FiiO EH3 Review
Pros: – Great sound quality
– Huge battery life
– Wired connection supported
Cons: – Mediocre noise cancellation
As we all know there is a growing demand for wireless headphones with active noise cancellation and good sound quality.
So it was only a matter of time till FiiO presented us with such a headphone.
This is not only the first wireless headphone for FiiO but it is also their first full sized one.
We are talking about the EH3 NC from FiiO a wireless Bluetooth headphone with active noise cancellation.
It is an over the ear closed design with a vast Bluetooth codec support as it includes the aptX LL , aptX HD and LDAC lossless formats amongst others.
Large 45mm drivers with double sided titanium plated diaphragm are powered by a CSR8675 chip handling both d/a conversion and amplification duties for maximum sound quality.
Wired 3.5mm jack and USB dac inputs are supported with both cables included inside the nice and sturdy travel carrying case.
Build quality and comfort
Premium materials are used all over such as good quality plastic , 2.5d glass for the outer cups and protein leather for the pads.
Build quality is overly satisfying with decent feeling but a little lacking compared to similar products from brands like Sennheiser as it feels a little filmsy and fragile.
Weight is average at about 293gr and comfort is excellent due to the very even distribution of the weight and the roomy , large enough ear pads.
Pads are made from protein leather and are user replaceable with the extra option of breathable mesh replacements sold separately.
There is memory foam inside which is shape adjusting and comfortable but it’s a little noisy during compression as the air captured inside is being released.
It’s not the most discreet wireless headphone we have tested but you can’t call it bulky either and the modern design will apeall to many people.
Controls and ANC
User controls and indicators are pretty basic and are all located at the right earpiece as the left houses only the USB type C charging / USB dac port.
No gesture controls here, as there is only a power button ,an ANC on / off switch and three physical buttons to control music playback and calls.
Small leds indicate power status and remaining battery.
Battery duration is one of the best parts of the headphone as in real life use we managed to squeeze out more than 25 hours of mixed continuous use so no worries about frequent recharging.
Voice assistance and NFC connectivity are also supported.
Active noise cancellation is build around a powerful ADI dsp chip with four microphones but it is a basic one on / off solution so we don’t get adaptive and user selectable modes.
In every day use combined with the good passive noise attenuation it proved to be an adequate solution.
Well it is not high end noise cancellation like we find in other more expensive headphones but it sure gets the job done more or less depending upon the situation.
Unfortunately sound quality takes a hit and the user must judge at the end if to use it or not depending upon the environmental noise.
Bluetooth connection is very solid as we didn’t experienced any drop outs even at several meters away from the transmitter.
And now on to the most important part sound quality.
Impressions are with the ANC turned off and LDAC protocol enabled streaming music up to 24/96 from a mobile phone and Fiio M9.
Overall tuning is on the neutral side with an airy and open presentation and just a hint of a pleasant warmth.
It is not overly warm neither bright with decent treble extension and a little midbass emphasis.
Bass quantity is good enough to satisfy most users except maybe from the bass heads.
Quality wise is good but not great , sure it is not an one note bass but still is lacking in ultimate definition and transparency.
Dynamics are good to make for an enjoyable experience though and it is hard hitting when called to.
There is a slight bleeding into the midbass not overly annoying giving the headphone just a touch of warmth.
Mids are clear but a little veiled from time to time but you get an easy going non aggressive sound suitable for long term listening.
Voices and instruments are well rounded and full bodied making for a persuasive presentation.
Highs are extended enough , detail is good and satisfying but there is a slight lack of resolution.
Treble is well behaved without any annoying peaks or dips and any kind of sibilance fatigue.
Transparency and extension are further improved when listening with the analog or USB connections as it is to be expected due to the known Bluetooth limitations.
Further tweaks to the sound can be done through the FiiO music app with the included equaliser options.
What impressed us most with FiiO EH3 NC is it airy presentation and stage wideness for a closed headphone.
Left to right width is very good making for an open sounding experience with good instrument separation without congestion even during complex passages.
Overall sound impressions are very satisfying for the price tag with not much to complain about that is of course with the ANC turned off.
Sure FiiO must work on with their ANC implementation in order to be more competitive with their next products.
FiiO EH3 NC vs Sennheiser PXC 550 ii
Compared to the slightly more expensive Sennheiser PXC 550ii , the later offer a superior noise cancelling experience , are a little bit more light and discreet so better suited for the frequent traveller and commuter.
But the FiiO EH3 NC with the advanced codec support and more technical driver design takes head in sound quality be it in wireless or wired mode.
So when it comes to pure musical enjoyment the FiiO EH3 NC is our primary choice.
At the end
This is the first foray of FiiO into the wireless noice cancelling headphones realm and their first full sized over the ear one.
As such they should not be judged too severely.
Sure there are better but more expensive options out there especially regarding the noise cancellation feature.
But with FiiO EH3 NC we buy ourselves firstly a great sounding wireless headphone with the added bonus of noise cancellation.
Add the extra comfort , huge battery and friendly form factor at a very competitive price and we’ve got here a value king winner.
Test playlist – http://open.qobuz.com/playlist/5669033
This headphone was provided as a loaner unit from the Greek retailer of FiiO to be featured in several reviews and we thank him for the opportunity.
You can get it from FiiO.eu
Copyright – Laskis Petros 2020