FiiO Q11 is very suitable for friends who have a limited budget and want to pursue the ultimate sound experience. It is believed that this kind of portable headphone amplifier with high reducibility of sound will become the most cost-effective existence among FiiO products.
FiiO Q11 specs and features:
- High-performance CS43198 DAC
- Supports 384kHz/32bit PCM/DSD256
- 650mW output power under balanced out
- 3.5 and 4.4mm headphone outputs
- 13 hours of battrey life
- $84 – Check latest price on AliExpress, Amazon US, Amazon Germany or other Amazon countries
In terms of design, the highlight of FiiO Q11 is its small size and delicate feel. The front uses black glass to cover the core part of the body, and the middle area is called “ambient light”. When in use, it will appear blue, yellow and green according to the different bit rates of the audio source. In addition, Q11 adds UAC1.0 support through firmware update. This means that the FiiO Q11’s USB port can support more devices – such as PS5 and Switch.
In terms of configuration, FiiO Q11 uses the design of CS43198+ dual post-stage operational amplifier circuit, the signal-to-noise ratio reaches 125dB, and the T+N is as high as 0.0006%. Supports up to 32bit/384kHz PCM & 256DSD decoding capability – you can understand that it basically unlocks the highest bit rate of Apple Music and Sony non-DSD files. The 2600mA battery also make it last up to 13 hours. CS43198 is the flagship chip of CirrusLogic, and its sound features are transparency and delicateness.
The body shell is made of aluminum-magnesium alloy, which enhances the anti-interference ability when it is bundled. FiiO Q11 also supports FiiO Control APP for device control, which can adjust digital filters and sound effects, etc.
The top of the body is the potentiometer/power supply, two-level gain switch, 3.5mm single-end/4.4mm balanced output port. The bottom is the USB-C data/charging port and indicator light.
FiiO Q11 can reach 650mw output power (balanced out), which is several times of the top “small tail”. I tested the Philips SHP9500 and Audio-technica W1000 with no problems at all. Both SHP9500 and W1000 can achieve their original sound style, and there will be no obvious distortion when the volume is turned up.
I also tested the Sony MDR-Z7M2, and the Q11 can easily drive its soundstage as well. The sound of FiiO Q11 is relatively delicate, which is different from many entry-level players and DIY amps. The sound of the latter two is rougher, while FiiO Q11 is more like the sound style of the mid-low music players. Neutral, delicate, and vivid tones – it can be said that Q11 can make all mobile phone users feel the improvement of sound quality after use.
In terms of headphones matching, because the thrust is strong enough, FiiO FH9 and Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote 2 show their own sound features on FiiO Q11. For example, FiiO FH9’s clear sound lines, flexible low-frequency and vocal details, etc.
Pairing it with Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote 2 can improve the low-frequency layering of the headphone when used with a mobile phone. FiiO Q11 keeps a high level of sound reproduction, and has an additional bonus to the density of mid-frequency sounds – it is a portable decoding amp that is very suitable for listen to pop, folk and voices.
I also use FiiO Q11 with Sony NW-ZX505, which can improve the problem of insufficient output power of NW-ZX505, and can further improve the resolution of the player. I have also used it with FiiO M11S or M11 Plus, and I feel that Q11 is very compatible with Android devices. At the same time, Q11 also presents a Lightning-to-C cable, I feel that iOS users should be very happy.
Because the functions of FiiO Q11 are relatively single, the value provided is all in sound quality and design. At the same time, the attached 4.4mm balanced port has declared to everyone that this is a professional audio device. Compared with “small tail” products, Q11 has an absolute sound quality advantage – it’s just that not everyone likes the bundled gameplay. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, I think FiiO Q11 is very suitable for friends who have a limited budget and want to pursue the ultimate sound experience.