FiiO had a busy 2021, releasing more new items than just about anyone else aside from maybe the KZ family when it comes to audio products. Indeed, we covered three of their IEMs so far, the FH5s, FD3, and recently announced FiiO x Crinacle FHE:Eclipse, in addition to the New K3 desktop source and BTR5 portable Bluetooth source DAC/amp combo units. I am still playing catch up with FiiO in 2022, as there are another three items pending as we speak. There are so many new products thus that FiiO saw it apt to create a sub-brand called Jade Audio to focus on the more budget-friendly products that no doubt sell more in number. Jade Audio was formed in 2019 and has itself released more products in 2021 than some more established brands. Among these is the subject of today's review, and thanks go to FiiO and Jade Audio for providing TechPowerUp a review sample!
The FiiO x JadeAudio JD3 is also simply referred to as the Jade Audio JD3 or FiiO JD3 in some venues, which doesn't help Jade Audio brand recognition. But no matter what you call it, it ends up being the least expensive set of in-ear monitors, or even headphones, I have reviewed so far. It competes in the price range where you buy multiple such IEMs to give as gifts to friends or co-workers, or even family members you would want to move on from freebies bundled with some other devices that are best only used as a last resort. Don't expect much in the way of luxury here, and I was even going to make this a quick-look article before realizing how much engineering has been packed in, making this the sort of product more likely to interest most of our readers than the ultra-expensive headphones and IEMs I also cover. Let's begin this review with a look at the product specifications in the table below.
FiiO x JadeAudio JD3 In-Ear Monitors
Unibody stainless steel construction
Attached OFC cable with 3.5 mm TRS connector, aluminium alloy plugs, and HD microphone w/line controls
9.2 mm composite diaphragm dynamic driver with CCAW voice coil and neodymium magnets
107 dB/mW (@1 kHz)
10 Hz–40 kHz
16 Ω (@1 kHz)
4 ft/1.2 m
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging is on the simpler side for the FiiO x JadeAudio JD3, which isn't surprising given the more value-oriented offering it aims to be. JadeAudio forgoes the typical cardboard box in favor of an acrylic chassis sealed in plastic, which still manages to look classier and more premium than some other audio products costing ten times as much, if not more. The clear acrylic panels reveal the cardboard box with the FiiO logo, expected Hi-Res audio logo, and product name on front, where we also notice a large cutout for a closer look at the product inside. The Jade Audio logo only makes an appearance on the back, so FiiO still needs to work on carefully making it and its products stand on their own feet sooner than later. In addition to brand contact information, we get the same FiiO authenticity checker as on all its other, more expensive products, which is nice for those worried about counterfeit products being sold to them.
Simply lift off the top cover to access the contents inside; you can now take out the cardboard pieces and get to the plastic blister inlay housing the actual items of interest. The IEMs and cable housing the microphone and line controls are placed in snug compartments with the rest of the cable in a larger cutout to the bottom. This is also where the other accessories are found, including a warranty card and plastic zip-lock bag containing additional ear tips.
FiiO, or rather Jade Audio, includes four sets of silicone ear tips with the JD3. These come in sizes SS, S, M, and L, with size M tips pre-installed out of the box. While simple single-flange silicone ear tips that won't win any awards, these will do the job just fine for the scope of the product. The flanges are not very stiff and should take on the shape of your ear canal entrance fairly well.
[Update: April 2022] YouTuber Lumerion brought to my attention how there isn't a carry pouch here, which in itself would not have been an issue in this budget market were it not for the part where earlier batches seemingly had them included. He followed up diligently with FiiO on this—perhaps it was a case of bait and switch—and was told that the pouch included before had issues and "glitches". FiiO then decided to omit this in future runs, and are only offering to send it to customers who directly contact the company about it. It feels more a cost-saving step than anything else, but here you have it.