The Upgrade: Fiio E17 “Alpen”

fiio_e17_10
E17 versus the Ibasso D-Zero

Built and dimensions wise, I like the D-Zero better. It’s smaller, slimmer, uses fully analog controls, and is lighter. However, when it comes to the sound, again I’m for the Fiio’s warmer, fuller sounding sound. For more details on the D-Zero comparison, you can look at the D-Zero review, where I compared it to the E10 (think of the E17 as a supercharged E10).

E17 versus the E11

We’re talking strictly amplifiers here, and I have to conclude that the E11 is the better amplifier. More ample power, smoother, more refined. The E11 has much more depth in the soundstage though the width is slightly narrower. But everytime you have to choose between depth and width, it’s always the depth because that’s what gives you three dimensionality. Well anyway remember that the E11 is an amplifier only unit, no DAC.

E17 versus E6

No question here, the E17 is the better amplifier by quite a margin.

E17 versus Digizoid ZO2

(quoted from one of my comments)

There have been many questions asked about the Digizoid Zo vs <insert a portable amplifier here>, and the fact is that it’s hard for me to make that comparison. If I was talking about two portable amps, I can make comments about one being dark, having wider soundstage, more bass, etc. But the selling point of the Zo, I believe is the SoundVektor and the adjustable contours, both of which are not available in any portable amps I know. The SoundVektor works and so is the adjustable contours.

On the other hand, if I was talking purely amplifier performance, surely something like the Alpen is simply better. You get better detail level, more frequency extension top and bottom, better articulation, better soundstage width/depth/image and so on. But then I can only make that comparison based on the amplifier performance, not Z02 vs Alpen as complete products.

 

Additional Features

The Alpen is the successor to the E7, and comparing the two, I find improvements on aspects other than the sound. The first improvement is clearly in the amplifier section. You get better impact and much higher gain level. The Alpen comes with three gain levels, and I can go louder with my HD580 on the Alpen’s medium gain setting than I can on the E7.

The second improvement is the way it does bass boost. Instead of the three steps bass boost on the E7, you now get five steps, and the increments are much more linear than that on the E7. There is no more “I wish I can have the bass slightly more than 1 but less than 2” because each increments add bass in good measures. What’s impressive is like an equalizer, you can reduce bass quantities. Got a headphone you love but think the bass is a little too much? Then dial down the bass on the Alpen. Like the boost level, you also get five steps here.

 

The third improvement is treble controls. Gosh why doesn’t anybody add in a treble control in their portable amps? Treble control is brilliant! You know what the number one issue people have with their set up these days? Well maybe not number one, but it’s treble levels! I have this Japanese Jazz band called Coco d’Or that makes for a nice easy listening music, except that the treble levels simply is too hot with anything but the AIAIAI TMA-1. With the Alpen, all I need to do is go to the menu, treble control, and dial down the treble (in this case, all the way down to -10!) and finally I can listen to Coco d’Or with headphones. Amazing! I think treble control is more important to us audiophiles than bass boost. Oh, and for those people who find the Senns to be veiled and want to make them more Grado-like, no need for a silver recable job because the Alpen will do it for you at no extra cost. Yes, like the bass boost level, the treble control setting also goes two ways: add or subtract. I love treble controls.

On top of everything, Fiio was also thoughtful enough to include a L/R balance control with the Alpen. I know that some people have hearing imbalance issues, and I think it’s very nice for Fiio to provide this feature.

End Words

What’s there not to like about the Alpen? None. Well, I think it would be nice if it was priced slightly lower, say $120. Don’t get me wrong, I think $150 is a fair price, and the Alpen does sounds really nice with its midrange, soundstage, and that bass impact. But I just want to make it easy for people to hit that “Buy Now” button. I don’t know, maybe I’m just too used seeing Fiio being priced below $100.

 

fiio_e17_12 fiio_e17_11 fiio_e17_10 fiio_e17_09 fiio_e17_08 fiio_e17_07 fiio_e17_06 fiio_e17_05 fiio_e17_04 fiio_e17_03 fiio_e17_02 fiio_e17_01

The Upgrade: Fiio E17 “Alpen”
3.8 (76%) 5 votes

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688 Comments

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Bevanczh

    Have you tried it with IEMs? I have the W4 and I’m wondering if it’ll be too powerful for it?

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Mike

      Set it to low gain setting, and with the 60 steps digital volume control, there is no problem at all. I’m using level 19 on the volume with my JH5 custom, which is a very sensitive IEM.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Djevoultion

        Mike, 

        How does the E17 Compare with the E10-E9 Combo? 

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          You mean the E7-E9 combo?

          • Reply January 12, 2012

            Djevoultion

            Nope I’ve got the E10 and have a chance to get the E9 

            So E10 > E9

            Let me know , cheers

            • Reply January 12, 2012

              Mike

              Mostly the same impression as E17 + E9. The sound is livelier with the E9, but I don’t like the midrange. The E9 seems to rob midrange body.

          • Reply January 12, 2012

            Djevoultion

            So I’d be better of selling the E10 and getting the E17  over the E10>E9 

            • Reply January 12, 2012

              Mike

              You can keep the E10, but just don’t pair it with the E9.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Haja Randrianarison

    Should receive mine at the end othe week, sounds terrific. I’ll test it with my 1964-Q

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Mike

      Awesome, Haja.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Haja Randrianarison

        I’ve been using my E10 for 2 hours with no pause now, and I can’t keep thinking “Damn it just sounds good, no way”.

        You really teased me with your review, I think the E17 will knock me up.

        I’ll compete it to the Ibasso D zero too, not the same price but seems to eager the same throne 🙂

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          No way it can beat the E10 right? I know that’s what I was thinking too before I had a listen to the E17.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Roman

    Excellent review! I was really looking forward to this product and a review. Shame on my friend whom I recently convinced into buying an E10, haha. Hope he doesn’t see this.

    You said that the Audinst HUD-MX1 was superior, but I don’t think it does justice to the E17 because the HUD-MX1 is a desktop DAC/amp that is quite more expensive. That being said, how does E17 compare to Audinst AMP-HP, which are both portable DAC/amp that are in the same price league?

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Mike

      Excellent, Roman.

      The Audinst HUD-MX1 is only $30 more than the E17, and on the other hand the AMP-HP is purely a portable amp.

      • Reply January 11, 2012

        Roman

        Oh really? I thought the AMP-HP was a DAC/amp… sorry for the confusion. I guess the E17 is superior then. 🙂

        By the way, isn’t it Alpen, not Aspen? Fiio’s official website says Alpen.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Orta03

    Ha ha, was there any doubt this would be a stellar product?  Just imagine what the E15 is going to be like?  Yikes! 😛  Excellent read as always Mike.

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks, Orta. 🙂

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Erik Ho

    Do u think E10 pair with the amps like Objective2 can beat the E17?
    And which one will sounds better if both attached to a amp?

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Mike

      Erik,
      The E10 + O2 will have an inferior DAC than the E17, but better amp section due to the O2.

      If both to the same amp, should be the E17 but I’m not sure because I don’t have the Fiio LOD.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Brian Ruslim

        if the USB and D/A chips in the e10 and the e17 are the same, i don’t think the line out would make a difference.

        Unless, the opamp at the line-out is different. 

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Power supply quality, circuit, PCB, all can make a difference.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Erik Wijnands

    I have a Fiio E9 and Fiio E10 and after reading your Aspen review I now really hate this blog. 😉 

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Ah the E9 and the E10..

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Fiio E17Desktop-audioblog

    […] Jan 11 : A first pro review is out over at Headfonia and Mike is very happy about the E17, but still thinks the price could have been a little […]

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    GenericMav

    after gotten hit hard by iBasso (especially d-Zero), its seem FiiO finally doing back the counterattack, good review mike :]

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks GenericMav. You really think the D-Zero hits them hard? 

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Garmt

    Great review! But…

    Are there any portable amps that can take USB and a digital feed from iPhone/iPod? THAT would be awesome…

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Mike

    So I should’ve called the E17 Alpen, not Aspen.

    Thanks to Larry at the Desktop Audioblog for pointing that out. Damn I feel like a fool now.
    http://www.desktop-audioblog.com/2012/01/02/fiio-alpen-e17-one-more-mountain-to-climb/

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Peter

    Reading this…. while listening to my AudioEngine through my newly acquired e10. And as others have said, I/my wallet also hate this blog/Fiio now!!!!!

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Whizz

    Hi mike, how long does the battery last? and do you notice any difference between the toslink and USB input?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Whizz, 
      I suck at taking note of battery life (that’s why you almost never find that on my reviews). As for the toslink and USB question, the USB is better no doubt, while the toslink is slightly better balanced than coaxial. But this may be due to the quality of the transport I use for the toslink and coax (I use an Onkyo ND-S1 Ipod dock) and the USB is via a MacBook Air.

      USB has clearly more air, bigger soundstage, better ambiance and overall tonal balance is very good. Toslink and coax are more congested in comparison, lacking ambiance details.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Donunus

    Can the E17 drive orthos like the Hifimans okay? Or put it this way, is it more powerful than the E9? If not, I think the E15 may be the one I need to wait for since I may get some orthos in the near future and still don’t want to spend a fortune on some high end amp yet.

    • Reply January 11, 2012

      Donunus

      Whoops I think you already answered that on your review. I think I should definitely wait for the E15

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Brian Ruslim

    Anyone know which chips are powering this thing?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      andrew_berge

      According to ClieOS on Head-Fi:
      USB: TE7022
      DAC: WM8740
      Source: http://www.head-fi.org/t/587912/fiio-e17-alpen-first-impression

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Kevin Benedict Prudon

    i think this will be my warm, dark amp :))

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Whizz

    Hi mike, does the bass boast muffled the mids and highs like the E7 on +2/+3 bass or just smooth all the way up, and how does the treble boast tune the treble, is it making the treble brighter/laid back or forward/recessed?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      At the extreme settings the bass will get in the way of the mids, though just slight. But at the lesser boost levels, sure it’s not going to be as clear as with no boost but it’s not terribly messy either. Personally I don’t get bothered by the bass boost, I think the quality is good and I use it at two or three steps up the neutral setting.

      The treble control allows you to tune up or down. That means you can have more treble quantity or less treble quantity. I’m not sure what you mean by a laid back or recessed treble. 

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Anonymous

    I love my E10. But I think the bass impact from Alpen can make my hardrock songs more energetic! I’m so impatient to try it!  d(^_^)b

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Yes bass impact is a clear improvement from the E10.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    silver_85

    Mike, I’ve an E10 and I’m really satisfied. I’ve paid it more or less 90$, 75€… what to complain if a 150€ DAC sounds better? 😉

    My next Dac must be an HUGE upgrade, idem for my next amp! So, I’m ok for a while 🙂

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Good to hear that someone can still be positive about this E10/E17 comparison. Thanks, silver.

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Anonymous

      same here silver, got the e10 as well – but mike says its a clear upgrade so i’m having second thoughts.

      the alpen looks sexy.

      • Reply January 16, 2012

        Mike

        Well no pressure to upgrade really. I’m still happy with the E10. But doing reviews is my job so.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Anonymous

    I pre-ordered mine for 125 with free IEMs, so I’m thinking I’ll be pretty happy then.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Really? What was the deal? 

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Anonymous

        MP4Nation’s preorder with the bonus gift and using the code you get for liking them on facebook.

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Okay that’s really nice. Thanks!

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    Fabio Rocks

    2 Months ago i was torn between the fiio e10 and ibasso d0. I feel that i need the versatility of Ibasso do, on the other side i like the overall better audio quality of the fiio e10. I was freezed to buy one even for the fiio e17 and i think the time makes me right! The e17 looks like a safe bet for a lot of time. As Fiio said on this price range it’s hard to make another device that is a clear upgrade from e17, so this time the money will be superbly spend. 

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the e10 is about half the price of e17, and is a killer product. E10 owners may be happy even if the e17 comes out.If the d0 was the ibasso answer to e7 now it’s interesting to see the new ibasso shot to kill the e17 but this time it will be more harder!Mike two more things offtopic:1) You miss the V-moda crossfade m80 review?!?!?!? This is the Hottest Headphone of the moment because is a match for the hd25 and the dt1350, and the size is very very small for a headphone of this type, so it seems perfect for travellers (like me)2) Hifiman he-400 review? ehhehehehehe i know i know i have to wait:DHeadfonia is top notch!Fabio

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Fabio, 
      Yea.. the V-moda, someone tells me it’s not as great as people say it is AKA just a hype? I don’t know though, have you personally listened to it or is it just from stuff you read? 

      HE-400 review is definitely coming. 

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Fabio Rocks

        Hi Mike!

        Tyll from Innerfidelity said they are great headphones that clearly match the hd25 and dt1350. They have better bass response of the hd25, the highs are not as bright without being dark. The graph shows no peaks, so they are not harsh and there is no sibilance. 

        On the Headfi shootout 96 portable headphones reviewed they are ranked 6 out 96 with a sound score of 9/10. The hd25 sound score is 9/10 The dt1350 sound score is 9,25/10

        They need a try Mike!

        I am pretty sure to buy those headphones I will send you my impressions.

        The only serious headphone I own is the Sennheiser hd 380:)

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Yes I heard it’s pretty good in the ratings.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    TheOneInYellow

    You, sir, are going to make me bankrupt one of these days. X(

    I now ask of you to compare the c421 and the E17. No, really (pretty please…?).

    I don’t want to buy another amp so soon after I got my c421 (recieved yesterday, which is, btw, still amazing), and I enjoy using the DAC section of my Asus Xonar D2X that I don’t need the DAC functionalities of the Aspen (though I do want a desktop DAC, preferably USB based at async 24/192…).

    HOWEVER, this review SCREAMS BUY ME NOAAA!!!!!


    ….
    …..

    …Sigh…

    I’m going to have to see more reviews about the E17 Aspen and see if I should invest in the it in Feb or later, but really, this sucks.

    And then there’s the little issue of the iBasso D-Zero, the iBasso DX100, and/or me investing in either custom ear mould tips for my UE TF10’s (from ACS UK) or get a desktop amp (Objective2).

    :'(

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks I did miss that E17 and C421 comparison didn’t I? I will add it in to the review later. 

      I think the bottom line is that the C421 is a portable amp only and the OPA2227 version I tested definitely sounds better than the E17. 

      So, amp section only: E17 < C421 < O2.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Scottie

        Okay so you do still prefer the C421 when comparing the amp section of the E17 only, good to know!  I’d love to hear what you think of the other opamps available for the C421 as well.  Are you likely to get to to try the 8620 and/or 8066 opamp version(s) when you do your C421 review?

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Yes, the C421 is my favorite sub $300 amp right now. I got the 8620 and the OPA2227 and by far I like the OPA2227 better.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        TheOneInYellow

        Thanks for considering including a comparison of
        the two products!

        Well the amplifier is the most important part for me, as I value that over any
        other features when I am trying get the best audio rig possible at whatever
        budget I have, so I am extremely happy that the c421 does outperform the E17
        (though your c421, with the OPA2227 opamp, is different to mine which uses the
        AD8620 opamp).

        However, FiiO really do seem to care about consumers and the headphone enthusiasts/community,
        creating wonderful devices and ancillary equipment at very reasonable prices;
        kudos and congratulations to them! ^_^

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    putente

    Hi, Mike! 

    Great review (and pics), as usual… 😉

    Just a quick question (and maybe a strange one). How do you think this new E17 compares to a bigger (both in price and size) USB DAC /Amp combo? I’m thinking about something like a Matrix Mini-I, that you also reviewed a while back, which costs twice the E17…

    My question is if the E17 is really that good for $150 that it can be a match for something twice more expensive (and a lot bigger in size), or if it is just really good for that price range and size! 🙂

    Thanks .

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Putente,
      I don’t have the Mini-i to compare to, but based on my comparison with the Audinst HUD-MX1, I think it’s safe to assume that the Mini-i should have a better DAC section.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        putente

        ok…

        And when using the E17 with the E9, does the sound from that combo loose the E17 punchy and tight bass you mentioned?

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Yes,
          The E9 is not as punchy as the E17’s amplifier.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Dleblanc343

    Would the e17 be powerful enough to power an he500? Or is it better to stick with the e9+e10?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      I actually haven’t tested the HE-500 on the E17 since I dont’ have my HE-500 around but I will get to that next week when I do my HE-400 review. I will test them both HE-400 and HE-500 with the E17.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Dleblanc343

        Cool, anxious to see how that turns out!

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Elie Imelda Rik

    How would the sound of the e17 compare to the Matrix Mini-i?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Elie,
      I don’t have the Mini-i to compare to, but based on my comparison with the Audinst HUD-MX1, I think it’s safe to assume that the Mini-i should have a better DAC section.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Puntz

    Great review, Mike. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, especially because it may just comfort my soon-to-be-emptied wallet a bit – I’m going to buy the Sennheiser HD650 headphones and am looking for an amp to go along with them.

    I’ve heard marvelous things about the E7+E9 combo, but now the E17 is coming out.
    Because you said you didn’t like the E17+E9 combo, would you recommend me buying only the E17? Will it be able to power the HD650 perfectly?
    Other readers, do you have an opinion?

    Thanks.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Puntz, yes the E17 has plenty of power for the HD650. 

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    dL

    Mike,

    If you plug this on a Mac, can you still change system wide volume via the OS? Or do you have to use the buttons on the E17? Does it work similar to a E7 or E10?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      dL,
      You can change the volume either from the OS or the E17’s volume. 

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Oblivio

    Great review! Can you say something about E17 against HM-101? 

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Oblivio, 
      I will add in that comparison. Thanks!

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Fright_78

    I hope this becomes available here in the Philippines before April 🙂

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    endoko

    Let’s hope the E17 doesn’t share the same quality control of the E10.

    Problems with headphone jacks, crackling noise issue are making some wait for the third revisions of the E10…

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Scottie

    Any word on what opamp is inside?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      I will ask Fiio and get back to you on that.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Chung James

        the op amp is AD8397

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          putente

          Isn’t this the same one used on the E10 amp section? So why do they sound different?

          • Reply January 12, 2012

            Mike

            Power supply, circuit and pcb design all determines final sound.

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Thanks, James. 

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Agus Purnomo

      From the official site, seems that it use the  following chips :
      – TE7022 USB Reciver
      – WM8804 SPDIF Receiver
      – WM8740 DAC
      – AD8692 + AD8397 Op-Amp

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Mike

        Thanks for the info, Agus.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Whizz

    Hi mike, any idea how the E17 stack up with DACport, I know probably not a fair comparison since it doubled the price, but I do appreciate if you could comment how close/far the E17 perform against the DACport, thanks.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      The difference would be pretty big actually.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Whizz

        I see, so the E17 is still nowhere near a high end DAC

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          It’s an excellent deal, but no still not a high end DAC. But the thing is without high end amps and headphones there is no point getting a high end DAC anyway, so for most people E17-level performance will already make a really big difference.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Kanon

    How are the DAC quality on these compared to MSII?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      The MS2 is still the better DAC.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Spencer Chan

    So, Mike, you don’t like the e17/e9 combo; but how does the e17 sound using the line out that’s on the e9 (and thus bypassing the e9’s amp, similar to using the L7)? 

    I was thinking of using my the e9->Valhalla

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      In that case you’d be better off with a stand alone DAC like the HRT MS2.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Spencer Chan

        Thanks for the input!  I already have the e9 (with my e7).

        I was waiting to see what Schiit has up their sleeves before pulling the trigger; I am looking for something that does 24/192 over both USB and TOSLINK/Coax. (So that takes out HRT’s stuff for now). 

        The e17 seems like a good bet to ‘hold me’ over….at least for another 9-12 mo….

        …this hobby is getting expensive. =x

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Or in that case you can get the E10 since it has a dedicated line out so you don’t need to use the E9 just for a line out. Plus it’s much cheaper.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Spencer,
      I tried it anyway, Fiio E17+E9 to the RSA Darkstar amp compared to the E10 and the E17 is the better DAC.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    lavi shukla

    Hi mike, nice review, i want to buy amp for hrt2, i want amp with bass boost so comparing e17 and e11, which one you think is better in terms of bass, leave the dac part of e17

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      As a whole the E11 is the better amplifier but if you’re talking strictly bass then the E17 is better. You get 5 steps of bass boost and at the max setting you get a much stronger boost than on the E11’s max setting.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Agus Purnomo

    Hi mike, I’m pretty new to these things and I just bought an M50 last month as an upgrade for (now broken) PX-100-II. 

    I know that M50 is an easy to drive headphone but do you think the sound will get better from the DAC on this? My onboard sound is very crappy and noisy. Or maybe I just save a little bit of money and get the E10 instead (or something other)?

    Also is the E17 available in Indonesia yet?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      If your sound card is very bad then the Alpen would give you a very clear upgrade especially with revealing headphones like the M-50.
      The E17 is not yet released anywhere in the world, actually.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Peter

    Hi Mike, your reviews are always enjoyable and informative to read; thanks!

    I’d like to get your thoughts on something: I just purchase the Beyer DT880/250 ohms and was wondering how you think the pairing might be with this and the E17.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      I think it would be good.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Zohar Lee

    Hi Mike,

    How would you rate this against a p-51?

    Zohar

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      Zohar,
      The P-51 is still a finer amp.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Whizz

    Hi mike, I’m actually pretty interested with E17 bass and treble tuning, what do you think if I upgrade the DAC section by pairing something like DACport-LX then use E17 amp. I’m gonna use it for my custom-iem, so no need for powerful amp I guess. Would like to hear your comment of those pairing, thanks.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      That can work yes. I’d probably give the E17 a try first and see if that suffice. For most people the DAC section is good enough.

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        Whizz

        Well I’d like to hear your thoughts on the pairing if you give them a go (assuming you still have the LX) and share your experience on the improvement, and yes I do plan to use the E17 first then only upgrade later on.

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          Well personally if I’m using the LX I’d like to use it with bigger and more refined amps, even though they may not have the bass/treble controls.

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    derpatron

    In terms of bass, does the ZO2 or E17 give a greater boost? I’d be pairing them with ATH-PRO700mk2

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Terja

    Hi Mike; Have you tried the line out bypass when pairing the E17 with the E9 to see what difference that makes since you can use the E17 EQ on the E9 with that option? Am I right? Seems to me that option could transport the E17 sound signature to the E9.

    • Reply January 13, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Terja,
      Yes I did. In a way true you can pass on the EQ options, but the amplifier section is still very different (E9 is TPA6120 based) so ultimately the sound is still very different.

      • Reply January 16, 2012

        Terja

        Mike, the E9 has been described quite often as neutral sounding, so I’m wondering whether the E17 is somewhat of a colored amp (in a good way). Also, one of the things people complained about was the inability to pass the E7 bass EQ options to the E9 – which the e17 addresses. So my question is, is the e9/e17 combo worth it despite the setbacks you describe. I already have the e9/e7 and am using it to drive my Hifiman HE-500 (not the best chain but good for now you know, silver and gold and all that, lol). Is it worth adding the e17 to the mix here and removing the e7? P.S> Would the e17 be capable of driving the HE-500 on its own, eek?

        • Reply January 16, 2012

          Mike

          Terja,
          The E9 is neutral in one way but the midrange is a bit thin and I’m not comparing to mid-centric amps here. If you’d like to pair the E17 with the E9 then by all means feel free to, since you already have the E9.

          • Reply January 17, 2012

            Terja

            Thanks Mike; I think I’ll go ahead and update the pair since there are obvious advantages but sound  is primary for me. You mention somewhere that you’ll be testing the Hifiman HE-500 with the E17 at some point — looking forward to your comments on that. Thanks for the great reviews.

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    NedKelly

    Mike, you know and I know that there is only one comparison that matters : iBasso D7 vs the E17, and its the one comparison you haven’t provided.  I know you can only review the kit that people are prepared to provide, but after the omission of the P4 from your ‘Usual Suspects’ comparison, I’m afraid its starting to look like a Fiio love-in around these parts 😉

    Cheers,

    Ned

    • Reply January 13, 2012

      Mike

      Ned,
      Some manufacturers chose to make their products not available to us. Some make it easy for us. That’s the bottom line on why some things get reviewed and some don’t. Sometimes, I have friends who loan things to me and I can get the reviews done that way. You really should count the number of new products introduced every week then you can understand why we simply can’t review every single thing.
      Remember, for every article published I have to:
      1. Talk to a manufacturer, beg, bug, ask for a sample.
      2. Arrange logistics, customs process.
      3. Listen and evaluate.
      4. Brainstorm, write.
      5. Take product shots, sometimes up to 4 photo sessions for a product. 6. Post process the photos, final edit the article.
      7. Answer people’s comments on the article.

      While I’m working on this E17 article I was working simultaneously on 4 other articles. That’s why I make stupid mistakes like writing Aspen in place of Alpen.
      With this kind of a work load, I rarely have the time to email Ibasso over and over again for a sample. If you want that D7 review, bug Ibasso to send one to us and I promise you the review will be pure and unbiased.
      These are the articles I’ve written on the Ibasso. Read them and tell me I’m biased. http://www.headfonia.com/?s=ibasso

      • Reply January 13, 2012

        NedKelly

        Whoa – Mike, take a breather. Firstly, I absolutely appreciate the amount of effort you put into this – I wrote a single review for Head-Fi and swore ‘never again !’. Secondly, I believe I did try to indicate that my ‘Fiio bias’ comment was tongue-in-cheek with the smiley, and I do know how reticent they can be after Skylab’s experience a couple of years back. I dont know why you have taken this crazy workload on yourself, but your efforts are appreciated – dont let uninformed comments like mine get you down.

        • Reply January 13, 2012

          Mike

          Hi Ned,
          I know you did have that tongue-in-cheek so yes perhaps I overreacted there. Anyway, if Ibasso sends us a D7, then you’ll get your review. 🙂

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Syakir Zainol

    Vs JDSLabs CMOY? And would it be a good pairing with wth Senn HD518/558?

    • Reply January 13, 2012

      silver_85

      Fiio E10 sounds very good with my Senn 598, so, if E17 > E10… 🙂

      • Reply January 14, 2012

        Mike

        The E17 should be very good with the HD598. It’ll help a lot with the bass.

    • Reply January 14, 2012

      Mike

      I will have to check on that and get back to you.

  • Reply January 13, 2012

    Anonymous

    Great review Mike,
    I had a question regarding the E9, E17. I know you suggest only getting the E17, but I already own the E9. Should I just get the E17 even though I already bought the E9, or should I just get a different sound card as well as the E11? My headphones are the ATH-M50s and VSonic-Gr07.
    Thanks,
    Jordan

    • Reply January 14, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Jordan,
      Hmmm you can get the E17 and use it directly from its headphone out, or pair it with the E9 and see how you like it.
      If you want to go with a stand alone DAC, you can get the HRT MS2, it is currently the best entry level stand alone DAC for the price, and add an amplifier on top of it (perhaps the E9).

      • Reply January 14, 2012

        Anonymous

        You consider the HRT S2 is better than the E17, even though it doesn’t support 24/192? Also, which setup do you think is a better price/value setup:
        1. HRT S2, E9, and E11 for about $210
        2. E17 (being used solo or with E9), and E9 for $135
        Thanks Mike

        • Reply January 14, 2012

          Mike

          Yes I think you’ve got to realize that DAC resolutions (ie 24/192, 24/96) is not the same thing as the DAC’s sound quality. The numbers only tells you that it can support a file with 24 bit depth and 192 sample rate, and that doesn’t say anything about the sound quality.
          I would probably go with the HRT MS2 and the E11. Or the HRT MS2 and the JDSLabs Cmoy rather than option 2.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            Anonymous

            I like the JDSLabs Cmoy (pretty sure that’s the portable amp I’m going to get), but can’t find anywhere to buy it (does it go by a different name?). Regarding the home Amp/Dac, I’ll probably end up getting rid of my E9 after reading more (I guess it’s impedance is too high for the headphones I have). The HRT MS2 does not have an amp from what I’m seeing, are there any you recommend? Or, do you know anything about the iBasso D12, it’s been out for a little while, but there’s one on craigslist for $200 which seems like a good price/value to me, but as you can tell I’m not very good at this stuff.
            Sorry for all the questions, D:

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            Anonymous

            I really like that C421, but does it make sense to spend $170 for an amp to power my $130 head phones?

            • Reply January 14, 2012

              Mike

              Actually that’s the way things are in the world of headphones. Good amps would cost way more than the headphones. Just a law of economics, good amps are mostly small boutique manufacturers, headphones are mass produced.

            • Reply January 14, 2012

              Mike

              But of course you’re free to get the Cmoy if you feel the C421 to be too much.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            Anonymous

            Sorry I’m taking so much of your time D:, I’ll try to make this my last post. Is it night and day between the cMoy and C421, like I’d be blown away with the C421 over the cMoy? If it’s a large difference I’d consider the extra $100.Regarding the home amp/dac do you know anything about the iBasso D12? or, do you have a recommendation for a cheap home amp to pair with the HRT MS2?
            Thanks, I hope those are my last questions

            • Reply January 14, 2012

              Mike

              Well,
              I think the differences are quite big between the cmoy and C421. The Ibasso D12 is okay, the MS2+C421 will give you a much better sound.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            Anonymous

            You don’t think a need another, different home amp to pair with the MS2, the C421 is good enough? If that’s true, I think I’ve got my combo. Seems I’ve gotten away from the subject topic lol. Thanks for all the help, it’s really appreciated.

            • Reply January 14, 2012

              Mike

              Well sometimes it would be nice to have a desktop amp for a dedicated home set up, but for now the C421 should do.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            TheOneInYellow

            [Beware, TL;DR post!].

            Just to help ‘iamnotyouithink’ (great name handler!), and I hope you do not mind me helping Mike:

            The JDS Labs cMoyBB v2.03 can be selected as either:
            – Standard, Non-rechargeable, 1x9V battery,
            – Standard, Non-rechargeable, 2x9V batteries (18V),
            – Rechargeable, 1×9 battery,

            – Rechargeable, 2×9 battery.

            If you do chose this amp, the opamp you will find inside is a beautiful
            OPA2227P, which according to me and others, including Mike (based on his
            reviews), has great PRaT factor, and I love it’s warmth. However, I
            also prefer transparency, so sometimes this opamp annoys me…
            This is also a very good option for self-customisation, as the opamp is seated on an 8-pin DIN; this means that you can change opamps to change the sound of the amp! This is known as opamp-rolling, and there are many threads and blogs about the art.
            More info on the store page (in the link that Mike posted), under the ‘Options’ tab. You can select your choice from the drop-down menu accordingly.
            If you just want to start out, then this is THE BEST AMP to go with. But please, read on…

            All my headphone amps have been from JDS Labs (two cMoyBB’s, one of which
            was custom designed for me by John Seaber himself :D), but personally, I
            vote for the the beautiful and elegantly minimalistic (aesthetically, its actually complex ‘under-the-hood’) c421 amplifier. IMO, this will give you a much longer enjoyment for a
            long period of time, but the cMoyBB’s are quite good.

            The c421 is fully rechargeable, using a 1200mAh, 3.7V Li-Ion Battery (USB rechargeable).
            The c421 is also customisable from the store page, in which you can choose one of three opamps:
            – AD8620,
            – AD8066, and the venerable and classic
            – OPA2227P.

            You can see the selections and  further info within the ‘Customisation’ tab of the store page, and just like the cMoyBB store page, you can also select your opamp from the drop-down menu accordingly.
            Unfortunately, these are soldered to the PCB circuit board, so you cannot change or use multiple opamps (on-at-a-time) as you can with the cMoyBB’s, but the performance difference, again IMO, is on the scale of one or two magnitudes; that great!

            Mike is currently writing a review of the c421, and has with him both the AD8620 and the OPA2227P. As Mike has written in his preview and on some of these comments, he prefers the OPA2227P over the AD8620.

            I choose the AD8620 before reading anyone, or even Mike’s, impressions of the opamp choices, but I am extremely happy as it works incredibly well with my AKG K 701’s, Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro’s, and my Etymotic Research ER-6i’s.
            I prefer transparency over coloured opamps, to let my IEM’s or headphones do the colouring instead.
            HOWEVER, Mike has made me very jealous, AGAIN!!?!?!!?!! x( , and now I am seeing if I can get another c421 with the OPA2227P…wallet is very depleted… 🙁

            Finally, as is written on the store page for the c421 amplifier, you can ask for the amplifier to be sent to you in temporary enclosures until new ones of higher quality are made, and which you can receive for free (with shipping costs) in February (so JDS Labs hopes, fingers crossed).
            At the moment, the c421’s are sold out, but email JDS Labs to have a one-to-one chat with them to discuss and ask questions about his products. I always do, and it is one of the primary reasons I go back to them again and again!

            Hope this helps ^_^

            • Reply January 16, 2012

              Mike

              Thanks for the additional info. I certainly appreciate the help you’re giving me here.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            TheOneInYellow

            [Beware, TL;DR post!].

            Just to help ‘iamnotyouithink’ (great name handler!), and I hope you do not mind me helping Mike:

            The JDS Labs cMoyBB v2.03 can be selected as either:
            – Standard, Non-rechargeable, 1x9V battery,
            – Standard, Non-rechargeable, 2x9V batteries (18V),
            – Rechargeable, 1×9 battery,

            – Rechargeable, 2×9 battery.

            If you do chose this amp, the opamp you will find inside is a beautiful
            OPA2227P, which according to me and others, including Mike (based on his
            reviews), has great PRaT factor, and I love it’s warmth. However, I
            also prefer transparency, so sometimes this opamp annoys me…
            This is also a very good option for self-customisation, as the opamp is seated on an 8-pin DIN; this means that you can change opamps to change the sound of the amp! This is known as opamp-rolling, and there are many threads and blogs about the art.
            More info on the store page (in the link that Mike posted), under the ‘Options’ tab. You can select your choice from the drop-down menu accordingly.
            If you just want to start out, then this is THE BEST AMP to go with. But please, read on…

            All my headphone amps have been from JDS Labs (two cMoyBB’s, one of which
            was custom designed for me by John Seaber himself :D), but personally, I
            vote for the the beautiful and elegantly minimalistic (aesthetically, its actually complex ‘under-the-hood’) c421 amplifier. IMO, this will give you a much longer enjoyment for a
            long period of time, but the cMoyBB’s are quite good.

            The c421 is fully rechargeable, using a 1200mAh, 3.7V Li-Ion Battery (USB rechargeable).
            The c421 is also customisable from the store page, in which you can choose one of three opamps:
            – AD8620,
            – AD8066, and the venerable and classic
            – OPA2227P.

            You can see the selections and  further info within the ‘Customisation’ tab of the store page, and just like the cMoyBB store page, you can also select your opamp from the drop-down menu accordingly.
            Unfortunately, these are soldered to the PCB circuit board, so you cannot change or use multiple opamps (on-at-a-time) as you can with the cMoyBB’s, but the performance difference, again IMO, is on the scale of one or two magnitudes; that great!

            Mike is currently writing a review of the c421, and has with him both the AD8620 and the OPA2227P. As Mike has written in his preview and on some of these comments, he prefers the OPA2227P over the AD8620.

            I choose the AD8620 before reading anyone, or even Mike’s, impressions of the opamp choices, but I am extremely happy as it works incredibly well with my AKG K 701’s, Ultimate Ears Triple.Fi 10 Pro’s, and my Etymotic Research ER-6i’s.
            I prefer transparency over coloured opamps, to let my IEM’s or headphones do the colouring instead.
            HOWEVER, Mike has made me very jealous, AGAIN!!?!?!!?!! x( , and now I am seeing if I can get another c421 with the OPA2227P…wallet is very depleted… 🙁

            Finally, as is written on the store page for the c421 amplifier, you can ask for the amplifier to be sent to you in temporary enclosures until new ones of higher quality are made, and which you can receive for free (with shipping costs) in February (so JDS Labs hopes, fingers crossed).
            At the moment, the c421’s are sold out, but email JDS Labs to have a one-to-one chat with them to discuss and ask questions about his products. I always do, and it is one of the primary reasons I go back to them again and again!

            Hope this helps ^_^

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            Anonymous

            Thanks Yellow (and Mike again),

            Yeah, I’ve decided I’m going to get the HRT MS2 and the C421 (although I really like the Altoids can). So you and Mike prefer the OPA227P? I read on their website that they picked the AD8620 because of their blind sound tests. Making this decision even harder D:… Also, I was wondering how well the C421 works low impedance headphones, as that’s all I have.

            • Reply January 16, 2012

              Mike

              The C421 works well with low Z headphones, no problem there.

          • Reply January 14, 2012

            TheOneInYellow

            Urghhh…sorry for the double post…not sure how that happened… :'(

            Yes, I prefer the OPA2227P on my Custom cMoyBB v2.02, and the same opamp is available on the new cMoyBB v2.03 and the C421.

            I love the AD8620 when compared directly to my NuForce Icon desktop amp and DAC (I don’t use the DAC portion), and my Custom cMoyBB v2.02; the c421 has become, for know, my reference amp.
            I also prefer transparency simply because I choose headphones/IEM’s to bring their soun sound signature to the table (hence my AKG K 701’s sound pretty amazing with the amp, but the TF10’s, with a v-sound signature and recessed midrange don’t sound quite as epic…). However, Mike has intrigued me so much, and teased me that I am missing good soundstage and mid-range/treble goodness that I really want the OPA2227P version.
            However, I really do want the c421 with the OPA2227P installed, so I shall talk to John Seaber (President, JDS Labs) about this…
            I was going to spend money on some custom mould earphone tips for my TF10’s, or get the objective2, or save up more an by a DAC/Amp combo. Now, idk… :s

            As Mike posted on FB, his full review will come about when the final, production versions of the c421 come out with the better enclosures, but many prospect buyers were able to purchase them from John between Dec ’11 to early Jan ’12; if he is out of stock, your going to have to wait till more stock arrives (again, he email him/JDS Labs).

            The HRT MS2 and the c421 (OPA2227P or AD8620, tough choice) will be a great match. I did consider the HRT, but I have eyed some other DAC’s that meet my requirements (especially for some of my music records/High resolution downloads).

            I am in the market for a new DAC to upgrade from my Asus Xonar D2X, and it must be able to go up to 24 bit/192 kHz asynchronously (USB preferred, but not a requirement) . I have selected a few, such as Schiit BiFrost (upgradeable), or the Matrix Mini-i Balanced DAC, and the Audinst HUD-MX1 (see the reviews of these DAC’s on Headphonia), amongst others.
            I favour the Matrix Mini-I as it is a one-box solution and a desktop amp, otherwise I would need to buy a DAC and a separate desktop amp (such as JDS Labs Objective 2, though Epiphany Acoustics also make one under the name EHP-O2 (links below).

            Good luck 😀

            http://www.jdslabs.com/item.php?fetchitem=O2Full

            http://epiphany-acoustics.co.uk/our-products/ehp-o2-portable-audio-headphone-amplifier/

            http://www.headfonia.com/matrix-mini-i-balanced-dac/

            http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=7

            http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

            http://www.headfonia.com/the-new-recommendation-the-yulong-u100-usb-dac/

  • Reply January 14, 2012

    Lukeskymac

    oh great, days after I order the ZO THIS shows up…

    • Reply January 14, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry about that Lukes, but new products show up all the time these days. 🙂

  • Reply January 14, 2012

    sharan .

    Mike, Can I connect directly my player(mp3/ipod/iphone) – E17 – Active speakers. Do I reqire E7, which is the right way, is it only for headphone.

    • Reply January 14, 2012

      Mike

      Sharan,
      In that scenario you’ll be best not using the E17 at all. Just Ipod > Active Speakers.

      • Reply January 17, 2012

        Shar Nx

        will there be any difference in Quality of sound (output). What I heard is the signal will be too hot. 
        Which Active speakers do u recommend If I want a good stereo crystal clear sound quality.

  • Reply January 15, 2012

    KerberosWXIV

    Hi Mike, any opinion on how the E17 up against Headstage Arrow? Thanks in advance.

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      Well the Headstage amp is better compared to the E17. What else can I say?

  • Reply January 15, 2012

    Rawajakaj

    Does the E17 have the same ability to turn off USB charging as the E7?

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Chung James

      yes,you can turn off the usb charging in E17

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    Artgraffer

    Hi! I’m kind  of a noob in this world so I’d appreciate some help:
    I own an ipod 4G and Sennheiser HD 228, Hd 238 and Bose IE2 in ear headphones. 
    I want to get into HiFi music (or at least better than what I already own) and I wonder what’s better, getting this DAC/AMP or the FiiO E11 AMP with  FiiO L9 L-Shaped LOD, if I do get this “combo”, what do I need to know?… (about Apple lossless format and so..).

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      Art,

      • Reply January 16, 2012

        Artgraffer

        yes?, I think your comment didn’t post. It only says ” Art, ”

        PS: Sorry for my english, is not my native language.

        • Reply January 16, 2012

          Mike

          You’re right.

          What I wanted to say is this:

          In your situation, since you won’t be needing the DAC section of the E17, it would be best for you to go with a pure portable amplifier. In this case the E11 as you’ve suggested.

          As for file formats, ALAC/Apple Lossless is a good one to use. It’s good quality and relatively compact compared to WAV.

          • Reply January 16, 2012

            Artgraffer

            Ok, thanks for your help. One last question, do you know of some place (better if it’s on this website) where I could learn more about amps, dac, dap, etc, from someone who is just beginning? (I mean, I try to follow this article for example but it’s full of technical terms I don’t know..)

            • Reply January 17, 2012

              Mike

              Art,
              At the moment, I don’t know of any website that explicitly explains what an amplifier, dac, dap are. You can try reading Head-Fi.org or hanging out on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/headfonia) that’ll probably help.

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    berger

    thanks for the review, Mike!
    I am so buying it.

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Berger,
      Hope you find it as enjoyable as I do.

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    Anonymous

    Would the E17 be able to drive the Q701 to a decent level?   I heard some are happy with the E10 driving the Q701s… Would the E17 be able to do it better?  Does the E17 give out more power than the E10s?

    • Reply January 16, 2012

      Mike

      NSX,
      The E17 would drive the Q701 better than the E10. That’s for sure.

  • Reply January 16, 2012

    James McProgger

    Can someone tell me how many hours the battery last under normal conditions?
    thanks!

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    JSitthi

    Can’t decide between the E17 and JDSLabs CMoy for my DT1350! DAC on the E17 is a plus but not really needed. Opinions? Thanks! 😀

    • Reply January 17, 2012

      Mike

      Well… if you may need the DAC then the E17 may be the better choice. You can give it a try and perhaps you’ll enjoy listening to music from your computer more than you previously know.

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    Andy

    Is there a USB DAC /AMP  better than the E17 in terms of sound quality that is at or less than $200?  It doesn’t have to be portable and I’d purchase the E17 right now but it isn’t out yet.

    • Reply January 17, 2012

      Mike

      Andy,
      You can look at the Audinst HUD MX-1. I’ve included it in the comparison section in the article.

      • Reply January 17, 2012

        Andy

        I noticed that the MX-1 has better sound quality but a slightly worse midrange.  How is the soundstage and base of the MX-1 compared to the e17?

        • Reply January 17, 2012

          Mike

          The soundstage is better with the MX1 but bass is better on the E17.

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    M Lam

    Tnx for the review. You are a pain in my wallet, Mike. I bought myself one yesterday. Last week I almost purchased the E10, until this came by…
    I still have a question – not E17 specific – about volume control. I like the fast volume control on my Apple keyboard. Is it true that this might affect the sound quality? Is there maybe a way to avoid this? Or am I ‘sticked’ to these little buttons?

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      Yea everybody’s wallets probably feel the same way.

      If we want to go deep into software talks and possible jitter issues, yes Apple’s volume control may affect the sound quality. But in practice I really don’t worry about it and I use it whenever I want to use it.

  • Reply January 17, 2012

    Bcmarly

    Mike – I really appreciate your detailed description of the E17 and your comparitive analysis. The ability to paint a picture with words is a gift and I always look forward to your reviews and I agree with you, the Alpen should be called the Aspen…….ha

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      Yes I made a fatal mistake with the Aspen, but it’s fixed now. ha.

      Glad you enjoy the review. 🙂

  • Reply January 18, 2012

    John

    Mike, Fiio’s page on the E17 says in one place that it’s suitable for headphones up to 300 ohms, and in another place states that it’s suitable for headphones up to 600 ohms.  Which is correct?  Can the E17 drive 600 ohm cans?

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      John,
      600 Ohm cans need less current than 300 Ohm cans so it should be an relatively easy job for the E17.

      • Reply January 19, 2012

        John

        But they need more voltage, correct?  I assumed this is why most units capable of driving 600 ohms need a separate PSU…the only other Fiio I know that can handle 600 ohms are the E9s.  If you have a 100 watt amplifier that’s rated for 8 ohm speakers and you are using 16 ohm speakers, the speakers will only be driven at 50 watts or so.

        • Reply January 19, 2012

          Mike

          John,
          More voltage yes but it’s not that difficult to get an output voltage that can drive 600 Ohm headphones. Remember we’re talking high efficiency drivers here. Even a Cmoy can drive a 600 Ohm Beyer.

          • Reply January 20, 2012

            John

            Then why are most portable head amps rated at 300Ω or less, with possibly the exception of the DACport?  Not stating that for the sake of argument, I just assumed most portables didn’t have enough power to drive 600Ω to acceptable volume levels.

            • Reply January 20, 2012

              Mike

              I don’t know why the specify those settings, but take my word for it. 600 Ohms headphones (mostly Beyers) are very efficient and easy to drive. Sure takes a little bit louder on the volume knob, but that’s not exactly hard to drive. 

              What’s hard to drive are low impedance headphones with low sensitivity ratings. 

  • Reply January 18, 2012

    Fabio Rocks

    Hi Mike, What about the battery? Thanks!

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      Fabio,
      I’m really bad at counting battery hours.

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Rickychan

    Hi Mike,

    How does the E17 compared to the JDSlab C421 based on amplifiers only?

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      The C421 has the superior amp.

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Bala

    Hey Mike – how does the DAC section of the E17 compare with the DAC of the MusicStreamer II? You’ve previously stated that you think the MusicStreamer II is the better DAC when compared to the Audinst MX1, but not sure how the MSII compares to the E17.

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      Bala, 
      Talking DAC section only: 
      E10 < E17 < HUD-Mx1 < HRT MS2

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Richard Crepy

    Hi Mike,

    what about the Yulong U100 in comparison with the E17 (sound consideration only), in your opinion ? especially concerning the bass ?

    thanks a lot

    • Reply January 19, 2012

      Mike

      This is for the Grado, right? If Grado, then the Alpen would be a better match. 

      • Reply January 19, 2012

        Richard Crepy

         Right, this is for the Grado 😉
        Ok so i think i’ll have to wait  since i live in France…

        Thanks for your answer !

        • Reply January 19, 2012

          Mike

          Alright Richard!

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Miguel G Guzman

    How do you connect this to the iPhone? Is there a connector from the iPhone4 to the USB entry of the Fiio E17 that extracts the digital signal?

    • Reply January 20, 2012

      Mike

      No you can’t do that with the E17. It’ll only function as an amplifier with the Iphone.

      • Reply January 20, 2012

        Scottie

        About the best you can do is to bypass the iPhone’s amplifier using a LOD (line out dock) like the Fiio L9 for example.  (There are many others, ranging from quite inexpensive to quite expensive, but that one should work pretty well with the E17 and is compact and inexpensive.)

      • Reply January 20, 2012

        Ricky Chan

        Hi Mike,

        Other than Fiio L9 LOD, what is your other recommendations of LOD under $100.00.  I am using Iphone, Fiio L3,CmoyBB, and Westone 4. 

        • Reply January 20, 2012

          Mike

          I don’t really have anything at the moment, I think ALO’s are over $100.

      • Reply January 20, 2012

        Mgguzman

        Ok, thanks Mike. So I guess from your review, if I plan to use it most for the iPhone (rather that the laptop) it is better to just get the E11 amplifier as it sounds better than the amplifier from the E17. I already have a DAC/AMP for my computer, just would like to improve the sound quality of my iPod, but with moderate investment of <$200 if possible.

        • Reply January 21, 2012

          Mike

          Yes, the E11 in your case would be better, Miguel. 

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Simon

    Damn, I just ordered an E7 as my first Amp. 🙁 May have send it back unopened

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Awww at least it’s still unopened. 

      • Reply January 21, 2012

        Simon

        I have now received the E7 and  Im pretty impressed being my first try of a headphone amp, although to be fair I have no point of reference!
         
        Just as an amp, connected to my Zen Vision M the sound improvement is very noticable.
         
        Not bad for £49 off Amazon.
         
         
         
         
         

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Nirun

    hey Mike have you tried comparing the E17+E9 with E9+E10 ? I’m just curious because there aren’t much info about the E9+E10 combo sound quality.

    • Reply January 20, 2012

      Mike

      I did, I think someone asked the same question in the early comments of this article.
      Bottom line is I would just use the E17 or the E10 without the E9.

  • Reply January 20, 2012

    Daniel S.

    Hey Mike, great review!

    Just thought I would ask, do you think it’s a better idea to buy the E17, or spend 5$ more and get the E10 and the E11 for the seperate uses.Thanks!

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      I would get the E17 but that’s just me. 

  • Reply January 21, 2012

    Les Netherwood

    Hi,
    I have a Cowon J3 what will be the benefit of the Fiio e17  over a C421 from JDS Labs.
    Regards,
    Les Netherwood

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Les, 
      Since you wont’ be using the USB DAC on the E17, the C421 is going to be the better solution. 

      • Reply January 21, 2012

        Les Netherwood

        Hi Mike,
        Thanks for the reply will you please explain further. I s that due to the J3 having a DAC. I have Denon D200  headphones and Bose Triport headphones with Kimber cable and Kimber interconnect to the J3. How will the C421 improve the sound, if you can answer that one. Thank you.

        • Reply January 21, 2012

          Mike

          Les,
          Simply, the C421 will provide a higher quality amplification than the one on the E17.

  • Reply January 21, 2012

    Dan

    So when can we expect to see this on the market? I wanna replace my E7 soon!

  • Reply January 21, 2012

    kenwah113

    Shame about it looks could of made it more streamlined, rounded edges thinner, bigger screen just make it more aesthetically pleasing apart from that its amazing piece of kit

    Wish it was below $100 

  • Reply January 21, 2012

    Harrytruong

    This is a noob question, but I’m a bit confused. What does a USB DAC do exactly?

    I’ve
    read that its a digital to analog converter, but what does that mean
    exactly? I read your review on the fiio e17 and I’m thinking about using
    them with a pair of HE-400.

    If I only plan on using my HE-400
    only at home and not on the go, should I get an e17 or is there a
    different product you recommend that’s also under 200$.

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Harrytruong

      I meant to also say that this would be used with my work computer.

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Harry,
      Please read the FAQ #6 for the explanation on what a DAC is. http://www.headfonia.com/faq/

      At the moment I think the E17 makes for a pretty good solution for that price. You can try reading these reviews for alternatives: http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/ http://www.headfonia.com/the-latest-must-have-the-fiio-e10-usb-dacamp/ http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-e7-meet-your-rival-the-ibasso-d-zero/

      • Reply January 21, 2012

        Harrytruong

        I greatly appreciate your help Mike, I will read closely what you’ve sent me.

        • Reply January 21, 2012

          Mike

          Alright Harry

          • Reply January 21, 2012

            Harrytruong

            I’ve decided to go with the E17, but I believe the HE400 only has a 6.35 mm jack while the E17 only accept 3.5 mm from what I’ve read. I’m guessing this means I’ll have to buy some form of an adapter for 6.35 to 3.5 mm? Is there any real difference in the qualify of any I purchase?

          • Reply January 21, 2012

            Mike

            Hmmm… 
            Well just don’t get the really cheap ones and it should be okay. 

      • Reply January 27, 2012

        Patrick

        Hi Mike, thanks for the great review. As a E10 owner I’m quite interested in upgrading to alpen.
        One question – what makes the difference between the E17 and something like the Fostex HP-P1 or the CLAS, what allows those devices to have dac capabilities with an iPod whereas the e17 is limited to being a USB dac.

        Thanks for your time!

        • Reply January 27, 2012

          Mike

          Patrick,
          The main difference is the ability to tap music data from i-devices. I believe Apple encrypts the data so that you need a proprietary chip to get access to the i-devices.

  • Reply January 21, 2012

    Harrytruong

    According to your FAQ Mike, you say that its better to listen to line out than headphones? Should you always plug into the line out slot than the headphones slot?

    • Reply January 21, 2012

      Mike

      Harry,
      Line outs are better for feeding the signal into amplifiers. Headphone slots are designed for direct connection to headphones. I hope you can understand the context in which that statement was written. 

      • Reply January 22, 2012

        Harrytruong

        I think I do Mike. Since I’ll be using an amplifier to boost it later on, I won’t need the headphone slot to boost it for me. Thanks for your answer once again.

  • Reply January 23, 2012

    aleks

    Hi,

    I need an amp to power my Ultrasone Pro900s for use with an iPhone and MacBook Air. Are E17s the way to go or JDSLAbs C421? What would be the best option for me? Thanks!

    • Reply January 23, 2012

      aleks

      do i need an dac/amp or just an amp? fairly new to this and want the best bang for the buck for equal or less price as the E17s

      • Reply January 23, 2012

        Mike

        Aleks, 
        You would get the best sound with a good DAC and a good amp. Just go with the E17 for now, even though the C421 is a better amplifier, but the E17 will give you both the DAC and the amp in one box. 

        • Reply January 23, 2012

          aleks

          ok thanks! i’m not looking for anything too serious and that sounds good to me.

          • Reply January 23, 2012

            Mike

            You’re welcome Aleks. 

  • Reply January 24, 2012

    John

    Hi,

    I”ve been looking for a my first DAC/AMP for a while and found the Fiio E10 to be highly praised. Now that I know that the the E17 is quite a step up from the E10. My question is how would my Shure Srh840 sound with the E17? Are there any other budget DAC/AMP better with the Shure’s that I should look into? Thanks!

    • Reply January 24, 2012

      Mike

      John, 
      If you like the SRH840 with the E10, you should also like it with the E17 as the tonality is identical. 

      There are a lot of other budget DAC/Amps around, one very popular unit is the Audinst HUD-MX1. Another one that I’m still waiting to do a review on is the HRT Headstreamer.

      http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

      • Reply January 26, 2012

        Michal Burian

        Mike, 
        E17  vs  HRT Headstreamer comparison would be greatly appreciated. Any idea when is the HRT Headstreamer review planned?

        On another note, is  HRT Music Streamer II + Schiit Asgard, a source for HD598,  worth more than double price ?    

        Thanks!

        • Reply January 26, 2012

          Mike

          Michal,
          I still hasn’t received the Headstreamer, and I absolutely have no idea when that thing will arrive. I’ve talked to the HRT guys since last year and they keep on telling me that they’ll send me a unit. So sorry to disappoint you guys but there is little that I can do at this point.
          MS2 + Asgard? Yes definitely.

  • Reply January 24, 2012

    Bob Gordon

    I for wound was looking forward to the E17 as a possible DAC for rooted Android phones with USB hosting and running ICS.  I say this because a Fiio rep mentioned the company’s interest in making that happen.

    The E10 couldn’t possibly work because its USB-powered.  Have you tried the E17 and, if so, does it work?

    • Reply January 24, 2012

      Mike

      Bob, 
      Sorry I haven’t tried to do anything like that with an Android phone. 

    • Reply February 6, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Bob,
      Last time I checked they are still working to get that USB Audio on Android support to happen.

      • Reply November 20, 2012

        Mike Chen

        The kernel after Android 4.0 should be able to output via USB.
        My HTC OneX works with E17 like a charm 😉
        (have to buy an OTG cable though)

  • Reply January 24, 2012

    Yuval

    Good day.
    i’m fairly new to the whole audiophile world.
    I currently own a pair of HD518, which i love and a pair of beyer’s DT 770 pro (80 ohm) – the later was given by a friend who’s given up on his home studio.

    i love the 518, usualy connected directly to my pc (on board soundcard),
    and after reading a good amount of reviews, i believe i’m looking at the e17, which sits right on my budget.
    my question is, will the DT770 benefit as well, being monitoring headphones?
    and a 2nd question – will the DT770, being closed, serve as portables with the e17?

    I understand it’s not their purpose, but i readly don’t want to sell them as i’m looking for good portables either way and i love their comfort and build design, as well as their sound.

    Thanks alot.

  • Reply January 25, 2012

    Sebastian F. Jørgensen

    Hi Mike. Thank you for this page. It has really made it easy to quickly understand this wonderful world of DAC and amps.
    I have a quick question if you have the time.
    I currently own a pair of HD 438, and I am looking to buy a portable DAC/Amp (My audio port on my laptop is broken).
    Would it be sufficient with an E7 for me or should I spend the extra money for an E17.
    Would I even be able to hear that much difference with my low/mid range headphones?
    I don’t have much money.
    Again thank you for all your work 🙂

    • Reply January 25, 2012

      Mike

      Sebastian,
      What about getting the E10 and losing the portable amp capability for now? I think that’ll be better than the E7.
      As for picking up the difference it’s more on the individuals.

  • Reply January 26, 2012

    Anson

    Does the signal from USB DAC/Amp go through the same amplification circuit as from line-in?

    • Reply January 26, 2012

      Mike

      Since there is only one amp on the E17 then I would assume yes.

  • Reply January 26, 2012

    Hydron

    I have a Ipod Nano 6th gen.  Should I order this or the O2 amp. 
    Headphone : Ultrasone pro750

    • Reply January 26, 2012

      Mike

      You can, but the O2 is very big if you want to use it as a portable.

      Please check out the photo comparison on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.305081529536551.80944.145341288843910&type=3

      • Reply January 26, 2012

        Hydron

        Size does not really matters, its more wich one will sound better with the nano and headphones.

        • Reply January 27, 2012

          Mike

          The O2 would be better then. 

          • Reply January 28, 2012

            Hydron

            so my setup will not really benefit from the e17 dac

          • Reply January 28, 2012

            Mike

            Correct, with the iPod Nano as the source you really won’t be using the E17’s DAC. 

  • Reply January 26, 2012

    faris fitri

    Quick question,which sounds better?The E17 Alpen or the Asus Xonar STX?[Please ignore everything else about them]

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Mike

      Faris,
      Can’t help you here since I don’t have the Asus.

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    putente

    Hi, Mike!
    I don’t know if this was already discussed (the comment list is getting huge!), but did you test/heard this E17 with the Senn’s HD25? In case you did, how do you compare them to the E10 + HD25 (as these two really match very well)?

    Thanks.

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Mike

      Yes I tested it with the HD25 and the improvements are as I wrote on the review.

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    Bazamatazz

    Hi, Mike, I  just received my E17 the other day. I have been using my E7 for a year. One thing I have noticed other than the superior sound quality is that when I connect it to my computer via USB and use a stereo jack to rca to hook it to my my amp, the amount of volume is really low compared to the E7, even when set on the highest gain level. Any ideas why this is?
    Cheers,
    Baz

    • Reply January 27, 2012

      Mike

      That doesn’t sound right because the E17 should go much much louder than the E7. So you took the signal out from the headphone out section?

      • Reply January 27, 2012

        Bazamatazz

        Yep the headphone out. The volume is no where near as loud. I’d say 30% lower. Not so much with my hd-25s on. I’d have the E7 on 16 normally. With the new E17 its up to 24. Could it be a hardware issue?

        • Reply January 27, 2012

          Bazamatazz

          Crisis averted.. My other half had turned down the volume in the task bar.
          Always messing with things they don’t understand. Nothing two black eyes won’t fix. It’s working perfectly. Lush!

          • Reply January 27, 2012

            Mike

            Ah! I was really confused as to what had happened there. Good thing then, hope you enjoy the E17.

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    Ba Dan

    If you want the interoperability between standard USB DAC/amp, like the FiiO E17, and Android smartphones via official Google firmware/kernel, please vote (i.e. request to Google) here:http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=24614 

    Star: Vote for this issue and get email change notifications

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    luuanhdung12

    Hi Mike. Really great review, as usual.  
    Considering the E10 or E17 for my Shure IEMs. Could you please write something about this new baby when paired up with your 
    JH5Pro??  How is it compared to the E10? Does it worth $70 more (forget other futures, just the sound only, and for IEMs only)?  The E10 seems great for IEMs.

  • Reply January 27, 2012

    Joshua Akagos Yeo

    XM6′ on steriods? Thats the only other portable amp/dac I know with bass and treble control. It cost a wooping $395 usd compared to the E17 though.

    • Reply January 28, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks Joshua,
      I didn’t realize the XM6 comes with bass and treble controls. Can you reduce the bass & treble levels on the XM6?

  • Reply January 28, 2012

    alecks

    hi again! i was wondering how the e17 by itself compare to a e7+e9 combo??

    • Reply January 28, 2012

      Mike

      Alecks, 
      Can you read these two comparisons?

      ————————————————————-

      E17 VERSUS E7Not even close. Aside from the improved features and specs, the E17 also blows the E9 out of the water. There is no comparison here. Tonally, the E7 sounds thin on the mids and lows, and the soundstage is not that impressive. If I can add something, also put congested mids into the list of the E7 features. The E17 on the other hand has a much bigger soundstage, and a more likeable tonality. Good full mids, good bass, spacious sound, all around musical.E17 AND E9 PAIRINGPairing with the E9 desktop amp unit, you get a bigger sound with better dynamics and dynamic range. However, I don’t think the sound signature works out to be that good. It robs the E17 of the sweet full midrange and in return gives you a somewhat unpleasant and recessed mids. Yes, bigger sound and more power, but sorry I’d rather have my midrange back. In my opinion, the E9 better left paired with the E7, while the E17 better be left on its own (at least until Fiio comes out with a newer version of the E9).

  • Reply January 29, 2012

    Quentin

    Hi Mike, how does the E17 do with low sensitivity IEMs compared to the C421? thanks.

    • Reply January 30, 2012

      Mike

      Both does IEMs just fine. Of course as I’ve mentioned before, the C421 is the better amp.

  • Reply January 30, 2012

    crinacle

    Hey Mike, a question: if the E11 is a better amplifier, would it make more sense to use the E17’s DAC and then use the E11 as the amp?

    • Reply January 30, 2012

      Mike

      Sure, you can do that, but I think the point with the E17 is that it’s an integrated solution. I mean if you want to go with separate DAC/Amp units then the HRT MS2 is still the best ~$100 USB DAC at the moment.

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Song Kyung Han

    A simple question here, Mike. I’m seriously thinking of getting this to use as a portable DAC/amp with my iPhone 4S. What gets me is, can I use the Fiio E17 “Alpen” to bypass my iPhone 4S’s in-built DAC and utilize the E17’s superior DAC? Obviously I should be able to do so (as with many other portable DAC’s or DAC/amps), but I’ve read in some forums that when it comes to pairing with an iDevice, I wouldn’t be able to use the E17’s DAC and only its amp section. Because if that’s true that would defeat the purpose of buying a DAC/amp in the first place…

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Song Kyung Han

    A simple question here, Mike. I’m seriously thinking of getting this to use as a portable DAC/amp with my iPhone 4S. What gets me is, can I use the Fiio E17 “Alpen” to bypass my iPhone 4S’s in-built DAC and utilize the E17’s superior DAC? Obviously I should be able to do so (as with many other portable DAC’s or DAC/amps), but I’ve read in some forums that when it comes to pairing with an iDevice, I wouldn’t be able to use the E17’s DAC and only its amp section. Because if that’s true that would defeat the purpose of buying a DAC/amp in the first place…

  • Reply January 31, 2012

    Rafael

    Hi Mike, nice review! I’m kinda new to these high-quality audio stuff, so I was wondering:
    Would E17 be an overkill to use with an ATH-M50, since it has such a low impedance (38ohms). Thank you

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Rafael, 
      I know that impedance ratings and sensitivity numbers have been used as rough guides for amplification needs, but my new rough guide is this:

      “The rule that I use is that the bigger the size of the headphone, the bigger the need for amplification. Of course factors like driver sensitivity and impedance will matter, but the general rule of thumb is, use a dedicated headphone amplifier for a full size headphone. Even a portable amplifier can be enough, depending on the type of the headphones.”

      And yes I think the E17 is great with the M50.

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Sonny Lee

    Hi Mike, do you know if you can bypass Android phone’s DAC by using the micro-USB connection?  I just pre-ordered one and little anxious about what’ll allow me to do.  I have galaxy s2 android phone, although a great phone but terrible on-board DAC – I would love to have it bypass on-board DAC, akin to LOD connection for Apple products.

    thanks.

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Mike

      I don’t think you have that feature supported yet. At least we were asking google to add that feature in. 

      Here is the page:
      http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=24614

      And if you want to support the petition, please click on the star icon left of the Title. 

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      asd qwe

      Yeh I agree with you, I have a Galaxy Ace and its DAC and amp are the worst… sooo bad

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Spencer Chan

    Mike, have you noticed an issue where the e17 will not play 24bit-88khz FLAC over usb?

    When attempting to play my copy of Jazz at the Pawnshop from HDTracks with Foobar under Win7, I get the following error “Unrecoverable playback error: Unsupported stream format: 88200 Hz / 24-bit / 2 channels”

    But, when playing it via Toslink to the e17, it plays ok….  It’s werid.

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Mike

      I haven’t noticed that specific issue, but in general, when playing oddball sample rates such as 88, 172, 351 and so on there may be some glitches with certain DAC / Player pairings. 44.1 and 96kHz are the safest choices.

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Sauce Sacla

      I’ve just received my E17 and I can confirm that it can play 24bit up to 96Khz over USB and up to 192Khz over SPDIF. I use wasapi plugin for foobar with Sox resampler

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,

    according your tests and feelings, how does the E17 compare to the Yulong U100, in the sound quality department ? which of the 2 has the best DAC and the best amp ?

    thanks a lot !

    • Reply February 2, 2012

      Mike

      The Yulong is technically better both on DAC and amp sections, but it’s also a matter of different sound signature. The Yulong tend to be more treble happy, where the E17 is fuller on lows and mids. 

      • Reply February 2, 2012

        Anonymous

         right, thanks a lot Mike

        • Reply February 3, 2012

          Mike

          You’re welcome, breizh.

  • Reply February 2, 2012

    Richard Jacobs

    Mike, how does the much less expensive E17 compare to the CLAS and Fostex HP-P1 in terms of performance and sound? Thanks.

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Richard, 
      The CLAS and the Fostex are better, they are also more expensive, but they can take digital data from i-devices where the E17 is designed to work with regular computers. 

  • Reply February 3, 2012

    László Déri

    Mike, which headphone category is the best with E17? Can it drive full sized ones as well, like Q701 or HD650? What would be a option for jazz?

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Mike

      László, The E17 can drive all the big dynamic headphones including the HD650 and the K701 quite well. What about Jazz? You’re asking for a headphone or an amp? 

      • Reply February 4, 2012

        László Déri

        Oh, my first thought was the headphone but since you asked, I am curious about the amp as well. 🙂 I am listening to jazz and blues music in 95% and I am looking for a portable amp + headphone combo for that purpose. Any suggestions?

        • Reply February 4, 2012

          Mike

          For something entry level, try the Alessandro MS1i with a warm amplifier like the Fiio E11.

          • Reply February 6, 2012

            László Déri

             Thank you, Mike. I planned to spend a bit more, like $300-400 on the headphone. What do you recommend in that range?

            • Reply February 6, 2012

              Mike

              Then you’ve got to be ready to spend another $300-$400 (or more on the amplifier). You sure you want to go there?

  • Reply February 3, 2012

    Justin

    Hi sir! Was wondering how this pairs up with the Hd25? Would this be an upgrade to the e11 and PA2V2? Thanks!

    • Reply February 3, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Justin, 
      The pairing is superb with the HD25-1. Compared to the E11, the Alpen adds in a DAC in the package, something that you don’t get with the E11. However the amplifier section is better in the E11. The PA2V2 is also an amplifier only unit like the E11. 

      Check out the FAQ #6 on what a DAC is:
      http://www.headfonia.com/faq/

      • Reply February 4, 2012

        Justin

        Thanks sir for the reply. So the amplifier section is still better than the PA2V2?

        • Reply February 4, 2012

          Mike

          No I think the PA2V2 is more refined, though the E17 is more powerful.

          • Reply February 4, 2012

            Justin

            All right. Looks like I’m sticking with my current amps. Thank you again. 🙂

          • Reply February 4, 2012

            Mike

            Don’t you just love it when you don’t have to spend more money? 😉 

          • Reply February 4, 2012

            Justin

            Yep! Looks like my funds will be saved up for Christmastime upgrades. 😀

  • Reply February 4, 2012

    Richard Jacobs

    Mike, FiiO Marketing has confirmed for me that you cannot route music from an iPod/Pad/Phone and utilize the DAC section on the E17. So this begs the question, what kind of setups can one use the E17 +/- D9 in whereby the E17’s DAC is bring used? It seems like the only options for using a portable outboard DAC for iPod/Pad/Phone users would be the Fostex HP-P1 or the CLAS. True? (please answer both questions.) Thank you! 🙂

    • Reply February 4, 2012

      Mike

      Richard,
      Yes the E17 is meant to be used with a computer, straight from the computer’s USB port. You can also use it with CD Players that has an S/PDIF out.
      For i-Devices you have to use the Fostex HP-P1 or CLAS.

    • Reply February 7, 2012

      Simon Smith

      I was wondering about that, so thanks for the clarification. I was thinking about getting a small tablet and using it my Fiio E7 as a media player and read somewhere that the latest version of Andriod software Ice Cream Sandwich will/does support use of an external DAC. Do you know if this is true as that would be pretty cool. The only othe option as I see it is to buy a small Netbook with large tsorage capacity running windows 7.  Mayve upcoming windows 8 tablets will allow this?

    • Reply February 11, 2012

      Norman Perlmutter

      You can’t use the DAC ability if you connect it to an iPod? That seems like a really weird design choice. Why would they do that? Is the same true for the iBasso series of portable amp/DACs? Can I use the DAC section with a different portable mp3 player?

      • Reply February 11, 2012

        Mike

        Norman,
        It’s not a design choice. It’s something that Apple choose to implement on their end.

        • Reply February 12, 2012

          Chris Allen

          So one can’t use either the E9 or the E17’s DAC, but the built-in DAC in Apple’s iPod?

          • Reply February 13, 2012

            Anonymous

            That’s correct. Apple restrict access to the raw digital bits through the dock connector. You have to be given (and I’m sure pay handsomely for) a key to access the data. I’ve also read somewhere that Apple doesnt give the key to Chinese manufacturers auch as Fiio and iBasso. I dont know if that is true, or if it is just too expensive to be economical for inexpensive portable DACs. You will notice that both the Fostex and the CLAS are in a higher price category where presumably there is room to build in the licensing cost of access to the digital bits.

          • Reply February 13, 2012

            Mike

            Yes you can’t. With an Ipod, you either have to get the CLAS or the Fostex HP-P1 since they are the only ones that can tap into the Ipod’s digital data.

  • Reply February 4, 2012

    Richard Jacobs

    Mike, FiiO Marketing has confirmed for me that you cannot route music from an iPod/Pad/Phone and utilize the DAC section on the E17. So this begs the question, what kind of setups can one use the E17 +/- D9 in whereby the E17’s DAC is bring used? It seems like the only options for using a portable outboard DAC for iPod/Pad/Phone users would be the Fostex HP-P1 or the CLAS. True? (please answer both questions.) Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply February 6, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike

    I am still waiting for Headphone Bar in Vancouver to get their shipment of the E17 in.  I really like your review as usual so please keep up the excellent work you are doing.  I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of E9/E7 for sale if the E17 is as good as your review says.  So far every review of yours that I have read has been spot on.

    Cheers
    John

    • Reply February 6, 2012

      Mike

      Thanks, John. Hope you like the E17 as much as I do. 

  • Reply February 8, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hey Mike,

    Do you have any experience with the Audioengine D1 dac/amp, and how it would compare to the E17?  I have a pair of K701 and would like to know which one could work out better….  If portability doesnt matter, which one would you recommend?

    Thanks

    Alex

    • Reply February 8, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry, not yet but we’re still waiting for Audioengine to send us a unit.

  • Reply February 10, 2012

    skyline315

    So, Mike, you think this is sufficient for a DT880 250 ohm set?  I was worried it wouldn’t have enough power…

    Thanks for the informative article!

  • Reply February 10, 2012

    Francis Anthony

    I would just want to ask how the Bass and Treble control different from the bass boost of the E10, if it’s similar to EQ settings of music players does using it affect the overall presentation of the sound somehow? (aside from the boost) Thanks!

    • Reply February 10, 2012

      Mike

      Yes, Francis. Basically the Bass control is like a bass boost — only now you have the option of reducing bass quantity, not only to add to it. And likewise with the treble control. It’s the same thing but for the upper frequencies.
      Yes, it’s basically a simplified EQ.

      The presentation of the music would obviously be affected. I don’t think I understand your question here. If you add bass quantity then the presentation will be more bassy and so on.

      • Reply February 10, 2012

        Francis Anthony

        Sorry for the confusing question, just to clarify….when applying bass boost or treble boost (or reduction) the rest of the frequency is unaffected right? No bleeding and such? 

        And about the E10 question, they claim that it’s different from digital EQ by using a circuit instead? Is there any difference in the way they sound?

        Thanks for answering the questions, i’m looking to get an E17 or an E10. Lastly, would you say they pair up well with the HD598? or perhaps the HD600.

        • Reply February 11, 2012

          Mike

          Hi Francis,
          1. I think it’s pretty impossible to have a clean bass boost. The reason is bass and midrange are next to each other in terms of frequency range. So if you raise the bass, after a certain boost level, it’s almost impossible to have the lower midrange unaffected. But when you go with the lower boost setting, the midrange is still quite clean and shouldn’t be a big issue.
          2. I think I mentioned about this in the review. I actually didn’t investigate what sort of circuits are used, but the bass boost is cleaner on the E17.
          3. Yes they would be a good pairing. The E17 is more punchy and I would suggest that if you’re going with the HD600. The sound has more oomph with the E17.

          • Reply February 12, 2012

            Francis Anthony

            Thanks Mike, i’ll take your advice and go for the HD600 -> E17 combo

  • Reply February 13, 2012

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,
    Could you recall how the TTVJ Slim sounds in comparison to this E17 (or maybe in comparison to the E11 as well if you think the E17 is not as refined) ?
    Yes I’m aware of the price difference.

    I just browsed your old reviews and portable amps comparison, you seemed to think highly of the TTVJ Slim as a great performer back then and powerful enough to drive the likes of HD650. Did you listen to the TTVJ Slim USB DAC PCM2704 too back then?
    Thanks!

    • Reply February 15, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Marc,
      Yes I had a listen to the USB DAC version too (I think the one I used for the Usual Suspects article had the DAC). Briefly the DAC is just okay, the one on the E17 is better. However the amp section is more powerful, more resolving, more dynamic than the E17’s.
      I think the TTVJ is primarily and amp first with the DAC as an add-on. The E17 is more of a DAC with a built in amp.

      • Reply February 16, 2012

        Anonymous

        Thanks Mike!
        How about the TTVJ Slim sound quality in comparison to the most powerful amp in Fiio line-up, the E11? I’m aware that the E11 has no DAC.
        Thanks so much.

        • Reply February 16, 2012

          Mike

          The resolution is still better with the TTVJ.

          • Reply February 17, 2012

            Anonymous

             Thanks Mike!
            Could you recall their sound signature and soundstage performance? (for example, which one has faster dynamic presentation, tighter bass & better punch, forward thick mids, lively treble, and such) 

            Which one is more powerful between the TTVJ and E11? Because I need to drive the Yuin PK1 which reportedly kinda hard to drive.

            I would really appreciate your help. Cheers!

          • Reply February 17, 2012

            Mike

            Hi Marc, 

            The TTVJ should be the better amp. Soundstage, punchier bass, more forward mids, more lively treble.

            The PK1 is not that difficult to drive. It just need a good quality amp. It’s a bit different than needing a powerful amp. I think all these talks about the PK1 being extremely hard to drive is overrated. Just think about it with simple physics. The size of the driver in the PK1, say the size of the driver in the HE-500 (and being an orthodynamic as well). If the E11 can drive the HE-500 then the PK1 should be a piece of cake. 

  • Reply February 15, 2012

    Jeff Lin

    Hi Mike,
    Did you ever find time to get some impressions about the HeadRoom Total Bithead? Any word on how the E10 and E17 compare to the Bithead? I own the Total Bithead and use it with a Senn HD598. I’m just curious as to whether it’d be a worthy upgrade to purchase an E17. Thanks.

  • Reply February 17, 2012

    Anonymous

    Sir:
      You are right on the money. The Alpen is worth every penny. My Audio Technicas never sounded better. And the controls……. they’re the “bomb”. Diana Krall sounds like she’s standing right next to me. Live in Paris just leaped off the cd.  I can’t imagine why anyone would need to fiddle with the equalizer on Foobar 2000 for an hour dialing in the sound. The Alpen has all the control one needs to set the soundstage, and it only takes a few seconds. A very solid unit for 150. Fiio will sell boatloads of these, and then a newer E 9 will come along to compliment the E 17. 
                                                                                              ‘ Nuf Said’.

    • Reply February 17, 2012

      Mike

      Good to hear that!

  • Reply February 18, 2012

    justin lee

     can you please help sirs?

    the first experience I ever had with a headphone amp was today.  I was really really impressed…  it was only $155… A Pro-Ject Head Box II. 

    Would you comment on if the E17 will drive my new Beyerdynamic DT88O pro (250ohm) as well as the amp that i tried did? 

    thank you!  here are links and specs. 
    http://www.crutchfield.com/S-S7w1YRerUoX/p_252HEDBX2B/Pro-Ject-Head-Box-II-Black.html#details-tab
     

    Specifications

    Headphone Jack: 3-pole, 1/4″

    Gain: 11dB

    Power Output: 330mV / 30-ohms, 60mV / 300-ohms

    Input Impedance: 47 kOhms

    Signal-to-Noise Ratio: 94 ref. full output (112dB-A weighted), 3W power consumption max.

    Frequency Response: 30Hz-20kHz (+/-0.05dB), 10Hz-120kHz (-1dB)

    THD: 0.005%

    Power Consumption: 16V / 120mA AC

     

     

    Here are specs for E17

     

    Specification

     

    ● Output Power: >250mW (16Ω Loaded ); >30mW (300Ω Loaded)● Headphone Impedance Range: 16 Ω ~ 300 Ω● SNR:≥109dB(A weight)[AMP];≥104dB(A weight)[DAC]● Distortion:<0.001%(10mW)(AMP);<0.007%(10mW)(DAC)● Support sampling rate(Max):96K/24bit [USB] ; 192K/24bit [SPDIF]● Frequency response:10Hz~100KHz[AMP]; 10Hz~20KHz[DAC]● Battery capacity, charging time and using time:1500Mah/3.5H/15H[AUX]; 1500Mah/3.5H/15H[SPDIF]● Size: 96mm x 55mm x 15.2mm● Weight: 112g

    • Reply February 18, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry Justin, I have no experience with the Project.

      You can check with Austin as he’s done a review on that amp.
      http://www.audioexcursions.com/files/pro-ject-head-box-ii-desktop-headphone-amplifier-review.html

    • Reply February 18, 2012

      Austin Morrow

      Hi Justin,

      Yes, the Head Box II is a great little amp. Neutral, a tad bit dark, and slightly bass heavy, but good for the money nonetheless. Anyway, yes, the HB II should be able to drive the DT880 without any problem at all. It may add a slight bit of lushness and warmth, if that’s what you are looking for.

      Thanks for the link, Mike. Really helps me out. 🙂

      • Reply February 18, 2012

        Mike

        Thanks, Austin.

      • Reply February 19, 2012

        justin lee

        Thanks Mike and Austin.  What I meant was, will the E17 drive the dt880 “as well” as the head box.  I was very impressed with the headbox (but it was my first experience with an amp).  But if the E17 can drive it as well (or almost as well) I will be very happy I think 🙂 

        Can you comment on this?   Thank you!

        • Reply February 20, 2012

          Austin Morrow

          Hi Justin,

          As far as driving capacity goes, I’m not totally sure, you’d have to ask Mike on the driving capabilities of the E17. With that being said, the Head-Box II can drive any of my headphones, so power with the HB II is not a problem.

          • Reply February 20, 2012

            justin lee

            thanks.  can you not tell by looking at the specs I listed above?  just wondering.  

  • Reply February 18, 2012

    Vuk

    Hi Mike, Im looking at purchasing the e11 to power my ultrasone pro900. Do you think this amp is good enough to properly power my headphones? If not I was also looking at the 
    ttvj slim and the headstage arrow.  Is the price difference between these amps justified or would I be better off with the e11?

    • Reply February 18, 2012

      Mike

      Vuk,
      Power wise, yes. But there are things like refinement, soundstage, detail, that you’ll get with better quality amps.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    alchemical

    Mike, I’m considering buying one of these for two purposes, 1 which will be intended for regular use and one occasional use.  Let me know if my logic seems off and this wouldn’t be ideal for my purposes.  I’d like to replace my desktop DAC which is currently an E-mu 0404 USB and use the e17 DAC only and keep my Cavalli Tube Hybrid amp for desktop use amp’ing my modded Fostex T50RPs.  That’s the standard usage.  The occasional use will be when I want to travel or take my phones out, in which case I’ll use the e17 DAC and some other portable amp like an ALO Continental paired with whatever DAP I happen to have, using the same phones.  So I’ll never be expecting the Amp portion of the e17 to drive my T50RPs but I’d like the DAC and bass/treble/gain controls and either my desktop hybrid amp at home or some other portable amp on the road.  Sound good, or should I be better off getting a standalone DAC?  Many thanks!

    • Reply February 21, 2012

      Mike

      Well the part that you seem to mistake is the fact that you can use the DAC portion of the E17 with your DAP, which it can’t do, unfortunately.
      So yes in that case you’ll be better off getting a dedicated DAC.

      • Reply February 21, 2012

        alchemical

        My bad;  DAP was the wrong term to use. I should have said whatever “source that plays music and accepts USB DAC”, as I meant essentially whatever PC I happen to be using at the time, rather than something like a Cowon or Hifiman DAP.  Bad choice of terms on my part, sorry!  So if my transportable “source” is always going to be one PC-like device or another, could I then still benefit from using the DAC in e17 as opposed to whatever on-board DAC the device has?  Thx Mike

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    nsx280ps

     Mike,

    I am considering either getting the E17 or Mstage USB version for mostly my K701s, I understand there is quite a price difference.  Is there a substantial difference between the two driving the AKGs?  I do like the size and the EQ functions of the E17, but ultimately, would the sound be a substantial upgrade on the Mstage?

    Thanks

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Mike

      In terms of power the M-Stage should be a lot more powerful, but you don’t really need that sort of power level for the K701. 

      I don’t know, the decision is up to you. The E17 is small and don’t require AC power and can be used as a portable amp. The M-Stage will take a bigger space on your desk (some people like me have limited space on my work desk).

  • Reply February 27, 2012

    Lior Amsalem

    Hi Mike,
    Just bought the HD-25 as you know.
    I’ve got a Roku soundbridge I’m using at work and the HD-25 sounds very weak and thin right out of it. 
    The soundbridge also have optical and coax out. 
    Will the E17 be a good pairing to the HD-25 or I better look into ibasso or other amp/dac portable amps?

    Anyway, I prefer portable amp/dac in order to be able to use it on the road from time to time.

    As always, I’ll appreciate any answer.

    Regards,
    Lior

    • Reply February 27, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Lior,
      So you need a DAC/Amp box that can also serve as a portable amp? I guess the choice is quite limited to the E17 then.

  • Hi Mike,
    I want to amplify the music I play on my HTC Evo Android phone. I play the music through Kuryakyn speakers on my motorcycle and I want to get some decent headphones to wear at the gym. I listen to Rap, R&B, and Jazz mostly.  I guess the amplification would matter more with the motorcycle and the DAC would matter more with the headphones. I am trying to wait a couple of weeks for the Fiio E17 since I cannot find anyone who has it in stock, but it sounds like the Fiio E11 may possibly be all I need. Do you think the Fiio E17 or Fiio E11 would be better? I would really value your experienced suggestion.  Thanks, Steve

    • Reply March 2, 2012

      justin lee

      as it’s been discussed many times, the E11 is a better amplifier.  it’s more refined.  has more power.  by a little margin.  

      there’s a lot more you can do with the E17, but you wouldn’t be able to use it as a DAC anyway.  You can only use it as a DAC with your computer.  I would go with the E11.  I was in your same boat.

  • Reply March 4, 2012

    bfcbrad

    I use a HP G62 laptop and want to improve the sound via my headphones. I understand that a dac will do this. At present I am using a PA2V2 which has improved the sound but wanted to know if the Fiio E10 or E17 would be much more of an improvement. If so which one would you suggest ? Regards, Brad 

    • Reply March 5, 2012

      Mike

      Brad,
      Have you read the review? I specifically compared the E10 to the E17.

  • Reply March 7, 2012

    Justin Lee

    Hi Mike,
    I am currently using the Shure SRH750DJ’s. Does purchasing an amp improve the upper treble/lower bass that the Shures are lacking? I am looking at the E17 and E11. You mentioned in the review that the E11 is better as an amp overall, so I am wondering what the benefits of the DAC on the E17 are? I understand that it is only used to improve the sound when connected to a computer, but how much does the sound differ if I just plugged the amp to the computer via the 3.5mm jack instead of USB?

    At the end of the day I would like to purchase an amp that I can use with both my Zune and iMac. TIA!Regards,Justin

    • Reply March 7, 2012

      Mike

      Justin,
      Mostly the benefits that you get with lower end amp like the E17 and E11 are better impact and punch on the bass. If you want to have more upper treble and lower bass, I’m afraid the best option would be to find another headphone. The SRH750DJ is very mid-centric and I’m not surprised you are looking for lower bass and more treble.

  • Reply March 11, 2012

    dekun lei

    Hi Mike,
    Compared to the Hifiman HM-601, which would sound better? Fiio E17 with LOD to iPod, Or HM-601?

    • Reply March 12, 2012

      Mike

      The HM-601 would have a much better DAC, but the E17 a more powerful amp.

      • Reply March 12, 2012

        dekun lei

        Thanks Mike. Would the HM-601 be powerful enough to drive the likes of HD600 and K701 with good authority?

        • Reply March 12, 2012

          Mike

          No, unfortunately. Perhaps you can get enough loudness, but bass impact would be weak.

      • Reply March 21, 2012

        mike roderigo

         HM-601 dac section better than the Fiio E17 dac one?
        really?

  • Reply March 12, 2012

    Boon Huang

    Hi Mike,

    Is power output the same when using it as DAC or 
    portable headphone amplifier ? In other words, does it get the same amplification of both functions?

    Thanks.

  • Reply March 15, 2012

    Los

    Hi Mike,

    I was thinking about getting the E7 for my Audio Technica M50s & Grado SR80is.  Do you think I should skip this and go for the E17 or will these amps not have much effect on these headphones?  Thanks  Los

    • Reply March 15, 2012

      Mike

      The E17 should still have an effect on those headphones, especially the SR80.

  • Reply March 16, 2012

    haruspex

    Hi Mike,

    I recently purchased a set of DT 770 Pro headphones, and chose the 80 Ohm version since I am primarily using this set to listen to music from my MacBook Pro while at the office. (Closed back since I want to minimize disturbing my office mates).

    I would still like to get the best sound as I can out of these and would like to know if you would recommend a DAC/Amp for my setup. I chose the lower resistance headphones since they would be powered by a laptop, but would like to know if the setup would still benefit from a DAC/Amp (and if I made the right decision about the lower resistance set now knowing that the higher resistance could have been powered by a good portable amp).

    – I’m mostly listening to Electronic and Classical.
    – Is a DAC all that needed for output from a MacBook Pro laptop?
    – I know in your FAQ you basically say for big circumaural headphones, yes get an amp. Would you still agree in the case of my setup? Should I trade out my 80 Ohm for the standard 250 Ohm?
    – Does the Alpen sound like my best option to you? If not, would you recommend other reviews to read?

    I really appreciate your time. Thank you for all the wonderful information.

    Best Regards,
    Haruspex

    • Reply March 16, 2012

      Mike

      Yes you would benefit from an amp. The 80 Ohm, the 250 Ohm, I think all Beyer full size would benefit from an amp. 

      The Alpen would work for that, but sure there are other choices. Ummm what’s your budget?

      • Reply March 16, 2012

        haruspex

        I paid around $150 for the headphones, would like to stay around that area for an amp. Looking at the various portable amps on the market, I’m concerned that won’t give me much choice, and so I’m open to pricier options if the return is equivalent in value. In which case, I would certainly like to hear some recommendations.

        Do you feel a DAC is also necessary for my DT 770 Pro-80 headphones with my MacBook Pro laptop as the source?

        Again, thank you for your time.

        • Reply March 17, 2012

          Mike

          If your budget is $150, I think the Alpen would be a pretty good choice.

          • Reply March 19, 2012

            haruspex

            Thank you for your thoughts.

            Do you feel a DAC is also necessary for my DT 770 Pro-80 headphones with my MacBook Pro laptop as the source?Would I benefit from the higher impedance DT 770 Pro after getting a proper amp?

          • Reply March 19, 2012

            Mike

            The DAC is not absolutely mandatory, but since the E17 comes as a package with it, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to recommend it. 

            The higher impedance DT770 has a cleaner bass section but you do lose some bass quantity compared to the 80 ohms version. A lot of people feel that the 80 ohms version is more musical and I agree with them. 

  • Reply March 18, 2012

    留學熊貓

    Hi Mike,

    I recently bought a Westone 2, and i am wondering if fiio e17/ e11 is a good amp to drive it?  

    Here is some specifications!!Westone 2 SpecificationsSensitivity: 117 dB SPL/mW @1kHzFrequency Response: 20 Hz -18 kHzImpedance: 33 ohms @1kHzDriver: Dual balanced armatures; 1 low & 1 high frequency

    Sincerely,John

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      Mike

      I’ve never tried the Westone 2 specifically with those Fiios. The Fiios should have enough power, but as for actual pairing synergy, I’m not so sure.

    • Reply March 20, 2012

      Bronek Kozicki

      I have Westone 2 and never felt the need for headphone amplifier. These IEMs don’t need much power at all do drive them. Although of course depending on what they are attached to, separate amplifier might provide better quality sound.

      • Reply March 21, 2012

        留學熊貓

        i just feel like i need a little bit more bass for my westone 2, the mid and high are excellent for me XD 
        If there is a bit more bass then in my mind its a better earphone than westone 3!
        Thats why considering a portable amps with eq setting!

        • Reply March 21, 2012

          Mike

          If you just need more bass, why don’t just get something like the Digizoid Zo? It’s smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the E17. 

          http://www.headfonia.com/the-smartvektor-digizoid-zo/

          • Reply March 21, 2012

            留學熊貓

            thank a lot for the suggestion!

            i never knew this amp before, and seems like its using some new technology than other amps. 
            I’m sort of considering the dac function as well!
            So is there any other choices will u suggest for amp + DAC functions?
            also, if comparing the fiio e11 and the Digizoid Zo2, which one do you prefer??and thank for the reply!

            • Reply March 21, 2012

              Mike

              Ah, if you want to use the DAC then the E17 it is.

              You can also look into the D-Zero. Just type in D-Zero into the search box above the navigation bar.

  • Reply March 19, 2012

    Glen Bierworth

    Has anyone received their E17 yet? I ordered on from Mp4nation on January 11 with no update or anything. I recently sent an inquiry to them for an update on the order, but it’s been 3 months. Just asking.

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      留學熊貓

      I believe i read someone said he bought the e17 from Mp4nation and it stopped working after 2 weeks, and it does not have warranty since he bought it there…

      there should be some e17 coming during the mid – end of march!

      • Reply March 19, 2012

        Mike

        No warranty from MP4Nation?

    • Reply March 19, 2012

      justin lee

      yep. I finally cancelled with them after waiting for weeks and getting the run-around.   They’re a reseller out to make a quick buck and don’t care about customer service.  All they care about is getting more pre-orders.  

      Yep, no warrantee through them either.  A guy on headfi got screwed even when his e17 was clearly defective.

      Don’t give them your business.  

      I would advise ordering through a reputable reseller like miccastore or amazon. He said even Amazon should have in stock MOST LIKELY before the end of this month. fiio rep posted in headfi thread recently. They’ve ramped up production to “800 units a day”.

      • Reply March 19, 2012

        Mike

        Thanks for posting your experience here, Justin.

    • Reply April 13, 2012

      JakeBarnes12

      They’re available from Amazon Germany. I ordered mine on 11th April (they’re sent from a dealer in the UK) and it arrived today (13th April). I should mention that I’m Germany-based, so I don’t know if this would help in the US.

      Charging the E17 at the moment, looking forward to trying it out.

      I should add that for travel purposes you can use a USB iPod charger plug and connect to a wall outlet.

  • Reply March 20, 2012

    Prasetya Nugraha

    Mike, I have a Yuin PK1 and I’m considering to buy the Fiio E17, I think the DAC on E17 is a very nice addition since I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, Do you think it’ll be enough to power the PK1 ? Or do you have another Portable Amp in mind ? My budget is around $150

    • Reply March 20, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Prasetya,
      Yes for sure it has enough power for the PK1. The Ibasso D-Zero also doubles as a portable amp/DAC, but I think the Fiio matches the Yuin better.

      • Reply March 20, 2012

        Prasetya Nugraha

        Awesome, Thanks for the information Mike ! 🙂

        Oh, one more thing, I use a Rockboxed Sansa Clip+ as my DAP, Do you think it’ll be a good synergy between the Clip+ – E17 – Yuin PK1 ?

        • Reply March 20, 2012

          Mike

          I honestly am not so sure about that Clip + E17 + PK1..

          • Reply March 20, 2012

            Prasetya Nugraha

            Okay then, I’ll try the pairing myself. Anyway, thanks for the reply Mike !
            Best of luck for your next review… 🙂

  • Reply March 21, 2012

    Joey

    I just got myself an iBasso D7, and currently planning to get Fiio E17.

    I listen  to my music at much lower volume level than most people would do, so I often find myself fussing over some channel imbalance problems (I have an overly sensitive hearing), especially when pairing low impedance headphones with any headphone amplifiers with analog pot *gasp*.

    It seems like Fiio E17 would suit my needs, as it has digital volume control + balance control.

    However, I heard Fiio E17 has the same problem as Fiio E10 when it is set as USB DAC/AMP in Windows 7:  it synchronizes itself every tens of minutes thus annoying people with its 1 second interruption.

    Is this bug reproducible on your Fiio E17, Mike?

    • Reply March 21, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Joey,
      I have some friends who are using the E10 and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody mentioning that problem. I personally use Mac most of the time so I can’t do that check for you but I’ll try posting your question on our Facebook.

      • Reply March 21, 2012

        Benjamin Ha

        I haven’t noticed this issue with my E17 but let me use the E17 for the next hour and see if this issue appears.

        • Reply March 21, 2012

          Mike

          Thanks, Benjamin.

          You mean the E17 right?

          • Reply March 21, 2012

            Benjamin Ha

            I didnt hear any interruption at 10 min intervals 

            • Reply March 21, 2012

              Mike

              Alright, thanks Benjamin. 🙂

      • Reply March 21, 2012

        Joey

        Thanks a lot for the help, Mike.
        Not trying to be a grammar police, I said tens of minutes, not exactly ten minutes. 🙂

        • Reply March 22, 2012

          Mike

          Ah I don’t know why but my monitor skipped displaying the s on the tens. 😉

    • Reply March 21, 2012

      Mike

  • Reply March 25, 2012

    harsyafadilla

    mike, how about e17 + e11 pairing? is it recommended?

    • Reply March 27, 2012

      Mike

      It’s not bad, but too much of a hassle don’t you think?

  • Reply March 28, 2012

    Guest

    is it possible to pair e17 as a DAC and C421 as amp? how will it be & how to do it? 

  • Reply March 28, 2012

    zaynel

    is it possible to pair e17 as a DAC and C421 as amp? how will it be & how to do it?

  • Reply March 31, 2012

    Windsor McGilvray

    Hi Mike. I’ve been enjoying using the Lavry DA10 and stock cabled Audeze LCD-2 rev.2 pairing for many months now, and though I enjoy it, I often want to hear more upper treble extension from it. To solve that problem, I’ve been thinking of getting an E17 and using its treble adjustment feature to increase the treble levels. Do you think that the LCD-2 would be wasted on the E17?

    • Reply March 31, 2012

      Mike

      Why not just apply some EQ on your computer? I think it would be a shame to not use the DA10.

      • Reply April 1, 2012

        Windsor McGilvray

        That makes sense, Mike. I forgot about iTunes EQ, so I’ll give it a try when I get back home. I had an amazing night of listening last night. After briefly trying the M50 with the DA10, which I hadn’t really done before, I then switched to the LCD-2 and was almost immediately realised I was in a state of audio nirvana. 🙂

        There’s a really good sounding live album I recommend if you’re into really well played electric jazz/fusion/funk or good sounding live albums (though not quite of the quality of ‘Jazz at the Pawnshop’). It’s ‘Live (And Very Plugged In)’ by the Dave Weckl Band. 🙂

        • Reply April 2, 2012

          Mike

          Alright Windsor, let me know how that works out. I’ll keep an eye for the Dave Weckl Band CD. 🙂

          • Reply April 2, 2012

            Windsor McGilvray

            Interesting results with the EQ so far, Mike.

            I’ve used Audio Hijack Pro and a parametric EQ to adjust the stock-cabled LCD-2’s frequency response so that from 1k is a straight line that descends 6db to 20k. I did that because I read it was the optimal frequency response for a headphone. I also EQ’d a thin 7.5 db drop at ~7.5k, which is a resonance that occurs in human hearing that can colour the sound of what we hear when wearing headphones.

            Anyway, the result is a brighter sounding LCD-2 that gives a clearer window to the music with less resonance and body than the default LCD-2; the new EQ makes the original sound lush and boomy in a pleasantly coloured way that can sometimes sound a bit veiled. 

            The new EQ setting gives instruments less body than with the standard LCD-2, but it’s a sound that’s certainly not lacking in body. The sound is full and more revealing of treble details, as if going behind the veil of the standard LCD-2 sound. Treble details are more emphatic without sounding harsh, except on some recordings that distort. I find that such distortion is usually masked when the LCD-2 has no EQ applied to it. 

            The standard LCD-2 sounds fine and is a great headphone for various reasons. It’s also nice to have an alternative sound setting thats handy for when I want to hear some extra treble detail (though at the expense of some of the the thick and smooth character of the standard LCD-2). I’ll switch between the two settings some more and see how it goes. 🙂

            • Reply April 3, 2012

              Mike

              Yes I can certainly imagine how that sounds. The 7.5dB drop at 7.5K seems a bit too much though, isn’t it? Besides if you are eq-ing up to 6dB at 20K, wouldn’t that dip at 7.5K be a little too intrusive?
              What version of the LCD-2 is this?

          • Reply April 3, 2012

            Windsor McGilvray

            Hi Mike. I’m using the LCD-2 rev.2 and I find the 7.5k frequency cut doesn’t sound too intrusive because it’s very narrow width. However, I’m currently using just the flat line EQ I described, without the 7.5k frequency cut, and with fresh ears this morning, music’s sounding really good!

            • Reply April 3, 2012

              Mike

              Alright.. I would not recommend the dip in the 7.5K. From my experience I’ll try to make my EQ curve as smooth and as linear as possible.

        • Reply April 3, 2012

          Windsor McGilvray

          Currently listening to Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings.’ It’s some great spiritual/religious-themed music, even though the recording occasionally distorts slightly when Aretha hits the high notes. 🙂

          • Reply April 3, 2012

            Windsor McGilvray

            And to bring things back on topic with my original post, I may still buy an E17 for travel/portable purposes. 🙂

  • […] DAC/amp “combos” exist in portable form, such as the Fiio E17 and iBasso […]

  • Reply April 8, 2012

    Franklin Jawara Lee

    Hi mike. I have a problem with my E17. Every time I plug it into my computer it does not switch from 48k to 96k, it stays on 48k. Than when I plug my Coax to the computer into the E17 it does not go up to 192k, it stays on 48k. What could be the problem?

    • Reply April 9, 2012

      Mike

      For the computer:
      You need to set the computer to 96K.

      I dont’ understand the other question. Coax to the computer into the E17?

  • Reply April 9, 2012

    Swbf2cheater

    Not sure if this would improve the sound quality as a source over the E10 when comboed with the Hisound Studio V.  For pure soundstaging purposes, its unclear if there really are any budget amps and usb dacs that are anywhere near with it to be used with the new Philips Fidelio L1.  I run into the problem of congestion with near every set up, which is not a problem when the Studio V is used as my amplifier.  Its very spacious and airy compared to most every portable amp I’ve ever used.  Again, not sure if the E17 would make a difference over the E10 in my case.  Any thoughts, Mike?  I didn’t want to dish out $ for a spacious home usb dac as well as a spacious amplifier which really dont get SPACIOUS unless you are looking at the Burson 160, Graham Slee solo III or the Beta22.  Which all in all are overkill for my L1.  Ah, why couldn’t I win that super lottery we had recently ? 😛

    • Reply April 9, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry so what’s the question? 

  • Reply April 12, 2012

    breaking t

    And what about Fiio E17 vs HRT Headstreamer ? which one sounds better ? I am about buying one of them, in features E17 wins for sure, but, how is in sound quality ? thanks !

    • Reply April 12, 2012

      Mike

      I still haven’t gotten the Headstreamer, sorry. 

      • Reply April 13, 2012

        breaking t

        Ah Ok, I can not wait for your review of the Headstreamer, I am wondering also if both of them, the HRT and the E17, are able to move the AKG K701 properly, I guess so but not 100% sure, thanks

  • Reply April 13, 2012

    Fakhri GenericMav

    hmm, how about comparing HRT MS2 with E17 (DAC section), can it be consider on par or MS2 is more superior?  

    • Reply April 14, 2012

      Mike

      The HRT is still better.

      It goes like this: E17 < Audinst < HRT MS2 (dac only)

  • Reply April 14, 2012

    Mr. Ertai

    Hi Mike, how would you compare E17 to iBasso’s D4 in terms of:

    1) sound quality – particularly bass and midrange, and
    2) as a DAC
    3) soundstage / presentation

    I don’t have any headphones that are difficult to drive, so amping is not an issue for me.

    Thanks!

    • Reply April 14, 2012

      Mike

      D4 is a really old DAC right? Wolfson WM8740/1 if I remember correctly.
      Sorry haven’t really compared the two of them.

      • Reply April 22, 2012

        Mr. Ertai

        Ok  no worries 🙂

  • Reply April 14, 2012

    Yap Tien En

    Hi! Mike,

    Is it wise to add an USB to SPDIF Converter with my E17?
    How good is E17 when running 24/192?

    Thanks! 

    • Reply April 14, 2012

      Mike

      I don’t think it’s worth it. Plus when I tested the E17 the USB is better than the S/PDIF. I think 24/96 is good enough. I rarely use 192 even on DACs that support it. The good sounding sample rates to my ears are 88.2 and 96. Sometimes 176.4.

  • Reply April 16, 2012

    chris campagna

    what is the best way to hook the e17 up to a computer?  usb?  coaxial? or optical (with toslink cable)

    I have a pair of dt770 waiting for a boost!

    Thanks

    • Reply April 16, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Chris,
      Go with USB.

  • Reply April 16, 2012

    Long Nguyen

    Hi Mike, I see you have also experienced with TinyTubeDac, how would you compare E17 with TTD, about DAC and AMP

  • Reply April 17, 2012

    Fabio_Rocks

    Got It! 120 EUR shipping included 😀

    • Reply April 17, 2012

      L.

       where did you get it from?

  • Reply April 27, 2012

    Mike

    No aux in is only in. For line out you need to purchase a line out dock device from Fiio.
    I haven’t tried it with that particular speaker, but logically it should be better yes. Although if you’re using it for speakers, the E10 may be more convenient as you don’t need to purchase the separate dock device.

  • Reply April 29, 2012

    lcamtai

    Hi, Mike.

    What do you think about Fiio E17 + HD598? I need a smooth, warm mid and a soft treble but an average bass too.

    Furthermore, at least an average 3 dimensions (width, depth and height) to enjoy instrument.

    Do you think Fiio E17 can accomplish that? Thanks Mike for reading this comment.

    • Reply April 30, 2012

      Mike

      The C421 amp would give you the mids, soft treble and bass that you want, with the 3 dimensionality as well. For the DAC you can use the E10 or the Hifiman HM-101 to save money. If you want to stay economical, change the C421 to a JDSLabs CmoyBB.

  • Reply April 30, 2012

    Sigve Skurdal Skagen

    Hi Mike!

    I’m looking for a portable amp/DAC to use with my laptop and my Beyerdynamic DT770 pro (iPod support is only a bonus), and I’m currently torn between the E10 and the E17. I have read your reviews and have come to understand that the E17 is better than the E10 in almost every way, but is the difference really worth the money? Here in Norway the E10 is 150 USD and the E17 250 USD. I listen to everything from dubstep to jazz, but I must say I have a weakness to powerful bass.

    I’ve been looking around many websites, and your reviews was clearly the most helpful. If you have the time to help, I would be very grateful.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Reply May 1, 2012

      Mike

      Sigve,
      That is a bit of a difficult question to answer, because the E17’s bass is clearly better but it’s your money for the purchase and I don’t really know if it’s going to be worth the money to you. By the way the prices are really expensive there, is it possible to find a local Norway brand that’ll perhaps give you more bang for the buck?

      • Reply May 1, 2012

        Sigve Skurdal Skagen

        The reason they’re so expensive here, is because Norway taxate everything. So a Norwegian brand would cost around the same (I don’t think such a brand exist’s anyway). I decided to buy the E17, and I’m really glad I checked Amazon before i bought it in Norway. Amazon.co.uk = 167,13 USD, Norwegian retail store = 312.61 USD 😀

        Thank you for the quick answer!

  • Reply May 1, 2012

    LaCroix13

    Hello Mike, enjoyed reading your review, but would you say if the E17 a significant upgrade or a marginal upgrade for an owner of E10, assuming that portability is a plus but not a must? Or am I better off going straight for something better(and more expensive) like the O2 Amp + DAC? 
    Thanks in advance! Any advise will be much appreciated. 🙂 

    • Reply May 1, 2012

      Mike

      The difference is there, but if you can afford something better like the HRT MS2 then I would suggest going with that.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Khloe85

    Hi mike
    I recently purchased the HD650 and need an amp/dac for it.
    I want to go for the HA160D and am saving for it so in the meantime I need a cheap n cheerful amp for the HD650.
    The Fiio E10 costs around 80-85$ and the E17 is listed for more than 200$ on both ebay and amazon so my question is, is the E17 really 120$ better than the E10 in terms of sound or should I go for the E10?

    • Reply May 2, 2012

      Mike

      More than $200 for the E17? That’s quite steep. What you can do is get the E10 and add a separate amp like the Cmoy.

      • Reply May 3, 2012

        Khloe85

        Thanks.
        How about something from ibasso??

        • Reply May 3, 2012

          Mike

          • Reply May 14, 2012

            Khloe85

            Thanks mike.
            Bought the HD598(impulse buy, love the beige) with the E10 sounds pretty good.
            I came across the Arcam rPAC USB/Headphone DAC while looking for a portable Amp, it comes with asynchronous USB & a Burr-Brown DAC chip-set and 138mW headphone amplification, all for 249$ .
            Will you be reviewing it???

            • Reply May 14, 2012

              Mike

              Hi Khloe, sorry no plans for the Arcam for now.

    • Reply May 2, 2012

      Fabio_Rocks

      Avoid The Fiio E17 to drive the Sennheiser hd 650. I own both and even if I reach good loudness level the sound lacks punch and impact. Not Recomendend for me. For the same price (or a little more) of the Fiio e17 there are much better DAC available like the Music Streamer. For the AMP even if on Headfonia is not Recomended a lot of peoples like The Objective2 because is cheap (150$) and has a lot of power that can drive 600ohm cans. Cheers:D

      • Reply May 5, 2012

        Fabio_Rocks

        Sorry I want to add just one thing, the previous comment was made setting the gain to 0. Setting in the middle on 6 the sound is very different, there is more punch and impact and  now the sound is better. So if you are on cheap (like me) the Alpen is a good starting point. Cheers!

  • Reply May 7, 2012

    thinh4u2

    Hey guys, I bought a D2000 recently and paired with my Xonar DG it sounds nice but a little fatiguing.  What do you guys recommend for it?  I was thinking about getting the Fiio e10 or e11 and pairing it with my xonar?  I’m a little tight on budget right now, so I would love to get the best bang for my buck (so if its like very slightly better but x2 the price, i would rather go for the lower – but if its a very noticeable difference…then i’d have to think lol)

  • Reply May 7, 2012

    thinh4u2

    Hey guys, I bought a D2000 recently and paired with my Xonar DG it sounds nice but a little fatiguing.  What do you guys recommend for it?  I was thinking about getting the Fiio e10 or e11 and pairing it with my xonar?  I’m a little tight on budget right now, so I would love to get the best bang for my buck (so if its like very slightly better but x2 the price, i would rather go for the lower – but if its a very noticeable difference…then i’d have to think lol)

    • Reply May 8, 2012

      Mike

      First I need to know why you find the current pairing fatiguing. Treble issues?

  • Reply May 8, 2012

    Mike

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply May 16, 2012

    Eric Thompson

    I’m a little confused this seems like a positive review and you seem to think the E17 sounds pretty good but the E11 is a better amp (smoother, more refined) but then in the <$100 amp review you said it was the grainiest and least refined. Are those other sub $100 amps really that good?

    • Reply May 16, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Eric,
      You do realize that the E17 is a DAC and an amp?

      • Reply May 18, 2012

        Eric Thompson

        Yes I do but I’m really only interested in the amp I would probably use the DAC but a portable amp is more important to me right now. The reason I’m looking at the E17 is the multiple levels of bass boost. I was also looking at the E11 but you said it was the worst sounding amp in the under $100 shootout.

        I guess Il just ask you what amp should I get? I have DT 770 80ohm’s, SRH 840’s and Denon AH-D5000’s and I’m going to eventually get HE-400’s or DT 990’s for open cans for IEM’s I use SE215’s. I’m a bass head and usually listen to screamo/heavy metal but I also listen to punk, pop, electro and dubstep and some classical and strings or mixtures of those like symphonic metal with strings in it or rock with techno parts.

        • Reply May 19, 2012

          Mike

          That’s a lot of headphones and a lot of different music.

          Try the ALO National? It’s a good all rounder amp. Or for slightly less try the C421 amp.

          http://www.headfonia.com/the-sequel-alo-audio-the-national/

          You can read a comparison between the National and the C421 on that link above.

          • Reply May 20, 2012

            Eric Thompson

            I want something with pretty punch/impact-full, well extended bass so I think the National would be better. I looked at the ALO RX also but its out of my budget. Is there anything in the $2-$300 range with a bass boost? I really wanna get the E11 or E17 for the bass boost but I would like something better. The C421 has a single bass boost but in the review you said the bass was pretty soft? Also I have been suggested the Headstage arrow but I’m afraid it will be to dark.

          • Reply May 20, 2012

            Eric Thompson

            I want something with pretty punch/impact-full, well extended bass so I think the National would be better. I looked at the ALO RX also but its out of my budget. Is there anything in the $2-$300 range with a bass boost? I really wanna get the E11 or E17 for the bass boost but I would like something better. The C421 has a single bass boost but in the review you said the bass was pretty soft? Also I have been suggested the Headstage arrow but I’m afraid it will be to dark.

          • Reply May 20, 2012

            Eric Thompson

            Damn double post and no delete, but anyway I just relized the new Arrow has a treble boost also. Do you think that would be a good choice? I like its form factor going with my iPod touch. Also I can see paying $300 for it for all the features it has.

            • Reply May 22, 2012

              Mike

              I think the National would be a good fit.

              The Headstage Arrow 3G is a good amp if you’re looking for bass boost, but the 4G with the treble boost actually sounds dryer than the 3G…

  • Reply May 16, 2012

    Mike

    It’s very good.

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    Jorelle Marquez

    Wow. This made me go WOW over the e17. I never had any experience with any headphone amps, nor do I know anything about DACs, I just entered a new world here.

    Okay here’s my question, I have a Shure SRH550dj, do you think this will enhance my headphones? Thanks sir! (Nevermind the question I posted on the other topic as I got stunned by this e1)

    • Reply June 14, 2012

      Jorelle Marquez

      Upping my question..

    • Reply June 14, 2012

      Mike

      Sorry for missing your question, Jorelle. I’ve tried the 550DJ headphone and I don’t think you need an amp for it.

  • Reply June 16, 2012

    Oskari Mikkola

    Hi guys. Im new to the whole headphone/amp scene so few days back I figured E17 should be a good one to start with and I ordered it (had a low budget also).

    Now I started having some serious second toughts about E17 since the amp is not that powerfull and I’m going to use it with Sennheiser HD 650 (which I also ordered a few days ago). Can it power up the HD 650 even nearly enough? and what do you think of the combo? Quess I need an upgrade during the summer when I get some cash. Too bad I didn’t think of this before the purchace, doh.. I’m glad if it makes even a little difference, so that I didn’t buy it in vain. Ofcourse I can still use it as a portable with my phone and such.

    Also interested in the iBasso PB1 & DB1 amp/dac combo with balanced recable. Maybe even PB2 & DB2? What do you think of those, couldn’t find any articles from you about those awesome pieces.

    Thanks plenty, hope I get some answers and personal experiences shared here. Thanks in advance!

    • Reply June 18, 2012

      Mike

      Oskari,
      The E17 is more than powerful enough for the HD650. In the old days, amps tend to be lower in power and the HD650 was considered to be difficult to drive. These days, even the tiniest amps have plenty of power for the HD650.
      I have not written about the DB1 & DB2 DACs, but you can read my review of the PB1 and PB2. Just click on the Ibasso Tag on the Tag Cloud section on the bottom of the page.

  • Reply June 19, 2012

    MSquared

    I’ve been thinking of upgrading my DAC, but I was hoping to do it on a budget.
    I’m currently using the Fiio E10 and was debating between the E17 or Audinst MX1. While I definitely enjoy the midrange that the E10 has brought forward, I’m left wondering what improvements the MX1 offers over the E17 and E10.
    I’m not sure I’d need the portability that the E17 offers being that it’d mostly sit at my desk, but I do like the E10’s sound and a refined version of that is appealing to me.

    • Reply June 19, 2012

      Mike

      The Audinst will give you a better DAC quality than the E17, so you would feel a bigger upgrade to the Audinst.

  • Reply June 26, 2012

    Josh Lu

    Mike, would you say that the e17 is a clear upgrade from the e10 when used purely as a dac?

    • Reply June 26, 2012

      L.

      Yes, mike has said that several times already 😉

      • Reply June 27, 2012

        Josh Lu

        Oh. I know that the e17 is a much better amp/dac combo, but wasn’t sure if it was much better as a stand alone dac

        • Reply June 27, 2012

          Mike

          Josh,
          It’s better both as an amp and as a DAC (standalone).

  • Reply June 28, 2012

    Copper David

    Hello Mike,
    I would like to improve the sound quality of my ipod classic (160G), will E17 do a good job? Which is a better choice E7, E10 or E17?

  • […] Originalmente publicado por Slacker de donde shusha sacan eso? el ampli del alpen no logra echar el guataje del e11. The Upgrade: Fiio E17 “Alpen” | Headfonia […]

  • I just stumbled over your site, and I really love your reviews!

    I’m considering buying an amplifier, and I’m currently stuck between the FiiO 17, and the Fiio 11. I am to use them with an Ipod classic 160 gb/my macbook, and my Akg k 272 hd headset. Which one would you recommend, or are there any other products out there that might be more suitable? I mostly listen to jazz, but also compose using a Sibelius 7.

    I also wonder if I would benefit from using a amplifier when playing piano while using a headset (a Clavia nord Electro 3)?

    • Reply July 6, 2012

      Mike

      Herman,
      The Piano, I really am not sure since I’ve never tried the K272 out of a piano.
      With the K272 I think the Fiio E11 would be enough. You’re not going to use the DAC function of the E17 anyway.

  • Reply July 7, 2012

    Stephen Loke

    Hi Mike,

    I am looking for a USB DAC only. Do you think this will be a good option? Or would you recommend me something else?

    • Reply July 7, 2012

      Trent_D

      As this isn’t a DAC only, I would have to say no. Perhaps check the source recommended list under the buyers guide.

  • Reply July 10, 2012

    Jack Knight

    hi mike, now im using fiio e10 and im in a middle of two choice for upgrade, fiio e17 or topping d2, which one is better dac/amp?

    • Reply July 10, 2012

      Mike

      Jack
      The topping D2 I’ve only heard briefly. I think it is a smoother amp and more refined than the E17. It was a little mellow for my taste though, the E17 has the better PRaT for me.

      • Reply July 10, 2012

        Jack Knight

        oh i forgot to mention now im using ms1i, so e17 have better sinergy with ms1i? thanks mike

        • Reply July 10, 2012

          Mike

          I think they both pairs nice. If you want a mellower MS1i, then the Topping. If you want to keep your MS1i fast paced, then E17.

          • Reply July 10, 2012

            Jack Knight

            oh just now i found 2nd hand audinst hud-mx1 in our local forum:), is it superior dac/amp if compare with the other two?

            • Reply July 10, 2012

              Mike

              The DAC I believe yes, the Audinst is superior.

              The amp, the E17 is my favorite of the three.

              • Reply July 10, 2012

                Jack Knight

                thanks mike, i will take the E17, your recommendation always please my ears:)

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    cyberblue

    bought this as my 1st headphones amp, i don’t think i’ll be looking into upgrading anytime soon. i was contemplating to get E10, but for 50 bucks more the aux input, portability, and that oh-so-pretty OLED display is well worth every penny.

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    Mike

    I have the E09K and while it’s a good amp, increasing bass punch is not quite its strength.
    You’d actually get better results with the ALO national for $299, if that fits your budget.

  • Reply July 18, 2012

    Mike

    You’re welcome, Ryan.

  • Reply July 21, 2012

    Mike

    appprove

  • Reply July 21, 2012

    Mike

    No I think that the E09K + E17 is definitely better than the E7+E9, but if you’re looking for bass punch I’d recommend the National.

  • Reply July 22, 2012

    Julian Wong

    Hi Mike(or any other mod), what would you say are the E17’s biggest competitors? In terms of SQ and price. Thanks 🙂

    • Reply July 23, 2012

      Mike

      There are probably other products in the market that can compete to it.. but at the moment I haven’t really found one. The D-Zero does almost the same thing, but without the S/PDIF digital inputs, but to me the DAC section is not as good.

  • Reply July 29, 2012

    Muhd Hafizuddin

    Mike, I have Audio Technica ATH-M50. Is it worth if im buying this Alpen or it doesnt need one?If I decide to use this with the headphone,does it make any sense/effect?

    • Reply July 30, 2012

      Mike

      Muhd,
      Yes of course the M-50 benefits well from an amp.

      • Reply September 21, 2012

        Paul Brandenburg

        Given that the M50s are not particularly deluxe would the upgrade from the FiiO E10 to E17 be noticeable/worth it? Also, now that the E17 came out 9 months ago presumably I’m going to feel like a chum if I only get them now? They haven’t come down in price since launch and the E10 is ~half the price

        • Reply September 21, 2012

          Nick Tam

          I think I would stick to the E10, reason being that these 2 are really similar in sound character, only that E17 does it slightly better. The upgrade isn’t really worth it considering if you are just looking for that extra bit missing from the E10. Are you currently using an E10?

          • Reply September 21, 2012

            Trent_D

            I agree with Nick. If you are looking for an upgrade, perhaps the Grace m903 would fit the bill.

        • Reply September 21, 2012

          Mike

          Paul,
          Personally I think the difference is very noticeable between the E10 and the E17. But again I review gears every day so I may be overly sensitive to small differences.

          On the other hand what Nick said also makes sense, and looking at the price difference the E10 would still be the better bang for the buck.

          I’m just not so sure about the M903 Grace though. It should be very nice, but it’s $1,600 and you’re asking about Fiio E10/E17s. I hope Trent is not being serious with the suggestion. 😉

          • Reply September 21, 2012

            Nick Tam

            why so serious? lol

            • Reply September 21, 2012

              Mike

              Hey, this is music gear we’re talking about.

              • Reply September 21, 2012

                L.

                Mike and me are both very serious guys you know

                • Reply September 21, 2012

                  Nick Tam

                  You both, yea… can’t argue with that. Trent must be too… must have quite the wallet to make that suggestion

                  • Reply September 21, 2012

                    Trent_D

                    Me? Quite a wallet? It was a joke. I do actually with Nick’s suggestion.

                • Reply September 21, 2012

                  Mike

                  Yes, we rarely laugh or make jokes. ಠ_ಠ

                  • Reply September 21, 2012

                    Nick Tam

                    Seriousness first, wallet dictates the rest. That’s how I think about it

          • Reply September 22, 2012

            Paul Brandenburg

            Thanks Mike & Nick, that is very helpful

  • Reply July 29, 2012

    Goran Krizanic

    Hi, I don’t have “real” audiophile headphones, mine are AKG k450’s, I would like to pull out the maximum out of them, plus the sound from my laptop is quite noisy so i was considering amp/DAC. Is it worth investing into E17 over E7/E10? Is it worth buying anything at all? I don’t know when I’m going to upgrade to better headphones, because i just got these. Thanks!

  • Reply July 31, 2012

    Carson Lau

    how does these compair ? Fiio E17 , Fiio E11 + Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed), Fiio E5 + Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed), JDS Labs cMoy + Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed)
    PS: Currently using Astrotec AM-90 Single BA IEM (Lack Define Bass)

    • Reply July 31, 2012

      Mike

      Carson,
      Can you retype the question? I’m not quite sure what exactly you are trying to compare here.

  • Reply August 13, 2012

    George Lai

    Hi Mike, I just bought my first high impedance headphones, the Beyer DT880 250 ohms, my other mainly lower impedance headphones being the Grado SR325iS, ATH M50 and AKG K550. However I find my Fiio E11, E10 and Audioengine D1 not quite loud enough. Even on the two Fiios, I’m setting it at more than 80% for my music (predominantly Rock, Blues, R&B). Do you think this E17 will be strong enough as in your article you said the E11 was more powerful? If not, which AFFORDABLE amp under USD200 (desktop or portable doesn’t matter), would you recommend? Thanks

    • Reply August 13, 2012

      Mike

      George,
      That sounds really weird. When you use the E11, what’s your set-up?

  • Reply August 14, 2012

    George Lai

    Hi Mike. Thanks for replying. Actually the e10 is okay now as I had left it on Low Gain which I do for my other headphones. The e11 is still a problem as even on High Gain its not really strong enough. I will try to compare with someone else’s e11.

    • Reply August 14, 2012

      Mike

      George,
      So you have enough power with the E10, but not the E11? That sounds like a problem because the E11 should be more powerful than the E10.

  • Reply August 17, 2012

    Randy Striemer

    Mike, how would you compare this to say a HRT MSII? I currently run my HD650s off a Fiio E9 connected to an HRT MSII, but since I use a laptop, I have to run the HRT off of a USB hub so my Head-fi set up is a bit of a mess of cables… Since the E17 plays high res and connects to the E9, it intrigues me b/c it would high simplify my headfi rig w/o going up a lot in price for an all in one solution.

    • Reply August 17, 2012

      Mike

      Randy,

      The HRT MS2 I think is still the better DAC, the E17 better for an all-in-one set up.

  • Reply August 27, 2012

    Mike Schwaller

    Hey Mike, I purchased a Yulong U100 last year based on your reccomendation. Have enjoyed it a lot, i’m a pc user so not affected by the mac problem. Would you mind comparing the E17 to the U100 if you don’t mind? I’m using Grado 325is.

    • Reply August 27, 2012

      Mike

      Mike,
      Apart from the sound signature difference, I think the Yulong is technically superior. I will publish a Matrix Mini Portable review this week, and that’s the device that you may be interested in, especially with the Grado 325.

      • Reply August 27, 2012

        Mike Schwaller

        Cool thank you very much Mike. Always a pleasure to read your reviews!

        • Reply August 27, 2012

          Mike

          You’re welcome 😉

  • […] […]

  • Reply September 15, 2012

    Jaro

    Hi Mike, can you tell me if Alpen is capable of D/A conversion of 24bit/176kHz? I am not able to find all sample rates, just max value of 192kHz. And do you think it’s wise to pair it with 250ohm headphones such as Beyerdynamic DT880? Thank you very much!

    • Reply September 15, 2012

      Spencer Chan

      I don’t have any material at that bitrate, but from experience with 88.2kHz, I would say the Alpen does not do great with the ‘off’ rates. If you can point me in the direction of some source material, I’d be happy to test for you. As for the higher ohm headphones, it’s not ideal, but do able as an ‘entry’ level.

    • Reply September 15, 2012

      Nick Tam

      Find the spec sheets on Fiio. It supports only the bitrates as listed.
      Tried 88.2 which is not supported and had to upsample. Bear in mind the
      USB supports 24/96 max. If you want higher bitrate, you have to feed it
      through SPDIF.

    • Reply September 15, 2012

      Mike

      Yes Jaro what everybody said. Also what Spencer said about the higher ohm headphones.

      88.2 and 176 are often omitted on entry level DACs.

  • Reply September 23, 2012

    Ryan Yang

    Hey Mike. Really love your review and appreciate your patient replies to all others. Got a question for you here: I have a pair of Denon AH-D5000 and listen music from laptop/iPad. I’m wondering if I’d benefit more from E17 or E10/E11 combo. Or is E10 simply sufficient.

    • Reply September 24, 2012

      Mike

      Hi Ryan,
      The D5000, it would be good if you can go with the E17. It’ll appreciate the better DAC and amp compared to the E10. As for the E10-E11 combo, I probably would just go with the E11 and not worry about having a pack of two like that.

  • Reply October 7, 2012

    Angga Gautama

    Mike,, is it enough E17 alone without e09k to pair with hd600?? what did i loose for not using e09k.. thx before

    • Reply October 7, 2012

      Nick Tam

      im not sure about the e09k but the e17 has plenty of power to drive the 300 Z senns, with the volume on full blast on 0 gain is pretty sufficient. the e09k should give it more power but im not sure if there is any deterioration in SQ as with the old e9 pairing

    • Reply October 8, 2012

      Mike

      E17 alone is enough for the HD600.

      The E09K gives you a bigger sound with better dynamic range, but I still like the sound of the E17 better than the E09K.

  • Reply October 18, 2012

    Fabien

    Hi Mike,

    I have a rather noobish question (sorry..).

    I want to enhance music listening with my puny, non-audiophile Sony E-Series Walkman DAP. I have a JDS Cmoy amplifier that I believe you regard as a superior amplifier than that of the E17. However, the Cmoy is only an amplifier (no DAC), which means that I am using that of the walkman. In this case, do you think my portable set-up could benefit from the E17? Should I use the E17 only? The Cmoy only? Both together? Something else your encyclopaedic knowledge can come up with?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply October 18, 2012

      Mike

      If you want, the easiest way to go is find a Laptop and start playing from your laptop (instead of the Sony Walkman). Get a stand alone DAC like the HRT MS2 and you should be all set.

      • Reply October 18, 2012

        Fabien

        Damn you’re fast. Thanks! I will do exactly as you suggested and use the CMoy alone when I am on the go.

  • Reply November 3, 2012

    internetshortage internetshort

    What a wonderful review mike.

    To be honest, i bought a Sennheiser hd 25-1 addidas version cans. And for a start, this is going to be a surprise, it sounds a bit flat? The bass is punchy i like it, not to much. That is why i bought them fast punchy bass, with a good feel on to it. But something is missing that something is the roundness of the bass, the treble is fine, clear. But i feel like there is no warm feeling from the bass, the midds. It’s flat in some way. So i have done a bit of research, maybe my new headphone needs more power? After all it runs at 70 ohms? And what is the difference between a dac and an amp? I was recommended to buy a DAC, but i have no idea where to start, is FiiO e17 a dac? Will it be a good combo? If not what should i buy then?

  • Reply November 3, 2012

    internetshortage internetshort

    What a wonderful review mike.

    To be honest, i bought a Sennheiser hd 25-1 addidas version cans. And for a start, this is going to be a surprise, it sounds a bit flat? The bass is punchy i like it, not to much. That is why i bought them fast punchy bass, with a good feel on to it. But something is missing that something is the roundness of the bass, the treble is fine, clear. But i feel like there is no warm feeling from the bass, the midds. It’s flat in some way. So i have done a bit of research, maybe my new headphone needs more power? After all it runs at 70 ohms? And what is the difference between a dac and an amp? I was recommended to buy a DAC, but i have no idea where to start, is FiiO e17 a dac? Will it be a good combo? If not what should i buy then?

  • Reply November 4, 2012

    internetshortage internetshort

    Hi, mike. I have bought the Senheiser hd-25-1 after reading your reviews about them. I like the sound but i feel like, i don’t get that warm bass, the trebles are to sharp, the lows are punchy but not full. So that is my problem.

    Do you think the e17 will be a good fit? or the

    Audioengine D1 Premium 24-Bit DAC

    Let me know thanks 🙂

    • Reply November 4, 2012

      Nick Tam

      Neither. Both of these DACs are very clean sounding. Consider the Audinst HUD MX1 or Mini instead.

      • Reply November 4, 2012

        internetshortage internetshort

        Iam going to check out Audinist Huf Mx1 then, and mini. I bought the these cans from a seller, bought them 20 % cheaper price. I’am afraid that mines are fake? It has the bass and all that, but it sounds a bit flat. There is almost no space. The bass is punchy but not full- it lacks variation. The treble is a bit sharp. Almost no soundstage. Am I naive? I will return them if the sound is the same with the DAC.

        • Reply November 4, 2012

          Nick Tam

          The HD25 doesn’t have much soundstage to begin with compared to it’s modern counterparts, it’s one of the weaknesses of it’s aged drivers. Allow for some burn in time as dynamic drivers tend to have better bass response after some time.

          • Reply November 4, 2012

            internetshortage internetshort

            oh :/ yeah.. the problem is I think it is already burned in, because the seller used the cans in over a year, so he sold it, to me. But i will give it a chance, i should have bought akg k181 dj headphones..

            • Reply November 4, 2012

              Vern

              I’m not a huge fan of the HD-25-1 either. While a nice pair of headphones, it’s a sound signature I just cannot get used to, very likely due to its lack of soundstage.

              • Reply November 4, 2012

                internetshortage internetshort

                Vern you are right about that, it is so damn confusing. Because people say a lot of good things about it, but i seriously think that people over praise these headphones, because it is old, stable and can be used in many settings, (used by a lot of producers)
                But it isn’t good enough, for me, unfortunately. There are a lot of new headphones that out performs sennheiser 25 hd, like akg k181 dj headphones, wider range but still maintains that punchy bass, and soundstage. And it is cheaper.

                • Reply November 4, 2012

                  Nick Tam

                  I for one would have definitely went for the AKG K550 instead

                  • Reply November 4, 2012

                    internetshortage internetshort

                    Yeah, looks like a serious headphone! Hi-end.. you already have them?

                    • November 4, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      People say great things about them, but for a very specific purpose. They are headphones meant for fast rock. Is fast rock what you got these can’s for? I have the K550, and I quite like them. A little short of the bass impact, but they have a very nice soundstage, and the clarity is excellent. They are fairly unforgiving with bad recordings.

                      I thought the e17 had a less grainy sound than the MX1. The hud-mini is suppose to be cleaner. Or maybe the Matrix mini-portable. That is suppose to be very clean sounding with fantastic bass impact, full mids and a very dark sound which would help if you find the treble to be to sharp. I am sad that, with the system I am building, I wont get the chance to try the Matrix mini portable with the K550 as I think they might have done well together.

                    • November 5, 2012

                      internetshortage internetshort

                      Yes maybe i should take that to account, i listen to slow hip-hop music. Yeah, it is a unfortunate i have to give out more to get my headphone working the way i want it to be. I already payed about 250 bucks.

                    • November 5, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      250? Just wondering where you live. In the USA, they sell for $200 new.

                    • November 5, 2012

                      internetshortage internetshort

                      i actually got them very cheap! 299 was the real price, it is because it is addidas marked i think, and it looks good too, but i bought it cheaper 🙂

                    • November 5, 2012

                      Guest

                      plus here in europe it costs more, + 25% VAT.

  • Reply November 27, 2012

    Papoom Vibhatasilpin

    Hi Mike,
    I Have an E10 and wondering how about E10/E9 vs E17

    • Reply November 27, 2012

      Nick Tam

      Didn’t Mike already say? E17 is superior to the E10 and even the E9/E10 combo in terms of technicalities with similar tuning. The latter has more driving power but that does not equate to better SQ

      • Reply November 27, 2012

        Papoom Vibhatasilpin

        sorry i didn’t see that question before. I just read in the article. Thanks for your answer.

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Apogee

    i am trying to decide between the E17, Arcam rPac and HRT ms2. in the uk the arcam and HRT are the same price and the fiio is a little less. I was wondering out of these three which one you would recommend and what their sound signatures are like, not sure if you have heard the rPac.

    • Reply November 30, 2012

      Nick Tam

      rPac should be on the top of the pack followed by the MS2 and E17.

      rPac: Big big big soundstage. The DAC is as good as it gets for its price but its headphone out is sub-par.

      MS2: Warmer sound signature and not so wide soundstage. Don’t see why you should go for this if the local prices for the rPac is the same.
      E17: Doubles as a portable amplifier and its EQ settings are a fun to mess with. Microdetails and musicality is behind the former 2 mentioned.

      • Reply November 30, 2012

        Mike

        Thanks Nick!

        I want to listen to the rPac!

        • Reply December 1, 2012

          ryan

          the arcams are very popular on one of the british hifi magazines…..regas and musical fidelity as well

  • Reply November 30, 2012

    Nick Tam

    HUD-Mini is a definite at the same price.

  • Reply December 1, 2012

    Felix

    I’m less restrained about the price… I’m not willing to go over 80€, and I think this kind of value should be within that range (you also have to pay for good headphones, and for me, audio is just one aspect, and one that had all the time in the world to get more refined and do what it has to do – compared to technology that changes more regularly or is more challenging to balance and pricier to produce….).

  • Reply December 15, 2012

    Alvin Sii Hee Yong

    Hi Mike
    Do you still remember me ?
    You suggest me to get a try a HD 600/650 after I ask you about Audio Technica AD series compared with A series !!!

    I ‘m thinking to get a HD 600 or DT 990 next year
    As I am still a student, I am able to spend so much on DAC/Amp so I may only be able to afford to buy Fiio product!!!

    E17 will be able to drive HD600 or DT 990 ?

    Thank you!!!

    • Reply December 15, 2012

      Trent_D

      Do you need a dac and an amp, or just an amp? If you need an amp, the $60 JDSlabs cMoy is great with high impedance cans.

      • Reply December 16, 2012

        Alvin Sii Hee Yong

        I am okay with both as long as it can drive those 250 ohm / 600 ohm with cheap price 😀

        • Reply December 16, 2012

          Trent_D

          The cMoy sings with high impedance headphones. If you need a dac too, and can only afford on piece of equipment, the fiio e10 should be able to drive the HD600. I should have asked, what is your source?

          • Reply December 17, 2012

            Alvin Sii Hee Yong

            Lenovo Y580

            • Reply December 17, 2012

              Trent_D

              You could start with an e10, then add an amp, if you so chose.

        • Reply December 17, 2012

          Mike

          Sorry for the late response. Basically what Trent said.

          • Reply December 19, 2012

            Alvin Sii Hee Yong

            Oh I see!
            Recently, I found out Schiit new release Modi & Magni for budget orientated consumers. Do you guys recommended this combination of DAC + Amp?

            Thank you !!!

            • Reply December 19, 2012

              Ken Stuart

              The Magni & Modi are so new that hardly anyone has heard them. They are also currently only made to work on 120Volt AC current.

              • Reply December 19, 2012

                Julius

                I was supposed to receive the Dac so I can review the combo. If Schiit doesnt get back to me soon, I won’t be reviewing it and will likely return the Magni. Certain setups will work nicely with it. Unfortunately, my primary headphones are Orthos and I don’t think the Magni is at all well suited for the HE400, let alone my main HE500.

                Odds are good it is going back to Schiit. It is only just barely more clear than my Aune T1 and equal in output power. Useless for me, would definitely be beneficial for someone who wants a small Cmoy/Pav2 Alternative.

                • Reply December 19, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  Although, with the HD650, I find myself preferring the cMoy. The soundstage feels slightly better. The Magni has more treble, which gives it an airier feel, but I think the width is better on the cMoy. The Magni has a bit more detail due to the forward treble and has better instrument separation, but it isn’t portable. So, my recommendation would still be the cMoy for anyone looking for a cheap HD650 amp. When you upgrade, you would still have a nice portable amp. With the Magni, you would have a paperweight (for me anyway. I don’t have an office). I am finding I can’t get past the soundstage. I wanted a all-around SS amp to augment the Crack I have on the way. I guess I am still saving up for the Asgard.

                  • Reply December 19, 2012

                    Julius

                    I didn’t like any of the Schiit amps. The Magni is no different :

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      I am ok with the sound signature, I just need a bit more width and depth, which the asgard had, if I recall. I can see where you are coming from though. They have a more neutral signature, although, I still find it quite musical. I bet the Asgard would pair well with the HE300. I feel the need to find out.

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Julius

                      I reviewed all of the Schiit amps on Head Fi a while back. I do not recommend it. Makes no sense to pair a Hifiman with a Schiit amp. Hifiman headphones do not have good staging, but the Asgard has good staging for that price, especially used. Just my two cents.

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      There are hundreds of Juliuses on head-fi – can you give a link to your Schiit amp review(s)? Thanks.

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      This amp must be very sensitive to setup, as someone with a lot of gear and experience just posted about the Magni:

                      “I’m impressed with the power and punch they deliver on the low end and nothing sounds thin–pretty good for a tiny amp.”

                      That’s just the opposite of what you are saying – so there must be some difference of setup and phones used.

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Julius

                      Buy a Magni, a J3 and a Cmoy BB and see for yourself. Here is a video I posted that nobody payed attention to. There is no way I would recommend a $99 Amplifier for use with any Ortho. I never said the Schiit amps were Thin and did not have good punch or power.

                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Cheou2FdpY&feature=youtu.be

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      So, you are saying that the Magni has plenty of bass, except not with the HE-400 ? Since it puts out over 1 watt at 32 ohms, why would that happen ?

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Julius

                      The HE6 for example needs at least 4-5w just to push what it is really capable of. Are you messing with me, Ken? lol. I don’t think I have ever said the Magni has plenty of bass. I did say a few times already the Magni has the power to drive the headphones to good volume, nothing more. Clarity just isn’t good enough on the Magni for use with the HE400, and it doesn’t do its low end justice at all. Again, as I said a few times something like my Cmoy BB outs much more bass, and my Cowon J3 is a beast on the low end. So, I think the Magni would be well suited for more budget oriented gear. A $400 Ortho that has excellent bass quantity is not well suited for use with a $99 Amplifier. That’/s just my opinion. Some people like eating glass and think it tastes good. Who am I to judge?

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Julius

                      I also would like to make this clear. Out of my J3 or any Bassy source, the Magni sounds very nice. To my ears, on a neutrally EQed source it just doesn’t have the output. But, with one, it is very nice. It does the HE500 low end really nicely as it does the HE400. But again, thats only with sufficient source EQing. I prefer the J3+Magni+HE400 and HE500. My Aune T1 and other lower end Dacs just don’t have the proper bass output to do bassy headphones like the HE400 justice by itself.

                      IMO, this Magni is a great desk amplifier used for portable rigs at a work place or something like that. I am not aware of any Dac on the market that will do this Magni and your pick of any Bassy headphones justice. I mean…I just reviewed the EF6 and all of the Hifiman headphones were just much more dynamic and clear out of it. After experiencing that, I would never recommend the Magni for a primary amplifier for usage with any Ortho or bassy headphone. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something small and might already own a J3 or portable source with excellent EQ. This will make a ton of business workers very happy, the amplifier is very good for the price, but the HE400 for example is just capable of a lot more than the Magni can deliver. I sit here now with the HE500 on my head and the J3+Magni combo and its very nice. College Students in a small dorm will love this Magni. I remember sitting in the classroom between classes or before and wishing I had something this powerful I could plug into the wall nearby and pass the time with.

                      I would LOVE TO REVIEW THIS, but Schiit is not getting back to me on the Modi. Mike already has his own Magni and I am not sure what he intends to do. If he wants to review it, thats awesome. But, I have a lot of things to say about this Magni…this is a grey area amplifier. I am not sure its going to appeal to a lot of audiophiles with expensive rigs, but the more budget oriented audio enthusiasts are going to love it. This is a great stepping stone amplifier into the higher end world. Something to buy right now and get by on with good quality for budget-mid fi level gear at least until they could afford or find something that they enjoy more.

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      Okay, I never use EQ at all (I don’t object to someone else using it, but I never use it.)
                      My first impressions of the Magni and the HE400 was that the Magni had a flat response. I played the MFSL “Concrete Jungle” and that seemed just fine with the Magni.
                      However, the suggested burn-in period ends tomorrow and I will then do my final impression, and I’ll try some Cathedral Pipe Organ and some NWA on the Magni and the HE400 to check out that aspect.

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      It is a very interesting amp in that regard. I think it is a pretty niche item though. Office rig or newly christened audiophile maybe, but for most casual music listeners, I think they would be more satisfied with something like the D1, e10 or Hud Mini. It will offer a nice bump in sound quality for computer games and music, and will pair well with most budget headphones. It is the reason I would still recommend the cMoy over the Magni for a budget HD650 amp. The Magni had the better sound, but once you upgrade to something like the Crack (can’t wait till my kit arrives), or LF 339 or something Woo, the Magni will be little more than a paper weight, while, with the cMoy, you still have a nice little portable amp. Just my two cents.

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Julius

                      You pretty much nailed it.

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Thanks! Let me know if you need help with your review 😉

                    • December 22, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Also, how do you think the he300 would pair with the Magni?

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Mike

                      @disqus_SyAs0hkjvj:disqus I just sent an email to Schiit about you doing the reviews.

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Julius

                      Yay!

                    • April 1, 2014

                      4PLaYS

                      could FiiO E17 possibly be used as a DAC only to feed a Class-T Stereo Amp (TA2021) with RCA inputs, to drive a pair of passive speakers? If so.. How? where do I plug in to bypass the headamp.

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Vern

                      Julius, out of curiosity (Sorry for being completely off topic), what is your favorite pair of headphones with its respective setup?

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Julius

                      My Sennheiser HD598 and DT880 250ohm are a good match. I very much prefer my J3 as a source over my Dac or or line out functions. Without that extra low end boost, the Magni falls short on the low end when being fed by a neutral source. Line out to the Magni is not something I would recommend with bassy headphones.

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Vern

                      I meant headphones and system in general, not related to the Magni or Modi =).

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      Just so I am clear – your only external DAC is the DAC section of an Aune T1 ?

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Julius

                      No. I own a few. Fiio E7/10, U-Dac2 and the HRT Streamer II+

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      Okay – the Disqus comment system makes some communications difficult, by the way, as different comments by the same person are in different areas.

                      I use an HRT Streamer IIplus for all audio. All comments
                      that I do are from that. I start with the assumption that an audio component is perfect, irregardless of the price. THEN, when I find flaws that are the inevitable compromises of a price point, I can later state those in the context of that price point.

                      My first impression from my first brief audition, was that the Magni had a flat response. Today (after the requested burn-in time), I checked it out again with the HE400, and – you’re right – at least with the HE400, the bass response is somewhat lacking. One reason that I did not catch it the first time, is that the Magni’s freq response seems to be the inverse of the HE400 – its bright in just those mid and treble areas where the HE400 is a little recessed, so it gives an impression of flatness.

                      The overall bright tilt of the Magni also helps to give an impression of detail and clarity. The brightness is very mild, so there is no harshness, so the result is that you do hear
                      more clarity in the presentation of instruments than one would find in cheap crap. But I think there is also some clarity improvement over cheap crap, simply because the designers have a lot of knowledge concerning high-end audio design.

                      But the Magni is indeed somewhat lacking in resolution and “air” over more expensive amps, and in low bass response.

                      My impression is still that it is fine – for $99 – with the HE400 – but I don’t have any of the $99 amps that are otherwise used with the HE400 (such as FiiO) to compare.

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      So, what do you, or anyone, think would be a good pairing for the he300?

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Julius

                      Well, as I said. If you can get your hands on a used or B stock Asgard, go for it! I ran with the Asgard and the HE300 for a few months and enjoyed it. Head over to TTVJ and ask Todd if he has any loaner Buttes left, or any B stock Buttes that run within your budget. I happen to have the Asgard that I purchased myself and the Butte on Loan for review both at the same time. There was no question the Butte was the more spacious and clear sound with a better low end. Thankfully, the He300 doesn’t need much power to get good results with and I was also fond of the SR71A and the TTVJ Slim powering the HE300.

                    • December 20, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      The reason the Asgard is tempting is that, although I have no doubt the Butte is the higher end amp, Mike also said (and I have found myself agreeing with his judgement more often than not), the Asgard is the better all arounder, and I might have need for that.

                  • Reply December 19, 2012

                    Ken Stuart

                    Supposedly, the cMoy is a better fit with high impedance headphones like your HD650, than my low impedance cans, so that might explain why you find the Magni closer to the cMoy than I do.
                    Another good example of why all sorts of reviews and descriptions only apply with the reviewers setup, and why Mike and L keep a wide variety of equipment on hand for their reviews.
                    BTW, is the “D” for “Dave” ?

                    • December 19, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      It’s actually stands for Daria. I am a ginormous fan of that classic MTV animated series, on which Trent is a character and I was on a huge Daria kick when I created my discus account. My name is Dave, thought.

                  • Reply December 21, 2012

                    Mike

                    @Trent
                    Just read this..

                    Sounds disappointing.

                    The Asgard, the last one I bought have different caps than the one I did a review on. Though that last one supposedly fixed the big pop on start up, sound quality dropped considerably and the soundstage wasn’t as good as the one I did my review on.

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      Supposedly Schiit are working on a DAC and an Amp that would sell for something like US$1500 each, that will be the next products (so they are “bracketing” their previous product line).

                    • December 21, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      That is… unfortunate. If that is true I may be looking for another good SS amp.

  • Reply December 26, 2012

    Eugenio1900

    Hello, i have a question: my laptop has a realtek alc268, and i’m going to buy beyerdynamic dt990 pro. I’ve seen the e10 or which has a dac (so, i’m interest) and a jdslabs or e11 (whitout a dac). Is my audio card good, or it’s better if i buy an amp+dac? (I also want use the amp in other devices, like android) Thanks 😀

  • […] The Upgrade: Fiio E17 “Alpen” | Headfonia […]

  • […] still though also use it as a battery-powered headphone amplifier on a go. Both Sound+Vision and Headfonia gave it intense reviews, privately praising a resources of digital inputs. If you’re only […]

  • Reply May 14, 2013

    Bocheng Gu

    Hi Mike,
    Between Audinst HUD-MX1 & FiiO E17, which would you say is a better fit for SRH840? Thanks!

    • Reply May 14, 2013

      Mike

      How do you find the 840 to sound?

      If you want a more laid back sound, then Audinst. If you want a more forward, dynamic sound, the Fiio

      • Reply May 14, 2013

        Bocheng Gu

        I’m looking for a wider sound stage, better separation of the instruments, better treble extension, better defined bass, and all in all a less muffled sound with more refinement and details. So does that mean I should go with the Audinst? Thanks again!

        • Reply May 14, 2013

          Mike

          You want a super do it all DAC?

          Can’t get it at this price range sorry.

          • Reply May 14, 2013

            Bocheng Gu

            No, of course not. Let me rephrase my question then: if i want an overall brighter sound, which DAC in your opinion would better achieve this goal? Audinst or Fiio?

            (I actually find SRH840s forward enough already, also a tad darker for my taste)

            • Reply May 15, 2013

              Dave Ulrich

              Both are on the darker side. If you just need a dac, the dacport lx might get you close, although it isn’t fantastic when it comes to width. It is fairly neutral. If you don’t have a mac, the yulong sounds like it might be an option.

              • Reply May 15, 2013

                Bocheng Gu

                Well, considering the availability from where I live and budget reasons I have to narrow down my options to these two (Audinst & Fiio). But thanks anyway for the suggestions Dave! 🙂

                • Reply May 15, 2013

                  Dave Ulrich

                  Well, the Fiio has treble control, so you could add more if you so choose.

            • Reply May 15, 2013

              Mike

              If you want something brighter then the Fiio. A better choice for that is the Dacport Lx

  • Reply June 1, 2013

    Dean Lu

    I have a pair of shure srh 440s and I was wondering as an amp/dac combo, would this be the best possible on to buy? I don’t want to spend any more money than $140, but if there is any better ones for less, could you tell me?

    • Reply June 1, 2013

      dalethorn

      I think you can check the review of the E07K here (just the E07K and ignore the E09 parts), and see if you think it has enough power to drive the Shure 440. I’ve been using the E07K with headphones that are medium-efficient, and I think it’s a good match.

  • Reply June 7, 2013

    Garry

    So the E17 is better than the E10, but is it “double the price” better?
    The E10 goes for $70, whereas the E17 is $140.
    Is the sound quality really worth the price difference? Is it worth spending twice the $$?

    • Reply June 7, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Garry,
      With audio the sound improvement is never equal to price increase. A $1000 DAC is not 10x better than a $100 DAC.
      Cheers

      • Reply June 7, 2013

        John123John

        just realized, well thought of something.
        I too am very fond of the price/performance ratio, especially since i am on a low budget.
        I wonder when the day will come when I can start contemplating on what $5000 tube amp to match with my $2000 headphones or even $40,000 speakers (WTF!)…..

        tell us mike 🙂

        • Reply June 7, 2013

          Dave Ulrich

          I still think there is a sanity cutoff at some point. The question is, “do you use headphones to listen to music, or do you use music to listen to headphones?” Focusing too much on technicalities, I think one tends to forget the music which, for me at least, is why I have the gear to begin with.

          • Reply June 8, 2013

            dalethorn

            It’s hard to know where the cutoff point is. I listen with the E07K and then the E17, and one sounds tighter on the low end and one sounds airier on the high end. But maybe the amp with the tighter bass becomes less airy because of the thing that makes the bass tighter. So the only control you have in these cases is to choose, unless you can swap opamps or something.

            • Reply June 8, 2013

              Dave Ulrich

              Off topic, but thanks for tip about using the piano EQ on the ipod with the DT 770 AE. I actually prefer the 770 straight out of my Ipod as opposed to LOD’ed to my cMoy or the National.

        • Reply June 7, 2013

          Mike

          What do you want me to tell you? 😉

    • Reply June 7, 2013

      John123John

      It may sound like a cop out but that is COMPLETELY up to you. How much is $70 dollars worth to you? for slightly better mids, soundstage, etc.
      also a thing to consider is that the E7 and E17 comparison was done side by side (i think?!) and sounds even more different when compared this way. The difference still exist but you probably wouldnt notice unless you could compare both.
      You should first note the features, obviously if you need SPDIF input, you would go for the E17. Then price, then sound (so you dont spend more than you want to, hopefully).

      Based on Mike’s review, seems like the E17 blows the E10 out of the water and I would probably get that which I did and had briefly. Also recall that the E10 did get a great review as well.

      • Reply June 7, 2013

        Dave Ulrich

        Could always give the e7k s spin. Cheaper than the e17 and suppose to be just as good

        • Reply June 8, 2013

          Garry

          Right, I forgot about the E07K. I will most likely end up getting either that or the E10. I read online that they all use the same WM8740 DAC, so only difference would be the amp and extra features?

          • Reply June 8, 2013

            Dave Ulrich

            Mike said he found the bass tighter on the e7k, and tight bass is a big deal for me.

    • Reply June 14, 2013

      Brandon Fulk

      Heads up: the E17 is going for $90 on MassDrop right now. It might be worth spending that $20 for the SQ difference.

      • Reply June 14, 2013

        Mike

        Thanks for the update

  • Reply September 2, 2013

    Adil Jain

    Q1 – Been researching DAC AMPs for a while now – wanted to ask what your expert opinion is on my short-list –
    Fiio E17
    iBasso D7
    Cambridge Audio DacMagic
    NuForce Icon2

    I don’t mind spending a little bit more to get a solid built product that will last, has more input and output options – and is not limiting in it’s technology – for eg – 24/96 !!

    Equipment – Grado SR60 + Axiom M3Ti bookshelf speakers + Sonic Impact T-amp Super + MacBook Pro (Vox/Cog for FLAC files)

    Q2 – What sort of cable will talk to the Digital I/O port on my Macbook Pro – – co-axial (is the same as TOSLINK, right?) or SPDIF?

    AJ

    • Reply September 2, 2013

      Mike

      I only have experience with the E17 and the DacMagic on that list. E17 is good, but DacMagic is better.
      I believe the MacBooks use TOSLINK not coaxial.

  • Reply October 3, 2013

    Michael Shin

    Would the E17 be a good pairing with AKG’s Q701s and could it be sustained as a stand alone (no addditional amp)? If not, should I consider tacking on the E09k for a stronger amp. Or should I look for a different DAC/AMP combo with a budget of ~$250 USD. I’ve been considering other alternatives after reading your article on the E07K/E09K and researching about a few other pairings like the Schiit Magni/Modi. Which do you think I should go with for the Q701s?

    Thanks in advance and the good read.

    • Reply October 3, 2013

      Mike

      Michael,
      All of those amps mentioned should easily power the Q701. I would go for the E07K/E09K combo personally.

      • Reply October 3, 2013

        Michael Shin

        Thank you for the quick response 🙂

        • Reply October 4, 2013

          Mike

          You’re welcome.

  • Reply October 17, 2013

    Ian Schwarzenegger

    Currently use an E7/E9 combo, ordered an E17 which I was planning to stick into the E9. But after this review I feel like it will lower my sound quality 🙁

    Any chance the E09K solves the issues you were having??

    The headphones i got last night as part of my Headphone/Sound upgrade are German Maestro GMP400.

    • Reply October 17, 2013

      Dave Ulrich

      • Reply October 17, 2013

        Ian Schwarzenegger

        Thanks! Seems I shall be getting an E09k to replace my E9 when I can justify spending anymore money! Spent enough so far on Headphones and the E17 🙁

    • Reply October 17, 2013

      Mike

      Hi Ian,
      Sorry what issues are you talking about? Old review and I don’t remember the details.

      • Reply October 18, 2013

        Ian Schwarzenegger

        The Pairing the E17 and E9 section of the above review. probably easier for you to just quickly reread the paragraph instead of me pasting all of that

        • Reply October 19, 2013

          Mike

          Yeah the E9K is definitely better. Sound signature is fuller on the K version, nothing like the original E9

  • Reply November 22, 2013

    STARSTERN

    had one tried A e11 plus e10 in compare to A alpen e17 ?

    • Reply November 22, 2013

      Mike

      Still a different sound.

      E11 + E10 more relaxed, boomier bass. E17 faster pace, tighter bass, more forward.
      Not saying one is better than the other but just different taste.

  • Reply November 22, 2013

    STARSTERN

    in other words e17 more transparent ?

  • Reply December 4, 2013

    Berkhan Oğulcan Akçay

    Hey Mike.
    Can you compare E17 to a ESI Dr Dac Nano? I’m trying to decide between these two.

    • Reply December 4, 2013

      Mike

      It’s been a while and I don’t have the Nano around to compare but I think the E17 should be superior.

      • Reply December 5, 2013

        Berkhan Oğulcan Akçay

        Thanks for your reply. I’ll buy the E17 I think.

  • Reply February 2, 2014

    Niklas Hörnedal

    Hi Mike,
    Do you think E17 would fit well with the sennheiser 598, otherwise do you have any other suggestions for an amp with similar price range?

    • Reply February 2, 2014

      dalethorn

      What is your source player?

      • Reply February 3, 2014

        Niklas Hörnedal

        If I understood the question correctly, I most often use my macbook pro to play my music.

        • Reply February 3, 2014

          dalethorn

          For the price of the E17, you could add a few more dollars and get a Audioengine D3, the new v2 Dragonfly perhaps, or the HRT Microstreamer, any of which would be a big step up over the E17 in sound quality, but these would not work with portable music players like the E17 does, although the E17 would be an amp only for portable music players, not a DAC like it would with the computer.

          • Reply February 6, 2014

            Niklas Hörnedal

            Thanks for the reply!
            I have been trying to read some reviews but none of the DACs seems to stand out more than the other. whats your take on the three?

            • Reply February 6, 2014

              dalethorn

              I haven’t heard the revised Dragonfly, but given the quality of the other two, I’d pick the Microstreamer for durability. To make the Dragonfly more durable and less likely to damage a computer USB port (due to the headphone cable pulling on the little DAC), they sell a “Dragontail” cable. With the Microstreamer you use a cable anyway, but it runs much cooler than the other two.

              • Reply February 7, 2014

                Niklas Hörnedal

                I want to go with the Microstreamer but I have read that some people hear random loud pops and that there is a slight buzzing in the background when using the DAC.

                • Reply February 7, 2014

                  dalethorn

                  Funny that you mention that. It seems to happen with every DAC, depending on the user’s gear and configuration. My Microstreamer never gave me a problem since my config on the PC and the Mac are set to 96 khz and 24 bits. So far what seems to make things work best is to set your config on the computer to the highest values for the DAC, but be aware that there are separate screens for those configs and they are not simple – check the documents for several DACs, not just the one you buy, so you get everything set right. Then it might help also to to turn off apps that try to take control, such as Skype. I’ve always ended up running my music players with 1000 ms buffering – if another setting helps one time, it doesn’t the next time.

                  • Reply February 10, 2014

                    Niklas Hörnedal

                    Okej, thank you for the help!

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    Sergio Mejia

    Hello, what you recommend headphone amplifier

    Shure SRH1440 Professional? Could be a desktop or portable … Thanks

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    Sergio Mejia

    One more question, how do you think the this amp:

    Bravo Audio Ocean Valve Class A Tube Mini Headphone Amplifier?. Would I recommend it for 1440 Shure headphones?

    • Reply February 22, 2014

      dalethorn

      A valve amp should work better than a ss amp, since the 1440 is rather bright. The good thing about the 1440 is the brightness is not rough or peaky, so it doesn’t need smoothing, just a softer amplification.

      • Reply February 22, 2014

        Sergio Mejia

        thanks for your timely response.
        Sorry to ask again, but I find so many options that I’m a little confused. In the range of 0-500 USD, what would you recommend me amp for Shure 1440?

        • Reply February 22, 2014

          dalethorn

          HiFiMan EF5? Little Dot MK-IV?

      • Reply February 22, 2014

        Sergio Mejia

        Hi, Does Apex High Fi Audio Glacier, is appropriate (ideal) for Shure SRH1440 headphones?

  • Reply February 22, 2014

    Sergio Mejia

    Thanks Mike

  • Reply March 8, 2014

    Lifelearner1

    Thank you for the great review. I’m purchasing a pair of AD900x with the Fiio E17. I will be using them for music, and FPS gaming mainly. Would you recommend a different Amp/Dac for these headphones?

    • Reply March 8, 2014

      dalethorn

      Is the USB DAC feature of the E17 why you are buying it? What is FPS gaming?

      • Reply March 8, 2014

        Dave Ulrich

        It stands for first person shooter. Remember Lifelearner1, just because we are headphone geeks doesn’t mean we are video game geeks 😉 I do like to consider myself a geek of all trades, though. I would say, since you have already ordered them, wait and hear what you think of the combo and go from there.

        • Reply March 8, 2014

          Lifelearner1

          I will remember. Lol! Thank you both for the reply. I’m really new to the geeker side of audio.

  • Reply March 19, 2014

    Miles Elzinga

    I use my Fiio E10 with my BeyerDynamic DT 880s. I find that sometiems the E10 isn’t quite enough to drive the 880s as loud as I’d like. Will the E17 be an upgrade and offer more power to push my 880s?

    • Reply March 19, 2014

      dalethorn

      The maximum power output doesn’t seem much different – maybe 50 percent which is less than 2 db. What is your source and the 880 ohms?

      • Reply March 20, 2014

        Miles Elzinga

        I’m typically just using iTunes, I have the 250 ohm version.

        • Reply March 20, 2014

          dalethorn

          The E17 should work OK, especially if you set it to high gain. But the dynamics might not be as clean as using a more powerful amp.

          • Reply March 20, 2014

            Miles Elzinga

            Well, what would you recommend then? If like to keep it about $100. I’ve always been quite a fan of Fiio products which is why I was thinking the E17.

            • Reply March 20, 2014

              dalethorn

              If you are using the E17 as both DAC and headphone amp from a computer, then the E17 is the best bet I think. But if you’re just needing the amp and not the DAC then the E12 has more power. If there are more questions then please provide more details, thanks.

  • Reply April 14, 2014

    RyAN

    Hi Mike, could you recommend portable amp for ak100mk2. i try to find DAC/AMP with optical input (connecting to mini optical out in AK100mk2) and so far i only found ibasso D12 and fiio E17. which one would be better? thx

  • Reply June 19, 2014

    meh

    quick answer, e17 vs e12?

    • Reply June 19, 2014

      L.

      dac vs amp

      • Reply June 19, 2014

        meh

        compare both of them as a whole? dac/amp vs amp? sound quality wise

        • Reply June 19, 2014

          L.

          check the comments, I seriously do not have time to repeat myself over and over, sorry. we’re trying to help everyone here but don’t abuse our good will, put some effort into it yourself. thanks!

        • Reply June 19, 2014

          dalethorn

          Like L said, they are very different, so maybe you could be more specific about what you are looking for, how you will use it, so the performance of these amps can be described relative to your needs.

  • Reply December 12, 2014

    Gerwin

    Does the e17 fit with the b&w p5 series 2 and a dell xps 15 or a galaxy note 4?

    • Reply December 13, 2014

      dalethorn

      The E17 works as a USB DAC with Macs and PCs, and as an analog amp from the headphone jack of cellphones. But if you have a cellphone that’s compatible with computer USB DACs, then you might be able to use the E17 as a DAC plus amp with that cellphone.

  • Reply August 24, 2015

    Yongky

    does E17 can compete with dacport lx in terms of midrange,resolution, and the depth?

    • Reply August 24, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      I doubt it, what do you think Dale?

      • Reply August 25, 2015

        dalethorn

        Very unlikely. When I put the original E17 on my Macbook and PC, it was OK as DAC and amp, but not as good as the Microstreamer or Audioengine D3 (not nearly), and I’m sure the Dacport LX is at least as good as the D3 and Microstreamer. The E17k improved a little over the E17, and I’d be satisfied with it for most of my music, but for some of the acoustic music I would want the better DACs.

  • Reply September 11, 2016

    PAT REDMAN

    My children wanted a form yesterday and were informed about a web service that has 6,000,000 forms . If others are looking for it too , here’s http://goo.gl/Y9SSWr

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