Fiio E5 headphone Amplifier
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- Designed for high impedance and low sensitivity headphones
- Signal to Noise Ratio: >= 98 dB (A Weight)
- Power Supply: build-in 200mAh rechargerable battery
- Frequency Response: 10 Hz - 60 kHz
- Distortion: < 0.009% (10 mW)
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Product Description FiiO E5 is a Portable Headphone Amplifier designed to improve the sound quality and volume of any portable audio source such as MP3 players, iPods, personal media players, mobile phones, laptops, notebooks/netbooks, or portable CD players. The E5 retains all of the advantages of the popular E3 while adding many new features and a substantial boost in performance, all inside a very small and slim aluminum case. With built-in volume controls, the E5 can be used with the line-level output of audio sources for even better sound quality. More than just a refresh, the E5 offers higher power output, better signal to noise ratio and lower distortion. Built on an entirely new amplifier platform, the E5 provides superior sound qualilty and works well with high impedance headphones. Two EQ profiles are available for flat or bass-boost response, allowing additional flexibility in obtaining optimal tonal match with different headphones. Highlight Features - Robust design handles high impedance and low sensitivity headphones - Easy to carry and use both indoors and outdoors - Increases your music player's battery life - New amplifier design with high S/N and low distortion - Very high PSRR for superior supply noise rejection - Metal case reduces interference when used with GSM mobile phones - Discreet power switch - Built-in electronic volume control for ultra low noise - Two EQ profiles: flat response and bass-boost modes - Built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 20 hours of normal use - Mini USB charger port can be used with any USB power source - Built-in metal clip conveniently attaches to clothing, bags, and etc Specifications - Output Power: 100mW (32ohms Load) 18mW (300ohms Load) - Signal to Noise Ratio: >=98dB (A Weight) - Power Supply: 200mAh rechargerable battery - Frequency Response: 10Hz - 60kHz - Distortion: <0.009% (10 mW)
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I actually bought this for use with Amazon Prime since they do not have CC (Closed Captioning). This unit is the only amp I have ever bought for use with my headsets so I cannot make comparisons, but for amplifying volume so that I can actually hear the dialogue, this unit is FANTASTIC! In fact, for Prime shows, it is so loud, I have it on the lowest setting to hear comfortably! For movies elsewhere on the Net, I've had to crank it up a few notches for those that were ranked a low score due to low volume but I hear everything!
I do not hear any hissing, pops or anything that some other reviewers have complained about but then again, maybe their better hearing picks up these imperfections. I do not hear them however. The unit normally goes for $30 but w prime it is discounted about $10. I bought it before I had Prime back in June 2011 and it was worth all $30! One thing I do notice is that it works best with a headset with one jack and can be a little glitchy with headsets with mic/headphone dual jacks - sometimes it works with duals and sometimes it doesn't so be aware of this.
The unit is small- about the size of a paper matchbook, is very light in weight but made of high quality material. The surface is slippery and the clip is sturdy but slippery also so it may have trouble actually staying in place. My advice is to clip it on the inside of a pocket so that the clip is on the outside and the unit in. A small strip of velcro taped to a backpack pocket would make it more secure. It charges via USB within an hour if fully drained and lasts quite a few hours of constant use.
I highly recommend this unit if you have nerve deafness or are hard of hearing for whatever reason.
UPDATE: June 27, 2012
I bought a used 8GB iPod 4th gen and some of the music files already on the iPod were transferred in low volume. I added this amp in between the iPod and the headset and was able to hear even the faintest of songs in great volume so the only songs I took off the iPod were the ones not of my taste and not due to an inability of hearing thanks to this item! I also bought the latest FiiO E6 to have the FiiO E5 as a backup and the E6 is better than this one due to more sound selections (i.e. more bass etc) but both work great. :)
UPDATE: December 10, 2013
I still use both the E5 & E6 with my iPod 4th Gen. They work just as they did on day one. However, I do not use them for my Samsung G3 phone due to the quirkiness of its headphone jack based on so many reviews. I opted instead to use a Bluetooth headset with my phone. To help with my nerve deafness, I purchased the Equalizer app from the Playstore and it acts as if I was using this physical amp. This update doesn't exactly refer to this product but I wanted to add it for those that are hard of hearing and are finding it difficult to hear via Bluetooth headsets.
A lot of reviews have criticized this device for not improving the sound. This is an amplifier. It increases the gain. It does have buffered output. It will only improve the sound if there's a significant impedance mismatch between your player and the device (headphones, line input) it's plugged into. I've seen detailed audio tests of this device with screen shots of things like frequency response and distortion over the normal sound spectrum. It performs like you'd expect a low power amp to perform. Flat frequency response and negligible distortion. No boost above 500 Hz as one reviewer states.
It's not an audio panacea. It won't make your equipment sound better in any way unless there's the impedance match mentioned above. It does add some gain and doesn't alter the signal appreciably. I'd like a bit more gain than this unit provides since I use it at max volume, but other than that I'm perfectly satisfied. To tell the truth, I'd be perfectly happy with no volume control at all. The bass boost switch doesn't have much audible effect. I could do without that too. I do like having a power switch.
Pros - well built, easy to use, inexpensive (ok, cheap), bass boost button works
Cons - Effectiveness varies from headphone model to headphone model, normal setting makes headphones sound tinny
I tried the E5 with a variety of vintage headphones - Numark, HV115, Stanton Dynaphase Fifty, Sennheise HD420SL and HD422, Koss SST/5, and Audio Technica ATH-701. All of the headphones sounded louder at the same volume setting, some much more than others. Using bass boost, most of the headphones had a noticeable bass boost, though the Sennheisers and the Audio Technica did not, and they also had the least loudness boost.
Comparing the E5 to the comparable Firestone Fireye mini, some headphones sounded better with the E5 (like the Koss), while some sounded better with the Fireye (the Numark in particular), while some didn't sound any better with either (i.e. the Sennheisers). Overall though the E5 seemed crisper and clearer than the Fireye, which tended to muddy the sound a bit of many of the headphones.
Which to choose? Listen to the headphones you want to use them on before you buy, if you can - the effectiveness varies considerably depending on the headphone model. Otherwise, you can easily find the E5 for @$20, 1/2 the price of the Fireye Mini. At that price, with a sturdier build, made mostly of metal, with some nice features, I'd go for the E5.