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Looking for Portable setup upgrade suggestions...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all


This is my first post in the forum, so apologies it's a bit long; I thought it best to describe the audio set up I have first to give you guys an idea...



Rented Room: PC with Creative Audigy Sound Card/2010 Mac Mini/Lenovo X-Series Laptop/Grado SR-60s
Portable: Motorola Defy (UK) Mobile/Sony NWZ-E454 8GB DAP/Sennheiser PMX 60s (can't use IEMs)
In Storage: NAD seperates/Kef Q1s

Music: Built up collection of mostly 192-320Kbps MP3s, with the odd OGG and WAVs thrown in.


I'd like to rebuild my collection of CDs to be FLAC and keep all my highest quality MP3s. My music taste it eclectic, including Rock/Indie/Classical/Jazz/Comedy/Pop.



At the moment, my Sony DAP doesn't have enough power to drive the Aux In on my car stereo and I'm having to use my mobile phone. Low and behold, the headphone socket on that is now starting to break (again).


So, I'm looking for a good robust DAP with line out (or equivalent headphone volume) that'd do my music more justice. It'd be nice to have more storage space/support higher bitrates and if it upgrades my room setup as well, that'd be a bonus.


I appreciate that I'm not going to notice much difference in music quality with my PMX60s or when I'm in the car, but when at home, I may want to use the new DAP with my Grados and if the new kit gives better sound out of my computers, that'd be a very nice bonus.


From looking round the forums and reading the reviews, something from the Fiio lineup might just be the ticket. So far I've narrowed it down to a few options:


a) Fiio X3 as an all in one solution for portable use and as a DAC/AMP for my MAC and laptop (not too fussed if it doesn't improve my main PC sound much). Cost approx £200 inc. SD Card.
b) Fiio E10 as USB DAC/AMP for the PCs/laptop and a 2nd Hand Gen 5.5 Ipod Classic with Rockbox for portable/car use.


What do you guys think? Any other suggestions for a similar setup/price?


Thanks in advance. :)



post #2 of 10
The fiio x3 looks good enough by itself to play through your car stereo. Maybe you need to upgrade your car stereo to something with a usb port. Heck, you might be able to use your sony dap with the new usb car stereo, too.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Cheers for the reply, but I should have mentioned my car is a BMW Mini Cooper S, so I can't just swap out the head unit. :p

post #4 of 10
Okay, then try the fiio x3 by itself, and if there is not enough power, get the fiio e17 and you will have bass/treble control, too.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Fair doos. If I want to try an X3, then I'll have to wait till I can afford one or has anyone got one they can loan me for a while? ;)


I've had a look at the E17 and noted that I don't really need any of the digital inputs (sold my minidisc gear years ago), so would there be any noticeable tonal difference, aside from saving some ££, by going for an E07K instead?


In any case, I suppose there's always the option of upgrading to a better amp for desktop use in the future (using the X3, E07K or E17 as the DAC)... :)


And just to cover all the bases, are there any other DAPs or DAC/AMP desktop combos I could consider for driving my Grados with a neutral sound signature (budget £200 max)?

Edited by locksbury - 1/14/14 at 1:07pm
post #6 of 10

All your questions answered. Read it and let your wallet weep. wink.gif
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I did read up on all the X3 stuff (including going to Fiios website) before looking into the other options, but thanks for the thought. ;)


I suppose I've answered my own questions, by realising having an extra portable amp isn't something I can really live with (or leave hanging round in the car) and if the amp section is as good as any of Fiio's other portable offerings, then I suppose it's a no brainer! Just so long as the firmware/SD care limitations aren't an issue (been reading those as well) and I can hook up the X3 to another amp in future.



Edited by locksbury - 1/14/14 at 1:29pm
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Addendum: After reading more of the forum and reviews, I've decided that when I get the cash, I can get an O2/DAC combo DIYed, so that's my desk/away portable setup sorted. :cool:


However, my main query is still whether an Ipod Video 5G or the X3 (I understand there's a opamp swap mod that can give a similar neutral sound signature, kind of like piping it through the O2). I've read a few posts saying that the line out of the X3 maybe too powerful for a typical Aux In of a car stereo...


Has anyone had this issue?


I'm hoping that the line out of the X3 goes fine with the aux in on my Mini, then I can leave the volume setting on the headphone well alone and hopefully wear out the headphone/line out sockets half as much.

post #9 of 10
I am not sure of there is an o2 or odac appreciation thread, but there is an x3 appreciation thread. You can ask the hands-on stuff about that dap there.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I did find the X3 threads, but loathed to read all 400+ pages of it. I have been reading relevant extracts, so maybe I'll add to forray with my questions. Cheers! :)

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