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.
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 If the FiiO X3, X3 Mark II and X3 Mark III were outdated in term of UI, the latest FiiO M7 has become the best choice in the 200€ DAP range.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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.