The FD3 is proof that even if you make some really stupid decisions things can turn out okay in the end. Again standard disclaimer “If the title did not give it away I am nowhere close to a professional reviewer or maybe even a competent one.” @hawaiibadboy has done a much better job reviewing this set then i will, but I wanted to do it anyways.
As is my custom, I review IEMs set up the way I personally enjoy them. This includes using aftermarket tips/cables if necessary. This “best for me” may not be the “best for you” setup and on this set in particular there are multiple ways to set it up. I also don’t generally use very audiophile terms and my way of explaining things may not be for everyone. If it is not for you feel free to seek other reviews.
Starting with my favorite section Accessories (bonus material this time)
Cable-- (Grade actually using the stock cable-- high praise)
Lets just get the 900 pound elephant in the room out of the way. I purchased the Pro version of the FD3 and have the modular cable. The modular system is very competent. It is easy to change, secure, and adds very little in extra weight or size to the jack. Not exactly at the level of Dunu’s system, but it is as close as you could get and the only slight edge is due to Dunu being slightly faster since you just put in and release instead of put in and screw down the covering part. The cable itself is a nice dark grey color with a pretty squared off braid before the split into 2 reasonable thinner braids after. It is not quite as soft, a bit heavier, and springy for my preferences but it is overall a worthy value add if you are in the need of the modular system.
Also I tested the FD3 with my Dunu cable, a inexpensive Yinyoo cable, the FH3 stock cable and the somehow worse stock Tin T2 cable. The sound did not improve or worsen. (this was originally going to be the main review…)
Case (grade – meh)
The case is basically a Pelican 10XX or a very good knock off of one. So you can not easily pocket it. It does not have useful partitions for accessory separation. But it does offer really good protection at least and fits the IEM with the cable so still better then some companies.
Tips (grade – aftermarket worthy-- damn high praise)
Most of the IEMs I have are IEMs with tips I will never use. Fiio is not one of those companies. Honestly their stock tips are really outstanding. I actually was torn over using the stock “vocal” clear with red bore tips, but only went aftermarket (Azla crystal tips) because they are just that very little bit better and it is very little… like if I need my crystal tips on something else putting the Vocal tips on this IEM is not a big loss at all. Really high praise.
Extras (Smartly chosen – high praise)
Fiio includes a MMCX removal tool which should be a requirement if you are going to force the MMCX standard on your customer. Fiio includes a brush… so clean your IEM. Finally Fiio includes a narrow nozzle and a wider nozzle that does change the sound. They default to the narrow one which is more beneficial to lower frequencies then the wider one… I am using the wider one because honestly the lower frequencies need no help on this set, for me personally.
Setup Stock “Pro” cable, Azla Sedna Crystal tips, Wide stock replacement nozzle. Tested across multiple sources because that is how I use my IEMs. And again this is not a professional review.
I was about to break down this IEM into the standard BASS, mids, TREBLE, but not only is that not really my style it also is not really an easy thing to do for this set. Not because everything is in such perfect balance, well not in the normal sense at least, but because this IEM makes it hard to talk about any one part without talking about the others at the same time. This set is very V shaped (Elevated BASS, mids, elevated TREBLE), no matter the tuning nozzle. This is also not a subtle IEM, but more of one that instead of delicately presenting the sounds to you… it forces you to acknowledge those sounds. Some more neural IEMs I have I can very easily sit and listen to a song and just let myself concentrate on one part of the music. This IEM does not let me do that it forcibly will take your attention to what it wants to show you. It imparts so much energy in to the music that epic orchestral tracks like some of the soundtrack to the game Tryanny feel like they have even more weight and gravitas to them then usual. Dance tracks give you the energy that I have generally only had while being in the middle of a club surrounded by the mass of people all imparting their energy into the environment. Where this set work well it really works well. While this energy and imbalance is amazing it also does narrow down what it plays well with and subtler details can be easily lost in the torrent of sounds all vying for your attention. If you could only own one IEM… this is probably not my recommendation, but if you could have 2 this would compliment a neutral sounding IEM very well.
I was going to compare this IEM to other ones I have in the same price range or that are single DD, but after spending a couple of days doing that It would just generally end up as a review of the competitor and saying that the sound signature is too different to be a real comparison and not really help. So here are some complimentary IEMs and some thoughts about them and why they might pair well with the FD3
One of the better under $100 IEMs you can get. The Harmon tuned single DD sound of the Aria works very well with almost anything you throw at it and it has enough detail, soundstage, imaging to be enjoyable musically and analytically for it’s price range. Honestly musically it hits way above it’s price range. Female vocals are a treat with how Moondrop tunes their IEMs.
I do not recommend this IEM due to how it fits, its sub par cable (that is a pain in the rear to get a replacement 3rd party option), massive noise canceling (great if you live next to a jackhammer store) and other annoyances, but if you want a single DD that is quick as heck… highly detailed… very neutral (even the bass boosted XR variant is very neutral)… then honestly for $80ish (in the US) this is a monster. A odd fitting very annoying monster that I love and would never trade or sell.
Recommended if you replace the cable, do not mind the BA timbre, and want a more relaxed sound then the FD3. I personally do not like BA treble but this is one of the few sets where most of my problem tracks play fine with it, but not all. Honestly though there is a very good reason why at the under $150 price point this gets a strong rec from many people.
Nice review! I was so sure about getting the FD3 pro, but I’m beginning to hesitate TBH. I think it’s going to be too v-shaped for me to enjoy, just like the FD5.
I thought they literally released a version with konosuba theme lol.
I am pretty sure that not only dose it graph basically the same as the FD5 but BGGAR even says it is pretty much the same with maybe a bit more bass.
Nope I just have a need to make really silly titles to my reviews. Konosuba felt like a good match for a bunch of screwups who created something beautiful.