The Story of FiiO UTWS3---From James
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Chapter 1 You can get almost “everything” you want in magic China

The UTWS3 has finally entered the market. As a UTWS1-holic, as well as the initiator of the UTWS1 project, I cannot be happier. Between the UTWS1 and I, there are many stories. If you are interested, I would like to share them with you. Today, let's start with the origins of the UTWS1 and UTWS3.

It was in 2019, we made 2 Bluetooth cable plans, the LC-BT1 and LC-BT2. At that time, TrueWireless (TWS) technology had already been the main force in the market.

However, although the Bluetooth cable was able to get rid of some inconvenience with better sound quality, it did not reach my expectations. Then I wonder, how about the TWS earhooks with MMCX connectors which can turn any of our MMCX-connector earphones into a true wireless one?

Before I shared this idea with our R&D engineers, I did some research on the internet based on my years of experience. As expected, there was a product that was exactly what I wanted, the TWS earhooks from the TRN brand with the name, BT20, which was the predecessor of the UTWS1.

I had a great experience with it, literally convenient with great wearing comfort. Most importantly, I can pick up my favorite earphones and have them attached to the earhooks. At the same time, it is more comfortable and stable to wear than any other TWS earphones thanks to the ear hook design. There are no worries even when you are running with it put on your ears.

Later, we contacted the BT20 manufacturer. They were willing to provide OEM (original equipment manufacturer) service for us. We decided to make an attempt. Based on the model they had mass produced, we carefully made some improvements in appearance, sounds, experience, and accessories. Eventually, we had it released in the name of FiiO UTWS1. In the next chapter, I would like to discuss the differences between the FiiO UTWS1 and the TRN BT20 and how we made progress.

The attached pictures are 2 sets of TWS earphones that I have frequently used with the UTWS1. The red pairs are the customized ES5 from one of my friends in Westone. Both combined might be the most expensive TWS earphones.

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oh my. I wasn't aware of the new version. This might make my Custom Arts wireless for good.
 
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Couple quick questions for @FiiO
1. What about LDAC? Will you add it in a future firmware update?
2. I see AptX support. Does it include AptX LL? Will make it very useful for watching movies on my tablet...
 
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Couple quick questions for @FiiO
1. What about LDAC? Will you add it in a future firmware update?
2. I see AptX support. Does it include AptX LL? Will make it very useful for watching movies on my tablet...
Dear friend,

Currently, LDAC is not support in TWS headset. And we will report to the engineer for assessing the APTX-LL support.

Best regards
 
FiiO Stay updated on FiiO at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
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FiiO Stay updated on FiiO at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/FiiOAUDIO https://twitter.com/FiiO_official https://www.instagram.com/fiioofficial/ https://www.fiio.com
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Chapter 2 Differences between UTWS1 and its prototype

As mentioned in the previous chapter, we wanted to make a real true wireless ear hook by ourselves at first. However, things changed after we found there was a similar product and the manufacturer was willing to be our OEM (original equipment manufacturer).

So after carefully experiencing their actual product, we have considered cooperating with them, working for the following issues together.

1. Due to the relatively weak performance of the DAC and amp inside the QCC3020, the noise floor designed at the beginning went up really high. In order to lower it down, we carefully studied the circuit scheme and managed to add a filter circuit to the output end of the amp part, which lowers 3 times of the original noise floor. However, 15uV noise floor performs a bit actively when matched with certain high-sensitivity earphones regardless of our efforts. Therefore, we gave a notice on the introduction page.

2. The physical buttons were originally plastic. In order to avoid paint-shedding issues after long-term pressing, we gave up the painting process. And we finally applied aluminum alloy CNC craftsmanship to make it prettier and more exquisite.

3. It required a relatively strong force to press the button, which would cause discomfort more or less when wearing it. So we changed the button with lighter touch controls.

4. Because of the lack of a carrying case at the beginning design, the earphones would be easy to lose when being taken off. To avoid this issue, we specially found a small case which can carry both the dual-head charging cable and two earphones.

5. The original design did not support TWS+. When we did it, the manufacturer could already support it, so we added the TWS+, which achieved shorter signal latency and more stable transmission, free from master-slave swap.

6. The original design of the MMCX connector was ordinary, so possibilities of loose or tight connections with the earphone units would come out. Besides, for the possibility of sound loss due to multiple times of plugging and unplugging, we changed the MMXC connector to a more stable expanded one based on our years of experience.

After executing the above improved schemes, the UTWS1 has actually made some progress more or less in terms of sound quality, function, workmanship, reliability, user experience, and accessories. I believe our old users of the UTWS1 can feel our hard work. But for sure, molds and certain original designs are limited to be improved. For example, it is not a Type C port, and would be inconvenient to use without a charging case. This is also the reason why we decided to self research and develop the UTWS3. More details will be shown in the following stories.

In the end, I would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to TRN for supporting us.

耳挂上市-EN.jpg
 
FiiO Stay updated on FiiO at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
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Chapter 3 My experience after long-term heavy addiction to true wireless earhooks

As I am getting older, I begin to realize how important it is to work out. When I am climbing mountains, doing long-distance running or trail running, I really appreciate that music can stay with me.

Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I am really addicted to true wireless earhooks in my life, so that I am able to better share the pros and cons of this product with you.

Before the launch of the UTWS1, I have used many Bluetooth products, including the traditional Bluetooth earphones FB1, the neckband sports Bluetooth cable, true wireless Bluetooth earphones like Airpods, FiiO EW1 and FW1, and the abortive FW5 which was planned to customize with public molds. Each type of these products act obviously in both pros and cons. However, none of them have fully satisfied my needs.

The sound quality of traditional Bluetooth earphones is indeed much better, especially the FiiO LC-BT2, which not only supports high-definition Bluetooth formats such as LDAC, but also uses an independent DAC/Amp chip with HiFi architecture. The sound quality is already very good, better than that of matching schemes of wired earphones+average mobile phones.

In recent years, the popular TWS (true wireless stereo) earphones are portable and convenient. However, other than its ordinary sound quality, the biggest problem is that when we put it on, we always have a feeling that it is going to fall off. In other words, it just cannot give us a sense of security, thus making bad using experience. Generally speaking, for current TWS earphones, it is hard to make progress in hardware and acoustic schemes due to the volume limitation even if it supports the aptX format.

These problems were better solved on the UTWS1. First of all, the UTWS1 uses a Qualcomm Bluetooth chip that supports the aptX format. In terms of the acoustic scheme, users can match the UTWS1 with any earbuds of MMCX and 0.78 connectors based on their preference. For me, I usually match the UTWS1 to Westone's customized ES5 earbuds. It is qualified to compete with any TWS earbuds in terms of sound quality even if its noise floor is slightly obvious. In terms of wearing comfort, UTWS1 ear hook+earbuds are basically similar to Beat's TWS sports earphones. Therefore, it is securely fit when you wear it well, free from worries of intense exercise causing it to fall off.

Since the day the UTWS1 came to me, I have never used other types of earphones when doing exercise. The good sound quality, fit and comfortable wearing and great convenience that belongs to TWS earphones made it hard for me to open my mind to other types of earphones.

For sure, there are still some problems on the UTWS1: slightly clear noise floor despite being optimized, inconvenient charging, pairing and power on/off operation. However, I believe compared to sound quality and wearing methods, the design of TWS earhooks with earbuds may be the most ideal music scheme for those who like to enjoy sports and music at present.
 
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@FiiO Thanks for sharing with us the progress of making such useful pieces of tech, and I would sure be among adopters of them with my beloved personal IEMs.

Although this has just been announced, I would like to propose for the next iteration to feature a larger area for reliable, sensitive, touch controls.. preferably traversing almost the entire surface of the UTWS.

Rightful implementation of such capacitive means of interaction should include 2 different types of touch inputs: Tapping, as well as Swiping gestures.
Swiping over an oblong surface area is, of course, to raise or lower volume.. Tapping combinations should not omit previous/next track switching.
I know there are many audio enthusiasts with me on this, but only if done right.. which I trust FiiO will be able to achieve, hopefully.
 
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@FiiO Thanks for sharing with us the progress of making such useful pieces of tech, and I would sure be among adopters of them with my beloved personal IEMs.

Although this has just been announced, I would like to propose for the next iteration to feature a larger area for reliable, sensitive, touch controls.. preferably traversing almost the entire surface of the UTWS.

Rightful implementation of such capacitive means of interaction should include 2 different types of touch inputs: Tapping, as well as Swiping gestures.
Swiping over an oblong surface area is, of course, to raise or lower volume.. Tapping combinations should not omit previous/next track switching.
I know there are many audio enthusiasts with me on this, but only if done right.. which I trust FiiO will be able to achieve, hopefully.
Honestly I prefer Fiio's mechanical light touch implementation for this UTWS3. It's quite responsive and tactile, which I prefer over my Buds+ touch implementation.
 
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Honestly I prefer Fiio's mechanical light touch implementation for this UTWS3. It's quite responsive and tactile, which I prefer over my Buds+ touch implementation.
I get that capacitive touch controls got a poor reputation from poor implementation (even on pricy products), which makes them finicky and bothersome.. but the feel of such controls well-implemented on a smooth (preferably metallic) surface is a joy to use. I just tried swiping gestures on the small surface of the Bose 700 headphones, and they're such a departure from what I've known to experience from those types of controls.
 
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