FiiO FH3 Review

fiio-fh3-headfonia-review

Sound performance

 

My main sources were: iBasso DX160/ FiiO M11 Pro / EarMen Sparrow Trusted sources from trusted brands that I used extensively for the past weeks.

As usual, files were played from either Qobuz / Spotify or my own music library. Some tracks will be highlighted, just so you can try them home too!

Overall signature

As always, what really matters at the end of the day is the sound factor.

FiiO could have made the best looking, most robust IEM, it would mean nothing if the FH3 doesn’t sound, at least, as good as its predecessor. And yeah, the FiiO FH3 isn’t as good as the F9 Pro. In fact, it’s way better, in every way.

fiio fh3 headfonia review

Bass, especially, feels amazing. It’s deep, tight with exemplary low extension, almost uncanny for an IEM in this price range. I’m used to exaggerating, overemphasizing marketing bullsh*t, but it seems like the new Beryllium-plated diaphragm really makes for explosives bass. Helped by the low impedance and high sensitivity, those ears will show their prowess, even with a low-budget source like FiiO’s M3 Pro.

Of course, the more the merrier, and once you’ve combined those ears with a more high-end source like the M11 Pro, you get the gist of how low they can reach. That said, mids and highs are not forgotten and the FiiO FH3 gives a thrilling experience in that regard. It’s quick, clean and you can immediately feel the brand touch, where vocals take a really special part. It’s doesn’t create the widest soundstage and, in that regard, the FAx series seems like a better solution.

On “What if” from Amber Mark, the low mid-range gives a sweet touch to the song, and everything seems to blend all naturally. Compared to the DT200, I can retrieve a few more details and what I lost in separation, I gained in finesse. Again, compared to the old F9 Pro, it really feels like night and day.  Resolution and clarity are sublime and whatever you throw at the FH3, they remain rock solid. There is no sibilant and as FiiO advertised, the slight roll-off in the upper region gives a silky smooth render. It’s a great all-rounder, even more than the T2 plus I recently reviewed, even if the price difference would make it obvious.

fiio fh3 review headfonia

Moreover, the FiiO FH3 scales nicely with upper-range DAC/Amp. It a little DAP like the M3 Pro is quite enough most of the time, there is a clear difference once hooked with a DAC like AudioQuest’s Dragonfly Cobalt, or the new EarMen Sparrow. On the latter, I strongly suggest using the 2.5mm output, as that one gave (much) better results on this IEM.

Powerful mids, good impact, natural voices, powerful bass, and excellent clarity. The FiiO FH3 even sounds better than the FH5 in some aspects. The lows, again, are more precise, with a texture and contrast you wouldn’t expect to get from a lower-tier IEM like this one. And, if the FH5 keeps the upper-hand on the upper region, on a DAC like the Chord Mojo, the difference didn’t feel that great. At least, not enough for me to consider an upgrade. Thankfully, the FH7 makes a clear difference, lucky for those poor owners.

To sum it up: the FiiO FH3 sounds as good as it looks. Typical FiiO now.

fiio fh3 headfonia review

Tonality

Highs: recessed but refined. Compared to the other models of the brand, the FiiO FH3 feels like it’s missing a few notes. Sure, there is no harshness in the sound, but I would have preferred to get slightly more life over 10kHz. Yet, it’s still very lovable.

Good test-track: Through and Through – Leaving Laurel

Mediums: rich and full. Excellent soundstage and clean mids make for a very pleasant experience. As usual, FiiO’s done an excellent job in this regard: voices are bliss, and the IEM can fully immerse you, in just a few seconds. It lacks the 3D effect found in the FA7 or FA9, but those are quite more expensive

Good test-track: Money – Pink Floyd

Bass: deep, fast, powerful. As usual,  the lows are the pillar of all the great things that happens upfront. The bass is astounding and the more you listen to it, the more you get hooked. For that, and that alone, the FiiO FH3 is worth more than consideration and deserves to be picked up as your first, affordable, mid-priced IEM.

Good test-track: Sacrifice – Sara Landry

fiio fh3 headfonia review

Associations

FiiO FH3 + FiiO M3 Pro: pretty little things. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to go cheap, the M3+FH3 is a sure choice. Sure you don’t get streaming, and all the fancy options, but for less than an FH5 you get real middle-range performances.

FiiO FH3 + EarMen Sparrow: pocket-sized bliss. I recently discovered EarMen DACs, and I’ve been using them daily since the day I got one. If you want to get a wide soundstage, with a lot of details, but don’t want to break the bank, this is my top choice at the moment: beefy bass, powerful vocals, and sweet highs on the go, or on your computer. Of course, that’s if you use a 2.5mm balanced cable.

 

FiiO FH3 + iBasso DX160: business class. The iBasso DX160 is one of the best DAP in its price range, giving the FiiO M11 and Shanling M6 a real contender. It’s a great combo, even if a bit noisy, but the soundstage and bass are absolutely insane for the price.

fiio fh3 headfonia review

Comparisons 

Want to compare it with other ears? Voila :

AudioSense DT200: DT200 is one of my favorite IEMs. It’s cheap, very well-made, and sounds fantastic. In a head-to-head confrontation with FiiO’s latest IEM, I found the latter to offer tighter lows but a narrower soundstage. For the price, I’d take both, but I’d be on a tight spot to only chose one of them.

FiiO FH5: for me, the FH5 is the FH3 closest competitor. If the older one delivers more micro-details at the same volume level, the FH3 displays better lows in my opinion. The new DD really do wonders, once properly driven.

Shanling ME700: two sides of the same coin if you were to ask. I found the ME700 better for the highs, and the FA9 better for the mids. Both are excellent, punching way above their price-tag, but ultimately, you’ll have to make a choice, when I don’t (yes I kept both)

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Conclusion

Another day, another win for FiiO. Take a good, affordable, IEM, and take it to the higher ground. For the same price. That’s basically the story behind the FiiO FH3.

Performances are on par, if not better than the FH5 for almost half of the price. The Bass is delightful, the vocals superb, and in this price range, there isn’t anything that really competes in terms of comfort/robustness/design.

If you want deep, authoritative lows in a good looking package, this is the one. To me, it’s the perfect contender to the AudioSense DT200, the latter one beating the FiiO in terms of sound stage.

That said, at the end of the day, I think both should deserve to be in my recommendation list: they’re awesome. So to the list, it goes. Well done!

 

 

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

5 Comments

  • Reply September 8, 2020

    InvisibleInk

    I’m not as enamored of its low frequencies as you are. I’ve used properly sealing Final E-Type silicones and Dekoni foams. The low end is lacking.

    I do think it has a very nice, bright, holographic and presence-filled presentation. It’s lively and engaging. As much as I like it, I won’t be selling or shelving my Etymotics any time soon.

  • Reply September 9, 2020

    Rodrigo

    Hi, if you don’t consider the price, will you preferred this FiiO FH3 over the Meze Rai Solo?
    Thanks

  • Reply September 14, 2020

    Ricardo Pinheiro

    Thanks for your review 🙂

    Can you compare the fh3 to the iBasso it01s? I have the it01s and would love to know if is worth to change to the fh3.

    Best regards

  • Reply October 23, 2020

    Mica

    I Just bought my first Dac Fiio M6
    I just cant decide which IEM should I get. F9 Pro looks more confortable for a long time fit, But FH3 seens to have best construction and better sound. I do love trebles, and high vocals, but still love do keep the imaging. Which one should be my best options?

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