FiiO E6 unveiled: E5 plus 1

fiioe6 FiiO E6 unveiled: E5 plus 1

With the new FiiO E6 being announced, the popular and inexpensive FiiO E5 headphone amp seems to get its well deserved retirement.

While the E5′s housing was basically a blatant ripoff of the 2nd generation iPod Shuffle, FiiO went with a unique and rather fetching design on their new offering. The E5′s all-metal housing got replaced by a plastic one on the E6, resulting in half the weight. Contrary to the sturdy metal clip on the E5, the new clip looks rather flimsy, being made of transparent plastic – but on the positive side it is removable. Technical specs appear to be basically the same for both amps, but the E6 sports an improved bass boost and gain switch with three variable settings. It still has the same digital volume control as the E5, which should provide good sound without crackling or channel imbalance. Let’s just hope FiiO ironed out the one obvious flaw the E5 had: background hiss with sensitive IEMs.

For less than $20 the E5 was pretty much the best bang for the buck as far as portable amps go, outperforming many more expensive toys. It measured and sounded well, and could drive most headphones without issues. Let’s hope the new E6 will continue this heritage of affordable quality.

[MP4Nation Blog]

9 Comments

Nupi on August 17, 2011 10:10 AM

The design looks to be cheapened down a lot…

Martin Sägmüller on August 17, 2011 10:12 AM

I’m fine with a plastic case, as long as it’s even smaller and more lightweight than the E5. The clip however doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Esther on August 17, 2011 4:33 PM

hey guys, i’m sort of a tech newbie
what exactly does a headphone amp do?

Martin Sägmüller on August 17, 2011 4:56 PM

Esther, if you got a quality player and fairly efficient headphones/earphones, you don’t need an amp at all. For flawed players and high impedance phones an amp might make the sound louder, fix bass roll-off issues, and might improve channel crosstalk (stereo imaging), or might fix background hiss with overly sensitive phones. But in general, you probably don’t need to worry about an amp.

Jorge on August 17, 2011 5:04 PM

@ Esther
Short answer: it amplifies the sound signal coming from an audio source.
Practical answer: it boosts the volume of your mp3 player so you can use big headphones with it.
Read this in the forum: http://anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44202

Mike on August 17, 2011 10:48 PM

@Esther: For me, the FiiO E5 amp (with my SanDisk Sansa Clips) warms up the sound (I know that’s not a good way of describing it, but the music just feels a bit warmer, as if coming from a comfortable living room) and makes it sound a bit fuller. Not alot–maybe by 10-15%, but discernible (for me). But given the low cost of these amps and their small and portable size, I thought they would be fun to try out.

An added benefit of the E5 is that it can be clipped to your shirt, pocket or backpack and provides a handy volume remote control for your music when your player is tucked away in your pocket or backpack. When you consider that my local Radio Shack sells an analog (rotary dial) volume control + extension cable (12″) for US$10, the E5 is a nice deal.

For whatever this is worth . . . . ;^)

Mike on August 17, 2011 11:11 PM

By the way, an eBay pre-order listing has the E6 at 18.50 pounds (about $30.65 U.S. dollars) plus shipping (as applicable; free shipping within the UK).

Confispect on August 20, 2011 12:20 AM

I like seems like a cheap knock around.

Carl on August 23, 2011 1:30 AM

Martin, i have pair of monster turbine pros and a Samsung Galaxy S2, would an amp help make the sound any better. the SGS2 has horrible sound.

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