Similar to most ANC headphones and earbuds, the FiiO EH3 NC sounds better with ANC switched off. For consistency purposes, all observations in this section will be based on the listening experience with ANC off via Bluetooth through the highest quality Bluetooth codec supported, which in this case is LDAC.
One of the things that caught my eye during the prototyping phase of the FiiO EH3 NC was the choice of 45 mm dynamic drivers featuring a double-sided titanium-plated diaphragm; this differs from the competition where 40 mm dynamic drivers are often implemented.
At the low-end, the larger 45 mm made its presence felt delivering rumbles coming from the sub-bass as well as the rest of the low-end frequencies not only in quantity but in quality; there are depth, impact, and tightness. What is lacking, however, is dynamism, which is often the compromise of a larger dynamic driver. It, unfortunately, is just a tad bit too slow.
The mid-range is where I wish the tuning could have done better. A below-par lower mid-range translates into a poorly controlled bass presence, ensuring the lack of definition particularly for string instruments, coupled with a lack of balance between the upper and lower mid-range, causing the upper mid-range to sound recessed.
Airy and spacious, the FiiO EH3 NC, fortunately, has a respectable high-end, which attempts to make up for the unimpressive mid-range. The high-end provides clarity and definition, as well as the right amount of sparkle and airiness.
The mid-range weakness of the headphones has also affected the imaging, ensures a sound stage that is lacking in overall width, depth, and height. Indeed, there are times where I can’t even visualise the imaging, with a confused mind, the sound neither in front nor behind.
In general, the FiiO EH3 NC does leave me an impression of a sound signature that is ramped up at the low-end in the name of excitement. This, however, pairs poorly with the lack of dynamics and hits a new low when the mid-range comes into play. While the high-end does have its merits, it is not enough to provide redemption for its below-par midrange.