Fiio M11S and BTR7 land as pocket-sized audio upgrades
Digital audio player and Bluetooth DAC/Amp duo promise hi-fi sound
Whoever said the rise of the smartphone meant time was up for dedicated portable music players clearly didn’t account for the insatiable demand from audiophiles wanting high-end listening on the go. Sony has only just taken the wrapper off its new NW-A306 Walkman, and now Fiio is next in line with a pair of pocket-friendly gadgets. The Fiio M11S digital audio player (that’s DAP to those in the know) and MTR7 Bluetooth DAC/Amp dynamic duo will let you take your tracks with you, or give your existing hi-fi hardware a sonic upgrade.
First up, the M11S. It’s a fully-featured media player with a plethora of wired and wireless outputs, including 3.5mm unbalanced and 2.5mm/4.4mm balanced headphone out, a dedicated line-out, and LDAC, LDHC and aptX HD Bluetooth. AirPlay and DLNA are on-board too for cable-free streaming. It runs Android 10, but has an SRC bypass to let apps like Tidal play in lossless quality, rather than be limited by Android’s native audio handling.
It’s rocking dual ES9038Q2M DACs, one each for the left and right channels, with support for DSD256 and MQA lossless audio files. A custom-built headphone amplifier circuit, developed with help from THX, promises one of the lowest noise floors of any portable music player.
The built-in battery promises up to 14 hours of high-resolution listening, and while 32GB of on-board storage will hold a modest music collection, the microSD card slot can handle up to 2TB cards for those with extensive back catalogues. It can also act as a USB DAC and Bluetooth transmitter, letting you bypass your other equipment’s built-in audio processing.
The Fiio M11S is on sale right now from Amazon, for £489/$499.
If you’re only interested in the “bypassing your other equipment’s audio” bit, the BTR7 should fit the bill. It’ll do either USB or Bluetooth, with the latter covering aptX HD and LDAC for 24bit/96Hz playback. There are 3.5mm unbalanced and 4.4mm Balanced headphone outputs for wired lossless listening over USB, with an option to use its internal battery rather than drain your smartphone’s reserves.
There are twin THX AAA-28 amplifiers for balanced audio, along with two ESS9219 Sabre DACs on processing duties. They’re good for DSD256 and MQA, along with 32bit, 384kHz PCM audio.
Fiio has squeezed in a 1.3in display to change settings on the fly, and it’s compatible with the firm’s Fiio Control smartphone companion app.
The Fiio BTR7 is on sale right now via Amazon for £175/$199 with USB-C connectivity, or £195/$209 for an Apple-friendly Lightning edition.