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FiiO K3 • The Review Tour of FiiO K3 All-new Headphone Amplifier & USB-C DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by FiiO, Sep 22, 2018.
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  1. psysword
    Eesti eesti! My fav country. Greetings. Better to keep the k3 and connect it to a headphone amp. You'll get a cheap audiophile dac with more power. Connect in series to drive
  2. Klots
    Woohoo, party party :beerchug: I already got a very good deal on a Ifi Nano iDSD, so I don't need two dac/amps :beyersmile:
  3. CagedTiger
    Just finished setting up the Fiio K3. Had no issues with the driver or the USB2 setting so did not adjust the buffer via Fiio Control Panel. Using the K3 with my H/K Soundsticks 2.1 PC speakers connected via K3's read line out, the SQ (I'm mostly using Spotify so streaming music instead of playing music files) definitely improved as the sound seems more precise though a bit more neutral (which was expected). I'm using flat eq settings. I had audio interference with the speakers connected directly to my NUC's audio port (Realtek) and the K3 fixed the issue.

    For some reason I thought that plugging in my Sony 1000XM3 speakers in wired mode to the K3 would make the speakers quiet down but apparently that only works with the balanced output which is 2.5mm. I guess I'll have to use the headphone port of my NUC when I used the headphones wired (I mostly game in this mode so I don't need an audio boost). I'm certainly not going to unplug the speakers every time I want to use my headphones or have both playing audio at the same time. I did look into getting a 2.5mm cable for the headphones or possibly a 2.5mm to 3.5mm adapter but I'm kinda sensing that it wouldn't work with these headphones.

    By the way, I did set both Bass Boost and High Gain on as I got the idea from this thread and from reviews that they should be left on as default. Is this right?
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
  4. Brooko Contributor
    If you don’t need high gain set (if things are loud enough), then leave it set to low. Increasing gain raises volume on everything - including the noise floor. The people who claim high gain increases dynamics just don’t understand what gain is. You get the same “dynamics” by using the volume pot. The secret to using gain is only to engage it if you don’t have enough overall volume.

    As far as bass boost goes - that’s personal taste. I’d only ever use it with bass light cans. Why would you want to intentionally colour everything?
  5. CagedTiger
    Thanks for your advice. I set both off as per your suggestions. The bass is certainly enough when Bass Boost is disabled and while I did need to adjust the volume knob quite a bit to get sufficient volume (even though system volume was at 100% and the powered speakers were between 50-100%), I could get by by using low gain. The reason I had enabled both was I had just watched a Youtube review where the reviewer said that you pretty much want both to be on.
  6. Brooko Contributor
    If you’re struggling for volume or starting to run out of headroom - that’s the time to engage the gain switch :wink:
  7. CagedTiger
    As you might have noticed, I don't have a lot of experience dealing with DACs. I mentioned in a previous post that I had assumed that when speakers are connected to the rear audio out of K3, using headphones would disable the speakers. This is not the case with K3 (when I plug in my Sony 1000XM3s via 3.5mm cable). I wonder why that is because obviously a lot of people will use the audio out with speakers and, as this is a desktop DAC instead of a mobile battery-powered DAC, the assumption is that you are not going to unplug the speakers every time you want to use the headphone output. In other words, what's the reason in enabling sound from multiple ports simultaneously?
  8. CagedTiger
    Just wanted to get back on this... I didn't realize there was another thread on FiiO K3 in these forums. Just happened to notice it and wouldn't you know it... There was a working solution posted on the 'little snaps' you mentioned... What you do is modify the Fiio Driver xml file to make a tab called 'Options' visible in the Fiio Control Panel app. In 'Options' tab you get two settings for 'Streaming', 'On when needed' or "Always on*. The former setting is the default but choosing 'Always on' seems to get rid of these little snaps.
  9. Anshin
    I'm curious how the K3 would measure...
  10. pnzr
    Does this work with DAPs like the Hidizs AP80 or the FiiO M6? If so, how much more does the battery get drained?
  11. JayNetTech5
    I returned it, didn't like the temperature even when my computer sleeps, and the sound quality for the type of headphones I have.
  12. drews
  13. Croixeven

    I have tested K3 with different budget earphones (Philips SHP9500, Takstar pro 82, Superlux 668b/669, Tin T2 Pro, KZ ZSN, ED16, ZS3, TRN v80, CCA C10, Monk+, Snow Lotus 1.0+)
    Quite impressed with quality and versatility. Power? MUCH more than needed for mentioned earphones. Very nice bass boost implementation, especialy good for earbuds and relatively light on bass iems. Really precise volume knob. No issues with channel imabalance or hiss on high-sensivite iems. No issues with android compatibility, works great on Xiaomi Mi Max 2.

    In terms of sound quality K3 is just very decent neutral source. I've compared it with my better source - much better measured and more powerfull external "soundcard" Sound blasterX G6. Difference is not drastical. K3 feels a bit more "polite" and "airy", G6 gives more tight and layered/detailed/analytical sound. Nevetheless, I love the sound of Fiio K3, it has wide soundstage and great detail retrieval ability. Defenitely can be considered as high quality budget source suitable for a wide variaty of earphones.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  14. minion1990
    Do you really think that the G6 is better than the fiio? Really curious since I'm eying that one...
  15. Croixeven
    By subjective listening - yes. Objectively G6 has much better DAC (CS43131) and more powerfull AMP so difference will be more significant in harder to drive high impedance headphones. And It measures very good (you can find detailed measurements on "reference-audio-analyzer"). But Fiio K3 has some advatages:
    - obviously more portable
    - less power hungry (G6 drains my phone battery in the blink of an eye)
    - great bass boost feature (it sounds really good, without compromising entire sound spectrum)
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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