Pros: Great sound,very well built,fantastic value.
Cons: sd card slots are too deep,few database bugs.
FiiO X5 Review:
Hi first ever review,so probably not the most in-depth you will ever read,a bit about my self I am a Network engineer for Ericsson maintaining all of the Telecoms networks and as well as having a love for music,I have a passion for racing bikes and compete in the odd triathlon.
Thanks to the Fiio team for for giving me the chance to be one of the first few to listen to this player.
Ive only started listening to high quality sounding music,in fact it was Fiio who started me on this journey a few years back when I purchased the E7(Dac/amp)to improve the sound of my iPod and laptop.
I have been a fan ever since and jumped on the X3 when it came out,not without its bugs early on,because of a great team these have mostly been ironed out and in a whole I think the X3 is a fantastic player.
I will be comparing the X5 with the X3 and the new Sony F886 using Grado GR8,T-PEOS H-100j and HiFiMAN HE-400.
Most of my listening was either driving in the car or when training on the bike, and the X5 was a constant companion on the indoor trainer drowning out the constant drone of the flywheel!
The X5 is a solid piece of kit with a good weight,I love the scroll wheel although a bit sensitive and responsive at first,I did get used to it,screen is good with better resolution than the X3,although the Sony has by far the better screen,the buttons are ok and do the job once you get used to there purpose,the only real gripe are the sd card slots, they are too deep and you have to use something to press to insert/eject,the X3 was a lot easier to insert/eject.
FiiO have done a great job here,very neat menu layout,fast scrolling through menus,a vast improvement over the X3.Despite the Sony having a fantastic UI, I see no need for android on a dap,a good touch screen with wifi so that you can stream to spotify and Qobuz would be nice though!!.Ive had a few screen freezes and sd card problems but i am certain these will be ironed out before the International launch.
As I’ve said most of my listening was done on the move,no sitting down with the audio club dissecting every piece of the frequency range.For my ears the X5 produced the best SQ of any dap I’ve heard,lovely detail,excellent separation and good soundstage more revealing than the warmer Sony and X3,a good match for my Grados,I could listen to this combination all day
I used the DAC connected to a mac with Audirvana running and comparing the H/O with a Little Dot mkIII,the Little Dots warm tubes are a better match but not by much,the X5 drives the HE-400 very well and I think tames the treble a touch.To compare the bass I used my T-Peos H-100j which have tremendous sub bass,the X5 sounded crisper and cleaner to the heavier X3,the sony is unfortunately euro capped,so to make it a fairer fight I hooked the sony up to the C&C BH amp which opened the sony up a bit especially with my Grados which needed that bit more juice,although I love the tone of the warmer Sony,I still think the X5 was one step ahead in detail.
Overall I think Fiio have done a great job improving on the stellar X3 and with future DSD upgrade,its a tremendous bargain,half the price of the Sony ZX1 which I believe sounds similar to the F886,with HI-RES streaming just around the corner,hopefully the future X7 will have an OLED touchscreen(wishing) and wifi.(But please no Android!!)
To sum up the X5 is a true robust urban road warrior of a player,true Hi-Fi on the move and I for one would buy it in a second.