FiiO KA17 Review



FiiO KA17 Review



The KA17 is FiiO’s latest USB DAC/Amplifier in form of a dongle that has been released part of the new KA line. The device features separate digital and analog boards that are equipped with some impressive hardware like a dual ES9069Q DAC chip setup that decodes up to 768kHz/32bit PCM, DSD512, and full MQA, while the analog part has a powerful THX AAA 78+ AMP section that is able to produce up to 650mW @ 32ohm over the 4.4mm Balanced output. The KA17 has a Dual Type-C interfaces that enables flexible connectivity and optional desktop mode power, making it a HiFi powerhouse for demanding headphones on the go. Moreover, it has both a 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced headphone outputs integrated in to an All-Aluminum Chassis with multifunction physical keys and a decent OLED Display.



I would like to thank FiiO for providing me the KA17 Ultra-Portable USB DAC/Amplifier as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.


Price & Availability:

The original actual price of the FiiO KA17 is 149.99 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;


Package & Accessories:

The FiiO KA17 came inside rectangular box with a minimalistic design that has some product related brandings on the top.

Inside the box are the following items:

  • 1 x FiiO KA17 Portable USB DAC/Amplifier Dongle
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB Type-C Cable
  • 1 x USB Type-C to USB A adapter
  • 1 x Leather Case
  • 2 x USB Dustproof Silicone Cover
  • 1 x Print materials (User Manual, Warranty Card)


Design & Build Quality:

FiiO KA17 is a USB DAC/Amplifier in the form of a dongle. It’s eye-catching in terms of both design and build quality, thanks to its stylish and durable aluminum chassis with a nice anodized finish in black that will also be available with a blue color option. The rectangular device measures about 64 x 27.7 x 12.7 mm and weighs approx. 33 grams (excluding cable).

The front of the device is perhaps the most striking design element, with its X-shaped embossed area and 0.91-inch OLED display that is hidden behind a stylish looking tempered black glass panel.

The OLED display gives you quick information about the Format-Sampling Rate, Volume (60 and 120 step), Gain Mode (“H” high and “L” low), UAC Version, Desktop Mode (D) and Connection mode.

Here is an Introduction to Settings Menu: 

  • GAIN: Select high or low gain.
  • FLT: Digital filter, 8 types of filters available.
  • VOL-STEP: Volume level control, 60 and 120 levels available.
  • ADJ-L/R: Channel balance settings of the left/right channel.
  • DIMMER: Dimmer setting of the display.
  • MQA: Enable or disable MQA.
  • EQ: Equalizer setting.
  • MAX VOL: Maximum volume limit.
  • ROT-DISP: Rotate the display. It can be set to rotate 180 degrees.
  • OFF-DISP: Set the time that the display can be auto-locked if there is no activity.
  • U-AUDIO: Select between USB2.0/1.0.
  • 12 LANGUAGES: Chinese and English available
  • 13 VERSION: Firmware version display
  • 14 RECOVER: Recover default settings.

The right surface is equipped with a multi-functional button (Screen On/Off, Mute/Unmute, Activate, Switch, Exit Menu), a volume rocker to fine adjust the volume level and navigate truth the submenus, and there is a switch for the Special Desktop Mode of the device.

The left surface area features one of the dual Type-C interfaces. This port in orange color is designed for use with an external power supply. When an external power supply is connected to this port, the KA17 can achieve higher power output and better performance without consuming the battery of your phone, tablet or other connected device.

On the top of the FiiO KA17 are the 3.5mm Single Ended and 4.4mm Balanced outputs, while the 3.5mm out can be switched to SPIDIF Line Out mode.

The top surface features the second USB Type-C digital interface that is located right at the center.

The rear side of the KA17 displays the FiiO logo and Hi-Res Audio logo, along with KA17 branding. Additionally, product certifications and logos for THX, Desktop Mode, and MQA are displayed near the bottom.


Technical Specifications:


 Hardware Features:

The KA17 is a portable USB headphone adapter designed for high-fidelity audio playback. It features dual ES9069Q DAC chips for digital-to-analog conversion, achieving a dynamic range of 130dB and total harmonic distortion of -120dB. This combination promises a clean and accurate representation of the original audio signal. The ES9069Q DAC chip offers also 8 digital filters.

For format compatibility, the KA17 utilizes a 16-core XMOS XU316 processor, enabling decoding of high-resolution audio formats like 768kHz/32bit PCM, DSD512, and full MQA. This caters to enthusiasts seeking lossless playback of their audio libraries.

The built-in THX AAA 78+ headphone amplifier boasts a four-channel fully balanced architecture, delivering ample power for demanding headphones. Its single-ended output reaches 270mW+270mW, while balanced mode pushes 650mW+650mW, ensuring compatibility with various impedances.

The KA17 offers also SPDIF output support over its 3.5mm output that can be selected over the Menu or FiiO Control application, which is a nice addition.

Connectivity options include dual Type-C interfaces. One caters to the audio source (phone, tablet, computer), while the other supports optional external power for desktop mode, further boosting output power.

Furthermore, the KA17 offers personalization through the FIIO Control App. Users can adjust the Parametric EQ (PEQ) to tailor the sound signature to their preferences or choose simulations of renowned headphone frequency responses.

The FiiO KA17 is compatible with a wide variety of platforms such like Android OS, Apple iOS, Apple iPad OS, Windows 10, Mac OS or newer systems. The KA17 is fully compatible with the FiiO Control APP that enables the user to change different settings on the device including digital filter, Volume control settings, Gain settings, OLED display settings, etc.

Overall, the KA17 presents a technically proficient solution for portable HiFi audio. Its combination of high-fidelity conversion, powerful amplification, versatile connectivity, and format support caters to audiophiles seeking an elevated listening experience on the go.



Equipment’s used for this review:

  • DAC/AMP’s                : FiiO KA17
  • IEM’s                          : FiiO FA7S, Campfire Audio Supermoon, Oriveti OD200
  • Headphones              : FiiO FT5, HiFiMAN Arya Organic



Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Adele – My Little Love (Deezer HiFi)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Radiohead – Live in Berlin “Album” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Radiohead – Pyramid Song (Deezer HiFi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Muse – Hysteria (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – Nobody Weird Like Me (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Bear McCreary’s – Valkyries (Deezer HiFi)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Instant Crush (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Tchaikovsky – Symphony No. 5 (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Clair de Lune – Claude Debussy (Spotify)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Miles Davis – So What (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Dyers Eve (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Tom Sawyer (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)


The Sound:

This FiiO KA17 is the successor of the FiiO KA5 and it offers a neutral and balanced sound signature that will please audiophiles who value accuracy and musicality. In this article, we will explore the main features of the KA17’s sound signature, such as the bass, midrange, treble, and soundstage. The FiiO KA17 delivers a neutral and balanced sound signature, with exceptional detail and clarity across the frequency spectrum. The bass is tight and controlled, the midrange is natural and smooth, the treble is clear and airy, and the soundstage is wide and open.

The FiiO KA17 review has been written after a burn-in period of approximately 60 hours. My sound experiences below are mainly based on listening sessions with IEMs such as the FA7S, Oriveti OD200 and Campfire Audio Supermoon and headphones such as the FiiO FT5 and HiFiMAN Arya Organic.


The bass performance of the KA17 is impressive, as it provides a tight, punchy, and well-defined low-end especially when you activate the desktop mode. The KA17 handles low frequencies with authority, making sure every kick drum and bassline sounds clear and impactful. The bass is never muddy or boomy, and it does not interfere with the midrange when I have listened to it with IEM’s like the FiiO FA7S and Campfire Audio Supermoon.

One of the best songs to test the bass performance of the KA17 is Doin’ it Right by Daft Punk. This song features a deep and powerful bassline that was pretty exciting with the FiiO FT5. The KA17 reproduces this bassline with precision and control, without losing any detail or texture. Another great song to test the bass performance of the KA17 is Royals by Lorde. This song has a catchy and rhythmic bassline that contrasts with the vocal. The KA17 delivers this bassline with clarity and punch, without overshadowing the vocals.



The midrange of the KA17 sounds decent for its, as it reproduces instrument and vocal with a good level of detail and accuracy. The midrange is smooth and natural, allowing you to appreciate the subtle nuances in various genres. Vocals, in particular, are outstanding, as they are rendered with a natural and lifelike quality that brings you closer to the core of the music especially when paired with IEM’s like the Oriveti OD200 or the headphones like the Arya Organic.

If you’re looking to assess the KA17’s ability to handle female vocals and upper midrange nuances, “Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones offers a compelling selection. This song showcases the beautiful and soothing voice of Norah Jones, accompanied by a gentle piano and guitar. The KA17 captures the emotion and expression of her voice, as well as the delicate details of the instruments that I highly enjoyed with the HiFiMAN Arya Organic.

Charly Antolini’s “Knock Out 2000” album is a great choice to test the KA17’s ability to handle midrange instruments. This album is a jazz fusion piece that features a variety of instruments, such as saxophone, trumpet, piano, guitar, bass, and drums. The KA17 reproduces each instrument with accuracy and balance, as well as the interaction and improvisation of the musicians. The KA17 allows you to enjoy the complexity and creativity of this song, without missing any detail or nuance.



The treble of the KA17 is clear and well-extended, offering a crisp and airy presentation. It reveals macro details, without to becoming harsh or sibilant if it’s not part of the songs, which is quite impressive for such a small and well-priced device. The treble adds a sense of sparkle and liveliness to the sound, enhancing the overall clarity and resolution. The KA17 does not add any unwanted coloration in form of warmth or smoothness to the high frequencies.

One of the best songs to test the treble response of the KA17 is Dyers Eve by Metallica. This song is a thrash metal masterpiece that features a fast and aggressive guitar and drum. The KA17 reproduces the guitar and drum with clarity and speed, without losing any detail or distortion that was pretty audible when paired with the Campfire Audio Supermoon Planar IEM. The KA17 also handles the vocals and cymbals with ease, without adding any harshness or sibilance.

Soundstage & Imaging:

The KA17 delivers a pretty wide and expansive soundstage atmosphere, especially when you activate the Desktop Mode feature. This spaciousness allows for excellent separation and placement of instruments, creating a realistic sense of depth and dimension. It creates a realistic sense of depth and dimension, giving you a 3D-like listening experience with open-back headphones like the FiiO FT5, especially the HiFiMAN Arya Organic.



The FiiO KA17 shines as a miniature audio powerhouse. This USB DAC/amplifier dongle boasts top-tier hardware like dual ES9069Q DACs and a THX AAA 78+ amp, effortlessly handling demanding audio files and driving even power-hungry headphones. Its versatile design with balanced outputs and dual Type-C ports for desktop use seamlessly bridges the gap between portable convenience and desktop quality. Delivering a neutral and balanced sound signature renowned for clarity and detail, the KA17 is a compelling choice for audiophiles seeking for a dongle with a great value for their money.



Pros and Cons:

  • + Overall Sonic Performance for a device at this price level
  • + Clean (Noise free) Background
  • + Excellent EMI Shielding
  • + Nice OLED Display
  • + Desktop Mode is quite Effective
  • + Power (up to 600mW @32 over the 4.4mm Balanced output)
  • + Compatible with FiiO Control App
  • + SPIDF Output Support
  • + Sleek Design
  • + Beautiful Leather Case
  • + Impressive value for your Money


  • – No FiiO Control APP for iOS devices
  • – USB Type-C cable is a bit short
  • – Battery drain in Desktop Mode could be slightly better


Thank you for the Read!




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