FiiO E10K Review - Audiostance

FiiO E10K Review

A Budget Alternative to the Latest DACs?

The FiiO E10K is a small & sleek headphone DAC, but don’t be fooled by its delicate appearance. The FiiO E10K USB DAC and headphone amplifier is a natural step forward for FiiO headphone amps, and this new and improved version of the FiiO E10 fixes a few of the issues that were prevalent with the e10. In this review, we will look at exactly how this amp compares to its previous iteration and its most popular competitors, the Schiit Fulla 3 and the FiiO e17k Alpen 2.

FiiO E10K – Specs

Audio Input: Micro USB
Battery: 1 Lithium Polymer battery required.
Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 0.8 x 1.9 inches
Product Weight: 2.72 ounces
Headphone Output: 3.5 mm stereo jack
FiiO E10K

Design & Features

The E10K is a few years old now, but its design holds up, especially for its current price point of between $50 and $80. Bearing a sleek black brushed aluminum chassis, this headphone amp will look great on your desk and won’t cost you as much as the Schiit Fulla or a newer FiiO amp like the E17K. The first thing that stood out to me about the E10K was the little ‘BASS’ switch on the front panel between the 3.5mm headphone jack and the gain dial. When you listen to dance music and hip-hop (like I do), you see the word ‘BASS’ in all caps and get excited! Well, I was right to be excited because the FiiO E10K comes with an onboard bass-boost feature that will crank the low-end of the frequency spectrum through the roof.

Compared to other headphone DACs this one has a bit of warmth to it. This could be attributed to the digital signal running through the bass boost feature to a limited extent by default. Paired with this unit’s fairly low noise floor, the E10K has less overall clarity but very powerful bass capacity when compared to the Schiit Fulla 3. When comparing the FiiO E10K vs FiiO E17K Alpen 2 however, you see less of a difference as the E17K followed up for the E10K in its release. Again, the low price point of the E10K proves the best reason to buy it over its competition.

Frequency Response Graph

FiiO E10K Frequency Response Graph - Audiostance

Red/Blue curve: BASS=OFF.
Yellow/Green: BASS=ON.

Encode Format Support

What encoded formats does the FiiO E10K support, you may be asking? Nope? Well, I’ll answer anyway. The internal DAC chip in the E10K is the PCM102 chip, it can convert digital signals of up to 24-bits/96 kHz. That’s about double your average audio quality, so if you’re working with high-quality audio you will have no loss in quality up to this point. You’ll need to be sure to change the battery after a while with the E10K.

When it comes to overall quality, the FiiO E10K vs the Schiit Fulla series is a close call, but I’d have to go with the Schiit Fulla 3 if you can afford the price, almost double the E10K! If you are looking for a capable headphone amp on a budget that will amplify your headphone listening experience without a loss in quality, and you are a bass fan like myself, the E10K is for you. Check out this great video for an in-depth visual look:

Setting up your FiiO E10K

If you’re into DACs/headphone amps you’ll be familiar with FiiO and other brands like it, but if you’re new to the world of digital audio converters and do not know how to use the E10K, I’ve got you covered.

How to connect the FiiO E10K to PC

After you’ve opened up your E10K, you’ll want to use the micro-USB cable to connect it to your computer.

How to install FiiO E10K Drivers

You should see an installation popup for the E10K drivers when your DAC is plugged into your computer. If you don’t, you can find them here.

Connecting audio peripherals – What does line out mean?

Once your FiiO E10K is plugged in and its drivers are installed, you can plug your headphones into the front panel 3.5mm headphone jack of the E10K and see if your computer’s onboard DAC is being bypassed if you hear sounds, you’re all set. The line out and coaxial connection on the rear panel of the E10K will meet all your needs if you are looking to amplify your speaker setup. Be sure to consult FiiO’s website or your manual for ohm output and voltage information.

FiiO E10K

Final Thoughts

The FiiO E10K is my personal pick if you are a bass lover with an expensive pair of headphones that just don’t have the power you want them to, and you’re looking for a DAC that won’t totally destroy your wallet.

FiiO E10K vs Schiit Fulla Series

If you don’t have the cash for a Schiit Fulla, the 2014 FiiO E10K will do a great job to improve your headphone experience with louder output and clearer frequencies for about half the price. To me, the FiiO wins out in this matchup based on the improved price point and bass boost feature.

FiiO E10K vs Schiit Fulla 3
Under $100PriceOver $100
☑️ Bass BoostNo
Micro USBConnectionMicro USB
NoMic Input ☑️

FiiO E10K vs FiiO E17K Alpen 2

Like the Schiit Fulla, the FiiO E17K is much pricier than theE10K, and for that reason, I’d say it depends on what you’re looking for out of your new DAC. If you simply need a bit of clarity and crazy bass potential for cheap, the FiiO E10K is your best bet. A pricier DAC will unlock further levels of clarity for your listening experience, but with the FiiO E10K, it’s hard to deny the great value you are getting for the price.

FiiO E10K vs FiiO E17K Alpen 2
Under $100PriceOver $100
☑️ Bass Boost ☑️
Micro USBConnectionMicro USB
NoMic InputNo
Written by

Jake is an audio engineer and graphic designer who loves music, technology, video games, and writing! In his spare time, Jake also enjoys playing the keyboard and guitar, as well as adding vocals.

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