Music is one of the primary uses for a smartphone today, but it’s not all that often that OEMs actually concentrate on that. We get better speakers and sometimes, better software, but rarely do we get better audio out of the headphones.
After using the HTC 10 for a few weeks, I feel in love with the audio from it’s headphone jack and had to find a way to replicate it on other devices. Quickly I found the Fiio K1, a portable DAC/Amp for headphones and it’s quite possibly the best purchase I’ve made in a while.
So what does the Fiio K1 actually do? Essentially it redirects the audio on your phone, tablet, or PC over USB instead of the standard headphone jack. This eliminates the use of the built in DAC or Digital-to-Analog converter and uses Fiio’s own, superior option. By doing this you’ll get much richer audio quality out of your device which when paired with a solid pair of headphones, provides an audio experience you’ll love.
Personally I used a pair of Audio-Technica ATH M40x with the K1 which was attached to my Nexus 6P over a microUSB to USB C adapter. The result was audio to die for. Switching back to a standard headphone jack is just painful at this point.
With the K1 there are a few things you’ll want to note. First of all, this isn’t compatible with every smartphone. The first qualifier is to have a device with Android 5.0 or higher. I wasn’t personally able to use it with an iPhone based on the research I’ve done it should work with the right adapter.
The second qualifier is to have the correct cable. Connecting the K1 to a PC is easily, just use a USB A to microUSB cable and you’re good to go, but smartphones you’ll need a specific cable. For something like the Nexus 6P, you’ll need a USB C to microUSB cable, again, click here to check out the one I’ve been using. Even with the correct cable however this won’t work on every smartphone. I’ve tested it with the Nexus 6P, Xperia X, Nexus 9, and the Nexus 6 and all worked. On the other hand, devices such as the LG G5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7, and Moto G4 Plus all did not work, so your results may vary. If you’re not sure if your device will work, I’d suggest ordering off of Amazon thanks to their awesome return policy (link at bottom of article).
Overall I have nothing but good things to say about the Fiio K1. It’s a fantastic little device if you want to boost your audio game to the next level and at just $40, it’s a great deal. If you’re interested, check out the link below to pick it up along with the cables and headphones I currently use with it.Buy the Fiio K1 Buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X USB C to microUSB Cable microUSB to microUSB Cable