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Desktop Amps item created by jacksonchansf, Jun 28, 2012
Pros - Tons of power, cheapish price, seriously well built,
Cons - A personal con- could be the sound card I use but I think it is the amp, needs to be turned up a tad louder then I would like when listening to VOIP
I have been using a E09K to power my DT990 600ohm cans for over two years now, long enough that I don't really remember exactly when I got it but for sure over two years. I use this thing every single day for hours each day because it is part of what I use for my work. It literally could blow my 600ohm cans if I pushed it loud enough I'm pretty sure, I never ever go above half volume because it literally hurts my ears and probably is causing hearing damage when over half ''so I just don't''.
Two years and not a problem at all except last night a box weighing about half a pound fell on the power adapter and knocked something inside of it loose, I now have to use a 12volt adapter until I have the time to either fix the 15 volt adapter or buy a new one.
I run this in tandom with a Asus Xonar DG, it sounds amazing compared to anything else I have heard for under 1000$ Canadian. A friend has a Biforst amp and dac and some 1400$ cans I forget the name of to be honest and its the only thing that comes close to what I have on my head and am listening to rite now, for being a 100$ amps combo with 400$ cans and a 40$ sound card this stuff cant be beaten.
On a side note, thanks to everyone here on Head-Fi that told me about this stuff and all the great reviews, everything I have ever read on this site has been correct or at least personally correct for the person writing a review, because of that I now have had amazing audio for two years and still love it.
Pros - Value, Power, Build
Cons - Minimal gain selection
I will keep this review short as there are lots of other well done in depth reviews out there. I have had this unit for a while now ( about 4-5 months) and I love it. I have had no issues with it and I pair it with the e17. The amp alone is well made, relatively neutral (slightly warm). It has plenty of juice which should power most headphones and stubborn hard to drive ones. In general it tightens and extends the base a bit giving it a more polished feel. Additionally it will open of the sound stage a decent amount (depends on specific headphones). Overall it is a great value, begs the question of why you may need a 1000 dollar amp. My only complaint is that there is not a third gain switch that is lower. I wish there was a gain of 6 as well, just to add more versatility to it but not a huge issue.
Pros - Tons of power, not much coloration, works well with the E17, looks great
Cons - Distortion at higher gains
I have used this amp for about a year now, and I must say it has served me well.
Through many different headphones, the FiiO E09K hasn't skipped a beat, and has driven everything from high power, low impedance to high sensitivity to 250ohm headphones. It really is a great amp to start with, or to buy if you're on a budget, simply because it can handle everything you throw at it.
This amp is probably one of the best I've had the pleasure of owning in terms of overall build quality. It has a very sturdy feel to it, with its solid enclosure and steady dial. Never once did I have to worry about breaking it, or someone else breaking it. It also takes up very little space on my desk, which is certainly a plus if you're working in a smaller area. It also looks fantastic!
The E09K seems to simply give you pure, unaltered sound. It doesn't color much, and you'll probably end up hearing more of the traits of your headphones than that of your amp. Now, this might be a pro or a con for you. It was a con for me, since I'm not mixing, and I like my audio smoothed down a bit. Also, there is some audible distortion at higher gains, which was a bit of a pain, but not too much of a problem most of the time. It was really only in select situations when I ran into problems.
The ability to dock a portable FiiO DAC is very neat. I do own a E17, however, I didn't often use it with the FiiO. It actually seemed to degrade the audio quality, especially if you're using its equalizer. I can't say I'm a big fan of the combo, however, it was very easy to set up, and the two units worked flawlessly together. If you need a portable amp, I would highly recommend it just because it's nice to have the option of using optical.
This is a really good amp for the price. I'm actually going to be selling it soon to get a tube (but seriously FiiO, it's not you, it's me). If you want low amounts of coloration and an amp that will serve you well even as you buy better headphones, this amp is amazing.
Pros - Reasonably priced and sounds quite good for its price. You get what you pay for.
Cons - Headroom could be more. Hot signals cause distortion. Power supply could be built in. Wall warts are irritating.
Optical Out from MacBook Pro (Retina model)
iPad Mini Retina (USB)
Prism Sound Lyra 2 (Analog out to AUX IN on E09K)
Playstation 3 RCA analog audio output into AUX IN on the E09K)
Songs listened to : (320kbps mp3/AAC or Lossless)
"Eden" - Hooverphonic
"Set Fire To The Rain" - Adele
"Money" - Pink Floyd
"Shine On You Crazy Diamonds" - Pink Floyd
"Shiver" - Lucy Rose
"Teardrops" - Massive Attack
"War Pigs" - Black Sabbath
"One" - Metallica
"Monkey Wrench" - Foo Fighters
"There is no if" - The Cure
"Yellow" - Coldplay
"Stan" - Eminem
"Rap God" - Eminem
"Orinoco Flow" - Enya
"May it be" - Enya (LOTR Soundtrack)
"Fields of Gold" - Sting
"Billy Jean" - Michael Jackson
"Bring me to life" - Evanescence
"Feel good inc" - Gorillaz
This is my set up on the desktop. The E17 Alpen and the E09K Dock. I found it very interesting that different inputs results in different sounds. The USB DAC is pathetic in my opinion. It sounds harsh and that "cold digital sound" did not work for me. But surprisingly, connect the set up through OPTICAL INPUT on the E17, things sounds a lot better. Smoothed out the harshness and details starts becoming cleaner/clearer. I believe that would be the best way to use this set up. (Purely a personal observation).
The dock itself is mentioned by all the reviews above to be good for general purpose use. Enough power to drive most demanding headphones (JBL comes to mind, but only audio professional will get the joke). I believe the analog output is pretty well implemented. I found it to have more mids than the output from the E17, especially when AUX INPUT (on the E09K) is used, for example, when connecting a gaming console directly to the E09K so that your insomniac session of gaming will not wake up the household). Cables plays a part in "sculpting the sound" so experiment with different RCA cables when using the AUX IN on the E09K. (I find that Mogami cables somehow thins down that mids making it more pleasant). Testing with a through bypass channel strip confirms the heavier mids presence.
What I really love is that big volume knob, feels pretty good for a product this reasonably priced.
Not the best sounding desktop dock in the market, at that price (if you are using it to drive headphones through USB connections), there are some pro audio solutions that does a better job at the same price range. But this is all personal. I like the fact that with the E17 Alpen, the E09K becomes a very interesting multi-tasking amp. And depending on how you set it up, on the various inputs, you get different tonal qualities which makes me happy.
I would recommend this for those who need something powerful enough to drive their headphones, but not ready to splurge thousands of dollars on a high end set up.
- - -
Further observations (thanks to member StratocasterMan for the discussion) which made me listen more closely to the E17 + E09K combo.
When I A-B listened to the output of the Combo (in bypassed and double amping mode) and checked the source autdio through a Prism Sound Lyra 2, the lack of headroom becomes quite obvious and quite severe. I think this is something that FiiO have to eventually address in their future designs. I have downgraded the rating for the E09K to a 3 star. It is truly an entry level product.
Understanding basic gain structure (or gain staging) will yield a cleaner sound. This is an old sound engineer's thing when we had lower resolution ADDA converters in the early days of digital recording.
Ease off the output from the computer, and bring up the volume on the E09K and NEVER EVER run it in high gain mode, in my humble opinion, the best way to use the E09K to drive your headphones. Maybe I should try to borrow a pair of HE-600 to test what happens with power hungry cans... though I think those who owns high end headphones will likely own those better quality tube amps to drive their cans.
I cannot honestly call this product "good sounding", at the very best, "bang-for-the-buck, versatile headphones amp for the masses".
One of those things you throw into your luggage for business trips so that you can still enjoy music when you are away from home, and not worry that they get stolen, or damaged.
Pros - plenty of power, sounds great
Cons - I'm really trying to think of something but just can't
I bought this as a package with the FiiO E17 Alpen for $260.00 I feel that i got a great deal for such a wonderfully versatile high quality product.
AUDIO - This has enough power to make my Audiotechnica ATH-M50s, Sennheiser HD 380 Pro's and Hifiman HE-400's sound fantastic. It doesn't add much colouration to the sound of the headphones, it more enhances the particular characteristics of each set. I think this unit has outstanding audio quality for it's price.
EASE OF USE - I mentioned the versatility of the unit. I like that i can run my PC speakers off the line out or pre out and they are muted when my headphones are plugged in which means I can easily use the DAC in my E17 for my whole PC setup easily. To add to this if I want to listen to music on the go i don't really have to sacrifice audio qualit as I can just pop the E17 out of the dock, plug it into my iPhone and use it portably knowing it is fully charged every time since it has been charging the whole time it has been in the dock.
BUILD QUALITY - The build quality of the unit appears to be extremely high, and I mean surprisingly so. Having read reviews of this before buying it i was expecting it to be well made but it exceeded my expectations.
I would not recommend buying this without the E17, I'm sure it would be fine to use without it as a desktop amp (no DAC) but half the beauty of this product is how well it pairs with it's little brother. It's the best way of having 2 amps for different uses without actually having to own 2 separate amps.
Thank You FiiO
Pros - Powers the HD650, Sounds Great
Cons - none
Bought this AMP to power my HD650 and to enable me to dock my E7 which I had prior to purchasing this. It provides plenty of power for HD650, and sounds very good. Bass seems to be improved a lot and soundstage has improved slightly.
For a budget amp to power high impedance cans, I recommend it.
E7 works very well with the E09K
If you have an E7 and are thinking of purchasing this, buy NEW. The E09K's manufactured before October 2012 do not support the E7 (there is a problem with hissing). This doesn't apply to the E07K.
The only drawback? Now I have a taste of what HD650's can really do with a high powered AMP and I want more
Hope this helped.