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The FiiO X3 2nd gen (ex X3K, X3II) Thread : 192K/24B, CS4398,Native DSD, USB DAC with LO and inline remote - Page 82

post #1216 of 9242
Brooko can you share how I might use "playlists" or any similar feature on the x3ii? It will be my first DAP so I am not sure how to make the necessary configurations. I've been using spotify all alonng. Is it possible to show us screenshots of how your music folder is like when you transfer it to the sd card?
post #1217 of 9242

Just heard from MICCA, they should have X3 II for sale in US sometime early/mid April.

post #1218 of 9242
Quote:
Originally Posted by justjag View Post

Brooko can you share how I might use "playlists" or any similar feature on the x3ii? It will be my first DAP so I am not sure how to make the necessary configurations. I've been using spotify all alonng. Is it possible to show us screenshots of how your music folder is like when you transfer it to the sd card?

 

If you have a look at my review - you'll get an idea of how I organise the folders on my DAPs.

 

EG

 

 

I set my folders up onto 3 letter alphabet groups.  The # represents Artists starting with numbers (3 Doors Down, 10CC etc)

 

 

Under each "3 letter" folder (above is P to R), I have all the Artists belonging in that group

 

 

Under the Artist - I have Album folders

 

So it is very easy for me to scroll my entire library to find something rapidly without over-use fo the wheel.  it adds a few more clicks - but is pretty quick  once you get used to it.  So I use this for most of my browsing - in folder mode

 

If I want to shuffle - then I either use All Songs or Genre (in Category mode) - this requires pretty good tagging - especially for Genre.  If you group your music well, it negates the need for playlists sometimes.

post #1219 of 9242
Thanks a lot for the reply brooko. It's hard work to tag all the genres manually the way I want it. Is there perhaps an easy way out? :P The only one I can think of is reorganizing my music and using folder view. In this case is it possible to shuffle play by folder?
post #1220 of 9242

As far as playlists go - although I've tried the internal ones, I find them to laborious to set-up, so I just use external playlists now.  Step by step, this is how I do it.

 

Connect the X3ii to PC via USB

 

Open Foobar2000

 

(Foobar) File > Add Files > *Navigate to X3K Folder* > Choose file to add > Open

 

Repeat for each track you want to add

 

** Another way to do this is simply to add every track in the X3ii library to your queue - then delete the ones you don't want (use folder add, and select the root directory of the SDXC card).  This can take a while and may not be practical if you have a huge library**

 

** Third way to do it is to open a file explorer window (showing your SDXC card), then drag and drop tracks into Foobar - this is probably quickest method **

 

Once you have the desired tracks selected, choose File, Save Playlist, navigate to the root of your SDXC card, name the list, and choose m3u8 as the file type.  Click save.

 

To access the playlist, simply navigate to the root folder in your X311 (using folder mode), find the playlist file and click on it.

 

Here's what my test track playlist looks like:

 

Quote:
 #\3 Doors Down\Away from the Sun\02 Away From The Sun.m4a
#\10cc\The Very Best Of 10cc\09 Art For Art's Sake.m4a
V-Z\Wildlight\Hers Was As Thunder\05 Dawn To Flight.m4a
S-U\Sola Rosa\Solarized; Refreshed\03 Don't Leave Home.m4a
V-Z\Yesper\Cannibal Kng\01 Cannibal King.m4a
J-L\Julia Fischer\Tchaikovsky; Violin Concerto in D\01 Concerto for violin in D, Op. 35; I. Allegro moderato.m4a
M-O\Miles Davis\Kind Of Blue\01 So What.m4a
V-Z\Zoe Keating\Into The Trees\02 Escape Artist.m4a
V-Z\Wilhelm Kempff\Beethoven Piano Sonatas 8 14 21 23\07 1. Allegro con brio.m4a
V-Z\Wilhelm Kempff\Beethoven Piano Sonatas 8 14 21 23\09 3. Rondo (Allegretto moderato - Prestissimo).m4a
S-U\The Flashbulb\Reunion\10 God Is Speaking.m4a
S-U\The Cranberries\Bury the Hatchet\06 Shattered.m4a
S-U\Steely Dan\Gaucho\04 Gaucho.m4a
S-U\State Radio\Us Against The Crown\04 Right Me Up.m4a
S-U\Seether\One Cold Night\05 Immortality.m4a
S-U\Salmonella Dub\Feel The Seasons Change - Live In Concert with the NZSO & Guests\03 Tui Dub.m4a
S-U\Sarah Jarosz\Build Me Up from Bones\03 Mile On the Moon.m4a
P-R\Portico Quartet\Portico Quartet\07 Steepless.m4a
P-R\Portico Quartet\Portico Quartet\02 Ruins.m4a
P-R\Porcupine Tree\In Absentia\02 Trains.m4a
M-O\Norah Jones\The Fall\03 Light As A Feather.m4a
P-R\Pink Floyd\Dark Side of the Moon\05 Money.m4a
P-R\Pearl Jam\Rearviewmirror (Down Side)\04 Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town.m4a
M-O\Netrebko, Garanca, Vargas, Tezier\The Opera Gala (Live From Baden-Baden)\01 Viens, Mallika, ... Dôme épais (Flower Duet).m4a
M-O\Nils Lofgren\Acoustic Live\05 Keith Don't Go.m4a
J-L\Luciano Pavarotti\The Ultimate Collection\01 Nessun Dorma.m4a
M-O\Mark Lanegan Band\Blues Funeral\02 Bleeding Muddy Water.m4a
J-L\Jethro Tull\Aqualung\10 Locomotive Breath.m4a
J-L\London Grammar\If You Wait (Deluxe)\06 Strong.m4a
J-L\Loreena McKennitt\Live in Paris and Toronto\08 Dante's Prayer.m4a
J-L\Lorde\Pure Heroine\03 Royals.m4a
J-L\Little Dragon\Ritual Union\02 Little Man.m4a
J-L\Little Dragon\Little Dragon\01 Twice.m4a
J-L\Lindsey Stirling\Lindsey Stirling\01 Electric Daisy violin.m4a
J-L\Joe Bonamassa\Live From Nowhere In Particular\04 India-Mountain Time.m4a
G-I\Hans Zimmer\Inception OST\09 Dream Within A Dream.m4a
D-F\Florence + The Machine\Between Two Lungs\04 Howl.m4a
G-I\Green Day\American Idiot\04 Boulevard Of Broken Dreams.m4a
G-I\Gabriella Cilmi\Lessons To Be Learned\09 Safer.m4a
D-F\Feist\Metals\01 The Bad in Each Other.m4a
D-F\Eminem\Curtain Call - The Hits\06 Lose Yourself.m4a
D-F\Eagles\Hell freezes over\06 Hotel California.m4a
D-F\Diana Krall\The Girl In The Other Room\06 Love Me Like A Man.m4a
D-F\Dire Straits\The Best Of (Private Investigations)\01 Sultans Of Swing.m4a
A-C\Coldplay\X&Y\07 Speed Of Sound.m4a
A-C\Christopher Tin\Calling All Dawns\01 Baba Yetu (feat. Soweto Gospel Choir).m4a
A-C\Christina Perri\Head Or Heart\04 Human.m4a
A-C\Breaking Benjamin\Shallow Bay; Best Of\07 The Diary Of Jane.m4a
A-C\Band of Horses\Cease to Begin\01 Is There a Ghost.m4a
A-C\Beth Hart\Live At Paradiso\04 Lifts You Up.m4a
A-C\Angus & Julia Stone\Down The Way\03 For You.m4a
A-C\Amber Rubarth\Sessions from the 17th Ward\08 Tundra.m4a
A-C\Amy Winehouse\Back To Black Deluxe\02 You Know I'm No Good.m4a
A-C\Adele\Live At The Royal Albert Hall\04 Turning Tables (Live).m4a
A-C\Amanda Marshall\Amanda Marshall\01 Let It Rain.m4a
A-C\Alter Bridge\One Day Remains\06 Broken Wings.m4a
A-C\Alison Krauss and Union Station\Paper Airplane\02 Dust Bowl Children.m4a
A-C\Agnes Obel\Aventine\04 Aventine.m4a

You can now navigate to the file, open it with an editor and reorder the tracks if you want as well.

post #1221 of 9242
Quote:
Originally Posted by justjag View Post

Thanks a lot for the reply brooko. It's hard work to tag all the genres manually the way I want it. Is there perhaps an easy way out? :P The only one I can think of is reorganizing my music and using folder view. In this case is it possible to shuffle play by folder?

 

Easiest way to tag large collections (I've found) is to use a free program called mp3tag.

 

You can shuffle play inside a single folder - but not multiple ones.  However if you have folder play enabled (in the settings), and engage shuffle mode, it'll shuffle the songs in that folder, play the entire album, then automatically go to the next album, and shuffle that one.

 

If you're a big fan of shuffling - the easiest way to go is category mode (tagged library), and use Genre or All Songs.

post #1222 of 9242
Those replies were absolutely fantastic. They answered every single question I had to great detail. Thank you so much for your time Brooko! smily_headphones1.gif
post #1223 of 9242

No problems mate.  There is a bit of a learning curve at times - but if you like to tinker, its amazing how flexible Fiios UI is.  You just need to stop expecting it to be like other more mature UIs, and learn to operate within its own boundaries.

post #1224 of 9242
We have new firmware for the X3 2nd gen!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lwrswy1jtm5w5qp/X3II%20FW0.22Beta.zip?dl=0

Upgrade instructions enclosed within the zip. Unfortunately I don't have a changelog at this point.

BTW, one "known issue" with the tour X3's is that they have a higher level of hiss / static than what production units will have. Do let me know if this is an audible issue with the earphones you're using for review. redface.gif

Best regards,
Joe
post #1225 of 9242

Firstly, a HUGE thanks to Fiio for selecting me to participate in the X3 2nd gen's world tour reviews. It's the first time I've had the opportunity to be involved in something like this, and it definitely makes me an even more loyal Fiio customer than ever before.
Honestly, if I was the head of Fiio, I don't know if I'd trust people enough for this world tour kinda thing, and it makes me a little nervous to know that I've been trusted to take care of this device. I almost feel like I'd have to feed it and change its nappy.

Right, let's get to the review.

I'll break it up in the following categories:

Intro
Packaging
Design

Interface
Drop and Submersion Tests
Sound
What I Like
What I Don't Like
Final Thoughts
 


Intro

The X3 2nd gen is an updated and redesigned version of the original X3. The X3 is the DAP that started it all for Fiio; a relatively affordable DAP possessing high quality music playback. Unfortunately I do not have an original X3 to compare it against, but I do have the X1 and X5.

Please keep in mind that the X3 2nd gen model that I received is not completely representative of the final production model, so some things might very well change

 


Packaging

 

 

The packaging is exactly what I have come to expect from Fiio, very nice, or rather premium.

Although, I do hope that they change the black box somewhat, as it is incredibly tedious to take off the lid (due to it being very tight fitting and the bottom sitting flush with the sides of the lid. Getting the X3 2nd gen out from inside the box was also rather difficult, as there was no space to grab onto it.  
As you can see, the box still says "X3K", as that was the name given initially, but the final product on units will have a different name on their boxes

Also in the box you will find 2 additional screen protectors, a COAX cable, a USB cable, and 3 "body stickers" to give it a different look, of which you can choose between a wood finish, carbon fibre, and USA flag.

 

 

 

Design

 

 

Firstly, look at that colour...just look at it! I absolutely LOVE the colour. It's a real shame that, in order to protect it, you'd have to cover it up with the silicon protector.

The brushed metal also feels really good, very premium and modern.
In terms of dimensions it is almost identical to the X1, the X3 2nd gen is around 2 - 3mm thicker than the X1 though. It's also heaver than the X1 (by 29g), tipping the scale at 135g.
As you can see from the images, it's considerably smaller than the X5.
It also has a smooth, Apple-ish back. I'm not entirely sure if it has a very thin pane of glass, or if it is just the metal that has been crafted that way, but it does look and feel substantially more premium than the X1
The scroll wheel feels vastly more robust than both the X1 and X5. It has some solid clicking going on and does require a bit more effort to turn.
The whole thing just feels better built than any of their previous DAPs. The X1 I have has a slightly off centre scroll wheel, and the same can be said for my X5.
One thing I absolutely must praise Fiio on is putting some logos next to the buttons to indicate their purpose. Now, I know the X1 has it too, but due to the colour of the X1 these little logos almost seem invisible. But that's not a problem for the X3 2nd gen, as it has a nice contrast with the darker "titanium" colour. 
Along the top of the DAP you will find a headphone jack, along with a Line / COAX Out combo jack.

 

 

 

Interface

 

 

There's not much I can say about the interface really. The UI of the X3 2nd gen is pretty much identical to that of the X1. It's simple and intuitive...it simply works. I do like the more "Fiio" colour schemes as compared to the X1, and it does feel vastly more mature than the theme found on the X5.

 

 


Drop and Submersion Tests

 

For these tests I wanted to see just how much abuse the unit can take. Let's face it, accidents happen out in the real world, and hopefully this review will allow you to get a deeper understand of just how much care you need to take of your (potentially) new Fiio device. 
I will break these tests down into a few categories:
Drop - 1m

Drop - 1.5m (average height when holding the device)
Drop - 3m
Submersion - Shower
Submersion - 1m for 30 mins

So, did you see me mentioning this section in the first part of the review, and couldn't possibly believe that I'd do these tests? Lol. I wouldn't do a drop or submersion test on any of my own devices, let alone a review unit...heck I didn't even take the protective sheet for the screen protector off!
Hopefully you'll take enough care of your device to not have to find out how it would fare in such circumstances. 

 

 

 

Sound

 

The X3 2nd gen has a lovely, smooth sound to it; but warmer, less analytical than the X5. Finer details (such as cymbals) are more pronounced on the X5.

When listening to someone like Amy Winehouse, you get a real sense of her raspy voice on the X5, whereas on the X3 2nd gen you don't get that same presentation, but you gain a very buttery smooth sound.

I guess my best description would be that the X5's sounds like its audio signature was sculpted in a laboratory, flat and refined; whereas the X3 2nd gen's sound was created in a very expensive home studio.

Ok, perhaps that's not the most accurate or clear description, but hopefully you catch my drift.

Rest assured, however, the X3 2nd gen is better than the X1. The X1 does sound flatter than the X3 2nd gen, but at the same time rather congested, as the X3 2nd gen has better instrument separation, and the sound seems cleaner than that of the X1. The X3 2nd gen also gives you a much better sense of space.

Honestly, for a MSRP of $200 for the X3 2nd gen, I'd be very surprised if you could find a better sounding DAP at the same price point.
I suspect that, due to the brighter (read flatter) sound nature of the X5 as compared to the X3 2nd gen, the latter would be less fatiguing. The X3 2nd gen just has a really comfortable sound to it and would perhaps be more suited to someone who likes to listen for hours on end.

 

When hooking the X3 2nd gen up to an external amp, such as the E12, things do improve. You hear more details, and it's not quite as warm as through the headphone jack. But again, when compared to the X5+E12, it's not quite as good, but definitely not far off! 

 

 

What I Like

 

The colour, as I've said before, is phenomenal, and the brushed metal look is definitely a winner in my book.

The bang-for-buck value of this player is also a huge plus. The sound is not THAT far off from the X5 (albeit noticeably warmer and less detailed), but at a much cheaper price this DAP won't disappoint.

Again, keep in mind that this is a review unit, and the final sound might very well be improved to the point where the sound difference between the X5 and X3 2nd gen might not be so clear anymore. 

I truly appreciate the time and effort that Fiio has put into redesigning the X3 2nd gen. It feels more premium, better thought-out than the X5. When compared to the original X3, the X3 2nd gen blows it out of the water in every way (especially the ridiculously awkward button layout of the original X3). 

 

 

What I Don't Like

 

To be honest, I'm in two minds about the design. Whilst I do like the design, the X3 2nd gen just looks like a darker coloured X1. There is nothing, just by looking at it, that would make you think that it's a better player than the X1. I have the same problem with Porsches..they all just look too similar.

But, from a business perspective, I get it. Keeping a similar overall design between a range of products helps to reduce manufacturing costs, and also serves to create brand recognition.

Of course, a better looking player certainly does not mean better sound quality, but looks can have a significant impact on our perception of a product.
And then there's the glass-like back. It feels premium, but it also feels like something that would pick up scratches rather easily.

It also feels too Apple-ish because of that back. Granted, I am rather biased against Apple products, so take this part of my opinion with a grain of salt.

I also don't particularly like the scroll wheel. It definitely feels a heck of a lot more robust than the one used on either of Fiio's other players...but a clicking wheel just doesn't quite make sense to me. I'd much prefer a slightly stiff but smooth scrolling wheel. Again, that's just my personal preference.
 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

I honestly, truly, genuinely like the X3 2nd gen. Fiio have come a long way since the DAP that started it all for them, the original X3, and the X3 2nd gen gives me high hopes for Fiio's future in the DAP market (and portable audio in general), especially their upcoming X7. 
I've always felt that Fiio made products that had the perfect balance between sound quality and affordability...but I was wrong....very, very wrong. The X3 2nd gen pushes the envelope yet again, with the same sound quality that I've come to expect from Fiio, but now in a much more premium and compact package.

Over the last few days I've grown to really like this little gadget, and the sound signature has really grown on me.

I do still prefer the X5, but as I've said before, that decision might very well not be as easy to make if Fiio improve the sound in the final production units. 
I still cannot get over just how good the device looks, and I'm almost tempted to keep it. But, alas, it must continue its journey to the next reviewers, who I am certain will appreciate the look (and sound) as much as I do. 
As I prepare it for shipment and cleaning it up with alcohol swabs (due to the fact that I am a much-feared spy who's fingerprints and DNA must not be leaked...P.S pm me for details on Area-51) and tucking it away in its neat little box, I'm left feeling a bit confused.

I know I don't need the X3 2nd gen, the X5 sounds better...but there's just something about it...something special. 
The X5 sells for around $350, and if that's your budget, I'd say you should get the X3 2nd gen and the E12 amp. Overall that's just a better value package

 

 

 

**EDIT** I have been told (and confirmed by Fiio) that the back of the device does not have a glass pane, but instead it is just a clear protective film. The reason I thought it was glass is because all the usual product text on the back of the device was actually printed onto that film.
So, ignore my "Apple-ish" complaint


Edited by TheoS53 - 3/25/15 at 11:52am
post #1226 of 9242
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

Easiest way to tag large collections (I've found) is to use a free program called mp3tag.

You can shuffle play inside a single folder - but not multiple ones.  However if you have folder play enabled (in the settings), and engage shuffle mode, it'll shuffle the songs in that folder, play the entire album, then automatically go to the next album, and shuffle that one.

If you're a big fan of shuffling - the easiest way to go is category mode (tagged library), and use Genre or All Songs.
Hope that this will be part of a future fw upd. smily_headphones1.gif
post #1227 of 9242
[/quote]
The X5 sells for around $350, and if that's your budget, I'd say you should get the X3 2nd gen and the E12 amp. Overall that's just a better value package
[/quote]
how much improvement i am expecting from x3ii after adding e12.
post #1228 of 9242
Quote:
Originally Posted by nimnz View Post

[/quote]
The X5 sells for around $350, and if that's your budget, I'd say you should get the X3 2nd gen and the E12 amp. Overall that's just a better value package
[/quote]
how much improvement i am expecting from x3ii after adding e12.

It's really difficult to try and quantify something like that. You might prefer the warmer sound of the X3 2nd gen as a stand alone....But personally, I prefer a sound as flat as possible. With the X3 2nd gen + e12 you wont get a flat response..but considering the type of sound sig that I prefer, I would still happily take the X3 gen 2 + e12 purely for the improvement in instrument separation that the e12 gives, and the buttery smoothness that the X3 2nd gen offers 

post #1229 of 9242

@TheoS53 : the back of X3 II has a layer of plastic film/protector which you can peel off to get to the same brushed aluminum finish.  I almost started to peel it off, but changed my mind.  This way you get a nice transparent scratch protection on the back ;)

post #1230 of 9242
Quote:
Originally Posted by twister6 View Post

@TheoS53
: the back of X3 II has a layer of plastic film/protector which you can peel off to get to the same brushed aluminum finish.  I almost started to peel it off, but changed my mind.  This way you get a nice transparent scratch protection on the back wink.gif

Ah, thanks for that!

Perhaps @JamesFiiO can verify that?
Edited by TheoS53 - 3/24/15 at 12:03pm
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