Does anyone else out there have problems with Fiio products connected to Windows 10 PCs via USB causing the Blue Screen of Death? I’ve been having issues with this combination. Below is more complete information. It might get long. But any thoughts anyone has will be appreciated. My home desktop computer uses Windows 10 Home (the PC has an optical out on the mobo which I now use almost exclusively) and my office/traveling computer is a Surface Pro 4 (which only has a single USB 3.0 port).
My first DAC/Amp was a Fiio E10K. It improved sound so much that I also bought an E18 for mobile use on my Android phone, and to take with me when I travel for work. I also bought the K3 because it was described as the grown up version of the E10(K) so I wanted to try it out. They are all fine sounding products for IEMs and low-impedance headphones.
The issues: the E10K stayed in my office connected to my Surface through a USB hub and worked great for a few months before I started to notice some very light - but still distracting - static in the sound. I removed the hub and plugged the E10K in directly, static didn’t go away. Usually a computer restart cleared it up, until it didn’t. I had been using the built in Windows driver and installed Fiio’s drivers. That was a mistake. That caused several crashes and blue screens with the vague “Memory Management” warning. Removing the Fiio drivers cleared up the blue screens for awhile. But they eventually came back when using just the Windows drivers with the E10K. I tried the E10K on my home desktop to see if it was a problem with the unit or if it was that particular computer. It f’d my desktop up so bad I had to reinstall Windows. So, I moved to an FX DAC-X6 with Windows drivers and it’s never caused a problem.
While the E10K was working well, I also snagged an E18 for mobile use. It too worked great with both my Android phone(s) (had a LG G3 when I first got in then a Galaxy Note 8) and my Surface. After several months again, it started failing to be recognized by any of my Windows computers and put my Note 8 into its visually impaired mode (that’s probably not the right name but you have to hold down each button on the screen until the phone reads out loud what you’re touching, then continue to hold it to select it - took a long time to get that turned off). By this time, I wasn’t going to risk installing Fiio’s Windows drivers again. The E18 has a reset switch which I flipped. It actually works much better now. I don’t plug it into any Windows devices anymore, but I can safely plug it into my Note 8 and nothing disastrous happens…for now.
At this point I should probably mention that I did a full and fresh reinstall of Windows on my Surface back in late January 2019. I’ve also run Memtest and had a couple IRL friends who do computer stuff for a living look at my Surface and all say that the hardware doesn’t appear to be the issue.
I’m starting to notice the pattern again with the K3. I bought it back in February 2019, I believe. It worked really well for awhile. There were no BSoD’s since my reinstall of Windows on my Surface until this past week. I’ve been using either a Schiit Modi 3 or an SMSL SU-8 plugged into my Surface via USB for many months with no issues. But, I pulled out the K3 again about a week ago, plugged it into my Surface, and have now had 2 BSoD’s with the “Memory Management” message in that week.
I know @ZeosPantera has moved on from USB, preferring optical. I can do that on my home desktop but the Surface only has USB. In my office I have a separate monitor and have tried an HDMI audio extractor to pull the audio out of HDMI and turn it into optical. It works, but I think the particular unit I was using degraded the sound a bit. Plus, that’s hard to take with when I travel. Also, the DAC-X6, Modi 3, and SU-8 all seem to work just fine via USB and Windows built-in drivers. So, I don’t think it’s a general USB audio problem, I think it’s a Fiio problem.
Anyone else out there experiencing this and/or have a solution? I might just end up having to ditch the Fiio products and go with other brands.