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S$189 FiiO K3 DAC: Big Power, Small Package

It’s pretty hard to justify analog audio gadgets in 2019, but the FiiO K3 DAC brings together the latest features in the audiophile world in an affordable, portable package. 

With a USB-C input, the K3 DAC provides a reliable, stable connection as compared to legacy solutions. Its XMOS USB receiver chip enables the K3 to decode up to a 384kHz/32bit PCM signal with native DSD256. Dual crystal oscillators ensure that input signals are correct and and enhanced.

The FiiO K3 DAC. Image: FiiO

At a flick of a switch, a second USB mode switches to a lower 96kHz/24bit PCM audio for ease of use without the need for any special drivers.

Sound is processed on the AKM AK4452 chip that features 32-bit Velvet Sound technology, and can be accessed via a fully-differential true balanced output. 

For amplifiers, the TI OPA926 works with the professional-grade OPA1612 acting as the low-pass filter to provide highly-resolving sound at 320mW, 16 ohms at its balanced output.

An etched, machined physical ADC volume control pot enables the K3 to eliminate channel volume, while providing fine and natural control, even across a range of headphones with different sensitivity. The device also features hardware gain and bass boost switch for a variety of headphones and music tastes.

By providing OVP (over voltage protection) and a double-filter circuit, the K3 DAC ensures a stable power supply with discrete power supply units for the digital and analogue circuits, thereby reducing crosstalk.

The FiiO K3 DAC is constructed from CNC-machined aluminium, and anodised and sandblasted to a fine finish. With its diminutive build, the K3 is perfect for an everyday driver, fitting in to the tightest of pockets.

The etched ADC volume dial is perfectly sized and weighted for operation with a single finger, and blends perfectly into the design of the K3. An RGB light next to it provides a visual indication of the type of audio currently processed on the K3.

On the K3 are dual headphone jacks – a 3.5mm single-ended and 2.5mm balanced output for a variety of earphones and headphones. Both ports feature auto jack detection, and provide the right amount of power for either of the outputs – 50% more in the balanced out as compared to the single-ended output.

The 3.5mm line out is powered directly from the OPA1612 op-amp, and ensures minimal quality compromises. With up to a 2Vms maximum power output, the K3 is able to drive most active speakers and amplifiers. The XMOS USB receiver is also used for coaxial and optical connectors for great quality output to larger systems.

The FiiO K3 DAC is available in Singapore at an RRP of SGD 189 (inclusive of GST) at authorised retailers AV One, Connect IT, Stereo Electronics, E1 Personal Audio and Treoo.com.

Ian Ling
http://uncommontragedy.com
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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