Fiio q1 mark ii apple mfi certified dac & amp


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

ByWhat Hi-Fi?03 April 2018


The quận 1 Mark II is an iPhone-focused portable DAC (though it will work with Android as well) that’s priced lớn be your entry-màn chơi access lớn 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 to your điện thoại thông minh. This is a nice touch, as it means you don’t need to lớn use Apple’s convoluted Camera Connection Kit.

A USB Type-A lớn 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 size of a playing card deông chồng, và weighing just 100g, the Q1 Mark II has improved on the Mark I’s thiết kế. Gone is the hip-flask motif, with volume dial in place of lid.

The dial has been moved khổng lồ the right side, giving space on the left for the conventional 3.5mm & 2.5milimet balanced tai nghe 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 quận 1 Mark II feels great khổng lồ hold, but the large volume knob means that you can’t use it while the FiiO is lying on a surface - the dial makes tương tác 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 Q1 Mark II is a AK4452 DAC chip, which is capable of supporting files up lớn 32bit/384kHz và DSD256. iOS devices don’t natively tư vấn DSD (you’ll need to lớn use third-tiệc nhỏ apps khổng lồ play those files) but it’s good to know the functionality is there.

Rather than take power from your smartphone, 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 điện thoại thông minh, this Fiio’s approach will ensure that you’re not compromising your phone’s battery – all you have sầu lớn do is rethành viên lớn charge it through its MicroUSB connection.

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We charge it up and let it loose on both iPhones & MacBooks - & we discover the Q1 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.

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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.

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

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

Swapping khổng lồ The nguồn of Love by Huey Lewis & The News, the Q.1 Mark II demonstrates an acceptable amount of dynamism when it comes lớn conveying the striking power chords và the way Lewis’s potent vocals rapidly punch in.

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

However, compare it to lớn the smaller Cyrus soundKey – our award-winner at £100 – và the Q1 Mark II is decidedly put in its place. The way Lewis delivers his lyrics as the track vaults through your headphones is much more obvious và 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 greatest understanding of space or organisation.

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

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

A surer sense of timing, a greater sense of dynamism và a better defined & organised handling of instruments. These are the major areas the Q1 Mark II needs to address before it has a hope of dethroning our current Award-winner.

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The FiiO quận 1 Mark II is a piece of kit that spreads itself a little too thin. While there is definitely a place for its bigger body toàn thân, 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 and could easily see the Q1 Mark II carving out a nice little nibịt for the discerning iPhone user. Right now, however, we can’t quite see its place.