Fiio KB3 infuses a mechanical keyboard with a hi-res DAC

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Fiio KB3 automated keyboard and DAC.Fiio

Combo accessories are everywhere. We accept phones with cameras, earbuds with fettle trackers, and watches with altimeters, so why not a keyboard with a complete digital-to-analog advocate (DAC)? That’s the apriorism abaft the Fiio KB3, a mechanical, active keyboard that appearance two committed headphone outputs, audiophile-grade DAC chips, and a complete aggregate bite to ascendancy what you’re hearing. It hits retail in December for $149 in two blush options: atramentous or silver.

Fiio KB3 automated keyboard and DAC.Fiio

The Fiio KB3 uses a array of black layers in its construction, alternating with an aluminum-magnesium admixture top cover. The clear-cut keycaps are swappable and sit aloft Gateron G Pro 3.0 chicken switches, and the absolute 75% architecture is RGB backlit.

Fiio KB3 automated keyboard and DAC.Fiio

On the aback side, you’ll acquisition that the KB3 does amateur assignment as a USB hub, with a distinct USB-C anchorage and two USB-A ports for things like active mice.

Fiio KB3 automated keyboard and DAC.Fiio

For the all-important DAC portion, the KB3 uses a brace of Cirrus Logic CS43131 DACs agriculture two low-noise SGM8262 operational amplifiers bearing 550 thousandths of a watt (mW) per approach of achievement ability back you use the 4.4mm counterbalanced headphone jack. The 3.5mm asymmetric jack gets 170mW per channel. Fiio claims that the signal-to-noise arrangement (SNR) is 122 decibels, with a absolute harmonic baloney (THD+N) of beneath than 0.0005% — the affectionate of specs you’d apprehend to see on a committed DAC costing as abundant as $300.

To accord acclaim area acclaim is due, Fiio wasn’t the aboriginal to actualize a keyboard-DAC combo. Earlier in 2023, the Commodore 64-inspired Moondrop Dash accustomed with an about identical set of appearance to the KB3, but at alert the price.

Other versions of the KB3 abide as well: a wireless adaptation that doesn’t action DAC capabilities and a custom kit adaptation that includes the DAC, but lacks key switches and keycaps so that you can accumulation your own.

Most automated keyboards are aimed at the gaming community, a accumulation of association who additionally appear to adopt active audio for its ultralow latency. But accustomed the KB3’s audiophile specs, it’s fair to say this keyboard could able-bodied address to anyone who wants to declutter their desktop and still get abundant complete for their headphones or earbuds.

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Simon Cohen

Simon Cohen covers a array of chump technologies, but has a appropriate absorption in audio and video products, like…

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