The first thing many of us do when we get to the computer is to leave the iPhone or iPod charging. That’s why docks were invented, to connect them easily and without worrying about the cable. Many of us also listen to music in other places and while doing so we would like to be able to charge our device. If you are one of those who listen to music with headphones and would like to have a quality amplifier, today we are going to talk to you about a device that may interest you.
The Fiio E9i is a desktop headphone amplifier with some interesting features , such as a dock for charging an iPhone or iPod, line input, two audio outputs, connection for various headphones, etc.
We’ll see all this after the jump.
If in other products of the FiiO house it surprises how small and light is its box, in this case I would dare to say that it surprises for the opposite. The main reason for this is that the E9i comes with a power adapter, since we have to power it from the mains unlike other amplifiers powered through a USB port. This gives us the advantage of being able to use the amplifier without having to be in front of the computer. In addition, the E9i weighs 440 grams, just in case you plan to take it with you.
Once we took the amplifier out of its box, we found four replacement silicone feet, as the E9i already comes with them installed, a USB cable to sync the iPod or iPhone we connect to your dock and an instruction manual (in English and Chinese).
The E9i has the same quality look as other products I’ve tried from that brand, with a stunning black anodized aluminum case. Starting at the rear, the E9i features the aforementioned USB connection, the power outlet, a switch to increase the gain of the amplifier, a line output to which we can connect an amplifier via two RCA connectors, an output marked Pre-Output with a 3.5mm connector and a line input to connect another device. As you can see, the versatility of the FiiO is quite big.
This way, we can use the amplifier just by connecting it to a headset and to the line input, or we can connect an iPhoneiPod to use it with the amplifier. Or we can also connect the E9i to the computer to act as a dock. Or connect some amplified speakers to the E9i, or use it to connect to our music system, or simply as an amplifier for our headphones. However, to charge the device we have connected to the dock, the amplifier must be on for the power to reach it.
What do we find in the front? A volume control that also turns the amplifier on and off, as well as two jacks for the headphone connection, the one on the left is the typical 3.5mm headphone jack, and the one on the right is the 6.35mm headphone jack. In this way, we can connect either in-ear headphones on the left connector, marked with a -90 db gain, or headphones that need more amplification and have a “fat” jack. Pulling on the technical specifications we see that the output power is either 1W (16ohms) or 80 mW (600 ohms), so it can give quite a bit of play with any type of headphones.
The volume control has a very good feel and I haven’t noticed that it puts noise in the playback.
You’re probably wondering what it sounds like. Well, I have to say that the sound is good and if we are looking for an amplifier for any of the above mentioned uses it is worth it. I’ve tried it with the SR60 grades and the E9i moves them quite well and with ease connected to the -90db output on the front. As always, there are more expensive and better amplifiers. But if we don’t want or can scratch our pockets anymore, the FiiO really doesn’t disappoint. We’re talking again about a pretty good value for money, since the E9i costs 90 euros.
Many thanks to Axel de Zococity for lending us the unit for the test.