When In Manila and you want a full blown desktop set-up to fully maximize your audio experience. Just be glad that the FiiO brand has a hand in the Philippines and that they just released the refresh to the old FiiO E9, the FiiO E09k desktop headphone amplifier. It is an amplifier purposely built for the desktop through RCA inputs and to power harder to drive headphones. It was also made to pair with the FiiO E17 which I just previously reviewed. And pairing it with the FiiO E17 will require using the USB input to use the FiiO E17‘s DAC.
The new FiiO E09K.
Build/Packaging: The FiiO E09K comes in an average packaging box, which houses the FiiO E09K itself, USB cable and power cable. The FiiO E09K itself has rubber covers for the RCA inputs at the back.
All inputs to RCA, making the E09K fully integrated for desktop use. Makes good sense.
For the build, the FiiO E09K takes so much from its predecessor the FiiO E9. They have the exact same build and design, and are indistinguishable unless you look at the input and output jacks. The main change on the FiiO E09K are the things that are addressed by the consumers, reviewers, fans and dealers. Always great to know that FiiO listens and addresses the issues.
The issues are basically the 2 output jacks in-front. 1 for the 3.5mm plug, and another for the 6.3mm plug which causes an additional 330hms of output impedence due to feeding of the 3.5mm plug. It causes much coloration to some headphones. The FiiO E17 already has a 3.5mm plug anyways so it’s pretty much not needed. The 3.5mm output jack has been replaced by a switch for choosing the dock input or aux input to avoid the FiiO E09K from just suddenly overriding the dock when an aux input is plugged.
No more 3.5mm output.
The rear panel input jacks are also all replaced to RCA type plugs for better matching with desktop and speaker set-ups. All in all, they really made the FiiO E09K a full desktop amplifier if not paired with the FiiO E17.
Sound Quality: This is where I got a little disappointed. I have heard that the FiiO E09K will have the same specifications as the old E9, but I didn’t expect it to sound exactly the same. It is not a deal breaker though since the revamp of the inputs and outputs were more than helpful to connect seamlessly with a desktop set-up or a full speaker set-up.
Paired with the FiiO E17.
As per the sound, it has retained the same spacious and detailed sound that the FiiO E9 had. You get bass that goes deep and does rumble if the FiiO E17 is paired and the bass EQ is boosted, yet it still retains good sense of space and air combined with above average instrument separation throughout the frequencies. Attack and decay of bass is controlled even if boosted with the FiiO E17. It does take away a little of the intimacy of the FiiO E17, but replaces that with a much wider sound stage and a better separation and positioning of instruments. Oh and yes, that thick and enticing mids/vocals are even more refined. FiiO E09K retails for P5500.00.
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FiiO E09K desktop headphone amplifier: refresh of the old desktop budget champion E9