Being impressed by the achievements of FiiO in the last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they have launched two new products: E09K home headphone amp and E02i which is a portable headphone amplifier. I could not miss the opportunity to test and share our impressions with our readers.

Further I will talk about these two products. E09K is a dedicated headphone amplifier and E02i is a pretty interesting gadget that works with iOS or Android smartphones that incorporates a microphone, quite a potent headphone amplifier, and some additional features I’ll talk about below.

E09K has a solid construction, fully made of anodized aluminum, has a simple and minimalist design.
Also E09K is an upgraded version of E09 model that was launched last year and I can say that I like the added improvements.

E09K has Line-In and Pre-Out on the back using the RCA connectors, not 3.5mm as found on E09, a very smart move in my opinion, this way we can connect external DACs or power amps to the Pre-Out.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the E09K amplifier is the dock at the top, but what does it do?

If you already own the E17 gadget which is an external DAC and a portable headphone amplifier, now you can connect it to the E09K for quite a powerful home system.

Once E17 is connected to E09K, it will function as a DAC only and E09K will work as an amplifier only. The signal is not amplified two times, because line-out dock it used, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately my pre-production unit does not work with E07, but the newest production units will work perfectly fine with E17, E07K and with E07 also.

I’ve already tested for a couple of days E17+E09K combo and impressions left are quite good  in terms of sound performance. I’m glad that E09K does not change FiiO’s sound signature, but brings over many improvements.

E17 seems to be the perfect companion for travel if you do not take large and heavy headphones with you, something with a 3.5 mm connector will do it. E17 had some problems amplifying big headphones like Audeze LCD-2 and Sennheiser HD800, but E09K does not have this problem at all.

In fact E17 didn’t have any issues with gain, or with loudness on high gain, but bigger headphones were not well driven and sound was uncontrolled and unfocused at times, it felt like a bottle neck on hard to drive headphones.

E09K brings much needed power in a relative small package. Due to this amplifier I’ve obtained good control over drivers on LCD-2 and on HD800 and high gain was not even needed to be used.

The obvious upgrade was felt on rhythmic music, on rock especially music became faster, even a little bassier and full of substance. E09K has a slightly darker sound, emphasizing bass, medium frequencies and giving away slightly the higher frequencies.

I was happy to see that the scale of soundstage has been improved in width and in length, compared with E17 and E10. E09K basically took all qualities from E17 and multiplied them. In the end we get the same FiiO sound signature, but this time the combo can be used with almost any headphone without losing control with large reserves of power. E09K provides 900mW into 32 ohms, compared to approximately 150mW out of E17, a significant increase in power, I’d say.

A very interesting feature is the communication between E17 and E09K – once both are connected, turning on E09K by turning the volume knob automatically turns on E17, same happens on turning off E09K. Also, if you use Lo-Bypass function on E17, the volume of E17 doesn’t do anything, everything is already controlled by E09K, if Lo-Bypass is off then we can use the gain and volume of the E17 plus EQ .

E09K also has an Line-In using RCA connectors, so if you have an advanced DAC you can easily connect it to the small FiiO.

Do not be mislead by the USB connection on E09K, little box does not have an internal DAC, USB was placed in case of using E17 + E09K combo, USB cable no longer connects to the E17, but to the E09K.

The combo does not occupy a lot of space and can be easily integrated in any setup, in front of PC or on a nightstand where it can be connected to a laptop in case you are listening to music before bedtime.

E09K costs in Europe about ~ 100€, a fly whispered to me that soon we will have it also in Romania, together with the entire FiiO range.

This amplifier is losing ground when it comes to refinement and microdetails. Small details are hidden in the landscape and are not jumping straight ahead, the sound is more laid back, but on a more thorough listening microdetails can be heard and distinguished, but not as easily as we do on high-performance equipment. Because of hidden details, obviously a bit of refinement and consistency is lost, these qualities are hardly found in audio equipment.

At his value E09K or even E17+E09K combo are incomparable and have little to no competition. At 200€ a modest but powerful and stylish is a goal difficult to achieve.

Currently E17 + E09K combo represents the head of line of FiiO company, by which I was quite impressed, considering the asking price.

Now let’s talk about E02i a little.

What is actually this E02i? It is a tiny portable headphone amplifier that has a microphone, a bypass option and bass-boost function, plus many more features.

Physically it is extremely small, made of metal and very easy to use. I used an iPhone 4 with it and got quite interesting results.  These are offered in two colors: metallic-silver and black, depending on what color is your smartphone.

Device connects to the iPhone’s 3.5mm output, and headphones are connected to the E02i’s output. Thus E02i adds a plus of power and some additional functions, without using additional software. E02i comes with an internal battery, operating time is approximately 10 hours, and once the battery is exhausted, the bypass feature can be used without needing to remove it from the smartphone. The device has an integrated microphone, once we get a call the music stops and microphone kicks in. When listening to music, without launching the music player we can set directly from E02i next or previous song, pause/play, set the desired volume or add some bass for fun.

In terms of tonality I did not notice significant changes to the original sound of the iPhone. The advantage consists in obtaining a significantly higher volume, extra power giving users the freedom to use harder to drive headphones.

Another advantage of the extra power is to obtain a better control of all sound frequencies, this way music will not be as congested, overall it gives an impression of a better spatiality than without it.

Price is located around the amount of  ~ 30€, the device will be sold soon in Romania too.

A big thanks goes to the FiiO company for the opportunity of testing the two gadgets,  keep it up!  ** fingers crossed for the rumored FiiO portable player **.

If you are not too picky and if the budget does not allow expensive audio equipment, then I recommend both devices, E02i I used occasionally on the street, but E17 + E09K combo I’ve used almost every day from the day I received them for testing and I declare myself happy with the result.


–          Solid construction, simple and beautiful design

–          Sounds above expectations, background noise is nonexistent

–          Fast, energetic sound

–          Good price/performance ratio


–          Hiding microdetails, less refined sound

–          A sound tuned for music lovers than for audiophiles

Gear used for review:
Audeze LCD-2, Sennheiser HD800, Audio-Technica A900X, Fiio E17, E09K, E02i


  1. Hi,
    I have just bought an E09K to go with my existing E07 to use with AKG K401 phones (120 ohm).

    I find that the combination (using usb), even with the gain boost on, is considerably quieter than the E07 on its own, barely acceptable even at full volume!

    I thought the E09 was an amplifier, mine seems to be an attenuator!

    Am I missing something?



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