Originally Posted by nway
Thanks for the insight. So if I have all low-impedance headphones (≤63Ω), are you saying the E18 and E12 would deliver comparable performance on an Android? The E18's DAC doesn't seem to be doing much in the way of improving sound quality over the amp-only E12. And when you say the E11 doesn't even compare to the amp in the E18, are you referring primarily to its ability to drive high-impedance headphones, or also to the sound quality it delivers for low-impedance headphones as well?
Basically, I'm wondering which FiiO would deliver the best cost-to-benefit ratio in terms of improving sound for my V6s, M50s, and incoming Fidelio X1s, as sourced from my Android devices and MacBook Pro.
Regardless of which I go with, I would be using it by itself, without any supplementary amps or DACs (although I might buy a $30 Muse DAC just for my MacBook Pro, assuming I don't go for the E07K or E18).
If your low impedance cans are low sensitivity like the HE-500's the E12 will drive them louder and with more headroom, although if you don't listen loud then the amp in the E18 should be enough, I tend to listen a bit on the loud side.
What makes you say "The E18's DAC doesn't seem to be doing much in the way of improving sound quality over the amp-only E12?" What would be serving as a DAC?
The E11 lacks the muscle of the e18 and certainly the E12. The E11's power and Vp-p is much lower than the E18's amp.
Then again the X1 is sensitive and probably doesn't need a whole load of power. My mindset is based upon the HE-500 and HD600 which needs a little more juice than the E11 can kick out for my purposes. If you have an E11, give it a shot. In any case the FiiO products a relatively cheap and perform rather well. The E18 and E12 are inexpensive for the quality and as to comparable stuff from other makers.
Those X1's should be nice, enjoy them.
If you're getting a DAC for an Android device, check carefully for compatibility with Native USB audio for the version of Android on your specific devices. You don't want to use special apps for playing mp3 files via USB, otherwise your DAC will not be useful for streaming music.