FiiO FH3 have become one of the most interesting additions into the middle headphone segment last year. In these hybrid headphones the company has tried to show all its experience and tech ability to ensure the customers get a real bang for the buck.
Speaking about Fiio headphones I remember the times when they haven’t produced a lot apart from headphone amps. Today it seems these times have never existed, given how long they began to do almost everything for personal audio. And they have begun doing it with such authority and success. Nowadays hybrid IEMs dominate their headphone offerings. Given current madness when companies experiment a lot and put three and more types of transducers inside a single body, Fiio remains quite retro-looking company with their dynamic+armature offering.
Maybe they develop more advanced setups right now, but currently they seem to follow the classic and trusted solutions. They follow their style, rather than trend where ceramic transducers are changed for planar, etc. Such experiments usually end up in semi-finished products that is heavily marketing supported. Fiio, on the contrary, like to make their products finished and polished and to build on well known construction, rather than make the experiments just for the sake of them. Many drivers usually bring much sorrow. So, todays hero is a hybrid 3-driver model. Fiio FH3.
Accessories and packaging
I will not get too in-depth here, nothing special. Box without dust cover with magnet lock. Black box and IEMs inside. So, what’s inside of this black box?
Of course, the pouch. And what’s inside of this pouch? Exactly, another pouch. And what’s inside of another pouch? No, not IEMs, they are presented separately. Even not the cable. Ear tips! There are plenty of them. So there is a chance that audiophile who has his own bag of beloved tips, may even omit them. Even more, the ones that have been pre-applied to IEMs from the factory, have suited me just right. Their nozzle is moderately wide, but the truth is it’s more of average size. It’s wider than in Final Tips, but not as wide as in Spiral Dots.
As a result, the fit is average in terms of depth, rather convenient and provides good isolation and comfort.
Design and comfort
The headphones are made in rather popular form-factor of universal version of custom IEMs. I don’t know if they are made by casting or CNC-milling, but the latter is more likely. On the surface, of course, the bodies are anodized in black color. The covering is reliable and pleasant to touch. Of course, it might feel a little cold in winter when applied.
Nozzle has very slight projection to help hold the tip, but I’m not sure if projection of such size really helps. However any tip I have tried stayed in place and I haven’t had any problems in terms of this. No problem with fit also, since the length and angle of the nozzle are just correct.
The cable is detachable with MMCX connectors. MMCX sockets go at the right angle and this provides additional wear comfort. Connectors on cable itself are angled in order to be comfortable over ear. They are rather tight and we speak not only about connecting and disconnecting. What is important is that the cable is not turned by itself in the socket and this provides additional comfort and reliability, especially given that the model is budget one.
Given the hybrid construction, I think that the influence of cable to the sound is possible, but the budget does not suppose such things I guess. So I haven’t tried cable rolling and even if I did, I would think more about comfort than sound improvement.
How does one cook budget hybrids? It’s simple. We take v-shaped frequency response and work on mids. This is what the engineers who have tuned these IEMs, have decided to do. And they succeeded. The accents on both sides of frequency range are notable but not excessive. This means that the IEMs add emotions but due to good midrange don’t miss anything important in the recording.
Lows have good control and weight. They are accentuated and therefore have distinctive shape and involvement. The accent is mainly on midbass. The amount of lows below it is notable but not overemphasized. This means recording have more weight but do not lack in naturalness. The IEMs have good slam and punch and preserve the peculiarities in sound of different instruments. At the same time, the accent does not turn IEMs into basshead, it is neat and accurate. This means that the recording foundation is notable and solid but fits compositions in terms of quantity.
Mids have good resolution. Total macro and micro details level somewhat tents to the latter. It is easy to notice, since the music does not dissolve to atoms and keeps good thickness, sounds whole. If lows have gained emotions through additional weight, here, on the contrary, this is achieved by attention to the compositions. The timbres of instruments and their character are well transmitted. At the same time, there is no dominance of male vocals over female and vice versa. Everything depends on recording quality and mastery of musicians.
Highs have good length. There is a slight accent on them, but it mainly compensates lows and does not force highs at all. The level of details is good, as well as attacks and decays. The latter are slightly diminished, but not to the extent when we can speak about problems. They are not very lengthy, but still the accent helps to create transparent and airy sound, keeping IEMs from being dark. They are not too bright as well.
The soundstage is average in terms of width. Due to slightly accentuated highs there is rather wide and airy presentation to help instrument division, that shows the nuances of the composition without being cluttered. Depth is not so good, traditionally the soundstage is built mainly in width, not in depth, so the depth is notably smaller. However, emotions and resolution ensure involved and quality sound canvas.
The FH3 iems are real bang for the buck due to the pragmatic approach to their development. As a result, they are very good variant if you want to step over 100 USD price tag.
Translated by: Vadim Kolchev