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  1. oyster
    A noise generator paperweight
    Written by oyster
    Published Apr 11, 2017
    2.5/5,
    Pros - Sounds better than my HTC M7
    Cons - SQ might cause headache, migraine
    Headphones/Earphones used - HD650, VE Duke, some random earbuds.
    Music - Lossless tracks with sane gain levels and actual dynamics

    Build - Heavy, boxy, all metal, buttons have decent travel and feel
    UI - Decent speed, Easy menu arrangement
    SQ - Fake one note bass tone/timbre, fake treble tone/timbre, treble glare galore, poor dynamics, decent resolution, listenable midrange.

    I thought the AKM4490 in A&K300 was the worst sounding DAC chip/implementation but that crown now goes to the M1S.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. oyster
      Not fond of DAPs in general due to the compromises but I think Hidiz AP60 is VFM and acceptable SQ if you can look past the thin lower treble.
      A mimby/modi2 stack would sound more potent than most portable solutions.
      Sony DAPs have good tonality but lack power for anything but the most sensitive load and hence end up sounding warm mess with difficult load.
      oyster, Apr 12, 2017
    3. Niyologist
      Isn't the M1S neutral? So of course it won't be for everyone. My OPUS #1 has better tonality because it sounds slightly more musical. BTW, besides a smartphone. What do you use for music portability?
      Niyologist, Apr 12, 2017
    4. oyster
      Touch boosted treble but otherwise fairly neutral. Despite a bit high treble energy levels its not bright at all. However, the treble tone is completely wrong so is the bass. Quality wise its quite clean and textured (hence resolving).
      My phone is the only portable source I use. Occasionally I get to listen to the portable gear my friends get for themselves.
      oyster, Apr 12, 2017
  2. Takeanidea
    The M1S is a no frills DAP offering great sound and a lightning fast start up
    Written by Takeanidea
    Published Feb 28, 2017
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Mellow sound Reads a card really quickly
    Cons - Basic - no UK availability

    Introduction

     
    With thanks to @glassmonkey , and Aune, here is my first review for 2017 - the M1S DAP. IMG_20170228_114505041.jpg
     
    I shall not be labouring the point. There is a 55 page discussions and impressions thread http://www.head-fi.org/t/827960/aune-m1s-impressions-discussion-thread-aunes-newest-hi-res-dap-with-ess9012km-2-5mm-balanced-out. If they haven't spotted something in that thread that represents a deal breaker for you, believe me , it isn't worth worrying about.
    What I'm here to talk to you about is what the player sounds like, how it fares against the competition and where I think it stands in the marketplace. To that end , I have used it as thoroughly as a working man can over the course of the last 2 weeks and have concentrated on one thing only - what it sounds like.
    What the player sounds like has to be the most important aspect for me when I'm looking at something on headfi. The other consideration that next applies is what value I put on that sound against the competition in the marketplace. The features a DAP has can transform it from  something that lives in the pocket to an item that can be equally at home in the living room. Such versatility cannot be ignored. The availability of a product can enhance it's appeal. On the other hand it is more than likely to struggle in a fiercely competitive field where many equally spec'd players can be had on a next day delivery basis.
     

    Build

     
    The M1S has been built to last. They have been careful enough to provide spare screen protectors . No need to worry about which pocket you put your keys in now. IMG_20170228_114806241.jpg
    Supplied with the M1S comes a swish looking micro USB charging cable. It's rare to see a gold plated affair supplied with a DAP at this price level. The unit isn't a fast charging model but I only charged it a couple of times overnight which saw me through some extensive use. IMG_20170228_115023213.jpg
     
    IMG_20170228_115030118.jpg

    The presentation box is an understated affair but fairly standard and has almost everything you need to get going. IMG_20170228_114702027.jpg
    IMG_20170228_114957489.jpg

    The only noteable exception was a micro SD card. The unit itself does not have an internal storage capability. Without an SD Card the unit will switch on and say no card inserted. Most of us have lots of Micro SD Cards. My 128 Gb and 256 Gb worked flawlessly and updated the database astonishingly quickly. There are no eq facilities available on the M1S. The screen is not a touch screen. All is accessed from a series of buttons on the unit. The buttons are below the screen and on the right hand side. IMG_20170228_114403840.jpg
     
    IMG_20170228_114423265.jpg
     
    IMG_20170228_114446264.jpg

    Navigating through the various screens is a simple enough affair. It's at least fairly precise if somewhat basic looking through the black and white album artist and track pages. There is an option for fast slow or normal filtering of the ESS9018 chip. The whole ethos of this player is to be bare bones. None of the Android extra features we have come to see in this type of mid tier player. This is a player which has it's own Operating Code. The player is geared towards people who just want to listen to their own music on the move through an SD Card plain and simple. In terms of the speed , the player is a complete success. Naturally we now need to have a look at how the sound shapes up against the competition.
    Features on this DAP are as follows ; line out and 3.5 mm in. That's your lot.
     

    Sound Quality

    I was impressed with the speed of the player, the responsiveness worked well too. The basic design clearly helps these aspects. The other element is of course whether the players no frills assists the sound quality. The sound is a smooth mellow rounded out signature. Nothing too amiss. Nothing to annoy any potential owners that I could detect. I tried the M1S through the line out. The pure line out into an integrated amp will be fine. Into a power amp such as the First Watt F6 I have, as expected there's too much output for running headphones but speakers would be ok. I tried the Westone W60 mainly with the Aune. I had an enjoyable week or so. I tried this side by side against the Cayin i5 and the Ibasso DX100. The i5 was a close run thing, slightly less bass response but slightly more excitement in the higher frequency range was how I would describe this against the M1S. The DX100 was a clear winner to my ears. Of course , I am used to the sound signature of the Ibasso. I've had it for 4 years. I am so used to it it's like it's a part of me. No one must come between me and my DX100! You get the picture. So it was a no contest thing and the comparison was doomed from the start. The DX100 had a clearer more detailed more accurate sound signature across the board. That was what I was expecting of course..... IMG_20170228_120848866.jpg
     
      

    Conclusion

    The barebones no frills nature of the Aune M1S has created it's own little niche in this hotly contested marketplace. I think it's a rip roaring success in what it's tried to achieve. We have a fast, responsive great sounding music player It plays all the formats and handles a 256 Gb Card.  
    The reservations I have are but a few; the DAP is not currently on sale in the UK. That brings to me a few reservations. I've not always had the best of luck with my new purchases. If there is something wrong and it has to go back to another Continent, how long will that take? How much will it cost? Not necessarily a deal breaker but something to bear in mind.
    The DAP has no digital out so can't connect to a Mojo for instance. It can't improve your laptop's sound as a DAC. The GUI is very flat as you would expect from an in house design done from the bottom up. The case supplied hides everything and looks bland.
    But all these things add up to a DAP that just works. And works very well. IMG_20170228_114322219.jpg
     
     
     
     

      

  3. tenedosian
    Aune M1S : "In the Hall of the Mountain King"
    Written by tenedosian
    Published Dec 9, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Very transparent, dynamic and detailed sound. Balanced output, simple & fast user interface. Native DSD support. Sturdy build.
    Cons - No sound tweaks / equalizer, no extensive features (like Wi-Fi, USB-DAC), wonky D-pad design
    Hi to all fellow Head-Fi'ers!
    I am here to write my impressions about Aune's (still) popular high resolution audio player M1S. I should state that the player was provided to me with confidence by Aune free of charge in exchange of my honest opinion.
    So I'll try to do my best on that.
    It's been quite a while since M1S was released, and I will try to add some comparisons with some recent strong competitors of M1S (like Sony A35 Walkman and Fiio X3 3rd Gen.) as of December 2017.
    This is a frequently reviewed player on Head-Fi, so I'll try not to repeat the highly accessible info about M1S (that other reviewers already mentioned); rather I'll focus more on its most highlighted feature :
    Sound quality.
    But first things first. My setup :

    I used M1S with as many headphones and IEM's to reach an overall evaluation of its sound performance. In the listening tests I used Grado HF-1, PS500e, Sony Mdr-1abt, Sony Z1R, Audio Technica MSR-7, Hifiman Edition S, Hifiman RE400 and RE600, 1More Triple Driver, Custom Art Fibae 1 & 2 and Mee Audio Pinnacle P1.
    (Due to their bright nature, I first thought that M1S would not sound good with Grado's, yet the only cans in the group that did not match well with M1S had been the Audio Technica MSR-7 and MeeAudio Pinnacle P1 duo. Both presented an overly prevalent treble with M1S. )

    Design, Build and Use

    Let me go over the design, build, ergonomics and usability briefly.
    Aune M1S has an aluminium chassis and it feels quite sturdy. My sample came with two screen protectors. Besides, silicon cases of three colours were added.

    18926598_10154557625291828_302728847_o.jpg

    The screen is glass (not plastic) and the side buttons are accessible / usable in pocket.
    The 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm single-ended ports are placed on the bottom (as I prefer), and they seem to be made of high quality.

    DSC00400.JPG

    I especially liked their grip which prevents easy rotation of headphone jacks and in turn contributing to the durability of them.
    The build quality is decent for the price of $249.

    One point of criticism I have is about the design of the center buttons. The one in the middle is for play / pause and it has a circular, scroll-like one around it. However, as well as being wonky and making strange sounds during use, this circular button has no scrolling function and is actually a D-pad with four buttons for up-down and left-right.
    As well as being an unnecessary complication (and a deceiving one) it degrades the usability of the player in pocket on the go.
    I think it would have been simpler and better if Aune design team placed four independent buttons for D-pad.
    Concerning use, this is probably the fastest booting DAP I've ever seen. After pressing the on / off button at the right side, it takes like 3 to 4 seconds for you to get to the main menu screen.
    Impressive.
    Initially after boot, there is a slight lag after pressing the play button until the playback starts, but other than that operation is instant.
    The user interface is highly simple (that is also one of the reasons why it is so fast), but it does the job, and it goes well with a minimalist DAP like M1S.
    I am also quite happy to say that I've experienced like zero crashes in user interface during three months of use.
    Sometimes simplicity is bliss.
    Here are the options in the simple the menu of M1S :

    DSC00398.JPG

    DSC00399.JPG

    One thing I didn't like about in M1S' menu is the gain switch(ing) of the player.
    Aune M1S has 3 levels of gain as low / mid / high, selectable through software from the main menu. That's alright.
    However, in case you have sensitive ears and also use sensitive cans (especially low impendance / high sensitivity IEM's), one should be careful when switching gain, since the jump between those gain steps is instant and you can go from "low" to "high" with one press of a button, and that jump in output may be problematic for some.

    The output of M1S is not that powerful even in balanced mode (2 x 180mW @ 32 ohm), however it might have been better if Aune implemented a volume limit system when switching gain. (A good example is on Sony WM series Walkmans in which volume is lowered to half when you switch gain.)
    I believe Aune can add something like that in the next firmware or in the successor models of M1S.
    During use M1S gets quite warm, even in low gain. However, it does not become "hot" and I didn't find that warmth as disturbing even in a hot Turkish summer.
    As many have noted, M1S has no equalizer & sound enhancements whatsoever. For modifying the sound of the player (in case of need), there are the three built-in filters of the ES9018K2M DAC.
    The filter "FAST" has the most dynamic, airy and extended presentation. However, for the likes of people who may find it a little bit aggressive, there are "SLOW" and "MP" filters which smoothen up the upper frequencies a bit.
    I should state that these filters do not alter the base sound of M1S dramatically.
    So you should use M1S with a headphone / IEM that would match the sonic characteristic of the player, as it offers virtually no options of altering its sound. I'll talk more about this in the sound section below.
    This is one of the primary limitations of this player.

    Sound Signature

    (Note : I don't have a headphone with balanced 2.5mm plug at the moment, so I made my listening over the standard 3.5 mm jack. I'll update my impressions after I get one. Balanced performance of M1S is highly praised by listeners, so I'm curious.)

    - Generally (and very superficially) speaking, two mainstream approaches to the tuning of digital audio players are being followed in the market.
    One that is warmer and more fun-oriented (hi Sony and Fiio!) tuning and the other being less colored / more sterile or analytical sounding.
    Ibasso DX90 or Hifiman's HM901U can be considered two nice examples of the latter approach.
    In terms of sound signature, I might say Aune M1S can be considered closer to the second camp.

    The sound M1S produces can be said to be neutral with very little coloration or warmth. Due to that, it is possible that some might find the player as a bit cold sounding.
    It has a quite even balance across the spectrum with a little elevation in the treble region.
    So it is possible that some may find M1S a tad bit bright due to that peak.
    Besides, there is no mid-bass emphasis on the sound of M1s (which is more or less present on many of the DAPs to a degree). Because of that and the slight treble elevation, some may find M1S slightly bass-light (Though I am not one of them).
    Other than that, I didn't notice any particular emphasis on any part of base / mid or high frequencies.
    M1S has a relatively flat and balanced sound presentation.

    Bass
    Deep with decent impact, clean and very fast.
    Without any exaggeration, I can say that Aune M1S has one of the tightest bass I've ever seen in a portable player.
    It hits quite hard and decays in a short time.
    I've even been able to get some decent "kick" from my relatively bass-light Grado's.
    However, as I've said above, because of the flat-like bass presentation of M1S (that does not show any mid-bass emphasis), it may feel slightly bass-light with some headphones.
    I am not very fond of using equalizer, but it would be nice if the player has some bass boost option for ones that seek more prominent bass.
    I believe even a rudimentary one (like the very lovely hardware bass equalizer in Fiio X3 1st Gen.) would have added some more value to the player.

    18948795_10154557625346828_525186038_o.jpg

    Mids
    Very clean and transparent, textured, well separated.
    I can easily say that in the transparency department, M1S can rival even some flagship daps that cost more than a grand.
    The instruments are placed nicely in the horizontal X-axis creating an enfolding image. I didn't feel any recession or harshness in mids.
    Thanks to the decent layering, it was especially enjoyable for me to listen to the keyboards in the back of the vocals and main instruments in pop / rock music records.
    Well done, nice job again in here.

    Treble
    Slightly elevated, airy, extended, dynamic, precise with some sharpness and decent attack (typical for an ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC) and interestingly at the same time having some smoothness to it.
    Despite having some prevalent treble, I didn't hear any harshness or hotness in the treble presentation of M1S.
    In terms of signature, it resembles the one of Ibasso DX90 (which I rate highly in technical capability). They share the same Sabre DAC chip (though DX90 has two of those), yet these two have some differences in presentation.

    DX90 has a slight V-shape signature with laid-back mids whereas the mids of M1S are more forward, clearer and more transparent. Apart from that, soundstage of M1S is also wider than that of DX90, producing a more intense and roomy presentation with a more enfolding stereo image.
    And strangely (in a beautiful way), M1S has less of the "Sabre glare" in its sound, making it an easier DAP to listen compared to DX90.
    Both have very similar treble character, yet DX90 virtually show no smoothness in the upper frequencies, producing a sound more open to cause fatigue due to it's sharp treble.
    M1S on the other hand, while retaining the detailed, airy, highly dynamic and precise treble performance of DX90, also has some smoothness to it's sound preventing it from sounding "too aggressive".
    Aune engineers must have done some nice tuning here.
    Well done.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    One more strong point for the player.
    I should state again that these impressions are from the 3.5 mm single-ended output of the player, but even at that condition, the stage of M1S is excellent for it's price point.
    It is wide from left to right, and also it has some depth together with a very decent performance on layering.
    Imaging has good accuracy and it is positively affected by the amount of air between the instruments.
    The staging of the player is widely said to improve through balanced, and I will update my findings after I get a 2.5 mm balanced cable for my phones.

    Power
    Shortly : M1S has a moderately powerful amplifier section.
    It produces 110 mW @ 32 ohm single-ended, and 180 mW @ 32 ohm through balanced.
    M1S would probably drive your phones to a highly satisfactory level provided that they have low impedance & high sensitivity.
    But within these numbers, do not expect M1S to feed enough juice for, say a Sennheiser HD6XX.

    18870027_10154557625401828_1718704335_o.jpg

    Hissing
    M1S has a beautiful black background. I wish that I had the chance to try it with some sensitive IEMs, but among the ones I used, M1S presented a pitch-black background. So you can trust its really high SNR ratio in that.
    In fact in some cans, I felt that it even introduced less hiss to the recording than the already quite silent, Top-Of-The-Line Sony WM1A which costs $1100.

    Battery
    I usually reached around 10 hours of use on mixed 16 & 24 bit flac files on mid and high gain. So it lives up to the specs stated by Aune.

    Some Comparisons
    At the moment, I have Sony A35 and Fiio X3 3rd Gen. in my hands besides Aune M1s. So I gave some A / B listening to these daps.
    In terms of sound, the biggest difference between the trio is the sound signature.
    M1S is, as I've said before, the less-coloured sounding of the three whereas A35 has slight warmth in its sound, and X3 Mark III is the warmest sounding of the group.
    Compared to A35, M1S has more airy and crisp treble, better dynamics, clearer overall sound and a blacker background.
    It also offers slightly faster operation, balanced output and thus a more powerful amplifier.
    The sound quality of M1S has some edge over that of A35 via single-ended connection, and I assume that the difference would grow bigger in favor of M1S through balanced.
    On the other side, A35 has its own strenghts.
    It has a very small footprint with a good and a more sophisticated user interface compared to M1S and more than double the battery life on one charge.
    And despite being inferior in sound in terms of technical capabilities, A35 presents a slightly more organic timbre than that of M1S, which can also be tailored to one's needs via a nice equalizer and sound enhancements.
    A35 can also send wireless signal to Bluetooth devices like headphones, speakers etc.
    It is rumoured by some listeners for the newer A45 to be better sounding than A35, and I will post here my findings after I got a Sony A45 Walkman.

    Fiio X3 3rd Generation is the latest product coming from Fiio's first digital audio player line of X3 released four years ago. The product was lent to me with confidence by Fiio. So I would like to thank them also from here.
    I'll be posting a full review of Fiio X3 Mark III in a short while here on Head-Fi.
    X3 3rd Gen. has a pretty more coloured and warmer sound compared to the more neutral and analytical sound of M1S.
    In comparison of the two daps both from their 3.5 mm single-ended out, M1S again has the slight edge in terms of technical capabilities, resolution and extension in both ends.
    However, X3 III also presents nice staging, detail, separation over a balanced sound signature. Yet, its top end is more smoothened up compared to M1S, which makes X3 an ideal player for long listening sessions.
    X3 1st Generation of 2013 was way too polite in the upper registers when it was released, thus it was definitely a non-ideal player for music with high dynamic content (like rock and metal). And I thought that was a flaw.
    X3 3rd Gen. that I'm holding in my hands right now still continues that Fiio "politeness" in sound, but I can say that it can also rock when it needs to rock.
    What it doesn't have is the aggressive bite and sparkle of M1S in the treble section.
    So I think that's a matter of choice.

    In terms of user interface, X3 III definitely has many more options (including a working equalizer) to offer than the rudimentary menu of system of M1S. However, accessing these options in X3 III can be a pain sometimes due to the slightly slower operation and button arrangement system of the player.
    So the usability of M1S is better than X3 III probably thanks to its simple menu system.

    Conclusion

    It has been nearly a year after M1S' release in the beginning of 2017.
    However, I believe M1S is still a strong competitor for the price of $249, in terms of its sound, balanced out option and fluid usability.
    And I think a listener who prefers the less coloured, more neutral and "studio-like" sound signature compared to the warmer and more coloured one would still be delighted by the performance M1S offers.
    It has its limitations (and it may not be the most "handsome" player indeed :)), yet as a "music player" it is definitely a credit to the Aune brand.

    Good job Aune!
      JaeYoon likes this.
  4. Hypespazm
    Everything about this device amazes me at its price point! this outshines alot of DAPS in its price range but also outshines alot of DAC's free!
    Written by Hypespazm
    Published Mar 27, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Details Galore, Plug and Play. Packs a Punch for the price. Balance output, Crystal Clear sound. DSD playback infinite storage. Above its asking price
    Cons - I cant find any Cons audibly. Feature wise It lacks BT, OTG but to me these things arent needed!
    So I got the chance to try out the Aune M1S, and to my Surprise it was way more than I had anticipated or expected. My first impressions was an absolute shock! This thing punches way above it price bracket. It was an instant "WOW" factor for me. Not only that but it kills some of the other equipment that I have in the mobile department. (LG V20) Also crapping on the schiit fulla 2 and anything remotely portable that I own. For the first 20 minutes of some DSD Beck's Sea Change. I was amazed at the clarity. The M1S was an instant gratifying sensation. A sigh of relief. Finally, a device that can give me Quality without hassle. just plug and play. I can honestly say that I got goosebumps for the first time in some time from music I had overlooked.


    20170327_163008_HDR.jpg  
    20170327_163109_HDR.jpg  
    20170327_163129_HDR.jpg  
    20170327_163144_HDR.jpg  

     

    First, this thing packs some Juice! it can hang with the big boys!

    This is Details Galore. It is very neutral. I like that about it. Crystal clear. It is very spacious. Everything is decipherable in every song. In the audio department, I can't say that I can point to any cons. To me, this DAP is an absolute marvel. want quality. M1S is quality. Want details? M1S is details. Want power? M1S is power.

     

     

    In terms of Build Quality, this thing is built VERY but I mean Very solid. The buttons are pretty smooth to the touch. It feels as if it was made from a solid block of aluminum.

    All of the buttons feel as if they are made from Metal.

    It also sports Balanced 2.5mm jack and un-balanced 3.5mm jack for output.

     

    UI Is very Easy and user-Friendly. it is really just a plug and play device it doesn't get any more simple than this. It is by far the most practical device I have ever had the pleasure of using.

     

    I want to point out some things that the M1S is Not before I go any further. It is not a Bluetooth device, it does not support OTG. It is not android. forget all anything other than Quality music!

     

    Now I will tell you what it really is! It is a mobile powerhouse. I don't need all the other things. I just need simple and the m1s delivers that in every aspect and delivers hard!

     

    The Aune M1S made me realize the detail that some of my cans/earbuds/IEMs are capable of. This thing also made me Realize what a value the VE Monk Plus are. I mean talk about scaling with hardware these things scale! It also does an good job at powering my HD600's at a very pleasing sound level. A level some would probably consider uncomfortable FWIW it packs a punch. Vmoda M100's sound amazing. I would say another perfect combo for traveling. More than enough power for M100's. The M100's also have that amazing bass extension the M1S doesn't hold back in this department.

     

    I honestly think that the Price to performance Ration on this thing is ridiculous. As I do believe it can compete with way higher priced DAPs. I can go as far as saying that it performs better than most DAC's in its price range.

     

    From now on this will be replacing my setup on the weekends, as well as my On the go set up. I haven't been able to put this thing down since I got it

     

    Here are some Specs

     

    Price $249

    DAC chip ESS SABRE ES9018K2M

    Output power 3.5mm: 110mW @ 32Ω; 2.5mm (balanced) 180mW @ 32Ω

    Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise 0.00027%

    Dynamic Range (DNR) 120dB

    Noise 2.52 uVrms

    Max Output Level 1.92 Vrms

    Outputs 3.5mm headphone out, 2.5mm (balanced) headphone out

    Headphone impedance recommendation 8Ω - 600Ω

    Display 2.4” IPS

    Battery ~11hr life

    Format support PCM 44.1-384kHz (16, 24, 32 bit); DSD64-DSD128 (single to double DSD); APE 16/44.1; MP3; ALAC; AAC

    Dimensions 126 x 55 x 14.8mm

    Weight 147g

      SpiderNhan likes this.
    1. glassmonkey
      I would disagree on this doing an excellent job powering the HD600. It will go loud enough, but it sounds thin. The HD600 needs more power than this can give, even out of the balanced out.

      I totally agree that this is a spectacular value that really lets most headphones shine. It is substantially better than similar priced DAPs I have tried in the sound department.
      glassmonkey, Mar 28, 2017
    2. Hypespazm
      Glass monkey. I actually agree. It isn't an amazing job at powering the HdD600's BUT to me, it does get the HD600 so a comfortable listening level. In my Experience, it hasn't been thin. Have you tried to set the gain on high?
      Hypespazm, Mar 28, 2017
  5. yacobx
    For the Love of Music
    Written by yacobx
    Published May 7, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Sound quality
    Cons - missing some frills like album art and EQ.
    304CE6DB-7A5B-44A2-981D-555B719ADBFC.JPG

    AUNE M1S

    Disclaimer

    · AUNE provided me with a test unit to review and provide feedback on firmware updates. I want to start off by thanking them for their kindness and for this wonderful DAP that has increased my music listening enjoyment dramatically. I feel like a proud dad showing pictures of my M1s, haha.


    Specs:

    (from Penon’s site)


    Output:

    · Headphone impedance range: 8-600R

    · Headphone output THD + n: 0.00027%

    · Headphone output power: 110mW @ 32Ω BAL output -180W @ 32Ω

    · DNR: 120 dB

    · CCIF: 19KHz + 20KHz 0.00012% @ 32R

    · Noise: 2.52μVrms

    · MAX Level: 1.92Vrms

    Supported formats:

    · WAV: 16bit︳24bit︳32bit-44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192K/352.8K/384K WAV + CUE

    · FLAC: 16bit︳24bit-44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192K

    · DSD: DSF/DFF/ISO/DSD128

    · APE: 16bit/44.1K normal level

    · MP3/ALAC/AAC

    Battery:

    · Continuous playback of more than 10 hours (16bit / 44.1K file / continuous playback)

    · The maximum charge current of the battery is 1.3A, 1.5A or more recommended adapter to achieve the fastest charging effect

    · Interface: 3.5mm headphone jack, 2.5mm balanced headphone jack

    · Screen: 2.4 inch IPS display

    · Media: TF card (up to 128GB, FAT32 format)

    · Font: Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese / English / Japanese / 한국 의

    · Size: 55 × 126 × 14.8 (mm)

    · Weight: 147g


    95BA5414-CFDB-49D1-8206-4EFC253BAE7A.JPG

    Design:

    ·The design of the M1S is beautiful. Looking through pictures it's hard not to fall in love with the look but the hand feel is even better. I switched to this from xduoo x3 so it was similar. Hahahaha, ok it's kind of wrong to compare the two. The M1S is much more thoughtful and really gives the user an easy to hold and navigate experience. It fits really well in pockets and is very lightweight. It is a little slippery without the silicon case. I use the grey case as it matches it perfectly but there is also blue and red if that matches your stuff better. It has two outputs one balanced 2.5mm and a 3.5mm. Both can be used as a true line out at 2v. The one area I will say that AUNE missed a wonderful chance to allow for USB DAC function. Sadly this is not even possible with the way the hardware is set up. It is not what they were going for though; they wanted to make the purest high quality experience that everyone can afford. At the end of the day steaming music is not important because if you truly love a song you own it and it’s in your collection.


    A video over look:




    Firmware/UI:

    ·The UI is extremely simple. No pictures just the basics, not even an EQ. The reality is that this DAP is for purists. The settings are basic which is a good thing. There are 3 filters Slow, Medium and Fast. I find that Medium is perfect for me, just the right amount. There is also the option for 3 gain settings. The unit is very powerful on high gain and can play my notorious Havi B3’s well on its own. For those not familiar, the Havi is ridiculously picky about sources. When you want dial in some nice IEM’s I find the low setting to be awesome.

    Sound:

    · The sound of the M1S is clear and coherent. It is very neutral it can play everything up to DSD128. The 2.5mm output is new to me and I had to buy earphones just to use it. I tried balanced Monk Plus, Asura 2 and Zen 2. Let me say this now if anyone is thinking it, I am a Venture Electronics fan. Lol. Ok back to what I was saying, the balanced output is slightly more powerful than the internal amps on the 3.5mm port. Dynamics and separation were increased as well using the balanced port. I even felt the Zen was useable without an amp. With that being said the Line out to amp is ridiculously good. I have a special edition RA plus from VE. That truly lets the Zen shine. The sound is excellent but it comes down to sound signature when one is looking for a DAP and this wallet friendly unit is as close to neutral as I have ever experienced. You can take my word for but there are many users sharing their positive thoughts.

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    Accessories:

    · It comes with 3 silicon cases, a screen protector and a USB cable. There is also a screen protector included. It feels very safe with the combo. Also, while the unit is off you can transfer to the SD card inside.

    Conclusion:

    · If you looking for a straight up high quality DAP that is focused on music It's a no brainer to pick this up. I carry it with my daily with my 2.5mm balanced monk plus. Everything has been collecting dust in my collection because the M1s is so easy to carry.

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    images

    1. 9BD56F39-9064-40F0-ADEC-4B1B9E621DCD.JPG
    2. 2214B8F0-8517-4B80-8F79-E964C63CB4CF.JPG
    3. 3CC4099E-1817-4D3E-9E17-A624B8696BE2.JPG
      eyan and ranfan like this.
  6. Zelda
    Aune M1s – Balance, Detail & Value
    Written by Zelda
    Published Aug 30, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound quality - detail, stage and resolution
    Build quality
    Easy UI
    Impressive 2.5mm balanced output
    Cons - Battery
    Very simple UI
    Lacks EQ and extra features
    Aune M1s – Balance, Detail & Value

    m1s (35).JPG

    Note: The actual rating should be 4.5/5.

    Website: Aune

    Full details and specifications can be found here

    m1s info (1).jpg

    Price (MSRP): U$D 250.
    Available from Auneaudio store and Venture Electronics (Veclan)


    m1s (3).JPG

    The Aune M1s unit arrives in a simple hassle free box which includes the basic accessories, a USB to micro-USB cable and a pair of screen protectors. The latest package might include a silicone case too; it can also be purchased separately at the price of ~$10.

    m1s (4).JPG

    Build quality & Design:


    Build quality on the Aune M1s is very solid and feels very durable. The whole chassis is made of a very sturdy and thick aluminum material, 100% CNC type (supposedly). The strong material also makes the M1s a heavy unit that might push the limits of truly portable players. The size is actually comfortable to carry around, being a larger than wider than the similar large DAPs. The finish is plain, discreet and smooth; though still has some edges towards the back panel.

    On the front panel there’s the 2.4” screen, which is sharp enough but nothing fancy, just simply a 2 color one (grey/white). Just below are placed the main playback and navigation controls, ‘Home’ on left, ‘Back’ on right and the 4-pad control for ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘left’, ‘right’ and the circle ‘Ok/Enter’ button just in the middle.

    On the right side, there are the power button which is also used as screen on/off, and the volume up and down just below. A small reset button in the middle and then the Micro SD slot towards the lower part. Finally, at the bottom part there’re the micro-USB slot for both charging and transferring, and the two output options, 3.5mm for both headphones and lineout and the 2.5mm balanced one. Nothing on the left and upper sides.

    m1s (5).JPG

    m1s (6).JPG

    m1s (7).JPG

    m1s (8).JPG


    UI, Navigation and Firmware:


    Using the M1s player is very simple. Unlike the many portable players from Chinese companies with their complex and sometimes annoying, non-friendly interface, the M1s is so comfortable and easy to use. It actually reminds a lot of the famous little Sandisk Clip Plus for is simplicity and easy going interface. With the Home button it is possible to get back to the main screen with a single click and then back to the playing screen with just pressing it again. The Back button helps to go back to the just previous screen and also to the playing screen if located at the main screen as well. Navigation through menus can be done with the up/down buttons or with the left/right to get to the previous/next page on the whole list which just makes things even faster.


    The last firmware 1.06 version is very stable, never frozen or crashed so far. Not the fastest response, but cannot be called slow. On this current 1.06 release it’s possible to setup the playback controls even when the screen is off, which should help in saving the battery usage. It is also possible to select various playback options, including continuous playback to the next folders.

    Supposedly, the M1s presents an extra special “sound filter” feature with 3 different tuning options. Unfortunately, it seems to work only with DSD type of files. Moreover, the ‘gapless playback’ doesn’t seem to work with every file type either. And one extra complain would be that the M1s turns off after a few minutes of pausing the music, and it cannot be setup otherwise, and it won’t resume playback when turn on again, but start from the beginning of the last played track.


    m1s info (2).jpg


    PC connectivity and file transferring:


    There is no internal memory on the M1s and the whole file handling is made via the micro SD card. When off and connected to the PC the player is immediately recognized as an extra memory unit (the micro SD card). Even the system upgrade is made by simply adding the firmware file to the card and then selecting the upgrade option on the player settings.


    m1s (9).JPG

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    m1s (13).JPG

    m1s (14).JPG



    Battery, Hiss:


    Battery life is rated around the 10 hours, which seems fairly accurate, but mainly when used on lower volume with easier to drive earphones. The M1s is a quiet DAP No hiss was noticed even with most sensitive in-ear sets (including Custom IEM), and even from the balanced output, which is slightly louder.








    Volume & Power:


    The volume steps go from 0 to 100. The player also features 3 gain levels, low, mid and high, that would give even a higher scale when needed for more demanding sets. There is also an interesting fact with the current 1.06 firmware version that wasn’t in the previous two; it’s possible to choose between two upgrade files, “less aggressive” and “more aggressive” volume curve, which basically mean a slower or faster volume gain between each step. Might be a useful feature depending on the headphone in use.

    As for the driving power of this Aune DAP, it can handle higher impedance stuff pretty well; the VE Zen 2.0 was no challenge here, and even both Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 could be driven to a fairly effortless level, though I’d personally still recommend a decent extra amplifier for these open-back cans. The HD25 II, on the other hand, sound fantastically nice out of the M1s, a pair that usually asks for some portable amplification at least.




    Sound impressions


    Technically, the sound quality out of the M1s is superb for its price. From lows to mids and up to the upper treble the M1s doesn’t stop to amaze with its fantastic level of detail, speed, accuracy and excellent dynamics. Be it a low budget earphone or a more expensive model, the M1s manages to surprise with its high gain in pure overall sound quality. Starting from the low-end it offers great depth and effortless extension down to sub-bass with a high control and accuracy that goes up to mid and upper bass notes, sounding very clean and noticeable taking down the extra mid-bass bloat out of warmer or bassier sets. It is faster and maybe a bit softer in impact, but the more aggressive nature of the DAP doesn’t sound missing in fullness and note weight. Yet, the most noticed improvements are in the speed and dynamics; listening to hybrid type IEMs is much easier out of the Aune as it tends to improve the typical (if any) drivers type incoherence issues bringing better harmony.


    The midrange gets even more interesting. The clarity and detail are simply outstanding, and resolution is boosted up by a high margin. Nonetheless, the M1s still manages to maintain a delicate and more refined presentation. The instruments’ separation is excellent with better dynamics and positioning. The midrange still remains neutral, uncolored and flatter all the way up to the lower treble, while sounding simply more liquid and transparent. Voices also gain more detail, however the tonality of the DAP is slightly to the colder side of things, and thus the sweet and warmness can be missing with more mid-centered sets.


    The highs gain a stronger emphasis which starts from upper mids to the whole treble itself. As such, the M1s does rate under the “bright” sounding DAPs. There is definitely extra energy and more sparkle with most of the earphones or headphones tried through the M1s, however the treble control and definition is very good, and rarely sounded harsh or more sibilant. There were some exceptions, mostly with more V-shaped sets, such as the Fiio EX1 or RHA MA750 where the sound got even more fatiguing than usual, but not annoying with other bright IEMs like the VE Duke or Sennheiser HD600 over-ear. Treble extension is superb and even more noticed than the bass extension which is already good.

    The presentation is ample and the M1s is very resolving but also revealing like trying to present a more analytical sound with a very wide stage with more than average depth. The stage dimensions are not overly vast but very impressive for the price, and definitely surpass even more expensive portable players. Clarity is top notch and even the smallest the micro details are so easy to perceive. As mentioned, the tonality is more towards the cooler side, and while very liquid and dynamic, the M1s is less organic sounding than the PAW5000 or the X5 2nd Gen.. The PAW5000 wins in midrange richness and mainly in the vocals presentation with a smooth and sweeter texture. The X5, on the other hand, gives some extra weight to instruments and sound has a bit more 3D surrounding effect. They both sound ‘more musical’ than the M1s (at least in Single output), but even though, none of these pricier DAPs can match the micro detail and stage out of the Aune.





    The Balanced Output



    Switching to the balanced 2.5mm output on the Aune M1s brings out a very strong improvement on the whole sound quality and presentation. Basically, it starts from just getting technically better in every single aspect from extension on both ends to pure quality in each frequency with a higher refinement on the overall sound. Nonetheless, they were very good examples of what the balanced mode is capable of. While the level of detail on the single output was already impressive for this M1s player price, it simply gets even more amazing as it goes “balanced”. It may be considered even more analytical in its ability of showing every single micro detail in a much effortless way with better control, and despite being even brighter in tonality it’s still more forgiving, more delicate and resolving. The gain in dynamics is impressive as well and the higher speed and layering makes it sound even more musical in a certain way. The bass is noticeable softer in impact but tighter and better textured. The midrange feels slightly more forward but it’s more about the more open and airy sound. As expected, the right and left separation is better defined giving a wider stage effect with a more accurate image. It is also worth mentioning that the volume is higher on the balanced mode, but yet with a darker and cleaner background even from the more sensitive CIEMs. Compared to the PAW5000 2.5mm balanced output the differences are strong. The Lotoo didn’t showed much improvement on the balanced form. On a brief audition of the newest Fiio X5 3rd gen, while the balanced gain is better than with the PAW5000, it still doesn’t reach the same level of the M1s. It could be considered a pretty much flawless sound if you can get the right setup for it.



    m1s (33).JPG




    Summary


    The Aune M1s is a very impressive addition to the portable audio market. While the main contenders keep adding new features like touch colorful screens, wireless Bluetooth playback, DAC option and more, the M1s has skipped all of that and simply focus on giving the best sound quality for the money. The build quality is very strong and the interface, while too simple, is very easy to handle. The firmware is very stable as well, though there’re certain features that should be fixed like the power-off timing and the gapless playback. The battery too, could still be better when compared to other players that can last around 15 hours and more on a single charge, and like the rest of the Aune players there’re no EQ options. Yet, the best part of the Aune M1s is the balanced output which rises its sound quality even much higher and gives a much better value as a simple portable player.

  7. fleasbaby
    A Blunt Instrument
    Written by fleasbaby
    Published Mar 13, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Simple, Solid, Balanced Output, Good Battery Life, No BT, Wifi, Android, etc...yes, this is a Pro in my book
    Cons - Early Build Issues

    I have on my desk an engineering sample of an Aune DAP. The M1s.
     
    I spent time with the Aune M2 about a year or so ago, and I liked it, but it  had some rough edges on it. The sound it put out was like nothing I had heard. The UI was delightfully simple and functional. No bells and whistles, no unnecessary gee-taws, no bull$h1t. It bested a lot of other DAPs I had heard. In fact, it still mentally ranks remarkably high in my memory. It had horrendous battery life though. A deal killer for me. 
     
    Fast forward to today. A friend recommended I hear the M1s, and said he’d get an engineering sample to me. I get no compensation for this review, just the experience of listening to another Aune product and sharing my impressions.
     
    Visually, its pretty easy to tell the M1s’ lineage. You can tell its by the same folks who designed and released the M2. Aside from that, it has balanced output (2.5mm), a line out/3.5mm single-ended output and….not much else. The body is neither large nor small. Its the length of my iPhone 5S, but not as wide, and about a third thicker. There were some who complained it was a little long and top-heavy. Not for me. I don’t have "Trump Hands” though, and am a taller, bigger guy (6 foot three). The edges on the top face (the face with the screen) are bevelled on the left and right sides, and there are some physical buttons on the right side of the unit: power, volume up, volume down. On the same side is a micro-SD slot. I am currently using a 128GB FAT32 formatted SanDisk card. I haven’t had any issues with the unit reading the card at all.
     
    The main controls are a return button, home button and something that looks like a wheel (but isn’t). I believe this is what’s called a “D-Pad”. The build is solid, its all metal and looks like it could take a beating. The D-Pad’s center button does rattle a little, but from what I have read, this is an issue with the engineering samples, and was fixed for production units…for my unit, I slipped on a silicon case ordered from Penon and the problem was fixed.
     
    With the M2 it was a mild annoyance that it had no USB functionality. To populate your micro-SD card you had to take it out of the player (at this time it would be smart to leave the player plugged into a wall socket to charge) and use an adaptor to plug it into your computer and add files. With the M1s this isn’t the case. Simply power it down, and plug it into your computer, and the micro-SD shows up as a drive. The unit charges at the same time. This is most handy in my opinion. 
     
    The M1s also has a delightfully simple UI. Fire it up, let it take a few seconds to update the library (if any changes have been made) and you’re ready to go. Fast boot up, no buggering around, just a UI. No album art, true, but you forget about that soon enough. The output is clean and smooth. Perhaps not as euphonic as the M2 was, but I am calling on some old and unreliable memories here. Balanced output is a delight. I tested it with a pair of Monk Plus, terminated for balanced, and found nothing wanting. The Monk Plus scales well with a good source, and this time was no different. 
     
    And thats about it.
     
    Aune makes a simple DAP. Aune makes a beautiful sounding DAP. Aune crams nothing else into the same unit. No Android operating system, no streaming apps, no bluetooth, no breakfast in bed, no coffee on a tray. The M1s is a DAP, and no more, no less. This is appealing in a number of ways for some people. A large group of folks seem to appreciate being able to disconnect these days, and do the unthinkable: listen to music with no distractions, for the simple, sheer enjoyment of the act. They don’t want to check emails, they don’t want to text, and they sure as hell don’t want to read work emails at the same time. This is the thinking that, I think, is least partly responsible for the recent resurgence of interest in analogue media like cassettes and vinyl records. 
     
    If that’s what you’re looking for, the M1s is definitely worth looking at. Its a stripped down, functional, solid DAP that has great sound and balanced output. That’s it. I sincerely appreciate it for what it does, and value having it at my desk, in my messenger bag and just generally “around”. The folks who bought it early and got the bundle that included a pair of golden, recabled, balanced Monk Plus and three cases got a great deal. 
      Mozu, glassmonkey, mrazik and 2 others like this.
  8. negura
    Aune M1S: Great sound and a minimalistic approach.
    Written by negura
    Published Mar 12, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Dark background, great clarity, instrument separation, energetic sound (with appropriate headphones)
    Cons - With a neutral and slightly lean signature, I feel it is a great pairing with mellower sounding headphones. Clear delta/sigma note to treble.
    Thanks go to @glassmonkey and Aune for the loan tour. One of the reasons I decided to join this tour and write some impressions is that I am in the market for a new portable player at reasonable cost. The other is I am very pleased with my Aune B1 amplifier - love the  class A/discrete approach, looks and of course sound. Then there's the price which makes this an affordable DAP.
     
    Since we have a few impressions with pics and specs I will skip this bit and move straight to the sound. 
     
    Build:
    In terms of build quality nothing to complain about. It's solidly built with a minimalistic approach that works. I am getting slightly too used to touchscreens these days, but for the price I won't hold this against the M1S in any way. 
     
    Gear used:
    DAPs:
    Aune M1s (single ended only - no balanced IEM cables). Latest firmware.
    Astell Kern 100 (RWAK100 - original)
    Cayin I5
     
    My baseline reference system: MSB DAC V + dual mono Benchmark AHB2 + modded HD650 (to keep transducers a constant)
     
    Headphones/IEMs:
    - my reference sounding Etymotic ER4-SR
    - Focal Spirit Pro (another neutral/close to reference sounding efficient headphones)
    - modded HD650 (used with Aune B1). I don't think any of these DAPs can do enough justice to the HD650s, but I would not expect them to either. These headphones reach amazing levels of performance with high-end desktop gear. So this is no surprise to me and why I used the Aune B1.
     
    Sound impressions:
    In terms of tonality it sounds more similar to the AK100 rather than Cayin I5, so I'd say it has a neutral tonality (touching very slightly the bright side of neutrality). I am hearing the I5 a bit smoother/warmer tonally. The AK100 doesn't come close to matching the resolution I am hearing with the Aune M1S, but it's close in regards to background darkness and clarity. Both the Cayin I5 and Aune M1S have a very nice stage size, but I give the M1S the edge in instrument separation and resolution. The M1S also sounds more clear and open than the I5.
     
    The I5 sounds more "relaxed", with a better sense of liquidity and flow, all of which are both good things imo, but it makes some compromises (to be expected at this level of the game) to achieve this. It's not as clear, resolving and transparent sounding as the Aune M1S. 
     
    Detailed:
    - Bass is nimble and articulated (for what it can adequately drive). Very good quality.
    - Midrange - neutral, with good depth. Engaging and nothing I did not like here.
    - Treble - Very detailed and clear. I wish it could be a bit better integrated with the midrange and I feel it lacks a bit of body and texture. I am not sure the latter is a result of resolution as at 120dB DNR it should be able to resolve treble micro-details better. Perhaps some further firmware tuning would help?
    - Soundstage. GREAT. Open sounding with very nice width and depth. The separation is the best out of these DAPs.
    - Transients. Very energetic and fast. I like strong transient attacks, hence why I own the HE-6s, but I think this is borderline too strong for me. I preferred the SLOW filter with this DAP, with the Etys and Focals. On the plus side it can bring mellower transducers to sound more alive.
     
    I did think whether the Ety are a bit hard to drive for the M1s, but I can still hear the treble points I mentioned through the Aune B1 which does power these IEMs really well.
     
    Summary
    To summarize the Aune M1S is impressive in its overall sound performance and not only for the price. If not in features, with regards to sound quality it punches weeell above the asking price. That's not to say it is without weakness, as I have commented above. I would ideally choose to pair it with mellower / warmer sounding IEMs/efficient headphones. The Aune B1 makes a great pairing to drive heavier loads.
      tenedosian, isibn95, Tony1110 and 2 others like this.
    1. glassmonkey
      Very good impressions that echo my own quite a bit. I found that the there is about 15-20% more power out of the balanced output. I've got loads of adaptors, so have tried lots on the balanced output, including the HD600, which was too much to handle. The extra overhead gives a bit more soundstage at volume matched levels and a smidgeon more clarity. I agree that the treble borders on bright, but doesn't quite get there. For the money, I don't know of any technically superior DAPs. There are certainly more featured DAPs. Also worth noting is that there are two versions of the firmware, wherein the primary difference is the volume control. One volume control is more linear and the other more logarithmic. I used the linear, but Takeanidea may have switched to the logarithmic. Like you I preferred the SLOW filter.
      glassmonkey, Mar 12, 2017
  9. glassmonkey
    Aune M1S: one of the most transparent DAPs I have heard, and only $249
    Written by glassmonkey
    Published Feb 20, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Black background, excellent dynamics, accurate and spacious stage, brilliant tonal accuracy; good line-out function; 2.5mm balanced
    Cons - No tag based browsing even though it reads tags, CUE based gapless (annoying), no EQ, no standalone DAC, no USB OTG, buttons can be finicky
    Acknowledgment
    This review unit was provided to me in exchange for my honest opinion by Penon Audio. This review was originally published here.

    Introduction

    I’m a regular watcher and poster on HeadFi’s Facebook page and when I saw Penon Audio announce that they had the M1S available for presale, and when I saw the stats for $249 in what I thought would be a small player, I was more than intrigued. I had to hear it. Penon Audio graciously made this happen. Penon Audio is a store based out of Hong Kong that sells gear worldwide. They’ve been around for just a few years (established in 2013) but get quite a bit of mentions on HeadFi. This is probably due to their reasonable prices, good inventory and worldwide shipping. Aune Audio is the HiFi brand of As Ao Lai Er Technology, below is what Aune’s website has to say about their brand:
     

    Useability: Form & Function

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    The Aune M1S comes in a simple box with two screen protectors and a USB cable as accessories. The packaging is non-descript and not memorable in any way. Neither screen protector is applied to the device. In my opinion, all manufacturers should apply a screen protector if they are going to include one. Most electronic manufacturing facilities are dust free, which is something that most homes cannot claim. Anyone who’s applied a screen protector knows how much of an advantage that is. I feel sorry for anyone who lives in a completely dust free home, as it probably means a neurotic lives in the house.
     
    images.png
     
     
    It still may be better than my house. At least it would be sparkly clean.
     
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    Physical characteristics

    The M1S is a pretty solid brick with six edges. I personally don’t mind the edges, but other folks will be scrambling for one of their not included silicone cases. Penon Audio has them for ten bucks a pop—in three colours even.
     
    8-700x700.jpg
    The player is a bit long for my tastes. It is longer than the Cayin i5, and probably just about every other DAP out there. The width and thickness give it a big candy bar form factor, but I’ve never had a candy bar with this kind of girth. If they can reduce the length on future players, that would be awesome, but I have a feeling the form has something to do with the insanely low distortion on this thing. The distortion and dynamic range specifications on the M1S are better than those on the M2Pro, their much more expensive offering. That player is a bit chunky too.
     
    Overall the profile is utilitarian in aesthetic with little to make it look particularly appealing. This player just gets down to business. The ‘wheel’ in the middle is not a wheel at all. It has five buttons. The centre button is the standard OK button, whilst the other buttons have multiple functions, including the standard playback controls and adding tracks to favourites (the M1S version of playlist) and changing the digital filter. I didn’t play much with digital filter as I’ve found that I generally prefer slow roll-off filters on previous DAPs I’ve listened to. The centre button plays or pauses tracks during playback and selects menu items when not controlling playback. The left and right buttons are for skipping and reversing tracks. They also allow fast-forward and rewind by holding down. I found that my unit has very specific engagement points for the buttons. I need to press dead centre to get them to work right, so make sure you are doing that before you think you have malfunctions. I only had problems with the left and right buttons, top and bottom were fine. Short presses on the top button change the repeat/shuffle modes. Shuffle and repeat are tied to folders. Options include shuffle folder, repeat one (has disk in left part of icon), repeat folder, and no repeat (has x in bottom left of icon). Tapping the bottom button stops playback. Just like an old CD player, it loses your place in the track when you press stop. Holding down the top button will add a track to favourites, whilst holding down the bottom will change digital filters. Above the ‘wheel’ there are two buttons, with obvious use and universal symbols. The left one takes you to the main menu and the right takes you back one screen. Volume and power buttons on the right side are straight forward. I found myself wishing I had some controls on the left side, but I imagine the circuit design didn’t allow it.
     
    I tested the line-out in comparison to my LH Labs Geek Pulse X-Infinity DAC. I could not tell the difference when switching in between the two with volume matching done by ear. That is damn impressive. It should be noted that the LH Labs gear and the Aune M1S share the same DAC chip, but I didn't expect the Aune to go toe-to-toe with the X-Infinity and do as well as it did. With regards to some measurables, I get about 10-11 hours battery life and charge times are around 3 hours. Time to scan my music library on my 200GB microSD card is under 1 minute.
     

    Operating System

    As shown above, the controls are fairly intuitive—they also include instructions with the player. The menu system is pretty straightforward. Left and right will scroll options, as will up and down. When in the settings menu pressing the centre button changes the option you are currently on. The OS is minimal, but functional. The screen lays out everything in black and white with a touch of brown-grey tones. The screen is capable of colour, as indicated by the bright green battery charging emblem, but they haven’t deployed much of it in the interface. I’m perfectly fine with this, as the Spartan image of the OS fits the player well. The OS is really quick to navigate. When going through folders or settings options you can go down or up one entry at a time with the down button or up button, or advance to the next page or previous page with right and left. Volume and remaining battery power are clearly displayed at the top of the screen while track information and track progress follow as you read down the screen. The file name is displayed as whatever you've left it. My Positive Feedback DSD Sampler has Pos~1 for every track. [​IMG] I have most of my files in folders but I do have one lonely file sitting by itself in the root folder with no album name in the file name. When I went to play this file it knew artist and album, so the player is reading tags, but it is using them only minimally. I suggest that Aune should add tag-based browsing if possible, as it is something I really love and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
     
    I think that Aune could take some lead from the HiFiMan SuperMini on having a simple interface but with full tag browsing for artist, album, and genre. Folder based browsing is fast and foolproof (nothing goes wrong with folder names), but tag browsing is usually a nicer organisation. There is no EQ on the M1S, so those who like to tweak will not be happy. I like a player that is dead to rights neutral, and the Aune M1S gives me that. I tweak with headphones. Other things you won’t find, a digital line-out port, USB-DAC functionality, USB-OTG, WiFi, Bluetooth, or any other fancy bits. The M1S is all about its core function, playing music as honestly as possible and thinks that all other things a DAC might do are unimportant. Now let Paula Abdul out of that music box looking thing.
     
    26789762_500_500.jpg
     
    Anyone looking for this to be their only DAP/DAC should move along, this player won’t fill your needs. I’m lucky to have a variety of DAPs and DACs, so the lack of USB DAC function isn’t a conversation ender for me.

    Audio quality

    In a word: stellar. The Aune M1S has a spacious, crystal clear sound with no particular emphasis to any part of the frequency spectrum. It is detailed, with impeccable timing. It has excellent extension in bass and treble and makes every reasonable headphone I’ve thrown at it sound wonderful. If you want your portable gear to sound it’s best, the M1S is a good choice. The M1S didn’t do terribly well when I hooked up an HD600 to it, but it wasn’t an utter failure. The HD600 is kind of my stress test on DAPs. I’ve only had two DAPs do what I would consider adequate on the HD600, the HiFiMAN SuperMini and the Echobox Explorer. Many portable DACs fail to do adequately with the HD600, including the Chord Mojo. I hope to try the Shanling M5 in the future with the HD600, but that hasn’t happened yet. I did try the Aune M1S with the new 150Ω, 89 sensitivity RHA CL1, and the M1S powers it beautifully. The M1S really shined with my neutral headphones, the UERR and the Noble K10E. When I start listening, it is truly difficult to stop. I’ve tried a lot of DAPs and DAC/Amps. The Aune M1S is one of the best sounding and only costs $249. The price to performance ratio is just crazy talk.
     
    As usual, I did volume matched comparisons between players. For my methodology, you can read pretty much any of my reviews in the last six months. Briefly, I match using an SPL meter and white noise. I use a coupler for IEMs that I’ve made out of toilet roll cores and packing tape—cheap but functional. For full size headphones I press the foam ball that came with it into the cup and try to be steady. My methods are imperfect, but fairly consistent.

    Comparisons

    Cayin i5

    The M1S has a similar tonality to the i5. On Pink Floyd – On the Run, the two players are very similar in presentation of stage, but the i5 has a bit better definition on the train announcement near the beginning of the track and in general. Stage height is a little better on the M1S. On Pink Floyd – Time, the clocks are more in your face and instrument separation is greater, the stage is also wider and deeper. The drums are bigger and bolder through the i5, there may be a little lift in this frequency range as the drums are further back in the stage on the M1S compared to the i5. Both have good full sounds to the drums, but the i5 is fuller in single-ended. When switched to balanced mode, the M1S pulls ahead with bigger stage and better definition.
     
    The Aune M1S, like the i5 doesn’t hiss with the Noble K10E. With the Noble K10E and some good old Surfer Rosa highlights, Where is My Mind, the Aune M1S has a touch more subtlety with the restrained almost hiding male almost echo muttering backing vocals, but it doesn’t have quite the same amplitude on the ethereal female vocals. It climbs, but not quite to the height of the i5. The stage is significantly wider and a bit deeper on the M1S. Both sound amazing. The Aune M1S has a similar library scan speed, but doesn’t have any frills in the OS. Both players have excellent volume controls, but the feel of the i5 control is much more premium. Both have distortionless volume adjustment. I narrowly prefer the sound of the M1S and like that it has a 2.5mm balanced jack, but every other comparison goes to the i5. The i5 has USB DAC functionality, tag based browsing, Bluetooth, WiFi, the Google Play store, and many more features. The M1S is a top notch audio player, that is all.
     

    HiFiMAN SuperMini

    The soundstage on the SuperMini isn’t the match of the M1S or the i5 in size, but it is just as well defined as either. The OS on the SuperMini doesn’t compete with the i5, but easily bests the M1S. The SuperMini doesn’t have adjustable gain and has one of the worst volume controls I’ve ever seen on a DAP, 32 steps is bad—it’s iPhone volume levels bad. It does drive the HD600 well, which, to my surprise, the i5 does pretty well too. The Aune M1S doesn’t drive the HD600 as good as the SuperMini. It sounds a bit thin and sharp as the bass on the HD600 recesses a bit without the power to push it forward, but the sound is clean and clear. The SuperMini drives the HD600 more fully and with a bigger sound stage. With the Noble K10E, the SuperMini hisses, like many DAPs. It also has a more muted sound and a smaller stage than its two primary competitors in the i5 and the M1S. Because of a little bit of veiling the dude-quiet vocals don’t pop out from hiding as much. The amplitude of the female vocal doesn’t reach the aeries of the i5 or the M1S. Again, you can’t make the Noble K10E sound bad in my experience, but the SuperMini wasn’t competitive versus the i5 or M1S here.
     

    Specifications

    Specifications 
    Price$249
    DAC chipESS SABRE ES9018K2M
    Output power3.5mm: 110mW @ 32Ω; 2.5mm (balanced) 180mW @ 32Ω
    Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise0.00027%
    Dynamic Range (DNR)120dB
    Noise2.52 uVrms
    Max Output Level1.92 Vrms
    Outputs3.5mm headphone out, 2.5mm (balanced) headphone out
    Headphone impedance recommendation8Ω - 600Ω
    Display2.4” IPS
    Battery~11hr life
    Format supportPCM 44.1-384kHz (16, 24, 32 bit); DSD64-DSD128 (single to double DSD); APE 16/44.1; MP3; ALAC; AAC
    Dimensions126 x 55 x 14.8mm
    Weight147g

     

    Conclusions

    I’ve had the privilege of listening to and reviewing a lot of DAPs and DACs, none has impressed me quite as much as the Aune M1S. The Aune M1S is my new reference DAP. It is a sonic marvel at $249, with sound that is better than most DAPs on the market, including the current toast of the town, the Cayin i5. The Aune M1S has truly special clarity with a background as black as the inside of a singularity. The soundstage is wide and deep with above average height. The price of the M1S makes it a no-brainer for anyone who doesn’t care about anything but audio quality--it delivers audio quality in spades. Aune M1S will be joining me for my upcoming reviews of the UERR, Noble K10E and the Empire Ears/Effect Audio Arthur.
     

    [​IMG]

      jinxy245, Hisoundfi, Aornic and 2 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Layman1
      Great review, thanks (for setting the bar intimidatingly high lol) :wink:
      Love the Paula Abdul pic. It really looks like someone pranked her with some superglue though... :p
       
      Quote "Where is My Mind, the Aune M1S has a touch more subtlety with the restrained almost hiding male almost echo muttering backing vocals, but it doesn’t have quite the same amplitude on the ethereal female vocals".
       
      Are you saying that it doesn't handle female vocals as well as male vocals generally? Or just in this fairly unique case? (I love this song! Also loved the cover of it by a band called City Wolf, as featured in the - for me - surprisingly excellent film Observe and Report).
      Answers on a postcard... Or just on here lol.
      Layman1, Feb 20, 2017
    3. glassmonkey
      The M1S handles female vocals well. The female vocals in 'Where is my mind' have more height and a touch more volume on the i5 than on the M1S. It's a subtle difference, but it's there.
       
      Don't read too much of me. :) You'll be in line for this later.
      glassmonkey, Feb 23, 2017
    4. Skullophile
      Very well done review. I'm McLovin mine just as much.
      Skullophile, Feb 23, 2017
  10. Hisoundfi
    Simple and Sophisticated... The Aune M1S DAP
    Written by Hisoundfi
    Published May 5, 2017
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Simple build and design is easy to learn and use, File playback up to DSD, Balanced output, Drives in-ear monitors fabulously, Transparent and clean sound, Battery Life
    Cons - Primitive design doesn't offer much in terms of cutting edge technology, No Wifi or wireless capability, Bland display, No equalizer or bass boost (for those who prefer it)
    At the time this review was written, the Aune M1S was listed for sale on their website. Here is a link for more information and purchase.
    20170504_110504.jpg

    http://mall.auneaudio.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=18_62&product_id=58


    Introduction

    If you’re looking for high tech, bluetooth, streaming capability you should stop reading this now and look somewhere else. If you find all that stuff to be a distraction that takes away from remarkable fidelity, carry on…


    Today’s market is absolutely flooded with digital audio player options. Several companies are currently offering portable sources that come in at every price point. Options vary, sometimes significantly between models.


    Technology is advancing at a tremendous pace. Even still, portable music players that mimic the basic DAPs of yesteryears can still offer tremendous value to audiophiles and music lovers all over the world. In a day and age where I’m still finding features in my phone a year after getting it, sometimes it’s nice to have a dedicated music player that is straightforward and easy to figure out relatively quickly. The Aune M1S is just that.


    I don’t know about you, but I can’t make it all day on a single cell phone battery without needing to recharge it. That’s without using my phone for music playback! Because of this it comes in handy to have a separate music source like a digital audio player. I save battery and can still get phenomenal sound at the same time.


    When Aune asked me if I would be interested in beta testing and reviewing the M1S, I was quick to take them up on their offer. Looking at the specs, it seemed pretty cool that Aune was offering something with a 2.5mm balanced line out and still comes in under the three hundred dollar mark. Let’s take a look at the unit, and go over it with a comprehensive review.


    Disclaimer

    I was given a free review sample of the M1S in exchange for my input during beta testing, and review of the unit. I am in no way affiliated with Aune Audio aside from offering input on the device and sharing my honest opinion with all of you.


    Review
    20170505_013241_HDR.jpg
    The M1S comes in a black box with a foil stamped Aune logo on the front. There’s not too much more to say about the box beyond this. Removing the top, I’m greeted with an initial glimpse of the device and a charging cable. Removing the player from the foam inlay reveals an owner’s manual and a couple of screen protectors.

    20170505_013619.jpg
    Also included in my package from Aune were three different colored silicone skins (sold separately) for the player to slide into. Kudos to Aune for offering the screen protectors and skins (Gray not pictured). It’s nice to see that owners will be able to protect their investment from the start.


    Specifications and Accessories
    20170504_153251.jpg
    Specifications:
    Screen: 2.4inch IPS Screen
    Medium: TF Card ( Max support 128GB,FAT32 format)
    Language: Chinese/English/ Japanese/Korean
    Playback time: can continue play above 10 hours( 16bit/44.1 file)
    Size: 55*126*14.8mm
    Weight: 147g


    Audio formats:
    APE :44.1k/1 bit
    FLAC:16bit/24bit-44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192K
    WAV:16bit/24bit/32bit-44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/176.4K/192K/352.8K/384K WAV+CUE
    DSD/DSF/DFF/ISO/DSD128
    MP3/ALAC/AAC


    Headphone Output:
    THD+N: 0.00027%
    DNR:120 dB
    CCIF: 19KHz+20KHz 0.00012%/32R
    Headphones maximum output:110mW/32 ohm BAL output--180mW/32 ohm
    Noise: 2.52uVrms
    The headset impedance: 8-600Ω
    MAX Level: 1.92Vrms


    Interface:
    3.5mm headphone socket
    2.5mm Balance headphone socket


    Accessories:
    1 x Aune M1S
    1 x USB Cable (no wall socket)
    1 x Manual


    Design and Build
    20170505_013812.jpg
    Holding the device in my hand, the device has a somewhat sturdy build and a bit of heft to it. The all aluminum chassis seems durable. The device does have some somewhat sharp edges to it, but is a non-issue with a silicone cover applied.


    Looking at the front of the unit I couldn’t help it think of an old Ipod upon first glimpse. However, functionality is not the same. What looks like a scroll wheel is actually a D-pad (more on this in a bit). Also located on the front of the device are a home button on the middle left, and a back button on the middle right of the player. The screen is pretty small and made of plastic, making the screen protectors a necessity to prevent scratches.

    20170505_013744_Burst01.jpg The right side of the unit has a power button, + and - volume buttons, a small reset pinhole and a micro SD TF card slot which supports up to 128GB of music files in FAT32 format.

    20170505_013757.jpg
    The bottom of the device has 3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced outputs, as well as a MicroSD port for file transfers and charging the device.


    The top, left, and back sides of the unit have nothing to note. To be honest the layout is very elementary. The device looks like a sleek and sophisticated version of MP3 players in their early years of development. If you find joy in simplicity, Aune has got your back with the M1S.


    Functionality
    20170505_013636_Burst01.jpg
    The M1S has a very simple user interface that mirrors players of years past. There is no album artwork, no fancy themes and no colors beyond a black and gray background with white lettering and thumbnail images that represent areas of navigation. The M1S has no Wifi, wireless or bluetooth capability. It stores your files and plays them out of the headphone jacks. There’s nothing high tech about the player beyond balanced output and DSD playback.


    Battery life is one of the M1S’s strength. In low gain the M1S has up to eleven hours of continuous playback time. I was able to easily get two days (and sometimes three days) of moderate use (two to four hours each day) from the unit. When the battery is running low I was able to recharge it completely in less than two hours (depending on what charger I used). Thanks to the fact that there is no wireless functionality and music could be controlled without turning the screen on, battery life is concentrated on music playback.


    The player has four folders which are scrolled through by pressing left or right on the D-pad then selecting it with the center (enter/play/pause) button. Here are the folder options explained:

    20170505_014838.jpg
    Playlists: Select this folder and you can access either your most played or tracks you’ve identified as a favorite during music playback.

    20170505_014824.jpg
    Settings: Lots of options here… From this menu you can adjust various playback functions, adjust screen and lock settings, change gains and filter modes, switch from variable to line-out, and upgrade firmware.

    20170505_014832.jpg
    Folders: From here you can access your music. Folders are arranged by artist, then by album, then by tracks

    20170505_014828.jpg

    Songs: This is a line list of every song you have on your TF card organized numerically then alphabetically.


    Music playback
    20170505_013837.jpg
    Despite being incredibly simple, the music playback screen layout is very smartly designed and gives owners all of the information they’d need (with the only exception being album artwork). Volume, Filter option and battery status are located on the top of the display. Artist, track number, album name and file bitrate are located in the middle of the screen. Favorite song status, playback status, repeat status, track number status, and playback time status are located on the bottom.


    Filter Mode

    Long pressing downward on the D-Pad during playback changes between three filter modes:

    FAST= Balanced sound presentation
    SLOW= Soft music presentation
    MP= Analog sound presentation

    These filters are subtle, but do work as advertised. It is more noticeable to my ears with sensitive in-ear monitors. I consider the sound filters to be a fine tweak that works well to try and squeeze every last ounce of synergy out of whatever pair of earphones you use with the M1S. To my ears the FAST setting worked best with warmer and bassier earphones, the SLOW setting seemed to work best with leaner and brighter sounding earphones, and the MP was kind of a crapshoot depending on what earphone I used with the M1S.


    Long pressing the up button during music playback made the track a liked song and added it to your “liked” songs playlist (accessed via the playlist folder). A quick press of the up button changes the repeat setting.

    20170505_013658.jpg
    Music can be loaded onto a SD TF card in FAT32 format. Aune is specific about the FAT32 setting. It can be loaded onto a SD card via your computer, then loaded into the M1s to be scanned. If you want to leave the card in your player and load music via the micro USB cable, you can do so by powering down the unit, plugging it into a computer and utilizing the drag and drop feature once your device’s storage card is recognized.


    Firmware updates are relatively simple to do and reminiscent of other players on the market today. Since obtaining the player I have done two firmware upgrades (I’m now on version 1.03) and there are talks of future firmware updates as well. With the 1.03 firmware the storage card has been expanded from 128GB to 256GB. I wasn’t able to test and confirm (I used my 32GB card and had no issues with storage or scanning).


    The M1S is a versatile player in the sense that it plays just about every file of music you can get your hands on, from MP3 to DSD. There are two outputs on the bottom of the player, a 3.5mm single ended output and 2.5mm balanced output. The two outputs can be used simultaneously but are at the mercy of one volume setting, meaning you can use both outputs at the same time but volume cannot be adjusted separately. To add to this, the 2.5mm balanced output is slightly more powerful than the 3.5mm single ended port.


    Switching to line out mode in the settings menu, the M1S output is fixed at max volumes, making the player a source that can be stacked with an external amplifier. Be aware that switching to line out with earphones on and plugged in IS NOT a pleasant experience, as you are essentially maximizing the volume output instantly. I made this mistake once with sensitive in-ear monitors and nearly blasted my eardrums out. Take caution and make sure line out setting is accessed with no earphones plugged into the device.


    Sound Quality
    20170211_153503.jpg
    I would consider the sound of the M1S to be transparent and neutral, offering a nice balance between all frequencies. Firmware update 1.03 did seem to give the sound a bit more bite than the original firmware (going off of memory).


    The 2.5mm balanced output of the M1S is superior to the 3.5mm single ended option. From what I heard, separation, texture and detail got a slight bump at matched volumes. Still, the 3.5mm output is no slouch. I didn’t hear any difference in sound signature or tuning when switching between the two.


    The M1S has no equalizer, bass boost, or any other DSP adjustment beyond the gain and filter settings. To be completely honest, I didn’t miss having any of these luxuries. Aside from using a junky pair of earphones, the M1S didn’t leave me wishing for more sound adjustments. The sound quality from the M1S is excellent in my opinion.

    20170505_014109.jpg
    From what I experienced, the best aspect of this player was its ability to sound magnificent with in-ear monitors (in low gain). Of all the players I currently have at home, the M1S delivered the goods in terms of synergy with sensitive high end in-ear monitors. This is in thanks to the combination of a dead silent background, balanced output, balanced signature, various filter settings and low power output. The noise floor of the M1S is dead silent and I didn’t get any audible hissing from it. If I see you soon at the next Chicago area Head-Fi meet and want to show you a cool new in-ear monitor, I’m probably going to have you try them with a DSD file out of this DAP.


    Low impedance headphones sound good with the M1S (in medium gain). Some notable headphones that seemed to benefit from the player were the Meze classic series (99 classics and 99 Neo), the Xiaomi headphones and Koss porta Pros. Between the three gain settings and filter options, I had no qualms about the player’s ability to drive these with excellent fidelity.


    Although adequate (in high gain), the M1S didn’t maximize sound quality with high impedance cans like the HD600/6XX, ZMF Eikon/Atticus, or AKG K7XX. Between the power output and sound signature, to my ears the M1S doesn’t maximize the ability of headphones that fall in this criteria. Long story short, the M1S couldn’t hang with the likes of the slightly warmer and more powerful Cayin I5, iBasso DX80 and Luxury and Precision LP5. One thing to note, the fact that I can go from variable to a fixed line out, the M1S can be stacked or paired with an external amplifier and give you the oomph needed to rock a pair of high impedance cans.


    Summarized, if you want something for your collection of in-ears, GO FOR IT! If you want to rock your hard to drive orthos on the go (and don’t have a amplifier to pair it with) you might want to look somewhere else.


    (TLDR?) Conclusion

    The Aune M1S is a drag and drop single SD slot music player that disregards much of the cutting edge technology of today, and focuses on file playback, balanced and single ended outputs, Hi-Res file playback and most importantly, a transparent and balanced sound signature that audiophiles and music enthusiast will enjoy thoroughly.


    Aune has cut out a lot of the modern bells and whistles to get to the heart of what makes a great portable music source. The M1S is a simple and easy to use music player that is geared to make the best of any earphone under 150 Ohms (IMHO) sound fabulous. If you have some high quality music recordings and a few good pairs of high end in-ear monitors and low impedance headphones the M1S will bring all of it together into one awesome combination. If you have a good amplifier laying around, you can flip the M1S into line out mode and rock your music files with your high impedance stuff as well.


    Aune hasn’t reinvented the wheel here. They’ve broken away from the tech push, considered what maximizes sound quality and ditched most of the stuff that degrades it. For around two hundred fifty dollars Aune is offering a DSD capable portable player with a dead silent background and balanced output. Pretty darn cool if you ask me!

    20170505_014520.jpg
    Thanks for reading and happy listening!
      JNOISE JA, reddog, trellus and 4 others like this.