FiiO EH3 NC BT Headphone Review
FiiO EH3 BT Headphone Review
The FiiO EH3 NC is the first Over-Ear BT Headphone of the company and also its first Headphone that works both Wireless and Wired. The EH3 NC comes with the Qualcomm CSR8675 SoC and features the so called ADI noise cancellation technology and has a 45mm diameter double-sided titanium plated diaphragm.
- FiiO Product Page: https://www.fiio.com/eh3nc
The FiiO EH3 NC was provided to me by the company FiiO for review purposes. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.
The MSRP price for the FiiO EH3 NC is 169,99 USD and can be purchased from the links below;
Package and Accessories:
The FiiO EH3 NC comes in a black box which is wrapped with a cardboard that shows the illustration of the product.
This box contains the following items;
- 1 pair x FiiO EH3 NC BT Headphone
- 1 pair x Storage Case with Zipper
- 1 piece x USB Type-C Cable
- 1 piece x 3.5mm to 3.5mm Headphone Cable
- 1 piece x User Manual
The EH3 NC was put in to a protective storage case made of Faux Leather in black color which has the FiiO brand logo on the top.
The inner surface of the storage bag has a fabric cover/coating and an ear-cup separator. At the rear side of the storage case is a back pouch which is a nice addition.
The EN3 NC comes with a USB Type-C data/charging cable and 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable that allows you to use it also in wired mode.
The Design, Build Quality, Comfort:
The EH3 NC is the first product of the company in the Headphone Category and offers an Over the Ear wearing experience with a closed back design. The overall build quality of the headphone is pretty solid without to show any imperfections like gaps and annoying cracks when you bend the headband.
The outer shell of the ear cups and the ear-cup holders are made of plastic material which is in mat grey color.
Each ear-cup features a stylish looking 2.5D glass panel with carbon fiber texture that shimmers in bluish color from certain light angles.
The left ear-cup features the USB Type-C charging and data port and two microphone for the Active Noise Cancellation feature.
The right ear-cup features the multifunctional control buttons and ANC On/Off switch and power on/off button.
Here is also the 3.5mm headphone input (AUX) and a two microphones for NAC and Voice Commands (Siri, Google Now, etc.) /Conversation.
The on the front of the right ear-cup are 5 status indicators that light up in blue or red variations to show you the actual the battery status, the Bluetooth Code and Pairing mode.
The top of the headband has a pretty soft padding with a Pleather (Protein Leather) coating that has a nice touch surface.
The headband holders have chrome finish while the left one shows the Hi-Res Audio & Hi-Res Audio Wireless and the right one the FiiO Brand Logo.
The earpads of the FiiO EHC3 are removable while the standard pads have a soft pleather surface. The EH3 NC has also breathable mesh earpads that are sold separately/optional.
The headband size adjusting mechanism is showing the size of the headband with numbers which makes a more precise adjustment possible.
Inside the ear-cups and the near the folding mechanism are left and right markings.
The EH3 is a fairly lightweight Wireless Headphone thanks to the compact design and the use of plastic material. The folding mechanism on the headbands does make the FiiO EH3 NC also to a pretty portable headphone that can be easily carry on the go in your backpack.
The clamping force of the headband and the soft/cozy earpads do make the EH3 NC to a pretty comfy headphone for longer listening periods while the pleather earpads could maybe get hot in warmer temperatures in summer.
|Bluetooth Transmission Frequency||2.4G～2.48G|
|Bluetooth Transmission Power||Class 2|
|Bluetooth Audio Codec’s Supported||Supports SBC/AAC/aptX/aptX-HD/aptX low latency|
|BT Music Play Time||50H|
|BT+ANC Battery Life||30H|
|Battery||1000mAh, lithium polymer battery|
|Driver||45mm titanium-plated diaphragm|
|ANC IC Solution||ADI1777|
|ANC Design||Feed forward (FF) + feedback (FB) hybrid|
|ANC Performance||30+/-5 dB|
|Noise Frequencies Cancelled||80Hz-20KHz (passive + active noise cancelling)|
Active Noise Cancellation:
The FiiO EH3 NC features the so called ADI noise cancelling feature for Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) , which works in conjunction with a 2-way, 4-microphone array altogether in a feed forward hybrid active noise-cancelling design. The 4 microphones do pick up the ambient noise which the DSP chip do analyze to emit a reverse signal to cancel out the noise through destructive interference.
The passive noise cancellation of the FiiO EH3 NC is mediocre due to the pretty soft earpads which are very comfortable but do offer less isolation.
When it comes to the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), I can say that the “Cabin Pressure Effect” is pretty low which is a good attribute in my opinion, while the Noise Cancellation performance is on an average level compared to the Sony WH-1000 XM2 that I had tested last year in an Audio Store.
The FiiO EH3 NC has a build-in battery with a capacity of 1000 mAh that should offer a standby time of 1000 Hours which means approx. 41 days. This sounds pretty impressive on paper but I couldn’t test this during my review, which I plan to update later.
The playtime in BT mode without ANC on is around 45 Hours with LDAC connection, while the result with ANC on was approx. between 26 -27 hours that outperforms many competitors.
A fully charge took about 2.5 – 3 hours over the USB out of my PC.
The charging time takes about 1.5 hours while the standby time of each module is about 180 hours according to FiiO official specs that sounds pretty good on paper.
Even if EH3 NC run out of power, you can keep listening when connected through the included 3.5mm cable to your phone/player.
Pairing, Navigation, Signal Strength/Latency & Call Quality:
The pairing of the FiiO EH3 NC with a source like a Smartphone, Tablet, DAP, PC, etc. was pretty easy for which you can find a detailed description in the user manual. Once you have pair the EH3 NC with a source the next pairing action will be done automatically, you only need to power on your EH3 NC.
The multifunctional buttons are fairly responsive and easy to navigate after the use of a couple of hours.
You can also pair the EH3 NC with other compatible devices with just a simple tap by using the NFC wireless short-range communication protocol which is a nice addition.
The operating distance of the FiiO EH3 NC is approx. 10 meters and is quite stable even If your source (phone, tablet, etc.) is behind two walls in another room.
The call quality paired with my Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus was on an average level, while the Voice Assistant feature for Android and iOS devices by double press the multifunctional button is a useful extra feature.
The FiiO EH3 NC is a great performer in terms of BT latency while watching to TV Shows or to Movies on my PC or Galaxy S9 Plus. A BT latency was not noticeable!
Some Key Features:
a) Driver Configuration:
The FiiO EH3 NC features a pretty large 45mm diameter driver with double-sided titanium-plated diaphragm which is a larger driver than regular Wireless Bluetooth Headphones that do have 40mm diameter drivers such like the Sony WH1000 XM3 or Bose QuietComfort35 II.
b) Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth 5.0 chip:
With the built-in Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth chip, the EH3 NC is able to support for Bluetooth 5.0 and SBC/AAC/aptX/aptX LL/aptX HD/LDAC audio codecs.
c) USB DAC:
The USB Type-C interface of the FiiO EH3 NC gives you the ability to use the internal DAC Chip of the Headphone that will be activated If you connect it for example to your PC via the USB Type-C to USB A Data cable or with a OTG adaptor to your Smartphone which is a nice addition.
d) NFC Pairing:
The FiiO EH3 NC can be paired to other compatible devices with just a simple tap using the NFC wireless short-range communication protocol which is a pretty usable feature.
f) FiiO Music Application:
The FiiO Music APP does allow you to remotely control the EH3 NC. You can fine-tune the EQ settings, adjust the indicator lights, see the battery status and Bluetooth codec or activate the power-saving mode or auto shutdown timer.
Equipment’s used for this review:
- Headphones : FiiO EH3 NC
- Paired Sources : FiiO M11 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S9+, Asus TUF DU505 Gaming PC
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- George Harrison – Love Comes to Everyone (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Elton John – Sacrifice (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – China Girl (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Live) (Spotify)
- B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- London Grammar – Interlude (Live) (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Photek – Hidden Camera (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSF) – Binaural Recording
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Tom Player – Resonace Theory (16bit/44.1kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kbps)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Opeth – Damnation (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
The FiiO EH3 NC has a very safely tuned sound character with a linear bass response that shows good impact in the midbass region, it has a midrange that is musical and quite forward while the highs are focused to the upper treble range that extends pretty well in this area.
PS: My sound impressions bellow are based on a listening experience in BT mode with ANC Off. The FiiO EH3 NC sounds nasal and slightly unnatural when you activate the ANC feature, which can maybe solved with a future FW update.
The general bass character of the FiiO EH3 NC is pretty liner with focus to the midbass region that shows more intensity compared to the subbass area.
The subbas of the EH3 NC is fairly neutral tuned and doesn’t feel overwhelming in the general sound presentation. It shows an average depth and pretty good rumble for example in Lorde’s “Royals” or Massive Attacks “Angle” without to sound overpowered.
The midbass shows more intensity compared next to the subbass and has good impact with minimal bleed in to the midrange. What I really like about the bass character of the EH3 NC is the level of clarity. Yes, it doesn’t shows the most audiophile grade of layering, but still, transparent, entertaining & pleasant with most track I have listen to. I think that the overall bass quantity will satisfy most listeners with exception of bass-heads.
The bass speed on the other hand is on a moderate level while the transitions to the midrange are pretty controlled without to shows any remarkable muddiness or mixings.
Instruments like acoustic guitars or the contrabass are fairly detailed and pleasant to listen to.
The midrange of the FiiO EH3 NC is quite highlighted and has a pretty forward, warm and musical tonality. It is not a monster in terms of midrange detail retrieval, but shows enough detail to satisfy me as a BT Headphone in this price range.
The lower midrange of the EH3 NC has good body and depth that makes male vocals very pleasant to listen to. The lower midrange is fairly transparent and detailed that I enjoyed while I listen to David Bowie’s song “China Girl” or Elton John’s “Sacrifice”.
The upper midrange was smooth, fatigue and sibilance free while listen to female vocals like Diana Krall who spells the “S” very accented.
The instrument tonality of pianos and the contrabass is in general warm, emotional and musical. Other instruments such like guitars or synthesizer in George Harrison’s “Love Comes to Everyone” are lively and entertaining and do show a moderate level of extension.
The general midrange performance of the FiiO EH3 NC is pretty good in my opinion for a BT Headphones with a price tag below the 200 USD mark.
Upper Midrange & Treble:
The FiiO EH3 NC has a safely tuned upper midrange and treble presentation. The upper midrange is smooth and fatigue free with average level of detail and extension, while there is audible strong roll-off which did affect the performance in terms of extension and detail retrieval of the lower treble range.
The upper treble range of the EH3 NC is more detailed and has a better level of extension compared to the lower treble that is affected by the roll-off. The upper treble range do add airiness and sparkle to the overall presentation without to show negative effects like sibilance or sharpness.
Treble intensive instruments like Hi-hats do come a bit from the background, while crash or ride cymbals are more pronounced and do show a better level of extension thanks to the upper treble tuning.
In short, the treble performance of the EH3 NC is in general pretty good with exception of the roll-off in the lower treble region.
The FiiO EH3 NC performs is quite ok for a closed back Wireless Headphone in terms of soundstage presentation. The soundstage shows more depth compared to its wideness that is on an average level.
The FiiO EH3 NC is a pretty affordable closed-back BT Headphone with a safely tuned fatigue free sound signature, which offers a comfortable wearing experience and lots of features like Excellent Battery Life, USB DAC Audio, Hi-Res Bluetooth Codecs, ANC and more.
Pros & Cons:
- + Fatigue Free & Musical Presentation
- + Comfort and Features
- + Excellent Battery Life
- + No BT Latency / Good Signal Strength
- – Lower Treble Roll-Off
- – Sound Performance with ANC On (Can maybe solved with a future FW Update)