A reference when it comes to digital audio players, the Chinese manufacturer FiiO has just announced crucial updates for its FiiO M6, M7 and M9 Bluetooth DAPs. Considered to be the most important updates for the FiiO X series ever, they considerably improve the DAPs’ software and hardware performances.
The FiiO M6, M7 and M9 DAPs’ key asset is high resolution, lossless Bluetooth transmission, ensured by their compatibility with all Bluetooth codecs, from the basic SBC to aptX HD. This firmware update provides support for the LDAC codec, which allows wireless music streaming up to 24 bits and 96 kHz. This new codec is automatically activated when an LDAC compatible Bluetooth transmitter is connected.
Up until now, listening to DSD files meant there was a short loading period between each track. Now, these three DAPs can play music in DSD format seamlessly (gapless playback). As a reminder, the FiiO M7 can handle DSD256 audio stream up to 11.2 Mhz, whereas the FiiO M6 and M9 are limited to DSD64 and DSD128. Another new function allows DSD files to be split into multiple tracks. Those who enjoy listening to recordings of live shows know just how important it is to separate the different tracks so that you don’t spend hours searching for a particular song in one file.
Another new feature, the FiiO M7 DAP is now compatible with FiiO Link. FiiO Link allows the device to be controlled remotely to change the track, set the volume, display lyrics, and so on. Already available on the M6 and M9, it is now optimized so that the DAP remains connected after the function has been activated.
The FiiO M6, M7 and M9 digital audio players run a modified version of Android so that audio streams are directly transferred to the DAC, without any digital modification. Therefore, the DAPs don’t have access to the Google Play Store to download other applications. That said, the brand has included a list of music apps including Tidal, Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer and Roon. For the FiiO M6 and FiiO M9, this list has just been extended with Amazon Music, Radio World, SoundCloud and TuneIn Radio. It is now also a lot easier to install apps, with APK files being transferred via WiFi from a smartphone or computer thanks to the “WiFi Music Transfer” function. Tidal has also been updated to the 126.96.36.1993.1 version in order to handle HD MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) audio files.
Lastly, the new firmware versions provide various rendering enhancements, notably an improvement to the album artwork display. If you choose the “Deep Black” theme for the FiiO Music app, after the update you will need to select the “Simplicity White” theme, then change back to “Deep Black” in order for the modifications to be applied. A few minor playlist bugs have been fixed to correct the order of tracks in the “Recently Added” playlist, and to stop the display location of playlists being changed when tracks are deleted.
How to update your DAP
The FiiO M6 and FiiO M9 DAPs are very easy to update and display a notification in the notification center – if the device is connected to the Internet – when the new update is available. Then all you have to do is click on the notification to access the settings and start the update.
As the FiiO M7 doesn’t have an integrated WiFi module, the procedure is slightly different and requires a computer. Firstly, you need to download the firmware file from FiiO’s website, copy it onto a micro SD card before inserting the card into the slot on the DAP. Next, in the M7’s “Technical Support” app, click on “Firmware update”, then select the previously downloaded file. This procedure is the same for the FiiO M6 and FiiO M9 if they aren’t connected to the Internet. Here are the links to the firmware downloads:
- Firmware version FW1.0.1 update for the FiiO M6
- Firmware version FW1.0.5 update for the FiiO M7
- Firmware version FW1.0.4 update for the FiiO M9
With this announcement, FiiO has also taken the opportunity to update the driver that allows FiiO devices to be used as USB DACs. It has now been upgraded to the 4.47.0 version.
Here is a recap of the different features improved and added via these updates:
- LDAC codec. This codec is automatically activated when a compatible device is connected;
- Gapless playback for DSD files;
- Support for splitting DSD files;
- Support for separating tracks from a CUE file;
- Support for transferring APK files with the “WiFi Music Transfer” function (you can transfer APK files to your DAP from a smartphone or computer);
- Improvement of the default artwork display (if you are currently using the “Deep Black” theme for FiiO Music, it’s recommended to change to the “Simplicity White” theme after the update, and then switch back to “Deep Black” for the modifications to be applied);
- Improvement of the FiiO Link function (now, the connection will be permanently functional after activation);
- The problem of the display location of a playlist changing after a track is deleted has been fixed.
- Tracks in the “Recently Added” playlist are now sorted by the date they are added.
- The following apps have been added the the M6 and M9’s whitelist: Amazon Music, Radio World, SoundCloud, TuneIn Radio;
- Tidal has been updated to the 188.8.131.523.1 version (with MQA compatibility);
- FiiO Link function for the M7.
The young Chinese brand renowned for the excellent price-performance ratio of their digital audio players and portable USB DACs is continually improving its devices with new updates. Remember to update your DAP now to take advantage of these new features.