Sound Impressions

Summary

To be honest, I don’t expect much from an entry-level device. In my opinion, what defines a good entry level player will be a smooth and friendly interface for a considerably large music collection and better noise control and power. Generally a better performance than your average phone. The M6 surprised me in that regard for its performance.

The M6 sounds quite controlled and dynamic out of the box with sensitive IEMs. Unlike some phones that output thick bass, harsh treble or V-shape signatures the resolution of the M6 is good for the price point though the treble is a bit shy. Instrumental separation is satisfactory for sparser tracks without complex arrangements or modern pop music.

Vocals are noticeably a bit warm with what seems to be a mid-range boost. On higher-end FiiO players, you will find more resolution and power but the M6 will probably make users jumping from phones to DAPs feel the difference, let alone phones with dedicated audio chipsets and optimizations.

Bluetooth Audio Performance

It’s more down to the earphones’ signature than the connection standard in this case. When the M6 is used as a receiver and set to HWA/LDAC it delivers a very similar presentation to M6’s wired sound.

FiiO M6

Matchability

Testing was done with the M6 using the latest Fiio FA7, Brainwavz Koel, and the Final E3000 IEMs. For headphones, we chose the excellent Meze 99 Classics.

FiiO FA7

Pairing with FiiO’s higher-end end model FA7 it seems to require more power and control. The presentation was a little bit congested and the lower frequencies are emphasized. I assume the FA7 is tuned for higher-end devices or more powerful outputs. The M6 still sounds decent with the FA7 when you playback nicely mastered tracks or genres like Jazz that has fewer instruments in the mix and more bass texture

Brainwavz Koel

Brainwavz KOEL/Final E3000

With the KOEL it sounds fairly open to my ears and the Final E3000 sounded equally as good. With that slightly bass-boosted tuning, you will have the feeling the IEMs are quite well driven. The performance with lower impedance IEMs or single BAs is actually fairly respectable and I never got the impression I was missing any dynamic range or headroom in terms of power.



The M6 would be a good pick if you are looking for a back-up device or if you are new into this hobby, considering the very mature system and the safe tuning.

Meze 99 Classic



Meze 99 Classic

Testing with Meze 99, the M6 can push it quite loud. The output power is enough to give some decent body to the presentation, especially the low-end.

However, I did feel there would definitely be an upgrade in terms of dynamic range pairing the M6 with a portable amplifier using line-out mode or OTG to a small DAC/Amp/ FiiO’s own A5 with the M6 is a killer combination for power in that respect.

Select Comparisons

Apple iPod Nano Gen 7

This is the first device that comes to my mind when I powered up the M6. The long screen design allows you to read a few more lines and simply because of this reason I prefer such designs to squared screens.

The user experience is alike and with Android 7.0 equipped there are now way more options on the M6 such as streaming music, drag and drop files, and high-quality multiway Bluetooth connections.

I have been using the Gen7 for years and it has a cleaner and more linear tuning compared to the M6. However, the more mids focused sound signature on M6 makes the singer’s voice stands out more. You will also find a bit more resolution in M6’s output compared to the Gen 7 thanks to the newer chipsets.

Shanling M0

Shanling M0

The Shanling M0 has a similar form factor to the M6 also a similar price tag. Navigation is easier on the M6 with the larger screen and you don’t need to scroll down every time to look at the whole album when the screen is longer.

The sound on the M0 is flatter and cleaner while the M6 emphasizes the midbass. Singers with a darker voice fit the tuning on the Mo better due to the lighter body in its timbre. The resolution and power are similar for both devices. The M6 is a step up in terms of the user experience and streaming options unless all you want is a player to randomly play the playlist at gym.

FiiO M6

Our Verdict

The ease of entry into streaming on M6 makes this an ideal entry-level DAP for those who want music on the go and plenty of it. If you are new to the hobby or looking for something to new the M6 could possibly be the most modern first-time DAP out there.

We have seen many brands equipping their flagship devices with streaming features and higher-end Bluetooth options. However, it is very unexpected for Fiio to include these features on a DAP at this price point. I guess I should not be surprised given FiiO has always punched above the price points on most of their gear down through the years.

FiiO M6 Technical Specifications

Name / Model No.M6Operating SystemCustomized
CPU modelExynos 7270 14nmNo. of cores2
CPU operating frequency1GHzDACES9018Q2C
KeyboardVirtual QWERTY keyboardInput methodMulti-touch screen
Special featuresWiFi Streaming,LDAC/HWA/aptX/aptX HD/SBC Bluetooth support,Airplay with Apple devices,FiiO LinkUser interfaceCustomized/FiiO Music
Chips usedSoC: Samsung Exynos 7270 , DAC:ES9018Q2C,,Bluetooth chip:SAMSUNG S5N5C10B01-6330

Connectivity

WiFi2.4G,WiFi transmission supportedBluetooth4.2
USBTYPE C Two-way USB2.0Bluetooth transmitLDAC/HWA/aptX/aptX HD/SBC (HWAAvailable when playing on M6, other codecs available when playing on M9 and using as USB DAC)
HWA(LHDC)Available when playing on M6Bluetooth receiveSBC/LDAC to be supported
AirPlayTo be supportedDLNASupports Windows for now, will support more in the future
FLYLINKTo be supported

Display screen

Display size3.2 inchesNumber of colours1600W
Display typeLG IPS screenViewable angleFull-view
Resolution480×800Pixel density(PPI)292
Touchscreen5-finger multi-touch

Storage

RAM768MBROM4GB
Storage expansion typeMicro SD cardROM available to user2GB
Maximum storage expansionTheoretically 2TB (only one micro SD card slot)
Buttons and ports
ButtonsPhysical button+Side volume scroll+Touch screenButton customizationN/A
Headphone out (PO)3.5 mm headphone jackUSBTwo-way TYPE C  USB2.0(Charging/Data transmisson/USB DAC/USB Audio)
Line out (LO)3.5 mm port(shared PO)SPDIF outputN/A

General

ColorBlackDimensions53.3mm×92.5mm×11.5mm
Weightabout 83gVolume control120 steps +/- button control
Recommended headphone impedance16~300ΩEqualizer10-band EQ (±6dB), 9 presets+custom preset
Treble controlN/ABass boostN/A
Balance control±5dBGain controlN/A
USB DACAsynchronous 192kHz/32bitUSB AudioDSD64/128,DoP/D2P

Power specifications

USB power adapterDC 5V/2A recommendedBattery capacity1600mAh Li-polymer battery
Charging indicationLarge charging icon shows on display when it’s off, small charging icon shows on upper right of display when it’s onCharging time<2.5h(DC5V/2A)
Battery indicationYes (accurate battery % readings)Deep sleep time26 days

Battery Life & Test Conditions

3.5mm headphone output:>13h
Volume57LoadM3 open earbuds (27 Ω)
ScreenOFFTest FileMP3 44.1kHz/16bit
EQOFF
Bluetooth output:>15h(SBC)
Volume120LoadBTR1+FH1
ScreenOFFTest FileMP3 44.1kHz/16bit
Others
Firmware UpgradeSupports both via zip file and OTAFont sizeN/A
Firmware UpgradeSupportedThird-party apps supportPreinstalled:FiiO Music, Netease Music, MOOV, Tidal, KKBOX
APP whitelist:Spotify、Qobuz、Roon、Deezer,QQ Music、Xiami Music、JOOX、ES file manager、Himalaya (copy the apk file to Micro SD card or internal storage to install)

Line output specifications

THD+N<0.002%(1kHz/10kΩ)SNR≥117dB (A-weighted)
Frequency response10Hz~80 kHz(-3dB)Noise floor<3uV
Channel separation>112dBLine level1.5V
Headphone out specifications 1(3.5mm port)
Output power 1≥110mW(16Ω / THD+N<1%)Output impedance<2Ω
Output power 2≥70mW(32Ω /THD+N<1%)THD+N<0.002%(1kHz/32Ω)
Output power 3≥7mW(300Ω / THD+N<1%)Separation>75dB
Frequency response10Hz~80 kHz(-3dB)Peak output voltage4.245Vp-p
SNR≥118dB (A-weighted)Noise floor<3uV

File format support

Lossless:DSD:DSD64,128(iso”“.dsf”,“.dff”)
APE(Fast): 192 kHz/24 bit
APE(Normal): 192 kHz/24 bit
APE (High): 192kHz/24 bit
(Extra High) APE: 48kHz/24 bit
APE (Insane): 48kHz/24 bit
FLAC: 192 kHz/24 bit
WAV: 192 kHz/64 bit
Aiff:192 kHz/24 bit
Aif:192 kHz/24 bit
WMA Lossless: 96 kHz/24 bit
Apple Lossless: 192 kHz/24 bit
Lossless:MP3,OGG,WMA,AAC…
Share the news!
  • 97
  •  
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  • 1
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    99
    Shares

15 Responses

  1. J.T.

    Do you mean hooking it up with TRS 3.5mm connection by a 3.5-3.5 cable? That works of course!

    Reply
  2. Tahjae

    Looking into getting the Fiio M6. New to the Dap community, so not to sure if this is good for beginners. I am coming from the apple IPod touch 6th gen. Will this work with an mac laptop? If so what program would I use. Also is it easy to create playlists on the computer or?

    Reply
  3. J.T.

    it can drive it up to listening volume but if you want good dynamics for relatively power hungry cans like the 6xx, get an amplifier for better results!😃

    Reply
  4. Markus Arike

    Could you please elaborate on the sonic differences between the M6 and Shanling M0? I have the M0 and it sounds terrific with all of my IEM (F9, FH1 and RE400). I would consider the M6 if there were some noticeable improvement in sound quality. But based on this review, I’m not sure. Any additional thoughts? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Allen J. Feinberg

      The M0 sounds clearer than the M6. I find the M6 excellent in every way except sound, which renders the M6 to a “collectors” status. I keep trying to accept the M6 as a listener, but I will never be happy with its flat sound. Too bad too because it’s truly an excellent player in every other regard (for its price point).

      Reply
      • JamesT

        Synergy is always important, iems that have more character and resolution in the treble paired with M6 could be your solution to make it more enjoyable! M0’s tuning is great for me too, I just hope there could be more power.

      • Ala

        M6 with poweramp and eq. Also perfect gapless for all file types. All set.

  5. Michael Hoopes

    I’ve found that the FiiO FA7 is fairly efficient, but benefits from some mid-bass attenuation, in the neighborhood of -3 dB between 63-250 Hz. The M6 has a 10-band equalizer. Perhaps using that would help.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.