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[News] Product Review Of FiiO Products---From James

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Post time 2020-6-12 10:53:31 |Show all posts |
Chapter One: X7

Five years ago, I wrote a series of reviews for our 8 years of products. In the blink of an eye, 5 years passed and FiiO has come to the world for 13 years. From today, I would like to continue the review writing for the left 5 years starting from the X7 model.

I remembered a while ago, there was a hot topic in the HIFI field that whether players should be Androidized or not. This is kind of an interesting topic for audiophiles to talk about. But as manufacturers, our point of view is not that important. Because even if you predict that Androidization is a trend, you can still do just the opposite. This is up to different choices by manufacturers themselves. It doesn't matter whether it is right or wrong, which is just strategy matters. Certainly, following the era trend is also a strategy. But the point is that you have to be clear about your target customers and their flavors.

Therefore, the Androidization of FiiO's HIFI music player is self-evident. For a large-screen music player equipped with the Android system, not only the operating experience is much more convenient than non-Android, but also it would be a huge step in music downloading and managing with the help of WIFI and Bluetooth function within.

Since the day we released the first player X3, we had started the X7 project. After two years of research and development, we eventually managed to do it. At the Guangzhou Headphone Exposition in September 2015, we held a press conference and solemnly released FiiO's first Android-based portable HIFI music player, X7.

The release of X7 has great significance for FiiO.

1) The X7 is FiiO's first player more than 500 USD. If we view it today it is not at such a high price. However, in 2015, there were rarely a few players more than 500 USD in China. If the X7 model could successfully go into the market, the FiiO brand would move forward a big step.

2) The X7 is FiiO's first Android player. At that time, Android-based players were fairly uncommon. Unlike today, as long as you do it well, you have nothing to worry about. So the X7 was somewhat of a product to test the market. If it failed, I believe that the general Androidization of FiiO Player may be delayed for a long time.

3) The X7 is FiiO's first product with the design of an interchangeable amp module, which was designed for both personalization and playability for audiophiles. In addition, it was equipped with the high-end ES9018S DAC chip, supporting a series of designs such as the dock function. Anyway, all was for audiophiles.

It can be said that the X7 was born at the right time, which was popular among audiophiles once released and became a hit in the year of 2015 of FiiO. It had caught up with the trend of player Androidization and satisfied the restless heart of audiophiles. Besides, it was also one of the few high-end Chinese players available at the time, coming with our advantages on workmanship, music experience as well as product quality. In the end, it has obtained double honors both in the market and brand awareness.

Even today, I feel that the simple design of the X7 is still very eye-catching. The design pattern of the X7 has also laid a good foundation for our latter products. Even the FiiO Music App has acquired great benefits from it. Why FiiO could become FiiO today, the X7 could totally be a pioneer.




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Post time 2020-6-12 10:56:49 |Show all posts |
Edited by FiiO at 2020-6-12 17:16

Chapter Two: Q1

In 2019, we released the portable DAC headphone amplifier. If we focus on FiiO's product history, we would know that the predecessor for Q1 should be E7, E07K, E17, E17K, etc. Because there were too many product models before, we decide to name it as Q series ever after. This was the background when Q1 came to the world.
Compared with the previous products, the most obvious characteristic of the Q1 is that it had canceled the little OLED display screen, the volume adjustment had transformed from physical button to volume knob, and the supporting specifications had been improved. As for the outer appearance, it looked like a wine pot. As a whole, the Q1 came with a big look transformation with small inner upgrades. The battery life prolonged benefiting from a larger battery size. Also, with consideration of the shrunk headphone amplifier market, we lowered its price to survive the amp market.


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Post time 2020-6-17 15:18:59 |Show all posts |
Chapter Three: K5

Old users familiar with FiiO know that FiiO's first product is a digital dock-type speaker designed for Meizu M6. Therefore, the dock-type products are somewhat of FiiO's historical tradition and "initial intention". After transforming into portable HiFi products, FiiO has always been attaching great importance to the extensibility and playability of the product. The early E7, E07K, E17, E17K were all equipped with a docked port. We had also researched and developed the E9 and E09K, the desktop dock-type headphone amplifier which were used for connection to USB DAC/Amps. However, the early dock port we used was an 11PIN old-feature phone charging port. It was eliminated for the large size and poor compatibility.

When we were designing the later music players, we also took advantage of the hidden feature of Micro USB. Except for the four pins using for USB data transmission and charging, the extra one had been designed for the LO signal transmission of L/R, as well as recognition and control.

The K5 uses the TPA6120A amp chip with high driven capacity which has also been used in the E9 and E09K. Our hardware engineers have fully dedicated to the innovation of this chip based on the experience of the original technology secrets. Eventually, they managed to do it.

In addition, we have also redesigned the K5's appearance style, parts of which have continually been extended to many subsequent products such as the Q1MKII and M15. The gain has been adjusted to three levels of high, medium and low to accommodate as much headphones as possible.

Overall, the performance of the K5 is still impressive. It has outstandingly completed the mission of matching with FiiO players, enhancing the driven capacity when connecting to headphones to satisfy users' needs. This has contributed a lot to the hot sale of FiiO players.

But it is a little bit embarrassing that there is actually a USB interface behind the K5, which is mainly used when the player is plugged into the K5, so that it can be connected to computers. But the K5 itself has no decoding function. We are often asked by users whether the K5 can be connected to a computer for decoding. And this has created another beautiful story behind.







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Post time 2020-6-30 11:40:20 |Show all posts |
Chapter Four: K1

In recent years, as mobile phones have gradually canceled the 3.5 headphone jack, various mobile phone headphone accessories have become more and more popular. This raised a lot of inquiries from users that why FiiO does not do it? In fact, it's not that we don't do it. We have the i1 for Apple, and the K1 similar for Android-based phones.

The K1 was FiiO's first DAC/Amp without a built-in battery. At that time, Android phones generally had a 3.5mm headphone port. So the K1 was actually designed for those laptop and tablet users.

We have to take the power supply of the device into consideration. Formally, for devices that are powered through TYPE C, their power consumption design matters a lot, otherwise, it would raise a lot of compatibility problems. For example, according to our tests, if the BTR5 is connected to mobile phones through a wired method, its compatibility and stability will be much better than that of those hot-selling accessories. It is because the BTR5 has a built-in battery. If the accessory consumes high power, the mobile phone system will actively stop the external power supply to save power, which would cause various problems. Therefore, the design of the K1 was not in high specifications. But there is no doubt that it was completely designed based on professional HiFi audio standards.

Like high-end HiFi players, the K1 is composed of USB port chip + independent DAC + independent amp chip. We did not promote it with a proper narrative. If it was announced as a professional HiFi player structure, it would be more easily for consumers to understand.

In conclusion, the K1 can also be connected to mobile phones as a little potsticker. It's just because it was not born in the right time, and its supported formats were not good enough. Meanwhile, the driven capacity of the power consumption was too low, and there was no balanced output. Otherwise, you might be able to take advantage of it. Or at least we could also design a K1Pro.

Now, those who have been urging us to make relevant accessories may get to know the truth.











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Post time 2020-7-3 18:22:10 |Show all posts |
Chapter Five: M3

Today, our focus will be put on FiiO's last product in 2015, but those accessories and the cable will not be included.

After all, the player field is still our business core. In 2015, we released the X7 which was priced more than 500 USD. This had brought us to the high-end market in one fell swoop. Because in 2015, there were a few players that were more than 500 USD in the market. At the same time, we released an affordable entry-level player M3. Generally, we would call the M3 series, including the M3, M3K, M3Pro student HIFI players.

The above explanation is aimed at the Chinese market. It is different from foreign markets. According to our more than ten years of sales experience, the consumption capacity of HIFI products of Chinese is far more than that of foreign fans. Therefore, for markets such as Russia, India, and even the United States, MP3s with good sound quality yet affordable prize actually have a large market.

Therefore, we set up a project to develop the M3 at the end of 2014, and also did some researches on this market. Finally, we decided that the design goals of this product would be these.

1) Having a good sound. Although the M3 is not so expensive, it is still different from those ordinary cheap MP3s. Because it has featured with an SoC plus an independent DAC architecture.

2) The battery life needs to be as long as possible. This is to consider users like students. If the battery life is unsatisfying, it would bring bad experience to users.

3) The SoC chip is from Actions Technology. Generally speaking, MP3 players with the chip of Actions or Rockchip will choose the ready-made UI or just make some little modifies. However, we have designed a brand new UI interaction and visual system from scratch.

4) Considered the target users, the style design should be as concise and stylish as possible.

In addition, the M3 was FiiO's only player coming with an included earbuds in FiiO history. We specially designed an open earbuds for it. Because it was popular for its good sound quality, we later made some improvements and sold it independently. Enthusiasts loved it so much and many of them kept several of it. This was our open earbuds, EM3.

The emergence of the M3 reflects FiiO's principle of being close and sincere to users. From a commercial point of view, for low-priced products, such as the M3, D03K, EM3, K1, i1, because the profit is too low, and the R & D investment cannot be reduced too much, the economic benefits would stay at a relatively low level. From another point of view, we have walked more and more people through these products on FiiO brand and our HiFi products, cultivating them as our loyal users.

I figure that this should be the most valuable reward for products like the M3 that would bring to us FiiOers.







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Post time 2020-7-6 01:45:30 |Show all posts |
Everything is true in what you say, however, one question remains; why on a device of this quality is there not a parametric equalizer. You know that every headset needs corrections. Here is a subject on which you should discuss and integrate in the next updates
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Post time 6 Day Before |Show all posts |
Chapter Six: A1

We have finished all the products in 2015. Today we are going to embark on a new journey. Let's move to the product story in 2016.

The A1 is a mini portable headphone amplifier. When it comes to the ancestors of it, we could not miss FiiO's first headphone amplifier, E3. In fact, it should be traced back to the time sequence of E3-E5-E6-A1. The reason why we did not continue the name with the first letter as E is because it caused name puzzles when more and more products of the E series were born.

Like the E3, E5 and E6, the A1 is a headphone amplifier excluding the decoding function. It is compact, with EQ and a removable transparent back clip. It seems that the E3, E5, E6 and A1 are very simple products, but they all well meet the needs of foreign users who use mobile phones and MP3 with some high-impedance yet low-sensitivity headphones. They can effectively increase the driven capacity, and also help to improve the sound quality. Therefore, in overseas markets such as Europe, America, Japan, they are very popular with users including audiophiles. It is roughly estimated that the global sales of these several models were in a total of millions.

However, the Chinese market is different. Those ordinary users were not interested in such products, while audiophiles prefer better and more expensive products. This is actually an interesting phenomenon.





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