About a month ago I was in London for hi-fi conference CanJam (read about it here) and was really impressed with FiiO’s Alpen 2 E17K Amp. I got in contact with the wonderful Oscar whom I met at the conference and he sent me an E17K for review. Here’s my thoughts on it.
If you’re unclear what a portable amp (DAC) is, it’s a little device that helps amplify the sound of your music/gaming by changing the signal, being a digital-to-analogue converter and gives you a new dimension to your music or videos. The Alpen 2 is a great DAC to start off with as it’s rather low-end, but is still of great quality.
It works by connecting to your headphones (which you can see in the picture above) and then connecting the DAC to your phone via the cables they provide. The connection source can be changed with the simple press of a button and can connect to the DAC via AUX, USB or COX, so is suitable for any type of hardware you may have.
The settings are changed within the menus, where you can set the bass volume as well as the treble and which ear is favourable for music to be played out of, so you can change it to either just the left or right ear if you need to. The actual DAC itself and all of its controls are really easy to use and are easily accessible.
The only small issues I have with it are as follows, with the first being that there aren’t really instructions of how to connect it to the device you’re using – it’s as if they said “it’s out of the box, get on with it”, unless I missed the instructions (which is a fair possibility). It seemed pretty simple when I tried to set it up but being new to the world of amps I didn’t have a clue and had to direct myself to YouTube to try and get it working. After pressing everything, the music finally appeared out of my headphones and has been fine since.
Also the amp only works through over-ear headphones so won’t work with earbuds, so invest in a good pair if you want good sound quality anyway, but enhanced massively by the amp. There’s also rubber bands that FiiO recommend to stick the amp and phone back-to-back, but that really isn’t possible with the iPhone 6S’ amp being at the bottom of the phone – you don’t really need them anyway, mine works just fine without.
Overall the amp works great and will certainly enhance your favourite music to a new level that you won’t be able to live without – you’ll be carrying your amp everywhere to be able to reach the same sound quality that you can’t with just headphones. For a lower-end amp, it’s pretty damn awesome.
Check out the amp at AV Shop in the UK here, as well as checking out FiiO’s website for more details of their products. Follow FiiO on Twitter and like their page on Facebook to see what they’re up to. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my latest post before anybody else.