Compendium updated February 11th, 2021
Over the years, FiiO has steadily climbed the ladder of quality from entry-level to mid-fi to, finally, with the M15, summit-fi. With dual flagship AKM DAC chips, a 2Ghz hexacore processor, MQA decoding, and much more, the M15 does more with its 142 cubic inches than most dedicated desktop DAC/amps.
We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in.
From Audio Science Review's review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on January 14th, 2021:
"For testing, I used a USB jack and put the unit in USB DAC mode. This allowed me to run my full suite of DAC and headphone amp tests. So let's start with the former, using the unbalanced headphone out:
"This puts the performance is very good category:
"Balanced performance was a bit worse:
"The Fiio M15 targets desktop class performance and it almost gets there. In absolute there, i.e. SINAD and Dynamic Range, it is there already. But there is a mid-level distortion that is unfortunate.
"Overall, the Fiio M15 manages to best just about any dongle or phone you would use instead of it and handily so. So I am going to put it on my Recommended list."
From Z Reviews' review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on February 20th, 2020:
“[Other than Android 7], everything else is fucking great.”
“This sounds better than everything that FiiO makes including the BTR5.”
From Headfonics' review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on May 27th, 2020:
“The FiiO M15 has a lot for going for it, and when I say a lot, I mean almost everything you could want in a modern portable audio player.
“The additional power output capacity makes this one of the first Android DAPs that I can truly feel comfortable pairing with some decent full-sized headphones. And yet, its noise levels are very low indeed to work just fine with sensitive monitors.
“The M15 covers a very wide range of headgear indeed, one of the widest on the market today. When you consider it houses all of the most popular jack formats it really does offer one of the best ‘plug and go’ experiences out there.
“Nothing is perfect, no DAP is. I would love to have seen an Oreo bit-perfect framework implementation for all apps and MQA 8X decoding beyond the FiiO Music player. Bluetooth 5.0 would have been ideal also. A proper screen protector and included leather case would be very useful for protection from day to day use.
“Slowly, but surely, however FiiO seems to be knocking down my issues with newly released firmware. Google Play is there and that is a big plus. The incredible speed from the M11 remains so it is the fastest DAPs in the market also.
“All that remains is the sound. You will have your preferences. It won’t convert Cayin house sound fans, it just doesn’t do that ‘tube-like analog sound’ at all. This is a neutral to natural sound with a whisper of treble brilliance, an exposition on detail where articulation is key. This is a reference sound that, to date, is about as mature as it gets for FiiO.”
From What HiFi's review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on June 12th, 2020:
“The FiiO M15 isn’t the perfect all-rounder, yet it comes close – only a slight lack of get up and go prevents it from getting a fifth star. It is appealing to listen to, use and look at, and further benefits from extra networked features. For anyone who values crystal clear sound above all else, the M15 deserves to make your shortlist at least.”
From Headfonia's review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on February 20th, 2020:
“The FiiO M15 is good, if not excellent. Yet, compared to the M11 Pro that we previously reviewed, the difference isn’t as wide as I’d expect it to be.
“Don’t get me wrong, the sound stage is great, power is deafening and you get that crisp, breath-taking precision once paired with an end-game headphone/earphones. But, I wanted more. Maybe not an SP2000 killer, but at least something that would replace my M11 Pro.
“If you have big cans, such as the Sennheiser HD800S or an Audeze, the FiiO M15 will be astounding. It’s been quite some times that I heard a DAP this powerful while keeping so much dynamic range, whatever the genre and the track.
“For IEMs and less-demanding headphones, check out the M11 Pro though or the Shanling M6. Those are less expensive options and, to be honest, I had as much fun listening to them as with the M15. So yeah, it’s the most polished player FiiO ever made, but for me, it lacks that subtle magic I found in their lower-tier products, such as the K3 and M6. Maybe the M15 Pro?”
From Audiosolace's review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on September 4th, 2020:
“The FiiO M15 represents the most complete and well-rounded digital audio player that the Chinese audio giant have ever created. It is clear to see a lot of thought, structural design and passion has gone into the flagship DAP. To this extent, it is a stand-out performer with an impressive battery profile, versatility, streaming capabilities and most importantly – a top tier reference sound. No doubt the M15 will take a seat in our best DAPs of 2020 list and I am sure it will earn many awards as the M11 Pro did before it. Improvements to note could be the inclusion of Bluetooth 5.0 as well as certain software optimizations (particularly volume dB displayed as opposed to volume bar graphics) and a ‘search bar integration’ in menu. The form factor may not appeal to everyone either as the M15 is relatively wieldy at 310g and prone to slippage – I suspect the inclusion of a protective case would have obviated this issue. Nevertheless, the M15 is a stallion DAP which accomplishes a lot given its price and hence highly worthy of an Audiosolace recommendation.”
From Home Theater and High Fidelity's review of the FiiO M15 Portable Music Player, first published on October 5th, 2020:
“I love the M15 player. It plays every imaginable format, and it has enough power to sparkle with hard to drive headphones. No matter what I threw at the M15, it played it without adding anything to the music that I could detect. In truth, the M15 audio quality matched the much cheaper Astell & Kern SR25, but the better amplifier in the M15 made it a winner with inefficient headphones. I liked the bigger, high-quality screen, and I also liked being able to turn off the Android OS and listen to the M15 in a ‘pure’ audio mode that was designed only for the playback of music.”
Editor’s note: Emphases ours.