Connect with us

Headphones

FiiO FD3 Review: Juicy and energetic

As you know, FiiO’s line of FD dynamic headphones is now the most actively replenished, the fresh flagship FD7 has already been announced, and while we are waiting for it, it makes sense to talk in detail about a more affordable novelty – the wired single-driver model FD3. Considering that the junior dynamos  FiiO FD1 once they suddenly fell in love with me with their sound, now I also hope for pleasant impressions. Still, in the audiophile entry-level segment, FiiO retains leadership. The price tag of the new FD3 is about $ 120, there is also a Pro version, it is a little more expensive, we will also discuss the differences between them in the article. To the point.

Visual impressions

We are greeted by an iridescent magnetic box, rather large for an inexpensive model. There is a minimum of information on it, but there are images of some elements of the design of the headphones. Inside, in an additional box, there is a rich set of delivery: a plastic case, 3 pairs of silicone ear pads for balanced flow, 3 pairs for bass, 3 pairs for vocals, 2 pairs of foams, a pair of replaceable sound filters (I will talk about them later), a brush for cleaning and a tool for removing MMCX connectors.

As for the latter, it helps, and not only with FiiO headphones. Where was he before? As an aspiring audiophile in the past, I would have liked to have such a handy little thing. Well, in a word, I like the complete set, it turned out great, we were even pampered with bonuses a little.

Design

FiiO FD3 has neat round cases made of aluminum-magnesium alloy. By weight, they are light, only 7 g, rather medium in size than compact, but I would not call them too large. The smooth silver surface will probably pick up minor scratches, so I recommend storing the earbuds in a case. Moreover, CNC processing is combined here with the final manual polishing, this is also an element of premium. The assembly is impeccable, no questions asked about it.

A separate tempting feature is the unique celluloid panels on faceplates covered with a 2.5D magnifying glass. They are decorated in marble, thanks to them the model, for my taste, turned out to be delightfully beautiful. I would love to wear these headphones.

Ergonomics

By the way, what about comfort? According to this criterion, the hero of the review also became my favorite, the ergonomics made me very happy. With almost any ear pads, you can get a reliable, not excessively deep, but tight fit, the model does not get tired for a long listening time, does not interfere and does not press. Noise isolation is declared up to 27 dB, but I draw your attention to the fact that FD3 have a semi-open design. Accordingly, your music is slightly audible outside, and you can hear the surrounding sounds. You know that I still do not like different marketing turns and prefer to call semi-open models simply open, but in this case, such a definition makes sense. The headphones really do their best to muffle external noises. In a more or less calm atmosphere, they even succeed.

It is quite unpretentious here, unlike the FiiO FD3 Pro version , although I will not say that they completely saved on it. We have a soft four-core cable of 120 conductors, the material is monocrystalline copper Litz Type 2. The ears are made without memory effect, which is good. The plug is unbalanced 3.5, connectors are standard MMCX. The lanyard is pleasant to use, it is obedient and not prone to tangling, but its acoustic transparency, of course, is not standard, so for fastidious connoisseurs there is a reason to think about an upgrade.

Features and compatibility

• Frequency range: from 10 Hz to 40 kHz;
• Sensitivity: 111 dB;
• Resistance: 32 Ohm.

Well, in terms of frequency, we get a full-fledged Hi-Res, FiiO, of course, have passed the appropriate certification. As for the requirements for amplification, the FD3 model will sound noticeably better with a Hi-Fi player or a compact DAC than with a smartphone. Nevertheless, the driver needs some portion of power for free movement. But the headphones aren’t too finicky, this is not the case when a balanced connection is necessary.

Emitters

Newly developed FiiO 12mm drivers with light and rigid DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) diaphragm are used. In addition to the well-proven artificial diamond-like carbon, high-quality sound is also built by strong magnets that create a magnetic flux of up to 1.5 Tesla, and ultra-thin aluminum Japanese Daikoku voice coils covered with copper.

But other technologies are also used in the headphones. First, at the front of the sound chamber is a trough with the poetic name “acoustic prism”, which helps propagate sound waves inside the chamber, reducing high-frequency resonances and distortion.
Second, the semi-open design of the FD3 is combined with the brand’s patented air pressure relief technology. Thanks to her, the musical handwriting becomes natural and balanced, and the sound waves do not injure the eardrums. Something similar, but in a more high-tech implementation, I meet with my 64 Audio tia Fourte , and I can say that, in practice, you get madly accustomed to this delicate airiness, which does not tire the ear.

Thirdly, replaceable filters make it possible to independently customize the sound presentation. In the budget segment, this is a rarity, although  iBasso  has already taken a step in this direction, releasing their  IT01X . But more about them later. As for the FiiO headphone lineup, we saw the same filters in the current top  FD5 . True, when comparing the FD3, they even win, since they have the same outer diameter of filters; any complete nozzles will fit any pair. But the internal diameter of the filters are different – red, narrower, accentuate the bass, and black, wider, pay attention to the high frequencies. Being able to choose between them according to your personal preference is great.

Sound

The main testing was carried out on  Astell & Kern A & Ultima SP2000 , Questyle QPM, Questyle QP1R and  iBasso DX160 players .
The presentation of the FD3 is made characteristic of FiiO – in warm colors, with large and voluminous musical images. The handwriting of the headphones is neither neutral nor analytical; first of all, drive, exciting gaiety and elastic texture of the acoustic canvas are tightly intertwined in it. Another feature is a truly large-scale, wide stage with free positioning of instruments and a clear division of parties. FD3 know how to work with both space and musical plot, it is very interesting to listen to them. And this amazing openness really sets the model apart from the competition in the budget class. If you are close to such a violent, energetic disposition, you will love these headphones. They are not picky about the quality of the recording, they are omnivorous in genre, for this they can also be praised.

Customization

For myself, I chose black filters, the FD3 plays with them somewhat drier and faster, the low frequencies become more focused, the middle frequencies are more accurate. With red filters, the sound is more dark, imposing, velvety and flesh. Personally, I did not like this option at all, but it has its own plus – less aggression on the lower HF, this will suit many.

Frequencies

The bass is massive, soft, percussive and voluminous. They have good depth, moderate texture variation and good relief. The speed is not exemplary, but, taking into account the swap, it is quite decent. The mid sounds tasty and round, the sub remains firm and well-defined, does not smear even on overloaded compositions. The attacks are biting, the emphasis on low frequencies adds a pronounced drive to the music. The setting is, of course, gustatory, but it is done effectively.

Medium frequencies are elastic, bright, three-dimensional. Their flexibility and free plasticity do not prevent the instruments from maintaining realistic weight, texture and density. The timbre is warm, rich, slightly embellished. The picture is one-piece, absolutely harmonious, this is the advantage of high-quality one-driver. The main stake is made on macrodynamics, although the development of small nuances is at a good level. The vocals are juicy, tender and sensual, the emotionality of each track is also perfectly revealed. I already wrote about the size of the scene, its scale is definitely impressive. Of the minuses – as always, I lacked neutrality, and the palette of timbres could have been more natural.

High frequencies are voiced, iridescent, slightly emphasized. Thanks to their liveliness, the FD3 can handle classics and other acoustic genres with confidence. Of course, you shouldn’t expect here the speed of armature headphones or some fantastic magic of overtones, the range is slightly simplified, but still the attacks are perceived very convincing, and the length of the decays is acceptable. Probably, high-frequency phobes should listen to the model before buying, but with the right filters, the spectrum can remain quite comfortable.

Comparisons

Let’s start with the FD3 Pro. This model is identical to the FD3 in all respects, except for the drain cable. For a cost of about $ 170, the owner of the Pro version will receive an eight-wire silver-plated LC-RE cable with interchangeable 3.5, 2.5 and 4.4 plugs, which gives a good increase in sound quality. In my opinion, this is a good buy if you have a Hi-Res player or portable amplifier with a well-implemented balanced output, or if you don’t plan on looking for a suitable replacement cable for an upgrade in the near future. On the other hand, for those who already have such a wire in their collection, as well as for those who listen to music through an unbalanced DAC or just from a smartphone, the usual FD3 version is better suited. Again, it’s cheaper.

Moving on to the more budgetary FiiO FD1 headphones. As I already wrote, these are my favorites. The model has a hammered, clear, slightly lightweight, very detailed and biting sound signature, combining excellent control and dashing drive. In terms of resolution, three-dimensionality and dimensions, the FD1 scenes are inferior to the hero of the review, playing less atmospheric and warm, but honest and extremely legible. They are more inclined to unravel the web of complex multi-instrumental recordings, finely tracing the relief of bass and chimes of bells, while the FD3 in their engaging manner build a colorful, solid panorama with good melodiousness, density and body. Both models are quite bright, but completely different in style.

Further, apparently, we should make a comparison with the FiiO FD5, but the difference in price between them and the FD3 is too significant, and personally I did not particularly like the FD5 in terms of sound, so let’s continue about the competitors in the class. Hybrids FiiO FH3 , in principle, a little like the warmth and musicality to FD3, but they have a little less than the scene is not as lively and expressive middle, while high frequencies, on the contrary, the crystal has a greater and richer.

Another contender is the iBasso IT01X dynamos. Here you also have the ability to customize the sound using replaceable filters, although their influence, as far as I remember, was weaker. In general, the handwriting here is more V-shaped than that of the FD3, but at the same time it is detailed and technical. The iBasso headphones give more transparent, caustic treble, emphasize the sub, while slightly holding back the mid, they have a neat, thin, but emotional middle. And they are damn critical to the quality of the recording.

Conclusion

This seems to have been expected. FiiO has released another hit, and I understand why the audience will be delighted with FD3. A large-scale soundstage, juicy and energetic presentation, the possibility of self-tuning, a generous package, an impeccably comfortable fit, an affordable price and an incredibly beautiful design. And, of course, there are several technologies that have cunningly crossed over to this model from the flagship. So tell me after that that dynamic emitters are now less interesting than  hybrid headphones . In general, if you choose in-channel channels for $ 100-200, I recommend taking a closer look at the new product.

Click to comment

All TechWeek writers are indepentent and from many different countries. Some english misspelling and grammar mistakes may occur. Report article.

Advertisement

Latest news and reviews in hi-fi, home cinema and technology reviews, products, news, advice, videos and more, from around the world! All pictures and articles written on techweekmag.com are owned by respective freelance authors. If you find a article that violates copywrite infringement, please report article here!