Fiio KB3 Review


Sound performance


For this review, I chose to pair the FiiO KA13 with the HiFiman Svanar, the almighty Sennheiser HD650, and the lovely Beyerdynamic’s DT 900 Pro X – the same in-ear/ headphones I used for my DC04PRO review. If the Hifiman was a bit too higher-end for this DAC, the Sennheiser is more than adequate and paired quite nicely with the KB3, and regarding the Beyerdynamic, I’ve got not much to say: it’s amazing for the price.

As for the source, I kept my MacBook and FiiO’s default cables. For the files, I used Apple Music Hi-Res stream, my own database store on a NAS, and Spotify.

Overall signature

So, is FiiO’s latest creation as good as a DAC, than it is as a keyboard ? Yes, but frankly speaking, this is basically a blend of the KA13 circuitry, and a mechanical keyboard – which is great, in case my tone seemed to downplay it.

Power-wise, the FiiO KB3 has more than plenty of it and managed to drive almost all of my modern headsets, and the Sennheiser and the Beyerdynamic opened up with ease. Like the KA13, this is definitely one of the most powerful DAC/Amp in the full Jade series. While the previous KA5 has some trouble powering the Hifiman Svanar – which needs a LOT of current to be correctly driven – the KB3 somehow managed to gave me authoritative bass and crisp highs, only marred by a narrower soundstage compared to higher-end devices like the new Shanling H5 of the FiiO Q15.


And if the KB3 won’t surpass the KA5 in terms of finesse, it remained on top compared to the previous KA3 though, taking the edge with better texture and cleaner lows whilst listening at high volume – think KA2 on steroids, or a dongle-sized Cowon Plenue D2/D3. In fact, on the “Candyman Theme” from Magic Sword, the synthwave ambiance, oversaturated bass, and other various effects were all perfectly rendered at a much lower volume than on the KA2 and KA3. Those are still great devices of course, ten times cheaper than the KB3, minus the keyboard features – which isn’t useful for anyone, but still. 

In the long run, compared to the KA3, there are improvements here and there, without any real downsize – most of the time –  better dynamics overall, better bass control, improved transients and, with the FiiO FD7 the result was stunning more than once. To be completely fair, at low-medium volume, the KA2 and KA3 still sound a little bit wider, and the KA5 completely outperforms the FiiO KB3 in terms of resolution, when fed with hi-res tracks.

But for those who’re searching for a full all-in-one device, this might be it as the KB3 was able to drive all my headphones almost effortlessly. Sure, this DAC/Amp isn’t Q7 powerful, but if you stick to the 4.4mm Pentaconn output, you could even drive your Sennheiser HD800S, Audeze LCD-4 or FiiO FT3 with ease. And, thanks to the volume control,  this one is simply perfect for my use: I could switch between each of my three review IEMs/Headphones, and check what volume level I needed to drive them correctly. 


Paired with the simpler, but amazing, FiiO FD7 though, the end result was superb and the sheer sound pressure of the combo gave me real goosebumps. For a small on-the-go combo, it’s utterly impressive. This was especially true with dynamic, bass-hitting, tracks like The Age of Love remix from Charlotte De Witte & Enrico Sangiuliano, where some drums seemed to popup right into my face.

Same with my indomitable Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X, which was simply stunning with deep lows, crisp highs, and a wide(r) soundstage, on par with the KA13 once again. And when it comes to high-resolution files, the FiiO KB3 doesn’t shy away, offering a very high level of detail and scaling up with ease, even if not as good as the KA5 though.

The mids are clean and sharp, with a good level of air outlined by low distortion and a linear signature even if highs can appear slightly more present than usual, in pure Cirrus-Logic tradition. The lows are deep and fast, attaining the lowest notes and sub-rumble fitted so you can reach that good old toe-tapping Oomph and, if you haven’t listened to any of the modern FiiOs, you’d be surprised to find out that the previous mid-focused signature is now gone.


In fact, the FiiO KB3 sounds almost neutral, with a good soundstage – narrower than the KA5 and KA3 though – and very good layering: with the right headphone/earphone you can spot each instrument and each singer with ease and there is no channel imbalance to ruin the experience. Boasting a superior dynamic range and a blacker background, it maintains the same level of clarity and precision, making it an ideal choice for IEM users..

Finally, but as expected, the KB3 was perfectly silent most of the time, even with sensitive IEMs like the FiiO FA7S, even if compared to my iBasso DC04Pro it’s a little more hissy especially with ultra-sensitive IEMs. With headphones though, it’s D-E-A-D silent!

Kudos to the team.


Highs: just on the spot, most of the time. The KB3 shows an ever so slight upper-mid boost, as all Cirrus-Logic DAC usually display. If that gives a sensation of precision, it can also lead to some sibilant on sensible headphones, but fortunately none of that was found on the DAC, and even when I pushed the volume up to unsafe levels, I never encountered any issue.

Good test track : Anthler – Polynation

Mids: Open and linear, as expected. Vocals and acoustic tracks were effortlessly handled by the KB3, a task made even easier when paired with a quality IEM. FiiO has consistently excelled in this aspect, and the DAC/AMP is no exception. The soundstage is expansive, with voices gliding seamlessly into my ears, particularly when paired with the FiiO FD7. The synergy between these two devices is remarkable.

Good test track: Between a smile and a tear

Bass: massive power, daunting lows. FiiO has truly mastered the low end in their recent models, with the KB3 outperforming almost all of its predecessors – apart from the KA5 – in this domain. In single-ended mode, the FiiO KB3 maintains its composure, delivering tight, responsive bass. However, going for the 4.4mm Pentaconn is where the magic happens, and if you want your lows, low, you should stick to that port.

Good test track: Orbit – Rezz




Mixing a mechanical keyboard and a DAC/AMP, the FiiO KB3, is one of the geekiest creations from the brand up to date, even surpassing the R7 streamer or the SP3 speakers. But, now that I own one, I’m now convinced that those two worlds were meant to collide and blend.

In fact, the FiiO KB3 is another great addition to the ever evolving Jade Audio range, matching the KA13 in terms of performances, and surpassing the KA2 and challenging the KA5 in terms of raw power. Sound-wise, it’s great on every level, polishing the previous formula with various enhancements like tougher lows, or a wider but sharper soundstage, helped by an ever more acute volume knob and lower residual noise. 

And if the sound prowess were not enough already, may I remind you that’s a fully mechanical keyboard, with high-quality switches and a beautiful design – if you’re okay with RGB lightning – with praise-worthy build quality, and a conception design that makes great on a tiny desktop?

So yeah, not a mandatory device if you only want a DAC/AMP – get the KA13 in that regard – but if you like funky devices, mecha keyboards and are in for iconoclast DAC, you can’t go wrong with this one. I loved it!

Pros :

  • sleek design and superb built quality
  • precise volume wheel that also work as a pause/play button
  • amazing power reserve in balanced mode
  • great sound with enhanced performances compared to the KA2/KA3
  • true mechanical keyboard prowess

Cons :

  • high mids can be a bit too pronounced
  • no sound settings available
  • no azerty yet
5/5 - (3 votes)

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.


  • Reply January 4, 2024


    In the digial brochure that advertises the keyboard it indicates that it is compatible with QMK / VIA (open source software that allows you to configure the keys and lights of the keyboard). Could you check if that was working as intended. I was uanble to make it work.

    • Reply February 12, 2024


      Hey man. I’m you future self. You sent an email to FiiO and the sent you back the json file to be able to setup the keyboard with VIA. So the keyboard is supported, don’t know if the json is already published tougth.

      Sorry for my broken english.

      • Reply February 14, 2024


        Genuinely laughed to the comment man, cheers!

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