Pros: Extremely lightweight, very powerful for its size and battery, good audio quality,
Cons: Long Charging time, Cheap Plastic especially when you take the battery out, slight hiss on volume change
I bought a brand new FiiO E11 off Ebay at a very good price. I am constantly on the move so I decided to purchase an item that would provide flexibility and ease of use. The FiiO E11 was what I needed and it works seamlessly with my iPhone 4 and Nokia N8. The pair of cans I use, the Denon D2000, are relatively easy to drive, only 25ohms, however, an amp like the FiiO E11 really makes them shine, especially in the low range. With this amp, they are a totally different animal and very enjoyable.
In a relatively small and shiny box, you receive the following :
1. FiiO E11
2. User's Manual. Rather amusing as the instructions are full of typos .
3. Connector cable. The iPhone Dock Cable requires a separate purchase.
4. Rubber band which allows you to tie the amp to your sound source.
5. USB Charging cable.
High Power Mode - 300mW (16Ω); 200mW (32Ω); 35mW (300Ω)
Low Power Mode - 120mW (16Ω); 88mW (32Ω); 13mW (300Ω)
Headphone Impedance Range: 16 Ω ~ 300Ω
Input Impedance: >5kΩ
SNR: ≥98dB (A weighted)
Gain: ≥12dB (high) / ≥6dB (low)
Distortion: <0.009% (10mW)
Frequency Range: 10Hz ~ 100kHz
Size: 92.5mm x 54.2mm x 13.4mm
Weight: 65g (battery included)
Recharging: USB 5V DC 500mA
Recharging Time: 200 minutes (PC USB port)
Battery Life: more than 10 hours
Battery Replacement: Nokia BL-5B Compatible (3.7v, ≥800mAh)
When you take the amp in your hand you realise what a good job FiiO did. The device is extremely light and fits perfectly in your hand. There are two buttons on the right side (EQ -0,1,2) and Gain (L,H). The left side of the device sports the mini USB port for charging. The rear side has the battery release button. It works well but I found the battery cover of very cheap plastic. I removed the battery to toy with the secret power mode button and found it difficult to put it back. Depending on the power setting battery life will change. On the front side of the device you will find the input / output jacks and the volume button which also acts as a power on button. The volume button is protected in order to avoid sudden changes.
The audio output of this amp is not bad. It is very clean and transparent to a certain extent. The EQ buttons are useful but I found them to come at a price. For example, setting 1 and 2 act mainly as a bass boost. 1 being a little more bass and 2 giving a lot of bass. Now on a normal EQ you can adjust the whole spectrum to compensate for the additional bass. On this device, you are at the E11's mercy and end up with a sound signature tuned towards the bottom with no means of adding mids or treble. I prefer the 1st setting on the EQ as it does not take over completely but when I want to show off my Denons, I put them on 2 and my ears actually move on Daft Punk's songs. The BASS you get is comparable to a subwoofer in your head . On Rock songs, I often take out the EQ by moving the slider to 0.
The gain setting on the amp allows you to choose the type of headphone you are using. In my case, the D2000s do not need the high setting. The Low gain setting is sufficient but if I want extra volume, I can simply switch to high gain. This high gain setting is useful for high impedance cans such as the Senn HD650. The volume of this amp is more than ample to give you a headache if need be. The slight hiss I detected when changing the volume is not very annoying but in quiet environments you can actually hear it.
Connecting the amp to your device (ie Nokia N8) can pose a slight inconvenience. For example, the stock cable you receive has 90 degree 3.5 mm jacks. This means that they will cover something when inserted. In my case, if I plug in the jack to the input and allow it to bend normally towards the left, it will not be able too as it hits my Denon D2000 jack. Thus, I am forced to bend it the other way towards the volume button. Luckily there is a metal protection on the button otherwise I would cover the button with the cable. For those who have the other types of cable, without the 90 degree bend, this will not be a problem. In my case, it is merely a slight inconvenience.
I highly recommend this product for those who want a solid amp on the move. It will dramatically change your music experience and will allow you to turn your portable device into a beast. This thing has power considering the small battery used by FiiO. I did not give it maximum rating as I found the battery cover to be a pain and the charging time to be extremely long.
I would also like to mention that the settings I like are the following :
Output : High
Gain : Low
EQ : 1 but often to 0
Volume : 6-7.