FiiO FT3 Review

FiiO FT3 Review

Today, we review the FiiO FT3, which is a new set of open-back wired 60mm dynamic driver headphones with a 350Ω impedance rating. They are priced at $299.

Disclaimer: This was sent to us as a sample for our honest opinion. Headfonics is an independent website with no affiliate links or services. We thank FiiO for its support. 

You can click here to learn more about the FiiO gear we have previously highlighted on Headfonics.

Note, that this post follows our latest scoring guidelines which you can read here.

FiiO FT3 Review
FiiO FT3 Review
Overall, the FiiO FT3 is a soundstage nightmare for everyone else in the middle tier. Good. This will force others to innovate and catch up next year. For now, FiiO is leading the pack with a  headphone that combines clarity with a thick heft, which is a rare combo these days.
Slide here to add your score on the gear!149 Votes
Great bass response
Huge Soundstage
Very demanding load rating
Treble lacks a little bit of articulation
Reader's Score

I honestly didn’t see this one coming, a new FiiO headphone. I remember the EH3 NC as perhaps their only previous headphone to date a few years back and its wireless pitch is an entirely different market.

Early impressions from other users at some past audio events didn’t do much for me and I wasn’t sure what I would make of the FiiO FT3 if I were even ever able to obtain one.

I had hoped I would, but I wasn’t sure. Most people seemed to agree it was a generally sterile-sounding headphone overall in tone, which is something I subjectively am not into. But, when I got the headphones, I was immediately converted and shocked by what I was hearing.

FiiO FT3 Review
Copyright FiiO 2023

Tech Highlights

The FiiO FT3 is a new open-back dynamic driver headphone rated for a fairly high 350Ω load. It also has some very large 60mm dynamic drivers with Beryllium plated gaskets.

Typically, Beryllium headphones have a specific sound signature and tone that I have come to admire more and more over the years. It is a type of design that I want to see more of, due to the sheer robustness of the Beryllium coating internally over specific driver parts.

The headphone being open back in design helps with the low end being what it is and what it sounds like (on paper), so I was very excited to potentially get cracking down on this review from the moment I was made aware that I would receive one to discuss.

We are also told that the FT3 internal setup is “asymmetrical” with a composite diaphragm in design and setup, which leads to more driver control at the end of the day.

Also, the drivers are slightly angled to hopefully improve the already massive image that 60mm whoppers like these drivers can push. You don’t see me complaining, that is exactly what I want. Imaging, to me, is the first and most important factor in my headphone experience.

FiiO FT3 Review


The FiiO FT3’s all-aluminum open design has massive airflow potential, and a 60mm driver push-pull suction is no joke. The headphones leak a ton of sound though, of course. Everyone on the plane will be mad at you, so don’t, it isn’t closed in the slightest.

With that in mind, the large and heavy design is cumbersome and looks very attractive overall. I attempted to sit outside on a nice day not long after receiving them, and a neighbor (who knows what I do for a living) said “Oh! Those new? They look cool!

So, chalk that up to the consensus being that they look at least interesting. And I tend to agree, something about the perforated grill behind the spoked FiiO design that I really enjoy.

I am not fond of the FT3 headband suspension system, but that is wildly subjective. I don’t like large and needlessly hefty headbands when we have great and simple arc designs elsewhere. I see no need for this headphone headband style on this model.

FiiO FT3 Review


The FT3 is a fair bit heavy at 391g, but it rests on the head very well and with proper balance. Both sets of earpads (suede and leather) are equally comfortable, plenty soft, and supple.

The headband is undesirable for me and feels strange, but so do all band suspension designs like this, which is due to my lack of hair and preference to shave my head. People with hair should find it very comfortable though. 

For those who shave their heads, well, the material on the underside of the headband area is silky and it feels odd on bare skin. I also feel that the suspension design is not needed when a cup styling of this nature is also used. There is no need for extra clamping, the FT3 is open in design and doesn’t require extra caliper pressure to perform admirably.

I would have rather seen a basic headband without the strap system so that weight could be reduced overall on the product.  Thankfully, the materials used do not heat up or get overly intrusive after long hours of usage.

The suede pads are lovely and breathe nicely. You can easily use this set for hours without any fatigue or hindrance beyond the weight factor.

FiiO FT3 Review

Stock Cable

The Furukawa monocrystalline copper stock cable is excessively long, and there are no portable cables included. As someone who primarily uses a portable rig 90% of the time, I was a bit upset to see no portability factor included.

However, the earcup inputs are standard 3.5mm monopoles, so I can route something like the lovely HIFIMAN HE-R9 portable cable that is less than 1.3m long and use that on the FiiO FT3 instead.

With that, I lose the balanced output, which is needed with these headphones. So, I am kind of stuck if I were to want to sit outside or go for a short walk. I would be using the R9’s cable on this if I had an unbalanced amp that can pipe out 3 watts, but Marcus has the M17 and Q7 which might have done the trick.

Is this really a problem? Not really, but I like options and not being stuck with one experience with the headphone, which is odd to me only because FiiO includes the best array of adapters I’ve ever seen for any headphones I’ve ever reviewed.

A 3.5mm, a 4.4mm balanced, a standard ¼, and a Balanced XLR? Great, but I need a portable cable too to really make this a perfect experience.

The Y-connection junction piece is thick and weighted, feeling of very high quality, the cable sleeve is made of a rope-like material that also feels exceptionally high-end. Just as the cable feels strong and so do all the adapters included, as well as the cable leads that go into each earcup.

Seems like FiiO went a step above the rest of the cut to make sure even the adapters are all high-quality parts.

FiiO FT3 Review
Copyright FiiO 2023

Packaging & Accessories

The FiiO FT3 includes a standard hard box and a plethora of nice accessories to boot!

Inside the FiiO box, you get an excellent and stupendously high-quality hard zipper case.  Below that case sits some interesting bits, which include a set of leather earpads (the suedes came installed on mine), and a little fabric stretchy holder for all the included extra adapter selections.

Those adapters include a standard ¼, a 3.5mm, a balanced XLR with a female 4.4mm, and a 4.4mm. So, if you want to run balanced on the XLR, which is what I do personally with my amp of choice (the CEntrance Hi-M8 V2), then you need to first install the 4.4mm adapter that is balanced, and then attach that to the XLR which again houses a female 4.4mm port on the rear.

One concern but an important one to note. These extensions running out of the DAP-sized M8v2 amp are big and worse when I factor in the weight of the cable slunk down from wherever it is plugged in, adding even more pull to the outputs on your source or amplifier.

This is not a problem with the ¼, or the 3.5mm, or if you happened to have a 4.4mm balanced out but the FT3 requires a little star in equivalency to power so odds are good you’ll not be using it unbalanced anyway, right?

FiiO FT3 Review


Power Choices

I wouldn’t even try to use the FiiO FT3 on a standard 3.5mm or ¼ connection unless that amp is pushing good power unbalanced. Thankfully, my Burson Conductor 3 pipes out plenty with a regular ¼ output.

My wonderful CEntrance HiFi-M8 V2 offers enough balanced XLR and 2.5mm output and far less with regular unbalanced ¼ and 3.5mm. At 350Ω, the FT3 does not mesh well with most amplifiers of a portable nature, simply because most of them cannot power it properly and offer anywhere near enough voltage.

My older Ultrasone Panther offers 1w output balanced 2.5mm and the FT3 through that amplifier sounds severely lacking in every way. 

Simply put, you need a big boy toy amplifier that can offer excellent power for higher loads. Outside of sound signatures, I found more power ideal, and even though this headphone says it is 350Ω, it performs like 600Ω instead when it comes to volume and solid texturing and heft to the experience.

Similarly, to the HD800 (I have the Drop Sennheiser HD 8XX, which is bassier and darker than any other variant) this FT3 sounds pretty much identical in tone and shimmer factor through any amplifier I use, yet the HD8xx is roughly 2x as hungry for power.


When fed that good output power, the FT3 suddenly inverts itself into what I’ve always wanted my HD800 to sound like. The tone and physicality drastically improved, becoming solid, weighted, and borderline lush.

My Drop Liquid Carbon X allows me decent power in XLR balanced mode and I feel like there is an audible tonal shift downward in a negative light vs the CEntrance and Burson. This is especially audible on the treble, which sounds and feels underwhelming on the Drop Liquid Carbon.

But look, this isn’t an issue. You can fix this with EQ and raise the bass up a bit to make the experience feel a bit heftier and more weighted, and the treble too, at least a few dB overall will top the experience off and “fix” the lighter feels the FT3 will have for you if it is underpowered.

Some of us have amplifiers that can cope, so it’s fine and I am not taking points off. I just felt like at 350Ω, the FT3 would perform much better with less power than it requires. You might think this is a negative, but I consider it a positive. It essentially is me saying the FT3 scales massively in a good way.


These headphones do not change with warm-sounding amplifiers and DACs, it is very stubborn. I cannot easily change the tonality offerings of this model, which are sterile and monitor-like in tonality.

Warm amps don’t alter the sterile sound signature. Sterile-sounding amps just make it shine more. So, yes. This headphone is a specialist that requires specifically tailored sound traits in your amplifier game.

But don’t let that sway you if you don’t have one yet. The FT3 still sounds lovely on lower-end gear that you can use as a stepping stone until you get the proper rig to make the FT3 shine to its best abilities.

Click on page 2 below for sound impressions and our selected comparisons.

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