Fiio R7

The ultimate all-in-one box for your headphones that can even act as a network streamer.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

* Required field

Here at Gamereactor, we're slowly but surely starting to explore options for using things that are a little less gaming-centric, and a little more semi-serious in a Hi-Fi sense. One of the manufacturers that wants to deliver more serious consumer electronics and especially products related to your headphones without it costing too much, is Fiio. In fact, their prices are generally so low that this R7, despite a price of around £600, is actually one of their most expensive, only surpassed by their brand new top model that costs twice as much.

But there's a reason why it's so relatively cheap. In addition to a massive 5" screen, it contains a full Android-based Snapdragon 660 chipset and, not least, extremely powerful amplification for your headphones, and even though I had to activate the strongest level of amplification, it was never pressurised when using my heavily powered electrostatic headphones - something every gamer should use if possible.

Fiio R7

Like so many other products, it tries to be all-inclusive and extremely flexible, and this is the case here too, with pretty much every wired and wireless connection you could wish for. Optis input and output, two stereo RCA outputs, which I haven't seen before, USB-C connection to a computer where it then functions as an external DAC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an external linear power supply if the regular mains plug is not enough, coaxial input and out, fully balanced XLR output for those who have really expensive equipment and a LAN input as well. In addition, there is DLNA support and a MicroSD card slot.

This is an ad:

The internals are pretty serious too, a Sabre ESS 9068AS DAC often found in cheaper external Hi-Fi DACs and two THX AAA788+ headphone amplifier parts, one for each channel, that can put out up to 3.6 watts - that's something like four-times of what you'd normally get with cheap headphone amps.

For audiophiles, it's also quite interesting as it not only supports MQA playback and DSD256/DXD352, but it's fully Roon certified and can be used as a streaming device. On the wireless side, Tidal and Spotify are supported, while the Bluetooth part has LDAC, LHDC, AptX HD and Apple AirPlay.

As it has a built-in Android operating system and is thus not limited to existing software, it should be able to function as a full-fledged Wi-Fi streamer, something that is particularly interesting as I have found out that you can buy a remote control for the R7 as well. There are quite a few layers in the inbuilt software, I even found a feature that upsamples everything to DSD, which is undoubtedly something that draws a lot of resources on the CPU part.

The front has two primary controls, a volume control and a function selector, here you can select pre-amplification, headphone output and line-out, i.e. the two sets of RCA outputs and the XLR output - but without the option to control the volume. These can then be combined, I had it on headphone+preamp out throughout the test as I could use the Fiio R7 as both a preamplifier for my computer speakers and for my headphones.

This is an ad:

It comes with a cute little cover, stands and more, but oddly enough, there are both 6.5mm and 3.5mm headphone jacks, and even an XLR4 connector that is primarily used for more expensive electrostatic headphones.

Fiio R7Fiio R7

The sound as a pure DAC is quite neutral, with a slight flavour of slimness in the midrange, and the same is true in headphones and as a preamplifier. It's not exactly cold sound, but it is a bit fine, which also appears extremely tight and firm. There's nothing wrong with the resolution, and the headphone section in particular packs a punch in the midrange. It's a pleasure for both gaming and music. It is of course intended to be used in conjunction with a computer, but I would definitely see if it can be used with a system with a little extra software, so that you don't need a streamer and, in my case, a separate Bluetooth receiver.

However, keep in mind that when you start using the more advanced features - there's even a mobile app too - you have to be a bit careful as Fiio has removed all safety measures and lets the user tinker with all possible settings without limitation. It makes it all less user-friendly, but also a heck of a lot more flexible. Want to change the lighting or background? Sure, be my guest. Want to force all music to be output in a certain way? You can do that too.

To help people out, there are also colour tones behind the volume knob depending on what settings you're using, which seems a bit silly, but it actually stopped me from bursting my eardrums at 120 dB when I swapped around a few different headphones and some EIM in-ears while Slayer was playing at full blast - so it's actually not too bad.

Could they do any better? The only feature I really miss is that you don't need Roon to use it as a network streamer straight out of the box, and it would be nice to have Tidal Connect and native support for Quboz, Deezer and other smaller streaming services, but otherwise I have to say I'm pretty impressed - even though it's not cheap. This is definitely one of the best PC audio products I've tried in a very long time.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

Loading next content