FiiO M11 Sound Impressions

The below subjective impressions are made with IEMs including FiiO FA7/ FA1, Final E4000/5000, Er4b, and more, 2 days of burnt in are done with earphones attached to the 4.4mm connector.

I am mainly testing under a balanced connection for optimized performance and using the default Short delay Sharp Roll-Off digital filter on high gain. Higher resolution /well-mastered tracks with All to DSD mode sounds the best for me on the M11 but it may consume a lot more power than without the function turned on.

Tuning

The tuning approach on the M11 focuses on the mid-range. The bass is meaty and soft, the vocal is swift/not grainy and the treble is fairly extended. I would call it a safe tuning and I prefer pairing with multi-driver IEMs that have stronger bass textures and lighter impacts.

The bass bleeds into the sub-bass and I am eq-ing down some frequencies in the lows to reveal the sub-bass. The in-app EQ on FiiO’s music app could be handy but with strong hardware, you can enjoy advanced EQ tweaks that require more system power say Viper, to give the low end more power and the dynamics more texture that will boost the overall resolution.

Balanced and Unbalanced

All outputs have no noticeable background noise tested with a silent track. Switching from 3.5 (with 2.5 to 3.5 convertor used) to the balanced connection you will notice the treble being tamed, there is better headroom and resolution as well.

Obviously there is more power and quality with the balanced connection and comparatively, the 3.5mm port sounds more aggressive in the bass region and comes with brighter mid-treble frequencies.

I recommend using the balanced connection for the best quality and the 3.5 will still be useful as a backup. You could also link up to other speakers/ DACs with SPDIF out from the 3.5 socket.

FiiO M11


Matchability

Amping with Oriolus BA300s

The BA300s is designed to boost output power for ZX300’s 4.4mm connections, adding more punches to the output and tube coloration that renders the vocal part swifter.

With a FiiO FA7 the combo it sounds relaxing with Jazz music as the BA300s touches up the treble and give more control to the bass impact. The mid-bass is noticeably forward and intimate. You will notice the soft bass being amplified and you will get much more textured bass from the combo by tweaking the output with the M11’s apps equalizer, for example, Viper.

FiiO M11

Synergy with IEMs

The output impedance on the M11’s 3.5 connection is <1 at 32Ω and on 2.5/4.4mm balanced connection,  it is <2 on a 32Ω load. There is good synergy with cleaner sounding multiple drivers BA iems that are tuned more balanced in response and fast on the low-end.

On larger diameter dynamic IEMs you will get softer bass, quite engaging but maybe boomy or without enough bass impact.

FiiO M11

FiiO FA1/FA7

With FiiO’s FA1 there is a good balance with the M11. You will hear some roll-off at both ends but the vocal part stands out nicely.

With the FA7 the pairing further strengthens the texture and gives you more openness in the treble. If you like dark voices and slow, relaxing music the FA7 and M11 combo may be a good pairing and comparatively FA1 will sound more fun and linear in response.

FiiO M11

Final E4000/ 5000

I find the E4000 pairing a bit too bassy for my music and the brighter E5000 has better synergy with the M11. Featuring a small diameter dynamic driver and a special chamber design behind the driver, the E5000 sounds dynamic and punchy along with some sparkle in the treble.

FiiO M11


Etymotic ER4b

The ER4b is always one of my reference IEM. With the 3.5mm connection on the M11, I can feel the bass being elevated but it noise free and roll offs aren’t too noticeable.

The 3.5mm has enough power to drive the ER4b to a fairly engaging level so the performance is satisfactory for the price and comfortable to listen to. However, a flatter response could make it sound more natural and opened up.

Tuning down the bass makes it more resolving for my music preferences for the ER4b as well and in the end, I am switching back to other balanced IEMs for a more balanced performance.

Select Comparisons

FiiO X5iii

Although the M11 is in the M series, it looks like a premium version of the X5iii and replaces its product positioning and upgrades a lot of the functions. You will notice how similar the designs and features are yet the M11 complete everything the X5iii lacks. You get an extra 2GB ram, better noise control, a much larger screen, higher Bluetooth 4.2 standard, and extended battery life.

FiiO X5iii

The M11 has a comfortable tuning focusing on the midrange alike theX5iii, sound quality for both devices are similar especially on a balanced connection. On 3.5mm X5iii is more powerful and brighter whilst the M11 has its bass elevated and treble touched up.

The resolution on both devices in balanced mode is similar. The M11 has a more mid-bass/ vocal forwarded tuning, pops and guitars sound dynamic and smoother but with most IEMs I hope there could be more sub-bass presence for better resolution.

The M11 is doubtlessly a great upgrade with all the latest hardware, now you could practically watch shows online on a bigger screen and being able to read the subtitles. Tuning works great with youtube videos, games also streaming from Spotify outdoor and I hope pure music mode on X5iii to come back with a later firmware upgrade, perhaps with a cleaner tuning for indoor listening.

FiiO M9

You will hear more power and resolution in the mids and treble with the M11 compared to the M9 on both 2.5mm and 3.5mm outputs. There is also more texture and presence in the vocals. With a more open sounding performance, the treble sounds more natural on the M11 compared to the M9’s harder-edged sound.

FiiO M9

Both devices have a slow decay and a soft punch in the bass, which fits slow-paced and relaxing music such as acoustic guitar solos. However, both may sound congested with faster electronic music or rock, especially with dynamic IEMs.

There are better dynamics on the M11 and you will hear more treble detail. Instrumental separation is obviously better on the M11 as well. Comparatively, the M9 is less aggressive in its low-end and the output is weaker so it may struggle to power gear that the M11 has no issues with.

FiiO M6

FiiO M6

The M11’s output sounds much more refined and dynamic than the FiiO M6’s benefitting from a stronger output power in both balanced and unbalanced formats.

The M11 is definitely more resolving especially in the treble and you will hear a lot more micro-detail and imaging cues with most pairings compared to the M6’s performance.

FiiO M11

Our Verdict

With a huge 17:9 screen, the FiiO M11 is ideal for movies and minigames. The hardware lets you multitask and the sound is more than satisfactory outdoor with a hint of warmth in the tuning. The X5iii has impressed me with its design back in 2017, however, the M11 is a more complete experience. If only it had Google Play support it would be even more fun. For now, apps like Pure APK will suffice.

The M11 is not the best sounding DAP out there but the comfortable tuning with fantastic hardware performance makes this DAP an excellent multimedia player and streaming machine.

If you are looking for a music player with the best UI response and connectivity for your balanced earphones and wireless devices, I don’t think anything comes close to M11 at this price!

FiiO M11 Specifications

 

Main Unit

Name / Model No.M11OSCustomized Android7.0
CPU modelExynos 7872 14nmNo. of cores6
CPU operating frequency2GHz(A73×2),1.6GHz(A53×4)DACAK4493EQ×2
KeyboardVirtual QWERTY keyboardInput methodMulti-touch screen
Special featuresAndroid 7.0,No SRC restriction,All to DSD,2.5+3.5+4.4 output,Gesture controlUser interfaceCustomized/FiiO Music
Chips usedSoC: Samsung Exynos 7872,DAC:AK4493EQ*2,FPGA:A3P030,LPF:OPA1642×2,AMP:OPA926*2
Bluetooth chip:SAMSUNG S5N5C10B01-6330

Connectivity

WiFi2.4/5G,WiFi transmission supportedBluetooth4.2
USBTYPE C Two-way USB2.0Bluetooth transmitLDAC/aptX/aptX HD/SBC
HWA(LHDC)Available when playing on M11 or using M11 as USB DACBluetooth receiveSBC/LDAC (support in future firmware)
AirPlaySupportedDLNASupports Windows for now, will support more in the future
FiiO LinkSupportedNASUPNP protocol supported

Display screen

Display size5.15 inchesNumber of colours16M
Display typeIPS Hi-Res incell screenViewable angleFull-view
Resolution1440×720Pixel density(PPI)312
Touchscreen10-finger multi-touch

Storage

RAM3GBROM32GB
Storage expansion typeMicro SD cradROM available to userAbout 25GB
Maximum storage expansionTheoretically 4TB (dual micro SD card slot)

Buttons and ports

ButtonsPhysical button+Side volume scroll+Touch screenButton customizationN/A
Headphone out (PO) 3.5 mm headphone jack+2.5mm balanced headphone jack+4.4mm balanced headphone jackUSBTwo-way TYPE C USB2.0(Charging/Data transmisson/USB DAC/USB Audio)
Line out (LO)3.5 mm port(shared PO)SPDIF output3.5mm port(shared PO),DSD64/128,384kHz/32bit,DoP/D2P

General

ColorBlackDimensions70.5mm*130mm*15.5mm
WeightAbout 211gVolume control120 steps
Recommended headphone impedance16~150Ω (3.5mm headphone output)Equalizer10-band EQ (±6dB), 9 presets+custom preset
16~300Ω (2.5mm+4.4mm balanced output)
Treble controlN/ABass boostN/A
Balance control±5dBGain controlL/H
USB DAC Asynchronous 384kHz/32bitUSB AudioDSD64/128,384kHz/32bit,DoP/D2P/Native

Power specifications

USB power adapterQC2.0/3.0 quick charger,PD2.0 charger,DC 12V/1.5A、9V/2A、5V/2A recommendedBattery capacity3800mAh 3.8V Li-polymer battery supporting quick charge
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(DC 12V/1.5A)
<3h(DC 5V/2A)
Battery indicationYes (accurate battery % readings)Deep sleep time50 days

Battery Life & Test Conditions

3.5mm headphone output:>13h
Volume60LoadM3 open earbuds (27 Ω)
ScreenOFFTest FileMP3 44.1kHz/16bit
EQOFFAll To DSDOFF
2.5mm+4.4mm balanced output:>9h
Volume49Load32 Ω
ScreenOFFTest FileMP3 44.1kHz/16bit
EQOFFAll To DSDOFF
Bluetooth output:>48h(LDAC)
Volume60LoadBTR3+FH1
ScreenOFFTest FileMP3 44.1kHz/16bit

Others

Firmware UpgradeSupports both via zip file and OTAFont sizeSupported
Clock FunctionSupportedThird-party apps supportSupports any app

Line output specifications

THD+N<0.001%(1kHz/10kΩ)SNR≥115dB (A-weighted)
Frequency response10Hz~90 kHz(-3dB)Noise floor<6uV(20k low pass)
Channel separation>108dB (1kHz/10kΩ)Line level1.95V (10kΩ)

Headphone out specifications 1(3.5mm port)

Output power 1≥255mW(16Ω / THD+N<1%)Output impedance<1Ω (32Ω)
Output power 2≥195mW(2.5V)(32Ω /THD+N<1%)THD+N<0.003%(1kHz/32Ω)
Output power 3≥22mW(300Ω / THD+N<1%)Separation>72dB (1kHz/32Ω)
Frequency response10Hz~90 kHz(-3dB)Noise floor<5uV(20k low pass)
SNR≥118dB (A-weighted, 32Ω)

Headphone out specifications 2(2.5mm+4.4mm balanced output)

Output power 1≥480mW(16Ω / THD+N<1%)Output impedance<2Ω (32Ω)
Output power 2≥550mW(4.2V)(32Ω /THD+N<1%)THD+N<0.002%(1kHz/32Ω)
Output power 3≥88.5mW(300Ω /THD+N<1%)Separation>107dB (1kHz/32Ω)
Frequency response10Hz~90 kHz(-3dB)Noise floor<7uV(20k低通)
SNR≥118dB (A-weighted, 32Ω)

File formats support

Lossless:DSD:DSD64/128/256(“.iso”,“.dsf”,“.dff”),dst
DXD:352.8K
APE FAST/High/Normal:384kHz/24bit(MAX)
APE Extra High:192kHz/24bit(MAX)
APE Insane:96kHz/24bit(MAX)
Apple Lossless:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
AIFF:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
FLAC:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
WAV:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
WMA LOSSLESS:96kHz/24bit(MAX)
Lossy compression: MP3,OGG,WMA,AAC…
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62 Responses

  1. Graeme Carruthers

    I have been using Sennheiser HD650’s for years with my JDS Labs C421 old budget amp and have been quite happy with it. I’m in the market for a DAP and have been overwhelmed by options and am leaning towards a Fiio M6, M9 or M11. I know the M6 and M9 won’t be good enough to drive the 650’s well, but would you say the M11 is powerful enough that I can leave the amp out of the equation with similar results?

    The M6 would serve my needs for the most part and am only really interested in paying more if I’m able to cut the Amp out.

    I also need to be sure there’s no song limit on any DAP I buy.

    Reply
  2. John millard

    M11 on me since June.

    1. I listen to it in the car using aptx hd thanx to its compatibility with BT 4.2. Tesla Premium Audio System is excellent in the MS. It stutters a little on some 24bit 192khz files but largely handles 99% of the music.

    2. The home theatre with an AudioEngine BT receiver input to the “cd” takes all bandwidth from the M11 and sounds great on this 2 channel Pioneer Elite Sc-90 with the M11 feeding it through the APTX HD COMPATIBLE AUDIOENGINE BT RECVR. ($199).

    3. The M11 works great with my Nuraphones which are also APTX HD compatible with the M11. The portability of the M11 is fine as long as you don’t jerk it around by jogging with it in you trousers or expect it to play seemlessly while bouncing around on a bike rack while cycling.

    Reply
  3. Zac Vasilinda

    Can the volume knob be set to adjust the volume/gain on the M11 when using the coaxial output?

    Reply
  4. GERMAN BARRAZA H

    Amigos les pido un favor quiero que ustedes me ayuden a deciridrme por un reproductor de hi fi estoi indeciso entre tres los cuales son..
    1. FIIO M11 2.- HIBY M6 Y 3.- PIONNER XDP-300
    CUAL PUEDO COMPRAR PORFAVOR COLABORENMEGER

    Reply
  5. Josh

    I have a Fiio X7 (the original one) and I’m looking for something a bit more portable and easier to use… will this be acceptable sound quality compared to the X7? Or will I notice the loss just to get a better form factor and experience?

    Reply
    • J.T.

      If portability is the most important factor you may consider the M6 as well, it slides weightlessly into your pocket and with sensitive iems you will still get good quality on the go. The bigger boy M11 has a much better experience compared to the early generation X7, can’t blame it since it is built way earlier, also sporting multiple balanced outputs which are optimized and superior in output power. Could say tthe M11 is superior with the 4.4 out quality.

      Reply
  6. Rares

    I’ve had the m11 for 2 days. Using it with fiio fh7. It is my first dap, but I find it “artificial” sounding. It is engaging but it a little annoying to listen to at the same time. I mainly find it too clinical, I’d prefer something warmer. Should I invest in an SR15 from Astell&Kern?

    Reply
  7. Rajib

    Hi James,

    Which one according to you is the best sounding DAP out there as of now? Okay, please list the top three. :-)

    Reply
    • J.T.

      Great question but there are many factors that makes it hard to answer ;-)
      I love the power and tuning from many portable MD/ CD-players also recorders if that counts, while strong hardware nowadays enables tuning options and tweaks also filtering. It is more about preference and matching so it really depends. Listing top 3 may be misleading as I am not able to compare them with the same control!

      Reply
      • Jean-Pierre

        I hate when somebody asks a simple question and then, someone replies : “it depends….” and proceeds to asks two thousands questions. Just answer the question to the best of your own taste, be subjective, stir the pot. It’s just a forum, everybody knows audio in not science

  8. Keira

    Is it possible to stream Spotify offline (the way you would on a phone – by first downloading within the app) with DAPs or must one be connected to WiFi? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • J.T.

      It has the same android OS so all functions would behave very similarly, if not the same!!

      Reply
  9. CSuk

    I am not able to install viper4android on my M11. Can anyone help ?

    Reply
    • J.T.

      better ask for help in related forums, give it a quick google search and you will find helpful threads and users!

      Reply
  10. acaa

    DX220 could have been the perfect DAP if they have upgraded the CPU aswell, it is so laggy and bump in ram is not beneficial when it can’t even run 1 app efficiently (chrome take a min to load a page). The 1080p ips screen could have been AMAZING if only it can run PLEX and other streaming app fast enough, also it is system wide DAC decoding, where the M11 limits which app gets to use the DAC (most chrone youtube goes through the CPU). DX220 sounds more spacious and more grand than the M11 its a much superior in the sound department.

    Reply
    • Marcus

      With the tube amp card launching soon the DX220 will be even more a pure DAP than a feature-packed Android platform like the M11. I think both companies are becoming more distinct in their offerings now.

      Reply
    • Kay

      Hi! So would you for sure recommend the DX220 over M11? Or even the DX159/200 with Amp 8/9 over M11?
      Thanks!!

      Reply
      • Marcus

        Too early to say yet for a number of reasons. One, I dont have an M11 :) that’s normally a good thing to sort out but sadly James has it and is far far away.

        Second, the Amp 9 is not yet reviewed. However, its really one more bow in the audible arrow of the DX220 so its nothing but positive for me thus far.

        Note that the new firmware of the DX220 released some of the clock rate cap so it is a touch faster but nowhere near as fast as the M11.

  11. CSuk

    What is this ‘Viper’ your are talking about? Is it app or something else?

    Reply
    • J.T.

      It is a DSP app for android device, try google ”viper4android” and you will find more information! Be aware it requires certain access to your device and do check compatibility first before running it.

      Reply
      • CSuk

        Thank you.

        I bought M11. I find bass on it to be soft. So I was looking for a way to improve it. I tried AIMP as media player but it’s UI not up to the mark. I am not able to download my favorite app PowerAmp. I B&W PX and Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphone and Oppo HA-2 Headphone AMP.

  12. Aaron

    i currently have the bgvp dm7, how do they pair with the m11? was thinking about getting the m6.
    do you think it will have major improvement in the sound department?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • J.T.

      M11 is definitely performing better especially with balanced output so if you have a 4.4 cable around do go for the M11!

      Reply
  13. DP

    Having the same DACs as the Shanling M5s, have you compared the two?

    Reply
    • J.T.

      I don’t have access to the M5s but did listen to it before, in my memory they don’t sound similar. Even with the same chipsets the implementation will lead to different results, especially when the amping stage and gain is different.

      Reply
    • Charles

      Unfortunally you can not operate the Fiio M11 with a tablet without reconnecting the tablet with the Fiio on the Fiio. I use the Fiio as a musicplayer connected to my stereo, and wanted the Fiio put away in a drawer.

      Reply
  14. George

    As one who loved the X5-iii’s sound tuning and trying to conclude your verdict in a sentence, is it safe to assume that the M11 is a similar but cleaner sounding X5-iii? If that’s the case, I’m totally sold.
    I had the R6 and sold it as I found it aggressive up top.

    Also, any thoughts on how it compares with ZX2?

    Thanks for the excellent in-depth insight!

    Reply
    • J.T.

      If you compare the balanced output you can feel the tighter bass on X5iii and more density/power in the lower frequencies. M11 with All to DSD mode sounds more refined and airy in the treble and the bass punch is softer, it is a more comfortable / natural tuning to me and works very well with games and movies. I wish M11 has more power and control but for the price and the features can’t ask for more!

      From my memory ZX2 is quite different in tuning, more digital and less opened up.
      It is better to know what earphones you are using and what songs are on your list to see if there is good synergy!

      Reply
  15. Sudhamshu Chandra

    Been searching for a music player that may also serve as a phone. If they added 1 or 2 sim slots, this would’ve been an epic phone and a music lover’s delight. Many people will buy this as their secondary phone and listen to music all day.

    Reply
    • J.T.

      Yah if granbeat is more powerful and less geeky it would be nice.
      The m11 will be a perfect back up device with a sim slot!

      Reply
  16. Goncalo Costa

    How does it compare to the Ibasso DX150 or the Cayin N5iis, they are in the same price bracket.

    Reply
  17. tk

    I don’t have much experience with Android. Without Google Play, can I side load Android Auto from androidapk or apkpure and run it on the M11?

    Thanks again, James!

    Reply
    • J.T.

      apkpure works, but apps like youtube you will need to find hacked versions (without the need of google play)

      Reply
  18. tk

    Lots of technical ingenuity. But why is USB-C transfer speed left out? On all these DAPS with USB type-C, I’ve only read specs of Type-C to Type-A 2.0. Is there one where a double-ended Type-C cable or Type-C-to-USB 3.1 SS can be used? It would boost transfer speeds by…a lot.

    Reply
    • J.T.

      I believe for most target users the transfer speed is fast enough! in most case I am loading my songs with a 3.0 card reader before putting the card in my DAPs, can’t really feel the difference adding a few albums every time when connected to PC.

      Reply
      • tk

        Makes sense. Thanks. Definitely sounds like a winner for balanced headphones/IEMs.

  19. tk

    Thanks for the review. After seeing all the specs, price and functionality, I thought I was set on this for my 1st DAP! But SQ is the most important to me, and my 1st player will drive open-backed, neutral headphones as well as low-sensitivity IEMS OTG, so the comments on sound quality leave me disappointed.

    Did it seem like they tuned the single-end output with more of a V-shaped sound than the balanced output, as though they’re determining the shape (and not just the clarity) listeners with different outputs want to hear? Am I wrong in thinking this player’s sound will fall even lower with neutral, unbalanced headphones like AKGs?–I’m trying my best to love this player.

    Reply
    • J.T.

      the tuning actually works nicely on the go, boosting some frequency that makes it sounds clearer in the vocal region and compensate the darker/ less extended tuning of some lower-mid end gears. 3.5mm in this case is a deriative output from the balanced architecture, expect the best performance from balanced plug(s) on similar machines! Dont forget you can tweak the tuning with EQ too, with the better hardware you can use more advanced tweaks like Viper which would enhance the perceived sound quality alot.

      Reply
  20. J.T.

    The tuning could be quite different with different iems due to the impedance matching (10ohm on r6). M11 sounds more relaxing and opened up in the treble while R6 has more impact and resolution in the lower end

    Reply
  21. Michael Mooney

    Can you compare it to the Ibasso DX220? I want to know if the ibasso is worth almost twice the price of the m11.

    Reply
    • J.T.

      I don’t have the DX220 here so I cannot compare them side by side now, quite sure soundwise DX220 is stronger but it is a lot more expensive. What makes the experience really different is the screen ratio on M11 and if you are using Bluetooth devices this covers all the higher resolution codecs!

      Reply
      • Michael Mooney

        I am just so torn on the m11 vs DX220. I love the swappable amps on the DX220 and the AMP8 module looks very impressive. The CPU on the m11 is better and the interface is better in my opinion. But all those are second to the actual sound quality and i feel that the DX220 might be the better option. But for the price of the DX220 you could get the M11 and the Q5s with the THX module.

  22. Matt

    Was set to buy the M6 but now Im wondering if the M11 is worth purchasing for someone interested in standard 3.5 headphone wired connection playing all music from a card? Is the M11 sound quality upgrade worth a 300 dollar price jump?

    Reply
    • J.T.

      M11 has more power and resolution on the 2.5/4.4mm socket, sound wise it won’t be a huge leap on 3.5mm compared to the M6 but user experience M11 is definitely much better.

      Reply
  23. buli

    Probably the best DAP for its price range tbh
    I’ve been quite hesitating between the Cowon Plenue J/D2, Hiby R6 and the DX150, but seeing Fiio is releasing a new DAP I think I’m just gonna go with this one when it comes out.

    Reply
    • J.T.

      The form factor is much cooler this time, other DAPs you mentioned are dedicated to music replay but M11 is a true multi-media player you could have some good fun on!

      Reply
      • buli

        Exactly what I need!
        Just wish battery life was any longer, but it’s still ok’ish considering that high end DAPs usually get 10 hours

    • J.T.

      (reposting here as I mis-pressed and replied on top) The tuning could be quite different with different iems due to the impedance matching (10ohm on r6). M11 sounds more relaxing and opened up in the treble while R6 has more impact and resolution in the lower end

      Reply
  24. Zvenobg

    Why not give it two sim card slots and make it the most epic phone ever?

    Reply

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