General Information

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Latest reviews

Nealz

Head-Fier
King of the “V”
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Sources used during review:
Hiby R5 Saber, Shanling UA1.
Tips used during review: BGVP A07 & Spinfit CP 145.
Cable used during review: Stock Fiio Cable.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Gears For Ears for providing me with a Fiio FH3 with a review unit, which will be returned to them upon completion of this review. Although I haven’t bought the FH3 with my own money, it is always my goal to provide a completely neutral & bias free review for the readers. This review is of course fully subjective.

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Introduction: The FiiO FH3 is a triple driver hybrid IEM, featuring a single beryllium coated dynamic driver and 2 balanced armature drivers. FH3 uses 2 balanced armature drivers for the mids and highs & the lows are handled by a 10mm beryllium-coated dynamic driver. In addition to the dynamic driver Fiio has implemented their patented “S.Turbo” acoustic design technology. Basically, what this does is, it rids of any unwanted high-frequency harmonics that may be inadvertently produced by the dynamic driver. This should result in the FH3 having a smoother & cleaner bass response that doesn’t interfere with the other frequencies. The Fiio FH3 is priced roughly at $130.

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Packaging & Accessories: I am going to mostly skip over this section as my review unit came on its own without any packaging. A standard retail unit box should contain:
- FiiO LC-3.5B cable
- Hard plastic storage case
- Soft storage pouch
- 9 pairs of various silicone eartips
- 2 pairs of foam eartips
- Nozzle cleaning tool

I am not going to comment on the stock tips since I did not get the opportunity to use them. The FiiO’s LC-3.5B high-purity monocrystalline silver-plated copper cable on the other hand was not to my liking. Its quite stiff & thick which makes it unpleasant to use while in bed. While those who listen to their music mostly on hard surfaces will probably end up liking the stock cable it wasn’t really my cup of tea. The FH3 also comes with a MCMX connector which is a pain the arse to use, you have to apply quite a bit of force to remove the stock cable from the IEM connectors, and also all of my other IEM’s are 2 pins so I do not like the idea buying a cable which will specifically work with FH3, if I ever do buy one.

Fit (4/5): Initially after watching Youtube review videos & various photos of the FH3 I was quite skeptic about its fit & weight. Well, I am happy to report that only is FH3 very light weight but it has a great fit in my ears as well, I can wear it for hours without any significant discomfort. That aluminum housing might look heavy but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

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Sound

Tuning:
I am pretty sure a lot of you have seen my first impressions of the Fiio FH3, well I am sticking to my first impressions mostly in that it has a deep V-Shaped tuning, the only opinion which has changed is regarding the mids. I initially stated that the FH3 has “recessed mids” which is not the case the at well. After listening to it critically for almost 3 weeks I can confidently say that while the tuning of the FH3 might be heavily V-shaped, but it’s done right. The mids are not recessed as I initially stated & the level of detail revival is pretty high, which is not at all the case with your typical chi-fi V-shape tuned IEM’s. Overall, the sound signature if pretty fun & lively while still retaining some balance in the frequencies, definitely a crowd pleaser kinda sound.

Highs (3.7/5): The Highs of the FH3 are well extended, there is mild hint of sparkle & air to it. It delivers an ample amount of detail & micro details even though it’s a warm tuned IEM. The treble is smooth and non-fatiguing but those with a preference for brighter sounding IEM’s will have to look elsewhere.
Soundstage & Imaging: The imaging & layering of the FH3 is just brilliant along with its resolution, all of these are class leading in this price range. FH3 is pretty forgiving of the poorly mastered/recorded tracks, making them sound as great as possible. The soundstage is wide & deep enough but not to the point where it will create that spacious “out of your head” feeling.

Mids (4/5): I think the mids are the secret weapon of the Fiio FH3 with deep V-shape tuning it’s easy to hold some prejudice against it, writing it off as recessed or not as highlighted in the mix, which is usually the case. But here the FH3 manages to go against the grain & proves all those prejudices wrong. While the mids might not be forward in the mix, the are certainly not recessed either, having great balance, detail & clarity. I wouldn’t categorize the FH3 to have thick & lush mids but they aren’t on the thinner side either. The only downside to this experience might be the metallic sheen present in the BA timbre of the FH3, this is especially noticeable in instruments such as acoustic guitars.

Lows (4.7/5): Quite easily the star of the show, the Fiio FH3 can only described as having “earth shattering” sub-bass rumble & a punchy mid-bass. The bass extension is very good, as is tightness, speed, and texture. While the bass might be boosted it doesn’t suffer from bloat and never sounds too thumpy. Fiio is clearly not messing about with its beryllium bass game & the best part is: even being the highlight of the mix, the bass does not overshadow or bleeds into any of the other frequencies. There is bloat present either. The excellent speed of the beryllium driver also means that the bass has great slam which translates to great performance is genres such as metal.

Drivability: The Fiio FH3 is fairly easy to drive, which is another one of its plus points. You can drive it easily form your 3.5mm headphone jack off your phone, although amping is always advisable, a fairly inexpensive dongle like VE Odyssey HD or CX-Pro Audio CX31993 should do the trick. You will notice small amount of scaling while moving from phone to a dedicated dongle but moving from a dedicated dongle to a fairly expensive portable dac or dap there is definitely an absence of scaling.

Conclusion: So, what have we learned so far? The Fiio FH3 seems to be doing pretty well with highs, mids and especially lows, mids don’t seem to be recessed or thin in typical V-shaped manner, bass doesn’t overpower other frequencies, level of detail retrieval is pretty great, seems to be the perfect all-rounder at this price point. What’s the catch? Well, there is no catch per say, but I would like to point out two things: One, the metallic sheen present in the BA timbre can feel unnatural to some especially those who prefer a smooth & natural timbre for the instruments. Two, while a well-tuned V shaped IEM might seem fun & lively at first but you will soon get tired or bored if it especially if you listen to vast genres of music. Being that as it may, the Fiio FH3 is still the nearest you will get to owning an all-rounder IEM at the $130 dollar price point, while it is definitely a crowd pleaser it won’t please those who are after a more mature & analytical sound.

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Comparisons: ??? Right now, I am in the middle of reviewing BQEYZ Spring 1, 2 & Summer, Tri Starsea along with Fiio FH3, so I felt it appropriate to review them individually first and then do a massive $100 to $150 range IEM battle, to see who takes the lead! So please stay tuned, like & follow my page The Audio Bloke for future updates if you liked this review. Thanks!

Link to Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheAudioBloke
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Nealz
Nealz
amanieux
amanieux
i read your detailled facebook $200 comparison, thanks, can someone else tell how fh3 fares against bqeyz spring 1/2 in one sentence ? thanks
fablestruck
fablestruck
Well written though I don't understand how a deep V-shape tuning can go along with the fact that the midrange is not recessed. From my experience these are U-shaped IEMs with astonishing definition for the price. The bass comes forward only when called for, with zero contamination to the rest of the range.

NymPHONOmaniac

Headphoneus Supremus
---FIIO FH3 OVERDUE REVIEW---

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This one was on hold, i finish it today and tbh they arent bad at all, don't know why i was grumpy about them, once i go out of my personal tuning target and timbre hyper-sensitivity, the FH3 are L shape to neutral crisp sounding earphones with agile technicalities.

PROS: Near neutral well balanced tuning, high level of clarity-details, good imaging, fast attack, nuanced texture, good transparency, non agressive hyper-realist tonality, construction, design, packaging, price

CONS: slightly boomy yet non weighty bass, bit thin timbre, coldish tonality, sharp but not sparkly treble, not wide open vocal, though good imaging is a bit compressed-intimate, not very musical (subjective)

TONALITY: 8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 8.5/10
CONSTRUCTION&DESIGN: 9/10
SOUND VALUE: 8/10

FIIO
doesn’t need more presentation as theve been around for more than 10 years and have an immense audio products catalog that includes everything but audiophile quantum stickers. Since years, they collaborate with Knowles balanced armature too, so they can precisly custom every drivers they imagine. Far are the days where FIIO didn’t know how to tune, FH serie being widely acclaim for this very reason, let’s see if the FIIO FH3 can pass the test of time or will be a hate-love Hybrid like the older FH1 which at the time was selling around the same price.

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CONSTRUCTION, as always with FIIO, is excellent. The beautifully crafted housing promises durability due to its thick metal composition. The whole package is, again as always, very impressive too. And oh, the cable! I love it. Soooooo thick and sturdy, with this high-end industrial look and yes, good pairing in terms of sound, no need to upgrade it and thats a relief!

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SOUND

TONALITY
is L shape with some extra treble bite, brightish a bit cold but not really aggressive, if it wasn't for boosted bass the FH3 would be near flat neutral. It’s a bassy lean analytical sounding IEM, and it’s quite unique in that regard, attack isn’t boosted and avoid shoutyness we could find with some hybrid or multi-BA earphones.

So, apart for badass bass, it doesnt have a weighty DYNAMIC, attack lack a bit of snap even if speedy, upper treble seem a bit faster and crisper than rest of the spectrum leading to some rare uneven highs balance. Bass is quite nice but doesnt fully match the timbre of other BA drivers making it sometimes a bit out of balance or distracting. As well, it isn't well-articulated and a bit (gently) boomy.

Talking about TIMBRE, the balanced armature has this slight metallic sheen to it that makes it a bit clinical sounding, staying hyper-realist and accurate but not as natural as what a Dynamic driver could give. So, yes, a bit thin too, making vocal lacking body density, open presence and welcome lushness. Still, timbre is realist enough, well-textured yet with a nice transparency to it.

TECHNICALLY the FH3 is very competent, rich in details and sound layers, precise yet constraint in imaging, fast in attack apart the bass part so you can feel its snappy speed better with instrumental or bass less-lights music tracks, listening right now to fast jazz composed of violin, trumpet, bass light percussions and it sound accurate, with great instrument placement within limited space, i can clearly look around the holographic acoustic, spoting the trumpet that have dryish timbre and at its left the violin with full nuanced timbre, though I get a bit distract by more metallic percussion which seem crisper cleaner bit more trebly in rendering, still, damn its thigh and clear! (Track : Yves Robert-L’air d’y toucher). SO no doubt : IMAGING is good and can go great with crisp music that doesnt have sub bass emphasis.

So indeed, from mids to highs the attack is very speedy, with good edge but some lack of decay and sparkle thus making percussions more ‘’ringy’’ than sparkly.

Overall BALANCE is well done, but a hint too boosted in bass department which can bloom its great clarity potential. As well, upper highs can be sometime too emphased and while it permit to extract micro-details more easily, the very details can be distracting too. In fact, if i go back some years ago i will praise this type of analytical treble, but my ears perhaps become snobbish about this type of magical WOW effect trick.

I ask ALOT to IEM due to my very diversify music library, and i can say FH3 is very versatile even if 20% of my music will go boomy which is due to mid-sub bass boost that can shadow the kick drum presence and impact as if it was thinked for electronic drum.

COMPARISONS :

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VS FIIO FH7 (500$)

The FH7 have verry similar tonal balance but thicker more natural timbre as well as more open and holographic sound. The bass is weightier, warmer and less resonant and dry than FH3. Clarity seem crisper with FH3, offering a less layered but more crisper imaging. Bass is biggst different, FH7 having thicker more extended and flexible bass, as well, lower mids are more present and give extra body to mids and vocal which are thinner a bit brighter-colder with FH3. Treble is a bit more airy, but less lean and balanced than FH7. Apart bass which is better with FH7, the rest is very similar in technicalities and overall tonality, making the FH3 a better value.

VS IKKO OH10 (180$)

OH10 is brighter, more U to W shape and less clean due to slight bass impact bloom. Imaging is inferior, lacking clean separation of FH3. Bass have more texture, boom and body but is less linear and well separated too. Upper highs seem roll off and doesnt deliver as much micro details and brilliance. Mid are a bit more lively, textured and bright but not as well articulated, especially in busy track. Soundstage is a bit wider-taller-deeper. While i prefer the energic bassy sound of OH10, i can’t stop telling myself they are inferior to FH3 both tonaly and technically, but superior in fun factor I guess.

CONCLUSION

FIIO have evolve tremendously with the time, and their tuning experience show up their result with a confident tonal balance approach where neutrality meet slight bass boost for extra musicality pleasure. The level of technical prowess we got for such a price is quite impressive, delivering high level of clarity, clean precise imaging, fast yet snappy attack and a refined near reference neutral sound that wasn’t imaginable at this price 5 years ago. Thanks to the very capable Knowles BA they use, the timbre, while a bit cold, is far from artificial or harsh like we can find with most sub-150$ Hybrid IEM even today. Thinking about it, the FH3 make it even harder to justify paying 500$ for the FH7 and underline that when we climb the IEM price ladder, its sometime just to find our very subjective tonality target because technically speaking they are 90% on par.

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PS: I wanna thanks FIIO for sending me this review sample some time ago in the midst of this annoying pandemic. FIIO is another company connected to audio community that accepts an unbiased, critical point of view so they can always improve, and the time has shown they sure evolve impressively in the last years with their IEM lineup refinement.
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Samin Zaman
Samin Zaman
Used Them For A Long Time.....They Are Incredibly Well Overall...The Sound Stage Is Shallow And Thin....So That They A Little Bit Thin Sounding...Other Than That They Are Great For The Price

JasonLucas

New Head-Fier
Amazing starter iem into hifi
Pros: Awesome entry level ( 129$ ) all a rounder
Good lows mids and highs
Cons: Cable . But barely a con
Intense at times
Fh3

Great build quality

Good accessories
Deep, fast, textured low end

Detailed mids, good vocals both male and female
Plays everything you throw at it well
smooth, non-fatiguing, good timbre,
Treble is smooth with a touch of sparkle and air and good extension ( slightly brighter overall than average and while not fatiguing can be more intense than neutral )

bass is dynamic, punchy and textured.
imaging and layering were above average, soundstage is on the slightly smaller side
emphasis on the sub-bass, but not overpowering , comes when needed
S.Turbo technology

41.5mm spiral tube which filters unwanted high frequencies delivering clearer bass.
Mid-bass is punchy and hits with impact
All frequencies presented equally across the board
Drivers: 10mm beryllium-plated dynamic driver, Knowles ED30262 for mid frequencies, Knowles RAD33518 for high frequencies
High-purity monocrystalline silver-plated copper
Cable is heavy and has micro phonics



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D
Da4enn
seems great but how does this thing compared to Tri i3?
It looks like they are in the same price point
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
I prefer tri i3 by a lot

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