FiiO FH3 Hybrid Driver IEM Review

 

 

 

 

 

FiiO FH3 Hybrid Driver IEM Review

 

Introduction:

The FiiO FH3 is the new member of the FH series In-Ear Monitor that do offer a Hybrid Driver Configuration same like the bigger brother FH5 and FH7. The FH3 features a triple driver configuration with 2 Balanced Armature Drivers (1 x Knowles RAD-33518 + 1 x Knowles ED-30262) and 1 Dynamic Driver with a 10mm Beryllium coated diaphragm.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO for providing the FiiO FH3 as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and all these words are reflecting my true and unaltered opinions about the product.

 

Price:

The price for the FiiO FH3 is around 129,99 USD and can be purchased under the links below;

 

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The FH3 came in a black cardboard box with the product illustration and product related brandings on the top.

This box is containing the following items;

 

  • 1 pair x FiiO FH3 In-Ear Monitors
  • 1 pcs x Detachable cable with MMCX connectors
  • 9 pairs x Silicone Ear tips
  • 2 pairs x Memory Foam Ear Tips
  • 1 piece x Carry Pouch
  • 1 piece x Cleaning Brush
  • 1 piece x Warranty Card and User Manual

The FiiO FH3 came with a rich ear tips collection that includes 9 pairs of silicone ear tips, from which are 3 pairs of vocal, 3 pairs of balanced and 3 pairs of bass enhance tips. The package includes also 2 pairs of foam ear tips.

The FH3 comes also with some nice additions such like a card case, a small carry pouch with zipper that is made of fabric material and a cleaning tool/brush.

 

Design & Build Quality:

The FiiO FH3 continuous the same design language of the FH series In-Ear Monitors that do have a faceplate design that has been inspired by “Water Waves”.

The monitor housing is in black color that is made of aerospace-grade aluminum-magnesium alloy, shaped by five-axis CNC machining.

The craftsmanship of the monitor shells is of high quality, which doesn’t show any imperfections like burrs or gaps.

On the top of the monitor housing is the MMCX (Micro Miniature Coaxial) female connectors with left and right color indicators, which is in blue for left and red for the right connector.

Here is also a small bass vent that is located near the MMCX connector on each monitor housing.

On rear body of the monitor housing is a second small vent, L (left) and R (Right) markings together and the sound nozzle that has a fine metal mesh on the top to prevent the insertion of dust and ear wax.

The FiiO FH3 came with the same 3.5mm single-ended detachable cable that we have seen with previous FA and FH Series In-Ear Monitors, which is a cable that is made of high-purity monocrystalline silver-plated copper wire and that features an environmentally-friendly TPU coating.

The insulation material makes the cable a bit too stiff and shows also some low amount of microphonic effect.

The MMCX male connectors do have transparent housing and do features right (red) and left (blue) color indicators in form of a right.

The cable features also transparent ear guide that are located near the connector.

The cable sport also a FiiO branded Y splitter and chin slider made of the same metal material expect a small plastic part on the splitter.

The 3.5mm single ended (unbalanced) headphone jack has also a high quality craftsmanship and sports a grey metal housing with L angled profile in the same color as the monitor housing.

 

 

 

Fit/Comfort & Isolation:

The FiiO FH3 has nice ergonomic monitor shape which offers a comfortable listening experience, even after long periods that didn’t have hurt my ears with an average ear concha.

The noise isolation on the other hand is on an average level, which is efficient enough for the use it in fairly noise environments such as metro, bus or train, while it is not suitable for the use on the stage.

 

 

Drivability:

The FiiO FH3 has pretty low impedance of 24 Ω (Ohm) and a sensitivity of 114 dB/mW that makes it to a quite easy to drive In-Ear Monitor. This makes it to an ideal IEM for the use with portable sources that do have a relative weak amplification such as Smartphone’s, Tablets, etc.

 

 

Remarkable Features:

A) 10mm Beryllium Plated/Coated Diaphragm:

The FiiO FH3 comes with a 10mm diamter beryllium-plated/coated diaphragm dynamic driver that was specifically chosen for its superior acoustic properties. The beryllium-plated diaphragm is not only light and thin but is also extremely rigid, allowing for thunderous yet lightning quick, responsive and dynamic bass.

 

B) 2x Knowles BA drivers:

The high and ultra-high frequencies are handled by 1x Knowles RAD-33518 Balanced Armature Driver, while the midrange is produced by 1 x Knowles ED-30262 Balanced driver.

 

C) S.TURBO Technology:

The FiiO FH3 features the same patented S.TURBO Technology that we have seen on previous FH series In-Ear Monitors. The relative long and smooth turbine-inspired sound tubes do effectively filter unwanted high frequencies, giving one deeper and harder-hitting bass after it is combined with FiiO’s patented S.TURBO acoustic design. FH3 utilizes also FiiO’s patented balanced pressure relief technology, carefully designed to ensure that the air pressure in the front and rear chambers is balanced.

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • Driver Configuration   : Hybrid Driver Configuration
  • Driver type                 : 1 x 10mm Diameter Beryllium Plated DD + 2 x Knowles BA Drivers
  • Frequency response  : 10Hz ~ 40kHz
  • Sensitivity                   : 114 dB/mW
  • Impedance                 : 24 Ω
  • Plug                            : 3.5mm gold-plated L-shaped plug jack
  • Connector type          : MMCX Connector
  • Cord length                 : 120cm
  • Wearing type              : Over the Ear

 

 

Sources used for this review:
  • IEM                             : FiiO FH3, Ikko OH1 and Shozy Neo CP
  • DAP/DAC/AMP         : FiiO M6, FiiO M11 PRO, FiiO Q3

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • London Grammar – Interlud (Live) (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Spotify)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The FiiO FH3 is full bodied and entertaining sounding In-Ear Monitor with a deep and strong subbass character and fairly balanced midbass tuning. The midrange is slightly recessed but offers a good amount of clarity and upper midrange extension, while the treble range sounds silky smooth, forgiving and quite musical.

The 10mm diameter beryllium coated dynamic driver is responsible for the lower frequency production of the FH3 which shows good performance in terms of tonality and intensity.

The focal point of the lower frequency region is the subbass, which is highlighted and dominant in this area. The subbass shows a warm, bold, full-bodied and soft tonality, while performance in terms of depth and intensity is successful due to the well tuned dynamic driver. The extension and depth is pretty impressive with a wide variety of genres, from electronic music up to more complex genres like metal and jazz music.

The midbass region of the FH3 is less highlighted/dominant compared to the subbass area and shows in general a balanced and controlled character. The midbass shows an average level of impact and intensity, while the speed and tightness is quite sufficient for most genres.

Instruments like cross drums and trumpets do show a pretty strong bass intensity and good level of speed, while I do recommend you to pair the FH3 with neutral/close to neutral sources.

The FiiO FH3 has a musical, smooth and emotional midrange presentation with average transparency. The midrange is slightly less highlighted compared to the bass and shows a warmish tonality.

The lower midrange shows a moderate fullness with good amount of depth and extension. Male vocals do sound musical, slightly colored and fairly transparent, which makes them pleasant to listen to. The upper midrange on the other hand is nicely pronounced up to the 2 kHz range, which makes the female vocal presentation smooth, fairly detailed and transparent, without to sound harsh or sibilant. The general female vocal presentation of the FH3 can be described as pretty smooth and fatigue free.

FiiO FH3 offers a fairly natural placement of instruments, while the separation is on a moderate level due to the strong subbass presence. The FH3 sounds quite successful with instruments like bass guitars violas and drums, while pianos and violins do show an average level of extension due to general upper midrange character.

The general instrument presentation of the FiiO FH3 can be describes as warmish, soft and emotional which makes them pretty enjoyable for long listening periods.

The upper midrange transitions of the FH3 are controlled, the extension is slightly short, while the level of airiness in this area is on a moderate level.

The treble range of the FiiO FH3 is mildly emphasized, silky smooth with a focal point in the lower treble region. The upper treble region shows an audible roll-off which makes the general treble presentation pretty soft and forgiving. The airiness and sparkle that is produced in this area is on an efficient level that will be suitable for a wide varity of music genres. (last edit 03.12.2020) 

The soundstage of the FiiO FH3 offers a sufficient expansion for a fairly precise placement of instruments and vocals. The stage has an moderate level of wideness, with slightly better level of depth.

 

 

 

Comparisons:

Fiio FH3 versus Ikko OH1:

Both the FiiO FH3 and the Ikko OH1 do have a musical and entertaining V shaped sound signature with emphasis towards the lower frequency regions. The FiiO FH3 shows more subbass depth, intensity and extension, while Ikko OH1 has the upper hand when it comes to the midbass quantity and impact/slam effect.

The midrange of both In-Ear Monitors is slightly recessed due to the V shaped sound signature, while the FH3 shows slightly more clarity. The Ikko OH1 is more successful with male vocals because of its lower midrange tuning that shows more depth and fullness. The FiiO FH3 has the edge when it comes to the female vocal performance that due to the additional upper midrange intensity and detail retrieval.

The upper midrange and treble region of both the FiiO FH3 and Ikko OH1 sounds pretty controlled and fatigue free, while the FH3 offers slightly better level of airiness, detail retrieval and extension.

Both IEM’s are successful in terms of soundstage performance. The main difference is that the FiiO FH3 has the slightly edge in terms of soundstage wideness, while the both are pretty similar when it comes to the depth.

 

 

 

FiiO FH3 versus Shozy Neo CP:

The Shozy Neo CP has a slightly warmer than neutral tonality with a fairly upfront midrange presentation and that is in general pretty musical and detailed in its presentation.

The FiiO FH3 has the upper hand in terms of lower frequency response. The bass of the FH3 offers more intensity, depth and extension, especially in the subbass region, while the Neo CP shows a more linear bass response with slightly better level of midbass speed, decay and quantity.

The Shozy Neo CP has a more upfront positioned midrange presentation that makes it slightly more detailed and transparent in this area, while the FiiO FH3 sounds fuller and a bit warmer. The lower midrange of the FH3 shows more depth and fullness which makes it more successful with male vocals, while the Neo CP has a more pronounced and clear upper midrange tuning which is an advantage for the female vocal presentation.

Both In-Ear Monitors do have a forgiving and fatigue free upper midrange and treble presentation. The treble range of the FiiO FH3 is slightly more pronounced and detailed compared to the Shozy Neo CP.

The soundstage of the FiiO FH3 shows a bit more depth compared to the Shozy Neo CP, which has a slightly advantage in terms of soundstage wideness.

 

 

Conclusion:

The FiiO FH3 is the latest member of the FH series Hybrid In-Ear Monitors with a 2 BA+1 DD Triple Driver Configuration that is protected with a very esthetical and robust aluminum alloy monitor shell. However, the most important part is the sound performance of the FH3 that stands out especially for its price. It offers an entertaining yet fairly detailed sound tuning thanks to its great subbass response, a slightly recessed but pretty airy & transparent midrange character, and a treble tuning, which shows a silky smooth and easy to listen to presentation.

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Subbass Depth and Control
  • + Silky Smooth Treble Character
  • + Overall Timbre
  • + Beautiful Design, Good Comfort & Robust Build Quality
  • + Rich Accessory Package

 

  • – Slightly Roll-Off in the Lower Treble Region
  • – Soundstage Wideness
  • – Cable is a bit Stiff

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “FiiO FH3 Hybrid Driver IEM Review”

  1. Hello, i am not an audiophile and do not have many knowledge about it. I am using earphone which comes with phones so i need your recommendations. I watch some reviews of Fiio fh3 and reviewers highly recommend it. I also read your review and i’am a little bit confused. I listen different genres like metal, electronic and darkwave. For instance someday i listen death metal bands like dying fetus, cattle decapitaton and misery index but also another day i listen aphex twin and she past away. Should i buy fiio fh3? The price of it 1500 turkish liras and it is not cheap for me. I have only one shot and i dont wanna miss it. 🙂 If fhe is not proper for me, i am open to other iem recommendations. Max limit of my budget is 1500 turkish liras, it equals to 130 usd i guess when take into account tax and shipping fees. Thank you.

    1. Hello Batuhan,
      yes, I have written that it is not an ideal IEM for metal music, while this is the case if you listen mainly to sub genres like Progressive Metal and maybe Trash metal that do need in my opinio slightly more treble sharpness. However, since you want to listen to a wide variety of genres including Death Metal, the sliky smooth treble response of the FH3 is quite suitable for you. Cheers!

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