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FiiO E17 "ALPEN" - First Impression + Final Thought - Page 431

post #6451 of 6535

Hi guys. I've been reading this forum quite a lot over the last few weeks, researching my first real foray into this seemingly endless money pit of a hobby... Now I have a question or two about this lovely little FiiO device :)

 

Well, maybe this isn't exactly my first attempt at getting quality audio, since I had some Sennheiser HD555s a few years back (and yes, I'm sure they don't even come close to the 598s and 650s of the world today), but this is certainly my first leap into the world of DACs and amps anyway...

 

Basically I just bought myself one of these E17s and first impressions out of the box were fantastic. It really looks and feels like a quality piece of equipment; a far cry from the plastic clad Asus U7 Echelon USB sound card I decided to return a few weeks ago.

I've been using the E17 for a few days now and unfortunately I honestly haven't heard much of an increase in SQ over my laptop's on-board Realtek chip (though I do gather it's apparently one of Realtek's better offerings: the ALC269), which is obviously disappointing, but I'm going to give it time to grow on me as I do like the build quality of it so much. It's likely I'll be keeping it if only for the optical input to connect it up to the Xbox and PS4 anyway, which is a very handy feature.

 

For reference, I'm using the Sennheiser PC360 headset, which has the same drivers as my old HD555.

 

So anyway, a question! Basically I'm already looking towards possible future purchases (all this audio research is getting to me!) and I have my eye on the Sennheiser HD650s which will apparently need more power than the E17 can probably provide. I am wondering how well the E17 will perform as purely a DAC alongside something like either the Objective2 or Schiit Magni amps?

 

From my limited knowledge I gather that the E17's DAC component is of particularly high quality, so I figured combining that with one of the above amps would result in an excellent combination for the price. Is that correct, or would the Modi/Magni and ODAC/O2 DAC/amp combinations blow the E17's DAC out of the water?

 

Perhaps I'm unfairly dismissing the E09K? I was under the impression that the O2 and Magni are much better options for pretty much the same price though.

 

Thanks in advance!

post #6452 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by AgentXXL View Post
 

 

I assume some sarcasm here about the mis-phrasing of 'turning your E17 into a laptop' and not how you configure the E17 to lock at 96KHz 24 bit for playback? But just in case you weren't being sarcastic and really wanted to know how to lock the E17 at 96KHz for playback, here's how you do it:

 

On a Mac you go into Applications - Utilities - Audio Midi Setup, choose the Fiio E17 from the list of playback devices and then set the output format as 96.000KHz and 2 ch - 24 bit integer.

 

 

 

On a Windows 7 box, open Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Sound, choose the Playback tab, highlight the Fiio E17 USB DAC device and choose Properties at the bottom of the window. When the Properties dialog open, deselect everything except 96KHz and click Apply and OK. Then when you playback with the Fiio E17 as the selected output device, the E17 should display 96KHz and 24 bit as the sample rate/bit depth on its screen. 

 

 

 

 

Dale

 

Apart from doing this, is there anything else one can do to optimize their Windows laptop in order to get the best sound quality from the E17? I play music in Foobar using WASAPI, so the sound quality while doing that is pretty good, but for other tasks such as playing games or watching blu-ray content, I want to know what I can do to get maximum sound quality. When the headphones are plugged into it but I'm not playing any sound from any source, I can hear very faint but still audible static pops and crackles every few minutes, this does happen during playback as well.


Edited by DarkAndroid - 4/29/14 at 3:42am
post #6453 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAndroid View Post

Apart from doing this, is there anything else one can do to optimize their Windows laptop in order to get the best sound quality from the E17? I play music in Foobar using WASAPI, so the sound quality while doing that is pretty good, but for other tasks such as playing games or watching blu-ray content, I want to know what I can do to get maximum sound quality. When the headphones are plugged into it but I'm not playing any sound from any source, I can hear very faint but still audible static pops and crackles every few minutes, this does happen during playback as well.
I only notice static and pops when my E17 is placed next to or near my cell phone. Have you tried placing your unit away from other electronic devices?
post #6454 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiderNhan View Post


I only notice static and pops when my E17 is placed next to or near my cell phone. Have you tried placing your unit away from other electronic devices?

this. IDK why the E17 pick up interference when using it as a amp/dac. But it doesn't when only using it as a dac, like my other amps don't do this. This IMO makes the E17 a poor choice when pairing it up with a smartphone. Would be ironic if the E18 does this too. 


Edited by imeem - 4/29/14 at 6:18am
post #6455 of 6535

I dont generally keep my smartphone near the E17. There are several other devices around it though, including external hard drives, an external blu-ray drive, and a monitor. Even when these devices are turned off however I still hear the faint pops sometimes. I use the device mainly in optical, I tried using USB and in both connections I was hearing the pop noise, but I suspect that it could be that charging the device while using it might be source of the problem, so I will disconnect the USB charger and let it run on battery.

 

External interference aside, I just want to make sure that I have the right settings and configurations on my Windows system in order to get best performance from this DAC.

post #6456 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAndroid View Post

 

When the headphones are plugged into it but I'm not playing any sound from any source, I can hear very faint but still audible static pops and crackles every few minutes, this does happen during playback as well.

 

I think I might know what your problem is...

 

When connecting over optical from my laptop I get the same audible static noise as you do (though it's more like every few seconds than minutes). As far as I can tell it's because my laptop's toslink doesn't properly support 96khz or higher sample rates, but when selecting anything lower than that in Windows I'm static free.

 

This problem also raises its head even if you select lower than 96khz in Windows and then ask foobar to play a 96khz or 192khz track in WASAPI mode, since that's exactly what foobar does, bypassing the Windows settings.

 

Because of this I'm restricted to using USB for the little amount of high resolution music I own, but that's not so bad. It saves the optical port for the consoles anyway, even though I would prefer to use it for every connection.

post #6457 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkAndroid View Post
 

I dont generally keep my smartphone near the E17. There are several other devices around it though, including external hard drives, an external blu-ray drive, and a monitor. Even when these devices are turned off however I still hear the faint pops sometimes. I use the device mainly in optical, I tried using USB and in both connections I was hearing the pop noise, but I suspect that it could be that charging the device while using it might be source of the problem, so I will disconnect the USB charger and let it run on battery.

 

External interference aside, I just want to make sure that I have the right settings and configurations on my Windows system in order to get best performance from this DAC.

I've also read that the E17 shouldn't be charging while it's in use. The Panda batteries that it uses will deteriorate faster if you do that.

post #6458 of 6535
Nevermind smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by PsiCore - 5/7/14 at 6:30am
post #6459 of 6535

Personal observation.

If you are using the E17 docked (with E09K) with a MacBook Pro or any of the Macs with a combo (audio/optical) output, you should use the optical output and connect to the the E17 via "OPT" (S/PDIF) input. I find that by selecting this set up gives me a much smoother sound especially when listening to blues/jazz. The "brittleness" on the high frequencies somehow in this setting smooths out, especially with those brighter sounding headphones.

MBP -> E17 (optical cable into S/PDIF port on top of E17) -> Docked into E09K -> Headphones
Volume setting : MBD (max) - E17 (50) - E09K (about 10 o'clock position)

This works best for me when using the E17/E09K combo with my MacBook Pro Retina Display and Sennehiser HD25-1 or Westone W40 (+2 treble setting on E17 when used with these IEMs).

Looking to getting a new pair of higher quality cans next week, and will update again a couple of weeks later when I muck around with the set up. Going to get a Coaxial set up going as well, but I guess it will add too much color to the sound, but that is part of the fun anyway... the tinkering and tweaking.

Hope this will work well with those who shares a similar set up.

I primarily listen to music at home through my studio monitors, this is my mobile set up when I am traveling.

post #6460 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by kleefurd View Post
 

Personal observation.

If you are using the E17 docked (with E09K) with a MacBook Pro or any of the Macs with a combo (audio/optical) output, you should use the optical output and connect to the the E17 via "OPT" (S/PDIF) input. I find that by selecting this set up gives me a much smoother sound especially when listening to blues/jazz. The "brittleness" on the high frequencies somehow in this setting smooths out, especially with those brighter sounding headphones.

MBP -> E17 (optical cable into S/PDIF port on top of E17) -> Docked into E09K -> Headphones
Volume setting : MBD (max) - E17 (50) - E09K (about 10 o'clock position)

This works best for me when using the E17/E09K combo with my MacBook Pro Retina Display and Sennehiser HD25-1 or Westone W40 (+2 treble setting on E17 when used with these IEMs).

Looking to getting a new pair of higher quality cans next week, and will update again a couple of weeks later when I muck around with the set up. Going to get a Coaxial set up going as well, but I guess it will add too much color to the sound, but that is part of the fun anyway... the tinkering and tweaking.

Hope this will work well with those who shares a similar set up.

I primarily listen to music at home through my studio monitors, this is my mobile set up when I am traveling.


I completely agree. Just tried going optical from my Asus Rampage IV Black to the E17 docked and the top end is definitely cleaner than using the E09K USB E17 DAC.

A good album for testing brittle top end is Mariah Carey Daydream, particularly One Sweet Day and I Am Free.  Much smoother with optical via E17 than E09K USB.

The E17/E09K is the perfect combo for the HD600 using this combo as the E17 on its own doesn't have the power to drive them properly! :)  (E17 as Optical DAC @ 192/24 and E09K as Headphone Amp)
 


Edited by Hiltonk - 5/8/14 at 5:21am
post #6461 of 6535

I just got my e17 last week and so far i'm really enjoying it. A few questions though.

 

I use it probably half on the road and half at home. When home i have my computer hooked up through usb to a L7 going through the e17 (with lod bypass turned on) and into my amp.

My question is when i have this going i can still control the volume from my computer. I was under the impression that using usb output i would be bypassing the dac in my computer, and therefore the volume and and eq? Is this correct? I just want to make sure i have everything hooked up correctly. It's going through my laptop with no optical or coax outputs.

Also assuming it is correct, should i have my computer's volume at max or backed off some? Thanks for your help.

post #6462 of 6535
In Windows when the computer volume control is maxed, this gives you bit perfect audio.

LO Bypass will disable the volume and tone controls on the E17 and give you a straight line out signal into your Amp which you would control the volume from.

beerchug.gif
post #6463 of 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregoneon View Post
 

I just got my e17 last week and so far i'm really enjoying it. A few questions though.

 

I use it probably half on the road and half at home. When home i have my computer hooked up through usb to a L7 going through the e17 (with lod bypass turned on) and into my amp.

My question is when i have this going i can still control the volume from my computer. I was under the impression that using usb output i would be bypassing the dac in my computer, and therefore the volume and and eq? Is this correct? I just want to make sure i have everything hooked up correctly. It's going through my laptop with no optical or coax outputs.

Also assuming it is correct, should i have my computer's volume at max or backed off some? Thanks for your help.

I think this is how FiiO implemented their USB connection to the computer to overcome a problem in their design... lack of headroom. Since discovering this I started to be careful with the way that I send signals into the E17. I would set about -12db to as much as -20db from my computer to the E17 so to make sure that songs with high dynamic ranges or heavily compressed and aggressively mastered tracks would not break up at the high VU levels. (Volume unit).

So far it worked well for me when using the E17 as a DAC for the computer. I am not too technical with computer audio, so far I have no knowledge on how to test whether the DAC on the computer is completely bypassed when using the E17 as a DAC to replace the computer's. Another method that I use to completely bypass my computer is not to use the USB and instead, use the Optical Out on my Mac. And for some reasons, the high frequencies sounded more controlled when using Optical output of the Mac into the E17. The headroom is still a problem and therefore I lower the master volume level on my iTunes. (Bring it down by a hair).

See if that works for you. Cheers.
 

post #6464 of 6535

Thanks for the quick responses! Seems like everything is working properly. It's certainly a big improvement over going straight from computer>amp like i was doing before.

post #6465 of 6535
Glad it working well for you. That's what's important. Enjoy the music.
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