I've never really considered them to be in the upper end of audiophilia until just recently. While the E7 and E9 gave me a taste of decent sound it was still a farcry away from other gear that I had tried. Basically it helped to get my feet into the door but never really opened that door. The X5 on the other hand (at least for me) changes my opinion on Fiio products. They have stepped the game up for sure.