Fiio E17K ALPEN 2 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier
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- USB audio decoding; can be used as external sound card
- High-quality DAC and op-amp from Texas Instruments
- Scroll wheel menu navigation
- Coaxial digital input and dual-function line in/out port
- Standard Micro USB Interface - connect with PC to make digital audio transfer possible and make battery charge possible
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This item Fiio E17K ALPEN 2 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier
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|Sold By||ProStudio Sound & Music||AVLGear||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Item Dimensions||0.5 x 4.1 x 2.5 in||2.5 x 4.4 x 0.08 in||6.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 in||2.6 x 1.5 x 0.82 in|
The FiiO E17K is a portable headphone amplifier and digital to analog converter (DAC). The E17K has a built in rechargeable lithium battery and USB charger, allowing you to charge on your PC or with a USB adapter. The E17K has fewer buttons on the front than that of its predecessor the E17. The FiiO E17K has a new multi-functional wheel that responds to both turns and clicks, providing an intuitive agile control replacing many buttons from the older model. The all-new E17K Utilises the SA 9027 USB receiver, allowing the E17K to be used as an external sound card for your computer. This supports up to 96 kHz/32bit and supporting DSD decoding * (with ASIO driver and SACD plugin). The FiiO E17K exploits TI's all-new PCM5102, which processes higher S/N ratio, lower distortion and more linear digital-analog conversion characteristics. Also added to the new E17K is the TI's flagship OPA1622, as a low pass filter and OPA1642+LMH6643 in an OP+BUF architecture usually only seen in high end units.
Top customer reviews
As a portable music enthusiast -- often listening to music on the go (or while working away from home) -- I've grown accustomed to 'chasing the best portable sound' I can get.
Sometimes, this has meant spending hundreds (and sometimes thousands) on music equipment; other times I've been lucky to come across high-value items at a great price. The Fiio E17K Alpen 2 fits into the latter category.
(Yet again.... I've been reminded, 'expensive' doesn't always equate to 'the best'.)
For credibility's sake...
I currently I own 3 great portable DAC Amps; the Oppo HA2-SE, the Chord Mojo, and Fiio's E17K Alpen 2. All of which have different sound signatures and are highly-respectable in their own right.
However, of the three I play with on a regular basis, the Fiio E17k Alpen 2 remains at the top of my list as my 'go to' the most.
Dollar for dollar, as a DAC, the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 truly has the ability to 'wake-up' the sound eminating from your (i)phone or portable music device. Bear in mind, however, this DAC/Amp truly as a "USB DAC" -- allowing you to take full advantage the kit's sound enhancing qualities. (This means connecting to your phone or portable music device via the micro USB located on the bottom of the unit.)
That said, the best feature of the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 (in my opinion) is the ability to tweak (and amp up, or dial down) both the treble and bass -- further adjusting and customizing the sound signature to your liking. Of the three portable DAC Amps in my arsenal, the Fiio E17k Alpen 2 is the ONLY one that allows for this. And make no mistake about it; aside from great sound, this feature sets this unit in a league of its own.
Another great feature of this unit is the super long battery life. As a USB DAC, I've been able to clock in over 10 hours of desk/work time on a single charge. None of the more expensive (aforementioned) portables can do this as a USB DAC. Even Chord's Mojo, which states 10hrs of battery life has not given me more than 7-8hrs.
Another great advantage of this unit is its portability. The unit is about the size of a deck of cards (and feels lighter as well). This makes it much more pocket friendly. The only other unit (in my lineup) which can almost rival the Fiio in terms of portability is the Oppo HA2-SE, which is almost custom tailored to fit the iPhone 6/7 (or other similar sized devices).
Although the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 will noticeably enhance the sound of your portable music device (or phone), and is fairly priced at ~$100, this unit is not perfect.
***Here are some noticeable drawbacks...
The unit does not play well (out the gate) with sensitive earbuds or IEMs. As a portable music enthusiast, I own multiple high-end IEMs (both custom and universal fit).
For example, the Shure SE846 (priced at almost ~$1,000), are an EXCELLENT pair of IEMs. And although they sound great when paired with Fiio's E17K Alpen 2 DAC/AMP, there's a noticeable '(s)hiss' when amping up the treble on the unit. In fact this '(s)hiss' is noticeable on almost all the IEMs I own.
I purchased a 75Ohm resistance adaptor (from eBay) -- thereby increasing the overall resistance of my IEMs. The adaptor effectively eliminated ALL the '(s)hiss' -- giving me a completely 'black' (dead-silent) canvas when listening to my music. The same effect can be achieved with a volume attenuator -- which would allow to dial down the '(s)hiss' to nil.
Another issue I noticed... When using the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 exclusively as an amp solely (bypassing the USB DAC chip), the vocals seemed to sound a bit more veiled, and the overall sound was not as 'rich'. This is why I stress the use of this unit as a USB DAC rather than an amp exclusively.
Besides that, I HIGHLY recommend the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 DAC/AMP as an introductory DAC/AMP for anyone looking to step-up their portable audio sound. It will serve as a great baseline to work from should you ever choose to upgrade.
***Honestly, I f I had to choose only one DAC (of the ones I've mentioned) to have with me at all times, the Fiio E17K Alpen 2 is the one I'd choose without a doubt. It sounds great and is the most versatile of the bunch.
NOTE: If you wish to connect this to an iPhone (or via lightning), run a search for "Micro USB to Lightning Cable". You should be able to find a cleaner (and cheaper) solution than using Apple's CCK 'thing-a-majiggy'. Another option is to run an online search for Fiio's L19 Cable (which ships from China). That cable is the shortest and cleanest solution available (albeit not always the cheapest).
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i have a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 64Ω.. i had never paid that much for a pair of headphones... and i was pleased with them. i have my computer running through a Sony Stereo Receiver. But then i heard about the Tube Amps... i got one of those and was blown away. i could not believe what i was hearing. .....So here it is about a year later and i stumbled across the Fiio. EVERYTHING has changed. The Bass is deeper. The Highs are clearer. i can make out Every word that's being said. i can hear finger snaps.. feet tapping.. Get up some night around midnight.... hook this thing up and turn out all the lights.... Pull up your favorite Audio player (Better be Foobar2000)... Start playing your favorite playlist... lean back in your chair... close your eyes... and prepare to hear all your favorite songs for the VERY first time. The way they were meant to be heard!!!!! --- Now i need to get the perfect headphones... i keep looking at Beats.. but i can't make up my mind..
One thing to note on this device is that if you are using it as a DAC/Amp, make sure you have the USB power setting correct. It is capable of pulling power to charge the device from the PC while it playing music. However, when I attach it to my Cayin N3, I must turn "USB CHG" to "OFF" to use it as the DAC, otherwise it won't play when the source devices isn't sending power. It was rather interesting because with "USB CHG" set to "ON" both devices appeared to be working correctly and there just wasn't any sound.