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FiiO FD3 IEMs – Budget Sparks

FiiO FD3 IEMs – Budget Sparks

Priced at 109 USD, FiiO FD3 is a universal IEM with a large 12mm single DLC dynamic driver and a semi open design. It will be compared to iBasso iT01X (120 USD), Tin Audio T5 (130 USD), IKKO OH1 Meteor (140 USD). 

 

Introduction

After the commercial success they had with FD5, FiiO decided to try and bring some of that magic to those who are more budget oriented, and this is how FD3 took place. FiiO is a high-end company designing products in China, and their offer is wide, ranging from Bluetooth receivers, DAPs, IEMs, Headphones and more. They are known for being literally the most sold audio company in the entire world, so for best support and warranty it is fully recommended to use Amazon and local sellers. 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with FiiO. I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank FiiO for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in FiiO FD3 Earphones find their next music companion. 

 

Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/362fZtc

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3rFIXri

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3JdejLG

 

Packaging

First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:

The package of FD3 is really impressive, considering the pocket-friendly price point, and they come with a FiiO high-end carrying case, and multiple tips. I think it is best to layer the information vertically, since they have such a rich package: 

  • Vocal Ear Tips 
  • Two pairs of Foam Ear Tips 
  • Three Pairs of Silicone Balanced Ear Tips (One Already Installed) 
  • Three Pairs of Silicone Vocal Ear Tips 
  • Three Pairs of Silicone Bass Ear Tips 
  • Cleaning tool 
  • Sound Tubes
  • FiiO Key for taking out the MMCX connectors. 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

Physically, FD3 is on the slightly larger side, but fairly light at 7 grams per unit, with a large acoustic chamber to accommodate the large 12mm dynamic driver, which features a high 1.5 Tesla magnetic flux. The coating for the driver membrane is FiiO’s DLC or Diamond Like Carbon material. The part near the connector is a semi-open vent that helps alleviate driver flex, and provides a wider, more open sound. Less pressure on your ear drums would theoretically mean less bass, but not in this case, and it just means that FD3 is not fatiguing. The Acoustic Prism inherited from FD5 is fantastic at being a diffuser, and a passive filter, as we’ll see in the Sonic Quality part of today’s review. 

FiiO IEMs are always really well made, with no errors in the design, all edges match perfectly, there is no extra glue sticking from anywhere, and they are made with absolute precision. The design is also pretty cool, with a colorful faceplate, a golden ring around it, and a metallic shell. Metallic shells usually provide less distortions and better control. The 120 Cm cable is enough for most folks, and the over-the-ear wearing style is plenty comfy for all users. 

FD3 is really comfortable, despite their size, having a smooth inner part, and a nice cable. The cable is slightly tangle prone, but it does not conduct any microphonic noise, being a pleasure to use and to have with FD3. Given their 32 OHMs of impedance, along with the 111dB/mW of SPL, you would expect them to be easy to drive, and they are. I am running them at high volumes at only 90/150 on Astell & Kern SE180, and they sound really engaging. 

FD3 does not isolate very much from the outside noise, having an open design, and a passive noise isolation between 10 and 15 dB of passive noise isolation. We have very low leakage though, and I was unable to annoy my girlfriend with loud death metal, even though she was just 2 meters away from me, and I was listening at a deafening 110dB level. 

 

Sound Quality

I have used a multitude of sources for reviewing FiiO FD3, including FiiO’s own M11 Pro Music Player, but also Hiby R3PRO, iBasso DX160, Astell & Kern SE180, and FiiO BTR5 MK2. FD3 is fairly easy to drive and doesn’t require much in terms of source, but they will scale nicely with a better source. You can hear some of the magic that was present in FD5 with FD3, especially in the way FD3 is quite holographic and dynamic, engaging and punchy. FD3 sounds excellent at all volume levels, with no particular preference to being listened to loud, medium or quiet. I’ve been listening to FD3 for about two months before writing this full written review, and letting them do some burn-in, to offer them a fair chance to shine. 

The overall signature can be described as open, dynamic, vivid, engaging, clean, crisp, V-Shaped towards balanced, detailed and fun to listen to. When I was reviewing Earsonics ONYX, I noticed a really interesting presentation that has tons of textures, but presents them smoothly so that they are never fatiguing, and all music is harshness-free and enjoyable. The same can be said about the way FD3 presents music, there are lots of textures and they have good resolution, but they never get harsh, fatiguing, sibilant or metallic. The sonic character is quite wet, which means that some sounds can be on the splashy side, but they are always enjoyable and never dry or congested. FD3 can be described as fluid sounding. All of those features can be noticed in the graphs available when measuring fD3, both on FiiO’s own website, as well as other third party measurements. 

The bass of FD3 is deep, full and hits deeply. The bass has most of its energy around between 35 Hz and 50Hz, having a very satisfying thumpy sound to it. The bass is full and lush, and the whole bass area is enhanced enough to give sound good substance and warmth. You could say that the bass bleeds a bit in the midrange and colors it, giving voices some extra thickness and extra weight to certain music instruments, a presentation that works beautifully with Classical, Orchestra, EDM, Dubstep, Pop, Metal and Rock. FD3 is remarkably good with pretty much any music style, and I wouldn’t say that they lag behind with any style, even Rap and Grind sounding fun and even addictive with them. The bass speed is natural leaning slow, which has a very natural presentation for rock, emo and acoustic music, but can feel a touch slow with extremely quick synthetic music. 

The midrange of fD3 is very wide and holographic, with excellent depth as well. FD3 is a master of instrument separation and detail, along with stereo imaging, providing a really good presentation of guitars. Many years ago, the CEO of FiiO asked me about the music I was using their DAPs with, which at that point was Closure in Moscow and Dance Gavin Dance, both bands sounding amazing on FD3, especially when it comes to the overall detail they have. FD3 has a beautiful voice for both male and female voices, and for the price point they are a real best buy. There is a specific dip in the midrange, followed by a peak in the upper midrange that gives music energy and good overall detail, but which can sound unnatural with rock in particular, turning some cymbals hot. For example, Amidst The Grave’s Demons – The Swimmer sounds exactly as it should, open, wide, full and delivers good energy, dynamics and punchiness. But songs like All Time Low – A Love Like War have a hotter upper midrange and a dip in the mids where Vic Fuentes voice is a bit pushed back, and the cymbals are pushed slightly forward.

The treble of FD3 is clean, extends nicely as high as about 14kHz, after which it rolls off smoothly. They have strong treble energy, but manage to deliver a wet character treble that’s fatigue free, which can be slightly splashy at times. I still am going to recommend FD3 with most music, and at this price point they are fairly natural, most music sounding exactly as it should, open, dynamic, engaging and vivid. FD3 is musical with guitars, and has good staging, but also has a ballsy bottom end that adds impact and punch to music. Basically, the 110 USD price point defeats and replaces FiiO F9 PRO quite effectively, and is very competitive for the levels of detail and clarity it offers. FD3 has exceptionally low distortions for the price range, and can be used at extremely loud volumes without distorting. 

 

Comparisons 

FiiO FD3 IEMS vs IKKO OH1 Meteor (110 USD vs 140 USD) – Meteor is the first basshead IEM I am comparing the FD3 to, and this comparison is actually quite easy, because FD3 has more detail, and more resolution, as well as a slightly more comfortable fit and design than OH1 Meteor. The actual sound is more peppy in the treble on FD3, which has more sparkle and air, while Meteor sounds more smooth and rolled off in the treble. The Meteor also has more bass quantity, where FD3 is more fluid. Stage is wider on the Meteor, which is a fairly wide sounding IEM. Detail is better on FD3 which has more overall details. 

FiiO FD3 IEMS vs iBasso IT01X (110 USD vs 120 USD) – The Basshead IEM in IT01X stands fair ground against FD3, but the sonic differences between them are slightly lower than the design differences. IT01X is physically smaller than FD3, and has a thicker default cable than FD3. The sonics reflect the size differences, and FD3 does sound larger, has a wider soundstage, more instrument separation, and a more holographic presentation. The overall bass presentation is deeper and has more depth on It01X, but it sounds more natural on FD3, which has a more natural balance between midrange, bass and treble. Both IEMs are slightly V-Shaped, and if you need more isolation, IT01X will provide it, while if you price soundstage width more, and can afford to have some noise enter your listening experience, FD3 is wider. 

FiiO FD3 IEMS vs Tin Audio T5 (110 USD vs 130 USD) – We have two very different IEMs here, and where I liked the T3 Plus a lot, the T5 is still bright and has some of that Chifi harshness I keep mentioning in some of my reviews, but still they have plenty of detail, and a good price / performance ratio. The comfort is equal between the two, with a slight edge going to FiiO for their excellent rounded inner part on FD3. The passive noise isolation is stronger on T5. FD3 has more detail, better imaging and more instrument separation, but slightly less detail than T5. T5 sounds more detailed, but also more harsh and can be fatiguing at times, having a more dry signature, where FD3 is smoother, more fluid and less fatiguing.

 

Value and Conclusion

At the price of 110 USD, FD3 has pretty much the best package, along with one of the best details and resolutions I’ve heard to date. I like it when companies try to lower the price for a certain quality, as it helps increase the quality we’ll be getting later down the line, and it helps us, music lovers, have more fun along the way. 

FD3 is a good example of a budget IEM done really well, with a good build quality, good cable, good fit, and a detailed, fun, engaging sound that’s punchy and dynamic. 

At the end of today’s review, if you want a clean, detailed and crisp sound with good dynamics and details, if you like V-Shaped signatures and if you want a good FiiO product with excellent price / performance ratio, FiiO FD3 is a fully recommended purchase. 

 

Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/362fZtc

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3rFIXri

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3JdejLG

 



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Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_cjBXGmwSHSdGcwuc_bKbBDGHL4QvYBu

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4 Comments

  1. The Rock Man

    Super nicely written review~

  2. Antun

    Thanks a lot for the nice review! I ordered a pair for my girlfriend, hope she’ll like them

  3. Max

    Love your reviews!

  4. 詹姆斯胡

    One of the best written reviews out there, thanks a lot!!

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詹姆斯胡

George Dobrescu

Hello, and welcome to Audiophile-Heaven! I am George, the Creator of Audiophile-Heaven, and I love music! I will be sharing insights and comparisons of audio products with you. I invite you to join me in the exciting journey of discovering joy through music!!

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