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FiiO 7 arrived. Hmmm... What am I missing?

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 

Well I received my FiiO7 headphone amplifier today.  I appear to be missing something though.  I bought these because my ears cannot tolerate IEMs and the larger cans I use with my mp3 player don't play my older songs, ripped from my CDs loud enough.  Newer stuff (that's so poorly recorded and amplified beyond belief) is loud enough but even with my player maxed out, some of those old '70's CDs from Aerosmith, Zep, things like that just aren't getting it done.  So I ordered the E7 amplifier after reading a few articles here.


Trouble is, this unit does not seem to amplify much of anything.  When I push the volume all the up to 60 it get's slight louder than going straight into the source.  Apparently I'm not quite understanding this unit as an amplifier as it seems to amplify very little.  I'm inclined to return the until as defective since it clearly is not amplifying.


Any ideas?

post #2 of 57

The gain is close to 3.5 on E7 IIRC. Which means in maximum volume it should be 3.5x louder than the source (analog-in). Mind sharing your setup first?

post #3 of 57
Thread Starter 

For my intitial listening trial I used my cell phone's mp3 player (an LG EnV Touch) and a pair of Bose QC15 NC headphones.

post #4 of 57

I generally don't recommend using amps unless you use a lineout on your DAP.  Wondering though why you aren't using your Zen for this one? Won't be as good as a LOD'd iPod but I'm sure it's better than your EnV.

post #5 of 57

Methos1979, I sent the following in my email reply to you through our ticket support system, but I think it's a great idea to share this info here as well just in case others run into the same situation:


[Name Removed],

Bose QC15 are noise canceling headphones with a volume limiter for the input signal. The music signal does not go directly to the headphone drivers, but goes to an internal processing circuitry first. The processing circuitry then sends a modified signal to the headphone drivers. I do see that there is a volume adjustment on the headphones, please see page 3 of the manual:


However, if you are already set to Hi on the headphones, then you are already getting as much volume as Bose will allow you to have. This is unfortunately a limitation of these headphones rather than the FiiO E7 amplifier. You should be able to test with a pair of normal headphones to confirm that the E7 does indeed provide a *LOT* of volume.


post #6 of 57

That's one thing about NC phones. Try them with your PX100s, you might be surprised.

post #7 of 57


Originally Posted by Mochan View Post

... you might be surprised.

...or deaf. Do remember to turn the volume down first :-)

post #8 of 57

LOL Yeah, I find that the PX100s are fine at around 20 clicks on the E7. I wouldn't go more than that, maybe 25 tops.

post #9 of 57
Thread Starter 

Hello to all and thanks for the quick replies and ideas.  A special thanks to Jack from Micca for jumping in as well.  Jack - yes, I did get your email but I was on the road all weekend on a business trip.


Mochan - I don't use the Zen anymore because my daughter appropriated from me!  That and I prefer to have only one device to carry around at work.  Also, with using the cell phone as my source, I can listen to my music and not miss calls as the music stops when a call comes in.


So anyway, I just got home today and I've been trying to get some other headphones to work with this little amp.  Unfortunately, I can't find my PX100's but I wasn't planning on using them anyway because the mp3 player on the phone pushes those fine with plenty of volume.


I did try the amp using my daughters full-size cans (non-NC) and it's the exact same thing.  There is a tiny bit of amplification from phone to amp to cans - and I mean tiny.  Only by directly A/Bing them can you even tell there is a difference.


As to there being a problem with the Bose QC15's NC phones and an input volume limiter, there is a two way switch inside but that is only for dampening down loud sources like airplane announcement circuits and the switch was set to high anyway.  There is no limitation of allowed gain in the cans as I hooked them up to a larger amp and they drove the cans just fine.


I can only conclude from this that the gain that is achievable from the EiiO 7 is very small, and as such only really good for small headphones such as IEMs or other easy-to-push headphones.  I was hoping to find an amp that could push larger headphones with more gain.  Either this unit cannot, or it is defective.  I'm still inclined to return them unless someone else has another idea.  I admit that I am not by any means knowledgeable in this area.  And I know how you all feel about Bose, but these QC15s are just great for what they do - noise cancel.  And for someone like me who cannot tolerate IEMs for any length of time, they are the only choice.


If someone can recommend a small, dedicated headphone amplifier that can get it done (mp3 -> amp -> QC15s playing louder) then I am all ears, pun intended!  At this stage of the game I'm thinking I will just have to find a better source with more gain.  I was a little suspect of the whole dedicated headphone amp thing as it is because in the end it just adds another piece of gear to my portable set-up.



post #10 of 57



Thanks for the additional information.  Can you share what full size headphones you used with the E7? 



post #11 of 57

Using the E7 DAC and HD555 (50ohm) 40 is very loud and sounds like a speaker!

Edited by BlutoSlice - 6/7/10 at 9:29am
post #12 of 57
Thread Starter 



The Bose Tri-Port AE's.  They are my daughter's headphones (now - she stole them with my Zen).  I know they are not like on this site but like I said in my email, the NC phones are the ones I use and need to use, and ultimately need an amplifier to be able to push.



post #13 of 57

Hi everyone, I just want to share my experience on this which is almost the same as methos1979. Here is my setup:

1. Sansa Fuze (mini to mini, I'm not using LOD) > Fiio E7 > superlux HD66B (2x56OHMS), volume gain is 1:1.

Here is how i tried it, i set the fuze volume to half, and then set fiio E7 to 60. Then i try it with HD668B after that i directly try HD668B to Sansa Fuze, no volume gain what so ever.

2. Sansa Fuze (mini to mini) > Fiio E7 > Super Fi3 (13ohms), volume gain is 1:1

Basicly the same result as HD668B, but perhaps louder by 3-5%,

3. Ipod (No LOD) > Fiio E7 > Super fi3, ipod maxed out, Fiio E7 Maxed out but the sound is still not that loud.


What do i miss really? In which understanding of Head Amp am i missing here? Even 25% louder is ok , but this is almost 1:1 gain.


But when i use it as DAC+AMP combo (Foobar2000 > Fiio ), I only need 17(with super fi3), and 25 (with Superlux HD668B).



post #14 of 57


Hmm, I wonder if its a firmware bug or something, I have only used it in DAC + amp mode, will give it a try amp only see what happens.


BTW what firmware version do you have mines FW01JD16EN

Edited by BlutoSlice - 6/11/10 at 3:21am
post #15 of 57

About the gain of E7, it is the same in AMP or USB DAC , and the gain is about 4dB!


if we describe in level, the gain is 2.5 X, so if the input level is 100mV, the output level from headphone out will be 250mV when the volume is set to 60!


Why you feel the output is bigger when in USB DAC mode, it is because the output level of the decoder is bigger than the output of some DAP! some case for reference:


There will have not any bug or problem in E7 if it is ok in USB DAC mode, cause the output of the dac will send to amp just as line input!

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