Fiio E11 Battery Powered Headphone Amp

Fiio Headphone Preamp DSLR Amp Pre-amp

For those that don't want to sync audio in post you may attempt to plug a microphone (like a Rode VideoMic, LAV mic, or Wireless Mic Receiver) directly to the camera's 3.5mm mic input, and then adjust levels from within the camera (unless you're stuck with AGC). One problem is that the camera's internal preamp is known to be fairly noisy if you have to boost the signal. The solution for better audio is to use an external preamp before feeding the signal back in to the camera and turn the camera's internal levels down to almost zero. The new Canon 5D Mark III now has a headphone monitoring port, but does it still suffer from internal preamp noise?

So here's an interesting question that comes in that might get your wheels spinning. Can you use something like the Fiio E11 portable Headphone Amp to boost and adjust your microphone levels? Unlike the other Fiio headphone amp options, the E11 has a 10 hour rechargeable battery and volume (gain) control. It's not going to offer phantom power to a microphone, but if you're already using a self powered mic, then there's no need for phantom power. The E11 has standard 3.5mm input and output connections.

We've seen a workflow where some people feed the headphone output of a Zoom recorder (for dual audio and because the preamp is better in the Zoom) back into the camera with a Sescom cable. Considering that option it sounds like a Fiio E11 could work out as an inexpensive external preamp for DSLR video (assuming the output signal is better than the DSLR). Anyone attempt something like this before? The E11 has some interesting specs, and you can take a look at the Product Description (click here).

Fiio Headphone AmpFiio Headphone Amp Boost Gain Levels
find-price-button Fiio E11 Portable HeadPhone Preamp - via Amazon

You can also find these Fiio E11 Headphone Amps via eBay (click here)

Fiio E11 Battery Amp
find-price-button Fiio E11 Portable Rechargeable HeadPhone Amp - via eBay

13 thoughts on “Fiio E11 Battery Powered Headphone Amp

  1. Peter

    This hasn´t been updated for a while, but I wanted to add that I just feed my mic (MKE400) into a zoom h1, then split the headphone-out: one to the 550D with ML and one to my cans.
    I could add a FiiO before going to my headphones for more control on monitoring, but for me the same levels have work so far. Might be different in real noisy environments, clubs and such.
    Would I use this for "high end" interviews? No.
    But for ENG run´n gun work I finally have monitoring, limiter, backup sound recording and don´t have to buy the expensive Sescom cable.

  2. Just a tip. The e3 does the exact same things as the E11 but it's always at maximum volume.
    For my HTDZ HT-320A even maximum on either 'preamp' is not enough, I still need to add gain in the camera.
    That basically means that the difference is so small that I can barely tell the difference with and without.
    Kinda disappointing.
    I'll be getting a DR-05 or DR-40 and see if that helps bring the gain up. Anyone know if there's much gain output from the line out jack on these?

  3. Chaz Rough

    So is the zoom h1 Pre amp with a sescom cable a better Pre amp than the Fiio? Or do I still need th Fiio?

  4. Lainol

    Here's my setup, but with the Fiio 6, smaller and cheaper.

    external mic -> zoom h1 -> signal splitter:

    split 1 - headphones
    split 2 - Fiio 6 - canon 600D

    Putting the Fiio 6 between the H1 and the camera allows you to controll the input signal to the camera meanwhile you can monitorize the audio with headphones

  5. YEEESS!
    I've been wondering about this for ages!
    but i've been avoiding connecting my E3 to the camera as I'm sure it's far too loud. even my huge sony headphones are almost too loud to listen to with the e3. (I use it for monitoring from the camera)

    but what about the E5? that's got volume control too, and it's smaller and cheaper.
    Do you think the e11 will give better audio than the E5?
    I'd be more than happy to spend the 60 bucks on it if it does. One of the reasons i've not bought one of those ART preamps is that they're so damn big.

    I'll +1 Emm's original question in the post which is, HAS ANYONE TRIED THIS?

  6. slashpm

    Hmm, now I'm wondering, is anybody familiar with Behringer MIC100 or MIC200 preamps? They are cheaper and I bought one this week because every site recommended the product but I'm not sure how clear sound I can expect from such a device.. I set the gain and output volume to max and then the buzzing noise of the preamp becomes unnoticable.. I think.. but probably the distortion becomes bigger. Does anybody have experience with how to find the optimal settings for a preamp..?

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @rob - I wrote something about the ART USB item, and it works great for some, but XLR and Phantom power isn't always required so the Fiio might be a good small portable lightweight option (assuming the audio quality is good).

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @rob - The T2i can boost the signal, but the noise from the internal camera amp will not be the same as boosting the signal from a better preamp. That's what most people complain about.

  9. I have used the workflow you suggested emm. With an SGM-2x fed into the xlr input of the h4n, then the line out into the t2i microphone jack. I believe the problem is the exact opposite. The lineout of the h4n is way to hot for the t2i input, even with magic lantern able to manual adjust the digital gain to those t2i preamps. I know I have a problem with really soft levels on the SGM-2x and I thought about picking up one of these to boost the signal before getting into the h4n:

    I can't see from my experience, how that would help the t2i audio workflow. I think the t2i mic input is plenty hot and doesn't need the help. But it might be nice to have a knob to adjust the levels. Please someone correct me if i'm wrong.

  10. I've been attaching a UWPV1 Lav Mic on to the side of T3I and pluggin my cans into the monitor side of it, I get crisp sound for interviews. For room sound I'd probably just go with a shot gun mic.

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