Fiio M15 First Look

Fiio M15

In this preview article we’re looking at the brand new $1399 Fiio M15 flagship DAP.

 

 

Disclaimer: This preview article is part of our preview series which you can find here. Fiio is a long time site partner and the review unit doesn’t need to be returned.

M15

After having released/renewed several DAPs in their line-up in 2019 such as the Fiio M11, the M5 and the M11PRO, it was time again for Fiio to launch a new Flagship. The new Fiio M15 was only announced late in December, but we have it here with us already.

Of course Fiio has given their new flagship portable player a dedicated web page and you can find out all about the M15 here: https://www.fiio.com/M15

This is a preview article and so we will only go into some of the specific new characteristics, the full review which will be done later by Nano, will cover every single thing, as you’re used to.

Fiio M15

Packaging

A flagship DAP deserves a nice box and Fiio has clearly looked at the competition here as the new M15 comes delivered in a very pretty wooden box. It looks really nice from the outside, but to be honest, the quality on the inside isn’t what we’re used to with other flagship DAPs, or with higher end DAPS (Lotoo, Sony, AK, …)

On the inside the M15 is nicely presented, but the foam, paper and cardwood materials don’t feel premium. If you like me will be looking for a leather (or any) case inside the box, you’ll be disappointed, as there is none inside. Flagship level? Missed opportunity I’d say.

Fiio M15

What do you get then? Well, there’s a standard USB-C cable and a glass screen protector. Nice? Sure, but it would have been nicer if it had actually fit the screen (it’s much smaller in width). Any other accessories you ask? Nope, it ends there.

Internals

Ok, impressive stuff here, so Fiio clearly preferred spending their money on quality components. While I absolutely applaud Fiio for that, I do feel it’s not the only important thing a flagship player should shine in. See above.

The M15 comes with the following features:

  • 3gb RAM and 64gb internal storage
  • 1 MicroSD slot (2TB extension)
  • Samsung Exynos 7872 processor
  • Double AK4499EQ DAC chips
  • XMOS XUF208 Control Chip
  • Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth chip
  • Double NDK Femtosecond crystal oscillator FGPA
  • PA2211 *2 + OPA1622 * 4 + OPA1612 * 4 AMPs
  • A3P030 FPGA
  • 7490mAh 3.8V Li-polymer battery

The full list? Head over here: https://www.fiio.com/m15_parameters

So yes, the M15 sports flagship worthy components, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. A lot of people will point out to you that the double AK4499EQ DAC chips are the same ones as the SP2000 is using, also in double config. But we all know using the same chips really doesn’t mean anything.

Fiio M15

Design & Build Quality

Design-wise the Fiio M15 is nice. It’s big but it’s nice. And if you’re used to bigger flagship DAPs such as the SP1000 and SP2000, then the size is nothing special either. Personally, I don’t mind big DAPs, I actually prefer it even. It’s like a smartphone really, just thicker.

Why I like it? You get things like a 5.15 inches IPS Hi Res incell screen with a 1440 x 720 resolution. Even in your office, it will look nice!

The DAP is pretty to me, though that of course depends on your personal preference. On top you have the perfectly finished headphone and LO outputs as well as the volume dial. The positioning of the volume wheel is a bit weird depending on what you’re used to. Where we very often see the volume dial on the right, Fiio has placed it on the left. It’s special, but once you’re used to it, no problem.

All the M15’s button can be found on the left side. They’re rather plastic like but the design is nice and they fit perfectly in the case. On the right side? Nothing! On the bottom you’ll find the USB-C connector and the MicroSD slot. Almost forgot, the M15 has one button you can program yourself. Extra points!

The build quality is very good and everything is perfectly finished. The M15 has smooth edges, sturdy connectors and well clickable buttons. The screen is gorgeous and it’s one of the best I’ve seen in regards to color rendering.

Fiio M15

Price

A flagship DAP never comes cheap but Fiio always delivers a lot of value for money. The M15’s price is set somewhere around $1399. To be confirmed.

For a flagship DAP, and looking at the competition, that’s peanuts. Of course it’s still a lot of money but there are many much more expensive DAPs on the market which perform and deliver a whole lot less.

So I do feel Fiio has done really well here looking at the whole package, though a nice leather case should really have been included in the box.

Usability

Fiio always has excellent DAPs when it comes to their usability and this is no different this time.

The M15 is easy to use with one hand, though often two hands are even better. At the same time it’s light and once used to the button lay-out, it becomes a very easy player to work with.

I have to admit it took me a while to get used to the left side placed control buttons. I accidentally clicked many buttons in the beginning when picking up the DAP, but once you become used to not putting too much pressure on the side, it’s no longer an issue. But yes, it did take some getting used to.

The preview continues on the second page, right here: https://www.headfonia.com/fiio-m15/2

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

19 Comments

  • Reply January 17, 2020

    Dmac

    Samsung are using these chips in phone’s and Fiio for some reason can’t get the Google play store,M11 sounds great,but I’ll pass on this one.

  • Reply January 17, 2020

    Claudio

    I always love when companies release new products and probably the M15 sound great but I think Fiio needs to take more time betewen their new models. The M11 pro is consider a new product yet and now they released the M15 and probably in four more months they will release the M15pro and so on. As an owner of the M11 pro and sony and Astell & Kern DAPs I think FiiO is far to get their sound. M11 pro sound great for me is a great DAP with high end components but it’s missing something, maybe a “FIIO sound” like AK or Sony. Will they finally achieve this with the M15? I don’t think so. Probably the sound will be better than the M11 pro but won’t be enough to reach the level of AK or Sony DAPs in sound terms.

    • Reply January 19, 2020

      Jon

      Fiio’s CEO has actually hinted on headi board they will not produce an M15 pro version. It seems this would be the end of the road for the flagship player. I don’t blame them, that was HiBy’s own marketing team strategy to come up with that designation, to me, just one more way to confuse people like the venerated Microsoft gang. If you really want to use the designation Pro then make sure it correspond to commercial audio bespoke products.

  • Reply January 17, 2020

    DAP Fan

    “At the same time, it’s light…”

    Unless final release spec has changed from late 2019 discussions, the M15 is, AFAIK, 310g.

    310 grams, for goodness’ sake!

    Yes, there are heavier DAPs on the market (which I don’t consider worthy of being considered portable – more like TRANSportable), but just because heavier DAPs exist, does not legitimise the assertion that 310g is ‘light’.

    Lieven, a lot of people (including me) are going to struggle to take you seriously, in future, if you continue making such absurd assertions.

    Even Fiio themselves appear to be embarrassed at how much of a brick this thing is – at the time of this writing, I can’t find the weight listed on Fiio’s own M15 specifications page! http://www.fiio.com/m15_parameters

    • Reply January 18, 2020

      Lieven

      I’m used to the AK380, CUBE, SP1000, WM1Z and SP2000. The M15 is light believe me

  • Reply January 17, 2020

    Steven Zore

    I thought the M11 pros mids were too forward, seems the same here.

  • Reply January 18, 2020

    Zaak

    Thank you for this article and thank you to the rest of the people who posted messages.

    I own a FIIO M11 Pro, it was waiting for a purchase of the AK SP2000.

    Now with the FIIO M15 which shares the same components on the AK SP2000. My questions is:

    1) Do you think they are equivalent ?
    2) If the answer is negative because in favour of the AK SP2000, do you think the price difference deserves this ?

    Thank you

    Zaak

  • Reply January 18, 2020

    Phong Ngo

    Thanks for the thoughts, Lieven. I know Nano will be doing the final review, but it would be great if you could post some followup thoughts when/if you get more time with the M15.

  • Reply January 20, 2020

    Sp12er

    sure feels like they’re just filling them packaging with “spes” and hype word like :wood: just for to come up in reviews and pics of the unboxing.
    just hope the inside of the actual device isnt just spec padding as well.
    There’s a lot people should expect from 1400 USD

    • Reply January 22, 2020

      Lieven

      Agreed, but people also expect it to sound better than the AK SP2000 because it uses the same DAC chips. Sigh.
      The M15 was hyped a lot, but it for me sound-wise hasn’t delivered (yet?)

  • Reply January 23, 2020

    jason81

    I tried M15 today, hmm I think Fiio needs to change there sound tuning engineer.
    Sounds from M15 was not special at all for me. It should give us much impact than this.
    It doesn’t seem like sound improvements there. They need to update M15 sound signature to make their flagship extra ordinary compared to M11 PRO and M11.
    I and my friends did blind test M11, M11 PRO, M15. At same level of volume, 5 of 9 pick m11 pro was best, 3 pick m15, 1 was m11. In my personal opinion, they have to do something on M15. It is a very good DAP for sure but not as their specification.

    • Reply January 23, 2020

      Lieven

      I agree the M11 Pro is more impressive sound wise. But who am I

  • Reply January 23, 2020

    виталий цицюрский

    https://soundwavestore-company.ru/articles/fiio-m15-review
    reprint of your review on this site. And your site is not listed

    • Reply January 23, 2020

      Lieven

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention

  • Reply January 23, 2020

    Near

    “but there are many much more expensive DAPs on the market which perform and deliver a whole lot less”

    Love the quote.

    Care to name a few examples?

  • Reply January 23, 2020

    Andres

    M15 vs DX220 ?

  • Reply January 24, 2020

    Murray Winiata

    Unfortunately the output impedances are quite high – 1.4ohm for SE and ~3ohm for balanced. Need to match with transducers accordingly – the comments in the first look article above look like this may not have been taken into account (too much bass and ‘body’). Definitely a weakness here, but personally I’m interested for commentary when paired with headphones properly matched to the output impedances.

    • Reply January 26, 2020

      Lieven

      A DAP flagship has to be able to cover everything

  • Reply January 27, 2020

    Murray Winiata

    Sure, as I said, definite weakness in the spec where OI is concerned, I’d still like to know how it sounds with headphones compatible with the OI (in my case I’d be using with full size cans, so despite OI that is not really acceptable in a device at this level I still have an interest in it).

Leave a Reply

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