In case you’ve determined to get began on the audiophile path, your smartphone and primary headphones will not be the perfect package. This pastime generally is a significantly costly one, however it’s attainable to arrange a starter audiophile package for not some huge cash. That entails procuring units that supply bang on your buck, resembling the superb Fiio M6. In case you’re taking a look at one thing much more reasonably priced although, there’s the Fiio M5.
Priced at Rs. 8,990, the Fiio M5 is smaller, simpler to deal with, and higher suited to the newbie audiophile. This pocketable gadget works in some ways – you should utilize it as a standalone digital audio participant, and even as a DAC or Bluetooth receiver with different units. We have reviewed this compact, feature-filled audio product; learn on to seek out out all about it.
Fiio M5 design and specs
Design and kind have come a great distance for the reason that days of the unique iPod, and far smaller units at this time are able to way more. The Fiio M5 is sufficiently small to slot in the palm of your hand or sit alongside your pockets in your pocket with out bothering you an excessive amount of. It is loads just like the Shanling M0 audio participant relating to kind issue, and depends on a 1.54-inch 240×240-pixel touchscreen for many controls.
The gadget has a metallic body with glass at the back and front, and weighs simply 38g. The highest has the facility button, quantity rocker, and three.5mm jack (which serves for headphones, line out, and S/PDIF output). There are additionally two microphones on the prime, that are used when the M5 capabilities as a Bluetooth receiver and for voice recordings on the gadget. The facility button additionally controls playback – a long-press powers the gadget on or off, a double faucet wakes the M5 or places it to sleep, and a single faucet performs or pauses music.
The underside has a slot for a microSD card, and a USB Kind-C port. The gross sales bundle features a USB Kind-A to Kind-C cable, and a plastic protecting cowl that doubles up as a belt clip for the Fiio M5. The Kind-C port fees the gadget, and in addition permits you to hook up with a PC to switch audio tracks, or to make use of the gadget as a DAC.
The Fiio M5 would not have built-in storage, so you may want to make use of your personal microSD card with it. It helps as much as the theoretical 2TB restrict for microSD playing cards, which suggests something you’ve mendacity round will work immediately. It helps a variety of lossless and compressed audio codecs together with DSD, APE, FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless, MP3, and WMA, to call a number of.
In case you’re utilizing the Fiio M5 as a DAC, it’ll work out-of-the-box with Mac computer systems, however will want a driver on Home windows machines. The DAC chip on the gadget is an AK4377, which helps audio decoding as much as 32-bit/384kHz and DSD128 (Direct Stream Digital). The M5 has a beneficial headphone impedance vary of 16-100Ohms, so you can drive most reasonably priced and mid-range headphones with it.
You get two-way Bluetooth connectivity on the Fiio M5, with the gadget able to receiving and transmitting a Bluetooth sign. As a transmitter, the gadget helps the SBC, aptX, and LDAC codecs – AAC help would have been helpful right here. As a receiver, the gadget helps SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC, letting you flip any wired headphones right into a wi-fi headset.
The scale of the Fiio M5 implies that it has a small 550mAh battery, and you will find you could cost it extra usually than you’d a bigger digital audio participant. The gadget ran for round Eight hours when used as a participant (each wired and wi-fi) and Bluetooth receiver, and charging it took somewhat beneath two hours when linked to a laptop computer. The M5 was capable of cost even whereas getting used as a DAC with a MacBook Air, which we discovered helpful.
The interface on the Fiio M5 is a customized one, however is sort of effectively designed in our opinion. It makes optimum use of the small display screen, displaying textual content clearly and counting on swipes and faucets to navigate. We shortly received used to the interface and controls, and the settings are handy and straightforward to navigate as effectively.
Key capabilities such because the ‘Now Taking part in’ tab, file browser, and BT receiver are simply accessible, however you may have to make use of the Settings display screen to change between USB modes – the gadget must be set to work as USB storage or as a DAC earlier than you plug it in to a pc. Curiously, the Fiio M5 additionally has a step counter and voice recorder, and you should buy a watch-strap case to make use of it as a health tracker of types.
Fiio M5 efficiency
The Fiio M5 does loads, and we have examined all of its core capabilities. For this evaluate, we used the gadget as an audio participant, DAC, and Bluetooth receiver. We paired it with the 1More Quad Driver earphones, Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear wired headphones, and Sony WI-1000XM2 for audio output, and used a MacBook Air and OnePlus 7T Professional to judge the DAC and Bluetooth receiver capabilities respectively.
We began with the Fiio M5 as a standalone audio participant with our wired headphones. Whereas the sonic signature is of course formed by the headphones you employ, we did discover a little bit of enchancment intimately on account of the superior DAC on the Fiio M5, as in comparison with plugging the identical pair straight into our MacBook Air or Apple iPad mini (2019). Just like the Shanling M0, this gadget does its job by merely doing its job, enjoying music with no actual modifications or additions to the output.
Assist for varied codecs together with DSD128 is the large promoting level right here, and listening to the proper of audio tracks was a rewarding expertise for us, particularly when paired with the superb 1More Quad Driver earphones. Aside from element, the sound felt a bit extra full and crisp even at excessive volumes, due to the achieve and quantity increase supplied by the Fiio M5.
The AKM4377 DAC within the Fiio M5 is only a bit much less detailed and clear than the ESS Sabre 9218P DAC within the Shanling M0, however it’s definitely a good bit extra succesful than the essential DACs present in smartphones and laptops.
When utilizing the gadget as a Bluetooth receiver for wired headphones, the plain loss in constancy had the setup sounding very like what we would hear from a very good pair of wi-fi earphones such because the Sony WI-1000XM2.
That mentioned, it is a good option to get wi-fi connectivity on a very good pair of wired headphones. The M5 helped retain the sonic signature and a good quantity of the qualities when it comes to element and sharpness of each the 1More Quad Driver earphones and the Sennheiser Momentum headphones. We additionally used it for voice calls, and had been proud of sound high quality on each ends of the decision.
In case you have a lot of your music on a laptop computer or PC, or want to make use of your laptop as a listening gadget when working, the Fiio M5 might nonetheless come in useful. The distinction in sound high quality was audible when utilizing the M5 in between the laptop computer and headphones, with extra element and improved quantity being essentially the most notable modifications.
We additionally used the gadget as a Bluetooth transmitter, which is not one thing you’d sometimes do because it negates the performance of the DAC. Codec help for Bluetooth transmission is proscribed as in comparison with Bluetooth reception – LDAC and aptX are supported, however some headphones (such because the AirPods Professional) dropped to the SBC codec and did not sound nearly as good as when pairing them straight with our smartphone or pill. It is extra handy to easily use your smartphone or pill with Bluetooth headphones. That mentioned, we will not actually complain in regards to the presence of a function on the Fiio M5, even when it is not significantly helpful.
Contemplating that many individuals depend on their smartphones for audio on the go, the Fiio M5 is a distinct segment product. In case you admire good sound or want a succesful supply gadget to pair together with your wired headphones, then the Fiio M5 will come in useful. It is an excellent gadget to get began with, providing good sound, loads of use-cases, and a kind issue that’s undeniably engaging.
We have reviewed some significantly spectacular units from Fiio prior to now, however the M5 would not fairly qualify amongst our favourites from this wonderful Chinese language audio gear maker. We weren’t thrilled with battery life even contemplating the dimensions, and the Shanling M0 is only a trace higher on the entire, on the identical value. Nonetheless, it is a good piece of apparatus to contemplate should you’re searching for an reasonably priced and compact audio participant and DAC.
Value (MRP): Rs. 8,990
- Compact, straightforward to make use of
- UI is clear and straightforward to navigate
- Good file format and Bluetooth codec help
- First rate efficiency
- USB Kind-C charging and DAC performance
- No in-built storage, microSD card not included
- Common battery life
Rankings (out of 5)
- Design: 4
- Efficiency: 4
- Battery: 3
- Worth for cash: 4
- General: 4