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FiiO E17

  • USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

    USB Receiver- Tenor TE7022
    DAC- Wolfson WM8740
    Operational Amplifiers- ADI AD8692+AD8397

    Input: USB, AUX, SPDIF (Coax + Optical)
    USB Support (max): 24bit / 96kHz
    SPDIF Support (max): 24bit / 192kHz
    Channels balance: +/-10dB Left/Right
    Gain selection: 0dB, 6dB, 12dB (12dB gain not available to USB-in)
    EQ: Treble - +/-10dB (14.6kHz); Bass - +/-10dB (20Hz); in 2dB step
    Line-out: Bypassable to pre-out.
    Output Power: 277mW (16Ω); 215mW (32Ω); 35mW (300Ω)
    Headphone Impedance Range: 16 Ω ~ 300 Ω
    SNR: ≥109dB (A weighted) on AUX-in; ≥104dB (A weighted) on USB-in
    Distortion: <0.001% (10mW)on AUX-in; <0.007% (10mW) on USB-in
    Frequency Range: 10Hz ~ 100kHz (amp); 10Hz ~ 20kHz (DAC)
    Power Supply: Internal 1500mAH rechargeable Li-ion battery
    Battery life: 15 hours
    Recharging: USB 5V
    Size: 96mm x 55mm x 15.2mm
    Weight: 112g

Recent Reviews

  1. theminstrel
    A real step up from shoddy basic computer and smartphone audio
    Written by theminstrel
    Published Jan 17, 2017
    Pros - Reliable, Easy to use, good battery life, relatively portable , provides clearer and more powerful sound for a low price
    Cons - Doesn't take you all the way to audiphile nirvana
    A very good DAC and headphone AMP for the price. A clear improvement in sound quality from my laptop for headphones, even ones that already sounded good, this gives a much cleaner,clearer and more powerful signal in all frequency ranges. Works very will with my Samsung Galaxy and Sony Walkman DAP and gives their volume levels a much needed boost. Battery life is around the claimed 15 hours if used with moderate gain. For headphones with under 150 ohm impedence I cannot imagine I would need anything more.
    Doesn't fit with great comfort comfortably in a pocket, however.
    Also, having recently upgraded to a rather high end DAP this doesn't seem quite so special any more however it is far from horrible and will most likely give a box-standard weak audio interface a much needed upgrade into a clean signal with all the "necessary" detail, warmth and dynamics.
  2. TestShoot
    Extremely pleased
    Written by TestShoot
    Published May 18, 2016
    Pros - power, sound quality
    Cons - eq, screen burn in
    I am a budget audiophile, I am not interested in carrying around different headsets for different genres, I wanted a well rounded set up for my office. I docked in the E09 amp, and drive some big Vmodas. I def hear an improvement over stock audio from my Alienware on flacs and even Spotify premium. More power is less distortion as a general rule.
    I have the unit itself at 40 for the volume, and it is burning in a little on the screen, but no biggie. I will def get the new one that is all Android. I would like a little more than bass/treble, but it is pretty good.
    Samsung phones have a pretty good audio app already, same with Android in general, but I like mating this to the phone to get better rates and obviously more power.
    iPhones/iPad just can't output higher rates, so you have to use this as a pass-through from headphone jack to the unit.
      Ramada likes this.
  3. GisleFoto
    Perfect if used with E11 as well.
    Written by GisleFoto
    Published Sep 23, 2015
    Pros - Lighter, tighter and more dynamic than the E11.
    Cons - Mongo-menu
    You need another amp to dig out the darkest tightest bass if you love LOUD music. But it´s a very cheap and ok thing to own. With the E11 I´m only using the amp, but that combo is eminent. Can´t understand why, because E11 sucks by itself.
    Rock on Coke
      Ramada likes this.
    1. YamaVega
      isnt the E17's amp the same as E11?
      YamaVega, Sep 24, 2015
    2. DJScope
      That's because you're double amping.
      DJScope, Sep 25, 2015
  4. MMB1
    Great entry level DAC and headphone amplifier
    Written by MMB1
    Published Jun 14, 2015
    Pros - Elegant and compact design, solid build, plenty of features, tonally balanced and pleasant sound, great value for money
    Cons - No significant cons at this price, battery could last longer, nothing extraordinary- just does its job right
    Design and Build
    Even though the FiiO E17 is quite a low-cost product or you can even say an entry level one, the DAC has a solid build and elegant design. The brushed finish looks stylish without being anything plain simple or too pompous. Overall E17 looks and feels great considering its small size that comfortably fits in your palm or with the iPod or smartphone in your pocket.
    The buttons are solid and feel good quality so one need not worry about wearing them off to the point of breaking or getting stuck. The OLED screen is a nice addition to the e17 and the information that it displays is exactly what you need making it very convenient to use without being too complicated. Overall it is a very lightweight, durable and compact portable DAC and headphone amplifier.
    Features and Accessories
    The DAC/amp comes with some little gadgets that can easily spoil you off at such price. The OLED has a little screen protector and six rubber feet to hold it in place. You also get two silicone bands with the FiiO logo on top that make it easier to hold it together to your portable player. In addition, E17 supplies you with a nice soft velvet pouch where the amp can be stored safely.
    FiiO E17 comes with plenty of features, which make it a very versatile product suitable for most needs. The Mini USB is located on the bottom and is the main charging source. However the USB is not the only digital connection as this small DAC also has a coaxial as well as an optical connection on the top by using S/PDIF input via the supplied adapters.
    An AUX input is located on the underside while the headphone output is on the top, both suitable for 3.5mm stereo plugs, which is understandable considering the small size of the DAC. E17 has a dock connector dedicated to working with other of FiiO’s desktop amplifiers such as the E09K which I personally use. There is also a locking key that not only locks the buttons but also turns off the OLED screen and I find that to be very convenient when I use E17 passively only as a DAC docked to E09K on my desk.
    It is worth noting that when E17 is paired with the e09, for example, the USB and AUX inputs are blocked. However the e09k has its own, which makes these two products a suitable pair.
    The li-ion battery has 1500mAh and claimed by the manufacturer to last for up to 15 hours but in reality one cannot expect to get more than 8-9 hours out of it. However it can be constantly recharged while with the dock or USB connector.
    The DAC can accept a hi-end signal with up to 24-bit at 192 kHz but only through the S/PDIF. The USB input only meets the 1.0 standard you can only accept file up to 24-bit/96kHz, so if you are to play 192 kHz files you must use the S/PDIF input.
    OK, but how does it sound? You are right, let us get to the real question of interest. I listen to the E17 either with my AKG Q701 headphones or with the stereo speakers that I connect to the integrated amplifier through the e09k. In both cases the sound that comes from the DAC feels tonally balanced. I do not use the inbuilt equalizer and I find the sound to be quite accurate and neutral, which I highly appreciate. It is not really transparent and revealing so if you plan to use it with monitor speakers, for example, bear in mind that E17 is more or less forgiving to poor recordings. The sound is un-fatiguing, thus pleasant and easy to listen for hours. It gives you a sufficient performance for the money you pay in that price class. However, this means that more expensive DACs have greater details and reveal more nuances of the overall music picture.
    When it comes to the amplifier it is worth mentioning that it does not have the needed muscles to power the most demanding headphones by itself. It has an output power of >220mW (32Ω loaded) and the headphone impedance range is said to be 16Ω - 300Ω. This should be enough for my AKG Q701 but it is easy to see that E17 does not perform well with these headphones on the very high volumes. This will no longer be a problem if you pair it with the E09K as I do.
    In conclusion, the E17 gives more than you can ask for at the price of £100 (from amazon in the UK) in terms of features, extras and sound quality. It is a good start if you are looking for your first DAC/amp and the perfect choice if you are on a budget.
      Ramada and denislav like this.
    1. denislav
      Nice and helpful review! Thanks
      denislav, Jun 15, 2015
  5. Zennheiser
    My Reference standard for portable Headphone amps thus far.
    Written by Zennheiser
    Published May 24, 2015
    Pros - Outstanding ergonomics and unimpeachable performance.
    Cons - None, charge could last longer.
    I use this Headphone amp with my V-Moda M-100's.  The 100's are just too "dark" without something to mitigate on the top octave's behalf.  The OLED display is bright clean and easy to read.  (A plus, for not a kid anymore folks like me.)   The charge lasts roughly fifteen hours, which is more than enough for most situations, but it's the one area where my Samuels P-51 reigns supreme.  (Well, that and maybe a just slightly more beautiful midrange.  I try to avoid terms like "liquidity", but the Samuels draws your attention to how good mids can sound, and that's a great thing to have with the right phones.  I hope to eventually get an SR-71b or a Shadow, and I'll have more things to compare this amp to.  But for now, it's my personal reference standard.  I'm knocked out.....
      Ramada likes this.
  6. prez
    I enjoy this portable DAC/AMP Combo
    Written by prez
    Published Mar 3, 2015
    Pros - Good Sound Quality, Durable, Small, Decent Battery
    Cons - EQ Control, Buttons/Menu
    I have been using the E17 "Alpen" every day for over a year now.  It is my go-to device for enjoying music at work, or anywhere other than my home office.  So, here are my thoughts:
    Build quality
    This was the first thing I noticed when I unboxed the device.  Brushed metal casing felt very durable, and after this past year of daily use, still looks almost new.  I think it looks great.
    Controls and Battery Life
    The screen on the E17 is most simply stated as utilitarian.  It's bright, it works, and it's not going to win any design awards.  The buttons are the same.  Menu navigation feels a little bit clumsy, but after a week or so, it becomes a non-issue.  You are allowed to control volume, bass and treble, gain, channel balance, etc.  My biggest complaint here is that the controls take big steps.  For example, increasing bass moves 2-4-6, instead of 1-2-3....  The volume control has a similar behavior and can be a little annoying.  In spite of those limitations, still very functional.
    I like the input flexibility of the device, I primarily use the USB (when leveraging the DAC/AMP combo) or AUX in (for just the AMP).
    The battery gets me through 2-3 days of use (using a few hours a day) and still has some life left. I charge it 1-2 times a week, depending on how heavy I use it on battery.
    I was looking for a portable device that could be flexible as a DAC/AMP or just an AMP (or even just a DAC!), and sound good doing it.  Primarily, I wanted the portable amp for when I had headphones like my Grade SR125s in tow.
    My setup on the go sometimes looks like this:
    iPhone>Lightning-to-30pin>Fiio 30pin-to-3.5mm>Fiio E17>Grado SR125 (or other HP)
    This provides the needed power boost to get the Grado HPs to open up more, and provide body in the lows and mids.  I do set the e17 Bass to +2 with these headphones.  This setup is exponentially more enjoyable to my ears than attempting iPhone>Grado SR125.  Running direct from iPhone to these headphones is a bad idea, and will result in a thin and harsh audio experience.  
    My other common setup is this:
    iPhone>Lightning-to-30pin>Fiio 30pin-to-3.5mm>Fiio E17>Shure SE215
    That's right, I amp my highly efficient IEMs at work. [​IMG]   Why?  Because it sounds better.  Maybe that seems crazy to some, and I understand. Technically, the iPhone should have enough juice to power these IEMs (from my limited understanding of the electrical aspects). But to my ears, the SE215s love the E17.  There is a marked improvement in clarity, tightness in the bass, and overall exciting feel to the audio. I thought I might be crazy at first, so I A/B'd it off and on for months, and always preferred the E17 in the middle. I never run my SE215s directly to my phone anymore.  
    My final on-the-go scenario is the following:
    MBP>USB>Fiio E17>Grado SR125 (or other HP)
    The other two setups use the E17 as an amp only.  This uses the E17 as a DAC/AMP.  While the MBP has a good DAC already (better than any other laptop I have listened to), I find that this setup sounds better than using the headphone out from the laptop to the aux in on the Fiio E17. Using USB also has a side benefit of charging the E17.
    The final (and new) scenario:
    Mac Pro>USB>Fiio E17/E09K Combo>Grado SR125 (or other HP)
    I've only been using this setup for about 2 weeks with multiple HPs, and my thoughts speak more to the pros and cons of the E09K, so i'll leave it for another review.
      Ramada, istvanumeszaros and trellus like this.
    1. ranjitotski
      Is it suited for my Shure 846? thanks
      ranjitotski, May 10, 2016
  7. DwightLooi
    FiiO E17
    Written by DwightLooi
    Published Sep 29, 2014
    Pros - Great for the money -- possibly the best
    Cons - Too much Nonsense that detracts from the essence of a good DAC and Amp
    For $125~150 depending on where you buy it from, the E17 is an unbeatable value. Solid Wolfson WM8740 DAC, decent enough Amp. The WM8741 would have been a slightly better chip, but it needs 5V and 3.3V supplies concurrently to operate so you are not going to find it in a battery operated portable amp for the most parts because batteries deliver just one voltage. The WM8741 operates on 3~5.5V for both it's analog and digital circuits which allows it to conveniently be powered by a lithium ion battery (nominally about 3.7V). The Analog Devices AD8397 is, again, a decent enough output stage given the limitations of the single supply of ~3.7V. Nice Nichiren gold caps inside too, so they are not cheapening out where it counts. Strictly from a specifications standpoint this is traditionally stuff you find in a $300~600 headphone amp and one which is battery powered, but one which is typically larger. The bass and treble adjustments are nice. Don't be suckered into the thinking that they are simply for bass heads trying to mess up the sound. Headphones are not linear, amps are not linear, your ear canal's physical acoustic properties when sealed and driven as a column of air is not linear. Thinking that if you buy expensive and high quality sources, phones and amps you'll get the most accurate and enjoyable sound by keeping things flat and unadjusted is wishful thinking.
    If you wear a set of cans you generally need a headphone amp to drive them and the E17 does that. I am not going to preach here, but if you haven't heard earphones driven by a headphone amp as opposed to a laptop or iPod, well... you should. Depending on the headphones the difference ranges from markedly improved to night-n-day. In-ear types need them less (most maxes out at about 0.1W), cans need them more (1~2W). But they all benefit and not insignificantly. 
    As a DAC, the FiiO E17 beats any laptop or portable audio player. But, like all USB DACs it is annoying in that the computing device may not pipe sounds to it in all instances. And, when it does sometimes it wouldn't mute the built-in speaker circuits and the amp from the HDA codec's integrated amp. There's a SPDIF and digital in, but your computing device may or may not have that output option.
    The E17's amp is punchy, accurate and detailed. I think it can use a bit more forward mids, but it's not objectionably recessed in this regard by any measure. With the XBA-H3 I like the Bass at about +2~3dB, treble at about -1~2 dB. With the XBA-4 you'll cut the treble by -10 dB (bring sibilance from intolerable to just annoying). Shure 535s need a lot more bass (maybe +6~8) to not sound like a pair of bookshelf speakers badly needing a sub-woofer. But, that is all subjective. Ultimately, the sound delivers. Notably better the the somewhat underpowered FiiO E7 and in some pairings better than the Sony PHA-1 (which lack any low and high pass adjust-ability). Way better than the iBasso D-Zero.
    Now... I am not a big fan of the LED display and the push button controls. A knob and a few switches -- like they put on the E12 Amp -- would have done the job with better ergonomics and less distraction (especially in a darkened room). And, if they wanted a digital display a LCD would have been preferable as it wouldn't have to be lit! Regardless, if the purist line of thought is that digital clock and logic noise may affect the audio quality. Well, I can't hear it so that's good enough for me. Quality is so-so... the finish is decent but not top notch. The unit feels, well, a little cheap... but it is VERY cheap so I am not complaining. It is way bigger than the D-Zero and much thicker which is annoying when you are trying to use it when flying Economy class. Again, if they had gone without the display and sacrificed battery life -- 15 hours is really unnecessarily long, who listens for 15 hours straight or 7 hours continuously for that matter? Still... very good overall, very good indeed for something designed, engineered and made in China which sells for a tad over a hundred bucks. And anyone who thinks the build and finish is sub-standard please put it in context with the price! It is 10 times better built and finished than crude looking implements like the Air Head and Bithead -- they aren't bad DACs or Amps, but hell they were crude!!!
      Judge Buff likes this.
    1. Prolificaudio
      Hey bro thanks for the review. Would you choose this over the jds labs c5? Will the dac make a huge difference for me?
      Prolificaudio, Jan 7, 2015
    2. kd93
      Does anyone know where I could get a USB cable for this thing?
      kd93, Apr 18, 2016
  8. zach8278
    Good sounding and affordable.
    Written by zach8278
    Published Apr 22, 2014
    Pros - Build. Can play while charging. Can function as a DAC. Can be used with a wide variety of devices. Features
    Cons - Some cracking/distortion can be heard. When attached to portable players, i have to flip the device around each time to see/access the features.
    Now, this is my first headphone amp review, of my first headphone amp, and i feel confident enough to share my thoughts. So, bear with me as i discuss this in further detail.
    Build Quality: This thing is solid. It is made out of brushed aluminum throughout with precision-cut glass for the screen. The buttons are made out of what appears to be aluminum as well, and when you press them, you get nice feedback from the actual device. Overall, A+ for the build.
    Bass: Now, it is no surprise that you can adjust the bass. When you use this product with low quality headphones or earphones, and you turn the bass all the way up, all you hear is muddy bass. If you own a bunch of high quality headphones, such as the Shure SRH840s or Sennheiser Momentums, you will be able to get some high quality bass! The headphones i mentioned, and a whole lot of others, have high quality drivers and components within, so they are able to handle the bass impact a lot more than low quality headphones. When using the bass adjustment with a reasonably neutral sounding headphone like the Shure SRH840s, you can make your headphones sound superb. I was able to turn my SRH840s into a basshead headphone when the bass was all the way up basically. I would say it gave the headphones i used a slight boomy effect when it came to the bass, but it was bearable.
    Vocals: The octaves in the vocal region were noticeably different from being un-amped. I could hear vocals a lot clearer and they were more distinct and precise. However, i did expect a lot more to be honest. I was never able to make the vocals sound harsh in any way, shape, or form. They remained true to the amplification, and never got harsh.
    Treble: I was very happy with the treble boost that this amp offered. I listen to a lot of drum songs, specifically rock and metal, and this amp got rid of that dull factor that my computers generic sound card had. It made every track in my iTunes library become more pleasant to listen to.
    Headphones used with portable amp - Shure SRH840, Sennheiser Momentum, VMODA M100, Shure SE215, Audio-Technica CKM-55 (No longer have). All of those headphones except for the SRH840s suffered from, a dull sounding/non-engaging treble, in my opinion. When i plugged in those headphones/earphones into the FiiO E17, every single song i played sounded more dynamic and lively, when it came to the treble. Mids became more enveloping, and, like i said, the bass became more enjoyable.
    Conclusion: The question you are probably asking is: Do i recommend this? My Answer: Sure. I believe this is an entry level headphone amplifier, and the sound is pretty good. Would i recommend it over the FiiO E12, I don't know since i have not tried that, but i will let you know once i purchase and review it in the future. Thanks for checking out this review!
    1. jarleiceman
      How do I get my volume over 60.....? it stops here....!!!
      I go in the meny and choose max volume, and i cant get over 60....!!!
      jarleiceman, Sep 2, 2015
  9. Jensenchua
    Cheap, Good sounding, Solid build
    Written by Jensenchua
    Published Apr 3, 2014
    Pros - small, excellent value, Treble and Bass selection, good interface
    Cons - some hips and distortion when using 3.5mm connection, no mid selection
    Been owning E17 for about 2 years also my first amp, glad to see Chinese product that can come out with well build product!!
  10. Myerus
    Well worth getting
    Written by Myerus
    Published Feb 24, 2014
    Pros - Has many forms of input; allows some control over gain, treble, bass, balance and volume; neutral sounding output; good price
    Cons - Audio quality doesn't seem greatly improved (may be scratchiness of vinyl FLAC recordings interfering, or cheap headphones)
    First review here, somewhat uneducated, so tell me how I go!
    This is my first DAC (and headphone amp), and I feel that it was well worth buying. Although my cans probably are not at the level where I need a DAC (Ol' Faithful Sennheiser HD 205), there seems to be some boost in performance with the Fiio E17 'Alpen', although the placebo effect may be to blame.

    I personally love how the E17 doesn't seem to add any color or brightness to the sound, as I am an avid fan of neutrality in music replication; and even if your headphones are too dark, bright or colorful, there are some moderate changes that can be made through the E17 to counteract that.

    It was as simple as plug and play to use, and it comes with a hefty handful of input types, and I personally am very grateful for it's affordable price.

    In conclusion, I believe that this could be considered a fantastic entry level amp/DAC, and may even be sufficient to power a higher-end set of cans, although tube is still the best way to go from what I've heard.
    *Edit: After considerable use, I feel like the best way to describe the action of the E17 is to say that it 'cleans and amplifies sound'. By this, I mean that I feel as though I can hear more instruments playing in the background, and everything sounds a touch louder and more precise.
    1. seaharp1
      Good review...I agree.
      seaharp1, Feb 28, 2014
    2. ColeTheSoul
      I have ordered this from Massdrop and I can't wait for it to arrive. I will be using it mostly with my HD 598's but on the go I will be using it with some Westone IEM's. I will try to post my own review after I have tested it out.
      ColeTheSoul, Apr 2, 2014


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