Agree, when a popular audiophile brand releases a debut model in a new category for itself, it’s always a big event. And in our case, the event turned out to be “loud” in the literal sense. Well, FiiO are famous luminaries of the portable Hi-Fi market, but they are not inclined to excessive conservatism, so they regularly delight the audience with experiments. Today we will talk about their hot new product – compact stationary speakers FiiO SP3 . The stated price is $330. The presentation enticingly promises: “A desktop, a piece of heaven on earth, a touch of purity, a sight to behold.”
FiiO SP3 are positioned not only as a universal option for connecting to a computer or any other sources, but also as part of a system, complementing the FiiO R7 desktop player and FiiO FT3 full-size headphones . I have already done reviews of both previous components, it’s time for the third one. In general, speakers are not my topic, but for FiiO, speakers are not their topic either, so everything is harmonious. Strangely enough, I still remember when FiiO released their very first IEMs, and now, years later, I’m testing their first active speakers. I hope you are as curious as I am. Even if you and I do not intend to move from portable to stationary sound, we need to find out how exactly the company revealed its signature in this form factor?
We are greeted by a black box, large and heavy – thank you for the handle. It features iridescent iridescent lettering and an image of the model. All the accessories inside are neatly laid out in boxes and bags, the speakers are securely fixed in the niches. I’m to the point that the packaging seems sturdy and not cheap. In a hospital, it is often rude, but this is not the case. As you can see, FiiO bring their style and conquer chaos wherever they go.
I will say right away that, despite the ambiguous name of SP3, the system consists of only 2 components. Accordingly, a set of a pair of speakers awaits you in the box. It’s kind of sad, even I have a subwoofer, but I can’t connect it here. Although if you need compactness, it’s fine.
So, let’s evaluate the appearance of the new FiiO speakers. Frankly, for their price, the speakers are made very decently. They have a die-cast body made of liquid metal, the assembly is excellent, the surface is embossed, matte, does not collect dust and prints. There is an option in black, there is also in white, for aesthetes, to beautifully put next to the white FiiO R7.
And, yes, SP3 also pleases with customizable RGB lighting. Personally, however, it pleased me the most with the fact that it can be completely turned off if necessary. But the Stockholm syndrome brought me back to it, and it even turned out that the shades here are pleasant, and the brightness is not too intense. So I recommend it.
The dimensions of the FiiO SP3 are surprisingly modest, it is a really small speaker, it will not take up much space on the table. Parameters – 163x120x132 mm, volume – 2.35 l, weight – 1.8 kg for the main speaker and 1.6 kg for the additional one. The main unit probably houses all the amplifier electronics. A well-deserved like for compactness.
In conclusion, I have only one remark about the design – although the tweeter is protected by metal, the woofer is somehow not covered by anything, so you have to handle it carefully. In everything else, FiiO SP3 turned out perfectly, in an adult way.
Characteristics and technologies
Let’s start with theory, then move on to practice. In fact, at one time I was very interested in the topic of stationary systems, but here I will try not to torment you with boring data, but you and I like to read mainly about headphones.
So, FiiO SP3 are classic two-way active near-field speakers. They received a 3.5-inch carbon fiber speaker with an innovative design of asymmetric internal and external magnetic circuits, an S-shaped phase inverter with double diffusion that enhances the return of bass, as well as a premium 1-inch silk tweeter located at a correctly calculated angle, directed acoustic waves woofers, soft sound-absorbing triple-dome design, 2-channel TI power amplifier. According to the indicators, the speakers produce only up to 40 W: 10 W for HF and 30 W for MID and LF. In practice, this is enough not to turn the volume above average, its resource is noticeable. However, it is important to remember that this applies to listening at the table, at a minimum distance. I wouldn’t recommend using the SP3 for parties, they are not meant to fill a room. However, when they stand close to you, the sound dissipates competently, naturally and unobtrusively, this is a plus.
Another interesting fact is that the frequency range of the FiiO SP3 is listed in many places on the web as 65 Hz to 20 kHz, but FiiO themselves claim an upper limit of 35 kHz, and there is a Hi-Res certification mark on the box, so I believe them. Sensitivity – 85 dB, impedance – 8 ohm woofer and 8 ohm tweeter.
Now, finally, we turn to the question of real use. Fortunately, SP3 is universal and extremely simple, you can figure it out quickly. To begin with, we connect the speakers to each other with a cable through the DIN port. On the back of the main unit there is a start button, there is also a toggle switch to invert the left and right channels, depending on the location of the socket, a key for selecting the input, a volume control, a bass control in the range from -8 dB to 0 dB, a button for tuning illumination .There are only 2 inputs – RCA and 3.5 mm.
We connect the standard cable to the main speaker through any of them, and the other side to the source. Keep in mind that the source must still be adequate, it is definitely not worth listening to these speakers with a phone. For audiophiles, a desktop DAC or Hi-Fi player with a line-up will be a good solution, you can also use the FiiO SP3 with a computer, preferably through an external DAC or a good sound card, or even with a home theater. And the model is also suitable for gamers.
Perhaps, let’s leave aside my jokes before the first listening like: “I just don’t see where to connect the headphones here.” And the stories, as I sit testing the SP3, Santana singing “Put Your Lights On” quite loudly, I’m taking notes, turning the bass control and simultaneously thinking about when the Poles will come to fight. And how will I explain to them that it is I who work. Paradoxically, the inspection of the acoustics coincided with a temporary move to Poland, yet in Kyiv I have a private house, not an apartment, I would be more relaxed. With an IEM, it’s easier in this regard. By the way, I wonder how many reviewers of portable Hi-Fi, besides me, FiiO has now forced to expand the professional spectrum with its new product… Well, as you understood, the power and volume of the speakers are enough.
The presentation of FiiO SP3 is sweet, clean, relaxed. They play inspired and soft, you can feel the characteristic cheerful colors of FiiO, a common breed with other devices of the brand. The tonalka is balanced, even, it is devoid of sharp peaks, but these are definitely not dry monitors, without strict analytical or emphasized detachment. SP3 has its own way, they are atmospheric, juicy, very alive and carefree. They add some weight and singing to the notes, they like to decorate the picture with pronounced dynamics. Not that for fans of analog mutedness and completely vintage velvet timbres, some crystallinity is present, but the setting still leans towards warm.
Regarding the technical aspects, the SP3 are capable of speed, they sound transparent, as far as the limited resolution allows, they do not smear contours, and they do not annoy with background noise. And they are surprisingly good at building an imaginary scene – three-dimensional, spacious and multi-layered. Extreme precision in tool positioning. Of course, worse than a large system, after all, it’s just a desktop stereo pair without a subwoofer, but noticeably better than any budget mass speakers, especially wireless ones, where the Bluetooth codec also cuts the digital stream.
The speakers are not picky about the quality of the recording, it is omnivorous about the material. I preferred acoustic genres, I left the built-in bass control in the middle, I liked the sound less in the extreme positions. But I listened to the music for a long time, the handwriting of the speakers is really fascinating, they do not tire, sometimes they fascinate, and gambling attacks add drive. Not a bad concept.
The bass is percussive, dense, and at the same time restrained and whippy. They are clearly compromised in terms of texture variability and depth, but they are quantitatively verified, and their localization is clear. There is an elastic rebound, which, with the complete rubber stands, will also entertain you with vibration across the table. Well, at least not through the floor, the neighbors will survive. If you turn the control to the maximum, you can increase the density and duration of sustain on the midbass. If you remove it to a minimum, the bass will be more collected and fast, the rest of the range will be more neutral and thin.
Middle frequencies are emotional, smooth, holographic. The tools are freely located, the detailing is acceptable, it is not accented, but I have no complaints about the informativeness for this money. Harmony and colorfulness combine to weave a magical color. Also, the vocals are very delicately revealed here, the midrange delicately conveys its range and temperament. The cons are the smoothness of the spectrum, and I, as always with the initial FiiO models, wanted more naturalness.
High frequencies are gentle, extended, defined. I won’t say that they differ in reference naturalness or some kind of flagship ultra-noble iridescent shine, but in headphones of a similar price category, this spectrum is usually even simpler. On the FiiO SP3, the treble does not hiss, does not pierce the ear, but is presented energetically and richly, with a relief separation and pleasant flexibility. Bells in live compositions sound articulated, airy and effective.
Considering that FiiO SP3 acoustics is the first test of a pen, the product turned out to be very interesting. Let’s see if the idea will develop into a series, or if we will someday nostalgically remember these debut, still inexpensive speakers. For me, this article is in some sense also the first test of a pen, I am satisfied with the new experience. So, if you love FiiO’s signature sound signature, want to assemble a system around the R7 source, or if you simply need a set of two compact active speakers for a desktop DAC, computer, cinema or gaming – pay attention to the novelty.