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FiiO X1 Ultraportable Hi-Res DAP

  1. rickysio
    FiiO X1 - Good with a few caveats.
    Written by rickysio
    Published Jan 14, 2015
    Pros - Price, Format Support, Build Quality, Package completeness.
    Cons - Bass roll off, reduced soundstage.
    FiiO X1 Review
    I've received the X1 as part of the X1 world tour, and have since passed the unit onto the next reviewer a long time ago... This review was mainly delayed by life events.
    I've not bothered with pictures (there are so many of them with every review anyway) and tried to keep things succinct. Wall of texts is not the best way to convey messages, after all.
    It's fairly compact and rather well built, although I still remain a fan of SanDisk's implementation of physically scrolling scroll wheels over FiiO's, but I digress. It has most hardware buttons you would ever want, with good tactility. I don't really understand the 'notch' in the chassis where the front panel curves back before meeting the sides, but this is negligible in the whole scheme of things.
    The X1 package is fairly complete, containing
    - FiiO X1 unit
    - Silicone case
    - 3pcs screen protector
    - MicroUSB cable
    - Documentation
    The silicone case is fairly sticky and a lint-magnet, and not something I liked, but it works, although it does block the charging LED.
    The controls are generally understandable - you don't need a manual to figure out how it works, although I'd call it usable rather than good. The UI however, can be a pain to work with in the sun with the combination of screen and colour palette chosen.
    The battery itself lasts fairly long, about 10~11 hours with on-off usage across 3 days.
    The raison d'etre of the player itself.
    Set up goes as follows:
    FiiO X1 -> FutureSonics MG6pro
    The first thing I noticed was a rather severely rolled off bass, and a diminished soundstage. Trying to boost the bass with the EQ didn't make things any better, if anything the slight midbass bloat became even more prominent. There wasn't any real slam, and it was quite rather distressing (I am, if the CIEM didn't already expose me, somewhat demanding of bass performance [quality, not quantity!]).
    This could admittedly work in favour with some of the cheaper IEMs out there with their rather uncontrollable bass, but two wrongs don't really make a right in my books.
    The mids and highs don't have any glaring issues, and the intimate soundstage does work to make softer details a lot more clear.
    Reading more words won't help you make up your mind, take an mSD card (formatted for FAT32) and head down to your local FiiO carrying shop and try it out. If it pleases you, treat my words as hogwash and buy it.
  2. bhazard
    Excellent low cost DAP
    Written by bhazard
    Published Jan 1, 2015
    Pros - Sound Quality, Line Out
    Cons - UI
    Fiio's new X1 is an excellent low cost entry for those looking for better audio quality than what their current smartphones are capable of.


    I must admit, I am not a fan of DAPs. Even the nicest, most expensive DAPs still don't have the capabilities of most mid range smartphones (touch screen, downloadable programs/album art, wifi transfers, etc). I would be very hesitant to spend $300+ to have none of those features available to me in a separate audio player. This is where the $100 X1 comes in. The DAC and amp inside the player ends up providing very good sound quality at a very affordable price. Here are my impressions of the X1 in the week that I had it. 



    Build Quality:


    Top notch for the price. The aluminum alloy chassis has a premium feel to it. It feels nice and solid in your hand, and the provided silicone skin and screen protector help prevent possible damage. The click wheel turns easily, and the buttons respond fluidly to touch.




    -192kHz/24bit playback from just about every useful audio file type (FLAC, ALAC, MP3, OGG).


    This is a major feature that most audio players ~$100 simply don’t have. This allows high quality playback from sources such as HDTracks with zero issues.


    -A good (but not great) quality DAC and amp.


    The DAC and amp used in the X1 (PCM 5142 + ISL28291) are better than your average DAC found in smartphones, but they still fall short to many of the higher level DACs (SABRE) out there by quite a margin. This combo simply doesn’t have the detail and resolution found in higher quality DAPs (X5), but it is better than what $100 normally gets you.


    -Up to 128GB of SD card storage


    Huge feature. Any respectable DAP should be using consumer friendly expandable SD card storage.


    -Line Output


    Another huge feature. This allows an external amp to pick up where the X1 lacks, which allows more demanding headphones (or speakers) to use the X1 as a source.


    Ease of Use:


    This is where the X1 stumbles a bit for me. With touch screen smartphones being such a large part of our lives now, having to use a scroll wheel feels like a time warp back to 2005. While it is easy to navigate through the Fiio UI, there were far too many times I missed the convenience of tapping where I wanted to be in a track.


    Sound Quality:


    The overall sound signature of the X1 surprised me with how flat it was. Normally I love a good flat signature, but bass levels actually seemed lower than flat, and with less extension. For bass heavy consumer earphones, this works out pretty well in cleaning up the bass bloat present. For higher quality neutral signature IEMs, it sucks the life out them. EQ ended up being a must in order to bring back sufficient levels of pleasurable bass. Luckily the Fiio EQ works pretty well, but more power hungry IEMs won’t do well off of the internal amp with a large bass boost.


    Detail retrieval was a noticeable step up from a Moto G that I used in comparison.  


    Final Thoughts:


    The Moto G vs. X1 got me thinking… which would be better, a standalone DAP, or a cheap smartphone with a USB DAC/amp attached? With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, most android phones now support USB DACs. I was finally able to use my Geek Out 1000 off of my Oneplus One the other day, and the results were fantastic.


    The X1 is a nice unit that will work very well for most people. For me, while it was nice to try, I vastly preferred the interface of my smartphone and ease of use to run Spotify and Google Play Music (two major things missing from the X1).


    My suggestion: Now with both Apple and Android supporting USB DACs, the time is now to make a compact, affordable, high quality, easily connectable 192/24 USB DAC/AMP for smartphones and anything else with USB. Separate devices with less features don’t make much sense anymore to me, and I don’t feel I’m alone in this.



    FW 1.0 was used during the review duration.


    Thanks goes to Joe @ Fiio for providing the X1 for review.

  3. RedTwilight
    Noob-friendly review of this nice DAP vs its bigger brother, the Fiio X3
    Written by RedTwilight
    Published Dec 14, 2014
    Pros - Nice size, clear screen, SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND
    Cons - Bass may be a little too rolled off for some.
    Ok, so this will be my first review ever, and I don't consider myself as 'audiophile' by any stretch so please forgive any wrong use of terminology and lack of vocab yea. =P

    Firstly, many thanks to Joe Bloggs and Fiio for giving me this opportunity to try out the Fiio X1. This was a loaned unit and we were neither paid nor received any benefits to do this review.
    I am also not affliated to Fiio in any way. Due to the arrangement, I happened to be the last guy on the list so when I received the demo unit, many others before me have reviewed it already. 
    Therefore, I decided to make this review a bit of a comparison between the X1 and the X3 (which I own and love) under various parameters, including the X1 and E11K combo.
    Now on to the review proper!
    First up, tech specs:
    Size: 96.7mm*56.7mm*14.1mm
    Weight: 106g
    Playable formats: APE, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, WMA, AAC, OGG, MP3, MP2
    Memory: No onboard memory, MicroSD up to 128Gb
    Line Out: Yes, selectable in UI
    Box contents: 
    1) 1m MicroUSB cable
    2) 3PC screen protector, (1 already applied)
    3) User Manual, Quick start Guide
    4) Warranty Card
    The black silicon case that should have come with the X1 wasn't in the box when I received it.

    First thing that struck me when I opened the plain white cardboard box was that it's really shiny, coming from the black X3.
    The size and weight feel just right for me; it just sits nicely in my palm. The aluminium body was a real winner for me. The back, while plastic, feels pretty strong and rigid.
    The buttons at the corners feel solid and I like how the X1 can scroll really fast with the wheel. However I feel that the wheel is a little too sensitive, quite often when trying to play or pause I would move it a little and the X1 would go to the folder view. Might have been better if the wheel has more resistance or if it was slightly recessed. (Right before posting this review I heard from Joe Bloggs that the scroll wheel issue has been addressed in the final production model. It has now been rubberised and the resistance has been adjusted.)

    I had initially thought that the X1 would be shorter and broader than the X3 but it was actually the same width, but shorter and slimmer.
    The X1 starts up a few seconds slower than the X3 and the buttons react just a little slower as well, however, it starts playing music faster than the X3.
    Comparing the screens, the X1 seems to have a higher definition screen and the colours are warmer. (I just realised I didn't take and side by side comparisons for cover art..)
    Screen could have been bigger though as the words are pretty small.
    The UI I must say is quite intuitive and I managed to pick it up within minutes without reading the manuals.
    I really like how the volume buttons are still active even when the other buttons are locked.

    When I first plugged in the headphones and fired up the player, my first thought was "Wow the sound is shockingly good!!"
    To be perfectly honest, I was expecting a bigger disparity from the X3 due to the X1 costing almost half of the former. The vocals and acoustic instruments all really stood out. The bass was more rolled off than I was used to but all in all it was an extremely pleasant listening experience.
    I did a back to back comparison when I first received the unit and again right before returning it, after listening to the X3 only for a couple of days as a control.
    This was done by first trying to match the volume, then repeatedly playing the same track on both DAPs, pausing both and then plugging my headphones to the other unit. 
    As it turned out, my observations/ opinions were quite consistent in both comparisons.
    Equipment used:
    i) Fiio X1 (of course)
    ii) Fiio X3
    iii) ATH-M40X Over-ear headphones
    iv) Fiio E06 Amp
    v) Fiio E11k Amp (borrowed)
    vi) Car stereo
    Album tested:
    Wagakki Band - Vocalo Sanmai (FLAC format, 44.1 kHz)
    Fusion of traditional Japanese instruments and rock music, with a couple of acoustic tracks.
    Test Parameters:
    1. X1 flat eq vs X3 flat eq, low gain
    2. X1 flat eq vs X3 flat eq, high gain
    3. LO to car stereo
    4. X1 vs X3 SW Equaliser
    5. X1+E06 vs x3
    6. X1+E11k vs X3
    1. X1 flat eq vs X3 flat eq, low gain
    X1 sounds fuller and cleaner, vocals really stand out against the other instruments.
    X3 seems to have more instrument depth but a narrower soundstage
    Soundstage for the X1 is wider and imaging is good.
    2. X1 flat eq vs X3 flat eq, high gain
    X3 soundstage becomes quite a bit deeper, though the X1 still leads it in width and imaging.
    The X1 sounds noticeably brighter than the X3 but feels a little 'muted', could be due to the lack of 'depth'
    An observation here is that the gain of the X1 seems to be somewhere between the low and high gain of the X3
    3. LO to car stereo
    X1 sounds a bit more muted as compared to the x3.
    Plucking of strings sounds far more crisp on the X3 (faster attack?). Bass is also more 'felt' as compared to 'heard'
    X1 soundstage sounds a little wider but less deep, even with the car stereo.
    On the rock tracks, the X3 has noticeably tighter and deeper bass, and can I could hear more of the reverberation of the diaphram of the Taiko drum after being struck.
    With the X1, it is more like a bit of a duller thud.
    The X1 sounds more closed than the X3, which is 'airier'.
    Even with this though, the X1 still sounds like there is better serapation of vocals and instruments.
    On bass heavy segments, the X3's bass seems to be slightly fatty and eats into the mids a bit. This is less evident in the X1.
    4. X1 vs X3 SW Equaliser
    I tried to apply similar EQ settings to bump up the lower mids where the M40x is slightly softer.
    The X1's equaliser sounds far more natural and 'airier' compared to the X3's newly reenabled sw equaliser. 
    The effect of the eq is also more obvious on X1, but this could be because the x3 drops the level when applying eq but x1 doesn't.
    As far as implementation goes, I much prefer the X1's equaliser in this case.
    5. X1+E06 vs x3
    Only the 4th eq setting (-3db) can be used as the others all produce distortion.
    E06 gives the x1 a warmer sound and more depth than by itself.
    To my ears the combination sounds somewhat like the x3, but the 'depth' is less. Bass in x3 sounds more thumpy and 'felt'.
    The x1+e06 has tighter bass but is more 'heard' than 'felt'
    X3 soundstage a bit bigger than the X1+E06 combo.
    And now the main event:
    6. X1+E11k vs X3
    6.1 Low Gain and BB off
    X1 soundstage dramatically increases in width and depth, and gains even greater separation.
    Imaging improves greatly, I can actually pick out where the string instruments are and the plucking sounds very crisp.
    Clarity and lushness increases as well.
    Sibilance from flutes etc become audible where on the x3 sounded almost like noise.
    The X1 gains a warmer tone, warmer than x3. 
    Bass is tight and controlled and sounds bigger than x3.
    6.2 High Gain
    To my untrained ears, this just seemed to make everything louder so I ended up not using it a lot, as my cans are pretty low impedance.
    6.3 BB on
    With bass boost on, I felt that the bass became overwhelming and excessive but I can't really describe the effect it had on the mids, maybe someone with more experience can supplement this bit?.
    All in all, the X1+E11k and X3 sound extremely close, and the price differential is small, with the X1/E11k combination coming out just on top of the X3 alone.
    For the guys deciding between these 2, the choice would really depend on what you're looking for, an overall slightly better SQ or the smaller form factor of the X3 alone for portability. I would have gone for the X1+E11K combo for the same price as the X3. The improvement from the A/B comparison is marginal at best but still discernable.
    In conclusion, the Fiio X1 is truly a fantastic DAP for it's USD100 price, punching far above it's level with the battery of features and the very very clean and natural sound.
    I actively recommend it to anyone who is in the market for an entry level DAP. Great job Fiio! This is really a winner right here. =D
    Finally, I would like to express special thanks to Stereo and ConnectIT for letting me borrow the E11k to test. Thank you guys!! 
    1. View previous replies...
    2. RedTwilight
      Thank you for your kind remarks! Your situation is exactly the same as mine it seems. =)
      RedTwilight, Jan 15, 2015
    3. hakushondaimao
      Just happened to check out your review. Even though it was posted a while ago, I enjoyed reading it. Nicely done  :wink:
      hakushondaimao, Jun 6, 2015
    4. RedTwilight
      @hakushondaimao thanks for the kind comments! Hoping to improve and refine further with more practice. =)
      RedTwilight, Jun 7, 2015
  4. daduy
    Great little solid DAP!
    Written by daduy
    Published Dec 1, 2014
    Pros - Build quality, line out, overall SQ
    Cons - Can be hot on treble depending on pairings
    I got this unit as part of Australasian tour arranged by Brooko, thank you very much for including me in this tour.
    I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 7 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)
    Since Fiio X1 is a DAP, I think it's only proper to compare them with other DAPs, having said that i never own a lot of DAPs, so for this review I will just compare them with the Kogan MP4 player and my phone, HTC One M7 in term of sound quality.
    For the majority of my listening i am using T-Peos Altone 200.
    Build Quality
    I guess everyone will agree that the X1 build quality is simply superb, you got to love those aluminium body, it just feel solid and looks good. The Kogan MP4 player can't compete here, but of course they are about 1/3 cheaper so it's not really a fair comparison. 
    This kind of stuff never bothered me much, but if anyone need to know i found them very easy to use, no problem here.
    Sound Quality
    Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? In short they sound awesome! They are leaning toward a bright and warm sound signature, music sounds fun and engaging. Some people says that they are neutral, but from my experience i would say they have a bit of U shape sound signature, the reason for this is my Altone can be a bit too bright going straight from the X1 using the silicon tips. Changing to a comply tips help tamed the highs here.
    Compared to the Kogan, i would say either a). Kogan is more neutral, or b). Kogan is more mid centric, since the Altone sounds just about right coming straight from them even with the silicon tips. Kogan MP4 player provide a very good competition for the X1 in term of sound quality, i can't really say which one is better or worse since different pairings and amping will yield in different result. I guess it's safe to say that if you prefer some sparkle in treble and better bass, the X1 is the DAP to go.
    Compared to HTC One, well i have never really like my HTC One SQ, it's not that bad, it's just ok, somehow i found music is a bit dull going out straight out of the phone, I am aware that i can install some DSP like Viper audio but i still think Fiio X1 sounds better even after all that DSP. Mind you i don't really tweaked the Viper setting that much, so your miles may vary.
    As a part of this tour, i also receive Fiio e11k kilimanjaro 2 portable amplifier to be tested. Another good thing about Fiio X1 is that it has a line out mode when you want to chain them to another amp, and to be honest i am not expecting a lot of change with the amping, but boy am i wrong. Line out + e11k, double awesome! Remember when i said about the Altone being too bright, it's gone, they are perfect now. Switch on the bass boost on the e11k, oh wonderful. I can't believe how great a DAP + Amp + Altone sounded, i automatically start my foot tapping to the music. It is the perfect pairing, they must have made them to be paired together. In short if you got the extra budget go with the e11k as well, they complement the whole package perfectly.
    To be fair i also try e11k with my Kogan, and again it improves the sound of my Kogan as well, but i will say they are better paired with the X1.
    And of course to be fair i also pair them with my phone, and again it also improves the sound, but meh, will take the X1 anytime.
    Quick note, just for fun i tried my AKG K340 on the X1 + e11k combo, and to my surprise they manage to drive them quite well. Obviously it's not as good as my desktop DAC/Amp (Micromega MyDAC/Project Sunrise) but they manage to deliver those particular beautiful acoustic guitar sound that made me fell in love with the K340, i am quite impressed.
    I love the Fiio X1, i am currently considering to buy them, but probably will wait until i have enough money to buy e11k as well since they are just perfect together. You can't go wrong with these, they are simply awesome :)
      Brooko and H20Fidelity like this.
  5. maurilio86
    FiiO X1 low cost but great audio
    Written by maurilio86
    Published Nov 29, 2014
    Pros - Build quality, value for price, sonic performances
    Cons - to get the top need an amplifier

    Hello guys !!!
    Because I wanted to be included in FiiO’s X1 Preview World Tour for the review of their product I had only 10 days, but I tried to make the most of the time to give a serious review that is not limited only to the acoustic description of the product. In fact the first thing I did after checking the X1, was testing it and checking if the graphs and data reported were real.


    FiiO certainly does not need any introduction, if you think about portable audio electronics surely FiiO is among the first that come to mind.



    As always I want to start this review with thanks ...

    My thanks go to Joe Bloggs (FiiO’s PR) who was keen to know what you thought of this crazy reviewer always ready to be meticulous on any product regardless of price.

    Thanks of course go to FiiO itself as a company that once again proves worthy to be where it is now.


    I was chosen as a reviewer for the FiiO X1 preview world tour, I’m not paid by FiiO (in fact I'll pay the shipping charges to the next previewer, thankfully they are cheap) and have not received the X1 as a gift. I also have to say that the review is my personal opinion.



    The packaging is simple: it arrived in a simple cardboard box, but if the savings in packaging allows me a much better quality ... so let it be. (note from FiiO: retail X1’s come with different packaging.)


    The bundle consists of everything you need:
    Silicone Cover for protection from accidental impact.
    USB cable to connect it to your PC and / or DC power.
    4 screen protector films (1 applied on the screen out of the factory, 3 spares).
    Warranty and User Manual.


    The structure of the FiiO X1 is solid, consisting of metal and really nothing to say from this point of view.


    First, as always, the link to the manufacturer

    And a quick description with regard to aesthetics is delegated to the photospublisched here cose I've not the permission to pubblisching photo on this site at the moment


    I would like to start from the two beating hearts of the DAP: the DAC and the OPAMP.

    The DAC is the PCM5142 from Texas Instruments : http://www.ti.com/general/docs/lit/getliterature.tsp?genericPartNumber=pcm5142&fileType=pdf

    It is not top of the line, but is a good DAC for the price.


    The OPAMP is the OPA2322 (not mentioned on the product page, but info provided by FiiO) http://www.ti.com/general/docs/lit/getliterature.tsp?genericPartNumber=opa2322&fileType=pdf  

    whereas the buffer is actually the Intersil ISL28291

    Here, although this is also the amp chip used by the AK100, I would have preferred something more , you can get peaks in voltage of 4.2 V and only 43 mA of current. Reasoning in what I wanted was an operational amplifier or a headphone amplifier chip so you can have voltages and higher currents, but that would have greatly disturbed the X3.

    Reasoning on operational rather that they could not in any way disturbing the other products (operational operating power voltage maximum of 5.5 V) ... I believe that the ISL28291 is a good product.
    All you remember how often my speech has little to do with the volume, it is more than sufficient, I speack  relating to details, dynamic. (keep in mind this part because it will return all in listening)


    My speeches are, however, well known to FiiO in fact She start to describe the product from the hearts and the fact that this player is at first a DAP, in fact She speak now of portable amplifiers (I had connect the X1 to my dual mono amplifier... an interesting experience).

    Continuing in compatible formats ... ok serious and important ones are inside.
    Continuing it seems interesting to say the device accepts micro sd cards up to 128GB.
    The key issue is to say that the X1 unlike his older brothers is only a player and is not a DAC for other devices, USB fact only serves to recharge the battery and upload their own music on the memory card.


    Moving on to the technical specifications.
    The 106 grams stated are respected (weighed 100 times on different days and considering measurement errors, the weight is ok).


    The FiiO guide only X1 headphones up to 100 ohms ... well I have bored before telling you about Volts and Amperes because these data so difficult? No They tell us what FiiO  X1 can do and what it can not do. I consider quite useless those reviews where the volume is tested with 300 ohm headphones; FiiO itself say t that X1 is not good for greater than 100ohm headphones, if we consider the evidence-based techniques and my beloved physics these criticisms are funny .


    And now we come to my favorite graphics ... the ones you find on the product page are real ... They're not marketing, but science.

    The first that I want to analyze is the frequency response one; there is a very linear frequency response with one drop of -0.4 dB at 20 kHz, essentially a graph like that I call linear, the decline starts from 10 kHz and covers the area of highs where our hearing is less precise. The frequency response of the FiiO X1 certainly does not disturb their older brothers (X3 and X5) which instead attain 0.2 and 0.1 of flexion.
    The second graph we have a lot interest  in it that because THD is the rate of total harmonic distortion; also in this case there is a minimal distortion that remains inaudible: 0.01% at least up to about 14-15kHz, for my personal opinion from the point of view of the THN, the X1 is comparable to the X3, the X5 however, remains on another level over the entire audio range.
    The only real "flaw" that I find in a technical technical analysis of the X1 is the output impedance including always within 2 ohms. Why call it a lack? Simple most raises the output impedance will have more problems of noise with headphones within the 100ohm, however, because in reality it virgoletto although the output is not as perfect and does not reach the ideal values ​​by 0.01 ohm, is however well far from the order of 10 ohm impedances that make it really impossible to create a good headphone amplifier impedance of less than 100 ohms.


    As always somewhat like a minimum test to see if what the company says is true or not. This time I used the line in of the Xonar U7 to check the graphs. The test is not obtained by ear, but through the use of the Leveller by REW (freeware program to test the response in the environment), the conclusions I draw from the tests already insert errors.
    Essentially I decided to keep four levels of output volume: 100, 75, 50 and 25.
    As for the headphone output:
    At 100
    are obtained by slight fluctuations of 0.1 dB at 20 Hz

    30 Hz you get a stable output
    Since 8000 I get -0.4 db

    At 75
    Are obtained fluctuations of 0.2 and 0.3 db both at 20 Hz, both at 30 Hz
    40 Hz you get a stable output
    At 15 kHz get -0.2 db
    At 19 kHz get -0.3 db

    At 50
    A 20 Hz fluctuations are obtained of 0.5 db
    At 30 Hz fluctuations are obtained in 0.1 dB
    40 Hz you get a stable output
    At 15 kHz can be obtained - 0.1 db
    At 19 kHz can be obtained - 0.2 db

    At 25
    A 20 Hz fluctuations are obtained of 0.2 db
    30 Hz you get a stable output
    At 15 kHz can be obtained - 0.1 db
    At 19 kHz can be obtained - 0.2 db

    Essentially I obtained that with regard to the 'headphone output it is more precise in ultra-high range when it is not at the maximum, on the contrary the best stability under 40 hz I obtained by the maximum output. I think that considering the errors of measurement I can declare the graph proposed by FiiO as correct and verified.

    For  the line output what I obtained is easier to say. I obtained that by 8000 Hz there is a reduction of 0.4 constant up to 20 Khz tested; to any output level from 30 Hz has a certain stability in output; to 100 and 75 to 20 Hz there is a fluctuation of 0.1 dB, while at 50 and 25 there is a fluctuation of 0.2 dB
    In this case, what I got is slightly in contrast to the stated, but I can not compete in instrumentation with FiiO, considering that the measurement errors, however, the graph is quite similar to that stated.


    Among the conditions to review the X1 was
    “Reviewers are Reminded to listen responsibly and safely to the X1, to not use it a when operating machinery or driving, and not to drive headphones to excessive volume with the X1. “
    Interesting is the part about the driving but when I drive I want good music.
    Honestly it performs well, I can not quite say everything right (I was concentrating on driving), but it seems that, despite the limitations imposed by the situation, I listen good music with FiiO X1 .
    Dynamic was not great, but the instrumental band was well executed and monitored, because in general I did not hear annoying resonances .

    I cannot tell whether it was better the headphone or line output, it seems to me they were the same,.


    Who ever said that these players are not side by side to a home listening?
    They have advantages in convenience it will light up immediately and without delay, make available their discography.
    The experience was quite funny, but as you can see in REINFORCEMENT FOR THE FIIO X1 with my pre-amplifier X1 done a massive jump forward
    Now speaking of the X1 without reinforcement.
    First I decided to take advantage of the headphone output which I preferred to the line for better airiness and stage. Compared to the line seemed even more dynamic.
    My discography test as usual it was all focused on rock music.
    As for the sound:
    Bass there was when needed, good dynamic and instrument that will play on the stage located in a fairly good; lack of energy only the lowest notes in the 40-50 Hz.
    Medium present them properly without being shot in the face or shaky, all instruments and voices are played back correctly and in fact are quite musical, but the positioning is observed.
    High treble is also very present, they are not fatiguing but remain well detailed.
    For ultra-hight I must say that even though these lacked in airy.
    In general one can say that the FiiO X1 also manages alone to give a good musical experience with a listening relaxing, with a good scene, and a musical figure interesting.
    It sounds the perfect player: low cost, useful at home and on the move, sounding etc ...
    Obviously it has his faults and anyway it cannot replace an hi-end.

    Might you want more dynamic, body and life in bass, in mid you might rightly want a better musical figure, and a better sound stage, in the high you might want more detail, and you may also want more air between the instruments. So you could still rightly want more, but then the FiiO X1 is a portable low-end and you can rightly ask for more of what he can do.


    I tried the FiiO X1 with some cheap headphones:
    Superlux HD685, hi TAKSTAR 2050 BitFenix ​​Flo (aka the superlux hd662) and of course the Superlux hd681EVO .
    I must say the FiiO has always behaved well enough (not the HD681EVO), good management of the soundstage, and a product that wants to do almost everything myself has always recreated a musical figure pretty good, not excellent, but still appreciable; also there was always a good dynamic.
    However, even with headphones commonly thought of as easy to drive, however, the defects X1 popped up: at the bottom feels like lack of impact when you require more power, the scene is quite small, and at the top you would want a bit 'more air.
    In short, the same story as before ... there is everything that needs to be there ... but there's always that but he does say, "Something is missing."


    This initial findings because the end of the shoot out after the piece more interesting imho showing the goodness of FiiO X1 makes it bloom potentials and eliminating defects.
    The conclusion is quite simple: it is used as the FiiO X1 is one of the best players I've ever tried, it's convenient to carry around, reads almost all formats and sampling helpful. Sonically speaking feels that power has many advantages, however, remains clear that there are also shortcomings.

    Well do you remember all that technique information that I have served up first?
    Well you said enough all you are going to hear with the ears, especially when as in this case the data reported are real.
    1 The graphs of frequency response tell us how the X1 manages to sound quite neutral. Neutrality has also been confirmed to listen.
    2 The electrical parameters tell us rather than be able to play well every acoustic band and how to play the music scene. Essentially the Volts and the Amperes told us that it could be paired to the X1 a low-impedance headphones is required, but you would never be able to push them for good without showing the side.
    Well I have listed the flaws, those that every reviewer should go to find ... now we go to the reasons because I still think the FiiO X1 is right also for the finest ear.


    The same FiiO propose to connect the player to an external amplifier allows me to catch the ball and talk a little also the only non-invasive and effective implementation that can be made ​​to the FiiO X1: assigning to it a portable amplifier.
    FiiO offers its line of portable amplifiers, excellent both in relation to the cost, both for performance but I could not miss the chance to try it with my DIY  headphone amplifier and preamplifier.
    Since I had my transmission line speakers that  looked at me enticing and I could not fail to make them play on this occasion interposing between the amp and the FiiO this "small" portable dual mono preamp... but also HD681EVO told me: "And who are we? The daughters of the servant? ... A few stories we want it too! "
    Attached to my little X1 has made a significant jump forward in terms of the entire musical figure. I have to say that it is as unlocked, the dynamic, the airiness, placement, detail ... everything has become more musical more accurate, powerful and obvious.
    The bass is reborn largest, most dynamic and dry; mids have become, if not perfect, precise and present with a level of positioning dazzling also when the instruments or singers were particularly close in space between them (also the choruses). The highs were already very good, but they received more ariosity. Essentially, if first seemed to listen to a small stage where it all is this, but a bit 'in a small space; now seemed to be in front of a real stage, consider that the quality of the player is actually exploded showing how the FiiO X1 can give much more at home.
    And finally headphones could express themselves if not the best without breaking the boxes too, and without complaint or Vatt neither of the amps, confirming the ratings and the evidence obtained through the speakers.

    It seems proper to bring some measurement obtained by the use of the amplifier for headphones.
    Since listening through this device is setting the volume to 40/100 tests were made ​​with this release.
    The graph of the frequency response obtained is identical to the previous one.
    So because it sounds better? The answer is simple t volts and amperes management is much better.

    It 's now time to draw final conclusions in light of all the ratings and tests carried out.
    Without doubt the FiiO X1 is a great player, with different positive sonic characteristics, but they need an amplifier to come to the surface.
    Compared to older brothers X1 has only one real flaw: the fact that it is not a DAC.
    But this defect we try to read it in a more appropriate manner. The FiiO X1 is a portable player that allows the use of micro SD cards up to 128 GB or say the equivalent of about 400 FLAC albums ... we want to put too high sampling? Ok do 200 albums; a number such that before finishing them all passes a really good amount of time.
    If the justification of the amount, however, may be enough to even the most inexperienced and least demanding ... we face the lack of the fact that the X1 does from the DAC. Well before you say that this is essential, consider two factors: the first is very practical and corresponds to the question "is it for?" (Meaning: I need to walk around with a DAC? It will connect to a PC, phone etc to play music or always listen to uploaded files?); the later is more realistic and you have to answer the question about whether you have a DAC in the house (well if you have one at home probably sounds better than the 99% of portable DAC ... and take a portable DAC loses meaning)
    I think the second reason is to make more sense on which to continue; In fact, if we consider the DAC or sound card is not moving they provide better output not only of 'X1, X3 and X5 as well, then so if the real reason for buying a player is his use as a reader, because at home you still better, the FiiO X1 becomes a very interesting product, then if you take it to an amplifier the whole thing becomes even more interesting because it is the luxury of competing products more expensive and noble.

      stalepie likes this.
  6. ClieOS
    FiiO X1 - A New Beginning
    Written by ClieOS
    Published Nov 24, 2014
    Pros - Price, Features, Overall Build Quality
    Cons - None, at least not for its price.
    FiiO has been quite successful with their X series of high resolution digital audio player. So much so that perhaps even they themselves didn’t anticipate that the company will have to shift its focus away from their portable amp business in order to keep up with the DAP demand. But with Apple fading grip on the pure DAP market, a new niche of higher end DAP is born from music lovers seeking a better device to replace their aging iPod. Well, maybe ‘new’ isn’t the right word here - the higher end DAP niche has been around since Hifiman HM801’s invention late last decade, but now it is in a new era of growth and competition. The significant of X1 is not in its technology or sound quality, but rather being the first 24bit / 192kHz capable DAP that is priced just under US$100. Does the affordability mean HD music isn’t just an expensive audiophiles’ thing anymore but rather going mainstream? It is probably too early to say with just one DAP, but it certain is one of the sign that the music world is moving toward that direction – and FiiO is on the forefront trying to catch a piece of the action with their new X1.
    Recommended Headphone Impedance Range: 16~100 Ω
    Dimensions: 96.7mm × 57.7mm × 14.1mm
    Volume Control: Digital, 100 steps
    Weight: 106g     
    Display Screen: TFT 320×240
    Analog Output: 3.5 mm headphone jack              
    Left and right channel adjustment: 5 dB
    Line-out Performance
    THD+N: Less than 0.003% (1 kHz)             
    SNR: More than 110 dB (A-Weighted)
    Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
    Dynamic range: Over 110 dB
    Crosstalk: Over 100 dB (10KΩ @ 1kHz)
    Line output Level: Over 1.46 Vrms
    Headphone-out Performance
    Output Power: Over 100 mW (16Ω THD<1%)      
                          Over 65 mW (32Ω THD 1%)
                          Over 8 mW (300Ω THD 1%)
    Output Impedance: under 2Ω
    Crosstalk: over 70 dB (1 KHz)
    THD+N: under 0.004% (1 KHz)
    Frequency Response: 20Hz~20kHz          
    MAX output voltage: over 4.2Vp-p
    SNR: over 110 dB (A-Weighted)
    MAX output current: over 46 mA
    Battery Capacity: 1700 mAh
    Battery Life: over 12hrs
    Charging Time: under 4hrs (USB 5V, 1A)
    Accessories and Build Quality
    Accessories wise, it is pretty basic. You will get some screen protector, a silicone case, plus a USB cable. There are some optional accessories you can buy them yourself, namely a flipping case, an amp stacking kit as well as 3.5mm interconnecting cable.
    Build quality wise, the X1 is very solid. As the company third DAP, FiiO has most the design recipe figured out. To put it short, it is a shrink down X5 with the same scroll wheel and 4 corner button design. The use of mechanical scroll wheel has been tested on X5 before so it shouldn’t be a problem as far as durability is concerned. Since X1 is more compact, it feels easier to navigate without trying too hard to reach from one button to another with just one hand. To save cost and space, FiiO decides to build both headphone-out and line-out into the same 3.5mm jack. It won’t be a problem for user who only uses one of the function, but you need to be extra careful if you are swapping the function form time to time. You really don’t want to plug your headphone in when it is outputting line level signal. The front housing of X1 is made out of aluminium, where the back panel is plastic. Though the smallest of the X series, it is still fairly big in size if you were to compare it to a truly small DAP like iPod nano 7G. However, it is definitely still fairly pocket friendly and at most, feels like carrying a smartphone around, maybe even less. Last but not least, the DAP itself doesn’t come with any user accessible memory. You will need a micro SD card to store files and playback music. The good news is that the current firmware does support up to 128GB, which is the biggest uSD card you can find at the moment.
    The UI functions similar to that of X5.
    X1 has the power button, reset hole, and volume up and down buttons on one side, plus the scroll wheel, select and return, next and previous buttons on the top. The firmware UI itself is pretty similar to that of X5 and designed around the scroll wheel, but simplified. You will find most of the basic functions available on the X1 as well, but not the more advanced USB DAC function as well as the gain switch. Given that navigation is fairly intuitive, I don’t want to spend much time explaining all the detail as you should be able to figure them out with just a few minutes of use (if not, read manual please). A few things that I’ll like to mention are (again) the headphone-out / line-out selection as well as the library limitation – basically the current firmware only allows 5800 songs to be add to the library (no limitation if you use the file browser), but FiiO is working on firmware that will allow for a lot more. Not sure when it will be released though.
    X1's headphone-out and line-out FR curve.
    Sound Quality
    As usual, let starts with some basic measurement. RMAA reveals no issue at all. The frequency response is flat from 20Hz to 20kHz in both headphone-out and line-out. THD+N, SNR and crosstalk are all normal. Output impedance is measured and calculated to be 2 ohm, which is what FiiO has listed in spec. Though not exactly under 1 ohm, it is low enough that you shouldn’t have any problem with the majority of headphones out there. Current output is quite decent – not as powerful as its elder siblings but certainly among one of highest in the sub-$100 DAP market. Max voltage output on headphone-out is about 1.6Vrms and on line-out is about 1.5Vrms, which are not too far from the listed spec. All and all, the measurement indicates a fairly solid DAP.
    Sound Signature wise, X1 can be classified as having a very classic FiiO house sound that is warm and smooth. It is obvious FiiO has decided that a warm sound will be more popular for the average consumer as opposite to a neutral and transparent sound signature (i.e. X5) that is more appreciated by audiophiles. As far as tuning goes, I’ll think FiiO has gotten the X1 just right. Regardless of the difference in sound quality, X1 is probably the most mainstream sounding FiiO’s DAP yet.
    X1 next to E11K
    A match made in heaven
    So how is the actual sound quality? Well, it is a solid upper entry DAP. Even though it is the latest of FiiO DAP, it is not going to be as good sounding as the mid level X3 or top level X5. Overall, you are looking at a DAP that is roughly on par to iPod nano 7G and Sandisk Clip+ / Fuze. The major difference are of course the high resolution support as well as a more powerful amp section, but neither of them instantly translate to class smashing performance. If you are not listening HD music or using a fairly demanding headphone, you might not be able to hear any distinctive quality difference between X1 and other solid DAP around the $100 mark.
    One of X1 biggest competition, in my opinion, is ColorFly C3. Despite showing its age and can’t match up to X1’s many features, it is still one of the cleanest, most transparent sounding DAP in the same price range. The only downside to its sound is that it doesn’t really have that great an amp section and therefore doesn’t give a lot of control and tightness when driving a headphone directly. But what it does excel is when it is used as a source to feed a portable amp. The signal is so clean that it doesn’t diminish its sound quality with double amping. Without an amp however, X1 still hold an edge. Even though C3 might be a better source, it is not to say X1 doesn’t scale up noticeably with a portable amp. In fact, I find that X1 makes an excellent pairing with the new FiiO E11K, and arguably can be almost* on par with a standalone X3 (*I don’t have a regular X3 anymore, so it is based on memory).
    Size comparison (from left): iPod nano 7G, X1, X3, and X5
    In Sum…
    As I have said, you won’t find anything revolutionary in the X1, either on hardware or software. Nor will you find a giant killer that is going to sound so good that it will shame all other DAP in its price range. No, those are not what X1 is about. What you will find is just a very solidly built DAP that has all the fundamentals covered and then priced very competitively, designed to fill in the breach between the cheap ‘mp3 players’ of old days and the expensive audiophiles players of today. That is where FiiO is breaking new ground with the X1.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. WaltFrench
      I'm curious about a “warm” sound with a ruler-flat EQ curve. I'd think if there were any difference from “neutral,” “out of the way of the music,” it'd be “clinical.”
      What spec would correspond to the “warm” sound you hear?
      WaltFrench, Dec 11, 2014
    3. ClieOS
      Neutral and warm can be a function of frequency response, but they are not exclusively so. There are factors not shown by a frequency response that can affect the tonality of sound, such as phase, harmonic distortion, etc. One of the reason X1 is on the warm side is because it has pretty good texture over mid to low region, which add detail to bass and (more importantly) vocal. That gives the impression of warmness.
      ClieOS, Dec 11, 2014
    4. WaltFrench
      Thanks, @ClieOS, for the quick answer. Yes, odd harmonics come across as distortion; I forgot about that.
      Still, I'm still surprised… the 0.003% THD+N says odd harmonics are 50 db or more below the signal; hard to imagine even a very careful listener would detect/discern that tiny level as coloration. After all, that's more than the entire dynamic range of a lot of popular, or even carefully-recorded classical music. It's not much less than the difference between background noise in a quiet home and the loudest sound you'd tolerate.
      I didn't see phase specs, but I'm not aware of any DACs producing significant phase distortion, nor how a listener would hear it as other than a shift in the stereo imaging.
      Anyhow, thanks again!
      WaltFrench, Dec 12, 2014
  7. piksnz
    Fiio X1 DAP Review
    Written by piksnz
    Published Nov 22, 2014
    Pros - Bang for buck, Build quality, High output power
    Cons - Scroll wheel implementation can be better, Battery life, UI limitations


    I received this unit for review purpose as a part of the Australasian tour. The unit is owned by Paul (Brooko). Thank you for making this happen.
    This is the review of Fiio X1 high resolution DAP. I am a new aspiring audiophile member and have experienced quite handful of DAPs from Colorfly C4, HM901, AK240  and several others. But this is my first experience with any Fiio product. I am currently owning AK120II, therefore there will be some reference comparison among X1 and AK120II.  The earphones used for this review are IE800 and JH Roxanne Universal. The X1 DAP is always reviewed with Equalizer Off.
    What's in the box:
    1. Fii X1 player
    2. Black silicon case.
    3. Micro USB cable for data transfer and charging purpose.
    4. Documentation: Quick start guide, screen protectors, warranty, etc.
    Hardware and Build quality:
    1. The unit is made from machined aluminum screaming excellent quality throughout. The only non aluminium part is the jog wheel which has a rubber coating on the top.
    2. The X1 design cue comes from Apple Ipods.
    3. The size and form factor feels just right. It is quite light and easy to carry around.
    4. The screen size and resolution is good enough to get the job done. But the screen is hard to see on outdoors though.
    5. The DAP's physical interface has standard buttons such as Prev/Fwd track, Back button and a menu button. The buttons have small symbols etched beside them to indicate their functionality. If you press and hold the back button it will take you to the home screen. There is a learning curve in remembering what each button does and can be annoying when the DAP is in the case.
    6. Dedicated pause and play button would have been better.
    7. There is a welcome tiny blue LED light on the bottom of the DAP to indicate the DAP is on.
    1. The volume buttons are on the left side of the player. The Up volume key has a small nub on it to distinguish between up and down volume key.
    2. I am not a fan of silicon cases. The rubbery silicon case feels bit cheap and it accumulates dust.
    3. The DAP has a 3.5mm audio jack which functions as a line out too. I have not tried the line out as part of the review.
    4. The DAP can support up to 128GB of micro SD card and has no internal storage. The media update for my 64GB card full of songs took only few seconds, very impressive!!!!
    1. I got around 8 to 9hrs runtime. The Fiio website says approx 11 hrs. Though majority of my listening included 24bit tracks.
    1. The UI is simplistic and offer all the standard options, for e.g. Now Playing, Albums, Artists, Genre, Favs, Playlists, Folder view.
    2. I generally browse songs by albums and it would have been good if the software allows the user to configure default shortcuts in the home screen so that I don’t have to go through several clicks to access the album category.
    1. I love the way the settings have been divided into Play settings and system settings.
    1. The following play settings got my attention.
      1. Allow the user to resume from where it was playing.
      2. Gapless playback.
    2. The remaining settings are standard audio settings such as Equalizer.
    3. The system settings have info about the firmware, themes, auto power off, etc.
    4. One annoying thing I noticed is every time the screen turns off, I have to press the power button to turn on the display. Maybe there is a way to change the behavior but I could not figure it out.
    5. I was surprised to see that a player for $100 USD is about to play 24bit songs without any hiccups. It can play APE/FLAC/ALAC/WMA/WAV at max 192KHz/24 Bit.
    Sound Quality:
    1. The sound is excellent based on the price point and I found it better than AK100 which costs about 4 times the price of this player.
    2. The sound felt bit thick and on the warmer side with a narrow centre stage. Sometimes it felt the treble is attenuated and the sound is almost there but something is missing.
    3. The DAP was not able to drive my JH audio Roxanne to its full potential, which the Calyx M and AK120II did with ease.
    4. However, the synchronization with my IE800 was actually very good much better than AK100.  The background was not completely silent with the Roxanne's. There was a small hiss noise which is not there in the AK120II for the same track.
    5. The output power is great and at 50 volume level (max 100) my IE800 was singing pretty excellent.
    1. You cannot go wrong with this player for this price point.  The only bad thing is $99 will not get you going out of the box, you need to invest in micro sd card as there is no onboard memory. I think the X1 is the most musical hi res player you can get amongst its competition. Hopefully they will solve the wheel UI synchronization issues with some firmware updates.
      Brooko and CasperBxl like this.
    1. Joe Bloggs
      Thanks for the detailed review piksnz!
      Joe Bloggs, Nov 25, 2014
  8. Dyaems
    Way Better than Expected
    Written by Dyaems
    Published Nov 18, 2014
    Pros - Good build quality, size, and price
    Cons - Scrollwheel is loose, UI needs abit more tweaking
    This unit I am doing a review is from the "Fiio X1 Preview World Tour". I would also like to thank Joe and FiiO as well! Unfortunatly, there will be no pictures at the moment since my only camera, which is my phone, has problems at the moment so I apologize for that. Lastly, as usual, please take my review with a grain of salt.
    Short story and my expectation for the FiiO X1:
    Not so long time ago, I was in a market for a DAP because my current (not anymore) needs to be replaced. I found out a thread about the X1 and I thought it would be a good DAP for replacement because it is basically a simplistic no-frills DAP that might possibly have a decent sound. But then I came across some reports that it is warmer than a FiiO X3 or a Ibasso DX50, which I am not fond of its sound. At that point I became skeptical if it would be my replacement DAP. Also, having owned different DAPs from Chinese/Korean manufacturers before I sold them, most, if not, all of their UI ranges from so-so to good. Nothing really impressed me even one of the previous "high-end" DAP which is an Ibasso DX100 (which I also owned before by the way) did not also impress me regarding UI.
    Then the "Fiio X1 World Tour" came, and I signed-in so that I can try the X1 first before purchasing an actual unit.
    Impressions and random stuff:
    At this point of review, I have yet to receive the box and accessories from the previous reviewer, he only brought the unit when we meet up. Although I do know from a retail package, it comes with a couple of screen protectors, a USB cable, a manual, a rubber case, and a bunch of vinyl stickers for one to customize the X1's appearance.
    When I get my hands on the accessories, I wouldn't really put those vinyl stickers because I would basically call that a "downgrade" instead of making it look "better." I mean, the X1 is already made up of aluminum, why put a sticker on it? And there is that rubber case as well in case one does not want his/her X1 get scratched. Personally, I would just leave the X1 as it is. The X1 just looks much better that way.
    Anyways, going back on track, the build quality of the X1 is really good. Maybe it simply because it is made of aluminum? Probably. But if one puts the X3 beside the X1, the X3 will actually look like an entry level DAP, compared to the X1. The X1 has this "premium" look on it, compared to the X3.
    However, I have a bit of an issue with the review unit's scroll wheel, it is loose and inaccurate. For example, when I am looking for a song, and the song I want to listen to is directly above or below the current song that is playing. Turning the scrollwheel will either not move, or move past that song majority of the time, which I find it abit annoying.
    I don't know whether the X1 was abused during the tour or not because I was the last one to receive the X1. Although I would guess that the scrollwheel "issue" is normal since when I first tried the X5, I got a similar impression of it. Maybe it could be fixed with a firmware update (this review unit is still using 0.17beta)? I hope so!
    I also found out about the lettering on which buttons is which specially infront of the X1, which I find it funny. From the first few days I've owned the X1, I am abit confused about the four buttons in front until my friend borrowed it. I am baffled why he does not have problems navigating the X1, and he said there are markers beside the buttons infront, and indeed there is! I was expecting no markers and said "I can probably memorize those buttons in a few minutes..." and oh boy, I was wrong!
    In addition to the buttons, the power button at the side is further inserted compared to the volume buttons. I first thought it was a defect but I realized it makes sense so that there will be no accidental presses, making the screen appear, combining with a loose scroll wheel inside a pocket, it will have a bit of a problem there.
    Overall, the buttons are sturdy, it needs abit of force to press it in order to register, which I like. It would be perfect if the scrollwheel does not have issues!
    MicroSD card position is good, and I don't think it needs a cover for it to prevent accidental dismount of the MicroSD card. I mean, I either need a really long fingernails, or use another MicroSD card and use its edges to make the MicroSD card inside the X1 to be unmounted because it is seated really deep.
    Battery I think lasts for about 10-11 hours, which is good enough in my book. I really wish that the battery is user-replaceable though.
    Regarding the UI, I find it fantastic, but with a bit of improvements. Again, please note that the firmware of the review unit is using is still at 0.17beta, and I can already tell that this beta version of firmware is better than the previous Chinese/Korean DAPs I tried/owned. When I first installed my MicroSD card in the X1, I didn't have problems recognizing the tags, specially non-english ones. Even the embedded artwork is already recognized! Those two is already a big plus for me because everytime I own a new DAP I have to edit tags or re-embed artwork and that usually took from at least a couple of hours to days to finish, depending how many files I am going to put into a DAP. I do not have any complains about media scanning, although I only tried 500 songs that consists FLAC and mp3 files, I find the scanning them is fast and does not try to scan again when the X1 rebooted, so all is well.
    The menus, there are some options there that are not present in the previous DAPs I've owned, like changing to a different theme, volume limit lock (I only saw this on an iPod, nothing else), and an option how does a user want to resume playback. All of them are not really needed, but those are still good features for anyone to enjoy. I personally use the volume limit feature, it is really nice.
    In addition to that, I saw something special that is not present on majority of the DAPs in the market-- The L-R Balance. This feature is a godsend for those who have imbalanced hearing, like me, although only a bit. Before this feature is only available through RockBox, and not all DAPs can support it. FiiO has done a great job by adding this neat feature.
    As of this version (0.17beta), my only complain with the UI is only one, and its about scrolling through songs. Scrolling through a lot of songs will be much easier if they did it similar to iPod's scrolling, where the scrolling gets faster as long as you spin the scrollwheel. Not sure if it is implemented in newer firmware versions but I sure hope so!
    Lastly, the price. For $100 (~$130 converted in our country), all these features, the quality of build, the accessories included, and the UI, it pretty much is a winner in my book. Note that I did not mention the X1's sound because if I assume that it sounds warmer than the X3, the price is still pretty much worth it. I can just use an equalizer if it is needed anyway.
    In this section is my impression about the X1's sound and how do they compare with other DAPs. I will describe the sound mostly for newbies, who might be in a market for a DAP, and majority of my impressions are on the tonality-side, since IMHO newbies will most likely won't be able to tell those technical terms like soundstage, instrument separation, etc.. Of course, I will still give a bit of info regarding other technical terms. I also did not have all the DAPs side by side with me, I just took notes as I listen to the DAPs.
    Headphones/IEMs used:
    1. Sony MDR-EX800ST w/ EX1000 Cables
    2. Sony MDR-Z1000 w/ Mundorf Cables
    3. Sony MDR-CD900ST
    Songs used:
    1. Majority of it are poorly recorded tracks, FLAC or mp3 format. I have my reasons for it.
    2. Songs come from most genres, except metal and dubstep because both genres gives me a headache for some reason.
    Sound Quality Impression:
    First thing that came into my mind, is the X1 is not THAT warm at all, which is not expected! Very surprising. It is still warm in a sense but the best that I can describe that the X1 is fairly neutral/balanced sounding, with a bit of warmth added to it. The X1 has decent soundstage and instrument separation, I don't really notice those until I changed songs with a good recording, which makes both of them noticeable almost immediately. Considering that the X1 is only $100, that is a plus as well.
    Comparison to other DAPs:
    For this section, I will just use bullet form for this comparison. I won't be pairing an amp with it, I only used headphone out with as close volume between DAPs from each other as possible since I don't have a device to measure the SPL through headphone out. All headphones/IEMs that I tried are good enough to run through the X1's headphone out anyway.
    Against Ibasso DX50
    1. The X1 sounds smoother than the DX50. I said smoother because there is this bite on the upper midrange/lower treble that the DX50 always has no matter what song I threw, while that bite is not present on the X1. It is noticeable on accoustic guitars and sibilant tracks.
    2. The DX50 is defenitely bassy than the X1. Even on non-bass heavy songs, the bass on DX50 is apparent when compared to the X1.
    3. Soundstage on the DX50 is a bit bigger, but I can't tell the difference unless I do some critical listening.
    4. A friend (who owns the DX50) can't really tell the difference between the DX50 and the X1 on his song choicess, and got a bit sad why he bothered buying a DAP that has twice its price than a FiiO X1 (lol)
    Against FiiO X5
    1. If I just do some casual listening, like throwing a random song and just enjoy the music, I honestly can't tell the difference between the X1 and X5. Seriously.
    2. But when I use some specific test songs that has good recording, and the X5 outshines the X1 on soundstage and detail retrieval.
    3. The X1 is more forgiving than the X5 on poorly recorded tracks.
    Against FiiO X3
    1. The X3 is warmer than the X1, which I did not expect at all! I thought it will be similar to the DX50 where it is bassier, but not.
    2. Same as X5, the X3 has bigger soundstage than the X1 in specific songs with good recording.
    Against iPod Touch 4th Gen
    1. X1 is better overall because it is more balanced-sounding than the iPod Touch
    2. Giving abit more specifics, the X1 bass is refined than the iPod Touch, the X1 is alot less boomy too!
    3. On poorly recorded tracks, the iPod Touch is really harsh, specially on upper midrange/treble.
    Against Hisoundaudio Studio V
    1. Studio V is brighter then the X1, but not harsh.
    2. Soundstage and instrument separation is clearly noticeable even on poorly recorded tracks compared to the X1. Not sure what sorcery Hisoundaudio put into their Studio V, but I really can't say the same impressions with the X5.
    3. Overall, the Studio V trumps the X1 in sound quality. I can simply say it is night and day difference no matter what song I throw at it.
    Final words:
    The FiiO X1 gave me a very positive impression during this preview tour because it gave me more than what I would want. This is honestly the first time I had this impression on all the DAPs I've owned in terms of overall performance in terms of UI, build, sound and price. Definitely bang for the buck. The X1 does not even need hype to get it running! It clearly stands on its own.
    I would definitely recommend the X1, specially for newbies, specially with that price. Even students who has limited budget can most likely afford to buy an X1. It is no means a "giant" killer per se, but it gives way too much pros than its cons for its price. Other expensive DAPs there gives more cons than its pros, which is kind of disappointing in most cases, so the X1 really has great value.
    Should I buy one after the tour? Thats not even a question! :p
      altrunox likes this.
  9. Experge
    A great portable DAP for people on a budget!
    Written by Experge
    Published Nov 17, 2014
    Pros - Small Form Factor, Great Sound and Build Quality.
    Cons - Scrollwheel isn't always acurate, Software might get cramped with very big media library's
    Hello Head-Fi Community,
    I actually made my Review and Unboxing into Videos, check them out below.
    I hope you enjoy!
  10. Loquah
    Fiio X1 - The budget standard for high resolution audio
    Written by Loquah
    Published Nov 15, 2014
    Pros - Performance at its price, nice UI, line-out option, compact size, light weight
    Cons - Slightly flat (not dynamic) sound
    Thank you to FiiO and @Brooko for arranging the tour of the FiiO X1 (and E11 amp). This review is based on my brief use of the tour units and comparison with a few other "alternatives" that I personally own.
    I'm going to keep the review fairly brief because there are already lots of reviews out there so I'm guessing you don't need to read the basic features again. Also, I've been unwell this week so my thought processes are a little foggier than usual so the simpler I keep things the better for everyone I think. [​IMG]


    After releasing the X3 and X5 portable players (DAPs), FiiO turned its hand to creating an entry point offering that still played the major hi-res audio formats, but at a much lower price than anything on the market (that I'm aware of at least). The X1's price of around $130 (AUD) makes it astonishing value for a number of reasons that I'll expand on shortly.
    If you've read the other reviews you'll know the specs, etc. If you haven't read those reviews, all you need to know is that the X1 offers reasonable power, the ability to play multiple formats including the ubiquitous formats such as MP3 and FLAC, but most importantly it handles hi-res audio (24 bit, 96 / 192 kHz) despite it's incredibly low cost. It uses a single microSD slot for storage, has a simple, wheel-based interface with a few mechanical buttons, a nice clear screen, and has a single 3.5mm output socket.

    Design & Build

    WP_20141115_10_18_38_Pro.jpg The X1 shows FiiO's ongoing growth as a manufacturer because they've managed to make a product that's significantly cheaper than their own X3 look and feel higher quality and more solidly built. The X1 does not look like a $130 player - it looks like a $200-300 player - and the feel is just as good.
    The tour unit is in the silver colour (a champagne / gold colour is also available) and it looks and feels wonderful. The rubberised black scroll wheel sets off the whole look of the X1 really nicely and makes it a great baby brother to the X5.
    Size-wise, the X1 is really compact. You can see in the image here that it's smaller than the X5 (bottom) and iPod Video (middle). It's still about as thick as both of those, but the compact footprint makes it feel much smaller. I personally like a player with a little bit of size because it's easier to hold and use so I think the X1 is pretty much perfect in that regard.

    User Interface (UI)

    The UI on the X1 is an obvious spin-off from the X1 with some nice improvements. The layout is easier because all icons are visible at the same time and the scroll wheel is stiffer which makes it feel more accurate and controlled. It's still possible for some scroll-wheel movements to create unexpected responses on the visual display (more movement than you 'd expect or no movement at all), but I'd say it's a noticeable improvement over the X5's implementation.
    Beyond the display and scroll wheel, everything else is nearly identical to the X5 which is a good thing in my opinion. Options are clearly labelled and easily selected.


    The X1 uses a single 3.5mm socket which can be both headphone jack or line-out. There are pros and cons to this approach. I'm guessing it was implemented to save space and costs which, given the $130 price tag, was a great decision, but it may prove frustrating for some depending on your usage.
    The challenge I faced with the switchable output was that it makes adding and removing an amp slightly cumbersome because you need to go into the menu and choose which output style should be used. The output selection option also happens to be in the middle of one of the menus so it adds a few extra spins of the wheel to get there. Of course, if you're only using the X1 with or without an amp, and not regularly changing like I was during the testing process for this review then this is absolutely not an issue, but if you're someone who might use the X1 with IEMs during a commute and then use line-out to an amplifier in the office / home, you may find this process slightly tedious.
    On the bright side, it's very easy to switch from line-out back to headphone out mode because a warning is displayed if the player is in line-out mode (due to the potential damage to your ears from plugging in earphones while using a full volume line-out). When the warning is displayed, pressing the "back" button (top right button surrounding the scroll wheel) brings up a simple selection panel where you can choose headphone out or line out.
    Just to reiterate, all this may be irrelevant to you if you intend to permanently strap on an amp, or never use an amp so please give it the appropriate weight based on your intended usage.

    Sound Quality

    Given all the in-depth discussion that's already around Head-Fi about the pros and cons of the X5's interface and library management (which is nearly identical to the X1's) I'm moving straight to the good stuff, the sound.
    I'm going to address the sound by way of a series of comparisons, but first let me summarise the X1's sound. The sound is clean and quite neutral overall. There's plenty of detail and clarity to be enjoyed. There is very good left-right separation in the sound, but I found the soundstage was a little flat. Adding FiiO's own E11 (version 2) amp opened the sound up nicely and makes a great addition to the X1 if you're happy to carry a mini-brick. In fact, with the E11 added, the X1/E11 combo comes quite close to the sound quality X5. You don't need the E11 with the X1, but it's great to have the option.
    Indeed, on it's own and for the incredible price, the X1 makes a great one-piece solution, but to help me get a handle on how good it really was I decided to put it through a few select comparisons.

    FiiO X5

    The FiiO X5 is a marvel of bang-for-buck performance. At a $350 price point, the X5's performance edges remarkably close to top-end alternatives like the Astel & Kern players or high end iBasso offerings so it's with no sense of disappointment that I say there is a noticeable difference between the X5 and X1. In terms of signature they are not dissimilar, but side-by-side, the X5 leaves the X1 sounding a little flat and digital. Where the X1 sounds like a beautifully reproduced recording, the X5 starts to create a better sense of realism in the sound.
    I can't stress enough that this is not a criticism of the X1 and is purely for contextualisation. If you're like me, you'll be wondering "How much different is there between the X1 and the X5, really?" or "Is it really worth spending that much more on the X5?" These comparisons are aimed at those questions, not overall assessments of the X1's value - I'll come to that at the very end.
    So, the X1 doesn't compete with the X5 and nor should it. Let's pit it against a different rival...

    Apple iPod Video (5.5G)

    The 5.5G iPod Video is the closest Apple ever came to an audiophile player. I own the Classic, the Video, a Nano, and a Shuffle, but I pitted the X1 against Apple's best as a real test of its mettle.
    The X1 and iPod Video present a slightly different style of sound with the iPod leaning towards a more analog / organic sound and the X1 sounding slightly more digital, but not in a bad way. With the more "digital" sound comes a level of detail and resolution not present with the iPod. Given that this is probably Apple's best ever offering and that it's price tag was significantly north of $200 compared to the X1's price of $130, you start to see just how great the X1 is as a product. Sure, some people might prefer a more organic sound, but the X1 is by no means artificial sounding - it's detailed, full, clean and neutral. Often a more organic sound comes at the expense of some treble extension and excess smoothness to the notes and the X1 suffers from neither of these, offering outstanding treble and bass extension with no sense of roll-off or smoothing throughout the audible spectrum (based on my music auditions, not testing).
    Just to wrap up this comparison, it's basically a draw on sound quality which puts the X1 way ahead when you bring price and size into the picture. Its UI is good enough to not interfere with the equation and the fact that it plays lossless and hi-res files straight out of the box is a huge plus in today's market.

    Shozy Alien

    This is a different kind of comparison because of distinctly different UI approaches. The Alien is a little more expensive than the X1 and offers a thinner, lighter player focused 100% on sound quality at the expense of any kind of in-depth UI. In sound quality alone, the Alien is a noticeable step up from the X1, but it has less power to drive more hungry headphones and has no UI so browsing through anything more than about 10 albums is a very tedious affair on the Alien and there's no shuffle function. In other words, if you are looking at a well-priced player with good abilities to play from a large library then the Alien shouldn't even be in your short-list and the X1 is easily at the top of that list. There's no doubt that the Alien offers better sound quality, but it still costs more money (around $230) and offers no UI so it's a different product rather than a direct competitor. I included it here because I'd just received my Alien and wanted to do the comparison for myself and thought it was interesting to prove that even better sound quality is available for a budget price, but it's also shown me that you can't get the whole package that the X1 offers (UI and the ability to easily access a large library, sound quality, versatility of line-out and HPO, etc.) for anywhere near the price of the X1.

    Comparison Summary

    WP_20141115_10_18_04_Pro.jpg Completing this comparison proved 2 things to me about the X1 - firstly that there's better sound out there, but secondly that there is nothing that can come anywhere near the X1 for a combination of price and performance - it is simply amazing that FiiO can create this type of sound performance and UI experience for a little more than $100.
    The most striking comparison to me was the iPod Video which is a recognised standard in UI and audio performance. The X1 easily held its own against the iPod Video and offered multiple advantages which set it above and beyond the iPod in my eyes. All this, and it costs about half the price of the now discontinued (and not quite as good) iPod Classic.

    X1 with Varying Loads

    The final question around the X1's sound quality for me relates to using it with different loads (i.e. higher impedance headphones versus low impedance IEMs) so here are some notes from some brief tests with different options:
    1. Shure SE846 (9 ohm) - the X1 sounds enjoyable and clean with the SE846 even if it's not the ultimate source. There's a slight hint of hiss, but nothing loud enough to disturb once the music is actually playing.
    2. Brainwavz R3 (32 ohm) - this is a really nice budget pairing. The R3 and X1 are both excellent budget products and the X1 seems really comfortable driving the R3's 32 ohm load with precision and authority.
    3. Thinksound On1 (50 ohm) - the X1 still drives these with full authority to my ears. Like the SE846, the 'phone is capable of scaling with higher quality gear, but I don't feel anything is getting lost from lack of power or control from the X1.
    4. Beyerdynamic DT1350 (80 ohm) - this is the first point that I felt like the X1 was running out of puff. The sound is still completely acceptable and passable, but it was starting to lose some dynamics and control compared to adding an amp.
    Of course, headphone sensitivity will play a part, but I would say that, in general, 'phones with impedances above about 50-60 ohms will probably need amping to really sound right with the X1. I didn't bother checking the 600 ohm T1s or lower sensitivity LCD 2s with the X1 because it's just not made for those types of loads and an X3 or X5 would be a better bet. For any portable 'phones with <60 ohms the X1 proved itself to be a great choice.


    I love FiiO's X5 player and was impressed to see just how much of the X5 was inherited by the X1. The X1 feels like a very mature, well-considered DAP that performs better than you would ever expect from a budget player. Knowing FiiO's efforts over the last 12 months or so the incredible quality of the X1 probably shouldn't be a surprise, but it's just so good for the money that it does still surprise me.
    In short, if you're looking to spend <$200 on a player (including as an upgrade to a mobile phone which the X1 will beat in almost all cases) then there is really no contest in that part of the market. For UI, sound quality, build quality and every other factor I can think of (except if you're looking for a tiny clip-on type player), the X1 is simply unbeatable quality and value.
      Brooko, H20Fidelity, d marc0 and 2 others like this.
    1. Apom
      Thanks for the detailed review and comparison.  Do you have any sense of how long on a full battery charge at normal use levels the battery will last
      Apom, Nov 16, 2014