Another FiiO E9 Amplifier Review
Dec 4, 2010 at 11:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

hasanyuceer

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General info and First impression:
 
First I want to thank Fiio company for sending me a Fiio E9 for this review.
 
As you know, Fiio is known for its portable amps E3/E5/E7 and their cost effectiveness. Fiio E9 is Fiio's first desktop headphone amplifier. I think Fiio E9 will fill the gap of "powerful amplifier" in entry level and also steal some customers from upper levels. E9 costs 120$ and E9+E7 can be found about 190$. (E7 operates as a DAC in combo)
 
E9 comes in a mid-sized cardboard box. Packaging is very good inside, protects fine. Package contains E9 amp, usb cable, manual and extra rubber feet.
 
Design and build quality:
 
I can say that Fiio does good job at designing all products. When I first saw E9, I said to myself that this amp is not Chinese. With brushed aluminium, you can absolutely feel the quality of it. Also its small size is just makes it perfect for office tables or users who have limited place.
 
At the front, there are volume knob (also works as on/off button), a 1/8" and a 1/4" jack socket. At the back there are "Line in" input, "Pre_Output" for using it as Pre-amp, "Line Out" for getting signal from E7's dock, "Gain" switch, USB port (works when E7 is docked) and a power input. As a reform, there is a dock for E7 on the top. You can use E7 as a DAC by docking so E9+E7 becomes a DAC/Amp. Also someone from Fiio said that the dock will be changable with iPod dock in the future.
 
There is two minor problems with design and build quality. First one, there is no white marker on the volume knob so it is hard to see where the marker is. (New info: There will be a white marker on the knob at following batches)
 
Second one, volume knob makes very little crackling. This is really hard to hear with headphones even if no music is playing. I noticed when I tried E9 with Earsonics SM3. I dont think there will be a problem when listening to music.
 
Sound:
 
My review about sound is written using E9+V-DAC. Not E9+E7.
 
About sound signature, I dont feel like E9 adds or removes something from the signal, it amplifies what it gets from the dac. It is very neutral. This is what most of the people want from an amp but also this signature can make some headphones sound beatiful and some sound bad.
 
About bas region, I have no critism for that. It sounds true and fast at the right amount. According to that, midbass is very good too.
 
When it comes to mids, I can say it is good too. Transparency feels good. But I think it lacks some texture and that feels not true. Also sometimes upper mids shine a little but that is not a problem.
 
Treble is also right. It shimmers and extends very nice and it is fast too.
 
About resolution and transparency, while listening with my equipment, I didnt feel anything wrong about E9.
 
But I found E9's soundstage is narrower than my Darkvoice 336. It doesnt have a problem with positioning but its narrower soundstage makes instrument seperation a bit hard. But it is not very easy to notice.
 
Now, I want to talk about E9's strongest point, its power. Thanks to folks at Fiio for doing a great job. E9 easily drives my power-demanding headphone HE-5. HE-5 is listenable at 10 o'clock at the volume knob. When I compare this with Darkvoice 336's, I can say that they have same power. (E9 on High Gain)
 
Despite being a lot of power, E9 has no hiss, it is dead-quiet. I tried 1/8" output with Earsonics SM3 (w/o filters) and 1/4" output with JVC DX1000 and HE-5.
 
Actually it is about personal taste but I want to mention some about how it matches to my headphones. As a neutral amp, E9 didnt go well with my HE-5. HE-5 became very bright and a little annoying. But HE-5 is a headphone begging for tubes, so I think that was normal. Besides this, my DX1000 went well with E9 and took advantage of E9's solid-state amp signature. So according to my opinion, E9 doesnt go well with headphones without body like HE-5, Grado's, some Audio Tehnica's but it goes well with headphones DX1000, HD600/650, Beyer DT series, AKG K601/70x.
 
Comments on Fiio E9+E7 combo:
 
When you dock E7 to the top of E9, E7+E9 become a standalone dac/amp. Then it is ready to use by connecting to computer using USB port at the back of E9. And now you have a powerful, very good sounding combo for a very good price. They perform very good, nothing is missing or wrong to notice.
 
Also I want to state that of course, E7 has some weaknesses when thinking about V-DAC. But something not to forget: only V-DAC costs about 300$ and this combo total costs about 190$. (Also E7's being a portable amp is another advantage.) I think, later, by getting a better DAC, the system can improve very much.
 
Conclusion:
 
As a conclusion, E9 is a transparent, neutral, very powerful little desktop amp. And about 120$ it is a steal. With E7, they are a perfect combo for 190$. I think we will see a lot of people using this combo for their entry or office system.
 
 
 
P.S: I am sorry for my mistakes as English is not my native language.
 

Technical Specs:
●Output power: 1W (16Ω Loaded);80mW600Ω Loaded
●Headphone Impedance Range:16Ω 600Ω
●SNR: ≥100dBA weight[LINE IN]
●Distortion: <0.003%100mW[LINE IN]
●Frequency response: 10Hz~100KHz
● LINE OUT: 2V rms
●Predriveout: 0-2V rms
●Power supply mode: DC15V/ 1.5A
●Size: 149mm×96mm×56mm
●Weight:445g
 
 
Photos:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Dec 4, 2010 at 2:02 PM Post #2 of 6
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Very nice review. Appreciate your thoughts on it! :)
 
Oh yeah, the most recent versions of the E9 include a white marker for the volume pot. So anyone ordering E9s now will have it marked.
beyersmile.png

 
Dec 4, 2010 at 2:33 PM Post #3 of 6

hasanyuceer

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Thanks! I also corrected info about the white marker.
beerchug.gif

 
Quote:
Very nice review. Appreciate your thoughts on it! :)
 
Oh yeah, the most recent versions of the E9 include a white marker for the volume pot. So anyone ordering E9s now will have it marked.
beyersmile.png



 
Dec 4, 2010 at 4:27 PM Post #5 of 6

Alcia

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Quote:
Quote:
Very nice review. Appreciate your thoughts on it! :)
 
Oh yeah, the most recent versions of the E9 include a white marker for the volume pot. So anyone ordering E9s now will have it marked.
beyersmile.png


Not quite. I got mine yesterday from Amazon (overnighted) and it doesn't have the white mark. No biggie though.
 
-Daniel
 



Yeah, the correct thing is that the next production batch will have the white mark. Anything left from the first will lack this.
 
Dec 5, 2010 at 8:57 AM Post #6 of 6

Oddworld

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Take the amazon shipping label. Cut out a sliver. Stick it to the E9
See:
 

 

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