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FiiO’s FT3 are super-affordable desktop/armchair headphones

  • CanJam Singapore is running this weekend and to mark the occasion, Chinese IEM, DAP, DAC and headphone amplifier manufacturer FiiO has announced a new full-sized headphone. Yes, full-sized.

    The FT3 is an open-back design that utilises a 6cm dynamic driver (far larger than average) that’s angled towards the ear (think: B&W’s PX7 S2 and PX8). The driver features a Beryllium-plated gasket (for lightness and rigidity) and a Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) diaphragm. According to FiiO, this means lower distortion, deeper bass and superior dynamics. This also means the FT3 has a 350 Ohm input impedance that will probably demand more power than the average DAP or dongle DAC can deliver. Get out your desktop amplifier, Chord Mojo or iFi xDSD Gryphon.

    The magnets inside and outside of the diaphragm are N52 Neodymium types, reportedly organised asymmetrically. What does that mean exactly? FiiO doesn’t make it clear and reviewers wanting to go deeper than the promotional talk of “it’s for better voice coil control” will need to ask.

    Those digging numbers might wish to learn that the voice call is wound from ultra-fine Japanese copper-clad aluminium that’s only 0.035mm thick: the net result according to FiiO is better bandwidth, lower interference and superior dynamics.

    Zooming out, each earpiece is backed by a hollowed-out mesh, its shape and position maintained by five aluminum bent-elbow arms that sum to an über-masculine look. Each earpiece rotates on a tri-axis swivel mechanism for better earcup-to-ear alignment and is mounted to a two-piece aluminium alloy headband structure (think: Meze’s 99 Classics). The lower leather-covered band makes contact with the head whilst the over-arching upper band maintains the headphone’s overall structure and further distributes the headphone’s weight. The FT3 put 391g on the scales, a full 130g more than the aforementioned Meze.

    FiiO is shipping the FT3 with a 3m 23AWG Furukawa monocrystalline copper cable whose 3.5mm termination can optionally be adapted to 6.4mm or replaced by a screw-on 4.4mm termination and then optionally adapted to XLR.

    But there’s more: two sets of earpads are also part of the FT3 deal – protein leather and suede – for anyone wanting to explore what changing up the earpad can do to the sound of a headphone. A stylish leather travel case is also supplied (see the unboxing video below). However, the ‘hi-res audio’ logo on the packaging and promotional material means nothing concrete (and is best ignored).

    Price? A very reasonable €349.

    Further information: FiiO

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

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