Ever wonder how audio data from a MP3 or WAV files stop being data and become sound? Well, you can thank DAC technology. DAC or Digital-to-Analog Converter takes data and transforms it into an analog audio signal. Afterward, it sends that analog signal to an amplifier. When you hear digital recordings, you’re listening to an analog signal that was converted from digital by a DAC.
FiiO M5 is a lightweight weighing around 0.37 pounds, less than 2-inches all around, .5-inches in thickness and it fits nicely on the palm of your hand. It’s packed with a 1GHz Ingenic X100E single-core processor that is engineered to deliver a high-resolution audio experience to any listener. M5 can provide up to 13.5 hours of playback via Bluetooth, but I didn’t see myself listening to that much music. I rarely used the DAP feature on the FiiO M5 because everyone streams their music. Downloading MP3 or WAV files into a microSD card, which is how you can import audio files into the M5 is so old school.
Using and managing the FiiO M5 is very basic. The UI interface wasn’t responsive as times. It felt like a children’s tablet UI with basic icons. Navigating the M5 is with basic swipe left or right and touching 1.54” IPS touchscreen display, which has a curved tempered glass making it durable; yes, it is color and that’s nice, but not being responsive at times was ignoring to me. That’s why I kept it locked down and started using it as a USB DAC device.
The M5 can stream via Bluetooth, but I didn’t like this feature because I felt like the sound was being downgraded and the connection dropped between my iPhone at times. Another reason why I started to use the M5 as a USB DAC device. When using USB DAC the output support 384 kHz/32-bit and DSD128 quality, which is fine making a computer audio much louder when hooked up with a pair of good headphones.
If you’re into keeping count of your steps each day. The FiiO M5 does have a pedometer chip giving it the ability to keep track of your steps. It even comes with a transparent clip to strap it on your belt to keep track of your steps while you listen to music.
If you looking for a digital audio player and have $100 to spend I would recommend the FiiO M5, but who has the time to locate your favorite song, download the song, insert your microSD card into your computer, drag all the files into the card, eject the card and then insert it into the M5. That’s to much work. We’re to use to opening an app up, finding our song and then clicking on it to start listening. Now, if you are getting into the DAC world and don’t want to spend a lot of money but want to stick your toes into the cold water. I would say try out the FiiO M5 as your first USB DAC device. I was surprise on how clear the audio from the computer was when I used the M5. Plus, as an extra bonus it amplifies your audio to 100+.