Daily Ramblings / Home

Fiio D3 DAC Review

I’m sure quite a number of you have bought a brand new flat screen recently, and plenty of you would be bemoaning the fact your brand new state-of-the-art TV does not have a simple Left Right Audio Output. Instead, you have an Optical Output which your speakers or receivers have no use of. The work around would be a decent receiver with the appropriate amount of AV inputs. For those who can’t afford the cost or space of a receiver, your options are rather limited. You need a Digital to Analog Converter, also known as a DAC.

The only brand I knew that had a good amount of reviews was the Gefen DAC at $53.32 off Amazon. That was until I noticed a company well known in the Audio community as an emerging quality brand, it is of course the Fiio. It is a company based in China, that started out producing extremely cheap portable amplifiers, and now progressed to much higher quality portable amplifiers (AMPs) and digital audio players (DAPs). At almost half the price of the Gefen offering, I waited no further!

This is the Fiio D3 DAC.

Included in the box:

  • 1 Year Warranty
  • Male mini USB Power Adapter

Specifications:

  • Coaxial/Optical to Left/Right Audio Converter
  • Power Supply DC 5V
  • Output Amplitude 1.6V
  • Frequency Response 20Hz-20KHz
  • Signal to Noise Ratio >90Db
  • Crosstalk 75dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion <0.01% (10mW)
  • Size 61.6mm x 49.1mm x 21mm
  • Weight 50g

Front:

The front has your Left Right Analog ports and the female USB socket for the power adapter. It will not function without the power adapter.

Back:

The back has the Optical in and Coaxial in, and a simple up and down switch to change inputs.

When the input device is off only a red light is visible.

When your source is turned on, in my case the TV, a blue light would come on indicating the device is working.

There isn’t any worry about turning the device off when unused, since it turns itself off when the source turns off.

Now I’d like to talk about how it sounds.

With cable TV, it sounds the way it should be and runs without a fuss. Its clean and the audio is coherent with the video image displayed. That for me is as much as I expected from this little device, to work without fuss and in-sync with what I’m watching. I tried playing some 320kpbs music (since the LG TV doesn’t read Lossless) off a thumb drive plugged into my LG TV, just to amuse myself. It seems that the built-in playback on the TV is quite horrible. To an average person, it would be perfectly bearable. To me, off my AudioEngine A5 speakers, this was completely unacceptable. Next, I tried playing movies off the same thumbdrive, the sound could have been clearer, but it was very watchable indeed.

My suggestion then, would be to purchase another device with good audio playback if you plan on using digital media through your TV. This would bypass the cheap playback quality built into the TV. The degradation in sound quality was by no means attributed to the Fiio DAC, it is clearly the shortcoming of my LG TV.

The Fiio D3 DAC has my highest recommendation at $28 off Amazon.

– Saintkeat

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “Fiio D3 DAC Review

  1. Just curious if you’ve had any extended use with this device? I picked one up and it worked initially, but the next day when I went to use it the power and ‘lock’ lights were flashing and all I got was a clicking sound out of my speakers.

    • Yes I have actually, for the past few months in fact! It’s been great! I’d suggest checking that the switch hasn’t been changed to the coaxial option. If that doesn’t work, try switching the optical cable. Do report back with your troubleshoot. I’m sure it’ll help many others. I know that Fiio has been reading this blog as well!

    • I have been using it for about a month. I saw it on Amazon, but got free shipping in ebay. It’s down behind a cabinet have not seen, or touched it since, but it sounds great. From the iMac its optical, from there the dac feeds both powered speakers, and the powered sub woofer fine.

  2. The Halide HD is eighteen times the price and the new Dragonfly about ten times, both with no jitter. Saving up for one of those I followed your suggestion and put in a Fii0 D3 while my amp is getting tuned up for the assault on HD. I am using an Audirvana Free audio player on my up to date iMac with maxed out ram. Active studio monitors for sound. When I first got it it was so sensitive that I could hear a click whenever I changed programs. But when I could hear other things plugged into the same wall plug, I knew what to do. Now it sounds so sweet, so pure, I cannot imagine what I will expect to hear with no jitter on the Halide.

    I hope these jitter free Dac’s, while clearly beyond the point of diminishing returns, are not in the realm of the Emperors new clothes.

  3. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, however I am having difficulties with your
    RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  4. Just a little update here

    The Halide HD is still eighteen times the price, but the Dragonfly on Amazon has come down. The Fii0 D3, hooked up to my amp does not make a clicking sound when I change around. In the Audio World HD is being replaced with low resolution streaming. Google Play lets people upload 20,000 songs low resolution for free (320bps playback). And itunes Match (256bps) is gaining streaming users. The free version of Audirvana Free audio player does not work on the latest Mac operating system.

  5. Hey,
    With this posting you summarize a couple of the most main opinions!
    Fast to read through & full of invaluable advice!
    Thanks for posting Fiio D3 DAC Review | SaintKeat.

  6. thanks for this review, i would like to ask you something: is it possible to power this fiio d3 with the usb port of you desktop computer [with url[http://www.ketta.com/images/usb%20mini.jpg][this kind of cable]url ?

    • Hi,

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the review.

      I believe that the DAC can be powered by a PC with the cable you pointed out, however, depending on the output of your USB port, you might not get the best results in comparison to a wall plug.

      The second thing would be that the mini USB port is a power source and not an input. So you won’t be able to use your PC as a music source unless you use an optical cable.

      I hope my reply helps with your decision.

      -saintkeat

      • i was already thinking to connect the fiio d3 to the spdif of my xonar d1 and then with an rca cable to the sintoamplifier (an old sansui) –> i am searching for something that allows me to use headphones for games with the normal output of the xonar, and the optical output to listen to music/video [as foobar and wmp-hc can change the driver audio] with the hi-fi..
        this is the best way i could find without buying a new sound card that would have cost me more, in this case it’s only 30€ ca
        what do you think about this solution 😛 ??

        for the usb power directly from the desktop: it was only because the fiio will be near it, so i could save one outlet [even if i have a power strip big enough :P]

        -banaz

      • Well I guess if you really need to hear footsteps in crystal clear high definition quality, then I’d say go for it. It’ll certainly work.

        Have a go and if you’d like, report back with your findings. 😉

  7. the fiio will arrive unfortunatelly in 2 months, for now i don’t have the money 😛 i just started searching for infos and reviews ^^

    i’ll let you know !

Talk to me..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s