As an iterative version of FiiO KA3, the FiiO KA13 has been greatly improved in design and functions, and can be called the “Black Technology” in mini headphone amplifiers.
FiiO JadeAudio KA13 specs and features:
- Maximum output power up to 550mW
- Dual CS43131 DACs + Dual 8262 amplifiers
- PCM 384kHz/32bit & SPDIF output support
- FiiO Control APP support (Android only)
- 3.5mm + 4.4mm dual outputs
- $75 – Check latest price on AliExpress, Amazon US or other Amazon countries
Appearance Design and Hardware Configuration
FiiO KA13 uses a whole piece of CNC-processed aluminum-magnesium alloy body, which is very textured. There are two color of KA13: Black and Silver. The front of the black version adopts a transparent design. FiiO calls this design a “see-through music window”, and the status indicator light inside can be seen from the side. The silver version adopts the grille style. Compared with the silver version, the black KA13 looks more concise.
The side of KA13 integrates volume adjustment buttons, and long-press can switch songs. The other physical button is the Desktop MODE button. FiiO KA13 provides 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced port outputs, which can match different types of headphones. The included cables are also very considerate and can meet the needs of connecting different devices such as mobile phones and computers.
FiiO KA13 adopts the dual DACs design, dual CS43131 decoding chips + dual SGM8262 OP AMP chips – the fully balanced output architecture. The biggest highlight is that it breaks the power limitation of small-sized headphone amplifiers and launches the industry’s first “mini desktop amplifier” design. After turning on Desktop MODE, the output power of the 4.4mm balanced port is as high as 550mW. The sampling rate of KA13 is up to 32bit/768kHz PCM and DSD256. In terms of detailed performance, dual DACs combined with the high-precision crystal oscillator solution can provide excellent resolution capabilities.
Ease of Use and Sound Quality of FiiO KA13
FiiO KA13 has no problem even when used with FiiO FH9. But most of the time I use FiiO KA13+FiiO FD11 to listen to music. FD11 is a single dynamic earphone that is very easy to drive; its resolution is very good, and the hearing of FiiO FD11 left a good impression on me. The performance of FD11 on KA13 fully demonstrated the all strength of this earphones – the resolution of the sound is very high, and the layering and details of the music are very rich.
In terms of sound quality, KA13 can be said to have completely broken the power limitation of small-sized headphone amplifiers – its desktop mode design makes the music presented on headphones more tension and fullness. Whether it is high-impedance large dynamic headphones or relatively sensitive small dynamic earbuds, FiiO KA13 can provide sufficient output power. Compared with similar mini headphone amplifiers, it is closer to the small portable headphone amplifiers.
Also, the FiiO KA13 excels in terms of ease of use. Supports Android and iOS system, and is also compatible with computers. It also support FiiO Control APP, which allows KA13 to unlock more gameplay. For example, set RGB lighting, SPDIF on/off, and provide a wealth of filters to choose from.
It should be noted that currently KA13 only support the Android systems of the FiiO Control APP, and the iOS systems does not yet support it. However, after using the FiiO Control APP to adjust the filter, the APP can save the current filter effect and it will not be lost even if the KA13 is unplugged.
The different filter options available on the FiiO KA13 will have different effects on the style of the sound. For example, if you like listening to classical music, you can try the down-phase compensation filter – it retains the naturalness and phase accuracy of the audio, and is more suitable for the multiple instruments and complex sound layers in classical music.
Alternatively, if you prefer electronic music, try the short-latency steep drop filter – electronic music often includes strong bass and treble elements, as well as specific sound effects. And the short-latency steep drop filter brings out the bass and emphasizes the clarity of the treble. Of course, the best way is to try different filter settings according to the actual situation to find the sound effect that suits you best.
FiiO KA13 is no longer limited by its small size and can provide performance comparable to that of small decoding headphone amplifiers. The configuration and sound quality of KA13 have surpassed similar products by a level, bringing users a new experience of “small size with high power” at a very reasonable price.