FiiO really is killing it with the incredible expansion rate of their product line. In 2018 they released more than a dozen new products, and it seems this year they’re only going to pick up steam.
A few days ago they announced that on the 16th of March they will be announcing 7 new products to their portfolio, and that day has come.
The first new-comer is more of an evolution to an existing product, rather than a revolutionary new one.
The original Q5 was a very interesting device, to say the least. A DAC/AMP which features Bluetooth connectivity and a modular amplification system is still not something you see very much of. But, the Q5 did have its limitations, ones which the new Q5s is aimed at addressing.
The list of compatible Bluetooth formats has grown longer to now include LDAC, HWA, and even Apt-X HD, and we’re also getting Bluetooth 5.0.
The modular amplification system has remained and is backwards compatible with all previously-released modules. Unfortunately this does mean that the Q5s will still only feature a micro-USB port rather than the more modern Type-C port. However, this is actually for very good reason. Apple still has not approved the C79 interface used in the Type-C connection for MFi applications, and so if FiiO did adopt the Type-C connector there would be issues with hooking it up to various iOS devices.
Smart move, FiiO!
The Q5s will hsip out with the brand new AM3E module which features not only a regular 3.5mm single-ended and a 2.5mm balanced connection, but in addition also a 4.4mm Pentaconn connection.
FiiO estimates that the Q5s will be available towards the end of May and at an MSRP of $350 in the USA.
AM3D Amp Module
It seems only fitting that FiiO would introduce some more amp modules to go along with the Q5s. Here they’ve got 2 modules, which are actually the same thing. The AM3D and AM3C are the exact same thing, but for whatever reason FiiO had to use the AM3C name for the Japanese market.
The AM3D offers a 4.4mm balanced connection, and some pretty interesting stuff under the hood.
THX is the name to look out for here because FiiO have incorporated dual THXAAA-78 rather than the more traditional operation amplifier chips.
The AM3D will be sold for $150 and is also planned for official release in May.
AM3.5PRO Amp Module
The AM3.5PRO is yet another module, but one that is unlikely to be seen by those residing outside of China. This one was developed in conjunction with Erji.net (a famous Chinese forum) and is base don the AM3B module. However, in this instance the 4.4mm connector was replaced with a 3.5PRO connector.
Is It The BTR5, or M5?
One of the most interesting new products is the BTR5. Wait, no, it’s the M5. Oh wait, it’s the same thing.
Up until now, the entire BTR-line of products were relatively simple Bluetooth receiving devices. However, the FiiO took things in a slightly different direction in the form of the M5. It has the features of what would have been a BTR5 device, but then FiiO went ahead and slapped a display on the front. So, essentially, we are getting the best FiiO BTR device, but it’s a music player, so it’s called the M5.
To some extent it looks a bit like the Shanling M0, but without the volume dial. The M5, though, has a few more tricks up its sleeve than what the M0 does. As fantastic as the M0 is for the size, the M5 seems to have somewhat ‘upped the ante’, so to speak.
Similarly, it’s got a 1.54-inch colour touch-display and a whole host of compatible Bluetooth receiving formats including LDAC. However, it does not seem to be able to transmit an LDAC signal (at least not currently).
What’s entirely different about the M5 is that it also features a digital COAX connection.
We’re also getting some on-board microphones in order to implement cVc noise cancellation technology, and there’s even a built-in pedometer to count your daily steps.
The battery is claimed to have a maximum playback time of roughly 10.5 hours whilst using headphones, and up to about 15 hours when used as a Bluetooth receiver.
The microSD card slot allows for expandable storage up to a maximum theoretical capacity of 2TB.
The M5 is also small enough to act like a bit of a smartwatch, which is exactly what FiiO have gone for as there will be an optional case that has a strap so that you can wear it on your wrist like a smartwatch.
Much like the Shanling M0 (and numerous other players),the M5 can be hooked up to a computer via USB and then be used as a complete external sound card.
FiiO again expect the M5 to be made available at the end of May, but a price has not been announced yet.
Undoubtedly, the absolute star of the show is the M11. According to FiiO, it’s been 2 year sin the making, and boy does it seem to have paid off.
To come extent the M11 is very much base don the X5iii in terms of design, but with a bunch of more modern specs and design elements.
First up is that gorgeous 720p display which has an aspect ratio of 18:9. It practically takes up the entire front of the device.
Under the hood sits a hexacore Samsung Exynos 7872 SoC alongside 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory. The operating system is a customized version of Android 7.0, which does seem a bit strange as we are now well into 2019 and as such would’ve expected to see at least Android 8.0 Oreo.
The sonic hardware has also seen a refresh as FiiO opted to use dual AK4493EQ DAC chips. It’s important to note, however, that the dual DAC setup isn’t reserved just for the balanced outputs. No sir, both DACs are used for single-ended connections too!
Just like the AM3E module, the M11 offers users a complete choice of using a 3.5mm, 2.5mm, or 4.4mm connection.
And, for those who prefer to lug around a gigantic music library, the M11 features dual microSD card slots.
Well, so far the M11 looks like it could be both an amazing stand-alone music player, as well as a truly excellent source device which includes the ability to both transmit and receive LDAC Bluetooth signals. Although receiving an LDAC stream will only be realised in a future firmware update.
We do also get dual-band WiFi, so that covers you for both 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz.
As far as power consumption is concerned, the M11 offers up to 13 hours of continuous music playback and up to 50 days’ of standby-time thanks to a 3800mAh battery.
Again, the estimated release date for the M11 is towards the end of may and has been given an MSRP of $450.
Following on from the success of the FH5, FiiO has taken it upon themselves to deliver something better. Where the FH5 featured a dynamic driver alongside 3 balanced armature drivers, the FH7 sports a 13.6mm Beryllium dynamic driver and 4 Knowles balanced armature drivers whilst still keeping an asthetically similar design to that of the FH5.
Sonically, though, the FH5 wasn’t quite as good as many were hoping due to a particular elevation in the upper mids, and so FiiO developed the FH7 with one particular aspect that took us all by surprise – it’s tuneable by the user.
This isn’t a new concept, but it is a first for FiiO.
You can alter the sound signature by swapping out interchangeable filters at the very end of the sound-tube.
The FH7 has a planned release for the end of June and comes with a rather hefty price-tag of $450, making it $200 costlier than the FH5 and $150 more than the FA7.
Earphone Cables LC-2.5D/3.5D/4.4D
The final new addition to the FiiO family are a couple of earphone cables.
The rage behind these is that they are constructed of single crystal pure silver cables and entirely hand-woven, and each wire is made up of 224 individual strands.
All version feature universal MMCX connectors so they will be compatible with a wide range of IEMs.
These cables should all be available by the end of April and each is priced at $100.