Fiio – Noise Annoys – Headphone Review

Anyone wanting to venture beyond the factory equipped earbuds that accompany mobile devices (which should be everyone) ventures into an array of options. The trick is to balance attributes like performance with price.

Performance encompasses myriad factors, the most important of which for me are comfort, portability, transparency of sound and ease of use.

Any device in or around your ear will eventually decrease comfort, so it is crucial that high quality components are used. Comfort also includes the factor of weight. This is a perennial challenge for designers; it is simple physics that the heavier the magnet in a speaker the better performance that will be delivered.

The Fiio EH3 NC headphones provide a very impressive balance of performance and price.

You can spend far more (and far less) to deliver sound to your ears, but the range between $100 and $200 is where many folks find the right balance. Presently on offer for around $170, these headphones are a bargain.

You know by now that Bluetooth eliminates cords, and the EH3 NC incorporates Qualcomm’s CSR8675 Bluetooth 5.0 chipset which not only streams the audio, but also works to stabilize the audio signals by shielding them from external interference. The result is indeed smooth, transparent audio. The large 45mm drivers feature titanium-plated diaphragms that translate sufficient bass without over emphasis. The latter is a trick often used to initially provide impressive sound, but the bloated bass soon becomes annoying.

A song by Ian (Mott the Hoople) Hunter comes to mind; it is called Noise Annoys. He recorded it with a couple guys from The Clash.

The EH3 NC headphones deploy a 2-way, 4-microphone array coupled with an ADI noise-cancelling chip that does a great job of decreasing the ambient sound outside the headphones. When we are back on airplanes, this feature is a necessity. Noise indeed annoys.

I am always grateful for a long battery life, and these headphones offer up to 50 hours of music listening or over 1000 hours of standby time. Five subtle LEDs keep you apprised of battery life.

Pairing to your device is brilliantly simple: merely tap your NFC-enabled mobile device against the headphones. If you want to tap into the library you built on your old school iPod, a 3.5mm audio cable is included (also useful if you have tapped out the long battery life). Speaking of tapping out, after long hours of listening I did not suffer from the sad experience of soreness in hastily designed headphones.

Further ease of use with the EH3 NC headphones is offered via hands-free calling, controlled by on-ear controls.

This is a pair of headphones that strikes the balance you are looking for in the sub $200 price range.






Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.