FiiO FD3/FD3 Pro Single Dynamic Driver Iems with a detachable cable

SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
FIIO FD3- Cheaper with lots of fun engraved into it 😁
Pros: Excellent transparency
Better wider stage and separation (with black filter)
Bass and sub-bass coherency and bigger body maintained
More extended in the treble region
Slightly airy treble
Great dynamics
Taller stage
More cohesive
Vocals are great
Cons: Red filter is ignorable unless you love bass and don't care about anything else 😋
Cable could be better
Needs some more timbre
Dynamics could have been better
Notes height differences are not that appreciable
FIIO FD3- Cheaper with lots of fun engraved into it.

FIIO
as we all know it, is a Chinese company highly invested in the audiophile market. They have lots of impressive products and continue to impress the entire audiophile industry with their budget end to other highly priced products. Today we are going to take a look at a cheaper yet pretty good offering 🤩THE FIIO FD3

DISCLAIMER- THIS UNIT BELONGS TO MY FRIEND @suman134 AND thanks to him I get the time to review it. Well as always, the opinions are mine alone and not influenced by friendship
😋 haha! 🤣

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS-

  • Driver : 12mm Diameter Dynamic Driver with DLC Diaphragm
  • Frequency response : 10Hz-40kHz
  • Impedance : 32Ω@1kHz
  • Sensitivity : 111dB@1mW
  • Max input power : 100mW
  • Cable Material : 4 core High Purity Monocrystalline Copper Wire
  • Weight : approx. 7 grams (Single Unit)
UNBOXING-

A
s always Fiio did an excellent job with its practicality and easiness of the unboxing. The addition of a pelican type case for the accessories and using it further for carrying the iems is pretty good idea and I hope others try to imitate that 😁. Plus, an mmcx assist tool is a nice touch 🤩. Rest the pictures will dictate 😁

FIIO FD3 box 1 (1 of 1).jpg
FIIO FD3 box 1 (1 of 10).jpg


BUILD AND FIT-

It’s a full metal build with a marble like faceplate. It’s looks awesome but the Fiio engraving inside kinda looks a little 3D like 😅. These are pretty dense and removing the nozzle to change filters is pretty easy too.
Fit for me was great too. They fit nicely with a little pain being the stem hitting my ear, so turning it a bit forwards helped a lot.

FIIO FD3 box 1 (2 of 10).jpg


CABLE-
The cable is pretty good, no microphonic at all. It’s not heavy too. The ear guides are pliable too. No worries about it about it.

FIIO FD3 box 1 (5 of 10).jpg


OTHER ACCESSORIES-
  • FOAM TIPS AND LOTS OF SILICON TIPS
  • MMCX removal assist tool
  • IEM brush
  • Sound filter nozzle – check the rings – red – bass filter and black 🖤- reference filter
  • The best thing- a pelican type carry case 🤩
FIIO FD3 box 1 (3 of 10).jpg


PRICE-
99$ OR 8990 INR

POWAHH REQUIRED-


It’s pretty easy to drive, no issues whatsoever. I ran it on low gain 45 volume in my N6ii R01. Putting it to High gain did increase some stage height but I think it’s the volume that made me feel it rather than current driven into the iem.

NOTE- This IEM is used with-
  • N6ii and R01 (mostly R01 since it adds more naturalism to the iem and also better stage) for portable on chair listening experience for the most part of the review. About 40-50 volume on low gain
  • On desktop- N6ii LO and A30s (Burson V5i D) and XDUOO MT602 Sylvania tubes (not so beautiful pairing but then low gain on N6ii and also volume at 04 😁) has been used.
  • Sometimes LG G8x as phone source.
  • Tips used were stock ‘M’ sized tips which were a great fit
  • ENITRE REVIEW IS WITH RED FILTER AND THEN CONTRASTED WITH BLACK FILTER(JUST FORGET RED FILTER EXISTS 🤣)
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SOUND IMPRESSIONS- THIS IS SUBJECTIVE AND YOUR OPINIONS MAY VARY FROM MINE

BASS AND SUBBASS-


S
ub-bass is something near to excellent at this price range 🤩. It’s rare to see something which has this much sub-bass yet not overriding the bass. Tonality is on slightly natural to leaner side with very good dynamics. The decay is fast but this still maintains good timbre, a slightly more extension on the sub-bass notes would have great to have a very big room filling experience. There is great texture in the sub-bass and it’s quite energetic and goes quite deep to fill your cups with a smile 🤩.

Bass is excellent. Having the tonality to be slightly on the natural to more on the leaner side. It’s punchy and full of energy and also complementary to the sub-bass. The decay is fast and timbre is slightly faster. The texture is slightly less but for the price its pretty good. Notes are quite dynamic extending into the head-room quite a bit. They have good body with great beginning distinction, edge definition needs some work though. A very fun experience overall.

FILTER CHANGE TO BLACK- The black filter has some good changes to the bass and sub-bass that’s it’s worth a whole separate paragraph. Sub-bass has a little less rumble but is more controlled and well I like this more than the red filter. The sub-bass had less energy than the red filter but the texturing is enhanced more and it felt more in line with the rest of the sound signature. Bass on the other hand, had more punch and more controlled response 🤩. The body of the notes is more controlled and felt more extended. Timbre is slightly decreased and more controlled, but better transparent but felt much less energetic but in a good way. This is more to my liking I think than the red filter 😁

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MIDS-


Hmm 🤔, let’s start with the vocals. Vocals are balanced not lush nor lean. Male vocals are enough thick not to make you miss the thicker feel 😛. Female vocals have those wonderful highs but they extend not too much into the head-room hence they feel slightly held back. The texture comes through as well the echoes or reverbs of their voice in certain songs. There is a little less air in the vocals but it’s does make it up with better micro-details. Notes have great body and no sibilance at all.

Instruments in the mids are really good. They have a similar leaner to natural tonality. Average amount of air in between them but with this filter, it feels completely congested. There is very little space around them and sometimes the notes do overlap a bit. The dynamics is great but the tonal accuracy is okay with an average timbre sadly. There is slightly fast attack and fast decay but given the congestion, separation is not much present 😅. What this lacks, makes up for in the energy which is great with great notes height and musicality. Notes also have a good body and good beginning but edge definition is not that great. But it changes so much with the other filter that, I would recommend not to use this for any reason 😁.

WITH BLACK FILTER- The mids are much more separated, balanced and much more in V’ shape. The congestion is much decreased and the notes have better edge definition. The energy is similar but the notes have taken a slight backseat in the stage. Much better transparency also with better details. The notes are also better separated making it a well wider stage and better differentiate the different instruments.

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TREBLE-

Treble is pretty good here. There is great dynamics and energy to the treble region. Small amount of air in the notes are noted but not much around instruments. They are rather more separated by space around them and the imaging. The timbre of cymbals and string instruments here are much better appreciated. Notes are nicely defined except the edges, which feel to have been having less extension or blunted. It does have a faster attack here with a faster decay albeit not loosing musicality though. The sparkle in the treble is not lacking and overall demands a listener’s attention.

WITH BLACK FILTER- The treble is similar with changes in notes separation being the most important stand out. Notes are more defined and there is much better extension too. Much better separation in the instruments too and better edge definition of the notes. There is more feel of stage depth too.

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HEADSTAGE, IMAGING, RESOLUTION AND SEPARATION-

Head stage is decent and doesn’t feel lacking. There is good width with tall heights but the stage depth is bit less, depth (-y axis) though is pretty good. Imaging is decent with a diffuse sense of instrument notes. Spacing around the instruments if could be improved would be great. There are good enough details but the presentation is without any dynamics and subtleness. Separation is not that great in the mids and bass, treble though escapes this. Transparency is great but nonmusical and lacks a sense of dynamism.

FILTER CHANGE TO BLACK- The sound characteristics change from complete L to complete V sound signature. The change in height of the notes is well felt too but the notes height differences is rather more transparent now than the red filter 😁. The details are much better felt too. The stage depth is much better with good amount of separation in the mids. Spacing around the instruments is also more and mids feel V shaped but not congested anymore.

CABLE CHANGE-

Cable change will have a good impact on this iem. I used the Tenhz SPC cable since I didn’t have any mmcx good SPC cable with me, there was increased depth, better balance in the notes, better separation and good air. I would recommend a cable change for sure, since this seems like a very capable iem. Do try and lemme know in the comments below!!!

FIIO FD3 box 1 (10 of 10).jpg


COMPARISON-
BQEYZ AUTUMN
Pros-
More balanced signature
Better mid bass tightness and definition
Better inter-instrumental separation
Texture is better enhanced
Better notes edge definition
More controlled and balanced notes
Wider stage
Good change in sound with filters

TRI I3 PRO-
Pros-

Better treble extension
Better treble details
Better sub-bass
Better stage depth and layering
Better transparency
Better mids
Note body definition was better.
IMG_20210913_000310.jpg

tin p1 plus (1 of 1).jpg


TIN P1 PLUS-
Pros-
Better treble extension
Better air in the string instruments
Better transparency
Better edge definition of the notes
Better texture in bass

TIMELESS 7HZ
Pros-

Bass is warmer
Sub-bass is warmer
Better vocals than T1 plus
Less air
Less details

IEMS mixed (1 of 1).jpg


MOONDROP KATO-
Pros-

Excellent dynamics
Excellent tonal accuracy
Beautiful airy notes and treble (less than p1plus)
Well extended in the treble region
Has sub-bass and is mid bass heavy
Beautiful separation and spacing around instruments
Wide stage
Excellent imaging and resolution.

FIIO FD3 WITH UPGRADED SPC CABLE-
PROS-
Better wider stage and separation
Bass and sub- bass coherency is better maintained
More extended in the treble region
Great dynamics
Taller stage
More cohesive

FIIO FD3 box 1 (6 of 10).jpg

SUMMARY-


It’s a very good iem for its price. The musicality aspect of it makes it a worthwhile purchase except the RED filter don’t use it at all. Black filter is love and yes cable change is a small must. Overall, a strong recommendation for this price range.
Last edited:

Nealz

Head-Fier
Fiio FD3/FD3 Pro Review: Master of None
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Tips Used During Review: Mix of stock Balanced, Bass & Vocal tips
Cables Used During Review: Stock FD3/FD3 Pro Cables
Sources Used During Review: Hiby R5 Saber, Fiio BTR5 (Wired)

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Executive Summary: Fiio FD3/FD3 Pro are the smaller siblings of the FD5, which has been a hit or a miss since the release depending on who you ask. Jading by the specs, price & especially the accessories list the FD3 series was surely meant to be a hit? But we rarely see any reviews on it, I wonder why? Surely many people have bought them. Anyways as for the tech inside both the FD3 & FD3 Pro features a newly engineered 12mm single DLC dynamic driver and a semi-open design. The 12mm dynamic driver that is driven by a magnetic circuit with a 1.5 Tesla magnetic flux density paired with an ultra-fine copper-clad aluminum Japanese Daikoku voice coil. Similar to the FD5, the FD3/Pro is also equipped with an acoustic prism that will eliminate high frequency standing waves, while enhancing overall sound wave diffusion. These are all the fancy marketing terms used by Fiio to describe their new “flagship level” dynamic drive & tech inside the FD3 series. The FD3 is priced at $109, while the FD3 Pro is priced at $149. The only major difference between the pro & non-pro model being that FD3 comes bundled with a 4-strand 120-core high-purity single-crystal copper cable with a fixed 3.5mm termination plug. While the FD3 Pro comes with a heavier, 8-strand 152-core Litz structure silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable with interchangeable termination plugs. It includes 3.5mm SE, 2.5mm Bal, and 4.4mm Bal plugs in the package.

Disclaimer: The Fiio FD3 is own my personal unit, while I borrowed my friend’s FD3 Pro for comparison purpose in this review. All thoughts & opinions shared here will be my own, 100% honest and bias-free. This review of course is completely subjective.

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Hits:
  • Excellent set of accessories provided in the box for the asking price, the vanilla FD3 comes with 2 tuning nozzles, one for bass (red) & another for treble (black). An acrylic carry case, a tool for MMCX cable replacement, 6 bass eartips, 6 balanced eartips, 6 vocal eartips, 2 foam tips, a cleaning brush. As already mentioned earlier in my review the pro version comes with an upgraded 8-stand cable with interchangeable termination plugs.
  • Good build quality for the price, very ergonomic and is comfortable to wear during longer listening sessions.
  • A pretty balanced V-shaped tuning, with slightly warm tonality. Definitely more musical than analytical. Works particularly great with genres like Pop, EDM, Hip-Hop etc.
  • FD3/Pro has a wide soundstage due to the semi-open back design; it sounds quite spacious.
  • Pretty easy to drive, in most cases a cheap dongle like CX Pro, Avani or Odyssey HD should suffice. It can also be driven off the 3.5 mm jack of your smartphone with a very minimal hit to overall performance.

Misses:
  • Sounds pretty dull overall, FD3/Pro has a very narrow dynamic range compared to some similar priced IEM’s for example Moondrop Aria. Highs roll off pretty early with the red nozzle. Treble extension does improve with the black nozzle but treble sounds peaky and unnatural to my ears.
  • Details retrieval is on the poor side as well, as there is too much emphasis on the smoothness & fun factor in the tuning.
  • Mids sound way to recessed and barely has any presence in the mix, male & female vocals sounds pretty much on par. They have a hint of warmth and that’s the only positive thing I can say about the mids performance of the FD3/Pro.
  • The imaging & sound separation sounds quite average, nothing out of the ordinary. I wasn’t sure if to include this point in the hits or misses section, but considering the price of the IEM I had to list it in the misses.
  • While the Soundstage is wide, it doesn’t have very good depth or height.
  • Low end is supposed to be highlight of the FD3 Pro but it is not. No matter what tuning nozzle, cable or tips I used the end result was always disappointing. There are tons of mid bass quantity, but the bass just sounds boomy. The bass isn’t textured or well controlled, I would have preferred less quantity and more quality. For example, the bass on the Bqeyz Summer sounds crisp, tight & has better punch in comparison.

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Conclusion: Some of you or many of you might be thinking that I am being unnecessarily harsh towards the Fiio FD3/Pro after checking out the hits & misses list. That the problem might be with tips/cable/my source or even the tuning nozzles I used during this review. Well to put your mind at ease, I have tried a wide variety of tips, both the FD3 and FD3 Pro stock cables, both of the tuning nozzles and even different sources as mentioned at the beginning part of this review. But nothing could save this IEM for me or give it a big enough push in performance for me to rate it any better than I have here. I personally feel Fiio has focused too much on the accessories rather than the sound & tuning of the IEM, which I think is the first priority for us, consumers. The FH3 sounded a lot better to my ears compared to the FD3/Pro. I will be including the FD3/Pro in my Sub $200 IEM’S: A Battle Royale Style Comparison thread to check out how it did against the rest of the IEM’s I have tested out so far. The thread will be updated pretty soon on my blog.
Keep any eye out here: https://www.facebook.com/TheAudioBloke
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H
Harisankar
My personal experience had been pretty different overall as I mentioned in my review. However, audio anyway is a very subjective topic. It is pretty common to see an audio gear trashed by one reviewer while applauded by another.

I will just mention one anomaly I found in your review. You mention it has a pretty dull tuning overall while at the same time claiming that it is tuned by Fiio while keeping the fun factor in mind. Also the Moondrop Aria you mention has been described atleast by some people as an iem that trades fun factor for technicalities resulting in a safe but sometimes not exciting sound (not my opinion as I have not personally tried the aria).

Harisankar

New Head-Fier
Big, Bold and Breathtaking!
Pros: 1) Wide soundstage
2) Upfront, Bold and Dynamic Sound Signature
3) Great with orchestral music and bassy pop songs
4) Details
5) Great cable for the FD3 Pro
6) Lots of useful accessories in the package
Cons: 1) A bit uncomfortable to wear (personal)
To Note : My review is strictly for Fiio FD3 Pro and strictly based on my use with Hiby R3 Pro Saber DAP. FD3 Pro was brought with my own money and hence the review is completely my own unbiased thoughts

I have recently brought a Fiio FD3 Pro and paired it with Hiby R3 Pro Saber Dap (through 2.5mm balanced port).

The sound that came out of the FD3 Pro through my set up was big, bold, energetic and detailed to keep it simple . I used the stock red tubes with small vocal tips and also tinkered a bit with MSEB tuning in the Hiby. However, I never touched the equalizer.

The mids of the FD3 Pro (through my set up) was forward, warm and lush. Bass was punchy and strong but never overpowering the other frequencies (as was your experience through the stock nozzle) . The treble was smooth yet still detailed but not sibilant. Some of the best music I enjoyed through the FD3 Pro were music with large amounts of instruments (orchestral music mostly) and also energetic pop songs.

Some tracks I listened to
1) AR Rahman music (Mudhalvan, Alai Payuthe, Jeans etc)
2) Durum - Kate Linn
3) Casanova- Allie X
4) Beat the Devil's Tattoo - BRMC
5) Animals - Maroon 5
6) Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - Beatles

My MSEB settings for Fiio FD3 Pro
Bass Extension: +15
Bass thump: +10
Note thickness: +10
Vocals :
IMG_20210922_193442__01.jpg
+10
Female Overtones: +15
Air: +15

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ruffandruff
ruffandruff
nice review bro
H
Harisankar
Ignore the "as was your experience through the stock nozzle" part. It was from a reply I gave in a youtube channel comment section. I forgot to edit it out in the review
Ace Bee
Ace Bee
Ah, you're from India. Welcome here.

Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
Hard to beat!
Pros: - Balanced with a mild bass emphasis
- Punchy and dynamic
- Good bass extension
- Clear and resolving
- Wide and precise soundstage
- Two sound tubes
- Excellent build quality
- Pro version with upgraded cable
- Full of accessories
- Budget friendly price
Cons: - The black tube can sound a touch bright without the proper ear tips
- Somewhat dry texture
- Bass is little boomy with the red sound tube
- Not the last word in treble extension and holography
The FD3 review sample was kindly provided free of charge and I have only covered import fees and taxes.
FiiO never asked for a favorable review and this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it
All links provided are not affiliated and I don't get any commission by clicking on them

Introduction

The FD3 (€99.99) is a new single dynamic driver earphone positioned in the second row of the FiiO single Dynamic driver family after the entry level FD1 (€64.99) followed by the mid tier FD5 (€299.99) and the flagship FD7 (€599.99).
There is also a pro version available, named FD3 Pro (€139.99) with the only difference being the upgraded silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable with interchangeable termination plugs.
You can find them at https://www.fiio.eu/

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Technical specifications

The FD3 boasts a large 12mm dynamic driver unit with full-DLC diaphragm material. DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) is a highly rigid material that also has an extremely lightweight structure that reduces unnecessary vibrations and makes the driver more responsive and clean sounding.
It uses strong magnets that produce a strong magnetic flux of up to 1.5T. This helps in a deep-diving lower end and a highly detailed, ultra-low distortion in the high-end frequencies.

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It also features an acoustic prism in the front cavity that is fitted close to the front end.
This helps in precisely controlling the sound waves travel inside the cavity, reducing high-frequency response, and provides an overall sound wave diffusion.
It also helps in reducing the distortion in the output and enables the pair to produce a clean output.

The semi-open design of the FD3 on FiiO's patented technology for balanced air pressure brings several advantages.
Not only does such a design lead to more natural sound but it also effectively protects your hearing by balancing air pressure within the FD3 leading to less pressure on your eardrums.

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FiiO implemented the replaceable tuning nozzle in the flagship FD5 that is being followed here by the FD3.
It comes with two sets of tuning nozzles, one with a thin diameter and the other with a wide diameter.
The thin diameter nozzle benefits the lower end while the wide diameter nozzle benefits the high frequencies of the FD3 series.

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Build quality and materials

The FD3 has a simple, yet beautiful appearance based on the theme of curves.
The unique celluloid panel is covered with Z5D film coating glass for a pure yet fresh transparent look and the aluminum-magnesium alloy of the body makes it exceptionally light, making it easier and more pleasurable to carry around.
The aluminum-magnesium is made with an industrial process combining five-axis CNC processing and hand polishing.
Subjectively speaking the FD3 is very well designed with a beautiful and modern, discreet look.
Build quality as always with FiiO is top notch and I have nothing more to comment.

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Fit and comfort

The FD3 has a rounded body with a slightly angled and prolonged nozzle while weight is lower than the FD5, as a result the fit is just perfect, sitting tight in the ear without falling with head movement.
The featherweight combined with the excellent fit make for a stress-free, comfortable user experience even after extended use.
Sound isolation is good but not perfect due to the semi open design but under normal listening conditions everything works just fine.

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Cable and accessories

The standard FD3 edition comes with a detachable MMCX cable, made from 4-strands of high-purity monocrystalline copper wire ending in an angled 3.5mm plug.
The cable is certainly better than the one found in the FH3 and furthermore if you have opted for the Pro edition then you get an upgraded silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable with interchangeable termination plugs.

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The accessory pack is very generous despite the modest pricing and we are provided with an entry level acrylic carry case, two sound tubes, a MMCX tool, 6 bass ear tips, 6 balanced ear tips, 6 vocal ear tips, 2 foam tips and a cleaning brush.

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Sound impressions

The FD3 rated at 32Ω with a sensitivity of 110dB is very easy to drive and all entry level DAC/amps are sufficient enough to drive it to its full potential.
During the evaluation process I have used various devices like the ddHiFi TC35B Pro, FiiO BTR3K, EarMen Sparrow and the reference THX Onyx.
Since this is an FD3 specific review excluding the Pro edition, the testing was limited to single-ended sources and as per usual practice the FD3 was burned about 100 hours.

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I have started the listening sessions with the default "red" sound tube fitted in the nozzle.
I was immediately impressed with the pleasing and engaging mid range, the smooth and inoffensive highs, the full and slightly boosted bass, which unfortunately sounded a little boomy, hollow and uncontrolled.
Then i cycled through all the available ear tips, even let the FD3 burn for another 50 hours but the issue didn't vanish.
Suddenly I remembered about the second, "black", sound tube so swapped immediately and after testing with the same material the miracle just happened!
Bass became tight and controlled, fast, full, with excellent dynamic range, good levels of clarity and layering while mid-bass bloat was reduced and it didn't mask nor cloud the rest of the frequencies too much.
The bass problem was successfully solved but now the higher frequencies sounded a touch forward and not as smooth as with the "red" tube the balanced ear tips.
A little experimentation and testing with the available ear tips, offered the desired fine tuning and I settled down with the bass boost ear tips which without noticeably affecting the bass quality, slightly toned down the highs resulting in a mostly balanced and natural signature suitable for all kinds of music.
And with this combination i have thoroughly enjoyed the well rounded and full bodied mids blending nicely together with the bass and the highs.

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Timbre is quite natural, voices emerging with clarity in a cunning interplay with the instruments only slightly lacking in finesse and articulation compared to the much more expensive FD5.
Sound is cohesive and well integrated, the benefits of the single dynamic driver, while decay seems to be a tad more rushed on the higher frequencies that sound ethereal and slightly thinner.
The soundstage is surprisingly wide and open but not artificially extended with satisfying positioning accuracy although lacking in depth and reverb.
The FD3 offers a musical and engaging listening experience that is fatigue free and suitable for extended listening sessions while there is not one musical genre that cannot handle successfully.

Vs the FD1

Bass on the FD1 (review) rolls a little earlier although lows are tuned more neutrally with less mid bass coloring while there is a certain upper-mid emphasis that can make them sound a little forward and harsh.
A slightly different tuning compared to the FD3 that some users might find more to their liking.
Leaving tuning aside, the FD3 sounds definitely upgraded since articulation is of finer quality, resolves better, it is more dynamic, fuller, more natural and has the upper hand on the soundstage.
Both are lightweight and fit comfortably in the ear while they share the same cable and accessories pack.
The FD1 may be the best budget earphone but if funds allowed i would certainly pick the FD3.

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Vs the FH3

There are a few fundamental differences regarding the tonality and the FH3 (review) is slightly more extended on the sub bass with less mid bass emphasis so it is to be considered the most neutral in the lower registers.
Bass on the FH3 is somewhat leaner but cleaner, tighter, better controlled with greater dynamic impact and layering.
The FH3 is tuned with a touch of emphasis in the mids which also resolve better and are of finer articulation while treble is laid back and smoother compared to the FD3 (with both sound tubes).
But in contrast the FD3 sounds fuller and more cohesive throughout the whole frequency range, with a natural decay and timbre whether the FH3 is quite rushed and not that well integrated while the timbre is slightly metallic and artificial.
Accessory pack is the same excluding the FH3 cable which is an old style design of worse quality while we consider the FD3 to fit more comfortably and securely in the ear.
As always the buyer is called to judge and decide which one fits his needs better.

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Vs the FD5

The two earphones share almost the same tuning with the FD5 (review) being a touch more prominent in the upper mid range, a difference that is almost ironed out when we fit the FD3 with the "black" sound tube.
Leaving frequency response aside, the FD5 has the upper hand in all technicalities and various sound performance qualities.
Bass is certainly fuller, weightier, more tight, better controlled and layered with greater dynamic contrast and impact.
Mid-range and treble texture is superior, they sound fuller with finer articulation, more natural timbre and less rushed decay while although the soundstage is a tad airer and wider on the FD3, the FD5 takes a clear lead regarding the depth and overall holography.
There isn't the slightest doubt that the FD5 is far superior and worth the extra cash for the sound performance alone, not to mention the high quality cable with the interchangeable plugs and the luxury carrying case.

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At the end

You can't beat FiiO when it comes to designing budget friendly products with excellent price to performance value.
Don't let the price fool you, a few years ago you would have to pay twice as that to get the same performance.
The new FD3 is thoroughly musical, quite balanced and smooth, has excellent build quality, comfortable fit and a great accessory pack.
Another winner from FiiO that outperforms the competition and gets highly recommended as a great entry level budget iem.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021
Last edited:

Moonstar

100+ Head-Fier
FiiO FD3 Dynamic Driver IEM Review
Pros: Highly Entertaining Bass Tuning,
Clarity and Detail Retrieval of the Midrange & Treble area for a Product at this Price Range,
Design, Comfort & Build Quality,
Soundstage Atmosphere,
Very Rich Accessory Package (Sound Tuning Tubes, MMCX Assist, Storage Case, etc.)
Cons: Treble sounds a bit sharp with the black sound tube if you listen to poor recorded tracks,

Average Passive Noise Isolation due to the Semi-Open Design
FiiO FD3 Dynamic Driver IEM Review




Introduction:

The FD3 is the latest member of the FD Series (FiiO Dynamic Driver Series) that features a pretty large 12mm Diameter Dynamic Driver with DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) Diaphragm Driver that is equipped with a robust magnet of 1.5 Tesla magnetic flux paired with an ultra-fine copper-clad aluminum Japanese Daikoku voice coil. Moreover, it comes with some interesting features such like an acoustic prism design, changeable sound tuning tubes and a semi acoustic open design.


FiiO Product Website: www.fiio.com/fd3


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Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO for providing the FiiO FD3 as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and all these words are reflecting my true and unaltered opinions about the product.




Price & Availability:

FiiO FD3 is available for about US $109.99, while there is also a FD3 Pro variant that comes with the 8 core High Purity Monocrystalline SPC upgrade cable, which is available for $149.99. More information’s can be found under the links below;

FiiO Offical AliExpress Store






Package and Accessories:

The FD3 came in a rectangular fancy looking black box with that features the product illustration in form of an iridescent (shimmering) drawing on the top along with some Hi-Res Audio brandings.

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This box is contains the following items;

  • 1 pair x FiiO FD3 In-Ear Monitors
  • 1 piece x Detachable cable with MMCX connectors
  • 1 pair x Interchangeable Sound Tubes
  • 3 pairs x Bass Ear tips
  • 3 pairs x Vocal Ear tips
  • 3 pairs x Balanced Ear tips
  • 2 pairs x Memory Foam Ear Tips
  • 1 piece x Storage Case
  • 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
  • 1 piece x MMCX Assist Tool
  • 1 piece x Warranty Card and User Manual




The FiiO FD3 comes with a very rich package of accessories that includes a wide variety of ear tips collection. This collection includes 9 pairs of silicone ear tips (Bass, Balanced and Vocal) and 2 pairs of memory foam ear tips. 1 pair of Interchangeable Sound Filter Tubes are placed on one of silicone ear tips holder sheets.

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The pelican style storage case has is the one we know from previous FiiO products that I really like to use.

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Tools like the Cleaning Brush and the FiiO MMCX Assist are some very useful additions.

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Design & Build Quality:

The FiiO FD3 has a very robust monitor shell that is made of aluminum-magnesium alloy material, which has been processed with the latest five-axis CNC process that was finally hand polished. Each of the monitors weights about 7 grams that increases the premium feel of the monitors.

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The faceplate of the monitor shell is one for sure one of the eye-catching highlights that the FiiO FD3 offers to the consumers. The faceplate design is based according to FiiO advertisings on the theme of “Curves”. It is made of a unique celluloid panel that has been covered with a special 2.5D film coating glass, which shows the FiiO brand logo on the top.
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The monitor sports a protruding part with the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors on the top and the unique semi-open acoustic opening at the bottom. Both on the top and the bottom are left and right color indicators, from which the blue one is on the left and red on the right side of the monitor.

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The semi-open design is based on FiiO’s patented technology for balanced air pressure. This design brings several advantages beside the improvements to the sound performance, such like hear protection by balancing the air pressure within the FD3 leading to less pressure on your eardrums.

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The rear shell of the monitors has Left and Right markings and do feature a slightly angled sound nozzle with a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of particles like dust or earwax.

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The sound nozzle has an “Interchangeable Sound Tube” design that we have already seen on the bigger brother FD5. The FD3 offers also two different Interchangeable Sound Tubes like the FD5, one bass and one balanced sound tube. The large sound tube has a more balanced sound signature, while the bass tube offers a slightly more lively and bass-focused signature.

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The Cable:

The FiiO FD3 comes with detachable cable that is made of 4 core High-Purity Monocrystalline Copper wire material. The cable has a nice braided design and features a fairly soft insulation that shows a very low amount of microphonic effect. This cable sports a nice looking chin slider and Y splitter with a FiiO branding on the top that are made of metal material.

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These MMCX male connectors are sitting pretty tight on the monitor and should last for years without any problem. The MMCX connectors have a transparent housing and on each connector are right left indicators, which are a red ring on the right and a blue ring on the right connector.

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The detachable cable comes with a 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) headphone plug that has a L angled housing made of plastic material that features a strain relieve for extra durability.
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The overall build quality of the cable is pretty good for a product at this price level.





Comfort & Isolation:

The FiiO FD3 offers a pretty ergonomic cylinder shaped monitor design, which makes it ideal for the use for longer listening periods without to hurt my ears that has an ear concha with an average size.

The passive noise isolation is on an average level, since it comes with a semi-open design. However, the isolation is efficient enough for the use it in fairly noise environments such as metro, bus or train, while it is not suitable for the use on the stage.





Drivability:

The FiiO FD3 is a quite efficient In-Ear Monitor thanks to an impedance of 32 Ω and a sensitivity of 111dB/mW. This makes the FD3 pretty compatible with most audio sources like Smartphone’s, Tablets or small Digital Audio Players/Mp3 players that do have in general a relative weak amplification.

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Remarkable Features:


12mm Dynamic Driver with Diamond Like Carbon “DLC” Diaphragm Technology:


FiiO FD3 comes with the latest DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) Diaphragm technology. The newly designed 12mm Dynamic Driver for FD3 do feature a robust magnet of 1.5 Tesla magnetic flux paired with an ultra-fine copper-clad aluminum voice coil from the Japanese company Daikoku.


Acoustic Prism:

The engineers of FiiO have installed a conical device close to the front end of the drive diaphragm, so that it was possible to precisely control how the sound waves travel in the sound tube, which brings benefits such as eliminations of high frequency standing waves and enhancing the overall sound wave diffusion.

Semi-Open Design:

The semi-open design of the FD3 is based on FiiO’s patented technology for balanced air pressure within brings several advantages. Not only does such a design improve the sound performance, it also effectively protects your hearing by balancing the air pressure leading to less pressure on your eardrums.




Technical Specifications:

  • Driver : 12mm Diameter Dynamic Driver with DLC Diaphragm
  • Frequency response : 10Hz-40kHz
  • Impedance : 32Ω@1kHz
  • Sensitivity : 111dB@1mW
  • Max input power : 100mW
  • Cable Material : 4 core High Purity Monocrystalline Copper Wire
  • Cable length : approx. 120cm
  • Weight : approx. 7 grams (Single Unit)








Sources used for this review:

  • IEM : FiiO FD3, TinHiFi T5, Final Audio B2
  • DAP/DAC/AMP : FiiO M11 Pro, FiiO Q5s, xDuoo XA-10
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Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama “Party Favor Remix” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Christian Reindl (Lucie Paradise) – Cernunnos (Spotify)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Deezer HiFi)
  • Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
  • Jo Blankenburg – The Magelan Matrix (Spotify)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)







The Sound:

The FiiO FD3 comes with a nicely tuned V shaped sound signature that shows a slightly warmer than neutral tonality. The lower frequency region shows a great level of depth and body along with a nice breeze of warmth, the midrange on the other hand is slightly recessed due to the V shaped sound signature that sounds pretty crisp and transparent, while the treble area is fairly energetic, bright yet controller.

Please note that this review has been written after a burn-in period of 80 hours. I have mainly used the red interchangeable sound tubes along with the balanced stock silicone ear tips that shows a good balance between bass intensity and treble brightness. Main audio sources are the FiiO M11 Pro, ddHiFi TC35 Pro and the FiiO Q5s.

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Bass:

The bass character of the FiiO FD3 is in general pretty soft, warmish, well-bodied and entertaining. It is able to produce a great sense of subbass depth, quantity with a fairly fast response and decay thanks to the well-adjusted 12mm diameter dynamic driver with a DLC Diaphragm. The tonality is nicely warm, bold and soft, while the level of control is pretty good when I do listen to songs like Bro Safari, UFO! “Drama”, Christian Reindl’s “Cernunnos” or Lorde’s “Royals”.

The midbass redion of the FiiO FD3 has a good sense of impact, depth and intensity, which hits nicely soft, without to sound dominant. This tuning avoids any unwanted muddiness or mixings, which is a pretty remarkable ability for a product at this price range. The midbass are fairly pronounced, from instruments like the cross drum, up to the trumpets, while the general presentation is musical and entertaining. This makes the midbass presentation of the FD3 very successful with genres like Pop, EDM or Rock music.

Instruments like bass guitars or the contrabasses are shown with a good amount of warmth, depth and thickness. The FD3 was also surprisingly successfully with deep and complex bass passages that are audible on tracks such like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven”.

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Midrange:

The midrange of the FiiO FD3 has a mildly warmish tonality with a pretty transparent, airy and lively character. The sense of transparency and airiness in this area is quite impressive when I do listen to vocals or instruments. It is not a detail monster, however it offers a good level of resolution for an In-Ear Monitor at this price range that makes it to a real bargain.

There are no negative conditions such as sibilance or harshness, even with the black sound tuning tube that adds a slightly boost to the upper midrange region.

The lower midrange region of the FiiO FD3 shows a good sense of depth and warmth and body, which makes the male vocal presentation more musical and pleasant, when I do listen to voices like Elton John or Sting up to Barry White and Isaac Hayes.

The upper midrange of the FD3 shows a good level of intensity and airiness. Female vocals do sound in general a tad warm, pretty transparent and lively. It is possible to hear to emotion and details such as sadness, sharpness and softness in the voice of Edith Piaf or Aretha Franklin.

When it comes to instrument presentation in this area, I can say that the FiiO FD3 shows a warmer than neutral tonality, along with a pretty vibrant, musical and smooth character.

Instruments like pianos are slightly bright, pronounced and vibrant, while the brightness and intensity is increasing from the midrange towards the upper midrange. Acoustic guitars on the other hand do sound warm and musical, while violins are slightly bright and fatigue-free in most track I have listen to the FD3.

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Treble:

The FiiO FD3 has a nicely airy, bright and detailed treble presentation with a good sense of control, even with the black sound tuning tube that gives a slightly boost to the lower and upper treble regions.

The lower treble area shows slightly more quantity and intensity compared to the upper treble region, while the emphasis drops in a nicely controlled manner, which helps to make the general treble presentation of the FD3 musical and pleasant to listen to with most genres. However, I have noticed that the FD3 tends to a slightly over-sharpness and sibilance when I do use it with the black sound tube analog with balanced silicone ear tips that do push this area more forward.

The lower treble region offers a good sense of clarity and definition when I do listen to instruments such like snare drums or violins that do also sounds crisp and lively, while the extension is on a moderate level.

The upper treble region of the FiiO FD3 is slightly less pronounced and detailed compared to the lower treble and upper midrange area. The level of airiness and sparkle is on a sufficient level when I do listen to songs with strings and pianos or to soprano vocals. Instruments such like crash and ride cymbals do come slightly from the background, while their extension is a bit longer compared to hi-hats.

The general treble extension, intensity and quantity of the FiiO FD3 is on a moderate level, which is fairly enough for a wide variety of genres.

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Soundstage & Imaging:

The FiiO FD3 is a pretty successful In-Ear Monitor for its price that offers a pretty airy and spacious soundstage presentation that is suitable for a fairly precise placement of instruments and vocals thanks to its semi-open design. The soundstage is pretty wide for an IEM at this price range, while the depth and height is on an average level.







Comparisons:

FiiO FD3 versus Final Audio B2:


The FiiO FD3 shows a more dynamic overall sound presentation thanks to its V shaped sound signature, while the Final Audio B2 comes with a more relaxed and soft sound character.

The FiiO FD3 has the upper hand for both subbass and midbass response and is superior to the Final Audio B2 in terms of subbass depth, intensity and rumble. The midbass of the FD3 has more depth and impact, compared to the B2 that shows a more linear response in this area.

The midrange of the FiiO FD3 has a warmer tonality along with a more musical presentation. The Final Audio B2 shows a more neutral tonality with lower sense of transparency. Th lower midrange of the FD3 has more body and intensity when I do listen to instruments and male vocals, while it is also more successful in the upper midrange where it offers a higher level of airiness, transparency and resolution compared to the B2 that sounds a bit lifeless, dry and somewhat boring.

The treble range of the Final Audio B2 is more relaxed, smooth and shows a shorter sense of extension. The Fiio FD3 sounds more energetic and detailed in this area, especially when I do listen to soprano voices or instruments like cymbals.

The FiiO FD3 has the upper hand in terms of airiness and wideness of the stage, while the Final Audio B2 has a slightly advantage when it comes to the soundstage depth.

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FiiO FD3 versus TinHiFi T5:

Both the FiiO FD3 and the TinHiFi T5 are successful IEM’s when it comes to the sound performance, especially for products at this price range.

The subbass region of the FiiO FD3 is slightly more pronounced than those of the TinHiFi T5. The FD3 has the slightly edge when it comes to the speed and control in this area. The midbass area of the FD3 shows a better sense of speed and authority, while it is also more impactful, which is especially audible in complex bass passages.

The midrange of both IEM’s offers a pretty good sense of clarity and resolution for products at this price range. The lower midrange of the FD3 has more body and depth which gives it an advantage while listen to male vocals or instruments such like an acoustic guitar or viola. The upper midrange of the TinHiFi T5 is slightly less pronounced and energetic compared to the FiiO FD3 that was audible with female vocals and instruments like pianos or flutes.

The treble range of the FiiO FD3 is more highlighted and detailed especially when you use the black sound tube that increases the treble response. The T5 shows a smoother character with a shorter level of extension.

The soundstage of both IEM’s has a pretty spacious and airy atmosphere. The FiiO FD3 shows slightly more wideness, while the TinHiFi T5 has the upper hand when it comes to the depth of the stage.

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Conclusion:

The FiiO FD3 is definitely one of the best IEM options in this price range. It offers a very impressive price to performance ratio, with its attractive design and the highly entertaining sound presentation, which can be fine-tuned over the interchangeable sound tube design and with various ear tips that are included to the package. The useful and fancy looking storage case and MMCX ASIST tool are some great additions, which makes it again to a highly recommended product.





Pros and Cons:

+ Highly Entertaining Bass Tuning
+ Clarity and Detail Retrieval of the Midrange & Treble area for a Product at this Price Range
+ Design, Comfort & Build Quality
+ Soundstage Atmosphere
+ Very Rich Accessory Package (Sound Tuning Tubes, MMCX Assist, Storage Case, etc.)


– Treble sounds a bit sharp with the black sound tube if you listen to poor recorded tracks
– Average Passive Noise Isolation due to the Semi-Open Design


Thank you for the Read!

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Sance
Never have I seen such a detailed review.
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KutuzovGambit

500+ Head-Fier
Punchy, warm and dynamic single DD
Pros: Excellent build quality
Very generous accessories especially at the price point
Good comfort, very good isolation
Punchy and dynamic tuning
Very percussive bass
Warm and inviting midrange
Slightly bright yet smooth treble region
Well-proportioned soundtage
Above-average imaging
Choice of tuning nozzles as well as tips that make a noticeable difference in sound
Cons: Midbass can be boomy on some tracks/genres
Not the most resolving or detailed
Soundstage is not very large
Does most things well but not a lot to set it apart at an increasingly competitive price point
Introduction: FiiO is a brand that likely needs no introduction, being one of the best-established Chinese brands of DAPs, DACs, and IEMs. Their newest effort, the FD3, is our subject today, being the mid-tier entry in their line of single dynamic driver IEMs. While it sits between the entry-level FD1 and the flagship-level FD5, it shares much more in common with the latter both in terms of tuning and technology. The FD3 inherits such features from the FD5 as a semi-open design with an acoustic prism cavity, interchangeable tuning nozzles, and (in the case of the FD3 Pro) interchangeable cable terminations.

DSC01030.jpg


The FD3 however no longer employs a beryllium-coated diaphragm, but rather a full DLC (diamond-like carbon) diaphragm in its 12mm driver which sports a magnetic flux of 1.5 Teslas. Other than the redesigned shell, this change in the dynamic driver material constitutes the main difference between the FD3 and its older brother the FD5.

I would like to thank FiiO for providing me with a sample of the FD3 in exchange for my honest review.

The specifications of the FD3 (which is Hi-Res Certified) are as follows:
  • Driver: 12mm dynamic driver with DLC diaphragm
  • Frequency response: 10Hz-40kHz
  • Impedance: 32Ω@1kHz
  • Sensitivity: 111dB@1mW
  • Max input power: 100mW
DSC01013.jpg


Packaging & Accessories: FiiO is without a doubt one of the manufacturers most generous with its included accessories, even on entry-level models such as this one. The FD3 comes with a Pelican-style hardshell storage case, three sets of S/M/L silicon tips (Balanced, Vocal, and Bass), two sets of medium memory foam tips, an MMCX tool, a cleaning brush, a set of treble tuning nozzles (in addition to the installed bass nozzles), and cable. The choice of cable is the only difference between the FD3 and the FD3 Pro: the standard model (which I received) includes a 4-strand single crystal copper cable with a 3.5mm termination, while the Pro model includes an 8-strand Litz silver-plated single crystal copper cable with interchangeable 2.5mm, 3.5mm, and 4.4mm terminations.

DSC01026.jpg


The cable included on the standard model is to me a major improvement from the one on the similarly-priced FH3, which was quite thick, springy, and unwieldy, in addition to having an incredibly heavy L-shape plug that felt as though it could easily crack the glass on one’s phone or DAP if not careful. The FD3 standard cable by contrast is light, supple, thin, and has a much more normally constructed L-shape plug; the ear hooks are comfortable and flexible as well. The included tips are all more than usable and have a noticeable impact on the sound, thus providing the ability the fine-tune the sound even beyond the options provided by the two sets of nozzles.

DSC01034.jpg


The inclusion of the MMCX tool is extremely welcome, and in my opinion other manufacturers should take a page from FiiO’s book here as it makes life significantly easier when changing cables. The tool is a different style than the Final MMCX tool included in the FD5, but I find it to work equally well.

All in all the FD3 accessories put to shame some units sold at five times the price, and I don’t think anyone will find cause here to complain.

DSC01036.jpg


Build & Comfort: The FD3 is constructed of an aluminum-magnesium alloy that looks quite fetching alongside the glass-covered celluloid faceplate. The shells feel solid and well-made, while remaining exceptionally light. The barrel-style body is not as ergonomic as the semi-custom shape of the FH3 (which, for me at least, probably constitutes peak comfort at the $100 price point), but aided by its light weight the FD3 nevertheless remains quite comfortable even over longer listening sessions. Despite the semi-open design coupled with a vented DD, isolation surprisingly is still above average for me — and I never experienced any driver flex whatsoever.

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My one complaint is that the MMCX cable connectors spin somewhat easily out of box, which gives me a bit of cause for concern regarding longevity. This is a marked contrast from the connectors on the FH3, which felt practically bolted in place.

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Signature: The FD3 is a warm V-shape IEM. The tuning struck me initially as being overall rather balanced as V-shapes go. However, upon further listening the relatively high midbass quantity began to bother me and the FD3 began to come across as somewhat boomy on certain tracks. I left them to burn in for about 50 hours — generally I do not find burn-in to make a difference in most IEMs, although some DDs do seem to attain a better bass control after they are broken in. Thankfully in this case I did notice some improvement, which was further aided by switching to the wide-bore bass tips (despite the naming of the tips being somewhat counterintuitive here). I also tried switching to the treble nozzles, but I found the peaks in the upper regions to be rather bothersome as a result. The V-shape does become more pronounced with the treble nozzles as well, and so I settled back on the bass nozzles in conjunction with the wide-bore tips as providing the best balance overall. In this configuration after burn-in, they can perhaps best be characterized as a more punchy, dynamic, and warm version of the Moondrop Aria.


Bass: As mentioned above, the bass is extremely percussive in character, and is given a quite healthy boost in quantity in addition to its excellent extension. While objectively speaking the subbass and midbass are given equal emphasis, the amount of bleed into the mids means that the midbass often dominates in a subjective sense. Whether this is a blessing or a curse depends almost entirely on personal preference as well as one’s musical library. Speed is very good, and decay is rather fast although the attack can feel a bit blunted. Texture is present although not class-leading.


Mids: Despite the V-shaped tuning, I find the mids to be very pleasing on the FD3, and actually are my favorite region of this IEM’s frequency response. The midbass bleed gives a very pleasant warmth to the lower mids, and male vocals have very good body and note weight. Female vocals are also quite well-done, being properly energetic yet without any sibilance or harshness. However texture and details are nothing out of the ordinary, and the FD3 is definitely going for a musical tonality rather than analytical prowess.


Treble: The FD3 has a fairly good treble response for a single DD IEM, and is in general just a bit on the bright side though remaining quite smooth (on the bass nozzles at least). There is a bit of a peak around 5K which on the bass nozzles I find to be quite pleasant in imparting some energy into the otherwise warm presentation, but it can become offensive to some folks on the brighter treble nozzles. There is some air and extension, although hybrids will have little trouble besting the FD3 in this regard at the price point. Cymbals have a very natural timbre, although the decay is again a bit on the quicker side.


Soundstage & Technicalities: While the semi-open design of the FD5 by most accounts resulted in one of the largest soundstages amongst IEMs, I did not find the same to be the case for the FD3 with its modified venting in the MMCX connectors rather than the faceplate. Overall the size of the soundstage is not much above average, however I did find it to be much more spherical than most budget single DDs, with very good height. Imaging likewise is above average for its class, although it falls short of pinpoint accuracy. There is a good amount of air between the instruments on simpler tracks, although the midbass can obscure this when it has a lot of presence in the mix. The weak point of the FD3 for me is in resolution and detail, which is not much above average. Timbre on the other hand is quite good, being limited only by some lack of sharpness in the attack. While the FD3 is by no means incompetent when it comes to technicalities, one isn’t really buying it for its technical chops but rather for its punchy and dynamic tuning.

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Conclusion: The $100 price point these days is a quite challenging place to live. FiiO brings a lot to the table here, especially in its stellar build, generous accessories, natural timbre, percussive bass, invitingly warm midrange, and fairly refined treble for a budget single DD. The tuning nozzles and included tips give an ability to customize the sound not often found at this price point. However, the central question here is unmistakable: is this type of tuning for you or not? Does a heavy midbass punch enhance your library or detract from it? Ultimately only you can answer this question, and it is this answer that will in turn determine whether I can recommend the FD3 to you or not. Thanks for reading!

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KutuzovGambit
KutuzovGambit
@InvisibleInk Ive not heard the T4, but i actually prefer the T2+ to the FD3 by quite a bit (mostly for the tuning, although technicalities are fairly similar).
S
samtvt
Superb review. How are they compared to Fiio FH3?
KutuzovGambit
KutuzovGambit
@samtvt Personally I prefer the FH3 for the cleaner bass with less boominess and less colored mids.

VLAYAR

New Head-Fier
FiiO FD3
Pros: Sound, Soundstage, Bass, Design, Quality, Size shells, Package, Acessories
Cons: Rigid cable for FD3 version
32.jpg

I was really looking forward to this new product, because I am a longtime fan of FiiO, it was thanks to them that I learned what a truly audiophile sound is. At first they were F9, then FA1, then FA7. If you buy FiiO products, you cannot remain indifferent to this, absolutely all owners of FiiO products can confirm my words here. If I remember correctly, I dedicated a review of FD3 lol
IMG_20210824_150539.jpg

Package. The impeccable quality of the box materials, the updated design of the printing, very interesting (visualization of the technologies used in the model appeared). The package bundle is as always...rich as always, but not overblown in quantity, everything you need, including a chic carrying case that has saved my FiiO F9, FA1 and FA7 more than once
IMG_20210824_150616.jpg

Quality of materials and build quality. Guys, this is FiiO, unfortunately or fortunately I have never seen anything of poor quality in the products of this company (packaging, accessories, headphone shells, build quality, etc.), in this case there are no exceptions, everything is flawless
19.jpg

FD3...they turned out to be smaller than I thought, so in my review I took a picture to scale. On the one hand, I personally wanted a larger shell of shells, because my ears can afford it lol, on the other hand, they will fit into 95% of the ears of the target audience, which will also favorably affect their popularity, and I am sure of that
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Comfort and ergonomics. Shells are medium in size, about the size of the FA1 and slightly larger than the F9/ F9 pro. The sound guide is long and located at an anatomical and correct angle; sound insulation is obtained at a very high level. Shells have a rounded shape and because of this they are very comfortable and comfortable. The cable is a little solid but feels very reliable. I have never had FiiO cables out of order, so I sometimes buy them separately, for example, the silver FiiO D series is a separate little masterpiece, but I'll tell you about it next time
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Sound. I won't write anything about sound at all... lol. FiiO's signature sound signature in the FD3 model continues its life, but acquires new shades and colors, due to new drivers, FiiO's constant experiments with internal cameras and cable materials. All these experiments surprise me every time as a child who is waiting and happy with a new toy
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The sound is balanced, with very deep and beautiful bass, I would call them intelligent, sound like a large and very expensive stationary subwoofer. The middle frequencies are outlined, structural and occupy only the position assigned to them, without mixing with the upper and lower spectrum. The highs knocked me off my feet, they sound like a precise and carefully tuned BA. A clear and sonorous sound, but with a comfortable, soft and textured transmission of live instruments and vocals, it's incredible...
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Listening to FD3, I once again became convinced that constant 8ing, it is an evolution, an evolution that has not ended. Now, some $ 100-150 IEMs sound like $ 500-1000 IEMs sounded 5 years ago. Someone may disagree with me, but I do not need your consent, I write what I feel. The production of portable audio is no longer just a business, but rather a meaningful production of engineering, tactile and visual art. FiiO FD3 is just an exemplary example of such art, I admire him (or rather, before the people who did it)...
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Highly recommend FD3, no matter if you are a beginner or an audiophile with burnt ears...well, you won't be disappointed
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Appreciate the small and you will touch the great ©

#FiiO #FiioFD3 #FiiOiem

Link to store: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003068714921.html

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ledzep
ledzep
You also get the pen, watch and pocket knife, sounds like a great deal to me !

Dsnuts

Headphoneus Supremus
Fiio FD3
Pros: Newest dynamic earphones with trickledown tech from previous higher end FD5 in design. Excellent balanced tuning with 2 nozzle filters balanced and enhanced treble nozzles which is improved from their previous FD5. Two more distinctive sound tunings due to how good the nozzles work. Balanced and a more V shaped tuning using treble filter. Magnesium aluminum alloy CNC machined housing with top quality design and aesthetics, Semi open design throws out a wide big stage. Excellent top tier accessories package. Base FD3 comes with a nice monocrystalline 4 cored copper cable in single ended only. Pro model adds an upgraded silver plated monocrystalline copper cables in 8 cores with modular connectors. Aggressively priced for what you get a supreme value at the price level.
Cons: Know it all poindexters that look at a graph and think they know exactly how these sound.
Fiio FD3
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You know all about their audio players but they can certainly make some great sounding earphones. Their recent earphones the FD5 and FH5s both have their top of the line designs. Fiio seems to continually get better at their craft and it is the one consistent I admire about the Fiio group. If you folks think these guys don’t listen to feedback from their audience, I present to you the FD3. Any good manufacturer should take the feedback from their patrons and do one better for next time. Doing one better should always be the game and here I am all too happy to report. The FD3 is not necessarily a lesser earphone compared to their two previous offerings. In fact I am gonna try to convey to you why I think the FD3 is an actual step forward.
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I have seen Fiio make audio goods and with each iteration improve upon former designs and now with the Fiio FD3 we are seeing something that the group has taken to heart and has brought down the price to be not only affordable but I can tell has revamped their tuning to be more agreeable with a much wider audience of enthusiasts. It is probably one of the most difficult things to do. How do you please the huge dichotomy of enthusiast tastes in sound from a single tuning on an earphone. That is a logistic and technical nightmare but you certainly can't just sit around and say. Well we tried and give up. Nope that isn’t what Fiio seems to be about.
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It is about advancing forward and going back to developing one better to advance your name sake. But then if you make something better you better raise prices right? Nope, their newest FD3 has a crowd pleasing $100 price point. Take a good look at what $100 buys you nowadays in earphone land and you will most certainly not say. A high level earphone. A lower end basic mid fi level earphone cable, yes a budget level cable can cost a $100 easily. $100 earphones are still considered budget fi in real world terms. It seems while most manufacturers are trending the opposite way and charging a premium for minor tweaks and advancements to their previous offerings.

Fiio is bucking that trend with their newest release the FD3. Before I continue I would like to thank Fiio for the review sample of the FD3 which was provided for the purpose of a review. You can look up what the FD3 is all about on their dedicated web page here and if you feel the need to buy an accomplished Fiio made earphone you can get one here and or on Amazon here.
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The FD3 went through a week's worth of burn in and sound assessment was done using my Fiio M15, Shanling M6pro, M5s, M3s, IBasso DX160 Sony ZX300, Pioneer XDP-30r Fiio E12a, IBasso PB3, and IFI black label for amping. Sound was mostly assessed using the stock balanced filter. I will describe how the treble enhanced nozzle filter sounds on the FD3 in the sound description later on in the read.
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The FD3 design has a lot to do with their higher end sibling the FD5. Both utilizing a custom built aluminum-magnesium alloy body. Strong and light is the purpose here. It uses pretty much the same exact shape both utilizing prism baffles and tuning nozzles with a semi open design. The drivers are different and since the new Diamond like Carbon 12mm driver is not coated with Beryllium that savings goes toward the consumer. There seems to be advantages for the Beryllium coating which mostly affects bass and a slightly richer tone but otherwise the DLC 12mm driver is a higher level dynamic you can associate with much higher end offerings. Venting seems a bit different where the new FD3 air vents are at the bottom of the mmcx connector housing while the FD5 uses venting on the back of the shells. Their pro model throws in their highly resolving monocrystalline silver plated cables in 8 cores and uses Fiios version of their modular design. The non pro vision uses a 4 core monocrystalline copper cable in single ended only. The finish is darker pewter grey color with brass accents vs the all chrome look of the FD5. The copper accents that highlight the name Fiio on the glass faceplate looks classy. I have always admired Fiios design aesthetics and the new FD3 you're getting one of their absolute best in house designed CNC machined housings.
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Fiios commitment to the end user experience shows as even their base model of the FD3 includes a premium accessories package that you would not expect. Certainly not at the $100 level. Their included tips has very good variety. A silicone set with 3 sizes for their bass tips, vocal tips, balanced tips and also includes two pairs of quality foam tips. Included is their medium sized plastic otter type box to carry all of it. One thing I forgot to mention is their handy mmcx separator tool. Why other manufacturers don’t provide something like this for their earphones I have no idea.
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The new FD3 build quality is what you would expect coming from Fiio. They set the design aspect of their earphones on a higher level than most in the industry. The shells to the materials the workmanship, drivers used, the accessories. It is top level stuff always. However recently their earphones had some falling out of sorts with the community. Some loved their FH5s and some reviews not so much. I am a glass half full type of guy and try to report the positives and negatives in a sound and try to relay that message to my readers and how a particular earphone will sound with a very eclectic music variety I listen to. I thought the FH5s had some amazing bass and mids presentation but was debatable how the treble was tuned. I found out that this tuning was catered more for Asian enthusiasts more so than western tastes so that made much more sense in what Fiio was trying to achieve. The FD3 tuning will satisfy much more than the Asian enthusiast community; it should satisfy anyone that listens to music as it actually has two distinct tunings with an easy nozzle change that happens to be a much improved filter design stemming from the FD5 tuning nozzle idea.
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The balanced tuning of the FD3 holds some similar aspects from its higher end siblings. It shares the bass impact and tonality of the FD5, the bass extension and rumble of the FH5s. The mids in tonal quality and presence of the FH5s but now has a much more cohesive and smoother treble than either of their previous earphones, especially their FH5s. Bringing down the treble emphasis, this forwards the mid range and bass presence balancing out the sound and tonal qualities and that is what I am hearing from the FD3. By far their best balanced tuning using the balanced filter but the longer I was using the FD3 I realized the new FD3 is much more versatile than what is presented with the tuning nozzles.
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Fiio tunes with a variation of the v shaped harmonish tuning philosophy but this time around the mids do not take a step back nor does the treble stand on its own..

Treble this time around is not nearly as pronounced as it was on their previous FH5s. In fact even with the treble filters their much improved cohesiveness really makes a difference. Fiio always seem to incorporate some type of treble spike in the treble tuning but this time around not so much. The balanced filter does such a great job evening out the treble some might actually miss some of that accentuated treble sparkle of the previous earphones. Hence the need for a pro version. The pro version with its more resolving cable enhances upper notes on an earphone but how it sounds with the balanced filter gives by far their best sounding FD3. With the treble nozzle the FD3 takes on more of that V tuning to be pronounced. Treble is enhanced using the pro cable and the treble filter which provide the greatest treble energy and sparkle out of all the configurations. Treble heads would be happy here.
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So treble/ detail level goes from most treble emphasized level to a smooth warmer more musically balanced emphasis using the following.

Treble nozzle+Pro cable
Treble nozzle+Pro cable+Foams
Treble nozzle+Standard copper cables
Treble nozzle+Standard copper cables+Foams
Balance nozzle+Pro cable
Balance nozzle+Pro cable+Foams
Balance nozzle+Standard copper cables
Balance nozzle+Standard copper cables+Foams

If you're keeping track, that is 8 different slight tweaks on how you want your FD3 treble to sound. My personal preference is the balanced nozzle and the pro cable to enhance that balancing.
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Folks that are treble sensitive would do well to change out the treble filters for their balanced filter. Then when you add the highly resolving Pro cable. Now we are talking. You can always increase the definition of a well balanced tuning but to use a highly resolving cable to enhance a bright treble tuning is a no no. That was my real gripe from both their FD5 and even more so the FH5s.
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So is it worth getting the pro version just for the cable? YES it is. The pro cable vs their base model copper cable enhances detail, imaging and stage. Once you hear the balanced configuration with the pro cable and back to their copper cables. That little bit of enhancing ability is lost and therefore it is something you can’t get back once you go back to the stock copper cable. It is the difference between a slightly warmer smoother tonality to a more resolving with better imaging for the FD3 sound that easily approaches their own FD5.
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However the stock monocrystalline copper cables are by no means just a throw in. What this cable does is actually makes the treble filter listenable for maximum sparkle and shimmer. While still having more treble presence for folks that want a bit more treble presence and bite than the balanced filter try using their base cable with the treble filter it actually matches better than their pro cable. Whew. I know that was a lot of information. Just know the real value is with their pro version is that it includes a cable that matches extremely well to use with that balanced nozzle. If you own a variety of higher end aftermarket cables you might be better off just getting the base model and using what you have.
Just know the FD3 scales incredibly well with better cables.
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Mids and bass for the most part are not too affected with the filter change but it does affect their tonality to be slightly brighter to warmer depending on what configuration you are using. Mids here I found to have better balancing from their previous FD5. Rich in tone with a good note weight to the sound. Mid bands have really never been an issue for Fiio tuning. FD3 for vocal performance is very good with excellent range and space. Has an above average sense of dimensions to the sound at the price range and stage to its sound giving the mids the room it needs to fully portray a variety of music types. In fact due to the well balanced signature of the FD3. It can do rock and metal music just fine with gusto to spare. Not something I can say was possible on their previous FH5s. More versatile than the FH5s while having just a good mids performance again using the pro cable.
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Bass for all Fiio earphones has been a strong point for their tunings and the FD3 does not disappoint. Never heard a neutral Fiio earphone so bass is always a part of their house sound. Music is not music with a gimpy bass end and here the FD3 performs excellent. While their FD5 and FH5s both take on a bit more dense, more textured deeper bass ends, the FD3 is most definitely satisfying for bass. Bass has got a good solid impact for mid bass and shows a deep reaching rumble when called for for modern genres of music. Speedy punchy for faster metal music and well textured sub bass for hip hop which shows its versatility.

The bass end is well rounded in form and shows good detail in the region much like their previous higher end offerings. Your perception of bass might change a bit based on which nozzle filter you're using. The balanced filter, might seem like you're hearing a bit more bass presence but really the only thing that filter changes is the trebles. The bass end is very good at their given price point as I have never heard a carbon based dynamic not do well for bass actually. Graphene, Carbon nanotubes, carbon coated all of them. Tuning is different for them all but weak bass is not a part of the carbon based dynamic DNA.
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Its technical ability is a stand out as the stage is wider than your average dynamic earphone and with that wide stage has very good fullness with a good sense of body and note weight to the sonics portrayed on the FD3. The resolving ability of the 12mm DLC dynamic is evident with a very well imaged portrayal of your favorites. The mids have good fundamental spatial layering, timbraly accurate but is slightly smoother and warmer in tone for a more natural sound presentation than anything edgy or sharper in tone compared to something like how BAs present your tunes. Sound separation and imaging is above average here in performance add to these aspects absolutely zero issues with coherency for both tuning nozzles.
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In the end.
If you think Fiio doesn't read and listen to criticism from enthusiasts about their earphones you're wrong. There are direct design elements for their new FD3 that was suggested by the numerous enthusiasts on the threads and I have personally suggested the addition of a copper cable from my previous reviews and they did so on their new base model. For that I have to say thank you to Fiio for considering the end users needs and wants in a sound design. I applaud Fiio in what they have achieved for their new FD3. I am all too happy to report just because the price tag might indicate these are possibly a lower tier of earphones than both their previous efforts. Nope, give me the FD3 all day long it is exactly what Fiio needed to right the ship. Not only is the design taken from their previous successful FD5, it is an actual improvement in tuning but at a 1/3rd the cost to own an improvement? Wait, that don’t happen in the earphone industry does it?
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Fiio just did.
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ledzep
ledzep
A very nice little set of iems here, highly recommend. Pro version is definitely worth the extra for that cable too !
J
Jimmyblues1959
Excellent review! Thanks for taking the time to write it. 😊
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Mcleenx
Mcleenx
Great review and interesting set of pictures!
Thanks for sharing
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