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This is the first DAC Headphone Amp that I have ever purchased. I originally bought this product because I wanted to amplify my headphones while using the PO-33 KO because it did not output loudly enough directly into my earphones. I use this DAC with Etymotics ERSR4's and it definitely brings out certain percussion instruments, namely deeply low mixed hi-hats and other things hiding behind the louder frequencies.
I so ordered it on the 3rd and it was mean't to get here on the 14th but came on the 7th so that was pretty nice surprise. Also I watched a review that Zeos did and thought hey why not I'll get one, and I haven't been disapointed. Everything he said he would be and works great for my use case!.
Got this predominantly for use with Deezer through my android phone through the addition of an on the go usb cable but also use it with Deezer on my iPad Both through my in ear monitors and extremely happy wth the sound that this little unit produces, nice wide and clear sound field, well balanced from bass through mids and vocals to highs, sounds amazing through my KZ ZS10 PRO’s which will be the main use for it and I am very happy with the sound quality produced especially on balanced output, great build quality and portable size, overall a very impressive looking and more importantly sounding unit and I am very happy indeed with my purchase. Highly recommended as this unit is truly great value for money in every sense.
Everyone else has already reviewed the quality and build of the product. I'm going to advise you on Android compatibility of this device.
You may have already noticed that the manufacturer does not say one word about compatibility of this DAC with the Android devices. Obviously it's certified for iPhones and works fine with PCs. But I bought this for my Android devices, Note 8, Moto G4 Plus and Sony Xperia T2 Ultra. I don't use this with my PC because I've got an external sound card.
So, you must remember that almost all recognized brands provide standard support for OTG Audio. So, unless you have a very cheap phone that doesn't detect OTG, you are good to go. Now although this DAC accepts 3.5 mm audio input, that's up to no good, because it means the audio is still pre processed by your phone's internal DAC. To bypass the internal DAC the USB output must be used. And here comes the problem. Quite big one.
This DAC has its own internal battery which it charges through USB input. AND UNFORTUNATELY NO DEDICATED CHARGE ON/OFF BUTTON IS PROVIDED. It auto detects iPhones when connected and does not charge itself. BUT, no such detection occurs for Android devices. It treats all the other devices as PCs and drains the sh*t out of them. So guess what, I watched my Note 8 lose 30% of its battery over 1 hour of audio playback. (It already has a weak battery of 3k mAh). I was using the Amazon Basic Type C to micro USB cable for OTG input. So I was like WTF! This is not acceptable. So, turns out, Android devices do not segregate the devices that connect to it through USB. They try to charge them always. And there's no way (not even in the developer's settings) to turn off charging.
So I started searching. And found the solution. There's a special type of USB cable available, usually angular in shape (of the connector), that prevents any charge to pass through. So even if your device says "USB charging connected device", it won't be able to charge the DAC. One such cable is Fiio CL06. Couldn't find that here in Amazon. Bought it from Fiio's official Indian site for 630. Worth it (To be fair, there's no other way around, so this can be your savior).
Been using it for 4 months now listening to occasional Bollywood songs (both older and Newer), some Jazz and a lot of Metal songs and here is my review.
Build: I have to say that AMP is build like a tank. Nothing is lose and no part is taken as lightly by FiiO as always. Kudos on the build quality. Every button is tactile and felt solid. even the slider switches are perfectly tuned for day to day use. Best part is the Volume knob, I just love changing the volume using it. Feeling I cannot describe in words. For stuffs you get in the box and accessories everything can be found on any unboxing video on YouTube. Now lets get to the main Review.
Sound: Firstly easy words for newbies in Audiophile world the sound is flat and clean. The OPamp used gives the sound a shimmery feel and everything is detailed and precise as it should be. Soundstage is also great. For the price I would totally recommend this product. The Bass switch improves the Sub-Bass frequencies.
Now Detailed review: Earphones used: ShureSE215, Sennheiser Momentum In Ear, RHA T10i, RHA T20, 1More TripleDriver, RHA S500i, Sony XBA H1, Sony XBA 30x, Beyerdynamic Byron, Jays A-Jays 5. Headphones Used: Sennheiser HD 598SE (Open Back), Audio Technica ATH M50x (stock + velour earpads), Sony MDR 10R BT, Massdrop+HiFiMan HE 4xx (Planar Magnetic). Music: Metallica (192-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC), Pink Floyd (192-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC), Queen (148-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC), Porcupine Tree (44-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC), A R Rehman (320 Kbps MP3), Adele (96-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC). My Jazz Collection of various artists (44-24 Vinyl Rip FLAC).
"I will only review this as a DAC because I got it to be used as DAC only. I have LG V20 for on the go listening(without a need for external AMP)".
Soundstage: For my Open back earphones I was amazed by the amount of open ness in the Jazz songs, the cybols were sooo clear and with the planar magnetic I can hear them decay in the backgroud which is not common in Dacs to reproduce. For closed back it was amazingly open. Felt like I was transported in the middle of the Adele's live at Royal Albert Hall concert. Even cried with her in "someone like you". I love the soundstage in my Shures they are the best in soudstage. Now when I get to Metallica's "Of Wolf and Man" and it was in your face "thrash" with RHA T20. Lars' drumming amazed me, the accuracy of it with the guitar riff of James never heard of by me.
Bass: I usually love a flat response in my music but as soon as I turned the Bass switch on the DAC and I can hear the Sub-Bass in the A R Rehman's "Chupke Se" so prominently. My 1More TripleDriver never felt so alive and so lively but the best part was the small nuances which the HiFiman caught my eyes or should I say ears.... Every small detail felt so real. As I said about the Metallica's "Of Wolf and Man" one of my favourites "One" was so gripping in M50x. Though the album misses the bass guitar altogether the bass drum was enough to pound my heart throughout the song and countinued the same on Dream Theatre's "Panic Attack" (insert mindblown emoji here).
Mids: For male vocals I put on my Shures first and listened to 3 back to back songs of Slipknot (standard MP3) and then "Gauranteed" by Eddie Vedder 5 times and in different live albums and it was amazing but it was the Adele's "Rumor has it" that stole my heart away. There's nothing more satisfying than her dynamic range. Eventough I was pretty stisfied with In-Ear vocals I decided to put on Sennheiser HD 598SE and to Terez Montcalm's "L.O.V.E." and I instantly fell in love with her singing style.
Highs: Now here comes my HiFiMan and a song from Coke Studio, Jal's "Panchi Hoon" started rather normally then the drums came in and the highs were so great I listened to it 4 times in a row just to be sure of the clarity I was listening from a youtube video at 1080p(still not anywhere near to my Hi-Res Collection) but it amazed me, maybe it was the after processing but I was amazed by the shimmeryness and clearity of it. Next I put on "Marooned" by Pink Floyd. The sound of beach in the background the guitar solo just took my hear away it, the range of this amp is great, being Hi-Res certified does helps the accurate reproduction of guitar part by David Gilmour while using the Pitch Shift in the solo. My last song was "Kehna Hai Kya" By A R Rehman, vocals by K S Chitra directly played from Amazon Music on highest bit rate it offers. I was greatly impressed by the control it showed where my older FiiO E07k Dac fails. It did lost the charm with my Balanced Armature In-Ears 1More Triple Driver(Hi-Res) on the very high frequencies but it was the only song on which IT failed or may be it was just me.
Verdict: If you have a good set ears, but your pocket is on a budget GET THIS, If you are a casual listener but want to improve your experience GET THIS.
This is a great looking well-built compact unit. Fits nicely into a jacket pocket. The case seems pretty robust, but the first hour I had it I managed to wander into a door, and I can confirm it does mark quite easily! The black paint rubs quite soon in normal use, and any knocks chip it to reveal the silver beneath. The supplied lighting to micro USB lead works well and there was no trouble whatsoever connecting the unit to my iPhone and getting sound straight out. (However, I’ll come back to that lead later.)
Most importantly, though, the sound. Let me be specific here - I bought this for music on the go: mostly 320k resident on my iPad, or streamed from Amazon at the same rate. The sound from my iPhone 7 is better than I ever expected from a phone anyway, and I’ve selected headphones to partner best with that (Fidelio M1 Mk2s - and no, the earpads have been fine), so the Q1 Mk2 would have to be pretty good at what it does for me to notice an appreciable difference. £90 is £90 after all.
To begin with it was quite boxy and constricted, but soon began to open out as it burned in. This has taken a while - much better after a couple of days constant playing, and better than that after a week or so more.
There’s plenty of detail but it’s definitely not ‘analytical’. it’s neither as soft or warm as FiiO’s E17, nor as ‘spacious’ as my iMac direct, but has more definition and resolution than either. It’s very listenable. I don’t care how detailed a piece of hardware is if it’s fatiguing, and I can (and have) listened to the Q1 for hours at a time. The bass is pretty tight, and suits warm or bassy headphones. There is a bass boost switch, but it muddies the sound a lot. I’m actually a fan of bass boost options, but I’d only use this one if I really had to. The top end sits very well in the range, not too bright or forward but it’s all there. The lower midrange has a thick texture - nice on some vocals, the body of the snare hits and overdriven guitar. I would say this is the only feature of the sound that isn’t ‘neutral’, and it’s certainly not overbearing.
I would definitely say that if you stream music on your iDevice and sit in libraries or offices or aircraft for long periods the Q1 is money well spent. It’s a noticeable step up in resolution and authority from your iDevice but a step short of reference.
It sounds great with lossless files, and is not embarrassed by my better headphones. In fact I’ve discovered it partners very well with my Fidelio X2s - I’ve been sat here in bed with the iPad, Prime Music at 320k, the Q1 and the X2s for hours typing stuff up tonight, and I’ve rarely been aware of anything but the music. For me, that’s success.
One or two people have commented on drive and volume. I tried it with my studio Beyer DT770s which are 250ohm, and it was ok... but not seriously convincing. With the bass boost in and high gain selected the volume level was fine for listening and acoustic recording (perhaps with the exception of drums) but it didn’t really make the DTs sing.
My Fidelio X2s are more forgiving and easy to drive, but respond well to better sources, DACS and amps. I’d say that if you have ‘phones that match that description, the Q1 will also reward you. But if you’ve got high impedance hard to drive headgear this may not quite cut it. Save your money for the much awaited Q5.
So I was leaning towards a 4 star rather than 5, but one detail clinched it and knocked it definitely to a 4: the flimsy, short lighting to micro USB lead that other purchasers have commented on. Fine if you’ve got your phone and Q1 bundled into the same pocket, but with my iPad mounted on its stand for writing the Q1 was dangling in free space off the side. I expected it to break in a week.
There are workarounds - I bought a female to male micro USB lead here on Amazon for a couple of quid and I’m relieved to find it works. But still... The supplied lead looks so throwaway it’s almost like FiiO are expecting you to.
I dare say the Q5 will rock our socks, but with projected prices over £300, the Q1 might be all you need for more modest day to day stuff for less than a third of the cost.
.. oder meine Kopfhörer (Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 16ohm) zu gut oder schlecht.
Wegen der Lautstärke brauch ich’s nicht und einen wirklichen Unterschied zum Handy (iPhone SE) höre ich im Mittel auch nicht. Für eine qualifizierten Test hatte ich extra Testaccounts für bestes Tidal und Qobuz angelegt. Zeitgleich hatte ich auch den M6 Player allerdings mit gleichem Ergebnis im Test (siehe dort, Kurzfassung: die Prozessorleistung verdirbt es einem endgültig). Mal klingt es ein bisschen frischer und fokussierter, mal gewinnt das Handy ohne alles und bei einem Blindtest war es auch eher Unentschieden. Was natürlich zunimmt, ist die Maximallautstärke, aber wie gesagt, die brauch ich bei dem Kopfhörer so auch nicht, lauter als ich’s vertrage gehts auch ohne. Nicht mal einen signifikanten Unterschied zwischen bestem mp3 und CD bzw. Hi-Res hab ich gehört, wohl aber zwischen den Rippings der einzelnen Dienste. Das Handling mit den Gummiringen ist mir viel zu mühsam, wobei ich es mit einer Hülle mit Deckel eh einfacher gehabt hätte.
Im Fazit steht es sich bei dem bestenfalls geringen klanglichen Zugewinn ohne den zusätzlichen Lautstärkebedarf für mich einfach nicht dafür.