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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 2, 2011
I connected the E10 to my desktop PC (running Windows 7 64-bit), and the driver installed automatically in seconds. I then opened the computer's control panel, then sound, where I was able to select the E10 as the default device. (When I disconnect the E10 from the USB - connecting and disconnecting the E10 powers it on and off - the default automatically returns to the speakers I have attached to my PC.) On my computer the E10 is listed as SPDIF Interface (it names it as the FiiO E10 below this). In the advanced tab of the SPDIF Interface Properties window there is the option to select sample rate and bit depth, and I made sure this was set to the 96 Hz/24 Bit maximum specified for the E10. I then plugged my TDK ST800 High Fidelity Headphones into the E10, played some Bellini followed by Joy Division, New Order and Philip Glass - all lossless (FLAC). Wow. I have not heard music like this out of this computer before ever. With the E10 bass boost switch on while playing New Order's "Blue Monday," I feel as if I'm in a club (several decades ago). With all the music I used to test the E10 I could hear details I have not heard before. The E10 also sounds great paired with my Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones (tested with some Killing Joke and Dum Dum Girls with bass boost on, and some of Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports with the bass boost off, because Eno has some serious near-subsonic bass going on in there that gets distorted when the E10 bass boost is on).

The E10 comes packed in a tin just like the one the FiiO E11 Portable Headphone Amplifier comes in, with optional stick-on rubber feet, a USB cable and instructions. The high/low gain switch works fine and with the 250 ohm ST800s low gain is all I need (a rule of thumb I've heard for determining whether you need high or low gain with a given set of headphones has to do with volume; if with high gain the volume becomes too high too soon, e.g., when the E10's numbered volume knob is at 2 or 3 and the volume is super loud, switch to low gain; the volume knob on the E10 goes from 0-8). I find, however, that high gain is better when my 300 ohm Sennheiser HD580 headphones are connected to the E10, for at the low gain setting I can turn the volume to 8 without reaching a maximally loud volume. (Suitable headphone impedance for the E10 runs from 16-300 ohms). With my 38 ohm Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, the low gain setting on the E10 works best.

The E10 can of course also be used as a DAC with any speaker system that would otherwise connect directly to a computer (i.e., to the computer's sound card). I am surprised at how much better my Logitech Speaker System Z523 with Subwoofer sounds when connected to the E10 instead of to the computer's sound card. There is a line out port on the back of the E10 for connecting speakers, which bypasses the E10's volume control, which only functions when headphones are connected through the headphone jack on the front of the E10. I don't imagine I will ever want to connect speakers directly to my computer's sound card ever again, now that I have an E10.

Crystal clarity... And so small it will be no problem to travel with it in a laptop bag. FiiO has hit one out of the park with the E10. Now I'm thinking of getting a second E10 so I can keep one connected to my desktop and have the other always handy for use with my laptop.
93 helpful votes
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on December 23, 2011
I purchased the Fiio E10 a little over a week ago and have spent the past week listening to it about 2-3 hours nightly.

I use it with a 2008 Macbook > Fiio E10 > Audioengine A5 speaker setup and listen through Sony MDRV6/Grado SR225 headphones.

I was satisfied with the built in Realtek soundcard on the laptop but after reading some reviews and seeing the price I decided to give the E10 a try and see for myself if I could improve the sound quality at all.

The E10 comes in a nice little aluminum tin with included instructions, 2 sets of rubber stick on feet (8 total), and a 1M mini USB cable. The unit itself is very small and looks/feels well made. The volume pot has a good amount of resistance and does not feel cheap at all. One of the complaints I read about them was some units introduced a crackly noise into the sound if the headphone cable or the unit was moved around as sound was being put through it. This seems to be a manufacturing issue on the first batch of units shipped from China. I seemed to get an E10 from the second batch as I haven't noticed the issue yet. If you have run into the issue, I suggest contacting Amazon for a replacement.

The E10 installs automatically upon plugging it into Lion 10.7.2 and Windows 7 64bit. You just go into your sound options in each OS and switch your output to the E10. Nice.

After a week and after doing some back/forth switching between the E10 and headphone out on the laptop there are some subtle, but pleasing differences. The main thing I noticed is the highs (treble) in any vocal music being 'smoothed' out. The overall sound is a bit better but, in my opinion and on my system, the difference is not a night/day change. But then again I didn't expect an $80 DAC to give me that WOW! factor. Its definitely helped the sound quality improve but not to a level of a much more expensive DAC. Everyone will be using a different laptop/PC, speaker, headphone and our ears are all different so remember that I can only give my opinion on what I hear. Others might hear more/less in their particular usage.

But the changes I did hear made me happy enough to give the E10 a 5 star rating and recommend it to others.

The headphone amp works really well and I only have to go to the 3/4 (out of 8) setting on the volume pot to get loud clear sound. My headphones are lower impedance phones so if you have higher ohm (250,300,600) headphones I can not give any opinions on how it would perform with those.

Nice little piece of equipment to improve the sound from your computer at work. Good little beginner DAC/Amp for someone just starting out in audio. Heck, even good for long time hi-fi guys who want a fun little gadget to play around with. It's reasonably priced, performs well and might even impress some folks using higher priced equipment.

Recommended and try to order from GSI/Sound Around Specials Inc. as the vendor. They are the authorized U.S distributor of Fiio products.

Will update review as necessary if I run into any issues. Thanks for reading.
38 helpful votes
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on September 19, 2012
I decided to purchase a Fiio E10 to power my Sony MDR-XB1000s in a Linux environment. The product works great, and is plug-and-play compatible with the distro I use. Sound quality is impeccable when connected via usb and used as a sound card, however, when running through with a 3.5mm jack, there is a good deal of distortion present. I have also noticed that the headphone jack can be sensitive, and cause distortion at times, but this usually consists of just a few glitches and can be corrected by re-seating the jack. With that said, I purchased this to use as an external sound card, and in this capacity it is fantastic.

I purchased the E10 to replace my previous E6, which was a fantastic little amp as well, but I needed a desktop, fully-powered option. The E10 definitely produces greater quality sound than the E6, however, even with the bass-boost and high gain set on the E10, the sound is not as powerful as the presets on the E6. This is a minor issue, as an equalizer can be set up locally on the computer. Overall, I highly recommend this product. The only real qualm I have is the distortion when using the 3.5mm input, but as mentioned, I did not purchase it for this.
5 helpful votes
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on October 11, 2013
My unit worked as expected for about a month, then started crackling. The next time I used it, it was completely dead. This happened conveniently the same day that the window for return expired. Looks solidly built and worked great for the small time that it was functional, but the internal components must be held together with expired silly string and a dab of wasp saliva. I feel ripped off.
7 helpful votes
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on June 24, 2014
I bought this 2 years ago!

To this day this has been the best deal in the headphone world I have got. For the $60 I paid, it has handled any single headphone well.

I tested the LCD-2's with it. It held it's own and drove it with just enough power. I have owned HE-400's with this and do not need to go into high gain to get great levels and clear sound. It has a nice Bass Boost feature without muddying much of the sound and is always helpful for those times you just want to have fun and have music in the background.

Not to mention the fact it is portable and works plug n play for any OS. Chromebook? Works. Linux? Works. Mac? Works. Windows? Works.

The best $60 I ever spent in the audio world and I have spent a lot at this point. Stylish, Functional, Portable, Powerful.

Can't ask for anything more. Best Entry level AMP/DAC, easily.
2 helpful votes
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on November 26, 2012
For the price, this is a great little DAC. It isn't perfect, but it is far cheaper than the next better product out there. I purchased it to connect to my work computer for music listening, since the built-in soundcard was horrifically noisy and distracting. The bass boost feature is effective, but fairly strong and not adjustable. I don't have admin rights on my work computer, so I needed a DAC that would work without driver installation.

I used velcro to attach it directly to the face of my computer, and used an aftermarket 6" USB to Mini-USB cord to connect it to one of the front-panel USB ports. Looks very high-tech stuck on there, and gets lots of positive comments.

I would recommend it for anyone who recently got a nice pair of headphones and was told by a friend, "Dude, those will sound much better with a headphone amp and DAC." Or anyone like myself who has nicer gear at home, but needed a small, portable, bus-powered DAC for work or another environment away from home.

Pros:
- Simple and effective to setup - identified without driver installation on OS X 10.8 and Windows 7.
- Very low noise (inaudible, even on my sensitive ER6is)
- Smooth hardware volume control
- Great sound quality and amplification for the price

Cons:
- Audio jack is a little "hinky", you need to make sure you are solidly plugged in
- Comes with a very long and stiff USB cable. A short flexible one would have been more useful.
- Bass boost is strong, and not adjustable
review image
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on July 8, 2013
I've been a big fan of Fiio for quite some time now and they introduced me like many many others to the world of headphone amps. So far I've owned...

1. e11
2. e07k
3. e17
4. e09k
5. Rocky e02i
6. e6
7. e10

I think that's it... Not sure there is much else lol...

Fiio to me, Fiio is the perfect place to start when you start your voyage deep into the never ending abyss that is the world of headphones. They have some of the best made and sounding products you'll ever find and oh by the way, their prices are literally unbeatable. No other company gives you what Fiio can and the E10 continues this legacy. Its a very high quality high grade DAC that also happens to have a amp from the e11 built into it so for under $100 and usb powered so no plugging into the wall this thing is magic. It has more than enough juice and spirit to run just about any headphone you throw at it. So far I've used it with my LCD 2.2's, D5000, HD650, M100's and a few others and all sounded great and non of them seemed to be underpowered. Are there better sounding DAC's out there? Of course, but good luck finding one for under $100 that has a bass boost (that really just adds some extra warmth and umph to the sound) powerful amp no batteries and built this well.

Like I said, good luck...
2 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon January 28, 2012
I don't know how I got into this area of DAC's and headphone amps. I've always striven to maximize the quality of my digital listening experience. I even purchased a 5th gen iPod classic just to take advantage of a better Wolfson DAC that apparently the newer models did not incorporate (don't fact check me on this, as it is now irrelevant.) One day I found myself researching DACs on Amazon and the web. I didn't want to break the bank on this device, as I wasn't sure how much I could improve the sound into my UE Triple FI Pro IEM or my Beyerdynamic DT990's, being fed by my iMac or iPod touch. Still, as I read the claims that the iMac DAC was inferior, I was won over and purchased the FiiO E10 about a month ago. Enough has been written about the high quality materials used in this diminutive device. BTW, mine does NOT seem to suffer from the static/dropout problem when it is moved or the headphone plug is rotated.

One thing that I felt compelled to do after listening to the liquid-smooth sound streaming into my ears, was to experiment with the manner of compression used to store my music. I always felt that Apple Lossless was the best way to go, but when I A-B'd good music sources with the original CD version, I definitely heard differences with the air and soundstage between them. The CD always sounded better, more open and natural. The differences were subtle, but easily detectable on some of the music. The E10 and the Trip Fi's allowed me to distinguish this very easily. I also compared AIFF and CD versions. Here the results were more similar. I now have been converting some Flac files for iTunes. The results are very pleasing (but can get expensive). The E10 has opened new doors to musical appreciation for me. I rarely use the bass boost, as it can sometimes impact the lower register of male voices.

With the E10, decent earphones, and a good music source, I can appreciate the very finest details of musical performances. I haven't felt this way since the 80's when I spent hours listening to vinyl on my Linn Sondek/Apt Holman/Adcom/Mirage setup. The advent of digital music always seemed to be a compromise in sound quality to me. Now with advanced digital recording techniques, and signal processing thru devices like the E10, the true musical experience can reproduced with amazing fidelity...and without breaking the budget!
4 helpful votes
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on September 10, 2013
Product was great. Rich sound with my ATH-AD700 headphones. Huge improvement over on-board sound. Huge flaw in the unit I was shipped, and perhaps it is just defective: does not work after a couple of hours of inactivity. Restarting fixes the issue, but restarting several times a day just for sound does not seem like the ideal way to enjoy a new product. Tried it on a few different machines, one running Windows 8, and the others running Windows 7. Fiio support has so far suggested that I replace my OS, then it was my computer at fault per their comments. Debunked both of their claims but they still will not rule it has a defective unit. I really want this product to work the way that it should as it does sound great and feels solid.

Pros:
Solid construction
Great sound quality
Easy set up
Good price for what you get

Cons:
Stops would after a couple of hours (if not more) of inactivity
No on/off switch
Bass boost, while nice, kind of decreases the sound quality (in my opinion)
Tech support has not been helpful
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on July 4, 2012
This is your basic entry-level DAC/amplifier combo. For those who don't know what a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) is, it is basically equivalent to a sound card in your PC. Most PCs use cheap generic sound cards so a DAC is a nice upgrade.

For reference I am using this amp paired with my Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 Ohm to listen to 320 kbps mp3s. According to their website, Fiio recommends you use this amp to drive headphones with 16-300 ohm impedence. I'm no audiophile, but I can tell the difference between the sound quality in a movie theater and some cheap desktop speakers. I have owned this thing for about 3 weeks, so I have a good sense of what it is like.

Pros:
-Nice combination of price and sound quality
-Small, compact, and unobtrusive
-Casing is all aluminum
-Included USB cord means no batteries or external power supplies, it is all powered by your computer
-Included bass boost switch is excellent for bass-heavy songs

Cons:
-Sometimes amp cuts off sound to my left ear, can fix by re-plugging in several times
-Static from the amp
-The headphone jack's build quality is highly questionable

I'll start with what I liked. As soon as I plugged this thing into my computer, it was able to recognize it right away without the need to install drivers (I am using Ubuntu on my desktop). I simply had to go into the sound settings and select the e10 as analog output. I popped my DT770 Pros into the e10 jack, flipped on the bass boost, and listened to bass-heavy "Cinderella Man" by Eminem. Let me tell you, bass boost sounds amazing with bass-heavy songs. I was blown away. For those interested in specs, the bass boost switch will increase bass by 3 decibels. On songs that aren't so bass heavy, the effect isn't as good but I didn't really expect it to be. Props to Fiio for the bass switch. The rest of the pros are pretty straight forward, and I am overall very happy with the good parts.

Now, my complaints. A couple of days after getting the e10, I couldn't hear any sound out of the left side of my headphones. I nearly returned my headphones but I was fortunate enough to plug them into my computer first, confirming it was a problem with the e10 and not my headphones. After randomly plugging and unplugging the e10 out of my desktop and checking the sound on both sides of my headphone, sound was finally balanced on both sides. This has happened to me twice in the last three weeks of ownership. It has never cut off sound in the middle of listening, I have only had this problem after turning off my computer and coming back to listen later. I do not know why this happens, but fortunately it works just fine at the moment.

My next issue is a small static pop at the beginning and end of every single song I play. The second issue with static is that I can hear slight static and crackling in some songs. It is very rare though, out of the hundreds of songs I own and have listened to, maybe 5-8 had this issue and it didn't happen every time. The majority of my songs have no static during play and sound great. I have not been able to figure out why its happening or how to fix it, but it isn't that noticable. Personally it doesn't bother me that much but I would prefer no static at all.

My final, and largest complaint is the headphone jack on the e10. When plugging my DT770 Pro into the jack, it doesn't go in straight, it plugs in at an angle and then straightens out a bit. Then again, it could be the plug on my headphones, as its plug is kind of long. The next issue is that the jack is rather loose. I can literally wiggle the jack back and forth with my headphones plugged in. Does not inspire confidence in build quality. Third issue is that the spring mechanism in headphone jack does not require a lot of pressure at all to pull headphones out. I can barely pull the jack and it'll pop out. My headphones will stay in just fine during listening and I haven't had it pop out on me, but the mechanism feels too loose.

Overall, I am happy with this amp as of now. It drives my headphones excellently and I love its bass boost function on bass-heavy songs. Annoyances with sound cutoff, static, and a flimsy headphone jack leave me to give this 3 stars.

EDIT 12/6/2012: No more issues with static pop or sound cutting off. This must have been some minor issue with my headphones or something, but both are in perfect working condition at this moment. Can't be more happy with either now.
2 helpful votes
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