FiiO SP3 Review


Sound performance

For the purpose of this review, I used the Astell&Kern CA1000T, the FiiO KA5 and the Bluesound Node X as source. All files were streamed from Spotify and Apple Music, in Hi-Res when available, and my own catalog.

Overall signature

Ok, let me spoil it for you: for a first draft, the SP3s are particularly impressive. Sure, there are drawbacks – we’re talking active speakers under $400 – but for me, the pros clearly outweigh the cons. 

Let’s begin with the flaws then, or THE flaw in my opinion: the lack of sub. Sure, you can’t expect a 40W speaker to perform like a floorstanding speaker, but Devialet and KEF kinda spoiled me over the years – I still find the little Phantom II amazing in this regard. AND, there’s no subwoofer out, which mean that the only option you have to add some weight to your sound, is to connect a soundcard with a sub-out, like the Creative X-Fi we got last time.


But, apart of that, sonically speaking, it’s hard not to like the default signature of the FiiO SP3. Everything is perfectly balanced, from 100Hz to 20kHz, and you can hear all the work done by the brand’s engineers on the filtering, with the crossover frequency perfectly adapted to the speaker’s topology. I’ve never had the impression that the treble took precedence over the midrange, even when playing very hard tracks, or bad-mixed ones.

The real feat here remains the tweeter though. With just 60cm of separation between the two of them on my desk, the small SP3 were able to produce an impressive soundstage, with a great “phantom speaker” in the middle. No need to turn them towards you, even oriented straight the speakers achieved wonderful results in that regard. I listened to Sound And Vision from David Bowie and even compared to my KEF LSX II – my reference in terms of small active speakers – set at the same listening volume, the FiiO won my preference.


Of course, if budget isn’t an option, get the LSX. But if you’re in the $300 bracket, the SP3 might be one of the best solution out there – at the moment. It’s a FiiO speaker overall, with the same quality found on their players :  vibrant voices, clear highs and most of all, that little touch of fun that make FiiO one of my favorite audiophile brand..

Dynamic is very good, even more, if you use high-end sources like I did – I even preferred the Node X to the CA1000T in that regards – and unless you reach top volume, you’ll never hear a shred of distortion. Paired with those two sources, the voices were natural, poised, and I could easily pinpoint each of them in the space. In addition to that, you get an excellent layering and left/right pan are delightful to listen to, even after a few hours of listening.

A nice surprise, showing once again the talent of the brand. Heavy fare never gave the SP3 any trouble – even if to be fair, there are better options – whether it was electro, jazz, classical or even rock tracks, everything seemed spotless, or almost. Kudos to the team!



Highs: clean and delightful. FiiO has made its mark, and it shows: the silk tweeter operates brilliantly, and even with the basic settings, I found them deeply impressive in this respect. Even compared to higher end model, the small SP3s remain truly impressive. 

Track : I Saw the Light – Todd Rundgren

Mids: great layering and good dynamic. Voices have always been good on FiiO players, and the SP3 are no exception to the rule. This is especially true with classic jams like the Beatles or Paul Simon, who love the smooth mids. Pair them with a good source, and the FiiO will reward you 10 times fold. 

Track : Wanderer – Mogli

Lows: lightweight. You won’t get the FiiO SP3 for the lows, and that’s a shame as you can get some really good low-mids when put against a wall, thanks to the bass-reflex. Still, if you expect them to match Neuman, Yamaha or even Triangle, you might be disappointed. Otherwise, you might get accustomed to the sound signature overtime

Tracks : Way down we go – Kaleo



Out of curiosity, I also compared them to various speakers, equally sized, but not always equally priced, since I do own a fair bit of them:

  • KEF LSX II: in terms of sheer power, subs and soundstage, the KEF remain a good step above the FiiO – which was to be expected. Add to that an extensive I/O, and the ability to link the two speakers wirelessly and the LSX II easily outperforms the SP3 in almost every aspect. But, once on my desk and volume matched, I tend to prefer the FiiO… the cleanliness of the highs, their small form-factor and the overall signature, everything concurred to seduce me. How? 
  • Sonos ERA 100: the new Sonos recently replaced some of my One at the house, thanks to their extended low range and dual tweeter system. On my desk, a pair of ERA 100 output a crazy wide soundstage, but head to head with the FiiO SP3, it immediately felt artificial, almost chemical. That said, the bass of the Sonos is a world above what FiiO has to offer and in my multi-room setup, I’d never exchange the ERA100, for the SP3.
  • Devialet Phantom II: the “bass monster”. There’s almost no other speaker as potent as the Phantom in terms of power in this size range and if you want explosive bass, without a sub, this is the one to get. That said, those speakers definitely lacks of finesse and if what you seek is great voice positioning, or wide soundstage, a set of FiiO SP3 will outperform a pair of Phantom II any day of the year – at almost 1/10th of the price.


Noise and power

Noise: like many active speakers, the FiiO SP3 exhibits a slight level of noise when no music is playing. The good news is that noise levels do not increase with volume and even with the volume knob turn on to the max, only a faint ‘sshhh’ could be heard. Bad news, there is noise.

Power: those are not deafening speakers by any means – even compared to the similarly sized Sonos One – but up to 70% of their maximum power, the result is quite impressive. From 70 up to 80, you’ll begin to feel some distortion, but nothing alarming either – and this is already above safety levels on a daily basis. From 80 to 100% though, a clean source will be mandatory, otherwise you’ll experience some bloated lows.



For a first step into the world of loudspeakers, the FiiO SP3 is an unexpected success. 

Exceptionally well-built, compact, easy to setup and sound efficient, those speakers fall directly in-line with the rest of the chinese brand’s catalog. The perfect companion of the FiiO R7, but you could even pair them with a small DAP or a computer via a small DAC like the KA5. Of course, they won’t dethrone a set of KEF LSXs or a pair of Genelec 8010APs, but for the price and their contained size, it’s hard to be more demanding. At my office, paired with a good source (in my case the A&K CA1000T), those two small box have been the perfect companion for the past few weeks now – to my own surprise.

My only regret? The absence of a subwoofer output – a must for all small speakers in my opinion – for those who might need a little more bass, as the speakers stop at 80Hz in practice.  But apart of that, if you just want a pair of versatile, compact active speakers on the cheap, and don’t want to end up with those cheap looking plastic PC speakers, I can wholeheartedly recommend the FiiO SP3. Damn FiiO, what can’t you do now…


  • excellent mids and highs
  • spacious soundstage with great positioning
  • clean sound at (almost) every sound level
  • impressive build quality and small form factor
  • versatile and easy to use


  • lack of bass extension
  • no subwoofer output
  • distortion at (very) high volume
5/5 - (2 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 June 22, 2023


    If these were meant to pair with the R7, couldn’t you just run one off one of the other outputs on the unit?

  • Reply August 1, 2023


    Is there a difference in which speaker is left and which right? Because that is mentioned on the back of the speakers. But that doesn’t really matter, or does it?

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