FiiO is an exciting portable audio manufacturer that makes a range of popular small headphone amplifiers, DACs and DAPs. They have always been dominant in this category of compact and extremely good value products.
"Getting a reasonable quality D/A converter and headphone amplifier can make a surprisingly massive difference to the sound quality of a reasonable pair of headphones"
The Q1 Mk2 is a small portable headphone amp and digital to analogue converter. This means that (apart from selecting the song) it takes over all audio processing duties from the player, converting the song's digital 1s and 0s into a clean analogue waves that are then amplified to power your headphones.
This process can be done very badly (like in cheap smart phones and laptops) or very well (like in McIntosh's flagship D/A converters)
Getting a reasonable quality D/A converter and headphone amplifier can make a surprisingly massive difference to the sound quality of a reasonable pair of headphones, bringing new life to your existing headphones, or getting the most out of a new pair.
Bring in the FiiO Q1 Mk.II...
Unpacking the Q1 Mk. II is quite pleasant for such an inexpensive product. The FiiO looks the part, and seems like it would fit right in next to a flagship smartphone and a pair of high end headphones.
It comes well-accessorised, with cables for connecting to Lightning iOS devices, PCs and headphone jack outputs (you will need a separate USB OTG cable for use with Android Devices). It also includes a surprisingly nice carry case and little rubber straps for attaching it to your device.
It supports just about every current format under the sun, so those of you with high-resolution tracks can rest assured this will work (if you're unsure, you can check FiiO's website).
When listening with Audio-Technica's MSR7 headphones and comparing directly against an iPad Mini 4's built-in sound output - it's not even close. The FiiO gives the headphones a lot more detail, clarity, oomph and space. The output from the iPad isn't bad, but simply adding even this basic DAC / headphone amp transforms the MSR7s.
This is a must listen for anyone who wants to see if a headphone amp is worth investigating.
Pop into one of our stores with your headphones, and try the Q1 Mk. II for yourself.