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FiiO E11 amp high and low gain

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm new to this forum, but I've been a lurker for ages. lol. Just recently got the Fiio E11 amp and it's great. It really helps to bring out the potential in my headphones. I do have a quick question though.

 

Was wondering whether the High/Low Gain settings have an actual effect on the quality of the sound. Or does it just change the amount of volume? Because if setting it to "high" gain only increases the volume, then I can just keep it to "Low" and just crank up the volume more.

 

And when is a good time to use the High Gain setting vs the Low one? What's a good cut-off point for the Impedence, sensitivity of the headphones before I should start using High Gain to get greater returns in sound quality (if any). 

 

I currently use a Sansa Fuze+ player and I listen to only Flac files. My headphones are the following:

 

Sennheiser HD558
Sennheiser HD25-1 II Adidas
Audio Technica ATH-M50
Shure 750DJ
Allen & Heath Xone XD-53
Kicker HP541 DJ
Klipsch Image S4

 

I also noticed on some specs that they rate the HD558's max power handling at only 40mW. Does that mean using the E11 amp with it might damage the headphone/drivers? Seems rather odd if it did since. The Kicker headphones I have also have a pretty low max power rating too.

 

Any suggestions on which Gain level to use for each headphones and whether switching it to high gain actually does improve the sound quality or just increases the volume would be great.

 

Thx everyone!

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

A rep from Fiio emailed me back some answers to my questions above. Just wanted to post some of their replies incase this might help anybody who was wondering the same thing. I put quotations around their answers:

 

 

 
 Was wondering whether the High/Low Gain settings have an actual effect on the quality of the sound. Or does it just change the amount of volume? Because if setting it to "high" gain only

increases the volume, then I can just keep it to "Low" and just crank up the volume more.

 

"Re: there are not different between high/low gain in SQ." 

 

And when is a good time to use the High Gain setting vs the Low one? What's a good cut-off point for the Impedence, sensitivity of the headphones before I should start using High Gain to get greater returns in sound quality (if any). 

"Re: you need to try, if you set the volume at 1-3, you should set the gain to high, so you can listening music and set the volume at 3-6, it is the best position of the volume knobs. but if you are using 6 -8 now, you need to use low gain." 

I also noticed on some specs that they rate the HD558's max power handling at only 40mW. Does that mean using the E11 amp with it might damage the headphone/drivers? Seems rather odd if it did since. The Kicker headphones I have also have a pretty low max power rating too.

"Re: don't worry about it, just take care the sound level from the headphone, if the sound is not so loud, it will not hurt your headphone/drivers. note that the real output is quite small because the music siganl is varies."

Any suggestions on which Gain level to use for each headphones and whether switching it to high gain actually does improve the sound quality or just increases the volume would be great.

 

"Re: if you are listening music at 3-7 at the volume, the gain switcher is in the best position."

 

 

post #3 of 10
I use fiio E11 for my ipod video and HD598 with fiio L3 LOD. I notice that I never set the volume knob higher than 3 on E11 whether the "gain" is high or low. It will be too loud if the volume is over 3. Does it mean that I actually don't need a amp to drive the HD598?
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi Wind,

 

You're using a dedicated lineout for the DAP i'm guessing? Do you need to adjust any volume on your DAP? My sansa fuze + doesn't have a lineout so I'm unfortunately only using the headphone out. I set my DAP to around 75% volume and my E11's volume knob to about 3 or 3.5 when listening and I use the HD558. 

 

I think most DAP's are more than adequate to power the HD558/598's cause they're only about 50 ohms, which is quite easy to drive so volume shouldn't be an issue. However, the sound overall is a bit fuller when amping with the E11. This is especially noticable with the bass. It sounds fuller and richer. So overall I personally feel there's still a slight improvement in sound regardless of the volume level. I'm not sure about the 598's. But the 558's are a bit lighter in bass compared to my other phones. So the extra fullness in sound in the low end by amping is a great match for me. 

 

 

post #5 of 10

I believe having your DAP to 100 %, and going from there with your amp is the best way to do it, from what i've heard. 

post #6 of 10

granted, im no expert or authority on these issues, but regarding the questions above, this is what i would do:

 

i control the volume through the amp, all the other volume controls (dap, computer, whatever) are on 100%.

 

i wouldnt use high gain unless low gain wasnt enough to give me the volume i wanted. im pretty sure it doesnt affect sq (other than the regular louder=better bias all humans have).

 

"easy to drive" is more than impedance matching, theres more to it, such a sensitivity for example, so saying things like "they're only about 50 ohms, which is quite easy to drive so volume shouldn't be an issue" is inaccurate and over simplified. the e11 can drive ALOT of headphones, some even use it with "hard to drive" headphones that shouldnt work according to others. i wouldnt worry myself about the positioning of the volume knob, supposedly you need to leave some "headroom", i.e, NOT have the volume knob at 100%. so for arguments sake, if your on 7 with low gain, then i would switch to high gain.

 

burning your equipment can happen, and i confess i have no clue how, but you have pretty standard stuff, i doubt youll be able to do it. just try and see what it sounds like. 

i could be wrong as well =]

post #7 of 10

The settings are not supposed to affect sound quality but when I had one I found some very subtle differences. I think it was low voltage and high gain that sounded best to me.

post #8 of 10
I just got an e 11 today. I am driving custom ones with it. I also put the e6 in the same line and I find that the sound is much fuller. Does using 2 amps hurt anything?
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by underwoodken123 View Post

I just got an e 11 today. I am driving custom ones with it. I also put the e6 in the same line and I find that the sound is much fuller. Does using 2 amps hurt anything?

sounds interesting. i will try that also.

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric23 View Post

Hey guys,

A rep from Fiio emailed me back some answers to my questions above. Just wanted to post some of their replies incase this might help anybody who was wondering the same thing. I put quotations around their answers:


 
 
Was wondering whether the High/Low Gain settings have an actual effect on the quality of the sound. Or does it just change the amount of volume? Because if setting it to "high" gain only


increases the volume, then I can just keep it to "Low" and just crank up the volume more.



 



"Re: there are not different between high/low gain in SQ." 



 



And when is a good time to use the High Gain setting vs the Low one? What's a good cut-off point for the Impedence, sensitivity of the headphones before I should start using High Gain to get greater returns in sound quality (if any). 



"Re: you need to try, if you set the volume at 1-3, you should set the gain to high, so you can listening music and set the volume at 3-6, it is the best position of the volume knobs. but if you are using 6 -8 now, you need to use low gain." 



I also noticed on some specs that they rate the HD558's max power handling at only 40mW. Does that mean using the E11 amp with it might damage the headphone/drivers? Seems rather odd if it did since. The Kicker headphones I have also have a pretty low max power rating too.



"Re: don't worry about it, just take care the sound level from the headphone, if the sound is not so loud, it will not hurt your headphone/drivers. note that the real output is quite small because the music siganl is varies."



Any suggestions on which Gain level to use for each headphones and whether switching it to high gain actually does improve the sound quality or just increases the volume would be great.



 



"Re: if you are listening music at 3-7 at the volume, the gain switcher is in the best position."



 



 


Thanks Eric you've helped me
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