FiiO JadeAudio Q11 Portable DAC & Headphone Amp Review – Hard to Beat
The all-new FiiO Jade Audio Q11 is a high-performance portable USB DAC/AMP designed with Cirrus Logic flagship CS43198 32Bit DAC chipset. It’s a compact yet powerful device that packs a whooping 650mW output power at 32Ω of impedance load. The Q11 comes equipped with dual 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone outputs.
FiiO has equipped the latest Q11 with Cirrus Logic’s flagship CS43198 DAC chipset. It’s a high-performance 32-bit DAC chip that delivers outstanding resolution with ultra-low distortion while decoding high-resolution audio signals. The DAC Chipset is supported by dual independent OP-AMPs, high-precision crystal oscillators, and a low-noise power supply system.
FiiO Jade Audio Q11 features a powerful amp section made using dual independent OP-AMPs. It features powerful output with an output power rating of up to 650mW on the balanced connections and 165mW on the single-ended connection (32Ω). The Q11 features dual headphone outputs, a 3.5mm single-ended, and another 4.4mm balanced port. The device also has dual gain levels, High gain, and Low gain with the help of a switch.
FiiO Q11 features a design with an all-metallic body. The device has a mirror-like finish in the front and this part houses a transparent glass window in the center that has multicolored LEDs inside that glow in different colors based on the active bitrate. It glows light Blue for a sampling rate 48kHz or below, yellow for a sampling rate above 48kHz, and green for DSD audio signals. The ambient light can be turned off using FiiO Control Application.
Talking about the FiiO Control APP you can also activate the SPDIF OUT function (over 3.5mm), select between UAC 1.0 (game consoles) and UAC 2.0, and select between 4 different digital filters or turn them off in NOS mode.
The day I was writing the article FiiO announced a new firmware for the Q11 (V0.13), you can download it here.
What’s in the box
- High-Performance CS43198 DAC chipset.
- Supports high-resolution 32-Bit/384kHz PCM and native DSD256 decoding.
- High-Power Output(up to 650mW).
- 3.5mm+4.4mm Dual output modes.
- High-Precision Crystal Oscillator.
- Low-Noise Built-in Power Supply.
- Built-in 2600mAh battery.
- Long 13 hours battery life.
- Dual OPAMP Architecture.
- High+Low gain levels.
- Easy to use rotatable volume knob.
- Ambient Light Design.
- Comes with a Silicone Binding kit and OTG cable.
- Premium finish with All-Metallic Body.
- DAC: CS43198.
- Max Supported Sampling Rates: 32-Bit/384kHz PCM, DSD256.
- USB Connector: Type-C (USB 2.0).
- Dimensions: 60.5×105.7x16mm.
- Weight: Approx 150 grams.
- Battery: 2600mAh.
- Battery Life: >13 hours.
- Output Power: Up to 165mW (32Ω/3.5mm), Up to 650mW (32Ω/4.4mm).
- SNR: 122dB (3.5mm), 125dB (4.4mm).
- Noise Floor: <1.8uV (3.5mm), <2.4uV (4.4mm).
- Output Impedance: <1.2Ω (3.5mm), <2.0Ω (4.4mm).
- THD+N: <0.0006%.
I would like to thank FiiO for providing me with the review sample of the Q11 portable DAC/AMP.
Neutral, crisp, and detailed. These are the 3 keywords to describe Q11’s main objectives. It aims to take the original sound and reproduce it in its most original form. As such, the Q11 comes off as neutral and highly resolving.
The Q11 comes off as a neutral-sounding DAC with a focus on providing clarity to the mid-range. It does not provide additional or less warmth to the sound. The mid-range is the focus area where the lower and upper midrange are brought into focus.
The bass response is crisp with a great level of detail. Thus, this opens the mid-range and allows it to shine through the overall sound. The midrange is presented in a lush and highly resolving manner. Treble energy is very good and remains neutral without too much coloration.
That being said, the Q11 has a very black background and excellent dynamic range. Dynamic is superb, even more, if you use the 4.4mm output, but through my listening, I found that Q11 clearly narrowed the gap between the single-ended and balanced outputs. While the 4.4mm Pentaconn remains king in terms of spaciousness, on my Hidizs MS5, the voices were equally natural, poised, and well-controlled, on the 3.5mm plug.
The Q11 is capable of delivering impactful yet agile bass. The sub and mid-bass quantities are great. The Q11 can easily extend and reach when the track asks for it. It does not feel like it is lacking anybody in bass and shapes its response well according to the track’s requirements.
Pairing it with an equally capable in-ear monitor gets you a tight, fast bass with a great slam and that’s quite good at any price point. The extension is nice. Overall, the bass has adequate presence, carries a good amount of detail, and feels fast enough to feel dynamic.
The midrange is clean, resolving, and articulate. The transition from bass to mids is smooth. The vocals feel articulate, clean, and natural. The stringed instruments do not lack body and their timbre feels great for a DAC that is sub $100.
The upper mids are controlled yet expansive and they carry a good amount of detail also. The presentation feels airy and spacious partly due to the well-done tuning of this region. Hi-hats and cymbals never sound dull or too harsh as they carry a good amount of excitement while staying away from the sibilance.
The Q11’s treble reproduction is impressive, just like its midrange. It offers a clean, extended, and controlled treble. It is not overdone, or it is not boosted to impose a false sense of resolution, it is rather well done and it does not feel aggressive or lacking in any way.
The bite is there when the track asks for it, and so is the extension. The treble sounds resolving, clean, and dynamic. It boosts the perceived sense of articulacy. Q11 has really energetic, detailed yet natural treble responses.
From a technical standpoint, the Q11 has a great tonal balance, great clarity, and a spacious and airy presentation. It handles congestion well and multi-instrumented complex passages are easy dilemmas when paired with an equally capable IEM.
Soundstage-wise, the Q11 does not feel like it has the most expansive stage in the history of portable DAC AMPs. It is adequately proportioned.
The most impressive side of the Q11 is its tonal performance, no doubt. It feels coherent, and linear across the frequency spectrum. No overlapping, no dips, no peaks, no saturation. It is a damn good portable DAC & AMP and certainly punches above its price tag. The Q11 is hard to beat in this price range. An easy recommendation.