Pros: All-In-One Solution, Reliable and Good Build Quality, Good Value for Connectivity and Feature Packed, Good Form Factor
Cons: Some tuning adjustments are required for a better listening experience.
When it comes to dedicated sound cards, long gone are the days when modern PC users consider built-in soundcards on their motherboards to be adequate and sufficient. More often than not, there will definitely be additional interferences introduced, polluting the quality of the signals that are relayed and processed into sound. Hence there is a need of having a dedicated external sound card where the main processing of the signal is far away from interferences resonating from other electronic components in the system.
The K5 Pro from FOSI AUDIO seems they have a resounding value proposition where this small little metal boss becomes packed with a lot of functions and cool features for the price of 75.99 USD.
Disclaimer: The Fosi Audio K5 Pro Gaming Dac Amp was provided to us at no charge courtesy of Fosi Audio. However, this was done in the understanding I was to give my honest thoughts and opinions of the K5 Pro. The K5 Pro Gaming Dac Amp is available for purchase here should you find yourself interested in a pair, or feel free to use your own links
General Connectivity and Specifications
Digital Inputs – USB C/Coaxial/Optical
Analog Inputs – 3.5mm TRS Mic Input
Analog Outputs – RCA/3.5mm TRS Headphone Out
USB C Sampling Rates – Up to 24 bit/96 kHz
Optical/Coax Sampling Rates – Up to 24 bit/192 kHz
Power Input – 5V DC (via USB C)
THD – ≤0.003%
SNR – ≥ 110dB
Dimensions – 4.4×3.7×1.2 in (112x95x30mm)”
Net Weight – 0.55 lb (251g)
EQ – Bass/Treble
- K5 Pro headphone DAC amp x1
- 5MM headphone splitter x1
- 2-in-1 USB Type A/C to Type C cable x1
- User Manual x1
- Optical Cable x1
- 18-month warranty
The general design choice opted by FOSI is on the safe side, the gunmetal grey finish never goes wrong and its form factor/footprint is relatively small as compared to other peripherals in general. The package comes with all the cables you need such as USB C and SPDIF cables and even a combo jack splitter in case you misplaced the one that came with your gaming headset.
The unit did not require any additional software, it is just a plug-and-play device which avoids all the hassle of setting it up and it just works right out of the box. The unit also does support pre-amp functions if you hook it up to your speakers via RCA and the unit will work as a volume knob.
I will go into detail on the unit’s functions and capabilities later below but in short, the K5 Pro provides an all-in-one solution for the typical gamer and one can be fully satisfied with its value proposition.
To on the power, you have to press and hold its volume knob (it has a click feedback) until a blue light pops up and the unit will be active, and same vice versa if you intend to switch it off.
Personally, my fingers are relatively larger, and adjusting knobs on the K5 Pro might not be as pleasant as other units that offer a much larger knob, but you do get more features packed into 1 small footprint dac amp which I figured that it is a logical trade-off that I am willing to accept.
There are 2 equalizer knobs at the front, 1 for bass and another for treble. It is definitely a neat feature to have as I can spontaneously adjust the profile to suit my preferences while in the midst of the game. It is also useful when it comes to FPS games where the EQ knobs allow better detection of these aspects, giving the user a slight advantage.
For a gaming DAC amp, I consider it to be much better as compared to my internal motherboard sound card and as I increase the gain on the mic, I could actually notice a much lower noise floor as compared to my motherboard sound card.
Another important aspect of such gaming dac amps is actually the crosstalk between outputs and inputs. There were products that I’ve tried in the past whereby your friends were able to hear what you are listening to e.g. youtube which is a result of poor segregation or shared ground. For the K5 Pro, there were no such issues and everything is just hassle-free. It is also important to note that to use the microphone input, the user must connect via a USB interface.
There is definitely a sonic improvement over built-in sound cards in computers or gaming laptops where there are minimal digital signal interferences that could introduce additional noise. I would classify the overall sound signature to be mid-range focused and eventually push both bass/treble up a few notches to level out the profile. While it is not a big con due to the availability of EQ knobs on the unit itself and software, it is something to point out for those who intend to use it for listening as well.
Power outputs on the K5 pro in general will be enough for most headphones out there in the market except for some models where impedance levels are high (above 150Ohms) and low sensitivity (below 92 dB/mW).
I am glad that such a budget all-in-one solution exists for gamers that are able to do so much at such an affordable price. In my opinion, the good segregation of its headphone out and microphone inputs alone gave it a huge plus over other solutions such as built-in sound cards that comes with gaming headsets.
If you already have a gaming headset (not USB powered) and you are looking for something reliable and affordable, the Fosi Audio K5 Pro is definitely something you should consider based on its overall physical design, connectivity, and versatility in terms of EQ gives it a good edge over its competitors.
Do check out the links below if you are interested in purchasing them!