FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier - FiiO E5

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
FiiO E5 Headphone Amplifier

Summary

Our Score:

8

Of course, as with any headphone amplifier the E5 really comes into its own with headphones that are just too hard to drive for a player's internal amplification circuitry alone. I've recently got my hands on a pair of AKG studio headphones rated at 55 ohms. While they're exceptionally clean and detailed, even the beefy Samsung YP-P3 struggled to get maximum 'oomph' out of them.

With the E5 plugged in that all changes, and while the output might still be a little flat or even sterile for some tastes (these are studio 'phones, after all), it's much richer and more lively than it was, and the results with classical music are nigh on dazzling. If you're struggling to drive high impedance cans like the Sennheiser HD5x5 series or earbuds like the Klipsch Image or Sleek Audio SA6, you might want to bear this in mind; the E5 can get you decent results, without putting a huge hole in your wallet.

And this is where we come to my rule of thumb for the FiiO E5. If your current sound can be thin or brittle or even rather clinical, and you don't want to change your player or your headphones, then this little beauty might just do the trick, if only through the bass boost function. If you already get a sound you're happy with at between the 50 and 70 per cent volume mark, you still might get an improvement from the E5, but don't expect any miracles.

If, however, you're pushing the volume on your player beyond the 65 to 70 per cent mark just in order to get a decent sound, then the E5 is probably the most cost practical and cost effective way you might find of reaching your setup's full potential. You won't get the same audio quality you'd expect from, say, the Graham Slee Voyager or even a really good Cmoy amp, but then you're not paying £150 for audiophile gear, but getting something you can clip on your jacket that costs less than twenty quid. Even if you only want to use it on the road, that makes the E5 one of the best bargains I've seen so far this year.

Verdict

Solid audio output for such a ludicrously cheap headphone amp. While your mileage will vary depending on your DAP/PMP and 'phones, it's well worth giving the E5 a try if you find your existing setup lacks power.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Features 7
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 9

ilovethemonkeyhead

March 15, 2009, 11:12 am

i vote for an "audiophile" subsection here.

Andy0d2

March 15, 2009, 3:02 pm

seconded

Ohmz

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

ilovethemonkeyhead

March 15, 2009, 11:30 pm

"FLAC = FREE LOSSLESS AUDIOPHILE CODEC"





=P

comedian

March 16, 2009, 3:49 am

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

Hugo

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)

comedian

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!

ilovethemonkeyhead

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.

Rickysio

March 18, 2009, 4:26 pm

@Mark





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.

Ed

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.

Rickysio

April 25, 2009, 3:27 pm

http://i.gsmarena.com/vv/revie...





Perhaps you need to get another Xperia...

laserguide

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.

Ohmz

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.

jonlim

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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