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FiiO E17

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #3 in Amp/DACs


Pros: Good Sound Quality, Durable, Small, Decent Battery

Cons: EQ Control, Buttons/Menu

I have been using the E17 "Alpen" every day for over a year now.  It is my go-to device for enjoying music at work, or anywhere other than my home office.  So, here are my thoughts:


Build quality


This was the first thing I noticed when I unboxed the device.  Brushed metal casing felt very durable, and after this past year of daily use, still looks almost new.  I think it looks great.


Controls and Battery Life


The screen on the E17 is most simply stated as utilitarian.  It's bright, it works, and it's not going to win any design awards.  The buttons are the same.  Menu navigation feels a little bit clumsy, but after a week or so, it becomes a non-issue.  You are allowed to control volume, bass and treble, gain, channel balance, etc.  My biggest complaint here is that the controls take big steps.  For example, increasing bass moves 2-4-6, instead of 1-2-3....  The volume control has a similar behavior and can be a little annoying.  In spite of those limitations, still very functional.


I like the input flexibility of the device, I primarily use the USB (when leveraging the DAC/AMP combo) or AUX in (for just the AMP).


The battery gets me through 2-3 days of use (using a few hours a day) and still has some life left. I charge it 1-2 times a week, depending on how heavy I use it on battery.




I was looking for a portable device that could be flexible as a DAC/AMP or just an AMP (or even just a DAC!), and sound good doing it.  Primarily, I wanted the portable amp for when I had headphones like my Grade SR125s in tow.


My setup on the go sometimes looks like this:



iPhone>Lightning-to-30pin>Fiio 30pin-to-3.5mm>Fiio E17>Grado SR125 (or other HP)


This provides the needed power boost to get the Grado HPs to open up more, and provide body in the lows and mids.  I do set the e17 Bass to +2 with these headphones.  This setup is exponentially more enjoyable to my ears than attempting iPhone>Grado SR125.  Running direct from iPhone to these headphones is a bad idea, and will result in a thin and harsh audio experience.  


My other common setup is this:




iPhone>Lightning-to-30pin>Fiio 30pin-to-3.5mm>Fiio E17>Shure SE215


That's right, I amp my highly efficient IEMs at work. :eek:   Why?  Because it sounds better.  Maybe that seems crazy to some, and I understand. Technically, the iPhone should have enough juice to power these IEMs (from my limited understanding of the electrical aspects). But to my ears, the SE215s love the E17.  There is a marked improvement in clarity, tightness in the bass, and overall exciting feel to the audio. I thought I might be crazy at first, so I A/B'd it off and on for months, and always preferred the E17 in the middle. I never run my SE215s directly to my phone anymore.  


My final on-the-go scenario is the following:


MBP>USB>Fiio E17>Grado SR125 (or other HP)


The other two setups use the E17 as an amp only.  This uses the E17 as a DAC/AMP.  While the MBP has a good DAC already (better than any other laptop I have listened to), I find that this setup sounds better than using the headphone out from the laptop to the aux in on the Fiio E17. Using USB also has a side benefit of charging the E17.


The final (and new) scenario:

Mac Pro>USB>Fiio E17/E09K Combo>Grado SR125 (or other HP)


I've only been using this setup for about 2 weeks with multiple HPs, and my thoughts speak more to the pros and cons of the E09K, so i'll leave it for another review.


Have tried many headphone DAC/Amps in the £50 - 200 range and nothing comes close to the resolving, enjoyale nature of this bit of kit. Western manufacturers should take note. Quality, performance and a great price point can all exist together! :) Had mine for almost a year now and have no intention of letting it go...


Pros: Great performance/price ratio; multifunctional; large number of audio input options

Cons: Not the best option for those wanting a pristine and highly-detailed sound; some crackling/distortion when using with Mac computers



I picked up a FiiO E17 when en route Germany to stay there for the 2012 Christmas period and the early days of 2013. I wanted to do some video editing work and listen to music when over there but didn't want to be without the stalwart reference quality Lavry DA10 which I didn't want to travel with on that occassion, so I decided to give the E17 a try.


Prior to owning the E17 I owned the FiiO E7, which was my first DAC and one I enjoyed very much, though wanting a more neutral sound than the E7 provided I upgraded from it. Since buying the E17 a few years after owning the E7, I was initially very impressed with the relatively more neutral-sounding E17, an all-in-one DAC/Amp with a clear overall sound and inbuilt EQ functions that I have enjoyed using, particularly when wanting more bass when listening with the HD 800


When I compared the E17 and my DA10 - a DAC/Amp costing many times the price of the E17 - the difference wasn't as night and day as I imagined it might be. The DA10 has much more high-end treble detail, which by comparison sounded a bit fuzzy on the overall less clear sounding E17 (I write this from memory as at time of writing I'm unable to use the DA10 with my laptop - more on that later in this review), but overall and considering the price of the E17, it does a great job of creating a cleaner-sounding listening experience than plugging directly into the headphone output of my laptop. The E17 also serves as a nice enhancement to my iPhone when I use the E17 as a headphone amplifier, but to be honest, when I'm out and about and listening to music I tend not to analyse the sonics of what I'm hearing and more often enjoy the music without feeling the need for a headphone amplifier as I'm happy with the level of amplification my iPhone already provides.


For Xmas 2012 I received the gift of a Sony PS3 and since returning to my place in the UK, the E17 has lived for many hours as part of my PS3/TV setup, which is currently also my main home cinema rig. Like how the E17 provides a clearer sound in relation to plugging into the headphone socket of my laptop, the E17 removes virtually all of the distortion I experienced when connecting my hi-fi amp directly to my TV, without a DAC in the audio chain. Adding the E17 to that setup has turned out to be a great value and cost-effective component contributing to a much more transparent listening experience than what I experienced when using my bookshelf hi-fi speakers and headphones without a DAC. For me, the E17 would be worth the money I paid for it if I just used it as part of my PS3 rig, but it does oh so much more.


To expand on what I wrote above, I have been unable to use my Lavry DA10 with my laptop due to snapping a headphone plug off in my laptop's headphone socket, and have been resorting to the USB-connected E17 when listening to music, editing video content, and other audio-listening-related purposes, and to be honest, since using the E17 I haven't missed my DA10 that much, though I would prefer to use the DA10 due to the enhancements in listening quality it provides. But really, considering the performance/price ratio of the E17 and what a versatile multifunctional device it is - and one with a large number of audio input options - I consider the E17 to be the best value head-fi component I have yet purchased and give it my highest recommendation to anyone (particularly those new to the 'head-fi hobby') willing to spend ~$150/£100 to investigate the benefits a great value DAC/Amp can provide.


Pros: Elegant and compact design, solid build, plenty of features, tonally balanced and pleasant sound, great value for money

Cons: No significant cons at this price, battery could last longer, nothing extraordinary- just does its job right


Design and Build


Even though the FiiO E17 is quite a low-cost product or you can even say an entry level one, the DAC has a solid build and elegant design. The brushed finish looks stylish without being anything plain simple or too pompous. Overall E17 looks and feels great considering its small size that comfortably fits in your palm or with the iPod or smartphone in your pocket.


The buttons are solid and feel good quality so one need not worry about wearing them off to the point of breaking or getting stuck. The OLED screen is a nice addition to the e17 and the information that it displays is exactly what you need making it very convenient to use without being too complicated. Overall it is a very lightweight, durable and compact portable DAC and headphone amplifier.



Features and Accessories


The DAC/amp comes with some little gadgets that can easily spoil you off at such price. The OLED has a little screen protector and six rubber feet to hold it in place. You also get two silicone bands with the FiiO logo on top that make it easier to hold it together to your portable player. In addition, E17 supplies you with a nice soft velvet pouch where the amp can be stored safely.


FiiO E17 comes with plenty of features, which make it a very versatile product suitable for most needs. The Mini USB is located on the bottom and is the main charging source. However the USB is not the only digital connection as this small DAC also has a coaxial as well as an optical connection on the top by using S/PDIF input via the supplied adapters.


An AUX input is located on the underside while the headphone output is on the top, both suitable for 3.5mm stereo plugs, which is understandable considering the small size of the DAC. E17 has a dock connector dedicated to working with other of FiiO’s desktop amplifiers such as the E09K which I personally use. There is also a locking key that not only locks the buttons but also turns off the OLED screen and I find that to be very convenient when I use E17 passively only as a DAC docked to E09K on my desk.





It is worth noting that when E17 is paired with the e09, for example, the USB and AUX inputs are blocked. However the e09k has its own, which makes these two products a suitable pair.


The li-ion battery has 1500mAh and claimed by the manufacturer to last for up to 15 hours but in reality one cannot expect to get more than 8-9 hours out of it. However it can be constantly recharged while with the dock or USB connector.


The DAC can accept a hi-end signal with up to 24-bit at 192 kHz but only through the S/PDIF. The USB input only meets the 1.0 standard you can only accept file up to 24-bit/96kHz, so if you are to play 192 kHz files you must use the S/PDIF input.


OK, but how does it sound? You are right, let us get to the real question of interest. I listen to the E17 either with my AKG Q701 headphones or with the stereo speakers that I connect to the integrated amplifier through the e09k. In both cases the sound that comes from the DAC feels tonally balanced. I do not use the inbuilt equalizer and I find the sound to be quite accurate and neutral, which I highly appreciate. It is not really transparent and revealing so if you plan to use it with monitor speakers, for example, bear in mind that E17 is more or less forgiving to poor recordings. The sound is un-fatiguing, thus pleasant and easy to listen for hours. It gives you a sufficient performance for the money you pay in that price class. However, this means that more expensive DACs have greater details and reveal more nuances of the overall music picture.



When it comes to the amplifier it is worth mentioning that it does not have the needed muscles to power the most demanding headphones by itself. It has an output power of >220mW (32Ω loaded) and the headphone impedance range is said to be 16Ω - 300Ω. This should be enough for my AKG Q701 but it is easy to see that E17 does not perform well with these headphones on the very high volumes. This will no longer be a problem if you pair it with the E09K as I do.


In conclusion, the E17 gives more than you can ask for at the price of £100 (from amazon in the UK) in terms of features, extras and sound quality. It is a good start if you are looking for your first DAC/amp and the perfect choice if you are on a budget.


Pros: Clear, good imaging, nice small mobile setup

Cons: Paint wears out quickly, Equalizer sounds a bit digital

Let's get the negative out of the way first... I've owned two products made by Fiio: the E11 and the E17, and both fail to impress me. Maybe it's because I'm just not sensitive enough to hear the real difference, maybe it's the synergy with my other equipment, but I've owned a couple of devices, headphones and stereo equipment and where each and every single one of them had a charm of their own these just don't cut it for me. 
The high ratings I've given them however, tell the story of a small pocket-sized device that I took with me to school, in the train, on the bus, my friends even holidays in France! And everywhere it always did what it's supposed to: providing the noise free juices my DT990 required. And it is a clear sounding unit, with a good tone even if it's a little dry. And with a bucketload of extra features the value is pretty good. The only feature that really made me get it was the equalizer (to turn down the bass and treble on my Beyer) and this let me down quite a bit. Turning the treble and bass up and down isn't really smooth and even when I did use it I could never find the sweet spot, it was either just above or under the desired amount. The unit is build like a tank though, and the only minus here is the paint which seems to be a bit thin. I took good care of my E17 and yet the paint on the edges seemed to fade every day. But even then I kind of liked the styling, made me think of when i got my first mp3 players.i
So there you have it, it does everything advertised, but it lacks a bit of character (dare I say musicality?). I sold mine to buy a HRT Microstreamer and haven't regretted it in any way, then again I just wanted a USB dac with a line out and a simple amplifier.


Pros: Neutral. Multi-function. Solid built.

Cons: Nothing extraordinary or impressive. Just did it job fine.

I've owned E7 before, and had a Centrance DacPort LX. Well, E17 fits the bill to be the value buy (Over here Audio gears are expensive).


Sound Quality: Nothing impressive. Just plainly neutral with slightly rolled off treble. Not as energetic as the previous Dacport LX. Doesn't like to mess with the bass/treble boost functions. As an amp, it's quite powerful. Can drive my T70 (250 Ohm) with ease (my comfortable listening volume is at 45, minimal gain).


Built: Tough as tank, solid. Love the LED, looks classy. Quite bulky.


Features: Lots of features available. Bass/Treble Boost, channel configuration (left right +/- gain), is portable with built-in battery inside. Lots of optional connectivity (coax, usb, aux-in) and also DAC part supports up to 24/96 on USB (well, even the screen will show the playing song's bitrate info).


Value: Considered one of the cheaper and versatile DAC/Amp combo. Great for on-the-go audiophiles.


Pros: Sounds 100 times better than onboard audio, portable, built in equalizer, nice interface.

Cons: None that I can think of

Well, this is my first amp and DAC, but I can tell you that if you have some decent headphones and are just plugging it straight in your PC, you're doing it terribly wrong!

It just sounds so much better with this lil' guy.


I got it with the cable to connect it to your iPod so that I can have awesome audio on the road too.


Maybe it'd be nice to be able to equalize the mids too, but you can just lower the treble and bass to raise the mids, technically.


Pros: power, sound quality

Cons: eq, screen burn in

I am a budget audiophile, I am not interested in carrying around different headsets for different genres, I wanted a well rounded set up for my office. I docked in the E09 amp, and drive some big Vmodas. I def hear an improvement over stock audio from my Alienware on flacs and even Spotify premium. More power is less distortion as a general rule.


I have the unit itself at 40 for the volume, and it is burning in a little on the screen, but no biggie. I will def get the new one that is all Android. I would like a little more than bass/treble, but it is pretty good.


Samsung phones have a pretty good audio app already, same with Android in general, but I like mating this to the phone to get better rates and obviously more power.


iPhones/iPad just can't output higher rates, so you have to use this as a pass-through from headphone jack to the unit.


Pros: Lighter, tighter and more dynamic than the E11.

Cons: Mongo-menu

You need another amp to dig out the darkest tightest bass if you love LOUD music. But it´s a very cheap and ok thing to own. With the E11 I´m only using the amp, but that combo is eminent. Can´t understand why, because E11 sucks by itself.


Rock on Coke


Pros: Outstanding ergonomics and unimpeachable performance.

Cons: None, charge could last longer.

I use this Headphone amp with my V-Moda M-100's.  The 100's are just too "dark" without something to mitigate on the top octave's behalf.  The OLED display is bright clean and easy to read.  (A plus, for not a kid anymore folks like me.)   The charge lasts roughly fifteen hours, which is more than enough for most situations, but it's the one area where my Samuels P-51 reigns supreme.  (Well, that and maybe a just slightly more beautiful midrange.  I try to avoid terms like "liquidity", but the Samuels draws your attention to how good mids can sound, and that's a great thing to have with the right phones.  I hope to eventually get an SR-71b or a Shadow, and I'll have more things to compare this amp to.  But for now, it's my personal reference standard.  I'm knocked out.....

FiiO E17

USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier USB Receiver- Tenor TE7022 DAC- Wolfson WM8740 Operational Amplifiers- ADI AD8692+AD8397 Input: USB, AUX, SPDIF (Coax + Optical) USB Support (max): 24bit / 96kHz SPDIF Support (max): 24bit / 192kHz Channels balance: +/-10dB Left/Right Gain selection: 0dB, 6dB, 12dB (12dB gain not available to USB-in) EQ: Treble - +/-10dB (14.6kHz); Bass - +/-10dB (20Hz); in 2dB step Line-out: Bypassable to pre-out. Output Power: 277mW (16Ω); 215mW (32Ω); 35mW (300Ω) Headphone Impedance Range: 16 Ω ~ 300 Ω SNR: ≥109dB (A weighted) on AUX-in; ≥104dB (A weighted) on USB-in Distortion: <0.001% (10mW)on AUX-in; <0.007% (10mW) on USB-in Frequency Range: 10Hz ~ 100kHz (amp); 10Hz ~ 20kHz (DAC) Power Supply: Internal 1500mAH rechargeable Li-ion battery Battery life: 15 hours Recharging: USB 5V Size: 96mm x 55mm x 15.2mm Weight: 112g

Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC


Related Media/Links:

Add related videos, links to item guides, etc.


FiiO E17 Complete How to Use Guide and Overview:



Troubleshooting/Known Issues:

Had an issue other users should know about? Put it here.


Device not responding: Press and hold the rest button at top with a pen tip.


Device won't turn on: Make sure it was charged and make sure the hold switch is in the upper position where the orange is not showing.


I can't get 192KHz?: E17 only supports 192 KHz sampling rate over S/PDIF. Make sure you are using the S/PDIF interface and the device is set to "COX" or "OPT". Your computer also needs to support 192KHz for S/PDIF. Updating audio driver may help

Power and Menu button not too responsive?: The E17 requires not a large but a decent amount of pressure for the Power/EXIT and MENU buttons to operate. The force needed is not large and is only noticeable when turning on or off the unit or when exiting/going back a screen with the power button. As it may seem unresponsive when you do it lightly.


Hearing hiss and this click-click-click sound?: It seems this is a problem due to the digital volume stepper and is normal for it's implementation. This will usually not happen on 0 gain, but depending on use and headphones/earbuds it may. To fix this, make sure music is not playing and make sure you can not even play the music in case you hit something by accident. Then quickly raise the volume. After a while it should go away, or if it doesn't, wait for a bit. The hiss and clicking sound should now go away. You should now decrease volume to where you were before and continue listening. This is a problem mainly for the harder to drive can's and even then you would usually only hear it when music is not playing.


The unit does not raise or lower the volume the first time I hit the buttons?: This seems to be built into the E17 Alpen's system or code. Where it would want you to hit it twice after a set period of inactivity. There is no fix for this as it does not seem to be a problem for most.


This device is taking forever to charge!?: Depending on where you are charging the E17, be it from your computer or a wall charger will have different speeds of charging. Some computers have low power USB ports that only send out a small amount of power and thus would cause a very slow charge. If your computer has a fast or high powered USB port, then you can use those for a faster charge. Wall chargers can also be used. FiiO recommends to use high quality USB wall chargers like the one's Apple make's. Buying a cheap one off a site would work but is not recommended. Spending a bit more(very small amount more) to ensure the quality of that wall charger is recommended. Keep in mind the faster the charge, technically the worse it is for the batter. How much worse is very very minimal, so please continue to charge or use it as is.


This device has a rattle?: It has not been widely confirmed but it seems this is attributed to the LO bypass switch. There is a part in there that can not be secured down and thus is causing the rattle. Again this has not been confirmed to be the true source of the sound yet, but does seem to be likely.



How To:

Advice on installation, customization, and anything else.


Everything on HOW TO USE is explained in the video above.


Turn off USB Charge: The E17 can turn off USB charging when plugged into a computer or anytime it's connected through the USB port through the menu's. Press the "menu" button and scroll down with volume keys until you see "USB CHG". Press "menu" again to enter into the menu setting and then use the volume buttons again to navigate to the OFF or ON setting. Once you are done, press the Power/Exit button to go back to the menu, and press the same button again to go back to the main active use screen.


Attach gel feet?: The gel feet that come with the E17 are used to prevent slipping or scratching. If two devices are secured together, metal on metal could cause scratching. The gel would create a space to separate the devices. There are 6 that would come with the unit, this is in the HOW TO section as most can not get them on. Please remember to peel off the clear sticker on the bottom of each gel feet or else they will not stick. It seems it comes with 4 for each corner of the device and 2 for extra's. These feet will slide off eventually if you attack the E17 Alpen to a device and it moves around a lot.


Related Items and Accessories:

Not necessarily items within the community, just any other recommendations.


Toslink to mini-Toslink adapter may be necessary if you are going from E17 to Macbook Pro or any equivalent as only one adapter for optical is included.


FiiO L7 is used to bypass the E17's and E7's internal amplifier's so to use the E17 with another amp as a dedicated DAC unit.


Line Out Docks; popular one's from FiiO and iBasso and even self made one's are recommended for use with E17 and other devices. Line Out Dock's for the most part are used with iPod's but Sony Walkman's also have support for them.




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