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  • Best Headphone AMP for price

    posted by ISBEST on 07/16/2012
    0 0

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 week to 1 month

    Pros:

    Flawless audio quality, neutral and linear, no distortions, good SNR
    Drives any low-to-medium impedance phone with ease (some high impedance ones, too)
    Very low output impedance; can handle any multi-armature IEMs properly
    Precise 64 step digital volume control, no channel imbalance or crackling
    Very little background hiss (only slightly audible with ultra-sensitive IEMs at louder volume levels)
    No clicks/pops at turning on/off
    Properly shielded, doesn’t pick up any cellphone signals
    Decent battery life considering the size
    Tiny and lightweight
    Removable clip
    Very inexpensive, considering its high quality performance

    Cons:

    EQ1 bass boost sounds muddy and overwhelming (EQ2 is more subtle)
    Button lock function poorly implemented, might change EQ setting when released
    Glossy plastic housing scratches easily

    OtherThoughts:

    It’s simple – it doesn’t sound like anything. It’s a perfectly neutral, linear amp, with no ‘character’ of its own. It’s not ‘cold’ or ‘warm’ or ‘bright’ or ‘dark’ sounding. It delivers the input signal to its output without adding or subtracting anything. This is basically as good as it gets, no matter what price range we’re talking about (tube amps and their often pleasing harmonic distortions excluded). In volume-matched listening tests I could not distinguish the E6’s output from a Sansa Clip+, a Headstage Arrow, or an Echo AudioFire 4.

    Bottomline:

    The Fiio E6 is a very high quality portable headphone amplifier. Of course there are always some ‘audiophile’ fractions which would never admit that a $30 amp can match and even surpass a $300 one, but that’s how it is. The E6 performs as well as the most expensive amps I’ve tried, and surpasses many of them in several performance aspects. If the E6’s circuitry would be put in a fancy brushed aluminum housing and it would be made in the USA or Germany, one could most definitely slap an upper three-digit price tag on it, and nobody would complain

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