In this review we take a close look at the FiiO M11 Plus LTD, selling for $799 USD.
Disclaimer: FiiO sent us the M11 Plus LTD, free of charge, for the purpose of this review. In exchange, we’re going to give our honest opinion, as always.
Founded in 2007, FiiO went from being a small, chi-fi outsider, to one of the biggest companies in the audiophile world. IEM, headphone amps, DACs, and obviously DAPs, they did it all and did it well. So much that when a new player comes out, it usually becomes the benchmark that other brands have to refer to, like the FiiO M15 or the Q3.
We’ve already done the FiiO M11 Pro, an upper version of the M11 with a THX circuit and a dual AK4497EN DAC, and declared at the time that it was “the best player in this price range”. But since, the Asahi Kasei factory has burned down, which – obviously – stopped the production and destroyed many chips, ready to be shipped.
But, FiiO was able to grab a last stock of AK4497, freshly built by AKM before the catastrophe, to produce the ultimate M11: the FiiO M11 Plus LTD.
The FiiO Series
Lately, FiiO’s DAP catalog has become quite scarce. They stopped the M6/M7/M9 production, due to the low supply of Samsung cheap chips, and since AKM chipset won’t be available until further notice, FiiO’s M11/M11Pro/M15 will also be put on halt, once stock runs low.
FiiO M3 Pro
The FiiO M3 Pro is the brand’s latest entry-level player. Small, robust, and affordable, it’s still a true portable player to the core, but a definitive upgrade compared to the previous M3. The new screen combined to a faster CPU gives a fluid experience, and the embedded Sabre DAC provides a cleaner, wider, and simply better sound.
Here is an excerpt of my own review:
“It’s not as good as the FiiO M6, in terms of sound, but this DAP is much more pleasant to use on the go. It’s sleek, lightweight, and offers solid performance overall, plus some extra quirks. Obviously, if you combine the M3 Pro with a DAC, thanks to the USB-Out, it can be a very potent solution. But, honestly, I’d just take the DAP for what it is: a side source that you can leave in your bag or your jacket pocket, and enjoy whenever you just need a to-go-source.”
The FiiO M11 was my favorite DAP from this generation. It had a dual-micro SD slot, two AK4493EN chips, a widescreen with a full-android experience, and, the cherry on top, the asking price was in the sub-500, which made it one of the best bang for a buck players on the market, with the Shanling M6.
Sadly, dual-slot and dual-AKM have been too much of a stride for FiiO and the M11 production has been stopped for quite some time now. Here is an excerpt of my review:
“With its latest player, FiiO is pushing the last nail in the coffin, taking the crown as the best DAP in the mid-tier section. At the moment, I can’t think of any other player that can compete with the M11 : fluid UI, double micro-SD slot, solid WiFi connection with apk pure and the complete balanced layout.”
FiiO M11 Pro
If the M11 was not enough, you could get the premium version of the player, the FiiO M11 Pro. If they looked the same, the brand upgraded the player with a set of AK4497EN DACs and two THX-78B chips, for outstanding results.
Sadly, the second micro-SD port didn’t last, and the M11 Pro could only carry one SD card at the time. Even though, now that we have (affordable) 1TB cards, this is far less of an issue than when I got my M11.
Here is an excerpt of the review:
“This new M11 Pro costs $200 more than the classic M11, and it ditched the second micro-SD slot. So, if you’re on a budget or need a vast amount of storage, you may want to stick to the first version. That said, if sound quality is your main concern, all of those changes are of no concern.”
Until the brand releases the new M17, the FiiO M15 remains their TOTL player. Boasting a dual set of AKM AK4499 chips, independent shielding for digital and analog section, the best op-amps they could fit, and all the bells and whistles that go with it.
And, if the player itself is quite wondrous, providing one of the best sound experiences in the market, the gap between this player and the FiiO M11 Pro wasn’t massive, in my opinion. At least not enough to replace the M11 Pro as a daily driver… even if it did occur after a few months.
Here is an excerpt of my review:
“ The FiiO M15 is good, if not excellent. Yet, compared to the M11 Pro that we previously reviewed, the difference isn’t as wide as I’d expect it to be. Don’t get me wrong, the sound stage is great, power is deafening, and you get that crisp, breath-taking precision once paired with an end-game headphone/earphones. But, I wanted more. Maybe not an SP2000 killer, but at least something that would replace my M11 Pro.”
In this review we’re checking out the brand new Fiio M11 Plus LTD, you can find out all about it here: https://fiio.com/m11plusltd
The article continues on Page Two, after the click here
Page 2: Design, build quality
Page 3: UI, Usage, Bundle
Page 4: Technical specifications
Page 5: Sound performance
Page 6: Sound Part 2, Comparison and conclusion