This is the exact combination I am using, as indicated by my avatar. I actually purchased both at the same time form the same dealer. I do still have access to my previous music player so i am able to compare the sound of the Re-400's and at the same time the differences between the two players. My previous player is an ancient,lol,, Creative Zen 4GB purchased way back in, gasp, 2007. I will profess that I do not have a lot of experience with portable music players and DAP's. I used to own several Sony portable minidisc recorders/players, most recently the top of the line RH-10 Hi-MD recorder/player and i also occasionally have access to, not without extraordinary effort on my part I may add, my daughters 32GB i-Pod Touch 4G. Have you ever tried to pry a thirteen year olds i gadget away from them even just for a few minutes? Pulling teeth would be considerably easier I think. It's virtually impossible to compare the Minidisc player to the others as I sold it and all of my minidisc parphanalia almost a year ago, well before purchasing the RE-400's or the X3. I have however been able to do some direct comparisons with the X3, the i-Pod, and the Zen.
The reason I continued to stick with the minidisc format for so long despite all of it's logistical shortcomings was predominantly for the sound quality and the ability to record directly from my optical universal disc transport via a digital or analogue connection. Despite this however, I decided since at the time the market on e-bay for all things Hi-MD had become very favourable, combined with the emergance of do it all hi-end DAP's from the likes of iBoso, AK, and Hifiman that it was time to let go of the relic and move into the 21st century. After doing this I discovered the creative Zen sitting in a dresser drawer, long ago abandoned and forgotten. It was initially purchased for my daughter but it turns out she was just too young at the time and she really showed no interest in it at all. She later caught the dreaded Apple fever and after buying her, her beloved Touch, we simply forgot all about the poor little Zen.
I had fully intended to put the proceeds of my minidisc sell-off towards one of the newly released hi-end DAP's that had recently materialized onto the market but unfortunately some financial misfortune hit at this very moment and those funds had to be re-prioritized and re-directed to more urgent and timely expenditures , wouldn't you know it, so no new DAP for me, boo hoo. Fortunately once I charged up the battery on the ol' Zen it proved to be still fully functional and surprise of surprises not too bad sounding at all, all things considered, as long as i stuck to uncompressed WAV files. No it didn't sound as good as my minidisc player with recordings made from DVD-Audio and SACD's directly from the analogue outputs of my universal player, but still not too bad at all.
I managed to find a new pair of half priceShure SE215's at a smokin' boxing day deal along with a 32GB SD card and I was busy a ripping and a transferring my little heart out. I was a ripping and transferring M.F. Well I marched along to the tune of that little drummer for some time, but eventually like all hopelessly neurotic audiophiles, my mind started contemplating the age old question of what if. What if i upgraded to one of those new fangled hi-end DAP's? Only problem was I still could not afford an AK100 never mind an AK100 modded or an AK120 or an iBasso DX100 or a Hifiman 801. Yes My financial situation had improved somewhat, but not that much. I thought well i can change my earphones at least, maybe that will do the trick.
So I started researching what was the current bomb de plume darling of the entry level IEM world. Off to head fi where I discovered a lot of buzz surrounding the just released Hifiman Re-400. It was receiving almost unanimous praise from those in the know in the head-fi community. During this time though something else had caught my eye. This something else was a new lower priced audiophile DAP, apparantly no longer an oxymoron, from FiiO. I had actually tried a FiiO e11 Kilamanjaro briefly, purchased used online from another site, and was impressed enough to be more than just a little intrigued by this new entry level hi-rez DAP. As luck would have it a local dealer happened to be both a Hifiman and a FiiO dealer. Sounded like a road trip to me so i fired up my trusty "06 Kawasaki Z750S and scurried my little behind down to The Headphone Shop to have me a listen. i brought along the Zen for comparisons sake.
Once I found the store, the tiniest little place i have ever seen, crammed chock full of all manner of headphones and corresponding accessories madness, from floor to ceiling, located inside the local post office, I kid you not, I was exstatic to learn that the owner had both the RE-400's and the X3 in stock and ready to go. I was also able to audition both at my leisure, which of course I did. Primed to the max with anticipation I hurridely connected the IEM's to the X3 and found a file with music I knew and hit the enter button and, and....holy crap this thing sounded like %#@&. What the *%#$. Plus on top of that, the volume wouldn't work. Well what a waste of time this turned out to be, man, just great, just my luck, I'm gonna give this guy a piece of my mind, what the he...What's that? I have the headphones connected to the line out jack? Oh I klnew that, hehe, heh. Of course i knew that. How could you even think i didn't know that,ahem. I read somewhere that this is how you really tell how good a DAP sounds, ya that's it. It didn't take long. once i got the earphones plugged into the proper place to realize that this combo easily outperformed my current set-up.
So,pay the Man! Which I did.
Oh ya the Re-400's and the X3. They sound great together.
Ohhhh, you didn't read all of that did you?