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FiiO E07K - How to connecti to amp + speaker set up

Wharfedale Diamond 11.1 & 11.2 Speakers

syed_rizvi

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Dear Friends,

I have a Norge 2060 + BA A 26 set up. I was contemplating adding a DAC to the mix.

I did some research on the net and on this website and zero'ed in on FiiO E07K. Since this is primarily a headphone DAC+AMP, I was wondering how will it connect to my set up ?

My source is all digital music (FLAC+320 kbps) from a laptop, so will it be like Laptop->3.5 MM Jack of Fiio -> Aux Input of my Norge, and then to speakers ?

If this is the set up then wouldn't the song be doubly amplified (once at FiiO level and then again at Norge 2060 Level) ?

I also read on some of the forums that a FiiO adapter called L7 is available which can help completely bypass the amp of FiiO and only provide DAC feature , but I'm note sure about this. Moreover, it seems the L7 adapter is not that easily available in Indian markets.

So in the end, I'm a little confused if Fiio is the way to go or I should look for alternatives ?

Apologies for the long post but I tried to mention all the basis research I did in the last few days..

Any help will be highly appreciated.

Many Thanks for reading,
Syed
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Incognito,

Thanks for your feedback.

If I turn the LO bypass off, would it need an additional equipment like L7 or E09 to work as a line out ?
 

SuhasG

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You may consider FiiO OLYMPUS 2-E10K USB DAC & Headphone Amplifier, priced around Rs 5200.

This has USB input (from PC / Laptop) and 3 outputs:
1> Digital Co-axial
2> Line Out via 3.5 mm
3> Headphone 3.5 mm

Digital output is what PC is dishing out without any alterations done by Fiio E10K,means in this mode we are bypassing DAC on board Fiio. Fiio acts as plain USD -> SPDIF converter.

It appears that you don't have a DAC at present , so you have to use Fiio's (analog) Line out. You will need 3.5 jack (Fiio side) to 2 x RCA (Left-Right) (Receiver side) cable .

At a later date you may consider adding a DAC , you then can connect Fiio's Digital out to your DAC and proceed. You will need Digital Coaxial cable.


E10K has got rave reviews all over the places. Make sure you get the latest version. E10k is USB powered means no battery or external power supply required. Drivers are not required it is just plug and play for Windows at least.

Hope this helps.
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Suhas,

Many Thanks for such a detailed information.

I just did not understand one part your feedback - "It appears that you don't have a DAC at present , so you have to use Fiio's (analog) Line out".

Please see the below link (Maybe they have introduced the DAC in version 2)

FiiO-Love music,love life,love FiiO!
 

SuhasG

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I know Fiio E07K has a DAC section , what I meant to say was:

Though Fiio DAC is OK to begin with , it is not at par with any stand alone DAC such as Schiit. Sooner or later you will start noticing the short comings and will start start looking for a better DAC"

I still believe that if at all you want to go Fiio way, E10K is better option for you.
, use E10K (DAC section of it) till you get a dedicated DAC (entry level Schitt DAC is not that expensive) and when you get a DAC , Fiio E10K will still continue to serve you as a USB to Digital Coaxial converter with a pretty good Headphone amp as a bonus.

Problem with E07K is that it is battery operated, battery won't last forever, and one day you will start looking for a battery and who knows whether it will be available then and if yes then at what cost? I have couple of smart phones from Samsung , Karbonn purchased two/three years' back but now gathering dust just because their model specific batteries are either not available / OEM batteries exorbitant prices / Aftermarket batteries - fake Chinese versions - dangerous!.

E10K runs on USB power , no battery needed. E10k has digital output means option of using external DAC is still with you, that way your investment is future proof !



Hope this helps.
 
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shibashis

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Fiio will come with a USB cable that will connect to your computer and then if you are using player software such as Foobar, you can select that as your playback device. Now Fiio acts as a DAC for you. It also has tone controls and if you wish to play with those they can help.
I even have connected the Fiio directly to my power amp and used its volume control for a pre-amp, it did not falter. Quite a device for that little money in hifi terms. You will get a world of difference compared to computer onboard audio.
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Shibashis,

Many thanks for your feedback on FiiO. Just so that we are on the same, can you tell me which of the FiiO device you are talking about

It is Fiio E07K Andes ?

or FiiO OLYMPUS 2-E10K ?

Or any other other FiiO device ?

Thank again for all your help
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Suhas,

E10K it is then. I just ordered it !

Many Thanks for all your guidance and timely help.

I'll share the results with you once I'm able to configure it in my set up.

Thanks again.

Syed
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Suhas,

I just received my E10K, since I'm currently away from my setup, I decided to quickly test it with my MAC Book Pro and Creative EP 630 headphones.

I'm afraid the sound coming out it quite muddled in the headphones. Could it be because of the the low quality creative headphones ? I also realised the 3.5 MM pin in the amp is a little flimsy. As in, sometimes it is recognising only one side of the headphones.

I'm wondering if I should ask for a replacement.

Thanks,
Syed
 

SuhasG

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I have two Fiio products E10k and E06 and I never faced any such problems.

Before anything else , check whether you got an authentic Fiio product because there are lots of duplicate Fiios in circulation. On the retail box , You will find a scratch label, scratch that with a coin to reveal 20 digit ID number. Log to Fiio web site and confirm this ID number is in their database (right most Menu item "Check Authenticity') .

You need to press the 3.5 mm jack with a bit extra force (This is required for most Fiio products!) . See that if that solves your problem. If problem persists with different headphones then it is a defect, better ask for a replacement.

There is a Gain switch and volume control nearby, try changing their default positions.

Check 'Sound Output' setting on your machine. On Windows 7 and 8.1, Fiio device gets recognized automatically and sound output is automatically switched to Fiio from default, no extra settings/ driver installation required. Check how Apple machine (OS) handles Fiio, perhaps you might need to install drivers for the same .


Try a different USB 2.0 port, just to rule out whether this is an issue with Apple machine, try it on any Windows machine.

Hope this helps.
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Suhas,

As always, you have been of great help. I switched to Windows 7 machine and it started working like a charm. I checked the authenticity too at the FiiO website with 20 digit id number and it seems to be authentic. And yes, with a little bit of push into 3.5 MM jack, it started giving me output in both the sides of earphones.

I'm using Foobar to listen to my collection (Mostly EDM like Talvin Singh, Karsh Kale and Enigma - all FLAC). My initial observation is that I cannot make out any difference between the sound output with or without the DAC. It could the result of cheap headphones too so I need to check it with my system. Or maybe I'm a little stress at the moment trying to make it work :).

Nevertheless, thanks again so much for the help.

I'll keep in touch.
 

shibashis

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Where did you get the E10K from?
Should have gone for the E07K Andes, a much better device in my opinion. Can you return it and get the E07K?
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Shibashis,

Many thanks for your input. If you see this entire thread, I've been deliberating with Suhas from last couple of day whether to go for E07K or E10K.

From the long terms perspective, we realised that since E07K runs on battery, we might not be able to get a replacement if the battery breaks down in future. Since E10K runs on USB power with no battery attached, and my requirement is not portability, it made sense to go for E10K.

One additional point, since I already have an amp (Norge 2060), I can also use only the line out of E10k to connect to my amp, bypassing amp of E10K altogether. E07K does not have a line out so I'll have to compulsorily double amp my output.

Hope this clears it.
 

SuhasG

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Good to know that problems got resolved. Keep going.

To hear the difference you need to have better headphones. While using Foorbar , try advanced output options such as WASPI , Kernel streaming etc. You need to download and install the appropriate component/s beforehand.

Apart from Foobar , try JRiver also, it a pretty good option ( one moth free trial then $50 for a licensed copy ), I am using it since long to manage my 1200+ albums (all in FLAC).

MediaMoney and MusicBee are also worth trying (both are free) .

Get one powered USB Hub (Belkin etc) connect your E10K to such powered USB hub.

Hope this helps
 

syed_rizvi

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SuhasG

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Fiio 10K has Digital Output (pass through for whatever comes from PC) to use this output, you need a 75 Ohm, Digital Co-axial Cable with RCA connectors at both ends.

The cable mentioned in the link, is the type you need to get. Though this cable (brand) can serve your purpose , I would advice you to get a slightly better variety than this. Ofcourse , as happens with other cables (analog interconnects, speaker cables, power cords etc) there are hundreds of brands ($$$$$ mega bucks!) to choose , settle for something decent that fits in your budget , don't overspend . Typical budget allocation for all cabling (digital, analog, power cords all together) could be 5 - 10% of your system cost (all components put together) .

In my system, I use 'Apagee Wyde Eye digital cable' and 'StraightWire' digital co-axial cables, both are giving excellent results. One observation with Digital Co-axial cable is that 2M length cable gives better results compared to standard 1M length cable! Can't explain how? But it is like that! By the way, buy used cables as far as possible , that way you will get better cable at lesser cost and used cables are already burnt for you!

(There is another type of Digital Cable called Optical (Toslink) but that is not supported on Fiio.)

To use Digital Output of Fiio , a DAC that accepts Digital Co-axial input is needed, DAC eventually delivers analog signal to your amplifier.

What DAC? This could be a separate topic for discussion / debate!

I am using Perpetual Technology P1A + P3A + ModWright Power supply, for last 7 years. In the recent past, I tried Schitt Modi II Uber , ODAC , I recommend Schitt products.

Hope this helps.
 
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syed_rizvi

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Awesome. You have some set up !

What I gather from your above description is that I need to have a separate DAC in order to use the digital co-axial out of FiiO.

Is is (technically) possible to connect digital co-axial out of my FiiO directly to the amp ? Using and digital co-axial cable 2 RCA ? Also, if that it indeed technically feasible, will it improve the sound quality of my set up in any manner ?

Thanks again.
 

SuhasG

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Amps generally accept Analog Input/s so unless an amp is having on-borad DAC you can't connect Digital Output to your amp.

To better Fiio's analog output you need a DAC but just adding a DAC may not bring in the change you are expecting because Audio quality improvement depends on so many other factors too.

For a DAC , I have already mentioned some entry level brands (Schitt, ODAC etc) these are budget / entry level DAC, thenafter only sky is the limit ! One could easily spend Rs 25 Lac+ on a DAC (I have seen and heard such a rig).

Mega-buck DAC alone can't fit the bill, rest other component must be in tune with it.

Good sounding set up is not about connecting one (expensive!) component to another , real skill is attaining a synergy between these components and ever more skill and patience is required in finding such components ! This all won't happen overnight neither spending mega-bucks could achieve it. It takes years to assemble a perfect setup.

So my advice is go-slow, eat the elephant bite - by - bite.
 

syed_rizvi

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Hi Suhas,

While Schiit will definitely be my next buy, I stumbled across this DAC on FiiO website,

FiiO-Love music,love life,love FiiO!

What would be your views on this ? Will it be a good addition to my E10K as it as a digital audio in and RCA out (to be connected to my amp) ?

Apologies if I'm talking rubbish. I'm still a newbie in the audio world :)
 
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