FiiO E10K USB DAC Review FiiO K3 USB DAC Review FiiO K3 vs. E10K

FiiO K3 vs. E10K [The Definitive Guide]

Massive because of FiiO for sending the K3. I am not being compensated for this assessment/comparability. Just giving my thoughts and opinions!

Updated 7/25/19

three,583 word publish, approx. 5 min. learn

Article nonetheless wants:

  • Comparability Chart
  • Photographs/Video Comparability

Hey there good friend, and Welcome aboard!!

Before we get into the FiiO K3 vs. E10Okay Amp/DAC comparison evaluate, seize a snack, sit again and loosen up because..

You’ve come to the fitting place!!


Table of Contents

Click to navigate the article!

Introduction
In the Field
Specs
Construct & Features
Ergonomics
Video Comparability
Photograph Gallery
Sound
Stu’s Notepad
Ultimate Word

Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!

Introduction

Each once in awhile an organization releases a true upgrade to an already present implausible product. In this case it occurs to be an organization that’s really grown on me in recent times. FiiO makes fantastic products at reasonably priced prices that attraction to beginner lovers trying to get their ft moist into the audiophile interest.

In all honesty, I’ve pitted the E10Okay up towards both a DragonFly Purple and Oppo HA-2 and the distinction virtually wasn’t sufficient to warrant the worth bounce from about $75 (E10Okay) to $200 (DragonFly Pink) and even $350 for the HA-2. Do notice that the HA-2 has been discontinued however I owned one for awhile and completely beloved it (Life typically sucks and you need to promote your belongings to make ends meet, lol).

Yes, the E10Okay sounded slightly grainier however you’d by no means even discover until you had the other 2 amps proper there as a buffer and have been vigorously going forwards and backwards. Furthermore, what in case your ears are lying and there’s not any distinction? That you simply’re virtually making an attempt to conceive of something perceivable and kind of trick yourself into preferring the costlier choice over the cheaper mannequin?

It’s arduous to say.

I feel there are delicate variations between some Amps and DACs, but the Regulation of Diminishing Returns becomes much more obvious than it does with headphones; that’s to say, from Amp to Amp you’re really going to need to attempt exhausting to notice a measurable distinction.

Regardless, I did discover the K3 to have some of these types of improvements, technically in addition to sonically. I’ll outline the whole lot for you as we speak!

Again To Prime

Let’s open the bins we could?

Within the Field

FiiO K3

Bolded are the variations.

With the K3, you’re getting:

  • The Amp/DAC.
  • 4 adhesive strips (2 pair). Put these on the bottom to guard the unit whereas it’s on your desk.
  • Sort-C USB Cable.
  • Fast Begin Guide.
  • Warranty Card.

With the E10Okay:

  • The Amp/DAC.
  • 4 button adhesives (2 pair). Put these on the bottom to protect the unit while it’s in your desk.
  • Micro USB Cable.
  • Quick Begin Guide.
  • Warranty Card.

Being how much of an upgrade the K3 is, FiiO actually sort of skimped on equipment right here.

There’s no optical cable, no coax, no brief 3.5mm to 3.5mm line out, no RCA to mini, nothing. It’s a bit of a ache to should buy any of those separately, however I digress..

Back To Prime

What about specs?

Specs

FiiO E10Okay

Specs

  • Worth: Examine on Amazon! | Verify eBay!
  • Functionality: Handles PCM Information as much as 24-bit/96 kHz.
  • Stereo Crosstalk: > 70 dB.
  • Outputs: 1x Coaxial, Line, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Output Impedance: 1.04. What is Output Impedance?
  • Output Power: [email protected]Ω
  • Output Voltage: 7.39Vp-p.
  • Inputs: 1x Micro USB.
  • Sign-to-Noise Ratio: >105dB.
  • THD at 1V output:
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz -20KHz.
  • Dimensions: 79mm x 49.1mm x 21mm.
  • Weight: 79 grams.
  • Warranty: 1 yr.
  • Power: Bus powered.
  • Features: Bass increase, Achieve change.

FiiO K3

  • Worth: Verify on Amazon!
  • Functionality: As much as 32-bit/384kHz.
  • Stereo Crosstalk:
  • Outputs: 1x Coaxial, Line, 1x three.5mm headphone jack, 1x 2.5mm balanced
  • DSD Help: Yes, 64/128/256.
  • Output Impedance: 1.04. What’s Output Impedance?
  • Output Energy (Single Ended): 220 mW @ 16 Ohms, 120 mW @ 32 Ohms.
  • Output Energy (Balanced): 320 mW @ 16 Ohms, 200 mW @ 32 Ohms.
  • Output Voltage: 7.39 Vp-p.
  • Digital Outputs: Coaxial: RCA for 192 kHz, Help DSD64 DOP
    Optical Out: Up to 96 kHz
  • Inputs: 1x Sort-C USB.
  • Sign-to-Noise Ratio: ≥113 dB.
  • THD: ≤Zero.004%
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 80kHz.
  • Op amp: 2 x OPA926
  • Low-pass filter: TI OPA1612
  • USB chip: XMOS XUF208
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 2.3 x Zero.9″ / 70.0 x 58.Zero x 22.0 mm
  • Weight: 83 grams.
  • Warranty: 1 yr.
  • Power: Bus powered, 5 VDC 500 mA.
  • Options: Bass increase, Achieve change.

Again To Prime

Let’s get right into build and features!


Build & Options


The construct quality of the K3 feels extra strong to me than the E10Okay, however it’s a somewhat marginal difference.

The E10Okay weighs in at 75g and the K3 is +7 or Eight at 82/83g. My scale weighs it in at 83.

Still, I feel as though if I have been to truly purchase the K3, it might be more justified. It feels very nice in your hand, with a matte black end and smoother general character. The E10Okay’s finish is a somewhat rougher really feel, but doesn’t gather fingerprints and marks as simply because the K3. One thing to remember.

Size and peak sensible, they are just about exactly the same, but the K3 is wider and thus a tad bulkier although it doesn’t actually come off as a cumbersome unit. It’s also contoured and rounded off, lending itself to a more elegant, trendy look than the older and boxier E10Okay.

FiiO has laser engraved the Hi-Res Audio image on the top of the K3. The E10Okay doesn’t have this (being that it’s older), however both have the FiiO emblem. The difference is that on the K3 you possibly can read it when the unit is dealing with you and it’s in the direction of the entrance. On the E10Okay it’s the wrong way up and in the direction of the back. I feel the brand makes rather more sense where it’s located on the K3, and simply seems more skilled at the side of the Hi-Res Emblem.

Front Panel

On the face of the K3, we’ve received the ADC Volume Pot/Power On which is a nice improve from the older E10Okay Pot. The distinction right here is that the E10Okay was numbered 0-8 with an OFF indicator in text as nicely. The other distinction is that the Pot on the K3 is a digital management, which means you gained’t get any channel imbalance points at decrease volumes.

The facility on indicator on the K3 additionally doubles as a sample fee indicator.

  • Blue = 44.1kHz or 48kHz.
  • Yellow = Something above 48kHz.
  • Inexperienced = DSD.

The K3’s knob just isn’t numbered, but is barely bigger in circumference and product of aluminum. As an alternative of numbers, we’ve received one small round white dot to point the place you’re on a clock. This hearkens back to the FiiO Q1 MK II, which has the same white dot (albeit smaller knob) and pink piece behind the pot. I’m considering FiiO is aiming to streamline the design of all their amps to make them more consistent in look/really feel throughout the board.

This time around, both the achieve change and bass increase are on the entrance, which makes tinkering with the sound an entire lot simpler. I do find the switches on the E10Okay to be simpler to flick, however the best way they’re situated on the K3 is far more handy. I simply put my index finger on the highest of the unit and use my thumb to regulate.

We’ve additionally received one other addition although: the two.5mm balanced jack in addition to the usual three.5 mil.

A fast notice concerning the 3.5mm jack: It’s a bit more of a chore to plug in my headphones than it is with the E10Okay. With the E10Okay, the transition is clean and makes a satisfying click on. With the K3, I’m type of having to labor just a bit extra to get the headphone jack in. Considerably minor, but still ought to be famous.

You’ll know what I imply whenever you obtain the unit. It might be that as a result of it’s model new, it wants a while to get acclimated. It just looks like the opening might use some gunk or one thing. 😛

Anyhow..

When you’ve got balanced headphones, the K3 supports DSD64/128/256 which is a nice added contact. My common readers and subscribers already understand how I feel about DSD, so as an alternative of boring you I’ll simply place links to varied places where I give my opinion in addition to an article from Cambridge Audio.

Back Panel

On the again is where the fun begins for me.

The primary major difference is that FiiO switched from micro USB to Sort-C which might be a very good choice.

Micro is okay, but their jacks have been somewhat unreliable over the long term. That is something that I haven’t touched on much as a result of it never turned a serious situation for me, until: I had a problem with a micro USB cable from FiiO simply failing, and the integrity of the jack itself was a bit of suspect. I referred to it as somewhat jiggly like jiggly puff in my unique E10Okay video.

For me, micro USB cables basically have all the time appeared to be on a budget aspect, so I’m glad FiiO made the change right here. It doesn’t really feel piggly wiggly this time round. Sort-C is extremely rugged and doesn’t transfer round in any respect inside the unit.

That stated, I still use the E10Okay every day, and have had the DAC since September of 2018 or thereabouts.

USB 1.Zero  & 2.Zero

Right above the Sort-C jack is a small change that reads USB 1.0 and a couple of.0.

The cool factor about that is that once you plug the K3 into your PC, it’s immediately recognized and ready to go with no driver for USB 1.0. I’m now operating Windows 10 on a Lenovo X1 Excessive and the set up was flawless. The K3 is acknowledged instantly, ready for music.

If you want to use USB 2.0, just go to FiiO Help, and obtain the USB DAC driver. Related: Rookies Information: What is a USB DAC?

Then simply turn the unit off and disconnect all the things (principally a reboot).

Now you need to use USB 2.Zero, which helps DSD256 and as much as 32-bit/384kHz. The USB 1.0 part only helps up to 24-bit/96kHz information.

Line Out and Coax

The K3 has stored 2 of one of the best features obvious in the E10Okay which made it probably the most versatile models I’ve tried. Both the Line Out jack and Coax are nonetheless obtainable this time around, permitting you to make use of the K3 in many various methods.

Let’s have a look:

Just a DAC or Simply an Amp

Should you ever need to improve Amps, the K3 works as a DAC or simply an Amp. Depending on the unit, you’ve gotten some choices:

  • 3.5mm to three.5mm Line Out. Perhaps the only and most simple. Plug one end into the line out of the K3, and the opposite end into the line out of a unique amp. Plug the K3 into your PC by way of USB and turn it on. Now activate the opposite amp and plug your headphones into that. You’re able to go! With this feature you’ll be able to join the K3 or E10Okay to virtually something.
  • RCA to mini (three.5mm). In case you have one thing like a Schiit Magni, JDS Atom or a custom-made Objective 2, you’d just run the three.5 mil into the again of the K3, and the RCA’s into any of the aforementioned amps. One other great choice that I’ve used up to now with the E10Okay.
  • Coax. Use this to hook up with any DAC of your selection.
  • Optical/Toslink. Use this to additionally hook up with any DAC of your selection by way of SPDIF.
  • Line Out to powered screens. You may additionally use 3.5mm to twin XLR, three.5mm to dual TRS, or three.5mm to twin RCA into some studio screens as nicely. For myself, I’d in all probability use the three.5mil into XLR with my JBL LSR 305’s.

As a Converter

Additionally, some DACs only have coax and Toslink capabilities. If your pc doesn’t have these, you should use the E10Okay to transform the signal from USB to coax and then connect the other DAC to the E10Okay.

So it will appear to be: PC/Laptop computer by way of USB > E10Okay by way of coax > other amp that has coax > headphones.

An alternative choice you’ve gotten is to run a Toslink cable from a receiver/TV into a converter. Then run a cable from the opposite end of the converter into the E10Okay. Now you need to use it together with your TV!

Optical & Gaming?

If all that wasn’t sufficient, FiiO added an Optical/Toslink port! Use this to hook up with a DAC utilizing SPDIF as mentioned above.

The only drawback? It’s optical OUT solely and never IN. This primarily means you possibly can’t use it for Console Gaming which was type of a huge disappointment for me. It will have made the K3 probably the most invaluable DAC available on the market for my part, however it still comes shut!

E10Okay & Gaming

With the E10Okay, you should use it for Gaming and it’s recognized immediately. The problem? You gained’t get any headroom and it simply barely reaches a suitable listening degree. I maxed out the quantity on my PS4 settings and had to tick the achieve change simply to get it loud enough and even then it’s not sufficient. In the event you don’t have a DAC useful for gaming, chances are you’ll as nicely simply plug your cans into the controller. You’ll get a louder sound and the standard is simply nearly as good.

For a dedicated Gaming rig, I might advocate either the Audioengine D1 or an Goal 2 paired with a DAC Magic 100.

Together with your telephone

The K3 can technically be used with a smartphone, however depending on the make and mannequin, you might get an error like “this device needs too much power.”

The excellent news is that in case you have a telephone with a Sort-C port, this USB Sort-C to USB three.1 Gen1 Female Adapter Cable ought to work.

The E10Okay can’t be used together with your telephone as it’s bus powered solely.

Onwards..

Both of these models are desktop Amp/DACs primarily, so do maintain that in mind. In case you are in search of something to use together with your telephone, the Q1 MK II is a superb answer that also works on your desktop as nicely.

Back To Prime

Let’s speak a bit about Ergonomics and Energy Output!


Ergonomics


I really feel like I’m about to get a bit dissatisfied again with regard to power and the K3.

I dogged the Q1 MK II for fairly a while earlier than warming as much as it. Surprisingly, I can nonetheless drive a Sennheiser HD 600 with it regardless of it solely putting out 7mW into 300 Ohm. The 600’s technically require 20mW to sound loud sufficient however I discover with the achieve on I can attain a nice degree regardless of the low output.

With the K3 out of the only ended three.5mm commonplace headphone jack, we’re only getting:

  • 220 mW @ 16 Ohms.
  • 120 mW @ 32 Ohms.

Out of the two.5 mil balanced:

  • 320 mW @ 16 Ohms.
  • 200 mW @ 32 Ohms.

The unique FiiO E10Okay offered 200mW @ 32 Ohms, no questions requested.

It looks like FiiO has geared this newer iteration of the E10Okay towards the price range minded audiophile who could also be more inclined to purchase decrease Impedance IEM’s or Headphones.

That’s nice, but being a desktop amp/DAC I might have favored to see it present a bit extra power simply in case we need to improve headphones down the street, use inefficient planar magnetic headphones (taking a look at you HiFiMan), and so on. but not have to connect a separate Amp or whatever. Associated: What is a Planar Magnetic Driver? I feel this Amp/DAC is sweet sufficient to turn into a mainstay in my small residence studio like, perpetually, so it’s a bit disappointing that it doesn’t provide extra energy out of the primary jack.

NanoTechnos, in his FiiO K3 Evaluate over at Headfonia agrees:

“The Fiio K3 supports both single-ended and balanced output. Still, even in balanced mode, the output power isn’t very high with 200mW @ 32ohm. If you plan to use big cans or drive planar headphones, I think you’ll feel more comfortable with an additional headphone amplifier connected to the line-out.”

The choice for balanced is good although, so in case you improve simply ensure that to get a balanced headphone with balanced cables or DIY.

The K3 does help as much as 32-bit/384kHz, which is a welcome improve from 24-bit/96 out of the E10Okay. On the worth level of just a hare over $100, that is unbelievable in my eyes and provides rather a lot to it’s value.

Some other small differences between these 2 I mentioned in the Specs section on the prime:

  • The K3’s frequency response is 20Hz – 80kHz vs. 20Hz – 20kHz for the E10Okay.
  • Complete Harmonic Distortion. With the K3 it’s ≤Zero.004% vs. <0.006%. A small distinction but you could discover the K3 is a tad cleaner. More on that within the Sound part!

Each have an Output Impedance of less than 1.04 or thereabouts.

Video..

Video Comparison (Coming Soon!)

Photograph..

Photograph Gallery (Coming Soon!)

Final but not least, sound.

Again To Prime


Sound


  • K3 DAC Chip: AKM AK4452.
  • E10Okay DAC Chip: Burr Brown PCM-5102.

Listening Checks

The sound of the K3 and the E10Okay is a bit fascinating to explain. I really feel prefer it’s very comparable, but there are times when the K3 is the clear winner. With sure tracks, there’s simply this sense that the K3 performs higher.

On Micheal Jackson’s “Baby Be Mine” off of 1982’s Thriller, The E10Okay sounded good but maybe not as vigorous as the K3, which felt more such as you have been in a reside setting quite than listening by way of a device. The K3 also sounded extra natural and natural.

It’s like the E10Okay had this ever so slight layer of fog over the sound. As if it wasn’t given ample room to breath and categorical it’s creativity.

The impression and weight of the K3 is instantly apparent at the beginning of the music. The kick drum and hats have been crisper and extra vigorous. The devices (especially background ones) have been also more fleshed out, and as an entire the music breathes extra naturally.

This similar kind of phenomenon is clear on a Grasp monitor of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” There was a lot more micro element present with the K3, much more so than the music normally supplies (which is quite a bit). Goals is a fairly detailed track, with plenty of layers, delicate sounds, and virtually elusive nuance that typically can go unnoticed.

The K3 brings out every thing that this track has to offer with easy grace. I did find Stevie’s voice to be a bit too forward paired with the MDR V6, whereas with the E10Okay it might be slightly pushed again and less aggressive.

Still, @ :24 seconds you’ll be able to clearly hear her breath which is one thing I haven’t caught with other headphones and amp set ups. The decay of her voice can also be on level, trailing off superbly while additionally portray for you a transparent picture of her distinctive vocal inflections and subtleties.

I really feel as though the K3 provides you a deeper glimpse into the soul of the artist, whereas the E10Okay lacks a bit of weight and physique. This is especially apparent to me during Mick Fleetwood’s opening drum fill. It just didn’t sound as full because it did on the K3.

I found each to have an ultra low noise flooring, with lifeless silence while nothing is enjoying. I personally can’t perceive a distinction but your mileage might range.

Bass Increase

I discovered the Bass Increase on the K3 to be barely disappointing on some tracks, to a welcome addition on others. I actually assume it is determined by what you’re listening to.

On Mariah Carey’s Fantasy, the +6dB increase was actually muddy and disappointing, whereas on the E10Okay it was completed rather more tastefully.

Stu’s Notepad

I’ll connect pictures of my handwritten notes here (Coming Soon!)

Again To Prime

What’s the ultimate word?


Remaining Word


When it’s all stated and finished, I might take the K3 over the E10Okay every single day and twice on Sunday.

It’s not that the E10Okay is worse, but fairly the K3 is an actual enchancment in almost every category.

The sound gets a fairly vital upgrade here, you’ve received the selection of balanced or single ended with regard to headphones, there’s the Optical Out, the inclusion of USB 1.0 or 2.Zero, each the achieve change and bass are on the entrance this time around, the Volume Pot as well as the general construct is best, it helps DSD and higher decision information (as much as 32-bit/384kHz), and the LED modifications colors depending on stated file.

The only space that the E10Okay trumps the K3 is energy output out of the only ended jack, in addition to the more tastefully achieved bass increase general.

The shortage of power might grow to be a problem for you depending on what varieties of headphones you may be utilizing, but I felt as if the achieve change makes up for it generally.


Nicely that’s about it for as we speak my good friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this FiiO K3 vs. E10Okay Comparison/Evaluate.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on one thing? Please let me know down under or Contact me!!

Are you satisfied the K3 is a real improve? I might love to hear from you. Until next time..

All the perfect and God bless,

-Stu

[[email protected]$eHitZ]

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