Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level


With the advent of smartphones, players as a separate device have become the lot of athletes (who are inconvenient to take a “spade” for a run) and music lovers. The new M9 model from FiiO is just for the last: this is a real Hi-Fi player that will make you forget about cheap headphones and MP3 format.

It may seem that the players have not been progressing for a long time: the music formats are the same, the functionality of the device does not change fundamentally … There are no battles for “monobrow”, no frameless screens and other fashionable innovations that smartphone manufacturers are so proud of. But this is exactly the case when progress cannot be assessed visually. Only by holding the device in your hands and listening to its sound, you can feel the peculiarities.
Fiio has been making hi-fi players for more than a year now: this is one of the main products of the brand. The range of the manufacturer is divided into two lines: M and X. In the first until recently, the M7 was the “hit”, and then a new “top” appeared: M9. What is interesting about it?

Fiio M9: new top

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level


The player is made in the usual form of “brick” with only one feature: in contrast to the Fiio M7, its left side is rounded. It contains all the main controls: the power button, the volume wheel, Play / Pause and the key for listing tracks. Just below is a microSD card slot (any memory up to 2 TB is supported). The Fiio M9 has built-in memory, 2 GB, and it seems like a lot. But, taking into account the “weight” of the average track in the FLAC format of about 50 MB, you are not particularly clearing up.

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level

It is convenient to operate the buttons with one hand. But the main interface – of course, on a 3.5-inch screen. Here is the usual Android menu that does not require getting used to: icons, pull-out curtains with basic settings, support for swipes, and more.

If you do not want to bother with buying / downloading tracks in good quality, you can use one of the streaming services: for example, Tidal. The icon is already on the device screen: you only need to register, pay for access (the first month is free) – it’s better for a Hi-Fi subscription, which means FLAC format. The player, of course, supports all current codecs: it is not only aptX / aptX HD, but also LDAC and HWA.

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level


At the bottom there are three connectors: the usual 3.5-mm jack, another 2.5 mm for a balanced connection and USB-C. The latter is primarily intended for charging and connecting to a computer. By the way, the player can also be used as a Bluetooth transmitter: for example, if you want to listen to music from a desktop computer through wireless headphones, just connect the FiiO M9 cable. On Mac OS, the device is detected automatically, if you have Windows, you will need to install a proprietary driver.

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level


An interesting “feature” of the player: the LED indicator, which allows you to visually determine the resolution of the track being played. This is the logo under the screen: when playing MP3, it glows blue, with FLAC 44.1 / 16 – pink, with the same FLAC, but already in the proportions 26/96 – yellow and finally green for music in one-bit DSD format.

Two DACs in one player

And what about the “iron”? Here, too, everything is fine: the Exynos 7270 processor and two AK4490EN DACs do an excellent job with any type of audio, with virtually no distortion even at maximum volume. However, at the “maximum” you will hardly have to listen to it: already at around 80 (out of 120) the volume is sufficient even for listening in noisy rooms or on the street. This filling allows you to connect headphones with an impedance of up to 300 Ohms! The manufacturer promises up to 10 hours of battery life of the device – we got about 9, which is also a very good result.

Fiio M9 audio player review: move to a new level


To listen to music in high quality, three components are needed: a quality track, a player and headphones. We dealt with the first two points, the third one remained. As the “ears”, it was decided to use two options: reinforcing “plugs» Fiio F9 with the possibility of balanced connection and Marshall Monitor Steel – monitor model with a wide range. “Out of the competition” tried to connect a regular Samsung headset – just to assess whether you can feel the benefits of a Hi-Fi player with simple headphones.

feel the difference

You can: even the owner of the headset was surprised by a much more saturated sound with excellent detailing. True, I had to find familiar tracks for him in the “correct” format. Marshall also did not let us down: they were pleased with the excellent balance of all frequencies and the vivid expression of vocals. But surprisingly, the Fiio F9 became a pleasant surprise for us, which, when listening to classical compositions, we liked more than “monitors”. so clearly we did not hear the sound of each instrument for a long time: without “kinking”, without parasitic rattles and dips.

Fiio F9 are expensive, but there is, for which to pay. And even if you do not have the perfect ear, the difference in sound compared to an ordinary smartphone will be so great that you will want to go to a new level and discover familiar tracks in a new sound. Do not believe? Easy to check!

Fiio M9 specifications

Dimensions 13 × 60 × 106 mm
Weight 133 g
Exynos 7 Dual processor
Android OS
Type and capacity of microSD memory card, up to 2 TB
2.5 mm jack connectors
3.5 mm jack
USB-C
The possibility of balanced connection is
Maximum power 0.22 W with 32 ohm connection
0.077 W with 0.3 ohm connection
0.125 W with 16 ohm connection
113 dB signal-to-noise ratio
Frequency range from 5 to 80000 Hz
Supported AAC Audio Formats
MP3
Ogg
Wma
AIFF (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit)
ALAC (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit)
APE Extra High
APE Fast (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit)
APE High (up to 48 kHz / 24 bit)
APE Insane (up to 48 kHz / 24 bit)
APE Normal (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit)
Dff
DSD
DSF
FLAC (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit)
ISO
WAV (up to 192 kHz / 64 bit)
WMA Lossless (up to 192 kHz / 24 bit
Supported Bluetooth aptX codecs
aptX HD
Ldac
Sbc
Digital signal formats 5644.8 kHz 1 bit DSD
Dop
D2P
192 kHz 32 bit PCM
Battery life up to 10 hours