Fiio M23 Review

Digital audio players are great devices for devoted audiophiles, but most tend to be expensive. Fiio has a few different mid-budget players, and the M23 is the latest model to join that selection. This new player aims to be a step above some of those other mid-budget DAPs with some significant components. With these changes, does the M23 make the case for being one of the best mid-budget players on the market?

What You Get

  • M23
  • Screen Protective Film (Pre-Installed)
  • Protective Case (for Dark Blue Version)
  • Leather Case (For Silver Version)
  • USB-A male to Type-C Female Adapter
  • Tray Eject Pin
  • GPL V2 Manual
  • Warranty Card
  • Type-C to Type-C data/charging cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Fiio M23 side


If you’ve used any of Fiio’s other mid-budget players like the M11s, the M23 will be not much different in terms of design. You can expect the same-sized screen and construction from other Fiio models. It also has the same touch-sensitive volume leveler. While the M23 doesn’t really have an aesthetic it can call its own, this is still a design that works. It feels great to hold in your hand, especially when it’s in its flexible plastic case. For its ins and outs, the M23 gives you 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone ports. It also has two different USB-C ports for power in and one to use the player as a DAC.


The main ingredient of the M23 consists of its AKM DAC combo and its THX AAA amplifier. This is the type of flagship DAC chipset that some of the best high-end players, helping separate the digital and analog portions of the sound signal for purer fidelity. The M23 also uses special DWA Routing Technology to improve the signal-to-noise ratio.

Fiio M23 back

Battery Life

The battery life can differ a bit depending on which headphone output you’re using, but either way, the M23 will have a very fast charging time. You should get a maximum of ten and a half hours of usage, but only one hour of charge time will replenish eighty percent of the battery.

Fiio M23 screen

Sound Impressions

Fiio’s sound signature for their DAPs tends to be my favorite. With the power of dual AKM DAC chips, the potential can be massive for a player that’s only $699. Like with any DAP that offers it, I mainly used the 4.4mm balanced headphone output for my headphone pairings. This gave me the ideal representation of the player’s sound at its most complete. A few of the headphones I used were the Audeze LCD X, Focal Clear MG, and the Campfire Audio Cascara.

Immediately, the fullness of the M23’s sound signature hit my ears with an expansive scale. This mattered a ton for the Cascara specifically, appearing as wide as the more expensive Supermoon, and just as articulate. The combination of the AKM chipset and the THX amplifiers fills out a ton of the stereo imaging, while still maintaining those blank spaces that preserve natural soundscapes. This is accentuated with open-back headphones, which will showcase that level of separation and layering more distinctly.

While dynamic range is enhanced, certain timbral elements might feel a bit too smoothed over. This happened more with the Cascara, particularly in the upper-mids. I’ve heard them have a more prominent attack before, but it wasn’t as noticeable when using the M23. Fiio players tend to be smoother, which is great for lows and scaling back harsher treble, but a little too much is veiled. This wasn’t a consistent issue though, as the Clear MG retained most of its musicality. A bit of warmth goes in a lot of favors for me. Something similar can be said about the LCD X’s pairing with the M23 as well, but more of the treble pulls through, bringing out more of the tail end of notes.


This is a seven-hundred-dollar player that could stand confidently next to some thousand-dollar players. While the sound isn’t always perfect, it reserves a level of quality that only AKM DAC chips can handle. Combined with the power of the THX AAA amp design, the M23 is certainly one of the top mid-budget players available right now.

Major Hifi Silver

The Fiio M23 is available from Audio46.

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Alex S. is a sound designer and voice-over artist who has worked in film, commercials, and podcasts. He loves horror movies and emo music.