FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

General Information

The FiiO E10K USB DAC desktop headphone amplifier combines two exquisite technologies into one sturdy piece of equipment. Using the PCM5102 DAC chip, the E10K streams audio at a maximum of 96 kHz/24-bit.

Latest reviews

K othic

New Head-Fier
FiiO E10K: a One-Way Journey
Pros: Powerful performance in a small package (200mW@32ohm)
Full aluminum construction
Minimal noise floor
Improved sound quality for those transitioning from a budget dongle
Cons: Outdated Micro-USB input (addressed in the FiiO E10K-TC)
Not as portable
Current price in Argentina ($100 USD/$50,000 Argentine pesos)
Better options at a similar or lower price point, particularly in Argentina (see conclusion)
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Today, I wanted to analyze and write my thoughts on one of my first non-headphone acquisitions when I entered this niche. The FiiO E10K is a headphone DAC/AMP that the brand has been producing since 2019 and has recently updated to the new E10K-TC version, which maintains a price of $75.99 USD / $50,000 Argentine pesos.

Since this little device has brought me so much joy, I wanted to share my opinion about it with you.

Video Review here
Previous Reviews here
If you wish to read this review in Spanish click here

  • This product was purchased with my own money
  • Review based in 2-4hs listening sessions each day across 6 days
  • I’m a low level listener, take it into account for the analysis in the “Power” segment
  • All music is lossless (Qobuz > 16bit - 44.1kHz)

Unboxing, Build & Accessories

This is the smallest and cheapest desktop DAC/AMP offered by FiiO, and despite that, it comes in packaging of considerable size with the device excellently protected by a mold made of a material resembling rubber. The mold is firm but soft to the touch when squeezed with the fingers. In a box beside it, we find the Micro-USB to USB-A cable and 6 rubber "feet".


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Obviously, I will focus on the main aspect, which is the construction of the E10K. When one buys a budget audio product, it is generally assumed that the brand had to cut costs somewhere, and unfortunately, construction is often an area of interest for making products more affordable. However, with the E10K, it is the opposite. It features a fully aluminum casing. Yes, the volume wheel and switches (bass boost and gain) are made of plastic, but that does not detract from the exceptional craftsmanship for a product considered entry-level.


On the front, we have the knob/dial with markings to indicate if it's turned off ("OFF"), along with an indicator that lights up in blue when it's turned on. It also has numbers from 1 to 8 to indicate the volume level. There is a 3.5mm input for connecting headphones, as well as a "bass" switch that allows for an increase in bass gain, which I'll discuss later.


On the back, there are three ports: the power input for the E10K, which can be used with the provided Micro-USB cable to transmit the signal to the connected computer, a coaxial input that can be used to "convert" signals from other DACs or to connect external amplifiers, and the same applies to the Line Out. Additionally, the back panel features the gain switch with two modes: L (Low) and H (High). It's quite self-explanatory, with L being intended for headphones with higher sensitivity and lower impedance, while H is used for more demanding headphones.

Perhaps the least remarkable are the accessories, with the cable being a generic one but with an adequate length (1 meter), at least in my case. The rubber "feet" may seem irrelevant to many, but they came in handy for surfaces where the aluminum could scratch or easily slide if the headphone cable was pulled.


Small but powerful, delivering 200mW at 32 ohms, the FiiO E10K is capable of bringing any type of headphones with a normal impedance/sensitivity ratio to life, and even handling more demanding ones. FiiO recommends headphones with an impedance of 16 to 150 ohms.

Having mentioned its size (specific dimensions: 79mm x 49.1mm x 21mm, weight: 78g), portability is limited as it cannot be powered through smartphones (although some users may find ways to use it with a portable battery). It also features a USB resolution of up to 24-bit/96kHz and can be used both as a DAC/AMP or solely as a DAC thanks to its Line Out input.

Functionality & Performance


As mentioned earlier, I am someone who listens at relatively low volume levels compared to most people. Therefore, with the gain set to L and the volume at maximum 3 (with Windows volume at 100% and my media player at 50% volume), it is already sufficient for me.

The volume and sound output of this FiiO device are impressive to me because, at the price point I acquired it used some time ago, I haven't had headphones that have pushed it to its limits. For this review, I decided to test the E10K with three different headphones, each with different impedance, sensitivity, and drivers:


Firstly, I tested them with the 7HZ Salnotes Zero, which have an impedance of 32 ohms and a sensitivity of 108dB/V @ 1kHz, along with a 10mm dynamic driver. These specifications make the Zero similar to other IEMs on the market considered "easy to drive," as they can be adequately powered by just a smartphone's headphone jack, producing an acceptable (and even loud) volume level. Due to this, the FiiO DAC/AMP had no trouble providing power to them, and in my personal usage, I find myself using them at volume levels 1-2, depending on the genre and whether the album was recorded in a studio or is a live performance.


Next, the testing continued with two considerably more demanding headphones. To start, I tried the new KZ PR2, IEMs that have garnered a lot of attention because they require a source that can provide them with ample power to shine. Their specifications are as follows: impedance of 15 ohms and sensitivity of 94dB/mW @ 1kHz, featuring a 13.2mm planar magnetic driver. The impedance/sensitivity ratio in this case can be deceptive, as it may seem that they are not much more difficult to drive compared to the Zero, but that's not the case. With studio-recorded albums like Megadeth's "The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!" and Calvin Harris' "Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2," I found myself hovering around the 2 mark, occasionally surpassing it. However, with live albums like Iron Maiden's "Live After Death" or orchestral performances like Schubert's "Symphonies Nos. 8 "Unfinished" & 9 "The Great"" performed by the Gewandhaus Leipzig Orchestra, I found it necessary to increase the volume to 3 or higher to precisely discern instruments that were positioned further back in the ensemble, such as double basses and cellos.


Then, as the "final boss", I evaluated how well the Hifiman HE400SE (Stealth Magnet version) performed. These headphones have an impedance of 25 ohms and a sensitivity of 91dB, featuring a 10cm diameter planar magnetic driver. This pair is the only one that might warrant using the E10K's High gain setting, as they require a significant amount of power to unleash their full potential. In my experience, using them with the Low gain setting, I consistently find myself surpassing the volume level 3 mark in practically any situation (watching videos/listening to music), and during live performances, I often need to go beyond 4. However, with the High gain setting, I don't need to venture far from the volume level 2 mark.

Sound Profile

The FiiO DAC/AMP offers a sterile sound transmission, in the best sense of the term, allowing you to hear the particular sound signature of your connected headphones without coloring or altering it, remaining true to headphone’s tuning.

Soundstage and Details

Clearly, the E10K is an upgrade in terms of soundstage and detail reproduction compared to cheaper dongles. This device provides a wide soundstage to the listener's ears, along with improved localization and separation of vocals and instruments, thanks to its LMH6643 op-amp.


A simple comparison with the TempoTec Sonata HD PRO showed me during Adele's "Miss You" that the E10K generates a wider soundstage (both in width and slightly in depth), making this song less intimate compared to the dongle. Additionally, small details during the chorus, such as tambourines and faint bell-like sounds in the background, are better perceived by the FiiO device.

When compared to more powerful amplifiers like the iFi ZEN CAN, the E10K falls slightly behind in terms of details and dynamics. However, it's important to consider that the E10K serves a dual function, while the iFi device is solely dedicated to amplification.

Noise floor & Latency

One word: nonexistent. The implemented DAC (PCM-5102) in the E10K helps keep annoying noise to a minimum. When connected to my PC, I have experienced no noticeable background noise with any headphones, and this holds true for both music and gaming.

Speaking of gaming, several users have asked me about sound transmission and whether there is any additional latency when using a device like this. The answer is absolutely not. When playing competitive games like Apex Legends, I have not encountered any audio delay compared to headphones connected directly to the PC. In fact, thanks to the E10K's negligible latency, you will also benefit from its ability to eliminate any unwanted signal interference in the audio, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the sounds of the game.

Bass Boost



As the name suggests, the Bass Boost switch allows you to elevate the level of bass in the connected headphones. It works surprisingly well and can be useful for "enhancing" headphones that may be lacking in that frequency range. For example, the HZSound Heart Mirror IEMs greatly benefited from this function, as it enhanced their bass, which I found to be lacking impact by default.


The FiiO E10K DAC/AMP is a legendary product that continues to generate sales for the company, as it satisfies most basic needs for individuals looking to enter the audio world. However, a strong competitor has recently entered the scene: the iFi Uno. Due to the presence of the iFi Uno, which is approximately $10 USD cheaper in my country at the moment (E10K-TC $100 USD vs iFi Uno $90 USD, approximate prices in Argentina), my recommendation for an affordable DAC/AMP would lean towards the iFi option, which even offers slightly more power according to the specifications on their website.

On the other hand, the previous version of the E10K can be found at a very affordable price if you choose to purchase used equipment. In my case, I paid around $45 USD (15,000 Argentine pesos at that time), and at that price, it’s a no-brainer.


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New Head-Fier
Pros: Tiny, versatile, low noise floor, cost
Cons: None, really.
This is the only DAC that I have owned at this point and I am currently looking to purchases something a little bit better in quality after buying a pair of Sennheiser HD 600.  For my liking the Fiio gets plenty loud and still sounds pretty darn decent but I have an itch to listen to tubes and to see if I can get more mileage out of my newest cans.  I'd recommend this little DAC product to anybody just getting introduced to headphones.  It's a well built product with enough features to keep one happy for a lengthy period of time and it offers the versatility to take it along on the road when traveling.  It even fits neatly inside the nice nylon utility pouches that came inside a couple of my hard headphone cases.  On top of all this, it doesn't cost an arm & a leg to get started in listening to music on headphones.
I opted for the K1 as a first DAC instead.
Its more portable but it has an issue where the computer will never go to sleep when it is connected.
Does yours (E10k) have the same problem?

Now I have gotten a Schiit Fulla2 and it has async USB problems with popping noises fairly regularly.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Decent DAC, pretty powerful amp, quite clean sound, metal connectors, great aluminum housing
Cons: Line out not muting on headphones plug, not the best amplification stage
If you want more or less decent AMP and DAC for you headphones for under $100 or ever $80 you have quite few choices. Your options probably are SMSL SD793-II, SMSL M2 and Fiio E10k. Maybe few more. They are mostly the same. So somehow I ended up buying E10k, positioned as an upgrade for its quite successful predecessor E10. It came to me in order to replace Creative SoundBlaster E1.
Just like the competion Fiio's E10k sounds not bad for it's price point. Company's migration toward Texas Instruments hardware did it's job. I never heard original E10 but all reviews telling the same thing: E10k a huge step forward. While listening mainly to 16/44.1 instrumental music I had impression of some kind of stage, I heard decent separation and pretty sterile picture overall. Even though I listened for the same material I did with E1 the difference is titanic.
The problem is that some review pointing out that DAC in E10k is pretty good but what makes this device sound worse than it could is amp. After reading such thing I realized that device indeed sounds a bit dark and narrow. I can't call it bright by any mean. It's not that it's bad or something. It's just dark and sterile if you know what I mean.
Device drives my 80 Ohm headphones with half of volume in low gain mode, so I'm pretty sure you can drive 250 Ohms models with now problem, although manufacturer is recommending maximum headphones impedance equal to 150 Ohms.
I couldn't find a single flaw. Device has a solid build with metal connectors and Japanese ALPS potentiometer as a volume knob. Beautiful blue led light near know indicates power and gorgeous brushed metal texture allover the surface makes this piece of hardware look a bit beyond its price.
It's nothing special. It's just decently sounding product in rock solid housing. One of a few having amp and DAC under $100. It can drive your entry level Hi-Fi or studio headphones with no ******** and show you that somewhere over there starts a realm of her majesty sound quality.


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