FiiO KB3 HiFi Mechanical Keyboard Review + Setup Guide for VIA Online Keyboard App
FiiO’s KB3 Hi-Fi edition is a $150 mechanical keyboard with a DAC inside, specs are equal to FiiO KA13 dongle DAC to be exact.
The DAC in the KB3 Hi-Fi edition uses two high-performance and efficient CS43131 DACs and two low-noise SGM8262 Op-Amps, capable of providing 550mW of output power.
The FiiO KB3 combines mechanical keyboard enthusiasts with Hi-Fi lovers in a smart and straightforward way. FiiO created a product that caters to both interests.
The FiiO KB3 Hi-Fi edition supports lossless audio up to 32-bit/384kHz. The CS43131 DAC chip is one of the two flagship-level offers from Cirrus Logic with the CS43198. The specs difference between CS43198 and CS43131 is minimal. Most numbers like Dynamic Range, THD+N, sample rate, etc are identical between the two. The difference is that CS43198 is a DAC-only chip while CS43131 is a DAC+AMP chip with a built-in headphone AMP section.
KB3 Hi-Fi edition houses dual headphone jacks, one 4.4mm (balanced) and one 3.5mm (unbalanced), and there’s a red tactile scroll wheel in the top-right of the keyboard for volume control.
The 3.5mm single-ended headphone jack on the KB3 Hi-Fi edition supports TRRS connectors, allowing you to connect your gaming headset with built-in microphones while playing games, or chatting.
You have the option to personalize the KB3 by selecting your preferred switches and keycaps. However, the default options for this keyboard, which include the Gateron G Pro 3.0 Yellow switches, are specifically designed to reduce the loud clicking sound typically associated with mechanical keyboards. This is to ensure that it doesn’t disrupt your music experience.
It’s gasket-mounted, with hot-swap switches (meaning they can be replaced without the need for soldering), supports both Mac and Windows, includes RGB lighting, and is compatible with the popular VIA online configuration App. It’s available in a barebones option that comes without switches or keycaps, but if you want them included you get Gateron G Pro 3.0 Yellow switches and what appears to be a set of translucent keycaps.
KB3 uses the popular compact %75 layout, similar to what you’ll find on many laptops.
The FiiO KB3 Hi-Fi edition doubles as a USB hub for your computer, providing two additional USB-A ports. This allows you to charge devices such as smartphones or wireless mice, as well as connect flash drives directly through the keyboard.
The FiiO KB3 Hi-Fi edition works with Mac and Windows computers. It is available in black and silver finishes. You can buy it with or without switches and keycaps. If you plan to use your own, you can save $20.
FiiO KB3 HiFi Wired Edition
HiFi Functionality: Enjoy the full HiFi audio experience with integrated DAC.
Complete Inputs/Outputs: Equipped with all necessary ports for comprehensive connectivity.
Color Choices: Black only.
FiiO KB3 Wireless Edition
No HiFi Functionality: Focuses on essential charging ports, offering a clutter-free setup. Does not include DAC or headphone outputs and a USB hub.
Color Choices: Available in classic black or elegant silver case options.
Gasket-mounted design for a comfortable feel
Hot-swappable keys for customization
Dual OS support for Windows and Mac
Dual CS43131 DACs for superior audio quality
550mW high output power.
3.5mm SE and 4.4mm balanced headphone jacks
Patented design, integrating music listening and typing
FiiO KB3 Unboxing
DAC: Cirrus Logic CS43131 x 2
Op amp: SGMicro SGM8262 x 2
Audio decoding: Up to PCM384kHz/32bit, DSD256
Output power: 3.5 SE – ≥170mW+170mW, 4.4 balanced – ≥550mW+550mW
Signal-to-noise ratio: ≥122dB
Noise floor: About 2.5uV
USB chip: Savitech SA9312L
Keyboard switch: Gateron G Pro 3.0 yellow switches; Limited Founders Edition with Kailh Deep Sea Whale switches
Dimensions: About 329mm×140mm×43.5mm (12.95in×5.51in×1.71in)
Weight: Wired edition about 1060g (2.34lbs), Wireless edition about 1115g (2.46lbs)
Battery life (wireless edition): Up to 18 hours with RGB light on, 500 hours with RGB light off, 2000+ hours on standby
Input: USB Type-C
Output: 3.5mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced headphone out
OS Supported: Android/iOS/Windows/Mac
Color options: Midnight black, Morning silver
Gateron G Pro 3.0 Yellow Switches
Total travel: 4.0mm max.
Operation force: 50g
Bottom-out force: 67g
Operation life: Up to 100M cycles
I would like to thank FiiO for providing me with the review sample of the KB3.
Click the “Design” tab which appears left of the Settings tab.
Click “Load” and browse for the “FIIO KB3-HIFI.JSON” file which you can download here.
After that come to the first “Configure” tab and click “Authorize device+” Select “FIIO KB3-HIFI” from the pop-up windows and click “Connect”.
And start using the VIA App.
The DAC in the KB3 Hi-Fi edition delivers a well-balanced and neutral sound throughout all frequencies. It is versatile and offers a great listening experience with any earphones.
The tonality is nice, not too warm or analytical. It doesn’t sound digital or artificial. It sounds clean and balanced with good dynamics. The separation of instruments is also good.
The low range is precise, quick, and smooth. The bass level is just right and accurate. It is well-managed and detailed. The sub-bass level is decent with strong attack and decay. The punch is noticeable. The well-managed mid-bass creates a seamless shift from the lows to the midrange.
In the midrange, the vocals sound clear and have a lot of space. String instruments have a rich sound and the notes feel quite accurate. Instruments that focus on the midrange sound natural and have a lot of details. The upper mids have enough energy and sharpness.
The presence range captures details well and has a clear definition. The vocals are positioned accurately and the entire midrange sounds musical and dynamic, thanks to the perfect tonality.
The high frequencies sound crisp and precise, providing lots of details. The sound extends well but also stays well-balanced, neither overwhelming nor lacking. FiiO has achieved an ideal balance with excellent resolution.
The separation is excellent, and the soundstage is both wide and deep. The layering is impressive, allowing you to easily distinguish individual instruments within the stage. The presentation feels coherent and tidy, so you won’t get easily distracted. From a technical perspective, the DAC of the KB3 performs admirably.
Let’s talk about some facts. FiiO sells the KB3 H-Fi edition for $147.49. You can also buy it without keycaps and switches for $127.49 as a custom kit to use with your beloved switches and keycaps. That is already a very good price for a mechanical keyboard of this quality. And you get the $79 of worth KA13 spec-twin DAC with that price.
I think the price/performance ratio of this product is unrivaled. No matter if you are a gamer, a 7/24 music lover, or just want a new silent mechanical keyboard, this is an easy math and an easy recommendation.