FiiO M3 Pro
| Music Player | DAC | USB DAC | Touch Screen | DSD128 | OTG |
🎧 We are reviewing the FiiO M3 Pro, the newest music player from FiiO.
The FiiO M3 Pro has been launched as an entry-level DAP/DAC with premium components but extremely affordable price.
The M3 Pro comes as a direct evolution of the FiiO M3K and follows the recent releases from the brand, like the:
The price-tag of the FiiO M3 Pro might fool many people thinking that the music player might be a consumer-grade product, instead FiiO has packed some serious specs and specialized audio components inside this M3 Pro like an ESS Sabre ES9218P DAC chip, USB audio capability and native DSD.
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FiiO M3 Pro Review
Tests & Scores
The FiiO M3 Pro features include advanced features such as:
- USB DAC
- Native DSD
- MicroSD card reader
- Audio recording
- Gapless playback
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FiiO M3 Pro weight in Ounces and FiiO M3 Pro weight in grams.
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Accessories & Packaging
The FiiO M3 Pro unboxing results in a Type-C USB cable for USB DAC and 2 screen protectors.
The music player comes in a rectangular, black packaging with clean design and aesthetic resemblance to their high-class products (FiiO FH7, FiiO M11, etc.); while the unit is placed inside with a generous amount of protective foam.
The device has a rectangular form factor in a stylish, all-black metal case and an unibody design complemented by double-sided glass. Overall, the M3 Pro looks elegant and very clean with no flashy nor tacky details.
The right and left edges of the unit have a rounded shape that follows better the natural grip of a hand/fingers, instead of music players with fully-sharp edges.
The FiiO M3 Pro is a very small device with great “pocketability”, measuring just 10.4mm x 45.4mm x 95.8mm and weighting just 70 grams – around 3x FiiO M3 Pro’s can fit on the same space of a “phablet” smartphone.
Operation & Control
The FiiO M3 Pro has a 4 physical buttons and a touch sensitive screen – all the buttons are placed on the left edge of the device.
As expected with any modern touch-enabled music player, the FiiO M3 Pro can be fully controlled by touching and swiping through out the user interface.
The touch navigation is as intuitive as it gets with nearly zero learning curve to any user who owns a smartphone or tablet. Gestures control on the FiiO M3 Pro include: swipe to scroll/browse, swipe from the edge to go back, swipe from the top bar to access quick controls – a small house icon will appear on the top left section of the status bar when opening any app, this icon can be pressed to go straight back to the home screen (though might be hard to press in certain moments)
The 4 physical buttons can control the main music playback functions of the device and can be used, as well, while having it inside the pocket and/or with the screen off.
The buttons functions enable to:
(from top to bottom)
- Press and hold: Turn on/off
- Single press: Screen on/of
- Single press: Volume up by 1 step
- Press and hold (with screen on): Continuous volume up
- Press and hold (with screen off): Skip song
- Single press: Play/pause
- Single press: Volume down by 1 step
- Press and hold (with screen on): Continuous volume down
- Press and hold (with screen off): previous song
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Construction & Build
The FiiO M3 Pro looks and feels like a premium device, despite the low price-tag. The unit is fully built entirely in metal, with even the buttons sharing the same construction quality – in fact, this music player will greet owners with a reassuring weight feel when holding it (in spite of weighting less than 100 grams)
People owning flagship and high-tier FiiO DAP/DACs will be surprised to see that the FiiO M3 PRO is equally as rugged and feels as durable.
The M3 PRO is shipped with protective films already placed on both the front and rear of unit the screen to ensure a long lasting aesthetic look with no scratches after being abused.
The battery inside of the FiiO M3 Pro has a capacity of 1000mAh and a estimated battery life of >15 hours under average use – through our tests we were able to squeeze out the rated battery life when oftenly keeping the screen off and volume settings within average.
At 15 hours, the battery life of the FiiO M3 Pro stands among the modern standards of high-performing music players and even many flagship models.
The battery is charged through the USB Type-C connector placed on the bottom edge of the unit and can be fully charged in about 2 hours when using a charger capable of outputting 5V and 2A.
As we have mentioned before, the FiiO M3 Pro has touch-enabled screen, this screen is made of reinforced glass (no cheap plastic here), sports a resolution of 800×340 pixels in a 3.5″ diagonal size (3.46 inches, to be more precise).
The screen size might not sound too much in comparison to the huge screens of modern “full-sized” smartphones. Instead, the screen of the FiiO M3 Pro with it’s high pixel density offers an excellent balance of crispness, readability and amount of information per screen while keeping it’s footprint small and ultra-portable.
In fact, the screen of the FiiO M3 Pro is nearly two times bigger than the one of the FiiO M3K and can show 11 rows of text on a single screen and/or every main control, buttons and information on the music player app while showing the album cover at the same time.
The colors of the screen are vibrant with excellent contrast and saturation while the screen itself has no angle viewability limitations nor discoloring on steep viewing angles – the screen is capable of showing 26.2 million colors.
The screen can be manually set to 10 different brightness levels through the settings menu or by accessing the quick controls top bar – additionally, the screen timeout can be selected and the idle and sleep settings.
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The Ingenic X1000E processor combined with the ES9218P DAC chip of the FiiO M3 PRO allows it to handle and reproduce the following file formats:
- DSD: DSD128
- TXT for ebooks
- Main image formats for photos
The connectivity ports of the M3 Pro are distributed along the left edge and the bottom edge.
The left edge holds a microSD card reader that can support up to 2TB cards while the bottom edge has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right side and the USB Type-C connector on the middle.
The USB Type-C connector is not only a charging connector, it is actually a two-way USB port that also enables USB audio DAC functions.
The DAC connection is able of:
- USB: PCM 384kHz, 16bit-32bit, Native DSD128 (5.6MHz/1bit)
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Our frequency measurements of the M3PRO showed a significantly flat response with no accentuated fluctuations, dips nor spikes across the whole range while our soundtests showed a clean and non-colored sound output when using any headphone connected to the music player.
With it’s digital potentiometer, this DAP offers volume control at 1 steps per click that ranges from 00 to 60. Our measurements revealed, though, that each step does not have a direct correlation to a fixed dB variation, as you will see later on with our measurement graphs.
In addition to this, there was no channel imbalance noticed while going through the entire volume range and of course no screeching noises as this is a digital potentiometer instead of an analog one.
This tiny DAC/DAP is capable of providing sufficient power as to drive most commercial headphones and in-ear headphones without trouble with it’s maximum 92mW (16Ω) and a capability of 16Ω-100Ω. Despite the recommended headphones driving ability set to 16Ω-100Ω, the FiiO M3PRO can provide power to drive some 300Ω headphones (up to 8mW output) and can reach up to 78mW at 32Ω – this is actually 3+ times more output power than the FiiO M3K (both at 32Ω and 300Ω), which was already capable of managing most popular headphones.
While being used as an external USB DAC audio, the FiiO M3 Pro did not disappoint, keeping up to the same high-quality standards showed while being tested as a standalone music player and enabling PCM up to 384kHz 32/bit and DSD up to 128 – surpassing the capability of many budget desktop DACs and far above DAC capabilities of onboard soundcards of laptops and PCs.
High-performing audiophile specs of the M3 PRO include: noise floor <2uV, THD+N <0.001%, crosstalk 78dB/78dB, SNR of 117dB and a wide frequency response of 5Hz-90kHz.
Specific settings related to audio include the ability to control:
- Balance (20 steps)
- Custom max volume limit
- Gapless playback
- Play mode (sequential, loop, shuffle, single track loop, etc)
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Either through the main “Play settings” submenu or through the music player settings, the FiiO M3 Pro offers 8 built-in EQ options to adapt the listening session to different presets.
The EQ presets included are: Rock, Classical, Jazz, Pop, Dance, Vocal, Metal or Off. Unfortunately, there is no custom EQ options enabled but it will do a fair job expanding the sound tuning to 7 of the most popular genres.
You can check our measurements of the frequency response effect of each EQ preset further below in this review.
Despite being mentioned before, it is fair to highlight that one of the most remarkable upgrades over the FiiO M3K is the added USB DAC capabilities through it’s USB Type-C port.
Yet, the additional features offered by the M3 Pro also include audio recording through it’s built-in microphone (supporting MP3 and WAV up to 48kHz/16-bit), an ebook reader app for txt books, a calculator app and a Gallery app to see photos from your microSD card.
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FiiO M3 Pro Frequency Response Curve
Cut seen above 24kHz is not a limitation of FiiO M3 Pro, but a restriction in our measurement applied this time.
FiiO M3 Pro Equalizers
dark green= Rock; yellow= Classical; light green= Jazz; violet= Pop; magenta= Dance; blue= Vocal; red= Metal
FiiO M3 Pro Volume Control Precision
Respectively: Vol= 30; Vol=45; Vol 60
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FiiO M3 Pro Technical Specifications
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FiiO M3 Pro Scores
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The firmware of the FiiO M3 PRO can be updated by copying the new firmware files on a microSD released by the brand and following the instructions given for each firmware version.
ATTENTION!: Extreme caution should be taken when upgrading the firmware or the unit could no longer work.
FiiO M3PRO Full technical specifications
reported by FiiO
Material aluminium alloy+double-sided glass
Weight about 70g
Button side button+touch screen
USB port Type-C
Line out 3.5mm
PO out 3.5mm
Microphone Silicon microphone
TF card 2TB(theoretically) 2TB(theoretically)
Electronic configuration SoC Ingenic X1000E
Display screen 3.46 inches, RGB340x800
Audio DAC ES9218PC
Battery capacity 1000mAh
Performance Recommended headphones/ Drive ability 16~100Ω(recommended)
Output power 32Ω load：75mW 16Ω load：92mW 300Ω load：8mW
LO noise floor ≤2μV（A-weighted）
LO SNR 117dB
LO level 1.55V
Output impedance Ro=0.3Ω (32Ω load)
Sample rate&Format PCM: 384KHz DSD: 5.6MHz
DSD Native DSD512 decoding
File view Supported
Charging time ＜2 h (DC5V/2A)
Battery life ≥15h
FiiO M3 Pro Photos
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