The FiiO R7 is a curious device that combines many playback possibilities inside, which has gone through our test bench and which our audio expert has thoroughly dissected. Would you have liked it?
As I imagine you already know, almost anything related to audio that goes through Andro4all ends up coming into my hands for some time now. I have had the opportunity to analyze excellent devices as is the case of Teufel Audio BOOMSTER Bluetooth Speaker or the excellent JBL Tour Pro 2 Bluetooth Headphones.
However, the device that concerns us in this analysis It was something I hadn’t dealt with until now.. It’s the first time I’ve faced a hi-fi oriented Android device, and this is where I’ve come across the Fiio R7a player with many possibilities. So many, that to squeeze the juice properly I have had to spend many hours with him.
And what is the FiiO R7? Well… it’s not easy to explain. Imagine a cross between a HiFi amplifier, an Android phone, a Bluetooth amplifier, a digital-to-analog converter, an AirPlay compatible device and much more. All this, in a quasi-cubic device that also has boring audio connections. Now we talk about it.
- solid construction
- The interface is that of an Android phone, with all that that implies
- Many options in audio outputs
- Designed for the audiophile public
- Dedicated digital-to-analog converter
- Lots of playback features
FiiO R7 price and where to buy
The FiiO R7 can be purchased through the official distributor in Spain of the brandand also through other online distributors such as Amazon. At its official distributor right now it has a fairly substantial discount, while at Amazon you will have to pay the manufacturer’s price.
We are faced with a unit with a very neat and modern designperfect to have it on your desk next to your computer, since that is its main function. The FiiO R7 will not look out of place next to your workstation.
On the front we find the touch screen from which Android mode is controlled of the device, as well as the volume wheel (which comes in steps in increments of 1 point each and acts as a power button) and the selection of the audio outputs. We also find here the headphone connector, which offers us 3 different connection pins (XLR4 for a hi-fi connection, 4.4 mm jack with balanced output and 6.35 mm jack).
On the back we find the power switch, the plug connector and all sorts of audio outputs. The most common are RCA and XLR, designed to be connected to special or flat response speakers (like the ones I used to test the unit). We also find here connections that in a home environment may be used lesssuch as optical and coaxial connectors.
As to other types of connectorsOn the back we also find a slot for an SD memory card (with support for up to 2 TB capacity), the WiFi and Bluetooth antenna, USB-C to connect the device to the computer, USB 3.0 to connect external hard drives that we can use to play music locally and up to a LAN connector for the roon mode.
Sound quality and features
The easiest thing to describe is going to be the sound quality, so let’s start there. I must say that this quality It will depend entirely on the speakers you use.. Obviously it’s not going to sound the same with a cheap 2.0 system from Logitech, for example, than if you use a pair of Kali LP8 speakers like the ones I have in my studio.
For the average user, the difference between using a balanced output such as XLR or the less recommended (for my taste) RCA it will be pricelessso we’re not going to stop there. Of course, if you decide to use headphones, the sound quality will also It will completely depend on what you use.. Cheap over-ear headphones will not sound the same as the FiiO FT3 unit that the brand has kindly lent us.
I want to make a special mention of these headphones, since their sound quality is clear, clear and defined. I’ve even decided to use them on a trial basis to work on some of my mixes and the results I got aren’t bad considering they are HiFi headphones and not intended for the professional user in mind. By the way, these headphones come with all connection options which I told you about above. In addition, they are very comfortable and can be worn for hours perfectly. You really can’t ask for more.
Now that we’ve got sound quality out of the way, we can start going crazy with the huge number of functions offered by the FiiO R7. Be patient, because there is a lot of ground to cover.
There are altogether eight different input modes:
- Android, which we can use with our favorite streaming apps.
- Pure music, to play local music that we have on an external hard drive, on the SD card or stored in the internal memory of the device.
- AirPlay, to use the player with iOS, iPad OS or macOS devices.
- DAC mode, which transforms the FiiO R7 into a digital-analog converter that allows us to raise the quality of content playback from our computer by several integers (it’s not hyperbole).
- Bluetooth Receiver mode, which allows us to use an external device from which to play content through the FiiO R7.
- COAX mode, to use the coaxial connections on the rear.
- Roon Ready, which allows us to use the FiiO R7 with Roon certification.
- OPT mode, to send audio signals through fiber optic cables.
Of these eight ways, due to logistics I have not been able to test three of themso I can’t tell you how the COAX, Roon Ready and OPT modes work.
The others, on the other hand, I have had the opportunity to test them thoroughly. I am going to be able to talk about them, so let’s start at the beginning. android mode works just like your mobile phone wouldin the same way. I don’t like that the device has stuck to Android 10, but if you have no other way to play music you can use the FiiO R7 with your favorite apps. The experience is satisfactorywithout noticeable lag, or problems in browsing or playing content.
Pure Music mode turns the FiiO R7 into a local music player. You can connect a device where you have MP3 files stored, scan the folders where the music is contained and play it from there. the player it’s incredibly intuitivewith a clean interface that is easy to navigate. The reproduction of contents is very correct, it has not given me a single problem.
I tried AirPlay mode out of curiosity with my iPad and although it works fine and there are no problems, considering that I can achieve similar results by connecting the device via Bluetooth, I prefer the second way (I insist, this is a personal preference). Bluetooth playback is stable and works perfectly, also without problem.
We finished the review of the functions with which, for me, is a bit the star mode of the FiiO R7: the DAC. And what is a DAC? Well, a converter that passes binary signals from digital to analog signals that are measured in volts. Here I have noticed quite a difference between, for example, playing a song using Spotify in Android mode, then using the DAC to listen to the same song from my computer through the FiiO R7 (both on speakers and headphones).
I explain. While in Android mode the song sounded good, but “thinner” so to speak, using the DAC I found that the sound he gets much richer. It seems that by converting 0’s and 1’s to voltage we also gain a series of harmonics that we wouldn’t otherwise have. In general, this translates into a much more satisfying and pleasant listening to the ear. Imagine this with your favorite games if you use the FiiO R7 with your computer, for example.
It is difficult for me to talk about the FiiO R7 with a certain measure, and it is that It has so many possibilities that it is overwhelming.. It had been a long time since I had come face to face with a device with such flexibility; a kind of amplifier designed for the digital age that offers a lot and complies with a lot of solvency.
For me It’s obvious that he gets such a high grade. The fact of not having Android updated to a more recent version penalizes you, perhaps it is that you cannot have everything. However, such quality comes at a price (and believe me when I tell you it’s worth it). It is, perhaps, the most beastly unit that has passed through my hands in terms of home audio.
Keep in mind that all this is being said by a person who has a hi-fi sound system to listen to music, who usually prefers analogue and the physical format out of taste and conviction. This device has really surprised me a lot (and for the better, who was going to tell me). I totally recommend it, so if you want to invest money in a good digital player, don’t even hesitate.
This device has been thoroughly tested independent thanks to a transfer by the brand. The article contains purchase links for which Andro4all could receive a commission. join up to the Andro4all bargain channel to find out about the best deals before anyone else.