FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier

Average User Rating:
4.11905/5,
  1. Nymphonomaniac
    4.0/5,
    "THE best DAC-AMP solution for budget audiophile"
    Pros - Good warm sound with Wolfson WM8740 soundsignature, Good stand portable amp, variable bass boost, long battery life, sturdy construction, 2 line out
    Cons - Soundstage and Instruments separation could be better, after years of use can begin to have hardware problem, no firmware updates
    I have the Fiio E7 since 2 years and he's alsways at my side when I open my computer to play music trough Amarra Symphony software.
    This little Dac-Amp never deceive me and the first time I try it it wasn't a placebo effect that make me step off of my chair and yeal: ******* SOUND GOOD!
     
    As a matter of fact, it was the beginning of a confuse quest about the meaning of a DAC. Before that I wasn't sure it can change drastically the sound, but this was because I wasn't listening the music but just feeling it, wich should be the way to listen to music, but when you develop curiosity for all the frequencies range and their interaction in an acoustical imagery you became as this passionate biologist that want the best microscope to be able to see ALL the details of living cells. You want more, always more beauty, for every type of music you listen.
     
    The Fiio E7 is an entry level DAC, it will wow you if you do not have better gear alreay. I can assure it is better than my Macbook soundcard but in no way better than the sound of the Ibasso Dx90, Dx50 or even Hifiman 601. With any computer Dac you should use an appropriate software that will use all the potential of it, plain itunes is not the best. Even VLC is better than this but can make static with flac files.
     
    Sound is warm and relaxed, treble is a little roll off and mids are fowards. The low end is spot on and have a 4 levels boost. Must of time I put it at level 1 bassboost and it give my Grado a more rounded and beefy sound, wich sound excellent and give more excitment to lot of tracks.
    This is not an analytical or cold DAC, and it's forgiving for lower quality audio format (still I do not advice to use less than 260kb). It sound musical and give more power to headphones, max impedance I will suggest is 150 Ohm, and for full result it's better to keep it under 100 Ohm.
     
    I highly recommend the FIIO E7 (E07K now).
  2. genclaymore
    2.5/5,
    "Good Old dac/amp when it works"
    Pros - 80 Hour battery,Portable,Bass sound good at times,Fits in pocket/laptop bag.
    Cons - usb receiver limiting the bit rate minor con, bass some times not clean.Have a habbit of dying.
    The E7 uses a wolfson Wm8740 for its Digital-To-Analog convertor (dac), The Amp section uses the AD8692 and TPA6130A as Pre- and power amps. The dac does supports higher bit rates, but it due to the usb receiver chip only supports up to16 bit/48kHz. The device gets its power from the usb port or the dock port if it is docked into the E9. The charge last 80 hours when you’re not using it with any power sources.
     
    The Amp section headphone Impedance Range is 16ohm-300, the output power is 150mW @ 16ohms and 16mW at 300@, the E7 amp section works very well with my DT770 pro-80s.
    The Fiio E7 is one of the older line ups that been replaced by the newer models. It has Two Headphone jack’s which is useful if you’re sharing music with a second person, or using Two Headphones side by side. With a reset hole in the middle of the two which you can use to reset the device.
    On the bottom of the device theirs an usb input, which it uses the PCM2706 for the usb receiver. Next to it is the dock connection, with that dock connection the E7 can be connected to the Fiio E9 and use with it as an all in one Dac solution, adapters exist with different functions for that plug. The Aux input is used to plug any other source into the E7, to use the E7 as a standalone amp.
    One the side of the E7 are the Volume buttons which are hybrid bottoms which raise or lower the volume, or flip thru the menus. The menu button which on a single press takes you to the settings and select options within the menu. The Power button which turns off the E7 or exit the current setting option in the menu. On the front the E7 has an Oled screen.
    There are 3 different bass settings with in the EQ setting which changes the sound of the Fiio E7, Eq0 which is the default, EQ1-3 which changes the bass and the rest of the sound.
     

     

     

     
     
    The Setup
    I will be using MusicBee set to use Wasapi, for headphones I will be using the DT770 pro-80, The Fiio E7 will be set to EQ 0.
     
    The Songs
    Chris Bekker – Heimat B (Original mix)
    The first thing you hear when you listen to the song is the bass, it hits hard with impact. While the snares are clean and heard. But the drums are a tad hard to hear. The rest of the song sounds nice, with that highs being a tad detailed, it does bother my left ear but not that much. Since that’s where I have HF Tinnitus.
    The sound stage I would say is close to you, the sound image is ok to me. But over all sounds good.
     
    CloZee – Koto
    In this song the first part is really clear including the snares. The bass in this song also have an impactful sound. The vocals sound good as so the clapping in the part where the bass drops. When the bass starts back up it takes the fore front making you notice it.
     
    Noisy Blue – Eyes on You
    The Song is mainly piano, which in the song sounds really good it has weight behind each note that is played and how heard it being strike. It’s a little bit not clean, But Violins are heard in the background. The sound imaging is ok to me but not perfect. The sound stage is close to my head with this song as well.
     
    Slakker – Sailor and the Box
    Similar to the type of song as Noisy blue, instead of pianos. It’s Drums, bass, vocals and an electronica note. The bass and the drums hit hard, the snare like the other songs are clearly heard. The vocals are center, some of the voices pans from left to the right ear. Like noisy blue the music is close to your head.
     
     
    Over all while with a lot of these songs it did really good job, the bass at times wasn’t clear. But I enjoy using my DT770 pro-80 with it as my primary setup for them. Due to the bass and the portability for my laptop/tablet.
     
     
    Updated: The Fiio E7 I had, decided to die on me, no longer charging or any thing.Such a shame but then I just found out that it common for this model, What makes matter worst that you gotta go thru a work around just to change the battery. I don't know what Fiio was thinking  putting the battery directly to the PCB , instead of using a 2pin plug. Since I bought it used can't do a thing about it, but switch to something else for my portable needs.
  3. Wiiffler
    5.0/5,
    ""best things comes in small packages"; Couldn't be more right!"
    Pros - Great amp/dac combo, Easy/no installation, Robust, Excellent price/quality
    Cons - Thickness makes it a bit unappealing for portable use
    Oh the wonders this little box can do!
    The compact yet powerful Fiio E7 is everything you could ask from a 99$ DAC/amp.
    After installing the drivers, you're good to go. It gives your music a great dynamic range.
    Using it on my Ultrasone Pro 900, with the different bass setting, a "+2" on the bass EQ truly makes the Ultrasone nature stand out. 
    This little thing can drive deep, impactful bass with ease. I rarely, if ever, go past 25.
    It's a great improvement from my on-board audio card. I don't find myself using it with my Ipod, the thickness of it makes it a bit unappealing, Perhaps I need bigger pockets!
    This little box made a great improvement, and I recommend it to anyone that want a small, inexpensive amp/DAC combo!
  4. EventVista
    2.0/5,
    "Sounded great ..... When it was working. FIIO does not stand behind their products."
    Pros - Excellent sound quality and amplification for a cheep price
    Cons - Customer support and warranty policy is awful, FIIO does not stand behind their products. Poor quality.
    I purchased a E7 with the intention of using it as a headphone amp/dac with my iPod and to use as a dac with my laptop running Audioengine A5+ powered speakers using the optional FIIO L7 line out doc to connect my laptop to the E7. The whole system worked great for about 3 months, but then for some reason the E7 stopped working with my laptop,,,,,still would work with the iPod, but utilizing the DAC with my powered speakers completely stopped working.

    I went through the process of going to FIIOs online support but they would not help me in a normal fashion, and pretty much refused to help me through email. Instead they forwarded me a pre-recorded BS response and sent me a ridiculous online form which required me to fill out a huge amount of redundant info I already sent them, I had to actually photocopy my drivers license and attach it to the form...then fill out a bunch of additional crap, save and email the docs to their "support" group.

    After all this hassle and time, a day later they sent me another pre-recorded email which basically indicated that they did not even read the stupid form I spent 30 minutes filling out for them. It was clearly a total waste of my time, and it was obvious they read nothing I originally sent them, nor did they look at the stupid form I filled out. In a nutshell FIIOs only response was that I had to send my E7 to their China support center at my own expense, plus they said there was no guarantee they would be able to fix the unit and BTW, it could take up to two months to hear back from them...Huh? We'll at that point I just gave up on FIIO.

    It would have been nice if they gave me some advice on what my problem was, offered some troubleshooting tips. Better yet just let me trade out the unit or give me a credit to by another E7. Just Something that made me feel like I was talking to another human being or a company that cared about customer service, In the end I received nothing but disappointment from this company.
  5. julian67
    5.0/5,
    "Solves the problems of poor PC audio"
    Pros - Good sound. Easy and simple to use. No noise. Easily drives very low impedance earphones.
    Cons - Limited to 16-bit 32/44.1/48 KHz streams.
    I'm in the UK. I bought this as a boxed ex-demo unit with warranty from a FiiO retailer for £39.99 which is US $64.65 or €47.40

    I bought this because my PC's integrated audio is frustratingly bad and other solutions and workarounds were not ideal:

    My PC's analogue line out is noisy (electrical interference) and the headphone output is even worse.

    It can't drive very low impedance headphones such as my Ultimate Ears SuperFi 5vi Earphones

    It hasn't the power to nicely drive slightly less sensitive earphones such as Koss KSC75.

    It does have SPDIF optical output and this connects to my ancient Yamaha Home Theatre receiver and sounds great, but that also has high output impedance and so can't drive earphones with very low impedance. It's also a power hungry beast and an extremely expensive way to run small earphones.

    I had also previously tried a very cheap USB sound card but this was pretty nasty sounding with good headphones and also horribly badly made (one of those items which can fall apart while just sitting there).

    I saw this FiiO E7 offered very cheaply as an ex-demo unit with warranty. I had read several reviews and a good technical appraisal (nwavguy) so went ahead and bought it.

    Success! It solves all the above problems. It drives all my earphones and headphones very nicely. It is isolated from all the electrical noise generated by the PC so there is not a sound unless audio is playing. There is no hiss even with the Ultimate Ears SuperFi which hiss with every other thing I ever connected them to. It can push the relatively less sensitive Koss KSC75 to very high levels, easily enough even with well produced music with wide dynamic range. It uses virtually no power, being USB powered, and takes up less space than a pack of cards. That is quite a welcome difference from my giant Yamaha HT receiver.

    The sound quality is excellent and seems absolutely neutral and with no objectionable qualities of any kind. I think the bass maybe lacks some impact or dynamics but that is being picky and subjective and is only in comparison with amps that have some serious power i.e. powered by mains, not battery or USB.

    I've been using the FiiO with Windows XP and Debian Stable and it works exactly the same way with each. It's automatically recognised as a standard USB audio device and the built in driver does the job. It bypasses the operating system's volume control but by default not the sound mixer. You still can use an individual application's volume control but the system control is fixed to preserve bit depth.

    I didn't try anything similar in Windows but in Debian I can entirely bypass ALSA's system mixer (dmix) and make the FiiO exclusive. Assuming the Fiio to be the first sound card (or the only one) adding the following to ~/.asoundrc would do the trick:

    Code:
    pcm.!default {
    type plug
    slave.pcm "hw:0,0";
    }
    This should give bit-perfect audio decoding for two channel 16-bit 44.1 KHz and 48 KHz audio.

    The FiiO E7 is well designed, seems well assembled and is very nicely presented with good accessories. I possibly will never use it as a portable amp but I am extremely satisfied with it as a USB DAC and amplifier for earphone and small headphone use. If you have a high quality and really well implemented soundcard and headphone output on your laptop or PC then the FiiO probably won't do anything for you, but for the other 99% of us with rather noisy and low power integrated audio with a poor headphone output the FiiO E7 can make a huge improvement.

    edit:

    Two years later and I still love this device. Initially I bought it to improve my old PC's audio and it certainly met expectations. In the meantime I've bought a new PC, new USB DAC and new desktop headphone amp so the FiiO is no longer needed in that role. But I've also bought a Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE smartphone which fully supports USB DACs and I've been using the FiiO as an external DAC/Amp with this. It is truly impressive. Smartphone volume out via headphone socket can be rather quiet (power saving is all important for smartphones) so the FiiO adds a whole new dimension to the sound you can enjoy with your phone. It boosts the output levels and sounds fantastic while doing so.

    I've also bought the FiiO L7 Line Out Dock (it is inexpensive). This lets the E7 be a more versatile device: a USB DAC/Amp combo, or a portable amp which accepts Line In from analogue source and outputs to headphones, or a portable DAC which accepts USB input and outputs via Line Out to your preferred amp.

    This is a really remarkable design, brilliantly executed. There may be other products out there which are similarly versatile and useful but I didn't find them yet.

    If I could give the FiiO E7 10 stars instead of 5 I would do so.
  6. tinamou62
    4.5/5,
    "Substantially changed the way I listened to music"
    Pros - Deep, rich music. Truly changes the way I experience sound
    Cons - USB cord is slightly bulky, manual and controls are poorly written/have bad interface
    When looking for a dac/amp, everyone recommended the Fiio E7. It's a small, compact combo, and is extremely good. So far, I have found it to be stellar. When using my ATH M50's, the sounds truly change. Coming from a computer without a sound card (only a measly sound chip), the difference was stunning. I repeatedly compared my music without the dac/amp and with it, and I can say it is absolutely worth the 50 dollars I spent on it. 

    Extremely satisfied with my purchase, the only confusing thing is the poorly translated manual. 
  7. Deathdeisel
    4.5/5,
    "Good for the money and beginners"
    Pros - Cheap, good overall quality, durability
    I bought this little device a long time ago and have never done a review on it. Surprising. 
     
    Sound quality is quite good, it wont beat dedicated desktop setups, but in reality its a very small difference between them. E7 vs My 2012 Macbook Air is easily noticeable. Even if im not paying attention, the air has a good amount of feedback when playing or just having my earbuds in. Its noticeable on all of my headphones. The fiio sounds completely silent up until 50+ volume on my sensitive IEMs. And at that point your at noise deafening volumes, I accidentally plugged my IEMs in when the volume was at 60, never made that mistake again. Seriously was worried I had destroyed my IEMs and my ears. 
     
    Bass presets are nice, but anything past 2 just sounds artificial, fake and really boomy. At 1 bass is slightly distorted, but only when A/B testing it with it on and off and looking for it. And this is coming from a basshead. Would I buy it again? Yep, simply because even though ive replaced it and the E9 combo from my desktop I can still use it on the go. 
     
    The chassis is good overall too, aluminum body with plastic screen, stainless steel buttons feel good and press firmly with a noticeable click. Also comes with a screen protector, Ive applied it and its held up okay too. 
     
    To those beginners or audiophiles on a budget, this is a very good buy imo. Is there better? Maybe, im not sure. 
  8. DolbyDan
    5.0/5,
    "E7 with AKG K550"
    Pros - Cheap, good volume, no hiss(32ohm), nice eq & really good upgrade from Laptop
    Cons - Could do with a better gain when plugged into MP3, no quick lock
    Wanted an improvement over my onboard laptop mess.
     
    No interference, hiss (from 32ohm), very quick connection, good volume.
     
    Bass reproduction on EQ Bass1 is spot on with my AKG K550.  Stereo seperation seems spot on and the general tone is much more appealing through the E7 in comparison to onboard laptop sound.
     
    The bass and quality of sound is the most promonent improvement over laptop on board sound.
  9. takato14
    5.0/5,
    "First dedicated headphone amp; VERY impressed"
    Pros - Awesome build quality, stylish, small, loud, great battery life, OLED display, dual headphone outputs
    Cons - Poor EQ
    The FiiO E7 is a wonderful device. 
     
    It is a combo USB DAC and portable headphone amplifier unit. It has a 1-inch OLED display and a simple but good menu system. The screen is bright and vibrant, and looks very nice.
     
    It has a high-end Wolfson DAC chip, and the audio sounds much cleaner than out of my laptop.
     
    The amp has quite a bit of power behind it: 150mW/channel into 16 ohms. It drives my AKG K240 Studios very well without breaking a sweat. It even has the balls to drive my Pioneer SE-700s to listenable volumes with no distortion. That's extremely impressive; these headphones were designed to be driven from speaker taps.
     
    The only thing about this product I can say is bad is the equalizer. It doesn't have bands, first off: It's only a bass boost. Second, even the 1st boost setting causes heavy distortion, making the whole thing entirely useless. Another thing that's less of a flaw and more of a nit-picky thing, is that you can't <just> charge the unit through a USB port on your computer. If it is plugged in, your computer will send all audio to it even if it is switched off. Not sure why FiiO did this, but they did.
     
    Definitely go for this. FiiO is a great brand. I'm definitely considering some of their other products after this experience.
  10. Hifianddrumming
    4.0/5,
    "Fiio E7 Review"
    Pros - Great Pricepoint, reasonable DAC/AMP
    Cons - Sounds a little closed in, only 16/48
    Well, after almost a month with my E7, I figured It was time to give it a good review. This was my first DAC/AMP (paired with the E9) so I don't have much to compare it to, except an auditioned schiit asgard.
     
     Build Quality and Appearance (8/10)-
     
     Appearance isn't an area that generally matters that much to me, but the anodized aluminum ( did I get that right?) finish was a VERY nice touch the OLED screen was bright, but not necessarily good in sunlight.
     
     The build quality overall is very nice as well. All of the screws are very secure, no rattling there. The buttons are tight and seem nice to the push, very sturdy. the glass on the screen has proven to be very nice, no scratching, or the one time I accidentally dropped it, breaking. However, the headphone out connections look and feel a little loose at times, something I wasn't too happy with. The signal doesn't ever seem to drop though, nor do I hear any crackling/fuzziness, so the issue doesn't seem to be a major issue.
     
     I didn't know where to put this, but the user friendlyness is definitely lacking. Although the button layouts are pretty simple, the actual interface can be a challenge to navigate.
     
     The E7 came in a nice box, with a silicone case. There was also a carrying pouch for it, a usb-mini cable, a 3.5 to 3.5 cable, and a silicone band to attach it to your DAP. Couple of nice touches, but pretty standard. The box had a picture of E7 on it, with "USB DAC/ headphone amp" written on it.
     
     Sound (8/10)
     
     The sound comparisons were done with the onboard sound card of an iMac -  Grado sr-125is, and also iPod - Sr125is. I then tried both those with the Fiio E7.
     
     First of all, with the iMac-
     
     As you could probably guess here, the results were substantial, considering the fact that in this situation it is acting as a DAC and an amp. The E7 basically did it's job. It cleaned up some rough edges, improved some perceived soundstage, cleared up the overall sound, and, well, amplified. The E7 made the mids really shine on my Grados, an already strong point. I couldn't stop listening to anything with an acoustic guitar in it. The sometimes piercing treble was tamed a little bit, but also a little it fuller if that makes sense, not quite as sharp and spiky, but a little bit richer. I also noticed an increase in detail, for example, hearing the guitarists fingers sliding down the strings, or the slow decay of the vibrations. The part I loved about this amp/DAC so much was it's ability to bring out the bass more, an area admittedly lacking in the lower end Grado models. It didn't really add anything to it, just brought it forward a little bit. In my opinion, improving the sound signature greatly.
     
     From the iPod-
     
     Paired with the iPod, the E7 only acts as an amp. I did however, notice along the same lines as with the iMac. The sound was cleaner, clearer and larger. It added some depth and detail to my MTPCs.  It doesn't necessarily add much to the sound (a good amp shouldn't really) but kind of makes things more noticeable and makes it a little more spacious.
     
     There is a couple negatives. if there is flaw in your recording, or in the sound signature of your headphones, it WILL bring it out. If you have an overly bassy pair of headphones, it will make them even bassier. If you have piercing treble, they might become even more piercing. This is only a negative if you have flawed recordings or seriously flawed headphones, In some ways, this is a good thing because if you have mids that you love, it will bring them out even more, etc.
     
     The bass boost works well. there is no audible distortion really when using the bass boost, but I don't prefer to colour my music too much. I guess if you had severely lacking headphones it could come in handy, but I'm not really a basshead so I didn't pay much attention to that. i will tell you that it definitely works without distortion or serious loss of detail.
     
     It can only play 16/ 44.1  . That's not massive I guess, but annoying for someone who has a fair collection of 24/96. Buyers beware,if you want 24/96 search elsewhere
     
     Conclusion (8/10)
     
     For the very reasonable price, you get neutral amp/dac, that sufficiently drives headphones up to about 250 ohms. There's some cons but for the price/value, it's a great piece of equipment.