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The Fiio X5 Thread - Page 418

post #6256 of 19490

Has anyone else found that there is a maximum limit (5800 for me) on the number of tracks in the library? I've got rather large library (>6000 tracks of mostly MP3s) that I've copied over to my microsd card. I first noticed that when browsing by category, I wasn't able to find certain artists but I can see all of the tracks when browsing by folders. Just in case it was a tagging issue, I double checked all the files and resync'd using MediaMonkey. After the second transfer, I'm still limited to 5800, but a different subset of tracks is listed.

 

I'm sure once I finish re-ripping my CDs to FLAC I won't be able to fit the entire library on the X5, even if I go crazy and pick up 2x 128GB cards. But, still a strange number to be limited to.

post #6257 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by nafran View Post
...... even if I go crazy and pick up 2x 128GB cards. But, still a strange number to be limited to.

Speaking of this Amazon is now accepting backorders for the SanDisk Ultra 128 GB microSDXC @ $120, may as well lock orders in so you know you will be getting that price and not whatever the hell inflated prices people have been selling them for, no ETA on shipping however.

post #6258 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess70 View Post


No , I just went through and re-organized manually because iTunes had some empty folders and would put in folders according to composer which doesn't work for folder browsing when an album has the same performers but different composers. IE: neil young decade album has some Neil Young solo, some with Crazy Horse some with CSNY and some with Buffalo Springfield . I want them all in one folder under Neil Young instead of 4 separate folders for the same album.

In the few cases where I have 6-7 song from 4-5 different albums of the same artist I delete the album folder so all songs are under the artist only folder. That makes it easy to play all the songs as a group.

Ok I see, that'll give me something to do!

 

Thanks 

Arcright 

post #6259 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess70 View Post

I did that and it worked. Note that album art from CD's I ripped to itunes do not show up as they are not embedded. But the music plays fine .
Well that probably exams why my old AAC and ALAC files don't display artwork on my X3. Now that I've switched to XLD, I don't seem to have that problem anymore.
post #6260 of 19490

Now I'm struggling with this...

 

Trying to load up my microSD cards (a pair of Samsung 64GBs - a very slow process) from my Macbook Pro. Have found it a bit hit and miss in terms of the quality of the transfers, and using all FLAC files.

 

But I can't seem to get them to be recognised in the Media Library. The folders are there, and I can play from there, but I really want to be able to use the convenience of the Library (particularly as the Mac seems to put loads of extra non-musical files in there).

 

I think I'm tagging the files properly, certainly with Artist and Album, so I have no idea why the X5 is not seeing them when I do a Media Library scan. At the moment, I've only got about six albums on it, so it's not that I'm stretching it too much.

 

Any advice? Anyone having similar problems? I'm sure it's something I'm doing rather than the X5, but I'm getting extremely frustrated!

post #6261 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by CH23 View Post

Main menu scrolling, when you scroll clockwise, the items appear counter-clockwise.
CH23, would you mind weighing in on the controversial subject of the X5's scroll wheel? How do you like it so far? Seem solid enough to you?
post #6262 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmatheis View Post

CH23, would you mind weighing in on the controversial subject of the X5's scroll wheel? How do you like it so far? Seem solid enough to you?

It's solid enough.

Of around 5000 units sold, only one "broke"(middle disk unscrewed)(bowei is famous, lol)

The issue of "1 tick should be 1 shift on screen" is already known by @JamesFiiO, and it could be addressed in a future update. I hope it will.
post #6263 of 19490

Any idea when this will be on Amazon?

 

edit: nvm, its on Amazon but only through subdealers for 399. 


Edited by Stuff Jones - 4/7/14 at 1:48pm
post #6264 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuff Jones View Post
 

Any idea when this will be on Amazon?

 

edit: nvm, its on Amazon but only through subdealers for 399. 

 

Its on Amazon UK. Mind you my order wasn't despatched today as was indicated.

post #6265 of 19490

Alright guys, here's my review of the X5 from the Preview Tour!

 

Note: In italics are the required disclaimers as per stipulated in the Preview Tour thread.

 

One day in December 2013, as I was looking around in Head-Fi (being more interested in audio ever since Fiio decided to add USB DAC capability to the X3), I came across a thread by Fiio asking people to test out the X5 as part of its “Preview Tour” (i.e. test it for 10 days for free and then pass it to the next reviewer/Fiio depending on schedule set by Fiio). I thought to myself, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained, YOLO” and signed up for it despite not writing having written a proper review before, not having high-level audio products and most probably being unable to afford to get the X5 in the immediate future being just a college student only. So, by some stroke of luck, here I am, reviewing the Fiio X5 (albeit an engineering sample and mostly on Firmware 1.00; the ones that you will be buying will be better than this review set ;) ), and here’s my experiences with it.

 

Initial Opening

When I got the set from the previous reviewer, it was in a normal-looking box that you will expect for any electronic product. But, when I opened it, I was a little impressed by that sleek looking black box that held the X5; its leathery surface seems to show that this product is clearly for the (slightly more) upmarket consumer. The other stuff you get is on par with the rest in this market (e.g. USB cable, 3.5mm to coaxial cable and maybe that silicon case), except for the screen protectors (the X5 already has one, and some spare ones), the MicroSD card reader and even an USB OTG cable (as the X5 will be able to play media files from other USB storage devices in future firmware patches), which I thought are a nice touch from Fiio. The silicon case is a little thick though, which means that if you are planning to use the X5 with bigger 3.5mm plugs, you cannot use the silicon case (that’s why you will see that I am not using it in the pictures).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The X5 itself

The first impression you might have is that “Hey, it looks like and iPod!” thanks to its mechanical wheel. But beyond that, it is a completely different beast from the iPod and many other digital audio players in the market. Around the wheel are 4 buttons, with a fifth one in the middle of the wheel. Below the wheel, you will see 4 dots, which are lit by a green/red LED to indicate USB activity. Above these is a large screen, which is quite clear and sharp. I am happy with the screen considering that it is the biggest I ever had for a DAP. On the top side of the X5, you will see the 3.5mm ports for Line-Out, Headphones Out and Coaxial Out, the Reset button and Power On/Off button (which acts as a Lock button too), which is as expected. The left side of the X5 has two buttons for controlling volume like the Sansa Clip Zip. What may be more interesting is the bottom of the X5, which has two MicroSD card slots and a MicroUSB port; not many digital audio players allow you to use two MicroSD cards and also another USB storage device at one go and not many digital audio players have thick and strong rubber covers to protect your MicroSD cards, which I think are important since they are small and somewhat fragile.

 

 

 

 

Within the X5

The X5 starts up pretty fast and switches off pretty fast too (with a friendly “See You” message). Once the X5 is started, you will be in the main menu and you can use the wheel (or the bottom two buttons) to select where you want to go and the middle button to confirm your selection. You can choose to play your music files via selecting one of them among them within a storage device (this is what I used almost exclusively throughout this review), or go by artists or genres. There is also a “Favourites” playlist that you can use after setting some songs as your Favourites. Finally, you can adjust your X5 according to its “Equalizer”, its “Playback Settings” (e.g. gain control) and “System Settings” (e.g. language settings and USB port settings). A firmware upgrade can be done quickly and easily by getting the firmware file from the official Fiio website and placing it in a MicroSD card and then starting the X5 with it.

 

 

 

 

Sound Signature

Coming from entry-level digital audio players like the Sansa Clip Zip that I am using now, the X5 is unsurprisingly a huge improvement. When paired with my (modded) Beyerdynamics Custom ONE Pro, I was happy at how the X5 was near-neutral as compared to the Clip Zip; I noticed slightly more treble (and even more so if FW1.15 is used). More importantly, I was pleased with how the X5 presented the details of the music; the level of detailing may be the same for the X5 and the Clip Zip but the X5 somehow managed to make me notice all these details much more than the Clip Zip. I support the popular notion that the X5 is good at showing the “micro-details” of the music. Also, it was only on the X5 that I can notice the weakness of my COPs: weak mids, which goes to show that the X5 is good enough at telling the weakness and strengths of some headphones. One of my friends also noted that the X5 is on par with the Cowon Z2 in terms of sound signature, but another friend using an iBasso DX50 noted that it was too bassy to his liking.

 

 

USB DAC

One of the reasons why I am interested in Fiio’s X3 and X5 is that they can be USB DACs too and thus be part of your desk setup aside from being your portable setup (i.e. I prefer an all-in-one solution). Here, the X5 proved to be quite good. In order to use the X5 as an USB DAC, you must set it to be a DAC in the USB settings under the System Settings and then install the USB DAC drivers for your computer. When I was using the X5 as an USB DAC and paired it with a 12AU7 tube amp from Fred’s Amps using a RCA 1960’s grey plate tube, the sound signature is obviously the same as before except for the slightly tubey sound due to the tube amp. It is surprisingly on par with the much cheaper Fiio D03K/Taishan, but I must note that the Fiio D03K needs a SPDIF or Coaxial input while the X5 needs an USB input. (Sidenote: I connected the X5 to the D03K via its Coaxial output and then connected the D03K to the tube amp. The results are almost the same aurally, but it looks kind of funny :P) The X5 however outdid Stoner Acoustics’ UD100 as it is much heavier on the vocals and bass, which then underemphasized other details, making it less neutral than the X5. Notably, the X5 hung and had forced shutdowns a few times during this testing phase; I suspect it has something to do with the line out port since they happened when the jack is inserted or removed from the port. Normal usage does not require you to do this many times in a short period of time though so this should be a not-so-urgent issue lest this is related to other forced shutdown issues.

 

 

 

 

USB Charging

The X5, being an USB device, needs to be charged via the USB port. While it can reach 100% if charged from a wall socket (of which I need to separately get a wall socket to USB plug), I was disappointed in seeing that it cannot be charged that quickly when plugged onto my laptop as an USB DAC (even after 12 hours!). I thought that I can use the time it is acting as an USB DAC to sufficiently charge it for the next day. Strangely, when I tried using a portable charger to charge (whether using the X5 or not), it was not charging as fast as on a wall socket too. On FW1.10 and above, I also noticed how hot the X5 can get while charging and how slower the charging process can get.

 

Other Issues

Other than this issue, I also noted that the buttons could have been labelled a la the X3; some of my friends and I noted that at first glance we do not understand what buttons do what until we either read the Quick Guide (in the System Settings or the one supplied with the X5) or we just play around with the X5. We also noted that the physical wheel feels flimsy and can be clumsy in terms of usage (especially when setting the Equalizer). While the wheel makes it faster to go through many songs as compared to the normal buttons as seen on the X3 and the Clip Zip, it is still slower than a touchscreen. I also noticed how imprecise the wheel can be at times, for some reason I tend to select the option/file that is just below my intended target.


Album art proved to be another issue I had with the X5; while the X5 is able to support them as stated on the official website, I am forced to experiment to find out what naming convention works and what doesn’t. Also, album art is cut off at the bottom and anyway, I feel it could have been better placed in the screen (i.e. the text should not block it at all).

 

The X5 is also quite huge and heavy compared to my Clip Zip, I had a hard time operating the X5 with one hand given that it is almost as wide as my palm. I also note that at certain circumstances (e.g. chasing a bus), its weight can be a hindrance.

 

Finally, song switching is much slower on the X5 than on the Clip Zip. This is slightly rectified on FW1.15 but the new Artist>Album behaviour (and that much loathed lockscreen being switched on when wrong button is pressed issue) is not something I want at all times.

 

Verdict

The X5 does well to market itself to the audiophile market (which have its own expectations of prioritising SQ over UI/physical size and not minding to read the manual first) given its excellent near-neutral detailed SQ (+2.5 stars) and the USB DAC functionality (+1.0 stars) at a good price point (+1.0 stars) (compared to iriver/Astell&Kern’s AK series of DAPs, which seems to be its main competitor given the similarity in terms of functionality). That said, the slight problem of it is getting “mainstream” customers due to the UI (particularly the five unlabelled buttons) and the slowness of the hardware wheel vis-a-vis touchscreens that most of us are used to today (-0.5 stars). I am also not impressed by the album art issue; the lack of documentation can give a bad impression to consumers (-0.5 stars). I however acknowledge that I might be nitpicky over these points since they will not cause much problem operational-wise (+0.5 stars). If then, the main problem I have would be the charging issues (-1.0 stars) as I feel that no matter how good the X5 is in terms of sound quality, that will be pointless if I cannot use it often thanks to this issue. Thankfully, all these issues I have mentioned can largely be mitigated via the firmware patches that Fiio gives often (as seen in the X3) and I believe that Fiio can and will be able to fix these issues in due time and even throw in new features as per users’ suggestions/feedback (e.g. the USB DAC feature in the X3) given their excellent track-record in Head-Fi. (+0.9 => +1.5 stars)

 

tl;dr: 3.9/5.0 => 4.5/5.0. The X5 is a good DAP and USB DAC combo that will shine even more after more polishing (right now it’s 1.20 and will get 1.21 soon. Things are looking really great from what I have seen in the changelog so far! :D )

 

For…

People who want the same sound for their portable and desktop setup

People who prefer a very well-detailed and well-presented soundscape

People who want something simple to play their loseless files (i.e. those who just throw everything into one card and play from there)

People who are ok with frequent firmware upgrades

 

Not For…

People who want something a little smaller and/or lighter

People who prefer a touchscreen

People who need ReplayGain support

People who want something more intuitive at one look

People who want something that works really well off-the-shelf

 

Will I Get It: Maybe. Its price (SGD 479) is a little too high to my liking though but that’s really just me. The lack of ReplayGain functionality is another personal bugbear too (having to reconvert my collection takes up a lot of my time that could have been better to enjoy the X5, but thankfully, it is just an one-off…)

 

And sighs, it is too big for this pouch... :X

 

Suggestions/Fixes:

Third option for USB: Charge only; to allow users to charge with other people’s computers but still allow them to play music from the X5 so that they don’t have to bring USB AC adapter to outside

Give simple USB AC wall adapter since the manual suggests the use of such adapters to charge the X5?

Have explanation for album art in manual

ReplayGain/volume normalisation support

Allow user to disable the display of file type and bitrate

Show selected song’s album and artist in song list

Skip song list by alphabet (See Clip Zip)

Have X3’s USB DAC options (?)

post #6266 of 19490

Well, it's another, "I just got it!" post.  I won't repeat others' comments, except to say that I agree with all of the positive points.

 

Some observations:

 

1.  Sound quality:  Oh my god!  It's amazing!  I had been listening to music using a Shure SRH840 with an iPod Classic paired with an E12.  The E12 was a recent addition and I thought it was a vast improvement over the iPod by itself.  I'm listening to tracks of my own music that I recorded, mixed and mastered myself.  These include electronic and acoustical instruments, and solo and choral vocals.  These come alive on the X5 to such an extent, it's as if I never heard this music before.  I have EQ on the X5 flat and the sound is, if anything, better than I get out of the DAC (an m-Audio FastTrack Ultra) I use for monitoring on my mixing computer.  There is a depth, richness and slight warmth (due, I think, to the Shure cans)  to the sound that I simply have never heard before.  I'm thinking of using the X5 as my output DAC for mixing and mastering.  One thing I've noticed, though: there are a couple of moments in my music that clip.  I don't hear it as clipping on either the iPod, the CD or in my mixing computer.  However, the clipping is pronounced on the X5.  This shouldn't be a problem with professionally-recorded material, but it's something to watch if you roll your own.  I'm going to have to go back and re-mix.  People can debate whether or not you can hear the difference between 44.1k/16 and 96k/24, but I certainly can when the former is on an iPod and the latter on the X5.

 

2.  Folder view: I thought I'd be smart after reading about the shortcomings of playing from tag lists and put everything into folders.  The problem is, when playing from folders, the X5 ignores track numbers embedded in tags AND it displays songs in alphabetical order.  I'm going to have to go through all 300+ albums and rename each file to preface the filename with a two-digit number corresponding to the track number.  I hope I can find a utility to do this.  Otherwise, what a pain!

 

3.  Screen: For those of us older folks, the screen fonts are tiny -- even with my reading glasses, it's hard to read the information.

 

4.  I think the scroll wheel is just fine -- it doesn't feel at all loose or shaky.

 

5.  Gapless means, "no gaps."  There is still a tiny (1 second) gap between tracks.  I write and listen to Broadway musicals, many of which (including mine) are what are called "sung through" or "wall-to-wall," meaning continuous music start to finish.  The 1 second gap is annoying.  However, it appears that Fiio is working on this for a future firmware update, so I'll live with it for now.  If anyone remembers the original iPods, they had a more pronounced problem with gapless playback until it was ultimate fixed, so I expect that Fiio will be able to do the same.  I haven't tried playing from folders for the reason mentioned above, so I don't know if gapless playing improves in that context.

 

6.  Charging:  I followed instructions, plugged the X5 into a 2-amp USB charger and waited 'til the red light turned green.  However, the battery indicator only shows half-charged.  I intend to listen for the rest of the afternoon and let it charge overnight.

 

7.  GUI:  It's not bad.  It seems non-intuitive only because I'm used to the iPod.  It shouldn't take long to get used to.

post #6267 of 19490
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Dumb question,
I'm thinking about getting an X5.
My question is:
Can I use the X5 as a USB to SPDIF converter?

Reason why I'm asking is occassionally I would want to play music off my computer and listen to it via my main DAC which has several digital inputs for my various digital componenets but my main DAC does not have a USB input port.

 

Bump!

post #6268 of 19490

any particular requirements (which work better) regarding micro SD cards i.e. make, model, speed and all

 

thanks for your time,

 

jhv

post #6269 of 19490
Try and get FAT32 formatted cards otherwise u will have to reformat yourself. Depending on how much room u need sandisk 128 gb are a good bet
post #6270 of 19490

Okay, a suggestion:

 

I was thrilled to see that the X5 has a balance control.  My hearing isn't perfect and I have a slight deficit in my right ear -- a balance control would let me compensate a bit.  However, balance only works on the X5's internal amplifier and has no effect on line out.  As I want to listen to my X5 through my E12 amp, the balance control offers no benefit.  Any chance of putting it ahead of the amplification stage, rather than after it?

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