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FiiO EH3 NC - Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by droid23, Oct 23, 2019.
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  1. droid23
    I just had a 6 hour train ride the day before yesterday and an 11 hour flight today ( yes, that sounds terrible, and it certainly was). I could test the ANC quite well: in the train it was generally ok. Intermittent and transient sounds which you have a bit more often on a train ride, were not filtered out very well (didn't expect this anyway). But I was really pleasantly surprised how well the ANC worked on the plane. There you could clearly hear a difference and I guess the engineers at FiiO put en emphasis on exactly this sound environment. I catched myself using ANC for nearly the whole flight.
    MrBarbarroja likes this.
  2. misteral201103
    Ok, mine arrived a day earlier than expected (nice!)
    Very brief first impressions (source: M11):
    Light, comfortable, quite good passive isolation.

    Bluetooth - honestly, not bad at all. I don't like BT, I'm a wired guy. I thought this was acceptable. Not the same quality as the Mobius from my V30 but not so bad that I would never use them like this.

    All further comments are based on wired which did improve the overall performance, as one might expect.

    Sound Signature: Quite pleasing. Prefer it to the Sony sig (though I will A/B them to double check). Bass is there but not overpowering, details are there but not sharp, soundstage is reasonable for closed cans at this price.

    Sound Quality: as a separate criteria to signature, there is a slight cheapness here. Seems like I'm picking up moments of slight distortion. I'll listen more and report back. But there is a caveat at the end of this.

    ANC Effectiveness: Pretty much hit expectations. Not as strong a performer as the Sonys but then it's less than half the price and as my wife quite rightly pointed out, you'd be a bit pissed if they did as well, because that's money wasted on the Sonys! Sonys are hers, by the way. I put a YouTube video of plane cabin noise on my surround system, at an unpleasantly loud volume and the Fiios knocked out 98% of it. They will certainly do a good enough job for me on the flight at this price.

    ANC Sound quality/signature: Yes, ANC does strongly effect the signature with an overall muffling of the audio. It's definitely noticeable but it's not a deal-breaker for me. If you listen in a quiet environment with ANC on..well, it makes more sense to leave it off and enjoy the better quality sound. However, in a very noisy environment it's considerably less of an issue and I found it to be a reasonable quality of reproduction. Again, this is good enough for me at the price.

    The caveat - here's the thing. I'm coming from the Anandas, the Nighthawks (I don't care what you think, I love them) and the InEar Prophile 8s. High quality gear. Of course, this 1300RMB pair of noise cancelling headphones do not match up. Once I stopped measuring the difference and just listened to what they were providing, I was quite pleased with my purchase.

    To my mind, these are aimed pretty directly at someone like me. An audiophile who is prepared to compromise a little in the name of saving some money, especially given that each of the premium options has its own drawback. In an arena where no competitor is perfect, these provide the convenience of noise cancelling, an understated but certainly not underwhelming sound signature at a price-point that won't break the bank. I'm a happy Fiio customer, yet again.

    I'll be even happier if Fiio make improvements via firmware (@FiiO )
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
    MrBarbarroja and droid23 like this.
  3. misteral201103
    Well...I clearly posted too soon. They are auto turning off when connected via 3.5 and ANC on. Currently testing on BT to see if it might be a battery issue.
    If not, if this is a design feature, then it's a no-go for me. My main use-case scenario will be 3.5 cabled to airplane entertainment system.
    @FiiO - any idea about this?
  4. domino584
    I wonder how they will respond to an EQ/pads?
  5. misteral201103
    Three songs in on BT, while cabled wouldn't play through a single song without turning off. So, not the battery then.
    On the plus side, listening on BT with ANC off (I had it on, then I turned it off after a couple of songs) is actually quite nice. BT performance is really pretty good, nice.

    So they just auto-off on cabled. I'll wait for input from @FiiO before acting, but if that's the case, sorry to say they'll have to go back.
  6. misteral201103
    Never mind - just looked back through the thread and saw Droid's post about changing the auto-power off in the app. Just changed it, hoping that will sort it (and expecting it to)
  7. misteral201103
    Yup, sorted. I'll hang on to these, quite happy with them.
  8. misteral201103
    Interesting - source makes a fair bit of difference. Just plugged them into my PC at work. Sound really nice both with and without ANC. Wow - really, that's a very different experience that with the M11 or my phone.
    Plugged into the PC, when I turn ANC on, the volume goes up significantly and although there is a change in signature there's less to complain about/get used to. I'm also not getting any kind of artifacts (the 'cheap' sound I heard yesterday)
    Completely different.
    Tried them on the bus today - not bad, pretty good. But this, this is something else. I might try them with my XD05 or Cayin C5 at home, see if the extra power is a good or bad thing.
    Sorry to keep on, but I'm listening as I type and if THIS was what I heard when plugged into M11 or phone, I would be really VERY happy with these.

    Ok, so on a whim, I plugged them back into the M11 but switched from high to low gain on the player. Improvement in sound, very clearly, an improvement which carries over to ANC on. There's still a noticeable change and I prefer the quality with the ANC off but now the difference is not quite as extreme. Got Buena Vista playing right now and it sounds really nice.
    MrBarbarroja likes this.
  9. domino584
    Thanks for the update. Seems to be either burn in or they're amperage sensitive. Does BT sound any different?
  10. TJ Max
    Hello, I'm interested in EH3NC while there is a small sale.
    Before I dive in I was wondering if any one can share their knowledge on the following questions.
    I understand that there is a bass emphasis, but a little bass boost isn't bad if its no more than +5dB after that headphones start to lose the neutral zone.
    What is the differential from the 0 dB reference line?
    I would like to listen to music but also I like Field Recordings (sounds of rain, rivers and the ocean ) and binaural beats which are best with more neutral sounding headphones. I was wondering if these will be suitable.

    Also are the earpads replaceable with Brainwavz or Dekoni pads? I prefer the feel of sheepskin over protein leather.
  11. MrBarbarroja
    Thank you so much to the ones that have posted their impressions on these! I am wondering how the Fiio compare to something like a Sony MDR-1A(M2)? Judging from droid23’s description of sound they should have less pronounced bass than the 1A’s. Or maybe these compared to a can from B&O?
    I mean the price (199usd) in my country is quite competitive, having the extra of NC for the occasional flight.
  12. crabdog
    I've had these for a week or so and pretty much agree with what has already been said. They're super comfortable and the Bluetooth connection is rock solid using LDAC codec from my phone or a couple of DAPs that I tested with as well.

    They do definitely sound better wired - not as much bass and a cleaner sound overall. With wireless listening, they still sound good but not as good as wired. Sound quality definitely drops when you turn the ANC on and quite drastically but it would still be better than listening to the drone of plane engines for 10 hours!

    I'm working on my full review now and hope to be finished in a day or two.
    MrBarbarroja likes this.
  13. TJ Max
    From what I can tell just from observation is that these are like a rebranded Audio-Technica DSR9BT with noise canceling and LDAC thrown in. The design and build quality and sound are exactly the same. Including the DSR9BT's big flaw, cheap creaking plastic!
    The DSR9BT were $549, but at $169 (currently) I think they are at just the right price. The sound at first was uncomfortable , there was hardly any bass and a very high treble peak. After about 20 hours, the treble while still boosted smoothed out to something listenable. I imagine if you listen to low quality music it might not sound good though. The bass finally shows up but it's very controlled. It's there when it needs to be and gone when its not needed. Personally I like the sound better than the QC35 and WH-1000xm3.
    I don't care about Noise Canceling so I can't say much about it. I did turn it on and found that it added its own noise. I was just looking for a comfortable headphone that supported all the high res codecs. The WH-1000xM3 failed at this , since Sony colored the sound so much that the AptX-HD and LDAC codecs has no noticeable effect.

    I'm thinking about buying a second pair just to use at work....if only Fiio would fix that creaking plastic! And where are the additional earpad? were't they suppose to have a Velour set? I wouldn't mind a sheepskin either.
    fish1050 likes this.
  14. hifi80sman
    So, just purchased these and so far, more positives than negatives.

    - Very good sound wirelessly over aptX & LDAC with any source (Amazon Music HD, Spotify, FLAC). AAC with an iPhone sounds great as well.
    - Open, airy sound for a closed back. Good soundstage.
    - I personally enjoy the bass, as it sounds solid and can dig deep when needed.
    - Phone calls are surprisingly good.
    - Lightweight, comfortable.
    - Fabrication quality is good, which is to say all joints, areas of movement are consistent (one side is not looser than the other, etc.).
    - Good tactile feedback from buttons.
    - Looks good. For some reason, I really like polishing the glass with Smitty's Glass Wax. :p

    - Ear pads are not memory foam. I would have preferred a slow-rise medium density foam for increased passive isolation.
    - Sound takes a substantial hit with ANC on. While I knew there would be a hit going in, I was surprised how big that hit actually was. It's not horrible, but it goes from "Hi-Fi" to "Low Mid-Fi".
    - A lot of plastic. While it's well made, it just does not have that premium feel.
    - Driver flex noted in both speakers (although it is consistent each side).
    - Track Forward is also Volume Down. A bit counter-intuitive.
    JoePR31 and MrBarbarroja like this.
  15. misteral201103
    @FiiO - is there any chance of a firmware update improving the audio quality with ANC on? Or is this not something which can be changed?
    MrBarbarroja and hifi80sman like this.
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