Help me choose! Fiio M9, A&K SR15 or...iFi xDSD/xCAN?
Mar 6, 2019 at 11:24 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

mattiav

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Bear with me a minute here...

I currently have an Echobox Explorer. Which looks great, sounds wonderful, and has a pretty darn decent amp, but...the wifi is terrible, and the battery life so poor that I can use it for an hour or two if I'm Lucky. In other words: useless. So I'm after an upgrade.

I mostly listen on the go, sometimes with bigger cans (HD6XX, HE4XX, Meze 99 classics), sometimes IEMs (usually Shure SE535s, though I'm eyeing an Andromeda), sometimes wireless (Advanced Audio model 3 bluetooth cable with the Shures, or Sony noise cancelling when traveling, or the bigger cans via a Bluewave GET, because its more powerful than the iPhone's amp). Most of my listening is via my iPhone 6s Plus, using Tidal or Apple Music. I have a fairly large collection of lossless files as well, but they don't really get listened to much at the moment.

Basically, I want something that will provide a better experience, and will drive the bigger headphones at least decently. I am not willing to carry around a stack of stuff while on the road.

The A&K SR15 is at the top end of what I want to spend; on paper, it looks like a good bet - smooth OS, good amount of power, future MQA support likely, Tidal offline.

The Fiio M9 is attractive because of its cost (low) and feature set (particularly bluetooth connectivity) and size, but has a fairly underpowered processor. I'm wondering whether waiting for the rumoured M11 may or may not be worth it. I'm a little loathe to go with an X7 due to reports of so-so software reliability and battery life with the amp cards I'd likely want, plus it takes me out of my desired price range.

That brings me to the more 'out there' option of either an xDSD or an xCAN; both are svelte enough to stick in a coat pocket and can be used as wireless bluetooth receivers, or plugged in at home as compact headamps that should be able to drive the bigger cans without too much ado. The former is of course a DAC with a pretty powerful headphone amp circuit, but the latter has a much more powerful amp, and I wonder whether that's not the better choice.

Thoughts?
 
Mar 7, 2019 at 12:16 AM Post #2 of 14

yong_shun

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I think you should go for AK SR15. FiiO M9 is good but software is always an issue for FiiO and now they still do not have thw way to mitigate this. For AK you can use it without worries. Since your bank and wallet allow you to get AK, go for it!
 
Mar 7, 2019 at 9:17 AM Post #6 of 14

yong_shun

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FiiO will be a good choice under certain circumstances such as budget constraints but if pocket is deep enough AK will be a better choice
 
Mar 7, 2019 at 9:58 PM Post #7 of 14

mattiav

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Thanks for the replies folks! Seems like everyone recommends the AK if price is no object, but still positive on the M9. Will mull it over - it’s still a hefty hunk of change...
 
Mar 8, 2019 at 2:03 AM Post #10 of 14

gazzington

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Ak stuff just works and sounds great. Fiio stuff is really good if your willing to tinker
 
Mar 10, 2019 at 6:21 AM Post #11 of 14

mattiav

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I’m going to hold off a little while longer and see what Fiio announces next week, and try to find a store that stocks both to play around with them and see how they agree with me...
 
Mar 10, 2019 at 9:36 AM Post #12 of 14

Pro-Jules

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I have a Fii0 M9 and am waiting for the HiBy R6 pro
 
Mar 15, 2019 at 1:36 AM Post #13 of 14

mattiav

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Right, so I happened across an UK store that still had an Andromeda S in stock. And since Ken isn’t making any more of them this was likely one of the last new pairs not already sold, so I bought them. And they sound pretty glorious!

I’m going to need to save a little before buying a better DAP
 
May 3, 2019 at 4:29 PM Post #14 of 14

mattiav

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Small update: I’ve pre-ordered the iBasso DX220 + Amp8. Bit more than I’d planned on spending, but the good support and frequent software updates (and active community of software modders), the option to add a significant amount of power to drive the bigger cans, and full MQA support pulled me over the line...hope to get it by the end of the month!
 

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