FiiO JD3 Review: Bassy Bullet

  • Very affordable
  • Solid build quality

  • Bloated midbass
  • Blurry imaging
  • Fixed cable

FiiO is a well-known brand from China that was established in 2007. The "Fi" in the brand name was derived from fidelity (as in Hi-Fi), and "iO" from 1 and 0 (digital signals). FiiO is one of the most versatile brands in the industry, offering a wide range of products including digital audio players, amplifiers, digital to analog converters, in-ear monitors and many more. The JD3 is one of their newest and most affordable offering, that currently retails for 20 USD. The Philippine circle of reviewers was provided by FiiO a unit of the JD3 for review purposes.

Driver unit: 9.2 mm dynamic
Impedance: 16 ohms
Sensitivity: 107 dB
Frequency response range: 10 Hz - 40 kHz

Poco X3, Redmi Note 10 Pro paired with Cayin RU6, Xduoo Link2 Bal, FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The JD3 comes in a rather simple but unique packaging. The box is made of clear, hard plastic with paper inlays for the brand logo, product name and other information. Upon opening, there is the earphone inserted in a thin molded black plastic sheet. Right below it is the instruction manual and four sizes of silicone eartips. The cable also comes with a velcro strap.
The shells are made of metal. The uniquely designed faceplates also act as a vent, and color coded to distinguish the left and right sides easily. The stem is made of rubber that also acts as a strain relief. On the left stem, there are three small bumps that can be used to know which side is which when in the dark. The nozzles are medium in length, and includes a fine metal mesh filter and a lip to lock eartips in position.
The cable is a very basic oxygen-free copper. Some minor microphonics is there but the cable is very light and the flexibility is great. It does come with a microphone module in a metal housing with three buttons for volume and play/pause. Also worth noting that FiiO does not offer a variant of the JD3 without a microphone. The splitter and gold plated 3.5 mm plug are also made of metal.
Now let's get to the sound.

The lows have moderate quickness but packs a heavy punch. Subbass is forward with sufficient depth, accompanied by an average length of decay. Midbass is also prominent. It is slightly bloated and can sometimes feel out of control; smearing nearby frequencies from time to time.

Overall, the JD3 has just adequate decay in the lows but the boominess is what really cements this as a basshead type of earphone. The midbass does get a little too excited sometimes though.

The mids take a small step back and have decent clarity. Upper and lower mids are equal in terms of position and both have thicker than average note weight. Instruments have fairly good definition, but vocals, on the other hand, have a tendency to sound a bit veiled or nasal.

Overall, I guess it's only fair to say that this section is the weakest point of the JD3. It can be good for laid back type of genres but whenever the vocals need to shine in a track, it does not receive the push and energy that it needs.

The highs are tight laid back just like the mids. Treble reach is below average that dissipates quite fast. Upper region has very little presence, resulting in some instruments to sound grainy. Lower treble also has a tendency to sound thin, causing some details to be easily lost.

Overall, with the current tuning, the highs get easily drowned out by the other frequencies. FiiO could have elevated the highs the compensate for the strong presence of the lows.

Soundstage and Imaging:
As expected, the stage does not have that much expansion. There is equal space in both the height and width. Imaging has acceptable transparency but can definitely feel lacking in genres like rock or metal. Layering and separation of instruments are just average, and congestion is definitely felt especially in complex tracks.

FiiO JD3 (1 DD, 20 USD) vs. Astrotec Vesna (1 DD, 20 USD)
The Vesna can reach deeper vibrations in the subbass and with a smoother texture, but the JD3 has a bit more rumble quantity. Decay is pretty much equal. Midbass definitely sounds heavier and more forward in the JD3. The Vesna has the clearer, cleaner mids. Vocals sound more airy and more upfront in the Vesna, instruments also have better definition in this section. The Vesna also has a lot more details in the highs. The Vesna also has better treble reach and has a slightly longer decay. Not much difference in the soundstage, only that it is slightly wider in the JH3. The clarity in the imaging is also better in the Vesna, by a mile. The Vesna also presents better layering and instrument separation. 

Budget gears have been slowly but steadily improving over the years, with some of them not even sounding "budget" anymore. With the JD3, FiiO wanted to appeal to the masses by giving this gear powerful bass that may be good for some genres, but made the mistake of reducing the treble a bit too much that it gets easily lost in the background.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post