Achieving the best sound quality as possible is what we aim to do when buying a set of high-end headphones but, there are times when your main device can’t provide enough power to supply the unit. This is when you will need a headphone amp like Fiio E10K Vs Fiio K3. These amplifiers are convenient while also useful to let you have a better audio performance. Being from the same company, they are also quite similar so do check which you will like better below.
In this article, we are going to give you information about:
- Do You Need a Headphone Amp
- What are FiiO E10K and FiiO K3
- What FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 Look Like
- How are the Sound Quality of FiiO E10K and FiiO K3
- What else FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 can offer
- FiiO E10K Vs FiiO K3
If you are a music enthusiast, the audio quality is most important because the experience relies on how good they are. All of us have different preferences when it comes to favorite genres or singers and musicians but when it is for audio qualities, chances are the better your audio file is and the better the listening equipment is, the better as well the quality. However, there are also additional tools we can put in between the equipment known as a headphone amp.
Headphone amp is very similar to the full-size amp but is relatively low-powered in comparison and the purpose is the same or raising the low-voltage audio signal from a source device or main device such as the computer, laptop, and smartphone or music player to a sufficient level which can be converted or transduced into sound waves by the speaker or driver inside the headphone ear cup. If you have full-size amps, it works in the same manner but operates in a much lower scale.
In your modern headphone amps, they also have an electronic component called DAC or digital-to-analog converter. The DAC’s job is to convert the digital audio information into the low-voltage signal that the amplifier can amplify or boost. On the other hand, if you have other component like turntable or tape deck, they don’t need a DAC because they already have analog low-voltage signals yet if you are using other audio devices like PC or laptop, then we will need a DAC and a headphone amp for you to hear the sound through the headphone.
The reason why some people need a headphone amp is because the DAC in the device is not as reliable. What’s a bit confusing is this quality will vary among devices and not all of them are the same which is why it is good to consider what your main device is. For example, the MacBook Pro is known to have a decent DAC which is why they sound good as well. On the other hand, other cheaper laptops can have low-quality DAC and thus resulting in low-quality sound.
In addition, it also depends on your headphone too because if the one we have is the cheaper model, chances are the DAC and amp in the main device is already enough but, if what you have is a high-end audiophile headphones, then there is a chance we can elevate the sound quality using the amp. The kind of headphones that need amps are those high-impedance one or models with resistance of an electrical signal which is measured in ohms thus, the higher the impedance, the more resistant they will give to electrical signals.
|Fiio E10k||Fiio K3|
|Best Offer||click here||click here|
|Product Dimensions||0.83 x 1.93 x 3.11 inches||2.76 x 2.28 x 0.87 inches
|Shipping Weight||2.72 ounces||2.89 ounces
About FiiO E10K and FiiO K3
If you are here then we assume that you need a headphone amp to drive the headphone and achieve a better performance, including the volume level. There are plenty of good options out there based on which seems to fit you the most but usually they have similar performance to each other. In some cases the design may also differ to match with your application such as when they need to be compact or have certain features to support your experience.
If you already have a favorite brand, it is convenient to just stick to the option but for those who are first buying a headphone amp, it is wise to see what the other users are choosing because chances are you will also like them. Among those options out there, FiiO is one of the most popular options to choose and they are loved for various reasons which are good quality and affordable price point. They also carry quite a collection however to allow you choose the most ideal option but can cause confusion as well.
If you plan to use the amp with a computer or laptop and want to keep the budget low, there are two ideal options from the collection or the FiiO E10K and FiiO K3. They don’t sound like close brothers but the two are very much similar to each other. We do think you can go well with any of them but personally we will recommend getting the cheaper E10K if you only want a decent and basic amp while the latter do put more in the box to offer additional convenience.
Both FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 are promising the same better audio quality with optimized low-pass filter to even further reduce the noise floor and distortion. They are ideal for users who are listening to their music through the laptop whether it is at home or while you are at the office and traveling. In comparison, the K3 is more capable and you will get more from this amp with more budget invested. Read also: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Vs PreSonus AudioBox.
FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 Design
As you can see on the sample picture above, the two are already quite different from the design alone because side by side the K3 will be slightly smaller and more modern with rounded edges. It is also utilizing a similarly rotating knob to adjust the volume and placing the audio out at the front of the headphone. Another difference is you will get more to tweak and achieve in the K3 with balance output and even switch to adjust gain moved to the front.
Moving to the rear panel, here we can find the main connection from the main device to the amp itself and again, the K3 offers more here with several new ports and adjustments that we will talk about later. The build quality is really good, both FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 are well-made and the case itself is made from metal. The round knob has a good feeling to it while the unit is about a half of a cigarette pack at 79mm by 49.1mm by 21mm compared to 70mm by 58mm by 22mm.
FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 Sound Quality
Now for the most important part which is the audio quality and here, we do think FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 are performing really well, especially for headphones with less than 150 Ohm impedance. They are going to improve your audio quality and will be more prominent if you have older or cheaper computers because chances are the DAC in the unit will not be able to supply the sufficient power to drive your headphone properly. Side by side, the sound characteristics of the two are not very far different.
What you will notice is probably vocals becoming more pronounced and airy or other sounds in the music becoming cleaner while without additional amp they will appear to be more muffled. In addition, the sound space is improving and helping the headphone to put a better imagining. Without any tweak they are pretty flat however which we like because you can adjust it to sound more powerful with the bass switch. This setting will turn your electronic music even more satisfying without being overly boosted.
The K3 seems to increase the gain for the bass boost from +5dB to +6dB but in application it doesn’t show much differences or is difficult to tell. Nonetheless, they are kept well on the lower frequency only and don’t bleed to the higher ends which is great to maintain the mid and highs of your music. The prominent difference is K3 has balance output as well and this port sounds more spacious as well as airy. It is surprisingly more powerful and a bit louder too without any change in the sound signature.
FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 Features
Lastly we want to talk about the additional features or what you will get and other prominent differences between FiiO E10K and FiiO K3. First is the power port and as you can guess, the latter is already using USB Type-C instead of Micro USB which means it is more universal and more stable. Second, the volume knob is digital now but we have no issue as well with the analog type in E10K; both are good. Third, the K3 supports coaxial output. Additionally, the DAC of K3 is 384KHz/32bit compared to 96KHz/24bit of E10K.
Fiio E10k vs Fiio K3
Both FiiO E10K and FiiO K3 are good options if this is your first headphone amp or if you want to spend in a budget. They are working really well and equally reliable with the latter being the high spec-ed one, especially with higher DAC rate and balance output port. In comparison the sound quality is about the same however and the two are ideal for headphones with up to 150 Ohm in application.
All in all it is best to shop based on which seems to fit you the most but personally, if you don’t need all the bells and whistles, the E10K is already a good option, with cheaper price, and already offers all the basics yet still sounds good.