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FiiO’s K9 Pro ESS Balanced Hi-Res Desktop Headphone Amplifier/DAC Finally Crosses The Pond?

Featuring dual THX AAA 788+ amps, dual ES9038 Pro DACs, XLR Outputs, Bluetooth aptX HD, LDAC, MQA, and support for audio up to 32Bit 384kHz/DSD256 for £699/$849

FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier Lifestyle

We have already reviewed an advanced sample of the FiiO K9 PRO ESS Balanced Desktop Headphone Amplifier/DAC so we’re definitely confused to discover that it was never released?

This definitely has a Caddyshack feel to it on a Tuesday morning.

“Check me if I’m wrong Sandy, but if we kill all the golfers, they’re going to lock us up and throw away the key…”

“Gophers, you Greek!”

Miscommunication on the part of FiiO? Or did this product only get released in Asia and America?

Apparently — the K9 Pro ESS was never introduced in the UK until today. Apparently, they forgot to tell people that.

FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier Lifestyle Low Angle

The K9 Pro ESS is audio specialist FiiO’s flagship balanced Hi-Res desktop headphone amplifier/DAC. Featuring dual ES9038 Pro DACs, dual THX AAA 788+ amp technology, multiple inputs/outputs, and Bluetooth 5.0 with support for multiple codecs including aptX HD and LDAC. ​

With MQA support; native playback of audio files up to 384kHz 32Bit PCM/DSD256; the ability to effortlessly drive headphones featuring an impedance of 16 – 600Ω, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS sets a new standard for products in this category.

Expanding upon the connections offered by its sibling, the K7, the FiiO K9 Pro ESS features a wide selection of audio input options, including: RCA, Coaxial, Optical, USB-B, USB-C, and balanced 4.4mm. From an audio out perspective — alongside the 6.35mm single-ended, 4.4mm balanced, and 4-pin balanced XLR headphone connections — the FiiO K9 Pro ESS also features RCA (L/R) line-out as well as balanced 3-pin XLR (L/R) outputs, ensuring compatibility with a host of external devices.

FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier Rear Angle

With its dual THX AAA788+ amplification, the K9 Pro ESS is able to effortlessly power headphones with a wide impedance range of 16 – 600Ω. ​ In addition, Low, Medium and High hardware gain levels can be manually selected from the front panel, allowing you to easily adjust the K9 Pro ESS for headphones of various impedances and sensitivities, ensuring a consistent listening experience.

The FiiO K9 Pro ESS features dual high-performance ES9038 Pro DACs — one for each channel of audio — ensuring it delivers an impressively musical, detailed, and expressive sound, whatever the source. Thanks to the dual-clock management of its XMOS XUF208 decoding chip, the K9 Pro ESS ensures incredibly accurate handling of all digital audio files, up to 32Bit 384kHz PCM / DSD256.

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To further ensure the highest quality clean audio output, engineers at FiiO have designed the PCB of the K9 Pro ESS with a partitioned layout. Not only is the power-supply kept separate from any audio signals, but analogue and digital audio is also separated to ensure the integrity of the signals being processed.

In addition, throughout its truly balanced six-stage audio circuit, audio signals from the left and right channels are also processed separately by the K9 Pro ESS, thereby reducing crosstalk, and ensuring the highest sound quality possible.

FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier Rear

Thanks to its on-board Bluetooth, you can easily pair your smartphone, Digital Audio Player (DAP), PC and more to the K9 Pro ESS. ​ Featuring Qualcomm’s QC5124 Bluetooth processor chip, the K9 Pro ESS not only provides a stable, reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection but — alongside standard resolution AAC, SBC and aptX codecs — also offers support for hi-res wireless codecs, including aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, and LDAC. 

The FiiO K9 Pro ESS is available now for £699 at Amazon.co.uk or $849 at Amazon.com.

Related reading: FiiO K9 Pro ESS Desktop DAC and Headphone Amplifier Review

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Stephen Jackson

    June 5, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Very helpful, thanks. But
    I’d love to know what you think of this and its place in the pecking order? I”m pondering which DAC to buy and I have amassed a shopping list as lung as a carpet…

    • Ian White

      June 5, 2023 at 1:26 pm

      Stephen,

      We will have a review this summer. There are about a dozen reviews ahead of it in the line.

      Best,

      Ian White

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