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Fiio X5 portable Hi-Rez player

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I just got this and use with a sennheiser iem headphone, i love this!

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I just got this and use with a sennheiser iem headphone, i love this!


Fiio has such a great value on their headphone gear and they seem to know their way around that arena better than some of the new "me too" products.

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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  • 2 months later...

I have the FiiO X3, but hear from folks at Head-Fi that the X5 is a step up. The user interface is probably its only weak point. I like the fact that you can transfer music with microSD cards. As a portable DAP/DAC, it provides a lot of bang for the buck. Enjoy!


Cheers... Brian

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Anyone else have experience with these? I'm considering an X5 as an upgrade to my 160gb iPod classic. When you start adding sd cards, it gets pretty expensive. I'm curious is the sound improvement is really noticeable.


Other than Pono, are there any other new players or technology expected soon?


If it is too expensive maybe the iBasso DX50 is an alternative. I´m pretty happy with this one, it has a very good headphone amp with a lot of power incl. 3 mechanical amplification steps.

Digital Sources: MacBook 8GB / 512GB internal SSD, iTunes, OS X 10.10 El Capitan, Amarra Symphony iRC 3.0.3 and Pure Music 2.0, Weiss DAC 202 Firewire, Creek Destiny CD,

Analog Sources: Transrotor FatBob Turntable with SME M2-9 tonearm and Benz ACE-L MC cartridge

Preamplification: McIntosh C500T Tube preamplifier; Clearaudio Balance+ Phono preamplifier (balanced);

Power amplifier: McIntosh MC452 Stereo

Loudspeaker: B&W 802 Diamond


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I'll look into that. I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on a $500 gizmo that is just for an improvement over the perfectly adequate iPod I use while commuting. (I'm having the same trouble pulling the trigger on a $1,000 Mac Mini or equivalent to improve my perfectly adequate AppleTv streaming.)


I feel you. Maybe just add a decent headphone amp. For half of that you can get an upgrade in your sound in an only slight larger package. I just picked up the National from ALO Audio and it improved the sound from my iphone. It's noticeable even through iem's.

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Computer Room: Dell laptop, Uptone Regen Amber, Schiit Bifrost Multibit, Decware SE84C+, Zu Omen, ALO National, Mr.Speakers Mad Dog headphones

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Yeah, I came across the FiiO X5 when I was looking at a FiiO headphone amp. I really like the idea of having 256 gb storage (compared to 160 on my iPod). I know it sounds silly, but I'm constantly looking for albums that aren't on my iPod, and I can't decide what to take off. I may get an X5 for the 30-day test period to see whether there is $500 of difference to me.

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  • 5 months later...

I finally bit the bullet and purchased a Fiio X5. I have a 30-day trial period to return it. I'm using a 2gb SD micro card that I had lying around.


First thought: They don't give you a charger; just a usb/micro cable. I had a 5v Belkin charger lying around that worked. I wasn't sure about using my 10W Apple iPad chargers -- I couldn't see a voltage or Amp rating on them.


Second thought: It's really hard to open the SD card slot. I do have big fingers, but I couldn't get the rubber gasket off without using a pin.


The sound test: I loaded hi-res files (FLAC and ALAC) onto the Fiio and had XLD down-sampled 24/48 files of the same songs on my iPod classic. Some opera (Che Puro Ciel); some piano (Ingrid Filter Chopin Piano Concerto); Shostakovich Symphony 15; Wendy Warner Haydn Cello Concerto; Bach Ciaccone; The Who Tommy; Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage.


I'm using V-Moda M-80 on-ear headphones.


Listen to the Fiio. Listen to the iPod.


For most files, I don't think I can tell the difference. On some, such as the Shostakovich, the Fiio was noticeably different. Individual instruments (especially the triangle) were much crisper. Instead of the sound of an instrument (or a group) "coming" from a somewhat broad area, it's got a more precise source location on the soundstage.


Does it sound much better? I don't know.


I'll keep playing with the Fiio, but I'm not sure I notice enough benefit from it to justify the $350, plus another $200 for 256 gb of sd cards.

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I purchased an X5 a few months ago, my findings:


Yes the SD slots require a sharp object (like a pen or dull knife) to pull the rubber covers off. Actually I think I like that.


Two 128 GB SD cards is more than half the price of the unit - yikes!


I wish the Genre selection had one more drill down level. Right now (at least for me, if you know a work around please share) I get Genre and then a list of all Albums. It would be nice if you could go Genre > Artist > Album. In fact, all their filtering trees seem to only have one level of filtering.


After about 90 minutes the X5 clearly begins to out play the iPhone (5S). The iPhone's battery just can't keep up and the amplifier in it starts to crap out. I have an outboard amp that takes care of this problem but that means hauling around two boxes and using a rubber band to lash them together. The X5 still sounds solid after 3 hours - now I feel better about my purchase. I am mostly driving a pair of Ultimate Ears with mine, unless it's jacked into the car.


Yes, I was having to remove music on the iPhone and that was becoming a problem. Every time I wanted to add something I had to go through my library and figure out what to remove. Now I have enough space to leave some slack, add albums as needed, and do a cleanup about once a quarter.


I haven't noticed the Finder issue you pointed out, I'll check it out tonight. It may be a database thing because the files themselves maintain their original formats.

Analog: Koetsu Rosewood > VPI Aries 3 w/SDS > EAR 834P > EAR 834L: Audiodesk cleaner

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Digital Disc: Oppo BDP 95 > EAR 834L

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I'm not sure it matters, but when I look at the Fiio files in Finder, the "Kind" is listed as "VLC Document", not "FLAC" or "ALAC". Is that normal?


This probably just means that VLC is the default application associated with these files types. In other words, the application that opens when you double click on these files from the finder.

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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I'm sure you're right. But I thought it might have something to do with why I'm not blown away by the difference between 24/192 on the X5 and 16/44.1 on the iPod.


Current thinking:



- Very expensive for not a very noticeable upgrade over my iPod ($350 for the unit, $100 each for a 126 gb SD card. (Of course, I don't need to have 256 gb storage).)

- Somewhat odd file management system. I haven't figured out how to edit the metadata (unless I pull over ALAC files that I edited on iTunes.) I assume I'll get used to it and it will do all I need for mobile listening.

- I'd like to be able to slow the response of the track wheel. And the wheel feels a tad flimsy, although it's probably fine.

- I need to learn new controls and find the button "lock" control. I pushed the "sleep" button on top, but when the unit was in my pocket, something hit it and it skipped songs. And the screen is very dark with small font. (Perhaps there's a way to change that.)

- I need to decide if I want to transfer FLAC or ALAC files of the same music to the X5. Which will sound better?

- The X5 will render somewhat obsolete two B&W Zeppelin speakers and my classic iPod connection in my car.




I haven't bought a new gizmo in a long time.



And now I question whether using a Mac Mini as a server instead of streaming from iTunes through Apple Tv, will have a noticeable improvement. Damn late-middle 40s ears.

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Anyone else have experience with these? I'm considering an X5 as an upgrade to my 160gb iPod classic. When you start adding sd cards, it gets pretty expensive. I'm curious is the sound improvement is really noticeable.


Other than Pono, are there any other new players or technology expected soon?

Absolutely. I have an X3. X5's supposed to be even better.


Top of the heap is AK240. $2500 though.

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I decided to return the Fiio. I didn't notice enough increase in quality over my iPod to justify the cost.


There were other issues as well:


Fiio doesn't have the "quick scroll" function of the iPod, which jumps from letter to letter. This makes it pretty annoying to scroll through my library. I think I can create an alphabetized file-structure, but I'm not sure that would be any better.


Fiio doesn't recognize composer tags.


Every now and then, I would get some digital "static" when listening to a song. It didn't happen every time I played the song. (And the song file played fine through my iTunes.) It's possible that some error occurred when the file was copied to the SD Card, or maybe there is a problem with the SD Card itself.

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