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My first Fiio was the E10K, which I found to be below par in every respect at the time. To be fair, the East Asian hi-fi industry was then in its infancy and most products from that part of the world were average at best. I stayed away for a while, till my recent purchases of both expensive and budget DACs brought me round to thinking that it wasn't all bad any more. There were some decent offers and I paid far below retail for it, which was the best part of the whole transaction.
The M3 Pro is a thoroughly modern product with glass faces and an aluminum casing. Very smart to look at and has a nice bright display. It could stand to be a little higher resolution, but it's still fit for purpose. Slips into the pocket easily and can double as a USB DAC, which is really why I bought it. The plan was to use it with the ATH-M50X during downtime, and in DAC mode when at work to test amplifiers. The switch between LO and PO would be perfect for this kind of work, and it would also relieve me of running my LG G7 battery down. Both share the same chip, so the performance should be similar. Right?
The bad news is that the M3Pro doesn't really work well as a USB DAC. It lags a lot regardless of samplerate, and has occasional dropouts when at high samplerates. Completely unacceptable, as you mostly lose lipsync in video applications and gaming. It is also exceedingly bright in this mode, though ASIO does work properly. In addition, the socket is extremely, and I mean extremely snug. It;s got a vice-like grip on the 3.5mm plug, which doesn't bode well for durability over repeated insertions. I will need to get a small extender to somewhat fix this. In light of the poor latency in DAC mode, I decided to use it as a music player only.
The moment I inserted the SD card, I knew I was in trouble. The factory had shipped it with the card retainer in the locked position, which meant the insertion force was much higher than normal and the card was locked in place. Basically the mechanism was stuck in the insert mode and I wouldn't be able to wiggle the card out. I managed to get a thin metal spudger in there (as no plastic one would fit in the gap) and pull out the card. It works now, but the use of a metal tool on anodised aluminum means It now has some scratches in the slot and knowing how these things go, I'll never be able to return or claim warranty.
For the time I was able to play it, I noticed that the sound was quite bright. There is a lot of lower treble energy which will get old very quickly, and needs some treatment further down the line. I have something like 6 other ESS-based converters and though all of them are this detailed (or more), none are this bright. The other thing that bothers me is that many of the text characters haven't been converted from Chinese. So all the periods, apostrophes and occasional accented characters are simply displayed in Mandarin. I think a firmware update might help with some of these issues but looking back at the horrendous Topping DX3experience, I'm not holding out any hope.
Overall more misses than hits for me. This isn't something I'm going to enjoy owning, I'll say that much. I suppose the discounting made the experience a little less bitter, but I wouldn't have bought at full price anyway.
The sound quality is good. Let's get that out of the way. Paired with a decent pair of in ear monitors (IEM), it packs a decent punch, sound is well balanced, not too muddy or too bright, mids are prominent but not overbearing.
I was advertised "up to" 15h battery life, and occasionally it reaches that, but often it's closer to 8 or so, and I keep the volume under 40 (essentially 66% or less, vol goes up to 60) with the screen off 99% of my use, so it can't be that I'm "squeezing the juice out."
The touch feature is.. There's no other way to say it: terrible. It's laggy, the navigation is horribly thought out (slide from left of screen to go back to the previous menu (like "go up to parent folder" in computers), BUT if you don't do it just right, it'll restart the song you're on. I'd much, much rather have just had buttons, which would even have reduced cost over adding a capacitive touch screen.
It's very clear that the Fiio's focus was on sound quality above all else
Avevo grandi aspettative da questo lettore visto che l'avevano dichiarato hi-res ma non ha nulla a che vedere dell' hi-res è un comune lettore MP3 migliore degli alti ma non ha nulla di alta qualità come ci si aspettava
It's a DAP, digital audio player, that plays basically all your music files like FLAC, WAV, MP3, etc in good or slightly better audio quality than a lot of phones. That's it really, although it does have a calculator and ebook reader, I doubt I'll use them. UI is basic but mostly functions well (I have had it freeze twice), tracks are scanned quickly (much quicker than Fiio M6) and sorted by artist, song, album, genre, and when playing displays a decent looking album artwork (if correctly tagged). What it does not have is bluetooth, since I used wired headphones most of the time anyways it wasn't a concern. So it's a good little device to use as a secondary (or tertiary) audio device.
Update, dropping a star as I am finding some albums don't play through. An individual song selected will play then instead of the next track, device restarts. These albums work fine on other devices.
Missing some key features (namely bluetooth, that's a huge miss), and has some pointless ones (calculator and text reader... just... why?). The touchscreen is a bit finicky (somehow both over- and under- sensitive at the same time), and the audio leaves a bit to be desired: it sounds fine via headphones but is a bit bass heavy and muddled when run through my car stereo, and the built in eq settings really, really need a manual mode as the presets just make everything worse.
Overall it's definitely not perfect (wish my old X3 hadn't gone wonky), but it gets the job done for the price, so long as you're aware of the limitations.
It plays WAV files which is the main reason I purchased this unit as an upgrade from my old FiiO player. That's the good news. Now every time I power up the new FiiO, it ignores my memory card until I eject it and re-insert. Very annoying. This is my second FiiO, due to there not being that much competition for standalone portable WAV players. I have always found their user interface to be clumsy, and the new one is no exception. Some of the functions are kinda intuitive while others demand more trial-and-error. Add to that a touch screen that responds inconsistently to touch and swipe input. Again, my main thing is the sound quality and supported formats. It covers that, otherwise I wouldn't even give it three stars;
having had and used this for a few weeks, I must say I am disappointed. the sound quality is brilliant. against this the op system is pathetic. to play an album in track order seems beyond these designers.. listening to classical music is spoiled by the inability to play an album in mp3 id order clearly the op system is built by amateurs frankly a disgrace at this price where quality is demanded. awful interface ruins a high tech product. why have they bothered!???