Excellent. Drop it on a combo with a warm-sounding amp or DAC, and you get a warmer bass. Use a more sterile one and receive a different tone that is less tame and more treble happy, more purified feeling.
Overall, the SP3 plays very well with different types of DACs, from something like the SMSL M400 to line-outs from DAPs such as the TempoTec V6. You don’t need an amp, it runs off the wall outlet power, but you can drop an amp in the middle if you want to change the sound qualities and if that amp allows you to use a bass or treble switch.
I have a few amps from xDuoo that have a dedicated bass and treble switch to add more when needed, and this SP3 plays so much nicer with that than without it.
As mentioned, gamers will enjoy this way more than the casual listener. I’d say that the overall playability of these SP3 speakers, with different sound types behind them, is very good.
FiiO understands that the middle ground plays nice with most speakers, especially their own, which have plenty of options that range from very warm in tone, to cold, to natural, to a bit dry, to bassy, etc.
So, I am sure that is why FiiO made sure their SP3 speakers here might be able to be run through a preamp so to speak, even though you don’t need the extra power.
Gamers will love the SP3 speakers. I know I did. Explosions and deep rumbling bass on near-field sets like this are so yummy at times, but without shaking your entire desk and dorm, or house, or enough to have the neighbors call the cops on you.
You can feel the rumble, without causing stress to others and that is what most Gamers who live with other people want.
The SP3 treble, as mentioned, is tame and refined, so it’s smooth and enjoyable without being harsh or pokey on your eardrums. That means you can game in FPS and not worry about your ears bleeding.
Tonal heft is also quite good for a small thing like this, and nobody wants to listen to a razor-thin imaging field that feels watery and emaciated. We want some heft, and some thickness, but without going too far into an overly thick sound.
Kvart Bolge Sommeliers
Also, for $299, you can get a pair of Kvart Bolge Sommelier towers and get a sound that is a few steps inferior to the SP3.
Despite the SP3 being desktop little speakers, they sound significantly cleaner than the Kvart’s, which lacks bass and has many shapers, and less clean treble. The only thing that is better about the Kvart is the excellent imaging factor.
Why? The Riva is larger, a single unit, and packs a massive punch whereas the FiiO is much softer in its performance. The bass on the Riva is extremely powerful and deep, far deeper than the FiiO.
However, the SP3 feels just as clear and clean, but also significantly smoother and more refined in tone.
Drop x JBL LRS30X Powered Speakers
Back a few years ago, I reviewed the Drop x JBL LRS30x powered speakers here at Headfonics and have used them as my primary downstairs PC usage speaker set ever since.
I had them installed with XLR cables and ran into a converter box from 3.5mm. I never thought twice about them until I got the SP3. The JBL LRS30X sounds thinner but projects much further.
They have less clean treble, are not refined, and are a bit harsh. The SP3 is refined, smoother, much lusher, and more enjoyable.
The FiiO SP3 Speakers are fantastic if you want a mellow-sounding speaker that is intended to be used when you are sitting fairly close to them.
This is a real desktop-level placement speaker set and is not intended to fill a room. With that in mind, they perform admirably and have a really great top end, both in tone and presentation quality.
FiiO rarely gets it wrong, I think we all know that by this point in the game. If you enjoy online gaming or want some tunes playing while you are working on your homework, this is one of the very best $299 tier speakers (that are small) that you can buy.
FiiO SP3 Speakers Technical Specifications
Dimensions, About 163x120x132mm (without base), About 170x120x132mm (with 0° flat base), About 182x120x132mm (with 7° elevation base)
THD (%) Max volume Rated input -10dB, ≤ 0.02%
Output power (distortion limited), Rated condition (THD 1%), bass, 2*30W
Rated condition (THD 1%), treble, 2*10W
Crosstalk, Rated conditions 84dB
SNR, Rated conditions (dbA), 96dB
Crossover point from the bass to the treble speaker: 3.4KHZ