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Review and Measurements of Fiio K3 DAC & Amp

Veri

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#24
Which dongle is this?
The one in this thead. $10 dongle, 98-99dB SINAD although only ~1V output. Not jaw-dropping good, but considering a LOT of devices actually measure worse than 96dB SINAD this is pretty great for the $10, as long as you don't need a hotter output.
 

Jimster480

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#25
The one in this thead. $10 dongle, 98-99dB SINAD although only ~1V output. Not jaw-dropping good, but considering a LOT of devices actually measure worse than 96dB SINAD this is pretty great for the $10, as long as you don't need a hotter output.
I didn't realize they made any dongle that would work on windows.
I'm sure I saw that thread but I guess it didn't register in my head. I thought there was some special lightning to USB-C adapter being used.
I didn't realize they made one using USB-C.
 
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#26
Nice review @amirm. A few questions/comments:
  • It should have come with two pair of adhesive rubber feet in the box - mine did. They were not pre-installed but they were in there.
  • Did you use the default Win10 driver (assuming you're using Win10) or did you download the driver from the Fiio website? I don't have a way to measure gear, but I did hear an improvement in subjective sound quality using the Fiio driver.
  • I am able to drive my HD6XX (HD650) to reasonable volume using the balanced output. Obviously it's far from an optimal pairing, but there seems to be decent power - at least using the balanced output.
 
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#28
Yes, I used the inbox driver (I usually mention if I downloaded anything else).
There is no driver included "in the box". USB 1.0 mode doesn't need a driver and USB 2.0 mode seems to have a driver built into Windows 10, but I heard a difference with the driver from the Fiio website. Again, this was a subjective difference I heard since I don't have a way to run measurements. The 2.0 driver is referenced in the instruction card and can be downloaded here: http://fiio-file.fiio.net/FiiO_USB_DAC_Driver-V4.47.0.zip
 

amirm

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#29
There is no driver included "in the box".
Sorry, "inbox driver" means driver included in the OS ("box"). Not the box for the Fiio. Common term we use at Microsoft. Old habits die hard. :)
 
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#30
Sorry, "inbox driver" means driver included in the OS ("box"). Not the box for the Fiio. Common term we use at Microsoft. Old habits die hard. :)
I figured that might be the case - IT guy here too :) Well the Fiio (XMOS) driver seems to make a difference (to my ears) in 2.0 mode versus the default Win10 UAC 2.0 driver (build 1803). No idea if it measures differently.
 
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#31
I have a comment: Why is an output impedance of e.g. <1 Ohm rated as positive. Any experienced audio engineer will choose an impedance of 20-50 Ohm to avoid oscillating.
 

amirm

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#32
I have a comment: Why is an output impedance of e.g. <1 Ohm rated as positive. Any experienced audio engineer will choose an impedance of 20-50 Ohm to avoid oscillating.
Because there are a lot of headphones with 30 to 50 ohms. If source impedance is 50 ohms, you get a voltage divider and lots of losses. And since the impedance may not be the same across all frequencies in the headphone, you will also vary its frequency response/tonality. For these reasons, a very low output impedance is desired even though it makes the design more challenging.
 

nickdiar

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#34
The NX4 still remains the better ultra-small amp/dac though it seems. What device will push it from the top spot I wonder!
I also thought so, until I saw the tempotec sonata idsd plus. All my heart was waiting for him to review from Amir, otherwise I can not decide.
Sorry for bad english, hello from Russia
 
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#35
did you do the power versus distortion+noise tests with the line out or the headphone out? I own the K3 and I've noticed that earphones are a lot more quiet when plugged in to the line out, so it might be outputting a lot less power through there than through the headphone out on the front.
 

amirm

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#36
did you do the power versus distortion+noise tests with the line out or the headphone out?
Power tests are always with headphone jack.
 

Phalange

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#40
It will work if you get enough power for the levels you listen at.
Okay, but it won't supposedly sound better if I'm using the line out, right? After all, the line out impedance would be higher than the one of SE jack.
 
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