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FiiO E02i "Rocky" - First Impression + Final Thought

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

Just received this afternoon, can't say I have spent enough time with it but it is enough for pictures and some first impression. Here is brief introduction to E02i - it is an inline mic + remote for iDevice with amp and bass boost. This mean not only you get to to control your iDevice from it (as long as the iDevice supports remote function, it will act as a mic for phone call (or recording), amp what even audio signal from the headphone-out, hopefully music, and there is a bass boost switch. Oh, and this little amp is self-powered so it doesn't drain your iDevice's battery. The official battery life is quoted at 10 hours. Don't worry, even if the battery runs out of juice, you can still set it to OFF / Bypass mode and it will just act like a regular mic+remote adapter for your headphone.


E02i-01.jpg

E02i-02.jpg
Inner - an USB to Micro-USB cable for charging, the amp itself and a manual.

E02i-06.jpg
Size comparison: Left - Sansa Clip+; Right - Samsung Galaxy Ace. Sorry, don't own an iPhone, but Ace has the same dimension as the original iPhone.

[First Impression]

A few things I can immediately tell:

1st, this isn't going to beat E6 on SQ. For now, I'll place it somewhere between E6 and E7. Not too bad actually, definitely a step up from the old E1.

2nd, though I haven't had the time to go in very deep on SQ, I can tell this amp is slightly on the warm, lusher side, especially once the bass boost is on. But it isn't super warm like the SoundMAGIC A10. The bass kick is really good though, better than E6 and E7 for sure even when bass boost is off. Current seem sufficient enough, but gain isn't very high.

3rd. Output impedance is super low, measured at only 0.08ohm.

4th, Build quality is excellent, the main body is aluminum with a shirt clip on the back (aluminum too). Cable length is 0.8m. In case you wonder, I'll say that is about chest height (more or less) if it is connect to an iPhone in the front pocket.

That's is it for now. Will update once I have the time to measured it via RMAA and listen to it more thoroughly.

 


 

[Final Thought]

 

E02i is basically FiiO’s answer to those who want to use their iPhone with amp but also want the function of remote and mic. Inline amp isn’t exactly the most welcomed of solution among audiophile since line-out has always been the prime choice for amping. However, given how well iPhone’s (and Apple’s products in general) headphone-out behaves, and negative from double amping is outweighed by the convenient of having one device that can do it all. That’s what E02i is about – an amp with bass boost that also acts as remote and mic. Add in your favorite pair of IEM and you got yourself a minimalistic rig.

 

Spec

Output: > 70mW (32ohm)

Headphone Impedance Recommendation: 16ohm – 150ohm

Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Power Supply: 5V DC 500mA MicroUSB

Size: 23.3mm x 57.3mm x 15.3mm (main body, including clip)

Cable Length: 80cm

Weight: 27g

Battery Life: 10 hours

 

E02i-03.jpg

 

E02i-04.jpg

 

E02i-05.jpg

 

Build Quality and Accessories

As always the build quality is pretty good. The main unit is mostly aluminum, including the shirt clip, and the cable is fairly thick so it should be able to handle some stressing / pulling. If you are not the kind who likes to clip something to your shirt, there is a tiny hole on the clip that you can attach a lanyard cable to hand it over your neck. Accessory is minimum with just one USB cable for charging.

 

Navigation and Functions

On first look, E02i is pretty much like an oversized iPhone remote. The volume up/down and call button are on the front. Mic is located on the top. Shirt clip is on the back. Power and bass switches are on the left side and between them, the microUSB charging port.

 

The remote and mic themselves can be operated without turning on the amp section (indicated by the blue light around the call button), so you can keep using them even if you run out of battery.

 

E02i-07.jpg

 

E02i-08.jpg

 

Battery Life

Battery life is quoted at 10 hours, which is the same as FiiO own E5 / E6. Not particularly long by any mean, but still decent consider how small E02i is. I never fully drain the battery, but from daily use it seems to hold up to the spec quite well.

 

Gain, Hiss and EMI

E6 is about 7-8dB in gain, E5 is about 5dB, E02i on the other hand is only about 4dB. Not really a lot so low sensitivity headphone might not get very loud. The good news is the newer generation of iDevice seems to capable of outputting higher volume (which get amplified by E02i), so I don’t see any problem for E02i to work with anything below 150ohm.

 

Level of hiss is compatible to that of E6. Noticeable with hiss prone IEM (i.e. Shure SE530) when no music is playing but overall not an issue with most other IEM.

 

For something that specifically designed to use with cellphone, EMI is not an issue with E02i as it is very well shielded.

 

SQ

RMAA measurement wise, E02i is doing quite well. First the bad news – there is a tiny roll-off in the sub-bass region. However, it is -0.5dB @ 30Hz with a 16ohm load so it should be close to unnoticeable. Otherwise E02i does measured quite well and doesn’t add anything funny to the original signal. Output impedance is measured to be a very low 0.08ohm. Output power to a 47ohm fixed load are excellent and actually doing even better with a 23.5ohm fixed load.

 

For the most part, I think the sound quality of E02i can be summed up as ‘E6 with remote and mic for iPhone’. The two actually sound very close in A/Bing, with the exception that E02i has a slightly warmer tone. Not a lot by any mean but it is noticeable when you listen to them side by side. While the warmer tone does reduce the background transparency by a little, it isn’t big enough to affect the actual quality of the sound. All and all, E02i and E6 are on par with each other performance wise.

 

EQ

Bass boost is around 5dB @ 50Hz but goes up as high as 0.5dB @ 1kHz. This is consistence to the smaller bass boost (EQ2) we have seen on E6.

 

Spectrum-1_zps2dfa4c0b.jpg

 

Ending

I guess it is not hard to see E02i as the adapted version of E6 for the iPhone user. As far as performance goes, it is excellent for an entry level amp, much like E6. Of course it won’t replace any full size portable amp any time soon, but that is not what it is designed to do. Given how well Apple’s product usually is, E02i can served as a decent add-on but probably not a killer accessory. However, I do see a similar amp will bring much more benefit to the Android user where amp section are generally not nearly as solid as Apple products.

 

A thanks to FiiO for the sample.


Edited by ClieOS - 1/1/13 at 8:51am
post #2 of 39

Disappointed that SQ isn't as great as expected. But still looks very attractive and convenient. Any word on price?

post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Well, I would think it is quite good for the size actually. While it might not beat E6, it is not like they are far apart in SQ. Obviously FiiO can make it sounds better, but they will have to increase it size probably. Right now, I'll say they are getting it almost right. I won't want to carry anything bigger cause that will decrease its functionality as a small inline amp with remote+mic and that is the design goal at the first place.

No idea on price yet.
post #4 of 39

The power is definitely a huge stepup from the e6. The e6 can hardly even put any volume on my hd580 and this thing can make very loud music pretty cleanly using my beyer dt250-250 which is lower in volume vs the hd580 at the same volume level of any amp i've tried. This is nuts! The sound quality issue comparing this to the e6 won't even be an issue with harder to drive cans since the e6 doesn't really work with them very well.

post #5 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post

The power is definitely a huge stepup from the e6. The e6 can hardly even put any volume on my hd580 and this thing can make very loud music pretty cleanly using my beyer dt250-250 which is lower in volume vs the hd580 at the same volume level of any amp i've tried. This is nuts! The sound quality issue comparing this to the e6 won't even be an issue with harder to drive cans since the e6 doesn't really work with them very well.

It could be just a mistake of audio memory (which is not particularly accurate for human) or misconception due to different headphones, but it is impossible for E02i to get louder than E6. E6 has a gain of +7dB (max out) while E02i is about +4dB (fixed gain)., and they both output roughly about the same amount of current in a 47ohm fix load.
post #6 of 39

Uhmm we are talking my hd600s out of the e6 is less loud than the e10. This one is super loud like the e9 LOL

post #7 of 39

Alright I just found something out. Maybe my source for the e6 was different because out of my sansa clip, its not that loud anymore. Out of the e10, the volume is nuts! Now the question is whether if when plugged in the e10, the e6 would be as good going through two volume controls. Also, I wonder if the e6 can stay this composed when playing this loud. That I have to see. I might borrow that E6 again to try it out. The weird thing is that I never remembered the e6 to be loud even out of the line out. This one directly connected to the e10 line out is crazy with the beyers.

post #8 of 39

Okay I have an e6 now with me and turns out that out of the same source, they are about the same as the rocky

post #9 of 39

Being different with the predecessor - E1, this new guy will only amplify the iDevice's HO?

Too bad it doesn't come with a built-in LOD.

post #10 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by -su View Post

Being different with the predecessor - E1, this new guy will only amplify the iDevice's HO?
Too bad it doesn't come with a built-in LOD.

That compromise has to do with the fact that E02i has to support mic and remote and turn any headphone into a headset. You just can't do it with LOD. But overall E02i still sounds better than E1 because of the improved amp section as well as has a battery of its own.
post #11 of 39
I never even knew there was an E1. FiiO please make a really good amp for audiophiles in the 300 dollar region that can kill the competitions 1000+ dollar amps. I know you can do it if you weren't afraid of the mafia LOL. Cmon the e9 is slammin with just a little more needed in tightness and refinement for such a good price, just make it slightly better for a little more money and better looks and the competition will be cringing.
post #12 of 39
Is this iPhone only? I own an Xperia X10 and wish to buy an amp for it, but I am afraid that none would work because there's no line out jack for it (to be honest, I still don't understand how to use an amp, so I decided to not to buy an amp for now).

But this one looks good for someone who always use his headphones outside. The design and portability is just perfect. I don't really know about the sound quality, as I never tried any amp before. Not to mention the price, where bowei66 has stated that it's around $30, which is just perfect for my budget (or is there anything better at this price range than this one? In terms of sound quality, of course). The extra functionality? Definitely useful for me, as I always receive calls while listening to music, and I have my smartphone in my front pocket, which is sometimes very hard to get it out and missed some calls due to the long 3 meters cable of the headphones.

Any advices? Thanks in advance.
post #13 of 39

This will be good with any phone with a minijack. You don't want to connect this to a line out anyways.

post #14 of 39
So it works well with a 3.5mm headphone jack? That sounds good. But I'm afraid that it'd break the audio like my sister's iPhone's earphone (which has a mic attached), like the 'karaoke' mode (and so does most earphones with mics attached to them).
post #15 of 39
Thread Starter 
All the current Android smartphone (since mid last year) use the same jack as Apple, so theoretically it will work. There might be an Android specific model in the future as well. However, if your smartphone / tablet is using the old standard, then you will need a converter regardless of whether it is iPhone or Android specific E02.
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