General Information

The M11 was released on FiiO 2019 Spring Launch Event on March 16th, 2019, featuring the following:

A. Industrial Design: All linear design + Bezel-less design + 18 : 9丨720P touch screen + Double-sided glass design + High-tech carbon fiber texture + Three-dimensional textured golden wheel + Healing your allodoxaphobia + The beauty of the sand-blasted technology + Concealed micro SD card design

B. Hardware Configuration: Samsung Exynos 7872 six-core processor chip + 3GB RAM + Dual high-performance DAC chips AK4493 + Self-improved FPGA + True balance audio circuit architecture

C. Features: ALL TO DSD + Capable of decoding iSO tracks in DST codec + Two modes of quick charging--QC2.0+MTK PE + Compatible with PD2.0 charger + 13 hours continuous playback + 50 days deep sleep +Two-way Type-C interface + Asynchronous USB DAC + USB Audio output + SPDIF output + Two-way LDAC Bluetooth + Dual-band 2.4G/5G WiFi

D. Software and UI: Deeply Customized Open Android7.0 OS + Why Android? + Better user experience app + FiiO Link + HiFi wireless to your iPhone + WiFi file transfer + All-new dynamic EQ + Double-click to awake the screen + Touch screen gestures

E. Accessories: Provided with TPU clear case + Tempered glass screen protector

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Latest reviews

corgifall

500+ Head-Fier
Pros: Fastest android DAP under $1000. Clean analytical sound. Great looks. 2.5mm, 4.4mm and 3.5mm headphone connections.
Cons: Analytical sound can result in lean low end. Uses older android 7 build.
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When I first saw the FiiO M11 I was instantly in love with the looks and huge screen. Having only owned a Hiby R5 when it came to recent DAPs, I wasn’t sure what possible improvements I may see over the R5 but I still bought the M11 based off early reviews claiming how fast it was compared to other DAPs on the market. The FiiO M11 also makes use of 2.5mm and 4.4mm pentaconn balanced jacks and a normal 3.5mm single ended jack. For me this was perfect as I’m still working on converting over to 4.4mm so I could make use of all my balanced cables. Lets see how the M11 performs!!

Gear used
IPhone X outputting via bluetooth to the M11, line out to the SMSL SU-8, Ikko OH10, Campfire Audio IO, ADV M5-5D, HEDD HEDDphone, LCD2C and Dan Clark Audio Aeon flow “RT” closed.

Looks and Feel
I think the M11 is quite the looker! The glass on both the front and back look fantastic. The front screen comes with a glass screen protector pre installed. The device itself has a nice quality feel and I love the little volume wheel and its click noises. While multiple colors would have been great, I dig the gold and black accents.

Android performance
The M11 comes stock with android 7 installed. I feel this is already outdated but this isn’t so much FiiOs fault and more of a samsung SoC issue. When I first got the M11 you had to use aftermarket app stores since the M11 wasn’t certified for google play services. This caused weird issues like no youtube app or any other apps that rely on google services being installed. Having written this review well after the release of the M11, a few big changes happened since. With a firmware update the play store and google services are installed by default which really opens up the M11 and had this change not been done I would've considered the lack of the play store to be a con. The M11 is very quick for a DAP in this price range. Still struggles running chrome with multiple pages open but I’ve seen worse performance from DAPs that cost more. I don’t think there is anything out as quick in the sub $1000 range as of this writing. I do hope going forward more midrange SoC options become the normal for DAPs but time will tell. Running apps like Tidal, soundcloud and poweramp are all extremely quick and I never saw any slow downs and I’m fairly happy even if I prefer a slightly newer version of android be installed on the device. The FiiO stock music app is fine and I didn’t run into any issues the few times I used it. I really enjoy poweramp however and like the layout and UI over any other apps I’ve tried. So that's what I continue to use.

Battery life
I got pretty good battery life out of the M11. It lasted about 1-2 days when running wired headphones and 2-4 days off bluetooth. I found this to be very good battery life with how much power it pushes out wired.

EMI noise
Zero!!! I was happy that with bluetooth and wifi turned on, I got zero EMI noise. My R5 most definitely suffers from this depending on where I’m at.

Sound(overall)
These will be my impressions overall with the M11’s sound signature when used with all the headphones and iems I threw at the M11.

Lows
Lows are somewhat lean on the M11. This can easily be fixed via EQ. The only downside is that there's no system wide EQ options so while I was able to get poweramp boosted in the low end, I wasn’t able to do the same with Tidal and Soundcloud. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me and I simply used some of my darker sounding iems to adjust to the M11’s sound signature depending on where I was going out with the M11 and what apps I would be using.

Mids
The mids feel somewhat boosted and come through super crisp and clear. There's a really nice sparkle to vocals I don’t get from my R5 or my iphone with it’s headphone adapter. Nothing gets harsh with vocals and singers are fairly in your face. I prefer the vocals to be a little recessed myself but I still enjoyed the mids overall on the M11.

Highs
The top end has a slight focus and boost just like the mids. This combo makes the M11 sound fairly clinical and clean. There is a really nice sparkle off things like cymbals and other treble oriented instruments. Things can get a little peaky and sibilant depending on the headphones or iems you’re using. I think for those who really like brighter sounding sources that the m11 does fairly well.

Imaging/Soundstage
The soundstage is a little smaller vs my desktop setup. I wouldn’t call the Soundstage claustrophobic but I wouldn’t call it wide and spacious either. Imaging was great as I expect it to be off a DAP at this price.

Single ended output
Using the single ended jack with my sensitive iems didn’t produce any noticeable floor noise and did very well for iems. I don’t have any single ended cables for my over ear headphones I tested the M11 with so I can’t comment on single ended performance for over ears.

Balanced outputs
I made use of both the 2.5mm and 4.4mm pentaconn balanced jacks. My sensitive iems did show more hiss but that all disappeared once the music started playing. I like that they managed to stick both balanced jacks on the M11. The balanced outputs sent more power and while I couldn’t really tell a/b testing a difference in sound quality between the single ended and balanced jacks. I enjoy any extra power I can get and was really happy with the balanced options on the M11.

Power output
The single ended jack outputs 195mW at 32Ω which I find really good for most iems and some easy to drive over ears. The balanced jack outputs a nice 550mW at 32Ω which can get most over ears moving. Some hard to drive headphones still get enough power out of balanced to get to high volumes but you can tell the M11 can't keep up with a desktop setup and that shouldn't be any surprise. I still find the power output of the M11 to be very impressive nonetheless.

Note on Bluetooth
I didn't do a huge amount of testing with bluetooth as most of the wireless headsets I had were sbc or aptx. I can't really say whether the LDAC works well or not. The bluetooth range wasn't terrible but you can't go super far without cut outs. The sound quality in aptx hd was rather good however and the battery life was fantastic when using bluetooth instead of wired. Max volume was a hit or miss on some wireless sets. Bluetooth output from my Iphone to the M11 worked well with no issue. No AAC on the M11 unfortunately but I honestly couldn't tell a difference on the go.

Iem pairing opinions
Ikko OH10-
The OH10 pairs fairly well with the M11! The OH10 has a little bit of a warm laid back sound. The M11 boosts the top end a bit and cleans up the OH10's low end fairly well. It calms the low end a bit and barely shrinks the soundstage as well. I think for those who want a little more sparkle out of the OH10, this could be a fantastic pairing.

Campfire Audio IO- I didn’t like the IO on the M11 without heavy EQ. The IO is a little bright and lean with the low end naturally and the M11 just made that way more obvious. I think the IO would pair better with a warm sounding DAP. This can of course be fixed with the M11 if you don’t mind doing some EQ.

Over ear pairing opinions
HEDD Audio HEDDphone-
I normally don’t use open backs with a DAP as I use my DAP usually in an office environment or when on a trip(not so much with the pandemic) and sometimes around the house when cooking. I however wanted to see if I could power the HEDDphone with the M11 and see how it sounded while I had it in for testing. While I could get the HEDDphone up to an uncomfortable volume level, it didn’t quite have the same magic all around I got from my desktop setup. This was to be expected and I don’t blame the little M11 as its not really meant to push out globs of power that the HEDDphone needs to sound it’s best.

Dan Clark Audio Aeon “RT” Closed- The closed RT was actually perfect for my use with the M11. I ran the RT in 4.4mm pentaconn and it paired really well with the m11. The low end was a little lean but using the EQ from poweramp I was able to get the sound signature close to what I personally like. The M11 gave the RT enough juice without burning through its battery which I enjoyed. This combo is the one I use most when I’m at my desk or when I eventually start getting on flights again.

Overall thoughts
I used to never care for DAPs as they were either super basic in function or they ran like garbage performance wise next to my 3 year old Iphone X. This changed my views once I had the M11. The M11 is the fastest android DAP I’ve had the luxury to use but It’s still not quite up to that “mid range” android device speed. At $400 I think it does very well in it’s price bracket. I love the look and feel of the DAP and always enjoy using the little volume wheel. I would highly recommend the M11 for pretty much anyone who wants to try a dedicated music player over their phone with a separate portable DAC/AMP. I look forward to what FiiO brings out next DAP wise! Thanks for reading!!!

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zhantian
zhantian
I used M11 for past four mounth.As for streaming music,it`s a great DAP,but the sound is just like water.I pare it with dune dk3001,k702 and genelec 8010, none of them can let me listen an hour once.
May be you can try M11PRO or M15,they have same control and better sound.
Dixter
Dixter
what cable is that on the Dan Clark phones... thanx for the review
corgifall
corgifall
It was a older null audio lune cable I re terminated to the hirose connectors for the Dan Clark headphones.

Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
Pros: + Build Quality
+ Streaming / Bluetooth / Wifi Connection stability and reliability
+ Dynamics
+ Wide stage
+ Fluid OS
Cons: - Sparkly treble doesn't pair well with bright IEMs
- Not a lot of driving power for heavy cans
The partabile - FiiO M11 DAP Player Review

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Priced at about 420 USD, FiiO M11 is the next DAP from FiiO, made to compete fiercely in the midrange DAP market, having iBasso DX160, Hiby R6 and FiiO's own X5-3 as direct competitors. This being said, M11 comes with Roon, Tidal and full streaming support, so this will be a rather interesting review, seeing how it stacks when put against competitors worthy of being the best in the market as well.



Introduction

FiiO is quite an unibliquos name by now, and they are known for making some of the most revolutionary changes to the audio market by now, having released some really interesting products throughout the time, including their FiiO X5-3, FiiO M5/M6 as well as FiiO EH3 NC Headphones recently. They were also the ones who opened the headphone and portable market in many parts of the world, including Romania, as after they entered, there have been more and more people passionate about this hobby and about music around those places. This being said, when purchasing FiiO, it is best to purchase locally to get the best support from your local seller, as FiiO is a large company from China now, and it will be much faster to get all issues solved if relying on your local representative rather than relying on FiiO's HQ in China, as you'll also have shipping to consider if you'll be purchasing directly from them. FiiO products are generally reliable and you shouldn't expect to require warranty, but if you do, usually the local agents will replace your product on spot with a new boxed one.

It should be noted that I have no affiliation with FiiO, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I'd like to thank FiiO for providing the sample for the review. This review reflects my personal experience with FiiO M11. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in FiiO M11 find their next music companion.



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



What to look in when purchasing a high-end DAP

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware

The build quality and style of FiiO M11 is considerably more similar to that of FiiO X5-3 than something like FiiO M6, which was much more rounded and smooth, more ergonomic, compared to X5-3, which also came in a more angular and industrial design. This being said, the DAP is made of glass, both on the front, on the display, and in the back, the frame is made of metal, the jacks are at the bottom, with a Type-C USB Jack, a Single Ended, and two Balanced output ports, and with the power button at the top.

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There is also a volume wheel on the right side of the DAP, and there are navigation buttons right beneath the volume wheel. Single-handed and blind browsing your playlist are both easy and natural, with the volume wheel having a clicky feeling, and the clicks actually corresponding to one increment in the volume.

The good doesn't stop here, as there are two microSD slots, each supporting up to 4TB microSD cards, resulting in a huge storage. For those who encountered issues with slot #1, FiiO has posted a few firmware updates that should fix those entirely, and both slots should be working perfectly now.

The firmware is an Android 7.0, and it is supported by a Samsung Exynos 7872 CPU, along with 3 GB of RAM, enough for you to swap between music apps and between activities on your FiiO M11. FiiO decided to include QC, or quick charge with their M11, which makes its battery life of about 12-13 real hours pretty great. The DAC is a dual AK 4493, paired with a custom version of the OPA926, designed for a true Balanced path.

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FiiO M11 has support for all the current Bluetooth codecs, including LDAC and APT-X HD LL, along with Airplay and full ROON / Tidal support. Now that I have a chance to mention this, FiiO DAPs seem to be the only ones where using Roon with the DAP works well enough for the DAP to control ROON via its hardware buttons, so applause to FiiO for this rather awesome feature. FiiO Link and DLNA are also included with M11, leaving nothing to be desired when it comes to the ways you can enjoy this little DAP.

Of course, with the large 5.15" bright IPS Display, which is fully readable in full sunlight, and which also has beautiful vibrant colors, you can easily watch movies or play games as well, and FiiO M11 won't lag one bit, and without the whitelist app policy, as now the DAP runs a full fledged version of Android, you will have the closest thing to a smartphone that has a really amazing sonic output.

A little feature that many probably won't notice at first is Wifi Music Transfer, which enables you to transfer your music using FiiO's music app, from either your PC or your mobile phone to your M11. The speed isn't quite as fast as using a Type-C USB cable, but it still works really nicely for when you don't want to bother.

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Speaking of the Wifi support and data rates, M11 is actually the fastest DAP I have tested currently, beating even other flagships in terms of how stable its Wifi connection is. This stays the same for Bluetooth and I can surely say, after testing, that it is even more stable than my smartphones, making M11 a really proper DAP if you rely a lot on Streaming and bluetooth.

There's nothing left to be desired for with M11, and I can say it satisfies everyone regardless of the typical usage scenarios.



Sound Quality

The general tuning of M11 is towards a more safe, more balanced overall sound, with good bass depth, but with a more wooly and soft texture, the midrange is softer and lacks grain, but still manages to have good speed, with the treble being a bit on the harder side, with good extension and more sparkle than what I'd call dead neutral. This means that M11 pairs best with meatier, heavier, warmer and thicker sounding IEMs and Headphones, and pairs less well with bright or dead neutral IEMs. FiiO FH5 makes a really good pairing, and so does FiiO FA7, but not FiiO FH7.

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The bass is what you would look for if you were a moderate to slightly heavier music lover, the kind that drops the hits a bit heavier and has a meatier feeling to it than say, a dead neutral source. This also means that the sub bass is a bit lower in quantity than the mid and the upper bass, which makes it more of a safe tuning, as having high amounts of sub-bass may throw some off, especially if the IEMs or headphones connected to it wouldn't keep up. On the other hand, this also gives some weight to each musical note, making listening to classical and orchestral music really enjoyable with M11.

The midrange is what I would call soft and grain-free with good detail and impressive soundstage width, also presenting good speed. The only downside if you could call it that way, would be that it also has softer textures than what would typically be dead-neutral, so it compliments music that you want to sound softer more than music that you'd want to sound hard. For example, a quiet classical piece would be better complimented that a hard bass song would be.

The treble is well extended and a touch bright, at least compared to what would be dead neutral, so most warmer and thicker sounding IEMs are complimented as well more than bright and cold sounding IEMs and headphones. The treble has a good amount of detail and comes through as slightly soft in textures, but the extra sparkle makes M11 pair much better with warmer and thicker sounding IEMs rather than colder ones.

As for the Balanced outputs, this is one of the first times that I noticed the tuning to be slightly different on Balanced, with no noise and no hissing on either outputs, but with the Balanced sounding smoother, warmer, cleaner, more dynamic and more punchy on an overall level. The treble could be said to be more tame and less sparkly on the balanced output. Speaking of the dynamics and punchiness, the single ended output is also pretty dynamic and punchy, although the soundstage is more wide than it is deep. The stage is pretty holographic as well.



Portable Usage

In terms of portability, M11 is pretty portable, with a good battery life, it will stay on for about 12 hours, more than most people will ever need. Of course, this is while just playing music, if you want to turn on the Wifi or even play some games, this time will lower a bit. With Wifi turned on at all times, and playing FLAC files at loud volumes, combined with some TIDAL streaming, I could get about 10 hours of battery life, more than most DAPs in Today's market were able to do. Furthermore, M11 comes with Quick charge and it will replenish its battery life in about two hours, and it will be ready to go again.

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The ergonomics are also pretty much excellent, with good pocketed usage, good blind navigation, good support from FiiO's own music app, as well as other music apps on PlayStore having good randomization algorithms, and since M11 is a full fledged Android DAP, you won't feel like you're missing on anything other apps might had had, like for example, you will also have access to Viper and other effects.

The last part about the portable usage is about matching M11 with hard-to-drive headphones as well as matching it with IEMs. With IEMs, I noticed no hissing and no noise with Campfire Atlas, as well as FiiO FH7, so there have been no issues in enjoying M11. With larger headphones, I have been able to drive Ultrasone Signature DXP, Grado SR80e, as well as Kennerton Thror with M11, but I would say that for harder to drive planars, like Audeze LCD-2C, you will do okay with M11 only if you listen at more moderate volumes. This being said, other planars, like Rosson RAD-0 presented no issue for M11.



Select Pairings

For the pairing part of this review, I have chosen FiiO FH7, FiiO FA7, and FiiO EH3NC. This may sound a bit odd, since I'm going for all-FiiO setups, but I found it to be quite relevant to show what FiiO purposed for us when designing M11 together with their IEMs and Headphones.

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FiiO M11 + FiiO FA7 - With FiiO FA7, M11 really sings, making them more even, and more balanced, and giving them a better overall treble sparkle, making them from a one trick pony, that has a good trick up its sleeve, as I called them in my review, into a more balanced, more pleasing experience that sounds good with a wider selection of music styles. There is no hiss, and no noise, and they sound more detailed and more revealing than when paired with a fully warm source as well.

FiiO M11 + FiiO FH7 - With FiiO FH7, the pairing is not quite as good as with FA7, because FH7 is already a touch cold and bright, making the pairing a bit cold and brittle, but still with excellent detail and a wide soundstage, incredible instrument separation, and a great overall experience. This being said, FH7 is better paired with a warmer, more laid-back DAP, that is smoother, if you don't like a sparkly treble, like FiiO's own X5-3.

FiiO M11 + FiiO EH3NC - Now, FiiO just released a headphone, and it has a nice price point, of just 200 USD, and they come with Bluetooth, and Noise Cancelling, being one of the headphones with the best price / performance ratios out there. This being said, the headphones sound much better without the noise cancelling engaged, but M11 was able to show a very good bluetooth range and signal stability, and the overall sound was actually great when driving them on the wire, because EH3 are quite warm and commercial / fun tuned, and M11 made them more balanced, more revealing and more enjoyable.



Comparisons

The main competitors and comparison DAPs for M11 are FiiO X5-3, or 3rd generation, iBasso DX160, and Hiby R6. All of those are in a similar price segment as FiiO M11, and all of them are interesting to look at when considering getting a FiiO M11.

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FiiO M11 vs FiiO X5-3 - FiiO against FiiO, but a few years later. Given the fact that X5-3 has been on the market for a while now, and that it was also really well received at the launch, this is a very pertinent comparison. X5-3 has a much more limited android interface, with a less capable CPU and with less RAM, but it also had a good display. The sonics of X5-3 were much warmer, smoother, more tame in the treble, and thicker than M11, that you'd think FiiO changed the people who designed the sound and signature of their DAPs. In fact, M11 sounds much closer to the flagship X7mkii in its original configuration, with AM01, rather than X5-3. I also like how FiiO improved the Bluetooth and the Wifi modules with each generation, now M11 being in line with your midrange smartphone, greatly improving on their previous releases.

FiiO M11 vs iBasso DX160 - Comparing these two is probably going to be the most asked question for the following few months, if not year(s). It is understood that most people who will be looking into an upper midrange DAP will be considering either DX160 or M11 as their next companion, and well, it will all come down to what is the most important aspect in a DAP for you. The two companies made sure to refine their products in such a way that they are as competitive as possible, so both have similar abilities and both have excellent hardware, so instead of mentioning what both have, I'll focus more on the differences. Here, we start with the output power, which is higher on DX160, and it has a more dynamic and punchy sound. This being said, M11 sounds wider and brighter, with more top end sparkle. The wifi and bluetooth connection power and stability are both better on M11, and quite a bit better I would say. The default software is rock stable on both DAPs, and both are pretty much Android devices with unlimited abilities. I think that DX160 is slightly more ergonomic thanks to its shape and design, but I like the volume wheels on both. If you plan on using a lot of bluetooth headphones and a lot of wifi and Tidal and such, M11 may be the better option, while if you want the more driving power, and the more natural, punchy and dynamic sound, DX160 should be your choice.

FiiO M11 vs Hiby R6 - It has been quite a while since R6 has been released, compared to M11 which is a totally new DAP, but R6 has been quite loved at the moment of its release, and although it was released at a higher price than M11, it is similar in price to M11 at the moment of writing this review. This being said, the DAPs are quite different, and although at that moment R6 was one of the best DAPs in terms of CPU and RAM, M11 is better in every way possible, having a larger display, better CPU, and better overall Android integration. In terms of sonics, R6 has hiss with almost every IEM, having a really high output impedance, and this can be heard quite easily. On the other hand, R6 has more driving power than M11, so if you're into hard to drive headphones, R6 may still be a very worthwhile choice.



Value and Conclusion

The value of FiiO M11 is pretty much one of the best I've seen in today's market, with the price being really good for what you're getting, which is a very potent DAP with good wifi, bluetooth, battery life, sonic quality, and CPU/RAM/GPU and Display. Basically, you get a DAP that's better or at least at the level with the average smartphone, but which has the sonic performance of a DAP, for the price of, well, a midrange smartphone.

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FiiO never fails to impress with the package and with the stuff they manage to include with their products, from the case and the high-quality USB cable, to the handy coax cable. What's more interesting is that M11 has two microSD slots, and while having a SIM Tray eject tool isn't something to brag about, the two microSD slots are something that all DAPs should brag about when they have those.

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In terms of build quality, it is a fully metallic DAP, with a larger IPS display, on which you can watch movies, play some games, and have a lot of fun with your music. What's more, balanced outputs, a good bluetooth and wifi module, and a solid overall CPU and RAM makes M11 one of the best DAPs you could get in today's market. This means that it will also be added to Audiophile-Heaven's Hall Of Fame, as it really offers all you could ask for in a DAP at this price point.

The sound is something a bit more safe, with a softer bass, softer midrange, and with a sparkly treble, making M11 pair well with most of today's IEMs and headphones, especially the thicker and warmer ones, which are the majority of midrange and high-end IEMs and headphones. In the entry-level Chifi market, there are a lot of strongly V-shaped, U-shaped or brighter IEMs, but after you cross a certain threshold, there are many IEMs and headphones that are warm, thick, and which are complemented by M11, like TheCustomArt Fibae Black, Dita Fealty, CTM Da Vinci IX, FiiO FA7, and many others.

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At the end of this review, if you're looking for a very capable smartpho- I mean DAP, M11 should satisfy your needs really well, with a good CPU, good display, good sonic abilities, balanced output, two microSD slots, and good bluetooth / wifi performance, and with a good battery life, making it one of the best midrange DAPs you can look at.


Full Playlist used for this review

While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

Song List

Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date
Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source
Fall Out Boy - Immortals
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly
Silverstein - My Heroine
Memphis May Fire - Not Over Yet



I hope my review is helpful to you!

PLS Also read it on Audiophile-Heaven for the complete version : https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2020/02/the-partabile-fiio-m11-dap-player-review.html
Jotaro
Jotaro
So, I am not the only feeling the balanced output with different signature..
Dobrescu George
Dobrescu George
@Jotaro Feels like most DAPs and devices have a different sig for their balanced output nowadays actually :)
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Khan SW
Khan SW
The M11 was actually the device that made me fall in love with the balanced output as the sound signature was near perfect to me. It was more of a 'complete and full' sound as compared to regular 3.5 headphone port. Change the settings to 'All to DSD' and my music truly came alive. Such an enjoyable experience, I honestly couldn't stop smiling.

dhwitz

New Head-Fier
Pros: * On par with Fiio Q5 as a source
* Modified Android(*) allows for multiple streaming services and additional use cases
* Outputs for a portable
* USB DAC
* Bluetooth Receiver
* Expandable Storage
Cons: * Battery life
* SoC
* Interface
* Laggy
Amateur Hour
Hey Head-Fi. I am just a regular guy that got into the audio hobby after developing the need to have some kind of noise playing during the day (I try to use white noise/rain sounds but will overlay Lofi off of Youtube). But when I do listen to music, and I will admit I'll really listen to anything, I enjoy the Hi-Fi experience. This review is based off using the Fiio M11 for approximately 40~ hours on Fiio FH5, Tin P1, and Shure SE 215. I played a mixture of Spotify HQ, Youtube Music, FLAC, MP3 320 Kbps, and MP3 192 Kbps. I compared this source to my Pioneer XDP 30R and FiiO Q5S connected to an iPhone 11 Pro.

TL;DR/Summary
I feel that this player does an amazing job at being a source. If your primary goal is to just use the device for music playback, especially locally off of the two SD card slots (tons of expandable storage!), the added features such as a USB DAC, Bluetooth Audio receiver, and range of streaming apps makes this a fantastic player. However, I cannot feel that alternatives can be had for a similar price that provide a better quality of life experience. My only reason for really docking this player is the software and hardware limitations that FiiO implicitly put on themselves for choosing to run Android on it.

However, if you want to get a more feature-filled experience, I highly recommend buying the FiiO Q5S and tethering it to your phone or buying a cheap Android phone in the $200-$300 range. This in total will be slightly more than the FiiO M11 but if you want to have a lag-free, feature rich Android DAP experience, it will be 100x better than what the M11 provides. If you are considering this player because of Android: run away. If you are considering this player for an amazing audio experience without the need for a super fluid UI and the occasional hiccup: this is the player I would choose. I am sadly going to be returning my M11 but hope to return to the DAP scene if FiiO decides to just take a Samsung Galaxy S8 and shove audio into it.


Hardware
Find some pictures of my player below. FiiO's marketing materials on this device are better than anything my iPhone can take so check those out for sure. I will say that my player came with the protective case pre-installed and have not removed it for anything other than inserting my own SD-Card. The device is rather bulky with the case on, about the size of two iPhone's stacked on top of each other. But that edge pushing display and glass body with aluminum trim are undeniably beautiful. Compared to my XDP 30R, this is a premium feeling device and looks great. The 4.4 Pentaconn balanced, 2.5mm balanced, and 3.5mm input are awesome for output capabilities. The device uses USB C for charging and USB DAC. The player supports Bluetooth 4.2 (not the standard 5.0) but has support for LDAC/aptX.

Software
I am a software engineer by profession and I can tell what FiiO did to cut corners on this player. The DAC/AMP chipset is definitely wonderful and will push IEMs to levels that are beyond just enjoyable, however, the real issue is the operating system and the SoC (Exynos 7872) that FiiO put into this device.

Android's optimizations are somewhat poor out of the box, and this box is of course the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). The AOSP allows companies to build and run "Android" on their devices but lacks the license agreement needed to install Google Play Services and GMS, two components which will unlock the Android that most people know of. Additionally, the optimizations needed to get this player to play with a slightly modified stock version of Android 7.0 just do not seem to be present. As a result, you are missing out on the Google Play store and are forced to sideload applications from APKPure and FiiO's built in "app store". This is not a fault of FiiO so much as there not really being a need for securing a licensing deal for this player since it is first and foremost a portable DAP and the added benefits of Android are secondary. However, if you are planning on buying this player, I imagine you are somewhat interested in knowing how much of that "Android" can you take advantage of. The lack of Google Play Services means that you will have to also use a "piracy" version of YouTube since YouTube depends on Google specific services.

This, coupled with a lackluster 3 GB of RAM, mean that you are getting a severely laggy device. I'm making an assumption here but arguendo, if you're looking at buying this player you most likely have had some experience with a modern Android phone. And by modern, I do not mean a flagship like a OnePlus 7T or Samsung Note 10+. I mean even the cheap Pocofone, Huawei P30 Lite, Moto Z Play, etc. These phones even with their limitations have amazing performance compared to the FiiO. It's not just a laggy UI that is caused by a lack of RAM, processing power, and optimizations, it's the hang ups. I will be using the player and encounter just random freezing or crashing apps. When trying to skip through a large track (3 hours) I encounter a hang, something that never happened on my Pioneer XDP 30R, a relatively weaker portable. This portable has a subpar UX compared to a "dumb" player that runs a custom operating system.

The worst part is that the FiiO M11 Pro and M15 use the same SoC, and while I have not had the chance to use either, I can imagine the same problems that plague this device in usability will be present on those and feel even more exaggerated for the price. The Exynos 7872 is well known for its use in the budget phone, Meizu M6S. That phone came out in 2018. This device, a device that lacks the cellular radio, telephony components, camera, etc, performs seemingly worse!

To sum it up, this device performs poorly compared to what is possible for Android phones in this price bracket. The fact that FiiO put Android on the device makes me expect at least budget phone performance and this is just laughably bad, especially at the price of some *flagship* products.


Music!
Well that is what the player is for! I had a blast using this player with my IEMs. I took it around for a bit just to see what the experience would be like compared to a phone and Q5S combo and the experience is comparable. I tried a ton of tracks from Tycho, Owl City, Taylor Swift, Iann Dior, Tobu, Juice WRLD, Lofi Remixes, and JPop. All in all, the player handled everything in my library well and only struggled on playback of large mixes that I had compiled -- the player would hang when trying to skip to certain parts of the mix. The FiiO Music app is actually pretty gorgeous for what it is and has tons of customizability with an EQ, Gapless playback, Theming, FiiO link, etc. It is very similar to the FiiO app on the phone. Spotify works flawlessly on the music side but is hindered by the software stutters and lag. YouTube, something that I actually use quite a bit because of the convenience, does not work natively. There is a piracy enabled version of YouTube that *does* work with the player but that does not allow for YouTube sign on -- a feature I miss because of my playlists and the fact that I pay for YouTube premium.

The player supports high-res music files and handled my FLACs of Coldplay no problem. I will say that I found the EQ rather interesting in that it seems to lower the volume as compared to it just being off but it allows for quite a range of customizability and will satisfy most people.

There are music filters! I found no real difference with them on my IEMs but there is the option for those that appreciate tuning the playback. High/low gain present and works flawlessly.

Comfort-review-wise: I loved listening to music on this device. When I got my playlists loaded in and threw in my IEMs for a couple hours of work or reading, I got lost. I really enjoyed using this player when it was just playing music. But the software really hinders it in UX and thus got me thinking that the Q5S+Phone was really enough.


Misc
This might sound strange but I saw that I was able to install Kindle on the player. The player is amazing for music playback but in a strange way was perfect for reading. Since it is so hindered in being used as a regular Android device, I was able to comfortably read and listen to music without feeling the FOMO of a regular phone with notifications pinging every minute. While this is not what the player is meant to be used for, those that want to extract additional functionality out of it for running Android should do some research into the apps that you want to use to see if they require Google Play Services.

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Comments

jimgallaher

New Head-Fier
I just received my M11 this week and so far I'm loving it. One problem though, I can't seem to get Airplay to work. I'm trying to connect to my Sonos speakers. I start the Airplay app and it doesn't do anything, it just sits on the start screen. Any ideas ?
 
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