FiiO X1 Ultraportable Hi-Res DAP


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: price, build quality
Cons: UI seems lacking, plastic scroll wheel


I do not own this unit – I had this unit for a few days as part of an Australasian tour. Thanks to [color=#22229C]@Brooko[/color] for providing his own unit for this tour.


Honestly I didn’t expect a $100 device to have this build quality. Solid aluminum with machined buttons, although the plastic scroll wheel feels cheap and detracts the overall value.


The UI is an okay to me, while some buttons seems redundant at times. For instance pressing the lower left/right buttons in folder browsing simply moves the cursor to one item over/under, I can see an improvement for future firmware to change this into page scrolling instead.
I personally think the unit need some rework in the line/headphone out department. The option to switch between the two is hidden inside system settings (took me a good 10 minutes before I found it) and requires you to manually pause currently playing song instead of doing it automatically when you switch options.


FiiO provides generous amount of accessories included with the package – silicon case, USB cable, 3.5mm interconnect and few stick-on stickers for personalisation. I won’t be using the case and stick on as I like the aluminum feels but YMMV.


The X1 sounds warm, has more clarity than my iPhone 4S and less detail than DX50+C5D stack. It’s good enough to be paired with IEMs but I didn’t test the X1 with my headphones, barely tested the line out so I won’t comment on that.


The X1 might not be for everyone but personally I think it’s a good option for introductory DAP for its price. UI needs to be smoothed out a bit otherwise it’s perfect.
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Totally agree with you on the page scrolling. That would be a great idea. Or even have an option to choose either/or.


Pros: Great form factor, cheap, ok sound and easy to use
Cons: wish it had more power but for price point its ok
So I've being the using the Fiio X1 as my daily with  Havi B3 and my Dn 2000 to the gym and just during breaks at work, also a bit of listening at home and I must say its a really good compact DAP neutral sounding. It is easy to use took me 5 mins to learn all the functions and setting. I wish it just had a little more power as it I have to have it on 70 volume level for the Havi to actually become loud and with the DN 2000 I had it on 45 to become loud I know the Havi like more juice but a bit more power would be nice but it not something really to complain about. Great DAP Fiio surely is paving the way.


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Not only in relation to price the X1 is a real performer.
Cons: Some settings in relation to the lockscreen, but nothing serious...
I received the Fiio X1 as part of the X1 world tour which I forwarded to the next in line after 10 days of extensive usage. I am in no way affiliated with FiiO; my impressions as follows:
Since there are more than enough reviews about the X1 describing its general qualities, I will mainly focus on the X1’s ability to drive different Headphones.
I limited myself to cans that are at least halfway ready for mobile usage; meaning they show electrical properties allowing them to be combined to DAPs. With mobile I do not necessarily mean walking on the street. To me this also means enjoying fresh air on the balcony, a evening in a hotel room on a business- trip or just a long weekend in a hotel as recently with my X5 and AH-D600, shown below.
X5 with AH-D600
I will compare such headphone/X1 combinations mainly with the same headphones and the FiiO X5 and occasionally crosschecking with the ifi iDSD Micro.
I copied two identical folders with some of my favourite tracks to the memory cards of the X1 and the X5:
Jazz at the Pawnshop – Limehouse Blues
Rush – Tom Sawyer
Al Di Meola / Paco de Lucia / John McLaughlin – Friday Night in San Fransisco – Short Tales of the Black Forest
Oslo String Quartet – Schubert String Quartet No.14 in D minor D 803:III Scherzo. Allegro molto
Talking Heads – Listening Wind
Club d’Elf – Live at Lizard Lounge Cambridge, MA
Future Rock – Life at the Subterranean 2005
Sound Tribe Sector 9 Life at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park
Symbion Project – The Speed of Dark
Philip Glass – Akhnaten – Funeral Of Amenhotep III
SOAD – Dreaming
Van Morrison – Oh the warm Feeling
Beastie Boys – Sabrosa
The The – The Violence of Truth
Faithless – To all new Arrivals
Yello – Friday Smile
Nits – House of Jacob
SMV – Pendulum
Zappa – The best Band you never heard in your Life – Florentine Pogen
Headphones used
Audeze LCD X
Sensitivity wise on the higher side for a planar headphone, but that doesn’t make it generally easy to drive. It requires amps with low enough output resistance. The X5 drives it with ease, let’s see how the X1 is doing.
Denon AH-D7100.
In my humble opinion, given a very extensive burn-in, one of the best headphones on the market. Very high sensitivity and also concerning output resistance very easy to drive. There is a certain emphasis in the lower frequency range, but never covering the fluid and crystal-clear mids and treble.
Hifiman HE-400
Despite remarkably lower sensitivity than the Audeze or the Denon still easy enough to be driven by some DAPs. The X5 is driving it with ease, when combining with a iPod Touch, I add a FiiO e12. As such it surely is a candidate for mobile usage, even if more demanding than the other candidates here.
Monster Miles Davis Trumpet
Great in ear monitor. Despite smallest audio membrane ever it comes with very substantial bass, the mids and treble are smooth and balanced and make long time listening a pleasure without fatigue.
Here the test rig:
Top Left the AD-D600, the AH-D7100 and the ifi iDSD Micro, center the X1 and the Miles Davis Trumpet, bottom center the X5, bottom right the HE-400. More pictures here.
The efforts taken to achieve good sound are rather different in both players; this is what I can get from the FiiO web-page:
-The X1 utilizes a Texas Instruments DAC PCM5142 and a Intersil ISL28291 as (buffer-) amp.
-The X5 comes with a top notch Texas Instruments DAC PCM1792A and 4 OPA1612 used for current / voltage conversion and amplification and 2 LMH6643 used for headphone output.
…the larger housing of the X5 must be justified by something.
Most obvious difference in the performance data is the output power:
X5           460 mW@16Ω
X1           100 mW@16Ω
Besides the power of an amp the output resistance plays a crucial role. It defines the overall damping factor in combination with the headphone.
In extreme cases a mismatch could lead to sound coloration. Or in less serious cases just to a reduced transparency and resolution of the sound, or a bloated and imprecise bass. Here the X1 with its 2Ω seems on the safe side, still excelled by the X5 with its 0.26Ω. So no serious issues to be expected from here.
You might have already guessed where this is leading to:
Both players have a very similar all over sound signature (no wonder in times of OP AMPs). The differences are somewhere else.
With the easier to drive headphones as the AH-D7100 such differences are extremely subtle:
AH-D7100: The X5 has a larger and more stable soundstage and sounds a little more relaxed. On the first glance the X1 even seems to be slightly more detailed, but after longer listening sessions I recognized that this was rather owed to the fact that all over the X1 sounded a little more slender in the frequency basement what put the mid and high range more to the font; but I concluded that the X5 is not missing any details, it just presents them not so much on a silver-tray. Still such differences are not very obvious and it needs extensive comparison to clearly recognize and identify them. Less discerning listeners might even have difficulties in hearing such differences at all.
The Monster Trumpet is as easy to drive as the Denon. Still, in this case, the X5’s extra portion of heft in the frequency basement helps the small Monster to come up with little but crucial more of substance; which makes it sound bigger and in my ears more realistic and smooth. Still, I could imagine that some would even prefer the more stringy performance of the X1.
With the HE-400, the most critical headphones used in this review, all such differences becomes more obvious. Especially with high volumes (and I mean really high): Now in comparison to the X5 the treble seems to solve not as well from the membranes, the transparency starts lacking and sound becomes fatiguing. Here the X5 has considerably more headroom, more authority. This widens the choice of headphones to combine with the X5.
While the difference in upper bass impact with the Denon and Monster was still not too obvious, with the HE-400 the X1 was outperformed by the X5 with more punch. Also the X5 is forcing the HE-400 further down into the bass-basement. Owed to that, with the X5 the music has generally more substance. Bass control is good on both, whereas it is obvious that the X5 has approx. 4 times of the power of the X1 and sounds accordingly. The HE-400 at higher volumes displays the main difference between the two players: The X5 has more authority, which widens the choice of headphones to combine with and adds a certain audiophile extra to the sound compared to the X1.
With lower listening volumes the transparency and separation is closer to the X5, differences remain on a similarly low level as with the less demanding headphones. As such still very OK and enjoyable. If you are just listening on “reasonable” volume levels and rather prefer a more detailed than brawny performance, even this combination X1 and HE-400 could be called a match.
Combined to the HE-400, both of them (surprise surprise) were outperformed by the iDSD micro; the X5 by one or two hair’s breadth, the X1 rather more obvious.
Still, I have to say the X1 understands pretty well to hide its lower power-profile.
All of the above is in relative terms comparing the different players. But in absolute terms even the combination X1 and HE-400 is quite engaging and absolutely worth to give it a try.
The real surprise was the combination with the LCD-X. Not based on electrical parameters, here they match quite well. Rather because that little player looks so completely lost besides the LCD-X.
The sound was quite engaging and I wouldn’t have missed a lot (at least not along mobile usage) if there wasn’t the direct comparison to the X5 and ifi iDSD Micro again. This time it was not so much about heft, control or soundstage, it was just that… while I did the comparison, I recognized that I unintentionally used the X5 more and longer in average than the X1. The X5 was simply more relaxed. And this is the strongest statement I could make in relation to their sound quality with the LCD-X.
Sound / Conclusion
In a nutshell, provided well matching headphones are used, the differences between the two players are rather small and do not immediately become obvious. Considering that the X5 already is well worth its price, the far cheaper X1 provides an extraordinary value for money.
For a sound-wise demanding music lover that don’t mind if there is a still a better to the already very good, or for those on a budget, the observed sound-differences might not necessarily justify the additional price to the X5. But an audiophile on the quest for the better, willing and able to spend some more, will surely consider to take the step to the X5 and maybe even beyond...
Me personally, for the time being I am happy enough with the sound quality of the X5. Still, I surely would survive a 3 week holiday with the X1 and the AH-D7100...
Comfort and Usability
The smaller size of the X1 surely is an advantage if you are on a move. It is so much more comfortable to wear it in a trousers’ pocket.
The general usage is pretty much the same as the X5. Easy to understand, self-explaining and logically arranged.
Unfortunately the X1 has the same issue with the volume buttons as the X5. If the screen turns off and the key-lock settings become active, then the volume button only adjusts volume by multiple short clicks. If you press the volume button for longer to faster adjust volume, you will skip titles instead!
Now, if you take the X5 out of your trousers' pocket you naturally grab it exactly where the volume buttons are; and before the X5 is out of the pocket you already skipped the title… not good.
Strange enough: When using lockscreen setting 2 on the X5 respectively lockscreen setting 3 on the X1, the 2 buttons below the scroll wheel can be used to skip titles. But still the skip-title-function on the volume button stays active as well. Actually it could / should be inactive now so the volume button can be used to adjust volume only.
Now, with the X1 this issue is not that serious, because the volume buttons are lower on the body, so you can grab it in your pocket without touching them. Still, above the volume buttons is the power button. You will most likely touch it when getting the X1 out of the trousers' pocket; but then it didn’t happen that I accidently turned off the X1 because
a) the reaction time of the power button is long enough to get the X1 out of the pocket and
b) due to the smaller size of the X1 it is easier to get it out of the pocket; so you do not need to grab so hard and do not necessarily press the button.
Still I would prefer if the volume buttons remain volume buttons exclusively. Also in key-lock mode, because I want to adjust volume faster and easier than pressing a dozen of times...
So FiiO, I am waiting for a firmware update at least for the X5

Another issue, the writing on the screen (and the screen itself) is quite small. Even if wearing my glasses and the surrounding light is rather on the bright side, I sometimes had issues reading (and actually my eye-sight is seven without glasses is not that bad).
Would be nice if the text size could be adjusted in the settings menu. In combination with a ticker-style scrolling-text that shouldn’t be an issue, …
Maybe the X7 will have a larger touch screen? …and WIFI and can be used as a phone? …no, better forget that, at least the part with the phone…
Still, the volume button and the screen size are issues I could accept for the great given sound- and build-quality.
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Really interested to hear the LCD-X driven by X1 :D
Super cool review!
...a nice side effect of this review was, that I actually learned to really value the X5/ LCD-x combination ...


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Size, industrial design, sound especially from line out
Cons: Headphone out not as strong, scroll wheel is a little imprecise
First off, thanks heaps Brooko it is a privilege to be included in the tour! Thanks also to xtralglactic and boneofimba before and after me for showing me some gear and generally being top head-fiers!
My History
My only previous exposure to the Fiio range was the old E7 which didn’t blow my socks off as I found that it didn’t add anything special to my setup at the time which was a volume hacked Note 1 feeding my ety er4s’. Since then I have increased my line-up a little adding an Epiphany O2, a Topping NX1 and the Stoner Acoustics UD110 fed by my Note 3. I no longer have the ety’s but I now sport the lovely (IMHO) akg q701’s. I also have a set of havi B3 pro 1’s for travel, takstar pro80’s (which I really don’t use if anyone would like to borrow/buy) and a px200iii (destined for a senngrado build in the future).
For your reference I spent my time on the tour testing with the q701’s as they are the most testing of my equipment.
Fiio X1 physical impressions
She is a beautiful little box. Solid little box with well thought out industrial design…I really like the package. Minimal but very well presented. I did find the player a little chunky coming from using mobiles as my music transport for the last couple of years, but it does feel good in hand. The silicone case was a nice little addition but not having indication of button actions on it made it a little bit of a guessing game until I was used to the controls.
The buttons themselves and scroll wheel were all nicely implemented and positioned although I did find my attempts to be precise with the wheel a little frustrating, despite the mini clicks on the wheel the correlation between the click and the advancement on the list didn’t seem to match… a little thing, but when you are trying to get to a list item in a hurry made it a little frustrating.
Volume and navigation were not immediately intuitive but once I got used to the system were a logical enough system. I did find I never quite got used to the screen unlock on the side, I always wanted to just hit the middle button on the scroll wheel. I can understand the decision, but it made it a little more awkward when the unit was say, on the desk at work…
Fiio E11k physical impressions
Once again, Fiio have managed to make an impressive little device. I really dig their styling. On the other hand, as others have mentioned, the placement of the volume knob was a killer on this and actually led me to stop using it after a shorter time, replacing it with the NX1 in the stack, partly on battery life and partly on that baffling decision. A couple of positives on the decision though, a) it does make for a prettier design b) It is easier to change the volume in a stack sitting on your desk…but to be honest, it didn’t really work out for me… shame really, I thought I would enjoy the difference…
My Big Contribution to the Tour Impressions
Well, I was thinking… what can I really add to this tour? Many people with great experience will give you their thoughts which mine will often mirror, but I do have a bit more to offer…
This is my first non-phone player since the original iPod and since getting into the head-fi community, so my key question coming into this was, will I enjoy not having it all-in-one…
The answer is undoubtedly yes.
To be honest, it was not the sound quality or the UI (which I actually find a little cumbersome after the ease of the note 3 graphic interface) but actually the dedication to the music that I enjoyed. There is always another distraction when the phone is with you so the chance of really listening to the music diminishes. I found myself purely tethered to the music and that made me walk around doing little projects to music, or just sitting listening rather than getting distracted on head-fi (it’s a disease, I swear) or other mobile activities and that  was an absolute joy, I re-found a love…
So, I will be looking to pick up a player at some stage. Is it urgent and necessary? Not really, I still enjoy my phone and tbh don’t have the money now. However, I will be picking a player up at some stage and I really look forward to the day.
My Sound Impressions
Just to reiterate, I did my sound checking with the Q701’s to be as demanding as possible so this may mean that some of the distinctions I draw are a little exaggerated compared to listening through less picky phones… I recognise that but at the moment I don’t really want to listen to anything else in my collection so if you don’t like that, suck it up princess J
X1 – headphone out first – The major standout (in a negative way) was that the soundstage collapsed and it was left with a weaker centred image. That being said, there was plenty enough volume and the general sound was still pretty balanced. It was a listenable sound, but there was a bit of the magic missing from the q701 sound, almost a little stuffy.
Note: the sound was improved with the updated firmware and became far more listenable at a pinch but wasn’t a patch imho on the next iteration below.
Line out amped with either the NX1 or E11 – Ah, here is where the magic is! To be honest, I was shocked at the difference this made, the sound stage and definition to the sound came back in spades creating an open strong platform for music. It seemed to me to be really well balanced with no real colouration, just the music coming through strong with nothing missing.
E11k – I am not going to go too detailed into this suffice to say that in my opinion this little critter sits between my NX1 and O2. I find the NX1 gets a little strident in the top end and soft in the bass when pushed, only really noticeable when I sit down again with the O2 which fills out the sound just a little more and bass with a little cleaner impact and a smoothness to the highs. If you were to sit the E11k on a scale between the two I would say that it sits about a quarter of the way from the nx1 to the o2 (NX1<E11k<<<O2) on that experience description. Not sure if that makes sense but I hope it adds to your picture of it all 

Well, this has been a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed the little player and already miss it. It doesn’t have me rushing out the door to purchase it, but I will carefully be saving up my pennies and seriously considering it in the future. It does add something to the music experience coming from a mobile phone music listener to have a dedicated DAP, maybe not too much difference sound wise coming from the Note3 – ud110 – nx1/o2 and from an experience pov adds a whole lot.
Thanks for reading and I hope it helps 


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Affordable, Great Build, Small Size
Cons: Scroll Wheel and User Interface could be better

This unit was in my possession for a few days as part of the Fiio X1 Australasian tour. I'd like to thank @FiiO, @Joe Bloggs and @Brooko for making this tour possible.
In the world of audiophile DAPs, at $100, the looks alone could have you fooled that it costs more. The X1 has a solid build with an aluminium body along with the buttons, and and feels nice to the touch with a nice weight to it. Fairly smooth edges, no protruding parts or looseness. The buttons are firm and responsive. Recessed power button is a nice touch. Navigation buttons are easily accessible one-handed, and not too far apart or too close to tell the difference, though I would suggest the power button to be at the top instead for even more straightforward control if fumbling it in the pocket. The scroll wheel, though, is my main gripe with the build. It is made of plastic, and not as responsive as it could be, making selections within sometimes will not register. More grip and tactile feedback on the scroll wheel would be my suggestion. Screen display resolution is sharp but lacks a bit in contrast, especially under direct sunlight. There's no internal memory and the X1 accepts one MicroSD card. As there is no cover on the MicroSD slot it is best to avoid exposing the unit to any contact with water at all costs. X1 does not accept DAC.
User Interface:
The UI is reasonably intuitive. I was able to find my way around the menus and settings without much fuss without referring to the manual. There are a few user-friendly settings such as sleep-timer, brightness, changing button assignments etc to customize the device to your liking. The device sometimes is a bit laggy and takes about half a second to respond. The lack of memory on power-off is a bit letdown. It'd be a nice feature to have to have your last song/playlist when you power it back on.
Battery Life:
The X1 is listed to last around 12 hours. The battery was still at more than 50% despite me already passing the 6 hours mark some time ago. Pretty impressive for such a unit.
Headphone Out (Unamped)
X1 unamped is more than adequate for most, if not all IEMs on the market. As I only use IEMs, I will only comment on its usage with IEMs, in this case mainly my ASG-1Plus. X1 offers a fairly neutral sound with only a tinge of warmth, which was less warmth than I was expecting given Fiio's general line of products, but a welcoming change nonetheless. 
Bass is tight with good impact while lacking a bit in extension. The vocals are full and natural. It has a fairly wide soundstage but not deep, with good imaging and instrument separation. Detail is there but not for critical listening purposes. The noise floor is present with sensitive IEMs but not an issue when music is playing.
My main comparison here would be against my Vivo XShot. The X1 has slightly thicker and fuller mids than the XShot, and has punchier bass. On the other hand, the X1 has slighly smaller soundstage and less clarity and airiness. The two are not huge gaps apart though and both compare favourably.
Line Out (Amped)
Line out was tested mainly with the E11K on low gain that is included as part of the tour. Again, E11K is fairly neutral, and this latest offerings from Fiio might indicate a more neutral house sound in future products which I am more inclined to be interested in. Since both X1 and E11K go for similar tuning, the difference or increase between headphone-out and line-out is small.
For the price of $100, what you get is a DAP that decodes up to 24/192 for a Line-Out with a clean and neutral sound in a portable device. The X1 is a solid deal, with sound quality, build quality, portability and usability all rolled into one package that doesn't break the bank of the consumers. Fiio is the brand that has brought many into the audiophile world with its affordable pricing, and with the release of X1 will continue to benefit many, especially the budget conscious.

Did the DAP give you trouble with hiss using high-sensitivity IEMs?
It didn't give me much issue regarding hiss, at least not that I'm aware of. Just that it's not dead silent when the music is not playing. So okay for me with limited hours of testing. 
Cheers and thanks.


Pros: Sound quality, Small size, Price
Cons: None at this price
FiiO X1 - Listening impressions 1. Set-up I had a FiiO X1 on a loan for about 10 days. During that period I used it through line out with VorzAmp Pure II and FiiO X12 DIY. I also used the headphone out directly and through Kameleon amplifier. All these set-ups were feeding Sennheiser Momentum Over Ear. I also tried it with my desktop setup: Violectric V200 amp and Sennheiser HD650. For reference, I use the FiiO X5 and iPhone 4 (on its own and with Onkyo HF Player). I’ve seen lots of nice photos from other reviewers that made me feel that there’s no need to add more photos. 2. UI and operation The UI is a simplified version of the X5. It seems intuitive and easy to use. One major difference is that the headphone and line out are software controlled through the same switch. It adds simplicity but I still prefer to have separate switches as the X5. Although the X1 sends a message warning that lineout is active (to avoid trouble), it’s easy to ignore it when you’re familiar with it. I had one incident like that but fortunately it didn’t damage my headphones. I didn’t try it with other DAC’s because the X1 doesn’t have any digital out. I cannot comment much on the UI because I don’t use playlists and many popular features like shuffle. I listen to albums, mainly classical and jazz. Most of it is acoustical. The model that I received had the V1.0 firmware installed. I formated a microSD card on the X1, copied a few albums and all the process went smoothly. 3. The sound After trying several combinations I settled with the headphones out to Kameleon amplifier. This doesn’t mean that the X1 had any problem driving the Momentum directly. The Kameleon is a fixed gain headphone amplifier that uses custom designed filters to optimize output to each headphones. Mine was using a generic filter with gain set to +3dB. The volume is controlled from the player (X1). I always prefer to use an amplifier either line out or headphones out. It seems to me that such a combo, acting as a two stage amplification, sounds better: it adds body, bigger sound image and richer tone. In this setup the X1 gives a clearer presentation than the X5, about the same bottom extension and definition, a little thinner midrange and a little more top extension but never sounding harsh. There was more instrument separation and a more defined image. The overall sound quality is very high and it’s beyond belief considering its price point. Will I buy one? No because I still prefer the “creamier” presentation of the X5 and because I find useful the much bigger storage capacity from 2 microSD slots. If you buy one player every 2 or 3 years the difference in price is not that big for me to skip the X5 in favor of the X1. However if you’re on a tight budget, or if you value the smaller size, the X1 is a steal and deserves my full recommendation. Note: I don’t have any affiliation to FiiO. The X1 was on a loan through HeadFi world tour. Thank you FiiO and Joe for the opportunity to try the X1. Looking forward to hearing the X7.
I hate this term as con `none at this price`, they add $2 cost additional materials and sell it for 2x price and we say `oh, this is much better" 


Caution: Incomplete trades.
Pros: Build quality, form factor, usability, price, sound, no software bugs
Cons: UI & click wheel are a letdown
Sorry for the semi-quick review. :p
I'm part of the X1 Australia tour. I'd like to thank FiiO, Joe Bloggs and everyone in the tour for making this possible.

I'm going to be as blunt as possible. It's the X1 vs an iPhone 5, using my Audiofly AF180s. I have headphones but prefer IEMs, headphones for me collect dust.
The iPhone is a consumer market DAP. The X1 is a budget DAP. Both can play FLAC & ALAC files. I'll review parts that make a DAP for me.

1. Build Quality.

The X1 is built from aluminium / metal. It's almost wholly made from metal except from the click wheel, which is rubber / plastic. The click wheel is okay, kind of like the iPod classic. It's not too sensitive and easy to use.

The buttons are made from metal and have a solid feel to them. The power button is recessed, which is a good choice as it stops the player from being turned off or locked. Overall, build quality is a 7.5/10. The click wheel lets the whole thing down. The audio jack isn't gold plated, but that keeps the price down.

Form factor
Form factor is 10/10. I couldn't of asked for better form factor in my hand, it's so light the buttons are easy to use.

UI is a 7/10. It's not quite there yet, and I'm coming from an Apple device to this. The UI is good, easy to use but there's just something missing that I can't put my finger on. It's mainly the lack of a touchscreen.

Battery life
Battery life is a 9/10. For me it lasts about 1-2 days on 1 charge. On paper it says 12 hours, so battery life will be different from person to person depending on how much you use it. Line Out uses more battery, but not by too much.

Sound is almost analytical compared to the iPhone's warmer sound (I use the canopener app so my sound is altered)
Personally I like the clarity of the X1, it's really clear but the flatter sound lets it down for me. It's still enjoyable, but I'm not sure that I'd move completely from an all in one solution for better sound.
The X1 isn't forgiving of bad recordings and highlights their weaknesses.

Overall, the X1 is an 8.5/10. The UI lets it down, but everything else is perfect for a $100 player. Everyone should have this, it's a direct replacement for Sansa Clips and all those other cheap budget players.
I don't want to give it back, it's become a good part of my life. Probably buying one soon.

Would this be your go-to audio player? No. It's good for high-quality files and for times you don't want to get your phone out your pocket.

What was the best thing I noticed about this DAP?
No itunes. Easy, straightforward file to file sharing. Insert high five emoji here.

The main reason I love this DAP is the full package - the sound, the UI, the build quality and the usability. There's no glitches I can see, the soundstage isn't flat like on an iPhone, the build is amazing for a $100 player, it's small and lightweight. The sound is different to the iPhone and both have their perks. I'm not sure which is the overall contender, but I'd have both by choice.

Is it for you? Listen to it and see. Be warned - once you've used it for a week, you'll want to keep it.
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100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Very good sound quality, compact, light, easy to use, not expensive
Cons: none
[size=18pt]FIIO X1 DAP world preview tour report[/size]
By CasperBxl on​
The unit was made available by FIIO for a review without any expectations or requirements, other than doing a review of the product.
I am not a professional reviewer or a ‘real’ audiophile (whatever that might be). I like good music and good equipment in general and can appreciate things for what they are, in all honesty of what they are.
The short version:
The FIIO X1 is a DAP, Digital Audio Player. It is not a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) and it is not an AMP (Amplifier). It does have a “Line Out” Setting for its 3.5mm connection.
This is a great product for anybody who want to listen to music on the go or relax at home or work. I used the unit extensively at home, at work and on the go. The X1 is easy to use, small, light and delivers very good sound. Battery life is great and listening more than 1 day on a charge is no problem.
It plays about all file formats, from low grade MP3 to 192Khz/24bit FLAC and everything in between.
The sound quality is great, no if’s or but’s, simply great. From Dubstep, Trance, Dance all the way to Classical. The sound is neutral, fun and engaging. Using the customizable EQ you can tune it further to your liking.
I used the X1 with B&O H3 in ears, Sennheiser Momentum over-ear and the AKG K551 over-ear headphones.
Construction is almost full aluminum with only the back being made of plastic in an aluminum look.
… and now in a bit more detail …
The X1 as a device.
Dimensions:                          96.6 x 57 x 14 (mm)
Weight:                                106 grams
Screen:                                 Color TFT 320 x 240 pixels
Storage on board:             none
Storage options:               1x µSD Card up to 128GB
Connection:                       3.5mm jack
Headphone imped.:            16 to 100 Ω
Operation:                          Mechanical buttons and circular control disk
Supported File Formats:
[size=9pt]APE (Fast):192K/24B; APE (Normal):192K/24B; APE (High):192K/24B; FLAC:192K/24B;
WAV: 192K/24B; WMA 9.1 LOSSLESS: 48K/24B; Apple Lossless: 192K/24B[/size]

[size=9pt]Lossy compression[/size][size=9pt]:[/size]
[size=9pt]MP2, MP3, AAC, ALAC, WMA, OGG (vobis), ....[/size]
Detailed specs on FIIO Website
Menu System:
The X1 is operated by the rotating control disk (it physically rotates) and the buttons on the front of the unit. Rotate the wheel to the menu item and press the circular center button on the unit to select the menu item.
The base color of the background and menu can be set in the “System Settings”.
Now Playing: Jump to the screen showing the currently playing item.
Category: Find you music by criteria. List of “All Songs”, “Album”, “Artist”, “Genre”, “Favorites”
Browse Files: Find you music by your own folder structure
Play Settings: All the different setting for playing music. Linear, Random, Gapless, Max Volume, EQ, Balance, …
EQ: numerous presets and custom settings possible
System Settings: Manual Library Update, Lock screen (what buttons can you use when the screen is locked = off), Screen Timeout, Brightness, idle power off, etc
For Reference:
I used the B&O H3 in ears, Sennheiser Momentum over-ear and the AKG K551 over-ear headphones. My colleagues at work also used it combined with Shure 215 in-ears and the Bose Noise Canceling on-ears.
In total we used with about 6 people, myself and colleagues at work. My colleagues range for casual listeners to audiophiles with a good musical ear.
Comparative or other usual sources:
Astell & Kern AK 100 II
iPod Classic 160G Gen. 7
PC with E18 DAC/AMP
PC with Asus Xonar sound card
Ipad 2 (on its own)
Files used:
iTunes standard lossy format (mp4)
FLAC in 44Khz/16bit up to 192Khz/24bit
Anne Bison: Blue Mind
Lisa Ekdahl: Give Me That Slow Knowing Smile
Passenger: All The Little Lights
Leonard Cohen: Live in London
Varia: Classic Appalachian Blues
I Musici: Antonio Vivaldi
Hilary Hahn: Plays Bach
Hilary Hahn: Bach Concertos (2003)
Great Empire Classics: The Famous Waltzes
Keith Jarret: The Köln Concert
Lang Lang: The Romance of Rachmaninov
Boesgaard: Time Travel, Unforeseen
Armin van Buren: Intense
OK! OK!! OK!!!    Well … how does is it? How is the FIIO X1?
The X1 itself sounds very neutral, a nice, non-aggressive, non over boosted, relaxing sound. A great thing to achieve with a device that is intended for a large audience, young and old enjoying music on the go, at home or at work. The X1 has plenty of power to drive all the mentioned headsets with ease, even louder than would be good for you.
I find it important to indicate that the gear you use to listen, in-ears, on-ears or over-ear headphones will noticeably change the sound signature and quality. If you plan on buying a listening set, start with choosing a player, then try the headsets with your player to find your best match.
My personal experience: The Sound
I like the neutral sound in a player as my preferred music kind is classical music, mostly instrumental. Piano, violin all type of music with a lot of fine detail, high and low tones. But, on the other hand I like a nice trance part as well. Boesgaard, Van Buren …. Hmmm, they can please my ears as well.
The FIIO X1 presents the classical and vocal music with a lot of the detail I like, hearing the fingers of the pianist on the keys, the pedals being operated, the bow striking the strings on a violin or cello give so much more then content then only the tune. I find the X1 presents the artist playing the music, in all the delicacy it was played.
The same goes for delicate vocals like Lisa Ekdahl’s “Give Me That Slow Knowing Smile” or “All The Little Lights” by Passenger.
When I put on some tracks by Armin van Buuren the base goes deep, nicely deep. “Sounds of The Drums” starts slow with a bit of piano, then a bit of delicate vocals … then it hits you … van Buuren!! Yes!! Smile on my face, pure joy! On my Sennheiser Momentums, no EQ, with the AKG K551 I put the EQ on “Classical” (??) with a great sound from the X1.
My personal experience: Using the FIIO X1
The user interface and controls work very well. I am more used to my AK 100 II and Samsung Galaxy S5 touch screens but found my way around the X1 in a couple of minutes. Controls are easy to use can give good tactile feedback. Everything feels solid and well built. I do prefer touch screens for general browsing … BUT … the physical buttons are practical with no need to turn on the screen to select the next track, get back a track etc. That is something that is not possible on my phone and something I happily found on the X1.
The rotating disk is not so practical for me, but without a touch screen a good and tried solution, and many will recognize it from the Apple devices.
Operation is fast and responsive. Finding what you want to listen to is easy.
The colleagues at work: The Sound
I have less information but I can confidently say the all of them were impressed (I did not disclose the cost of the FIIO X1). They used my AKG K551 or Sennheiser Momentums to listen or their own devices (Shure 215, Bose, …). All of them listened to the same set of albums as in the list above, each could find what they like as type of music.
In general when I gave them the X1 to listen … I had to go get it back... All listened quite happily as long as they found music genres they liked. Many of them switching back and forward between the X1 and their iPhone, iPad, Android Phones to compare.
The general consensus on the sound; “great”, “very nice”, “detailed”
The colleagues at work: Using the FIIO X1
Well … we are all IT specialists (between 30 and 62 years old), that said, I did not explain anything to anybody and nobody came to ask how to use it. So, user friendliness is good and intuitive. Finding music, volume, general operation is a win! Often I saw them try touching the screen first, then automatically switching to the disk/button based operation.
With the rubber case on it was not handy to use for people not familiar with its controls as there are no marking on the rubber protective sleeve. This might be an attention point for the future.
The general consensus on the ease of use; “easy to use after 5min of use and fiddling”, “it is like an iPod”, “the disk rotates, that is strange (iPod user)”
The colleagues at work: Price reveal
Whuuut? 99€?
They know my AK 100 II and know that one was about 1000€ … so a positive surprise.
My question to them: Would you buy one at 99€? Most of them where positive, some asked when it would be available for order. Some have other, better equipment and will not change, of course.
The colleagues at work: General point they made
Most of them find the FIIO X1 fills any expectation and need they have for a music player. Most of them stated that they wonder if they would be able to hear the difference with the AK 100 II, not that they doubt the AK 100 II, but in a noisy office and with little music listening experience they evaluate the FIIO X1 cover their needs.
Would I advise the FIIO X1 for most people?   YES
Size comparison​
Samsung Galaxy S5 and FIIO X1​
[size=12pt]Music Everywhere!!![/size]​

@CasperBxl thanks, appreciate you checking and sending the message. You're right, it is a shame, although it's a common problem; there's very little in the way of software/hardware that I've found which is geared towards classical music (in terms of metadata). Spotify is the worst..! I suppose there's just not that much demand for it. FIIO might be interested though! Thanks again.
As you had the X1 with the momentums, do you think they pair well? I have the momentums and am looking for dap to go with them. My budget is ≈ $100, just to reference.
Ting Tiew Yik
Ting Tiew Yik
i heard that x1 is amped,isnt it?


New Head-Fier
Pros: Cheap, Excellent sound quality, Scroll wheel, light and portable
Cons: Bit of hissing, Lags a bit when playing high quality format (Nothing serious though for this price)
I am new to head-fi and this is my first ever review. Basically I joined head-fi to read people's expert opinions on different products, as I'm not an audiophile and do not know much about the science of all the media devices and headphones being reviewed. Here I would give some simple observations I've had with Fiio X1. Previously I used to listen to music using my HTC One M7 and I thought that DAP's won't make much of a difference to the sound quality which matters for me the most (sq > ui, for me), until I got one on my cousins suggestion. And for my surprise, it made a lot of difference, something which is not easy to explain for me as I don't understand much of the audiophilic terms used during reviewing a product.
In-ears used:
- Shure se215
- Monster Copper Turbine Pro
- Dunu dn1000
- Logitech ue900
Music played:
- Time by Pink Floyd (24/96 flac)
- Hotel California by The Eagles (24/96 flac)
- You shook me all night long by ACDC (16/44.1 flac)
- Turn the page by Metallica (16/44.1 flac)
- Fear of the dark by Iron maiden (16/44.1 flac)
- Trains by Porcupine tree (16/44.1 flac)
I've mentioned these in-ears and music files with their formats as I compared the X1 with my friends X5 and could barely differentiate the sound quality and sound stage (A mere difference of 19-21 as one can say in short). I prefer it over X5 because of its weight and size (portability), whereas X5 is too bulky for my pants. :p
Rest I've written my critical findings in the pros and cons section. Hope this basic review could be helpful for the ones who are still in a fix to go for the X1.  
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Reactions: sardar17
plus some pics would be great,,,u have good inventory,would love to see some pictures if possible
1. The battery life is about 8-9 hours when fully charged.
2. It has a 7 band eq with 7 pre-installed eq settings and one custom setting.
And I would surely upload the pics soon! 
sir,where are the pics that u so much promised?


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: great price, good sound, very nice form factor
Cons: protective skin is a dust magnet, no crossfeed, no inclusive memory
when asked if anyone was interested in reviewing the x1 alongside the he-560, i jumped at the chance. 2 new headphones at once; would make for a great compare & contrast, i thought ... not! it's not the philips x1 but the fiio x1, portable dap. oh great, what do i know about daps? about fiio? i don't use them ... sure, i own an e6 (still in the box), have had a sansa fuse and the m$ zune120. but i've never seriously used any of them ... relegating them as gifts instead.
for the experienced, you may choose to depart now for i doubt that i have anything to contribute that you have not come across before ... for you others, thank you for humoring me and following the words of an idiot ... sorry, there's no savant here. Here’s my anecdotal recollection of the events of those days as they occurred. May you find them humorous if not technically interesting.
nestled inside the big shipping container for the he560 i spy a small, white rectangular box. flipping open the end flap tabs, you slide out the inner carton to reveal a smooth white rectangular cardstock folder and small, narrow rectangular box. you lift out the folder (which you just know contains warranty & guide) and underneath is the x1 almost fully cloaked in what feels like, rubber or silicon.  & the other box, you just know contains an interfacing cable of sorts.  you lift out the x1 and assess its weight and compact form ... you look ... no, you examine intently, looking for the seams of its silicon dress. but there's nothing; no visual clues as to how to access its storage slot. consulting the manual reveals nought; still no way to undress the bride so to speak. it's late, better to wait for the light of day than to antagonize fiio with your apish groppling & ruining a tour experience.
a new day & all is revealed ... & you get it. the folks at fiio could have easily just ensconced the x1 into one of those plastic clamshells that require a chainsaw to access. but that's not fiio. you just know that the team members of fiio who are responsible for the x1 are of a singular gestalt.  they know the import of end-user experience and they're adamant at not letting the price point dictate their vision of catering to their community.  it leads you to believe that more than one soul at fiio is a practitioner of zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance & whose goal is to continually upend the apple cart, so to speak.
breaking my routine of playing silvery discs, i rip the discs using eac & remote freedb into multiple uncompressed wav files. this generates the following hierarchy [artist]/[album name]/ [01filename, 02filename, ...] which i copy in its entirety over to a 16gb microsd card.  Locating the slot on the side of the x1, I insert the microsd card and watch as it skews awkwardly; I try again, and again … nope, not going in straight at all. Could it be that you have to insert the card with label side down? And yet, if you use it with an sd adapter, it’s label side up? Just seems all too inconsistent to me. At any rate, the card is not recognized despite repeated attempts. I stuff it back into my pc and verify that the contents are indeed still there. Try it with the x1 once again, and bingo! There is content.
The interface seems familiar enough but doesn’t respond to me swiping from left to right or right to left. Okay, I guess I better consult the manual. Got it – follow the ring (swipe with a circular motion). Let’s check the settings – super, it has gapless. What about that other whatchamacalit? Hmmm … nope, nothing that I can see. Too bad, it would have made my day … but half a day is better than none.
Enough of this, let’s start playing some tunes … cue up #1. Eh? The tune is showing, along with the file attributes, but no sound … I turn it up even louder …. ¾ of the full ring. What the hey?? The player shows that time is advancing on the tune, but there’s no sound? Hit the back button to go back up one level and try again.   Aye-yah, Caramba!  It’s blasting my ears at 100++dB! My brain is apoplexied by the moment & my arms are caught mid-stream between punching the down volume button vs flinging the headphones off my ears. Luckily, common sense prevails and I fling the portapro off my ears, then I lower the volume .  pop the phones back on for a quick listen … tune after tune (having gapless is great), it’s all quite respectable … no, it’s more than that … there’s an evenness to the response, from the lows to the highs; it’s smooth with a decent sense of dynamics & great clarity & impact. If there’s anything to criticize it’s a slight lower-mid predominance but that is an attribute of the phones being magnified by the x1. I dabble a bit with the equalizer to try to tame this bump but the built-in ‘curves’ don’t quite do it – it’ll require fiddling with the custom settings.
I have the new hifiman he560 next to me, so I swap out the 6.3mm trs and grab the 3.5mm cable. Plug into the x1 and I hear a muted and indistinct single channel. I try another tune with the same results. Then I check the 3.5mm plug … hah, it’s not a trs, but a trrs.  Oh well, looks like the 560 isn’t going to be a candidate for use with the x1 this time around. Next, I turn to the q701 … no lack of power here. I listen to a few tunes before setting the x1 aside in order to resume my he-560 reviewing session.
The next time I pick up the x1 Greg is here to partake in a 560 reviewing session. He has brought his dbv3 modded fostex t50rp along. I fire up helicopter girl on the x1 with his t50s … ‘oh –wow’ are his first words. He listens intently for a couple of tunes before commenting that this is much better than out of his macbook. I proffer the q701 & while he listens, I inform him that these cost all of $99usd. He is duly impressed, but time is of the essence & we go back to the 560 evaluation session for the remainder of the afternoon.
I dedicate the next day solely for x1 listening with the q701. I go through the gamut of recordings on the microsd card – from bbng, beth gibbons, the bad plus, eccodek, chilly gonzales, melanio de biasio, helicopter girl, my morning jacket, justin rutledge to mahler symph #8 (decca 145). When I wake up, it appears to be on its 2nd cycle … somewhere along the line, I have dozed off. I continue listening for another hour or so.  So, bunky, it’s so smooth you can’t help but nap? Sleepily good, you say? Noddingly great? Alas, it’s just the accumulation of sleepless nights and long days dedicated to 560 listening taking their toll.
So from my somnambular accounting, I can say that I like this – it’s more than passable; almost great in my books. What’s not to like? Well… that rubber sheathing picks up lint and dust like a well-served dust magnet (if it was another color, the dust would not be as obvious). & it doesn’t offer the fullness in the bass and lower-mids that my full-size tube amps achieve, nor does the soundstage extend as deep and wide, nor is it as nuanced in the mids. Its highs are not as ephemeral as that achieved through tube circuitry and the system is unable to assign artist and album names from the folder names … but then again, no other portable dap can either as far as I know. With phones like the q701, there is accentuation in the lower-mid that is not present when listening through my tube amps. But consider the price differential … a couple of output caps and coupling caps alone (mods for my tube amp) cost more than the x1. my biggest beef is that there is no included memory with the package - even a token 8gb would have been appreciated, even if it meant raising the price to 99.99
Would I buy this to personally use? My general answer would be a resounding ‘no’ because I’m not a portable dap user, nor a bud or iem user. But I can easily see myself grabbing one or two as gifts for valued friends or, indeed, one for myself if I was taking one of those long distance flights of 5 hr or more. Oh, & what’s that whatchamacalit feature, you say? Well, you can guess, right? Hint … rockbox has it.
My sincere thanks to fiio and joe bloggs for the opportunity to try the x1.
Joe Bloggs
Joe Bloggs
That was a fun review to read indeed!


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Sounds good, small size, affordable, and some other useful features.
Cons: Slippery scroll wheel, silicon case gets dusty easily, UI theme is lacking of high contrast theme for day time outdoor use.
Simply music. That summarizes this review of Fiio X1.
At $99.- Fiio is offering a very affordable high resolution (24 bit / 192 kHz) player to the market. At this price, many might question of the sound quality. Thanks to Fiio, they don't set the sound quality of X1 at the sub $100 bracket. There is nothing cheap with the sound quality of Fiio X1. On a blind test, I doubt any experience reviewer or audiophile will guess that it is a sound quality from a $99 player. X1 sound quality is simply beyond its $99 price tag. Kudos to Fiio!
X1 might not be technically superior as the X3 and X5, but I do honestly impressed by the sound quality. X1 always sounds pleasing and musically engaging. It has a very like-able sound signature that makes us forget the technicality of the player, and just enjoy the music. X5 for example, always sounds technically superior than the rest, but I sometime find it not as musically engaging as X1, especially for vocal. X1 might not have the most exotic ingredients, but mixed and cooked right, and always delicious.
The unit I reviewed was a loan unit from Fiio, from the "X1 preview world tour - Malaysia and Singapore" program.  Thanks Fiio!

This review is based on Firmware 1.0  
I have both Fiio X3 and Fiio X5, and I used them as reference to describe Fiio X1 sound signature. The comparison will mainly on the headphone output sound quality. I didn't have enough time to explore and compare the line out quality. From other reviews, I read that the line out quality is actually better than the headphone output quality. Having observed the headphone output sound quality, IMHO X1 is not far behind X3 and X5. Technically X3 and X5 are more superior than X1 with higher power headphone amp. But when using regular easy to drive IEM, X1 competes well with X3 and X5 on the musical fun factor. X1 might be technically lacking this and that, but the fact is, music always sounds fun and enjoyable on X1. I would say Fiio did it right. At this price category, simplicity and musicality are the main priority. And Fiio X1 hit the bullseye on those.  
Very good sound quality for the size and price.
Supports high resolution formats up to 24/192.
Support .cue sheet with multiple file format, and cleverly use the cover picture from jpeg file with the same file name.
Better UI when compared to X3 and X5.
Line Out. Not many players at sub $100 has line out.
Support 128GB micro SD card.
Very good battery life, around 12 hours playback time, continuous playback of 24/96 FLAC with minimum screen ON. Can be slightly longer with MP3 files.
Compatible with smart phone control using the In-line remote button on earphones with built-in remote and microphone.  
Slippery scroll wheel. The scroll wheel doesn't have anti-slip surface like on the Fiio X5.
2014-10-31 Update:
Fiio recently updated me, that they will use rubberized scroll wheel on the production model. I increased the rating to 4.5 due to this improvement. Here is the message from Fiio:
Please note that the "slippery scroll wheel" is limited to the world tour X1's. Production X1's have rubberized scroll wheels.

UI theme is lacking of high contrast theme for day time outdoor use.
exFAT is not yet supported on FW1.0 (period). Might be supported in the future. 64GB and 128GB should be formated in FAT32 format using the player or 3rd party software.
Charging LED covered by the silicon case.
No USB DAC funtion.
Sensitive to mobile phone interference due to plastic back cover.
Suggestions for improvement:
Anti-slip layer on the scroll wheel. --> Production model of X1 will have rubberized scroll wheel.
Better and higher contrast screen.
High contrast, white graphics on black background theme for day time outdoor use.
Back button dedicated to go back one level up to the folder where the song is located, or the last level of selected playlist.
TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers) material for the case, instead of Silicon Rubber, for less 'dust magnet' property.
Small hole on the case to show charging LED.
The combination of OPA2322 and buffer ISL28291 sounds sweet. It would be great if Fiio could increase the driving power and level of detail from the headphone output.
USB DAC function please :)  

Sound Signature
Many of head-fi'ers, have more than just a few IEMs and DAPs, simply because we like to have a few type of sound signatures in our collection. IMHO, X1 has the type of sound signature that is worth to be taken into our collection. X1 is a keeper, it has that type of 'collectible' sound signature.
X1 has natural warm and organic sound signature, with pretty good soundstage and instrument separation. Overall, X1 sounds very pleasing, fun and musical. X1 is less analytical than both X3 and X5, but still rendering pretty good level of detail, certainly better than my iPod Classic 6th Gen 80GB. X1 is not for those looking for highly detailed and analytical sound signature, but more for those who like warm and organic sound.  
Though X1 has a smooth warm sound signature, it is not the muddy and dull type of smooth warm, but smooth warm with a pretty good level of detail and imaging. Imaging though not as wide and spacious as X5, but more spacious than iPod Classic 6th Gen, also better than some other good smart phones that I've ever tried.  
The midrange is lovely, warm, full sounding with good detail. X1 performs admirably on vocal. The full bodied vocal sound conveys the singer's emotion really well. With DUNU-DN1000 that sounds a bit analytical, tonality wise, X1 vocal sounds just right. With DN-1000, X3 vocal might sounds a bit too analytical, while X5 vocal sometime sounds a bit thin for my taste. Tonality wise, DN-1000 matches X1 really well, organic sound with good detail and imaging. While for a more organic sounding IEM such as my ATH-IM50 and ATH-IM70, I might prefer X3 for a more dynamic and powerful sound. Generally I prefer to match the smooth organic X1 sound with natural to analytical type of IEMs.  
X1 doesn't sound as powerful as the X3 and X5. Bass is slightly less punchy and impactful on the X1. X3 & X5 bass is tighter and more punchy than X1, but not by much. I'm not trying to say X1 is bass anemic, which is not. X1 bass is quite presence and sounds full bodied. But the slam, impact, and tightness, are not as good as X3. The rated 100 mW@16Ω headphone output is just not as powerful as the headphone output of X3 and X5. Considering the size and price, X1 power is actually quite impressive. But if you're very particular with powerful and hard hitting bass, X3 is the better choice.  
X1 treble is the softest among the 3. X3 treble is more sparkling, and X5 treble is smoother and more refined. But X1 treble is not lacking either. Treble level is good, treble quality is on the smooth side, sometime lacking sparkle and airiness for classical music. If some people think that X3 treble a bit edgy, then X1 treble sounds more pleasing. X5 treble still the most refined of the 3, but sometime I do feel like X5 treble is slightly lacking of sparkle, and sounds like rolled off too early at the upper treble region. X5 treble decay sounds a bit too short for me. X3 treble maybe love or hate. For me, I do like X3 sparkling treble. X3 treble is the most sparkling of the 3, might sounds a bit edgy to some, but I do like it, IMHO it makes music sounds livelier. For the rather bright and edgy recordings, X1 silky smooth treble definitely preferable.  
Headphone Output Driving Power
X1 does music in a fun way, but it doesn't always have the speed and power to catch up well with fast paced music as good as X3 or X5. Selection of recordings does play parts to get the most from X1. Vocal is what I found X1 does best. With album 'The World Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recording' from Chesky, overall X1 wins by a slight margin when compares to its bigger brothers the X3 and X5. X1 vocal is just right for my sonic preference, full bodied and less analytical. For album such as Pat Coil Gold and other instrumental albums, X3 is my favorite player for the most engaging bass and drum. As for X5, it is best for those looking for spacious imaging, such as binaural albums.
Compared to X5
X5 has clearer and wider imaging, with slightly more forward vocal. X5 sounds more spacious overall. X5 also sounds more powerful with faster transient and bass hits harder. But X1 has slightly fuller mids, that makes male vocal sounds fuller. I prefer X1 tonality for male vocal. X5 sounds more refined, but slightly lacking in midrange and bass body. X1 has fuller mids and bass compared to X5. X1 sounds warmer than X5. X1 Dynamic also slightly behind X5, but not at the level of lacking of dynamic. X1 still manage to sounds quite lively with decent power.  
Compared to X3
X3 is power. It punches and hits hard. Even harder than X5. But sometime it sounds rough, less refined. While X5 sometime sounds too refined for me. X1 is gentler than X3. It does music in a gentler way. X3 has more sparkling treble that makes recordings sound airier than X1, but sometime could also sounds grainier. X1 treble is smoother than X3, and lacking a bit of air for classical. Just a bit. I did enjoyed hours of classical with X1. Lacking a bit of air, but still enjoyable. I think X1 treble is closer to X5 than X3. While X3 sounds a bit dryer, more analytical with better detail, X1 sounds warmer, more organic, and more relax, and not as detailed. X3 has better dynamic and sounds more powerful than X1. X3 sounds livelier, but sometime X3 might sounds a bit aggressive, depending on the recordings and earphone pairings.  
Compared to iPod Classic 6th generation
X1 sounds bigger with a bit wider soundstage than iPod. Better detail, instrument separation, and sounds a bit more spacious. Tonality is actually pretty close to iPod, but overall X1 sounds better.  
Compared to Samsung Galaxy S4 (SHV-E330K - Korean version)
X1 is a clear winner. S4 sounds brighter, and doesn't have the mids and bass body as good as X1. S4 Imaging is not as spacious, and focused as X1. X1 is simply more musically engaging than S4. X1 at $99.- is justifiable for those looking for an affordable music player that sounds better than smart phones.
Some simplified comparisons:  
Bass power, punch, and tightness. Top to bottom, most potent to less potent:
Fiio X3
Fiio X5
Fiio X1  
Treble. Top to bottom, most sparkling to less sparkling:
Fiio X3
Fiio X5
Fiio X1  
Warm & Analytical. Top to bottom, warm to analytical:
Fiio X1
Fiio X5
Fiio X3  
Level of detail. Top to bottom, more detailed to less detailed:
Fiio X5 & Fiio X3 (comparable in level of detail, while X3 sounds more analytical, and X5 sounds more refined)
Fiio X1  
Dynamic and Transient. Top to bottom, most potent dynamic to less potent:
Fiio X3
Fiio X5
Fiio X1  
Wide and Spacious Imaging. Top to bottom, most spacious to less spacious:
Fiio X5
Fiio X3
Fiio X1  
Refined sound quality. Top to bottom, most refined to less refined:
Fiio X5
Fiio X3 & Fiio X1 (different sound signature, but comparable in level of refinement)
I tested X1 to drive HD800, the headphone output has enough voltage to drive HD800 to a reasonable listening level. Volume was set in the range 90-100 (max) when driving HD800. Not bad at all 


Build & Features  
Features comparison with X5 and X3:
While some said X5 is a bit too bulky and heavy, X1 small size and light weight is a joy to carry. I just hope the next version of X1 could be thinner.

Compared to iPod Classic 6th generation, X1 is smaller, but thicker.

Position of buttons, micro SD slot, headphone / line out socket, and micro USB charging port.

During the battery test, before FW 1.0 upgrade, X1 was once hang and become unresponsive. So I had to poke the reset switch located between the power button and the volume button. But after FW 1.0 upgrade I didn't experience any more problem with the player.

X1 has front metal housing, but the back is made of plastic. The back screwed to the housing using pentalobe torx screw, like those found on iPhone 4.

Fiio X1 has very good battery life, around 12 hours non-stop playback with minimum screen, tested using 24/96 FLAC files. 
The battery and the circuit board:

My main complain from the build is the scroll wheel. It is slippery. I hope Fiio will apply anti slip layer on the X1 wheel like the one on Fiio X5.

Second complain is the themes. All of them are low contrast themes, on relatively low contrast LCD screen. None of them is usable for outdoor during day time. Fiio, we need a high contrast theme, a simple white graphics on black background.

I found the UI on X1 is better and easier to use than X5 and X3. I hope Fiio will have unified UI on all their players, based on X1 UI. 

Headphone Output Vp-p and Output Impedance
Measured maximum peak to peak voltage on headphone output is at around 4.38 volts on 33 ohms load, and 4.63 volts on high impedance load (1 Mega ohm).
Measured headphone output impedance: 1.88 ohms.
Maximum peak to peak voltage on high impedance load:
Maximum peak to peak voltage on 33 ohms load:

Line Out Vp-p and Output Impedance
Not many DAP at sub $100 has line out feature. Line out on X1 is selectable through menu, and shares the same socket with the headphone output. Although X1 line out shares the socket with headphone output, from the measurement it is confirmed that the line out by passed the digital volume control and headphone amplifier / buffer. The line out has different maximum peak to peak voltage, and also different output impedance.
Measured maximum peak to peak voltage on line output is at around 4.31 volts on high impedance load (1 Mega ohm).
Measured line output impedance: 97.5 ohms.

Maximum peak to peak voltage on high impedance load:
Maximum peak to peak voltage on 33 ohms load:

CD image / CUE sheet compatible
This is another cool feature of X1 (also supported on X3 and X5), that it is compatible with CUE sheet that is quite common for CD image backup from audio CD. Some of us backup our audio CD into a CD image instead of separate tracks of flac or mp3 files. So those with tons of CD images backup don't have to split them into separate audio files per track, and can just dump them all to X1 to be played directly by the player. X1 also cleverly choose the cover image from the jpeg file that has the same file name as the CUE sheet file name. Gapless playback also tested and works fine.
Tested CUE sheet with APE, BIN, FLAC, and WAV audio file formats, only BIN file is not supported, the other common audio file formats are supported. BIN file, although not commonly used by consumer, is the output from Digital Audio Workstation for CD Image.
My CD images test files:

File Formats and Sampling Rates
Tested the following audio file formats and various sampling rates, all are playable up to 24 bit / 192 kHz, except the last DXD file at 24 bit / 352.8 kHz.

Silicon case
Though X1 silicon case in my opinion is better than X5 silicon case, with less 'dust magnet' property, I still prefer for Fiio to use TPE (Thermoplastic elastomers) material like smart phones cases, rather than silicon. Silicon case still annoyingly attracts dust and lint. One flaw, Fiio seems forgot to punch a small hole on the silicon case to show the charging LED.

In-line remote button compatible for earphones with built-in remote and microphone
I haven't tried this, but found on some post in Head-Fi, that the remote button on earphone that has built-in remote and microphone for smart phones, works with X1.
Single click: Play and pause
Double clicks: skip to next track
Triple clicks: skip to previous track
As I mentioned earlier as a point for improvement, is the behavior of the back button. After browsing through the album folders or playlist, and select a song to be played, I expect the back button to bring back one level up from the 'Now Playing' page, back to either the folder where the song is located, or the related selected playlist. The back button behaves that way, but only if I don't go to the home page by long pressing the back button. After I long press the back button to go to the home page, and go back to the 'Now Playing' page from home, a single short press of the back button now doesn't bring me back to the song folder or relevant playlist, but back to the home page instead. I find it very annoying as I have to browse back to folders or playlist to get to the album of the song that is being played. Fiio, could you please set the back button, when short pressed from 'Now Playing' page, to always go to one level up from the 'Now Playing' page, to either the folder where the song is located, or the selected playlist. It will greatly improve the user experience. Thank you!
I was quite busy when I got the turn to try the Fiio X1, so there are some features I haven't tested, like the line out quality, In-Line remote button, EQ quality, etc. From the limited time I had with X1, IMHO, FiiO X1 is truly a simple and beautiful sounding DAP. One again, kudos to FiiO!

Earphones and Headphones used in this review:
DUNU DN-1000
Brainwavz S5
Narmoo S1
Sennheiser HD800
Some albums used in this review:

great review thank you for all of your time and quality details you provided!
You're welcome!
Must get... X1


100+ Head-Fier
Pros: Price is absolutely amazing! Sound quality through line out. Size and dimensions
Cons: Scroll wheel needs refinement, Battery life could be better. No in built memory


I received this unit for a few days as part of a Australasian tour. I did not buy one and do not own one (yet). Thanks to @Brooko for providing his own unit for this tour.
Im not an audiophile....there its been said, but I do love my music and I know what sounds good to me. Im not in the position to convince other people with this brief look about the merits of the FIIO X1 or if it will suit your needs and thus these are my thoughts BUT I have always believed that getting the most value for your money is sound fiscal policy. I usually like to buy items that have a high price to performance ratio. Im always up for a bargain and thus Gumtree and and other classified ads listings are always visited by me. Im not scared of 2nd hand items. I have also known FIIO for a while now and my first product was their E5. This was my first foray into amping (although I realise now that all I did was double amping) but it gave life to my Ipod touch 2nd gen to actually sound GOOD! Thus started the interest in portable audio products for me. All you have to do is look in my profile page to see how many I've gone through. Sometimes people ask me if there is a product that I could recommend to start out with their audio journey but I know that there is not one product I can recommend that is both value for money and sounds good to boot. Have I found that in the FIIO X1?
Well to start off with I congratulate FIIO for making the X1 mostly out of machined aluminum. I believe the only plastic items are the back plate and the scroll wheel, but at this price point this is very well done indeed. There is no flex at all to the case although find the scroll wheel is not as sturdy as I would like as it there is play while moving it but at least the material of the wheel is correct in which it is grippy. No doubt greasy fingers were a factor in the materials selection. The rubber scroll wheel will be susceptible to scratches so long fingernails is a no no if you want to keep its physical appearance pristine. Otherwise there is nothing to complain about. The buttons are tactile and clearly labelled. Speaking about labelled, I wish that FIIO replicated the button signs on to the black silicone rubber sleeve provided but this is just a minor thing. Screen was bright enough for me outdoors and since this is not a multimedia player, the screen quality is just right for this type of device. No doubt anything of a higher quality would have driven up its price and the battery consumption. Bottom Line: For a US$ 99 device it ticks FORM FIT and FUNCTION for me!
From my use of it the past few days, the interface is quite logical for me. Of course a new interface would always have a learning curve (part of the thrill of having a new gadget for me) and at least it took me only a few minutes to go through the setting and figure out how everything worked and interacted. There are different color schemes to choose from as well so at least there is customization on the UI. I noticed no lags or freezes while scrolling and button presses are responsive and its nice that there is a reset hole just under the power button just in case. The scroll wheel as mentioned before is abit loose for me as it move it a notch and it wont register till the second movement. Something to improve upon I believe. Bottom Line: Interface and button interaction are well thought out with the scroll wheel needing improvement as a minus.
Website claims an 11 hour battery life with initial firmware but could go up to 15 hours with further firmware updates. I for one wish that this is much longer, say 24 hours for all the road warriors out there. I did not like having my music taken away from me while camping one time (to be honest that was a 5 night camping trip) but hey this is a wish from me for the next iteration of this device.
SOUND IMPRESSIONS (Listening to Kenny G Duets album various songs)
Pairing with the Phillips Fidelio X1 (see what I did there?)
This unit from drives the X1's beautifully in my opinion. The EQ has been set to flat/off and find Im enjoying what I hear. The warm sound signature matches the X1's strengths. The volume is at 80% and this is my listening level for these headphones on the X1. HMM..maybe needs more power? How will it power my HD 650's? Employing the EQ changes the sound effectively so I guess the EQ works as advertised. Im listening to the Kenny G Duets album at the moment and loving it. Vocals are nice natural, the sax is beautiful and Marcia Hines voice on the Forever Young track is just soothing. YEP! the X1's (FIIO and Phillips) pair together well in my ears.
Pairing with the Sennheisser HD650
Well I actually preferred the line out setting when using the HD 650's. Switching it back to the headphone output i need to put the volume to 90 percent and i can already hear its struggling to drive them. BUT with the line out enabled and the hD 650's plugged directly, the X1 is actually able to drive them to my listening volume. The track Im listening to currently is Misty featuring Gladys Knight. Heaven! If anything I think I've fallen in love with the hD 650's again. The vocals are so natural and true. Also I believe the soundstage opens up if using the line out. I have just put on my Fidelio X1's again and yep definitely soundstage has improved!!! Perhaps the FIIO X1 can indeed use more power from its internal amp in its next iteration. Lots of Headfier's have the HD650 and its a shame that the FIIO X1's have to be set to line out to get acceptable performance and to my listening levels at least but YMMV.
Pairing with the Phonak Audeo PFE121 (Grey filter on)
The Phonaks are my go to in ears for when Im out and about and perhaps this is more important test for me. Again I prefer the line out sound of the FIIO X'1s when paired with the Phonaks. Its just more detailed and open. Perhaps its abit bright (a Phonak Trait) but its never sibilant or harsh. The bass is just right and Le Anne Rimes vocals on Everything I DO I DO IT FOR YOU is rendered faithfully with the correct timbre of voice as I remember from her. Indeed the FIIO X1 and the Phonaks pair well together in my opinion and I can see myself using this configuration if ever I do get the X1 which is most likely.
Pairing with the Phonak Audeos and the C&C BH portable AMP using line out
Now THIS is match made in heaven! I cant believe the sound coming out of the Phonaks now! The amp is on high gain, LF (bass) boost on and SF (sound field) enhancer on. This leads me to believe that the FIIO X1 should just be a source and it should really be paired with a decent inexpensive external portable amp and the sound gains on all measurable levels just go up. There's just more detail, more resolution, more soundstage and its just an overall more enjoyable energetic sound. For me at least :)
Comparison Between the E11k and the C&C BH amp using Phonak Audeo and the an AB switch
Since I have another new FIIO product as part of the review package, namely the FIIO E11K I shall give my thoughts impressions on it, To be fair, I have turned off the SF sound field enhancer on the C&C BH as the E11k does not have that feature. Both amps are on high gain and bass boost on. I have roughly set each amp to the same volume although and this was just by ear and no electronic instrument was used to measure.
Its apparent that the E11K has a more forward presentation on the MIDS. Its more in your face and intimate. The C&C BH has more headroom and soundstage. Each instrument is more distinct and due to the increased soundstage each instrument or part of the music has more room the breathe. It is also apparent that the C&C BH bass boost goes deeper. The C&C also seems to extract more detail. The clicks as the each button is pressed on the saxophone is just more distinct. The echoes are also more apparent on the C&C BH. To be fair, I believe the C&C BH is in the $100+ price bracket and the FIIO E11K is $69 USD if im not mistaken so Im not entirely sure if this is a fair comparison but hey! 
Lets see if I can pick up the same differences with my HD650. CONFIRMED: I have to raise the volume pot of the E11K to 5 and the C&C BH to about 70 percent so this would lead me to believe the E11K is more powerful. SO to test this out I have the HIFIMAN HE400 handy with me.
Surprise surprise! I haven't touched the volume pot but the volume is still listening volume for me AND I now prefer the sound coming from E11K paired with the HE400's. Perhaps the open nature of the HE400's (vs the Phonak in ears which already has the out of the head listening experience) help to open out and space out the instruments on the E11K. It now has the instrument separation and space that I heard using the C&C BH. Plus the vocals are now up close and intimate BUT the bass is still superior in the C&C BH which is evident on the track I LIKE THE WAY YOU MOVE (FEAT EARTH WIND AND FIRE)
SO Now that I've slowly moved up the chain of equipment I thought Id try to pair the FIIO X1 to the Just Audio AHA 120's, Class A portable headphone AMP with an RRP of $599
And of course the results are again another level up. More detail, more separation, more soundstage and more naturalness to everything you hear. Its a more refined sound I guess and the standout item for me are the vocals it just at another level. In the end you just sit back and enjoy the marvel that is the FIIO X1. Amazing how a $99 player can put a smile on your face and makes your toe tap.
To answer the question posted in my introduction: YES! The FIIO X1 in my opinion provides a beautiful gateway to HIFI sound that I would like the general public to hear. I would like the FIIO X1 at least to be the standard recommendation for those starting out their audio journey. There is really nothing negative to say about the unit. It works as intended and the sound that comes out of it is better than most units from other manufacturers and the price of $99 (albeit without memory card), I believe the price to performance ratio is indeed quite high. Would I buy one? Yes I would as the X1 for me provides a real good source specially with the line out and pairing it with other portable amps can be an interesting journey.
Fantastic review mate
nicely done :)
Which Micro SD card you use


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Cost, features, design, accessories, size, sound quality, build quality
Cons: power


I received this unit for a few days as part of a Australasian tour. I did not buy one and do not own one (yet). Thanks to @Brooko for providing his own unit for this tour.


Before I even got the device, I've been following the X1 thread from it's conception and as the details piled on I knew that this one is going to stir the pot in the DAP world. With its price being the biggest positive I knew that FiiO won't skimp out on the goods. Hence I was super excited for the X1 to come out.


The device looks and feel no less than amazing. Typical FiiO design. Brush aluminium, with machined body and buttons, and chamfered edges. World class build quality you won't get anywhere for the price tag.
Button layout is very intuitive. They did a great job with this. I think they based the layout on a bunch of different DAPs (one being the iPod of course). The second I put it in my hand I knew exactly where every button is subconciously. Bravo in this department.
The GUI is a classic interface I've grown up with. A lot of devices use a similar design. One being the good ol' blue screen file manager on DOS systems back in the day. I personally prefer this kind of interface over the icon based interface everyone uses. But, as it is not a touch screen devices it pretty perfect and does exactly what it needs to with no bloat or lag.


I find it very hard to review sources so this part will be quite brief but to the point.
This device sounds great with IEMs. I tried it with my Xiaomi Pistons 2.1 and absolutely fell in love with this match made in heaven. I never enjoyed listening to the Pistons as I did with the X1. Typical FiiO sound. It's quite transparent, a little on the warm side. Very enjoyable indeed. 
Where the X1's only noticeable flaw lies is the power. When I tried the X1 with my 32Ω Goldring DR150 the sound was good but lacking in energy, and when I plug in my 60Ω Takstar Pro 80 (which are actually quite easy to drive) the sound was, for lack of a better word, anemic. This was fixed with a little help from the E11k. The X1 and the E11k pair very well for full sized cans but the sound stage and imaging take a little bit of a hit. Not my cup-o-tea, but some people like a more warm and intimate sound.

In Conclusion

For $100 you will never ever get a HiRes DAP this good. It does extremely well for it's purpose and exceed all of my expectation. It's truly the best companion for that long commute some people have to take to work on public transport. Paired with a nice IEM and you can have one of the best sounding experiences for under $200. 
I applaud FiiO for constantly pushing and toppling boundaries in the Audiophile World. I really think that this DAP is going to cause a lot of problems for those (in my opinion) astronomically overpriced DAPs on the market.
I'd like to thank @Brooko once again for including me in this tour. Cheers mate!
Awsome review ! I want an upgrade for some time without spent too much money and get an high-rez player , Now I have sansa zip with vsoni vs1s , it will be an good upgrade for my vsd1s? :)                                                   
@smartwild whilst I've not tried the VSD1S. IMO this should pair nicely. I think the only IEM that the X1 might not be good for are the hard to drive ones like the Havi B3.
Great review! Useful for me as now im looking for some valuable DAP! Thanks mate!


New Head-Fier
Pros: Sound Quality, Price, UI, Build Quality
Cons: None at the price!
Here are my impressions of the Fiio X1


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: PRICE!, build quality, performance, line-out from an excellent DAC
Cons: no date/time, slightly washed out screen
Fiio X1

HiFiMAN's RE-400 makes a great pairing!
The X1 is an amazing little unit. In fact, that is an understatement. It's been a very long time since last time I was this overwhelmingly impressed by a $100 unit. The UI is excellent. Very intuitive, rather snappy and easy to navigate. Honestly, I was not expecting an in-house developed UI to be this good, but it every bit is, and it also reads all the formats that I've tried without any hiccups, including associated CUE files. The DAC is absolutely stellar, using an impressive Texas-Instruments PCM5142 DAC chip. The amp section is also pretty good, utilizing an Intersil ISL28291 amplifier buffer. The 2.4" TFT display is plenty big and easy to read, providing all the necessary information even in direct sunlight. It is slightly washed but still plenty good for the price. Among other things the player offers a 7-band equalizer [from -6 to +6 each], gapless playback, sleep timer, usable buttons when screen's off or volume limiting. There's no date and time yet though, which I find a bit strange though not all that important.
The build quality is perhaps the most spectacular aspect - holding the unit in your hand boasts confidence and there's good heft to the unit. The X1 features a fully-aluminium body with very tactile buttons and quality that's hard to find on products costing much more. The Fiio also comes with a screen protector and a rubber protective case, along with a charging cable. The battery life is around 12 hours a run, for a 4 hour's full charge.
There's also the line-out function using the headphone jack, which offers the possibility to use just the player's DAC with a more beefy portable amp. Although I already found the X1's amplifier to perform favorably with reasonable headphones from IEMs to full-sized cans.
I am really struggling to find anything to criticize here... Did I mention it was a hundred bucks?! In a long time, I am left with only fuzzy and completely positive feelings, while using the unit feels just as enjoyable. I really don't understand how Fiio did this, but currently I consider the Fiio X1 a jack-of-all-trades and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to anyone looking for a lovely little DAP and as someone coming from the pretty good, very-happy-with and tried-and-proved Sansa Clip+, I think this is some very high praise.
There's more competition on the way, however 

+ build quality
+ performance
+ User Interface
+ price, price, price!
+ line-out function
- no time & date, slightly washed-out display
Overall 9.5/10
im looking to buy either the fiio x1 or the sansa clip+, what would you say are the best qualities of each one? what shines as best between the two?
i would pair the player with my shure e315,if that helps.
Well, theres not one thing the Clip+ does better sound wise and the battery life is about the same.
The only advantage the Clip+ has is price and size.
The X1 uses PCM5142 whereas X3 uses WM8740? Is the Wolfson DAC better than the TI part? I'm doing a DIY DAC+AMP and would love any feedback.


Pros: Great Value, Build Quailty, Nice Wide Soundstage
Cons: Muddy Mids, Limited Volume with EQ, no internal storage
Taking part of the Fiio World Tour i was excited to get my hands on this little beasty.  I was interested in this as a budget player and to see how it compared the the iBasso DX50 i had recently purchased and to my Girlfriends iPod touch 5th gen.
I was 3rd in line so i had to wait a while but it didn't dissapoint when i finally got a hold of it.
I only have a pair of Sony MDR-1R to try this out with.
First Impressions
The device came in a tiny box inside which was the device and a standard Micro USB cable.  The Device itself feels high quality and has a weighty feel to it.  Buttons have a nice click to them and the thing feels like it should cost more than the proposed price of $100 (around £62!)  I did find that the scroll wheel felt a little loose and not quite as responsive as it could be.  After inserting my Micro SD i found i had to re-format to FAT32 instead of the NTFS i had prepared it with.  Finally we were ready to Rock and Roll!
The Display on this device seems much sharper than the resolution would have you believe however i found that the contrast is somewhat lacking and the screen while bright enough just seems a little too washed out.  Its purely functional without too much fuss.  You are able to choose from several colour themes to give the UI a look to suit your mood - i stuck to the default steel grey look.
The interface took me a while to get to grips with - but after half hour / 45 minutes i was navigating with ease.  Everything seems pretty logically laid out, though i wasn't too sure why there are seperate menus for playback settings and system settings. 
Music info is displayed nicely over album art while playing back music - this neatly fades away if left alone but can be displayed again with a click of the OK button.  Everything feels fast and responsive, i didnt experience any lock-ups or freezes while using the device.
Sound Quality
I may sound a little harsh here but at the back of my mind i 'know' this is a budget device.  I feel what Fiio have achieved here is amazing for the cost of the little thing. 
The X1 has a pleasant sound, i liked the wide soundstage but felt it lacked punch and energy.  I like to listen to music loud but found the X1 just couldnt deliver the volume levels i like.  I thought i could maybe compensate with some EQ, but found that for some reason volume is limited when EQ is in use.  I couldn't find a way to unlock this limit, but thats not to say the feature isn't available.
At lower volumes the sound is pretty crisp though the mids i did feel were a little muddy, which seems to get more muddy with higher volumes.  It wasn't unpleasant and i could easily listen to it for long periods of time but given the choice i'd reach for my DX50.  I did feel the sound was better than the iPod as i always feel the sound from iPods is a bit crunchy and lacks depth.
The X1 surprised me - i expected a cheap device to 'feel' and 'Be' a cheap device, however the X1 doesn't feel cheap at all.  I think it feels, looks and sounds a lot better than it has any right to.  If Fiio do sell these at the price they say they will then i think that anyone looking for a decent DAP need look no further and will be in for a little treat.  However those wanting a better sound may want to look at spending a little more.
I 'liked' the X1 but ultimately didn't 'love' it.
Nice review! Btw, did you burn in it or write this review straight of the box? I am asking this as all daps need some burn-in time like headphones.
Hey - thanks for the comment.  I was part of the wold tour programme organised by Fiio, i was 3rd in line for this particular device so i presume it would have had some use before as the previous 2 people each had the device for 10 days each, i myself used it for a good few hours over the time i had it.  Hope this helps!
Pros: Build, value, sonic excellence (for value), easy to use UI, output power, boot speed
Cons: UI features not yet complete (refer to the review for details), scroll wheel a little loose (similar X5), screen a little washed out


Click any image for full size (1200 x 800) resolution


I’m a proud owner of the Fiio X5 – it’s been my go to DAP for some time now, with the only drawback being ultimate portability if I’m jogging, or just out and about wanting a really simple set-up.  So when Fiio started talking about a new entry level DAP in the sub $100 market, and already knowing what they are capable of developing, I was immediately interested. I was originally supposed to be part of one of the X1 tours – unfortunately we had some “personnel issues” along the way – and the X1 never made it down to our part of the world.  So with the help of James and Joe from Fiio, I arranged to purchase a new unit, and we’ll be using that for a tour through Australia and New Zealand.
Everyone on Head-Fi should know about the Fiio Electronics Company by now – but if you don’t, here’s a very short summary.  Fiio is a relative newcomer to the audio scene, first founded in 2007.  Their first offerings were some extremely low cost portable amplifiers – which to be honest were often scoffed at by some seasoned Head-Fiers.  But Fiio spent a lot of time with the community here, and continued to listen to their potential buyers, adopt our ideas, and grow their product range.  They debuted their first DAP (the X3) in 2013, and despite some early hiccups with developing the UI, have worked with their customer base to continually develop the firmware for a better user experience. The X3 was followed by their current flagship DAP (the X5) – which despites its reasonable cost (300-350) has been able to compete with models from other manufacturers costing hundreds of dollars more.  Fiio’s products have followed a very simple formula since 2007 – affordable, stylish, well built, functional, measuring well, and most importantly sounding wonderful.
Although the X1 (and E11K) that I was provided by Fiio are about to embark on an Australasian tour, they are units that I have pre-agreed to purchase at the end of the tour.  I am in no way affiliated with Fiio, and this review is my honest opinion of the X1.  I would also like to thank Joe & James for assisting and facilitating the tour (and making a second set available due to the numbers involved).
Note - I later purchased the review sample direct from Fiio
PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'. (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review).
I'm a 47 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portable (Fiio X5, and iPhone4) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5 > HP, or PC > Beyer A200p > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1 and Sennheiser HD600.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs (I do also have the Beyer T51p, but IEMs command most of my portable time) - and up till now it has mainly been with the Fidue A83 & A81, Dunu DN-1000 and Altone200. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced.  I am neither a bass nor treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though).  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and  DT880.  I also formerly owned several portable amps - the most notable being an Arrow 4G and GoVibe PortaTube.  I have also in the past owned Fiio’s E7, E9 and E11.
My experience with DAPs in the past have been initially with very cheap Sony offerings, then step-ups to the Cowon iAudio7, my iPhone4 and iPod Touch G4, HSA Studio V3, and Fiio’s X5.  I've also listened to various other devices along the way - including Cowon's J3.
I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent.  For my portable listening – it has been my preferred format (for space vs quality), but for my X5 I use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 as space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 47, my hearing is less than perfect.
This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.
I thought I’d list (before I start with the review) what I was looking for from the X1.
  1. Small form factor
  2. Great (neutral) sounding – but with body (not thin)
  3. Good build quality
  4. Reasonable battery life
  5. Easy to use interface
  6. Good pairing with my main IEMs
  7. Bonus (if it was possible) - able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans without additional amping.
Did I get all of this with the X1?  Well yes – it exceeded my expectations in many areas, and the rough edges should (hopefully) be solved with firmware updates.  Read on for an in-depth look at the X1.


The X1 arrived in a flat retail carton, with a simple red and black design – featuring a picture of the X1 on the front, and some specifications (in English and Mandarin) on the back.
Quick note here – the box on my unit arrived slightly torn – not Fiio’s fault – I think someone from customs in NZ might have been a little rushed opening it.
Box and inner tray
X1 and accessories
On opening the retail outer box, you are presented with an inner tray containing the X1 (already sheathed in its silicone cover for added protection) wrapped in plastic.  The X1 sits inside a foam cut-out and appears to be fairly well protected.  Alongside it is a narrow white box which contains the charging/data cable (micro USB).  In a bag underneath the X1 are spare screen protectors, three different stick on covers, and the warranty info and quick start guide.
Stick on covers
Carbon cover
The stick-on covers are interesting, as they are designed to cover the entire player.  It’s an interesting concept, but I wasn’t too sure how good they would actually look until I saw a couple of examples in the X1 threads – where other users have applied the included stickers.  See below for examples of the wood and carbon – thanks to users @phillipwareham and @Dogmatrix respectively for the photos.
Wood stick on cover
Carbon stick on cover
The entire package is IMO pretty good, covering everything you initially need for the player.  Materials are all good quality.  The cable seems sturdy – and can also be interchanged with the X5 cable.  The black silicone case fits the player perfectly, and looks pretty good in place.  It also provides very good protection – with the only drawback being that it can pick-up a little dust/lint from time to time.
Black silicone case
The naked X1
One last note – the X1 does come with a screen protector intact.  This protector is in two pieces – the actual protector and a plastic cover with tab attached.  When you pull the tab, the top cover is supposed to come off – leaving the actual protector below it.  Some new users have confused this will the actual protector coming off – but I can assure you that it remains securely in place.
The table below lists most of the relevant specifications.  I’ve collated these from information on the box, information found on and line, my own personal experience with the X1
57mm x 96.6mm x 14mm
2.0” TFT Colour LCD (320x240)
TI PCM5142 (supports up to 192/24 res)
Intersil ISL28291
Combined 3.5mm Headphone Out & Line Out (software switchable)
1 x microSD (max support 128gb at time of review)
1700mAh Li-Polymer, up to 15 hours playback (~12 hours currently)
Charge Time
< 4 hours
Supported Formats
Headphone Output Impedance
<2 Ω
>70 dB@1KHz
< 0.004%@1KHz
MAX output voltage
> 4.2 Vp-p
MAX output current
> 46 mA
> 110 dB
Output Power
100 mW@16Ω  THD<1%, 65 mW@32Ω, 8 mW@300Ω
Line-out Output
> 1.46 Vrms
Left/Right Channel Adjmt
5 dB
Recommended HP Impedance
16-100 Ω
Volume Control Type
Digital – 100 steps
Not Present
Gain Selection, Bass/Treble Boost, USB DAC, Digital Audio Output Jack
For graphs of X1’s performance, as measured by Fiio, go here and choose specifications from the menu:
The build on the X1 (IMO) is incredible for a DAP in this price bracket, and a lot of thought has gone into the overall design.  The casing looks to be a 2 piece aluminium alloy chassis – with a clean silvery finish (somewhere between a gloss and a matte).  The corners are nicely rounded, and the bevel on top and bottom adds a touch of design class.  The headphone/line-out socket is firm fitting, as is the microUSB port at the bottom.
Headphone out
Micro USB charging / data port
The buttons give a really nice tactile response, and for my hand, are nicely located within easy reach.  Nice to see that this time they are also labelled (this was a fault corrected from the X5).  The only thing I don’t like about the button placement is that if adding an amplifier (like the E11K) – using a rubber band is not ideal, as it partially covers the buttons.  The only way around this is with a stacking kit – which I understand Fiio will be bringing out.
X1 button layout - side and top
Problem with add-on amp, no room for band (covers buttons)

Personal preference – I would have preferred the on/off button at the top like the X5, and just the volume buttons on the side.  This would have created more space for attaching an amp via rubber band + also stopped me (often) going to change the volume and instead turning the screen on and off (a little frustrating!).
Next to the side buttons is the reset hole.  The only issue I’d have with this is that it is quite small, and would need a pin or needle to press the internal reset button.  A paper clip is actually too wide.  If Fiio do make a revision, this is one thing I would change – just slightly.  Just for the record, I’ve had no freezes at all so far.
Screen comparison X1 and X5
Size comparison X1 and X5
The screen has a good resolution, and is relatively clear and easy to read.  It does suffer a little in direct sunlight, but just shading the screen with your hand helps, and you can also turn up the brightness.  It was also not until I compared the X1 with the X5 screen that I noticed it was definitely not as vibrant – but by itself, you don’t notice at all.
The scroll wheel flows nicely, and is easy to spin.  Like the X5, there is some side-to-side play with this unit – not much but it is there.  Less than my X5 – but this is probably due to its smaller size.  Probably the only part of the unit that feels a little flimsy.  The wheel itself is (like the X5) relatively sensitive, and takes a little getting used to – but practise makes perfect, and the buttons are also very easy for advancing and reversing through menu choices.  One neat thing I noticed that when using the wheel, the main menu comes up circular.  When using the buttons it appears banded (or linear) – just another of the little surprises, and proof again that Fiio were really looking to innovate with the user experience.
Micro SD port
X1 alongside E11K
Finally the micro SD port – no cover this time, but this is OK as it provides easier access and suits the overall aesthetic a little better.
Overall – the build for me is a solid 4.8/5.  I can’t really see how Fiio could have improved the X1 further – apart from adjusting the button locations, and reset hole.  It really is incredibly well made for $100.
Please note that this is with beta firmware 1.03.
Let me preface by saying that for me the overall usability of the X1 sits above my experience with the X5, well above my former Studio V3, but still falls a little short of the benchmark (Apple).  However – the surprising thing for me is how good the interface is – I guess I’ve got used to Fiio’ layout pretty quickly.
On starting the X1, you are greeted with an animated “welcome” screen – before moving to the menu.  The menu can be navigated using either the scroll wheel or buttons.  At the top of the menu is a status bar which shows (left to right) : volume, output mode (headphone or line-out), current screen, play status, sleep timer (if set), TF card, and battery level indicator.
Theme selection
Main menu screen
The main menu choices include: now playing, category, folder mode, audio/play settings, and system settings.
The system setting and audio setting screens are straight forward, and pretty much include everything you’re likely to need.
System settings menu
Audio settings menu
System settings include media library updating, lock screen settings (3 options), timeout settings, brightness and power off settings, sleep timer settings, output settings (H/O vs L/O), 6 colour theme options, settings to adjust display and language, info about the X1 including storage, tracks and FW version, and a format option (for the TF card).
Audio settings give access to the play and resume modes, gapless on/off, volume default settings, and access to the built in equaliser and also balance modes.
The equaliser is 7 band, and comes with 9 presets including ‘off’ and a custom one you can save.  The presets are OK – I probably wouldn’t use them – but the custom one is handy, especially if you have a headphone that needs a tweak.  My only wish would be that there was an option to add more custom EQs, or simply ditch / override the presets, and replace them with your own.  I would rather have 3 or 4 EQs for different headphones rather than different music types.  It would have been nice to have a parametric EQ setting – but the 7 band is functional and works OK (and the presets are much better than Apple’s).  Unlike the X5 – using the equaliser does not drop the output by 6dB.
Folder mode works very well, and is essentially the same as the folder mode on the X5.  It is also the only mode you can access externally made playlists at this time.  There is still no option to play sub all folders from the root folder – which is a bit of a shame.
Folder view on the X1
Options in tagged view - all songs, album, artist, genre and favourites

For those who prefer to keep their players on permanent shuffle – setting the play mode as shuffle then going to “all songs” works quite admirably, and I’m pleased to report that it is a true shuffle.  Restarting again from the first track brings up a new random list – nice!

In tag (or category) mode you can select one major level of operation, and then two minor levels – e.g. choosing artist brings up the artist list, then album list, then the files are shown.  In album mode – there are two levels – album and track.  In genre mode, you get a genre list, but then all songs with that genre are lumped in filename order.  It would have been nice to have genre > artist > album > track, but I guess this is expecting a little too much at this early stage.  The good news is that Fiio is continuing to work with the community on the UI.  In all songs mode – again the files are just listed in filename order.
I’ve had no issues with either folder or tag mode – but I need to stress that all my files are meticulously tagged (I own an X5 so I know what works).  I use hierarchal folders Artist > Albums, and my file naming always goes track # - title.  I use very few tags – just artist, album artist, album, title, track #, genre, year and artwork.  All my artwork is embedded and standard 600 x 600.
The upper left button brings up a context menu that is dependent on the menu you are in.  Amongst this is an add to playlist button (circle with a plus sign in it) so that you can save a song to a playlist.  This works OK, and it is quite easy to add and remove songs using the context button.  The good news is that you can now save multiple playlists - but you have to do this song by song.  The other method is to create them externally.  Externally created playlists work well – but you need to navigate to them from folder view (they don’t appear in the playlists category yet).
All songs - needs work, but shuffle works nicely!
On screen info
The upper right button is a back button, and puts you back up one hierarchal level.  The bottom two buttons are forward, back / up, down / fast forward, rewind – depending on your application.
The middle button is simply to select (i.e. action button).  Like the X5 – if you want to change volume – hold this button in (when screen is active) and the wheel volume control is activated.  Nice little touch.
The side volume buttons (when in lock mode 1) double as both volume buttons and also as track up/down buttons.  Tapping the volume buttons raises or lowers the volume.  Holding the button down advances or goes back one track.
Overall the UI is quite responsive – much better than the X5 with very little lag.  There can be slight delays on screen when moving from track to track (whilst playing), but overall I am extremely happy with the UI.
A final note on the UI – gapless play is seamless for me so far.  All my tested albums have worked well.
Overall – if the Apple (think iPod Touch 4 / iPhone4) UI is a 10 (and that’s what I’d give it) – this initial release would come in about a solid 7 or 8.  It’s usable, has plenty of features, and I believe will continue to get better with more firmware releases.
During the course of the review, I have used:
  1. Fiio X1, Fiio X5 and iPhone 4
  2. Fiio E11k
  3. Audio gd-NFB12 (PC)
  4. Fidue A83, Altone200, Dunu DN-1000, Beyer T51p, Sennheiser HD600
  5. Some of the test tracks used for critical listening can be found here :
Probably best if I preface this section with a small note so that you are aware of my thoughts on audiophile type DAPs.  I like my iPhone4.  It is linear, user friendly, sounds pretty good actually – and I can tailor the sound via apps.  When I had my Studio V3, I was very surprised in the increase (to me) of perceived SQ.  Sonically the Studio seemed to have a more holographic/spacious sound to it.  Now I’m not sure if this was crossfeed, a dsp they were using, or simply in the frequency response (I know the Studio was a bright DAP).  All I know is that I liked it.  Sadly I don’t have the V3 to compare any more.  Nowadays most of my listening is with the Fiio X5 (and I love this unit) – it has a fantastically black background, and sounds simply wonderful with whatever headphones or IEMs I pair with it.
iPhone4, X1 and X5
iPhone4, X1 and X5
When doing comparisons – to make sure I’m comparing correctly – I equalised the volume on all 3 devices with an SPL meter, and used the same files for all 3 devices (X1 and X5 were FLAC, iPhone 4 was aac256 encoded from same master).  The volume matching was done with constant test tones.
So without further ado ….
The X1 (IMO) sounds phenomenal for a $100 DAP.  It’s been quite hard to characterise the overall sound without directly making comparisons, so the following impressions are all in comparison to both the X5 and iP4.  For this section I’ve mainly used my Fidue A83 triple hybrid IEMs – as they are nicely balanced, and are both easy to drive, and also detect contrasts.
The X1 (to my imperfect ears) is quite a neutral sounding DAP – with a slight touch of warmth, very similar to the X5. Where the X1 differs is that it has a very slightly thicker, or fuller overall sound compared to the X5 – the X5 sounds comparatively cleaner, instruments sound more precise, with more space.  The differences are there – but they are not huge – but to me they are noticeable. This can give the X1 the impression that the mid-range might be ever so slightly forward, but with the volume matching and constant back and forth during testing, I think that’s just an impression.  I personally think what I’m hearing is the X5’s blacker background, and greater refinement – it’s simply more effortless in its presentation.
Queuing up bassier tracks (some hip-hop and electronic) and I’m finding similar contrasts with the bass.  The X5 remains slightly cleaner and more defined – and the X1 is slightly more confined – but the overall tonality is very, very close.  For those who already have the X5 – but want a more portable solution for an active lifestyle – you’re going to love the X1.
Moving to Amber Rubarth’s binaural track Tundra to check soundstage – and level matched, the stage is very similar between X1 and X5.  The overall width and depth of stage is slightly better with the X5 – again that beautiful black background is the major difference – but the X1 is again really close.
Switching now between iP4 and X1 – and now the differences are easier to spot.  The X1 comparatively is a lot smoother, warmer and fuller – especially through the mid-range – where the iP4 just has a slightly thinner edge to it.  Tonality is similar in its overall neutrality, so it really comes down to your preference on signature.  I like both. To me this is the beauty of this little DAP – it doesn’t strive to shine in any one area – it just present s a beautifully smooth and balanced presentation.  No, it doesn’t have the effortless detail of higher end DAPs like the X5 – but for the price I’m not complaining.
For the next section, I paired the X1 with the Fiio E11K portable amp.
X1 and E11K
X1 and E11K
This was far harder to objectively compare – mainly because I couldn’t fast switch.  Each time I changed, I had to plug and replug the amp and IEMs, plus also switch the setting between headphone out and line out.  Because I couldn’t rapid switch – it just became too hard to reliably detect any differences (and this was after very accurately volume matching).  So all I can say so far is that:
  1. The Fiio E11K is to my ears a really nicely neutral amp, and if this is the way Fiio are going with their house sound (IE away from some of the very warm offerings in the past), then I am definitely impressed.
  2. The difference between line-out and headphone-out (to my ears) is very minimal – with the obvious difference simply having additional power on tap for harder to drive headphones.
I’ll leave the speculation that the line-out is cleaner to other reviewers.  I’m not hearing it.  Both H/O and L/O sound very similar to me – and also very good quality.
The X1’s amp section is surprisingly good.  The power output is listed in the specs earlier in the review.  We already know the X1 has no problems driving low power IEMS, so how does it do with something more demanding – like the HD600 at 300 ohm?  Again after some careful volume matching using test tones and an SPL meter, I put the X1 up against my NFB-12, just to see how well it could drive the HD600.
X1 with Fidue A83
X1 with HD600

After a lot of A/Bing, I came away really impressed.  Yes, the X1 was requiring around 60% of its power to drive the HD600, but I wasn’t finding a huge loss of dynamics.  This little DAP really packs an incredible punch – and I’d be almost as happy listening to the X1 unamped with the HD600s on a Sunday afternoon, as I would be sitting at my desktop.  I needed to find out how the E11K would affect things though, so I tried again with the line-out engaged, E11K plugged, and the same tracks queued on the X1.  The difference now is the amount of power available.  I’m about 33-35% on the pot with the E11K (on low gain) and still getting the same glorious sound.  Switching to some really dynamic classical, and there is plenty of headroom – and this is where the X1 + E11K combo shines.  These two look like they were made for each other, and pair together really well.  I simply can’t think of a better combination right now - $100 DAP and $60 amp – and the result is sonic bliss able to drive most mid-fi headphones.
Fiio rates the battery life under current firmware at around 12 hours, and thinks they can get up to 15 hours once the firmware matures.  I apologise as I’ve been traveling with clients since the X1 arrived and haven’t had time to I run a ‘real world’ test. But I can say that I’ve been playing the X1 for around 7-8 hours a day, and it’s having no issues.  Charging is relatively quick – around 3 hours.  And you can play the X1 whilst it’s charging.
From first power on, it’s taking the X1 around 9 seconds to get from cold start to the menu screen.  That’s plenty quick enough for me.  So far I have 825 tracks loaded onto a 64Gb card.  When running a manual scan – the 825 tracks take approx. 9 seconds to run a full update.  Compared to my old Studio V3 this is pure bliss!
In order to test the X1’s performance with different formats, I took one of my Dylan albums (Infidels) originally purchased at 24/96, and transcoded the album into the following formats – 24/96 WAV, 24/96 FLAC, 24/192 FLAC, 24/96 ALAC, 24/96 AIFF, 16/44.1 MP3 (320 kbps), 16/96 aac (256), and  16/44.1 ogg – each track a different format.  The X1 played them all admirably with no issues at all – except for a slight noise (clicking) when switching between some of the formats.


The interesting thing I found when Fiio first announced the X1 was that they advertised it as the DAP for the young.  I’m guessing this may be more a reference to the beginning audiophile, or maybe someone who can’t afford any of the emerging HQ DAPs being offered in the $300+ range. Now I’m probably not going to be (at the ripe young age of 47) considered as their main demographic audience – but as I stated earlier, I’ve already committed to buy this unit, and I have absolutely no regrets.  Maybe the reference should be to the young at heart – then I’m a definite qualifier.
For $100 + the price of a micro SD card, you get an incredibly well built and stylish DAP, which sounds extremely good, is very well sized for portability, has a really good UI, and has power to burn – at least enough for any IEM and most portable headphones.  Add Fiio’s E11K amp for another $60 and you have a portable solution that’ll drive most mid-fi headphones out there (at least up to 300 ohms).
What’s more, the X1 has no right sounding as good as it does at this value point.  Fiio has (like they did with the X5) set a new bar for cost / performance ratio on a budget.
The X1 is not just for the beginner though – it’s for everyone. The worst part for me now is that I have to pack both the X1 and E11K up tonight, and send them through Australasia on their 4-6 week tour.  I’ll really miss the ultra-portable solution over the coming weeks – but at least I can look forward to the fact that I will be getting it back in the near future (and then it’s permanently mine).
I would unreservedly recommend this DAP to anyone looking for a low cost ultraportable solution. In my mind, this IS the bargain of 2014.
Well done Fiio – you've reset the standard once again.
Great Review. Let me start by saying I'm not an audiophile, but I do enjoy my music. I had an I-Pod classic, which has recently bitten the dust, so I am in the market for a new DAP. The reason I liked the I-Pod was the storage and also the ability to connect to my car audio via the USB connection, but since I use a Windows computer, I dislike having to be tied to I-tunes. After reading this review, (I have read others too), I am almost sure I'll be purchasing the X1. My question is, I read somewhere that there are issues with the X1 and Windows 8, can you clarify this for me? Again, thanks, and great review.
Would help if you clarified what issues you are talking about :)  When I was on Windows 8 (now using 10), I never had any issues with the X1.
I wish I could find the article. I believe it had something to do with a digital signature, unfortunately I can't remember. I think I'll jump in and buy one, if I like how it sounds, I may upgrade to the X3. As I stated, I dislike using I-tunes, and from everything I've read, I can use the Fiio's for my music (have over 20 GB) without having to download my CD collection all over. Thanks.


Modern Modder Man of Manitoba
HTML... uphill, both ways!
Pros: good build, good sound for the price
Cons: user interface is meh
Overall build seems quite nice. It has a solid metal feel in your hand and there's some heft to it (good or bad, depending how you feel about weight). Edges are all clean, and there's no looseness. Buttons are firm and responsive. The only thing I don't like is the wheel, which feels a bit wobbly. If there are no buttons built into the wheel, it should be steadier than that. It's also too smooth for my liking; a more textured surface would have been better for grip and being able to feel if I'm actually spinning the wheel or not.
The power switch is recessed which is good so you don't accidentally bump it, but the rubber sleeve has a nub on the inside which increases your likelihood of accidentally pressing it, so... one step forward, one step back?
Screen resolution seems decent. It's enough to display the cover art which I don't really care too much about. *shrug*
No internal memory? Seriously?
User interface
The UI is reasonably intuitive and fairly smooth. I didn't go through any manuals and was able to figure out how to move around the menus without any issues. Updating the firmware is also a cinch. That said, I still have a bunch of gripes over the UI.
First of all, why doesn't the wheel control volume? This is the most intuitive thing and it practically seems backwards to not have that. You can get rid of two buttons in one stroke. On that matter, the volume buttons are then no longer volume buttons when the screen is off and instead switch tracks if you hold them. Changing button assignments is just confusing for the user and really makes no sense. If you want to implement a hold-to-activate when the screen is off to prevent accidental button presses, ok I guess that's fine, but don't change what the buttons do.
I also don't like the lack of memory on poweroff. It'd be nice if it jumped back to the last song/playlist when you turn it back on.
Back to the scroll wheel, the lack of texture also makes it difficult to be precise. I can't feel if I'm actually moving the wheel at times which makes control sloppy.
These several factors make the X1 not that great for pocket fumbling use while on the move, which in my mind is a big detractor from the portability factor.
My main comparisons for sound here are my aging Sansa Fuze and Clip+. I listened primarily while walking around, which some will argue is not an ideal time for critical evaluation, but to me that is the intended usage.
Even with the din of people, traffic, nature, etc, I could tell that the X1 was more defined across the board. Deep bass on the Fuze feels mushy in comparison, and the treble presence wasn't nearly as good (though the bigger difference was easily in the bass).
Powerwise, it's got plenty of oomph for a dap. I even plugged it in directly to the newfangled HiFiMAN HE-560 and got reasonable sound out of it. Just for a laugh I tried the HE-6... I got volume, but felt like I was listening through a cardboard tube.
I played with the EQ for a bit, but really was not impressed. Turning up the bass produced a tubby sound, and messing with the treble made things sharp and tinny. I have a few different EQ plugins on my computer and those all produced a nicer sound than the X1.
Pro: It's a step up in sound quality from my Fuze. Not huge, but noticeable in a “busy” environment so that's good
Cons: UI is ok but annoying, bigger and heavier than my Fuze, no internal memory.
Verdict: For me personally, even though the sound is better, it isn't enough to justify the increase in bulk and clunkier interface.
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Hi Armaegis
I think I can help with the UI issues.
1. The whel can operate as a volume control. While screen is on - press and hold center button, then volume mode for the wheek comes up.
2. The buttons still act as volume buttons when screen is off. Tap to raise or lower volume. Hold to change tracks. Dual function - it's actually pretty smart.
3. Resume after switch off. This is controlled through "Player Settings" (2nd menu opton from right). Resume mode is 2nd option down. Yours is probably set to "off" you can also set it to "Song" or even "Position"

Hope this helps. For the price - once you get used to the features, I'm finding this little DAP to be amazing value.
PS - sorry about some of the spelling above. Doing this from a mobile device - so not conducive to accuracy.
And the included silicone case makes it more textured if one finds it too smooth.


New Head-Fier
Pros: Solid build; Excellent sound; Fun sound with a slightly bass emphasis;
Cons: UI needs some work; Battery performance could be a little better
a. I am in no way affiliated with Fiio
b. The X1 audition was a part of a world tour audition.
c. There is no monetary or in kind gain due to the audition.
With the disclaimer out of the way, I will focus on the device performance with 2 considerations:
1. Look and feel, functionality
2. Device performance with various earphones/headphones
1. Look and feel, functionality
I have not owned a Fiio DAP in the past. I do own a couple of Fiio headphone amps and can easily summarize that all of Fiio products are build very well. They feel solid and provide trouble free performance for a long time.
The X1 is lightweight but is very sturdy. It can sit very comfortably in your pocket without troubling you or itself!
The silicone case provided along with the player provides a skeptic of additional protection to the device in the event of a fall. I didnt want to test a fall as the device is in the process of multiple auditions by others.
A DAP merits evaluation of its usability along with the quality of playback equally. One will spend a long time with the user interface and functionality, building muscle memory of the various functions, in order to reduce interaction with the device as much as possible (I know this sounds contradictory, but one wants to mainly listen to music from a DAP rather than play with the UI).
The center wheel reminds you of the old iPod Classic that a lot of us have loved in the past. This one has a very tactile feedback with tiny and reassuring click when rotated. There is a little bit of a gap between the wheel and backing, which can be a comfortable nesting place for lint/dust etc.
In the iPod classic, the wheel played the role of the main selector when not playing music, and doubled as the volume control when playing music. The wheel on the Fiio X1 acts as a selector when playing music as well. For someone who is familiar with the navigation of the iPod Classic, this will take a bit of getting used to. Personally, I prefer the wheel to be more useful with additional functionality, as it feels very well built.
I do have a bit of a nitpick in this section and then we can get to the parts where the X1 shines. When playing music, if I want to skip a track, or pause/hold, I need to use the power button to switch on the display (power save) and then perform the necessary action. I think this will need to be managed better, as I would like to make those choices without having to start up the display. 
Which then takes me to the display review. User interface can be switched to 2 different skins - Vertical strips or semi circular sections. The wheel controls navigation across the various menu items. The Forward and Reverse buttons can also be used for the same. Volume control is on the side of the device, like in a mobile phone, below the power button. The power button does the usual display sleep when pressed once, and power down with a long press.
Battery performance 
The battery performed decently during playback, with a drain dependent on the headphone/earphone being driven. Standby seemed to drain the battery, a little more than my standby expectation. I am not sure if it because of a beta firmware; I believe this could be a software problem, rather than a weak battery.
Now onto the best part.
2. Device performance with various earphones/headphones
I tried the DAP with various headphones - ATH A900, Fostex T50rp, AKG k240 Sextett, Panasonic HTF-600s and ATH M50. The device comfortably drove almost all the headphones well.
The AKG is a little power hungry due to the higher impedence - the DAP was able to drive it with a high volume setting. A headphone amp was required to power it sufficiently, but the DAP was able to do a much better job compared to my other sources.
The X1 has an intimate sound and is not as airy and has an intimate sound stage, but with good separation. The sound from most devices was a little bright on bass, but with very good fidelity.
Then I tried the device with multiple earphones- Shure SE530, Sony XBA 3, JVC FXD80, MEElectronics A151, A161p, Astrotec AX35, Apple Earpod earphones to name a few. And I had a revelation. 
While the player was very good with the dynamics and nanotube coated micro drivers, it had a special effect on the BA earphones - specifically XBA 3 and the A151; the player complemented the characteristics of the BA earphones so well that I was in heaven. Below is some of my observations and analysis (I could be wrong and YMMV).
Paired with Sony XBA 3
The Sony XBA 3 has a bit of a love hate relationship. As well understood at Head-fi, the XBA 3 is a phenomenal performer with a jarring defect - Metallic treble grating. On certain tracks which are hot on treble, there is a resonant grating feel to the treble which is a very uncomfortable experience. Especially at high volumes. I tried the XBA 3 on the device after trying some of the larger headphones. As a result, the volume level was a little high. 
When I hit play on the Metallica - Black album, I was in for a great surprise! Instead of the grating treble, I heard a very velvety, involved sound that straight put a smile on my face.
The X1 + XBA 3 felt like a match made in heaven. The harsh treble was subdued and the bass felt right. Very right. I then played a mixed playlist of hip hop, prog rock, game music. Everything sounded so wonderful. The sound was very slightly outside the head, intimate and velvetty. Very clear, like the way music ought to be listened to. I have very rarely felt this with the XBA 3. I have felt this before on a Beosound 3 + SE530 before. Never on the XBA 3. The X1 made want to listen to the XBA 3 all the time. So those who are stuck with the XBA 3, do get the X1 in order to fall in love with the XBA 3!
Paired with A151
The A151 has been a favorite of mine ever since I got them. While I dont listen to them regularly, I often return to them for a clean sound (although slightly dark). With the X1, the A151 felt like home, and I had a fabulous time with this combination. The X1 seemed to provide the much missed bass emphasis while not muddling the overall sound signature of the A151. Another combination made in heaven!
I then sat down and tried to understand what could be the reason the X1 matched so well with the XBA 3 and the A151. Here is my theory.
With the XBA 3, the harsh upper treble was slightly subdued, providing for a very rich listening experience, sans the harshness. 
With the A151, the slight bass emphasis gave the A151 a refreshing punch to the bass frequencies, adding to its rich treble and mids.
If you have a tight budget, need to start loving your XBA 3 again, or get more out of your BAs, and quality of sound is a definite must, then go ahead and buy the X1 when it becomes available. For all others, go ahead and buy the X1. The quality and sound really gives you a very compelling price point.
Highly Recommended!
How much battery life do you get? Is it over 10 hours? I hope Fiio has much longer battery life for their future models. I would like to have at least 30 hours of battery life. Perhaps Fiio could have a switch on their next player to be set for high power output or lower power output, so that with more efficient headphones one could choose the lower output setting and get 30+ hours of battery life, but for higher impedence less efficient headphones one could choose the higher output setting and get 10 to 12 hours of battery life.
I dont think it was over 10hrs. It was something like 6-8 hrs tops. I believe it could be due to the firmware, as there was a lot of drain during standby. Also I agree, 30 hours would be good. Since this is a pre-production piece, they still have a chance to up the battery capacity.


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Sound is terrific (not just at this price)...Build quality is excellent...UI is very easy to use...It's cheap!!!
Cons: UI has some limitations in folder view (on original firmware), screen can be hard to read on a sunny day.
The Fiio X1 Begs The Question: Do I Really Need A Flagship DAP?
Before I get into anything resembling a detail about the X1, I want to thank everybody at Fiio for once again doing all of us a solid with their X1 tour. With any luck, there will be an X7 tour down the road....
First Things First:
Headphones Used:
  1.  V-Sonic GR07
  2.  Unique Melody Miracle 
  3.  Mr. Speakers Mad Dogs 3.2 
Music Played:
       (Format is flac and all are generally very well-mastered recordings. Unfortunately, I'm of little help to those who enjoy EDM or Hip-Hop.)
  1. Led Zeppelin - I, II, III  2014 Remasters, 24/96
  2. Bob Marley - Kaya 24/96 HDTracks
  3. Nick Drake - Bryter Layter 24/96 HDTracks
  4. Steely Dan - Gaucho MFSL 16/44
  5. Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic 16/44
  6. Hall and Oates - Greatest Hits 24/96 Vinyl Rip
  7. Beck - Sea Change MFSL 16/44
  8. Joe Pass - Joy Spring 16/44
  9. Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue Remaster 24/96 HDTracks
  10. Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense 24/96
  11. 2L Recordings - The Nordic Sound 24/96
  12. Bob Dylan - Desire MFSL 16/44
  13. Cowboy Junkies - Whites Off Earth Now! MFSL 16/44
  14. Neil Young - Harvest CBS Mastersounds Vinyl Rip 16/44
  15. Pink Floyd - DSOTM MFSL 16/44
Does It Sound Like A $100 DAP?
Yes, but only if we're talking about the buying power of the dollar in say, 1977. For $100 in 2014, this is quite an achievement. After about 5 minutes with it, I had to ask myself whether I really need a flagship DAP in my life after all...I've committed no small sum of money to the LH Geek Wave XD128 and I'm quite certain that it will not sound 10 times better at 10 times the cost. Coupled with its price, the fact that it's both great-sounding and easy to use leaves one with the feeling that they've somehow beaten the audiophile sorry-about-your-wallet market place. I really think this little thing, while it does have its limitations as far as power (couldn't sufficiently drive my Mad Dogs like the X5) and functionality are concerned (it cannot be used as a standalone DAC when hooked up to a computer), sounds terrific, especially with the UM Miracle, which was a very pleasant surprise. The X1 is going to make a lot of people quite happy and should set an industry standard with a buyer's remorse rate of......

Thank you, Dean Wormer. I simply can't imagine any reasonable person regretting a purchase of the X1 - it's that good. It actually reminds me of the X5 quite a bit (though this is from memory, not an A/B), the difference being the X1 has more weight in the lows (which are also looser) and a slight, but noticeable reduction in the highs. It still is very detailed, so don't take that as a negative. I actually found the X5 to be a bit too sparkly at times and think the X1 does a better job in this regard, as it does its rendering of the upper registers with more politeness. I found the mids to be fairly neutral, neither prominent nor recessed, though I must note that clarity was very good, especially compared to the Cowon J3. Voices and acoustic music had a very natural-sounding timbre and perhaps this is what reminds me of the X5 more than anything.
The X5 wins out in the bass department for me as it isn't boomy at all (some may call it 'warmth') while the X1 does have a bit of junk in the trunk. I prefer tight, fast, but not overly polite bass and I think that is exactly what the X5 offers. I have no qualms with the X1, though - it's just a different hue of the Fiio house sound that some may prefer...However, this thing is $100 dollars and it is not as though you're listening to a DAP by Dre or anything.
Compared to my J3, the X1 is a full step above in every respect when it comes to sound quality, and this is of course only when considering the 16/44 files (that is as high as the J3 will go). I could not think of any reason why I would choose the J3 over the X1 if that is my only concern, and I have to confess it was not a pleasure to give it up and go crawling back to my J3 when the 10 days expired. As is the case with the X5, well-mastered recordings really shine coming from the X1 and I cannot emphasize this point enough.
Not surprisingly, the J3 has the better battery life and is smaller, but the X1 currently gets about 11 hours of playtime (respectable though less than stellar) and future firmware updates should increase this to 12-15 hours per Fiio's website. 
Can I Use It While My Brain Is Preoccupied?
Absolutely! It has a simple, easy-to-navigate UI that is nearly identical to the X5's. I was on the original firmware and the only annoyance I found was that when an album finished playing in folder view, it would not start playing the next album by itself - you have to take it out of your pocket and select the next one. I'm an album guy and sometimes I just let one play right after the other...I don't know if this has been changed, but I hope they do at some point. It isn't a big annoyance, but I have to mention it. There were no bugs while I used it, which is perhaps the most important thing to mention about the UI experience. The X3 and X5 had their fair share, but I think what they have now is nearly a finished product. The only other problem worth mentioning is the screen; it is fine indoors, but it just isn't bright enough in sunlight. This is part of the reason it costs $100, so adjust expectations accordingly.
Will It Fall Apart If I Sneeze In Its Vicinity?
Heck, no! Build quality is excellent and the scroll wheel is better than the one I used on the X5 tour - the tolerances between the moving parts are extremely tight, so there's no play on this one. Well done, Fiio. The buttons are both sturdy and low-profile and there's a fairly satisfying 'click' (more tactile than auditory) when pushing them. The buttons on the side of the player are on one side only, so there isn't any danger of accidentally pressing buttons on the opposite side when you give it a squeeze (something I have to deal with on the J3). The unit feels quite sturdy in hand and has enough weight to feel like there is some important stuff inside that makes it sound the way it does. I've seen some call it ultra-portable, but I think that is a stretch. It's quite portable, but the moniker 'ultra-portable' belongs to the Clips and Nanos of the world. No need to worry, though - it's perfectly fine on the go as it passed the shirt-pocket-Saigon-commute-on-a-scooter test with flying colors. Overall, the build quality is simply fantastic for a $100 device. Here are some pics:
What Else?
Nothing, really. If you want all of the specs,
The X1 is an astonishing product for the budget-conscious consumer who has been bitten with the audiophile bug; this will be affordable to so many people who simply cannot buy a flagship DAP (especially in developing countries like Vietnam), but want a device with the audiophile in mind; Fiio should be commended for this, but I think they will be amply rewarded with increased sales volume (I hope they've anticipated this and can handle the spike). My bottom-line statement on the X1 is that the good folks at Fiio have given us a great reason to not be "sorry about our wallets" and have hit the target about this well...(pardon my sporting allegiances)
Bye for now...
Haha great review!
I'm pretty happy with mine, but like this hobby goes, if you want to keep something for a while, don't listen to other devices with different DACs that you might prefer, because you won't be holding onto the device for long.
Pretty good considering the price. Build quality is top notch even for more expensive DAPs.
Back in the day I had some Samsung DAPs, iRiver, Sony, and a CreativeLabs that were more expensive, but less functional for the price. Then again that was more than 10 years ago.
Great stuff from FiiO.
Haha great review!
I'm pretty happy with mine, but like this hobby goes, if you want to keep something for a while, don't listen to other devices with different DACs that you might prefer, because you won't be holding onto the device for long.
Pretty good considering the price. Build quality is top notch even for more expensive DAPs.
Back in the day I had some Samsung DAPs, iRiver, Sony, and a CreativeLabs that were more expensive, but less functional for the price. Then again that was more than 10 years ago.
Great stuff from FiiO.
The UE900s and Topping NX1A are an amazing combo to my ears. Sonic bliss.
Great review!