FiiO E17 vs E17K Review

The purpose of a headphone amplifier is to produce great quality audio right? I’m sure we’re both correct on that. Just asking, have you ever considered which of the FiiO E17 Alpen Portable headphone amplifier or the Fiio E17K ALPEN 2 USB DAC headphone amplifier would be a better choice? Which of them do you think would produce better audio sound quality when connected to a quality headphone? Have you ever thought about it? Well, whether you have or not; if you’re an ardent sound and music lover, then understanding how both headphones work for the sake of making a good choice; is probably a good idea.

FiiO E17
FiiO E17
Fiio E17K
Fiio E17K









FiiO E17 Alpen Portable Headphone Amplifier USB DAC

When you want to purchase a headphone amplifier, I’m sure the first factor to consider would be the quality of sound it produces. When I first saw the FiiO E17 model, I immediately had a gut feeling I would purchase it, so I decided to check it out and give it a test.  My first observation of the device is the beautiful casing in which it is placed in, a fine smooth metal with an attractive outlook; this on its own indicates the thoughtful perception put into its design and packaging. Everything about the metal casing signifies quality; right from the way it looks, all to the way it feels. The FiiO E17 is also very portable in size; it’s quite small for an amplifier and looks just like a regular mobile phone; it is even smaller than a typical iPhone.

The FiiO E17 headphone amplifier also carries on it adjustable buttons, where one can easily adjust the gain, bass and treble balance as well as the stereo balance, not forgetting the EQ, although, I don’t really know what the EQ button does as a function. As part of its unique features, the FiiO E17 display screen is made with an attached screen protector of some sort. The protector screen helps protect it from unwanted markings, scratches etc. On the display screen, you will find neatly done cutouts to enable access to the buttons on the screen. Along with its packaging, includes a short cable you can use to plug in the E17 and get it started as soon as you undock it from its casing. The short cable carries minijacks on both of its ends.

The first testing I did was to connect the FiiO E17 amplifier to a quality headphone such as ones manufactured by Sony or a more popular household brand name for headphones, the Sennheiser brand. The sound quality without a doubt was flawless, crisp and really clear; I could easily distinguish between the music I was listening to and the sound in the background; to me that is what I expect of a good headphone amplifier. Another test I did was to connect the FiiO E17 headphone amplifier to my iPhone. I wanted to experience what it would feel like to connect a headphone amplifier to a mobile phone. The sound quality I got just listening to mp3 tracks from my iPhone through the E17 amplifier really got me stuck for a few times, because I kept using it for a few days before going back to the regular way I listen to music on my phone.  To top it all, the price tag of the FiiO E17 is so justified; I have even heard a few users say the E17 gives more value than it’s worth.

Fiio E17K ALPEN 2 USB DAC Headphone Amplifier

The Fiio E17K is not just a specially made headphone amplifier; it equally serves as an appropriate digital to analog converter, otherwise known as the DAC, unlike the FiiO E17, whose main function, is just to produce quality sound. The E17k also comes with an already in built rechargeable lithium battery as well as a USB charger; this special feature makes it possible for the headphone amplifier to be charged anytime and on the go, just by plugging it to your computer or with a regular USB adapter. This way, one can always enjoy continued usage at any point in time, irrespective of one’s location. Unlike the E17 which features more buttons on the display screen, the Fiio E17K is built with lesser numbers of buttons on the display, while the E17 has more relevant buttons.

Similarly, the E17k is built with a special wheel which has more than one function. When the amplifier is turned on or clicked, the special wheel responds in such a way that one can have total control on all the functions of the headphone amplifier. This added feature was implemented to replace the many buttons on the E17 model.  Another unique quality of the E17k which you will definitely find useful is its ability to serve as an external sound card for your PC; the FiiO E17 does not have the sound card feature. The E17k contains a USB receiver which allows for normal transmission and also supports normal DSD decoding, just like the E17 model.


The E17k equally produces amazing sound quality just like its predecessor the Fiio E17, but considering all the special features introduced to its production, I’m pretty sure you would easily make a good choice and justify the upped price on the headphone amplifier.


Click here to purchase FiiO E17 on Amazon!


Click here to purchase FiiO E17K on Amazon!





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