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The FiiO E10K--all-new DAC and amp stages

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by joe bloggs, Jul 10, 2014.
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  1. Joe Bloggs Contributor
    An update to an affordable classic DAC/amp in our lineup... DAC and amp stages upgraded from WM8740-AD8397 to PCM5102-LMH6643 :)

    Now in stock in the US, with international launch to follow in August. :)
  2. DJScope
    Great news! I always liked the look of the E10. Might look into getting one of these for my desktop sometime in the future.
    When will it be available internationaly or in Australia.
  3. tomscy2000
    Whoa --- it's finally released!
    As an alpha/beta tester who has been testing it for the past few months (and has had to keep completely mum about it), I can now say that it's definitely an audible improvement over the E10. It has a clearer sound, much flatter frequency response, and its internal DAC settings are optimized to take advantage of the PCM5102A's features.
    No longer does it have the problem of noise when plugging in headphones, either.
    Personally, I like pairing it with FiiO's upcoming portable amplifier (can I utter those letters, Joe?) --- which is also a substantial improvement over its predecessor!
  4. Joe Bloggs Contributor

    All in good time... :wink:
  5. tomscy2000
    Alright, well, I'll stick to the E10K for now...
    What I can say is that I tried to do my job as a tester to the best of my ability, and that's to try to pinpoint any problems possible.
    There was a choice that FiiO had to make between the PCM5102A and a similar competing part (most of you can figure out what that is), and I think they made the right choice here. To me, the E10K is a natural sounding DAC and competes well against the Audioquest Dragonfly 1.2.
    To Joe: Did you guys end up enabling the apodizing filter? I couldn't confirm that.
  6. DJScope
    Fiio E13? [​IMG]
  7. EraserXIV
    Nice, have been hearing rumors about its eventual release. Is this in stock anywhere?
  8. DJScope
    @Joe Bloggs
    I never really understood why the "K"? What does it stand for?
  9. EraserXIV
    I don't think it stands for anything, just like the 'S' in iPhone 5S doesn't stand for anything. 
  10. DJScope
    I think the "S" stands for "Same" [​IMG]
    Mython and SleathX1 like this.
  11. ClieOS Contributor
    My guess is, K stands for the word "改", as in 'reversion'.
  12. PurpleAngel Contributor
    K stands for "Klingon".
  13. squallkiercosa
  14. EraserXIV
    Can anyone who has been testing it out elaborate a little on how it compares with the original E10 and the dragonfly?
  15. tomscy2000
    The E10K is definitely better than the E10. Subjectively, it's more open-sounding (less roll-off) and less-veiled, leading to better resolution. It doesn't have circuit noise issues when plugging in headphones anymore, and the bass boost is improved --- less boomy and a bit more subtle. With the new analog design of the E10K, there shouldn't be any clipping issues at high gain, and line-out should be a true Red Book 2 Vrms. That's one of the benefits of switching to a charge pump voltage output DAC like the PCM5102A --- you'll get a clean line-out without needing a lot of supporting circuitry. While I'm a fan of the AD8397 used in the original E10, it's probably not suitable for low-cost designs because it's a finicky opamp. Solder the AD8397 onto a DIP socket adapter, drop it into a CMoy, and you'll find out exactly what I mean. Ideally, it needs substantial short-circuit protection and clean power, necessitating a more complex PCB layout.
    The theme of the E10K is simplicity --- it reduces design complexity over the original E10 while simultaneously improving performance. I'd say it's a win-win for both the consumer and FiiO.
    I compared it against the Dragonfly 1.2, and my feeling is that with respect to SQ, they perform similarly. The Dragonfly sounds a little dry but has less treble splashiness, perhaps due to a decent asynchronous jitter implementation. The Dragonfly isn't stellar in the distortion department, but I didn't really hear those problems when listening to it. Overall, I feel the E10K is comparable to the Dragonfly, losing out on USB performance but having better drive capability.
    My major criticism is that the E10K preserves the Galaxy Tenor TE7022L USB receiver from before, meaning that USB transfer is still isochronous and still won't do 88.2 kS/s sample rates. However, FiiO seems happy with their familiarity with the part, and seems to be confident in how to get the best performance out of it. They told me that they tested it against other, newer parts with asynchronous transfer, such as the SaviAudio Bravo SA9027 (used in the JDS C5D and Stoner UD110V2) and still preferred the TE7022L. Basically, just don't expect mind-blowing jitter performance from the E10K (the TE7022L can only be entrusted down to ~200 ps at best), but it should be no worse than before.
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