Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
Eh, it's OK.
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.