Review : FiiO M6 – The first step

Bundle

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.

FiiO Music

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.

Setting menu

General

  • 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…

Bluetooth

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.

Everyday carry

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.

Specifications

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.

DAC

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.

WiFi

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)

Line Out

  • 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

Review : FiiO M6 – The first step
4.1 (81.95%) 41 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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