Ride The Waves
Headphone Amplifier FiiO A3 Review

Headphone Amplifier – FiiO A3 Review


You have your headphones, your MP3 player, or smartphone. You love how it all sounds right now but, like me, you’re on a journey to constantly improve the sound of whatever you listen to. This is where a portable headphone amplifier can offer a solution to your problem. 

You’ve heard the term amplifier before, but maybe you haven’t heard of a headphone amplifier. If you’re already familiar with them, you know how important a piece of personal audio equipment they can be.

The FiiO A3 is a portable, personal, highly compact audio enhancement device that can be used with any headphones and any device that has a headphone jack (although the recommended range is for headphones from 16 to 150 ohms).

Continue reading the review to learn more about one of my favorite portable headphone amplifiers.


The FiiO A3 Is A Perfect Fit 

Basic Specifications:

  1. Approx. 16 hours run time on a single charge
  2. 1400 mAh rechargeable battery
  3. Gain switch (match output to specific headphone power needs)
  4. Bass boost switch
  5. Utilizes OPA1642 preamp (ultra low distortion/superior sound quality
  6. AD8397 amp section (low distortion/high output current)
  7. Body made of aluminum 
  8. Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.58 x 0.51 in.
  9. Weight: 3.2 oz


The Fit and Feel In Your Hand

One question I’m sure you’re considering is “how will this device fit and feel when I hold it?” Although the amp won’t be the only device being held by your hand, it fits extremely well with your favorite MP3 player. It is a little bit slimmer than an iPod Classic and about 1/2 an inch shorter. Once you pair it with the 2 rubber elastic bands, it sits securely in place so you can use the click wheel for navigation.

Popular smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge are a quite a bit wider than the iPod Classic or one of the older iPhone models and the touch screen isn’t ideal with use of the elastic bands.


For Use With A Smartphone – Consider This

While you can still get away with pairing this amp with your smartphone, the fit could be better. I would recommend using the A3 without the elastic bands for phone listening. The bands will get in the way of swiping on your touchscreen and it can get pretty annoying to deal with. 

For use without the bands, simply plug everything in the right place and listen away. You can put the whole setup in your pocket and not have to worry about it moving around too much. Personally, I think it’s easier to use this setup at home or somewhere you won’t be moving around too much (unless you have it paired with an MP3 player or iPod).


Adaptable Design For Your Needs – Pocket or At-Home Use

With this in mind, depending on how you plan to use your new portable amplifier, the FiiO A3 is very adaptable.

I usually choose to hold my iPod or phone in my hand when I’m listening to music so it’ll be easier to browse through the music library or change the song.

I haven’t taken a run with the amplifier yet and don’t really plan on ever doing so. If you’re the active type don’t worry, it comes with strong elastic bands to hold it in place on the back of your preferred device. (We don’t really want to take gear like this on a run with us though, right?)


One Downside…

As I mentioned above, most smartphones are a little bit on the wide side of handheld electronics, as you all know. If you enjoy reclining back in your favorite chair and listening to music, the width of your phone won’t be much of a problem at all.

If you want to use the included elastic bands with your iPhone, that’ll be a little more inconvenient as they will get in the way of you using your touch screen to navigate your music library.

Don’t Be Embarrassed if Your Eyes Tear Up


Personal Audio Amplifier


I know this sounds like a joke, but trust me, it’s no joking matter. Well, maybe it is… a little. 

I’ve experienced countless transcendent moments while listening to my favorite music over the years and I would have to say that using a headphone amplifier rivals live music. We all love getting the chills during “that one part”, as it shakes us to our core.

As we all know, the journey of sonic elevation is about finding new ways to step up and elevate your audio. Adding a simple device like the A3 is a great step to take towards achieving that goal.


I Can’t Live Without It Now

The reason I’m convinced that I can’t live without the FiiO A3 is because once you’ve heard music like this, it becomes a lot harder to listen to music any other way. It sets the bar almost TOO high. Just kidding, just high enough. 

The Best Way To Listen To Music

Don’t get me wrong, listening to music in the car with a nice set of speakers and the whole system set up can be pretty unbelievable. Most of us don’t spend the majority of our lives in a car, unless you’re a professional driver of course. 

This is why I’m so happy with my small investment in this device. I’m happy because I don’t have to buy concert tickets. I don’t have to hop in my car and drain the gas tank because music sounds better that way. I can sit down, get comfortable, and press play. Again and again and again. 

As far as enhancing the quality of your favorite band’s latest single or full-length, you have absolutely NOTHING to stress about.

This Headphone Amplifier Is Almost Too Easy To Use

The FiiO A3 transforms audio into a personal experience that you can have WHENEVER YOU WANT to. All you have to do is charge the amp via the included USB cable, plug it into your MP3 player or phone and connect your headphones.  It’s really that simple.


Headphone Amplifier FiiO A3 Review

You Control What You Hear – Gain and Bass Boost Switches

This little gem allows you to control the gain and volume, as well as the strength of the bass. All this can be done from the bottom of the amplifier. This is shown in the picture below. Depending on the power output (frequency response) of your headphones, you can choose to have the gain off or on. The same goes for the bass boost switch.

FiiO recommends this device for use with headphones that have a power output ranging from 16 to 150 ohms. Keep in mind that you can use this with headphones that don’t exactly fit that range, but for optimum audio reproduction try to aim for that. 


Headphone Amplifier FiiO A3 Review


Those basic audio manipulations can make a world of difference, especially if you have any understanding of using the EQ to tailor your adjustments to the sound by genre or artist.

Here’s A Brief Visual Explanation


Elevate Your Listening Experience! Join The Ranks of Happy Ears!

If you’re ready to take the next step towards sonic elevation, hopefully this FiiO A3 review helped you make a more informed decision. The price tag on one of these bad boys won’t break your bank, and offers to provide countless hours of personal enjoyment. There are many other satisfied customers and you can read their reviews here. 

Among the competitive array of portable amplifiers, this device will give you the extra boost you need at a value that balances quality and premium performance. Starting at under $100 (eligible for Prime benefits), the FiiO A3 is a tough competitor.

I hope you get as much as enjoyment out of this awesome device as I have and if you have any further questions you’d like answered, feel free to ask! I always do my best to respond as quickly as I can. 

Do you own any portable headphone amplifiers? Will this be your first time using a headphone amp? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!


Sonic Elevation: Ride The Waves.

FiiO A3 Portable Headphone Amplifier (Black)




Battery Life









  • Easy To Use
  • Versatile Width/Height
  • Wide Frequency Response
  • USB Charging Cable
  • Elastic Bands To Hold Device In Place


  • Semi-Awkward Fit with Wider Smartphones


  • Misan says:

    Hey Dom, I have quite a good experience in the past with FiiO products. I would have no problem recommending them to friends.

    What are your headphones? Do they NEED an amplifier, or would the built-in player amp be enough?

    I personally never listen to music with a portable device, so I only use amp+headphone combination at home. With a quality duo, the quality is outstanding! Next thing I need to find is a DAC. Have you tried any yet?

    • Dom says:

      Hey Misan, 

      I usually use a pair of V-Moda Crossfade LP2’s for everyday listening. They don’t NEED an amplifier as they sound good by themselves, but I like to use the amp especially when I find a new album I want to listen to and get the most out of. 

      What headphones do you use for everyday listening?

      At home with my desktop I use a Presonus Audiobox USB. I love it bc I can use it not only for listening but also recording music. 

      Hope that helps, thanks for tuning in. 🙂



  • Jude says:

    Hi Dom,

    I have a FiiO mp3 player. The sound quality is noticeably better than my iPhone and I like it for its “ever-lasting” battery life. I go on a full charge for days. I wonder how they did it. Anyway, I am just wondering if I already own a FiiO player, do you think this will improve the overall listening experience by a lot more?

    From your review, I like its simplicity of use and the Live Music part really appeals to me. I am keen to try it. However, to band the player and the amp together is not aesthetically pleasing. 🙂 Well, it is what it is – to provide great music anywhere you go.

    • Dom says:

      Hey Jude, 

      It’s funny you mention your FiiO mp3 player, I’ve actually been thinking about trying one out recently. 

      Pairing the two devices together, especially being the same brand, will most definitely increase the quality of sound. I’ve read multiple reviews elsewhere about using the two together which is partially why I’m thinking about making the switch from an iPod Classic

      I hear you on the bands not being aesthetically pleasing but it’s a sacrifice well worth it for the sonic enhancement in my opinion. 

      Thanks for tuning in,


  • Imme says:

    Hey, i recently bought fiio i1.
    Can I use this in combo with the fiio a3 or should I step over to the a3? Is it better?

    • Dom says:

      The Fiio i1 will give you more boost than your iPhone will have without it but if you want even more boost – I’d recommend going with the FiiO A3. It will definitely make your music sound a lot fuller, clearer, and better overall.

      The i1 should perform pretty well (especially considering it’s compact size), not to mention it’ll be easier to carry around with your phone. I wouldn’t recommend trying to use the i1 + the A3 at the same time just because that’s not the recommended use.

      Since you already have the i1, why not try the A3 and compare the two side-by-side? We know the A3 works extremely well, but how does it compare to the i1?

      Unless you’re already using the FiiO i1 and you’re satisfied with it’s performance, I’d recommend listening with the FiiO A3.

      I hope that answers your question, thanks for stopping by Imme!

  • Davor says:

    Hi Dom,

    I just recently bought Audeze Sine. I will be using it mostly with my iPhone X. I am considering buying dac/amp to get as much as I can from my headphones. Would you recommend this Fiio A3 in combination with iPhone and Audeze Sine? If not, is there any other dac/amp up to 100-120$ you would recommend?


    • Dom says:

      Hey Davor, great choice of headphone by the way – I can only imagine how great they sound!

      Assuming you already have a headphone jack adapter for your iPhone X, I would recommend a DAC/Amp that has a higher output impedance than the FiiO A3.

      Although you might be able to squeeze by using the A3, it works best for closed back headphones that are easier to drive. For your Audeze Sine there are a couple other options that would probably be a better fit.

      In that price range, I would recommend either the FiiO E10K or the FiiO A5. Both come highly rated and both work great for use with a smartphone.

      The E10K can also be used with your laptop or PC and the A5 is quickly becoming a favorite among both casual listeners and audiophiles. The A5 is a bit more expensive but it’s overall performance will be worth it after all is said and done.

      I hope that helps answer your question, have fun listening with your new setup!

      • Davor says:

        Hi Dom,
        Audeze Sine is a closed back headphone, maybe you were referring to Sine DX model? However, I am considering also Fiio Q1ii. How would you rate it compared with E10K and A5?

        • Dom says:

          Sorry about that Davor, you’re right – I was referring to the Sine DX, that’s my fault.

          The FiiO Q1 Mark II is also a great DAC amp, with the main difference being it’s native DSD chip. It can support more file types and if you have a big library of hi-res files (or plan on building one), it would definitely come in handy.

          It also has an official Apple MFi certification which would make it a perfect match for use with your iPhone X. All 3 of these amps would be a great choice, but once again, the Q1 Mark II would be your best option if you mainly listen to larger, hi-res audio files.

          If I were to recommend your top 2 choices (out of these 3) – I would suggest trying the Q1 Mark II or the FiiO E10K. Both have DAC capabilities and have gotten great reviews. The E10K has been around for quite a bit longer, so it is more highly-rated on Amazon as of now.

          The main deciding factor would be the difference in price, which is about $20 (at the time of writing this response).

          Let me know if you have any more questions, I’d be happy to help!

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