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FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

  1. MrChiSox
    Terrific first DAC
    Written by MrChiSox
    Published Feb 28, 2017
    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.
    1. Jimster480
      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.
      Jimster480, Feb 28, 2017
  2. desmortum
    Good bang for Your Buck. One of the Few
    Written by desmortum
    Published Feb 7, 2016
    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.
  3. younes berrada
    Written by younes berrada
    Published Oct 9, 2015
    for the price is good but if you want to have that premier sound qualtiy of studio you need a dac of 300 dolllar +
  4. Gonomon
    Sounds Good, Cheap.
    Written by Gonomon
    Published Aug 12, 2015
    Pros - Cheap, Small, Sounds Good.
    Cons - USB Out Port And USB Cable Isnt Durable, Not The Best At Sound Quality.
    When i first listened them, i surprised how they improved the sound quality. I was thinking that i wasnt going to see a big difference compared to my notebooks sound quality at first (considering the price) but they blow my mind away. After using my notebooks sound out, this is something like miracle in terms of sound quality. Bass boost comes handy if you are listening electronic music. And i liked the volume control located in front of the device. In terms of build, i accidentally dropped them from my desk 3-4 times and nothing happened. It is looking like durable too, though i cant say that to usb out, usb cable, boost and gain switches. In terms of amplifying they are good with under 100 Ohm headphones. You can buy it if you are new into audio or you want a little thing to travel with your notebook.
  5. macshooter
    Written by macshooter
    Published Jan 23, 2015
    Pros - Small, Cheap, Sounds GREAT, tasteful bass boost
    Cons - Can't think of any.
    I'm not a guy with a lot of DACs and amps that cost thousands of dollars.  I bought this because the headphone jack on my wife's laptop was crapping out. I like Fiio's stuff because for the price, they sound great, and usually have a bass boost switch that puts just enough extra kick in the lower end without going too far.  For listening I like a little extra kick in the lower end.  I use a flat sound for mixing and making music, but not for casual listening, (unless it's classical or something like that.)  This thing kills IMO.  It was a real eye opener when I plugged this in and realized how bad my laptop sounded. I use focusrite interfaces for my DAW, but you expect that stuff to sound good. It's no surprise my laptop doesn't sound like pro audio gear and I didn't expect it to. But I never tried a DAC on my laptop because I didn't realize just how bad the on board audio was compared to even a cheap DAC like this.  This was a HUGE improvement. If you like a little extra bass, but not over the top or out of balance with the rest of the music, Fiio hits the spot.  AKG's sounding a little bass light for casual listening?  This will help cure that.  It'll make ATH-M50x sound spectacular!  If you want a totally flat sound, lots of other options out there, but if you like Fiio's idea of bass boost (perfect for my taste) this is a total no brainer.  This is $75 people.  Don't talk to me about how your $1000 rig sounds better.  For less than $100 this absolutely kills.  Stomps the sh!t out of "Realtek High Definition Audio." Ugg. 
  6. myemaildw
    considerably better audio than my macbook
    Written by myemaildw
    Published Jan 15, 2015
    Pros - better audio than my macbook late 2009 and iphone 3gs
    Cons - isn’t portable. not that it would work on my iphone 3gs but anyway
    considerably better audio than macbook late 2009
    better audio than my macbook late 2009 and iphone 3gs
    isn’t portable. not that it would work on my iphone 3gs but anyway, would be looking to upgrade to a better sounding dac
    here i try to review this dac. my comparison for this review is macbook late 2009, so i can only compare it to that computer. and iphone 3gs iphone.
    build quality
    now for build quality, it is made of aluminium, brushed aluminium. very strong cause made of aluminium.
    the cable build quality is fine with me. people complained that it’s not good. for me i don’t complain. it’s kind of stiff micro usb to usb cable, with no particular strain relieve but cause cable is stiff it acts like a cable aliviator. some cable memory.
    the bass and low high gain switches seem to be made of plastic. possibly may break because it’s made from plastic.
    the volume wheel is smooth, and clicks for the switch off. and easy to turn, and easy to adjust volume precicely cause it has kind of long go and gapless volume adjustment which is good. nice blue light.
    it has some coaxial out and line out at the back, which i am not using but i’ve seen some people use it to bypass internal amplifier to send e10k dac signal to external amplifier.
    its actually a smallish device and doesn’t weigh much. you can easily think of it as a remote for your headphones which it kinda is with the volume wheel. and it makes headphones look like a usb headphones.
    packaging is fine, there is nothing bad about it, simple basic packaging.
    i’ve been switching back and forth between macbook and e10k and i came to conclusion that macbook sounds a bit muffled compared to e10k fiio. and yes macbook is much more muffled to e10k. although if one would compare to new macbooks the difference might not be as apparent or any difference. i don’t know cause you need direct comparison between two.
    and iphone 3gs sounds worse than macbook late 2009 so for me fiio e10k is an upgrade. for you it might not be if you have a newer macbook/computer.
    i find bass does adds bass but i think it kind of reduces the clarity in the bass at the same time.
    people have said and asked if this dac makes pops when switching songs like it did on e10, it does not. however it does make pops when you switch on the dac using the volume dial. which does not bother me cause i rarely use it, mostly i remove usb cable. and when i do use the volume weel to switch it on i don't have my headphones on. cause it mans i switch it on to use it. thanks
    there is nothing else to say about this dac. i have no other dacs to compare it to except for how my iphone 3gs and macbook late 2009 plays. none the less audio is better and more detailed with e10k fiio in comparison to above devices. hope that helps.
    i also did unboxing and review of it on youtube if you want to watch that. links are below.
    Fiio e10k review part 1
    Fiio e10k review part 2
  7. wijnands
    Great starter DAC
    Written by wijnands
    Published Jan 14, 2015
    Pros - excellent value for money, likeable sound
    Cons - supplied usb cable is rubbish
    After returning the X3 I sat down at the dealer to compare this device to the E17. I was looking for something to improve the atrocious sound that comes out of the Realtek chip in my Dell laptop. I use a Beyerdynamic DT770 250 ohm and my frame of reference is my rockboxed clip+. When comparing it to the E17 I had the impression that it had a problem somewhere.
    Packaging and first impression
    The E10k comes in a rather flat cardboard package that slides open easily. Inside you find the E10k lodged in a piece of foam and a small box that contains the USB cable and 4 rubber feet that you can stick under the device. Also included is a pamphlet in several languages that describe the DAC. 
    The DAC itself is a black aluminum box smaller than a pack of cigarettes. Because it's all metal it feels like quality in your hand. The supplied micro USB cable feels considerably less solid. It's short, very thin and my particular one didn't even work properly.
    Setting it up
    I connected the device to my Windows 7 laptop and was immediately rewarded with a blue light on the front. Windows installed the drivers is seconds. Out of curiosity I also installed the Fiio driver package later but didn't really notice any difference in the sound. It does allow you to fine tine some settings.
    On the front is the 3.5mm headphone jack and a big knob to adjust the sound volume and a bass boost switch. On the back you'll find a coax and a 3.5mm line out as well as a gain switch.
    Listening to it
    I fired up Foobar2000 and selected the E10k as the output device and started some listening. Frank Sinatra's Sinatra at the Sands. This is a live recording from 1966 that has been beautifully remastered. Frank's vocals are wonderfully clear and detailed. The sound stage is reasonably wide, certainly wider than the Clip's. There's good detail in it, on multiple tracks you can hear plate noises from far back in the audience. Time for Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and I'm really enjoying the vibration of the bass' body in the intro. Diana Krall's live in Paris and I'm noticing not a huge difference with the Clip. It's wonderfully clear, the instrument separation is fine as are the vocals. It does benefit from the wider soundstage. Time for some Valkyries then. Gergiev this time. Even though this is not my favorite recording the technical quality is super on this. Here the E10k clearly outclasses the clip. During the rowdier parts of the opera the instrument separation is far better than the clip. Moving on to Everything but the Girl, "low tide of the night". Even though this track like the rest of the album lacks dynamic range it's an interesting one because of the combination of the very deep bass in the intro and a high synthesized whistle. Out of curiosity I flip on the bass switch to see what it does and it almost hurts. It doesn't distort but it gets really intense. All in all I really enjoy the sound of this. It's not fiendishly neutral, there's a bit of warmth to it and it sounds musical. It never gives the impression of doing any significant alterations to the sound.
    Some thoughts
    When I picked this device I also listened to the E17 which sounds almost the same but I had the impression that that unit had an issue somewhere, on really quiet music there was a very faint background hiss which is totally absent on the E10k. That and the price difference where the main drivers for me to pick this one over the much nicer looking E17
    I think this product needs to be viewed in context. Is it the end all of DACs? No of course not, not at that price point! It's competing with the recent Sound Blaster offering as well as Fiio's own E07 and a range of other more niche products. I'm sure many people are also going to be horrified at me using this with a 250 ohm set of cans but these I just happen to own and like. I've found that the E10k packs more than enough power for me to listen to them comfortably. Unlike the Clip which I always have pretty much on max volume this has room to give. I've set the output on the PC to max and got the DAC's volume  at 4 out of the 0-8 range. What I also like is the portability of this little device. Even though it's marketed as a desktop product the fact that it's small and takes power from the USB port makes it portable enough to use with a laptop.
    Final verdict
    If you're just starting out in the world of DAC and AMPS and all that then you could do worse than pick this up. For a very decent price you get a simple device that will boost listening to music on your PC from background noise to actually enjoyable. There's nothing to configure, no settings to work out, no battery to worry about, just connect it and go! However if you are looking for something that you can also use to boost the performance of a portable device then an E07 or E17 is probably a better choice. I can also see applications for this little gadget in the living room. Hook it up to an old PC or even a raspberry pi, get RuneAudio and connect it to your home system?
      Nice review. I love the E10K as well. Great starter DAC 
      JAMEZTHEBOI, Jan 14, 2015