Fiio K3 vs E10k: Comparative Review

Every company often releases an upgraded version of its bestsellers from time to time. If you are a loyal customer of that certain company and you already liked the predecessors of that product then you will certainly consider buying the new one as well.

Fiio has created such a loyal customer base by releasing fantastic products. Over the span of time Fiio has really grown in people. Their affordable products have created a good reputation for them. This feature of Fiio has attracted the new audiophiles as well.

Fiio manufactures some amazing amplifiers. Each and every amp has great features that can actually elevate your music experience. Today we will be talking about two of such Fiio amplifiers. They are the Fiio K3 and the Fiio E10k. We will enlighten you with all the great features as well as some decision-making points. So, even if you are new to the audiophile hobby you are in the right place. At the end of the article, you will have enough information to decide which one is best for you.

Now let’s dive in the box and see what’s inside it. Shall we?

Unboxing:

Fiio K3:

Inside the box of Fiio K3 you will find:

  • The Amp/ DAC
  • Type-C USB cable
  • Instruction guide
  • Adhesive Strips-4
  • Warranty card

Fiio E10k:

  • The Amp/DAC
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Instruction guide
  • Button Adhesive -1 pair (+Two extra)
  • Warranty Card

Although K3 has improved a lot but Fiio cut some corners in case of accessories. They do not provide any RCA to mini, optical, or coaxial cable. So, even though K3 is an upgraded version still you will have to spend some extra money in order to arrange a convenient setup.

Differences of Fiio K3 vs E10k at a glance:

Since we are saying time and again that K3 has upgraded a lot, improved from its predecessor so you might be thinking what are the differences it has created.  Let’s take a look at the updates made by Fiio:

Features Fiio E10k Fiio K3
Capability Upto 24bit/ 96kHz Up to 32bit/384kHz
Outputs Coaxial line, 3.5mm headphone jack. Coaxial, Line, 3.5mm headphone jack, 2.5mm balanced.
Inputs Micro USB Type-C USB
Signal to noise ratio >105 dB > 113 dB
THD <0.006% at 1kHz <0.004%
Frequency Response 20 Hz- 20 kHz 20 Hz- 80kHz
Weight 79 grams 83 grams
Power Bus-powered Bus-powered, 5VDC 500mA

As we are writing the article as a beginner-friendly one so you should what all these technical terms mean. Then it will be clear to you which one is better between the two. Keep reading and you will find the clarity you are looking for.

Features of Fiio K3:

  • Capability: Up to 32-bit/384kHz.
  • Stereo Crosstalk: ≥70 dB (1 kHz).
  • Outputs:1x Coaxial, Line, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x 2.5mm balanced
  • DSD Support: Yes, 64/128/256.
  • Output Impedance:04.
  • Output Power (Single Ended): 220 mW @ 16 Ohms, 120 mW @ 32 Ohms.
  • Output Power (Balanced):320 mW @ 16 Ohms, 200 mW @ 32 Ohms.
  • Output Voltage: 39 Vp-p.
  • Digital Outputs:Coaxial: RCA for 192 kHz, Support DSD64 DOP
    Optical Out: Up to 96 kHz.
  • Inputs:1x Type-C USB.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio:≥113 dB.
  • THD:≤0.004%.
  • Frequency Response:20Hz to 80kHz.
  • Op amp:2 x OPA926.
  • Low-pass filter: TI OPA1612.
  • USB chip: XMOS XUF208.
  • Dimensions: 8 x 2.3 x 0.9″ / 70.0 x 58.0 x 22.0 mm.
  • Weight:83 grams.
  • Warranty:1 year.
  • Power: Bus powered, 5 VDC 500 mA.
  • Features: Bass boost, Gain switch.

Features of Fiio E10k:

  • Capability: Handles PCM Files up to 24-bit/96 kHz.
  • Stereo Crosstalk:> 70 dB.
  • Outputs:1x Coaxial, Line, 1x 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Output Impedance:04.
  • Output Power:[email protected]Ω.
  • Output Voltage:39Vp-p.
  • Inputs:1x Micro USB.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio:>105dB.
  • THD at 1V output:<0.006%@1KHz.
  • Frequency Response:20Hz -20KHz.
  • Dimensions:79mm x 49.1mm x 21mm.
  • Weight:79 grams.
  • Warranty:1 year.
  • Power: Bus-powered.
  • Features: Bass boost, Gain switch.

Fiio K3 vs Fiio E10k:

Design and Outlook:

As you have seen that the weight of the Fiio K3 is slightly more than E10k so you might be thinking it will be tough to carry around. But the K3 looks better in your hand.

The matte black and smooth finish of the body of the amplifier really seems pretty elegant. But an advantage of the E10k is due to its rough surface it doesn’t collect fingerprints as easily as the Fiio K3.

The increment of weight we are talking about from the E20k to the K3 is probably because it has become a little wider. The thought of the amp remains the same. But Fiio has made the K3 with rounded corners which implies a more modern look than the boxier E10k.

On top of each of the amplifiers, you will find the logo of Fiio. The difference is you will be able to read the logo on the K3 while it’s facing you and its upside down in the E10k. The K3 one makes more sense though. Don’t you think the same? In addition to the logo, you will see a laser engraved Hi-Res audio sign on the K3 which looks a lot more ecstatic.

Front Panel:

On the front panel, you will notice an up-gradation of the ADC volume pot. In the E10k the volume pot was labeled. It was numbered from 0-8 with an OFF text. There is no such indicator in the K3. Another difference that you will find is the pot is digitalized in the K3. As a result, you won’t face any issue regarding channel imbalance at low volumes.

The volume pot of K3 has an interesting option. It changes color while it is rotated. The colors are:

  • Blue- 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz
  • Yellow- Frequency above 48 kHz
  • Green- DSD

On the basis of the design of the knob, it is pretty evident that Fiio is trying to produce consistent designs for its amplifiers. The dot on the knob and the red piece behind the pot is such an indicator. The size of the knob is slightly bigger in circumference than the E10k. This is very helpful in rotating the knob.

Playing with the sound is much easier now. Because in the K3 you will find the bass boost and the gain switch in the front panel. The situation of the switches is much more convenient to use in the K3.

There is also a 2.5mm balanced jack. Something that should be noted here is that you will have to work a little hard inserting the headphone jack. Whereas in the E10k it was very smooth and easy. It is a very minor issue and you might not even notice it after using the unit for some time.

Back panel:

The first improvement on the back panel is the transformation from Micro USB to Type-C. This was a pretty good decision by Fiio.

Micro USB cables are fine until you use it for a long time and at some point in its life it keeps on failing. So, it was a good step to switch to Type-C. It doesn’t jiggle around the port and creates a stable signal.

USB

On the back panel just above the type-C port, you will see a button with text USB 1.0 and 2.0. The benefit of the USB 1.0 is that when you connect it with your PC it is instantly read. It doesn’t create any type of unnecessary issue regarding the connection. It is absolutely flawless.

On the other hand, if you are willing to use USB 2.0 then simply go to the Fiio support and download the USB DAC driver. Then reboot the unit and voila. Now you can use a USB that supports DSD256 up to 32 bit/384 kHz.

Another cool thing that Fiio kept unchanged is the line out and Coax. This provides a variety of options open to use the K3.

Usability:

As we have mentioned earlier that both the Fiio K3 and E10k has multiple uses. You can use it as an amplifier as well as a DAC. Fiio has ensured a variety of uses by providing a number of outputs and inputs.

The 3.5mm line out, RCA to mini, COAX, Lineout powered to PC increases the ways these amps can be used. This wide range of usability in both the K3 and E10k is very impressive indeed.

You might have also observed that many DACS only supports coax and Toslink. In such cases, you can use the E10k or K3 as a converter. This will convert the signal from USB to coax. You can also use it with your TV by simply connecting one end with the K3/E10k from a Toslink cable and the other end to the TV. Thus you can enjoy the experience of an amp in as many forms as you want.

Did you think this was the end? If yes, then you are absolutely wrong my friend.

Gaming:

Fiio has added an optical port. So, you can connect it to a DAC using SPDIF and enhance your gaming experience. This would make K3 one of the most valuable DAC in the market. But it has a drawback. It only provides optical OUT not IN. So, it is not possible to connect gaming consoles which is a huge disappointment, especially for gamers. Otherwise, this was an affordable choice for them.

The E19k is also suitable for gaming. But it also has a disadvantage. That is you will have to pump up the volume to the highest still it will sound low. Even if you tick the gain switch it’s just not enough.

Connection with the phone:

It is possible to use the K3 with your smartphone. Depending on the model of the phone it might sometimes show some error. But since it has a type-c port it is easier to connect it to the phone. But the battery life decreases when you do this because there’s no source of power in either of them.

The E10k is harder to use with your smartphone because it has a Micro USB port. As this is not compatible with most smartphones nowadays so you will require a different adapter for the E10k.

Ergonomics:

From the K3 with the single-ended 3.5mm standard headphone jack, you will get:

  • 220 mW @ 16 Ohms.
  • 120 mW @ 32 Ohms.

Out of the 2.5 mils balanced you will get:

  • 320 mW @ 16 Ohms.
  • 200 mW @ 32 Ohms.

If you considering buying just a budget-friendly amp being a beginner audiophile then this will work just fine for you. But being a desktop DAC/amp you will surely expect more. At least a wide range of power from the main jack is nothing too much to ask for. Isn’t it?

The volume goes much higher in the K3 without the gain on. But to reach such level you might have to switch on the gain in case of the E10k.

Despite this drawback, the balanced feature is quite good. If you connect a balanced headphone with the amp then you are good to go forever.

The K3 also has a higher frequency range from E10k. At such a low price point this is a very good deal.

Final Decision:

Sometimes the specifications can be overrated. So, it is difficult to decide that you want a certain product just based on certain specs. Rather we suggest you focus on the experiences we had or other people had while using that particular product. Then only then you can be sure if that’s the one for you.

Now, in the battle between Fiio K3 and Fiio E10k both the amps seemed quite reasonable. With all the good quality features with the outcome, it provides it very impressive. Not to mention the price is also very affordable. As a result, both the Amp/DAC can get a similar rating from us based upon their unique characteristics.

Since we are not being biased we also want you to decide with an unbiased mind. Keep in mind all the features and how they provide the best results. Understand for what purpose you will use the amp for. And finally, make the decision which one you want to buy.

Related Topics:

Best quality DAC for your sound systems

Categories DACS