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Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) item created by TheoS53, Oct 11, 2016
Pros - Great sound for the price, continual FW updates, resolving and clear
Cons - Laggy UI, not all features available yet, slightly dry treble
I just got my X1 II but I'm really busy so I will first pen a few quick thoughts and edit this next time/respond to any comments or PMs you send me
Info and Specs here: http://www.fiio.net/en/products/57
Overall it is a very nice signature. There is just a slight bass boost because of the improved power architecture Fiio claims over the Gen 1 X1. I would still consider it relatively neutral overall with relatively energetic, forward presentation.
Bass: Great extension and power. The bass is clear yet punchy, which makes bassier earphones like my KZ ZS3 keep a control of the booming bass. The added punch and clarity helps a lot for jazz tracks where the electric bass has a much more defined line that isn't hiding in the background.
Mids: Haven't observed anything in particular so that isn't a bad thing. For now I can confirm that it handles congested classical music and rock tracks quite decently
Treble: Same as bass, great extension. It may be due to my KZ ZS3/ATR but I find the treble a bit dry depending on recording. My go to test is cymbals and hihats in Jazz tracks. I hear a complete shimmer rather than a flat "sch-iing" sound some DAPs give, but it just feels a bit drier compared to in real life.
Space: I haven't tried more expensive DAPs, but it gives more sense of space to the KZ ATRs then my previous Shanling M1. No complaints in this regard.
Line Out: I forgoed the digital out that my Shanling M1 had as I couldn't own something like the Chord Mojo anytime soon.... Anyway I love the line out on this nifty thing as now it hooks up to Aux In on my home stereo perfectly well! No double amping and because the voltage is now correct the sound from my home stereo is more balanced. When I used the HO of the Shanling M1/Fiio M3 the mids were very recessed while now the LO of the X1 works a treat. I find the output too high in fact on my stereo so I just use the -6db fixed gain LO option on the X1 II.
All in all, clarity smokes the Fiio M3 I used to own and is just a tad more resolving than my Shanling M1. The M1 was more neutral (maybe the AK4452 DAC is better?) but I suspect a well-optimised power/amp architecture allows the X1 to deliver a more extended and powerful reproduction of pieces. I don't have many IEMs to verify this so I will just guess that the X1 II will do a great job of cleaning up DD IEMs. Synergy is still convincing with my dual-BA Creative Aurvana In-Ear 3. A possible way for Fiio to improve the sound is maybe take the energy/spikiness of the sound just down a touch so that it is still more dynamic than the Shanling M1 sound and doesn't get too energetic as can happen sometimes now.
I won't mince my words here, the UI does lag. Then again, things like the Shanling M1 don't instantly change tracks but here there is a definite delay of about a second.
For example, a track change literally happens the same speed as you saying "Press button, change". In actual fact this is not too much slower and I am alright with it. My main gripe is even volume changing and opening the About page in settings can take full seconds to display (although Fiio rewards your wait by including the quick start guide in the About section for your reference on the go)! The good thing though is the UI is quite stable so to a certain extent, you can still press the buttons and the Fiio will follow the sequence, just that there is a delay. The really slow thing is a library update. I haven't timed it but my 1000 tracks takes about 2-3 times the scanning time on my Shanling M1. Again, no deal-breaker but you should make yourself a coffee when waiting for the library update
YMMV for the touch wheel, but I think it works well after you get used to it. I only used a physical wheel on a Shanling M1 so I have relatively few stereotypes (no iPod, X1 Gen 1) to begin with. There is an interesting touch select function where you can tap the wheel and use it as an arrow keypad for those who prefer. Fiio is currently working though on improving it as sometimes clicking the center physical button registers a tap on the wheel too.
Screen brightness is alright, colours are usable but meh. The rectangular screen is an unusual choice, as I would rather the screen is a smaller square that does not distort album art, and will be sharper than the current display.
There is an interesting in-car mode that ties in the Line Out settings and allows you to disable charging to preserve the battery's condition over long in-car usage. Funnily I use it at my home! When I switch on my USB power adaptor, the player boots up and plays music without charging the battery, and when I switch off the power the X1 II powers off too! Really neat and great for battery lifespan
One good thing I already use is the delete shortcut from the now playing screen. It allows me to dump whole albums on my microSD (I use a 64GB Samsung Evo+ formatted with the X1 II) and then delete tracks I don't like on the fly when listening.
I wonder if Fiio will launch a mid-life refresh of the X1 II with a faster processor and AptX support, as looking at the struggle I doubt the FW can be optimised enough to run smoothly on the current hardware. However, Fiio never advertised this as a speed beast, so I am alright accepting better sound for meh UI. The primary function of the DAP is music playback especially for a cheap one like this.
It is still new to me so there are no issues to report.
I will just point out some nice touches I appreciate. The plastic translucent case is great especially for entry level, as you are on a budget and won't splash out again for a separate case (ahem, Shanling). The only small gripe is the case isn't transparent and is not tight enough for a close fit yet too tight to remove easily. The stickers aren't the nicest but they are useful protection. I will leave the factory-installed protector on, which is something I like also since the factory will always be able to apply a screen protector much more neatly then what I can do myself. (I am a sucker for this as my M1 already got itself scratched before I could apply the included protector)
I got the black unit and like the sleek discreet look. The black tempered glass is the same shade as the metal so it goes really well together. Only the translucent case detracts a little but protection>looks I guess.
My box seems to be missing the HiRes stickers, with only one already stuck onto the back of the X1 II. HiRes is more marketing than anything, but I would be happy to have some spares just for bragging rights... (It isn't provided any more: http://www.fiio.me/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=41660)
From the link above, I also want to point out there is a change to newer screen protectors. The newer ones installed at factory cover the whole front panel while older ones according to the link only covered the display while leaving the remainder of the panel uncovered. I prefer the current one as it looks more uniform when the light catches it.
I still don't regret changing from the Shanling M1 as the sound is clearly better for this price bracket. As the primary function is a music player, it does its job better. I hope I will get used to the slower UI, lack of DSD support, lack of USB DAC and lack of AptX bluetooth my Shanling M1 had. On a day to day basis listening to a better sound through my IEMs, I think I will just get by
Still awarding a generous 4 stars as it does its primary function well for its price, and there is commitment by Fiio with continual updates. Nevertheless more users will be drawn to Fiio if they can get their interface working as well as the sound.
For those who want better UI and DSD/DAC functionality you may be better off waiting and saving up in the meantime for the X3 Gen 3. It seems Fiio is still maintaining the hierarchy with incremental gains from X1 to X3 and X5. (I know there is some controversy about the current X7 so I'm not including it, haha!)
I hope @FiiO will be able to make some improvements to the X1 II
1) I hope there will be a new cover art display option to display the cover art as the original square. The black region at the side can be left blank or display track information.
2) Make the UI faster! Library scanning and general operation should be smoother.
3) Improve the touch wheel press function to make it really useful for all user preferences. Instead of the left and right functioning as direction keys, touching them should allow the user to go back and forward respectively.
4) Pending features like WMA file support and gapless need to be added soon.
5) Fiio should correct their slogan to the grammatically-correct "Fiio - For Music and Happiness". For the X1, it should be "Recently Added Tracks" not "Recently Added Devices". The grammar was intentional and the recently added tracks will be changed soon.
6) Remove unsightly silver sticker on the sexy black metal finish at the back and print the correct model information directly on the metal surface. It's intentional
7) Enable long press of forward and backward (not just short press) when the screen is locked, so you can seek the track with the screen off. Already added!
8) Include an optional clock display at the top status bar. (Actually was quite useful on my Shanling M1, I'm sure the X1 II can support this since it has sleep timers and standby etc.)
9) Make the status LED optional when the unit is on. The charging lights are important and should stay, but users will appreciate a choice of whether to have the light (rather than cover it with a sticker). Since the LED has multiple colours, it will be really cool if we can customise the colours to our preference!
10) The scroll wheel click sound means that the X1 II has a inbuilt speaker. Why not let it do more things like other UI sounds or even play tracks if the speaker doesn't sound too bad? Of course, keep it optional as not everyone wants their DAPs clicking with every action they do. It's only a buzzer it seems.
11) For the next update, Fiio should use a faster processor and support AptX. Optional, consider using the AKM AK44XX chip the Shanling M1 uses and include a backlight for your buttons to make it a really awesome DAP? I would love to imagine how the AK4452 with Fiio's power/amp architecture will sound.
12) Sometimes with large number of tracks the DAP will hang when going to the all tracks screen.
UPDATE: Fiio has been great in addressing users like me with updates and answers to questions, really appreciate it!
Pros - cheap and decent sound quality
Cons - buggy firmware
I owned X3II. It is premium quality but sold at cheap price.
I want a portable DAP with bluetooth to off load music from my iPhone. I bought X1II without reading any reviews. Because I put a blind trust in Fiio brand.
It turned out I was wrong and dead wrong this time.
The firmware is buggy. I have upgraded to the recent one 1.5. It was still unacceptable.
UI response is slow. It feel like controlling Mars Rover from earth that kind of slow. What make things worst is that the touch wheel is extremely sensitive. I hate control this dam thing. So I only push the start button. I gave it up trying to control it.
To use bluetooth, you have to turn on your headphone first before turn on X1II. Otherwise, you have to reboot X1II. It is slow to reboot. TBH, I forgot how many times I forgot this sequence and cursed Fiio out loud. Really? Are you brain dead to get the bluetooth connection right?
If possible, I will rate it 0 star. My advice is Don't buy it.
Pros - Very good sound quality, continuous support from Fiio with frequent firmware updates, up to 256GB of storage, light, small, sturdy construction
Cons - Firmware still not 100% optimal (1.6.2), Bluetooth support sketchy, touchwheel may not be everyone's cup of tea.
Review updated for firmware 1.6.2
The DAP And Package
Sturdy, slick and well built. These were the first things I thought of when I took my player out of the box for the first time.
The Fiio X1ii generation is a delight to touch with it's smooth lines on its all aluminium body. It certainly does not feel like it would break if you were to drop it (mind you, I have not tested this myself).
In the package you get some faux carbon fibre body stickers, a mini USB cable to charge and transfer files, some screen protectors and a plastic body protector. It is a shame though that the screen protectors have a tendency to show every finger print that comes within 20 metres of the player, but it's a minor inconvenience for what it's a very well made and designed DAP.
Charging to a full battery takes about 3 hours and will give you over 10 hours of music. Not bad and it can comfortably get me through my work day with continuous music.
The player does not come with any internal storage so you have to provide your own in the form of a micro SDcard. The X1ii can support up to 256GB of storage. That's a lot of music but you do have to wear the cost of storage on top of the price of the X1ii.
A common complaint is the speed, or lack of, of file transfers. I can attest to this as transferring 16GB of music took the better part of an hour. It is recommended you use an external card reader with write capabilities till Fiio figures out a fix.
A lot of people have complained about the UI. I, personally, do not find it terrible. It's functional and laid out in a logical manner. It does even allow you to change themes with different colour schemes to suit your mood.
One of the biggest complaints about the X1 2nd gen is the issue of responsiveness. Firmware updates have helped tremendously with this, however, a certain degree of sluggishness remains. I'm talking fractions of a second. Not sluggish enough to be unusable but there's enough of a delay to be noticeable.
To be fair, I'm listening to music, not playing a video game. I do not need ultra responsive controls.
Creating playlists can be a bit touch and go. I used MusicBee to sync files and it's not as straight forward as my Sony Walkman. You do have to tweak the settings to get things to work.
Once the files and playlist has been uploaded, they do not show in the playlist section under categories. To use your playlist, you have to have to browse files and find the playlist files. Not overly complicated if you separate them into its own folder but an unnecessary step for something that should be detected by the player.
Bluetooth apparently works for some people but I must say I've had no luck pairing it to my car. My car requires me to enter a pin into the device I'm trying to pair. The X1 ii does not have a feature to do that so the pairing simply fails. Others have had much better luck than me with their cars and BT headphones.
Gapless has been added as of firmware update 1.6.0. Works great with FLAC files but it is not supported for MP3s.
Paired with ATH-IM70 and ATH-M40X.
Sound quality can be subjective and my only point of reference is my old 4GB Sony Walkman NWZ-E374.
The X1ii sounds lighter, more detailed and controlled. My old Walkman had a mid/upper bass boominess that felt overwhelming specially with male vocals and pianos. This is not apparent in the X1ii, although the bass seems to have lost some of the impact, I do appreciate the clarity and balance my music has now. Certainly far more detailed than my old Walkman at least, and it does not seem to have an aneurism when the bass range gets too busy.
Soundstaging is OK. Not great, but it does give a sense of space. Although my old Walkman did give me a better sense of verticality, the X1ii does provide better horizontal imaging.
The equaliser does not seem all that effective. Perhaps it's my ATH-IM70 but moving the dials on the EQ does not seem to make a lot of difference, at least not as much as my old Walkman.
Wrapping It Up
The X1ii is the troubled child in the Fiio DAP lineup. Despite its flaws and quirks, I found great value in this DAP. Your mileage may differ, obviously, but I have become quite attached to it. It does what I want it to do. I'm mostly concerned about sound quality, so for me, this trumps any other issues I may have come across.
Personally, for my needs, I give this a 4.5/5, but realistically it's more of a 4/5. Good but with some wobbly bits.
I do recommend this DAP, but I would strongly advise trying it before handing out your money..
Pros - Design, Output Power, Battery Life
Cons - Audio Quality, UI
At first, I want to say great thanks to FiiO who allowed me to join world tour of X1 2nd gen. This review is written as a part of its world review tour. I have to add that, I have't got any compensation from FiiO.
Introduciton: Now I owe FiiO X3 1st gen and X3 2nd gen, so I was very looking forward to try bland-new desigin DAP, X1 2nd. Its new design is very cool and may be satisfied from non geeks I thought. Audio quality is not bad, but it was lower than I expected.
FiiO X1 2nd has improved its chips from X1 1st. It is true I thought, its sound resoltion has improved ordinally X1 and its output power is higher than one. But when I compared X1 2nd to other DAPs cheaper ones such as Seiun Player or Xduoo X3, I couldn't feel larger improvemnt. Unfortunatelly, this makes me bit disapointed.
Output: To review this X1 2nd I used it everyday in a week with Etymotic Reserch ER-4P and KZ IE80.X1 2nd's output power was good enought to sound these earphones and there seemd no disconent. I have to point, this DAP is not designed to sound headphones such as AKG K702 or other ones, but for earphones great to use.
Sound Quality: As for its sound quality, the balance of its quality is better. But thought the bass sounds is worth than other DAPs including FiiO X3 2nd. Sound resolution is clear but it did not make me satisfied enough. Some of reverb is difficult to hear from X1 2nd althoght I can hear from X3 2nd.
The worst thing of X1 2nd is noise. I take it everywhere everytime, X1 2nd always catch noise from cellphone.The noise was larger than we expected, to avoid the noise, I had to put my cellphone my bag or other side pocket. The problem of noise from cellphone is pointed from X1 1st, so I'm very disapointed why it is not solved yet.
FiiO X1 2nd was changed its design dramatically from FiiO's other DAPs such as X5, X5 2nd, X3 2nd. Integrated display and touch panel wheel is very cool and X1 2nd's rounded body is very well to catch by hand. We Japanese geeks sometimes call FiiO's ordinally DAP style as "ガスコンロ=Gas stove" but balndnew style will be never calld as that.
UI and response: FiiO X1 2nd's UI is almost same as its ordinally ones. I favorited FiiO's UI style, so I can say it as duly evolution.But as for response, balnd-new wheel response is not good than I thought. When I select songs, I always use additional keys to select that.
And I have to add for responses, when I selected play, pause, skip and so on. The deleay is longer than other DAPs including X3 2nd. It sometimes made me annoyed. I updated to FW 1.41, it is bit improved, but still worth. Hopes to improve that.
Battery life: I used X1 2nd very long time everyday, but battery life was very well enough, when I use it 5-6hors in a day,there still too much life.
Conclusion I've used X1 2nd for a week and surprised its cool design, unfortunatally there still have some problems when I use that. Too slow response, noise from cellphone and so on. But at all, I can say X1 2nd as a one of the most great cheap DAP around 100USD. I can suggest my friends who is non geeks on audio as a best DAP for daily listening. I'm looking forward to meet more great DAPs from FiiO.
Now you can read review in Japanese here:http://www.chinadap.com/2016/12/fiio-x1-2ndx1fiiodapfiio-x1-2nd.html
Pros - Very good build quality, Quite good value, Very good sound quality
Cons - A few bugs, UI needs polising, Bluetooth could be better as well as battery life
FiiO X1 - 2 Gen. Review
Disclaimer: The product I am reviewing was provided to me from FiiO in exchange for an honest review on it. Please note that being a review unit certain aspects of the final retail product might vary. Unfortunately I can't add pictures to the post but I will link them down below.
Item Information and Specs:
Firmware version: 1.3.3
Supported files formats: WAV, MP3, APE, WMA, MP2, SLAC, FLAC, OGG, ACC,
Bluetooth: 4.0 with no no apt-X
Battery: 1800mAh (up to 10 hours of playtime)
Dimensions and Weight: Weight: 102g / Dimensions: 97mmx55.5mmx12mm
For more detailed information about features and specks you can check out the product on their page at - http://www.fiio.net/en/products/57
FiiO X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] generation is the next incarnation of the FiiO X1, now right off the bat if you have ever seen the old X1 the difference will be obvious in the looks department. It keeps the metal chassis but opts for a build with rounded edges instead of a more boxy design and features a full glass front panel that features a touch wheel instead of a rotating one. The new rounded design is very comfortable to hold seeing at it is not a small device, and even if the front glass will always get dirty from fingers, it dose clean very easily.
The internals have undergone some changes as well the DAC in the old X1 - PCM 5142 has been changed to a newer PCM 5242, that has a better signal to noise ratio making it a better chip. While the AMP seems to have remained the same FiiO claim that it is better optimized this time around. Of course the real change is is the inclusion of Bluetooth 4.0, now unfortunately it dose not seem to have apt-X, which would have enabled better quality, but thanks to the moderate price it is not a deal breaker in my opinion.
It is important to remember that like the previous X1 and other models like the X3, X5, etc. this dose not feature any internal storage, all your music will be stored on a micro-SD (that is not included). The maximum card that it can take, as stated by FiiO, is 256 GB. Depending on your card and the format that it is in you may need to format it on first use, now you can do this from the options and it will delete all your information on the card, personally i did not have to do that, after inserting my card I update the library and it worked fine, but your millage may vary.
The Build Quality and Box Content:
It comes in a nice box well packaged and wrapped up to keep it secure during shipping and make sure it arrives intact to you.
Now in the box under the device you will find the charging cable, which has a decent length to it, some paperwork, the two skins that you can put on it and a plastic case for it.
The skins have a pattern to them different from each other and come in black and white, kinda looks like a carbon fiber pattern. There is supposed to be a screen protector or two in the box but this being a review unit it is not included it would seem
I will say that the plastic case for it is a letdown it seems to be made of very cheap plastic, very soft and glossy, leading to a lot of scratches on it, also the corners are kinda jagged with small pieces of plastic, but this could be to the fact that it is a review unit, still I would like to see a better case for it, I will say that it doses fit well and it is very easy to put on and take off.
Now as I have stated the build quality feels excellent, it gives off a solid, premium feel in hand. Now the side buttons, volume and power, seem to have a very different texture to the rest of the device, not only that but the jiggled about quite a bit and worse they seemed to be made of plastic, now I am not sure if that is due to being a review unit but it seems silly to put plastic buttons on a all metal, good quality build.
The front glass seems to be of good quality and cleans up very nice from the obvious marks that it will accumulate.
The “wheel” that you use to navigate around works very well, I did find it a bit strange at first but it worked flawlessly, one small problem I did find is that if you don’t lock the screen before putting it in my pocket I would activate the wheel and change the songs around. Just remember to close your screen and you will not have any problems. Also occasionally it would skip over the thing i wanted to select. So it can be tricky.
Lets talk about the screen now, it is OK, not fantastic but it does its job. It looks decent, nothing mind blowing, and the brightness is sufficient to use it during a sunny day but the viewing angles are bad, not so bad when looking side to side or from down up but when looking at the screen from above the color shift is appalling. I don't mind so much, being a MP3 player, i will not be watching movies on it, i don't need a super high quality screen that will drain the battery further, but some improvements it think are needed
The UI and Performance:
In general I was pleased for the recommended price of approx. 100$ it dose provide a excellent music listening experience. Now unfortunately there are still a good number of bugs that, depending on your personal preference, could be a deal breaker at the moment. So I would recommend this product but whit a warning that certain things might take a while to be patched up from FiiO.
For starters I can say that the sound is very good, very nice, detailed and an amazing appearance when comparing it to the sound quality of something like your standard phone or some other MP3 like the Sansa Clip + that I usually carry with me. I can say that I enjoined my music more the non any other device.
Now the UI, it works fine did not have many problems with it, I was able without reading anything to find and do all I wanted to do in it. But there are things that could be improved. Long words go by very slowly, the themes are just a different color pretty much, they could have added more. No options for fonts or display time, not essential but it would have been nice to see. Also perhaps for some people who are not used to equalizer that has just numbers instead of options like bass, treble, etc. it can seem very confusing.
I have also seen the odd bug here and there, one was putting songs on shuffle, now it plays songs randomly, problem is it dose that both ways, so skipping forward to the next song will give you another song, but if you skip over a song by mistake and want to go back instead of playing the previous song it will play another random song, it dose not seem to remember what it played last, i guess it is a very random setting . Now also in my case i can hear a small pop when skipping between songs, not horrible but noticeable. The pop is removed if you switch the skipping mode to fade out/fade in but then skipping from one song to the next takes a good number of second.
Now what about the Bluetooth, one of the key feature of this device. Well it is decent i found paring it to a lot of Bluetooth devices to be easy, but powering on the Bluetooth takes a good few sec, could be faster, also on occasion after powering it off and on the device that was stored would not play the music and i would have to delete and redo the paring. The range seems fine, i would say it is just about under my test iPhone 5 that I used, so very close but just under a regular phone.
I also was pleased that taking out my SD card, powering on the device and then inserting my card dose not erase the library, a problem I had on certain other MP3 devices that would have to re-sync on every card removal.
The battery life is decent, it lasted me from 2 to 3/4 days (mostly 2 - 3 days), compared to my Sansa Clip + that has a life of about 4 - 5/6 days. If you compare the size of the devices it seems a bit odd that the very small Sansa can hold up so long, but compared to the X1 Gen. 2 it can not hold up in output power, and sound quality. So i would trade some battery life for a much batter music experience.
Final thoughts and Conclusion:
In the end i enjoyed my time with the FiiO X2 - 2 Gen. the build quality, all the options i had to tune my music, and especially the sound quality sold me on it. Now my device being a review one, it could have certain problems that are unique to it so take that into account. Now there is certainly room for improvement, a lot actually in the UI, but the core feature the listening experience i would say they nailed it, if you can put up with waiting for Firmware updates for the other niggles that the product has I would say that you can buy it now with little hesitation, and if you think that these bugs would ruin your enjoyment hold a bit out till a few updates come out. I think the price is fair and for the sound quality a very good deal actually at 100 $, of course that will depend on your area as usual ( where i am it is 140 $ which i would say is a bit much )
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask and i will do my best to answer them !
Pros - Nothing stands-out
Cons - The scroll-wheel is finicky and annoying
I've done A/B listening sessions (out of simple curiosity) with two other quality DACs, and with songs which I'm extremely familiar with, and the X1 2nd-gen's performance is nothing spectacular, it's not atrocious, but it's not amazing either.
1: In the kick-drums the bass is lacking weight around the all-important 50Hz-60Hz range, there's an annoying sense you get when listening, a constant nagging feeling where I keep saying to myself... "where the **** is the deep thump in the bottom-end, where is it?"
2: Some parts of the treble region sound slightly dry, and also exhibit an undesirable sharp/brittle tone around 8kHz-10kHz, which is quite off-putting.
3: The soundstage is acceptable with good imaging and separation, and detail levels overall are more than adequate.
4: A sound-signature which is 90% neutral, bordering on cold, but not freezing.
5: Good PRAT (Pace, Rhythm & Timing); the FiiO X1 2nd-gen does not drag its feet, it maintains intricate timing and dynamic responsiveness.
6: It has an exuberant personality, but I reiterate... it lacks bass weight in the very bottom regions. To clarify, I do not like exaggerated or boomy bass, but here it's lacking bottom-end because when I switch to my other DAPs - Ahhhh that's better, thump thump thump, but in the X1 2nd-gen in many songs it's not there, it doesn't extend far enough, and just to be clear, I'm not a bass head.
If you need a DAP that isn't shy, and is a little bit weird with prominent dry sharp treble, then maybe you'll like the X1 2nd-gen.
The value-for-money ratio of the X1 2nd-gen is reasonable, but I wouldn't recommend it. I'll sell this, I'm sick-&-tired of lopsided tones and unbalanced sound from DAP makers.
It seems to me that FiiO still hasn't nailed it when it comes to their DAPs, they have come a long way, but apparently they still lack engineering finesse when it comes to fine-tuning; where is the classy mature balanced sound?
With sharp dry treble and a lack of bass extension, well you get the picture, even my smartphone does a better job, so why would we buy a DAP if our smartphone does a better job? The reason we buy a DAP is to get pro sound.
Regarding vocals, I noticed they usually sit slightly forward in the mix, which is not really a good sign, but not necessarily a bad thing either.
If you would like to try an acceptable alternative to the default sound-signature, there is an EQ function available.
The sound with the previous FW1.3.3 sounded decent, and with full-bodied tone, but slightly warmish, and it did however slightly lack 'air' and treble-extension in the top-end, plus the bass was slightly boomy, but now with FW1.4.1 the treble is sterile and dry, and the bass lacks important weight in the bottom-end. FiiO really needs to wake-up. They clearly lack the nous and ears to get the job done, but really it should be so hard should it? Is there no one at FiiO who understands what 'balanced' sound is with neutral/natural tone for the song, and with deep accurate bass? I hope FiiO will retune it for the next FW update, otherwise I can't tolerate it.
Pros - Well built, excellent value, good sound quality
Cons - Buggy Firmware, UI needs works, Bluetooth needs major work
FiiO X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] Generation Review Disclaimer: The product I am reviewing was provided to me from FiiO in exchange for an honest review of the X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] Generation. Please note that this is an early prototype and does not possess the full functions of the final retail product according to FiiO.
Item Information and Specs:
Firmware version: 1.2
Supported files formats: WAV, APE, WMA, ALAC, FLAC
Bluetooth: 4.0 (no apt-X)
Battery: 1800mAh (up to 10 hours of playtime)
The FiiO X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] generation is, as the name implies, the newest version of the successful X1 DAP that FiiO released a while back. While it shares similarities with its predecessor, the X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen has some big differences. The most obvious of which is its physical appearance. I will mostly compare the X1 second generation and first generation in this review. I will also try and keep this review somewhat prose and to the point as to not to drown you in information. If you wish to know more specific details please message me or comment below.
The X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen has opted out of the boxy shape of its predecessor and instead has rounded sides. This round shaped makes it more comfortable in hand and gives it a more streamlined appeal. Furthermore, it no longer has the rotating dial to navigate the device, instead it has touch wheel. The principle is the same, but now it is not mechanical in nature. The microSD slot has been moved to the bottom of the device and no longer is covered up by the provided case.
Under the hood the X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen is both the same and different. The amp section is the same (although further optimized), but the selected DAC has been changed from an PCM 5142 to the more recent chip set from Texas Instrument, the PCM 5242. This chip set has a higher signal-to-noise ratio, and is simply a better chipset.
Continuing with the innards of the X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen another new feature is the ability to access Bluetooth devices. It has Bluetooth 4.0, but not apt-X which is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker at this price point. I have had some issues with the Bluetooth which I will touch on later.
The X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen has no internal memory, so you will need a microSD card in order to utilize it. It should also be empty as the card needs to be formatted for the X1, which in turn deletes all stored files on the microSD card. You can format it in the settings of the DAP.
The 2[sup]nd[/sup] generation is well built, just like the previous iteration. It has a solid aluminum body that feels sturdy and well built. It is roughly the same size as the 1[sup]st[/sup] generation, but feels much thinner. This is as a result of the nice curved edges and the slimmer case that is included. Once nice touch is that FiiO does is pre-install a screen protector. What is odd is that it includes two more full front protectors (covers the bottom half). Why this seems odd is this would essentially waste the pre-installed protector. Is it a large issue? Hardly, but it still odd in my opinion. Why not pre-install the full protector?
I have mixed feelings about the performance of this device. It performs a simple function of a DAP very well, especially considering the MSRP of 99.99 USD. IT does struggle with a few functions though that make me want to recommend you, as a consumer, to hold off for a little bit for FiiO to fix them.
Let’s start with the positives. As stated above, this DAC sounds wonderful. Compared to its precursor it has a more resolving sound and is not as thick and heavy. The mid-range has better definition and is not as overwhelmed as in the first X1. Overall the Second iteration of the X1 has a more mature sound and I personally believe it to be a much better sound.
Another welcome improvement with the 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen is the battery life seems greatly improved. It can easily last several days of listening before it would maybe need a charge. This is good for people like me would listens to music before I go to bed and may or may not fall asleep with music still playing (yes, I totally do that all the time…)
All right, let’s talk about the negatives. The biggest issue(s) I have encountered with this device is the Bluetooth. At first it seemed wonderful. The sound quality of the device was very good through a variety of Bluetooth speakers I have and in my car. Sadly, problems soon started to appear.
Firstly, when Bluetooth is turned on, it takes the device a solid 15 seconds longer to turn on. It should not take 15 seconds to enable Bluetooth on a device in 2016. Luckily, this should be a problem that can be easily be fixed through a firmware update in the future.
A second issue I have encountered with the Bluetooth is it seems to not be able to play hi-res music files (24 bit and above) via Bluetooth. When it is enabled and connected to a Bluetooth device it will suddenly say the file is not supported on the device. If I turn Bluetooth off and start listening the old-fashioned way (analog) it is now able to play the file. This makes little sense to me and makes me wonder if there is a software issue. Again, this is something that should be fixed via a firmware update.
So here is the ultimate question: Is the X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] generation worth your hard-earned money? For those that have the 1[sup]st[/sup] generation, is it worth the upgrade?
The X1 2[sup]nd[/sup] gen is a solid DAP. If you need a new DAP or your smart phone sounds terrible (which many do) then yes I would easily recommend this product. If you have the old version of the X1 then I do not as readily recommend it. Don’t get me wrong; it is certainly an upgrade from the 1[sup]st[/sup] generation, offering an improved sonic experience. I simply would be hesitant to recommend it when I have encountered so many issues with the newly-added Bluetooth, which is one of the biggest new features of the second generation. I would recommend waiting to purchase the second generation until all of the kinks with the Bluetooth are worked out, unless you do not plan on using the Bluetooth, then go for it! I should note that the issues I have noted may be unique to the device I have been given and this issue could be remedied with the consumer versions, not this pre-release sample.
If you have any questions about the review or the product, please comment below and ask!
Pros - Small, Lightweight, BT (maybe, i have no way of testing)
Cons - Firmware, processing speed, screen reso
Special thanks to Fiio for sponsoring this review unit for testing purposes
Firmware installed : 1.2
Micro SD size used: 128GB C10 Sandisk
Spec sheet: http://www.fiio.net/en/products/57/parameters
Introduction Put aside the spec sheets and things you can read easily from their site, like functions and stuff, this baby X1 is the second iteration of the player, and design wise, i like the lightweight that the player is, in comparison to their elders, the x3ii and x5ii. Below are some of the pictures of the unit in box, out of box, paper works and everything else not within the unit interface.
Now as you can see above images, the accessories that comes with Fiio X1ii is quite an amount, that includes sticker covers, transparent back case, 2 extra SP on top of 1 factory applied, 3 Hi-Res Stickers for whatever reason given, and a USB cable. HO, SD slot and USB are all at the btm, and power + vol on the left side body, nothing on top and right.
Interface In terms of navigation fluidity, I wouldn't say the device has the speed needed for a swift nav to some places, like through the setting menu, it might choke up a bit and gets you into the wrong selection. It could be also because of the non step navigation wheel which makes controlling the wheel a bit harder to get precise. Startup time is also so slow, Let me show you the startup process which is so weird.
1. Welcome (ok, polite)
2. Fiio logo (ok..)
3. Fiio Logo (again?)
4. Main playback screen
Now, 2x Fiio logo? is that needed?
Sound Quality Based on RHA MA750i iem
Bass The bass of the X1ii is not very strong but has the precision. No volume just precision and availability. In the album Bullet for My Valentine - Venom, there are tracks with mixes of bass drums and a lot of bass guitar strikes, I couldn't feel the weight that defines the power of the songs BFMV is good at. At times, the bass could get somewhat drowned out and not in the action. There wasn't the boom that metals should get.
Mid The vocals are quite well conveyed and forward. Electric guitar shredding notes clearly and I can see this is the part where the X1ii will do well as a kickstarter for audiophiles. Note by note you can hear the guitars going head on as the star when the guitar solo comes in. Although it gives a good sense of vocal's, but somehow I cant help but to have some fatigue for a (maybe) dead flat mids.
Treble Treble is also not the best coming from a budget DAP, high hat notes were not shown, crispiness wasn't there, and I tried the whole album and didn't had the cymbals out at it together with the song, especially the importance of it in "Army of Noise" where the drum set has it's own importance. But hey, at least it has something for the sensitive ears, softer trebles, haha.
Soundstage The soundstage coming from X1ii isn't exactly hall wide, but it does extend to a certain range, which dishes out the slight perception of echo. The height of the stage isn't extensive too, and doesn't have any sense to it, Just you can hear it far side, near side, mid , face front.
Software Lets start off the software part with another set of images, some settings are self explanatory.
From the above images, you can see the 2nd one and you realize that it uses similar interface as X3 and X5 2nd gens. Settings wise, these are the distinct settings to X1ii:
Bluetooth on/off + settings
Output: a headphone logo for HO or a square with an arrow out of the box (Line out)
USB Mode: Storage or In-vehicle, where you connect it to a car charger and HO, the car starts and the player will initiate and shut down when car turned off.
Cover display: None / Normal / Full screen
Speed test with X3ii and X5ii
X1ii: 14 seconds
x3ii: 7 seconds
x5ii: 9 seconds
Scanning a media SD of 128GB
x1ii: 6 minutes 49 seconds
x3ii: 1 minute 12 seconds
x5ii: 1 minute
x1ii: 14 seconds
x3ii: 1 second
x5ii: 3 seconds
Surprisingly, the x3ii turned off completely by a mere second, x5ii blazed the micro sd lib scan, but the x1ii didnt accomplish anything in this speed test and was always last.
Gain comparison with x3ii and x5ii x1ii :has no gain control, sounds very forward and bright, detail extraction is hinted by the aggresive forward sound
x3ii high gain: a laid back vocal, much darker sounding, bass attack is weaker, song speed seems slower
x5ii high gain: also has a laid back vocal, softer bass with short but accurate bass attack
Conclusion Well, if price was the super constraint, then the x1ii will be part of the option, and tolerance level for SQ is big, then this is the player for you. Lightweight, on and play, toss it into the bag or pocket and go mobile, thats all that is the best of X1ii IMO, for 99 USD, not a lot can go against this form over function excellence.
Minor note: This thing is fingerprint magnet, look at my X1ii
The black side is filled with FP if not taken care of and use their skin / protectors
Pros - Fantastic value, Bluetooth functionality, Great build quality, Sound quality at this price, No mechanical scroll wheel
Cons - Laggy UI, Screen appears over-sharpened, Not the nicest looking UI, Can feel very much like a work in progress rather than a device fit for retail
Fiio has been around for roughly 9 years now, and have made very steady progress with their products. Their latest release, the ‘ALL NEW X1’ is an updated version of their best-selling player, the original X1.
The new X1 brings a whole host of updates and additions to the table; some are only minor updates, whilst others are completely new.
• Headphones impedance: 16~100 Ω
• Output Impedance: ＜1Ω（32Ω loaded）
• Frequency response: 5 Hz~60 kHz (-3dB)
• SNR: ≥113 dB (A-weighted)
• THD+N: ≤ 0.003% (1 kHz)
• Crosstalk: ≥72 dB (1 kHz)
• Lossless formats supported: 192kHz/32bit (WAV and Aiff); 192kHz/24bit (APE fast, FLAC, Aif,
Apple Lossless); 96kHz/24bit (APE normal, APE high); 48kHz/24bit (WMA Lossless)
• Lossy formats supported: MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG
• Power requirement: 5V DC, 2A
All of Fiio’s products are always packaged, at the very least, decently. The packaging for their Xseries devices, however, have always had a premium edge to them, and the new X1 is no different. It doesn’t feel quite as premium as the higher tier X-devices, but it doesn’t seem like they made any silly cost cuts either. Usually, I’d say “you get what you pay for”, but that simply isn’t the case here. Compared to other devices I’ve purchased in this price range, the new X1’s packaging doesn’t disappoint. Something I did note, though, is the colour of the devices printed on the box. I haven’t personally seen the Rose Gold coloured X1, but the one on the box looks more Copper than Rose Gold. The reason I mention this is because these images are usually a customer’s first glimpse at what they’re about to buy (or considering to buy). So if there is a rather large difference, they might be left disappointed when they open the box. The silver version on the box also looks darker than what the actual device is.
What's in the box?
2x Screen protectors (1 already applied to the device)
3x ‘Hi Res’ stickers
2x body stickers (1 x 3D black checked, 1 x 3D white carbon)
Quick start guide
Fiio always includes a few interesting and appreciated accessories in their device boxes. However, there is something I feel I have to nail Fiio on. Granted, I am quite a detail orientated person (you’ll notice in my reviews that I often pick up on very subtle imperfections), but just have a look at the ‘Hi Res’ stickers. The black part of the logo isn’t centred at all. When I first read about them including these stickers in the box, I thought it might look pretty cool to stick one on the back. But after seeing them, I definitely won’t.
Something I should applaud them on, though, is the clear case. The first X1 just had a black silicon cover; but the new X1 comes with a very minimal and unobtrusive hard clear case. I MUCH prefer this over the black silicon.
Sure, it won’t protect the device the same way that a full silicon case would, but if you’re not prone to dropping your devices you’ll appreciate this minimalistic approach. It sits nice and snug, and doesn’t seem like it’ll easily pop off. It can be a little bit finicky to remove, but not overly so.
The only minor issue I can see is that the sides that “wrap” around the sides of the device do not sit higher than the screen; meaning that if you were to place the device face down on a surface, it would be resting entirely on the 4 buttons.
Also included are 2 body stickers which cover all sides of the device. Personally I don’t care much for such accessories and I’m a little underwhelmed with the included ones. If I absolutely had to put a sticker kit on, I would’ve preferred a wood grain design as was included with the original X1. But that’s purely a personal preference.
Also something to note is that the 2 screen protectors that are included as extras cover the ENTIRE glass section of the front of the device, whereas the one that’s already applied only covers the screen area. Unfortunately, the screen protector is incredibly easy to scratch, and there is no protective layer on top of it (meaning that it’ll get scratched when you’re pushing out bubbles after applying it). I specifically wanted to try the larger screen protector to see if it had any negative impact on the touch scroll. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to have done so.
Body and layout
First up is Fiio’s new design; and what a beauty it is. It looks and feels MUCH more modern than the outgoing X1, and in fact more modern than any of their X3 or X5 iterations too (which all share most of the original X1’s design). In terms of volume, the new X1 is nearly 2.5 times as big as the M3, but 18% smaller than the old X1 model
One of the biggest changes are the curved sides. I remember when I wrote a review about the M3 I noted that the device felt too boxy, and that rounded edges would’ve felt more premium and comfortable. Well, it seems my suspicion was correct, and the new X1 definitely feels more comfortable.
The new X1 is also a touch smaller and lighter than the outgoing model, but oddly enough it ‘feels’ just a touch heavier than its predecessor. I think this is due to the fact that it’s more compact. The old one just felt kind of hollow, whereas the new X1 just feels more solid and premium. The front is also almost entirely made of tempered glass, apart from the rather small aluminium bezels of the body and the 5 mechanical buttons. And yes, it’s a total fingerprint magnet, as you’d expect. Even though the body is aluminium, the coating they’ve put on is a very smooth matte finish, which makes it sort of look as if it’s made of polycarbonate. In fact, the entire design, from the curved edges to the design of the power and volume buttons, feels rather reminiscent of Nokia’s Lumia models such as the 1020.
It’s only once you pick the device up and feel the coolness of the metal that you realise that it’s actually metal. I actually like that, as I feel when a device is too shiny it can sometimes make the device look cheap.
The other major design change is the scroll wheel. I was never a fan of their scroll wheels, and this time they’ve dropped it completely; sort of. This is where I have to give major kudos to Fiio’s engineers, as they’ve managed to give us a ‘touch scroll’ experience. If that sounds vaguely familiar to you it’s because that is what Apple did with their classic iPods. What Fiio managed to do is some very deep and clever thinking: they figured out how to give us those controls, but without infringing on any copyrights. I have to admit that I MUCH prefer the new controls over the old mechanical scroll wheel.
The old X1 just looks and feels like a rush job, as though it was created out of left over bits and bobs. It kind of reminds me of the Objective2 AMP kit; where things are kind of put together by screws, like a big boy Lego kit. The new X1, on the other hand, looks and feels like it went through careful and deliberate considerations…that it was designed and engineered. In short, compared to its predecessor, the new X1 is miles ahead as far as build quality and design is concerned. Seeing as the current X3 and X5 iterations share most of the old X1’s design, I’m tempted to say that the new X1 is Fiio’s best built device yet…or at least almost on par with the X7 (in my opinion). I must admit, though, that the touch-wheel control that was found on Apple’s devices is far superior to the one found on the new X1. The X1’s just isn’t as responsive, and at times seems quite inaccurate, inconsistent, and sometimes quite sensitive. So much so that I often found myself having to concentrate on just how much I have to move my thumb; and even then it can be a hit or miss experience. It will take some getting used to.
Other changes include the headphone/lineout port which is now at the bottom, and the card slot which has also moved to the bottom (it was previously on the side). The volume and power buttons are still in the same place, but their shapes have been changed.
A minor issue I have, however, is their choice of paint colour for the headphone/lineout and card slot logos on the bottom. They had the same issue with the first X1. Perhaps this is only an issue with the silver model, but white on silver really doesn’t work very well. It’s rather difficult to see the logos, and if you hold it at just the right angle, they disappear completely. The headphone/lineout one isn’t that big of a deal, but for the card slot it’s incredibly difficult to see which way the card is supposed to be inserted.
It seems an old ghost is still haunting Fiio in terms of quality control, though. If you look carefully, the centre button is a little bit off centre; or perhaps the button is bang in the centre, but instead the cutout is off-centre. I called this ‘an old ghost’ as I’ve found this on other devices too. My first generation X5 had this issue, as well as the original X1.
As you can see from the pictures, it’s not nearly as noticeable as on the original X1, but it’s still there.
Something else which bugs me (but this is entirely subjective) is that the headphone/lineout, card slot, and USB port don’t line up with one another. It just seems a bit odd (to me at least)
To some extent the new screen seems much better than the old one. It’s placed closer to the glass, and just looks far more vibrant and brighter, whereas the old one looked VERY washed out. The new screen is also “colder” (whites have more of a blue tint), whereas the old screen was warmer (orange tint). The new X1 also has a much larger contrast ratio (perhaps too much contrast). However, the new screen seems to be of a lower resolution. By that I mean that album art and text looks VERY pixelated compared to the old one. Or perhaps extremely over-sharpened is the more correct term to use. Here’s a comparison photo to show what I mean. Notice how the colours look great on the new screen, but the “Random Access Memories” text on the album art looks horrible, pretty much unreadable. To be perfectly honest, it reminds me of what some of the first colour screens on mobiles looked like over 10 years ago.
In the past I’ve been rather vocal about my thoughts on Fiio’s UI design. There are 2 parts to good UI design; firstly, is how easy and intuitive it is to navigate through the various menus and screens. Fiio actually does this reasonably well. And the second part is how good it looks. This is where my criticism of their UI design comes in. It just seems a bit underwhelming, nothing that makes you say, “hey, that’s kinda cool”. In short, they’ve utilised a very “safe” approach to the UI design. In fact, it looks almost identical to the UI used on their X-series devices (except for the X7). So whilst it’s not terrible, it just doesn’t seem very good either. But let’s be honest, this isn’t a smartphone, you’re not going to be looking at the screen and interacting with it all the time. The menu structures doesn’t seem to have changed much (a few icon changes here and there), so if you’re coming from the first X1, you’ll have no problem switching over. But, the UI does seem slower on the new model. Everything, from boot up, shut down, playing songs, updating the library, almost everything is slower (some minor, others considerably so). Unfortunately, it seems that users won’t able to create their own themes for the new X1. I tried using the same firmware unpacking tool that was used with the previous X1, X3 and X5 iterations, but this didn’t work. Perhaps Fiio will release a different tool for this in the future.
As you can see, the new X1 has a slightly flatter frequency response as compared to the old X1, with the biggest difference being apparent in the frequencies above 10kHz. Please note that the frequency axis of the graph is not scaled linearly, it is intentionally set up to visually exaggerate the dB difference in the sub-bass, low, mid, and high regions of the audible frequency spectrum. Both devices showed a mere 2.5dB maximum difference between 10Hz and 20kHz.
Initially I felt that the new X1 sound rather harsh and sibilant compared to the old X1. I’m happy to report that after a firmware update it doesn’t have that same harshness anymore. Below is an FR graph that compares the 2 firmware versions.
So not a great deal of difference apart from slightly increased dB starting from about 16Hz (which is probably completely inaudible), but the FR graph doesn’t seem to give any obvious reasons as to why or how the harshness was fixed…but regardless, I’m glad the sound has been improved.
If I were to sum it up, I feel the new X1 still has a slightly warm sound signature, but compared to the old X1 it is more analytical (which may be attributed to the flatter FR). Details in the upper frequencies come across a bit more detailed, and overall it just sounds that little bit more balanced. So if you’re wondering whether or not to upgrade from the old X1 and the added hardware features aren’t convincing you quite enough, the improved sound will sweeten the deal ever so slightly.
Comparing the frequency response between headphone out and lineout, we can see a near identical graph. Lineout seems to be ever so slightly flatter, with the biggest differences showing up in the subbass region between 4Hz and 30Hz.
This is an all new feature for the X1, and I think this is a major attraction for many prospective buyers. Simply put, it does what it should, for the most part. It sounds perfectly fine, but it just doesn’t support the Apt-X protocol. This isn’t really Fiio’s fault as they meet both the hardware requirements and have the licensing in order to implement Apt-X, but unfortunately Qualcomm (the owner of the Apt-X technology) does not support the operating system used by the new X1. So technically, all that’s needed is for Qualcomm to give Fiio the go ahead to implement the Apt-X protocol. Who knows, perhaps in the future (hopefully) this is exactly what will happen. But bear in mind that if you don’t have any Bluetooth speakers or headphones which support Apt-X, having Apt-X on the new X1 will be of no benefit to you. As far as Bluetooth range is concerned, I connected the new X1 to my JBL Charge 2 speaker, and the range seems to be ok. If there are no obstructions I can get the specified 10 metre range, but if there are any obstructions (walls, doors, furniture, etc), then the range seems to lean more towards 5 metres. I should note, though, that on firmware 1.0 The new X1 had a major flaw. It simply wouldn't play any high resolution tracks over bluetooth (or perhaps it was just 24 bit files). This to me is simply unacceptable as one would think that this is something that would have been tested by Fiio before releasing it to the public, but it has been fixed in firmware 1.2.
Will it improve my audio experience?
As mentioned, if you’re coming from the old X1, the new version is definitely an improvement in almost every respect. The only area which I’m a bit unsure of is with regards to the screen. The oversharpening isn’t exactly pleasant to look at. But again I come back to the point I made earlier; this isn’t a smartphone, you’re not going to be staring at the screen for extended periods of time. So perhaps the screen isn’t a major issue after all.
However, if you’re the type of person who is on a rather tight budget and venturing into the high resolution portable audio device territory, or upgrading from something like Fiio’s M3, you’ll be delighted with the device. It really is quite interesting and packs in a lot of useful features. Honestly, for the price, I can’t think of a more complete, better sounding device.
Just like the original X1, the new X1 doesn’t have a notably wide sound stage (not that it’s narrow by any means), nor does it reproduce the absolute finest of details with crystal clear clarity, and the lows do bleed a little bit into the mids. But to be perfectly honest, since installing the new firmware, I didn’t really enjoy listening to the new X1 any bit less than my E18+E12A setup. But isn’t that precisely the point of all this? There are numerous tech specs that we could end up chasing; forever looking for that tiny bit less distortion, that little extra stereo imaging, a bit more dynamic range…the list goes on and on. Sure, it's got a narrower sound stage, feels a bit more congested, and bass isn't as well controlled. But in the end, all that truly matters is how much the device makes us enjoy the music. There comes a point where all these tiny little difference simply don’t matter anymore. It’s kind of like trying to compare 2 cars of near identical weight and drivetrain, one with 500hp and the other with 520hp. That extra little bit just isn’t going to make a great deal of difference (if any).
The other thing you should consider is how often, and where, you would use the device. If you don’t plan on using it very often (perhaps only once or twice a week) then I genuinely don’t think you’ll need anything more than what the new X1 offers. Heck, even if you plan on using it for a few hours on a daily basis (as I have), the new X1 is still a fantastic device. But perhaps more importantly is your listening environment. Unless you’re listening in an extremely quiet environment, using a player which can reproduce the finest of details (notably louder than what the new X1 can) it simply won’t be of any benefit to you.
Sure, it’s not quite as good as the current X3 or X5 models, but it’s quite a price leap to those devices (neither of which offer Bluetooth or the same excellent design and build quality). Of course, the price of the old X1 will now drop; so if you’re only concerned with sound quality, the old X1 might seem very tempting. But I really do feel that the new X1 is worth the extra cost.
But let’s compare the new X1 to Fiio’s other ‘ultra-value’ player; the M3. The new X1 has a better UI, can play higher resolution files (48kHz/24bit vs 192kHz/24bit), offers Bluetooth, higher power output, along with a much better design and build quality. So does that make the new X1 worth roughly double the price of the M3? I definitely think so. I guess the other way to look at it is to say that the level of difference, in terms of sound, between the new X1 and my current E18+E12A combo is almost the same level of difference I found between the E18+E12A combo and the Chord Mojo. It really is pretty darn close…not to mention it’s considerably more portable. Moreover, this leads me to believe that Fiio have positioned the new X1 almost perfectly on the balance point between ‘bang-for-buck’ value and the point of diminishing returns.
Look and feel: 4 / 5
Total: 4 / 5
Screen protector: YES
Protective case: YES
Total: 3 / 3
Metal body: YES
Use of glass: YES
Comfortable to hold: YES
Comfortable button layout: YES
Premium look and feel: YES
Excellent quality control: -
Screen Quality: 7 / 10
Touch screen: -
Multiple colour options: YES
Total: 13 / 18
Plays lossless audio: YES
Plays 24bit resolution: YES
Sound Quality: 9 / 10
Total: 11 / 12
Small size: 9 / 10
Relatively low weight: 9 / 10
Battery life more than 10 hours: YES
Has ultra-low power consumption mode: YES
Total: 20 / 22
Can be controlled via headphone remote: YES
Can be controlled wirelessly: YES
Can be controlled wirelessly while connected to other wireless device: YES
Digital output: -
Balanced output: -
USB DAC functionality: -
Universally accepted PC connection: YES
Accepts microSD card: YES
Multi Gain: YES
Total: 8 / 13
Easy to use: 4 / 5
Intuitive: 4 / 5
Interesting design: -
Multiple themes: YES
Total: 9 / 13
Competitive price-point: YES
Relative value: 9.5 / 10
Total: 10.5 / 11
Has good reputation: YES
Sells useful optional accessories for the device: YES
Provides software updates for the device: YES
Total: 3 / 3
Final Rating: 8.2 / 10
Pros - Audio Quality, Output Power, Batter Life, Storage
Cons - User interface
Disclaimer - I received the X1 2nd gen as part of its World Review Tour. After ten days I shipped it off to the next reviewer. No compensation was offered or implied by Fiio.
The Fiio X11 second generation is an excellent audio player. As I have never had a DAP other than my apple products I do not have anything else to compare it to. For starters, the build quality feels excellent. It feels solid and comfortable in the hand and has a nice curve to the edges that make it very enjoyable to hold in your hand. The setup process was quite simple although having a USB-3 speed connection would be excellent because there is no other way to get music onto the device unless you have a card reader handy, which not everybody has. The indexing process was sort of slow, but not a terrible thing. After putting music on it I updated the firmware to 1.3.3. As I updated the firmware I can't comment on the issues with the previous firmware. The audio quality from this little iPod sized device is excellent. I did not feel the need to use any of my amps with it, even with 100ohm headphones. It drove them with ease. I never felt the need to adjust the gain in the playback settings. The battery life was excellent. I am not sure what the rated playback time is. But I used it every night for a new hours for around 3 days before I had to charge it.
There are a few negatives about this player. As I am used to Apple devices with a touch wheel, my instinct was to use the touch wheel to adjust the volume, but that does not work. To adjust the volume when the device is playing and asleep, you have to use the volume buttons on the side of the device. If you want to play or pause from sleep you have to wake up the decide before you can do that. When playing a song for the first time, it pauses for a second and you miss the first seconds of the song. If you rewind once the song is playing you will be able to hear the beginning of the song. There are lots of small stutters in the user interface which give it a personality, but also make it slightly more difficult to use with ease. There are many other user interface quirks that come up and impact the smoothness of the user experience.
As I am coming from Apple devices I can't help but compare it to them. There were many things that I expected to be there but were not there. That along with the small stutters in the user interface that impact user experience makes it hard for me to recommend it.
In conclusion, while I loved how it sounded and that it had plenty of power to drive whatever I threw at it, the lack of polish to the user interface make it less appealing. I would recommend this if you are looking for a high-resolution DAP that it not expensive and are willing to accept the many small quirks that this device has.
Build quality 4/5
Audio quality 5/5
User interface 2/5
Battery life 4/5