The Upgrade: Fiio E17 “Alpen”

fiio_e17_10

As me and Lieven were talking at the end of 2011, we both agreed that the Fiio E10 was the biggest surprise of the year. Everybody was busy making USB DACs with built in headphone amps, and all of a sudden the E10 came out seemingly out of nowhere and gave us a price/sound combination that we haven’t seen in a very long time. It was somehow akin to the Grado SR60 of the old days. The E10 was such a big hit, not only because it was loved by everyone, but it happened to be very affordable at the same time. The success of the E10 was so phenomenal, the first thing I thought of when I heard about the E17 “Alpen” was, “can they beat the E10′s success”?

The Alpen was built to be a much more complete product than the E10. The most significant addition was the ability for it to serve as a portable headphone amplifier. With batteries built into the Alpen, you can unplug it from USB and take it for a spin together with your Ipod. The E10 was limited to the USB DAC/Amp functions, and the E11 amplifier only to amplification purposes. The Fiio E17 Alpen does them both, and obviously this is a good thing. In addition to that they also added features such as coaxial and and toslink digital inputs, making it one of the most affordable DAC with complete digital inputs.

A lot of features for the money, but I didn’t want to be distracted with the features. To me, it all comes down to the sound. They can make a 10-in-1 device, and the bottom line is still about the sound. Heck it can be $50 and still I’m not going to recommend it to my readers if the sound is not right. Because after all the initial hype and enthusiasm are gone, and there are newer products in the market with bigger and better numbers, all that’s left is the sound, the way it does music.

Enough crap, let’s get down to the meat. If you are an E10 owner, I need to apologize because the next paragraph is gonna hurt.

 

Now I’m really sorry to say this because I know a lot of you just bought the E10 and it would be nice to be able to sit down and chill for a while without having to worry that there are better things out in the market already. In this aspect, I think you really should blame Fiio, not me. My job as a reviewer is to tell you guys how a certain box sounds, and in the case of the Alpen, it’s clearly better than the E10. Awwww, sorry guys.

Not better in this or that, good in certain aspects but less so in others. It’s better, no matter how you look at it, even ignoring all the added features. The reality is that if you think the E10 sounds good, then the E17 is going to be a clear upgrade. Identical tonality and sound signature means that if you like the E10′s sound, the E17 does bass/mid/treble exactly the same way. The bonus is that with the Alpen, the bass is punchier (awesome!), tighter (awesome x2), soundstage is wider, and the midrange is clearer. What is there not to like?

Along with the release of the Alpen comes in a few questions that begs for a comparison between the it and other products in this price segment. I will try to do the comparison but if I miss anything, feel free to ask on the comments section.

E17 versus E7

Not 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 pairing

Pairing 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).

E17 versus Audinst HUD MX1

Tonally they are a bit similar with their dark and warm sound signature. Technically the E17 is very good, but the Audinst is still better, though the difference is now closer than it was compared to the E10. The Audinst has been a long time favorite of mine, due to its simple design, affordable price, and overall good sound quality. However, this time the E17 again shines due to the way it does midrange: full, clear and sweet (don’t we all love full, clear and sweet sounding midrange?). The Audinst’s midrange is not as bad as the E7 and the E9 (or both of them combined), but it’s still not as good as the E17 or the E10′s midrange.

 

Continue to the next page…

  • 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 !

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

      • Anonymous

         right, thanks a lot Mike

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          You’re welcome, breizh.

  • 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.

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

  • 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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? 

      • 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?

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

          • 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?

            • http://www.headfonia.com 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?

  • Justin

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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/

      • Justin

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

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

          • Justin

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

          • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

          • Justin

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

  • 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! :)

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1081721082 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?

    • 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?

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

        • http://www.facebook.com/destroysall Chris Allen

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

          • 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.

          • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • 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! :)

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • http://twitter.com/skyline315 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!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3O6L2ZFDVHPQVVEX6LODLJWEMQ 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!

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/3O6L2ZFDVHPQVVEX6LODLJWEMQ 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.

        • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/3O6L2ZFDVHPQVVEX6LODLJWEMQ Francis Anthony

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

  • 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!

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • 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.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          The resolution is still better with the TTVJ.

          • 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!

          • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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’.

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Good to hear that!

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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

    • http://twitter.com/ontheedgeaustin 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. :)

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        Thanks, Austin.

      • 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!

        • http://twitter.com/ontheedgeaustin 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.

          • justin lee

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

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_CGAGA7QBW6CMSQYMQGWHDFDTNM 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • 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!

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • 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

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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).

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFTGXIKHNGOBKVVGTUAYSCLDM yahoo-LHFTGXIKHNGOBKVVGTUAYSCLDM

    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

    • 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.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFTGXIKHNGOBKVVGTUAYSCLDM yahoo-LHFTGXIKHNGOBKVVGTUAYSCLDM

        Thanks for the reply.

  • 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 

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • http://profiles.google.com/x.justinlee 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • dekun lei

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

      • dekun lei

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

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

      • mike roderigo

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

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Yes

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NGR735MPRCMV3QYXU37P4GILLU 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.

  • http://twitter.com/losshack 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

  • 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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?

      • 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.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

          • 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?

          • http://www.headfonia.com 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. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFZ53FLJGA6OOXS2ELH6GGCBQ 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFZ53FLJGA6OOXS2ELH6GGCBQ 留學熊貓

        thanks for the reply, Mike!

    • 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.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFZ53FLJGA6OOXS2ELH6GGCBQ 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!

        • http://www.headfonia.com 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/

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFZ53FLJGA6OOXS2ELH6GGCBQ 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!

            • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

  • 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.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/LHFZ53FLJGA6OOXS2ELH6GGCBQ 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!

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        No warranty from MP4Nation?

    • 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”.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        Thanks for posting your experience here, Justin.

    • 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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/calintz 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

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • http://www.facebook.com/calintz 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 ?

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

          • http://www.facebook.com/calintz Prasetya Nugraha

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

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Thanks!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/735O27ZPBIX26VPIXOSY74EQYA 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?

    • http://www.headfonia.com 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.

      • 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.

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

          Thanks, Benjamin.

          You mean the E17 right?

          • Benjamin Ha

            I didnt hear any interruption at 10 min intervals 

            • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

              Alright, thanks Benjamin. :)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/735O27ZPBIX26VPIXOSY74EQYA Joey

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

        • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike
  • harsyafadilla

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

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

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