Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier Review (2018) - Headphones Buyer

Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier

An excellent way to upgrade the sound from your mobile device, the Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier provides great sound, plenty of power, long battery life, and easy connectivity.

Pros: Great sound; easy to use; matches many types of headphones; long battery life.
Cons: Although tiny, it is one more thing to carry with you when you’re on the go.

Specifications

  • Volume Control: ALPS potentiometer
  • Frequency Response: 20 to 20,000 Hz
  • Crosstalk: ≥ 72 dB (Gain=H)
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: > 108 dB
  • THD: 0.004% at 1,000 Hz
  • Channel Imbalance: <0.5 dB
  • Charging Time: 4 hours
  • Power Supply: Mini USB Port
  • Battery Capacity: 1400 mAhH
  • Operating Time: Up to 16 hours
  • Dimensions: 3.59 x 2.20 x 0.51″ (91.2 x 56.0 x 13.0 mm)
  • Weight: 3.2 oz (92 g)

Package Contents

  • Fiio A3 headphone amp
  • USB charging cable
  • 3.5mm interconnect cable
  • Silicone bands (x2)
  • Rubber feet (x6)
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Warranty Card

Durability

The Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier features a well-built aluminum body and a sturdy chassis. The chassis is also shielded against EM interference. It is certainly up to the task of daily use and the routine bumps and drops which sometimes occur.

Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier Features

fiio a3 headphone amplifier packageFiio’s A3 Headphone Amplifier is designed to work with headphones ranging from 16 to 150 ohms, making it a versatile amplifier that will work beautifully with most any type of headphones. There is a gain switch which allows you to match the output to your headphones, resulting in clearer sound and lower noise.

There is also a fully discrete bass boost circuit which increases the output of the bass frequency by 3.5 dB at 60 Hz when engaged. This is a great option for headphones which are lacking in bass output or for those who simply can’t get enough bass.

In addition there is a smooth and easy to reach volume control which allows you to change volume without reaching for your device.

The A3 also features a 1400mAH rechargeable battery with up to 16 hours of use per charge. When charging is necessary, simply insert the micro USB cable and the amplifier will fully recharge in about 4 hours.

In terms of ease of use, the Fiio A3 couldn’t be simpler. The amplifier features an 1/8” stereo auxiliary input which you connect to your device’s headphone output. Then connect your headphones to the headphone out of the amplifier and you’re ready to go. There is also a micro USB port for charging.

A powerful, upgraded op-amp gives you more power than ever before, producing up to 450 mW at 16Ω or 270 mW at 32 Ω. This is enough to power headphones of all types with minimal noise and distortion.

How Does Fiio A3 Sound?

With select components, an OPA1642 preamp and an AD8397 amp section, the Fiio A3 headphone amplifier used in this review sounded great with a wide range of headphones. I especially liked the low and high gain switch. Some headphones worked better with high gain while others seemed to work better on the low gain setting. It’s nice to be able to customize the gain setting to my personal preferences.

I used a range of headphones from budget ear buds to expensive over ear studio headphones and found the Fiio A3 to work well with each of them. The extra power of the headphone amp means you don’t have to push your device hard and I found this reduced noise and made for clearer, cleaner overall audio.

The bass boost switch is useful when listening through headphones which are weak in the bass frequencies or in any situation where you want more bass. The boost is 3.5 dB at 60 Hz so it helps increase the lowest frequencies without muddying up the higher bass frequencies and mids—a nice feature for sure.

Considering the low cost and small size, the Fiio A3 packs a lot of bang for the buck. If you like your headphones but want more from your device, this unit is definitely worth considering. It does a great job of giving you more power while staying easy to use and operate.

Size and Portability

The only real downside to the Fiio A3 I reviewed is that it’s one more thing to carry. If you’re on the go, you already have your device (probably a smartphone) and a quality set of headphones, and this item will have to be connected in between.

Yes, it’s tiny, only about 4 inches wide and a half inch tall. Still, it’s one more thing to carry with you on the go. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of mobility for better sound and more power, then the Fiio A3 is perfect for you. Still, there will be those who don’t want any more items to carry with them when they are out and about.

Our Verdict on Fiio A3 Amplifier

There is a lot to like about the Fiio A3 Headphone Amplifier.

It’s small, powerful, and couldn’t be simpler to use. I found the sound quality improved when using the amplifier regardless of the headphones I was listening through. It’s not a dramatic change but the audio sounds cleaner and more powerful to my ears—a powerful surprise considering its less than intimidating size.

When conducting the review, I especially noticed the difference in overall audio quality when listening at higher volumes, probably due to reduced distortion in the audio. The additional power likely means the amplifier is not working too hard and therefore doesn’t distort. Not only is the sound great but the gain switch makes it incredibly easy to get the ideal power match for many different types of headphones.

If you’re looking for more power and cleaner audio from your device, the Fiio A3 is definitely worth checking out.

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