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FiiO Q1 Review – A Portable USB DAC Amplifier with an Attractive Price/Quality Ratio

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FiiO is one very busy manufacturer of headphone amps that releases new models very often. For example, since the release of FiiO Q1, a number of newer versions of this amp have been released. Some of the amps from FiiO’s collection that are worth mentioning include FiiO A3, FiiO A5, and of course, FiiO Q1, each of which come at a very decent price.

Speaking of price, FiiO is a manufacturer famous for making budget products. This is a Chinese manufacturer that’s been around for over a decade, which was enough for the company to establish a pretty impressive reputation in the audiophile world. You won’t hear many true audio aficionados speaking badly about this company.

The headphone amps manufactured by FiiO are not only sturdy and durable, they’re also pretty impressive in terms of performance, especially if you compare them to other amplifiers from the same price range.

So, if you go with one of the FiiO-made amps, you won’t be disappointed. And if you decide to go with FiiO Q1, here’s what you’ll get:

  • AMP & DAC – FiiO Q1 can be used as an amplifier, but also as a DAC or as an AMP/DAC combination.
  • Maxim MAX97220 amp – The amp used by FiiO is Maxim MAX97220, the same one used by other manufacturers, e.g. Creative for their E1 amplifier.
  • 190 mW output power – FiiO Q1 has the power rating of more than 190 mW into 32 ohms.
  • 96 kHz/24 bit maximum supported sample rate – FiiO It can handle up to 96 kHz/24 bit decoding on a number of different codec outputs.
  • 16-150 ohms recommended headphone impedance – Q1 is suitable for use on headphones that have the impedance rating somewhere in the range between 16 and 150 ohms.
  • 1400 mAh battery capacity – Q1 packs a 1400 mAh rechargeable battery that can provide enough energy for more than 30 hours of play time at normal listening levels.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Decent performances – Q1 has a pretty great output power rating, as well as an impressive supported sample rate.
  • Great battery – The battery capacity is pretty good with a 30+ hours of play time.
  • Quality – FiiO did a really good job making this headphone amp very sturdy. We’re sure that even if you use it on an everyday basis, it won’t break or start malfunctioning anytime soon.
  • Reasonable price – For the price of less than a hundred bucks you will get a pretty reliable headphone amplifier.

Cons:

  • Poor bass improvement – According to some users, Q1 is not a good choice if you want to improve the bass sound.

Comparable Amps

Fiio wants to establish itself as a leading manufacturer of headphone amps, which is why this company has released a number of different amps so far. Some models that deserve attention include A3 and A3 amps. Although each of the headphone amplifiers from the FiiO’s family of products are pretty similar, there are some differences.

For instance, A5 comes with an aluminum alloy body which is there to deal with the EM interference. In turn, this makes it do a better job than Q1 in terms of audio quality. However, this also means that A5 costs more than its cousin. If you shop on Amazon, you will be able to find new Q1 amp for two times less cash than what you would need to pay to get A5.

Speaking of money, if you don’t want to spend too much of it, but you still want a good amp for your headphones, FiiO A3 seems like a decent choice. It has very similar performances to Q1, the biggest downside being that its battery is almost two times weaker than the one of Q1.

FiiO Q1 Final Verdict: To Buy or Not to Buy?

We’ve come to the end of our FiiO Q1 Review and now it’s time to discuss whether this headphone amp gets a pass. We think it does, as it’s a pretty cheap choice with surprisingly good performances. And judging by the experiences of FiiO Q1 users, this amp is supposed to work fine even if you push it to the limits. Sure, it’s not the very best headphone on the market, but for the price of less than a hundred bucks, you won’t find many better.

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