Fiio M11 Excessive-Decision Audio Participant assessment

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At what level does a hi-fi music participant veer into an Android smartphone-esque person expertise? That’s the query the Fiio M11 Transportable Excessive-Decision Audio Participant tries to reply with its Android OS and twin AK4493EQ DACs. Briefly, whereas this may increasingly appear like your Android telephone, it’s nonetheless all concerning the music.

By balancing the usability of a smartphone with the audio prowess of its top-tier digital audio gamers, the M11 tries to be extra accessible. That mentioned, as a high-res DAP (digital audio participant), the M11 doesn’t disappoint, and the elevated {hardware} beneath the hood pays some dividends on the software program facet too.

Design

When in comparison with different Fiio DAPs just like the Fiio M9, the M11 is noticeably thicker and heavier, however we will perceive why when diving into the components that make up its sum: The 5.15-inch IPS show has a 720p decision, placing it in HD territory, not like earlier fashions within the M collection. The display is brighter, sharper and affords higher viewing angles than the M9 had. We might say it’s adequate to even watch video, however we’ll get to that later.

To face out additional, the corporate loaded up on inputs arrayed on the backside. There’s a regular 3.5mm headphone jack, 2.5mm jack and 4.4mm jack to go together with a USB-C port (for charging and playback). The play and pause button on the left edge strains up with observe navigation and a quantity dial. The dial even ‘clicks’ to supply some suggestions when transferring up or down.

There isn’t only one, however reasonably two microSD card slots alongside the suitable edge. Each are able to dealing with playing cards as excessive as 2TB for a theoretical complete of 4TB. Relying on how a lot music you might have, it’s definitely doable to take a complete library of high-res audio information with you.

There may be, nevertheless, a caveat to that setup. Customers on-line reported having points with some excessive capability playing cards in slot 1, which Fiio acknowledged. The actual card in query was the Lexar 512GB, the place the M11 won’t detect the cardboard or cease it from copying information. Fiio claims that playing cards from different distributors don’t trigger the identical difficulty, and once we threw in a SanDisk and Samsung card, we didn’t actually discover something uncommon.

Regardless of that, the corporate recommends utilizing slot 2 if solely going with one card, in order that’s what we did. There may be 32GB of inside storage (26GB really usable), although we most well-liked to load up high-res information off a card or native DLNA streaming.

As for the important thing elements inside, the M11 runs on a Samsung Exynos 7872 processor, which is a mid-range chipset utilized in some smartphones in 2018. On the audio facet, Fiio used twin AK4493EQ DACs, with loads of amplification and energy to drive nearly any pair of headphones plugged into it.

Connectivity

The wired connections, however, the M11 handles Bluetooth and Wi-Fi simply the identical for wi-fi playback. We have been stunned {that a} DAP at this degree in 2019 would keep on with Bluetooth 4.2, reasonably than transfer as much as 5.0, but it surely’s not one thing that hindered us an excessive amount of.

Fiio covers all the important thing lossless codecs, like aptX, aptX HD, LDAC and LHDC. What’s notably lacking is AAC over Bluetooth, which the M11 doesn’t natively assist. Even so, the participant does work with AAC as a format, supplied that these music information are saved on a card or being streamed. We have been capable of play tracks we beforehand downloaded from the iTunes Retailer.

Given the M11 helps each 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi indicators, we have been capable of make the most of that in just a few methods. AirPlay stays a function considerably buried within the settings, however when enabled, the M11 turns into a receiver to playback audio from an iOS gadget or Mac pc. It was a method we have been capable of circumvent software program restrictions that we’ll contact on within the subsequent part.

We may play tunes from Apple Music, Google Play Music or simply about some other supply and achieve the good thing about the M11’s superior constancy. DLNA and UPnP assist can also be nice, letting us stream FLAC and WAV information we had saved on a neighborhood NAS (community hooked up storage) drive. It was seamless and straightforward to handle, besides we want there have been higher methods to make that occur away from dwelling. Fiio nonetheless doesn’t supply strong apps like Plex to entry media servers remotely. The identical goes for apps from NAS makers, like Synology or Qnap. Discover APKs of these apps, nevertheless, and you will get the ball rolling.

Software program

The M11 runs on Android 7.Zero Nougat, albeit in a barely neutered kind. We are saying that as a result of, but once more, there isn’t any Google Play Retailer to obtain apps with routine aplomb. As an alternative, Fiio tries to offset that with its personal market (referred to as Purposes), which incorporates a number of in style music and streaming apps able to obtain. Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Deezer, TuneIn Radio and Moov are amongst these off the bat.

That additionally features a quasi-repository of downloadable APK information and APK marketplaces. For instance, APKPure is certainly one of them, whose retailer seems to be like Google Play. They keep on with free apps solely, as there’s no strategy to tie in a Google account with any apps from these platforms. We acquired notifications to replace apps however not concurrently after they obtain them from Google Play. When a brand new model of the APK was obtainable, we may replace to that one.

The Android expertise additionally extends to a selection between one thing traditional and one thing trendy. As an illustration, by default, the M11 had mushy keys on the backside for again, dwelling and multitasking. We may flip these off in favor of gesture controls in settings, that are the identical as these we skilled within the M9.

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