Review : FiiO M6 – The first step

Sound performance

For the purpose of this review, I used my Onkyo IE-C3 for IEM testing and the BGVP DMG. All files were FLAC 16/44 or FLAC 96/24 from Qobuz, be it in USB DAC mode or pure player mode.
Streaming comes from Spotify in “exceptional” mode and low gain.

Overall signature

FiiO M6 > FiiO M7. I know you’re reading it a lot but… what’s the point of the FiiO M7 again ? In direct comparison, the FiiO M6 seems to give you better performances than the M7. The soundstage is wider, decay and sustain feels more natural, even if you don’t listen to them one after the other.

It’s not a powerful DAP by any means and, apart for IEMs or portable headphones, I would not really recommend the FiiO M6. I briefly tested it with the Sennheiser HD800 and, no surprise, the volume was not high enough to really enjoy the headphone.

Thankfully, with the Onkyo it’s a really enjoyable experience. Crisp mids, great vocals and overall the typical FiiO signature, in a smaller format. The FiiO M9 gives you better performances, thanks to its symmetrical output, but for the price the M6 is a great DAP. Frankly, it’s amazing to hear how much this device has evolved from the old FiiO X1 and X3…

On the computer, it’s a great DAC/AMP that can be carried almost anywhere. Sound is the same from the SD-Card and the USB, so you can confidently hook it up to your PC/MAC.

Tonality

Highs : crisp. This is where I could prefer the FiiO M6 above the M7 and even the M9. Sabre DACs always shine with excellent restitution of female vocals and high-pitched notes. The AKM AK4490 in the M9 sounds a little more mellow, yet more accurate, but I could prefer the M6. Try it on some Max Richter tracks, really.

Mids : smooth. Not as good as the FiiO M9, by any means, but it still outperforms the FiiO M7. It shares a lot with the FiiO K3 and the M6 feels very even in the mids section. As usual, it’s the main strength of the FiiO players and if you have a versatile music library, this DAP should suits all needs.

Lows : good, but not as good as on the M9. The FiiO M6 amplification doesn’t give you a bass as tight as the M9. Compared to the FiiO M7, the difference is much more subtle and if not bad, it’s not amazing either. Hook up another amp if you really want to check how good is the Sabre 9018Q2C.

Noise : good points here, I never heard any noise whatsoever on my IEMs. If a silent background is your top priority, this will suit you!

Conclusion

Let’s cut to the chase : for 150€, the FiiO M6 is a no-brainer. It blends good performances – neat design – great battery life – extensive capability and it can even be connected to another DAC through USB.

It’s fast, easy to carry and, even if not the best, the screen can suit almost any use. You can either stream from your usual sound carrier or navigate through FiiO music and never feel that old feeling of “it’s meh but the sound is good”. Anyway, with the FiiO M6, M7 and M9, the brand offers a complete range of player for every need. Objectively, it’s hard not to recommend each one, depending of your setup, as they both give you more, for less.

Subjectively, if you already own a FiiO M7, you can directly switch to the FiiO M9. If you don’t own a FiiO M7 and are on a tight budget, go for the M6. If you want to get a FiiO M7, go for the FiiO M6, unless you prefer the design of the M7, like me.

Review : FiiO M6 – The first step
4.5 (89.33%) 15 votes

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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.

    20 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 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 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 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.

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