it sounds worse then my onboard

A Review On: FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier

FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier

Rated # 3 in Amp/DACs
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
bcasey25raptor
Posted · 24512 Views · 16 Comments

Pros: durable, has an amp

Cons: sounds worse then my onboard and ipod.

ok everyone i am probably going to get hate for this but i should have ordered the grado sr60s instead. my conexant hd audio sound on my laptop is obviously onboard. from the opinion and belief of people on head-fi is that onboard is terrible. they recommended i buy the fiio e7. so i got $200 for a graduation present and decided to get a fiio e7. i was certain it would make a difference as everyone has been praising it. so after 8 days it arrives. i am so excited to hear what i have been missing. i quickly plug it in and let it charge a bit. i plug my shure srh840 in and at first (placebo effect) i think they sound phenomenal. then after a few songs i plugged my shure srh840 into my computers audio input. and guess what? it is actually clearer and sounds fuller. correct me if i am wrong but i thought there was supposed to be a difference with the fiio e7. i was under the impression it was better then on board sound. i give it an overall 2.5/5 because it has an amp. but other then that this thing is not worth it. i am sorry but maybe this is really just snake oil.  if anyone of you guys are new here. avoid at all costs. none of this improves anything. and the higher up you go the less of an improvement you achieve. i am done with dacs. my on board seems really good in comparison.

16 Comments:

Have to add a comment here - as a DAC the E7 is actually pretty good for the price. Check the actual formal reviews on the net - one of the best I've read is here (http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/fiio-e7-usb-dac-amp.html). I wouldn't want to see potential users turned away without seeing the other side of the story ;)
Sorry it wasn't right for you Casey.
the fact it was supposed to be good for the price is why i bought it. but i don't feel the slight increase/decrease in sound quality is worth $100.
That's cool - we hear differently. You and I also listen to different music genres and also have different sources. So maybe the benefit is more in my set-up. Like I say, sorry it didn't work out for you. In the SRH840 thread you mentioned that it removed the static - so it was doing it's job. Personally I couldn't have listened to music that was laden with static - so the E7 is worth $100 to me. You hear differently - so I'll respect your opinion. As an E7 owner though - I thought I'd comment to provide a little balance.
thing is it did remove static but there was little static to begin with.
Hey bcasey - sorry to hear it didn't improve your sound as much as you'd hoped. I don't personally own an E7 but from what I've read, perhaps you the problem is the quality of your music files? (bit rate, or are they flac?) or, perhaps you have an EQ on and don't realize it? also, have you tried the e7 out on your portable music device?? Just some suggestions I've picked up from the site, not sure if any of these will work...

Hey bcasey - sorry to hear it didn't improve your sound as much as you'd hoped. I don't personally own an E7 but from what I've read, perhaps the problem is the quality of your music files? (what bit rate, or are they flac?) or, perhaps you have an EQ on and don't realize it? also, have you tried the e7 out on your portable music device?? Just some suggestions I've picked up from the site, not sure if any of these will work...
On board sound is very hit or miss. There are a lot of crappy ones, but there are some good ones out there as well and you seem to have a good one in your current laptop.
It might be worth holding on to the E7 though. Since onboard sound is so hit and miss and because its not likely at the top of most people's feature list (as compared to CPU, RAM, HD space, and battery life) when shopping around for a computer you may want to keep it if you think you might be getting a new one anytime soon. If you're going to stick with your current laptop for a while then there's no sense keeping it.
im shocked my onboard is so good. i mean my laptop was $600. i was on a serious budget when i purchased it. but i think i will keep the fiio e7.
ironically i have a netbook with realtek and when i first bought this computer i thought the realtek sounded better. but over time i came to realize the conexant in my laptop was better.
On the whole, onboard sound seem to be getting better. The HP out on my netbook (Asus 1005HA) is actually has less background hiss with my SE530s than my XM6 (which cost 30% more than the whole damn netbook) but I still use the XM6 anyway for its adjustable crossfeed and EQ buttons. The crossfeed is the whole reason I splurged on it since for me it really reduces listening fatigue. I usually use the XM6 with Pandora either on my netbook or at my PC at work where I can't insert Isone, a good EQ, and what not into the signal chain very easily.
Even my HD650s sound pretty good straight out of my netbook. Some are winners. Some are losers. The onboard sound on my desktop's Asus mobo sounded like crap even over my cheap 2.1 speakers. To be fair, there might have been some setting that was flipped wrong but I looked for a while and went back to my nearly 10 year old SB Audigy after an hour or so of fooling around but either way its a problem my netbook doesn't have.
seriously between my onboard and the fiio e7 i don't really hear much of a difference. the onboard sounds clearer though. while the fiio e7 sounds a little bassier. after thorough listening that is what i have noticed.
When I got the E7 I didn't feel it was a great value for me either. I felt it was technically superior to my onboard but took too much from treble and vocal airyness for my taste. It was too smooth for my taste with my headphones; which are either dark or relatively balanced. But with a brighter headphone it is perfect. I didn't keep it.
i am beginning to think the hype for these is just snake oil. i mean believe it or not but it sounds better if i don't use the usb dac function. plug it into my laptop via aux and it sounds smoother. pure snake oil. i am amazed at how praised this is. and i don't think i am looking forward to ever spending more then $200 on headphones. i really feel a large part of this hobby really is again just a bunch of snake oil.
I'm inclined to agree with the above post. I think a lot of the hype is from newbies who've bought it as their 1st DAC/Amp, heard a small improvement over their onboard or ipod and come on here to announce to the world how amazing it is without really knowing what else is out there.
I don't think the E7 is a bad product. It certainly improves on my laptops crappy sound and I even think it is better than my Sansa Clip+ but it is absolutely no match for higher grade stuff. It's definitely not the giant killer people make it out to be.
I have a FiiO E7 and I bought it to replace the Realtek in my laptop. The E7 makes my SR80is clearer and instrument separation has also improved. I do have doubts on it being worth the money though. I am currently considering returning the product and spending the money on better cans (ATH-AD900). I feel like the marginal benefits would be much greater. I plan on buying another dac/amp later, but one that is slightly more future-proof as the E7 cannot handle files with 24-bit sample sizes.
It's "snakeoil" to your ears, but not to everybodies ears.
Sure, there are better DAC's out there that will make a huge difference to cheap on-board soundcards. But the FIIO E7 does its job reasonably well for it's price point.

I would only really recommend this amp for closed headphones through. They don't see to give Open Headphones quite enough juice to make them sound right.
I was really reluctant about this E7 amp because I did not like the sound of the Fiio X3 I bought before, so if this amp was ''SnAkE OiL'' i''ll be quite pre-programmed to don't fall in this trendy trap. Still, after selling my X3 I suddenly need a dac for my mac and ipod...don't like Ipod sound too so my curiosity lend me to the E7. An affordable Amp with a (WOLFSON) Dac and lot of features for like 70-80$ sure sound intriguing to me. This is Not ''true Audiophile grade stuff'', but I must admit it sound pretty good and I sincerly feel and hear subtle difference in audio quality and this is what we crave for when we listen. The sound isn't perfect at all, we can find hiss if we listen loudly with sensible iem, the dynamic can lack in clear separation but the overall presentation is better than the source (if the source is not HIFI), the sound of my mac is fuller, richer, wider and have more treble than before-I can hear the Wolfson signature sound here.The fact that this is a portable amp too make it a no brainer
ps:That's true to that the E7 isn't a Powerfull beast, not sure it can drive properly headphones above 64ohm headphones...