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[REVIEW] FiiO E7 USB DAC Headphone Amp  

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 



The E7 is FiiO's latest addition to their line of portable amps. The E7 also serves as a DAC, not to mention that it is the first amp ever to have a dual color OLED screen.

Build
The E7 is quite the solid amp, and the casing is sturdy and metallic. It's case actually feels hard and uncrushable. The volume controls are firmly installed and not much of a wobble exists.

Design
It was a little thicker than I expected it to be, though its light weight makes up for that. The source line in and USB input are on the bottom, headphone outs (x2) are on the top. The OLED screen is decent and glossy looking. The E7's GUI is good enough to serve it's amplifier purposes -- with keylocking, sleep timer, and other settings.

Sound Quality
The gear I used consisted mainly of my Sony Walkman DAP, the E7, and Sennheiser HD 580 300 ohm headphones. The HD 580s after being amped immediately had more "presence" to it. The bass became more controlled and tighter. Soundstage seemed to have widened. A special note I have to say about the E7s is that they do not hiss. My Sony's produce hiss between songs, but the E7 neutralizes them. E7 is generally on the analytical side; without its bass boost*, the sound is natural and flat with emphasis on the highs. I preferred the bass boost on though. Additional listening shows that they are colorful and smooth-sounding.
w/Bass Boost
The bass boost feature worked better than I expected and by far outperforms the flabby "clear bass" on my Walkman. There are three levels of bass, and none of them bloats the bass much, if at all. I tended to use the E7 with bass boost on all of the time, thus giving the E7 its areas of strength: the lows and the lower mids. The highs were less pronounced when bass boost is on, though it did not affect the overall sound quality much.
One thing I have to mention is that I had to push the volume on the E7 to its max at 60 for the HD 580s, and even then I sometimes felt that the HD 580s needed a little more. Still, the HD 580s had much more presence than when it was unamped, impressive for 300 ohm headphones. The E7 does well with instrumental music and sparkly pop music.

Sony MDR EX082 IEMs do not need amping, but the E7 made the Sony's sound fuller also -- the SQ of the Sony's were much more enjoyable. It's lows and lower mids likely rivaled or surpassed that of the Shure SCL4s from what I can remember.

DAC
E7's DAC functions supersedes its amp functions. The DAC sound to a degree resembled the sound of my full size stereo speakers. The bass boost became more unnecessary.

Conclusion
If you are looking for an amp/DAC combo, the E7 could be right for you. If you like an analytical sound and emphasis on the lower spectrum, E7 is the one. Finally, the E7 is well suited for IEMs and you can't go wrong with them for the price.
post #2 of 42
Nice review, an amp with a display , definitely tempting for users who were deciding to get a cmoy
post #3 of 42
If the E7 is priced like a cMoy I'm very much tempted. How much does the E7 cost?
post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deep Funk View Post
If the E7 is priced like a cMoy I'm very much tempted. How much does the E7 cost?
Ive heard it should be around 80 bucks, maybe less.
post #5 of 42
i saw on hurryup's fs thread where the price is $100 plus $5 shipping.i posted last night about the price and asked how much was actually paid for amp(not supposed to sell for profit on headfi)it seems my post is not there when i just looked.
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by teds headfood View Post
i saw on hurryup's fs thread where the price is $100 plus $5 shipping.i posted last night about the price and asked how much was actually paid for amp(not supposed to sell for profit on headfi)it seems my post is not there when i just looked.
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/6376751-post14.html
post #7 of 42
If your Sony player has hiss that the Fiio doesn't reproduce, than it's not correctly amplifying the signal that it receives...
post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jageur272 View Post
If your Sony player has hiss that the Fiio doesn't reproduce, than it's not correctly amplifying the signal that it receives...
I don't believe that's accurate, as some headphones hiss while others don't depending on their impedance and sensitivity. The amp would provide a higher impedance load than many of the highly sensitive/low impedance IEMs that hissing can be so problematic with, so it may not pick up the hiss from the signal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hurryup View Post
The E7 is FiiO's latest addition to their line of portable amps. The E7 also serves as a DAC, not to mention that it is the first amp ever to have a dual color OLED screen.

Build
The E7 is quite the solid amp, and the casing is sturdy and metallic. It's case actually feels hard and uncrushable. The volume controls are firmly installed and not much of a wobble exists.

Design
It was a little thicker than I expected it to be, though its light weight makes up for that. The source line in and USB input are on the bottom, headphone outs (x2) are on the top. The OLED screen is decent and glossy looking. The E7's GUI is good enough to serve it's amplifier purposes -- with keylocking, sleep timer, and other settings.

Sound Quality
The gear I used consisted mainly of my Sony Walkman DAP, the E7, and Sennheiser HD 580 300 ohm headphones. The HD 580s after being amped immediately had more "presence" to it. The bass became more controlled and tighter. Soundstage seemed to have widened. A special note I have to say about the E7s is that they do not hiss. My Sony's produce hiss between songs, but the E7 neutralizes them. E7 is generally on the analytical side; without its bass boost*, the sound is natural and flat with emphasis on the highs. I preferred the bass boost on though. Additional listening shows that they are colorful and smooth-sounding.
w/Bass Boost
The bass boost feature worked better than I expected and by far outperforms the flabby "clear bass" on my Walkman. There are three levels of bass, and none of them bloats the bass much, if at all. I tended to use the E7 with bass boost on all of the time, thus giving the E7 its areas of strength: the lows and the lower mids. The highs were less pronounced when bass boost is on, though it did not affect the overall sound quality much.
One thing I have to mention is that I had to push the volume on the E7 to its max at 60 for the HD 580s, and even then I sometimes felt that the HD 580s needed a little more. Still, the HD 580s had much more presence than when it was unamped, impressive for 300 ohm headphones. The E7 does well with instrumental music and sparkly pop music.

Sony MDR EX082 IEMs do not need amping, but the E7 made the Sony's sound fuller also -- the SQ of the Sony's were much more enjoyable. It's lows and lower mids likely rivals or surpassed that of the Shure SCL4s from what I can remember.

DAC
E7's DAC functions supersedes its amp functions. The DAC sound to a degree resembled the sound of my full size stereo speakers. The bass boost became more unnecessary.

Conclusion
If you are looking for an amp/DAC combo, the E& could be right for you. If you like an analytical sound and emphasis on the lower spectrum, E7 is the one. Finally, the E7 is well suited for IEMs and you can't go wrong with them for the price.
I can't take the OP's review seriously when he's selling a (presumed) review unit, especially when the retail unit isn't even available yet.
post #9 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesasone View Post
I can't take the OP's review seriously when he's selling a (presumed) review unit, especially when the retail unit isn't even available yet.
You don't have to take it seriously, because obviously I have no means of proving any of it to you, nor would I want to. However, though, I would like to say that the review was a product of much time and effort on my part, whether you believe it or not, written as candidly as possible. That's all I have to say.
post #10 of 42
I can't take it seriously when you're barely reviewing a product that you're selling for well over the soon-to-be (assumed) retail price.
post #11 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBigCW View Post
I can't take it seriously when you're barely reviewing a product that you're selling for well over the soon-to-be (assumed) retail price.
hehe, go right ahead. Feel free not to take it seriously. No one's stopping ya.
post #12 of 42
Well I'm sure Fiio is kicking themselves for picking such a stand up guy to review their product .

Sorry but a short article that is more of an impression than a review that comes across as shilling the product versus giving a critical review. You say you took a lot of time to write this, I suspect you took a lot of time enjoying your music and 15 minutes to write up your "review".

Now your already trying to flip the product in the FS forum. Well it's all a bit much. BTW you don't own an amp according to your signature, so why in the world would you be selling what you describe as a great amp?

Instead of trying to profit from this product, why don't you take more time with it to really understand it fully and turn your impression post into a real review, or are you not up to the challenge? If not, then do the right thing and either send the amp back to Fiio or pass it on to another head-fi member to review it properly.
post #13 of 42
well thats the risk when companies send products for reviewing purposes. who really just wants a free product vs who really wants to try out a new product and give their opinions on it. im sure with any product that comes out on the market with companies sending out products there are people that fit in both categories.
post #14 of 42
Very true rawrster, I step down from my soap box now.
post #15 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post
Well I'm sure Fiio is kicking themselves for picking such a stand up guy to review their product .

Sorry but a short article that is more of an impression than a review that comes across as shilling the product versus giving a critical review. You say you took a lot of time to write this, I suspect you took a lot of time enjoying your music and 15 minutes to write up your "review".

Now your already trying to flip the product in the FS forum. Well it's all a bit much. BTW you don't own an amp according to your signature, so why in the world would you be selling what you describe as a great amp?

Instead of trying to profit from this product, why don't you take more time with it to really understand it fully and turn your impression post into a real review, or are you not up to the challenge? If not, then do the right thing and either send the amp back to Fiio or pass it on to another head-fi member to review it properly.
Cynics will be cynics. I'm not going to spend time arguing with you as it is pointless to try to convince an obstinate. Rather, I'm just going stick around and watch you dedicate even more time, like you have done above, to my thread. Keep up the good work!
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › [REVIEW] FiiO E7 USB DAC Headphone Amp