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Impressive Power Portable Amp

A Review On: FiiO E12 Mont Blanc

FiiO E12 Mont Blanc

Rated # 5 in Portable Amps
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gavinfabl
Posted · 27921 Views · 12 Comments

Pros: Powerful

Cons: None

The Fiio E12 Mont Blanc is the latest amp from Fiio. Fiio is a specialist audio company that make superb audio accessories, and are well known in audio circles for making great value products with incredible sound.

The E12 Mont Blanc is a high performance portable headphone amplifier, which has a high quality built-in processor and power amplifier in a super slim body. The specifications are as follows -

Power Supply – DC5V, 2A , Frequency Response 20hz-20hz, SNR > 110db, Crossfeed Attenuation >65db, Gain >16db high or 0db low, Max Output Power 600mW at 16 ohms, 880mW at 32 ohms, 160mW at 300 ohms.
Battery Charge time approx 1.7 hours , with a 12 hour runtime
Suitable for headphones 16-300 ohms. Dimensions 123mm x 65mm x 14mm. Weight 158g

So what does this headphone amp do? In simple terms it takes the sound from your portable device or smartphone and amplifies it. More on that later.

In the box you get the warranty card, instructions, micro USB cable to charge from your computer, 2 Fiio bands for holding the amp and portable device/phone together, some soft feet, and a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable for transferring sound from the headphone socket into the amp.

If you have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPod you can get iPod line out cables as shown. If you have a lightning connector, your will need a 30 pin adapter or adapter cable. Taking the sound via the line out produces a much better quality.

So what makes this amp special. Firstly it looks fantastic, even better than the photos. Secondly and more importantly it has a lot of oomph and energy to make your headphones perform like you wouldn’t believe possible from a portable amplifier. You will also hear lots more detail and information in your songs that you didn’t realise were there. And the E12 does this effortlessly. Being such a powerful portable amp allows you to plug larger more demanding headphones in from 16 ohms up to 300 ohms. In addition to the extra level of information your music will come alive as your headphones are being provided with so much emery and oomph. Far more than the tiny amp in your phone or iPod. Another benefit is the volume. The E12 Mont Blanc can go much louder than your phone or iPod.

I tried using the amp with an iPod Classic and an iPhone 5. Both produced impressive results. I tried a range of music from Andrea Bocelli – Concerto One Night in Central Park, Muse – 2nd Law, Wycliffe Gordon – Dreams of New Orleans , Michael Buble – Fever, Nicola Benedetti – Silver Violin and some dance music. Vocals, instruments, speed and attack, depth and soundstage were amazing. And the amp never rang out of steam. Headphones used for sampling the amp were a pair of Sennheiser HD568.

The E12 Mont Blanc features a bass boost which is very discreet and doesn’t distort the music. There is also a cross feed and gain control should you need them. I have included some photos on main thread, page 38.



Further to my post with my initial impressions I thought I would some more feedback using specific tracks. For this test I am using an iPod Classic with a silver & copper line out cable and a pair of Sennheiser HD568 headphones. My music is ripped at mp3 320 bit rate. I have the E12 bass boost left on as the HD568 seem to sound so much better. The bass boost doesn’t seem to distort the sound, just add when the music needs some very low oomph but not in any way overpowering. Anyway here goes –

Dreams of New Orleans by Wycliffe Gordon – Chinatown – great separation of the trumpets from each side, and clear separation of the other instruments. A superb musical sounding song. The E12 presentation puts you right in the music. I feel like I’m grooving to the beat.

Greatest Hits by Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody – I had to turn the volume down for this track. The E12 did everything as before, even with voices but as the songs attack changes, the E12 seems to scale effortlessly with it. In fact as the track gets louder, the E12 just exploded with attack.

Thriller by Michael Jackson – Thriller – a classic track. At the start there’s great sub bass in the cemetery. The E12 reproduces the song very accurately picking out all the nuances.

Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles – an old recording but has a superb toe tapping musicality produced by the E12.

Isla by Portico Quartet – Dawn Patrol – this track really defines just how good the E12 is sonically. The plucking of the bass strings, the deep bass, the other instruments all around too just produce an electric performance.

Fantasie by Nicola Benedetti – The Lark Ascending – the violin playing at the start is leaving goose bumps on me. The violin feels so alive. Airy. The E12 is producing a neutral but emotional sound. Mesmerising too.

Love me by Norah Jones – Norah’s voice sounds superb. Another very musical track.

I Heard Love is Blind by Amy Winehouse – Amy’s voice is so real with such precision on the guitar in the background. In fact the realism of the track is excellent.

In summary, the E12 plucks all the nuances from your music, making it sound alive with toe tapping musicality. It also does seem to have improved with low level bass after 3 hours use. It’s accurate, fairly neutral sounding and packs so much energy that your headphones perform magic.

12 Comments:

Have you tried sensitive IEMs with E12? Any hiss?
Wonder how it would do with the HE-500...
I havent tried with sensitive IEMs as my ears dont like them.

HE-500 - not sure how they would do

Indeed cross feed , thanks will amend

Looks like more of a marketing essay and list of features than a review. Knowing it's fiio though, it probably wont disappoint. I'mma wait for some comparisons.
Keller1 - My initial review was done asap after receiving unit. I have now added what you asked for.
How does this compare to the Fiio E11? Is it better or not really an upgrade?
A little thing is the most important for me.
I've ordered Sennheiser HD 598 a couple of weeks ago.
As far we know, its frequency range 12hz - 38.5Khz
Now I need only AMP, because I have Sound Blaster Audigy in my PC and its let's say enough for listen with my Senn through PC.
But also I have iphone and I'm meloman and sound quality is the scope in listening.
So actually I think my choise should be between FiiO E11 and E12.
E11's frequency responce is 10hz-100Khz.
E12's frequency responce seems to be 20hz-20Khz when my HD 598 has 12hz - 38.5Khz.
So will not I hear as little details as I do right now through my Sound Blaster Audigy 24 Bit / 96 Khz (PC)?
I don't want to reduce opportunities of My Senn HD 598 at all
@dante2505 The average human ear hears between 20Hz-20kHz, and the high frequencies get lost as you grow older. Now, you could very well be a superhuman being, but chances are, you probably fall somewhere around the same range unfortunately. So, your own ears are "reduce opportunities" of your HD 598 already. I don't have any amping experience, but I can tell you that headphones with a frequency rating of more than..25kHz or so are just about completely inaudible to 99.9999% of us.
@gavinfbl Thanks for the great review! Can you compare this to some other amps?
thanks for your great review.
I just ordered the Fiio E12 with the L3 and the E10 for my mac.My Beyerdynamic T5p will be getting in later this week i hope.Will be in audio nirvana as HeadphoneReviewHQ sas.This is my first hi-and jump..i own:Etymotic Hf5Senheiser RS170 (great technologie Kleer and not Bluetooth)i hope that i will enjoy this big jump.. And i like my bass boost.. but not so much that it bleeds in to the mid and treble and so on..thanks again.greets sam
Well i have to come back from my last statement.

After reading about this amp..And not just believing the first person i find.
Like on Youtube and so on..

Lot's of reviews can be found that state that the Fiio E12 is Great in power.
But the SoundStage is mediocre "to quote the portable amp shoot out $200"

Alternative ? i don't really now for shire..
But the JDS Labs C5 seems a great contender..


How about Fiio fixes the SoundStage of the E12 ???
But that one is way to expensive in the EU where i live..Costing me $114 more than the US.

Can someone email them?
can this amp be used to power car aux? i have a fiio e12 but i dont want to try for myself because i bought it straight from the fiio store for $200
this amp sounds really good with the akg k550
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