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Fiio E7/E9 combo as pre-amp to Hifiman EF5?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi HFiers! Just a quick question. I'm planning to use my E7/E9 combo (soon E17/E9) as a DAC/Pre-amp for a better tube amp. I was looking at the Hifiman EF5 or something better? I'm not entirely aware of Tube amps so I need help on decisions. Is it worth using the E7(17)/E9 as a DAC/Pre-amp? I have been wanting to use my E9 and another product as one whole unit preferablly... Suggestions? I like my E9 a lot but I feel that I can get so much more from it as a pre-amp. Thanks for reading! Other recommendations are greatly appreciated.

post #2 of 21

The EF5 more than powerful enough for any headphone, itdoes not need a pre-amp. You can just use the DAC portion of your E9 and feed it into the EF5.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by francisdemarte View Post

The EF5 more than powerful enough for any headphone, itdoes not need a pre-amp. You can just use the DAC portion of your E9 and feed it into the EF5.


That's what I assumed... Hmm... So how should I send the signal from the E7/E9 to the EF5? Through the 3.5 or 6.3mm jack in the front? Or the coaxial in the rear? Or the Pre-amp?
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post


That's what I assumed... Hmm... So how should I send the signal from the E7/E9 to the EF5? Through the 3.5 or 6.3mm jack in the front? Or the coaxial in the rear? Or the Pre-amp?


What a serious coincidence....my setup is very similar to yours except i have the e17 docked in instead of the e7. I JUST purchased an ef-5 off the for sale forums and its being shipped now. As for using the functions. I spoke to several members about how i would go about setting it up and what i've learnt is that you can dock the e7 with the e9 so the e9 acts as a LOD and your e7 will retain its DAC portion. Then you can use RCA cables  and connect them via Line-Out from your e9 to ef-5. Just make sure you don't put any headphones into the e9's headphone jacks.

 

So it would be something like this:

 

Computer USB-->e7+e9-->ef-5-->headphones

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jono454 View Post



What a serious coincidence....my setup is very similar to yours except i have the e17 docked in instead of the e7. I JUST purchased an ef-5 off the for sale forums and its being shipped now. As for using the functions. I spoke to several members about how i would go about setting it up and what i've learnt is that you can dock the e7 with the e9 so the e9 acts as a LOD and your e7 will retain its DAC portion. Then you can use RCA cables  and connect them via Line-Out from your e9 to ef-5. Just make sure you don't put any headphones into the e9's headphone jacks.

 

So it would be something like this:

 

Computer USB-->e7+e9-->ef-5-->headphones



Hahahaha! Tell me about it! And I too will upgrade to the E17 as well. I would really appreciate if you would tell me how it sounds when it arrives. About the EF5... I don't know if I should get the EF5 or something else like a Little Dot MKIV. I even considered something like a Schiit Valhalla or Lyr as I plan on purchasing Ortho headphones later on as well... So my setup would be something like yours as well! USB-> E17+E9-> EF5/ Schiit Lyr or Valhalla/ Little Dot MKIV? That's starting to sound like a killer setup

 

EDIT: I'll probs get the Valhalla instead of the Lyr


Edited by planx - 2/21/12 at 4:34pm
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post



Hahahaha! Tell me about it! And I too will upgrade to the E17 as well. I would really appreciate if you would tell me how it sounds when it arrives. About the EF5... I don't know if I should get the EF5 or something else like a Little Dot MKIV. I even considered something like a Schiit Valhalla or Lyr as I plan on purchasing Ortho headphones later on as well... So my setup would be something like yours as well! USB-> E17+E9-> EF5/ Schiit Lyr or Valhalla/ Little Dot MKIV? That's starting to sound like a killer setup

 

EDIT: I'll probs get the Valhalla instead of the Lyr



The e17+e9's a pretty decent setup that can run my power hungry DT990/600s but i figured since the e9 is somewhat of a low end amp i wanted to see what a high end amp can really do to improve my setup. I've heard many raving reviews about the valhalla and the lyr...you could probably pick one up for a decent price on the for sale forum...i remmeber seeing the valhalla for $275 about a week ago but i was too late to jump on that.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Precisely. I've been researching and my options are EF5, LD MKIV, and Schiit Valhalla. I'm most interested in the EF5 atm. Please do share your experiences
post #8 of 21

Hey, back on this thread..so i set up everything with my e9+e17-->ef-5-->DT990. Turns out the Line-Out in my e9 is kinda faulty so the sound ends up being distorted and fuzzy. 

 

It'd be great if you could share your experience with the e9 as a Line-Out.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hey! I've been playing around with my E9 and the Line out and it works fine. I sent the Line out signal from the E9 to the E7 and it was extremely clear. But I cannot use it as a DAC like that so... But tell you this, I'm going to my local Hi-fi shop tomorrow to try out the EF5 and E9 together. I'll report back after that. BTW you can buy a cheap RCA cable for the E9 at a local thrift store maybe. I got mine for $2 and it's really long as well
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

Hey! I've been playing around with my E9 and the Line out and it works fine. I sent the Line out signal from the E9 to the E7 and it was extremely clear. But I cannot use it as a DAC like that so... But tell you this, I'm going to my local Hi-fi shop tomorrow to try out the EF5 and E9 together. I'll report back after that. BTW you can buy a cheap RCA cable for the E9 at a local thrift store maybe. I got mine for $2 and it's really long as well


That's great! I managed to get a 3.5mm to RCA and use the pre-out on the e9. So i managed to setup everything in this form

 

Computer USB-->E9+E17 (DAC through pre-out 3.5mm)-->EF-5-->DT990/600, K702.

 

As for the volume control i'm not 100% sure how i'm suppose to configure it but i have the e9 volume knob at the 2 o clock position while my ef-5 is at the 10 o clock position.

 

The most notable difference between using the EF-5 as an amp and the e9 as an amp is the soundstage. I noticed that with the ef-5 the soundstage opened up compared to the e9. While i wouldn't say the difference between the e9 soundstage and the ef-5 soundstage is big....you would still notice the difference. Onto the mids, this is where i felt the ef-5 shined. Through the ef-5, the mids felt very refined, much more than the e9. While listening to a few of my songs i noticed small small minor details that were previously not there with the e9. I thought this was quite interesting since the e9+e17 combo was pretty amazing when i first heard it. 

 

Using this combo with my DT990/600 is absolutely fantastic...i love this setup with the DT990s. I picked up the K702s first and i thought these were godly, then i picked up the DT990 later on and i thought they were only decent at best...nothing compared to the K702s. But when i threw in the EF-5 the DT990s began to REALLY shine while my K702s fell short of the DT990. Initially the mids felt very recessed on the DT990s and there was quite a lot of harshness in the sound...but the EF-5 fixed all of that. The mids are brought slightly more forward while retaining the soundstage. The harshness is now gone, replaced with an overall balanced sound. When paired with my K702s...they sounded pretty good but kind of artificial...very very analytical so i promptly set them aside and put the DT990s back in. 

 

I've also been reading up on using the Fiio L7 as a LOD for the e7/e17 and it seems some members think the output from the L7 is better than the e9. Seeing as how my RCA line out doesn't work properly i placed an order for the L7 to see how well that goes. 

 

Sorry if i have any grammar or spelling mistakes...it's 2am and i'm dead tired =D but i hope this clears up some concerns you might have...will post more later when i get the L7 and monoprice cables.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jono454 View Post



That's great! I managed to get a 3.5mm to RCA and use the pre-out on the e9. So i managed to setup everything in this form

 

Computer USB-->E9+E17 (DAC through pre-out 3.5mm)-->EF-5-->DT990/600, K702.

 

As for the volume control i'm not 100% sure how i'm suppose to configure it but i have the e9 volume knob at the 2 o clock position while my ef-5 is at the 10 o clock position.

 

The most notable difference between using the EF-5 as an amp and the e9 as an amp is the soundstage. I noticed that with the ef-5 the soundstage opened up compared to the e9. While i wouldn't say the difference between the e9 soundstage and the ef-5 soundstage is big....you would still notice the difference. Onto the mids, this is where i felt the ef-5 shined. Through the ef-5, the mids felt very refined, much more than the e9. While listening to a few of my songs i noticed small small minor details that were previously not there with the e9. I thought this was quite interesting since the e9+e17 combo was pretty amazing when i first heard it. 

 

Using this combo with my DT990/600 is absolutely fantastic...i love this setup with the DT990s. I picked up the K702s first and i thought these were godly, then i picked up the DT990 later on and i thought they were only decent at best...nothing compared to the K702s. But when i threw in the EF-5 the DT990s began to REALLY shine while my K702s fell short of the DT990. Initially the mids felt very recessed on the DT990s and there was quite a lot of harshness in the sound...but the EF-5 fixed all of that. The mids are brought slightly more forward while retaining the soundstage. The harshness is now gone, replaced with an overall balanced sound. When paired with my K702s...they sounded pretty good but kind of artificial...very very analytical so i promptly set them aside and put the DT990s back in. 

 

I've also been reading up on using the Fiio L7 as a LOD for the e7/e17 and it seems some members think the output from the L7 is better than the e9. Seeing as how my RCA line out doesn't work properly i placed an order for the L7 to see how well that goes. 

 

Sorry if i have any grammar or spelling mistakes...it's 2am and i'm dead tired =D but i hope this clears up some concerns you might have...will post more later when i get the L7 and monoprice cables

Interesting. How about the build quality of the EF-5? I'm also considering buying it.

 

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by khoi14021993 View Post

Interesting. How about the build quality of the EF-5? I'm also considering buying it.

It's first rate. I love mine, there's not a better dedicated headphone amp under $500, IMO.
post #13 of 21

Built like a tank.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jono454 View Post



What a serious coincidence....my setup is very similar to yours except i have the e17 docked in instead of the e7. I JUST purchased an ef-5 off the for sale forums and its being shipped now. As for using the functions. I spoke to several members about how i would go about setting it up and what i've learnt is that you can dock the e7 with the e9 so the e9 acts as a LOD and your e7 will retain its DAC portion. Then you can use RCA cables  and connect them via Line-Out from your e9 to ef-5. Just make sure you don't put any headphones into the e9's headphone jacks.

 

So it would be something like this:

 

Computer USB-->e7+e9-->ef-5-->headphones


why, what would happen?

 

post #15 of 21

Then the e9's headphone jack gets priority over the line out functions. If your e17 or e7 is docked onto the e9 and want to use the DAC section of the e17 or e7 only, the e9 can act as a LOD so you would plug your RCA or 3.5mm cables into the Pre-out or line-out and connect that to your amp. Naturally you would plug your headphones into the separate amp to use the amps functions but if you plug it into the e9 headphone jack, it's going to disable the line-out and pre-out functions.

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