Pros: Excellent value. Swiss Army knife inputs.
Cons: Lacks line out. Not the most open sound.
I purchased this-- because for around $150 bucks-- how could I pass?
My needs were to provide a way to get audio out of my work computer and drive larger headphones, while stopping my chair from rolling over the headphone cables. My computer is set on the floor-- and running a headphone cable out of the computer proved hazardous to the cables.
I'm driving a bunch of different headphones-- Grado 225, UERMs, ATH-50s-- for the purposes of this analysis-- I used the UERMs.
Okay- the good-- SPDIF, Optical, line, you name it-- you can source it as an input on the Fiio E17.
The E17 easily drives all the above models of headphones.
Sound is decent. An improvement over any sound card to be sure. But compared with the Pico Slim, the bass isn't as tight-- the Pico has a great controlled slam, and the transients are not as evident on the E17. The E17 lacks the airy quality and overall warmth of the Pico Slim-- which is a rich sounding amp. Of course the Pico is a one-trick pony-- and costs twice as much.
The digital volume is a bit of a downer, but contrary to some-- I like the input control. The menus are fairly straightforward-- and I can navigate with ease. It's a clean design.
For $150 dollars-- there's not much to complain about. This is a great do-it-all box, and I use it more than the Pico because it solves more problems with it's USB input and Ginsu-like compatibility. On pure sound, however-- there's better out there.