter Sandman by Metallica, this is more the bass that I was looking for. Lars's kick pedal was hard hitting through the Q5. The hi hat was splashy just at the right sharpness and Hetfield's vocal was upfront sounding. The solo by Kirk was electrifying. It sounded texture heavy with lots of energy pushed through. This was the highlight of my session.

Wanted to see what else can this Q5 do, I feed through a more complex music. Bambaleo by Gypsy Kings. My my my....the details and layering that comes out from this Q5 was astonishing. I hear layer after layer of the different guitar arrangement and and the percussion was just spot on with its vibrant and extended sound. Vocal was again upfront but does not drown the clarity from other instruments.

Last but not least, lets check out the bass again. Comes in Way Down Deep by Jennifer Warnes. This was a bit overwhelming for me. The Q5 is good in clarity and certain level of low frequency. But playing this through the Q5 was a bit fatiguing. While it still maintains its clarity and luscious mids and highs, the bass was a bit too heavy. 


An all rounder the Q5 is not. It excels in clarity, reproducing complex music in its true form, mids and high were also very sweet and luscious but the lows is a bit tricky. It depends on the musical genre I suppose. Metal and rock sounded spot on. Jazz somehow missed it here and there. But hey, at RM450, this is still a steal for an entry level audio nirvana. You can find this unit at TechX Malaysia

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