Is it worth upgrading from a fiio e10k?

I’ve had my fiio 10k now for 3 years with no sign of it really giving out minus static noise being made whenever I use the knob on it to adjust audio. I love it don’t get me wrong but I was curious if jumping to a more expensive dac/amp all in one or dac/amp combo would improve anything. I’ve been using 58x jubilees, DT 990s, and ATH-AD700X with the fiio, bouncing between the three time to time but primarily using the 58x. I mainly use my audio to game competively in Apex and CSGO. With all that being said, is it worth upgrading? Maybe it’s worth upgrading headphones? If it’s worth upgrading, what would be the best to upgrade to on a budget of 300$ USD or less?

I’m new here, so I’m sorry if I’m posting in the wrong topic for this question.

1 Like

welcome to HFG acuiti!

an upgrade would probably have some benefit, but a lot has to do with what music you listen to. what genre’s do you like?

yo thanks!

i primarily listen to shoegaze, math rock, and j-pop. to be fair though, i probably listen to music 30% of the time compared to the 70% of time that i game competitively. so I sort of have a preference towards what would give me the easiest time in hearing things like footsteps or certain audio cues.

Nah those headphones don’t really need more power (depends on the 990 version though) but yeah you probably don’t need more unless you plan on upgrading the headphones to something harder to drive, you can probably achieve like 5% more clarity if you upgrade to a better dac, I’d rather spend it on upgrading the headphones tbh…

what do you think would be the best headphones to upgrade towards if I’m more partial to the sound of the 58x?

I think most of the consensus here on this one will be that headphones will provide much more of an upgrade path. I’d take a look at the competitive gaming subsection here. It’s interesting, as a lot of folks would suggest that 58x is not a particularly good gaming set (because of spatial detriments). That is not exactly my world though.

The 660s is a direct upgrade to the 58x pretty much, very similar signature but more technical ability. You could also move to a 6xx if you wanted to take a bit of a different path if you wanted something more relaxed and neutral than the 660s but still in a similar enough vein.

I agree with what’s been said above about your current headphones and upgrading the DAC and amp, honestly the headphones you have aren’t all that picky and don’t scale that well so it wouldn’t be that significant of a change. If you went to something like a 660s or 6xx then upgrading source gear would be worthwhile

It’s kinda tricky cause you need something that can be driven well from the fiio.
I actually went from 58x to 660s (with a bunch of stuff in the middle), I do think it’s a decent upgrade in clarity but they do have less bass, so you might even prefer the 58x (you do have the fiio with bass boost tho).

Cause for other stuff in the price range, like a sundara you might actually want to upgrade the amp, I think the elex are pretty easy to drive too if you can spend more…

Otherwise I think you could try the sundara and see if they do well with the fiio and if not just get an amp and use the fiio as a dac with the lineout to the amp.

still have my E10k from eons ago lol (think it’s about to crap out but so far running strong) even having amps 5x the price find myself using it once and a while

with those headphones? not really, but if you plan to upgrade headphones at some point to more demanding ones I don’t see why not. Headphones will be your biggest upgrade though followed by amp then dac

Owned the 660s for a while now, personally speaking I hated that I gave up soundstage as that’s kinda my preference but I will say the technical upgrade is very nice.

thanks for the help guys, i’ll for sure look into upgrading my headphones over upgrading my dac/amp for the time being. Surprisingly, my fiio is able to push the 990 250ohm just fine. It gets loud enough pretty quick. 660s do look like a solid choice to upgrade my headphones towards but I’ll look more into other possible options before i decide. Fiio E10K gang will continue on.

This is a different topic but I would like to request M0N advise on this.

Hello M0N, if I could get your take on this. I was given an HD6XX and a DT880 600 ohm as a gift.

I did some online research and saw reviews on both these headphones and found that both of them will perform or match very well with an OTL amp.

I am planning to get both Feliks Echo Mk2 and Lake People G111 as a tube and solid state amp for both.

My question is, will both the HD6XX and the DT880 “sound different” or have a different “sound signature” when being driven either by the echo or the G111? Or will they be more or less the same? If just the same? which alternative amplifier would you recommend?

@WaveTheory mentioned HD6XX is like having two different headphones when driven by a solid-state and a tube amp.

I just want both of these headphones at their peak or near peak performance and best possible sound quality.

Do you have any other tube and solid-state combination for these 2 headphones around the USD$1800 price point? BHC will not be an option as I do not want to DIY. Choices are limited as I am based in Australia.

My current DAC right now is a Topping E50 which I plan to upgrade to a Bifrost 2 in a couple of years. My source is just my PC and will run Spotify Premium.

@M0N it will be great if I can also give an opinion on this. Basically I just want a tube and a solid state amp that can both drive the 6XX and DT880 600 ohm at their peak performance.

Thanks for your time.

I was in a similar situation when I started this hobby. The DT990 can definietly benefit from a better amp. The Fiio is fine as a starter DAC AMP but with your headphones you should invest in a good DAC AMP imho.

The Topping DX3 Pro+ is a good option with a lot of power and a good DAC. You should take a look at it

Damn. Someone likes you! :+1:

I haven’t heard the Echo so I’ll let @M0N or someone else speak to that one. But G111 is an excellent mid-level solid-state amp for both of those headphones. If I had to guess, that one will give you a clean and neutral presentation for both headphones. The Echo likely sounds different, I just can’t say exactly how because I haven’t heard one.

That should work just fine. You MIGHT get some excess brightness in the DT880 from the E50, but I think it has some digital filters which might help that roll off some. BF2 has never given me an issue with DT880 in that regard.

Good goal. These 2 amps should handle both cans very, very well. “Peak performance” will cost you a bit more because these headphones scale up like nobody’s business. But I doubt you’ll be at all disappointed.

Thanks @WaveTheory for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it. I am subscribed to your YT channel btw. M0N replied thru a private message.

since the last time i posted i actually managed to snag DT 1990s and monolith’s liquid spark dac and amp stack. every single pair of headphones i own currently; 1990s, 58x, and 990s, all benefited from the upgrade. granted some less than others, 58x specifically. the 1990s and 990s benefited quite a bit. ive only used this stack and the fiio e10k at this point so i dont have much more to compare with but if i had to put it into words, the LS stack sort of softens treble/mids, increases clarity in a somewhat noticeable to noticeable way dependent on headphones, and makes soundstage feel much more open in a way. the stack, to put it simply, makes sound much more full and expanded compared to the fiio, its pretty much an upgrade in all aspects minus a bass boost switch. i now use the 1990s mainly.

1 Like