FIIO FD3 PRO Review: Headbanging energic fun!

THE PLUS:
-Fun energic gently bright V shape
-headbanging thumpy bass
-dense timbre
-good notes weight
-cohesive tonality
-wide and tall soundstage
-nice male vocal
-modular cable included

THE MINUS:
-average tecnicalities
-average resolution and transparency
-bordeline shouty in rare occasion
-rolled off bass and treble
-lack of air and sparkle on top
-very tight mmcx connector
-very tight modular cable connector

TONALITY: 7.8/10
TECHNICALITIES: 7.2/10
CONSTRUCTION: 8.2/10
SOUND VALUE: 7.6/10

FIIO are a well know and respected company with a very big products catalogue. They begin with portable AMP and fastly grown into an IEM company as well as DAP and DAC-AMP maker in all price range possible.
Today I will review their FIIO FD3 PRO, which is the same IEM as FD3 but with an extra modular cable. It use a 12mm DLC (diamond like coated) diaphragm dynamic driver with intercheagable nozzle filter and is priced 140$.
As a big fan of single dynamic driver, especially DLC, let see in this review if it deliver good sound for it’s price.

CONSTRUCTION

As always, FIIO impress with packaging content and the elegant presentation. We are spoil quite alot with wide range of accessories wich include superb pelican like protective case, 10 pairs of eartips including silicone and memory foam one and the much expected modular cable with it’s 3 different jacks (2.5 and 4.4 BAL and 3.5SE). I’m always impress by what we get for our money with FIIO!

Again, it’s very rare that FIIO offer poor craftmanship and in fact, it seem they work harder than ever to offer sturdy durability yet keeping the beautifull design approach. FD3 is very beautifull IEM that doesn’t feel cheap at all, it’s all metal with very eye catching double glass back plate. The care for details is on high level here and merit applause. MMCX connector are all metal and very very thigh, to the point it can be confusing how to easily disconnect it. Thats a plus and cons at same time here but not an issue, just be carefull.While the housing is on the thick side, it’s very comfortable and will likely fit any ears shape. Unlike some other IEM with changeable nozzle filter, this one doesn’t get loose easily, which is a plus too.

Now for the upgraded cable, having a modular cable included with an affordable IEM is something very rare and this cable like the IEM seem ultra sturdy. Unlike Dunu that include a modular cable with it’S DK-2001, FIIO did include 3 type of jacks and not just one, so you’re all cover for supreme cable versatility. If i can nit pick something, it will be about how we connect the jacks, since you need to push it very thigh and their no direction help, as well, you need to screw it and I think it’s a bit of a burden. All in all, this is an excellent  8-strand 152-core Litz structure silver-plated monocrystalline copper cable that improve both sound and practicality.

SOUND IMPRESSIONS


TO NOTE: FD3 have 2 nozzle filters, stock one is balanced tuning while black one add extra treble and upper mids and fake clarity but doesn’t extend the highs or make them more sparkly, snappy or airy. Since I don’t like black filter and feel it become agressive bright, slightly sibilant and a bit unbalanced, this review is all about red filter but black filter sure add more treble energy and bite which might please treble head.

TONALITY is a well balanced and energic warmish W shape signature, with thumpy boosted mid bass, thick mids with fowards presence and upper mids and treble boost mostly focus on texture richness and high harmonic presence boost.

TIMBRE is gently bright, with condensed texture and good density, timbral balance is cohesive in a opaque way and transparency is rather non-existent.

BASS is all about weighty thumping and round heavy punch, with fast yet vibrant and thick rumble. It’s a very fun bass, with great physicality to it that had head banging excitment to bassy track. Focus is on mid bass hit, not on presence nor on definition, so if your searching clean linear extension, the FD3 is more about euphonic guilty pleasure here, so don’t expect fast ultra controlled bass neither. Warm in definition, brightish in texture and thick in body, the low end is greasy and lazy, yet higly entertaining and not overly bleedy, it’s a big hit of chunk, not very flexible in articulation as some sub line will lack this organic fluidity and acoustic bass will feel slapped instead of offering a natural resonance. Still, rumble is there and very thick and heavy, near head shaking when need, just not fully extensible in sustain-release. Think about a big sub with damping at it’s front to avoid all things in the room to shake and fall.

MIDS sit between brightish and lush, and are slightly recessed compared to mid bass and mid treble. Still, they tend to extract well both male and female vocal, male vocal being a bit more fowards and full bodied. Instrument have good texture, yet can be a bit blurry in clean definition and leaner in dynamic than higher range one. Imaging capacity isn’t the best for the mid range since their some bass bleed which benefit male vocal by adding body, as well as cello, but make busy track less accurate too. Back to female vocal, with black filter they can be sibilance, while red filter tame this but can make them sometime shouty. Energic lushness, with dense yet a bit opaque timbre and overall pleasant vocal presentation and good note weight, the mids might lack attack-sustain-release finess but still procure good musicality and full bodied experience.

TREBLE is where the FD3 puzzle me a bit, as well as it’s overall technical performance. Those are bright energic highs with softed edge in upper mids as well as brilliance region. FD3 isn’t a crisp sounding IEM, more of a crunchy one that show its speed and control limit when you go energic busy track like jazz rock band Elephant9 underline, cymbals are hint splashy but with scooped extension so it’s doesn’t feel overly harsh. Electric guitar sound nice, and with the fact bass is thumpy and male vocal pretty good, i guess FD3 will do well for lot of rock band. Violin too have nice abrasiveness and fullness, with dense body which make it realist and appealing. Extension of treble is a bit roll off, so sparkle and especially natural resonance are minimal. Timbral balance can be a bit erratic too, due to some micro-details extraction more sharply fowarded than other. All in all, those aren’t bad highs but not the most refined.

TECHNICALITIES are average and on par with similarly priced IEM like NFaudio NM2+. Attack speed is not the fastest, control lack sustain-release articulation and snap, resolution is a bit blurry-fuzzy, and extension of both end cut short.

SOUNDSTAGE is above average in term of wideness and tallness, but not very deep. It’s a big wall of sound that surround you in stereo mode.

IMAGING is rather poor especially with anything complex or bassy. Instrument separation lack well define space, positioning is very hard to achieve and layers tend to mix togheter in a thick opaque and saturated way, making the result slightly holographic but in a messy way.

COMPARISONS


VS BQEYZ AUTUMN (1DD-160$)

Tonal balance is a bit similar with those two, but FD3 is notably more boosted in mid bass and overall more V shape and bassy in it’s presentation with less well separeted bass and more fowards and energic presentation. Bass of Autumn is cleaner, better extended, more flexible and higher in definition and transparency, yet not as physical and weighty and immature than FD3. Mids are more open with the Autumn, more transparent and smooth with a timbre that is more organic and natural too. Highs are softer and more rolled off with Autumn, yet less grainy and better controlled and balanced than FD3 too. Both lack sparkle and decay and air in treble. Soundstage is about same wideness but taller and deeper with Autumn. Imaging is notably superior than FD3, especially in sound layers separation which feel opaquely compressed with FD3.
All in all, it seem to me that BQEYZ Autumn is superior in both technical performance ,like attack speed and control and harmonic distortion, as well as tonal balance which is more cohesive, relaxed and natural. Construction is more comfortable too and tuning module way better both in design and tonal tweak result.

VS MOONDROP ARIA (1x LCP DD-80$)

Thos 2 aren’t similar at all, the Aria being more U shape, colder and more neutral in it’s balance too. What hit first is how cleaner and more detailed sound the Aria, in a delicate, non agressive way compared to more energic V brightish shape of FD3. Mid range is cleaner and fuller in presence, more detailed and transparent yet not as thick and textured in timbre as FD3. Female vocal are more fowards, with better timbral balance, but male vocal are thinner yet again more clean-lean. Bass is more extended and linear with the Aria, less punchy but with cleaner rumble and more natural resonance as well as less mids bleed. Treble too, is notably more extended, crisper and sparklier. Yet, electric guitar will sound scooped with Aria and not with FD3. Highs are more abresive and agressive with FD3,while more organic liquid and brilliant with Aria. Everything technical is notably better with the Aria, which have faster more controlled attack and snap, better transparency and higher resolution, way better imaging and wider deeper soundstage.
Tough the Moondrop Aria feel from another league to my ears in both technicalities and tonal balance, its cold mature tonality (with sub bass twist) might not be as appealing as more energic and fun V shape of FD3.

CONCLUSION

The FIIO catalogue widen up with the FD3 and offer a more mainstream yet energic and fun soundsignature that is easy to love and will even perhaps blown away fans of rock due to it’s rich texture emphasis and thumpy physical bass experience.
While no master of technicalities nor the most refined and polished sounding IEM, at around 100$, the whole package you get sure offer great value.
FIIO craftmanship sure is from another league than it’s rival in this price range, and promise long durability.
If you are tired of too lean, cold, clinical or thin sounding IEM, the lush and energic bassy tonality of the FD3 will surely charm you with it’s musical immediacy that is everything but boring, yet cohesive in it’s balance. As well, if you need even brigther presentation, the extra tuning filter will deliver you this extra treble bite.
FIIO FD3 is an headbanging fun ride that will please a wide range of audio enthusiast.

——–

PS: I wanna thanks FIIO for sending me this review sample after my request as well as for being an audio company that accep critical listening review. I am not affiliated, sponsor or compensate with money for this review work. As always, those are my 100% honnest subjective sounds impressions.

You can order FIIO FD3 PRO for 140$ here:
https://www.linsoul.com/products/fiio-fd3-fd3-pro?variant=40683328241819

2 Comments

    1. Well, their 3 single DD IEM that stand apart in 50-150$ price range and they are HZsound Mirror (crisp bright neutral with excellent technicalities), Moondrop Aria (U shape to mid centric Harman tuning) and Tripowin Olina.
      for big DD, BQEYZ Autumn is great and have 13mm DD.

      Like

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