Results matching fiio from Anything But iPod

FiiO E17 “Alpen” is out, the E7′s big brother

fiioe17 FiiO E17 Alpen is out, the E7s big brotherA few years after FiiO introduced their unique, feature-packed E7 portable headphone amplifier and USB sound card, they revamped the concept, resulting in the freshly hatched E17.

A lot of tech is packed into the fancy brushed metal housing with the familiar two-color OLED display. Inputs and outputs certainly are on the more versatile side of things: two parallel 3.5mm headphone outputs, an S/PDIF input (presumably both optical and coaxial), a line input, FiiO’s proprietary 18-pin port (working with their L7 dock and E9 desktop amp), and of course a standard USB input. The E17 supports 24/96 over USB and 24/192 over S/PDIF, so audiophile dogs and bats won’t complain about lacking treble.

Several sound adjustments can be done in the E17′s firmware: bass, treble, gain level, and – sometimes miracles do happen – pan/balance. It seems FiiO did read our E7 review, and the included rant about audio balance missing on almost all portable devices nowadays. I, for one, am very grateful that they added this basic – yet for some people very important – feature.

The E17 should go for about $150, which definitely is a fair price, considering all the included features and the nifty metal housing.


Brainwavz B2 review

bwb2 main Brainwavz B2 review

After taking a closer look at the Brainwavz Beta and M2, it’s time to review their current flagship product, the B2.

Contrary to other Brainwavz IEMs, the B2 doesn’t use a dynamic driver; they sport a dual balanced armature to create all those wonderful sounds – not just any armature at that, but the widely used Knowles TWFK, the same one found in the Jays q-Jays, Audio Technica ATH-CK10, Ultimate Ears UE700, or the Fischer Audio DBA-02 (which also use the same OEM design as the B2).

Read on to find out how the B2 fare in the sub-$200 price range of in-ear phones. Continue reading…

FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amp Review

 fiio e6 main FiiO E6 Portable Headphone Amp Review

FiiO is a Chinese audio company that should need no introduction by now. Among all the headphone amp, soundcard, and cable manufacturers they are probably the one with the best bang-for-buck ratio, consistently delivering high quality products for a very fair price.

Their older tiny portable amp model – the E5 – is still quite popular among users, and seriously well performing for its $20 price tag. Let’s see if FiiO could up the ante a notch with the E5’s recently introduced successor, the E6. Continue reading…

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]

Digizoid ZO Portable Subwoofer Review

dzzomain Digizoid ZO Portable Subwoofer ReviewDigizoid – or, digiZoid, as they write it – is a relatively young company from Arizona that specializes in sound enhancing techniques. Their patent-pending technology called Smartvector promises to improve several aspects of an audio signal originating from any source – be it from a portable MP3 player, be it in a recording studio used during mixing/mastering, be it while watching a movie on a home cinema setup, be it in a live DJ setup.

Since Digizoid are very secretive about their technology, it is easier to say what Smartvector is not: it is not a run-off-the-mill bass booster, it is not an EQ, it is not some psychoacoustic algorithm, it is not digital. Smartvector operates in the analog domain; it recovers the signal’s dynamic range, expands the spatiality (soundstage), and extends the low-frequency cutoff of a speaker/driver, making it deliver lower note extension than generally possible. I don’t know how they do it, but it doesn’t affect the THD (total harmonic distortion) of the signal, so they certainly don’t go the cheap route of harmonics enhancers/exciters.

Digizoid’s first commercial product utilizing Smartvector technology is the ZO, a portable amp, or “personal subwoofer”, as they call it. The ZO uses only a portion of Smartvector, named Lofreq. Unlike a still-theoretical Fullspec variant, affecting the whole audible frequency range, the ZO only operates on frequencies up to about 1 kHz.

Being a fan of natural sound reproduction – contrary to ‘neutral’ – I have to say that the ZO is the best thing I’ve heard so far in portable sound enhancements. Until now Cowon’s BBE and Mach3Bass have been the cream of the crop to my ears, as far as putting some excitement in ‘polite’ phones is concerned. The ZO however is the new king of crisp, precise, yet bassy sound, if you ask me.

Don’t be put off by the “personal subwoofer” slogan. The ZO is not some cheap boombox replacement for trunk rattlers. It is a very refined sounding tool to make audio more enjoyable – without damaging any part of it. Read on if it’s the thing for you.

Continue reading…

FiiO LODs for Sansa Fuze and Sony Players Now Available

fiio FiiO LODs for Sansa Fuze and Sony Players Now AvailableLODs are cables that allow you to get proper line-out from a player, circumventing some of the internal circuitry in order to provide a raw signal to an external amplifier- be it a headphone amp, car audio system or home audio system. FiiO has several of these available, and unlike most companies they don’t just make them for iDevices but also for other brands. Specifically, they have LODs for the Sansa Fuze and Sony Walkman players that use Sony’s proprietary docking port. Both cables are now available at DealExtreme, priced at $8.40 for the Sony cable and $8.50 for the Fuze cable. They also have a short 3.5mm male-to-male interconnecting cable, which should be perfect for those who use headphone amps on other players and want a short interconnect between player and amp. That one is priced at $5.70, and all three have free (slow-as-hell) worldwide  shipping. FiiO makes decent products, and the prices are pretty decent also.

Grace Eco Extreme Review

DSC04629 560x336 Grace Eco Extreme Review


Let’s face it, we can’t always drown out the world with our portable players and headphones. Sometimes we need to open up our sound to everyone around us. The beach season (or outdoors) is coming up, and what better time to share the audio love than now? Grace Digital Audio wants to help you out. They have come up with a rugged portable speaker system that’ll keep your valuables safe from the elements, and still put out some tunes for you and your friends. Let’s see how it stacks up. Continue reading…

The Best of ABi: Accessories

bestofacc The Best of ABi: Accessories

The downside of basically any type of publishing media be it a blog, newspaper, magazine, podcast or carrier pigeon is that old stories get buried in newer ones. While a review of a MP3 player from 3 years ago is of limited use today, the same can’t be said for other types of reviews- like accessories. We’ve reviewed quite a bit of accessories over the years and some of them are as useful today as they were several years ago. that’s why I decided to resurrect a few of these to give new and old readers another peak at some of the best accessories we’ve seen through here.

Continue reading…

FiiO E11 Headphone Amp: Rather Fetching

fiioe11 FiiO E11 Headphone Amp: Rather Fetching

FiiO, manufacturer of no-nonsense headphone amps for a reasonable price, seems to have topped themselves with the announcement of their upcoming E11 portable amp: this thing looks really good. The way the volume knob is protected in the drawings is rather ingenious. The rest of the design reminds me a bit of the Cowon D2.

Not much is known at the time of writing, but the E11 might sport the same opamp as the Headstage Arrow 12HE, the Analog Devices AD8397. It is said to have an easily user-replaceable standard cellphone battery, the usual FiiO bass boost, three gain levels, and a standard mini-USB port for charging. Output power should be higher than the currently available portable FiiO amps, and pricing might be between the E5 and the E7 – which would be fair.

In somewhat related news: FiiO might also release an MP3 player in the foreseeable future, we’ll see how well that goes. Nothing more is known at the moment.

Read more in the sponsored Head-Fi advertising thread.

Headstage Arrow 12HE Headphone Amplifier Review

arrow00main Headstage Arrow 12HE Headphone Amplifier Review

Some arcane audio gadgets aren’t really necessary to have, but they can make listening to music more enjoyable. Portable headphone amplifiers to go with MP3 players definitely fall in that category. The bad thing is that not all of those portable amps are actually good, and with some it’s not clear if they even do anything (depending on the MP3 player or headphones they’re paired with).

Quite a few manufacturers are trying to make a living in that rather specific niche market – yet many actually fail to deliver products that really improve either sound quality or a player’s usability. Be it by fixing flaws that are found in an MP3 player’s amp circuitry, by giving better volume controls than the usual +/- buttons, by bypassing arbitrary volume restrictions which make some players unusable with certain headphones, and so on. Many amps out there of course make sound louder, but that’s about it. Only a few of the amps I’ve tested so far actually make the sound – as well as the overall listening experience – better.

Robert Gehrke, the man behind the German Headstage company (also of Penguin Amp fame), makes good amps. There’s no big advertising-speak around his products and he doesn’t put some mere basic CMOY-style circuitry in an overly fancy enclosure and calls it a day. Well, besides the venerable Penguin Amp, which is clearly labeled as an advanced CMOY – and Altoids tins might be considered fancy by some. That being said, Robert’s current amplifier, the Arrow 12HE, is definitely among the best products to hit the portable amp market so far – read on to find out why.

Continue reading…