What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 15 Mar 2011, 12:07pm

Fiio E7

Tested at £65
100100
5

There are few more efficient ways to improve headphone sound from a computer

Write your own review

For

  • Good detail resolution, fine dynamic subtlety
  • excellent build

Against

  • Controls could be more intuitive

If your music system consists of a PC or laptop and a pair of headphones, then we’ve got a treat for you.

This FiiO E7 USB DAC headphone amplifier is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to get better sound quality. For a reasonable £64, you get a superbly built, aluminium-cased unit, a rubber cover and a suitable USB lead.

The E7 has two 3.5mm headphone outputs, should you wish to share your tunes with someone else, as well a dedicated connection for FiiO’s £85 E9 headphone amplifier, if you want something (that on paper at least) is likely to deliver even higher quality.

Top-notch tone
There’s a choice of equalisation adjustments that boost bass to varying degrees, and the option of disconnecting power recharging to improve the unit’s battery life – a thoughtful touch.

Try not to judge the E7 straight from the box. While it sounds decent, the tone gains markedly in refinement and space as the E7 gets used more. Give it a few days and this FiiO turns out to be a remarkably fine product for the money.

It has the composure and subtlety to work well with dense, low-key recordings such as Kate Bush’s quite lovely Sunset, and there’s a good level of detail and the kind of expressive dynamics that normally cost a whole lot more to enjoy.

Switch to something harder-hitting – Jay Z’s Blueprint for example – and the FiiO delivers plenty of bass kick and high volume levels without struggle.

The E7’s timing is reasonably crisp, so it can latch onto a rhythmic track with confidence. You can add a relatively even tonal balance and a good dose of refinement to this unit’s long list of plus points, too.

The FiiO is a talented product sold at a hugely aggressive price. It’s a great buy.

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