Review Hi-Fi player AUNE M2 Pro: great sound in early access

AUNE M2 Pro — portable Hi-Fi audio player with support for WAV up to 32 bit/192 kHz FLAC: up to 24-bit/192 kHz, DSD: DSF, DSD64 – DFF DSD64, DSD ISO, APE, MP3, AAC, ALAC, maximum power of 230 mW into 32Ω and a linear output.

The editors thank the online store Era-in-Ear for courtesy to review the player

Chinese manufacturers were divorced-not just with the smartphones and tablets, and in the section of the audio. And part of the sound is already really a lot of Chinese manufacturers who have something to offer even the most demanding music lovers. Into my hands fell the beast previously unknown to me manufacturer AUNE. According to information on the official website, the range is quite modest: desktop DACs and amps, one is a portable headphone amplifier and one portable player AUNE M2 (in three variants). Previously released model M1 (now discontinued), but I was not able to hear it.
What is it?

AUNE M2 Pro — portable Hi-Fi audio player with support for WAV up to 32 bit/192 kHz FLAC: up to 24-bit/192 kHz, DSD: DSF, DSD64 – DFF DSD64, DSD ISO, APE, MP3, AAC, ALAC, maximum power of 230 mW into 32Ω and a linear output.
Than it is interesting?

First player interesting flagship 32 bit DAC Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4490 and the support of many Lossless audio formats. Now, remember that models three (we have in the review — the average M2 Pro), but it should tell you about the differences between modifications, because the price tags differ significantly:

AUNE M2: equipped with two Japanese generators of the highest level with ultra-low jitter (phase and/or random frequency deviations of the transmitted signal). Color: black or silver
AUNE M2 Pro is equipped with two American quartz oscillators CRYSTEK with accuracy of the order of femtoseconds, and the amplifier specifically for these generators. Color similar. We only had this model, you dare to assume (based on your description) that the difference in sound with the first model should be quite substantial.
AUNE M2S: the top model, which differs from the previous Teflon base PCB and the bright blue color of the body. Not sure what the difference in sound with the Pro-version will be so dramatic, although I will not argue.

What’s in the box?

The player comes in a compact, flat box of black color with the logo AUNE. The kit can not be called rich, but some surprises still awaited me inside. In the box — the player, the cable MicroUSB-USB, business card with contact details and QR codes to jump to website or Facebook page, leaflet, with a brief explanation of the button assignments and the most interesting point: the memory card 16 GB with a user manual in electronic form and the reader. And it will be very useful in this case. Why? Read about it below.

Looks like assembled?

The player is quite impressive in size and weight of the metal bar (although for users who’ve been in touch with Hi-Fi player or size, or weight may not seem unusual). Almost the entire case has a matte, pleasant finish. The exception is the plane with the buttons and screen: it has a polished texture. This is for the black player, it’s possible that all the silver of polished metal. Around the bezel there are bevels, which theoretically will slow down the rubbing of jeans on the sharp corners of the player.

On the back panel — the logo, model name, serial number, proud the inscription “Designed by aune in Wuchan. Assembled in China” and a bunch of characters:

On the bottom placed headphone Jack, MicroUSB and line-out. Digital look, although I will not argue about it below:

The left side is devoid of any controls:

The power button and the lock placed on the upper end. In addition to her here and not put any controls and pressed it without problems. To turn on/off without taking your player out of the pocket there is no difficulty:

The most functional is the right side. On it, in order: a small hole, it seems to Reset only the slot for memory cards MicroSD without a cap, the wheel a La the JogDial with the possibility of scrolling and clicking and mysterious “Multifunction expansion port”. To pick off I did not like accessories or adapters while the company has not released. Perhaps some way will be implemented a digital output:

AUNE M2 Pro looks solidly and beautifully, no issues to the Assembly did not arise: all perfectly fitted and assembled. Player metal and weighty, which adds to the feeling of the road and neat things.
What controls and firmware?

The front panel contains the screen, of course no touch, pretty good quality, but there is little art to show the player not able. Under the screen are located three buttons. Everything is simple: for switching/promodo tracks on the playback screen and moving the menu items answer the two side buttons. You can add a track to favorites using their simultaneous press. Middle button — Play/Pause during playback. Long press — access to one menu item above, even more long press to return to the playback screen.

The side wheel is responsible for the volume on the playback screen, or repeats the navigation in the different menus. It’s comfortable and clearly pressed. Get used to it really easily. It is slightly recessed into the body, in order to avoid accidental clicks or scrolling in the pocket:

If physical controls all clear, the firmware everything is much dimmer turned. What we’ve got. On the playback screen, everything is clear: the name of the artist, track, album, volume level, selected type of digital filter, the order of playback, battery level and data format of the reproduced audio. As mentioned above, cover is not supported, exactly like an adequate portrayal of the tags are not in English or Chinese. Cyrillic is displayed from case to case and quite clumsy. The main menu consists of four items: the entire list of songs (the mode I used for listen only in shuffle mode and never pour on the player the album in its entirety), navigation by folders, a list of frequently played tracks and favorites and settings:

In settings there is auto play when enabled, a play mode, a choice of four different filters, display brightness, auto power off time backlight off gapless playback, the display of tooltips on player controls, language, restore factory settings, update firmware, system info and settings button lock. At first glance, everything is simple and clear, but now it is necessary to devote a paragraph to the problems of firmware, and they are really a lot. Unfortunately.

Latest version 1.22 was released back in February, so we are waiting. First: the player does not support Mass Storage, that is, when connecting to PC it just charging. That’s what USB card reader included. We go further: the function of the USB DAC is not implemented, at least for now. About displaying covers and tags I mentioned above. Next: Gapless is only supported when playing with the CUE. Even noticed a problem: the player from time to time “loses” the card (not the card, checked different), happened a few spontaneous trips, “chewing” the beginning of tracks and heat. No pattern I can detect, but there are problems. Initially the player was with the older firmware. Update, these problems began to occur much less common but has not disappeared. More interesting is the aforementioned “expansion port”: he seems to be there, but not used. It seems that nothing is forgotten. The impression in the games or with the “early access” part of the content and functionality is missing, there are a lot of bugs and we can only hope that “finished”.
How does it sound?

As we wrote earlier, the player uses the flagship DAC from Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4490, two crystal oscillator CRYSTEK and specially tuned them under the amp. The player was tested with planar-magnetic headphones the OPPO PM-3, hybrid DUNU DN-2000J, DUNU DN-2002, dynamic headphones audio Pinnacle MEE P1 and HiFiman RE-600 has auto gain (gain). Let’s start with the filter: Sharp SD Sharp LD, Slow SD, LD and Slow. The difference felt between Sharp and Slow: if you select Sharp attenuation occurs faster and the sound more sharp and dry. Slow sounds more saturated. The difference between SD and LD to catch is extremely difficult.

What you can feel is very lively and volumetric flow rate with a slight emphasis towards the low frequencies. The bass is very well detailed and worked out with good speed, without losing density, trivalosti and atmosphere. Subbass is present, but not more than is necessary. Despite the slight “dark” accent, mid and high frequencies are in place, they are not recessed and not protruding forward, well detailed, divided into “segments” and do not cover each other. An imaginary scene, of course, critically depends on the headphones you use. With all the above player has demonstrated a very wide imaginary scene, although the copies in half to two times more expensive in this respect does not hold. The player shows itself well with a “live” styles of music, be it jazz, classical (especially saturated delicious sounding orchestra stuff) and hard styles, up to the most heavy and technical with a very fast parties, cutting dissonances, and “watering” arpeggios.

The player has no trouble with all headphones given to him and did well with them. It is difficult to say which ones are “better” sang with the AUNE M2 Pro: every offer something different and if the choice is to listen on their personal preferences. As for the comparison with other models. Competitors is difficult to call, but some subjective impressions, I should say. The mood AUNE M2 Pro seemed close to FiiO X5 2nd Gen: alive, energetic and musical presentation, while the FiiO is slightly less “bass”, but offers little more than high. If we take a more expensive FiiO X7 and Luxury&Prescision L5 Pro, they offer wider stage, more detailed study of middle and high frequencies. They give a more “refined” sound and less of a drive, for lovers of quiet intelligence.
How much the battery holds?

The player includes a battery of 3500 mAh, the manufacturer promises 6.5-7.5 hours of playback from a single charge. This range, apparently takes into account the auto gain and the possibility of the amplifier. Approximately and about 6.5 hours. The record is far from many of its competitors, but Hi-Fi players (mostly) can’t boast of long battery life.
The bottom line

AUNE M2 Pro was very interesting, but controversial player: on the one hand it gives a great, driving sound character, omnivorous in terms of headphones and has a auto-gain level. It is simple and handy and has an excellent build and materials of which made. On the other hand was damp and the imperfection, the lack of seemingly basic features offered any, even the cheapest player. Plus the presence of glitches in the features that the player realized.

4 reasons to buy the AUNE M2 Pro:

great quality and trivalosti sound;
auto gain level;
simple and intuitive;
solid design and excellent build.

2 reasons not to buy the AUNE M2 Pro:

very raw firmware with the lack of a pile of elementary functions;
modest battery life.

AUNE M2 Pro

DAC
Asahi Kasei Microdevices AK4490

Display
2.6″

Memory
memory card microSD up to 128GB inclusive;

Supported formats
WAV up to 32 bit/192 kHz FLAC: up to 24-bit/192 kHz, DSD: DSF, DSD64 – DFF DSD64, DSD ISO, APE, MP3, AAC and ALAC

Battery
3500 mAh, more than 6.5-7.5 hours

Interface and outputs
USB 2.0 (microUSB), 3.5 mm output (headphones), 3.5 mm line-in

Size and weight
110х65х17.5 mm, 195 grams

Headphone output

Power: 230 mW @ 32 Ohm
Output impedance: 1 Ω
THD+N: < 0.0009% (impedance 300 Ω).
The ratio signal/noise ratio: >117 dB