The FiiO EH3 NC has impressive specifications and the price is only $170 lower than half of the high-end Noise-Cancelling headphones. However, in the same price segment, we still have quite a lot of other choices such as Sony, Skullcandy … whether EH3 NC can outperform competitors of the same level or not? This is our personal FiiO EH3 NC review after more than a week of using continuations.
From the first days of making a review of this product, we were quite impressed with the design, the render looked strong and luxurious. The FiiO EH3 NC looks quite good, feels solid in the hand, the majority of the frame is made of sturdy plastic. The carbon fiber pattern on the housing feels masculine and is also a highlight in the design of the headset.
In this price range, we cannot blame much about the appearance of this Noise Cancelling headphones at all, if we still want to be more comfortable in design as Sony’s products. If you compare the appearance of FiiO EH3 NC with the higher-priced headphones like Solo Pro, WH1000XM3, EH3 NC may not actually be visible to the user.
The wear of the EH3 NC is also very good, breathable and most importantly, no ears. According to our personal opinion, the EH3 NC and Sony WH-XB900N are the two headphones that feel the more comfortable wearing experience in this price range. This is a very important criterion when there are many people buying active noise canceling headphones mainly for long flights.
One thing we noticed is that FiiO is doing better than the same level of competitors, it comes with a headphone that is nothing short of high-cost headphones. Sturdy headphone case with design and storage that is no different from WH1000XM3 or Bose QC35. Included accessories are also complete with a 3.5mm cable and a USB-C cable.
When using Bluetooth and active noise control at the same time the EH3 NC is offering up to 30 hours continuously. We personally use about 5 days, each day for more than 5 hours, we have to recharge the headset.
FiiO EH3 NC uses buttons on the housing, not touch. The controller is also quite easy to pick up and use, not difficult. The strange thing is that pairing new devices does not have to hold down the power button but hold the multitask play/pause button. The feel of the press is still a bit stiff and the active noise cancellation switch is still a bit difficult to use, probably because we’ve been using it in a short period of time. So, controlling EH3 NC is simple and easy, but it can be further improved.
Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity with full of advanced codecs such as AAC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC. It can be considered as the first Noise Cancelling headphones wireless device to fully support today’s famous codecs when compared to the WH-1000XM3, which combines aptX Low Latency or Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (REVIEW) with aptX HD and LDAC. But codecs are not a major determinant of sound quality, but there are still differences in audio latency or background cleanliness. Because FiiO EH3 NC supports LDAC standard, besides Hi-Res Audio certification, it also has Hi-Res Audio Wireless standard.
This headset can be plugged directly into your PC via USB-C instead of a 3.5mm port. Inside the EH3 NC is a Qualcomm CSR8675 chip that accepts both Bluetooth decoding and USB, perhaps that’s why when we plugged in our computer, we were plugging in the Radsone Earstudio. When plugged directly into the computer USB, you can both charge and use, noise is still as usual. One thing that we don’t like about FiiO EH3 NC is that in order to upgrade the firmware we have to plug the USB directly into the PC to upgrade the firmware.
The product is used with FiiO Music software, but there are not many options for users to choose with options such as adjusting the codec, sleep timer. Overall, this software is still relatively a rookie compared to Sony Headphones Connect. However, most of the main features of the EH3 NC can be easily adjusted directly on the headset, but during the use of the headset, we did not touch this software much mainly used to adjust the codec.
Active Noise Cancelling
In terms of specifications, the Noise Cancellation of this headset is also quite impressive reduced up to 30dB using two ADI 1777 chips, an active noise cancellation mechanism combined with a hybrid. However, we think this is not the strongest point of FiiO EH3 NC, we personally use it directly on the sidewalk, we can still hear the traffic. It’s clear if the music is turned off and the human voice is filtered a little better. Of course, if you play the music at a moderate volume, it is really hard to hear the sounds around.
Compared to similarly priced headsets like the WH-XB900N and Skullcandy Venue, the FiiO EH3 NC’s noise cancellation is a bit inferior to that of Skullcandy and Sony Noise Cancelling headphones in terms of its ability to filter out vehicle noise. In addition, the active noise cancellation mode on EH3 NC headphones does not have many options like WH-XB900N such as transparent sound to help users chat and listen to external sounds without having to remove them. Users can also flip the switch to ‘turn off’ or ‘turn on’ the noise cancellation mode, rather than adjusting the noise level.
However, one thing to note is that the active noise cancelling can be adjusted through the headset’s firmware update. The current firmware version is v1.6.
This is a Hi-Res certified headset for normal use and Hi-Res Audio Wireless. However, the sound quality of the Fio EH3NC left a good impression on us from the very first moment of our listening. The first is a balanced sound quality from beginning to end, with considerable bass between the flow of mid-range wireless headphones from top to bottom.
However, we think this is the strong point as well as the weakness of FiiO EH3 NC when most new players will enjoy more bass, and experienced players will certainly get good marks from this headset.
- Bass range: This headset does not have much force. Bass range is also full of details, speed is also good no sense of tail. In general, the detail of this bass range will not be enough for the main basshead who wants to feel the EDM or dance fan (actually, increasing the upper-bass EQ is fine)
- Mid range: This is the strip that we think is the best of EH3 NC when expressed extremely accurate, balanced without flattery. The ability to convey the detail of each instrument or vocal is extremely superb, even this mid-range, we honestly say that anyone who does recording or mastering will feel the midrange is quite accurate. This really helps listeners feel that the recording is perfect’ without flattery or backing up like Noise Cancelling headphones on the market today. It is the honesty and balance that make this headset a safe choice that can balance a wide variety of genres.
- High range: This is also the strip that FiiO thinks is quite safe, easy to hear when the melody feels harsh, and also a little roll-off. However, it should be recalled that the detail of the instruments in the high range feels more detailed than other Noise Cancelling headphones, even the more expensive ones.
- Soundstage: In our personal opinion the sound of FiiO EH3 NC is also quite open, a sense of width and a good ability to class to meet the needs of music genres such as opera, chamber music. However, we still want to make some further improvements so that each instrument can be realized in a clear space.
For a Noise Cancelling headphones wireless device, the Fio EH3NC we can confidently confirm the sound quality as one of the top-quality sound products (extremely linear, relatively balance in all three bands, good detail). However, FiiO EH3 NC would be more suitable for those who have experience of listening and do not require too much bass. Compared to the WH-XB900N and Skullvenue Venue, both of these models have a more bass-like market sound, but the soundstage and detail, clarity is still not equal to the EH3 NC.
We switch between on and off active noise cancellation modes, there is also a slight difference in sound quality. When turned on the Noise Cancelling, space feels narrowed, the mid-range is pushed up a bit quite easy to hear. When the noise cancelling mode is off, it is not wider, the three bands are more balanced but slightly flat (less depth). In general, it is a little different, not much.
An Active Noise Cancelling Headphones at $169.99, it can be purchased via Amazon and Bhphotovideo online stores, the FiiO EH3 NC is probably the first choice for sound quality as well as perfection. It is also the first Noise Cancelling headphones wireless product to fully support the current popular Bluetooth codecs, so anyone using Android can experience the difference of each codec.
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However, FiiO still has many points to develop for this active noise cancellation headset such as noise resistance, better software support, and automatic wireless firmware update.