FiiO M15 Review

FiiO M15

Disclaimer: FiiO sent us the $1,499 USD Fiio M15 for the purpose of this review, free of charge. In exchange, we’re going to give our honest opinion, as always.

 

 

Lieven already previewed the Fiio M15 a few weeks ago, but he wasn’t blown away with the M15’s sound. Will I be? Let’s find out.

About FiiO

From its creation in 2007, FiiO has been pushing further and further to become one of the top players in the market. And you know what? After more than 10 years of hard work, I think they achieved their goal as the once unknown brand is now on top of mind with almost all “audiophiles” who are into personal audio.

Last time, we reviewed the FiiO M11 Pro, the upgraded M11 with a THX circuit and a dual AK4497EN DAC and thought this was FiiO endgame. How wrong was I…

So, yes, today we are reviewing the FiiO M15, the TOTL DAP from the brand, priced at 1,499€/$. Is it worth its price ? Let’s find out.

The FiiO Series

FiiO M6

The FiiO M6 is, in my opinion, the best option available in this price range. It’s small, powerful enough to drive most portable headphones, has a WiFi + Bluetooth connection and it costs less than a cheap smartphone.

To auto quote: ” Let’s cut to the chase: for 150€, the FiiO M6 is a no-brainer. It blends good performance – neat design – great battery life – extensive capability and it can even be connected to another DAC through USB.”

FiiO M7

The FiiO M7 introduced the new M series. It is one of the classiest players available in my opinion. It’s basically an Astell&Kern AK120ii but cheaper and lighter. Lieven made a comprehensive review of this player and said :

“Even though the Fiio M7 isn’t the typical audiophile DAP, I have really enjoyed using it to get to work and back home. Yes, it’s a “back to basics” device but it comes with an FM Radio, looks great and most important of all, it sounds more than just good. I’m pretty sure normal consumers will be blown away with its performance, both in usability as well as with its sound.”

If it’s cheaper than the M9, it’s more expensive than the M6 without the benefits. There is no wifi connection, no streaming support and the only plus is the FM Radio embedded (and design). So yeah, it’s an odd player.

FiiO M9

The FiiO M9 shares the same SOC with the M7 and M6, but gains a dual DAC for better sound performances. Like the M6, you get an access to most streaming apps (Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal, Spotify), as long as FiiO white-listed your app (Tune-in doesn’t work for example). Still, for less than 300€/$, it’s still a solid choice thanks to the dual AK4490EN chips and versatile connectivity.

What did I say in the review? “Access to third party-apps and Bluetooth duplex alone, make it a top choice for me. For 299€, it’s simply the most versatile audiophile player you could get at the moment. The perfect blend of audiophile prowess, compact design, and Swiss-knife capabilities. Get this and a Q5, you’ll be fully equipped for years.”

FiiO M11

The FiiO M11 is, for now at least, my favorite DAP from this generation. It has got a dual-SD slot, two AK4493EN chips, a super widescreen with a full-android experience and all-in-all, it’s one of the best bangs for a buck player of the market, with the Shanling M6.

A quote : “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.”

In fact, I liked it so much that it ended up in our Best DAP Buy List.

FiiO M11 Pro

If the M11 is not enough for you, now there is the FiiO M11 Pro. If they look the same, the brand upgraded the player with a set of AK4497EN DAC and two THX-78B chips, wee! The catch? The price raised up to 699€/$ and more importantly, there is only one SD Slot!

Did I like it? “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.”

But, all of those DAP was just an introduction to the new Flagship: the FiiO M15. So time to check it out.

The article continues on Page Two, after the click here

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

    12 Comments

    • Reply February 20, 2020

      Awds

      Nice review mate….could you explain more for the comparison between Kann cube and m15 regarding sound quality (mods,bass,etc.)? I can source a Kann cube at a lower price than the m15 but still considering if it’s worth it to get the pricier M15.
      I’m planning to use qobuz as my main music source (especially offline mode of qobuz), which would be better between Kann cube and m15 in your opinion?

      • Reply April 11, 2020

        John

        I second that request. Please please do a detailed comparison of the M15 vs the Kann Cube. They seem to be very similar in that they are a new generation of players with no compromises in terms of power for those that don’t want to be tethered to a desk but don’t necessarily (or unneceesarily) need a tiny thin portable package. Plus, they’re right in the same price range. Looking forward to it!!!

    • Reply February 20, 2020

      Michael Racine

      I will take it to replace my current M11 with the focal clear

    • Reply February 20, 2020

      MhtLion

      Thanks for the great review. This is how I personally summarize it for myself. Excellent TOTL spec. Great sound. But, don’t even need to compare against A&K SP2000 just because they use the same DAC chip.

      • Reply March 8, 2020

        Sp12er

        Intentionally avoiding putting it against high end player i see?
        Now why is that?
        I think it only make sense to at least try to pit it against at least one of them

    • Reply February 21, 2020

      Michael

      Good Review, thanks a lot! I`m a sounstage fanatic and cant decide between the M 11 pro and the M 15. Could you maybe do a short camparision? Or is there even another DAP with an even wider and deeper stage? Best regards!

    • Reply February 24, 2020

      Alexander

      Thanks for a great review.
      any idea on reviewing the Astell&Kern SA700 ????
      love to know how it compare to the FIIO M15 so i can make my purchasing decision.
      thanks

    • Reply February 26, 2020

      Nilesh Desai

      Please suggest Kann cube or M15 ?

    • Reply April 12, 2020

      Glassmonkey

      Move the sound section up. It took too long for me to get to what I wanted to hear. Also, all the specs discussion sounded more like an ad than a review. Your sound impressions were great.

    • Reply April 29, 2020

      Steven Zore

      I’m looking for a new dap, will probably go back to the SE100. I had the M11Pro but sold it because the mids were a tad too forward. Now this review says the highs are to harsh and piercing. It’s a shame Fiio cannot get their act together and tune their DAPS properly.

    • Reply August 18, 2020

      LCMusiclover

      What is this supposed to mean please?

      Cowon Plenue L : if I could match the Plenue 2 MKii against the FiiO M15, I think that the Plenue L is a better match.

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