Fiio Q1 MKII Review – Balance and Harmony

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Introduction –

Fiio have transcended a lot of other Chinese manufacturers not only through their wide range of products but also through their consistent performance. And while products like the X7 II may not epitomize frugality, a sense of value underpins every product. The original Q1 was my first dedicated source and one that marked an entry point into the hobby for many listeners. However, even considering its meagre price, it was not a device without its flaws and perhaps not one that is best suited towards modern uses.

With the very unfortunate loss of the headphone jack on many smartphones, Fiio’s affordable products are more pertinent now than ever. So, retaining the same $99 USD asking price, Fiio have produced a new Q1 that comes better equipped for smartphone use with a flatter, more compact form factor and wider file support. It also sports a 2.5mm TRRS output, providing a taste of balanced audio that, just a few years ago, was limited to sources costing several hundred dollars. Let’s see how the Q1 MKII performs in various use case scenarios.

 

 

Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Sunny from Fiio very much for her quick communication and for providing me with the Q1 MKII for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the DAC free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.

 

Accessories –

As with all newer Fiio products, the Q1 MKII is nicely packaged and well equipped with accessories. Fiio provide buyers with 2 pairs of smaller stacking bands and 2 pairs of larger bands, a micro usb charging cable

In-line with their newfound focus on smartphone use, Fiio provide buyers with a micro-b to lightning otg cable in addition to a short interconnect cable and silicone pad that prevents the Q1 MKII from scratching the back of your phont and vice versa.

Next Page: Design & Usage

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About Author

Avid writer, passionate photographer and full-time student, Ryan's audio origins and enduring interests lie within all aspects of portable audio. An ongoing desire to bring quality audio to the regular reader underpins his reviewer ethos as he seeks to bring a new perspective on the cutting edge and budget dredge alike.

17 Comments

  1. Colin on

    Hi, do you think this dac would work fine with Hifiman He400i? Thanks!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Colin, the Q1 MKII doesn’t have a huge amount of driving power and its smoother sound may not be the best match for the HE400i. If your current source is already relatively clean such as an iPhone, etc, then you can consider an amplifier, I feel it will provide a bigger difference in that scenario.

      • Colin on

        Thank you really much!

  2. Mitchings on

    When using the Q1 MKII in DAC-only mode with the line-out going to a separate amp (I’m using and original Cayin C5), does anyone else find it is still dependent on the volume control being turned right up and that both the bass boost and gain boost switches still effect it..?

    I haven’t had this happen with any prior DAC/AMPs being used in DAC-only mode, is this a quirk of a dual line-in/line-out connection or could it be an issue? I assumed that as long as it is turned on, it would provide a line-level signal that was unaffected by the amp controls; however, turned on but with the volume knob down there is no signal, it has to be turned right up to provide what sounds like an appropriate line-level level.

    It sounds good, but this just seems odd and I wanted to make sure I’m getting the full potential; and that there isn’t some sort of double-amping going on.

  3. Javier Alvidrez on

    Hey Ryan, have you paired the Q1 MKII with the iPod using any 64 audio IEMs? I’m planning on getting the U6 model and would like an idea of what to possibly expect… thanks!

    • Ryan Soo on

      Hi Javier,

      I feel the Q1 MKII offers a nice upgrade over iPods. It’s pretty well suited towards the U6, perhaps it will sound slightly smoother up top. The Fiio’s lower output impedance will surely help with a 6-driver IEM.

      Cheers,
      Ryan.

  4. Shimo on

    Hi Ryan,

    where can get the Q1 mark ii in silver? Is it even available yet? When will it be released?

    THanks
    Breg

    Simon

  5. Alsokung on

    Hi RYAN SOO,if i owned q1 marki should i upgrade to markii ?,i use with fiio a5

  6. Yon Yonson on

    Hi Ryan, nice review. I am currently using a CCK to a Q1 Mk. 1 and then through my Fiio E12 Mont Blanc for home use only to my Q701’s. I find the soundstage on the E12 really nice, despite the bulky setup – do you think i’d benefit from ditching these for an all in one Q1 Mk. 2? Should i wait for the Q5? Thanks!

    • Ryan Soo on

      The Q1 MKII has a nice soundstage and a clean sound. It’s form factor and price are its greatest assets, driving power is not, making it better suited for portable use with IEMs. If you want to replace your entire setup, I would recommend waiting for the Q5, the amp on the Q1 MKII is less powerful than that on the original yet alone the E12.

      • Yon Yonson on

        Many thanks for your helpful comments!

  7. om on

    compare fiio q1 mkii with fiio btr1

    • Ryan Soo on

      Will do!

      • om on

        thanks for quick reply
        😉

  8. Bryan on

    Hi, Ryan
    Have you come across the Topping Nx4, I would like to know what you think about it. It seems like a good product with way better drive power, and snr.
    Pls do review it whenever you get the opportunity.

    • Indrajit on

      Hi can you compare FiioQ1 markii with Cayin N3 considering only their sonic qualities. I mean to ask how the Cayin N3{3.5mm) without any external amping competes with FiioQ1(balanced) ?

      • Ryan Soo on

        Sorry, I haven’t tried the N3 or the Nx4, but will look into those models in the future.

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