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FiiO M11-Android 7.0, 2.5/3.5/4.4 Powerful Output, Exynos 7872, Dual AK4493 DAC chips, 3GB RAM, WiFi, Two-way LDAC

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by FiiO, Mar 19, 2019.
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  1. Ghost Of Lundy
    I have probably a dumb question.

    I recently bought a pair of Sony MDR-1A-m2. They are awesome. But I didn’t want to take them to work as I normally want to use my bluetooth ath m50x-bt

    Well I grabbed the balanced cable form instead of the normal one I use accidentally and I used them with the m50x with the player.

    it sounded good. I know it’s not a balanced set of cans and it’s not balanced but My question is, will it damage the headphones or the m11 if I continue to do it.

  2. Leetransform25
    I'm not certain, but I believe it may not be good for the circuitry if you do that. I can't tell you much about it though, I'm no engineer
  3. Mybutthurts
    Playback works great thanks, but can't see the ultra HD icon on the playback screen.


    Edited. Fixed update sub again.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  4. atahanuz
    It can't damage your headphones don't worry.
  5. Ghost Of Lundy

    Can it damage the m11? I don’t know much about this?
  6. Floris888
    Im looking for my first dap. My setup on the go is Q5+FA7.Should i consider in M11 as my forst dap ?!
  7. JerryLeeds
    Could the problem be caused by special characters in album or title names?

    On my opus 1s I had an issue with an album name which started with three periods ... This prevented this album from being included into the library when media was scanned
  8. JLW654
    No, they are just " normal" word titles, like Keane, or kings of Leon etc. No special characters. I will try Fiio support. Thanks again for your answer.
  9. jdtenny
    It's my first dap (unless you include a few cheep-o mp3 players over the years). I'm very pleased with it, it's nice to get back to some quality audio.
  10. gLer
    Hey guys. Unfortunately I won’t be posting much in this thread in future because my M11 is no more. I did the unthinkable and sold it. Why? Well, it was actually just an opportunistic – some might even say irrational spur-of-the-moment decision to switch to another DAP.

    The DAP I switched to is the HiBy R6 Pro. It’s more than half a year older than the M11 – and in some ways this shows – but in every other way it’s a more advanced DAP. When I bought the M11 back in April, the R6 Pro retailed for $800, which many owners at the time considered a very good price for a very good DAP, but for me, $800 was way more than I wanted to spend on a DAP. So when I was offered an R6 Pro in mint condition for the same resale price as my mint condition M11, I jumped at the chance.

    If you’ve followed my posts here, you’ll know I was one of the first people outside China that bought the M11 (sight unseen, I might add), and instantly realised what a game changer it was. Coming from the M9, this was everything the M9 should have been, from the extra power, better sound and an *almost* completely open Android platform. It offered smartphone-like speed, a fully balanced dac and amplification, at least partially bypassed Android’s restrictive audio resampling engine, and didn’t hold back when it came to ‘nice to have’ features like an edge-to-edge screen, dual-band Wi-Fi and dual SD card slots – all for much, much less than any other DAP.

    At the time, I said this DAP was going to change the market for mid-to-high end DAPs, and a short six months later we’re seeing a flood of competitors finally playing catch-up with the M11; so much so that FiiO’s follow-up, the M11 Pro, seems strangely expensive and ill-timed by comparison (but that’s another discussion entirely).

    Which begs the question once again: why did I switch if it was so good and I was so happy with it?

    In short, my M11 was the victim of its own success. No sooner had I paired the M11 with the equally excellent FiiO FH7 IEM (now sold too – long story) that the competition started to tease new DAPs that seemed to resolve the few issues of the M11 I wasn’t entirely satisfied with. And that’s really the point of the post, because I wanted to share my experience of whether or not, having switched DAPs, those issues were worth the switch.

    1. Sound.This came as a surprise to me, because I was always more than happy with the M11’s sound. I found it resolving, articulate, and coming from the M9, very refined. But it was slightly different to the sound profile I typically enjoy, which is naturally warm of neutral. Together with the FH7, which itself has a very neutral and revealing tuning, I sometimes missed the added warmth. The R6 Pro just happened to fit my sound preferences like a glove.

    2. Power. I never had any issues with the M11’s power. It easily powered the FH7 (and most other IEMs I used with it), with well over half the volume pot as headroom. In balanced mode it also powered the HD800 and ZMF Auteur to very pleasant listening levels, with excellent control that only just fell short of true desktop amplification. The R6 Pro, on the flipside, probably has too much power. Its balanced MUSES amps push out more than 1.5W of power into a 16-ohm load, and get the balanced HD800 playing loud at 60% power in low gain, without the noise floor being any higher than the M11 (which is to say, well below my hearing ability).

    3. Open Android. This is probably the number one criticism levelled at the M11. Despite its incredible speed and fluid functionality, it’s a DAP stuck forever on Android 7, which means no Google Play support and no access to apps that rely on Google Play Services. This isn’t a problem for the vast majority of people – myself included. But having switched to the R6 Pro and gaining full access to Google Play in the process, I was finally able to try the much-vaunted music player called USB Audio Player Pro. And yes, it’s easily the best playback software I’ve seen on any mobile device by some distance. Take the powerful, system level high-res support, EQ and filter features (including PEQ and crossfeed) of Neutron, combine them with a clean and modern interface, integrate Tidal and Qobuz, and add all the features FiiO can’t or refuses to add to its own media player (like Album Artist sorting and play next/add to queue controls), and you have UAPP. I’ve gone from not thinking that I’d need it to not wanting to use another DAP without it, so good is this software.

    4. Chromecast support. Another benefit of open Android is full Chromecast support. It’s strange that FiiO decided to leave out such a useful feature from a DAP packed full of wireless transmission technology. Chromecast is built-in to the R6 Pro, and is an incredibly useful way of streaming audio from any app – Plex, Tidal, UAPP – to my Chromecast-enabled devices.

    5. USB OTG support. This is a strange one. The M11 seemingly recognizes USB drives attached to its USB-C port, but refuses to initialise them, which means they can’t be used for music playback, offline storage, or any other useful function. Not so with the R6 Pro. Not only can I attach any of my USB flash drives using a simple USB-C to USB-A adapter, but they’re instantly recognised by UAPP as external storage and in seconds are ready to use. What’s more, the R6 Pro’s USB-C connector has enough juice to power and access a 3TB 2.5” portable drive, which means I can take my entire music library with me on my travels and access it directly from the DAP.

    6. AAC Bluetooth support. Many of us are still iPhone users, and as iPhone users you’ll know the only decent Bluetooth codec available to us is AAC. For some reason FiiO supports AAC with all of its Bluetooth receivers and some portable amps, but not its DAPs (or at least not the M9 or M11). That means you’re stuck with a clunky AirPlay implementation that relies on Wi-Fi access to connect the iPhone wirelessly, or crappy SBC Bluetooth. The R6 Pro recently added AAC receive support, which means you can stream AAC music from the iPhone to the R6 Pro as ‘losslessly’ as possible.

    7. Bluetooth volume. This is a strange one, because FiiO claims their Bluetooth implementation is ‘normal’ but in my experience it’s anything but. The ‘issue’ for me is volume, or lack thereof. Most devices (almost any iPhone and Android phone I’ve used before) delivers enough juice to the Bluetooth receiver or speakers that even moderate volume on the phone results in moderate to high volume on the playback device. Not so with FiiO. With both the M9 and M11, volume needs to be maxed out in Bluetooth transmission mode to get decent volume on the playback device. That means you have to continually switch from very moderate volume for headphones to maximum volume for Bluetooth devices. No, it’s not a deal breaker, but it’s an annoyance that one minute into using and pairing the R6 Pro with my car’s audio system I realised was a FiiO-specific limitation I no longer had.

    8. DTA. FiiO claims that any third-party apps have direct access to the player’s dacs, effectively bypassing Android’s audio limitations that force resampling to 16/44.1 or 16/48 output. In practice this isn’t always the case. HiBy’s own music app on the M11 reports resampled playback with hi-res files, as does Plex. Only Neutron, with its hi-res driver, and FiiO’s own Music app support native hi-res playback on the M11. Poweramp upsamples everything to hi-res, and UAPP, well, there’s no UAPP. One of the biggest selling points of the HiBy players, the R6 Pro included, is built-in Android SRC bypass, called DTA. Any audio output is routed to the dual ESS dacs in its native format without having to worry about custom drivers or app compatibility. Does it really make a difference? If you’re using FiiO Music or Neutron and are happy with either, then no. But if you need to use different playback apps and want to play back hi-res files, very much so.

    9. Top-facing headphone ports. Ok this isn’t an issue, per se, but top-facing headphone ports make more sense when the DAP is in your pants or shirt pocket. No more holding the M11 ‘upside down’ when commuting.

    You could argue these are all either very subjective or very minor issues, and you’d be right. And for under $500, these sorts of compromises are understandable – or at least they were. But with competition in the midrange space heating up, not only are mid-priced DAPs closing the distance between the midrange and high-end, but doing so at ever-lower prices.

    The M11 was the first DAP to really open that door, and the competition is now bursting through with DAPs of their own, matching it feature for feature, and lowering the price even further. Higher-priced DAPs are also getting themselves caught in the slipstream, with the R6 Pro a great example of a higher-priced DAP whose used market value has been slashed by the likes of the M11, and even the newly-released aluminium version of the R6 Pro has been priced within touching distance of the midrange DAPs.

    All that said, the M11 is still holding its own with features that these newcomers – the R6 Pro included – can’t quite match. It’s still the fastest and most responsive DAP on the market, with more RAM than either HiBy’s (R5) or iBasso’s (DX160) challengers. It’s the only current DAP with two SD card slots, which still counts for something. And it’s one of the only DAPs that supports both balanced formats (2.5mm and 4.4mm) along with 3.5mm in one device. It also offers an incredibly refined sound quality that appeals to many, and unless any of the above become a bugbear in the way you use your DAP every day, there’s no reason to do what I did and switch.

    I hope this post has been informative. It’s not meant to be a critique of the M11, rather a reflection on the M11 from someone who championed it from the start – and still continues to champion it as one of the best value sub-$500 DAPs available now or ever. At the current pace of change I expect all of these ‘features’ for will soon be available across the board, in FiiO DAPs included.
    agonynine, showme99, magina35 and 4 others like this.
  11. kinkling
    These three I would agree with; the other items seem to be user-specific configuration issues. Would love to hear more about the different sound profiles implemented on the DACs in these devices.
    gLer likes this.
  12. gLer
    Yep, all my issues are 'user-specific configuration issues' because I know plenty other people who don't consider them issues at all. I just shared them here so anyone else wondering what the M11's 'limitations' are (or at least what I consider limitations) can see what I discovered having 'overcome' them, so to speak.
  13. kinkling
    Oh, I completely understand. I wasn't trying to contradict or lessen any of those concerns. Please tell me more about the slightly warmer sound of the Hiby and how it differs, if you would,
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2019
  14. gLer
    The R6 Pro is a touch less extended and 'energetic' in the treble, whereas the M11 opens up the treble somewhat. The R6 Pro also has weightier and more pronounced bass - by no means bloomy or boomy, but you can 'feel' it hitting harder, especially at lower volume. This balance also tends to make the mids a little thicker, which to me is a benefit, as I felt the M11 mids, on occasion, strayed to the thinner side of neutral. Overall the R6 Pro has a more 'wet' sound than the drier M11, and is consequently a touch less 'digital' sounding, if that makes sense? Also, it's not night and day, and many of these characteristics are far more dependent on the IEMs or headphones you use with each of these DAPs (a bassy headphone is not going to suddenly sound flat on the M11, not is a bright headphone suddenly going to go dark on the HiBy). But the tuning of the DAP can play a role in making the most of the character of your headphones.
    Zaroff likes this.
  15. atahanuz
    "No AAC support"

    AAC is a lossy 256kbps codec. If you use AAC it would ruin the whole audio chain since an audio chain is only as strong as its the weakest link. What would be the purpose of a DAP and high end headphones like HD800s if you gonna stream via 256kbps AAC?
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