The Fiio M11 in action

Hi to you all. Dillan and I having just come back from the Bristol Hi-Fi Show have made some new friends and have reacquainted ourselves with some of our long term pals.

Advanced MP3 players joined forces with our friend Mark Ramos, of HiFiMan. Mark provided some bling in the AMP3 room on the 2nd floor at the Marriot Hotel, adorning the tables with Ananda BT, HE1000SE, the very new Deva, and the Sundara headphones.

I knew both Mark and Chris from amp3. They have been in the audio business since 2001. We have met for short chats at various shows. Over the course of the Friday and Saturday, Team Subjective formulated a plan to both push our output up and put amp3’s huge collection of portable kit firmly on the map.

It seemed like I had just set foot through the door of Team Subjective’s offices and a large parcel was waiting for me. Let us now waste no further time and tear open said packaging!

YouTube offering from my alter ego – Headphones HiFi Reviews

By the time you have worked your way through the above video I hope you will have a fairly good idea of what Subjective Reviews believe to be the most important aspects of a Digital Audio Player. There are technical aspects in respect of the M11 which I have not dwelt on. This is for very good reason. Time is short. Each minute I witter on for leaves the potential for you, dear viewer, to lose interest and become distracted by far less important things, like doing the washing up, or feeding the cat etc. So I have to tread lightly. Is 23 minutes as brief as I could make it? I hear you cry! Well, this is my legacy, of course, and I want it to have some kind of depth.

The author with the most expensive headphones in the World, the HiFiMan Shangri- La, and Mark Ramos of HiFiMan in the background

The technical stuff; as I see it…. well, If I can’t hear the technical stuff happening, should I, or you, be concerned about it? I believe, quite passionately, that there is too much emphasis on specifications and not enough attention is paid to what the darn thing actually sounds like. I can look at oscilloscope diagrams as much as the next man. They’re fascinating. But then, I love to spend time sitting outside watching the weeds in my garden grow. Let’s have another nice picture of this DAP. I’ve hardly said anything about it yet!

A tastefully fuzzy shot of the posh connections for balanced and unbalanced and USB-C

There are specifications that matter; of course there are. For me, when I was looking for a digital audio player and I was prepared to spend some serious money on it, storage was a really important consideration. I have Amazon Music HD too. Therefore, anything that I bought had to justify the subscription cost of Amazon Music HD and also had to house as close as possible the entirety of my music collection. Believe me; the number of CDs I own go into the 1000s. The Fiio M11 has 2 micro SD card slots and a sort of version of android. Fiio has an app store allowing Netflix, Amazon Music and Fiio Music to be installed and personalised. A few other apps needed apk download and installs. This is a bit hit and miss and is clearly inconvenient compared to having google play store on tap. There are plusses. I can bypass the Android OS music handling by using Fiio Pure Music Mode. I can also upscale all to DSD at the press of a button. The M11 Pro is sensible, and has retained exactly the same features.

One of the few visuals that differentiates the Pro from it’s brother

The M11 Pro has just the 1 SD Card slot. There were apparently some issues with Card Slot 2 when using some of the cheaper micro sd cards on the market. Overheating issues. I have san disk cards in mine and have never had any problems with them. However, the change has been made by Fiio and I doubt they will go back to engineering a DAP with 2 card slots. Such is life. Take it on the chin. Move on. Let us talk about the good bits. The sound quality. As promised, from my YouTube vid, I am going to provide you with 2 60 second soundbites made via the line in socket of my Olympus digital recorder. They are here, you can make up your own minds as to whether I am talking nonsense when I say I detect a difference in sound quality, for the better, in the Pro version.

The M11 Pro Link is above

M11 link is above

Ok. We are all but done. A simple look at a couple of quite complicated pieces of engineering. For us, however, that doesn’t really enter into it. What we need to know is, does it fit our requirements? Is it gonna sound good? Will it last? Does it look good? And where do I sign? Well, the last question is more about how much is it gonna cost me and can I get it real quick? Thankfully, the questions above have all been handled by your trusty subjective reviewer. No thanks are necessary; I do this for the love.