Review : FiiO M6 – The first step

The Fiio M6 portable player is another addition to the FiiO M line-up. In this article we look at the newest Fiio DAP.

 

Disclaimer: The FiiO M6 was sent to us free of charge in exchange of an honest review. The MRSP is 149€ as I’m writing this and you can get it at Fiio’s official dealers.

About FiiO

From its creation in 2007, FiiO always aimed to become one of the top brands in the audiophile game. Based in Guangzhou, China, they rose steadily and somehow achieved their goal : available all over the world, FiiO products are known for their excellent performance/price ratio. If the FiiO X3, X3 Mark II and X3 Mark III were outdated in term of UI, the latest FiiO M7 has become the best choice in the 200€ DAP range. Sleek design, great sound, solid UI and low price, FiiO has marked all the good points.

Today, we are reviewing the FiiO M6, the latest player from the brand and also the smallest one.

The FiiO Series

FiiO M7

The FiiO M7 was the first player issued from the M series. It, for me, is the nicest of the lot with a casing that looks a lot like the old Astell&Kern AK120ii. The build quality is top-notch, the UI is nice and above all, it sounds really good.

The M7 is available around 200€ and it’s a real step-up from the FiiO X3 Mark III. The UI is faster, the sound is better, and the build is better. Plus, it’s the only player from FiiO coming with an FM receiver, not that I use it much but some of you might see it as a must-have.

The only drawback is the lack of streaming support, but maybe FiiO will add it in a further update, or so I hope.

FiiO M9

I reviewed the FiiO M9 some time ago. Spoiler alert : I really liked it. It’s a great piece of hardware, combining all the good ideas from the previous generation with a better UI experience. Up to this date, it’s FiiO’s best model in the new M range, giving you all and trading almost nothing.

It’s not better than the FiiO X7 Mark II in terms of sound but in terms of experience, it’s better in every way. And also two times cheaper.

Design & Build Quality

Casing

Out of the box, the FiiO M6 is as small as it gets. Sure, it’s not as small as the latest Hidizs but it matches the Hiby R3’s form-factor. The DAP is made of aluminium and glass and in the hand, it feels surprisingly light. And yet the build quality quite matches the bigger players from the high-end  brand.

The front and back panels are both made of glass, joined together by an aluminium body. As usual, the body is made of one bloc of aluminium, carefully carved through CNC processing and then anodized. The glass is labelled as 2.5D glass, which means the edges are smoothly curved to blend with the case, producing the bezel-less design.

If the alloy gives the same cheap feeling as the Cayin N3 case does, the glass makes up for it. It’s a neat little player, nicer than the FiiO M9 in my opinion but the M7 remains the best choice, in term of design. Again, in this price range it’s hard to complain, the FiiO M6 is neither bulky nor cheap in hand, and that’s what matters at the end of the day.

Layout

Like the FiiO M7 and M9, the M6 totally ditched the scroll-wheel and goes for a full-fledged touchscreen. Unfortunately, even the volume wheel is absent on this model which is a shame. In place, you get a set of three buttons to control the volume and the play/pause function.

It’s a very simple layout, identical to the FiiO M7 with only two outputs/inputs :

  • 1x 3.5mm headphone/line output. A single-ended output that suits all basic needs, it can be switched to line-out function in case you want to connect an external amp to the M6. There is no coaxial output support, so if you want to connect a DAC you will have to use the…
  • 1x USB-C. A standard now, used for charging, data transfer and even to connect an external DAC to the FiiO M6. Also, the DAP supports USB-DAC function, so you can plug it to your computer to bypass your sound card, a good point.

No golden ring or fancy connector here, just plain plastic. That won’t make any difference sound-wise but if you’re more into this kind of thing, you should look elsewhere.

On the left side, from top to bottom you have :

  • the play/pause button,
  • the volume up
  • the volume down

On the right side :

– the micro-SD port

On the upper side :

  • the headphone output
  • the power/sleep button

On the bottom :

  • the USB Type-C input/output

All the inputs feel sturdy and the buttons react nicely to the touch, even more if you use the silicon case. It gives you more grip and you can clearly understand the function of each button, if you feel it with your finger nail.

Screen

FiiO shares the same screen through the M7, M9 and M6. In my opinion that’s very clever : you can get a better discount through higher quantities and you can ensure a consistent experience, on every platform.

As for the previous players, the FiiO M6’s screen is good but the brightness might be lacking for outdoor use. Contrast is not the best and Astell&Kern easily outperform FiiO here with its amoled screens. Again, it’s a totally different price range but in case you own a A&K player, don’t switch to the FiiO thinking you’ll get the same sensation.

Still, the UI really shines thanks to a smart choice of colors, wall-papers and fonts. If you compare the screen to direct competitors, I’m pretty sure the FiiO M6 is the safe choice.

The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

Review : FiiO M6 – The first step
4 (80.42%) 48 vote[s]

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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.

    39 Comments

    • Reply January 8, 2019

      Charly

      Best review I found! I’ll get mine in february, eager to test it. So many functions that it’s really intriguing. Now I have a X1 (died battery but works great connected to power), an X1II and some DACs/Amps too (K1,Q1,E12,A1 and soon the BTR1K). I’m becoming a fan of this brand, quite obviously. Thanks a lot!

      • Reply January 8, 2019

        NanoTechnos

        Hi Charly,

        it’s indeed a great upgrade if you come from the FiiO X1. Functionnality wise it’s a league above and sound makes a big difference too 😉

      • Reply January 16, 2019

        Puddintain

        That crosstalk number is Amazing, must be the widest stereo stage in the world 🙂 ha ha

        Seriously I’m getting this little gem. Good job Fiio.

        • Reply January 16, 2019

          NanoTechnos

          Hahahah yes that’s one amazing number, you can even make IEMs sounds like the HD800 :p

          (fixed, thanks for the feedback 😉

          • Reply April 21, 2019

            Bern

            Stop with the b&w photos!!

    • Reply January 8, 2019

      Jason Sundaram

      Great review, I bought mine last week. Sounds great on my bgvp dm6.

      • Reply January 8, 2019

        NanoTechnos

        Hi Jason,

        Hi didn’t try the DM6 yet but on the DMG it worked pretty nicely. Bass has more depth than on the other small player in my opinion.

    • Reply January 8, 2019

      LLK

      Dear NanoTechnos,
      first of all thanks for your review! Admittedly this is the first review I read from you on here and I must say that I enjoyed it alot :)!
      You mentioned that it works with external DACs, would you happwn to know if that includes the Chord Mojo ?
      I’ve actually held off buying the Mojo because I’m still stuck on the Fiio X1(together with the E12a amp for on the go and a Beyerdynamic CustomOne Pro) and have felt the need for an uprgade for some time now, yet I clearly also need a DAP that works with it. Would you say that the upgrade is worth it (excluding the Mojo at first, that one is going to have to wait :'( ) ?
      I’m aware that a Chord Mojo with 180€ headphones for on the go is a bit overkill, but you know … what can I say ?
      Thanks a lot again !
      (Also sorry for the long post)

      • Reply January 8, 2019

        NanoTechnos

        Hey LLK,

        thanks for tour praise 🙂

        Actually yes it works with the Mojo, but you need either an USB Type-C to micro-USB cable or an USB OTG cable. Once plugged, the sound will automatically go through the Mojo (just be sure to plug the right input)

        In my opinion, the Mojo is still one of the best DAC in this price range, its amp section isn’t perfect but decoding ability are superb. The Custom One pro is still a great headphone up to this day, so don’t worry and plug a great DAC behind.

        M6 + Mojo could be a great combo, but if you’re tight on budget check the FiiO Q5 too, it’s still FiiO and still good (if you have a smartphone)

        • Reply January 11, 2019

          LLK

          Thanks a lot for your reply!
          I guess then that I’ll order the M6 first and keep on using it with my E12a amp, which surely must sound better aswell just like that or with my small LakePeople amp at home, and until the Mojo seems less distant financially. (Student life I tell you …)But I’m excited to finally have found a viable and and affordable DAP that has an DAC output ! It’s literally been years …
          Again thanks for your time and greetings from Berlin!

    • Reply January 8, 2019

      Vasantha Kannada

      I am from India, Karnataka. Ordered mine from fiio.in. Thanks for the review.

      • Reply February 28, 2019

        Prakash Dudeja

        So…how is fiio m6?
        Can i get it…?

    • Reply January 10, 2019

      Maru

      Thank you for the detailed review!

      I can’t wait to receive my FiiO M6 (first mp3 player since my iPod Nano 2 lol) and the FiiO F9 Pro. I already had the FiiO FH1 headphones and never had better In-Ears soundwise. The bass was punchy and tight (perfect for Hip Hop, my main genre) and the mids and highs were present and detailed. Only the soundstage could’ve been better, that’s why I decided to exchange them to the F9 Pro. I expect a wider soundstage and the same sound as the FH1.

      I used the FH1 with the GGMM A1 AMP with the WM8533 DAC, and the sound was awesome. Still I had to return it because the GGMM just stopped working and was annoying sometimes in terms of handling. I hope the M6 and the ES9018Q2C DAC can hold up to this soundwise, but I’m pretty sure they can.

      And I also got my V-Moda M100 here, which will be also interesting to hear with the M6.

      Wish you a nice day!

    • Reply January 10, 2019

      Loganaden Balakrishna VEERAPEN

      I brief comparison to the Hidizs Ap80 would be nice.

      • Reply March 31, 2019

        Arconaut

        I just bought one, and I cannot find a way to make it feed output TO an Airplay device. The documentation is almost non-existent, however it appears that the unit’s Airplay functionality is limited to receiving, only. I’d love to stand corrected, though.

        • Reply April 24, 2019

          arconaut

          Commenting again to confirm: This review is incorrect. The M6 does not transmit Airplay. It does work as a receiver, but it will not send Airplay signal to a receiving device like a speaker.

          • Reply April 24, 2019

            Nobody

            Same for me, misleading review. No Airplay from M6 to speaker!
            Was main feature I have purchased player.

    • Reply January 10, 2019

      Loganaden Balakrishna VEERAPEN

      A brief comparison to the Hidizs AP80 would be nice.

    • Reply January 10, 2019

      Edwin

      I would like to ask.

      As for support to Tidal and Spotify.

      Does it support offline download? Or specifically for wifi streaming of the music services?

      • Reply January 13, 2019

        Marius

        Yes it support download, it has full support of tidal.

    • Reply January 11, 2019

      Se7en

      Can you compare this with BTR3 ?. I use DM6 as IEM and actually listen to kind of Pop songs more than rocks with some EDM. which one should i go ?

      Thank you ! Great review

    • Reply January 12, 2019

      janno

      I considering to buy a player. I read the both HIBY R3 and Fiio M7, forward more to the R3.
      After read this review M6 sounding quite interest compare to M7 and M9 as mention in the review. What if compare Fiio M6 to HIBY R3 in sounding, what is your oppinion.

      Thanks BTW. Good review

    • Reply January 13, 2019

      Marius

      I have Fiio k3. Very like it’s sound. Do you think it’s similar in m6? I like K3 because it is very balanced, clear, musical. Is it at the same level? Because need something portable, will use bgvp dm6 when it arrive. Don know should go with this payer or order portable dac as topping nx4. As it has better dac and more power. But such nice small m6 is more practical and usefull on the go. But dont know if i will get the same quality and performance as with k3 or topping.

    • Reply January 14, 2019

      Markus Arike

      How is the M6’s sound signature as compared to the Shanling M0? Also is it possible to play a streaming service like Amazon Prime Music? Thanks.

    • Reply January 15, 2019

      Mario

      Best review. I eager to get one asap. How to connect it to an iphone? Airplay or bluetooth? Is the quality similar? Thx.

    • Reply January 19, 2019

      Lee

      Nice review, thanks. My ap200 the poor battery life makes it unusable for me so this will be my next player I think, r3 was also in mind but I think the fiio brand is more established and the firmware more trustworthy. I also will double check the m9 but I think the price point isn’t where I can be.

    • Reply January 28, 2019

      Ian M

      What’s the maximum number of tracks that the M6 can handle in its database? Using a 512GB SD card is fine, but if the database can only handle 20,000 tracks then the large storage capacity is essentially pointless

    • Reply January 29, 2019

      Hector

      Fiio BL35 cable could be a solution to support a 2.5mm balanced input headphones (like IBasso cb12 cable)

    • Reply January 29, 2019

      Hector

      Also there is a very good feedback from Fiio Sponsor on head fi dot org website. Here you can find a new firmware and USB DAC updates:

      https://www.head-fi.org/threads/a-big-update-for-the-m6-m7-m9-firmware.898833/

    • Reply February 1, 2019

      Prakash Dudeja

      Fiio M6 or Hiby R3… Which is better in terms of sound n quality?

      • Reply February 1, 2019

        Lieven

        Both more or less the same but it’s the R3 for me

        • Reply February 1, 2019

          Hector

          Amazon FAQ says it doesn’t support Tidal Offline Music… hard to believe 🙁

    • Reply February 4, 2019

      Nell

      Hi! Because this can use streaming apps. I’d like to know if the sound quality is any better than the recent iphone models with just in regards of spotify, deezer and other music streaming services. Thanks!

    • Reply February 13, 2019

      Prakash Dudeja

      Fiio M6, Hidizs AP80, Hiby R3, Shanling M0….
      Which one should i choose for best sound quality?

      • Reply February 24, 2019

        blazer39

        out of these i have R3 and M0…avoid R3, m0 sound really good but small screen needs some time to get used to…my recommendation is m0

        • Reply February 28, 2019

          Prakash Dudeja

          Thanks 🙂

    • Reply April 14, 2019

      Jacky

      Hi, great reviews from you. I saw one of your pic connecting a Meze 99. I just bought my Meze 99. How it performs with M6? I’m still using fiio X3ll. No longer find it spark joy!

    • Reply May 17, 2019

      Nathan Galvan

      Thank you for the review! Does this device or the M9 support Google Play Music? I have all my music on Google Play Music with my smartphone so I wanted to be able to transfer my music with the Google app, connect to wifi and start downloading my library.

      Thank you
      -Nate

    • Reply June 13, 2019

      leo

      Do you think that it will sound better than a chromecast Audio when connected to a hi fi system?

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