After 16 or so years in this industry, I was pretty sure I’d seen it all – and then the FiiO KB3 ‘hi-fi keyboard’ popped up in my inbox and I immediately decided that I must have one.
It may look like a gaming-focused compact keyboard, what with those flashy mechanical keys, but the KB3 is as much about audio output as it is typed inputs. Connect it to your Mac or PC via USB and it can receive hi-res audio in up to 384kHz/32-bit and in formats including audiophile DSD256.
This digital audio is then converted to analogue by two ‘high-performance and efficient’ CS43131 DACs, amplified by two ‘low-noise’ amps and output to your chosen pair of headphones, which can be connected to the keyboard’s integrated 3.5mm or 4.4mm balanced outputs.
The key caps are swappable and transparent, and there are apparently multiple presets for the RGB lighting (which can also presumably be turned off entirely). FiiO has selected Gateron G Pro 3.0 switches for the keys, which are well-regarded for their reliability and longevity.
If I was the grumbling sort, I’d say that while I appreciate the fact that there’s an integrated, step-less volume control, I’m not sure its flat red finish matches the rest of the keyboard’s aesthetic, but I’m not so I won’t. I also won’t mention that it would be good to have a larger version with a full numeric keypad.
The big question, of course, is whether the FiiO KB3 actually sounds any good, and I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that yet. I’m certainly intrigued, though, and tempted to pay the £139 / $149 asking price in order to find out.
These are the best DACs you can buy right now
And here are the best headphone amps
Then you’re going to want to add a pair of the best wired headphones