Review of FiiO player M6 — 83 grams of music and charm

Just before the new year, FiiO has decided to surprise fans with the release of the new player. If they had started with preliminary announcements, sometimes even collecting for these purposes, a press conference, with the chassis index of the M6 they had acted differently. Shipments to distributors began together with the advent of information about the model, so that the “younger brother M9” was a pleasant new year’s surprise.


In General, the idea of this player was in the air, different manufacturers approached it from all sides. Small players with touch controls in one form or another produced by many manufacturers, starting with the Shanling and ending Hidizs’, the same FiiO has released a very nice M7, upset many lack wireless Internet access. Finally, last year HiBy equipped gadget compact form factor Wi-Fi, but its own operating system doesn’t allow to implement full support for third-party apps and streaming. The idea of a mini-device with full support for online services simply hovering in the air, and that M6 became its first implementation.

Iron from the conclusion: “all that we have seen.” In the role of the Exynos chipset and “otduvalsya” sound ES9018Q2C was already in M7, but after studying the reviews on the previous model, FiiO took a few steps forward. First, the new and the older model M9 supports the installation of applications from the white list that gives advanced streaming. Secondly, there is WiFi, which made it possible to add AirPlay. Thirdly, the player became less, but a little more powerful, although it had to sacrifice time battery life.

Well, to drive the final nail in the coffin of the M7 (it is obvious that its sales were completely undermined by fresh release) FiiO reduced the price and asking for new about $ 150, sometimes a bit more, depends on the appetites of customs and distributors. Sometimes I find myself thinking about the fact that we have ceased to be amazed how little can cost complex electronic devices, examples are plenty, ranging from budget smartphones to the hero of today’s review.

By the way, in my memory this is the first case when this model is so much better than the older with the lower price.

Specifications

  • CPU: Exynos 7270 @ 1 GHz
  • DAC+amp: ES9018Q2C
  • RAM: 768 MB
  • Built-in memory (user accessible): 2 GB
  • Expandable memory: MicroSD up to 2 TB
  • Wireless interfaces: WiFi 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Codecs Bluetooth: HWA, LDAC, aptX, HD aptX, SBC
  • Input: USB-C
  • Outputs: 3.5 mm naushnikov
  • Screen: 3.2″ IPS 480×800
  • Battery: 1600 mAh, Li-Po
  • Charging time: < 2.5 hours
  • Operating time with one charge: >13 hours (normal exit), >30 hours (Bluetooth SBC)
  • Dimensions: 53 mm × 93 mm ×12 mm
  • Weight: 83 gr.
  • Output power: ≥70 mW @32Ω, ≥7 mW @300Ω
  • Frequency range: 10 Hz ~ 80 kHz
  • The ratio signal/noise: ≥118 dB
  • Output impedance: <2Ω
  • Total harmonic distortion+noise: <0.002%
  • Channel separation: >75 dB
  • Peak voltage: 4.25 V p-p

Packing and delivery

With a box product-designers were not particularly wise, packaging made of white cardboard, printing is very simple, but neat. Inside you will find the player, silicone case for it, USB-C wire, the protective film on the screen and the user manual with a warranty card. This time for some reason the tape at the factory only glued on rear panel and on the front I had to “install” it yourself.

As you can see, the set of accessories is quite basic, but without the extra savings, despite the fact that the struggle was clearly for every cent. On AliExpress, by the way, has appeared very lovely leather covers, so for completeness ‘ set ‘ of optional accessories lacking only the protective glass on the screen.

Design and management

The player immediately fall in love with compact size, it causes a mix of emotion and nostalgia for the days when electronics manufacturers have tried to make gadgets pokorrektnee. Lightweight but durable aluminum case black color made in the form of a rectangle with rounded edges. It lies comfortably in the hand and gives the feeling of a solidly assembled device: no creaks, not loose and not loose.

Despite the touch screen is not forgotten and the need to control “blind”, FiiO have added 3 buttons on the left panel: one for play/pause and two for volume control. Long press on the volume buttons when the screen is locked it switches the tracks. Of course, separate buttons for navigation would be better, but the “combined” option is still better than nothing. On the top panel are the power button (locks the screen) and headphone Jack. Right put a MicroSD card slot, the player has 2 GB of my memory is a little, so support cards of any size would be a nice bonus. The bottom panel is the USB-C connector, traditionally very versatile: it allows you to charge the player, use him as a USB DAC, output the signal to external DAC and to access the memory of the player. FiiO has thought a lot of pleasant things, for example, when the player is connected as the DAC, you have in the system will appear a CD with drivers. Work the same exotic scenarios of the type receiving a digital stream via USB and transfer it via Bluetooth.

By the way, about charging, the battery is fully charged in 2 hours 10 minutes, the lack of 11 to 13 hours depending on load. Naturally, this if playing files from local storage, streaming will shorten battery life.

The main part of the front panel covers the screen, as in M9, LG made it, and he expected a good. To modern smartphones it is, of course, does not hold, but the color rendition, resolution and testing of touch — quite good for a budget player. Margin of brightness is normal, but in bright sunlight you’ll likely have to cover the screen by hand to improve readability. In the upper right corner of the front panel is a tiny led indicator will switch on when charging and when loading the player.

Firmware

From the point of view, this player full twin brother FiiO M9, they clearly share a common code base and all the new features are added to them simultaneously. I won’t go into detail about the device menu, on how the FiiO Music and everything associated with it, I did it for the M9, so you can just read the appropriate section of the review.

The M6 firmware added a number of interesting features like support for AirPlay for Apple devices or, for example, the ability to work as a Bluetooth transmitter, being connected to the source via USB. Added the ability to control the player from a smartphone, unusually named FiiO Link. So far, however, to take advantage of that only the owners of phones with Android. I think we can safely assume that due to the shared code base of all these opportunities, and get the M9.

Perhaps, it is only necessary to mention once again about one of the main features of this player — the installation of applications. You can put only the programs from the white list, approved by the developers. Bitter experience firmware without limitation, FiiO clearly remember that all the problems of third-party applications, users will be blaming the developers iron and decided to avoid such a situation. On the M6 you can only install apps that have passed the test of an acceptable quality work with the chipset of the player. Fortunately, the white list includes the most popular streaming services (Bandcamp, Deezer, Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal), as well as several additional tools, the most useful of which was clearly ES File Explorer. Programs work the same way as normal smart phones, so no problems with the functionality does not arise.

Firmware left pleasant enough impression, it is, of course, there are minor issues like the poor performance with diacritical marks, but “in General” with its task it copes, it has everything needed by a modern device capabilities from replay gain gapless playback to.

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.

Despite the similarities in specs with the M7, the novelty has slightly more power and, hence, on audio worked. Indeed, M6 M7 sounds even better, apparently the company decided to kill the “firstborn” certainly, but about it in the section comparisons.

According to the General flow of player happened without obvious distortions of the flow, but he is as far from monotonnosti provides a good level of “musicality”. Like the M7, the novelty slightly emphasizes the edge of the range, but it does so not by means of quantity (frequency response is absolutely linear), and by adding some bit of energy for LF and HF.

The bass is slightly accentuated by weight, but the focus is very small, so this is clearly not “bazhena” model, however, I will note that if you need a noticeable change in the total flow to achieve its far more logical with headphones. Bass are good in resolution and textures, have a decent, although not extremely deep and very well controlled, providing a natural transfer of the instruments of the lower register.

The middle of the M6 balances somewhere between “audiophile” and “music” presentation. The player doesn’t try to impress the listener with the contrast though, and has a normal resolution. There are also attempts to portray an impressive macrodynamics, though emotion and the nature of the tools the hero of today’s review also reports worthy for its price. An imaginary scene somewhere in the middle in both directions, but the division plans in depth player manages very well.

Vernacularly range is also a bit accented, but it’s not the “peak HF”, as is often done in the headphones, then the accent just adds a bit of “clear” sound, emphasizing release and overtones. Of course, this slightly degrades the naturalness for ultra-high-quality recordings, but to listen to those on the M6 is basically a stupid idea. In General, the “top” here is the perfect balance of “bottom”, I suggest a normal resolution and a good practicing attacks with the damping, although the latter is a bit simplified.

Briefly about the comparisons. Since the devices in this price segment is very much, I specifically limited players and chose mainly models, which are comparable to the FiiO M6 and for the price and functionality. Other comparisons I did not hold, so the difference between the M6 and all that was not included in the list below you can extrapolate their own, based on the reviews. So, I’m not going to talk about the non-sound difference of the players, which also often plays an important role.

FiiO M3K , of Course, is not a competitor to the M6, the sound is simpler, less lively and intense, but, given the double difference of the price, I guess that’s to be expected.

FiiO M7 Maybe someone else will seduce 20+ hours of work, the proposed “seven”, but most will choose a smaller size, support for streaming and a little more “rich” midrange that offers M6 and reduced price completes this fratricide.

FiiO M9 is a significant step forward by the sound, which is not surprising given the toppings. If in every single aspect (resolution, naturalness, control of the frequency, extent, treble and bass response) the difference is not big, in total they just give the same “next level”.

Hidizs ‘ AP80 overall the player is comparable to M6 according to the General perception of the sound, offering a little more flow neutral with a slight emphasis on the treble.

HiBy R3 is There to call a clear winner also will not work if the AP80 is a slight deviation “to the light”, then R3 is on the contrary a little “step into darkness”, for those who love pressed HF.

Compatibility

Overall, 70 mW at 32 Ohm load is the power, which is enough for most headphones, including panoramer, of course, making “bracketing” the high and tight models. So that problems with control of the majority of load of the M6 has. Separately, I note a very low level of background noise, which will please owners of sensitive IEM. I would say that I am encouraged by the positive trend manufacturers stop chasing power and start to think about what the main class of devices that have to navigate it is just “nutriance”.

Genre player is quite versatile, naturally, with the amendment to the budget. Critical to the quality of the records is reasonable, somewhere in the 6 points out of 10.

A few traditional tracks as example

Eagles — Hotel California Yes, it is difficult to come up with something more banal as a sound sample player. In my defense that, firstly, it is a good remaster of 2013, and, secondly, with M6 “refreshed version” sounds very pleasant, smart in the course of remastering HF do Sovremennaya the entry that goes in her favor.

Scorpions — Send Me An Angel since we went on the famous tracks, will continue with another song that I heard, perhaps, everything. So just listen and enjoy thinking about what I could do “Still Loving You” choose, but didn’t. FiiO M6 no problem coping with the track, playing it confidently and vovlekayut.

Mika — Relax Take it Easy Well, another almost familiar track “for the soul”, will not deviate from the intended plan of action. Here, too, the hero of today’s review do not succumb, let the track and is not particularly complex, but it sounds very fun and dynamic.

Insights

FiiO managed to fit in the compact housing not only many opportunities, but also good sound, adorning it all affordable price. Good to know that budget players 2019 transformed into real “harvesters” that can please the owners of functionality, before the former the prerogative of the middle segment and tops.

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