FiiO's pocket-sized DAC could take your iPhone 15's music to the next level

FiiO KA13 headphone DAC
(Image credit: FiiO KA13 headphone DAC)

The release of the FiiO KA13 couldn't have come at a better time. Promising to be a compact yet powerful portable USB DAC for your headphones, the KA13 comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable so that you can plug it directly into the newly converted iPhone 15 without the need for any further adapters. 

It's pretty titchy, too. Much like the five-star iFi Go Link that we reviewed earlier this year or the ever-excellent AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt, the FiiO's latest is designed to be a pocket-sized (just 56.3 x 22 x 10.5mm) powerhouse that gives your music a boost wherever you go. Utilising dual 32-bit DACs, the KA13 provides support for up to 32-bit/384kHz as well as native DSD256 hi-resolution files.

It may be small, but you're still treated to a decent range of connectivity options thanks to the inclusion of both single-ended (3.5 mm) and balanced (4.4 mm) headphone outputs. The included USB-C to USB-C cable hooks you up directly to the new iPhone 15 if you're lucky enough to have nabbed one already, but there are also USB-C to Lightning and USB-C to USB-A adaptor cables included to keep all parties happy. 

The KA13 is compatible with plenty of sources, too, with FiiO boasting that its new model will work with Android, iOS, and PCs. If you're not keen on using it merely as a portable booster for your mobile sources, the KA13 comes with a 'Desktop Mode' to bolster its power output to up to 550mW if the need arises.

FiiO KA13 headphone DAC pair on a white background

(Image credit: FiiO)

The diminutive DAC is available with a black or silver sleek metallic chassis, both of which feature an ambient light window which changes colour to demonstrate the quality of the audio file being played, a similar system used by the even tinier iFi Go Link. The KA13 works with the FiiO Control app for Android and iOS.

It's not the only release coming courtesy of FiiO. The Chinese audio brand also announced the arrival of a desktop DAC/amplifier, the K11, which promises multiple inputs (including USB Type C, Optical and Coaxial) alongside support for 32-bit/384kHz and native DSD 256 hi-res. 

Both models will be available from October 2023. The KA13 portable USB DAC will be priced at £69 / $79, while the K11 desktop DAC/amplifier will set you back £119 / $129 (further prices pending).


Read our AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt review

And our iFi Go Link review, too.

Best DACs: USB, desktop and portable digital-to-analogue converters

Harry McKerrell
Staff writer

Harry McKerrell is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied law and history at university before working as a freelance journalist covering TV and gaming for numerous platforms both online and in print. When not at work he can be found playing hockey, practising the piano or forcing himself to go long-distance running.