- It is the latest solution in FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd's ever-growing desktop audio product portfolio, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier.
The new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier is the successor to the FiiO K9 Pro Flagship Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier presented two years ago, whereby the Chinese specialist FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. once again wants to offer a solution that is aimed at particularly demanding users. Although it is no longer directly mentioned in the full product name, the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier is to be understood as a flagship in the field of headphone amplifiers with integrated D/A converter for desktop audio applications, as the manufacturer explicitly emphasises.
What distinguishes the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier from its predecessor, however, is its name, because it is a new D/A converter that now comes from ESS Technology Inc.
FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier – The new flagship for desktop audio
The FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier is once again intended to be a particularly flexible solution, and to impress even the most demanding users with its quality. And indeed, FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. offers state-of-the-art features to achieve this goal.
The FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier measures 200 x 220 x 72 mm and has a housing made of elegant black aluminium. It weighs in at around 2.7 kg. Before we get into the question of why this actually compact solution is so heavy, it should be mentioned that the FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier can be set up either horizontally or vertically.
Impressive interior and flexible connection options
If you look under the bonnet of the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier, you’ll see first and foremost a powerful linear power supply that is supposed to provide the basis for the best quality, with both the analogue and digital sections being supplied separately to prevent any negative influences on each other.
The circuit board is also equipped with plenty of high-quality components, this can be stated quite clearly.
What also stands out – in the truest sense of the word – are the numerous interfaces of the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier. First of all, there is a USB-B port for connection to a PC or Mac, and an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface are also available. There is also a USB-C port on the side, so that smartphones and tablets can be easily connected as a source.
For analogue signals, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier has a 4.4 mm pentaconn as a balanced input, as well as a pair of RCA sockets as a further unbalanced analogue input. Another pair of RCA sockets acts as an unbalanced analogue output, and there is also a pair of XLR sockets to serve as a balanced analogue output.
Directly on the front you will find a 4-pin XLR as well as a 4.4 mm pentaconn for balanced connection of headphones, plus a 6.3 mm stereo jack for unbalanced connection.
Also on the front is a centrally located, solid rotary encoder with LED ring, as well as several buttons and selector switches and status LEDs.
Of course, it should not go unmentioned that the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier has Bluetooth, whereby it is Bluetooth 5.1 based on a Qualcomm QCC5124 from Qualcomm Inc., which supports aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL, aptX Adaptive and LDAC in addition to SBC and AAC.
For USB and Bluetooth, a particularly sophisticated design based on an XMOS processor and dual-mode clock management is used.
32 Bit 384 kHz, DSD and MQA
The new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier is able to process signals in Linear PCM with up to 32 bit and 384 kHz, DSD up to DSD256 and also content encoded in lossy MQA.
The RGB LED display around the rotary encoder indicates which signal is present at the digital inputs. This also serves to indicate which codec is being applied when Bluetooth is acting as the source.
Fully balanced signal processing
The new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier features fully balanced signal processing, starting with the D/A converter, which uses two ESS ES9038PRO DACs from ESS Technology Inc. that pass their signals to two Texas Instruments OPA1612s per channel. Volume control is handled by NJU72315 from Nisshinbo Micro Devices Inc. and OPA1602 from Texas Instruments, also using two per channel. The output stage is equipped with a THX AAA Powered Headphone Amplifier, specifically a THX AAA-788+ Amplifier from THX Ltd.
The output stage supports three gain levels, namely High, Medium and Low, so that an optimal adjustment to different headphones can be made.
The output stage is capable of delivering 2,100 mW into 32 ohms and 1,100 mW into 300 ohms, according to the manufacturer’s promise.
Prices and availability
The new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier is expected to be available from retailers in the near future. The price is listed at US$ 849,-.
Getting to the point
It is the new flagship in the field of desktop audio solutions that FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. now presents with the new FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier. Compared to the previously offered model, the FiiO K9 Pro Flagship Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier, the developers here, as the name suggests, rely on a D(A) converter from the house of ESS Technology Inc.
|PRODUCT||FIIO K9 PRO ESS DESKTOP DAC AND HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER|
|Manufacturer||FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd.|
|Distribution||NT Global Distribution GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|
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