FiiO X3 2nd gen Ultraportable Hi-Res DAP

General Information

To be launched in April 2015, the FiiO X3 2nd gen takes the torch from FiiO's first ever DAP, the original X3 from 2013. It will support native DSD decoding, in-line remotes on headphones, deep-sleep mode for instant-on usage without battery drain, and comes with dual crystal oscillators to support all sample rates with some of the highest fidelity in its class.

Latest reviews


New Head-Fier
Pros: Build quality, Sound quality, Size
Cons: UI, Loose scroll wheel.
Several years ago, when I was new to high-fi audio world I was looking for an answer to this question: is dap necessary in the world of smartphones, will you benefit from it if you are using even easy-to drive headphones? Very surprisingly after days of searching I couldn’t find a decisive answer to it. Bear in mind that I live in caucasia, where buying-selling this kind of technology is extremely limited, so I didn’t wanted to cash on device I wouldn’t use. In the end I decided and bought original fiio x3 (black one) to pair with first gen sennheiser momentums and luckily wasn’t disappointed. Same applies today, after 4 years, when it seems that audio quality is less important for smartphone manufacturers and have started to removing headphone jacks.

So long story short YES, you will benefit from getting even an entry level dap compared to high end smartphones, like galaxy s9, lg g6 etc.

Comparing Fiio x3II to Samsung galaxy s7 (Headphones used Sennheiser momentum 2.0, Fidue a83)

Two biggest advantages of X3II compared to smartphone is bass performance and soundstage. First of all you are getting much more power, that will drive your headphones to higher volume. My galaxy s7 couldn’t even get momentums to desired volume level. More power will give you much better bass performance – better impact and control. Also you are getting better soundstage/imaging. Instrument separation is also better. Everything has its own space and doesn’t sound like congested mess.

Fiio x3 II has better tone. By that I mean that instruments sound more lifelike, have better texture. Treble, unlike s7, isn’t harsh and artificial.


From my personal experience, Fiio x3II is much better than a Samsung galaxy s7. I would say, in overall sound quality, you are getting 40-50% better sound performance. If you own a decent pair of headphones it’s definitely worth getting a dedicated Dap. You can get x3II on used market under 90$, which makes it very good value.

Thanks for attention!


New Head-Fier
Pros: Great sound, powerful amp, multiple formats supported, DAC, dedicated line out.
Cons: DAC took months to set up.
I have been using this for over a year now and use it nearly daily. Extremely versatile component can be used not only for mobile play, but also line out to my receiver (don't yet have funds for dedicated media center), and as a DAC for my desktop and laptop. This allows me to have almost any combination of source and output that I need from one portable device. The mobile setup is easy and music transfer directly to the micro-SD is a lot faster than through the device. Going through my ATH-M50x, the music is incredibly clear for DSD or FLAC tracks and there even is a noticeable jump in quality playing the same MP3 on the same headphones between my phone and the Fiio. The dedicated line level out allows me to plug it directly into my receiver to get FLAC play on my home setup without an expensive dedicated server or decoder or upgrading my current equipment. The DAC feature took a long time to troubleshoot as the exact order software is installed is extremely important. A recent revision to the installation guide has cleared up this confusion almost completely (might have been just me.) The user interface is fairly intuitive, but creating playlists on the device is extremely cumbersome. I have not tried exporting playlists as of yet, but I should try that. Battery life is extremely impressive, even at decent volumes. Overall, a great buy I would not change. The X1 was missing a few features I was looking for and the X5 was more than I needed.


500+ Head-Fier
Pros: simple to use, microSD mean lots of storage
Cons: sound is a bit muddy
I just got one of these last night. Unfortunately where I live there's no possibility of hearing one of these before buying one (or really any other DAPs apart from mainstream, iPod, etc.). So after a bunch of research and reading reviews online this seemed like it'd be a great player.
I've previously had a few Cowons - iAudioE2, S9 and J3. My J3 is supposedly gapless playback, but it seems like it can't handle gapless with FLAC files, so I've been looking for an upgrade.
The Fiio X3 definitely has a smaller soundstage than my J3 - the music sounds more cramped. This was my first thoughts, so I did a side by side comparison (with the same Sennheiser Momentum 2 headphones) and sure enough it's a muddier, less distinct sound on the X3. Bass range definitely extends lower on the J3, giving it more punch and I think helps contribute to a wider more spacious sound than the X3.
Don't get me wrong, the X3 2nd gen is a nice player and has a very simple no-frills, high functionality UI. Sound isn't bad, just okay to my ears. But I think I'll be sticking with my J3 for daily listening - not to mention the battery life on the J3 is crazy, I can't even remember when I last charged it. My X3 might end up living in my car or as a handy music library to connect to my stereo - I find most DAPs, etc. are too quiet when connecting up to the car stereo through the headphone jack, but here the line out on the X3 might come in handy and give a bit more volume, so I can use the X3 without having to switch CDs all the time.
Overall I'm a little disappointed as I was hoping for more, but I guess I've been spoiled by great sound and maybe I've inadvertently become a snob. Wait, I'm posting a review about my new DAP - probably a snob :wink:
PS. Purchase price indicated is NZD with courier delivery
Re: Uberclocked. For some reason I can't post a comment below, so will just add here: I volume matched the units using a decibel meter on my phone placed between the headphones. Not exact, I know, but is about the most I can do without more equipment. I don't mean for my review to come off too negative - in all honesty they both have a decent sound. I'll probably warm to it a bit more with extra listening, and playing around with the EQ a little.
Try volume-matching the units
Your review matches my experience of the X3ii and the Plenue D apart from the bass. If you can, audition the Plenue D, it's not perfect but it sounds likw what you're searching for.


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