Design & Build Quality
Aesthetically, I think FiiO nailed it with the FH3.
The new shell, directly inherited from its siblings the FH5 and FH7, is made of an aluminum/magnesium alloy. It gives the IEM a premium feel and, in the hand, the FiiO FH3 definitely feels like an upgrade, compared to the previous F9 Pro.
Like all FHx models, FiiO opted for CNC-milling instead of 3D printing. If the latter gave outstanding results on the FA9, it seems like the brand assign different process design to each range of products. 5-Axis CNC for the FiiO FH3 / FH5 / FH7 and DLP 3D Printing for the FA1 / FA7 / FA9.
If the whole shell is painted in matte black, you still get the red and blue ring that circles the MMCX socket, to help you differentiate which is left and right. Also, you get the classic wave-like ripples on each face plate. It’s a gimmick that has absolutely no physical effect, but visually it’s simply gorgeous.
Those shells are fairly big, the same size as FH5 for comparison, but sharing the same design process through all its models must help lowering production cost, and so does the retail price. I mean, we are still in the less than $150 territory and, apart from AudioSense’s DT200, there isn’t many IEM offering this level of refinement.
The FiiO FH3 build quality is top-notch, like all of the latest models.
The MMCX port fits perfectly, there is no gap wherever your hand can touch, no shards or misplaced element, and the smoothness of the shell gives a good level of comfort. Of course, you match the FiiO FH5 and FH7 sturdiness (duh) and this is an IEM that will withstand the harshest environment and the meanest treatments.
Moreover, the cable also won an upgrade, and the feeble one found with the F9 Pro has been replaced by a thick LC-3.5B. Out of the whole FiiO’s Cables catalog, this is definitely my favorite one: braided but sheathed, pure mono-crystalline silver-plated copper and tangle-free design.
So yeah, it doesn’t get better than that. Let’s check what’s inside the box now.
Bundle and Comfort
Inside the box
Last time, the FiiO FA9 came in a big, black box, like the Shanling ME700 before them. Obviously, the FH3 comes in a smaller box, but you know what they say regarding the size: it’s how you make use of it that really counts.
In the box, you get :
- the FiiO FH3
- the new LC-3.5B cable
- a rigid crystal case
- a soft pouch
- lots and lots of ear tips
In fact, you get the same bundle already available in the previous model, less the 2.5mm cable. Not too shabby, but some of you may complain of the lack of balanced options (with reason)
To fix that, you can purchase a few accessories, FiiO got them all.
I really like the LC-2.5B which gives the right balance of thickness and durability, while maintaining a relatively low price. But, if you want to go all the way, get the new LC-RE with its swappable plug system.
It’s a great solution for those, like us, who have multiple DAP or DAC/AMP who only offers 2.5mm or 4.4mm. I recently tried DD-Hifi new adapter, to go 4.4mm to 2.5mm, and that’s another solution too (for cheap even more!)
Unsurprisingly, comfort is great. Almost excellent.
The FH3 enjoys the 3rd generation of FiiO’s own semi-custom design. With the right tips, the IEM feels the whole ear and offers a tight fit, to ensure the best performances. To me, they are a bit more comfortable than the “old” FH5 but fall slightly short under the FA9.
That said, I don’t think anyone will ever complain of the fit, as the team behind really achieved one of the most comfortable, metal-made, in-ear of this generation. Plus, they really feel unobtrusive over long listening sessions, and that’s what really matters
A quick word regarding noise isolation, it’s surprisingly good.
Of course, it’s not as good as acrylic made IEM, which can be utterly sound deafening, but once you play your music at a moderate level, you won’t hear any unwanted noise.
For a daily commuter like me, it’s more than acceptable and it’ll still beat a closed-back headphone in the long run.
So, time to check the specs!
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