So I got me an E12, lucky boy! They are still not even in mass production, yet!
[unboxing pics to come]
Noisy Motel hooked me up with a unit, because when Billy heard it at CES he sent me an email saying he immediately knew id love it (that and the Soundmagic HP100- review coming as soon as i get the cans!).
So far (after hearing his unit tonight with my usual fave cans FA002W Karelian Birch, AND the ALL NEW FA003TI TITANIUM DRIVER EDITION - more on these later, they seriously deserve their own thread!) He was certainly right.
While my unit charges i turn it over in my hand, my finger always goes straight to caressing that bass boost, that audio opiet that had me at hello. This little switch is the the ducks nuts (on SOME headphones), it really is. I LOVE BASS, yeah i said it, and its no secret either. Im an audiophile with a deep seeded dirty addiction to driving high quality low frequencies into my brain as much as possible and at just about any cost.
EDIT: from here onward can be ignored, why? Because the effects as stated above only happen with select headphones, with others i struggle to notice if anything happens at all. I still think this is a fantastic amp! But not for bassheads with the "wrong cans"- however that works?
I can speak with experience in comparing this sound to both the C421 (opamp 2227), and E17. Lets start in more familiar Fiio territory, the E17. Imagine your E17 (obviously without the DAC), more powerful, MUCH more powerful. Now imagine it a little sleeker, with a brushed aluminium black finish, a tad slimmer, but overall bigger. Imagine it without a digital display, but instead with a VERY sturdy and nice feeling volume knob that audibly 'clicks' on and off, a switchable crossfeed, a two position gain toggle, and a fat little shiny bass boost pot. Thats an E12.
Now for sound. Lets start at my favorite feature (With selected cans), the bass boost. Turn your E17 eq settings to 3rd increment bass, and as much volume as you can muster. That was a waste of time, it sounds nothing like that. Ok then, turn your C421 bass boost on and.... No wait its nothing like that either. The bass boost on the E12 is like an overall EQ, not just a bass boost. Its deep, but its punchy and tight. Its classy bass, but on a HUGE scale- I LOVE IT!!! In general when comparing the E12 to the C421 the sound is fuller and a little more coloured as you would expect comparing a Fiio to something from JDS labs, so tastes will vary here. I would say the C421 is probably more suited to those who prefer a flatter more honest sound with a bass boost that well, boosts the bass, while the E12 to those after a bit of audio entertainment- the booty shakers looking for an overall sonic depth boost.
This likely isnt the most powerful portable amp in the world, but its likely the most powerful Fiio, and its also almost certainly the most powerful $140 portable amp with these features. Add an ODAC to this thing and its simply astonishing. Highly recommended. Unless your a sick F&%k like me and have to buy gear as much as a shark has to swim to keep from drowning, you will likely need no other amp, portable or otherwise. If your a "buy one, but buy a good one- within reason" or a "want the best i can get for a budget" kind of guy/gal, this is it, look no further, keep your arms and legs inside the carriage at all times, try not to stare them in the eye, dont speak to strangers with candy, always hold hands when crossing the road, if you think you need to go- you probably do need to go, dont look directly into the sun, and go buy this amp.
Pics and more tests/final thoughts in a couple days.
Edited by mrbigsby - 2/5/13 at 1:42am