Just obtained a Fii0 E7 portable headphone amplifier with DAC chip. Very slick attractive device. Packaged, marketed and shaped like an Iphone 4. Very sexy. Review coming shortly.
The E7 has been undergoing rigorous testing for the past week or so, and there are definite advantages to using this with a variety of headphone systems. For headphones that seem under powered, but provide decent quality sound, this is a definite solution. However, this is not a fix all, and cannot replace premium quality audio products. I compared the E7 in combination with a pair of Klipsch S2i’s that ran new for about $100, and contrasted them with a higher end pair of Able Planet Linx Audio over the ear headphones, to see if a headphone amplifier such as the E7 could really and fairly mimic the performance of a high end pair of headphones, and I must admit I was a little disappointed. It is in this author’s opinion that if a consumer is looking for the best bang for their buck, saving one’s money for a better headset, rather than buying a mediocre pair of headphones/earbuds, and trying to make up for it with an audio enhancer such as this, does not quite do the trick, sexy though the product may be.
If one wants to stay around $100 for a good pair of headphones, try AblePlanet. They often have very reasonable deals on Groupon, Overstock, and Amazon.