You’d be forgiven in thinking that having released their most ambitious and daring DAP to date FiiO would take some time off to relax and bathe in their successes. Unfortunately you’d be completely wrong as this is a company that thrives on productivity; FiiO is never happier than when developing a product. So with that in mind (and after the successful releases of the K1, M3 and X7) we here at the AV Shop have put together this little list to show the products we’re most excited about seeing this coming year.
1. The K5 Desktop Amplifier and Dock
The E09 series of docking amplifiers pre-date FiiO’s subsequent diversification into DAPs and so were never designed with that eventuality in mind. This meant that the brilliant idea of accessing the DAC from a separate FiiO device while using the E09’s far more powerful amplifier section were never fully realised. In fact, the only compatible product at the time was the E07 before an enhanced E09K added docking capability with the E17 and E07K. Now FiiO have come back to that design, giving it a beautiful aluminium aesthetic and adding full compatibility for the E17K, X1, X3II, X5II and X7. Different unit combinations will yield different result but I, for one, can’t wait to experiment with them all!
2. The Q5 Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier
One of the biggest selling points of the FiiO X7, beyond the Android interface, is its interchangeable amplifier section. Far from being a gimmick, these modules are actually part of a a long term strategy to make the FiiO brand more personalisable across the product range. After the X7 the second product to use them will be the Q5 which is set to replace the E18 as FiiO’s flagship DAC. Personally I’m really excited in seeing how the modules will interact with the dual DAC FiiO are planning to implement with it. This should provide bit perfect resolution with the trusted sound presentation of the modules. Speaking of which…
3. Extra Amplifier Modules for the X7
This is what most of us want to see; just how much will the sound of the X7 change when using the new modules. Actually, I’m more interested in seeing what third party developers get up to now that FiiO have convened a competition for new module designs. We could actually be on the cusp of a really interesting cross-developing modding culture that can only benefit the sound provided by FiiO’s top class products. At the very least it will get some of the naysayers off FiiO’s back and help cater to the wider audiophile community.
4. The A1 Portable Headphone Amplifier
The little E06 amplifier is hands down one of FiiO biggest successes. In fact, it was the first FiiO product I ever got to play around with and, even though I left it behind for the E11K, it still makes me happy thinking about the huge sound difference it made. Now that it is being discontinued I have equally high hopes for its successor, the A1 (which is not to be confused with the previous A1 Desktop Amplifier). In true FiiO fashion this tiny unit takes all that was great about the E06 and increases it with higher output power, better SNR and a considerably more attractive aluminium-style casing. Also if we follow FiiO’s track record then it’s likely this will share the same price as the E06, making it the go to amp for beginner audiophiles.
5. The FiiO A5 Headphone Amplifier and Q3 DAC
These truly are mysterious. Not only are they the logical conclusion if you follow the new naming convention (we have A1, A3 and…), they were also included as empty boxes in an official FiiO product family tree last year. As these will be set to replace the E12 and E17K respectively then who knows what FiiO has planned. We can probably guess that it is likely the Q3 will feature compatibility with the much lauded amplifier modules, much as the Q5 will, as it would make financial sense to focus on DAC implementation away from the amplification stage. As for the A5, well that’s anyone’s guess.
There is so much to look forward to this coming year from FiiO and no doubt so many more announcements to occur. Be sure to follow the AV Shop on Twitter and on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss a moment of this awesome journey!