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I bought this for a slightly more unusual use -- as an external "soundcard" essentially. I use the digital outputs from my computers (optical from one, coaxial from the other so I can just switch between them with the flip of a switch) to use this as an external DAC. From here it connects to my headphone amp (a CMoy with an AD8620 -- a simply amazing sounding DAC even if it's a tad power hungry that makes it sound far better than a CMoy) directly. As a DAC it just sounds absolutely amazing. It has better clarity and quality than any I've used up to now, including some external "soundcard" type DACs like the Alien DAC. There is a bit more of a noise floor than some of them, but I still have to turn the volume dial up so far that if it were playing music I'd be bursting my eardrums to really notice it. This gives me all of the benefits of an "external DAC" with more universal compatibility (since it works with far more than just my computers) and a surprisingly amazing sound. Far better than I ever expected really. I've even ordered a USB soundcard for my netbook which has an optical output and which matches the D3's frequency and depth range (so I can use 96/24 if I so choose) because I like this so much I want it on there. I'm going to have to get another of these as a backup I think. I don't ever want to go back, even if this thing tears up...

I have tested this with my TVs too out of curiosity. The first thing that I noticed is that my TVs do not have the option to decode the audio. They just do a straight digital passthrough. One reviewer said it doesn't work with over-the-air, but this is just because so many use encoding methods (probably DTS I guess.) It definitely does work with anything that supports using a PCM output and with TVs like these any device that uses PCM on their digital interface will just be passed through still as PCM. For instance, my Roku player uses an HDMI cable and is set to stereo output. The TV just passes it directly and the Roku at least sounds great when connected to the Fiio D3. I've also tested using the optical output of my PS2 console and so far haven't found anything where it didn't just work great. I tried to find games with good music and I've discovered that a few (most notably PSX ports like the Megaman X collection) don't really sound great, but a few are just wonderful this way (just for instance, the Persona games.) The game Rez never suited me that well, but I believe that people who love it should absolutely try it this way.

Fiio does not recommend using the OPAMP to directly drive headphones. As a preamp it sounds fine, but it would probably be a bit weak for things like headphones. I haven't really tested that since it definitely couldn't compete with my CMoy and the OPAMP on it. I have heard of people replacing the TI LMV358 OPAMP on there with others such as the Analog Devices AD8656 with positive results (though you obviously have to be very good with a soldering iron for this and can, of course, count on utterly voiding the warranty in doing so.) The AD8656 at least can drive headphones directly, so with a proper setup this could even act as a headphone amp in addition to acting as a DAC. I probably won't be doing this any time soon, but if the AD8656 sounds even remotely like the AD8620 I might consider it someday (in the meantime I obviously can't review what it might sound like.)
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on April 22, 2013
I've been looking into this converter for sometime in order to connect my LG TV to the Bose Wave system. It wasn't completely necessary so I've delay the purchase until recently when my wife asked about watching the TV with the bluetooth headset I've recently bought her for her iPhone/iPad. When I've look into bluetooth transmitters most of them had analog 3.5mm connectors. So, I decided that it was time for me to take the jump and try out the converter.

(BTW, this is partial copy/paste of the review I've written for TaoTronics bluetooth transmitter.)

Here are the devices I wanted to connect:
LG Cinema Screen 47LM6700 47-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 120Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses
Wave® Music System III - Graphite Gray
* RunNYC Stereo Bluetooth Headphones ([...]) Here is the same headphone rebranded and sold on Amazon - MEElectronics Air Fi Runaway Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Headphones with Microphone (Black/Red)

Here are the devices I've used to connect them:
FiiO TAISHAN-D03K Digital to Analog Audio Converter, 24-bit/192 kHz Support
AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable, 6 Feet
TaoTronics TT-BA01 Wireless Portable Bluetooth Stereo Music Transmitter (Not A Bluetooth Receiver) for 3.5mm Audio Devices (iPod, MP3/MP4, TV, Kindle Fire, Media Players...)

I won't go into detail about how they are all connected since it's quite straightforward and obvious. One thing I do want to mentions is that Bose Wave is connected via RCA out and TaoTronic transmitter is connected to the 3.5mm out and they both work simultaneously. I was worried about whether I would need to constantly plug one in and the other out or not but thankfully the sound is delivered through both output simultaneously and this allowed me to keep them both plugged in at the same time.
1 helpful vote
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on January 19, 2013
I'm using this converter to produce a two channel stereo audio feed from the digital audio ONLY SPDIF audio output on the flat screen television. Our TV has a RCA/COAX digital output instead of the fiber optical toslink. After living with it for a couple of months, the AC/DC transformer is scrapped. It seems to me a design oversight (like TV manufacturers omission of analog audio outputs) that this converter doesn't include it's own OFF switch.

Maybe this wouldn't be necessary if the occasional static feedback loop from Hell didn't inject itself into the audio stream at random intervals. Shutting it off is the only way to kill it. On hindsight, maybe a three prong grounded transformer would shut down that feedback loop for a few more dollars. This sadly isn't the only incident requiring a complete shut down.

I've found the converter itself builds up an RMF interference field which is visible on the analog channels from the local stations via antenna. It might be appropriate to blame this on poor insulation of the coax cable antenna feed. But it's not an issue with the digital channels feeding through the same antenna and coax cable. So, to overcome the RMF interference it's necessary to use a mini USB cord plugged into the TV USB firmware service port. It must be unplugged each time I've finished using it.

Here's the right sort of mini USB cable. Apricorn Hi Speed USB 2.0 A to Mini-B Cable - Black - 1Meter/3 Feet (A1M-USB2-A-MINIB) It does the job without static.

In summation, this audio conversion synchronizes the the stereo audio to an analog receiver, including HDMI digital content from an New 3 RCA Composite S-video R/L Audio to HDMI Converter, which would otherwise present some latency in the HDMI digital audio signal.

This means I can use the s-video outlet on a DVD player with no HDMI outlet. And the DVD analog stereo audio RCA jacks also feed into the HDMI converter, which in turn links the player to the TV. From there the TV digital audio is converted to analog audio by the FiiO D3, and there is no latency between the TV speakers and the external stereo speakers.
1 helpful vote
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I will say that the sole reason I bought this is that it was cheap. I didn't have much of an expectation that it would work like I wanted it to, but it was inexpensive enough that I figured it would be worth the gamble. My TV has a coaxial S/PDIF output, and my stereo amplifier only had analog RCA inputs, so the only way to route the audio through the stereo has been to juggle cords around or just forget about it. However, I just moved into a new house and figured that it would be a golden opportunity to set everything up like I wanted it, so I got this little device.

First of all, it's small. Like, the size of a camera battery pack small. And, it's powered by USB. It comes with a wall wart so you can plug it in, but the energy it requires to run is practically negligible. It's switchable for TOSLINK or coaxial digital input, so no matter what you're plugging in to it, it'll work. Besides a loud pop when it synchronizes with the digital audio stream it's also seamless. One small caveat is this, however: make sure that your digital output from whatever device you're plugging in to it is set to output a 2 channel stereo stream. If you try to run Dolby 5.1 in to it your reward is a deafeningly loud machine-gun pulse of information it can't decode, and if you try to run mono in to it rather than splitting the signal between both channels, it only outputs on the left channel. For me this meant telling both the Xbox 360 AND the TV to output on 2 channel stereo; after that, it worked perfectly.

I haven't gotten to use it a whole lot yet, but it seems to work perfectly with the DVD player, and I haven't noticed any jitter out of it. I also haven't tested it with a scratched DVD, so I have no idea what it will do when the stream is abruptly interrupted. So far, however, it seems to do everything the much more expensive units do, it can easily be hidden behind the stereo equipment, and works well with my aging (and ailing) stereo setup. One day I will probably buy an amplifier with a digital input; until then, I think this will work just fine.
1 helpful vote
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on May 1, 2012
I bought this to convert the optical output from my Apple TV to stereo analog to feed a whole-house audio system.

Two major problems:
1. Static noise when waking up the Apple TV from sleep. The static persists unless you start playing audio, or, cycle power to the FiiO converter. At first I thought it was the Apple TV (and even had that replaced under warranty)... but turns out it was the FiiO. It doesn't gracefully handle the situation where it's getting an optical input that's not yet phase-locked - which results in static noise. Poor design.

2. Failed after 6 months. One day it just decided to stop working... no more blue power light when plugged in.

To address #1, a workaround I found was to not let my Apple TV go to sleep, so that it's always on. For #2, Amazon was good enough to let me return the item. Outside of these two problems, the product worked ok, and the sound quality was good.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on March 22, 2013
This worked perfectly with my LG HDTV Model 32LE5400 and a Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable along with the LP-2020A+ Lepai Tripath Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Mini Amplifier. It was perfect to power my existing speakers and providing booming sound!

It also worked perfectly with my Panasonic TC-L24X5 HDTV which required a Digital Coaxial Audio Cable. I used the same Amplifier and the Dayton Bookshelf speakers. My Panasonic TV did require me to go to the Menu, select "Audio" and change the output to "PCM"... the default was Dolby which this says it does not work with.

I am a happy camper! This is an excellent device and makes watching TV a whole new experience again since I can use 'real' speakers instead of the built in bar on the TV. LOVE IT!!!
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on February 24, 2012
I ordered this little FiiO D3 unit as a low-cost, temporary placeholder in my recording studio, until my new "professional level" (= expensive) DAC was delivered. (I was switching from a 'high-end' PCI sound card in a tower computer to an external digital-to-analog convertor, in order to eliminate various issues I'd had over the years with the sound card.)

Anyway, I disconnected the sound card from my mixing board and plugged in my my new gadget, and then connected it to the SPDIF output on the computer. I powered it up and got a red power light and a blue "lock" light right away. Then, without playing music, I slowly raised the volume and couldn't hear anything. I raised it more, and then more, and still not hearing anything, I went to full volume on the entire signal chain. Finally I heard some hiss. Intrigued, I brought the volume way back down and played some music. I could not believe my ears, the music sounded really good and it was plenty loud. The little FiiO, for a fraction of what my fancy 192khz sound card had cost, was sitting there with a noise floor 10's of dB lower than the "premium" card I had been using for 3 years. In addition to low noise there was no noticable difference in frequency response, distortion, phase response, or stereo imaging. It just sounded good.

Very impressed indeed. The buld quality of the unit is good too. I can't wait to do an A/B test with my new professional-level DAC; but I am scared to death I won't be able to tell the difference. I can sure tell the difference between the FiiO and the PCI card however.

By the way, the FiiO comes with its own 5V power supply even though the description does not make that clear.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on April 19, 2012
Got great advice from a review I read on here from a guy with the exact same 19" TV I had just bought with crappy speakers. Followed his setup to the letter using this converter unit with a 6" Toslink cable, a USB to mini B cable for power to the unit(from USB port on TV), and standard RCA cables from unit to my Kantos SYD-5 Ipod dock speakers. really makes the sound from TV boom and gives me many media options for my workout room. Had trouble getting signal at first, but with some adjustments to TV sound out I was able to light the blue signal light on unit and all is well. Only have it up and running for one week, so I can't speak to it's durability, but so far so good. I would recommend.
1 helpful vote
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on September 29, 2011
I bought the FiiO D3 DAC to connect my web-connected DLNA flatscreen to my stereo. Using the optical audio out from the flatscreen to the D3 and RCA L/R cable to the reciever, the unit worked right out of the box. I chose this unit because of the headroom promised by its frequency and bit rate specs. The D3 is benchmarked at .01% thd. Sound quality is excellent. Streaming music from my NAS to the receiver sounds great. I had not realized before using the D3 how much of a difference a high quality DAC could make over the stock flatscreen. Some interesting artifacts in tv shows and music recordings come out crystal clear that I had never noticed before.

The instructionss with the unit are straightforward, if brief. The unit does not support certain encoding, such as Dolby surround (because it's a stereo DAC ...). The FiiO D3 provides a hi-fidelity alternative for people wanting to connect a current flatscreen to an older stereo, getting the sound reproduction they want, without dealing with the speaker clutter that replacing the stereo with a 5.1 or 7.1 system would require.
5 helpful votes
6 helpful votes
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on January 28, 2012
Like many, i use an airport express to feed my 2 channel system, which uses the same cirrus 4344 chip as the d3. I doubted seriously the possibilty of audible differences between the two, so I took to the web searching for any direct comparison of sound quality between the two, and finding none. Curiosity, however, finally got the better of me and I purchased the D3, its incredibly low price helping to rationalize my actions. After inserting it into my setup, i could tell first track that the AE had met its match, and havent looked back since. To quote my wife "it just sounds better" and I agree, it does.
8 helpful votes
9 helpful votes
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