Pros: Build. Can play while charging. Can function as a DAC. Can be used with a wide variety of devices. Features
Cons: Some cracking/distortion can be heard. When attached to portable players, i have to flip the device around each time to see/access the features.
Now, this is my first headphone amp review, of my first headphone amp, and i feel confident enough to share my thoughts. So, bear with me as i discuss this in further detail.
Build Quality: This thing is solid. It is made out of brushed aluminum throughout with precision-cut glass for the screen. The buttons are made out of what appears to be aluminum as well, and when you press them, you get nice feedback from the actual device. Overall, A+ for the build.
Bass: Now, it is no surprise that you can adjust the bass. When you use this product with low quality headphones or earphones, and you turn the bass all the way up, all you hear is muddy bass. If you own a bunch of high quality headphones, such as the Shure SRH840s or Sennheiser Momentums, you will be able to get some high quality bass! The headphones i mentioned, and a whole lot of others, have high quality drivers and components within, so they are able to handle the bass impact a lot more than low quality headphones. When using the bass adjustment with a reasonably neutral sounding headphone like the Shure SRH840s, you can make your headphones sound superb. I was able to turn my SRH840s into a basshead headphone when the bass was all the way up basically. I would say it gave the headphones i used a slight boomy effect when it came to the bass, but it was bearable.
Vocals: The octaves in the vocal region were noticeably different from being un-amped. I could hear vocals a lot clearer and they were more distinct and precise. However, i did expect a lot more to be honest. I was never able to make the vocals sound harsh in any way, shape, or form. They remained true to the amplification, and never got harsh.
Treble: I was very happy with the treble boost that this amp offered. I listen to a lot of drum songs, specifically rock and metal, and this amp got rid of that dull factor that my computers generic sound card had. It made every track in my iTunes library become more pleasant to listen to.
Headphones used with portable amp - Shure SRH840, Sennheiser Momentum, VMODA M100, Shure SE215, Audio-Technica CKM-55 (No longer have). All of those headphones except for the SRH840s suffered from, a dull sounding/non-engaging treble, in my opinion. When i plugged in those headphones/earphones into the FiiO E17, every single song i played sounded more dynamic and lively, when it came to the treble. Mids became more enveloping, and, like i said, the bass became more enjoyable.
Conclusion: The question you are probably asking is: Do i recommend this? My Answer: Sure. I believe this is an entry level headphone amplifier, and the sound is pretty good. Would i recommend it over the FiiO E12, I don't know since i have not tried that, but i will let you know once i purchase and review it in the future. Thanks for checking out this review!