|FiiO E7 portable headphone amplifier/ DAC|
|Aux line in, dock connector and USB in (left)|
Two 3.5mm headphone line out ports (right)
The FiiO E7 itself is made out of a beautiful black brushed aluminum finish. While the unit itself is very light weight there is no question in regards to its durability. I always keep the supplied silicon case on mine to prevent scratching or denting that may occur when I am using the unit out and about. The buttons are silver and have a slight texture to them and supply satisfying clicks when pushed. Some people have complained about loose 3.5mm output jacks on their E7's but I have yet to experience this problem. The FiiO's glossy front glass is a finger print magnet and a possible scratch magnet, but if you used the supplied silicon case and or screen protector you should be fine.
|FiiO E7 unit paired with Sennheiser HD 439's|
First up, the E7 when paired via 3.5mm out with an iPhone 5. Despite what many audiophiles may tell you about amplifying an already amplified signal, the E7 when paired with an iPhone 5 (in this case) sounds very good even just using the 3.5mm out on the iPhone with the supplied FiiO cable that comes in the box. A few issues arise when amplifying an already amped signal, one phenomenon is called "amp piggy backing" this issue can be avoided by simply reducing the volume on the iPhone from anywhere to 75 to 50 percent and then increasing the volume via the E7 amp. The result of this iPhone 5, E7 combo is a much cleaner and tighter signal. With both of test headphones (Sennheiser HD 280 Pro's, 64Ohms and Sennheiser HD 439's 32Ohms) the bass was much less flabby, much tighter and even more prominent than the standard iPhone line out. Mid ranges are less recessed on both headphones and much, much clearer and higher ranges sang out just absolutely beautifully. On top of this increase in sound quality, the FiiO E7 is an amp so it allows for louder volumes to be achieved with less distortion in comparison to just using the iPhones 3.5mm line out without an amp. While both of my test headphones admittedly have pretty narrow sound stages, I did perceive a very slight increase in overall sound stage and instrument separation with this amp, however it was extremely subtle. I like the bass boost function a lot because you can really amp the bass up while avoiding distortion. Distortion begins to occur in certain bass heavy songs when the E7's bass option is at maximum. The E7 paired with the iPhone 5 via the standard 3.5mm line out achieves a very warm sound characteristic that I happen to like quite a bit. Even without the bass boost equalization engaged, its very warm and musical and is definitely lacking from an analytical standpoint if thats what you like. However, I prefer warmth over analytical any day, but thats just me.
|FiiO E7 connected via USB to laptop|
In summary, the FiiO E7 is a great entry level headphone amplifier/ DAC for those who are looking for a little bit better sound quality from their laptop and significantly improved audio quality from a portable device. The E7 looks great, is built well and sports a nice OLED screen which is a nice feature for an amplifier to have. It's a wonderful portable solution and a great choice for the entry level audio enthusiast!
Note: The FiiO E7 has been eclipsed by a newer model with a few minor sound and build improvements. It's called the E07K, check out the Amazon product page HERE.
CLICK HERE for FiiO E7 Amazon Product Page