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What Is The Pitch?
The Q1 Mark II is one of the cornerstone products released by FiiO in the summer of 2017 under their branding moniker, “Infinity Sound”. There are a few talking points behind that phrase but the biggest highlight is the adoption of a balanced output or in the case of their IEMs, the inclusion of a balanced cable.
Offering a balanced output under $100 opens up a whole new marketing pitch and, if done correctly, a higher level of performance from source or IEM. The Q1 Mark II balanced output is not just a cheap split design either with the same amplification setup as the X7 Mark II AM3a module which I really dig for its IEM handling and musical signature.
The FiiO Q1 Mark II is a very good performer in its class, just like most of FiiO’s offerings. It has a flat sound with very good mids for the price and has good technical abilities as well. But I want to highlight the progression since . The new Q1 is the better sounding DAC/Amp in every way, and it’s a nice step up from “meh” to “very good”.
However, there’s also a surprising downgrade but let’s not spoil that and take a closer look at the new Q1’s sound.
( Image Credit: Headfonia)
The bass department is not dominant and it’s quite laid back at times, reproducing a tight and linear kick. It’s neither very punchy nor rumbling, but it’s quite clean and actually very suitable for bass heavy IEMs to balance out overpowering lows.
In terms of getting deep and decay it’s of course not the best out there, but I would say decay is very good for the price. For deepness? It doesn’t reach too low so it’s not amazing in that regard, but still pleasing for only $99.
Pairing with a headphone/IEM which has good amount of bass would be the best choice in my opinion. Because the Q1 chooses to be careful and considerate with its lows, you’ get a very good control at low frequencies at all times. That makes it a good companion for bassier equipment. Midbass especially is under control, therefore it’s nice to hear those instruments and vocals shine, without an annoying hump from the lows.
That becomes very blatant when you compare it to the original Q1 to Mark II in terms of bass. Q1 Mark I is messy in terms of lows, not controlled and in line like the Mark II, and of course that affects the other parts of the spectrum. Mark II is a definite upgrade concerning bass quality.
Yet, I don’t recommend you to turn on the bass switch. That simply disturbs the Q1’s qualitative bass response and replaces it with a wild, boomy bass. Maybe you could find it useful in extreme situations, such as extremely flat sounding headphones but other than that, I simply recommend to leave that switch off.
BUILD AND DESIGN
The Q1MkII employs a digitally-stepped volume adjustment which is supposed to mitigate problems of channel imbalance. Though I am unable to confirm if this it actually works on paper, I can tell you that there is no audible channel imbalance.
Also, when you turn the volume up or down when the music is playing, you can actually hear very soft “clicking” sounds (maybe about 10 to 15 dB) due to the digital volume adjustment at work. There will be no “clicking” sounds when you are not turning the volume knob. Just something to take note of.
Nonetheless, the volume knob is very solid and the motion is very smooth, though it feels slightly weighted.
The high gain switch on the Q1MkII does not give a very big volume increase from the low gain in my experience. However, the low gain is already decently powerful. Fiio’s website did state that the delta of the volume between low and high gain is 5.7 dB for 3.5 mm out and 5.9 dB for 2.5 mm Balanced out.
One thing worth mentioning is that the Amp is reasonably clean of background noise, even on high gain. When turning the pot up to the max, I did not notice much (or any) background noise or amplifier hiss.
To put things into perspective, the Fiio A3 will start to display a little bit of background noise when the pot is turned up to an 8 or 9, even on low gain. (Sidetrack) In its defense, the A3’s noise is only really noticeable when no music is being played or on parts of the track where volumes are low.
The bass boost function on the Q1MkII is a real question of hit or miss. Polar opposites. On bassy, or just moderately bassy headphones or IEMs, you might wanna turn this “fun switch” off as does hit you will a substantial amount of mid + sub-bass. Six decibels, according to Fiio, is how much more bass you would get. That is substantial.
This bass boost extends all the way from 20Hz to 100Hz, before gradually falling off. However, 125 Hz to 250 Hz is the range where vocals get their body. This means that by adding this addition bass, you could potentially over thicken/muddy the vocals. I personally keep the bass boost off unless I really want that extra kick.
With the bass boost off, the bass might not be weighty or impactful enough for some. However, this bass is polite and decays fast, so I am perfectly fine with it.
Build and features
The Q1 Mark II is an iPhone-focused portable DAC (though it will work with Android as well) that’s priced to be your entry-level access to better sound.
It’s iPhone-focused because in the box is a MicroUSB-to-Lightning connection, which connects the Q1 Mark II to your smartphone. This is a nice touch, as it means you don’t need to use Apple’s convoluted Camera Connection Kit.
A USB Type-A to MicroUSB will still work, for use with a computer or an phone, but FiiO says because the USB output of Android phones is not standard (and could change due to different firmware versions) it can’t guarantee the DAC will work normally with all devices.
Approximately the size of a playing card deck, and weighing just 100g, the Q1 Mark II has improved on the Mark I’s design. Gone is the hip-flask motif, with volume dial in place of lid.
The dial has been moved to the right side, giving space on the left for the conventional 3.5mm and 2.5mm balanced headphone 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 headphone sensitivity), one for increasing the bass.
The Q1 Mark II feels great to hold, but the large volume knob means that you can’t use it while the FiiO is lying on a surface – the dial makes contact with the surface. A millimetre or two off the dial would have avoided this, and it’s disappointing that Fiio hasn’t made it so.
Inside the Q1 Mark II is a AK4452 DAC chip, which is capable of supporting files up to 32bit/384kHz and DSD256. iOS devices don’t natively support DSD (you’ll need to use third-party apps to 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 smartphone, this Fiio’s approach will ensure that you’re not compromising your phone’s battery – all you have to do is remember to charge it through its MicroUSB connection.
The unit has both balanced and unbalanced headphone output per above. Alas, my balanced test fixture only has XLR (damn these guys for not standardizing on one connector) so I could not test that port.
Let’s get into the measurements and see how she does.
Let’s start with our usual dashboard in high-gain mode:
( Image Credit: Audiosciencereview ）
Ah, just 1.5 volt output at max volume in high gain. That is well shy of 2.0 volt I like to see in RCA output of the DACs. For headphone amps I like to see even higher output. So the output power will be anemic as you will see.
SINAD (signal above power of distortion and noise) is decent at 90 dB although far shy of 104 db of .
The FiiO Q1 Mark II gives you a lot of bang for your buck. You’re getting the same amplifier chip as the one used in the expensive, X7 Mark II. And the functionality of the Q1 greatly supersedes that of the Dragonfly Black. It allows for a balanced input, as well as line in/line out.
This is especially important if you want to use your Q1 as a pure DAC when connecting to an external amp. It also has a gain and bass boost switch.
The Q1 Mark II has a higher sampling rate (384 kHz/32 bit) than the Dragonfly Black (96kHz/24 bit). FiiO Q1 Mark II supports the DSD format, while the Dragonfly Black doesn’t. But you can still get High Res files at 96kHz/24bit, so don’t let this stop you from considering the Dragonfly black. A handy feature on the Dragonfly Black is that it glows colors representing playback rates.
Although the FiiO Q1 Mark II is designed specifically for the iPhone, it should work on most Android phones.
But the problem that arises with many Androids is that the FiiO can’t distinguish between the Android mobile device and a computer.
As a result, it often drains the phone, thinking that it’s charging on a computer. Dragonfly Black has been tested to work with both, Apple and Android devices. However, as previously mentioned, the Dragonfly requires a camera adapter, which will set you back another $30. So, really, it’s a $130 price tag.
Design and Build
The Q1 Mark 2 weighs in at about 101g, similar in weight as its predecessor. With dimensions measuring 99mm (L) x 59mm (W) x 12.5mm (H) compared to its predecessor which measures at 97mm(L) x 56mm (W) x 13.1mm (H), the company has redesigned the Q1. The use of aluminium casing is probably the only similarity you will find between the two. Do note though the front and rear panels are made of plastic.
The design of the Q1 Mark 2 is simplicity at its best; anodized sandblasted solid matte black finish to the outer shell, rounded edges, slim profile and a stylish volume knob completes a device which not look out of place beside any modern device.
The form factor and anodized sandblasted finish also cater for better handling and stacking, while FiiO has also claimed the aluminium casing protects the circuitry from EMI generated by smartphones which can interfere with audio quality when in use.
The volume knob which also doubles up as a power switch is moved to the right of the front panel, with the left featuring the single-ended 3.5mm and the balanced 2.5mm headphone outputs followed by the 3.5mm multi-functional connector.
There are also 2 LED indicators on the front panel; a longish blue one to the left of the volume knob denoting power-on status and around green one further left to light up if DSD decoding is active.
The Q1 MKII requires users to download a driver before first use though those who have used other Fiio DACs/DAPs will be able to plug and play. And when paired with a smartphone over USB OTG, the Q1 MKII instantly connects, I didn’t find it to be nearly as picky as prior Fiio DAC’s perhaps due to some power consumption adjustments.
The Q1 MKII also has an in-built MFI certified camera connection kit of sorts like the Oppo HA-2 that makes it ideal to pair with Apple devices. Fiio are kind to include a lightning to micro-usb cable out of the box though android phone users will have to purchase a separate cable/adapter. When stacked with my smartphone, the Q1 MKII produced no EMI noise.
(Image Credit: Everydaylistening ）
Despite the Q1 MKII’s slightly larger battery capacity (1800 vs 1400mah), the original model actually finds better longevity by a fair margin. The Q1 MKII manages a passable but not outstanding 10 hrs of playback time or 20 hrs as an amplifier only.
This contrasts to the 30 hrs of battery life provided by the original model. In use, the Q1 MKII does handily exceed Fiio’s rating but I wasn’t able to squeeze more than 12 hrs of life when used as a DAC/AMP at low-medium volumes.
Luckily, the Q1 MKII charges quickly and runs off the USB port when connected to a computer. And while the Q1 MKII lacks a switch to enable/disable charge over USB, the Q1 MKII didn’t suck power from my HTC but rather ran on its internal battery, something that bothered on the .
The Q1 MKII also has some other handy features that make it an excellent choice for sensitive iems.
Chiefly, it makes use of digital compensation to provide better channel balance at lower volumes as opposed to other amps with a traditional analogue volume pot.
As a low volume listener, I did appreciate the added control, my Oppo HA-2 was barely usable at lower volumes due to channel imbalance. The pot is also very fine grained but its 45 degree angled ridging and spot on resistance mitigate accidental pocket volume changes.
（Wbo doesn’t know Z-review）
(Have questions, you can try to leave a comment in this video, Porta.fi is very active in replying the comments)
( From a Android User’s opinion, By )
( Unboxing review by Bad Guy Good Audio reviews)
( Best Amp Dac Under $100?)
（ Lacking Juice? By Home Staduio Basics）
( The Fiio Q1 mark to is trying to make your music and headphones sound the best they can.
But for only $100. Will it be enough?)
（Suprapiexl from, Argentina,900K followers, Spanish ）
( Russian by Porta.fi)
Bahasa Indonesia Review
（ Bahasa Indonesia）
Do you think, this could be useful for my combo qc 35 cayin n3power is just enough, now, but could it bring more quality to the sound?
No, it won’t add any more quality. Bose QC has it’s own internal amp and doesn’t benefit much from DACs and amps
Hi friend. I have an xduoo x3 is this Fioo device better than my Dap?. In general are portables Dac/Amp better than a Dap?.
Yes, Q1 Mk 2 is better then xDuoo X3 (especially on treble), it’s not “night and day” difference, but it’s anyway present. As for difference “in general” — it depends on particular devices. usually, same priced DAC/amp sounds better then DAP, but there can be exceptions.
Can it work as a dacamp while it is charging , atleast on a laptop?
Can the q1 mark ii work as a true balanced line out to connect to a balanced headphone amplifier such as the sap 9? or would it be considered double amping?
no, balanced out here is headphones out, so there will be “double amping”, but I think you could anyway try it for external amp connection (but carefully, starting from lowest volume)
Can you lock the volume so it doesn’t change in your pocket?
No, you can’t but potentiometer is pretty tight, so it’s really unlikely you’ll rotate it in pocket
I’m going to buy a Sennheiser HD 600, does it work well with them?
Nope, HD600 is 300Ω headphones, so they require more amplification
This or fiio a5? Which one sounds better?
it totally depends on your source. A5 is a pure amplifier, and Q1 Mk2 is DAC/amp, so signal processing will be pretty differentif your source has good D/A converter, then A5 will give better results, otherwise, Q1 Mk2 will be a winner
I have a sennheiser hd598se(50 ohm) & iphone 6s. Will the q1 mk2 work properly with my headphones?
yes, it will work properly, and sound will be pretty OK, but more powerful desktop amp will drive them better of course
what’s the sound difference between gen1 vs gen2?
Q1 mk 1 is more bassy and less resolving, so Q1 Mk2 is noticeable step forward in terms of sound
Is it good with x5 3rd?
It has no sense with X5-3rd, as X5-3 is better in terms of sound
Gonna get the X3 3rd Gen. Will pairing with the Q1 2nd gen improve audio?
no, it won’t improve sound, it can give you a bit different signature, but “level” will be about the same
Above FAQ Source
Powerful enough to drive 50 ohm cans in unbalanced mode? to maybe somewhere around 100 dB or nah?
100 dB… closed back? that would be close just going off my brain. In high gain mode you would be close.
How about the battery life? is it good?can i use it 12hr?
12hr? No maybe 9 though
This puppy will power up the HD 650/6XX well?
Yes. Not a lot of extra power but it will drive them just going by specs
Q1 mark ii vs e10k what’s your pick. Which of these DAC/amp has better sound quality?
Q1 mark ii
Do music streaming services work with your Note 4 using the Q1 Mark II?
Spotify does but kinda low quality of free version. Not sure if full version sounds any better
Above FAQ Source