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FiiO E17 + L7 LOD + E11 = Brief Impression

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Alright, I'm going to offer my brief impression of how the FiiO E17 sounds via the L7 LOD to the E11 Amp.

 

 

I've seen at least one person ask how the E17/L7/E11 combo would sound. Here we go...
 

 

The E17 alone sounds great. I could have been satisfied with that. It plays low impedance cans, it can even plays orthos (I have a pair of Yamaha HP-3, and 2 pair of cans with SFI orthos in them now) at acceptable levels.
 

 

That said, and switching gears; I was pretty happy with the the E11 when I was just using that as an analog amp only (as I find it to sound nicer than my Practical Devices XM4), but I wanted a portable DAC/Amp for my iRiver H140. Mostly since I no longer have my iBasso D10, and wanted to see if a "different" "house sound" than I was used to  would fit the bill for me, and at a savings, which led to the E17 purchase. The savings, if you're wondering, was compared to an upgrade to a D12 Anaconda or something even "bigger" and more expensive.
 

 

So I've been subscribed to the E17 impressions thread, and the Basshead Club threads for awhile, mostly reading, until someone asked if anyone had listened to the E11 via the L7 LOD through the E17. Since I had both, I decided to get the LOD, and have given the combo a whirl.
 

 

On to the impressions...

 


Again, alone the E17 sounds great, but... different... than the E11.
 

 

I would have to venture a guess that this is either due to the E11 being a fully dedicated amp, and the designers being able focus on and decicate all that internal volume to just an analog amplifier circuit and parts; which should lead to a better implementation you would think. Being an "amp-only" box while the E17 has a somewhat smaller volume to work with for its amp section, or maybe its circuit design, or then again possibly due to it being more "broken in" aka "burned in" than my somewhat new E17's amp section.
 

 

Lets keep this part short. I'm aware there are many who DO believe in equipment burn-in, and then again, many who don't notice sonic differences, and therefore don't belive in burn-in/break-in/wear-in or whatever term you want to give it. I'm giving my impressions with the devices I own, and not interested in sparking a sound science debate, so please, lets avoid all of that, thanks. To each their own.
 

 

What I myself notice is specifically nicer so-called technical performance with somewhat less "homogenized" or as coherent an experience from a sound image perspective on the E17, while a more musical and more liquid image and experience via LOD to the E11. Of course, the E11 would probably not sound as good straight out of the iRiver H140's analog Line Out, compared to being fed digital SPDIF/TOSLINK to the E17 and then being given an analog Line Out signal from the E17. That seems to make the E11 shine, compared to listening to the E11 all by itself.
 

 

So I'm hoping that the E17's amp section will smooth out over time and approach the smoothness and liquidity that the E11 currently has, but either way, they both sound GOOD, just a bit DIFFERENT. But hey, that's audio for ya!
 

 

As for the EQ (bass boost) on the E11 vs. the EQ (bass + and - , as well as treble + and -) controls on the E17, I have to agree with everyone that the E17's controls sound "cleaner" when you add or subtract bass or treble from the audio spectrum, compared to the controls on the E11.

post #2 of 9

Good quick impression on the different FLACVest!

 

I never had the E11, but it did smooth out in my opinion. How much you want it to differs from person to person however.

post #3 of 9

I love the e17. Amazing for the price and size and functionality. It drove my d5k and he400's incredibly well and sounded equally good paired with either. 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

I love the e17. Amazing for the price and size and functionality. It drove my d5k and he400's incredibly well and sounded equally good paired with either. 


It would be fun to try both of those! the D5K and HE-400 are really nice cans!

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

So I have done some further comparison between my E11 portable analog amp, and my XM4 amp, and here are the results:

...a bit of a "head to head" between a much more modern, and an older amp.

Setup 1. E17(LO bypass switch engaged) + L7 + E11(High Current, High Gain, EQ2) =

Some nice full bodied bass, very clean with dynamic driver headphones.

For reviewing I used some of my dynamic driver headphones from portables like the PortaPro, G2A (with 100 ohm resistor per driver mod for improved SQ), AKG K450 (very bassy portable cans), and an Audio-Technica T300 from their Monitor series.


Setup 2. E17 (LO bypass switch engaged) + L7 + XM4 (OPA627AU opamps on dual DIP8 adaptor)(Bass Boost switch ON which equals a +10dB bass boost) =

Maybe denser bass, but more congested sounding, this amp is much older than the E11 and in my opinion isn't as transparent. Thick sound.


I reviewed a small tracklist comparing one amp after the other and took some notes, comparing renditions among headphones, and writing the general consensus.


Tracklist:

I listened for the most distinctive or memorable segments of these tracks for me, and included so you could listen on your own and hopefully get a feel for what I mean or how I'm hearing the combo:


1. Alice In Chains - Dirt - "Would?" :
E11: Big sound, round full ocean of bass guitar at opening, smooth.
XM4: Guitars sound nice and full with the bass boost on this, but not as distinct as on the E11, though not inherently bad like some of the electronic and bass driven music later in the following reviewed musical samples. Syrupy is what best describes the sound.

2. CFCF - Continent - "Come Closer" (first minute):
E11: Large bass notes, deep and very percussive.
XM4: Unduly large and very boxy bass notes, as if overdriven. The bass boost function on this amp, while it provides density, lacks quality.

3. Deadmau5 - 4x4=12 - "Some Chords" (first two minutes):
E11: Huge vibrating bass chords, gorgeous coherent hum.
XM4: Much denser presentation, almost as if the vibrating bass chords at the beginning are squashed together, not a time smear but kind of bad after hearing how good they sounded on the E11, and not as clear.

4. Deadmau5 - For Lack Of A Better Name - "Strobe" (the last 2min 20 sec):
E11: Deep deep bass soaring with emotion, a tide of euphonic tones.
XM4: The emotion is still held with this amp, but the bass is squashed and everything sounds mushy and compressed in direct comparison. Even a bit murky.

5. Fake Blood - Deep Red EP - Deep Red (Original Mix) :
E11: Big, hard hitting, large kick drums and very clear saxophone samples, keyboard "bass" sounds HUGE & vibrates the air in cups.
XM4: Also with the big, hard hitting, large kick drums but much more grain, less clarity, and a more boxed in sound with some static and distortion. This amp doesn't have as black a background as the E11 and it shows in this track quite a bit. Overall the "blackness of background" was quite good with E11 output from LO on E17.

6. Herve - Ghetto Bass 2 - Sub Focus - "Last Jungle" :
E11: Most sub bass and deepest I have ever heard, resonates well and enjoyably.
XM4: Not as much depth on the sub bass, but more density, and there is some distortion present. Again, the E11 (And the JDS Labs amp you're looking at are much newer, improved designs)

I figure any Basshead would enjoy these. Those are the actual albums they're on, but they should be on YouTube for anyone to take a listen to, the copies I listened to were lossless, compressed to FLAC...
 

post #6 of 9

i know this thread is a little old, but i have a question about the L7 and the E17 as i plan on doing this with an o2. if i leave the LO bypass on this does this affect anything with the headphone jack when on the go?

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evanchambers View Post

i know this thread is a little old, but i have a question about the L7 and the E17 as i plan on doing this with an o2. if i leave the LO bypass on this does this affect anything with the headphone jack when on the go?


Hi evanchambers,

 

I'm recharging my E17 right now, but I'll give it a check and post the results when it's all charged up for you.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by FLACvest View Post


Hi evanchambers,

 

I'm recharging my E17 right now, but I'll give it a check and post the results when it's all charged up for you.

no, the headphone jack will still play as normal (volume and eq controls)

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by firefly89 View Post
 

no, the headphone jack will still play as normal (volume and eq controls)

 

Stupid question, can I use my galaxy s3 connected to the FIIO E07K then the L7 to connect to AUX of my Marantz 2220B receiver?


Edited by pixelsphotopro - 9/21/13 at 10:36pm
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