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FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier

  1. EventVista
    Sounded great ..... When it was working. FIIO does not stand behind their products.
    Written by EventVista
    Published Oct 16, 2013
    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.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. tdockweiler
      I think this is a fair review. If I had this same situation i'd give it a half star too
      tdockweiler, Oct 17, 2013
    3. EventVista
      I may seem harsh, but in all honesty customer service and product support is very important to a lot of people. I realize products break, malfunction, etc, but when they do under a reasonable warranty timeframe, the company should buck up and stand behind their product. I think I am being fair in that: 1) I owned the product 3 months and it failed. 2) I attempted to seek support and FIIO jerked me around, wasted my time and did not stand behind the product.

      Similarly, I own a pair of Monoprice 8323 headphones. The plastic that holds on of the speakers cracked after a drop. I emailed Monoprice, they sent me a brand new pair within a few days and did not even ask for the broken ones back, all they asked was I take a picture of the broken product. Nor did they charge me for shipping. Because of this, I would rate the Monoprice even higher than normal due to their excellent customer service model.

      Anyways, thanks to everyone for the feedback.
      EventVista, Oct 18, 2013
    4. EventVista
      Ok, so 1/2 star may have been too harsh, so just to keep things fair, and because it sounded great when it worked I raised it to two stars :)
      EventVista, Oct 18, 2013
  2. genclaymore
    Good Old dac/amp when it works
    Written by genclaymore
    Published Feb 18, 2016
    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. bcasey25raptor
    it sounds worse then my onboard
    Written by bcasey25raptor
    Published Jun 24, 2011
    Pros - durable, has an amp
    Cons - sounds worse then my onboard and ipod.
    ok everyone i am probably going to get hate for this but i should have ordered the grado sr60s instead. my conexant hd audio sound on my laptop is obviously onboard. from the opinion and belief of people on head-fi is that onboard is terrible. they recommended i buy the fiio e7. so i got $200 for a graduation present and decided to get a fiio e7. i was certain it would make a difference as everyone has been praising it. so after 8 days it arrives. i am so excited to hear what i have been missing. i quickly plug it in and let it charge a bit. i plug my shure srh840 in and at first (placebo effect) i think they sound phenomenal. then after a few songs i plugged my shure srh840 into my computers audio input. and guess what? it is actually clearer and sounds fuller. correct me if i am wrong but i thought there was supposed to be a difference with the fiio e7. i was under the impression it was better then on board sound. i give it an overall 2.5/5 because it has an amp. but other then that this thing is not worth it. i am sorry but maybe this is really just snake oil.  if anyone of you guys are new here. avoid at all costs. none of this improves anything. and the higher up you go the less of an improvement you achieve. i am done with dacs. my on board seems really good in comparison.
      julian67 likes this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Saltticus
      I have a FiiO E7 and I bought it to replace the Realtek in my laptop. The E7 makes my SR80is clearer and instrument separation has also improved. I do have doubts on it being worth the money though. I am currently considering returning the product and spending the money on better cans (ATH-AD900). I feel like the marginal benefits would be much greater. I plan on buying another dac/amp later, but one that is slightly more future-proof as the E7 cannot handle files with 24-bit sample sizes.
      Saltticus, Aug 10, 2011
    3. Sound Quest
      It's "snakeoil" to your ears, but not to everybodies ears.
      Sure, there are better DAC's out there that will make a huge difference to cheap on-board soundcards. But the FIIO E7 does its job reasonably well for it's price point.

      I would only really recommend this amp for closed headphones through. They don't see to give Open Headphones quite enough juice to make them sound right.
      Sound Quest, Jul 17, 2013
    4. GainsbarreAudio
      I was really reluctant about this E7 amp because I did not like the sound of the Fiio X3 I bought before, so if this amp was ''SnAkE OiL'' i''ll be quite pre-programmed to don't fall in this trendy trap. Still, after selling my X3 I suddenly need a dac for my mac and ipod...don't like Ipod sound too so my curiosity lend me to the E7. An affordable Amp with a (WOLFSON) Dac and lot of features for like 70-80$ sure sound intriguing to me. This is Not ''true Audiophile grade stuff'', but I must admit it sound pretty good and I sincerly feel and hear subtle difference in audio quality and this is what we crave for when we listen. The sound isn't perfect at all, we can find hiss if we listen loudly with sensible iem, the dynamic can lack in clear separation but the overall presentation is better than the source (if the source is not HIFI), the sound of my mac is fuller, richer, wider and have more treble than before-I can hear the Wolfson signature sound here.The fact that this is a portable amp too make it a no brainer
      ps:That's true to that the E7 isn't a Powerfull beast, not sure it can drive properly headphones above 64ohm headphones...
      GainsbarreAudio, Aug 30, 2014
  4. theeyealtering
    Good alternative to laptop sound
    Written by theeyealtering
    Published Jul 1, 2011
    Pros - Powerful amp, Well built
    Cons - Interface
    This little amp has plenty of juice and is a good replacement for dodgy laptop sound. Just don't expect it to outperform more expensive DACs, soundcards and amps because it won't.
    The interface is a bit irritating and I find myself wishing it had a volume knob, not just buttons. I find it hard to figure out which button is which without looking at it.
    Generally though, it seems pretty solidly built, so no complaints there, although one of the jacks on mine has always been a bit iffy.

    Sound is reasonable, a little bit of extra bass and a lot more clarity when compared with my onboard sound. I'd also probably say it sounds better than my Sansa Clip+. Clearly outperformed by a better DAC or something like an Asus STX though.
    Amp is quite powerful and can go loud. I rarely push it past 20.

    Certainly not the giant killer that it is sometimes made out to be, but nevertheless a good entry level product that pairs particularly well with low impedance/sensitivity phones like lower model Grados and canalphones (really good with RE0). Anything that is harder to drive or has higher quality sound really deserves better than the E7 though.
    1. tattoou2
      If someone needs an alternative to shoddy pc sound, the Fiio E7 provdes an inexpensive, nicely made, decent sounding stepping stone to more expensive DAC/amps. After using it for a while, you'll probably want to explore other offerings.
      tattoou2, Jul 1, 2011
  5. Brooko
    E7 - first AMP/DAC - good entry level value
    Written by Brooko
    Published Mar 1, 2011
    Pros - Clean SQ (dac), good build quality, value, versatility
    Cons - Bass boost can be boomy, tends to be cold/analytical, can sound a little 'thin'
    This is my first AMP/DAC, so unfortunately I don't have anything to compare it with. I'm also using a mid-range set of Shure IEM's (SE420) and a lower range set of Sennheiser eh250 cans. For a source, I have a Cowon iAudio7, an iPod Touch 4G, and the PC just has a Realtek onboard sound chip.

    It didn't make a huge difference as an amp - but the dac is quite clean and better than my netbook's integrated audio. To be honest, there isn't a great deal of difference with my main PC's integrated onboard though.

    The design of the E7 is very simple. It matches up with my iPod Touch 4G really well for size (I also bought the L3 LOD). The controls are very simply and easy to use. The tactile buttons for volume are well placed and easy to locate and use. I really like the dual 3.5mm h/p outs.

    The included extras are good as well. I did buy the LOD separate - but included in the pack is a 3.5-3.5mm LO/LI cable, a free L2 3.5mm cable, a plush 'velour' carry case, a well fitting silicone cover, a fitted screen protector and a spare, and a band for keeping your DAP and AMP together.

    On to the SQ. After charging the E7, I plugged it into my iPod using the LOD, and then (in turn) my SE420 and after the eh250. All my files are ALAC (lossless). The first thing I noticed was a slight increase in clarity - everything just seemed to be a little crisper. I'm not sure I this is just the E7 or the LOD, placebo (not properly volume matched) or a combination of everything. But I am enjoying the new sound for now.

    EDIT - after a lot more experience with other amps (and other cans) - I now suspect any improvement from the iPod was likely to be expectation bias (placebo).

    Anyway - where the E7 shows an improvement is as a DAC - if you have issues with onboard sound. I use Linux at home, I plugged the E7 into a USB port, and it was immediately recognised and usable. I then started to play a few of my favourite songs (again all lossless - FLAC). Improvements were negligible with the main PC - but the sound was cleaner on the netbook (no interference/noise).

    The E7 does have a bass boost option - and while it seemed to work well on the first level (quite subtly) - the level 2 and 3 bass boosts became a little boomy, I ended up not using it as the bass punch already present was enough for me.

    Now I'm just waiting to pick up my next cans (Shure SRH 840's) in a few weeks time. I'm interested to see what the E7 does with these!

    For a beginner's first DAC - I'd recommend the E7 as a value for money option - IF you are having issues (noise) with current onboard sound. The amp section is really a bonus. Anoter bonus is being able to pair the E7 with the E9 for a desktop solution.

    EDIT >> After being able to compare to other amps
    As an update to my initial review - while I still agree with everything I initially wrote, I'd like to comment that compared to subsequent amps I've owned (E11, PortaTube and Audio-gd NFB-12) the E7 - even in combo with the E9 - sounds a little cold and thin. I know I do prefer a slightly warm signature (definitely a mid-range fan), so this may have a bearing. After comparing the E7+E9 to the Audio-gd, I definitely prefer the NFB-12. It has more body. Subsequently I've altered my rating slightly - but still consider it good entry level for what the E7 does offer at the price.

    Please note - it's value is very dependent on your onboard sound - improvement if your onboard is inherently noisy - not much if onboard sound is clean.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Brooko
      I just revisited this review - and I guess it shows how little I knew when I wrote it. It's amazing what perspective will give you.
      I've left the original reply I posted for gimpy - but I now realise it for what it is - over-exuberance with a new toy - and a case of expectation bias. The E7 is great if you have a noisy onboard. For portable use (DAP rather than netbook) - there are better options - the amp is simply to weak to really drive a lot of harder to run cans.
      Brooko, Jul 18, 2012
    3. dma1138
      Could you please list here another "better options"? :)
      dma1138, Oct 18, 2012
    4. Brooko
      What's your use and budget? Do you need a dac, or would you be using it as an amp only? Need more info if I was to give you any recommendations. PM me if you want.
      Brooko, Oct 18, 2012
  6. Dunne14
    Fiio e7
    Written by Dunne14
    Published Jan 31, 2011
    Pros - Great for portable use!
    Cons - Not the Greatest amp that can be used
    This is a great little powerful amp for powering headphones that need a little extra boost. This has a built in DAC which is really useful and increases the sound quality of music. For being a portable amp, it is one of the most user-friendly and best amps for traveling without alot of connections and setup. Especially for those who dont know much about audio set-ups this is a great device.
  7. sploit
    just received
    Written by sploit
    Published Oct 12, 2010
    Pros - Sounds great
    The most obvious use of cheap parts is the screen, In fact it was scratched before I got it and running it across my sleeve only made it worse (oops, [​IMG] photo attached really doesn't do justice).
    * I should have read the above review about the protective film, its kinda hard to notice on the device actually *
    Sounds pretty good however I'm a new to the hifi scene, thus my judgement may not be the best.
  8. NymPHONOmaniac
    THE best DAC-AMP solution for budget audiophile
    Written by NymPHONOmaniac
    Published Apr 3, 2016
    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).
  9. Hifianddrumming
    Fiio E7 Review
    Written by Hifianddrumming
    Published Nov 14, 2011
    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.
    1. Blue Boat
      Didn't notice any dramatic differences when hooked up to my Clip+. Dno why you heard such massive differences when hooked up to your Ipod. It did make the sound from my laptop better, reduced hissing, made things a tiny wee bit clearer, which can be a bad thing since it revealed some flaws. Could be placebo, could be the amp. Idno. Doesn't matter. But I ended up selling these. Regarding the review: strong use of audiophile lingo. Not a bad read, but not entirely accurate either (imho). Imo, the differences are not worth the $90 price tag if you are going to use it with a portable player. But with a PC/laptop/notebook with a really bad onboard audio, definitely worth it. Just a side note: Might anger some, but I think the Sansa media players amps are better than the E7's. The only part that makes it worth the buy is the DAC.
      Blue Boat, Nov 15, 2011
    2. JHex2
      did you use the headphone out on the ipod or an lod?
      JHex2, Nov 17, 2011
    3. Hifianddrumming
      Blue boat- This was my first "audiophile" amp and DAC. I only bought it to be used as a DAC. I have no idea why I noticed such a difference, I don't as much any more, but I actually wrote this review back in September as a thread, and head-fi was bugging me to write a review for it, so it was kind of just copy-paste. I was in that honey-moon phase when you're absolutely in love with what you got. I have to say though, it is a superb start to computer audio when paired with the E9.
      JHex2- I was using the fiio E9 LOD
      Hifianddrumming, Nov 19, 2011
  10. bjoy04
    Fiio E7
    Written by bjoy04
    Published Aug 12, 2011
    Pros - Silent, Step up in SQ over my Pioneer VSX-918V
    Cons - Price, Volume/Power, Shelf-Battery Life
    I'm happy with this for my purposes.  I use a LOD as well, which may account for some SQ improvements.  When I listen to music from my Desktops HD Audio out (Gigabyte UD3R) it is more silent with better clarity coming through this (E7) than my Pioneer VSX-918V(Receiver).  This was a surprise to me.  Of course my receiver can put out much more volume, than this but my headphones (Senn. HD 280) can't take that much power so they sound best through the E7.  Of course the E7 also seems to remove so bass as well; it cleans up the bass as well but reduces it.
    **I use a headphone jack from my desktop to the E7, and an optical cable from my desktop to the Pioneer.  I also have a Radeon 5870 graphics card that has hdmi out that carries hd audio.  This has a closer SQ level when compared with the E7 but it still is not as silent.