FiiO has launched its flagship DAC and headphone amp, the K9 Pro ESS. It is packed with high-resolution digital audio features and a wide range of headphones, along with a range of connections, with MQA support and Bluetooth 5.0 streaming
The K9 Pro can handle a wide variety of file types and supports Hi-Res Audio files up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM plus DSD256 and MQA files from high-fidelity services such as Tidal.
There is also an extensive selection of audio inputs to choose from. The FiiO K9 Pro ESS expands the choices offered by its more budget-friendly partner, the K7, with RCA line-level input on the analog side and coaxial, optical, USB-B and USB-C inputs on the digital side . There’s also compatibility for external devices thanks to line level and XLR outputs, while headphone users can connect their cans to the 6.35mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced or 4-pin balanced XLR headphone sockets.
As a DAC and headphone amp, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS should be a good hand at driving all kinds of headphones and offer promisingly improved audio quality. The latest from FiiO offers dual THX AAA788+ amplification, which is claimed to “effortlessly” power headphones with a wide impedance range of 16 – 600Ω. You can also manually select low, medium, and high gain levels to match your headphones’ own impedances or sensitivities.
Bluetooth 5.0, meanwhile, allows pairing of devices such as smartphones, portable music players, and PCs, and even supports streaming for Hi-Res wireless codecs, including aptX HD, aptX AdaptiveAnd LDAC.
The K9’s dual ES9038 Pro DACs promise to “deliver impressively musical, detailed and expressive sound, whatever the source”. Timing shouldn’t be an issue either, thanks to the dual clock management of the model’s XMOS XUF208 decoding chip, which promises “incredibly accurate handling of all digital audio files”.
That’s not the end. The K9 Pro’s audio output has been carefully handled by the company’s engineers with a “partitioned layout” of the circuit board. What this means, they claim, is that not only is the power supply kept separate from the audio signals, but analog and digital audio are separated from each other to ensure the integrity of each signal. Audio signals coming from the right and left channels are also processed separately by the device to reduce crosstalk and maintain high-quality sound quality.
Weighing around 2.75kg, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS is now available for £699 / $859 / AU$1349. It also comes standard with its own Bluetooth antenna, USB-B to USB-A cable, 3.6mm to 6.35mm adapter and a vertical stand for placement.
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