Established and launched in 2007, FiiO has so far made an outstanding development in the current audio equipment market. From the very beginning, this brand always tries to prove its products’ quality and are provided at reasonable prices.
A typical product like the Fiio A3 is compact, but they deliver clear and sharp sound. Let Fidlar take a closer look at this mini amp’s features and characteristics right at the Fiio A3 Review.
Fiio A3 Amplifier Review
Fiio a3 Specs
- Amplifier Style: Portable
- Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): No
- Frequency Response:20 – 20,000 Hz
- Input Connection:3.5mm Mini-Jack
- Output Connection:3.5mm Mini-Jack
- Output Power:450 mW
- Extremely Easy To Use (Especially As An Entry-Level Amp)
- Perfect For Portable Or At-Home Use
- Easily Drives Lower Impedance Headphones
- Volume Dial Is Very Sturdy & Tactile
- Compact & Fairly Versatile Design
- Cannot Be Used While Charging
- Elastic Bands Aren’t Ideal For Players With Touch Screens
- LED Indicator Doesn’t Change Color On Low Battery
Looks and Build Quality
For almost any mobile headphone amplifier to operate nicely, it must be discreet. This means it needs to be small and compact, roughly the size of a smartphone.
The small size makes it a lot easier to slip a mobile amplifier into a pocket or tote with minimal work. Fortunately, using all the FiiO A3, that is not any problem.
The Fiio a3 portable headphone amplifier is a square cube however features slightly beveled edges and curved marginally on both sides and underside.
The shape looks like a drinking flask due to its curved design around the borders and the quantity potentiometer knob, surrounded by two protruding metal bits on the amp’s peak. Although the curved design of this amp feels excellent in hand, it isn’t ideal for stacking.
The build quality is excellent and features an aluminum metal body casing that is smooth to the touch and weighs in at just 92g. In general, the construct is excellent and has a sense of indestructibility for it. The plan is gorgeous, even though it might have been better to have a single-finish apartment for easy stacking.
The Fiio headphone amp includes three chief controls. The Alps potentiometer (Volume knob) is well centered on top of the amp and tucked between 2 elevated aluminum arms. This layout makes it more difficult to ruin the amplifier if you accidentally lose it.
On the volume knob surfaces, the A3 features two flicker switches, one on each end. Both flicker switches are a low/high gain switch and a bass boost that also has two configurations off and on. While using the Sky, there’s no wrong or right way to use these buttons so long as you enjoy the sound of your songs.
As soon as you’ve got everything set up, you can experiment on the two settings to determine which you prefer. Flipping the bass boost provides your music with a more powerful low-end presence.
The default setting of this gain switch places at a reduced profit, and I’d counsel you to keep it this way unless the earphone/headphone isn’t loud enough at maximum quantity, then it’s possible to set the switch to high profit.
It’s also worthy of understanding that many amplifiers do worse when the profit is more significant. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the reduced advantage is the default setting.
Inputs and Outputs
On the upper side of this Fiio portable headphone amplifier, there’s the Micro-USB charging interface, a line-in interface, and a headphone out interface (3.5millimeter vents ).
Although the vents are simple to use, using them on the other side of the volume controller is somewhat awkward and troublesome occasionally.
The 3.5millimeter vents are stable and following use seems they could handle nearly anything. Even though the 3.5mm is more appropriate, I feel a 6.3millimeter jack could have opened up more choices. But with the streamlined layout of the A3, a giant jack may not have been possible, or that could be nitty-picky here.
Aside from the vents, a blue LED light flashes blue when charging the amp and intense blue once the amp is still on. Although the index works well, I need FiiO had employed different colors to indicate different statuses.
Like they might have utilized blinking red for charging, continuous read for mistakes, steady green for charging, and constant blue once the amp is in use.
Battery Life and Portability
Though compact in size, among those FiiO’s A3 best selling point, could be the battery life; the battery takes approximately four hours to control and may provide approximately 16 hours of continuous playback.
In testing, the FiiO A3 didn’t disappoint and delivered entirely accurate results compared with this 16-hour mark mentioned by FiiO, which was remarkable.
Ironically, it’s better concerning battery life than other expensively priced FiiO portable headphone amps such as the FiiO Q5, which provides just more than eight hours of battery life.
With a 16-hour battery lifetime, the FiiO A3 is well suited for a portable headset. With this particular juice, you can listen to many records daily without worrying about running from charge.
But when the amp runs out of control, and you’re close to a power supply, you can control the amp while listening to your songs.
For output, the FiiO A3 headset employs the OPA1642 for a preamp, and also, because of its ability amp, it uses the AD8397. The specified impedance range the FiiO A3 can induce celebrity efficiently from 16 ohms and 150 ohms.
In analyzing, while the FiiO urges a variety of 16-150 ohms, I attempted to conduct the Sennheiser HD 600 using the A3. Although much less potent, the amp can drive the headset as it ought to be with more excellent output amps.
Together with the volume cranked up to some maximum, the headset provides a variety of 90dB. Flicking the advantage switch to high would include another 15dB making it 105dB that is much more than you could need if you don’t fall into a particular class.
But that said, it’s far better to play it safe and use the FiiO A3 using a headset or earphone that drops under their preferred impedance range. Fortunately, most earphones and headphones fit this range.
The main task would be to amplify the sound quality signal in the playback apparatus with as low vibration as you can. In case a headphone amplifier is performing its job correctly, then there shouldn’t be any negative consequences on the treble, mids, and bass.
How can this amp sound, and just how much noise improvement can you expect within your in-built amp; Even though there’s no easy answer since it will depend on distinct aspects like the standard of the recording or the origin, etc.
But one thing you can be sure of is that the sound will continuously improve. Let us see how the FiiO A3 faired in my evaluations.
Soundstage And Imaging
For your soundstage, imaging, and specifics, I’d term the A3 as an ordinary actress. But while utilizing the amp at low levels, I experienced station imbalances.
This happened mainly when the dial is put under two. In its defense, I hear music using medium to large volumes based on the headset, ambient sound, etc. At regular volume, channel balance is rather excellent.
Neutrality And Clarity
Although the amp’s general sound is sold as fuller and richer with more energy, the amplifier does an outstanding job in keeping up the sound signature of distinct headphones I attempted. The general sound quality of this amp I’d categorize it marginally towards the warmer side.
Low And High Gain
As previously stated, it’s far better to use the amp in reduced profit whenever possible. I enjoy the low amp advantage. Nonetheless, the large gain option provides a good increase in quantity, which is excellent if you’re driving rough headphones.
The additional energy provided from the large profit option brings up more information, even at less-power hungry IEMs. The thing I enjoy about the advantage switch is the fact that it creates a difference instead of being there as an afterthought.
Low-End (Bass) & Bass Boost
Though most folks may expect the bass increase from the FiiO A3 to modify the standard of sound for its worst marginally, the attribute includes various benefits that improve audio’s general output.
With the bass increase switched on, the audio output appears to be intimate, and the soundstage appears to expand. The mids are fuller, which to me, is a fantastic thing.
But although the bass boost work may come as a boon with some cans, many bassy headphones have problems with distortion noises in the middle and low bass area.
High-End (Treble) and also Mids
The FiiO A3 is chiefly a neutral amplifier. With the bass boost off, the treble comes out with a great accent, comprehensive and well-spaced.
The mid-century stayed true to the origin. The separation between the midrange and treble was good. Together with the bass boost participated, the mids are more slender and improved general energy.
The FiiO A3 is about the size of a wallet. It is around 3.5″ lengthy and 2.2″ broad. It looks to be an early smartphone or even a chunky early 2000s age Nokia smartphone.
The weight is below 100gm (3.25 oz). To provide a comparison, the iPhone 11 is almost 6″ long, 2.98″ broad, and weighs approximately 194 g (6.84 ounces). That is to say; the FiiO A3 is approximately half the size and weight of an iPhone 11.
It Better For Portable Use or At-Home Listening?
In brief, this amp is very flexible. As it is so small and slick, it is easy to use it with many different devices (also in many different scenarios ). Also, it fits inside smaller pockets, making it rather perfect for mobile use.
Should you prefer your songs in isolation, also, it works well for listening in your home. As you’ll notice from the area below, it does have its limitations. So far as practical usage goes, there are a couple more variables you will want to consider!
As you probably know, many smartphones have touch screens and also a reasonably broad construct. How can it impact your listening experience?
But if you would like to utilize the included elastic rings along with your iPhone, it could be quite inconvenient. The rings will need to wrap around and above the touch display. They will get in the way and keep you from navigating your audio library.
The same holds for MP3 players who have touch screens. (Then again, a few DAPs have sufficient space on the top and bottom where you can match the elastic rings.) Though this should not keep you from pairing this amp with your smartphone, the match may be better.
We advocate using the A3 with no elastic bands when you are listening with your smartphone. Attempting to avert the circles across your display can get reasonably annoying after a time. Imagine if you would like to use it while you are walking about?
If that’s the scenario, you may keep it plugged into your paired device and then keep them both in your pocket. They won’t fully disconnect (or go around too much) even with no elastic bands holding them collectively.
FiiO A3 vs A5
The FiiO A3 and the A5 are both very competent headsets. Assessing these two amps’ plans, the A3 is a bit more compact compared to FiiO A5.
Consequently, if the headset’s plan is a determining factor, the FiiO A3 is going to be a better option. If your budget allows it and the headset’s plan doesn’t matter, the FiiO A5 is a fantastic amp that’s capable of driving the majority of the headphones on the marketplace.
Aside from the design and the funding, other variables are possible to look at before determining between the Fiio A5 and the A3, which comprise the battery lifetime and the audio quality. With the battery lifetime, the FiiO is sold as the winner. Nevertheless, it’s just by a little margin.
The FiiO A5 handles 12 hours on a 3-hour fee, whereas the FiiO A3 hit the 16-hour markers with 4 hours charge. Concerning the audio quality, the two of these amps did a good deal of keeping a neutral sound touch.
The FiiO A3 is excellent at what it does, sufficient volume control, detailed audio, and clean electricity. The A5 delivers a clear sound that’s neutral and clean even while employing the gain button.
In conclusion, two of these amps are fantastic. If you’re using a headset that speeds an impedance of 16 into 150 ohms, then the A3 is the less expensive way to go.
But should you need more electricity or intend to improve your string of cans in the characteristic, the A5 is unquestionably the thing to do.
FiiO A3 vs. E10K USB DAC/AMP
The FiiO E10K is sold at an affordable price. The FiiO A3, even more economical, is a worthy competitor of this E10K. To begin with, the plan of the headphones is quite sturdy.
But I discovered the E10K better regarding the positioning of this volume knob and the output and input interfaces. The volume knob can be more prominent on the E10K when compared with the A3.
The FiiO E10K does feel lighter, but this is because the E10K is bus-powered compared to this FiiO A3, which includes an internal battery.
Compared with this FiiO A3, the E10K is a superb choice if you’re taking a look at a reasonably priced entry-level AMP/DAC combo, which seems excellent.
Unlike the A3, it provides you both a good amp and a DAC, to begin with, and when in the future you opt to upgrade to a much better amp, it’s still possible to utilize the FiiO E10K for a DAC due to its elastic links.
The FiiO Q1, along with the A3, are almost identical headsets. But, I discovered that the Q1 to be marginally better construct the A3.
The two headphone amps reveal a flask layout, and both possess the volume potentiometer on the other hand. But, unlike the A3, the Q1’s volume knob is surrounded by a protector that protects it in the event of a collapse.
The 3.5millimeter headphone output signal, which can be gold plated, can also be, on the other hand, which can be similar to the A3’s unusual interface place.
Another thing I enjoyed about the Q1 was that the LED indicator. Unlike the A3, which jelqing just blue, together with all the Q1; blue signals power on/running on battery charging, total green control, flashing red nonbattery purple charging in the same the amp. The Q1 also features the bass and earn switches.
I discovered the FiiO Q1 includes a neutral but slightly hot sound touch in terms of the noise. Compared with this FiiO A3, as stated within this post, the Q1 is much more impartial, and the total has a far better audio touch. The DAC is also another and of those Q1, which may also count as a determining factor.
Fiio a1 vs a3
At a retail cost of less than $30, the FiiO A1 is among the least expensive headphone amp offerings from FiiO. The next in line is the K1 and the A3. At a price tag, the FiiO A1 is the right unit that could take a beating.
The front panel of this A1 features the on/off switch with integrated LED, volume up and down buttons, along with a 3.5-millimeter gold-plated headphone out interface.
To get a modest compact headphone amp such as the A1, the battery size is a significant selling point. Having a 1.5-hour fee, you can anticipate the A1 to provide you around 13 hours of cost. We a figure nearer to the, 11.5 hours, that was great.
Using the Bass EQ choices not participated, the A1 is balanced and doesn’t introduce any noticeable sound differences in the origin. The Bass EQ1I was discovered to be a significant improvement, particularly for mild bass cans. It promotes the low end and leaves the entire sound fuller.
One criticism I have with all the A1 is that the sound levels make it not suitable for more sensitive IEMs. Compared with the A1, the has reduced distortion, longer battery life, but above all, it’s more powerful. Aside from the price, the A3 comes out as a winner.
The FiiO A3 checks all the boxes in terms of build quality and design. All the controls are well-crafted, and the device itself feels rock solid.
Where it does miss out on is portability. It’s roughly half the size of a smartphone. This might not seem like much, but when you have to lug around 1.5 smartphones all day, it can get tiring very quickly. Together, an iPhone 11 + FiiO A3 combo would weigh nearly 300g not unnoticeable by any means. We hope that our Fiio A3 Amp Review can help you know more about this amp.