There are only a handful of worthwhile digital audio players you can get for less than a grand. These range from the entry-level Cayin N3Pro to one of the more generously priced DAPs in Astell & Kerns library, the SR25. However, Fiio has come along and released a new player for $749, and it seems to be one of the more premium options in that specific bunch. The M11 Plus LTD is a limited edition digital audio player with quite a list of high-end components and features. Let’s jump right into it.
What You Get
- FiiO M11 Plus LTD Portable High-Resolution Lossless Wireless Music Player (Black)
- USB 3.0 Data/Charging Cable
- Limited 1-Year Warranty
Some DAPs can have a pretty ridged shape that can make them not feel very natural to hold in your hand, but thankfully the M11 Plus LTD is a great-looking device. Its bezel-less 18:9 5.5 inch screen makes the M11 a nice piece to look at and interact with. The honeycomb design makes its aesthetic quite unique, and more premium than its price would have you believe. While the case might make the M11 a bit bulkier, it still provides good protection for the player’s sturdy build. One of its most unconventional characteristics is its lack of a volume knob. Instead, the M11 Plus opts for a more traditional button layout, but with a touch-sensitive surface that you can slide your finger across increasing and decreasing the sound.
Around the device are a few buttons and inputs to sort out. On the left side, you’ll see that touch-sensitive volume control, along with the device’s power button. The right side will have your standard playback controls, including play/pause and skip/rewind. On the bottom, you have your headphone inputs and USB-C connector port. With the M11 Plus, you have 3.5mm and balanced 2.5mm and 4.4mm options.
There are a ton of interior components to go over, that gives the M11 Plus its distinct sound signature and smooth user interface. One of its most unique characteristics is its inclusion of the now out-of-production AK4497EQ DAC chips, which gives the M11 Plus its natural sound signature. Other features include native decoding of DSD512, 768kHz max PCM support, and -116dB of distortion. MQA decoding is also supported here. Neutrally pure THX AAA-78 amplifiers also provide virtually zero noise and their own timbral properties.
New anti-interference circuit designs also help separate the digital and analog portion of the signal flow, culminating in much more pure output. The octa-core Snapdragon 660 boosts the performance of the device significantly with Qualcomm cores for more efficient operation for low power consumption and 64GM of RAM. For Bluetooth, the M11 Plus supports version 5.0 with Airplay, as well as backing for LDAC, and aptX HD with your standard SBC and AAC codecs.
With Android 10, you’re granted access to very modern features seen in the latest Android smartphones, such as dark mode, gestures, and even third-party streaming apps through the Google Play store. Spotify, Tidal, and even Apple Music can be used with the M11 Plus, and downloading them is as simple as using any current smartphone. Navigating through this device was no hassle whatsoever, as the OS proved extremely user-friendly, with a clean home screen and easy access to all the M11’s settings and features. The pull-down menu reveals many different functions like Bluetooth, DAC mode, Airplay, and Pure music mode, which lets you operate the M11 like a classic player, only letting you use Fiio’s music app.
There are many aural characteristics this DAC chip and other internal components produce and depending on which headphones/IEMs you’re using can deliver some great textures and details. Unlike other players, the difference is almost immediate, as the M11 Plus provided qualities that could be easily noticed through the selection of headphone and IEM models I spent time listening to. One of those qualities is its enhanced clarity and articulation of my tracks, heard through both high-res music files on a micro-SD and while in DAC mode. Musicality is its strongest attribute, as the M11 Plus performers with extremely quiet internal noise which significantly improved spatial imaging and fidelity.
The soundstage receives an upgrade hear that I felt as soon as I hit play on my first track. Extension in the left and right channels helps communicate a larger width, while the layering produces more considerable height to the image and follows it with greater separation for a more outward and all-encompassing headspace. I definitely experienced more wrap-around while listening to the Meze 99 Classics with the device, furthering its immersive properties.
Depth is also extended within the M11’s bass output. I definitely experienced a much more meaty tonality coming from the low-end of the Moondrop Aria. It’s a deep timbre that packs a tight punch for sharper clarity avoiding boominess. Their positioning is reserved for a more throaty texture, helped by the smooth sub-bass that blooms naturally and with great control.
Midrange frequencies showcase heightened dynamics, with their more noticeably dispersed layout thanks again to the M11’s excellent layering. Their response is full and receives well-tuned accents that make their timbre more textured while displaying an even level of clarity making the tone more natural and detailed. I felt like instrumentals and especially vocals were given their right space so that the resolution could have a more realistic presentation.
The great height of the soundstage gives the treble response a fine area of potential detail for the frequencies to resonate in. They add a great finishing emphasis on certain sound elements, tailing off with airiness and shine. There’s an enhanced level of purity that can really grip you, all while delivering smooth textures for a more easily digestible tone that most listeners can enjoy. Brightness and sibilance are minimal, even in more treble-focused headphones.
Overall, I had a blast using the M11 Plus LTD. If I could sum up my time with this DAP in one word it would be smooth. In both interaction and sound signature, the M11 Plus is an experience that feels natural and user-friendly, all while supporting great sound resolution and texture. A ton of design and engineering has gone into making this device as joyful as it is, all while featuring a premium build for less than a thousand. However, the M11 Plus LTD is in short supply due to its out-of-production DAC chip, so it, unfortunately, might not be around for much longer. It’s a shame then that this is one of the best DAPs not only in its price range, but one of the best around in general, and if you can get your hands on one, chances are you won’t be disappointed.
The Fiio M11 Plus LTD is available at Audio46.