Over the last few months, there have been so many rumours about a new flagship from FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. that the company felt compelled to reveal at least some initial tidbits of information, but now it’s official: the new flagship is called the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player.
The new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is set to be nothing less than the new flagship product from personal audio device specialist FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. It is a hybrid of a portable hi-res audio player and desktop audio solution, offering everything you would expect from such a solution.
The signal processing from digital to analogue, the output stage, the variety of interfaces and the operation of the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player are all designed in such a way that it is simply on a reference level.
FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player – For the Desktop but also Mobile
As the name of the new device suggests, the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player cannot really be assigned to a single category. Destkop Audio Solution, but mobile and therefore a DAP.
The fact is that the comparatively large form factor of the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player allows for features that you won’t find in a normal DAP, at least not in this variety and quality level.
Solid housing with modular construction
The new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player measures 156.4 mm in height, 88.5 mm in width and 28 mm in depth. This means it doesn’t really fit in every pocket, but it is still compact enough to be taken on trips. However, it is then necessary to “lug” 610 g, which should of course also be mentioned at this point.
The reason for these rather proud dimensions and above all the high weight is first of all due to the housing, which is made of aluminium but very solidly milled from a block by CNC. In addition, the developers rely on a modular design that took one and a half years to optimise.
Analogue and digital modules are each accommodated on separate PCBs and arranged in such a way that there should be no negative effects. According to the manufacturer, the construction is spread over a total of 17 separate PCBs, and they also say that a very special construction with copper shielding of said PCBs was chosen in order to reduce sound-damaging interference to an absolute minimum.
According to the manufacturer, the elaborate equipment of the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player also requires sophisticated cooling. The solid aluminium housing is also responsible for this.
Really big display
Of course, the developers took advantage of the generous dimensions to give the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player a really fine display, which is the central user interface. A 5.99-inch display with 1,080 x 2,160 pixels and 18:9 is used here. An integrated gravity sensor automatically adjusts the orientation of the display – portrait or landscape.
New operating concept
Speaking of operation, the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player relies on a new operating concept. Of course, there is the aforementioned display, but in this case there are also a number of actual controls, first and foremost an analogue potentiometer for controlling the volume on the upper front of the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player. If you want to control the volume using buttons, you can do so on the side of the player, where there are also additional buttons for controlling playback.
One more thing should be mentioned, the control of the volume can be done particularly sensitively here, because there are 120 gradations available.
RGB display for a better overview
In order to get an overview of the operating status of the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player, it uses an RGB display in the form of a seven-colour LED around the rotary encoder just mentioned.
This displays the resolution of the audio data, but you can also define a colour to enjoy a kind of ambient light. Even a colour change is possible here. As if that were not enough, such an option is also available on the side, although it can be configured separately.
At the heart of the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 SoC, which has 4 GBytes of RAM directly at its disposal. In addition, there is another 64 GB of ROM for the Google Android 10 operating system, which also forms the basis for the user to install any app, especially apps from various streaming providers.
For music playback, of course, the FiiO Music App is available, whereby the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player also offers Pure Sound in addition to the Android operating mode, so that the FiiO Music App alone represents the interface.
For your own content, a microSD card slot is available in the proven manner, which supports storage media up to 2 TByte.
The USB ports – and the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player offers two of them – are not only used to charge the integrated battery or transfer data to the DAP, they can also be used to connect the player directly to a PC or Mac and use it as a USB DAC.
Here, the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player benefits from the use of an XMOS XUF208 USB receiver.
One of the USB ports is USB 3.0 and supports USB host and USB device modes, so it can be used for high-speed data transfer and battery charging. In principle, you can connect a USB hard drive directly here and use the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player as a stand-alone player. The second USB port is a USB 2.0 port and also supports USB host mode, but is primarily used as a USB DAC on a PC or Mac. By the way, both USB ports are designed as USB-C interfaces.
WiFi and Bluetooth
Of course, WiFi is also available with the new player, whereby the module complies with IEEE 802.11n and thus, on the one hand, it is possible to access a wide variety of content in the network and on the web in the traditional way, and on the other hand, special functions such as WiFi Music Transfer, music streaming via UPnP as a dlna-certified streaming client, and Apple AirPlay are available.
The Bluetooth 5.0 module of the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is based on a QCC5124 chip and can be used both as a transmitter and receiver, i.e. it serves to send and receive. As a receiver, it supports SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive and LDAC; as a transmitter, SBC, AAC aptX, aptX HD and LDAC are available.
In addition to the Android and Pure Music modes already mentioned, the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player also supports Bluetooth Receiver and AirPlay Mode.
The developers used ESS Technology Inc. converters, specifically ESS ES9038PRO, in a double version. Each of the two channels can thus rely on a separate DAC, each equipped with eight parallel channels. The result is absolutely precise signal processing free of noise and with very high dynamics. A particularly precise clocking, an NDK Femtosecond Crystal Oscillator, contributes to this.
The converter allows signal processing up to 32 bits and 768 kHz or DSD512 and MQA (MQA 8x unfold).
If desired, all signals can be converted to DSD, which is mentioned here for the sake of completeness.
Outstanding output stage from THX Ltd.
The FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player relies on a Dual THX AAA-788+ Headphone Amp, an enhanced version of the original OP-Amp developed by FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. in conjunction with THX Ltd. According to the manufacturer, this is intended to provide enormous output power while maintaining outstanding quality. This ensures that the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player can really drive any headphone effortlessly.
The variety of connections offered by the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is astonishing. Not only is there a 6.3 mm stereo jack available in addition to the classic 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack as an unbalanced connection for headphones, this solution is also equipped with a balanced 2.5 mm and 4.4 mm connection. As if that were not enough, the 3.5 mm connection conceals an unbalanced, the 4.4 mm connection a balanced stereo line out and, in addition, a separate coaxial S/PDIF interface is available in the form of an RCA.
Two power supplies
Since the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player can be used as a desktop audio solution as well as a portable DAP, the developers equipped it with two power supplies, each optimised for the respective application.
This also has a direct effect on the performance that the FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is capable of delivering.
The new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player offers a range of gain modes, from very economical low gain for use as a mobile DAP, while still providing enough power to control a wide variety of headphone models, through medium gain and high gain, to over-ear headphone mode and even enhanced over-ear headphone mode.
For use away from the power socket, the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player is equipped with a really powerful battery. It is a 9,200 mAh lithium-polymer battery that is supposed to offer a playing time of up to ten hours. It is supposed to be fully charged again after only four and a half hours, whereby PD 2.0 and PD 3.0 Fast Charge are supported in addition to QC 3.0 and QC 4.0.
As a desktop audio solution, FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. also offers matching accessories for the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player, first and foremost a matching stand, which is made of aluminium and has an integrated fan. There is also a matching external 12 V DC power supply.
For use on the road, a PET screen protector and a leather case are available.
We were able to offer you some information about the new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player back in March of this year as a first exclusive insight, and now the market launch is imminent.
Getting to the point
The new FiiO M17 Portable Desktop-Class Player cannot be divided into existing categories, because it is both a desktop audio solution and a DAP, so it can be used stationary as well as on the move. Here and there, it is supposed to convince with outstanding features as a basis for impeccable sound quality and offer the user the highest possible flexibility. FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. is right to call it a true flagship.
|PRODUCT||FIIO M17 PORTABLE DESKTOP-CLASS PLAYER|
|Manufacturer||FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd.|
|Distribution||NT Global Distribution GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|