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on July 2, 2010
First off, please know that the E7 works BEST as a DAC/AMP combo when connected to a computer via USB or connected to a media player that has a dedicated line out (I'm not talking about the pre-amped 3.5 mm headphone jack on your mp3 player...but instead, a dedicated line out jack that bypasses the built-in amplifier of your media player). Portability wise, the E7 is absolutely perfect when carrying around your laptop and wanting to hear some high quality audio bliss while on the road or at the local coffee shop (or at the kitchen table in my case).Sound quality is truly amazing for the price you are paying, and it uses some near-audiophile grade electronics inside. Considering its price point, FIIO packed in a truly nice selection of options as well.

I consider the DAC/AMP to have a very clean and slightly colored sound quality that is comparable to portable amps in the $150 - $250 price range. Very little hissing is evident when the volume is turned up, leaps and bounds less hissing than if you were to connect your earphones/headphones directly to the headphone jack of a laptop/mp3 player. Besides expected sound qualities found in other high-end DAC/Amps of this class, the E7's trump card is the ability to pump out some pretty clean BASS using the built-in BASS settings **while** maintaining it's excellent sound characteristics. The well controlled BASS doesn't kill the mids and highs commonly seen in cheaper audio setups (just be cautious of maxing out the bass to lvl 3...it tends to muffle out the mids and highs just a tad. I found that lvl 1 or 2 on the BASS settings is perfect). I've found that I am easily able to drive my higher-end headphones from the E7, including my Grado 325is, Denon AHD2000's, and is even able to power my Beyerdynamic DT990's and AKG K701's to reasonable volume levels.

The unit has a very bright OLED screen that really is a looker (check it out in my video) and the silicone case makes it look deadly beautiful in my opinion. Build quality is much higher than I expected. The back of the unit is metal, the sides are plastic and the clear face front is also a type of plastic, but of higher quality. Accessing the menu's is easy and straightforward. Size wise, it's about the size of a portable mp3 player.

IMO, this is a no-brainer-buy for those of you just getting into entry-level high-end audio equipment and wanting to make a purchase without having to break the bank. If you are looking to replace your existing audio setup from your laptop, desktop pc or Mac computer, this is an amazing buy!

-Davy

**Keep in mind the E7 will not work properly when connecting it to the 3.5mm jack of a MP3/Media player. The reason is that the E7's sound quality becomes overly distorted and the sound levels are very low due to 'piggy backing' onto the built in amplifier of the mp3 player. The E7 truly shines when using a direct line out dock from an ipod (or any other player that has a dedicated line out) or from the USB connection of a computer. I bought this strictly as my DAC/AMP for my laptop, and it does it's job with flying colors and then some.
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FiiO E7 USB DAC and Portable Headphone Amplifier is a solid budget priced DAC, since replaced by the more powerful and costly FiiO E7K. It nevertheless serves well as on outboard DAC for computers and other sources able to output digital stream to the FiiO's USB input. The E7 also has a line level input. The main reason for most people to use the E7 however is as a headphone amp -- if you're using the line level input then the E7's DAC is irrelevant anyway.

As such it's a powerful, relatively speaking, way to drive good quality headphones with a superior level of both audio fidelity and sound level. It does have a few quirks, such as the lack of a line level output (you have to add an adapter), it is 16 bit only and lacks support for 24bit lossless. The E7K model has fixed these shortcomings, adding 96/24 lossless processing, a line level out and several other tweaks. The biggest criticism to make of the base E7 though, and many of the other FiiO products, is the cheap, frequently dim and almost unreadable without a magnifier character based interface display. All that said, this is solid unit, especially if you can find it steeply discounted relative to the newer E7K.
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on June 25, 2012
Where to start with the FiiO E7? Let me start by saying that I use this to properly drive my AKG Q701 Headphones. And my goodness, do they do a wonderful job. The bass booster function works marvelously, a very noticeable difference in more bass heavy music such as hip-hop. The long battery life is a huge plus. The fact it is portable is also an advantage. Even when I plug some sub 20 dollar headphones in, there is a significant difference in sound quality and volume compared to just a standard laptop or iPod jack. The screen is well lit, and the user interface is easy to understand and figure out, even without instructions. Who would I recommend this to? Anyone who wants more from their music. Simple as that. If you are going to invest in a nice set of headphones, do yourself a favor and buy this amp. Also, for iPod users, get the FiiO LOD connector. It will bypass your iPods amp and will give you even more sound quality. If you are on the fence, I want this review to push you over. If you buy, you won't regret it. An excellent value, and a 5 out of 5 stars as well.
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on November 8, 2011
I've been bought into the world of mid-range audio for a few years now. My eyes were really opened when I plugged my Sennheiser HD 558 into a Harman/Kardon receiver, and was greeted with the most awesome sound I have ever heard from a pair of headphones. The clarity and smoothness of the sound was incredible, and the power of the bass trashed anything that even the Beats could put out. Being that I can't be plugged into the receiver all the time, I decided to purchase this as a more mobile solution.

How does it perform? The DAC (essentially an external sound card) portion of the E7 does clean up the audio a lot, compared to coming straight out of my laptop, by cutting down on the hiss and high pitched whine from the electronic equipment. I found this most noticeable when using low-sensitivity headphones like the Etymotic HF3. The amp portion of the E7 does a decent job by giving a little more power to my headphones, increasing soundstage, smoothness, and clarity ever-so-slightly. However, the amp does not compare AT ALL to the power of the amp on the H/K receiver. So if you want a lot of power to your 'phones, definitely be prepared to splurge some more on an E9 as well, or just go for something else altogether. The bass boost is a nice feature. Level 1 is the cleanest boost as it only increases the volume of very low bass. Level 2 and 3 also boost the lower-midrange frequencies, causing some music to sound a bit "canned". For whatever reason, level 3 doubles the overall volume output. When using a sensitive headphone like the aforementioned Etymotic and level 3 bass boost, I literally have to turn the volume down to 1 (out of 60 levels) to be able to listen comfortably.

The E7 is well-designed. I'm positive that Fiio took design cues from the iPhone, as it looks and feels just like one. A lot of people seem to complain about the front cover scratching easily. People, that is not the actual front cover! There is a thin, plastic, very easy to scratch cover that is initially placed over the front cover that you have to remove. Once that's done, you'll be left with the actual, very glossy front cover. It hasn't been scratched at all even when I lightly ran a key over it (don't try this though...). The side buttons are nice and clicky, and the interface is easy to navigate. The audio jacks on my E7 are a bit loose, and sometimes the audio will shift and cut if I wiggle the plug too much. Besides the somewhat misleading front cover, this thing is well designed and built, and should stand the test of time.

Overall, the most important metric is, is the E7 worth getting? I'd have to say, "it depends". Once I get lost in the music, I sometimes forget and have to check whether I'm actually plugged in to the E7 or not. Direct A/B tests will show slight improvements, but they are just that. If your music device (laptop, desktop, phonograph, etc) has a lot of electronic hiss and static, and you can't stand it, then by all means this is the item for you. This summer, I borrowed a Macbook Pro 17", and was greeted with the most horrendous crackling and hissing from the audio jack, such that listening to quiet passages in music was literally impossible. The E7 would have been very well suited for improving the audio-out from this laptop. On my regular laptop, a HP Envy 15, there is far less hiss and absolutely no crackling, so the E7 becomes only a marginal improvement. So in the end, it depends on your device, and whether you are already satisfied with the sound on your headphones or want that slight boost in sound quality.
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on December 4, 2011
I purchased this after much consideration and being new to the world of audiophile, the price of the FiiO E7 was the deciding factor in sealing the deal. The package was nice and effective: a box with all the goodies inside. I liked that it came with a cloth cover for the E7, as well as a rubber outer lining to keep the edges of the E7 from getting all scuffed up. As for the actual sound quality, using it as a DAC from my Macbook Pro and hooking a pair of AKG K240 (and later a pair of K241's and Sennheiser HD380) I was really pleased with the outcome. The most noticeable difference when using the E7 with some decent headphones and FLAC audio is that the music is...more there, with more presence. It's not necessarily louder, though it can be, it's just fuller.

I know that listening to music through the E7 fatigues my ears less than it does coming straight out of the laptop, probably because I don't have to blast the music as loud to hear details in songs...it's been reviewed and raved at long enough, I've added my two cents. The E7 works. It was under $100. Awesome.
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on April 24, 2012
Received this unit a few months ago, so I've thoroughly vetted it at this point.

For the most part, this amp does what it says it does. It does sound very good, I use it to power my Senn HD595's and it makes them sing. I also use it on my Klipsch X10 in ear headphones too, after driving the bigger and more capable HD595's driving the smalled X10's are like a walk in the park. The bass boost can be changed from 0-3 and it's a nice feature if you want to get that extra oomph out of some recordings that could use it.

Fit and finish on the unit itself is fantastic. The presentation was also awesome. It comes in a small white box, clearly styled after the iPhone packaging. But unlike Apple's products, Fio sees fit to include a couple of awesome extras: a rubber case for everyday use, a small velvet drawstring carrying case, and an absolutely vital, you-didn't-even-know-how-much-you-really-needed-it-until-you-use-it thick black rubber band so that you can mate together the amp and your portable source device (in my case, my iPod touch or my iPhone). If you're having trouble picturing the rubber band, think of a Livestrong bracelet but in black instead of yellow.

There's only 4 buttons, and it's easy to navigate the menus. I do like the OLED display a lot, although there's no way to shut off the display when it's not in use. This shouldn't be a battery drain problem though, since I believe OLED tech consumes very little power.

But that brings me back to my only drawback on this unit, and it's a big one for me. The specs say that the internal lithium ion battery will provide 80 hours of use, and I have to wonder what kind of crack was being smoked when this spec was provided. I get about 5 hours of continuous use out of this unit, at an average volume of only about half of max volume. It also takes many hours to recharge fully, even when charging the unit off the wall instead of a trickle charge through a PC USB port.

It's overall a fantastic unit, but the battery life and poor recharging is solely responsible for killing a star on this unit. It really irritates me that Fio promises 80 hours of continuous use, when in reality there's only about 4-5 hours. I don't know whether it's possibly a defective unit or if everybody at Fio just doesn't know how to use a stopwatch, but either way it's past the return window at this point.
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on February 7, 2017
Amazon says "You purchased this item on August 8, 2013." It is now February 7, 2017.
This little AMP/DAC has been plugged in and powered 24/7 for the last _years_ and it still works great! The amplification lost a bit of power, but there's plenty more headroom to go. Volume is now at 42 and the maximum is 60. I use it with some DT 770 PRO 80ohm and it sounds great! (plenty of reviews about it online)
The display faded a bit after in the areas where the crystals were on while displaying the volume 24/7 for a year. After a year I realized I should turn put the display on power save so it turns off after a few seconds of not using it. After putting it on power save, no further degradation happened.
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on December 6, 2010
I have never written a review for amazon before, although I have used amazon for years. I have an extensive CD and DVD collection. I have five sets of earphones including: Sennhauser HD 580, two Bose triports and Bose QC15. I also have played classical and jazz piano for over 50 years and have been listening to all kinds of music; live, with speakers and headphones most of this time. I never had one product that has excited me so much in making the quality of my collection sound markedly better. Try it for yourself. We all have different tastes. But in my opinion you get, for less than $100.00, a major positive difference in you're headphone listening quality. You might even find that headphones you did not like but you kept will work much better with this product.

If you look at all aspects of the E7 together in my opinion I give it a definite five star!!!!!!!!!

I am not connected in any way with the manufacturer or distributor of this product other than buying their product.

This review is my opinion only. Larry
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on January 5, 2011
Fiio's E7 is a portable amp/digital-analog converter (DAC). What that means is that the E7 can be used as both as a portable headphone amplifier, and to replace your computer's sound card when connected via the USB cable for better audio quality. The E7 offers solid construction and great value at its price point, which makes it a must-buy over comparable products at this price range.

The E7 comes in a very compact box, when opened, the box includes the E7 itself (looking akin to a tiny solid block) and a bunch of accessories. Note that when first opened, the E7 did not come charged; it must be recharged using the provided USB cable for a couple minutes. Once the wait is over though, the little portable DAC/amp does wonders.

Using the provided USB cable with the E7 allows it to be used as a DAC/amp in lieu of your computer's sound card. Previously, I was using the stock sound card in my MacBook Pro as the DAC, and the E7 completely elevated the sound quality to another level. Immediately, I could hear details across the board with my Sennheiser HD 555. I heard entire instrument lines that I've never heard before. The E7 even comes with a built in headphone splitter, which is great to use to share my music with others. The construction is solid, although prone to scratching. I've dropped my E7 carelessly many times, yet it remains functioning perfectly except that the surface is laden with many scratches. For easy to drive headphones like the Sennheiser HD 555, the built in amplifier is plenty and will power the headphones to perfect listening levels at 10/60.

When using the E7 as a portable amp, use the provided line in-out cable in order to connect your MP3 player/DAP with the device. The sound quality leap was not as pronounced as I was just using the amp portion of the DAC/Amp; and that's probably the only criticism of the E7 for me. Still though, a marginal change in audio quality can be observed with my Portapros; manifesting in the form of greater warmth and slightly better bass/highs clarity. The bass boost came in handy outside, where I was a far more casual than analytical listener.

To conclude, the E7 is a great DAC; it is built with solid material and has future upgrading potential with the E9. However, the E7 is by no means perfect. Just buying the E7 to use as an amp is perhaps not a great idea, as I later found out when trying to drive Sennheiser HD 600s with the E7. Still, the E7's advantage lies with its price point and versatility, and I would definitely buy the product again given a chance. Users with a great DAC and/or sound card would obviously want to reconsider though; and those with higher end audiophile headphones (like the HD600/DT880/etc.) can buy the E7 if ampless but note that the E7 alone, without the E9, cannot drive those phones to their full potential.
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on September 30, 2012
I'll say first that I have a Asus P8ZZ7-1 MITX mobo with Realtek ALC898, which is pretty recent, but the newest is ALC899. Since it is a MITX motherboard, I can't use a PCI or PCIe sound card because there is no available slot for it, so my other option to improve the source sound is use a USB DAC. From my last motherboard I noticed an improvment in sound coming from the ALC892 with the same headphones. I was like, alright, lets keep going, lets see if I can get a better source.

My most used headphones are Shure SRH440, Shure SRH940, and Audio Technica PRO700MK2. I don't need an amp for any of these headphones because they get loud enough, while they do get slightly louder on the motherboard than when compared to my phone. The motherboard can increase the volume of the headphones to unbearable levels already, so I don't care for the amp in the E7.

I bought the E7 out of curiosity, and of course for the possiblity of improving my source sound. I currently have 10 days (over 240 hours) on the Run Time counter on the Fiio E7 and I cannot tell a difference from my onboard. My onboard (even my previous one) didn't have static or clicking sounds, so the E7 didn't improve a problem that was never there. The E7 has a hiss that I can hear inbetween tracks or if there is a break in a song. Not annoying enough for me to throw it against a wall, but it's there.

I don't like or need the bass boost because I think my headphones do a good enough job already, especially the PRO700MK2. I noticed with the SRH940, my most detailed headphone, that my music sounded worse as I increased the bass level. With the SRH440 however, it sounded pretty good because that headphone is bright to begin with, so dulling the highs makes it more enjoyable.

After analyzing a dozen pages of reviews on Amazon, I've come to the conlusion that all Apple products sound bad and Sennheiser headphones would benefit from the E7. I own neither of those products.
However I will continuse to use this for a while longer and do some more comparisons with my onboard. In a few months I'll do an update - if I still have it. Maybe I'm just the kind of person who is easily satisfied with onboard sound combined with higher end headphones.
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