FiiO’s tech-laden R9 streamer could be the solution to your desktop audio needs

FiiO R9 Desktop Player on a desk near headphones and a mouse
(Image credit: FiiO)

FiiO has launched three brand-new products at CES 2024 in Las Vegas, including its flagship R9 desktop streamer and headphone amp/DAC.

The new R9 represents an all-round upgrade over last year’s R7 model. The R7 was an interesting piece of hardware, marketed as an all-in-one device that can be used as a digital music streamer as well as a dedicated balanced headphone amplifier, complete with screen and high-res capabilities.

FiiO R9 Desktop Player

(Image credit: FiiO)

The new R9 features a larger 6-inch Full-HD touchscreen display, up from the R7’s 5-inch screen. It comes packed with an 8-channel THX AAA-788+ amplifier and dual 8-channel ESS Sabre ES9038PRO DACs, which claim a considerable step up from the components used in the smaller R7. You now also get 7300mW of power with the R9, up from 3000mW.

The R9 streamer comes with 64GB of onboard storage and features a range of connections including a new HDMI ARC port as well as the SD, USB, optical, coaxial and ethernet inputs found previously. Headphone users are well catered for, with the R9 offering single-ended 6.35mm, balanced 4.4mm, and balanced 4-pin XLR outputs, which should support most headphones out there. 

On the wireless front, the R9 offers Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4Ghz / 5Ghz wi-fi capabilities and supports AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD and LDAC codecs for wireless headphones. It also supports high-resolution PCM files up to 32-bit/768kHz, native DSD512 audio, and features MQA decoding. It also supports AirPlay, DLNA streaming and is Roon Ready.

The R9 runs on a custom version of Android and bypasses Android's SRC restriction globally. Because of this, streaming services can deliver audio in its native quality without downsampling – similar to the Eversolo DMP-A6 music streamer we reviewed last year. This also means that you can install streaming services such as Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, Qobuz, Amazon Music and Deezer directly onto the R9.

The FiiO R9 is available from mid-January and will cost £1399 / $1499.

Alongside the R9 comes the K9 Pro ESS Skylight Edition desktop headphone amp and KA17 USB DAC.

FiiO K9 Headphone Amp

(Image credit: FiiO)

The FiiO K9 is a balanced hi-res desktop headphone amplifier with a rather snazzy clear acrylic top panel, letting you peek inside at the internal components, which include dual ES9038 Pro DACs and dual THX AAA788+ amp technology.

The K9 claims to be able to drive a wide variety of headphones with an impedance of 16 - 600 ohms, and you can also choose between three gain settings to match your pair of headphones.

This headphone amp offers a range of inputs including RCA, coaxial, optical, USB-B, USB-C and balanced 4.4mm. In terms of outputs, it includes 6.35mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced and 4-pin XLR headphone connections, as well as RCA line out and balanced 3-pin XLR outputs. Bluetooth 5.0 is on board, with support for multiple codecs including aptX HD and LDAC. It also includes MQA support and native playback of hi-res audio files up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256.

We are waiting for pricing and availability on the K9 headphone amp and will report back once we have confirmation.


(Image credit: FiiO)

And finally, the KA17 is the latest addition to the many USB DACs flooding the market right now, aiming to give your computer-based audio a boost in a compact, budget-friendly manner. It offers up to 650mW of output power and has 3.5mm and balanced 4.4mm headphone sockets. 

It features dual ESS ES9069Q DACs and the same amplification as its siblings, and this dinky device is capable enough to support high-resolution files up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM, MQA and native DSD512. The KA17 should play nice with a variety of sources, including Android and iOS devices as well as PCs and more. It can also be controlled via the FiiO Control app for further flexibility, including selecting various digital filters.

The FiiO KA17 will be available from February for £139 / $149 / €159. 


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Staff Writer

Ainsley Walker is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi?. He studied music journalism at university before working in a variety of roles including as a freelance journalist and teacher. Growing up in a family of hi-fi enthusiasts, this naturally influenced his interest in the topic. Outside of work, Ainsley can be found producing music, tinkering with retro tech, or cheering on Luton Town.