Review of FiiO player M3K — beginner connoisseurs


I do not think that someone from the readers of my reviews need to submit the FiiO, in recent years, they have released a huge number of solutions for portable audio and firmly took its place under the Sun. A few years ago, they were presented cordotomy player, to get the index of M3, but in the modern world of gadgets all require updates, and now we face a new younger model, named predictable M3K.

It is worth noting that the new “bagetka” at least on paper looks much more grown up: here you and Ingenic in the role of the processor, and AK4376 to service audioguide, and the aluminum enclosure slightly grown in size. Better screen and the firmware, I can now work in USB mode DAC, for some reason, even added the voice recorder function.

The price has been revised upwards, asking for M3K about 70 dollars with a possible increase in some countries because of taxes and customs fees. Thus, it is logical to assume that the new M3K replace immediately and M3 and the state of the X1 series, especially since all new iPods will come out in M-series.

Specifications

  • CPU: Ingenic X1000 @ 1 GHz
  • DAC: AK4376A
  • Frequency range: 5 Hz ~ 90 kHz (-3 dB)
  • Output impedance: <1Ω
  • Output power: ≥42 mW @ 16Ω, ≥25 mW @ 32Ω
  • Recommended load impedance: 16Ω ~ 100Ω
  • The ratio signal/noise: ≥117 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion + noise: <0.004%
  • Noise level: <2uV
  • Scope of voltage: 2.46 Vp-p
  • Memory: MicroSD up to 2 TB
  • Screen: 2″ IPS TFT, 240×320 @ 262K
  • Input: Micro USB2.0
  • Output: 3.5 mm TRS
  • Battery: Li-Po, 1100 mAh
  • Working time on single charge: >24 hours
  • Charging time: <2.5 hours
  • Support file formats: DSD (ISO, DFF, DSF), FLAC, APE, WAV, AIFF, WMA, ALAC, MP3, OGG
  • Maximum resolution: up to 192 kHz/24-bit, DSD64
  • Size: 91 mm ×44 mm × 12 mm
  • Weight: 78 gr.

Packing and delivery

The box this time made a very minimalistic with not very dense white cardboard, without any additional internal packaging, well at least the player protects the foam insert. In addition to the device and different instructions-garantiyku in the box you will find Micro USB cable and case black silicone designed to protect your player from the hardships and privations of a mobile life.

In General, it’s very simple, but for the case, of course, thank you.

Design and management

In appearance, the player is more reminiscent of the last reincarnation X1 — the same aluminum body with rounded ends, like the black insert on the front panel. The difference is mainly in size and in a slightly different line up control, but about it below. The player, of course, were bigger than the last M3, but it is still very compact and lightweight, making it a good candidate for a source for the “active life”.

In FiiO understands the target audience, so to deprive the player hardware buttons did not. On the left side is the “rocker” volume, if hold it — it allows you to switch tracks. It has placed a “soft” button, whose function can be changed in the menu. On the “rocker” power button is traditionally also used for screen lock.

On the upper side is almost imperceptible grid of the microphone. The bottom slot Micro USB, slot for memory cards and a headphone output. USB allows you to charge the player, use him as a card reader or a USB DAC (for the first time in the budget model). By the way, about charging, player is unreal longevity, a couple of hours to full charge the battery, and 18-20 hours or more, the player is provided.

The front side of the player is occupied by the screen and touch controls. Yes, the sensor is like not all, but from the point of view of reliability in low-cost devices — it’s clearly a viable solution. The screen is average quality, he’s not a bad resolution, color, but in bright sunlight you may have to look for the angle at which it will be clearly seen.

Management made a bit unusual, the developers finally abandoned the circles in all their forms and made vertical touch strip, swipe which allow the user to navigate, and taps is to select the corresponding menu item or start playback. There are also four buttons located around the Central strips standard: back, submenu, and navigation tracks (she also works in the menu).

Overall, after a little getting used to, to use the management convenient, so I don’t understand the disturbance of mass sensors, the more basic functions are duplicated side buttons.

The build quality of the player is very good, all neatly fitted, nothing to loose, not rumbles and creaks. For lovers of beauty available in two colors: silver and black, in the future, release players, and other colors, but it will obviously depend on the success of new items in the sale.

Firmware

Firmware in General is made very traditionally, FiiO did not invent any innovations and broke it down into several sections, each of which corresponds to a large icon on the home screen.

File browser view the contents of the memory card in folders, allowing you to enjoy your media library exactly in the form in which you created it.

Category Advanced media library shows your music by artists, albums, and genres. Here are the list of all the tracks at once, favorites, playlists and recently added tracks. It is particularly gratifying that the artists have a two-level grouping, that is, selecting the contractor, you will see a list of his albums. Other points — sibling and immediately lead to a list of tracks.

Recording Recorder and made a list of his records. I still don’t understand why the player this feature, apparently it was added on the principle of “let it be, maybe someone will come in handy.” To me it was not useful and I haven’t even tested it.

Play settings Settings related to playback. They include:

  • The playback order of tracks
  • Memorization of the track or position when you turn off the player
  • Gapless playback
  • The maximum volume
  • Remembering the volume when off
  • Balance
  • Equalizer
  • Automatic transition to the following folder

System settings Also settings, but this time more General. These include:

  • Updating media libraries
  • The brightness of the screen
  • The timers turn off the backlight, switch to standby mode and sleep
  • USB mode
  • The action of the “universal” button. While there are only two options: play/pause or change the playback order. Hopefully in the future the list will be expanded
  • Whether to show the clock on the lock screen
  • Setting the date and time
  • The choice of language (Russian available)
  • Formatting a memory card
  • Reset
  • Information about the system

The playback screen is also quite standard: the large album cover, under it — the track information and progress. There is a context menu with most frequently used options.

In General, the firmware leaves a good impression, everything is working quite fast and stable, noticeable bugs I found. In the first version, which came with the player, I somehow subliminales tracks in my favorites, but after the upgrade this problem is gone.

Sound

To listen to the device used the following headphones: iBasso IT04, 99 Meze Classics, Audio Zenith PMx2, Noble Kaiser Encore, Campfire Andromeda Audio, Unique Melody Mason V3, HUM Pristine and others.

If we talk about sound, the company is already well established AK4376A, so the player with it turned out quite balanced, with a neutral, but not dry sound. If X1-2 differed some bias in LF, and X3-3 versa — was attracted to the “light side of the force”, the new product avoids it being somewhere in the middle.

Bass normal resolution, it is not super-detailed, but for this price it is quite good. In General, the adjustment cost here is to do almost always, players price in 2-3 times above are expected better sound. Bass has good texture, depth normal, but not extraordinary. Fans of focus on the bass player, probably will not work, as he plays just the right amount of bass that there is in the record.

MIDs made neutral, without trying to play microdialysate or add emotion. The resolution is normal, but not record, however, the loss of significant details here. Imaginary scene about medium in depth and width, but the three-dimensionality of the player could normally. Instruments are well separated, their character is transmitted with good accuracy.

Vernacularly range in this player turned out to be even slightly “expensive” than its price. “Top” M3K gently accented, but with no apparent bias in favor of light and a sudden flow. HF features a good for this category of length and realism, as well practiced attack and decay.

Of course, you can compare M3K with all models of similar pricing, I can’t, so comparisons will be restricted in thesis and several models.

Player FiiO If you discard the difference in power, then according to the General flow of M3K is somewhere on the path from X1-2 to X3-3. “Three” in detail, but it is lighter, that does not always favor the bad records. “Unit” — more bassy and massive, for fans of this style of feeder. Compared to the M3 the first generation player comes out noticeably ahead in almost everything, starting from natural and ending with the construction of an imaginary scene.

xDuoo X3-II Another comparison, demanding to remove from consideration the difference in power. With headphones that require more “power” X3-II shows better, but on the sensor plugs, leveling this option M3K proved to be much more natural sound, especially in HF.

Shanling M0 of Course, a tiny box from Shanling at first glance looks good: compact, with support for LDAC and other convenient features. But when it comes to sound, almost all competitors price categories: pass without straining, M3K is no exception: building a better scene, better control, and so forth.

Compatibility

By tradition, the last time a player has high capacity, so that high-impedance headphones and not the most sensitive full-size model it is contraindicated. If you look at it from the perspective of the optimist, the amplifier M3K is enough for most portable headphone and low power gives us a low level of background noise and long working time.

The player is quite versatile in genres, but, of course, for the full “disclosure” of complex music needs a top-end device. The quality of the recording M3K moderately critical on a 10-point scale of “capricious” I’d give him 7 points.

Traditional tracks are examples

Dead Can Dance — Emmeleia Great track showing the capabilities of the player in building a scene and exploring midrange. Minimalism allows us not to be distracted from these aspects, and the atmospheric and dramatic, well passed M3K, just fascinating.

Gorillaz — Andromeda (feat. DRAM) of Course, the recording is not audiophile (not counting the title track), but as an illustration of how the hero of today’s review is playing bass and controlling them, not allowing them to crawl on the MF, the song is very good.

Marcus Miller — Someone To Love Well, finish selection something really beautiful and traditional. In General, Marcus Miller for the role perfectly, especially because M3K good for your price with this track to cope, reacting to everything from vocals to guitar lace.

Insights

In General, the player was very expected: convenient, inexpensive and compact. The sound is certainly not a flagship killer, but to the outsiders, the player also misses. In General, the optimal companion for wealthy music lover or a person listening to music on the go.

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