FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier - FiiO E5

By Stuart Andrews



  • Recommended by TR
FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier


Our Score:


Now, some of you might be wondering: why would I need a headphone amp? After all, don't most DAPs and PMPs have enough power at their disposal to run most headphones without amplification, and isn't it A VERY BAD THING to turn your headphones up too loud? Well, yes and no. First, depending on impedance and sensitivity, some headphones need more power than others to run at the same perceived volume level. Secondly, PMPs and DAPs vary in terms of output power, and size isn't any indication.

For instance, the Sansa Clip or Samsung YP-P3 pump out enough juice to get a big sound from most sensible pairs of headphones, but many Apple players, some Sony models and most iPod shuffle type players are a bit more restrained in their output.

Plug in some high-impedance in-ear 'phones or a pair of over-the-ear cans and many players struggle to create a decent sound. The result is that you pump up the volume levels, pushing the amplification circuitry in your player too hard. The sound compresses, and you're not really getting the full potential from either your headphones or your player. Keeping the volume levels on your player to a moderate setting and letting an outboard amplifier do the work can be a better idea.

The knock-on effect of this is that the little FiiO can be a fantastic addition to your portable audio setup, though a lot depends on what player and headphones you are using. During the last few days I've tried it out on three different players - a first-gen iPod touch, a Samsung YP-Q1 and an iRiver T7 - with a bewildering variety of headphones.


March 15, 2009, 11:12 am

i vote for an "audiophile" subsection here.


March 15, 2009, 3:02 pm



March 15, 2009, 4:23 pm

Thirded. Even though I'm not an audiophile.

Francesco Mastellone

March 15, 2009, 7:09 pm

Fourthed? I'd call it flac though, seeing how this is the mp3 section =p


March 15, 2009, 11:30 pm




March 16, 2009, 3:49 am

Heh, this was not a review I was expecting to see here today, good work chaps.


March 16, 2009, 1:53 pm

Shouldn't you be dead? But yes, we're trying to up the variety a bit.

Mikko Lahti

March 16, 2009, 2:34 pm

Yes, unexpected but great a review. Based on this, I immediately checked a Finnish auctionsite for FiiO products, and I got very lucky, now I'm waiting for my E5! (I'm thinking it will fit perfectly for my workout rig, with iriver H320 and Sennheiser CX 380 Sport II IEMs)


March 17, 2009, 1:29 pm

It's a great amp for a Sansa Clip and Phonak Audéo combo.

Mark Booth

March 17, 2009, 9:53 pm

Nice but one HUGE problem...... in fact huge is an understatement unless I'm missing something. Read on.

Saw the review and thought a good impulse buy so why not. Arrived today and I now see the recommended retailer is out of stock so well done TrustedReveiws on creating the business.

Plugged it in with my Bose on ear phones and there is a noticable difference. Well pleased! However, there is a HUGE problem.... almost of the gargantuan proportions of the new iPod shuffle having prorietary headphones and no buttons. The retailer says this on their site:

Ultra small, lightweight design for MP3 player, laptop or mobile phone.

So why does my iPhone interfere with it? Almost permanent interference when browsing the web even holding it as far away as the cable will reach. Surely this is a major design flaw? I can't beleive it's not magnetically shielded!


March 18, 2009, 10:19 am

the amp wouldn't be magnetically shielded - most aren't. my graham slee voyager doesn't seem to be, and i paid a lot more for that than you did - even used.


March 18, 2009, 4:26 pm


For all your equipment, I can't believe you're using an iPhone in conjunction.

iPhone's frequency range sucks. While it isn't the worse, there have been much better. Like, the 5800, with that incredibly smooth frequency curve, or the Xperia X1, just to name a few.

Mark Booth

March 18, 2009, 5:49 pm

Why wouldn't an amp be shielded? All decent iPod/iPhone docks are because they "have" to be. I know this is a cheap device but it claims compatibility with mobile phones and to me they have made a false claim.

Having looked on the forums I see people have complained about the E3 hoping the E5 would be better, and even the Voyager is prone to interference. I almost bought a Voyager too so glad i didn't now.

With respect to those complaining about my poor audio source I use an iPhone as a single covenient day to day device especially at work to drown out the open plan noise. At home I listen to a Marantz CD63 KI Signature & Sonos, Audiolab 8000A, and HD600 cans. A little old I know but might try a Vogayer with this setup. The E5 offers slight improvement on HD600 + iPhone but not enough to be good enough.


March 18, 2009, 6:13 pm

The Xperia X1? Are you kidding me? That thing sounds awful. It's plagued by background hiss for a start.


April 25, 2009, 3:27 pm

Perhaps you need to get another Xperia...


October 28, 2010, 10:23 am

Has anyone used this amp with Denon AH-C551's ? I know the author of the above review didn't think the sound was great. Also how about Grado SR80's ? I currently use a little dot micro + but it's a little too bulky for using on the go.


February 24, 2011, 1:19 am

I just received this amp in the mail (payed $25 for it) and I have to say it's great!

This is my frst time using a headphone amp and the sound quality difference is very noticeable.

The bass boost works really well and all of my music just sounds so much more alive.

I'm using a Sansa Clip + with Sony MDR AS50G headphones on the go and then Shure SRH440 at home.

Really well worth the money, wasn't sure I'd go for it, but I'm glad I did.


April 10, 2013, 12:38 pm

can i use this for my razer tiamat 2.2 then connect to pc ? need rep ty

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