(Update) - The battery on the E11 is giving me about 4 hours of use before it needs recharging, this is less than half the life of a charge on the E5. I am going to replace the battery to see if it makes any difference.....Well I bought a new battery and this is just the same. This is much heavier on battery use than I expected.
(Further Update) The sound quality of the E11 is definitely better than the E5. I have had time to do some comparative testing over a number of CD's and on my iPod and there is a noticeable difference and on reflection, makes the E11 worth purchasing. The continuing disappointment is the battery life both with the original and replacement battery. One point to note is that when the E11 is put in-line with my earphones directly from the CD source then the quality is degraded from having my headphones plugged directly into the CD player. I suppose this is the trade off for getting the extra volume.
I have been using an E5 for a little while but as pleased as I was with it, I felt there was some substance missing from the sound. After reading the various reviews here on Amazon I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to the E11.
I am using it with Grado SR80i phones and an iPod Classic 160gb with all the files in Apple lossless format.
The first question I asked myself was 'Is the difference in price justified by the difference in sound quality?' and the answer is no, probably not. I would like to clarify this by saying that if I was starting out again I would jump straight in with the E11 but an upgrade from an E5 to an E11 is a luxury and not a necessity. I will however be keeping the E11 for use at home and the E5 for when I am out and about. The sound from the E11 is more open providing a larger sound stage than the E5, volume levels can also be set higher so if you are particularly deaf or wish to be so, then you can certainly crank up the db's with this unit. Like the E5 you can hear any hiss on the recording. I listen to many recordings made in the 50's and 60's and so am used to hiss, however more modern recordings have no real difference in hiss levels with and without the amp. You just have to accept that the louder the volume the louder the hiss - obvious really.
The gain switch works and you can hear a difference as the headphones are being driven differently but my Grado's work fine with either setting. The EQ switch also makes a difference and you can hear a definite increase in boost as you go from neutral to 1 then 2. However I prefer it set to neutral and hear the music back as it was recorded. The main advantage of this unit for me is the ability to easily change batteries. Replacements are available on Amazon and ebay for around £6.50.
Build quality is very good, better than the E5 and it is shipped in a smart metal tin making it a great gift to give. The black elastic bands to attach the unit to your iPhone/iPod/MP3 player maybe useful but not for me as I cannot find a way to use it without blocking either controls or screen on my classic iPod.
These little amplifiers are very good and if like me you want a louder volume than the EU will allow us to have, then they are the way to go. If you are on the go all the time and need portability then the quality of the E5 is such that I would choose it. However if you are using the unit at home or in the office or want to squeeze extra audio quality out of your music then I would go for the E11, the compromise is that it is about 3 times the size and not as portable. I use the L3 cable, this is a definite worthwhile upgrade if you have an iPod, don't waste your money on the cheaper L1 cable as the 3.5mm jack cable that ships with the unit is just as good.
Useless piece of kit, great for the first 3 month's and then stopped working properly in that it only allowed me to hear music out of one headphone properly this was accompanied with lots of crackling and scratching sounds. Would have given it 4 stars if it hadn't stopped working
Firstly most of reviews on here are about using this product with headphone's which are fine and what it is designed for, one day I may get some and use as intended ;).
My mission was to improve the volume output from my Samsung Galaxy Player 4.2 which although a fine product severely lacks the ability to drive my Portable Logitech Rechargeable Speaker S715i. The problem is not due to volume capping on the player it's more to do with an impedance mismatch between the player and the speaker. In my job I drive a fork truck around a noisy warehouse and good sound is needed to keep me happy during my shift and keep me sane.
I first tried the E05 which works quite well and overcomes the impedance mismatch between the devices but was not giving enough volume to my liking although was fine at home with the player and speaker combo.
I received the E11 yesterday 19/6/2013 and eagerly charged it up ready to test out .... it came in nice tobacco sized tin with all accessories included and instructions.
I took the E11 to work and all I can say is WOW ! , in my noisy warehouse the volume is amazingly good compared to the E05 (50% Louder) and much more important was the sound quality this device delivers. I found that compared to the E05 the clarity of the bass was much richer and deeper sounding and there is enough treble to keep anyone happy.
The other main reason I bought the E11 was the replaceable battery option as this is a must in my situation as I intended to use the E11 for an 8 hour working shift, first shift finished and there is still charge in the battery but I will see how this goes and update this review later.
Overall I am very impressed and the E11 has won me over and thanks to all who have reviewed this product before me who helped push me to buy this unit. Get one if your reading this as you wont be disappointed !!
I'll start like many others have - I'm not an audiophile. However having invested in some decent bits of kit over the last couple of years I think I've started on the journey.
About 6 months ago I upgraded my Etymotic ER6i IEMs for Etymotic HF5 IEMs, as I was looking for something with improved clarity that wouldn't break the bank, and couldn't afford the ER-4P. I'm pretty happy with them, and I'm about halfway through transferring my CDs to lossless to get the full benefit. I use them with a 6th generation 160gb iPod Classic.
When I originally upgraded the earphones, I got a Fiio E5 just to test out what difference it would make to the sound. I'm sad to say it didn't as it was a faulty item, and wouldn't charge up so I returned it. The refund was swift, and that was that.
A few weeks back I saw that Fiio had released the E11, and although my previous experience initially led me to hold off, my intrigue got the better of me, and I took the plunge. I'm glad to say that I've not regretted it one bit. You'll struggle to find a decent portable amp at this price. I wasn't interested in a DAC or anything for home listening, as I have other equipment for this.
Firstly, it looks very nice indeed. Quite understated, but everyone at work has been pretty intrigued and asked what it does. Build quality is solid, and I've had no problems after about a month of owning it. The only downside I could find was that it cannot be used while it is being charged, however if you're using it out and about, a bit of forethought gets around the issue. I also bought a Fiio L3 line out cable to use, but may switch this for an iBasso cable.
A very neat feature is that it uses a mobile phone battery. The one that it comes with is good for about 15 hours (about half of the time of my Classic). The beauty of it being a mobile phone battery is that it can be easily replaced. I found another one Ecell - 1500mAh HIGH CAPACITY BATTERY FOR NOKIA 3220 3230 5070, and having only received it today can't comment one how well it performs long term, but so far so good. It should in theory nearly double the listening time.
Now for how it sounds. Overall, I'm very impressed. One criticism the Ety HF5s (in fact most of the range) get fairly frequently is that the bass or bottom end can be lacking. I've never had this problem as I've managed to get a good seal with the standard tips. I do prefer a flat response IEM as they reproduce the music as it was intended, and they've performed brilliantly with a range of bit rates (128 to lossless).
When I first plugged in the amp, I was amazed in so far as it seemed to improve the separation on pretty much all of my music. I mostly listen to electronic music like Techno and Post Punk, but not exclusively. I have have tested a fair bit of Metal, Indie and Alternative. On guitar tracks, the mids achieve amazing clarity and reach, and overall the soundstage seems to be a little more expansive than before. Bass was lifted slightly, particularly in the sub-mid range, but not at the expense of accuracy, which is there in spades. The top end of the Ety's has been improved in that there is less roll off.
I only had a minor criticism at first, as the amp sounded ever so slightly cold. After a good while burning it in though, the sound has warmed up a fair bit. It's not coloured the music so that it gives everything a false character, just added a lot more depth and clarity across the whole range.
Another neat feature is the EQ. I've listened to a lot of live DJ sets recently that are only available at 128, and I find that it helps to lift or fill out the sound a little bit.
Overall, I couldn't be happier with this piece of kit, and I'm glad I took the risk. I think for something of comparable quality from Amazon, you'd be looking at the Graham Slee Voyager, which is currently £179. I can't stretch to that yet I'm afraid. Think the next step will be some ACS custom ear tips to complete the setup.
In summary, a very, very good portable amp at an astoundingly cheap price.
Was it worth twice the price of my trusty and well used E5.? Well made and smart looking product, and the sound.? Great, leagues ahead of the E5, and the bonus is of course the £44 asking price.Give it an esoteric brand name and 3 figures would be asked and still great value. Oh yes,it uses an easily replaceable Li-on mobile battery.Bass control,high and low gain switch to keep the knob twitchers happy.A solid rotary vol. control cleverly built to stop sudden accidental increase and decrease.This is a serious contender amongst portable amps.
Recently purchased a set of AKG 550s and was a little disappointed with the sound especially at the lower end even after trying the headphones out on all sorts of mid to high end kit. I took the plunge and went for the Fii0 E11 to try to improve the depth/warmth of the headphones when linked up to my phone; I didn't expect much as the source music is pretty low quality. I was absolutely blown away! This product is amazing, for £54 don't even think about it just buy it. If it was repackaged in polished titanium or the like and branded with some high end manufacturers logo it would probably fetch £300+!!!! And after hearing the improvements it's made I would have paid it. Only couple of drawbacks (and I am being pedantic) is that it can sound very slightly crackley and there is a bit of white noise only when a track isn't being played and I would have preferred it if it operated whilst on charge. Great product well worth the price for what it is, if you want to use big powerful headphones with your mp3 player/phone then this is it.
Great amp and I love it ...but... 1. The design of the ON/OFF button is quite awkward if you use attach the amp to an iPod classic with the FiiO line out cable ( I think i got the L3) there's no space for the fingers (thumb and indicator) to operate the ON/OFF-Volume knob of the amplifier. And the On/Off button is quite resistant and needs some strength applied to "click" (after that the volume is easy and smooth to adjust by just rubbing the indicator finger.. I found this a bit annoying at start but then i got used... 2. With this setup and gear be sure you have the iPod off or paused before you turn the amplifier ON... because the button is resistant you risk to go to a very high volume right after you managed to overcome the resistance of the ON/OF button.. I got a few unpleasant blows in my ears before I learned to be careful... (check the 2 pictures I posted)