Inexpensive and nicely-regarded FiiO E3 Mini/Portable Audio Amplifier

Need/want a mini amplifier for your Clip/other portable audio electronics, to enhance the sound quality?  The FiiO E3 3.5mm Earphone Volume Booster Power Amplifier is available for only $8.50 (white)/$8.45 (black), shipped, from DealExtreme.  The amp has been nicely regarded, especially in view of its small size and price.  Worth a look and perhaps a buy, especially at the price, or as a gift (birthdays/end-of-year holidays?).

review: http://www.anythingbutipod.com/ar…review.php

product links (white/black):

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14303
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14823

(And while there, maybe pick up 2 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries (the amp uses 1) for $3.27. http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.7732)

As soon as I saw that they finally had the black one, I picked one up, and hopefully, will get it soon.  DealExtreme is based overseas, so it may take awhile.

 

abi gave it a solid review, and there is an entire thread dedicated to it at Head-Fi.org’s forums.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f105/fiio-amps-323979/

 

I’m interested to see how well it will do with my 4GB Clip and Cyber Acoustics noice canceling headphones.

 

Thanks for the post, Miikerman!

 

All the best,

Brad

And at $8.50, only a dollar more than your killer Sandisk case find!

Really, $8.50 for a small pocket amp, that works–a great deal.  Think I just found a birthday gift for my brother.  :slight_smile:

And at $8.50, only a dollar more than your SanDisk case find!  :wink:

 

Really, $8.50 for a small pocket amp that works–a great deal and nice way to check pocket amps out.  Think I just found a birthday gift for my brother. 

 

 The black version here as well–should go well with the silver Clip.

(And it looks like the amp will fit into its own SanDisk case as well–glad I picked up an extra!  Thanks, again.)

@miikerman wrote:

And at $8.50, only a dollar more than your SanDisk case find!  :wink:

 

Really, $8.50 for a small pocket amp that works–a great deal and nice way to check pocket amps out.  Think I just found a birthday gift for my brother. 

 

 The black version here as well–should go well with the silver Clip.

 

(And it looks like the amp will fit into its own SanDisk case as well–glad I picked up an extra!  Thanks, again.)

Amen, brother, and again, you’re welcome!  Now I know that I should’ve gotten another SanDisk pouch!  But, I do have a few extra cases hanging around the house with nothing in them.

 

What amazes me is that before I got the Clip I never would’ve thought about higher bitrates, noice-canceling headphones, or pocket amps.  This little gadget has really turned me into a budding audiophile!

 

All the best,

Brad

The Fiio is a very cool little gadget.  I’m ordering a black one.  With headphones of 32 ohm impedance and higher, it looks like the hot ticket!

And thanks again for the link for the wee SanDisk pouches.

Bob  :stuck_out_tongue:

Hello everyone.

I just received my FiiO E3 headphone amp from DealExtreme.com. I’ve been very pleased with it so far.

This thing is so tiny! Pictures I’ve seen really don’t do it justice. I hooked it up to my 4GB Clip and used my Cyber Acoustics ACM-800s, along with a new Headphonia (via eBay) interconnect, and found out right away, it does boost the bass significantly. I did gain some volume and a little more clarity in both vocals and in most instruments, particularly guitars, than I had without it. I play mostly just old 128kbps MP3s, and the E3 does indeed give them more depth, body, and overall heft.

Here is a pic of my new portable setup along with some size comparison pics of the Clip and the E3:
http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/ChironHeroTeacher/DSCF0003.jpg

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/ChironHeroTeacher/DSCF0005-2.jpg

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/ChironHeroTeacher/DSCF0006.jpg
And please forgive those unsightly fingerprints smudges on the E3…

Thanks.

All the best,
Brad

Absolutely agree with the above!  I just received mine yesterday and am very happy with it.

The amp. comes in a nice box slightly longer/thinner than a deck of cards, with appealing packaging design/graphics (very suitable for a gift).  But then, when you open the box, this small rectanguler piece of black shiny plastic comes out, the entire amp–just amazing.  It’s about the size of the Clip minus the back clip, but only about 2/3rds as wide.  Nicely engineered (although I would have preferred matte over shiny plastic–personal preference, to avoid fingerprints).

A nice sound enhancement (but subtle–the Clip is good to begin with).  To my ear, the bass noticeably is enhanced (but is not overpowering), which those who like enhanced bass will like.  Sounds are slightly more clear and separated, and top notes mellowed slightly (but not muddied–just slightly softened, lessening any harshness).  The general impression is that the music sounds somewhat fuller, and seems to flower out more than without the amp–I especially like this.

For those wanting volume enhancement:  I was surprised, but the sound really is increased.  By my ad hoc measurement, it’s about 4 clicks louder (using the Clip’s volume switch) than before–very measureable and noticeable, and requiring that the sound be turned down.

In the end, recommended, especially at the $8.50 or so shipped price, that just can’t be matched or even approached.  The seller is fine (although not very responsive/helpful to questions–unfortunately, typical), and the item took 12 days to arrive to the U.S./West Coast (on a Monday after the weekend–there could have been some delay there) from Hong Kong.  

(Oh, a small instruction pamphlet also is included, using stereotypical (and sometimes indechiperable) pigeon English; but not a big issue, as the amp. is so easy to use and its operation can be ascertained through the device itself and pictures or words on it.)

I’m glad you’re enjoying it, too, Miikerman.  It’s a nifty little gadget all around.  If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of headphones do you use with your Clip?

 

All the best,

Brad

Yep, great fun!   :slight_smile:

Headphones:  a few different types:  a couple of Shure in-ear phones for portability and sound isolation, the older E2Cs and the newer SE210s, which I really like and that fit me well for all purposes, including exercising (no falling out), with nice, clear sound; and a set of Sony MDR-M77s that rest on the ear–over 20 years old and still producing nice sound, in a stylish packaging including a real leather headband (imagine that).  And they all sound great with the Clip.

Hey, a further recommendqtion for the FiiO amp.:  highly recommended to use a rechargeable AAA battery in it.  The amp. battery is rated for around 8 hours, if I recall correctly, and it is very easy to forget the amp. and to leave the headphone plugged into the amp. when not using it–this keeps the amp. on, serving as the on switch.  (Of course, this happened to me today.)  Could get expensive with alkaline batteries; not an issue with rechargeables.  Again, DealExtreme sells a 2-set of fine AAA batteries for only just over $3 shipped (I’ve been charging them in a 1-hour charger just fine).

Again, recommended!

Thanks for posting the pics Hulk.  I’m on the fence about it, mainly because it’s yet another thing to keep charged. I assume you need to have a AAA recharger for it, so I couldn’t recharge it with my Clip.

Still it’s cheap, so I might pick one up just to play with.  Thanks for the post.

@cydewaze wrote:

Thanks for posting the pics Hulk.  I’m on the fence about it, mainly because it’s yet another thing to keep charged. I assume you need to have a AAA recharger for it, so I couldn’t recharge it with my Clip.

 

Still it’s cheap, so I might pick one up just to play with.  Thanks for the post.

Hey, no problem.  Yes, you’ll need an AAA recharger for the E3.  I’ve recently heard of the FiiO E5 coming sometime soon.  I believe it’ll actually have an on/off switch, a clip, and the ability to be charged through an USB port.

 

All the best,

Brad

I thought I’d post a couple of pics of my portable set-up in its new case.  It’s a Case Logic flash drive case I picked up at Office Depot for a dollar (the same day I got my new 'phones).  My brother and I bought nearly every one of these cases; we just couldn’t beat that price.

 

Here are the pics:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/ChironHeroTeacher/DSCF0001.jpg

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y247/ChironHeroTeacher/DSCF0004-1.jpg

 

As you can see, I’m able to fit my Clip, FiiO amp, interconnect cable, and two extra batteries for my amp and my 'phones neatly inside the case.  It’s also well padded, protecting everything inside and keeping it all in place.

 

All the best,

Brad

That thing is cool as heck!  Now I want one.

kwl sounds gd.

does it have a battery level indicator?

Message Edited by Zaim on 10-23-2008 03:05 PM

No.  I just keep an extra charged AAA battery along with it (which I would do regardless).  (That’s the nice thing about devices that use removable standard batteries–easy to have a spare around.  The E5 version of the amp., to be out next month or so, has a built-in rechargeable battery–while nice, it’s also a barrier.)

Can some1 plz explain how this amplifier works? how the clip knows to tell his intergrated amplifer to shut down itself? do the amplifer knows how to decode vorbis? thx

The E3 version of the FiiO amp turns on or off by inserting a cable (which would be connected to the Clip’s headphone jack) into or out of the amp’s input jack.  The E5 version will have an on-off switch.  As to the amp and equalizer in the Clip itself, there is no active interplay between them and the FiiO amp–you potentially would need to turn the Clip’s EQ “off,” if that’s what you want.  (That’s no issue for me, as I have the Clip’s EQ set to flat/normal as a general matter.)  If I recall correctly, the E5 version of the FiiO amp will have a control to eliminate extra bass that an input player has added, if that’s desired.

The FiiO amp doesn’t de-code–rather, it amplifies the audio signal that it already receives (in the case of ogg vorbis, the Clip de-codes the file and then sends the audio to the amp, just as it would send the audio to a pair of headphones).

Info. on the amp can be found at the manf.'s website, at http://www.fiio.com.cn/en/showproduct.asp?id=301.

I read on head-fi.org that using a rechargeable AAA battery may cause to have (maybe little) problems driving high impendance phones. Alkalines give more power than rechargables. Just an advice and maybe something to think about when deciding about buying a FiiO E3 or waiting for the new FiiO E5.

Ordered the black E3 last week, so should I be expecting it to be at my door by late next week? Well from the reviews about this amp, it seems worth the wait.

 $8.14 with free shipping is one h3ll of a deal though. With the added features of the coming-soon E5, do you think it’ll stay even near that price?