FiiO has launched its first hi-res audio player and streamer for desktops, the uniquely designed R7, which promises a serious audio upgrade for everything from home office setups to wireless headphones.
FiiO R7 Features and Specifications
As a piece of hardware, the FiiO R7 is a bit of an oddity, being marketed as an all-in-one device that can be used as a digital music streamer while also functioning as a balanced headphone amplifier.
It also supports local storage of your music files, has a touch screen, supports a variety of hi-res audio formats including MQA, and can be used with active speakers or headphones, or both.
As an added bonus, it also supports the FiiO SP3 Active Loudspeakers, which will launch at an undetermined date towards the end of the year – price to be confirmed. We haven’t seen many other devices with this level of functionality, especially at this price point, making it one of the more interesting pieces of hi-fi to appear this year.
At the hardware level, it packs some decent specs, packed with ESS Saber ES9068AS DACs and a powerful THX-788+ desktop-grade amplification chipset. The dual THX amplification system supports hi-res audio playback up to 32-bit/768kHz PCM and DSD512 files.
In terms of connectivity, there’s a wealth of options for physical resources and wireless options. Around you’ll find optical and coaxial inputs, USB ports, plus 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 support. There are also optical, coaxial, line level and balanced XLR outputs.
The system is also Roon Ready, and there are plenty of other ways to play your audio files: run files from the player’s local 64GB storage space, a connected SSD, or wirelessly via DLNA or AirPlay. The 64GB won’t last long if you have a massive high-res library, although the device supports microSD cards up to 2TB, so it can be expanded quickly and easily.
Using Android 10 also means it supports all standard streaming apps through the Google Play Store, including Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Spotify.
For Bluetooth streaming, the device uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 chipset and supports a wide range of AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and LHDC codecs.
For headphone users, the R7 has a range of outputs: 6.3mm, 4.4 balanced and four-pin balanced XLR connectors. The system comes with five gain levels, which FiiO claims can work with anything from sensitive IEMs or power hungry over-ears, and under a 32Ω load the device is capable of outputting up to 3.6W – so on paper it should have enough juice to power low and high impedance headphones.
Fiio R7 release date and price
Launched on February 28, the FiiO R7 is available now from select retailers and costs £649.99 / $699.99.
This all sounds impressive, but until we get the device into our listening rooms and put it through its paces, we can’t confirm its performance.
However, its price and unique range of functionality place it in a niche segment of the market – to the point of its team of experts Which Hi-Fi? kept scratching their heads trying to come up with a direct rival to the R7.
The closest rival we could find was the Astell & Kern Acro CA1000T – a similar hi-res and versatile desktop system with a screen (and it’s portable too) – but it’s much more expensive at £2299 / $2300 / AUD$3699. Those looking for a mini desktop system can also opt for the Denon D-M41DAB micro system or the neater Elac Debut ConneX speaker system, but neither has anywhere near the same level of functionality that the R7 claims to offer.
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