Rarely are desktop DAC/Amps so affordable, but Fiio is putting one out there for $199. The K7 is a desktop headphone DAC/Amp that aims to establish a new baseline. Fiio’s other desktop units like the K9 Pro are great, but cost a lot more. Is the K7 a good option for desktop amps that fit in your budget?
What You Get
- Power cable x1
- Power adapter x1
- USB cable x1
- Quick start guide x1
- Warranty card x1
If you’ve seen some of Fiio’s other desktops units like the K9 Pro, the K7 is basically a miniaturized version of that. There’s far less ins and outs, but still contains what is necessary. The build itself is a nice compact piece of hardware that won’t take up too much desktop space. Its aluminum chassis is solid, and its features are organized very cleanly. On its face you have a big round volume knob that also turns on the device. There are RGB light behind it that indicate sample rates, with a few switches and headphone outputs you can use. Quarter-inch and 4.4mm balanced headphone outputs are offered here, with optical, coaxial, and line-in/out RCA on the back.
The Fiio K7 is equipped with dual AK4493S DAC chips. You can also expect the THX AAA 788+ amp technology that most Fiio DAC/Amp products come with now, making the K7 probably one of the most affordable units to do so. A series of six different audio circuits help prevent issues like crosstalk, enhancing signal purity. You can listen to a plethora of different music formats with the K7 thanks to the XMOS XUF208 decoder chip and its dual-clack management.
Depending on how much volume you need to pump into your headphones, the K7 can wield interesting results. Fiio DACs and amps tend to do some great work with improving the soundstage and imaging of your headphones, and the K7 is no different. If you’re using the 4.4mm balanced option, the dynamics here will be especially apparent. I tried the HiFiMAN Sundara with the K7, and the soundstage definitely appeared wider. The imaging had more sense of place, rather than just floating in the air, and it helped with localizing more definitive sound elements. Same goes for the Beyerdynamic DT 990 as well, which needed more juice, but the K7 was able to do it justice. Here, the space between instruments and effects is highlighted a lot more. This gave me an easier time discerning layers of sound for more critical listening.
As for the sound profile of the K7, you can expect tightness and clarity throughout. The bass offers good depth with most headphones and IEMs, providing more lift and clearer stacking of low-end frequency ranges. The K7 puts the bass tone around your jawline, and rarely bleeds bas that point, maintaining organization in the lows. The midrange frequencies also do a good job with stacking, and it makes arrangements appear smoother. Certain instruments and vocal performances have slightly more edge to them, finding themselves easier to cut through the mix. Vocals especially stand out as positioning themselves slightly above you and feel more commanding. The highs shouldn’t bother you most of the time, but still maintain realism.
With the K7 Fiio wants to make a new go-to desktop DAC/Amp for people just breaking into the headphone world. That’s exactly what it does, and its all the better for it. Even for its price though, the K7 does some great things sound wise. It’s hard to really come up with any major complaints aside from how I wouldn’t necessarily try to drive 300 Ohms with it. The K7 isn’t that kind of device, but it will outperform similar products in this range.
The Fiio K7 is available at Audio46.