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Fiio E12 "Mont Blanc" First Impression and E11 comparison

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone. I am a longtime music lover, recently turned amateur headphone enthusiast. I have been reading headfi reviews and forums while I gained my bearings as I've started this new hobby, and would like to finally begin contributing.

 

I received my E12 yesterday, and previously used an E11 as my primary portable amp. I also have several cMoys, and a couple of inexpensive tube amps. I own many budget/mid range headphones and wanted to offer to try and answer any questions anyone might have about how the E12 compares to the E11, general questions, or synergy questions (I have listened to both amps with mdr-v6's, sr80i's, dj100's, ad700's, Q701's, etc...).

 

I was going to add this to the E12 discussion/pre order thread, but it seemed like too much info and slightly off-topic for what is being discussed right now. This is my first forum posting, so please do not hesitate to offer advice on content, thread placement, or make any other noob mistakes I may be making.

 

I will try to keep this brief because this is not a full review. I bought this amp to pair with the notoriously wonderful-but-difficult-to-drive AKG Q701's, which I usually use with the E11. With the Q701's, I find E11 warmer but muddier, and the E12 very accurate and clear, with tight controlled bass, but almost clear to a fault - sort of like the first time you saw a 240hz lcd: didn't the movement look so sharp and detailed it was almost unpleasant? I felt the same way about the E12... A bit disappointed to be honest. It was like all the warmth was sucked out of my music (I do not know if solid state amps benefit from burn-in, and would love to hear opinions on that).

 

Either the amp is burning in, or the sound is just growing on me, but I am finding it more enjoyable on this second day of using it, and it feels a little warmer (which is probably just my ears adjusting). Other than sound quality, the amp is beautifully made and clearly designed to complement the iPhone 5, the pouch it comes with is quite nice, and the bass boost is excellent and really enhances sub bass more than mid bass. I leave the gain on +10db and the crossfeed off; I have found the crossfeed does the opposite of what I want to get from headphone listening; it shrinks the soundstage.

 

The few things I don't like is that the E12 seems less EMI shielded than the E11, because I get far more interference when using with my iPhone 5 (but still less than with cheap cMoys, and not enough to ruin the listening experience), it is more prone to making a horrible "popping" noise if you take headphones in/out while it's on, it does sometimes give a small hum when charging and listening at the same time, and, most of all, I am really annoyed that Fiio chose to make the gain and crossfeed switches so recessed that you need a needle to use them! I have headphones ranging from 32 to 250 ohms, and really wish I could just change the gain as I please :-/

 

Overall, even with my misgivings, so far I think the E12 is a good amp for the cost, I think many people would enjoy it's precise and analytical presentation, and these are just my initial impressions. I am considering starting a new post with A/B comparisons with the E11 vs E12 using the 6-8 or so most popular pairs of headphones I own - please let me know if that would benefit anyone (I still need to update my profile with my equipment, so if you read this and it's not there, it will be soon). Oh, and that reminds me, the E12 pairs incredibly well with the Sony MDR-V6's.

 

Thanks, and I hope this helps.  I would've like more user feedback before I ordered mine, last week, so I thought I'd contribute.

post #2 of 12

Nice write-up! Thanks.

 

Quote:
I am considering starting a new post with A/B comparisons with the E11 vs E12 using the 6-8 or so most popular pairs of headphones I own - please let me know if that would benefit anyone

 

Go out and get the ath ad900x and do your comparison - that would benefit me lol!

 

Kidding aside, I'm sure that many people will find your comparisons helpful.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WAYNENUMM View Post

Nice write-up! Thanks.

 

 

Go out and get the ath ad900x and do your comparison - that would benefit me lol!

 

Kidding aside, I'm sure that many people will find your comparisons helpful.

Thank you, I'm glad you thought so. Lol - Don't tempt me ;)  As mentioned, though, I do have their colorful step-cousins, the ad700's... My first impression was that the 700's aren't a good match with the E12 - I think the E11 pairs better, because they really benefit from the "level 2" bass boost.  I still need to do a more thorough listening session with all of my headphones before drawing any conclusions, but I'm finding in general that I enjoy the E11 more with open-backed headphones, and the E12 with closed-back headphones.

 

Speaking of closed headphones, I just got a pair of Ultrasone HFI-780's in the mail today, and while they still need burn in (I'm a believer), they sound very good with the E12 right out of the box - best pairing I've heard yet.  I was just gonna give them a quick listen and now I don't want to take them off.... The test track I'm listening to at this very moment is the "The Phantom Menace" performed by The City of Prague Philharmonic, and it sounds amazing. The drums in particular sound great; tight and controlled.

post #4 of 12

how would you rate the bass boost on the e12 compared to the e11?  Is it stronger? 

 

I know its a bit late, but I'm just looking for something that would give my sony xba 40's more bass boost, even though it's already great with my e11. 

 

Basically I'm just looking for something with more sub bass boom, while keeping the clarity of the mids and highs.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
The bass boost is a bit stronger, but mostly it is different; it has more sub-bass boost, and the bass boost is very clean and does not extend into the mid range, unlike the E11. The E12 definitely pairs better with my closed back headphones, and sounds great with my "bassier" headphones, like my ultrasone hfi780's. If you are looking for an amp with a clean sound and a strong sub-bass boost, I think the E12 would be perfect for you.
post #6 of 12
Enjoy the 'Sones they are a great can, my E11 is driving Dream Theater to my HFI-780's as I read your post. biggrin.gif

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk 2
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RsIV View Post

The bass boost is a bit stronger, but mostly it is different; it has more sub-bass boost, and the bass boost is very clean and does not extend into the mid range, unlike the E11. The E12 definitely pairs better with my closed back headphones, and sounds great with my "bassier" headphones, like my ultrasone hfi780's. If you are looking for an amp with a clean sound and a strong sub-bass boost, I think the E12 would be perfect for you.

 



Now before i hit the order button...do you have a v2? or v1 e12?  as I can only get the v2 version.  I would've liked the v1 where the bass hump was lower.



edit: Hmm well I've looked all over the net, and the RMAA chart suggests the fiio e12 bass boost is only 4db, while the e11 is a bit over 6 db, and also the e11's bass boosts the 40hz range, as opposed to the 70hz range of the new e12.

So basically the e12's boost will be weaker, less 'sub-bassy' and probably leak into the midrange more than the e11 due to the move to 70hz. That's what the data says anyway, I guess it's not worth the risk. Ill be hanging onto my e11.
Edited by chengsta - 4/3/13 at 10:19pm
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by RsIV View Post

The bass boost is a bit stronger, but mostly it is different; it has more sub-bass boost, and the bass boost is very clean and does not extend into the mid range, unlike the E11. The E12 definitely pairs better with my closed back headphones, and sounds great with my "bassier" headphones, like my ultrasone hfi780's. If you are looking for an amp with a clean sound and a strong sub-bass boost, I think the E12 would be perfect for you.

 



Now before i hit the order button...do you have a v2? or v1 e12?  as I can only get the v2 version.  I would've liked the v1 where the bass hump was lower.



edit: Hmm well I've looked all over the net, and the RMAA chart suggests the fiio e12 bass boost is only 4db, while the e11 is a bit over 6 db, and also the e11's bass boosts the 40hz range, as opposed to the 70hz range of the new e12.

So basically the e12's boost will be weaker, less 'sub-bassy' and probably leak into the midrange more than the e11 due to the move to 70hz. That's what the data says anyway, I guess it's not worth the risk. Ill be hanging onto my e11.

A bit of a necro post, however could you not, if wanting more bass, EQ your source? the extra clarity etc. that the E12 provides would imo far outweigh the bass boost?!

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chengsta View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by RsIV View Post

The bass boost is a bit stronger, but mostly it is different; it has more sub-bass boost, and the bass boost is very clean and does not extend into the mid range, unlike the E11. The E12 definitely pairs better with my closed back headphones, and sounds great with my "bassier" headphones, like my ultrasone hfi780's. If you are looking for an amp with a clean sound and a strong sub-bass boost, I think the E12 would be perfect for you.

 



Now before i hit the order button...do you have a v2? or v1 e12?  as I can only get the v2 version.  I would've liked the v1 where the bass hump was lower.



edit: Hmm well I've looked all over the net, and the RMAA chart suggests the fiio e12 bass boost is only 4db, while the e11 is a bit over 6 db, and also the e11's bass boosts the 40hz range, as opposed to the 70hz range of the new e12.

So basically the e12's boost will be weaker, less 'sub-bassy' and probably leak into the midrange more than the e11 due to the move to 70hz. That's what the data says anyway, I guess it's not worth the risk. Ill be hanging onto my e11.

I have the v1, and trust me, between the (v1)e12 and the e11, the e12 has far more sub bass, and the e11's bass boost, while somewhat stronger on the highest setting, does leak into the midrange much more. Sorry for the delayed reply!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrollDragon View Post

Enjoy the 'Sones they are a great can, my E11 is driving Dream Theater to my HFI-780's as I read your post. biggrin.gif

Sent from my HTC Desire HD A9191 using Tapatalk 2

Yeah, definitely impressed with the 780's so far. They've become my "go-to" pair, that sound great amped or unamped with most sources.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by RsIV View Post

I am considering starting a new post with A/B comparisons with the E11 vs E12 using the 6-8 or so most popular pairs of headphones I own - please let me know if that would benefit anyone (I still need to update my profile with my equipment, so if you read this and it's not there, it will be soon). Oh, and that reminds me, the E12 pairs incredibly well with the Sony MDR-V6's.

 

Thanks, and I hope this helps.  I would've like more user feedback before I ordered mine, last week, so I thought I'd contribute.

I would love this! Do you have AKG K550's ? :) Either way, I am considering both the E11 and E12 so any comparisons would be awesome. 

post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnreelWorld View Post

I would love this! Do you have AKG K550's ? :) Either way, I am considering both the E11 and E12 so any comparisons would be awesome. 


I had the 550's; if that matters.

Quality headphones that were just a bit too quirky for me.

 

 

The E11 is a fine small amp and an excellent value.

In the price range, I think the JDS CMoy is better all around

except for form factor.

 

The E12 is substantially bigger beyond the price difference.

A sense of endless power resources, tremendous

"oomph" and impact, and beautifully made.  Only

weakness compared to its own competition is

a slightly narrowed soundstage.  But IMO that

can be easily ignored because of its tremendous

b**ls.   

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duncan View Post

A bit of a necro post, however could you not, if wanting more bass, EQ your source? the extra clarity etc. that the E12 provides would imo far outweigh the bass boost?!


Hello, sorry for the late reply, and sorry for necroing, I couldn't decide making a new thread or just using an existing one.  Anyway I decided to just get the JDS labs C5 after lots of forum trolling.  Turns out, it has much more powerful, fuller bass than the e11, and is actually brighter all around.  It's got what I wanted:  strong bass with lots of oomph, clarity, and brightness and better soundstage.  The only drawback is the price, but now I'm no longer thinking about the e12.


Edited by chengsta - 5/1/13 at 9:10pm
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