Fiio q1 mark ii native dsd dac & amplifier for

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Gives your iPhone better sound, but doesn’t better its competition.Tested at £90

ByWhat Hi-Fi?03 April 2018


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The Q1 Mark II is an iPhone-focused portable DAC (though it will work with Android as well) that’s priced to lớn be your entry-level access khổng lồ better sound.

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It’s iPhone-focused because in the box is a MicroUSB-to-Lightning connection, which connects the quận 1 Mark II khổng lồ your smartphone. This is a nice touch, as it means you don’t need to use Apple’s convoluted Camera Connection Kit.

A USB Type-A khổng lồ MicroUSB will still work, for use with a computer or an Android phone, but FiiO says because the USB output of Android phones is not standard (and could change due lớn different firmware versions) it can’t guarantee the DAC will work normally with all devices.

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Approximately the form size of a playing thẻ dechồng, và weighing just 100g, the quận 1 Mark II has improved on the Mark I’s design. Gone is the hip-flask motif, with volume dial in place of lid.

The dial has been moved lớn the right side, giving space on the left for the conventional 3.5mm & 2.5milimet balanced headphone outputs and a line in/out port.

There are also a couple of switches too: one for adjusting gain (for better matching when it comes to lớn tai nghe sensitivity), one for increasing the bass.

The Q.1 Mark II feels great to lớn hold, but the large volume knob means that you can’t use it while the FiiO is lying on a surface - the dial makes contact with the surface. A millimetre or two off the dial would have sầu avoided this, & it’s disappointing that Fiio hasn’t made it so.

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Inside the quận 1 Mark II is a AK4452 DAC chip, which is capable of supporting files up khổng lồ 32bit/384kHz and DSD256. iOS devices don’t natively support DSD (you’ll need khổng lồ use third-party apps to play those files) but it’s good lớn know the functionality is there.

Rather than take power from your điện thoại thông minh, FiiO has given this DAC a 1800mA battery, which it claims lasts an average of ten hours in use.

While other DACs will take power from the smartphone, this Fiio’s approach will ensure that you’re not compromising your phone’s battery – all you have sầu to bởi is remember to charge it through its MicroUSB connection.

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Sound


We charge it up and let it loose on both iPhones & MacBooks - & we discover the quận 1 Mark II’s adequate, but somewhat superficial, character.

To its credit, it presents a relatively well-balanced frequency range – neither earthy booms nor tinkling highs come across with an excess of weight or undue sharpness.

Car Seat Headrest’s Twin Fantasy (Those Boys) is kept organised between the opening organ chords, lax thump of the bass drum and Will Toledo’s solitary, strained vocal.

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Flick the ‘bass’ switch on the baông chồng though, và it’s a different story. "Balanced & tight" becomes "wide và boomy". This weighs down the band’s low-fi pop sound và, although some people might enjoy the wilder low frequencies, it doesn"t bring you any closer to audio fidelity.


We switch it off and play the rest of the trachồng. The distorted guitars và the squeaking of their strings as the chords change come across with plenty of detail and texture.

Swapping to The Power of Love by Huey Lewis và The News, the Q1 Mark II demonstrates an acceptable amount of dynamism when it comes khổng lồ conveying the striking power chords và the way Lewis’s potent vocals rapidly punch in.

The resolute 80s drumbeats have fair kiông xã to them, never letting the side down when it comes khổng lồ delivering a bit of low-over power and momentum.

However, compare it to lớn the smaller Cyrus soundKey – our award-winner at £100 – & the Q.1 Mark II is decidedly put in its place. The way Lewis delivers his lyrics as the trachồng vaults through your headphones is much more obvious and clear from the soundKey.

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Finishing with Mad World by Sacre feat. Mike Monroe, it’s clear the FiiO DAC doesn’t have sầu the greachạy thử understanding of space or organisation.

Once the chorus comes in, the soundKey gives you a vast, open space for the vocal (and the rest of the midrange) lớn fill. By comparison, the quận 1 Mark II is foggier and smaller-scale.

FiiO’s DAC is a little lượt thích listening to lớn an artist rehearse, while the soundKey reveals a defining performance.

A surer sense of timing, a greater sense of dynamism and a better defined và organised handling of instruments. These are the major areas the quận 1 Mark II needs to lớn address before it has a hope of dethroning our current Award-winner.

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Verdict

The FiiO Q1 Mark II is a piece of kit that spreads itself a little too thin. While there is definitely a place for its bigger body, tactile buttons and multiple ports versus sleeker, smaller products lượt thích the Cyrus soundKey, there’s no getting away from the fact the latter provides better audio performance.

If the FiiO sounded better, then we’d be more than happy with the extra bulk & could easily see the Q1 Mark II carving out a nice little nibít for the discerning iPhone user. Right now, however, we can’t quite see its place.

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Prices - Fiio Q1 Mark II:▼

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