The FiiO Q15 is a portable headphone amplifier with built-in DAC. With dual AKM DAC chips, it’s designed to send the noise floor down to the very lowest levels, and digital audio formats are supported up to 32-bit/768 kHz PCM, as well as DSD512. A format for the few, but one that enthusiasts in particular will still appreciate. We would argue that the more widespread MQA – which is also supported – is more relevant than DSD, although the format is controversial because it is not true lossless high-resolution audio.
A full-color IPS display provides an at-a-glance view of input selection, audio format, battery status and audio resolution, and with both USB-C and coaxial digital input, it can be used with virtually any digital source. Be it mobile, portable and even desktop music streamers and music streamers og CD-players.
In addition, the DAC also has a built-in Bluetooth receiver and can stream music wirelessly directly from your phone. With both aptX HD and LDAC codecs built in, we can rest assured that the sound quality is well taken care of.
When the FiiO Q15 digitally decodes the audio from your mobile phone, it uses power from its own battery, so it doesn’t exceed the battery life of your mobile phone. The DAC supports all cell phones with USB-C connectivity, including Android and iPhone 15. Older iPhone models require a special intermediate connector for USB, such as Apple’s own camera intermediate connector.
In addition to the standard unbalanced headphone output, the FiiO Q15 has a balanced 4.4 mm output. This should allow the amplifier to deliver up to 1610 mW of power into 32 ohms, which is standard for good headphone impedance. 340 mW into 300 ohms is still very respectable. Why the power output in 16 ohms is stated to be somewhat lower (635 mW) than at 32 ohms, when it should have been higher, is not explained.
In an unbalanced load, it has up to 625 mW in 32 ohms and a marginally higher 750 mW in 16 ohms. It is rated at 85 mW into 300 ohms.
What all this means in practice is something we’ll find out in a test in the near future.
FiiO Q15: Price and availability
The FiiO Q15 portable DAC amplifier will go on sale just around New Year’s Day, and the price will be 399 Euros.
Further information: fiio.com