When it comes to portable and desktop DAC/amps, no one beats FiiO with respect to quality for the price point. So, I’m always excited to see what new budget-friendly devices the company has to offer. The K11 is FiiO’s latest super affordable desktop DAC/amp. How much power does it deliver? And how does the K11 sound?
What’s in the Box?
USB A to C cable
1/4 inch adapter
The K11 has to be the most attractive piece of equipment that FiiO has created in a while. Ultra sleek and minimalist with a pricey appearance, the K11 looks pretty handsome on a desktop setup. And while not particularly heavy, it does have some good weight and solidity thanks to its aluminum alloy build. Finally, contrasting the very understated design is the fun FiiO logo, which lights up in 6 different colors according to the sample rate of the track being played.
While the device looks simple, it does offer some decent functionality. The volume knob, which feels firmly planted, also acts as the control for a variety of functions, such as gain switching, input modes, and LO/PO modes, which remember the last volume level set in a particular mode.
The K11 has a balanced power output of 1400mW, packing a ton of energy under the hood. You can pretty much hook this thing up to any headphone and it should be able to drive it (within reason). For this review, I paired the K11 with the 250 Ohm Beyerdynamic DT 1770 and I had an impressive amount of headroom to spare. But it should be noted that with the low gain switch on, there’s little noise floor to speak of when playing sensitive IEMs.
The K11 supports up to 384kHz/32bit PCM and DSD256. Interestingly, there is no MQA support, which is the only major bummer with respect to the design of this cute device.
Inputs and Outputs
- Coaxial in
- Optical in
- Line outs
- Coaxial out
- 1/4 inch
- 4.4mm balanced
Most notable, the presentation felt really tight and disciplined. Listening on the Beyerdynamic DT1770, which is already an accurate and firmly contained sound, the K11 brought that extra bit of precision, almost thinning out the sound elements ever so slightly and delivering them with greater intricacy than I would normally expect from these cans.
The only flaw to the sound signature of the K11 is the mild harshness that can occur in the higher frequencies. Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain”, for example, had a grating quality as soon she went into the chorus. But other than this tuning effect, the balance seemed mostly untouched by the DAC in the K11.
While the K11 won’t do a tremendous amount for your imaging, you may notice a slightly wider stage with more accentuated depth and height placement, partly due to the enhanced level of separation. But for the most part, the improved control and extra bit of emphasis in the treble is what will probably be most apparent.
As usual, FiiO is giving you a lot for the price. The K11 not only offers a commendable level of power, but also just makes your music sound audibly better. With an intricate, highly controlled delivery and more spacious imaging, the K11 brings just enough character to your headphone’s sound without manipulating its essence. The only major downside to the K11 is the lack of MQA support. But if you’re not a Tidal streamer, who cares; for $130, the K11 overdelivers in every other way.
You can buy the FiiO K11 at Audio 46.