Hours of music fun with relaxed modern sound – that’s the promise from the FiiO FH3. These affordable in-ear headphones not only boast a chic design but also come with good workmanship and a comprehensive, useful set of features. Pure audio pleasure that is unparalleled in this price range is what’s on offer here.
Wired in-ear headphones are a dime a dozen. Compared to their predecessor, FiiO has equipped the FH3 with several innovations that are supposed to mean improved wearing comfort and sound quality. We took a closer look at what they are all about.
The FiiO FH3 arrive in smart and sturdy packaging. In addition to the headphones, the package includes a hard case, a quick start guide and a soft case containing various plastic attachments. More on this later…
These wired in-ear headphones are in the FH series’ mid-price segment. For a relatively low price of 129 euros, they are intended to provide an entry into the hi-fi market at a highly competitive price.
The all-black housing is made of aluminium and magnesium using a CNC process. The outer design, in the shape of a wave, is similar to that found on the other models of the FiiO FH series. The MMCX sockets are integrated seamlessly into the outer shell. Once connected to the cable, nothing wobbles or rattles. So you can expect many years of service-free use.
The enclosed cable comes from the FiiO’s B series and ends with a 3.5 mm mini-jack. According to the manufacturer, it is made of 96 silver-coated strands. The outer material is slightly stiff and, due to its strength, gives the impression that it will be long lasting – definitely a plus. The use of MMCX jacks also enables you to use a wide choice of third-party cables to experiment with the sonic diversity of different materials. The connection side uses an angled jack plug that not only looks classy but also has a robust appearance.
The good-sized hard case is reminiscent of the classic Pelikan cases and seems to be just as stable and unbreakable. If you prefer a more compact design, you can use the fabric case, which is also supplied.
These in-ear headphones fitted comfortably in my ear, sealed off the outside world without leaks, and the cable Earhooks provided a suitable angle that kept the headphones securely in place. The various silicone attachments should help to provide good wearing comfort. About the silicone attachments: These are made of different firm materials and are available in three sizes each. There are three pairs each for fans of accentuated bass, for a treble-emphasised reproduction and a sound-neutral variant. There are also two super-soft pairs for sensitive ears.
A hybrid system comprising dynamic and BA drivers is at the heart of the FiiO FH3. The beryllium-coated dynamic driver delivers crisp, deep bass, while two balanced-armature drivers provide differentiated mids and clear highs. Beryllium is four times stronger than steel, making the 10mm driver diaphragm more resistant to distortion. At the same time, it’s light enough to reproduce impulses as quickly as possible.
The patented “S.Turbo design” is a bass reflex tube with a length of 41.5mm. This was created in the form of an auger inside the headphones. It serves to amplify and shape the low-frequency components. According to the manufacturer, a positive side effect of this design is the additional filtering out of unwanted high frequencies. Two outlets per earpiece are said to prevent booming and ensure balanced sound results.
The wireless MTX monitor with integrated headphone amplifier served as our playback device so we could make direct comparisons. Other playback devices used were a Cambridge Audio CXN V2, a CD player (NAD 512), a smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S7) and an iBasso DX240 Reference DAP. Depending on the different silicone attachments, the sound of the FiiO FH3 can be adjusted according to one’s preference. I opted for the neutral attachments.
In the bass range, the FiiO FH3 delivered a decent foundation but remained crisp and clearly defined. There were no harsh low-frequency resonances. Both a drum kit’s bass drum and an electric or acoustic bass sounded deep and powerful and supported the overall sound image. Even at low volumes, the bass range did not disappear into nothingness but always delivered a satisfying foundation. The concept of the bass reflex channel is a success here.
The midrange frequencies seemed transparent and precise in reproduction. This range contained most of the necessary information that sonically represents the body of an instrument. In the case of electronic music, a TB-303 smacked along in such a playful, chirpy way that it was fun to vibrate along with the sound. But conventional instruments like electric guitars were also reproduced in a differentiated and powerful way. There was a good resolution that allowed a clear separation and space between the instruments.
The highs sounded airy and finely resolved due to their extended frequency range. They never seemed strained or shrill. Sounds rich in overtones, such as drum cymbals, tambourines or triangles, sounded open at the top. Overall, the treble offered a rather warmer character, yet without loss of resolution.
On the virtual stage, the instruments were distributed in the stereo panorama in a differentiated way and in their own space. Even outer layers remained part of the overall sound. The individual instruments’ virtual spaces were also precisely defined. In summary, listening to music with the FiiO FH3 was a lot of fun. These in-ears have a nice relaxed lightness that allowed hours of listening without fatigue. The lossless transmission via a cable actually offered distinct added value compared to models with Bluetooth wireless links in the same price range.
The FiiO FH3 offers thoughtfully focused technology that delivers relaxed modern sound with crisp, deep bass, differentiated mids and airy highs for hours of music enjoyment. The good workmanship, the chic design and the extensive features, especially the different silicone attachments, are impressive all along the line. The pure joy of sound is unparalleled for the price range of 139 euros. I’d be delighted to recommend buying them if you’re looking for no-frills cable operation.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic + Balanced Armature
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 40.000 Hz
- Impedance24 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)@1 kHz: 114 dB
- Weight without cableeach 7,3 g
- Cable length120 cm
What's in the box
- FiiO LC-3.5B cable
- 3 pairs of silicone tips (S, M, L), sound: neutral
- 3 pairs of silicone tips (S, M, L), sound: bass-emphasised
- 3 pairs of silicone tops (S, M, L), sound: treble accentuated
- 2 pairs of memory foam tips
- Cleaning brush