Review: FiiO M9 – Wizard of the East

Specifications

For the nit-picker and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets . For all the others, you can just go to the next page to see how the DAP performs.

Double DAC

The FiiO M9 has a set of two AKM AK4490EQ chips, a classic combo now. These chips being renowned for its great performances, high precision and wide sound stag,e once properly tuned. Issued from the famous “verita series” the DAC supports 32bit / 768khz files and can be found in other high-end products like the A&K AK380 or the mighty K-07X from Esoteric.

The advertised THD is 112dB and the dynamic range in dual mono is announced at 123dB. Not bad indeed, even if Sabre continues to rock the charts with its ESS series. That said AKM should be in phase with the classic FiiO sound Signature, even more with the use of TI OPA1622 as an op-amp.

To ensure a perfect compatibility with every type of file, the M9 uses a FPGA chip especially configured as a clock syncing processor. It’s capable of decoding both PCM and DSD, from classic 44kHz to high res DSD128, a neat feature on a small player like that.

CPU and RAM

As an Android player, the FiiO M9 gets a modern processor from Samsung, the Exynos 7270. It’s faster than the old Mediatek SoC previously in use and that’s one of the main reasons the player feels snappy. More than just a processor, it’s a full system taking charge of the many aspects of the player. That’s how the M9 became compatible with 24-bit Bluetooth transmission or how it’s able to transfer your music in WiFi directly now.

As for the FiiO Q5, the brand also employ futuristic technology like this multi-layered PCB. Each layer is only 0.08mm wide and that alone is already impressive, even more if you recall how tough it might be to isolate the chips from all this parasites waves. Gone are the days WiFi and Bluetooth polluted your audiophile experience, the FiiO M9 is fully shielded now.

On paper, the FiiO M9 is a big evolution in terms of hardware. The sheer size being misleading as this player should be the most powerful one in the whole DAP range for the brand.

Wifi and Bluetooth

The WiFi is limited to 2.4ghz on the FiiO M9 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. 

Connecting the M9 was simple an easy, you can even use WPS to get one-touch connection and avoid the hassle of typing your password. The DAP connection was stable across the office and I never had any chips during playback, even with both Bluetooth and WiFi on.

Bluetooth is, as I said before, incredibly complete. I could hook up my iPhone to the M9 and use it as a wireless DAC, all it needs is a quick activation in the settings to authorize direct connection. I couldn’t try the LDAC as I had no headphone available but I could try apt-X HD with a set of ATH-SR9-BT. Again, it was a breeze to use as the player instantly found out the apt-X HD compatibility.

Full specs

  •  Type : Digital Audio Player
  • OS : FiiO Music
  • CPU : Exynos 7270
  • RAM : 0.768 Gb LPDDR3
  • Rom : 2 Gb (+ 2Gb for the system)
  • DAC : 2x AK4490EN
  • LPF : Ti OPA 1612
  • BUF : 2x Ti OPA 1622
  • 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 3700mAh 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 – 45kHz
  • THD : 0.002%
  • SNR : 117 dB
  • Channel separation : 105dB
  • Line Level : 2V 

3.5 mm Headphone out 

  • Output power : 125mW @16ohm / 170mW @32ohm / 19mW @300ohm
  • Frequency Response : 10Hz – 40kHz
  • THD : 0.002%
  • SNR : 118 dB
  • Crosstalk : > 72 dB
  • Output impedance : < 2 ohms

2.5 mm Headphone out 

  • Output power : 125mW @16ohm / 195mW @32ohm / 24mW @300ohm
  • Output power (turbo balanced on) : 220mW @ 32ohm / 77mW @ 300ohm
  • Frequency Response : 10Hz – 45kHz
  • SNR : 113 dB 
  •  THD : 0.002%
  • Crosstalk : > 98 dB
  • Output impedance : < 2 ohms

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

Review: FiiO M9 – Wizard of the East
4.4 (88.24%) 17 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.

    6 Comments

    • Reply November 27, 2018

      User

      Worst review ever

      • Reply November 28, 2018

        Lieven

        Thank you. Come again.

    • Reply November 27, 2018

      Parta

      I have a Fiio Q5, is it an upgrade if i buy the M9.

    • Reply November 27, 2018

      Juan Luis

      So the dx120 and n5ii have better sound quality? I have a cayin n3, but i need to upgrade for my Meze 99 Neo and Dunu Falcon C.

    • Reply November 29, 2018

      Rob

      Hi reviewer. This was an interesting and informative review, thanks. Your writing is unfortunately full of grammatical errors, which reduces the quality of the reading experience. I’d be happy to do a quick edit on your next review before you post it if interested. Cheers.

    • Reply December 10, 2018

      Raphael

      Thank you for the great review. I have a question regarding the M9 vs X7ii. Which would you choose if you could buy either one for the same price? I use streaming services a lot.

      Thank you 🙂

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