I'm looking at the X5 as a direct replacement for my current iPod Classic/Nokia N8/ALAC/iTunes setup, but a comprehensive search over a couple of days has still left me with a few doubts. By the way, I apologise if my use of bold text is frowned upon on the forums. I saw someone else use it here as a way of highlighting the question portions of their posts, and decided to adopt it.
@rfox: You said:
I have the E17 together with the E09K as a desktop solution - and I do like the Treble and Bass boost capability on the E17. Just wish the X5 had that. I tried the EQ but it doesn't seem to bring the missing bass - the X5 sounds great without the EQ in my humble opinion.
Is the X5 the equal of (or better than) the E17 as a DAC? If so I could sell my E17 to fund the price of the X5. A review on Headmania mentions if briefly, but I thought I'd get another opinion too.
Also, I searched this thread but no-one seems to have asked this question: when browsing by Album tag (not in Folder mode), does the X5 respect the CD No. ID3 tag (officially I believe it is the TPOS - Part Of A Set frame)? I've experienced some players which ignore it and you end up with equally numbered tracks listed together, which isn't desirable. Also, does the X5 support and display the Grouping tag? I'm guessing not, as it appears to be a custom tag created for iTunes, but worth a punt.
Regarding gapless playback, which I read is fixed in the latest beta: when enabled, does gapless playback only apply to those tracks with the "Part of a gapless album" tag applied, or universally?
A potential deal-breaker for me at the moment is how the X5 handles the swapping in and out of the SD storage cards. I currently have my whole 3700-song collection stored on 32GB µSDHC cards for use with another player (not the iPod), and I don't much fancy forking out for larger cards until the price drops significantly. This means I'd have to swap-in cards from time to time, perhaps frequently. I have a dedicated carry-case for them so that's not an issue, but I watched a video review of the X5 by a Chinese guy, and when he demonstrated adding tracks manually to the device the time taken to add only 180-odd tracks made me fear for the length of time it would take to add 1000+! So, what I need to know is, when I insert an SD card for the first time, how long does the X5 take to make the tracks available? And, what does the X5 do when you remove an SD card - does it remove the tracks it contained from the database? If so, that means I'll have to re-scan 1000+ files every time I swap-in a card, which sounds horrible. OTOH, if it does keep them in the database, and you attempt to play a track that's on an SD card that's been removed, will the X5 prompt you to insert the appropriate card?
BTW, I love the "Search thread" feature here on Head-Fi. Don't think I've seen such a thing on other forums I've used. Awesome.