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My experience with the fiio E11

A Review On: FiiO E11

FiiO E11

Rated # 2 in Portable Amps
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $58.00
PKPnytheta47
Posted · 211 Views · 17 Comments

Pros: Very robust and sturdy yet light, great design on volume knob to ensure it's not accidentally moved, great boost to overall sound quality

Cons: Drains your iPod battery faster when using the L9 cable. Unit power source should have been given a 1500mAh instead of an 800mAh battery

Quality - In terms of amp build quality, the unit is made up of metal and plastic which isn't really a bad thing. It makes the unit light yet very sturdy. The fit and finish of the metal covers are excellent, very tight and does not move around or jiggle when installed onto the unit. The only gripe I have about is the quality of the battery included in the package. They could have easily stuck in a 1500 mAh instead of the 800 mAh unit inside. Nevertheless, I can easily go to my local cell phone dealer and look for a higher capacity battery of the same spec and replace it myself for a little less than $10. If it wasn't for the added cost of upgrading the battery as well as it's shortish (14+ hours) life, the quality would have been given full marks.

 

Design - The black covers of the amp are made of metal while the body or chassis itself is made of plastic. The plastic is given a faux aluminum look, and it pulls it off nicely. The color combination of black and aluminum comes off very well. The switches are well thought out as they are easily set but not to the point where it will accidentally be moved when placed in your pocket. Another great design is the protective brace around the volume knob, this actually also ensures that the knob does not move (no sudden volume changes when mobile) when your lugging it around in your pocket. At the same time it protects it from being damaged, since having a simple knob on top would lead it to flex left to right or up and down when in your pocket. The use of a cell phone battery is also a great design choice, it gives the flexibility of actually re-placing (all you need is to buy a cheap spare) and even upgrading the battery unit itself.

 

Audio Quality - I actually purchased these together with my Sennheiser HD518, I was dead set on picking up the E7 since I was interested with its DAC function and future upgrade factor with the E9 combo. After listening to both amps I was blown away by the robust, full and warm sounds that the E11 amp produced versus the E7. This unit is actually very powerful for its size and price, it has two settings inside the unit itself, low and high power plus an additional setting (outside the unit) of low and high gain as well as two levels of EQ boost. With my HD518 I have it set to high power, low gain and an EQ boost of 1. The amp makes the bass of my HP tighter, fuller and richer while not diluting the mids or the highs. Soundstage is broadened by a bit and overall sound produced is warm.

 

Value - The E11 would have been given full marks if it wasn't for the weakish battery included in the package, resulting in an additional (yet cheap) cost to upgrade. For the price I would definitely recommend this great portable amp to anyone. Another reason for lowering the overall value is with the L9 cable any iPod is drained of its battery faster, thus limiting the time spent listening to music. Of course a simple remedy would be to use an L2 cable (included in package).

 

Overall - The E11 is an audiophiles (entry to mid level) portable dream amp! It's cheap and delivers outstanding sound! 

 

NOTE - Best settings for the FIIO E11:

1) Warmer Sound with Bass - High Power / Low Gain / 2 EQ (1 EQ if you want less bass)

2) Clear Mids and Highs with some Bass - Low Power / High gain / 2 EQ (1 EQ if you want less bass)

3) Max sound - High Power / High gain / 2 EQ

 

I personally prefer setting #1, since setting it at low gain actually reduces any 'hissing' noise. This setting also makex the sound stage well rounded and the tone warmer overall.

17 Comments:

good review, i wonder if the pa2v2 is on par with these
Nice review, was on the fence about this amp. Can I ask where you got it for $58?
@3rdhalf,
If your from the Philippines, you should be able to get it here for the same price! =D
Since fiio is supplied from China we can get it fairly priced around here!
One other thing I wanted to add is that the E11 also reduces hissing noise, I had a few mp3's (at 128kbps and 160kbps) I tried out specifically for this test and found that the amp actually decreased it versus what I expected. So another plus for the amp.
I was able to source a a 1600 mAh battery for around $8 which should technically double the battery life of the E11. Check out ebay and look for BL-5B battery or N90 battery. This is the exact model battery that the E11 uses. There is a 2050 mAh battery available, but it's listed at $16, a little bit too expensive in my opinion. There is also an 1800 mAh for $10 which I think is the best in terms of bang for the buck but unfortunately I purchased the 1600 before seeing it. =p
@PKPnytheta47 Would this amp be a poor choice to use with HF3 or RE0's? Are there any amps that you would find useful with these IEMs? My source is usually and ipod or iphone.
@Merck - For the RE0's it would definitely improve the bass in terms of giving it more depth since they tend not too extend all too deep. I would probably recommend setting the E11 to low gain to ensure that sibilance isn't pronounced since the RE0's have a tendency to have them since the treble is somewhat forward for these ear-buds. As for the HF3, since they aren't bass monsters as well, the E11 would definitely help in that area. A lot of people have also said that ETY's have a tendency to be a bit cold so the E11 would definitely warm this pair of buds up.
do u think this would work well with the senn HD 598?
@lithium1085,
I really think the fiio E11 would make your 598 sound better if you plan on using it when your in the office or feel like lugging it around when out and about (which I do). Overall I believe it would add more bass / deep end to your headphones which I feel is somewhat lacking the 500 series.
How well would this amp do with an iPhone and a pair of monster turbine pro coppers?

Thanks for the good review!
The amp would definitely add more sound stage to your current set-up as well as make the mids more clear. The bass (EQ) I would suggest you set tot a 1 instead of a 2 since the monster series of IEM's do have a tendency to have more pronounced bass. Again, the best advice is to bring your set-up and try it out with the E11 and see if the difference you gain is something you really want to invest in.
hello PKPnytheta47! I bought my E11 a week ago @ amazon.fr and I'm hearing a distinctive hiss when I'm not playing any song or I pause my dap. When I plug my phones into my laptop or into my dap's socket I don't hear any hiss. So it is definitely from my amp. Is it normal or something to worry about? I use sony mdr-zx700 & shure se115 with Sony a829 (mp3 320kb/s). E11 settings are Low power, low gain and eq @ 1.
thanks.
You shouldn't be too worried about it since it has been reported in some cases but with no ill effects to their in ear buds or headphones. Mine does not have this hiss but when I try to increase volume I hear a distortion or slight crinkling sound which developed over time from using the potentiometer (volume knob) I guess. Not a big deal since most of the time my amp is on one volume setting (3~4).
Very nice review. With all the gear that you have I'm sure you've come across a Sandisk Sansa Fuze sometime. If so, would you say that the Fuze would look nicely with the E11 below it secured with velcro or rubber bands? I just don't want it to look un-proportional one I get it, I prefer the two to look flush together if you know what I mean.
The E11 comes with a black (rubber) band that looks and feels like the "livestrong" bracelets and it would definitely look good together with your sanza fuse (if your unit is black). Their size roughly seems to be the same and the fuse has a roughly flat back so it should look good if that's what you'r after.
Do you recommend the E11 with Fischer Audio FA-011 pair or it would work better with the FA-03 being more neutral. and what is the recommended power, gain and EQ setting in both cases.
One more question how woud you rate the sound quality of E11 vs E6 and E17 (regardless of the price and function differences). I am using an I-pod classic 5G
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