FiiO Forums

 Retrieve Password
Register Now
/Sign In
Search
!show!: 10607|Reply: 28

FiiO's Foundations A series of articles on early FiiO products

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-5-6 16:43:51 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2015-5-11 19:00

FiiO's Foundations
A series of articles on early FiiO products - by James Chung

Part 1
FiiO's first product back in 2007: Dock / loudspeaker PS1120 for Meizu players.
历史回顾-1.jpg

Unibody screwless design, powered by 4 AA batteries or USB power; dual 50mm high quality full-range drivers; high-efficiency Class D amplifier rated for 3Wx2; dock for Meizu mp3 players for sound amplification, data connection and charging.
The story behind the product and FiiO's founding
The year was 2006. I was retired, with a placeholder job as a consultant at a friend's loudspeaker business. I opined, “Meizu mp3 players are selling pretty well, we can probably make good money making a dock for them”. We contacted Meizu, and indeed they had the same plans, even including an exterior design already given by a Korean design house.
Everything came together immediately, with my friend's factory responsible for sound tuning, circuit design and production, to be branded Meizu and sold by Meizu. Things went south (as they inevitably do in real life) when, after several months’ of design and having bought all the components for the production run, Meizu told us they're not interested in buying anymore.
As I was very confident of the quality of the product-to-be, and we had already gone so far along in preparing to produce it—we'd already spent RMB40,000 in moulds for the various parts alone—I got a few of my friends to join me and establish a company for producing and marketing this dock—this is how FiiO was founded. This was the start of FiiO's team, brand and sales avenues.
All in all (including its derivatives), we sold several tens of thousands of these docks, recovering our R&D costs. Finally, we’d like to point out that we started off making loudspeaker docks, not PSU bricks for Meizu as some mistakenly think.

FiiO's second product: Portable loudspeaker PS1110.
历史回顾-2.jpeg

World's thinnest speakers utilizing 2 AAA batteries; two 27mm high performance drivers utilizing neodymium magnets; no thicker than an iPhone 1. The front bezel was the world's first mirror finish loudspeaker grille made using stainless steel etching.
This micro loudspeaker was built to complement mp3 players, boasting tiny form factor and ultimate portability in a finely built body. The only regret was that the small size led to relatively poor sound quality. We sold about 10,000 of these, selling some overseas—but this was a commercial flop, relatively speaking. Even so, a few factories in Shenzhen went ahead and cloned our design grin.

Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-5-6 16:45:00 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2015-5-11 19:00

Part 2
历史回顾-3.jpg

FiiO's 3rd product: the E3 portable headphone amplifier.
FiiO had clear, well defined business plans when we started off. But some of those initial plans got shoved aside when this micro headamp, a “niche” product that most of us dismissed and sent to production “just in case”, came out of left field and bowled us over with its sales and opened the door to success.
The E3 was driven by a single AAA battery to output 70mW per channel, far more than your average mp3 player; a bass boost circuit was included. The headphone jack doubled as the on/off switch (i.e. It turns on automatically on headphone insertion); other than that it had no switches. The eyelet let you hook a strap to it, which helped you not lose this tiny device.
At first this device practically didn’t sell at all. Then Sennheiser’s distributor in China ordered 1000pcs for use as bundle gifts with its earphones. Then this happened:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/323979/fiio-amps
A member of the largest headphone users’ online community in the world stumbled upon our product, bought it from eBay (from a HK seller) and found it to be good. Others gave it a try and most exclaimed upon its tininess, cheapness and goodness compared to other products at the price and other products from China.
Thanks to “sugarinthegourd”, this FiiO microamp went from selling nowhere for $1.30 ex shipping (ouch?), through direct sales to users and increasing reputation via word of mouth, to becoming a longrunning mainstay at FiiO that stayed in production until 2014 (not for lack of further orders!). Also thanks to this episode, we discovered all new methods of development and marketing, leading to our current leading position in sales volume of headphone amplifiers and sowing the seeds of our DAP business of today. The E3 sold over ten thousand units and was the pivot that turned FiiO from loss to profit.

Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-5-6 16:45:05 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2015-5-11 19:03

Part 3
历史回顾-4.jpg

FiiO’s fourth product was the multifunctional power unit P3. As a mobile USB power supply, AC-USB adapter and NiMH battery charger all rolled into one, it was the recipient of granted patents and the ideal partner on business and holiday trips alike.
Connected to AC power, the P3 outputs standard 5V/2A USB power.
It also contains 2 battery slots for charging AA/AAA NiMH batteries.
Its party trick came into play when the P3 was out and about with batteries still in those two battery slots: it inverts its circuits and draws and upconverts power from the batteries, once again providing 5V USB power. In effect, it’s the portable USB power bank we’re all familiar with today, powered by removable batteries.
This product would still be a nice one today—7 years later—but squeaked to a halt after selling less than 10,000 units back in 2008—2008, when dumbphones still walked the planet and the battery life of phones, music players and cameras alike were measured in days, not hours. The P3 was simply not a product of its time.
And now for something whose time had come… the S3.

历史回顾-5.png

Powered by two AA batteries, the S3 was yet another loudspeaker-type product (seeing as the team was assembled partly from a loudspeaker factory…) with stereo 1.5” full-range drivers, driven to 1Wpc. Its claim to fame was the ability to directly play SD cards loaded with music, together with basic song navigation and volume control. Of course, amplification of line-in signals via the 3.5mm port was also supported.
It also came with its own special strap that could double as a stand for the speakers.
The S3 was pretty well received by the market. Then it was a little TOO well received by the market, wherein loads and loads of me-too factories joined the fray and copied the modus operandi of the me-too factories that flooaded the market with boatloads of mp3 / mp4 players a few years ago, wherein PCB design companies produced the circuit designs and sold PCBs, moulding companies designed the exterior design and sold shells, and the me-too companies simply put things together, did rudimentary QC and then pushed the mp3 speakers
everywhere.
With this mode of operation, these companies together enjoyed massive economies of scale, such that they could churn out new models for the same retail price as what it cost us in parts alone. Therefore we eventually had no choice but to leave the speaker business.


Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-5-6 16:45:09 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO-Shadow at 2015-5-12 09:29

Part 4
历史回顾-E5.jpg

"Yesterday's enterprise"
FiiO’s sixth product on its enterprising startup journey was the E5. Which was a true classic, as it featured prominently in our product line and our sales for 3 years, to be succeeded by the E06, which will in turn meet its successor this year. Being the start of a successful product line for eight years running, it had great portability, sound quality and looks, which continued and will continue to be refined by its successors.
The E5 was a product of users’ requests regarding our first successful product the E3: an independent power switch was added, and it sported its own volume control. The bass boost became an option rather than always-on. To keep the size small with all these additions, the E5 became the first FiiO to utilize an internal Li-polymer battery. This freed even more room and power for building a higher-end, more powerful amplification stage, paving the way for a big leap in sound quality.
Price was higher than the E3 but still decidedly budget friendly. Coupled with the high quality metal build and tiny size, it started making big waves worldwide soon after release, and was sold out at the factory for months on end, despite continuous production.
The E5 succeeded not merely in selling itself, but also in making FiiO known to users worldwide, so that distributors phoned in from around the world asking to be our agent. Thus it earned our foothold in the international audio dealer network and helped us become a household name in HiFi circles. Speaking of which, our prices are indeed suitable for utterance in the *household* and may have saved many an avid headphone HiFier from being sent to the doghouse by their spouse.

E5: FiiO’s NCC-1701?
(This episode of out-of-place cultural references partly brought to you by Joseph Yeung, translator of the article
)
Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-8-3 17:50:00 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO-Shadow at 2015-8-3 17:51

Part 5

“Somebody thought this was a good idea…”
The LCD TV had replaced CRTs for not long in China as of 2008. Soundbars were a relatively new and popular alternative speaker setup overseas. Somebody came up with the brilliant idea of making a soundbar for computer LCDs! Nobody has made one—we’ll be the first! First guy in always wins, right? Right?
So we spent months designing and tooling for this new product.
Okay…? Now let’s see…
1. We have no distribution channels selling any computer monitors to go with these monitor soundbars…
2. These cost an arm and a leg compared to traditional 2.1 setups (especially as we made them out of aluminium metal)…
3. Wonder of wonders, whereas HT speakers are too big to fit many homes, users actually have plenty of room on their desk for computer speakers…?
We made like a few hundred of these. I think we still have a few dozen sitting somewhere in our showroom? This was an unmitigated disaster
Oh, and I don’t have a model name for this. Somebody must have thrown that in the collective mind’s memory recycle bin for sheer embarrassment…
Lesson learned: sometimes something doesn’t exist in the market for a reason. And just because somebody in the company thinks something is a good idea, that doesn’t mean that anybody outside of the company thinks the same—better check first…
“And now for the opposite problem…”
Everybody thought this was a good idea. N3 mini USB speakers, with volume control… pretty good sound… (they better sound good, we spent over 100,000RMB tooling for them) They look ok too I guess (you be the judge).
It didn’t take a genius to find out that one particular model of these from a particular brand were starting to sell like cupcakes at computer malls (but we did send out a scout party to make sure of just that). So we made one too. Which took a few months. Then when it was ready to sell, we found that everybody and his mom have come up with one too. Cheaper too (as they were built out of reference designs from parts suppliers).
Later on, we pushed these around on alibaba, and shoved them to our friends and colleagues as gifts. The funniest thing was, one of these colleagues took them to his factory to be cloned for cheap, and the last we heard, he’d sold tens of thousands of them overseas.
Another lesson learned: what’s already hot probably won’t be hot for you anymore by the time you finish playing catch-up, unless yours are cheaper or better than theirs in a big way, or marketed / sold in some brand-new way.

part5-1.jpg
part5-2.jpg

Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-8-3 17:52:53 |Show all posts |
Part 6
S5.jpg


The loudspeaker crusade continues
The S5 was a new loudspeaker model built on the “success” of the S3. Main features were the addition of an OLED display, internal storage, FM radio and an internal Li-ion battery.
Thus the S5 came with everything for the user to get started immediately, and the OLED display brought an immense improvement in operational convenience. The S5 also featured a small footprint and a high-end UV-cured paint coating in red or white for a sleek minimalist look. Put all these together and the S5 was well received by the market.
Unfortunately, as with the S3, its success attracted droves of clones and lookalikes at a fraction of its price. At the end, the S5 only barely paid for itself.
And again!
The FiiO S9 was FiiO’s 11th product (we skipped the 10th which will be presented shortly…). The year was 2009, and Meizu had come out with their first smartphone, the M8, which was received amazingly well by the market. That wasn’t exactly good news for FiiO, though, for we were still trying to sell the PS1120, which was designed for their mp3 players, now getting swept under the carpet…
Thus, the PS1120 could sell no more, owing to its tie-in with a practically defunct product. But aside from docking with Meizu mp3 players, the PS1120 could also function as a bog-standard loudspeaker with 3.5mm line input, and those still get sales on the market… so to salvage some use for the tooling done for the PS1120, we took out the docking components, covered the hole with a logo, and this, plus a few simplifications here and there, was our S9 USB / AC powered speakers.
From our difficult time producing loudspeakers, we concluded that there’s little point being a pioneer in a mainstream market, as we were too small to make an impact and go on to dominate such a market, no matter how good our product may be. Other, bigger companies would simply copy our ideas and then outsell us. Better to reserve our pioneering effort to a more niche market.
Even so, through these misadventures, we gained significant experience, put together our own team and supply chain, so it was not all for naught.

Reply

Use magic Report

Website Editor

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
2
posts
865
F-Coin
4726
Audio Sources
X1
AMPs
E12
regtime
2013-5-10
Post time 2015-8-3 17:54:23 |Show all posts |
Part 7
Scaling new heights—the E7 Andes
E7.jpg

The E7 was our third headphone amplifier after the E3 and E5, built around the same TI TPA6130 amplifier IC as the E5. What the E7 brought to the table was USB decoding using the TI PCM2706 USB receiver and Wolfson’s WM8740 DAC.
Starting from the E7, you may notice that we have put more emphasis on the continuity of product design and development of a hardware platform. The E7 started from known territory in the PCM2706, and the WM8740 was also used in many subsequent FiiOs.
Building on the same chip does not signify stagnation, however; on the contrary, what is built *around* the chips counts for 90% of the final performance of the units, and by building around the same chips for several product cycles, we could translate our accumulating experience into real tangible improvements in circuit design and avoid actual performance issues in designing around the latest new chips on the block.
The E7, with its reasonable price, rich connectivity and deluxe glass-fronted metal build found a home in many headphone audiophiles worldwide.

Reply

Use magic Report

Super Moderator

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
3
posts
316
F-Coin
10543
Audio Sources
X1II,X5III
AMPs
FiiO A5
regtime
2013-5-10

Medal of X3 Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Outstanding Contributors King of Chatting Master of Publictity Master of Promotion Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-8-15 10:17:16 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2015-8-15 10:21

Part 8

E1

E1


The E1 was FiiO's 4th amplifier product, and also a very interesting device. It is an amplifier with in-line remote control, specially made for the iPod and iPhone.  The E1 gets its power supply and receives the iDevices' line out signal by connecting to their 30-pin dock then amplifies and outputs the audio signal from the headphone port.

The E1 also supports in-line remote control functions, making it possible to play/pause and change volume on the E1.In this way, even iPods that didn't support in-line remote control from its headphone port could now be remote controlled.

The same went for HiFi headphones without in-line remotes—they also gained remote control, giving users good user experience as well as good sound.

Through the introduction of FiiO products, you may see that FiiO focuses on the improvement of key performance categories (such as sound quality), as well as the improvement of user experience; moreover, almost every product has its distinguishing feature and innovation. In fact, these characteristics together with an unfailing emphasis on quality control form the core competitiveness of all FiiO products, which enables FiiO to have steady development and achieve great success in different products fields.  We don't mind sharing our secret to success here, because it's "easier said than done" ;)

The E1 was welcomed by the market soon after its release, especially overseas. There are several reasons for its high popularity: 1. It was specially made for Apple products.   2. It improved the sound quality and user experience.   3. The price was quite reasonable (with retail price at 20 something USD).  4. Lastly, there was no similar product on the market at that time.  As such, sales of the E1 boomed and enabled us to expand FiiO's coverage to many chain stores that were originally beyond our reach.

Unfortunately, starting from the iPhone 5, Apple changed the 30-pin dock to the new encrypted 8-pin Lightning dock, and the encryption, backed by the threat of litigation, prevented 3rd party accessories from being developed by any third party without Apple's authorization.  We have been applying for MFi certification since 2008, without success.  As a result, the E1 was discontinued 2 years later.

BTW, a major Japanese company later developed a similar product with exactly the same function.
Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-8-26 15:32:01 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2015-8-26 15:35

Part 9
FiiO S5K—victim of Sturgeon’s Law

音箱.jpg

The S5K was FiiO’s 12th product. It’s the upgraded version of the S5, with added support for reading micro SD cards based on the feedback of customers.
At that time, card-reader-boomboxes were already extremely popular, with hundreds of brands launching such products. I’d give examples, but you wouldn’t remember any of them anyway… It formed an enormous market; a factory with a popular model could sell a hundred thousand or even a million boxes per month, with large quantity shipped to overseas markets. A me-too production chain had developed; design houses produced the software and circuit board design, plastics factories and industrial design companies cooperated on the exterior design and provided reference mould toolings, driver companies provided the speaker units, while assembling factories (which may nominally brand the products) were responsible for nothing more than putting the pieces together. The finished products would then be sold to computer malls nationwide, or to overseas markets via trading companies.
Under such a me-too “knock-off” production model, with huge production volumes for every part / component, companies could offer rock bottom prices and release new products even every single week. Therefore, our business model of vertically integrating and overseeing all the procedures, from ID modeling, shell moulding, circuit design, to acoustic tuning to assembling, met a great challenge. Owing to high R&D cost, long R&D cycle and relatively low brand awareness, the S5K sank under the weight of the “critic’s corollary of Sturgeon’s Law” into complete anonymity.
Of course, Sturgeon’s Law being in full force over such a market, 90% of everything produced by this distributed manufacturing model turned out to be junk, 99% of all such boomboxes sold turned out to be junk (since junk sells cheaper), and finally, 99.9% of customers (along with FiiO ourselves) wrote off the entire segment as a complete waste of time and money.


Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-9-6 14:46:41 |Show all posts |
S1.jpg

FiiO's 13th product: Portable loudspeaker S1


In the sequence of FiiO products, S1 comes in at number thirteen, which is deemed an unlucky number, a presage for its market prospects. Another thing worth mentioning is that the S1 is FiiO’s very first OEM’ed model, meaning that the design and production were completed by other companies, while just branded with the FiiO logo.


Still, the S1 is quite unique in design—ultra thin and small, with built-in and rechargeable lithium battery. It is a single-channel design, with a 1" full-range driver with a powerful neodymium-iron-boron magnet. It is very convenient to carry outside along with your smartphone or DAP as an external speaker.


But, like the PS1110, the S1 came to market before smartphones became popular in the market. The “dumbphones” that were prevalent actually had pretty good loudspeaker sound quality. One particular phone even mounted as many as 8 speaker units and could double as a pretty good boombox…


As a result, the sales of the S1 were quite poor. Only a few units were sold to the domestic market, while 1-2 thousand units were sold overseas. It beat a hasty retreat after 2 batches of production.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-9-25 14:32:39 |Show all posts |
14. E9.jpg

FiiO's14th product: Desktop docking headphone Amp E9

TheE9 was a desktop docking headphone amp specially designed for our portable DACs/ amps. As we mentioned before, our very first product was the dock /loudspeaker PS1120 for Meizu players; therefore, we consciously added dockingsupport to many of our products; the E9 was the first dock to take advantage of this.

TheE9 was designed with two main purposes in mind: one is for use as a desktopheadphone amp, to drive high impedance or low efficiency full-sized headphones.The other was for use as a dock for our players or portable DACs; together theybecome a full-sized component HiFi system with USB decoding. The portable DACworks as the source for the whole system and can be charged by E9 at the sametime.

Wesee lots of products with this kind of design in Apple peripherals, such asdocking loudspeakers. The release of E9 indeed improved the sales of our DACs.Meanwhile, the E9 itself, as a high-performance desktop headphone amp, was verycompetitive at its reasonable price.

From this point on, some principal patterns for our products are finallydefined. For the most part, our products shall come with full metal shell, highperformance / cost ratio, and a more reasonable price and richer functionalitycompared to DIY products in the market. Our earliest product line program, the“E” series, was also completed at this point, with the E1, E3, E5, E7 and nowthe E9. Of course, we didn’t expect to continue down the road to E11, E12, E17,E18, etc. at the time

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-9-25 14:37:07 |Show all posts |
15. S10.jpg

FiiO's 15th product: Our lastloudspeaker, S10
The S10 is ourlast loudspeaker product, still based on the original PS1120. On the basis ofthe original appearance and structure, we replaced the 4 AA batteries with arechargeable Li-polymer battery and added FM radio and MP3 playback functions.It also supported micro SD cards, infrared remote control and added a 2.4” TFTcolor display. So basically it’s a mini desktop audio system.

But we haddecided, before the product was completed, that this should be our lastloudspeaker product. The product line was abandoned and domestic salesoperations for the line terminated, so we could focus our energy on theoverseas market and headphone amps. Thus this loudspeaker was regrettablydiscontinued after 200 units’ trial production.

Looking back,starting from the PS1120 for the Meizu M6, to the exported M-dock loudspeaker(customized export model for Meizu), to versions supporting the M3 and M6 Slim,the S9 and finally the S10. We had poured painstaking effort into this productline and it had supported our initial business. Though we didn’t get muchprofit from these products, they laid a foundation from which our companyeventually took off.

Finally, it’sworth mentioning that although the S-series ended on the S10 at FiiO, anothercompany eventually bought the mold tooling for these elegant boxes with highquality finish, and remade the product into a Bluetooth boombox, soldinternationally. Thus the shape of the S-series became something of an icon,being the base shape for the most number of different products associated withFiiO.

Reply

Use magic Report

Super Moderator

Rank: 8Rank: 8

digest
3
posts
316
F-Coin
10543
Audio Sources
X1II,X5III
AMPs
FiiO A5
regtime
2013-5-10

Medal of X3 Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Outstanding Contributors King of Chatting Master of Publictity Master of Promotion Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-10-22 10:13:00 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2015-10-22 10:15

16. D03K.jpg

FiiO's 16th product: D3
The sixteenth product D3 was developed based on market demand, and embodied our principles of product development-listening to user needs and market demand. It also spoke volumes for the fact that product demand varies between different countries and regions.

The D3 functions simply as a DAC, converting the digital PCM music signal from the Coaxial/ SPIDF in port into left & right stereo signal, and outputting the signal through the RCA port. The D3 was a compact unit, with clean lines and an all-metal chassis in sanded / anodized black finish.  Utilizing a high-end Cirrus Logic DAC, the D3 had way better sound quality than similar competing products in the market at the time.

D3 made a hit in the US market.  At the height of its popularity, its sales once ranked within the top 50 among all electronic devices sold in Amazon.

In conclusion, D3’s success formula was simple.  Firstly, televisions sold in the US market at the time didn’t come with analog output interface anymore, while many families’ stereo systems continued to require analog input. In order to transmit the audio signal from TV to loudspeaker, they had to buy a product like the D3. Secondly, the D3 was one the only product that supported 192K/24B format at the time.  Thirdly, competing products had lower performance and poorer function but over 30% higher price than the D3.  Obviously the D3 was the best offering.
To this day, D03’s iterative upgrades continue to sell well internationally, although competition from similar products or even counterfeit D3’s is much more keen these days.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2015-11-11 09:40:19 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2015-11-11 10:06

#‎FiiO‬'s Foundations#
A series of articles on early FiiO products - by James Chung
See the full series of articles (up to now) here: http://fiio.me/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=40418
E6-3.jpg
E6-2.jpg

The 17th FiiO product is the E6, launched in July 2011.
We have introduced many products so far, all of which have been retired from our product lines. The E6 is different--it is still selling today, and has sold more than anything else we have sold to date. The E6 can be called a hero of FiiO.The E6 was released as the replacement to E5. It’s a giant leap in manufacturing craftsmanship, utilizing ultrasonic welding in assembly, and equipped with a transparent detachable clip. You can clip the E6 on your belt / shirt / etc. or remove the clip to stack the E6 with your player or mobile phone.
The E6 preserved the basic circuit architecture of the E5, using the same Texas TPA6130A amp chip, but with 2 levels of bass boost and a high level input mode specialized for HiFi sound sources with high output levels. Sound quality of the unit as a whole was improved, with cleaner background and more punchy bass.The E6 was warmly welcomed as soon as it was released. It was a landmark product in the portable headphone amplifier industry, breaking away from the stereotype of headphone amplifiers being a bulky niche product and approaching being a fashionable digital electronicsitem. Thanks to the E6, our products made their way into more mainstream consumer electronic stores. Many users who are not headphone enthusiasts in the general sense also picked up the E6 to pair with their earphones. The E6 is a hero that’s not welcomed in his hometown, however; Chinese users took little interest in such a tiny amp, preferring something much more hefty.The mission of the E6 was to replace the E5. But interestingly, E5 sales was not much affected by the E6 and lasted for almost another year. In the end we had to forcibly discontinue the E5 so that we could stay focused and accomplish the upgrade from E5 to E6. On a final note, this year we will rename our headphone amplifier line the A series, and the E6 will complete its 5-year mission (2011-2016) and be replaced by the third generation starterheadphone amplifier, the A1. The A1 will take its place and continue to boldly go where no FiiO has gone before

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:22:46 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 11:24


A1 had been well planned at the time we were manufacturing E7. What we meant to do is combining E7, E9 and A1 to compose an integrated sound system for both indoor and outdoor use. That’s to say we can use E7 as a portable headphone AMP outside and docked it with E9 tocharge and work as a DAC home. If you still want to use your headphone then you can plug it in E9, or you can have A1 work as a mini digital amplifier to drive loudspeaker box.
So you might guess that logically there would be accompanying loudspeaker boxes coming out. Unfortunately, our brand was more known by headphone audiophiles, so our products that have nothing todo with headphones had always been unmarketable. A1 was discontinued after not too many productions.
Finally let me give you a brief introduction about A1. A1 is a mini Amp with full aluminum alloy shell. Its output power is 14w+14w, high enough to drive most of the desktop loudspeaker boxes. It adopts digital amplifier design and is featured by high efficiency,strong bass and clear voice. In addition, the price of A1 is affordable.
We’ve been hoping to build up connections between our products while making them. It’s something likeXiaomi’s hardware eco-chain. Regrettably we aren’t strong enough and our major products aren’t influential enough so far. Maybe in the future we can developmore peripherals when our players succeed.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:35:15 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 11:38

E11.jpg

Our 18th productwas another classic.
2011was the year when we abandoned the loudspeaker product line and initiated ourstrategic focus. That focus is on portable audiophile products.
Asyou all know, from E1 and E3 to the E5 and E6, our headphone amplifiers weremicro-sized and suitable for entry-level portable music lovers more than audiophiles. (except for the Chinese market, which seems to demand brick-sized products requiring a work out to carry at any price point…) Therefore, the market was calling for a portable headphone amplifier with better sound quality and stronger output power.
Afterone year of research and development, we launched the mid-rangeaudiophile-class portable headphone amplifier E11 in May 2011. It became a hot-selling item and sold well until 2015, when it was replaced by the E11K and now the A3.
Compared to many DIY products in the market at the time, the E11 is distinctive. It retailed for 60USD,which was in a relatively unpopulated price bracket. So E11 was naturally sought after by our customers at the time of its release. Probably from the E11 on, the demand for our new productshas always exceeded our supply. We have to experience months of ramping up to gradually meet the market demand.
The E11 applied a sandwich structure that rarely appears on headphone amplifiers. The top and the bottom covers are made of aluminum alloy while the middle frame is plastic. It came with a replaceable battery which is compatible with NOKIA phones. You could replace the battery by opening the top cover. In addition, a guard frame was introduced to protect the volume knob from inadvertent turns.
Asfor the circuit design, the E11 adopteda triple-channel design which can effectively lower the output impedance from ground wire and improve the left-right channel separation. The AD8397 opamp wasapplied to the left and right channels; this IC is very strong in current output and particularly suitable for headphone amplifiers. After the great success on the E11, we applied this design into subsequent products like the E17, X3 and E10, which were all well received.
The E11 was also equipped with our latest bassboost technique and supply voltage regulation function, so that it could provide more different timbres to consumers and better drive variousheadphones.
Invirtue of its look, design, functions, sound quality and price advantage, the E11 soon became a best seller among its price bracket of medium-priced headphone amplifiers. It also had a great improvement in sound quality compared to our E5 and E6. It was recognized by more consumers in China at long last and became the backbone of our sales there.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:39:59 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 11:41


FiiO’s nineteenth product is a USB decoder D5. It was designed for home use and couldbe used as an external mini USB sound card of laptops. The development was intended to complete a separate product line of Series D which is for average consumers.
The functions of D5 were simpler compared with other products in our company. It supported USB input, PO, LO, microphone input and coaxial output.
The positioning of D5 was not that accurate and therefore led to a dilemma: audiophile shardly had interest in it and ordinary consumers had no needs for it. It didn’t have an exact consumer group like D3 and the market feedback wasn’t satisfactory. At last, we discontinued the D5 after only two batch of production.
However,we found something interesting in it. Back In 2011, we were already known in the industry and had our distribution channels and sales agents in major markets all over the world. We found that we could sell a certain quantity of whatever new products. At least we could earn back the expenses on development. So no wonder those big companies can hardly restrain their desire to expand product lines. Because the risk of failing a new product is much lower and it’s not difficult to have the investment paid out so long as the product is barely satisfactory.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:45:24 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 11:46


FiiO’s 20th product is E10, it’s also a classic work from us. E10 combines the AMP with AD8397 core used in E11 and the DAC with WM8740 core used in E7 , forms a mini USB DAC AMP. As the tuning style meets the requirement of foreign users, it was accepted and recommended by many audio celebrities. For example, Mike from Headfonia loves E10 very much. So it was warmly welcomed in the market after launching, and became a classic hot selling model of us.
What’smore important is that E10 is a connection link for the technology development.The development of E10 built a good foundation for the coming products E17 and X3. In fact, the AMP electric circuit cores of E11, E10, E17, X3 are the same, the DAC electric circuit cores of E7,E10,E17,X3 are the same as well. This makes us know about the potentials and features of the chips. Meanwhile, this makes sure there are no product quality problems from the source, so our product has been always very stable and excellent.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:49:03 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 11:52

E17.jpg

When the time came to 2012, FiiO has been founded for nearly 5 years. Basically, our company has put forward the main direction which aiming at the portable AMP market. The sale was growing well in oversea market.
In fact, we had a plan to develop aportable music player on the basis of E7 at 2011 and completed some preliminary work. But it was abeyant for some reason. In this condition, in order to enlarge the income, we had to expand the product line and enhanced the market share with the new products. So, we launched a portable AMP E17 with better feature and sound quality on the basis of E7.
  
E17 has relatively comprehensive features,can support the 96K/24B USB input and 192K/24B COAX input. Also it can be usedas a pure AMP. It adopts the TE7022 USB input port chips from Taiwan. And theDAC chip is WM8740, AMP is AD8397 same as E11. It supports the desktop devicesas well. It can work with E9 as a desktop DAC& system.
E17 inherited the mature and toning of aseries of prior products, has more powerful features and became more mature andstable in quality. The sound is more suitable for the customers. It won a good reputation as soon as it released to the market, and became the main model of our product line. The sale value was the best among all the products as it had good selling and high price.
More important is that the price of E17 crossed 100 US dollars. This proved that we can win the market in the high price area. E17 improved the brand image and brand value of FiiO, and established a good basis for to get into the main market of HIFI in the future.
What’s interesting if that the customerin China started paying attention to FiiO products. Some Chinese customers started accepting and appreciating our products and became a loyal FiiO fan.

Reply

Use magic Report

Technical Support

Rank: 5Rank: 5

digest
0
posts
1896
F-Coin
6593
Audio Sources
X5
AMPs
E18
regtime
2014-11-18

Senator if Forums Honorary Admin Excellent Moderator Master of Publictity Enthusiastic Member Active Member Supernova

Post time 2016-5-31 11:52:43 |Show all posts |
Edited by Yellow at 2016-5-31 17:03

E02I.jpg


FiiO’s 22th product is E02i. We had designed a portable AMP E1 which was special used for iPhone and connected via 30 PIN connector. But Apple changed the 30 PIN port into the 8PIN lighting port from the model iPhone5. So we had to stop the production of E1.In this condition, considering we didn’t get the MFi certification from Apple,we started paying attention to the headphone output. In fact, the headphone output of iPhone and it supports the in-line remote as well. So we thought it’s a good idea to design a in-line remote portable AMP connected tothe PO jack.
E02i was designed in this background.Different from its predecessor, the headphone output doesn’t support the power supply. So the E02i has the internal lithium battery. And it’s charged by USB cable. It supports the in-line remote like volume control, play/pause, nexttrack/previous track. The output power increased 3 times than iPhone itself.The whole body is covered by aluminum alloy shell, a back clip is attached also. The shining aluminum in-line remote key is processed with the CD stripe.There’s a beautiful light circle around it as well.
The market response is average. After one year’s production, as we had entered the player industry, in order to reduce the difficulty of production management, we stopped manufacturing E02i. And this is the end of the in-line remote AMP special for iPhone like E1/E02i.

Reply

Use magic Report

You have to log in before you can reply Login | Register Now

About FiiO|Warranty|Contact Us|FiiO Forums  

GMT+8, 2018-11-21 13:24 , Processed in 0.041668 second(s), 25 queries .

Powered by Discuz! X2.5

© 2001-2012 Comsenz Inc.

Top