on 16 June 2010
I like many reviewers here bought this to get a bit more volume out of my iPod Touch as this is a common problem for most users. The iPod Touch and other MP3 players do have a volume restriction built into them because of EU laws and that is why it always seems that bit too low.
First thing to note about this headphone amplifier is that it's primary purpose is to increase the volume of the device it's connected to. So if you're looking for better sound reproduction and bass etc then I would advise you to invest in a better pair of headphones. The FiiO E5 does have a bass boost button it and it does work but not with all headphones and the most significant difference you will hear when using the amp is the increase in volume.
You can buy many different headphone amps and this is one of the more entry-level devices and is reflected as such in the price. Having said that I am not at all suggesting it is poor quality, in fact the opposite. This is fantastic and you will notice a huge difference in volume straight away when using it.
It comes with two 3.5mm male to male cables for connecting to your MP3 player. One is a shorter cable with one of the jacks being right angled and is 22cm (8.5") in length, the other has both jacks straight and is longer at 84cm (just over 2.5ft). The amp itself measures 4cm x 3.5cm and 11mm depth. So, it's not very big then!
There aren't any pictures of the back but it does have a clip like the iPod Shuffle for clipping it onto your belt or pocket etc. The bottom of the amp is where you connect the USB cable that comes with it for charging and the input connection for connecting it to the MP3 player. The top is where the headphone connection is located, along with the volume up and down buttons, the power button and the bass boost slide button.
I've read that you can use this with a line out dock on your iPod for improved sound quality but I haven't been able to test this out yet as I ordered a new Sendstation LOD which has had a delay in delivery but I will edit my review once I have tested this.
I have tried this amp with a few different pairs of headphones and would suggest not using the bass boost button on higher quality headphones as it tends to give the effect of amplifying the sound in the right ear more than the left.
Overall this is a very stylish, compact and good quality product. It does what it's supposed to very well and is a fraction of the price of the more expensive audiophile-aimed devices out there. I would highly recommend this.
EDIT 5/4/2011: Well I have been using this headphone amplifier for quite a few months now and wanted to do a quick update as I have bought a line-out-dock (made by FiiO: FiiO L3 Line Out Cable for iPod). I would encourage any users of an iPod Touch to buy an LOD for use with the E5 as it really does improve the overall sound quality. Instead of using the iPod's amp and then going through the E5 (to boost the volume) via the normal connection method described earlier in my review, you can bypass the iPod's amp entirely and just use the E5 as the primary amplifier to power your headphone's sound.
So for maximum use try both the E5 and the L3 and you'll not regret it.
on 8 July 2009
Its tiny, but it is startlingly good. It boosts volume and with the bass boost option adds drive and dynamics to portable headphones like the Sennheiser PX200s and full sized ones like the Grado SR80 and AKG K702. Connected to an ipod Classic 80gb all three headphones really sing. But, to get the true, full potential of the E5s sound quality get a Line Out Dock (LOD) to connect the ipod via its docking port to the amp. I got a LOD that was £20, so more than the amp itself, but the increase in sound quality is dramatic. The LOD bypasses the ipod's volume control and so E5 takes over. Its tiny volume control is more than up for the job. The overall sound of the E5 is bright and dynamic, particularly with the bass boost on, and I like that. However, the amp is still neutral in that all three headphones retained their individual sound characteristics. For the money everyone who has an ipod should get one.
on 25 April 2009
Since I purchased an iPod Touch and the Bose Triport (over the ear) headphone I've never been happy with the sound quality of the combination. Although the iPod Touch works well with smaller in-ear earphones, it just did not work that well with bigger headphones. The iPod Touch simply does not have what it takes to drive larger headphones.
A friend asked me to try the FiiO E5 amp. At first it felt a bit odd carrying an extra piece of hardware but seeing/feeling the weight of this tiny marvel is astonishing. The FiiO amp drives my Bose headphones with ease and I now hear them loud and clear without noticeable "hissing" sound.
I can definitely recommend buying an E5 if you prefer a louder punch/bass to your music using your headphones.
I got this headphone amp to use with my Creative X-fi2 which has a disappointingly poor output power level, I like my music LOUD, but I also like a pure signal without distortion so read some reviews on the net about this tiny amp and thought it was right for me so placed my order.
I took delivery of the amp yesterday and immediately started charging it via my laptop USB port, The amp has a very small physical size just 45mm x 38mm x 18mm(Inc Clip)and has an black aluminium case with white plastic sides and buttons, the amp also looks fairly well put together.
The amp has 3.5mm input and headphone output sockets, electronic volume control that eliminates noise from the normal potentiometer, on/off button and a bass boost/flat switch. The amp comes with all the leads you need to get up and running, 2 adaptor leads (3.5mm to 3.5mm plug, one lead has a right angled plug and is fairly short, the other straight 3.5mm plugs around a meter long)and a USB lead for charging the amp.
Once charged I plugged in the amp to my X-Fi2 and using my Ultimate Ears Super-Fi Pro 5's set about getting the correct balance of sound, matching volume output of MP3 player to amp, at this stage I must say that right from the beginning I was very impressed by this little amps ability to drive the UE's to their full potential. After I had tweeked the EQ on the X-Fi2 and bass boost/flat switch on the FiiO E5 I started cranking up the volume on the E5, the sound of this amp is amazing, it brings out all the detail that was sadly missing when using the X-Fi2's output, bass is MUCH better, the bass boost on this amp works without overdoing things, rich without being bloated, mids are near perfect with breathtaking vocals and ripping guitar solos and the highs clear with no harshness. Even when cranking the volume on the amp and MP3 player to full there is little distotion, but this amp gets VERY LOUD and would not recommend this as hearing damage will occur, my ears were ringing after testing!! I used Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon to test this amp and other tracks from Metallica and ACDC.
I have tried the FiiO E5 on my phone (Nokia 5530 Xpress Music) and again it really does improve volume output and sound detail and the same applies to my laptop.
This little amp is remarkable, it is very portable and comes complete with a built in clip so you can secure it to a belt of pocket, it has a rechargeable battery that is supposed to last around 20 hours, of course this depends on volume levels and headphones type(Impedance).
The FiiO E5 headphone amp is a tiny powerhouse that adds life to any MP3 player, if your begging for more volume or just a better sound from your device then the FiiO E5 is for you, it is a budget headphone amp with a big heart.
A very highly recommended buy.
on 3 August 2011
I got this because my other half had got me a Sony NWZ A845 mp3 player, which has the ridiculous EU volume cap on it, which limits the volume to a ridiculously low level, and as the player was a gift I didn't have the heart to ask her to send it back.
I ordered this and got it two days later, charged it up and plugged it in, WOW the sound was boosted to at least double what it was before, I couldn't even stand it on maximum volume it was hurting my ears.
This device took the A845 from being too low on 30 (max volume) to 22ish being too loud. This is an absolute must have for any device which has the EU volume cap on it!
on 30 April 2009
The FiiO E5 is small and light, the same size as an I-Pod Shuffle. The build quality is excellent, a nice metal casing. Two audio cables of differing length to cater for most needs and a USB cable to charge the in-built battery. The amp is simplicity itself and very easy to use, just connect between your player and 'phones and listen away.
Why buy an amp for your headphones when using an portable music player? Basically to improve sound quality, especially if you are using a good set of headphones/earphones. The difference may not be startling, but it is subtle enough to make listening to your MP3s a joy.
I am no audio expert but at this price you can't go wrong.
on 13 July 2011
* Comes with a gold 3.5mm jack.
* Nice and small size.
* Has a handy clip.
* Amplifies sound.
* Looks good.
* This clip could do with 2 springs, 1 at each end rather than just the 1 at the top which makes the clip a bit wonky.
* The amplification is small. If your volume goes up to 10 then this device will amplify it to 13, roughly only a 25-35% increase.
* Flimsy EQ switch.
* The device is prone to quite a lot of interference and white noise.
Since purchasing this device, I have re-sold it and bought the far superior E11 instead, as this is 200% louder, doesn't suffer from interference and has more EQ and gain settings.
Overall I wasn't wowed by the E5, it's not bad, but it suffers from too many niggles. But at the same time it isn't rubbish. Hence my average 3 out of 5 rating.
on 1 November 2012
I transfered my music collection to a new Google Nexus 7 Tablet, but was frustrated that much like other reviewers here have experienced with Apple products, there is an annoying restriction on the volume, and a lack of "Ooomph" to drive my ancient but still fine sounding Sennheiser HD40 Headphones.
I went for this product based on price and positive feedback, reasoning that if it was not the solution I hoped for, that I would not have spent too much. I also went for the EO5 rather than the EO6 as I am a sucker for any piece of kit in an aluminium body.
The product arrived swiftly and was well packaged in Amazon's patent cardboard wallet. The package was small, not much larger than a cigarette box and contained the Amplifier itself in a clear plastc holder, one long (60cm) audio cable (3.5mm straight jacks at both ends), one short 5cm audio cable with 3.5mm right angled jacks on each end, one USB to Micro USB connector (for charging from a PC or laptop), a set of multi-lingual instructions with very brief info and diagrams. Audio leads have a gold colour plating but I am not sure if they are actually gold plated but they are of good quality.
The unit plugs in-line between the headhones and the 3.5mm Aux out (or headphone socket) of your device.
I noticed an immediate huge improvement in the volume output from my Nexus 7 as you might expect, but the quality of the output seemed to be enhanced, maybe because at the greater volume I was hearing more detail. Whatever the reason I was well pleased with the result. A similar story when connected to my HTC Desire S - increased volume and a perception of increased quality.
There are two EQ positions, one giving extra bass which is noticeable but not overpowering. Build quality is very good, the metal body protects the internals and is finished in semi-gloss black, with white plastic ends, plastic buttons which are okay and functional, but are probably the weakest part. The metal belt clip is very solid and has a ridge which will stop it sliding off a belt or belt loop.
Micro USB charging means I can use my old phone charger , or cheap generic charger. I used this solidly for two hours last night and another hour this morning and it was still going strong. It takes two hours to fully recharge.
I don't know why this is labelled FiiO McKinley when the other FiiO products in the range are not...that shall remain a mystery.
I love it when a product does exactly what you want, especially when it does not cost a great deal. Recommended.
UPDATE: I had some AKG450 headphones as a gift and found that they are sensitive enough to be driven to higher volume by both my devices and do not need to be amplified to the same degree as my old headphones (if at all). However I do believe that the detail and seperation of sound is noticeably better even with the AKGs pluged into the amp and the volume turned back down. I am sure that a techy head would argue that I am hearing louder so I am hearing more detail, but I guess we all perceive sound differently, and my perception is that there is an increase in clarity and quality of the sound even with the volume turned back down.
UPDATE: At a point when the unit was just over two years old...albeit that I used it quite frequently...it refused to hold a charge. The LED just glowed red. Checking online it seems to be a not uncommon problem with FiiO amps. I have replaced it with a Topping amp..reviewed by me on this site recently..and very much better than this FiiO ever was. Review reduced to three stars from 5 as a result of the breakdown.
on 22 August 2011
I bought this headphone amp together with the L3 ipod adapter for the additional sound quality rather than increased volume.
I tested it with a pair of Bose QC15 headphones connected to the headphone port on an Ipad 2 and then through the Fiio at equal volumes. With the Fiio the vocals were noticeably more detailed. The difference was not huge and for the extra £20 you would probably want to use them with at least a good set of headphones in the £60 range for it to be worthwhile. If sound quality is important to you and you have invested in a good set of headphones then these are definitely a very worthwhile investment.
If you are still using the headphones which came with your ipod then get some decent headphones first.
on 30 October 2009
Ordered this amp on the Tuesday, got it on the Wednesday! :)
Like the other reviews here, I confirm that the unit is indeed quite small and light. I run a studio and am able to run frequency response tests, although there is a slight dip in overall response, for most users, there will be no discernable difference in response. The amps noise floor is a little higher than stated (Might just be the example I have) but again, not really noticeable on all but the quietest of music.
All in all, a very capable unit for the price. If your struggling with a European volume limited IPOD this will solve the problem nicely.
As a bonus, you also get a bass boost switch which is actually quite musical and not over powering.
Lowering the output level from your IPOD and raising the level on the FiiO will also help to extend the battery life of your IPOD.
Run times on the FiiO are very difficult to measure as the amplifier will use more power the louder you have the amp, bass heavy music will also have a bearing. I ran a 'white noise' test set to a moderate level on mine, the unit finally gave up after 6 hours. This is most likely longer than the IPOD would survive.
The only down side is remembering to charge it.
5 Stars, because, for the price, you can't go wrong.