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FiiO X5 vs iPod 7th Gen + FiiO E11 Amplifier

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

I currently have a 160GB iPod 7th Generation with a FiiO E11 portable amplifier and was thinking of replacing them with a FiiO X5. Is there a big difference in sound quality between the two and is it worth upgrading?

post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by j1992 View Post
 

I currently have a 160GB iPod 7th Generation with a FiiO E11 portable amplifier and was thinking of replacing them with a FiiO X5. Is there a big difference in sound quality between the two and is it worth upgrading?

 

I would assume the FiiO X5's PCM1792A DAC chip is a fair bit better then whatever DAC chip is used in the iPod.

post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by j1992 View Post
 

I currently have a 160GB iPod 7th Generation with a FiiO E11 portable amplifier and was thinking of replacing them with a FiiO X5. Is there a big difference in sound quality between the two and is it worth upgrading?

I currently have an iPod Classic (7th Gen - 160 GB) which I used to pair with a Headroom Total AirHead amp and now pair with a Fiio E12.  I've pre-ordered a Fiio X5 from Adorama and can't wait for it to arrive.

 

The iPod Classic DAC is limited to 44.1 KHz/16-bit.  The X5 is 192 KHz/24-bit.  I won't re-visit the issue as to whether higher sample rates and bit depth beyond 44.1/16 can be heard by human ears.  I will, however, say this:  I record and mix my own music.  I'm a hobbyist and not any kind of professional engineer, so take what I say with a grain of salt.  I track, mix and master at 96 KHz/32-bit.  I'd do 192 KHz/32-bit, but my recording hardware doesn't support it (at present).  I use the higher sample and bit-rate for two reasons: (1) I add a lot of effects and correction and I'm concerned with rounding errors that will distort the sound, and (2) though I can't hear about 20 KHz (I'm old :) ), there are harmonics well above this that, in turn, can cause sympathetic harmonics below 20 KHz and I don't want to lose them.  For what it's worth, professional studios record at 192 KHz/ 24- or 32-bits.  I've never asked an engineer why the pros do it this way, but I assume they have a reason.

 

Now, I burn my masters to CD at 44.1/16-bit (dithered) and they sound fine.  HOWEVER, they do not sound as fine, at least to me, when I play those CDs through the same audio hardware as I use for tracking, mixing and mastering as the higher bit and sample rate master.  In other words, if I play the 96 KHz/32-bit master from my DAW through my audio interface (which is a reasonably decent one) into either my studio phones or my near-field monitors, it sounds better than when I play the resulting CD from my computer through the same audio interface and sound reproducers.  I'm not an audiophile, so I'm probably not using the correct terminology, but the sound field seems larger at the higher rate, and it's easier to pick out the individual instruments and voices.  When I transfer the CD to my iPod using ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), the result, though good, is not as good as the CD (which, in turn, is not as good as the higher sample rate/bit-rate original master).

 

I'm buying the X5 for two reasons:

 

1.  I want to hear the music I record, mix and master as close to the master as possible.

2.  With two 128 Gb microSD cards, I can fit my entire CD music collection onto the X5 in ALAC or FLAC (both lossless codecs), whereas now I've pretty much filled up the 160 Gb iPod with 192K and 320K mp3s.

 

Finally, I'd note this: as I said at the top of this post, I used to use a Headroom Total AirHead amp, but recently replaced it with a Fiio E12.  The difference between the two amps is night and day.  Even at my age, with my tinitus and somewhat diminished hearing, the difference in musical presence is dramatic.  Fiio makes some really fine stuff.  The iPod was created for the masses to listen to popular music.  The X5 uses different DACs, different op amps, and a different configuration than the iPod (for example, the X5 is binaural, as opposed to stereo).  Though I haven't heard it yet, I'm expecting it to be an improvement over the iPod, just as the E12 was an improvement over the Total AirHead.

 

Is it worth upgrading?  For me it is, for the reasons I've given.  Is it worth upgrading for you?  There are too many subjective factors to provide an answer, which would be determined by what kind of music you listen to, why you listen to music, and what you hope to get out of the listening experience.


Edited by ptravel - 3/25/14 at 9:12pm
post #4 of 40
I own the senn momentums and am thinking of buying the fiio x5.I will probably upgrade to hd650 in the distant future (6 years, about)Is it a wise choice?I listen to mostly flac music.Also what about an amp?
post #5 of 40
J1992, I had almost the exact same set up as you but I was running a 7th Gen iPod with the E12 Mont Blanc, using M50's and DT880 Premiums (250 ohm) - I was happy with the sound (ALAC Apple lossless files) until I tried the Fiio X3 and the listening experience was so much better - I can only assume the X5 will be the same or better than the X3. I sold the iPod soon after.
post #6 of 40
I received my Fiio X5 on Tuesday of this week. I immediately went home and ripped about 6 cd's to Flac using EAC. I was more than a little impressed, great sound indeed. I only have an average set of headphones and the difference was very noticeable. I will be selling my iTouch 5th gen ASAP. Now to decide on a good set of Headphones for about $150. Any suggestions ??
post #7 of 40

Follow-up to follow-up to follow-up on cheap eBay 128 Gb microSD cards:

 

As some posters suggested these are, indeed, fake.  They only hold 32 Gb or so of data, though they will format as 128 Gb and display a complete listing of all files -- however, anything beyond 32 Gb or so is unreadable.  They are going back under the eBay guarantee, and I'll be buying a couple of 64 Gb microSD cards to tide me over until Sandisk has more 128 Gb cards in stock.

post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by chame1ian View Post

I received my Fiio X5 on Tuesday of this week. I immediately went home and ripped about 6 cd's to Flac using EAC. I was more than a little impressed, great sound indeed. I only have an average set of headphones and the difference was very noticeable. I will be selling my iTouch 5th gen ASAP. Now to decide on a good set of Headphones for about $150. Any suggestions ??

Hey, have you checked out the Brainwavz HM5s?

 

I've also ordered the X5 and it should get here within a week or so, but since you already have it I have one question for you.. Does it support playlists of any kind? Im having a bit of a dilemma and I don't know how to organize my files (I currently have about 200 different playlists).

post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by chame1ian View Post

I received my Fiio X5 on Tuesday of this week. I immediately went home and ripped about 6 cd's to Flac using EAC. I was more than a little impressed, great sound indeed. I only have an average set of headphones and the difference was very noticeable. I will be selling my iTouch 5th gen ASAP. Now to decide on a good set of Headphones for about $150. Any suggestions ??

I love my Shure SRH840, I've been using them for 2 years now. They should be in about that range... 150-200...

post #10 of 40
Hey, I don't think it supports playlists at thi stage. I do hope it is something the add in a firmware update in the future. I am going to double check right now so one sec .....no playlist feature.
post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by chame1ian View Post

Hey, I don't think it supports playlists at thi stage. I do hope it is something the add in a firmware update in the future. I am going to double check right now so one sec .....no playlist feature.

 

I really hope they add that in a future update... Anyhow, thanks for checking!

post #12 of 40

Hi,

 

I discovered this place when researching potential replacements for my 6th-gen iPod Classic 160GB, and subsequently discovered this thread about the FiiO X5.  I currently have around 80GB of 320kbps AACs in my collection that I would ideally like to re-rip as a lossless format whilst retaining the ability to have the entire collection on my DAP.  Regarding the FiiO X5 in particular, the FiiO website (and Amazon) seems to indicate that it'll handle two 64GB microSD cards for a total of 128GB storage, but comments in here seem to indicate you guys are using 128GB cards, can anyone confirm if that's correct, and they work OK for a total of 256GB storage?  I did read that FiiO plan to release future firmware to increase the size of cards that it can handle (potentially up to 512GB), but couldn't see a mention of this having happened yet.

 

Cheers in advance!

post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SenileAnimal View Post
 

Hi,

 

I discovered this place when researching potential replacements for my 6th-gen iPod Classic 160GB, and subsequently discovered this thread about the FiiO X5.  I currently have around 80GB of 320kbps AACs in my collection that I would ideally like to re-rip as a lossless format whilst retaining the ability to have the entire collection on my DAP.  Regarding the FiiO X5 in particular, the FiiO website (and Amazon) seems to indicate that it'll handle two 64GB microSD cards for a total of 128GB storage, but comments in here seem to indicate you guys are using 128GB cards, can anyone confirm if that's correct, and they work OK for a total of 256GB storage?  I did read that FiiO plan to release future firmware to increase the size of cards that it can handle (potentially up to 512GB), but couldn't see a mention of this having happened yet.

 

Cheers in advance!

 

You cant re-rip a lossy format back to lossless, what is lost wont come back in the reverse. So you might as well listen to your AAC files as they are.

post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by roamling View Post
 

 

You cant re-rip a lossy format back to lossless, what is lost wont come back in the reverse. So you might as well listen to your AAC files as they are.

You are, of course, correct, but I suspect by "re-rip", SenileAnimal meant going back to the original CDs and re-ripping, something I had to do when I replaced my iPod Classic with an X5.

post #15 of 40

ptravel is correct (but I wasn't entirely clear in my post!) - I plan (regardless of which player I end up going with) to re-rip my entire collection from CD to a lossless format, so if anything it gives me a lossless backup of those original CDs.

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