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E10 vs E17 in a nutshell?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone. I'm going crazy trying to decide between an E10 and an E17. Kind of have to do it within the next couple of weeks so my brother can take them with him from the US to Portugal. I know the E17 are portable but since I'm leaning towards the E10, I thought I'd open up in this forum (I had one over at the portable amp section, but was much broader and didn't help much).

Basically my situation is this:

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-A set of ATH M-50s, mostly playing out of a laptop (I know these are easy to drive). Very, very rarely do I use my Ipod or phone. So portability in the amplifier is of very little use, almost irrelevant. The actual headphone model isn't too, as I'll likely be getting other ones in the future, possibly high impedance, etc, but it's still a good guideline as that future is still far.

-I listen to many types of music. I'll spend an evening listening to dubstep and electronic, the next listening to Arcade Fire and some rock, and over the weekend I might go into Sungha Jung accoustic-guitar mode. I know the E10 and E17 should be fairly neutral, so I don't think there is an issue there, but more features obviously allows for better adjustments to the genre.


-A small budget, not exactly "Up to 130", but more of a "Want to spend ~60 USD, but if going up to 130 makes a huge difference, then I will go there". I want to start low on the DAC/Amp section, and after reading for days on end, FiiO seems ideal. E7 is out of the question, as are the E9 (for no DAC, unless someone convinces me my Asus N56VZ's onboard RealTek would be almost as good as the DAC on the E10/E17) and the E11 (not looking after a portable amp).


-Not really sure how all the extra features on the E17 improve the overall experience. The EQ and bass boost have good reputation, as have the separate treble and bass controls. Stuff like balance, sleep timer and whatnot don't really matter at all to me. No volume knob is big minus, but not a deal breaker by any means. I do love its appearance, super clean, thin, and I like it that there's a screen.

-Reviews on the differences in the DAC and Amp sections vary a lot. The DAC is supposed to be the same chip, so I'm not getting into that. But as far as the Amp goes, reviewers go from "almost the same, slight difference" to "oh god it just doesn't compare, cleaner sound, tighter bass, better soundstage, overall improvement of sound quality across the board", obviously in favor of the E17.

----

So basically my question is. Given that I'm not looking for portability in the Amp at all, and that the E17 costs twice as much (actually, a tad bit more even. Currently USD64 for the E10 and 136 for the E17 at Amazon), is there any good set of reasons I should get it? Or am I just wasting too much for portability I will not be using? I really love the looks, the screen, the gadgets and all that on the E17 (as well as no loose jack... big minus in the E10 for me), but I only consider that a reason for a 10-20 dollar difference, not 70. In the end, and even though I know E10 is obviously better value (even if only slightly), does the E17 offer that much more, considering my situation, that it'd be worth doubling the investment?

Thank you so much for your opinions. I know there are similar threads and that this is an old feud, but I'm pretty sure I've read literally everything there is to read about this on the interwebz, and right now just wanted a last bit of direct input over my situation in particular. 

Cheers!

post #2 of 18

The E10 head amp. is more then enough for the 50-Ohm ATH-M50s.

So I say save some cash and go E10.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah I know they'll drive the M50s just as well as onboard or any other amp would. 
Just wondering if it would also drive, say, 250-300ohm cans decently or if it would fail hard at that, and just how good value it is overall considering what I said above :)
Thanks though!

post #4 of 18

I think you might as well invest in something that can drive other upper-tier headphones better in the inevitable circumstance that you decide to upgrade down the line. The eq on the e17 is really nice too, I use it all the time.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PanamaHat View Post

I think you might as well invest in something that can drive other upper-tier headphones better in the inevitable circumstance that you decide to upgrade down the line. The eq on the e17 is really nice too, I use it all the time.

Yeah that's what I'm also going for. From what I can tell, the Amp on the E17 is slightly better than the one on the E17, but in the end everything has been pointing to them driving the same range of cans (in terms of impedance). Just the SQ is reportedly slightly better on the E17, bit more clear, better soundstage, couple other stuff (not sure how much placebo there is in this).

Soundstage is pretty big for me, especially given the ATH M50 have very little, but opinions vary too much for me to assume the E17 definitely gives substantially better soundstage.
Thanks btw!

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

Yeah I know they'll drive the M50s just as well as onboard or any other amp would. 
Just wondering if it would also drive, say, 250-300ohm cans decently or if it would fail hard at that, and just how good value it is overall considering what I said above :)
Thanks though!

The Fiio E10 amplifier should drive headphones like the ATH-M50 better then on-board.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

Yeah that's what I'm also going for. From what I can tell, the Amp on the E17 is slightly better than the one on the E17, but in the end everything has been pointing to them driving the same range of cans (in terms of impedance). Just the SQ is reportedly slightly better on the E17, bit more clear, better soundstage, couple other stuff (not sure how much placebo there is in this).


Soundstage is pretty big for me, especially given the ATH M50 have very little, but opinions vary too much for me to assume the E17 definitely gives substantially better soundstage.

Thanks btw!


I don't think you are going to get night and day differences between the two.

In terms of power the E10 is actually slightly more powerful than the e17. It puts 150mw into 32 ohms while the e17 (if we are going to go off of Fiio's own specs) will put out 125mw into 32ohms.

The E10 would be a smart choice for a desk setup. No battery just plug and play.

E17 is really only much of an advantage if you are looking to take it around with you and also use it as a stand alone portable amp from an ipod or something.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The Fiio E10 amplifier should drive headphones like the ATH-M50 better then on-board.

No doubt on that. 
Lately I've been leaning towards the idea that what I want, even more so than the Amp, is the DAC section. I know the Amp doesn't just "amplify" the signal, it is supposed to produce better quality at the same volume. But then again, everything is translated in the DAC, so I'm guessing the DAC is more important than the Amp for SQ and fidelity overall.
Is this about right or complete off?
Thanks ^^

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

No doubt on that. 

Lately I've been leaning towards the idea that what I want, even more so than the Amp, is the DAC section. I know the Amp doesn't just "amplify" the signal, it is supposed to produce better quality at the same volume. But then again, everything is translated in the DAC, so I'm guessing the DAC is more important than the Amp for SQ and fidelity overall.

Is this about right or complete off?

Thanks ^^
From my experience just the opposite - get a decent dac with good specs and put your money into the amp. This is assuming you have good headphones
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tim3320070 View Post


From my experience just the opposite - get a decent dac with good specs and put your money into the amp. This is assuming you have good headphones

Actually after further reading I did see people clearly favouring amp over DAC. Don't really know why, but guess I'll learn one day.

"This is assuming you have good headphones", now I know the M50s are super hyped and even disliked by some, but would these be "good headphones" in the sense you were speaking or still too entry-level?
Dankeschon

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

Actually after further reading I did see people clearly favouring amp over DAC. Don't really know why, but guess I'll learn one day.

"This is assuming you have good headphones", now I know the M50s are super hyped and even disliked by some, but would these be "good headphones" in the sense you were speaking or still too entry-level?
Dankeschon

The ATH-M50 should need very little amping, but the type of headphone amplifier (low impedance) will make a difference.

post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

Actually after further reading I did see people clearly favouring amp over DAC. Don't really know why, but guess I'll learn one day.

"This is assuming you have good headphones", now I know the M50s are super hyped and even disliked by some, but would these be "good headphones" in the sense you were speaking or still too entry-level?
Dankeschon

Amp requirements are overhyped, even for very expensive headphones. For headphones like the M50, you really want to look at the output impedance. Both the E10 and E17 have a very good output impedance, which means you will get tighter bass. M50's lower mids really leak into the mids so an amp will help. But most importantly, an EQ should be applied. 

 

As for E10 vs E17, I would get the E10. The E10 honestly looks pretty nice as well and is much cheaper obviously. I own the E17... yes it looks sexy and is very versatile. But if I was in your shoes, I would get the E10 just because an E17 doesn't boast much - if at all audible - differences in sound quality. 

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

Amp requirements are overhyped, even for very expensive headphones. For headphones like the M50, you really want to look at the output impedance. Both the E10 and E17 have a very good output impedance, which means you will get tighter bass. M50's lower mids really leak into the mids so an amp will help. But most importantly, an EQ should be applied. 

 

As for E10 vs E17, I would get the E10. The E10 honestly looks pretty nice as well and is much cheaper obviously. I own the E17... yes it looks sexy and is very versatile. But if I was in your shoes, I would get the E10 just because an E17 doesn't boast much - if at all audible - differences in sound quality. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The ATH-M50 should need very little amping, but the type of headphone amplifier (low impedance) will make a difference.

Thanks for the info, I've got it better sorted now!
And thank you so much he-who-shall-not-be-named, that was exactly what I was looking for with this thread! I'd actually already virtually chosen the E10 over the E17, since I can't really waste that much because of all the sexiness (and a volume knob is super sexy in its own right!). Your comment basically sealed the deal! Just a bit of monitoring on camelcamelcamel and I should be good to order it.
Also, huge thanks for the enlightening on the M50s relationship with these amps, taming the bass away from the mids is probably the thing I would mostly want to do with them.
Just one last doubt - you mention "an EQ should be applied". Now, I've been hearing people say "Oh the EQ on the E17 is so good" blabla. Is there a... big quality amplitude when it comes to EQ software? Because I've been using my onboard's RealTek EQ (10 bands, 25 degrees to each band) and was wondering if that's any good or if getting proper EQ software would really favor the sound. I fiddle with mine all the time, seem to slightly adjust a few bands every few songs. Also, will there be software for the DAC in the E10 with an EQ or will my RealTek EQ translate into the E10? Hope I'm being somewhat understandable :p..

Thanks in advance ;)

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosbife View Post

 

 

Thanks for the info, I've got it better sorted now!
And thank you so much he-who-shall-not-be-named, that was exactly what I was looking for with this thread! I'd actually already virtually chosen the E10 over the E17, since I can't really waste that much because of all the sexiness (and a volume knob is super sexy in its own right!). Your comment basically sealed the deal! Just a bit of monitoring on camelcamelcamel and I should be good to order it.
Also, huge thanks for the enlightening on the M50s relationship with these amps, taming the bass away from the mids is probably the thing I would mostly want to do with them.
Just one last doubt - you mention "an EQ should be applied". Now, I've been hearing people say "Oh the EQ on the E17 is so good" blabla. Is there a... big quality amplitude when it comes to EQ software? Because I've been using my onboard's RealTek EQ (10 bands, 25 degrees to each band) and was wondering if that's any good or if getting proper EQ software would really favor the sound. I fiddle with mine all the time, seem to slightly adjust a few bands every few songs. Also, will there be software for the DAC in the E10 with an EQ or will my RealTek EQ translate into the E10? Hope I'm being somewhat understandable :p..

Thanks in advance ;)

I believe your EQ will still be applied through the E10. The EQ on the E17 is quite good but it won't get you the precision that audiophiles demand since it's just basic bass/ treble control. It's convenient EQ for people who don't want to invest too much time into EQ. On the other hand, sometimes it's useful if you listen to a particular track and want it to have less treble or bass, then the E17 offers a fast way of applying EQ.  

 

This is a really nice page for how to equalize headphones: http://www.head-fi.org/a/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial 

 

Some equalizers are more precise than others - for instance, the EQ on the itunes isn't easy to control the way you want it to. Good luck. 

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Voldemort View Post

I believe your EQ will still be applied through the E10. The EQ on the E17 is quite good but it won't get you the precision that audiophiles demand since it's just basic bass/ treble control. It's convenient EQ for people who don't want to invest too much time into EQ. On the other hand, sometimes it's useful if you listen to a particular track and want it to have less treble or bass, then the E17 offers a fast way of applying EQ.  

 

This is a really nice page for how to equalize headphones: http://www.head-fi.org/a/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial 

 

Some equalizers are more precise than others - for instance, the EQ on the itunes isn't easy to control the way you want it to. Good luck. 

That's good news. Bah, more things to make me crave the E17... indeed what it seems to offer the most is being so convenient. The Bass/Treble boost indeed doesn't look like top notch but yeah, it does seem great to be able to very easily do slight adjustments without swapping to the computer's EQ.

I've found the Itunes EQ to not be as good as my RealTek one.
And as far as that thread goes, funny you should mention it, it's been tabbed on my bookmark list for nearly 2 months now, still awaiting a good amount of time to be read. Guess I'll get on to it now!

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