When the Apple iPhone 7 did away with the three.5mm headphone jack, individuals had been understandably upset. Of course you had the choice to purchase every other smartphone, however the transfer from one of many largest trend-setters within the business was an indication of issues to come back. It additionally led to the revival of the thought of the non-public audio participant, with a renewed concentrate on sound high quality. Today, high-resolution audio gamers are in trend as soon as once more.
Using wired headphones with a superb digital-analogue converter (DAC) continues to be thought of by many to be the easiest way to take heed to music whereas on the go, and a robust a part of that setup is the supply system. Today, we’re reviewing a product that hopes to switch the smartphone as your main supply system for music — the Fiio M6. Priced at Rs. 14,999, the Fiio M6 prices greater than lots of superb smartphones, however its is geared for one key goal. How does it carry out, and might it make a constructive influence in your transportable audio expertise? We evaluation to seek out out.
Fiio M6 design, specs, and battery life
Portable media gamers ought to ideally be small, because it’s presumed that you may be utilizing one alongside a smartphone. The Fiio M6 does have dimension as a bonus, simply becoming within the palm of a hand. It’s straightforward to retailer in a pocket or backpack, and all controls are conveniently inside attain even for individuals with small arms. The body of the Fiio M6 is metallic, and it has toughened glass at again.
The prime of the M6 has the three.5mm jack and energy button, the left aspect has three buttons for play/ pause, quantity up and quantity down, the best aspect has an open slot for a microSD card, and the underside has a USB Type-C port for charging, information transfers, and USB DAC performance. At the entrance is a three.2-inch 480×800-pixel contact display screen, and simply above it’s an LED indicator gentle.
The system runs on customized firmware based mostly on Android, with the UI simplified to concentrate on music playback. You get the primary Fiio Music app together with different apps for file administration, a gallery, and settings. Four apps for music streaming companies are pre-installed — KKBox, Moov, NetEase Music, and Tidal — and will be uninstalled for those who do not want them. None of those companies are formally obtainable in India, so you may in all probability need them out of your manner. Perhaps the one actual subject with the interface is that it seems a bit cramped and poorly laid out.
Additionally, a number of in style music apps and streaming companies together with Spotify, Deezer, and ES File Explorer have been whitelisted and will be side-loaded onto the system, for those who intend to make use of them.
The M6 is Wi-Fi enabled, and might thus be used to stream music from suitable apps. Apps equivalent to Tidal — which is concentrated on high-resolution music streaming — will probably be significantly helpful to customers who’ve subscriptions and need entry to high-resolution audio content material over the Internet.
The Fiio M6 has a 1,200mAh battery, which will be totally charged in about 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 10W charger, though the adapter is not included within the field. During our testing, the Fiio M6 ran for about 11 hours on a full cost with blended utilization as a standalone participant, which is respectable. During our time with the system, we used it with wired and wi-fi headphones, as a USB DAC, and as a Bluetooth receiver.
For such a small system, the Fiio M6 packs in some spectacular . Powering the system is the Samsung Exynos 7270 processor, together with an ESS Sabre 9018Q2C digital-analogue converter. This 32-bit DAC is often utilized in dwelling theatre receivers, Blu-Ray gamers and digital audio workstations, amongst different purposes. You even have Bluetooth connectivity on the system, with help for the AptX, AptX HD, and LDAC codecs.
Interestingly, the Fiio M6 can also be AirPlay suitable, which helps you to use it as a wi-fi DAC with iOS gadgets. You can due to this fact ship audio wirelessly utilizing the AirPlay protocol from an iPhone or iPad to the Fiio M6, which can then use its DAC to transform the sign to analogue in your wired headphones. It’s a perform that serves a really particular goal, however may be a helpful characteristic for some.
You can equally use Bluetooth to hook up with any suitable system equivalent to a smartphone or pc and have the Fiio M6 work as a Bluetooth receiver, taking up DAC duties. It’s a extremely versatile system that works in a number of use circumstances, though it really works greatest as a standalone audio participant.
Speaking of its potential as a standalone audio participant, the Fiio M6 gives help for a variety of audio codecs, together with commonplace lossy codecs in addition to high-resolution and lossless file codecs. This consists of ISO, DSD, DSF, DFF, APE, WAV, FLAC, M4A, WMA, ALAC and MP3, to call a number of. The system has 2GB of built-in storage and helps reminiscence growth by way of its single microSD slot as much as a theoretical 2TB. Interestingly, audio output over USB can also be supported, and the M6 is listed to work with exterior DACs, however didn’t work with any of the USB Type-C headphones we tried it with.
Fiio M6 efficiency
There is rather a lot you are able to do with the Fiio M6, together with taking part in audio tracks immediately off the system utilizing wired headphones or Bluetooth, utilizing it as a DAC, streaming audio withcompatible apps, and utilizing it as a Bluetooth receiver in your wired headphones. During our testing, we tried all these capabilities, however targeted on crucial ones — taking part in audio immediately utilizing wired headphones, and utilizing the Fiio M6 as a USB DAC.
We used the Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear headphones and 1More Triple Driver earphones with the Fiio M6 for our testing. We used numerous file codecs, together with DSD, FLAC, M4A and MP3.
We began out utilizing the system as a standalone audio participant with the tracks saved on a microSD card. Starting out with the Sennheiser Momentum headphones and a DSD model of Astor Piazzola’s Touched By Tango collection, the Fiio M6 performed its half in producing a energetic, detailed, and pleasurable sound. Of course, credit score for sound high quality largely goes to the headphones, and we used a pair that has been rated extremely for its efficiency.
The double bass at first of the observe felt true to its supposed muted aggression, lending some punch and low-end grunt to the efficiency. The numerous devices and parts of the observe felt distinct, and what was significantly attention-grabbing was how the quantity ranges had been totally different for particular person parts. With a jazz band model of Sting’s Walking On The Moon (an M4A file), it was wonderful to listen to the timbre and grunt of the low-end of the saxophone and drums, at the same time as guitar parts had been softer, and but distinct. The ESS Sabre DAC can largely be credited for the wonderful separation, timbre, and energetic nature of the sound.
Switching to the 1More Triple Driver earphones and Mylo’s In My Arms (FLAC format), the sound was louder, however the Fiio M6 as soon as once more demonstrated its potential to maintain up with the tempo of tracks whereas persevering with to supply an open, well-separated, and clear output. True to the character of the headphones, the sound felt balanced with element within the highs and mids, all whereas retaining a good low-end. The Fiio M6 proved to be strongly impartial in its output, permitting the headphones to determine the sonic signature.
We used the Fiio M6 as a USB DAC with an Apple MacBook Air, and the method was easy sufficient. Once plugged in, you merely have to change the enter from Storage to USB DAC by way of the short settings menu (pull down from the highest) on the Fiio M6, and change the sound output to the M6 in your pc’s audio settings, if obligatory. While this did make a distinction to audio high quality, it wasn’t very vital with tracks from Apple Music or compressed MP3 information. However, it doesn’t matter what audio was performed, the Fiio made an enormous distinction within the quantity. Sound was louder and was in a position to retain its high quality even at very excessive quantity ranges.
There was an enormous distinction in sound high quality when taking part in high-resolution audio information, for the reason that Fiio’s DAC was put to optimum use. Combined with the power to get loud, the M6 makes an enormous enchancment within the listening expertise. Gotye’s State Of The Art on the Sennheiser Momentum headphones was dealt with effectively, and the Fiio M6 was at no level slowed down by the tempo and busy nature of the observe.
We additionally examined the Fiio M6 with Bluetooth headphones, and as a Bluetooth receiver. In the previous case, aptX HD and LDAC compatibility are helpful options and make the system a superb wi-fi supply as effectively. However, we did not discover any actual enchancment in efficiency over that of a smartphone such because the OnePlus 6T (Review), and certainly that is not what the Fiio M6 ought to primarily be used for. In the latter case, the M6 is proscribed by the capabilities of the supply system — generally it depends on SBC streaming, which impacts sound high quality and negates the constructive results the DAC has on the sound. As with compressed audio information, its solely actual influence was felt with the power to bump up the quantity.
Headphones are crucial a part of any transportable audio setup, and your selection right here could make or break your listening expertise. However, that does not take away from the significance of the supply system and DAC; utilizing the best tools may also help carry out the perfect in your headphones. That’s precisely what the Fiio M6 does — it gives a stable analogue sign so your headphones can work their magic. For its value, and when paired with headphones of equal high quality, the system does a superb job. The sound is open, well-separated and detailed, whereas leaving the sonic signature to the headphones to set.
While the extra Bluetooth performance may come in useful for lots of people, the Fiio M6 works greatest as a standalone audio participant with wired headphones, and as a USB DAC. It’s an amazing newbie system for anybody trying to get began on the audiophile path, and a very good improve over even a flagship-level smartphone — whether or not it has a headphone jack or not.
Price (MRP): Rs. 14,990
- Lively, detailed, and open sound
- Can get very loud
- Brings out the perfect in good headphones
- Lots of performance
- Convenient dimension, good construct high quality
- Decent battery life, fast charging
- Interface is a bit messy
- Only 2GB of inside storage
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design: four
- Performance: four.5
- Battery: four
- Value for cash: four
- Overall: four.5
Adapted From: Gadgets360