Today we look at the FiiO JD3, the latest IEM from the Chinese brand, a new model selling for $15.19 USD.
Disclaimer: the FiiO JD3 was sent to us free of charge by the brand, in exchange for our honest opinion.
Founded in 2007, FiiO is one of the biggest companies in the audiophile world, thanks to an extensive range of (usually) affordable but (mostly) excellent products. IEM, headphone amps, DACs, and obviously DAPs, they did it all and did it well. So much that when a new player comes out, it usually becomes the benchmark that other brands have to refer to, like the FiiO M11 Plus or the Q3.
But, this time it’s all about IEM. Last time I reviewed the FiiO FD7, which introduced their new dynamic range, followed by the FD3 a few months after. Both stood apart from the FA9 (full-BA) and FH7 (hybrid) by using a sole Beryllium-coated diaphragm, with good measure. Then came the FiiO FA7S, another top dog with a new design and top specs.
But today, we go the opposite way, as we review a sub $20…USD IEM, the FiiO JD3! Another addition to the Jade audio series, following the FiiO KA3 we previously reviewed.
A quick word about Jade audio
FiiO sent us some references about Jade audio, here is a copy:
“Jade Audio” is a subsidiary brand of FiiO Electronics Technology Co., LTD. It is a stylish, technological, and youth-oriented brand aiming to provide high-quality yet cost-effective audio products with an excellent listening experience for the younger generation all around the world. The entity’s Chinese name is derived from “翡声” (Fei Sheng), meaning “the sound of Jade”. The name “Jade Audio” conveys our mission towards providing consumers with a crisp and pleasant listening experience while maintaining audio fidelity
Design & Build Quality
At first glance, the FiiO JD3 gives a very different vibe, especially when compared to the FiiO FD3 that I own and love
When the prior displayed an intricate design with a golden ring, holographic faceplate, and an aluminum/magnesium body, the new JD3 enjoys a much simpler design. Mimicking TinHiFi with its T3/T4 series, FiiO chose a bullet-like design and gave the JD3 a clean, but simple look.
A tubular shell, made of stainless steel, with a non-detachable cable and a semi-open design highlighted by red/blue marking on their backplates. Top that with an embedded control button that doubles as a microphone, and you get a neat- but-definitely-not-crazy looking IEM – but considering the price, it’s hard to be picky.
Unsurprisingly, build quality is top-notch, and if the FiiO JD3 are one of the most affordable IEM the brand has to offer, they don’t feel like a cheap knock-off you’d buy in an airport lounge. There are no steps, no cracks, no bruises, just one smooth surface all over the shell, and it feels perfectly balanced in the hand.
The shell is made of one solid, stainless-steel body, that shall withstand the test of time with ease. But, it may not be the same story for the cable. When every other IEM from FiiO comes with a detachable cable, this one comes with a soldered one… This means that the day the cable will fail you, and it will, you will have to replace the entire system.
To be fair, the cable is quite good, even if the tangle-free sheath takes a little time to untangle, and during my review, I didn’t encounter any issue. It’s slick, straight-shaped at the end, and enjoys aluminum parts on every contact zone. At least enough to withstand a daily dose of commuting abuse.
Finally, as the symmetrical design might be misleading for some listeners, the FiiO JD3 was given red/blue coated faceplate, so you can quickly distinguish which side you’re about to wear.
Again, compared to your usual FiiO FDx/FHx/FAx, the new JD3 gives completely different vibes. With a tubular shell, those IEMs can’t match the usual semi-custom ear-filling sensation I usually enjoyed, that’s not the goal.
But, to FiiO’s credit, like my TinHifi, the compact design is much more suited for quick insertion/removal, especially useful for quick commutes, when you hop in/out of the bus or subway. Just be sure to pick the right tips, as those may be more prone to fall than your usual over-the-ear IEM.
Last but not least, like many non-detachable cables, this one transmits microphonics across all its surface. A small issue for some, a bigger one for me, especially on long listening sessions!
Again, it’s a sub $20 IEM, so I should be a little more forgiving.
To my surprise, the FiiO JD3 were very good noise-blockers.
Be it railroad sounds, subway closing-doors siren, or the usual talking “brouhaha” heard in crowded places, the IEM managed to dampen it quite swiftly. I use a mechanical keyboard at the office, and once I plugged those IEM and play some music, at low volume, the “click” completely disappeared.
Of course, if you want the best isolation, get some foam tips, which will completely fill your ears.
So, time to check the specs!
Page 2: Bundle, specifications
Page 3: Sound Performances