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FiiO X5: Pono Killer?


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Not a Pono killer... But a Pono alternative!

Eloise

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...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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FiiO X5 Player

 

Larger capacity.

Supports more formats including DSD.

Functions as a standalone DAC.

$50 cheaper.

Not shaped like a Toblerone.

 

I guess it all comes down to which one sounds better, but that is very tempting.

 

Pono killer? Not a chance. There were several of them on display at the Head-Fi meet in Costa Mesa in March. It was hilarious to watch people struggle in vain to figure out the interface. And it sounds worse than an iPod Nano.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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  • 1 month later...
I don't mean this to be a snarky question, but is there a non-snarky reason that the Pono got so much play here (and elsehwere) and the FiiO X5 got so little?

I don't mean this to be a snarky reply so hopefully it isn't... But the main reason is force of personality behind Pono.

 

That and the Pono music store is offering the possibility of better downloads of mainstream music.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Is there any sound quality concern using Micro SD cards to store the files? Seems like a lot of data on a little card.

What file management system does this use?

There shouldn't be any issue with Micro SD cards - Pono uses one to supplement internal memory and Alex has been suggesting sound quality improvements using SD cards with a MacMini.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

Link to comment
FiiO X5 Player

 

Larger capacity.

Supports more formats including DSD.

Functions as a standalone DAC.

$50 cheaper.

Not shaped like a Toblerone.

 

I guess it all comes down to which one sounds better, but that is very tempting.

 

If all portable players sound the same and have the same interface I could see purchasing based on spec only :~)

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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If all portable players sound the same and have the same interface I could see purchasing based on spec only :~)

 

In that case, Chris, I would say that I am trusting your ears. The Pono is on order and I am holding out on anything else until October. :)

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I don't mean this to be a snarky question, but is there a non-snarky reason that the Pono got so much play here (and elsehwere) and the FiiO X5 got so little? Other than Burnspbesq's post above, everything I read about the X5 is very positive.

 

Because no one has even heard of FiiO before, doubtless.........

 

 

JC

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Pono killer? Not a chance. There were several of them on display at the Head-Fi meet in Costa Mesa in March. It was hilarious to watch people struggle in vain to figure out the interface. And it sounds worse than an iPod Nano.

 

You obviously haven't spent any real time with the X5. It is far more transparent, detailed, and dynamic than listening direct from any Ipod or Iphone. I also have a Galaxy Note3 and it is not in the same league as the X5 for direct listening. The X5 is better than the Galaxy Note3 > Fiio E18 or the Galaxy Note3 > X5.

 

The X5 sounded slightly better when fed from jRiver19 on PC (Fidelizer activated) @ 24/192 to the X5.

 

It is a highly competitive well manufactured product with good SQ - within its price range!

 

Frank

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Sorry to disappoint you Chris (I hadn't noticed the comment)...

Eloise - Why haven't you been pedantic with this one?

 

From the link:

"The X5 even decodes Apple’s proprietary ALAC format seamlessly"

ALAC is of course now (since 2011) open source :-)

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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You obviously haven't spent any real time with the X5. It is far more transparent, detailed, and dynamic than listening direct from any Ipod or Iphone. I also have a Galaxy Note3 and it is not in the same league as the X5 for direct listening. The X5 is better than the Galaxy Note3 > Fiio E18 or the Galaxy Note3 > X5.

 

The X5 sounded slightly better when fed from jRiver19 on PC (Fidelizer activated) @ 24/192 to the X5.

 

It is a highly competitive well manufactured product with good SQ - within its price range!

 

Frank

 

Well, that's nice, and I'm glad you like it. But you didn't address my concerns about the interface. I have no idea what it sounds like, because in five minutes of fiddling with it I couldn't make it play. That's simply unacceptable from any reasonable interface-design perspective. So I'll stick with my iPad and Herus (or iPod Touch and Fostex HP-P1) until my Geek Stream shows up.

Office: MacBook Pro - Audirvana Plus - Resonessence Concero - Cavailli Liquid Carbon - Sennheiser HD 800.

Travel/Portable: iPhone 7 or iPad Pro - AudioQuest Dragonfly Red - Audeze SINE or Noble Savant

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I signed up to have a test unit shipped to me over on head-fi. I liked the X5 a lot. I currently have the X3. One thing the X5 does that the X3 doesn't is DSD playback. It can also accept two microSD cards. So if you get two of those 128gb ones that SanDisk just came out with = 256gb of storage onboard.

 

Sound quality-wise, I didn't really get to push it to its limits. It sounded great with my ALAC CD rips. The amp is definitely more powerful than the one in the X3. I like the design more than the X3, though I don't think I'd spend >$300 for one given that I already have the X3.

 

I'd go straight for the X5 instead of a Pono. Just my 2 cents though.

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FiiO X5 Player

 

Larger capacity.

Supports more formats including DSD.

Functions as a standalone DAC.

$50 cheaper.

Not shaped like a Toblerone.

 

I guess it all comes down to which one sounds better, but that is very tempting.

 

This looks ideal. I just had my iPod classic forcibly extracted from my car, so to replace that is $275 (vs. $350 for this). This has SSD storage instead of a spinning disc that skips every time I take a turn too hard, and I think more space.

 

Thanks for posting. I think I might get this for my car.

 

Do you have to buy the memory cards separately? If so, that really ought to be added into the cost.

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Let me know what you think of the X5 if you get one. According to a reviewer on Amazon, it does not come with any memory cards. 64 GB cards run about $40 now and the new 128 GB cards are over $100.

 

Bill, I can't help but wonder if something wasn't wrong with the memory buffer on your iPod. I have owned four hard drive based iPods over the past 12 years and I can't recall any of them ever skipping in the car.

 

I just picked up my daughter from swim practice earlier this evening. I drove through the high school parking lot with the windows and the sunroof open, blasting "Ramble On." I drove over about ten speed bumps and my iPod Classic didn't miss a beat.

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My current iPod classic is from summer 2010. I've never had a problem with it, and it gets knocked around quite a bit.

I with I liked the design of the X5 more -- it's not as sleek as the X3. And as much as I like the idea of 256gb storage, that's an extra $300 or so (from what I can tell about the 128 gb cards) on top of the player. Significant.

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I just picked up my daughter from swim practice earlier this evening. I drove through the high school parking lot with the windows and the sunroof open, blasting "Ramble On." I drove over about ten speed bumps and my iPod Classic didn't miss a beat.

 

She must have been embarrassed to death! *lol*. My son would kill me if I did that.

David

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