FiiO E17 - Reviews
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.
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.
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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
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YamaVega
YamaVega
isnt the E17's amp the same as E11?
DJScope
DJScope
That's because you're double amping.
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
FiiOE17.jpg
 
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.
 
DSC01428.jpg
 
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.
 
FiiOE17E09k.jpg
 
Performance
 
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.
 
AKGQ701FiiOE17.jpg
 
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.
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denislav
denislav
Nice and helpful review! Thanks
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.....
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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.
 
Sound
 
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:
 
IMG_1827.jpg
 
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:
 
IMG_1826.jpg
 
 
iPhone>Lightning-to-30pin>Fiio 30pin-to-3.5mm>Fiio E17>Shure SE215
 
That's right, I amp my highly efficient IEMs at work.
   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:
 
IMG_1830.jpg
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:
IMG_1820.jpg
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.
ranjitotski
ranjitotski
Is it suited for my Shure 846? thanks
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!!!
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Prolificaudio
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?
kd93
kd93
Does anyone know where I could get a USB cable for this thing?
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!
jarleiceman
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
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!!
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.
seaharp1
seaharp1
Good review...I agree.
ColeTheSoul
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.
Pros: Good looking. Solid built. Useful Equalizer feature. Definitely way better than integrated sound cards. Bass is tight, mids are good.
Cons: Treble is a bit unnatural to me but when you reduce it from EQ it sounds very good and normal. No automatic screen sleep. You must lock it to turn off
Great product from Fiio. I think its really good for starters. Works fine with almost all headphones. EQ is great. Clean sounding. Performance/Price ratio is definitely good. You can't go wrong. And also it can be used as a headphone amplifier alone. Portable. Extras are good.
Pros: Clear, good imaging, nice small mobile setup
Cons: Paint wears out quickly, Equalizer sounds a bit digital
Let's get the negative out of the way first... I've owned two products made by Fiio: the E11 and the E17, and both fail to impress me. Maybe it's because I'm just not sensitive enough to hear the real difference, maybe it's the synergy with my other equipment, but I've owned a couple of devices, headphones and stereo equipment and where each and every single one of them had a charm of their own these just don't cut it for me. 
The high ratings I've given them however, tell the story of a small pocket-sized device that I took with me to school, in the train, on the bus, my friends even holidays in France! And everywhere it always did what it's supposed to: providing the noise free juices my DT990 required. And it is a clear sounding unit, with a good tone even if it's a little dry. And with a bucketload of extra features the value is pretty good. The only feature that really made me get it was the equalizer (to turn down the bass and treble on my Beyer) and this let me down quite a bit. Turning the treble and bass up and down isn't really smooth and even when I did use it I could never find the sweet spot, it was either just above or under the desired amount. The unit is build like a tank though, and the only minus here is the paint which seems to be a bit thin. I took good care of my E17 and yet the paint on the edges seemed to fade every day. But even then I kind of liked the styling, made me think of when i got my first mp3 players.i
So there you have it, it does everything advertised, but it lacks a bit of character (dare I say musicality?). I sold mine to buy a HRT Microstreamer and haven't regretted it in any way, then again I just wanted a USB dac with a line out and a simple amplifier.
StratocasterMan
StratocasterMan
What is your source? I mean, like a phone or something? I use an E17 at home with 88.2 or 96-24 FLAC files fed from a PC laptop, and it sounds great. What is your mobile source? I hope it's not an iPhone or something...  
StratocasterMan
StratocasterMan
Unless you have a proper adapter to bypass the phone's soundcard and use only the E17, you may be using the phone's soundcard. What is your source? Where are your music files stored? If they're stored on a phone, are you bypassing the phone to get to the E17? What adapter do you have between your phone and the E17?
Bosstooned
Bosstooned
Nope MacBook, lossless files. Use a Microstreamer now which pleases me the way the Alpen never did. Like I said maybe it's the synergy, after all I do use a 'controversial' headphone as my main.
Pros: see review
Cons: see review
This review is mainly for the DAC part only with L7. Mostly in comparison to my Schiit Modi. Just a few random things to note:
 
  1. Sounds flat with a touch of warmth. Actually, just slightly more than a touch. It wouldn't be my first choice as a budget DAC if I was using just an HD-650. It seems OK for the K702 Anniversary. Based on memory, the HRT MSII seemed warmer sounding.
  2. Everything is nice and full sounding in comparison to my Schiit Modi (doesn't mean it's better). The Modi is a bit thinner, but clearer and with a larger soundstage. Detail seems about the same.
  3. Sometimes it sounds very very slightly muffled in comparison to the Modi. Possibly just placebo or just due to it being warmer.
  4. Some bad/garbage tracks can be more fatiguing compared to my Modi. I think mostly in the lower mids only. Both measure flat, but Modi sounds smoother.
  5. The bass is really good! Doesn't seem emphasized at all. It did on the E10 and I have no clue why.
  6. I don't really notice any treble roll-off at all. Apparently there is some when just used as a DAC.
  7. Works very well with my Xbox 360 using the Optical Connection. It even seems to drive the Q701 well enough for gaming.
  8. Sounded a tad congested or almost too warm when used with the HD-650 (DAC only). Probably just my weird preferences.
  9. I really disliked the E10, but felt this is pretty good.
  10. The Modi sounds better overall to me, but this has some nice minor coloration so it's a keeper.
  11. I have not really tried many headphones for this with the built in amp. It sounded OK with the Q701.
  12. Way smaller than I expected!
  13. Very musical (not excessively colored or anything).
  14. I bought this because I love the Wolfson DAC in my Ipod Classic 3G (monochrome!). This sounds pretty close in sound signature, but even better!
  15. Does not ever sound "cold and analytical". I hate anything that sounds that way. My Ipod Touch 2G sounds like that, but the ODAC and Modi did not. The Magni DID.
  16. Should be good for anything but the warmest sounding headphones.
  17. Might have some slight emphasis in the lower mids (not as much as the E10). Still flat though, don't ask me how.
  18. Second best Fiio product i've tried so far. Not a fan of the E7, E10 or E11, but do like the E9 and E5. Wish I never sold the E9!
wenyuanalive
wenyuanalive
How do you use its DAC part(not the amp) separately?
recarcar
recarcar
Great review! Wish this little DAC/AMP had a lower floor noise with really sensitive iems though!
Pros: Great performance/price ratio; multifunctional; large number of audio input options
Cons: Not the best option for those wanting a pristine and highly-detailed sound; some crackling/distortion when using with Mac computers
IMG_0198.jpg
 
I picked up a FiiO E17 when en route Germany to stay there for the 2012 Christmas period and the early days of 2013. I wanted to do some video editing work and listen to music when over there but didn't want to be without the stalwart reference quality Lavry DA10 which I didn't want to travel with on that occassion, so I decided to give the E17 a try.
 
Prior to owning the E17 I owned the FiiO E7, which was my first DAC and one I enjoyed very much, though wanting a more neutral sound than the E7 provided I upgraded from it. Since buying the E17 a few years after owning the E7, I was initially very impressed with the relatively more neutral-sounding E17, an all-in-one DAC/Amp with a clear overall sound and inbuilt EQ functions that I have enjoyed using, particularly when wanting more bass when listening with the HD 800
.
When I compared the E17 and my DA10 - a DAC/Amp costing many times the price of the E17 - the difference wasn't as night and day as I imagined it might be. The DA10 has much more high-end treble detail, which by comparison sounded a bit fuzzy on the overall less clear sounding E17 (I write this from memory as at time of writing I'm unable to use the DA10 with my laptop - more on that later in this review), but overall and considering the price of the E17, it does a great job of creating a cleaner-sounding listening experience than plugging directly into the headphone output of my laptop. The E17 also serves as a nice enhancement to my iPhone when I use the E17 as a headphone amplifier, but to be honest, when I'm out and about and listening to music I tend not to analyse the sonics of what I'm hearing and more often enjoy the music without feeling the need for a headphone amplifier as I'm happy with the level of amplification my iPhone already provides.
 
For Xmas 2012 I received the gift of a Sony PS3 and since returning to my place in the UK, the E17 has lived for many hours as part of my PS3/TV setup, which is currently also my main home cinema rig. Like how the E17 provides a clearer sound in relation to plugging into the headphone socket of my laptop, the E17 removes virtually all of the distortion I experienced when connecting my hi-fi amp directly to my TV, without a DAC in the audio chain. Adding the E17 to that setup has turned out to be a great value and cost-effective component contributing to a much more transparent listening experience than what I experienced when using my bookshelf hi-fi speakers and headphones without a DAC. For me, the E17 would be worth the money I paid for it if I just used it as part of my PS3 rig, but it does oh so much more.
 
To expand on what I wrote above, I have been unable to use my Lavry DA10 with my laptop due to snapping a headphone plug off in my laptop's headphone socket, and have been resorting to the USB-connected E17 when listening to music, editing video content, and other audio-listening-related purposes, and to be honest, since using the E17 I haven't missed my DA10 that much, though I would prefer to use the DA10 due to the enhancements in listening quality it provides. But really, considering the performance/price ratio of the E17 and what a versatile multifunctional device it is - and one with a large number of audio input options - I consider the E17 to be the best value head-fi component I have yet purchased and give it my highest recommendation to anyone (particularly those new to the 'head-fi hobby') willing to spend ~$150/£100 to investigate the benefits a great value DAC/Amp can provide.
Chris J
Chris J
Nice write-up!
Windsor
Windsor
Thank you!
Dargin
Dargin
Great review.
Pros: Great connectivity, lightweight, small
Cons: Only 6dB and 12dB gain, EQ jumps in 2's
I've only had this a few days but it's a big improvement over the flat EQ from my MacBook Pro.  I'll add a more in-depth opinion when I've used it for a little longer.
Have tried many headphone DAC/Amps in the £50 - 200 range and nothing comes close to the resolving, enjoyale nature of this bit of kit. Western manufacturers should take note. Quality, performance and a great price point can all exist together! :) Had mine for almost a year now and have no intention of letting it go...
PeterDLai
PeterDLai
Out of curiosity, what other DAC/amps have you tried?
Krisman
Krisman
Hey, have tried an Arcam rPAC, Musical Fidelity M1, Graham Slee Novo fed from an audiolab MDAC, iBasso Cobra, Schiit Audio Lyr fed from a Wadia DAC. Also more but I cannot remember them! :)
smpie
smpie
I'm planning to get this peace of gear as my first audio venturing. I ordered the Beyerdynamic T5p and plan on using it with it. Connected to my mac and iphone/ipod. But I will first do sum good listening without any amp or other hardware.The big reason I’m getting it is after reading a article you can find googling “FiiO E7 USB DAC & Amp objective review” I always like to ad words like “objective review” to my search. Because I can tell you one thing for sure. The more I read a bout a product to more contradictions about it I find. So there is no other way than to go objective on the sucker hahahah…!!I decided (for the moment) NOT to get any gear that I can’t sample / hear without a objective review.I would have liked to hear my T5p’s before I got them ..But there was no store that has them !So when they get in I hope I like them.. ! Thanks again for you review. I really like a review from someone that doesn’t let price color his opinion..I think if you tell a lot of audio guys that this peace of kit costs 3 times more they would like it more and respect it probably hahahha!!!
Pros: Neutral. Multi-function. Solid built.
Cons: Nothing extraordinary or impressive. Just did it job fine.
I've owned E7 before, and had a Centrance DacPort LX. Well, E17 fits the bill to be the value buy (Over here Audio gears are expensive).
 
Sound Quality: Nothing impressive. Just plainly neutral with slightly rolled off treble. Not as energetic as the previous Dacport LX. Doesn't like to mess with the bass/treble boost functions. As an amp, it's quite powerful. Can drive my T70 (250 Ohm) with ease (my comfortable listening volume is at 45, minimal gain).
 
Built: Tough as tank, solid. Love the LED, looks classy. Quite bulky.
 
Features: Lots of features available. Bass/Treble Boost, channel configuration (left right +/- gain), is portable with built-in battery inside. Lots of optional connectivity (coax, usb, aux-in) and also DAC part supports up to 24/96 on USB (well, even the screen will show the playing song's bitrate info).
 
Value: Considered one of the cheaper and versatile DAC/Amp combo. Great for on-the-go audiophiles.
smpie
smpie
I'm planning to get this peace of gear as my first audio venturing. I ordered the Beyerdynamic T5p and plan on using it with it. Connected to my mac and iphone/ipod. But I will first do sum good listening without any amp or other hardware. I do have to say I do not agree with the rolled off treble being stated here.
There is no objective data to back this up. As a matter of fact there is a article on the web about the FiiO E7 showing the E7 to be a pretty good device.. The Fiio E17 is an updated version. And most of the internal hardware is the same… Just do a google of this “FiiO E7 USB DAC & Amp objective review “ I always like to ad words like “objective review” to my search. Because I can tell you one thing for sure. The more I read a bout a product to more contradictions about it I find. So there is no other way than to go objective on the sucker hahahah…!! Wel i still enjoy Head-Fi review’s and articles.. Good job. !
Pros: DAC
Cons: AMP
The amp section is okay its not great. I would rate it 7/10
 
The DAC section data streamed from a computer USB is much better. I would rate it 8/10
 
Computer USB -->E17(DAC) docked with E09K with lo-bipass on is the best quality. I would rate it 9/10
Pros: compact and surprisingly good
Cons: some hiccups as a dac
an amazing product, as a dac it sometimes stutters when you work your computer hard.
XxDobermanxX
XxDobermanxX
Nice detailed review, based on how much info i got from the review , will definitely buy one :p
yokken
yokken
This is the first time I've read about the stutter, but I've experienced it many times. Glad to know it's not just me.
Marleybob217
Marleybob217
That 'stutter' isn't caused by the dac, but by your computer. It's called latency, you probably are using it on your laptop? If so, try turning of your internal wifi adapter, this is usually the cause of the latency. It has something to do with drivers taking too much bandwith/memory (I really don't know) of your usb ports, causing the latency in your music. You can download a latency monitoring program like dpc latency monitor. Than you can literally see the latency, and you can turn off devices one by one to check if the latency is gone.
Pros: Sounds 100 times better than onboard audio, portable, built in equalizer, nice interface.
Cons: None that I can think of
Well, this is my first amp and DAC, but I can tell you that if you have some decent headphones and are just plugging it straight in your PC, you're doing it terribly wrong!
It just sounds so much better with this lil' guy.
 
I got it with the cable to connect it to your iPod so that I can have awesome audio on the road too.
 
Maybe it'd be nice to be able to equalize the mids too, but you can just lower the treble and bass to raise the mids, technically.
Spiderman
Spiderman
I have a quick question on these, so basically my laptop headphone jack got busted. So with this would I be able to essentially just hook it up through the usb and connect it with my headphones? And if so how much better does it sound when compared to the computers built in sound card? Sorry for the dumb questions I'm sort of a noob.
Nexodon
Nexodon
Yeah, you plug it in, and it's ready to go. This device is not perfect (i hate its clicking and it could be more powerful), but surely it's a huge improvement over generic built-in audio chips.
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