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FiiO E9 Desktop Headphone Amplifier and Dock for E7 USB DAC

  1. Brooko
    Fiio E9 - Affordable & Powerful
    Written by Brooko
    Published Sep 3, 2011
    Pros - Powerful, clean output with slight warmth, small footprint, value for money, drives most headphones, nice connectability with E7
    Cons - Limited Line In Options
    I originally purchased the E7 - mainly as a portable dac/amp, but as time progressed, I wanted to use it mainly for my desktop (bypassing the onboard), and needed a more powerful amp as I progressed to upgrade my cans.
    The obvious choice was to use the E9, and pair it with the E7.
    Technical Specs
    From Fiio's packaging / website
    1. Output power : 1W (16ohm loaded), 80mW (600 ohm loaded)
    2. Headphone impedance range : 16 ohm to 600 ohm
    3. SNR (line in) : ≥100dB (A weight)
    4. Distortion (line in) : <0.003% (100mW)
    5. Frequency response : 10Hz ~100KHz
    6. Fixed line out 2V rms
    7. Adjustable out : 0-2V rms
    8. Power supply: DC15V / 1.5A
    9. Size : 149mm x 96mm x 56mm
    10. Weight : 445g
    Build Quality
    The E9 is built really well, and a lot of attention appears to have been paid to get it looking really nice.  The E9 has a brushed aluminium chassis, a front face plate featuring dual inputs (3.5mm and 6.35mm) +   power on LED and a very smooth volume potentiometer.
    The top of the chassis has a dock for the E7 - and will also be able to be used for future Fiio products such as the E17 dac/amp and also their new DAP.
    The rear plate has a power in plug (for the included plug), USB input (16bit/44.1 for using with the E7 docked into the E9), a hi/lo gain switch, dual fixed volume line-out RCA plugs, a variable 3.5mm line out, and a 3.5mm line in.
    The overall build quality IMO is very good.  No rough edges, everything fits perfectly, and the exterior design looks very classy.
    Performance / My Thoughts
    Although so far I haven't had any really hard to drive cans, the E7/E9 combination has been very good.  It imparts a very small amount of warmth - which goes nicely with my Alessandros and Beyers (DT880 250 ohm).  Overall though the E9 is very neutral, and appears to be extremely powerful.  It is able to drive the Beyers very easily with the pot only just getting to between 9-10 o'clock (or about 25% of the available travel)
    Even at high volumes the E9 has been noiseless on my set-up.  No signs of hissing.  I have only been using the 6.35mm headphone plug & to be honest I just could not imagine using IEMs with this amp - it's not what it was designed for.
    I have my powered speakers plugged int o the fixed line-out RCAs and it is a really nice set-up.  As soon as a headphone is plugged, the speakers are bypassed.  I have also tried my iPod via LOD to the rear 3.5mm input, and this set-up also works flawlessly.
    As a value for money desktop headphone amp - especially as an entry level - the Fiio E9 is very, very hard to beat.  Sleek footprint, solid build, great sounding, and very reasonably priced.  Fiio has a winner on their hands.  This combined with the E17 (to be released) will be a very formidable entry level package.
      Syros likes this.
    1. TigreNegrito
      Great review. Since you have both the E7/E9 combo, maybe you can answer a question for me. I've read the manuals on the Fiio site and it's unclear whether the E7 imparts any of it's features (ie DAC, EQ, boost, etc.) to the sound coming out of the E9. Does it just sit on top and look pretty while it is recharging, or does it actually do more? I'm holding out for the E17, but may get a different (M-stage) amp if the two Fiio products don't work in conjunction with one another. Thanks again!
      TigreNegrito, Dec 18, 2011
    2. Brooko
      Had both (since moved to an NFB-12) - but I can still answer your question :)
      When docked - the E7 acts as a DAC. Audio signal runs digitally via USB to the E7 DAC, then is amped by the E9. No other features of the E7 are used while docked - just the DAC. It is a good entry levek set-up.
      Brooko, Dec 19, 2011
  2. Croozer
    My life with the FiiO E9
    Written by Croozer
    Published Aug 13, 2011
    Pros - Powerful and affordable
    Cons - None.
    I was in the market for a desktop amp and DAC, I did some research on the web and this little amp kept sticking out from the crowd so I grabbed one with the accompanying E7 DAC for less than $200.

    This amp has all the power I need and drives all my headphones effortlessly, it is a very transparent amp and it sounds great, I don't think it can be beat at double the price.


      Syros likes this.
  3. Jube
    Great Bang for the Buck
    Written by Jube
    Published May 4, 2011
    Powers the HD600's with ease
  4. agogo
    Struggling to hear any SQ improvement ...
    Written by agogo
    Published Apr 11, 2011
    Pros - Sleek design, quality finish
    Cons - Either my L3 is faulty or the E9 jack ports are not a good fit.
    I am struggling to discern any improvement in the SQ of my headphones HD598 and K702.  They are amped by the just out of the box E7 & E9 respectively.  Any o, improvement I will say improvement is only to boost the bass performance by a fraction (E7 on +1) and volume  (E7 by 10%) by circa 20%.
    I prefer the K702 & HD598 sound signature unamped (ie without the E7). Clarity is marginally compromised with a hint of hiss and color on E7 especially, but which has graciously rolled off highs. E9 provides a lot more power. Both enrich the bass for contemporary rock music, etc.
    But then without much comparison (and I am fussy) I'd thought that both my cans already sounded really good.The biggest disappointment & dealbreaker however, is the poor connectivity at the line out dock. Increasingly so.                 Does anyone else  share the same issue.?
    1. View previous replies...
    2. agogo
      @D-P: Thanks for that. There is hope yet! It sounded rather open already but I'll give it a go. I suspect the culprit could be the L3 or the Line In at the back of the amp. Those holes (E7/E9) look a lot bigger than Apple (iPod, iPhones) holes. But I think the L3 could have something to do with it too, the slightest nudge or twist, compromises connection. I shall have to isolate the cause with some tests. Any suggestions...need to access an L3 equiv - that should do the trick
      @clams: enlightening ... I have yet to use the computer as source. will give it a try. but what is the LOD for then? I got the E7 primarily as a "portable" hp amp, I presumed the L3 was for connecting the E7 to the portable sources, iphone, ipac, i-...
      agogo, Apr 11, 2011
    3. clams
      It is for portable sources. However, it is also to be used as a DAC through USB which is optimal because the iPod's built in DAC is absolute crap. Plugging your E9 with E7 docked will allow you to use the E7 DAC with the E9's amplifier which allows you to power more demanding phones. The L3 is for portable use only. The E9 can adequately drive the K701. The E7 is pathetically bad at driving these phones. I personally didn't actually hear my pair of K702s adequately driven until I used the Matrix M-stage
      I wouldn't worry about burn in too much burn in as the changes are subtle.
      clams, Apr 11, 2011
    4. Croozer
      If you were using the E9 and E7 correctly you can not use the bass boost or volume functions of the E7.

      Croozer, Aug 13, 2011