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FiiO X3 Lockup

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 


My name is John Marchington, I live in New Zealand  and I've been a Hi-Fi fan for almost as long as I can remember.


About a month ago I bought an FiiO X3 DAP, after reading a very enthusiastic review in an English music magazine. I found out who the local agent was, bought an X3 and a pair of high-quality Chinese headphones from him at the same time


I begin by ripping four of my CDs into FLAC files and I have to say that the quality of sound, as heard through the headphones, far exceeded my expectations. The top end was silky smooth yet extended, the mid range had presence yet not excessively so and the bass was tight, yet really solid and deep. Bass drum was sensational! There was a wonderful feeling of space as well and everything seemed naturally focused. The stereo spread was wide yet the imaging was excellent as well. I am used to the sound of electrostatic speakers and headphones and I believe these headphones to be the next best thing, yet they didn't cost the earth.


I decided to look into the possibility of purchasing some hi-rez files and settled on two Everest albums that I knew well. I had one on CD (and also on SACD) and the other on vinyl. The former would give me the opportunity of comparing it against the other formats, while I had long wanted to buy the latter in a digital format of some kind. I settled on 24-bit/192 kHz FLAC files for both albums.


I also wanted hear what the X3 sounded like through an amplifier and speakers so I bought a 3.5mm stereo jack and two RCA plugs (all gold plated)  and made up a lead so that I could use the Line Out of the X3..


I started with one of the Everest albums and the X3 played every file without a hitch. The quality was very impressive but I fancy it might sound even better through those phones. Time for the second album: two works by Igor Stravinsky. The first work presented no problems and the first movement of the second work started as expected and continued through to the end.


Then there was silence!


Puzzled, I walked over to the X3 and found it was pointing to the second movement of the work but I was unable to move up and down through the other files in the album or move back to a previous menu. In fact I couldn't do anything, not even turn it off!


An e-mail to the NZ agent suggested I reset the player (paper clip in the little hole by the headphone socket) and that restored order.


A friend whom I had  written to suggested I try playing the same files again and see if the problem repeated itself. Sad to say, that is exactly what happened - in exactly the same spot - and a further reset was necessary.


When I downloaded the files I stored them on one of the hard drives in my PC (before transferring them to the 32 GB ADATA SDCard I purchased) and I have played those HDD files through VLC Media Player (as Multiple Files) and they play perfectly, one after the other. Even more intriguingly, I have removed the SDCard (a class 10 card I believe) from the side of the X3, and using an SDCard reader with adapter the same files also play without any problems through VLC Media Player (again using the Multiple Files setting). As a consequence of this, I am now totally confused about the whole matter and wonder where the cause of the problem might lie.


One other point. When I created the FLAC files from my CDs, I wasn't aware of the Library and that it has to be updated each time files are added to the SDCard. I now do that religiously but wonder if there might have been some sort of corruption in the Library from the omission at the start. Can the Library be cleared and updated  from scratch again?


There is still so much I have to learn about this player. I am not a cellphone user and that might handicap me somewhat.


If anyone has any ideas as to what might be causing that lock-up and how I can prevent it from happening again I would greatly appreciate any suggestions forthcoming. Maybe I have to re-format the card and copy all the files back a second time? Many thanks.

post #2 of 6

What chinese headphones are you talking about?


Anyway, rest assured that you can just as well stick with cd quality. No need for hi-res for several reasons that I am not the right one to explain, but in the end you gain nothing from using hi-res files. So in my opinion you could just as well down convert the files you have issues with. I have no idea why that happens. Try to go to the dedicated x3 thread, James (founder of fiio) might be able to help you.


I own the x3 as well and find it to be pretty good. Especially, that I can use it as a DAC/amp on the go for my pc with the newest firmware.


What gear do you own?

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your comments, David


With regard to your remarks about sticking with CD quality, you could probably ask a number of people what their favourite music format would be and you would get a variety of answers. I only buy one Hi-Fi magazine now on a regular basis (that's not counting the music magazine I mentioned before) and it is literally vinyl mad now. There are at least three lengthy articles each month on "classic" vinyl releases. At the other end of the scale, a friend of mine couldn't get rid of her turntable and LPs quickly enough once CDs appeared. She finds CD quality more than acceptable - no more clicks and pops!. However, if you go to and read some of the comments about CDs there, you will find a totally different mindset. As far as hi-rez files are concerned I am very impressed with the quality of those I've heard so far (with one possible exception, mentioned below) and I have definitely noticed percussion detail in one of the Everest's that I hadn't noticed before.On the other hand, I have to admit that the other Everest appears to suffer from overload distortion particularly with regard to the bass drum thwacks and that's disappointing as they're a 24 bit/182 kHz FLAC set of files. It's especially noticeable through the SoundMAGIC HP100 headphones. (Now I've just answered your first question). It's a 55 year old (or thereabouts) recording so perhaps one shouldn't be too surprised and it doesn't sound so bad through loudspeakers. In most other respects - string, wind and brass sound, as well as spaciousness and depth, the recording still sounds remarkably good. (I can assure you that the overloading distortion is NOT the headphones). I do have that recording on LP as well, but I haven't played it for years.


My main equipment comprises a locally manufactured pre-amp from some years ago, home built Linsley Hood class A amplifier monoblocks (I even designed one of the boards used in them) and Acoustat SPECTRA 6600 electrostatic speakers. I also have a couple of pairs of STAX electrostatic headphones: SR-Lambda and SR-Lambda Professional (higher polarising voltage than the standard type). I bought the latter second-hand and had to buy new capsules for them as the originals had been damaged. They're fine now.


I went out and bought another 32 GB SDcard (cheaper than the first one, and from a different manufacturer) for the X3 and after reformatting it to FAT32 I've replicated the files on the first card by copying them across from my hard drive again. I added a couple of albums I had bought and downloaded from another hi-rez supplier at the same time. Unfortunately I forgot to update the library again prior to playing the album where the lock-up occurred - and it occurred again in the same spot as before! I then updated the library and played just the work associated with the lockup - and it was fine that time, playing right through to the end. Did that library updating cure the fault? I really can't say at this stage. The only difference between the two playbacks (library update excepted, of course) was amplifier and speakers used for the first and the HP100 for the second.


One thing that is slightly off-putting is the time it takes to download those hi-rez files. Sadly, we don't have what one might call ultra-fast broadband here in New Zealand, although it is promised - my average download speeds are around 350 kB/sec (that's kilobytes not kilobits) - so downloading gigabytes of data obviously takes considerable time. At least it's better than dial-up!!!


By the way, how can I get hold of the FiiO founder (David) you mentioned? Thanks.

post #4 of 6
There's a fiio x3 thread where he frequents, try search. Do you have the newest firmware btw? I'm one my phone now so my answers will be short..
I am a new Stax owner myself, really dig it. Got a Stax lambda signature with the t1 amp, it sounds great, though sadly I have channel imbalance issues!
Hi Rez files can sound different by the way (due to DAC implementation), but they shouldn't be superior in any way. Not that I really understand why but it appears to be a fact.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

There seem to be quite a few FiiO threads here so I shall probably have to do a search to find the one I'm after.


Yes, I have FW2.05 installed, which adds the 'USB Mode' and Formatting option.


We can probably argue till the cows come home about hi-rez files and it seems we beg to differ about them. It would be a dull world if we all felt the same way about things. I'm an SACD fan as well and that's controversial, too, with some people saying it's a waste of time. We all hear differently, I attend a great many concerts throughout the year so I'm frequently subjected to the sound of a symphony orchestra and the Chandos hi-rez file I've played through the X3 and HP100 phones gives me the impression of being present at such a recording session. I have no doubt others might feel differently about it.


I'm glad you're a STAX fan too. They are indeed superb.

post #6 of 6
Whatever floats your boat :-)

If you want to know why cd quality is just as good as hi-rez/sacd look into the nyquist theorem and bit depth/dithering.
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