April 18, 2024
Fiio KB3 mechanical keyboard and DAC.
Fiio

Combo units are in every single place. We have now telephones with cameras, earbuds with health trackers, and watches with altimeters, so why not a keyboard with a built-in digital-to-analog converter (DAC)? That’s the premise behind the Fiio KB3, a mechanical, wired keyboard that options two devoted headphone outputs, audiophile-grade DAC chips, and a built-in quantity dial to manage what you’re listening to. It hits retail in December for $149 in two colour choices: black or silver.

Fiio KB3 mechanical keyboard and DAC.
Fiio

The Fiio KB3 makes use of a wide range of dampening layers in its development, together with an aluminum-magnesium alloy high cowl. The semitransparent keycaps are swappable and sit atop Gateron G Professional 3.0 yellow switches, and the complete 75% design is RGB backlit.

Fiio KB3 mechanical keyboard and DAC.
Fiio

On the again aspect, you’ll discover that the KB3 does triple obligation as a USB hub, with a single USB-C port and two USB-A ports for issues like wired mice.

Fiio KB3 mechanical keyboard and DAC.
Fiio

For the all-important DAC portion, the KB3 makes use of a pair of Cirrus Logic CS43131 DACs feeding two low-noise SGM8262 operational amplifiers producing 550 thousandths of a watt (mW) per channel of output energy while you use the 4.4mm balanced headphone jack. The three.5mm unbalanced jack will get 170mW per channel. Fiio claims that the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is 122 decibels, with a complete harmonic distortion (THD+N) of lower than 0.0005% — the type of specs you’d anticipate to see on a devoted DAC costing as a lot as $300.

To provide credit score the place credit score is due, Fiio wasn’t the primary to create a keyboard-DAC combo. Earlier in 2023, the Commodore 64-inspired Moondrop Sprint arrived with an nearly equivalent set of options to the KB3, however at twice the worth.

Different variations of the KB3 exist as effectively: a wi-fi model that doesn’t provide DAC capabilities and a customized equipment model that features the DAC, however lacks key switches and keycaps so that you could provide your personal.

Most mechanical keyboards are aimed on the gaming group, a bunch of parents who additionally occur to choose wired audio for its ultralow latency. However given the KB3’s audiophile specs, it’s truthful to say this keyboard may effectively enchantment to anybody who desires to declutter their desktop and nonetheless get nice sound for his or her headphones or earbuds.

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