FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

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FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

The FiiO FT3 open circumaural headphones present a fascinating blend of advanced specifications that promise an exceptional audio experience. These headphones have been meticulously designed to cater to audiophiles and music enthusiasts who crave precise sound reproduction and a deep bass response.

One of the standout features of the FiiO FT3 headphones is the integration of 350-ohm dynamic drivers with diamond-like diaphragms. These diaphragms are crafted with Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) material, which is known for its exceptional rigidity and low mass. This translates to more accurate sound reproduction, reduced distortion, and improved overall clarity across the frequency range.

The size of the dynamic drivers is also impressive, measuring 60 mm in diameter. This larger driver size allows for better control over the airflow and sound pressure, resulting in a more immersive listening experience. 

The FiiO FT3 headphones also come with a modular monocrystalline copper cable from the renowned Furukawa brand. Monocrystalline copper is valued for its high conductivity and low resistance, which can help in minimizing signal loss and preserving the audio quality during transmission. 

FiiO FT3 Dynamic High-Res Over-Ear Headphones
  • Large Dynamic High-Res Over-Ear Headphones 60mm, with large dynamic driver
  • Beryllium-plated gasket + DLC diaphragm 350Ω high impedance
  • Asymmetric internal and external magnetic circuit system
  • Aluminium alloy construction with Furukawa monocrystalline copper cable
  • 3-Axis Swivelling Design with Angled Placement for Drivers

With a price tag of $299 on Amazon, the FiiO FT3 headphones position themselves as a premium option for audiophiles seeking a high-quality listening experience. Whether you’re an audio professional or simply a music enthusiast, these headphones offer a combination of advanced technology and thoughtful design to immerse you in your favorite tracks.

FiiO FT3: Video Review

SpecsFiiO FT3
Drivers60mm Dynamic Driver / Open-Back
Impedance350 ohms
Frequency response7Hz - 40kHz
Sensitivity105 dB
Active noise cancellationNo
ConnectivityWired, 3.5mm, 4.4mm, 6.3mm, XLR-4
Cable length3m/10 feet
Diaphragm MaterialBeryllium-plated Gasket + DLC Diaphragm
Weight391g (without cable)
ColorBlack

Package

The FiiO FT3 headphones come with a comprehensive set of accessories that enhance their usability and cater to the needs of discerning audiophiles. 

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

The extensive accessory set comprises:

  • Modular Cable with a Band (Approx. 300 cm)
  • 3.5mm and 4.4mm Plugs
  • XLR Adapter > 4.4mm
  • Adapter 6.35mm > 3.5mm
  • Alternative Hybrid Earmuffs
  • Case
  • Headphone Bag
  • Manual User Instructions.

The quality of these accessories is apparent in the attention to detail and the choice of materials. The stiffened case, for example, exudes durability and showcases a discreet, robust zipper and a comfortable handle for easy portability. Within the case, a cable tie and detachable organizer for accessories add to the overall convenience.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

A noteworthy detail about the included cable is that it features a conductor from Furukawa, a renowned brand in the field. Interestingly, the production of this conductor concluded in 2013, and FiiO managed to acquire the remaining stock. This unique conductor lends the headphones a touch of exclusivity, as its availability is limited. While the initial supply is projected to be sufficient for around 5,000 headphone units, FiiO plans to transition to an alternative conductor after this initial batch, ensuring the consistent high quality of their product.

Design

The FiiO FT3 headphones strike a balance between impressive build quality and design choices that might leave some questioning their aesthetic appeal. The positives start with the exceptional construction, where anodized and solid aluminum take center stage, forming the foundation for both the headphone housings and the headband. The use of “velour” for the earmuffs and headband maintains the high standard, while the leather-like elements adorning the top of the headband and headband rails add a touch of elegance. Every component is meticulously fitted and securely fastened at crucial points, ensuring durability.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

On the design front, the FT3 opts for a distinct look. The subdued color palette and the classic round housing design, complemented by a suspended headband, exude a timeless charm. However, the introduction of grilles that resemble shurikens, aluminum rims, or circular saw blades can be considered a deviation from the conventional audiophile or music lover aesthetic, leaning more towards a “gaming” vibe. It’s a subjective aspect, and opinions may vary. 

The headphones also feature the FiiO logo against a grooved background and standard 3.5 mm jacks on the housing. These jacks are accompanied by small channel markings, allowing for easy identification. Notably, the earmuffs feature thin meshes encircling them, adorned with elastic sponge-filled donuts. The transducers themselves are ergonomically angled and enclosed with rosette-style casings, contributing to both comfort and acoustic performance.

Perhaps the most attention-grabbing aspect of the headphones is the thick, flexible cable. This cable boasts a smooth-touch braid, revealing the presence of twisted veins beneath. The metal components, including the 3.5 mm plugs and the sizable splitter, have been intricately milled, enhancing their visual appeal. The modular plug, reminiscent of FiiO’s in-ear headphones, holds a four-pin connector and serves as a conduit for threaded cartridges from the set, further adding to the versatility of the headphones.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

Regarding adjustability, the sling-shaped fork allows vertical and lateral movement of the earcups. However, there are limitations, as the headphones can’t be folded flat or have their earcups turned outwards. Notably, springs have been incorporated to automatically align the shells along the up-down plane (horizontal axis). The metal rails of the headband are sheathed in artificial leather, which is both welded and stitched along the edges.

Ergonomics 

When it comes to the ergonomics of the FiiO FT3 headphones, there’s little room for significant complaints. These headphones excel in providing a secure and comfortable fit that caters to extended listening sessions. The design considerations for user comfort are evident, and several aspects contribute to this positive experience.

Upon wearing the headphones, it’s noticeable that they securely hold onto your head, preventing discomfort caused by excessive pressure. The headband strikes a balance by avoiding any crushing sensation on your jawline, while also encircling your head comfortably without constricting the crown. The tension of the headband is finely tuned to maintain optimal fit without necessitating frequent adjustments, translating into a user-friendly experience that requires minimal attention.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

One of the standout qualities of the FT3 in terms of comfort is its weight distribution. However, it’s worth mentioning that these headphones lean towards the heavier side, weighing 391 grams, which places them in the range of planar headphones. While their weight doesn’t compromise comfort, it’s a factor to consider, especially during extended usage.

A noteworthy aspect concerning comfort is the ear cup design. The inner diameter of the ear cups is approximately 5.5 cm. This size can occasionally lead to contact between the ear cups and the ears, which might be a concern for individuals with larger ears.

The cable, a crucial component in the listening experience, is thoughtfully crafted. It’s not only heavy but also has a smooth and flowing quality that allows it to drape elegantly. The use of universal 3.5 mm plugs aligns with industry standards, similar to those found on HiFiMAN products. The inclusion of modular cartridges and adapters, particularly the 4-pin XLR adapter, enhances the headphone’s versatility. However, one potential drawback lies in the cable’s length, which spans three meters. This extensive cable length could potentially lead to inconvenience, especially when used with portable setups.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

A key advantage of the FT3 headphones lies in their interchangeable earmuffs. These additional earmuffs can be effortlessly swapped out thanks to their secure attachment mechanism. The latches, though initially tricky to work with, snap into place satisfyingly once you master the technique. The earmuffs are designed to align perfectly with the edges of the ear cups, thanks to a layer of foam that ensures snug adhesion.

Sound quality

The sound profile of the FiiO FT3 headphones is significantly influenced by the type of ear muffs you use, and this becomes particularly evident when transitioning between the velour and hybrid pads. To delve into the auditory experience, we’ll begin by discussing the sound with the pre-installed velour ear muffs.

FiiO FT3 – Sound with Velor Earmuffs

At first glance, the futuristic design and substantial driver size might suggest a heavily bass-boosted sound signature, but the FT3 headphones take a more balanced approach. Contrary to typical consumer tuning, the sound signature is characterized by tonal neutrality, residing comfortably between warm and cold. The FT3 headphones manage to convey a sense of agility, precision, and clarity, accompanied by a commendably expansive soundstage – a potential that is skillfully exploited by the open-back design. 

In the realm of bass, the FT3 headphones impress with their richness and depth, maintaining a reasonably linear delivery. While the FT3 does extend into sub-bass frequencies, the emphasis primarily lies within the mid-bass range. The bass exhibits a nimble attack, rendering it brisk and unencumbered, albeit without the overwhelming impact characteristic of many open-back headphones. Notably, there’s a well-managed sense of control and saturation, preventing the bass from overpowering the overall balance. While audiophiles seeking a balanced sound are likely to find contentment, individuals yearning for pronounced bass might be left wanting. Personally, I appreciate the FT3’s equilibrium and the vibrant presence of the low frequencies. 

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

The midrange is thoughtfully balanced, neither recessed nor forward, which accommodates a broad spectrum of sonic elements. Vocals, wind instruments, guitars, and strings are well-rendered, capturing both the timbre and nuance. There’s a discernible presence of detail within the snare drums, acoustic guitars, trumpets, and other instruments in the midrange. The transition from lower to upper midrange is handled deftly, lending a smooth yet detailed character to the sound. The midrange displays precision and control without feeling obscured or muted. 

The highs exude clarity, extending expressively to deliver copious detail. The treble imparts brightness, contributing a direct quality to the sound and conveying a wealth of information. The treble remains uncut, allowing vocals, strings, and guitar solos to maintain their authenticity. The treble articulation, particularly evident in cymbals, offers a metallic sheen without veering into sharp territory. The impressive resolution of the treble is partially attributable to the high-impedance dynamic drivers. However, it’s crucial to note that the treble is relatively prominent – the FT3 headphones are certainly not lacking in this aspect. While not inherently sharp, the perception of sharpness can be influenced by the synergy between your equipment, musical content, and personal preferences.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

Spatial presentation stands as another strength of the FT3 model. The expansive soundstage is aptly proportioned, offering clear delineation between channels and creating a three-dimensional instrument placement. Interestingly, the soundstage feels more spherical than ellipsoidal, as width, depth, and height are equally expressive. While the foreground feels immediate, distant layers are also discernible – background vocals or supporting melodic lines. An intriguing observation is the headphones’ ability to envelop the listener within the music, avoiding a sensation of instruments being confined within the skull. The positioning of center-located elements slightly ahead of the face contributes to this immersive experience, resembling a “loudspeaker” arrangement. This perception is bolstered by the headphones’ adept instrument separation and open ambiance, characterized by ample space between instruments and a pristine background.

FiiO FT3 – Sound with Hybrid Earmuffs

The introduction of hybrid and perforated ear pads, or the “leather and velour” ones, serves as a significant departure from the original sound profile of the FiiO FT3 headphones. These alternative ear pads distinctly shift the sound towards a strictly analytical territory, departing from the initial slightly “smiling” frequency response and veering towards a more linear presentation.

The alteration in sound signature is pronounced, with the most notable changes occurring across various frequency ranges. The bass, for instance, becomes more reserved in its presence, characterized by a tighter and more precise delivery. While this refinement enhances the differentiation of instrument textures, it comes at the expense of impact and richness. The lower registers become more discernible but lose some of their weight and authority, resulting in a sketchier representation. Consequently, the midrange takes center stage, displaying meticulous precision and directness. The emphasis on this frequency range contributes to a well-outlined presentation that caters to analytical listening.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

Interestingly, the effect on the treble is comparatively subtle, yet impactful. The treble frequencies seem to be more harmoniously integrated within the midrange, creating a more cohesive and natural transition between the two. This integration bolsters the overall coherence of the sound signature. Moreover, the hybrid ear pads influence the soundstage, imparting an ellipsoidal quality to it. Although this transformation comes at the expense of some depth, it adds a distinct sense of width and expansiveness.

The shift in sound signature is so pronounced that the FiiO FT3 headphones can be likened to a 2-in-1 offering. When paired with velour ear muffs, the headphones deliver a musical and well-balanced sound with rich tones, making them versatile across a variety of musical genres. Conversely, with the hybrid ear pads, the FT3 headphones embrace an analytical and flat sound presentation characterized by a tight bass, detailed midrange, and studio-worthy clarity.

FiiO FT3 Review: These headphone brings you a ton of fun

Choosing between the two sound profiles presents a quandary, as both options offer distinct advantages. Initially, the velour pads might seem appealing due to their balanced and musical nature. However, with extended use, the allure of the hybrid pads becomes evident – they offer a tightly controlled and nuanced bass, coupled with a focused mid-range and the clear precision commonly associated with studio headphones. The inclusion of these interchangeable ear pads transforms the FT3 into a versatile tool for sound tuning, allowing users to tailor their listening experience according to their preferences and needs.

Conclusion

The FiiO FT3 is a commendable product that marries excellence in craftsmanship, functional innovation, ergonomic comfort, and sonic brilliance. Its versatile cable, interchangeable earmuffs, and distinctive sound signature contribute to an extraordinary listening experience.

FiiO FT3 Dynamic High-Res Over-Ear Headphones
  • Large Dynamic High-Res Over-Ear Headphones 60mm, with large dynamic driver
  • Beryllium-plated gasket + DLC diaphragm 350Ω high impedance
  • Asymmetric internal and external magnetic circuit system
  • Aluminium alloy construction with Furukawa monocrystalline copper cable
  • 3-Axis Swivelling Design with Angled Placement for Drivers

While minor improvements could be considered for cable length, earmuff roominess, and bass differentiation with velour pads, these points do little to detract from the overall excellence of the FT3. It is a headphone model that stands as a testament to FiiO’s commitment to delivering top-tier products that cater to the discerning audiophile community.

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