Inside the box
FiiO is officially following the Apple road, the M6 bundle is as light as the box :
- the FiiO M6
- a TPU protection case + glass screen protection
- a USB-C cable
- a quick-start manual
I know I should not complain, but I’m a big fan of goodies and I’d have been more than happy to get a promo code for Tidal/Qobuz. Or another case. Or…
UI & Usage
Most of the FiiO M6 options are the same as the M9, I’ll highlight the main difference so you can directly find them.
Since the first FiiO X7, the brand began to move from its old UI to a modern one : FiiO Music. It’s an android application, available on the AppStore and Play Store but on the latest players, the integration goes further beyond a simple app.
If you had the choice of classic android navigation or Pure music, the FiiO M6 doesn’t offer your this choice anymore. FiiO Music is now the core of the player and it’s a good implementation. It’s fast, reliable, easy to use and it didn’t crash once during the whole time I used it.
Really, FiiO kept upgrading its software and today, as far as I know, it’s one of the best solutions available.
- Off timer : choose if the player turns off after a specified time, this works with the FiiO Music app only.
- Scan for songs: if you need to scan your SD Card, you can choose to scan the whole card or just a specified folder
- Resume : choose if the player resumes to your latest track or the latest position in the track
- Gapless playback : if you listen to concert or live performances, be sure to check it out
- Play through folder : this option enables the continuous play if you began to play your music from a folder
- Auto update : enable it if you change your sd card frequently, this will be easier than doing the manual scan each time
- Fixed volume settings : if you want your player to launch at the same volume each time
- Replay Gain : this mode automatically augments or lowers the gain depending of the track you’re playing to avoid a wide volume range
- USB Output mode : if you want to plug a USB DAC to your FiiO M9, you can either choose DoP or D2P
- HWA : an option to enable high definition streaming through Bluetooth headphones, once this mode is enabled you won’t be able to select the volume from the M9 anymore
- WiFi song transfer : a very quirky option, enabling music transfer from your local wifi
- DLNA : the basic of local storage playback, once connected to the local WiFi
- Theme : choose the theme of your FiiO M9, white or black, your call
- Lockscreen album art : if you like to see your album art when the player is playing a song
- FiiO Link : this option allows you to control the player directly from your smartphone
- Reset database : it clears all the music you have, simple as that
USB-C and SD Card
The FiiO M6 has an USB Type-C port, again, and that’s a good thing. You can have the same cable for all your devices, never check if it’s in the right position and overall get higher transfer rates.
Like the FiiO M9, I could plug all my battery powered DAC to the FiiO M6. It worked flawlessly and even big desktop USB DACs were a breeze to connect to. It’s awesome if you want a versatile player to connect all your devices to. I tried to connect the FiiO K3 to the FiiO M6 but couldn’t make it work, although the Q1 Mark II worked directly once linked.
The micro-SD slot supports SD cards up to 2Tb, even if they don’t exist yet. You can use a 400Gb or 512Gb card without any issue and the music scan is pretty fast, compared to prior versions.
Warning : the FiiO M6 is a bit more complicated to connect to your computer than usual.
On PC, you’ll have to connect it once, via USB, copy/paste the driver’s folder on your computer and install it. Then the FiiO M6 will be visible and usable from your usual explorer.
On Apple computer, you’ll have to use Android File Transfer. It’s available directly from the FiiO website or from iriver.
Streaming / DLNA / AirPlay / FiiO Link
The FiiO M6 doesn’t support the google play store but supports streaming applications. Confused ? I was too but it’s pretty simple once you know how to do it. To ensure the best user experience, FiiO only accepts music streaming apps to be installed on the player. As of today, you’ll find all the major applications : Tidal, Deezer, Apple Music, Spotify, Qobuz, Moov, KKbox or NetEase Music.
You’ll have to download the apk from the FiiO website first. Once you’re done, use the file explorer to install them “et voila”. They will all appear on the home screen, ready to be used.
I’m a huge Spotify user and if the experience is not as fast as on my iPhone X, it’s still very usable. The experience is exactly the same on the FiiO M6 and FiiO M9, you click on the app and it works. Simple as that.
The major upgrade comes for AirPlay support : yes, the FiiO M6 can stream your music to your Apple Homepod (or any compatible speaker). It’s a big surprise and, as far as I know, it’s one of the first players supporting this option.
FiiO Link is another addition to the M6, with Bluetooth pairing you can control your player directly through your phone. It works well and somehow gives the same seamless experience than the Hiby link on Hiby and Cayin players.
Battery Life and Charging
The FiiO M6 carries a 1200 mAh battery and is advertised for 13h continuous playback. In real-life, that’s pretty accurate as I squeezed out the whole battery after… 13h of music.
A major improvement comes from the deep sleep function. To sum up, it allows you to put the FiiO M6 in sleep mode and leave it like this for days, allowing fast boot-up each time you want. FiiO advertises 26 continuous days of deep sleep, meaning you could forget it in your bag and use it again weeks later.
I tried it and even though not revolutionary, it’s really handy. The FiiO M6 doesn’t match the FiiO M9’s longevity but you can easily forget it in a pocket and reignite it after one week and use it without issues. Also, I plugged the FiiO M6 to my new 65W USB-C PD charger, to check if FiiO added quick recharge or not. The battery juiced up faster but that was nowhere near a OnePlus 6T for example, so you’ll have to stick to slower charge…
The FiiO M6 shares with the FiiO M9 the title of the most advanced player in Bluetooth regards. It supports all formats : SBC, apt-X, LDAC even the new LHCD/HWA. This last format is currently supported by Huawei on its recent line-up and… FiiO with the BTR3 receiver. Basically, with a compatible headphone or receiver, you’ll always get the best quality available. Of course, if you have a TOTL IEM or a massive can, a wired connection will always be the best.
Another good news is that, like the Cayin N3 and FiiO M9, the M6 supports duplex Bluetooth. You can use the player as a Bluetooth receiver with a smartphone, computer or any Bluetooth emitter. Since the M6 already has access to a WiFi connection this was not necessary, but it’s a nice addition from FiiO.
The longest battery life is obtained through Bluetooth use, so don’t stress out and use it as much as you can. Even more if you have an LDAC headphone or an apt-X HD one.
An easy course for the FiiO M6 : lightweight, small and easy to carry, if you want an ultra-portable DAP for everyday use, you got it.
The lack of a volume scroll-wheel would be my only complaint but overall it’s the perfect portable player. The volume goes from 0 to 120, so you can easily find the right level.
For the nit-pickers and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets . For all the other, you can just go to the next chapter to see how the amp performs.
The FiiO M6 shares a lot of traits with the M7. It uses the same DAC, a Sabre 9018Q2C which is a great chip even more in this class of player. FiiO advertises a “50% higher power output” than the M7 plus a new optimized audio circuit. The only question remains : “what’s the point of the FiiO M7 then ?”
The advertised SNR is 118dB wich is marginally higher than the M7 and identical to the M9. The THD is twice lower on the M6, compared to the M7 and top up at 0.002%. Noise floor is identical and you should never have any hiss on most of the IEMs, even the most sensitive ones.
Power output is, indeed, higher on the M6 compared to the M7 : 110mW @ 16ohms instead of 70mW @ 16ohms. Still, I would not recommend the M6 for power hungry headphones, the mere 7mW @ 300ohms is definitively too low.
CPU and RAM
No surprise here, the FiiO M6 uses the same Exynos processor, again. It’s a very capable one and each application works smoothly, it’s even more surprising if you take in to account the small 768Mb of RAM embedded.
I tried : Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer and they all worked well. Sure, Spotify felt a bit more snappy and Qobuz a bit more laggy, but for an everyday consumer, this should not “be” any problem. The installation still requires you to download the apk from a website like APKpure, but once fitted inside, it works very well.
Overall, the experience doesn’t differ from the M9, it’s fast and for the price… it’s strangely good. The best thing with the FiiO M6 is how normal it is to use.
The WiFi is limited to 2.4ghz on the FiiO M6 which should not be an issue since the DAP isn’t made for Netflix or gaming. Much features are still pending like AirPlay or Flylink but that should not be an issue for most of us.
- Full specs - Type : Digital Audio Player - OS : FiiO OS
- CPU : Exynos 7270
- RAM : 0.768 Gb LPDDR3
- Rom : 2 Gb (+ 2Gb for the system)
- DAC : 1x ES9018Q2C
- Sample rate : PCM : 8Hz – 384kHz (8/16/24/32bits) native – DSD64/128
- System clock : Full synchronization technology with FPGA processor - Outputs : 3.5mm headphone out – line out – coax out / 2.5mm TRRS out - Input : USB Type-C
- Screen : 3.2″ 480×800 IPS Screen from LG
- Micro SD : SDHC / SDXC (single slot)
- USB DAC : Exynos 7270 Soc
- WiFi : 2.4 GHz support
- Streaming supported with tiers-party app
- Bluetooth support : SBC, apt-X, apt-X HD, LDAC, HWA
- Duplex Bluetooth : player can emits and receive music
- Battery : 3.8V 1600mAh Li-Polymer
- Quick Charge : No
- Battery life : 10h with wired headphone, 30h with a Bluetooth headphone
- Charging time : around 2h
- Size : 106mm*60mm*13mm
- Weight : 133g (150g with the silicon sleeve)
- Frequency Response : 10Hz – 85kHz
- THD : 0.002%
- SNR : 117 dB
- Channel separation : 112dB
- Line Level : 1.5V
3.5 mm Headphone out
- Output power : 115mW @16ohm / 70mW @32ohm / 7mW @300ohm
- Frequency Response : 10Hz – 40kHz
- THD : > 0.002%
- SNR : > 118 dB
- Crosstalk : > 75 dB
- Output impedance : < 2 ohms
The review continues on the next page here: https://www.headfonia.com/review-fiio-m6/3