Before I begin: I was not paid to do this review, and in no way did FiiO alter this review. The contents of this review are purely my findings and opinions except where stated as fact, like specifications on a product
The FiiO X1 came in a fairly bland white box,(NOTE: The white box will probably be a little more aesthetically pleasing on the final release product.) which when opened I found the X1 in a black silicone case. A micro USB cable and manual is also included. The X1 itself is all aluminum with the exception of the scroll wheel. It has eight buttons that feel solid and emit a click when pressed. The power and volume controls are along the left side of the device. The volume buttons are elevated, whereas the power button is not, so you can find, and know which buttons are which in your pocket easier and not accidentally turn it off. The skip forward and back buttons can also rewind and fast forward when held down while playing music, and can be used instead of the rotating scroll wheel when in the song selection menu, which brings me to the only thing that doesn't feel solid on this otherwise solid device...
The scroll wheel. Its plasticy, and feels very thin. If I press on one side, it comes up slightly, indicating to me its held in place in the center, and isn't secured on the outside. I'd like to see the scroll wheel be made of textured aluminum that's colored black, and have it secured in place on the outer edge so it feels more solid... Also so the outward build is 100% metal besides the display. That's my only problem with its build, and FiiO already stated they may improve the scroll wheel on the release version.
The other two buttons are a shortcuts key, and for going back. There is also a blue light on the X1 when turned on that changes to red when charging.
When you first turn on the X1, you select your language from a list. After selecting one, you are brought to the menu. The interface is very simple to pick up on and use. I felt almost as if I knew what everything does within the first 5 minutes of using it without ever feeling the need to read the manual. In the settings you can set max volume, adjust equalizer and balance, switch between line out and headphone out (both line out and headphone mode use the 3.5mm audio jack on the top of the device), change the theme, and change the display brightness, which can get quite bright. I had no trouble with it under direct sunlight. Music, albums, genres, and artist's are listed in alphabetical order, which is very nice as you know where everything is, but if you have a lot of music, scrolling takes quite a bit of time. I'd like to see the ability to go directly to songs etc. by selecting the first letter of the name of what you are looking for. Other than that, the UI is very intuitive and fast to navigate.
The X1 will be assessed based on power, detail, soundstage, and sound coloration compared to my two other devices, the Nokia Lumia 925, and SanDisk Sansa C250 Rockboxed.
Headphones used: AKG K240 Studio, Audio Technica ATH-WS77, Logitech UE6000
DAP's used: Nokia Lumia 925, SanDisk Sansa C250 Rockboxed, FiiO X1
I will be using the device with, and without the E11 amplifier. I will comment on sound quality before and after
#1 "Outnumbered" by Rekoil and Devour 320kbps .mp3
#2 "Life" by Televisor 320kbps .mp3
# 3"Into The Woods" by Jastrian 320kbps .mp3
#4 "Straw Hat Pirates (instrumental)" by Omnitica 320kbps .mp3
#5 "Rage" by Moxix 320kbps .mp3
#6 "Love On First Sine" by Spag Heddy 320kbps .mp3
70's-80's Rock and Pop
#7 "Photograph" by Def Leppard 320kbps .mp3
#8 "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi Lossless .wma (can't remember bit rate. I selected lossless when burning the CD though. Same applies to songs I label lossless .wma)
#9 "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac Lossless .wma
#10 "One of These Nights" by The Eagles Lossless .wma
#11 "Come Monday" by Jimmy Buffett Lossless .wma
#12 "Rocket Queen" by Guns N' Roses Lossless .wma
#13 "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
#14 "I'm Not Crazy" by Hopsin, Cryptic Wisdom, and SwizZz 320kbps .mp3
#15 "Sag My Pants" by Hopsin 320kbps .mp3
#16 "Aurora Awakes" Composed by John Mackey and Performed by the North Texas Wind Symphony
My first impression of the sound is a warm, full bodied sound. It seems to be in the way sound is presented to you rather than actually having more db in the low frequencies. So overall, the sound signature is in line with the other FiiO products I've heard. (E6, E11) I wish I had another amp other than the E11 so I could check if it's just the internal amp that has the house sound, or if the DAC itself carries the signature FiiO sound... But I guess someone else will have to comment on that. Compared to my Lumia 925, the sound is warmer, with more body, texture, and detail... The difference in detail is noticeable, but not a giant amount. You won't plug your headphones in and feel like you're hearing your music for the first time... BUT what is very different is the soundstage and layering. Going from the X1 to the Lumia, it sounds like the room the music is being played in was cut down to 1/2 the size, and 2/3 as much distance is placed between sounds. Width of the soundstage on the Lumia 925 is almost as good as the X1 to my ears however. I'd say 4/5 of the width is there on the 925. Now let me tell ya, I put the Lumia 925 ahead of the Galaxy S4 and Nexus 5 in terms of overall sound to give people an idea. (my parents both have a Nexus 5, and my Sister has a Galaxy S4.) Also, from my experience with the HTC One M7, the Lumia 925 has superior sound. I'd put it behind the iPhone 5s however... And apparently my SanDisk sansa C250 has a dead battery, and I forgot my charger at my house. (I'm in a different state for a wedding.) so I guess no comparison to that. From memory of what the C250 sounds like, the X1 is overall better sounding. The X1 also drives the K240 studio, which is 55 ohms, and has a sensitivity rating of 91db/mW to normal listening levels at a little above half volume. On my Lumia 925, I need to turn it up to full volume, and even then that's not very loud. The X1 will drive most low-fi cans I can think of to louder than safe levels. When I added the E11, sound overall improves. Soundstage gets even wider, and the detail gets more refined.
I say this is an absolutely amazing value for its price. The FiiO X1 is certainly an audiophile DAP I can recommend to budding audiophiles, and non-audiophiles alike because of its low price, good looks, intuitive UI, and fantastic sound. Forget iPod's! the X1 is much better in my opinion.
PICTURES: http://1drv.ms/1lmRY2bEdited by DisCHORDDubstep - 9/4/14 at 10:49pm