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FiiO X5 2nd gen Premium Hi-Res DAP

  1. piksnz
    Fiio's best digital audio player till date
    Written by piksnz
    Published Jul 25, 2015
    Pros - SQ, Price, Native DSD, Battery, Fiio design culture, two sd card support
    Cons - Lacking bass, no internal storage, UI bit laggy
    Video review of Fiio X5ii.
      Brooko likes this.
  2. reihead
    Fiio X5 2nd generation, simply better. even better value
    Written by reihead
    Published Jul 12, 2015
    Pros - Great sound, build quality, instant On, enjoyable screen
    Cons - Not huge sound difference from previous version (could be a pro), UI somewhat limited, Combined Line Out/Digital Out socket
    1. I’m part of the X5 Preview tour. I had the chance to evaluate the unit for 10 days thanks to FiiO.
    2. I have no affiliation with FiiO in any way.
    3. The following words are my personal opinion, I wasn’t forced to give a favorable review or leaded in any way.
    As always big thanks to everybody at FiiO for allowing me to preview the player.
    About me
    I'm an avid music lover. I'm all about listening music on the go, I have tried several Apple product but never own one. To carry a brick has never been an option for me. Used many Creative players for years. The X3 was my first hi-definition portable player.
    I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but certainly can appreciate quality and I drive myself to find it with the better value possible. My music taste goes from Jazz, to Industrial, to Rap. My digital library is now mostly flac but also a lot of lossy mp3 files (224 kbps or more), and some 24bit flac files.
    I’m a web developer and app developer for smartphones, technology is part of my life.
    About this review
    This review comes after evaluating the player for 10 days straight as my main player.
    Many files type were used in the evaluation, FLAC, mp3, m4a, wav at different bit rates.
    I'm a huge fan of the build of the original X5, I was looking forward to compare the build and the day to day feel while using it on the road. Have tried the X1 before, the X5 2nd gen follows the same line of design, indeed Fiio is establishing a solid uniform design across all DAP.
    Well build with premium aluminum, par with what Fiio has done with the X1 and the X3 2nd gen. Now this is a darker color, yet does not come in black (insert Morgan Freeman voice here).
    The device is smaller and lighter than the previous generation, big difference here in holding and handling the device, feels more natural to use the wheel as is easier to reach.
    The plastic flaps for the micro SDCard slots are gone, which is a good thing. Details like the power indicator light in the power button make the X5 2nd gen build one to enjoy.
    Now, not everything has been improved, ports has changed and not for the better, Line Out (LO) and Headphone Out (HO) changed side now, also the LO/Digital Out is a single 3.5mm jack switchable via menu. That being said, you will only feel this as an issue if you have used the original X3 or X5.
    The screen has seen a huge improvement, is bright and with great color, this thanks to a new IPS screen. Main advantage here is usability in bright sun light. The screen of the original X5 looks washed out in comparison.
    User Interface is the other aspect Fiio has solidify and now is uniform for most of the X line, a few good improvements can be found, but no radical change from the Fiio UI found on other players. UI is responsive and easy to use, yet the playlist features could be more powerful and the lack of a proper now playing queue could be deal breaker for some.
    The new instant On feature is one of those features that you can’t have a feel for or treasure until you have tried it, Fiio accomplish this by putting the player in a deep-sleep instead of a full switch off, with this the player can wake up literally in less than a second, this translates into playing music right away, no need to wait, right where you left off, power, play, listen all in less than 2 seconds. In case you wondering, this feature doesn’t affect the standby time of the device, Fiio claims it will last up to 4 weeks from a full charge.
    Scanning of files for library is faster than ever. Yet if you have a huge library, be ready to do a lot of scrolling to find an album or artist.
    So how does it sound? At first listen I couldn't hear any difference comparing to the original X5, Fiio stated that the original X5 sounded a bit flat, after a few days I started to hear the improvements, now keep in mind these were hard to pick up, if you are expecting a full upgrade step from the original X5 you will be disappointed. But that's not the goal of the X5 2nd gen, here what is achieved are small tweaks to the sound, which are gladly welcome.
    Key here is it sounds effortless, a more natural enjoyable sound. Bigger difference is in the bass, more defined and faster.
    On tracks like Mark Ronson - Uptown Special and Kendrick Lamar - i, the effortless sound translates into a more enjoyable tune. 
    As with the whole X line of Fiio (except from the X3) there is no internal storage on the X5 2nd gen. Two Micro SDCard slot are available to satisfy loading a huge library, I threw two 128GB cards at it, worked flawlessly.
    Other considerations
    Battery life wasn't measured.
    DAC function wasn't tested.
    Firmware used: 0.11
    Earphones used: V-Sonic's GR07 BE and Fidue A83, both in Low Gain, Volume 45-60.
    No comment about the buttons or scroll wheel (test unit didn't have production version)
    If you are in the search for a DAP, I can recommend the X5 2nd gen even more than I recommended the original X5. Again, great price and great value is the main focus here. Fiio manage to keep the same price as the original X5 while upgrading pretty much every aspect of it and keeping the sound quality and tweaking it.
    For owners of the first incarnation of the X5, the decision is not that easy. The slight change in the size and the instant on are features welcomed by everybody, now you would have to ask yourself if native DSD decoding, screen readability in the sunlight, better ergonomics and other improvements are important to you, if the answer is yes, then you can justify the upgrade.
    You can check my review of the original X5 here
      ASpencer likes this.
    1. x RELIC x
      Nice review. FYI the original X5 screen is also IPS and I wonder if they are actually the same screen. Default brightness is three notches higher on the X5ii though. There may be a different layering/coating on the new screen or slightly different HW settings, but they are very very close when the brightness is matched.
      x RELIC x, Jul 12, 2015
    2. reihead
      Thanks. That wasn't my experience, they feel miles away in color reproduction and as you said brightness is higher. Maybe my X5 1st gen screen is acting up?
      reihead, Jul 13, 2015
    3. AndrewH13
      Agree with all that, good review!
      AndrewH13, Jul 13, 2015
  3. eriksq
    Detailed, analytical, bright
    Written by eriksq
    Published May 1, 2016
    Pros - Storage space, looks, size
    Cons - Sound quality
    Just on sound quality, meh. It's very quiet, and detailed, but on my main headphones, AKG K712, the mid-treble balance is just too bright. The bass is nice and deep and honest, and midrange is OK, not particularly sweet or warm. In all a very analytical and a little tiring to listen to.
    To put it in perspective, a headphone amp I heard that to me was MUCH worse than this is the Oppo HA1. If that is an amp you like though you'll love this one too.
    To my ears and multiple headphones, the Pono is much better than the X5II or Oppo HA1 either of these two. The Pono is also currently more expensive, and has far too limited storage as well as an eco-system I don't want to jump into.
    The X7 with it's Tidal support is really kind of ideal, but twice the price as the X5, and I've never heard it. The DSD capable UFO DAC's are also GREAT sounding, almost as good as the Pono, but were not portable and mine died after 60 days.
    I'm really really sad this isn't going to work by itself. Perhaps the K7 warms up the sound, I'll update if I can later. EnjoyTheMusic's review says it does good things for it. Of course you could argue I could get different headphones, but last audio show I went to the AKG's sounded really good on most amps except the Oppo, so I don't think they headphones are the outliers. Of course, please your own ears, not mine.
      taffy2207 and Light - Man like this.
    1. Currawong
      Interesting. I never thought of the X5II as bright, but then I read the other negative review for the X5II which was based around AKGs (the K812s) as well, where the reviewer felt that he was missing a lot of bass. 
      Currawong, May 10, 2016
  4. Currawong
    The FiiO X5II is a good improvement in all areas over the original and brings it back into contention as a good, bargain DAP or digital transport.
    Written by Currawong
    Published Feb 27, 2016
    Pros - Dual micro SD card slot storage, long battery life, including standby, neat design, good software features.
    Cons - iPod like UI slow to navitate, poor playlist support, digital output needs a custom cable, no optical output, heavy, full-size HP drive not great.





    If you head into the headphone audio section of the major electronics retailers here in Japan, you can buy a veritable smorgasbord of Head-Fi’s most well-known brand-name products, from ALO Audio through to Ultrasone. However, the brand that got in there before all the others that didn’t make headphones was FiiO. While they started out making simple apps to add between your iPod and a pair of headphones, they have come all the way through to making full-blown Digital Audio Players (DAPs). Top of the range, at least until the up-coming X7 is released is the X5, which is now in its second iteration. 
    The X5 took the Head-Fi world by storm. Fairly reasonably priced and, with the release of Sandisk’s 128GB micro SD cards, able to hold 256 GBs of music, albeit at a cost for the cards more than the player itself. A fairly attractive unit, it was solidly built, if something of a throwback to the original iPod with its physically spinning front wheel and selector buttons.
    The second generation version has slimmed down and neatened up, removing some of the complexity of the outer case -- chamfering making way for flatness, the covered card slots losing their covers and recessed position, and the coax and line out sockets combining into one, changing the way the outputs work. The piece of plastic covering the screen on the original was always a bit odd, being wider than the screen by a considerable margin. With the slightly smaller overall size, the screen now sits more neatly behind the plastic, no longer looking comically narrower, even if the sider borders are slightly wider than those at the top and bottom.  
    FiiO_X5II-7.png X5 left, X5II right.
    When I unboxed the X5II, I was surprised to find sets of stick on designs -- faux carbon fibre, US flag and a wood design which can be attached to the X5II to give it something of a different appearance than just silver. A rubber case is also included which, aside from the screen and sockets, has a small hole for the indictor light on the power button.
    That power button too has been included as part of the makeover, moving to the side and now including the power status light which was previously above the USB port. That leaves it lighter, neater and more pocket-able but still somewhat heavy compared to a Sony or Lotoo PAW5000 for example. 
    The new power button with indicator.
    Likewise, the user interface has been improved. The thing that bugged me about the original X5 user interface was that on the main menu, the options scrolled endlessly, confusing me as to where I was and which direction I should scroll to get to the option I want. With the X5II interface, they have fixed the icons on screen, and scroll the highlighting instead, which is an improvement. The main menu options have also been reduced from 7 to 5, the Favourites moved to the music menu and are now called "Collections". The EQ has also been moved into the settings. 

    While the user interface is much the same as a classic iPod, there are more options, especially in the settings than one would get with an Apple device. One of those options is settings for the key lock, which can be restricted to just the play/pause center button, or include back/forward or back/forward and volume controls. 
    X5 left, X5II right.

    Now that the number of outputs have been reduced, the line out also doubles as a digital output, which must be activated in the settings. Unfortunately that means the pinouts for digital output have changed. Instead of a standard TS plug working, the X5II requires a special 4-pole TRRS cable which uses the last ring and sleeve for the digital connection. The X5II also introduces a setting to allow inline controls on headphones and IEMs (where included) to be used or switched off. Sadly there is still no optical digital output, which would make pairing with a DAC easier.
    New X5II digital cable top, X5 cable bottom.
    Another great feature, most handy for podcast listeners is a setting to have the track resume where previously stopped when the unit is restarted. 

    One of my favourite aspects of the X5II's design is the low battery power usage, obviously a consequence of having a player that doesn't use an Android-based interface. I've had enough players here that I had to pretty much keep on charge, or keep switched off because their batteries would drain in a quarter of a day or less. Not so with the X5 and X5II which I would leave switched off for weeks, or switched on for days and there would still be plenty of charge left. 
    Rather amusingly, the X5II comes with stick-on front, back and side coverers with wood, carbon fibre and American flag patterns, allowing the DAP to be spruced up a bit. The rest of the design still has something of a 2001-era iPod user interface, though playlists are now supported, something only more recently available on the original X5. Playlists themselves take some formatting trickery to be read properly, however. This is the result of it being targeted primarily at the Chinese market, where playlists aren’t considered important and the good-sounding smart phones we take for granted are vastly more expensive. 
    One thing that hasn’t changed about the X5II is the excellent battery life, and the ability for the DAP to sit, switched on for many days, yet hardly draining the battery. Also, not having to deal with the complexities of Android, the UI is pretty fast to scroll through.  Likewise, the X5II will also double as a DAC to your computer, so it can be readily used with your computer’s entire music library.
    There are also still two micro SD card slots, which, if you don't mind either waiting for Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales or paying a lot of money, you can fill with up to 2x200GB cards and carry quite a lot of music, more so than many other players.
    FiiO_X5II-9.png X5 left, X5II right.


    I compared the original X5 with a few IEMs, the Sony XBA-30s for the low-end, FitEar Parterres for the mid-range and my UERMs and Roxannes for the high-end. My impressions back then were that it hit the wall at the mid-range, not getting the most out of the high-end IEMs. What is more, it wouldn't drive the Laylas well at all. 
    Likewise with full-sized headphones the original really needed an amp to shine with most good headphones and found much improvement with my Headamp Pico Power.
    The X5II improves on this considerably, moving up in sound quality to close to, if not as good as the Calyx M, both in IEM driving ability and performance with full-sized headphones, doing a good job with both. I managed to get a good soundstage with the HD800s and the Laylas were driven very well. Compared to using it with an amp, such as the E12A or Pico Power, the improvement was far less than it was with the X5. 
    The X5II has what may seem to be a very slightly warm tuning, I assume tuned towards their main market in China, though this could be an impression that comes as a result of comparing it with the output of my iPhone, that can seem a bit bright and harsh in the treble. As with every DAP or DAC I've used that uses off-the-shelf digital components, improvement in the naturalness of instruments could be had via iZotope up-sampling in Audirvana when used as a DAC from my computer. Even with that, it couldn't beat Chord's Mojo in that regard, but at the same time the difference wasn't extreme. The FPGA-powered Soundaware M1 Esther was a similar story, sounding more detailed and natural, but is more expensive. 
    The surprise of the day was how well the X5II performed with MrSpeaker’s Ethers. While I wasn’t expecting much, at a moderate volume I could still get something of a soundstage with most music, albeit with not as much impact as a full-sized headphone. Also, due to the limited power output of the X5II there was significant fall-off in the low bass. Handing over the heavy duty lifting to the E12A, with it’s more substantial 460 mW of output, the soundstage opened up noticeably, instrument detail become more clear and the low bass was as present as it should be. 

    The hardest test was yet to come. JHAudio’s Laylas thoroughly slayed the original X5, which simply couldn’t handle the complex crossover inside them. The X5II passed the test well, much as it had with the Ethers. Likewise the E12A added space, dimension and delineation to the music.
    That makes it is nicer to listen with than my iPhone 6, and does quite a good job even with full-sized headphones, but still I feel needs at least the matching E12 or E12A or another amp to get the most out its sound capabilities, especially with full-sized headphones, albeit with far greater diminishing returns than with the original. With dynamic IEMs and headphones it is still behind my Headamp Pico Power in driving capability. Where I felt it really shines best is with mid-range balanced armature IEMs. FitEar’s brighter Parterre and FitEar models, as well as my Ultimate Ears Reference Monitors were a pleasure to use with the X5II.  With some great balanced armature IEMs, including the UERM customs when heavily discounted, it is possible with the X5II to have a very good-sounding portable listening rig for under $1k.
    If you're OK with the iPod Classic-like interface and value battery life higher than having a touch screen, as long as you don't mind it being slightly weighty, the X5II is great DAP, holding its value well and adding much-needed performance that the original didn't have.
    Thanks to FiiO for providing the X5II for me to review.
      Brooko and PinkyPowers like this.
  5. mosshorn
    Best Bang for your Buck DAP out there!
    Written by mosshorn
    Published Sep 30, 2015
    Pros - Excellent SQ thru HP out and Line Out, USB DAC, Build quality
    Cons - Improvements for EQ, UI themes are not the best
    Whew, this one took longer than expected to get around to but it is finally done! Thanks to Fiio for including me on the X5ii tour! (I will have pictures up later tonight)
    I'm going to skip all details of this DAP with exception of build quality, UI, and SQ. Even though most of this has been covered ad nauseum, those three parts are subjective.
    Build Quality
    The build quality of the X5ii is superb. The player feels solid in the hand, but not overly weighty as the first gen did. I personally enjoy the button layout, and all had a very good feel to them, with little to no squishiness. While the scroll wheel on the demo wheel has been said to need some work, I didn't find it too much different from the production X3ii. The display is BEAUTIFUL. I didn't think I would want a big display for a DAP until I tried it. Wow.
    The UI is snappy and for the most part intuitive. If you've browsed on any trackwheel based Fiio, you know what to expect. One thing I would like to see would be more minimal theme options, or at least more polished ones. This is obviously a minor nitpick and doesn't affect the usability of this player.
    For reference, I didn't care for the first gen X5 (albeit I had different headphones at the time) or the X3ii. They were by no means bad, just not quite there for me. I will take a player with slightly less resolution if it has a tone I like. The DIYmods come to mind: they sound dated, but have a certain sweetness that I always found appealing.
    The X5ii is without a doubt one of the most enjoyable DAPs I have experienced. The soundstage when using my UERMs was astounding, and combined with the ALO RX IEM amp was nothing short of stellar. The detail is there, but not so much that you lose the overall flow of the music. I still can't get over the soundstage. A particular album to reference is “Benji” by Sun Kil Moon. The player is very close to a true “natural” sound to me. If I had to find something truly wrong, it would be that it is almost too natural. Even though this is against my goals of a neutral sound, sometimes I like a little more coloration. While the EQ is an improvement from the last generation of Fiio players, I still feel like the EQ changes the feel of the player rather than simply sculpting it.
    This is probably the best DAP for your money. It is a jack of all trades, and master of many. The sound signature will work well with several different headphones and IEMs. The USB DAC implementation was flawless across Windows AND Linux. If you can live with the form factor, I would say that you could buy this and leave Head-fi. Leave this forum of constant upgrades, and enjoy the quality that Fiio has produced in the X5ii.
      JoeDoe and bruce1967 like this.
    1. bruce1967
      Well done! Thanks for the review.
      bruce1967, Sep 30, 2015
  6. Cagin
    Fiio X5ii Improvements all around and remains loyal to its good sound
    Written by Cagin
    Published Aug 1, 2015
    Pros - Smaller, lighter, much more quieter background, standby mode, native DSD64/128 decoding, SACD .iso playability
    Cons - UI lags, minor lag delay with the scroll wheel, still no way of accelerated scrolling/navigation
    Head-Fi, Fiio X5 and me
    I came out of my lurking in January 2014 to join Head-Fi, I was looking for a DAP to replace my Creative Zen X-Fi's whose display had a 'black ink' spreading disease at terminal phase. I wanted to buy an X-Fi again, but I found out that with the advant of smartphones, MP3 players section had all melted away and all that was left were very cheap 4GB/8GB players or iPods. I couldn't find the Zen X-Fi in any stores in my area. Expensive iPod nano/touches with 32GB/64GB with no SD card capacity was a no go. I had resisted buying an Apple player for all these years (Creative fan since the inception of PC soundcards), I was almost tempted to buy an iPod Classic due to higher storage capacity , but the fear of damaging a micro hard-drive (lost my Zen Micro 16GB to a fall) made me consider going online to find a solution.
    I discovered about Head-Fi, and oh boy, I felt ridiculous and vain for being an enduring Creative fanboy. My brick & mortar only shopping world was just the tip of the iceberg. DAPs had gotten so much better and DAPs from SanDisk and Iriver still existed! It was time to go submarine mode and lurk through hundreds of pages of threads to get my universe updated (i.e. wow people even carry brick stacks of amps!).
    After an initial shortlist of the Fiio X3, iBasso DX50 and Astell&Kern AK240 (was enthralled by its beauty), I went back to my local shop to ask if they knew em, if they had any or if I could place an order. Turns out they were Fiio and A&K dealers too but had none in stock (the X5 and AK240 wasn't even in their database for pre-order). If I had to wait for an X3 to arrive, I preferred to pre-order the X-5 online instead.
    Only ultraportability interests me now. IEMs and a DAP. No cans, no amp stacking. I'm bulky enough to want to carry more stuff around. ;P
    My take on Fiio
    Portable Hi-Fi that works reliably while remaining affordable, simple as that. James and Joe Bloggs are very active on Head-Fi. Great feedback interaction with the members, involving us in the different parts of the design and production process.
    I want to give my thanks to James and Joe Bloggs at Fiio for giving me the chance to review this new dap. This is my first review. The unit I had was part of the World Preview Tour, European part. We each had 10 days to play with X5ii before shipping it to the next reviewer. I received no compensation for writing this review, I did not get to keep the review sample, and had to ship it to the next in line from my own pocket (full disclosure/shoutout to the Belgian Post Office, Belgium to Austria  €32.80 ...fleecers).
    I've got limited gear and experience so my review won't be very technical, but more oriented on how it affects me directly.
    Official Fiio X5ii product page: http://www.fiio.net/en/products/41
    My review sample box:
    1. Fiio X5ii DAP
    2. USB transfer and charging cable
    3. COAX cable
    4. Silicone body protective case
    5. Screen protectors (3 total, one already applied, 2 spare)
    6. 3 complete body make-over sticker kits (Carbon fiber / Light grainy wood / American flag)
    7. Button operation leaflet
    8. Quick start manual
    9. Warranty info
    X5 and X5ii side to side comparisons
    X5ii size H: 109mm W: 63.5mm D: 15.3mm
    X5 size  H: 114mm W: 67.6mm D: 15.6mm
    X5ii weighs 165g, around 30g lighter than the X5.
    Coming from the X5 to X5ii, I immediately noticed the width and length decrease, the change of the 4 buttons around the scroll wheel to small slicker round ones matching the color of the body.
    I always found the X5 to look like a stove, so the X5ii was pleasing change, much more appealing.
    The X5ii  facelifting also includes brushed metal finish instead of powdered, and a color change (like the X3ii). I prefer the black original color but since I use the silicone case I admit it doesn't matter anyway. I gotta say the new color is much more coherent overall though, matching the 4 X and center scroll wheel buttons.
    The actual screen display size remains the same in the newer gen. On the X5 the glass was bigger than the screen display. With the X5ii, Fiio recessed the screen and made the glass flush with the body. A very nice improvement there.
    While my hands are somewhat average, it's not very proportionate. My fingers are shorter than average, but I got a big palm. The reason why I mention this is because the X5 always was at the limit of my comfort level. I always used it with the silicone body case which adds a bit to the size. It's bulky to operate with only hand only and at times was annoying when you also take into account the scrolling aspect of the Fiio X5/X5ii. So the the smaller size and weight change with the X5ii was a very welcoming advantage for me. Easier to hold and operate, a noteworthy plus for small handed users.
    The silicone body case of the X5ii feels more smooth in the hands, the X5 case is a bit more sticky, making it easier to slide in and out of my jeans pocket. The X5ii with the 4 new buttons and silicone case give a nice tactile feedback, more convenient use.
    The silicone material seems different. How it will affect its durability I do not know. In the case of the Fiio X5, the silicone case got a minor shred on the bottom left corner of the screen due to me having to expand it by sliding it on and off each time I need to add/transfer new music (the case covers over the microSD slot). I never could connect the X5 to my pc directly, so relied on the small Fiio USB 2.0 dongle card reader supplied. The X5ii review unit didn't come with such a dongle.
    The X5ii no longer has dust covers making it bit more elegant. While I prefer the covers for an added safety layer despite already using the silicone body case at all times.
    On the other hand it was reassuring that while there's no covers on the X5ii, the micro sd card goes deeper, so there's absolutely no risk of friction.
    IMG_1909.jpg IMG_1913.jpg
    The power+lock button moved to the left side on the X5ii and has a tiny led in its center. Very pale non-disturbing (for those using while in bed) blue color when ON/playing,  orange red when plugged in recharging and green when fully charged. Notice the tiny tactile raised dot on the Volume + button so you don't mistake it for the power button; it's easy to operate in the dark.
    When the player is locked, holding the Vol+/- buttons will skip tracks. So to change the volume in locked mode, you have to lightly press repeatedly to increment/lower step by step.
    Notice how nicely flushed the display and 4 buttons are now on the X5ii.
    X5ii on the left, X5 on the right. X5 original had 3 distinct output jacks, HP, COAX and Line out. The X5ii changed by having only 2; Coax and Line out have a shared output jack, switchable from within the UI (Multifunctional Outputs under System Settings menu).
    The visible hard reset pinhole on the X5 has gone on the X5ii, you'll have to press and hold the power button for about 15s to reset the player.
    Note: the X5ii HP out location switched sides. On the X5 it's at the top left of the DAP. On the X5ii, it's at the top right side. Users coming from the X5 might have the nasty suprise if plugging their sensitive iems to the Line out jack on the X5ii being used on this side, blasting their eardrums!
    User Interface
    You can adjust the volume two ways: hold the center dial for a second which displays the volume arc, and you can then turn the wheel to +/- the volume; or you can use the side buttons.
    The left and right button below the wheel serve as Previous/Next track skip if pressed once, or back/forwarding within the current track if held.
    The upper left button opens the tiny submenu where you can add the current track to your favorites (heart icon), change the playing mode like shuffle, repeat all or same track, and delete track.
    The upper right button serves as go back up a level or previous menu. If held longer it goes straight back to main menu centered on Now Playing.
    Deep sleep stand-by
    The X5ii comes with a Deep sleep stand-by mode that's a very good improvement I think. In daily/weekly usage I didn't have to shut it down completely, it used very low battery while on stand-by mode, and resumed instantly. My X5 unit with X Relic X's mod takes around 9-10 seconds of waiting time between Power ON booting to being fully functional. So this new deep sleep stand-by mode is quite welcomed.
    Folder browsing
    I solely used my X5 in folder browsing mode. The lack of proper tagging of my library makes the Play by Category mode absolutely chaotic. This is an issue with the ZX2's default music app too because I can't apparently access my memory card in folder browsing mode and only allows categorized mode.
    Folder browser on the X5 and X5ii is easier for me. My TF card root has artists/bands folders, sub-folders are albums. Here lies a big problem, it can take me up to half a minute of spinning the scroll wheel just to get to the artist/band I want to listen to. There's no progressively accelerating scrolling either from the wheel nor the buttons.
    The bottom left and right buttons also serve as scrolling keys, so my only chance at scrolling faster is by using two hands, one is holding the scroll button while the other is spinning the wheel resulting in a moderately faster scrolling up or down, but I can't stress how much absurd this looks and feels.
    A workaround fix would be to have the root folders be alphabetically ranked and have artists inside them. Like 26 folders; A-Z. But this solution is not fitting for me because of my personal nature in regards to listening music. Which track I pick depends on my mood of the moment, browsing through names which I associate with feelings is the deciding factor. But Cagin, be rational, surely you'd prefer changing your listening habit and put stuff in  A-Z folders first instead of the boring up to 30 seconds of spinning wheel to fit your 'mood' no? Well... ok sure, if it wasn't for a bothersome aspect of organizing by alphabetical folders at the root folder; the lag. I'll come to this on the next paragraph. Now I understand the scroll wheel is mechanical, and doesn't allow acceleration, but I would've liked if at least the bottom buttons could be set to like skip 5 by 5, or a whole screen of folders, or maybe alphabetical letters directly.
    One quality of life improvement I'd like to see in a future firmware would be the ability to just play the highligthed folder without having to go through its subfolders and pick a certain track before it starts playing. I'd like it if when folder browsing, I scroll down to say an artist folder and I just press say the top left button and it automatically will play it's content starting from the top album, top track and go from there. 1 click instead of 3.
    My 128GB SanDisk microSD card was formatted by my X5 (fat32), it works flawlessly with the ZX2 as well, and is recognized and working with the X5ii fine. But I did notice a major lag issue and perhaps I should've formatted the card from within the X5ii to make sure it wasn't due to format origin, but I admit it was too daunting to it all over again via the X5ii. So take the lag details with a grain of salt ok.
    In folder browser mode, TF1 main root access had a 2.5 second delay (1.5s on the X5). This means, each time I go in Folder Browser mode, and pick TF1 card, it takes 2.5s before I can start scrolling through folders. Accessing a sub folder brings a 0.5s delay on the X5ii (not noticeable on the X5). Now if I'm in the Artist sub-folder and want to go back up a level to main root, I get a 2 second delay on the X5ii (1.5s on the X5).
    On the X5ii when spinning the wheel to adjust the volume, if I make more than a few incremental steps, there is a delay as the volume will keep adjusting even if you stopped spinning the wheel.
    On the X5, it's more responsive. There's no delay lag regardless of if I make wide volume changes or small increments.
    Note about the Scroll wheel: Fiio said the production units will have higher damping factor (similar to production X3 2nd gen units) for more positive tactile feedback. Hopefully this will address the delay lag I experience when spinning it fast.
    Main menu  Now Playing / Play by Category / Folder Browse / Play settings / System settings
    Play by Category sub menu
    I never go here ^^
    IMG_1923.jpg IMG_1925.jpg
    Play settings
    Here you can change things like:
    1. Left/Right channel balance (+/-10dB)
    2. Low/High gain
    3. set which volume you want your player to automatically fix to each time you power it on (avoiding any eardrum blasting suprise)
    4. fix a hard volume cap
    5. Equalizer has 10 bands and 9 presets, it reduced output -6dB by default when active. You can edit the preset names via firmware if you desire.
    6. The 'play through folders' option is nice if say you browse into one artist folder containing like 4 album folders, it will automatically keep on playing by switching to the next folder in line (top to bottom); and once all sub folders player, will go to the next main folder and start from there working through sub folders, on and on.
    IMG_1926.jpg IMG_1931.jpg
    System Settings menu
    1. 3 Key-lock modes. I prefer the one where only the side volume buttons are working when display is locked. I can adjust the volume and skip tracks from the pocket without taking it out. Minimal risk of pressing something wrong.
    2. Idle standby and timer. If player is on pause the time lapse before it goes to stand-by mode from lack of user input to save on display battery
    3. Sleep + timer. If like me you like to go to sleep while listening to music or some ASMR, will automatically cut the music and go stand-by, alternatively if you're lazy and unsure of when you're about to sleep you can just unplug the headphone jack, it will pause the player, and then Idle out ^^
    4. Multifunctional outputs. Switches from Line out to Digital out Coax
    5. USB Mode. Storage for data transfer or DAC mode
    6. Supports in-line headphone. 3.5mm TRRS cables with track skip/pause/play [volume +/- not incl]
    7. Format. Allows the device to format a TF card to FAT32. Recommended you do it via the device for optimal compatibility, avoid hanging ups during library scanning.
    GUI Themes
    The Fiio X5 allowed users to modify the GUI (Graphical User Interface) via firmware files, we could to change the colors, fonts and placing of objects. This led a growing number of daring creative headfiers to make modded themes.
    There's many flavors, from minimalistic to flamboyant ones.
    Here's the superb repository thread for the X5 original gen: http://www.head-fi.org/t/717947/fiio-x5-custom-modded-firmwares
    The X5ii takes the theme potential even higher by allowing up to 5 customizable themes. There are 5 default themes that came with the X5ii, but fellow headfiers @X Relic X and @AsianInvasion have already adapted their mods to the X5ii firmware, so you can have a whopping 5 completely different big modded themes available to switch from one to another from inside the menu directly without any need of rebooting. Quite convenient also for having for example one theme made for easier contrasting while outside in a glaring daylight situation.
    Click here for the X5ii theme mods repository: http://www.head-fi.org/t/771221/fiio-x5-ii-custom-themes-thread
    Here are the 5 default themes:
    IMG_1940.jpg IMG_1943.jpg
    IMG_1935.jpg IMG_1936.jpg
    Gear at hand
    I've received my X5ii review unit at the same time as my custom EarWerkz Omega iems arrived. Being my 1st set of ciems, I was very critically attentive during my listening sessions with the Fiio X5ii. I also had received my Sony ZX2 a few days earlier, so there were a lot of switching back and forth between the Fiio X5, X5ii, the Sony ZX2, the new Omega ciems and my faithful Zero Audio Duoza's.
    During the comparisons my Sony ZX2 was at 50-90 hours burn-in period, was using the Sony Music Player app with the following settings off: Clear Audio, EQ, DSEE HX, Dynamic Normalizer.
    The X5 and X5ii were with EQ off
    All my music library fits in one 128gb SanDisk microSD card, comprising of .FLAC, .wav, .mp3 files, I have no DSD contents to play with sadly. Those with DSD recordings will be interested to know that the X5ii has an "all new digital audio architecture, utilizing dual crystal oscillators dedicated to multiples of 44.1 and 48kHz respectively (including 176.4kHz=4x44.1, 192kHz=4x48 and DSD64 and DSD128 (multiples of 44.1), handling all major sample rates without resampling artifacts and minimal jitter", so no need for PCM conversion.
    For all the hardware components, I'll refer the reader to the official product page where it's all detailed very clearly (http://www.fiio.net/en/products/41).
    Test Tracks
    Jardín de la Croix - 187 Steps to cross the Universe EP, especially the "Colorado Springs" track
    Cowboy Junkies - live binaural recording by Immersifi (available free right here on Head-Fi forum in the free flac thread); track #1 to #8
    Envy - A Dead Sinking Story album - #1 Chain wandering deeply and #2 Distress of ignorance tracks
    Florence and the Machine - Lungs album
    KOAN sounds - Forgotten Myths EP
    Sound quality differences?
    As much as I could write a page and a half about the difference of sound quality between my Duoza's and the Omega's I just can't reliably notice a difference between the 3 DAPs themselves while playing music. Aside from the hiss, the X5 and the X5ii sound the same to me (even with both equal volume dials). And when I add the ZX2, it's an eye opener on two fronts really. Yes the X5ii is just as good as my ZX2 in the music reproduction. The X5ii didn't feel lacking at all compared to the ZX2. The balance was right, the bass wasn't overwhelming and the trebble clarity was there. I might prefer the drums for a bit more details on the ZX2 but I certainly don't feel confident about it enough to certify in a courtroom for example. Sure ZX2 might not be at the optimal burn-in period but still.
    Unfortunately I don't have any equipment/program to volume match the players so I could have a better way to compare.
    Another factor why I had a hard time differenciating anything was the impossibility of instant A/B comparisons. Had I two cards I could have one inside each DAP and just switch jacks.
    My other revelation was just how good the Duoza iems were as a pairing match for the X5ii and the ZX2. Everything feels just balanced, each parts given an equal footing. No instrument boasting over another. I like bass but not overwhelming bass that ruins the details of distinguishing each element. The Duoza/X5ii or ZX2 pairing avoids a boomy bass so I can actually enjoy the nuances of the bass guitar. The treble is clear and detailed always just below my sibilance treshold, the drum kit's hi-hats, cymbals and snare aren't relegated to the background, they have this sparkling pride, and lasting decay that gives me great pleasure.
    The Omega's on the other hand are a bad pairing with the X5ii or the ZX2. Voices can be explosively uncontrolled, non seductive, aggressive. And when I say aggressive voice is not due to sibilance, oh no, the Omega's are completely immune to any risk of silibance whatsoever from any source possible. It avoids sibilance so much that drum kits feels muted, gagged, and relegated to the background. Treble is tamed hard. The electric guitars on the other hand are given immense power and ooze with omph goodness. Electric guitars definitely gets forefront emphasis; too much maybe because it overshadows the bass guitar details.
    I seriously need to find a DAP to get enjoyment out of the Omega's.
    But I digress, this ain't a review comparison about Omega's or Duoza's, but about the X5ii. And the X5ii still has this somewhat neutral flat signature that I long for (with bit of warmth). 
    Hiss - background noise
    The background noise comparison gave a cleaver cut divide. The EarWerkz Omega's are very easy to drive and overly sensitive, prone to hissing noise.
    Using them one the X5 and ZX2 I get moderate hiss noise. The X5 is a bit hissier than the ZX2. When listening to most genres it's not audible, but on slower or more quiet tracks like solo piano or live acoustic it can be distracting. When on pause it's quite audible and annoying.
    The X5ii was very suprising because it was in another category regarding background noise, when on pause it was quite low hiss, and inaudible during playback.
    With my Duoza's, the X5ii is simply quiet even when on pause.
    Battery life
    With my usage habit of always locking the display after picking a track, and mainly flac listening I get around 10 hours of music before battery going out. Same as my X5. A nice average stamina but when you take into account the power output of it, it's good. The X5ii has 3300mAh battery, the X5 had 3700mAh. If I had to guess why they both having the same stamina despite lower battery on the X5ii has to come from the redesigning of power architecture regarding low and high gain.
    Concluding ponderings & alternatives to consider researching/auditioning
    I think that it's good to have options. Especially when I'm thinking of upgrading. Gives me clarity noticing what matters to me in the end. What functionality I can dispose of, what I can't do without anymore, to reveal what I'm really after.
    Some questions I feel must be considered:
    Do I honestly hear a difference noticeable enough to warrant such a price jump? 
     - At time of comparisons, with a burn-in period of 50-80h on my ZX2 , I found the X5ii equal sound-wise.
    Can my ego take the hit for disappointment after HYPE buying? 
     - Hype and aspirations have to be allowed but also tamed.
    Does the user interface help me or do I fight it too much? Does it hamper me getting me to enjoy my music? 
     - With my X5 it can take me up to 30sec of scrolling to find the music I want. With a touch sensitive Android based ZX2 it's immensely faster, I personally do no longer want to come back to an UI that doesn't allow a form of acceleration or faster scrolling. (Questyle QP1R and Cayin N5 I'm looking at you; that's why the X7 will get all my attention)
    Am I ready to change my iem/headphone in case it doesn't pair well with my dap? Or would I prefer to change the DAP to match my gear?
     -Gotta have a matching pair to enjoy. If it sounds good to you, who cares if it looks like a downgrade.
    To those interested about the Fiio X5ii, I'd suggest considering listening to the X3ii if budget is tighter.
    Sidegrades possible are the QLS QA360, iBasso DX90.
    Potential upgrades would be the Lotoo Paw 5000 (balanced headphone output and Bluetooth but with a fun/musical signature instead of neutral flat like the X5ii). If patience is your virtue, then these options open up as well, Questyle QP1, Cayin N5, Fiio X7 (to be released in mainland China in August, Fall worldwide).
    And oh suggestion to consider =/= advise to buy  0:)
    To me the X5 2nd Gen is clearly an upgrade to the original X5. Smaller, lighter, more tactile feedback makes it easier for me to handle. Very more quiet background (quite important with sensitive iems if you don't tolerate hissing noise). The X5ii can play DSD64/128 and play SACD .iso if you have those. The X5ii still has that great neutral sound with bit of warmth that I liked so much in the original X5.
    It still has that oomph of power to not feel the amping requirement if you use iems and some cans. The stand-by mode is the cream on the top.
    I'll conclude with this though, even if I had golden ears, and I don't -I only got to silver ears at the Phillips challenge before I gave up tired ^^- you only have your ears to enjoy your music. I doesn't matter if it sounds great to me; how good will it sound FOR YOU !?! Do your best to attempt an audition.
      Jill and Light - Man like this.
    1. willyvlyminck
      Does the Screen have more Pixel than than that of the X1?
      willyvlyminck, Aug 1, 2015
    2. Cagin
      Fiio X1 has a 2 inch Display (262k color TFT display, 320×RGB×240 pixels)
      The X5ii has a 2.4 inch Display (262k color IPS display, 400x360 pixels)
      Cagin, Aug 1, 2015
  7. daduy
    Fiio best DAP so far
    Written by daduy
    Published Jul 8, 2015
    Pros - Sound quality, build quality, features (work as a DAP + DAC), plays pretty much all music format, two micro sd slot
    Cons - No internal storage
    I got this unit as part of New Zealand tour arranged by Brooko, thank you very much for including me in this tour.
    I am just another music fans in this world, I love listening to music, and that made me stumble into head-fi around 7 years ago when looking for the best way to listen to my music. I am not in anyway an audiophile, heck not even close, so please forgive any lack of details in my review. Most importantly this is my personal impression on the unit, most likely i heard things differently than you, my ears, my preferences, my brain :)
    I listened to the X5 II daily in my commuting from home to work and in the office for about 10 days.
    I have always wanted to try out the original X5 since the first time i saw it, it just looks so nice and majority of people seems to like them a lot, so i am very happy that I finally got a chance to try out the 2nd gen one.
    I am going to compare the X5II with a Rockboxed 5th Gen Ipod. 
    For the majority of my listening i am using Shure SE420 on my travel and Fidelio X1 on the office, i also try out other headphones with them such as AKG K500 and KRK KNS 8400.
    Build Quality
    Similar to the X1 and X3II, X5II is build in a similar manner, solid all metal body, really feel good in your hand, they are bit bigger than X1/X3/Ipod 5th gen but i really like the dimension, it just feel good in your hand. I had the chance to use the pre-prod unit and the final production version of the X5II as well, and i can happily report that the scroll wheel is so much better on the final production unit, they have more resistance and an obvious step to them compare to the pre-prod unit.
    This kind of stuff never bothered me much, but if anyone need to know i found them very easy to use, no problem here, i kinda get used to the interface from my handling with the X1/X3II on my previous tour.
    Deep Sleep
    One thing that i really like is their ability to go to deep sleep without shutting them down, this feature was first introduced on X3II and thankfully stays on the X5II ,when i plugged out my earphone X5II will go to deep sleep after it's idle for a couple of minutes, when i plugged my earphone back it will resume the music instantly, awesome!
    Sound Quality
    Ok the most important part for me, sound quality, so how do they sound? I would say they sound neutral with a bit of boost in the bass region, it's definitely the most neutral sounding DAP from Fiio that i've heard, at least compare to X1 and X3II. They are transparent enough that when i change my headphones i can immediately hear the difference in the sound signature.

    AKG K500 sounds really natural with them, but i love pairing KRK and Fidelio X1 better than K500, i am guessing because they just add more sparkle to the neutral sounding X5II. 
    The X5II has enough power to drive any of my headphones without using any amps. I tried using headstage arrow 2g out of the line out but honestly i can't hear any major improvement, the X5II is fine as it is.
    As mentioned above, i am comparing them to a rockboxed 5th gen ipod, i use Fiio headphone switcher to quickly compare the sound between the ipod and X5II.
    So how do they fare againts 5th gen ipod? well to my surprise they sounded really really similar. I honestly expected the X5II to be miles ahead, but it's so much closer than that. They both share a
    neutral presentation and similar detail retrieval (at least from what i can hear using the same source of music files). There is a difference of course! When listening to Acoustic Alchemy, guitar notes has longer decay on the X5II, the echo of the steel being pluck lasted longer on the X5II, it's interestingly sort of being cut short on the ipod, X5II also provide punchier bass than the ipod, this is all the difference without any EQ being used.
    Let's not forget that the similarity ends there, the X5II just provide a whole lot more than just a simple music player, it plays DSD, it can act as a DAC (a good one as well, they pretty much just plug and play on my linux box), it's one DAP that can do (almost) anything.
    Similar to the X3II, They are awesome, sounds good, feels good, work as DAC, work as DAP, and pretty much the only thing you need for your portable music solution, have two microSD slot so you can carry all the music that you need in the world.

    While they are really good, i honestly still thing that X3II provide better value for money compare to X5II. If you got the money, X5II is the better sounding DAP, but if you're tight on a budget, the X3II come really close.
    Note: I don't have the X3II for direct comparison with the X5II, the above statement is based on my lasting impression on them, so please take them with a grain of salt.
      Brooko and Light - Man like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. csglinux
      Nice review :) I agree 100% with all your observations. I made my comparisons against the iPhone 6, but reached basically the same conclusion. The sound is surprisingly similar. There is a little more treble extension with the X5ii, but it's hard to say for sure whether there's really extra detail in its DAC/amp, or whether it simply sounds that way as a result of the slightly different frequency response. (Giving my iPhone a treble boost with EQ or different cans also opens up a bit more detail.) The extra features and storage still make this a nice device, but on sound alone, I think most people (if they do an honest AB test as you have) will find the differences not as large as they might have expected. Daduy, whatever you do, don't post this review on Amazon. The Fiio faithful will rip you to shreds.
      I have a question for the community. I may be insane or have awful hearing, but I really, really liked the 6th gen iPod nano. It's really tiny, so lightweight you wouldn't even know it's there, and you can clip it on your clothes. It's perfect for any activity where you don't want the weight and bulk of a phone (or a Fiio). But the device only comes with a maximum 16 Gb storage :frowning2: I thought by now, there would be somebody building a device this small that would take microSD, or at least have a lot more on-board storage. The problem (for me) with virtually all these newer high-storage capacity DAPs is they contain a lot of fluff I don't need (like super-powerful amps and 24/192, DSD, .iso file playback, along with a bigger battery to drive it all, hence lots of bulk and weight). Does anybody know of a good quality, really tiny DAP with 128 Gb+ storage capabilities? (FLAC or ALAC 16/44 playback is all I need!)
      csglinux, Jul 15, 2015
    3. daduy
      hi @csglinux
      thanks for confirming, it's nice to know that it's not my only ears :)
      Anyway have a look at shozy alien, i think they support up to 32gig microsd.
      daduy, Jul 20, 2015
    4. csglinux
      Thanks for the tip on the Shozy Alien!
      csglinux, Jul 24, 2015
  8. semaj8james
    Battle of the sibilings
    Written by semaj8james
    Published Jun 16, 2015
    Pros - Smaller, lighter, sharper display, quicker, price, 2 * MicroSD slots
    Cons - Cannot use HP out and L/O at the same time, jumpy scroll wheel, less 'intimate', hasn't released yet
         A young member, but certainly not new to the community, I've enjoy a bass heavy style of music, ranging from most EDM genres like dubstep and trap to other genres such as classical, classic rock and metal. For this review I'll review a total of 5 songs, two dub, one trap, one unique sampling piece and one one metal piece. The IEMs used for the review will be the Westone W40s. The music player it will be up against is the famed Fiio X5.
           Ah, the X5 2nd generation. For this review I'll be putting it up against it's older and bigger brother, the X5. The second generation X5 (known from hereonout in this review as the X5K) is 22.9 grams lighter than it's brother, weighing in at 170.8 grams compared the previous iterations 193.7 grams. The sizes are similar, however the X5K is around 2-3mm shorter in both directions while being the same width, this is of course ignoring the flush screen, buttons and wheel on the X5K that the X5 doesn't have. The X5 is noticibly larger but portability is still similar between the two.
    Initial impressions
           After the first glamour wore off, the X5K really reminded me of an old iPod classic - much more so than the X5 did. It has a wonderful, sturdy, brushed aluminium body like most other Fiio products have came standard with, and the display is much more crisp than the previous iterations display. Scrolling speed felt slower (it is, at 5 ticks less on a full rotation than the X5), and general response times were similar and marginally quicker, with the most noticible difference being the 'return' speed after hitting the back button. The sleep feature is phenomenal and I rarely turned the player off entirely. Battery life is OK, nothing spectacular but nothing terrible. I'm assuming it'll be better after firmware updates. The UI is a lot nicer in my opinion, especially due to the crispness, and I hope that the X5 will be able to adopt a similar layout. I'm a big fan of the X5's looks, however the flush screen, buttons and wheel on the X5K is definitely appealing. 
           As much as it may look like an old iPod (a friend even commented on me having an old iPod, mistaking the X5K for an iPod classic) it certainly doesn't sound like one. My initial impressions were very warm as I noticed the bass notes were much more lush and powerful than what I would get from a phone, or most other DAPs, however it wasn't overwhelming. It was a relatively nice, deep feeling that didn't drown out the rest of the music. Compared to an X5, it's very, very, very similar, however there is one little nuance about it that is subjective to different people - it feels a lot less 'intimate' than other DAPs. What I mean by that, is it has a recessed feeling throughout the 400Hz - ~5kHz frequencies. As a result, I felt the need to continuously turn on volume at times in order to achieve the full feeling of immersion. The X5K though does a really impressive job in keeping up with complex and highly detailed tracks that boast a high pace, and thus suits electronic music and metal very well. 
    User interface and practicality
    I never once had to use a manual in order to understand and navigate through the UI, however I may be different since I am relatively familiar with Fiio products such as the X5 and X3. The UI is clean and simple, and looks well constructed. The volume buttons are responsive and accurate, and all buttons are nicely tactile and offer good feedback upon clicking a button. Developing a full understanding on how to use the player is very quick, and the vast majority of people would likely share a similar experience to me. Setting it up as a USB DAC on Windows 7 SP1 was a breeze, and I instantly got to using it with Foobar via USB output on my computer to the X5K. I am not sure about the current state as a USB DAC for Max OS, Windows 8 and Linux. 
    Specs compared to the X5
    This is a rough consolidation of all data I have found. If you find more, please let me know so I can update the chart. Some information may be incorrect. There is a LOT of different information out there regarding the same things, so it's not possible to have completely accurate data.
     Fiio X5Fiio X5 2nd Generation                                                            
    Display 2.4" IPS 400 * 360 2.4" HD IPS 400 * 360 
    OutputAnalog & Digital 1 *  1/8" (3.5 mm) headphone output jackAnalog & Digital 1 *  1/8" (3.5 mm) headphone output jack 
    DAC USB: Supports 192 kHz, 24-bit
    Texas Instruments PCM1792A
    USB: Supports 192 kHz, 24-bit
    SoC:JZ4760B,DAC:Texas Instruments PCM1792A,LPF:OPA1612,OP:OPA1612+BUF634

    Impedance range16 to 300 Ω  
    Volume control 120 high and low gain120 high and low gain 
    EQ10 band multipass EQ10 band multipass EQ 
    Gain selection+- 6dB+- 6dB 
    Supported formats WAV, FLAC, MP3, OGG, AAC, WMA, ALAC, APE, DSD, AIFF, HE-AAC
    24/192kHz (WAV, DSD, APE, FLAC, ALAC), 24/96kHz (APE, WMA
    24/192kHz (WAV, APE, FLAC, ALAC), 24/96kHz (APE, WMA), DSD64, DSD128

    Line ouput specs< 0.0025% @1 kHz, 20 Hz to 20 kHz(+/-0.1), > 100 dB @10 KΩ @ 1 kHz, > 1.5 vRMS  
    Headphone output specs Output Power 1: > 460 mW @ 16 Ω, THD < 1% 
    Output Power 2: > 255 mW @ 32 Ω 
    Output Power 3: > 28 mW @ 300 Ω

    20 Hz to 20 kHz (+/-0.1)
    < 0.26 Ω, > 75 dB @ 1 kHz crosstalk, > 8 Vp-p maximum output voltage, > 150 mA maximum output current
    Battery size3700mAH3300mAH 
    Battery duration~ 12 hours~ 10 hours 
    Charging time~ 4 hours~ 4 hours 
    Dimensions2.7 x 4.4 x 0.6" (67.6 x 114.0 x 15.6 mm)63.5 * 109 * 13.5 mm 
    Weight193.7 grams170.8 grams 
    SNR =>115dB=>117dB 
    Storage256GB expandable (MicroSD)256GB expandable (MicroSD) 
    Gapless playback                          X                       X 
    Headset support                        X 

                   The X5ii/X5K came with a large variety of accessories, seen standard with many other Fiio products. Included are the following:
    1. Fiio X5 Second generation
    2. Silicone case
    3. Micro USB cable
    4. Three sets of stickers (carbon fiber, American flag and wood panel)
    5. Two spare screen protectors + one pre-installed
    6. Digital to coaxial output cable
    7. Warranty card
    8. Quick start guide
    9. Layout diagram
    Apologies for the celery quality photos, I broke my good camera
                                Fiio X5K (left) and Fiio X5 (right)
                         Bottom sides of X5 and X5K
                          Left sides of X5 and X5K
                           Top sides of X5 and X5K
                             Face view of X5 and X5K
                             X5K with Westone W40
                                   Fiio X5K Weight
                                  Fiio X5 Weight
    Here is a relatively brief comparison of the two DAPs using songs I'm incredibly familiar with. I used these songs in particular due to my familiarity with each of the songs, thus making it easier for me to compare each player to the other in the best way I can. 
    Seven Lions - Isis
    Genre: Dubstep
    44.1kHz Sample rate
    2 Channels
    16 Bits per sample
    1029 kbps
    Listening Volume on X5: 62
    Listening Volume on X5K: 62
    Gain for both devices: Low
    At 62 volume on low gain, the two players had nearly identical volume to my ears (not an accurate way to measure, however it'll have to do). The X5K has a supposed SNR of  ≥117 dB while the X5 has a SNR of >115 dB. Immediately during the intro of the song, I definitely noticed more clarity from the X5K than it's younger brother, but again, that veiled/hiding midrange that makes the listening experience much less intimate than it's predecessor. With that being said, retrieval of details feels quicker and more accurate, and on a clarity scale with the X5K being the benchmark 10, the X5 would be at around an 8.5-9. Although the clarity of the music in general was cleaner, the intimacy lacked, and as a result for me felt less enjoyable if I were to be casually listening - however due to the detail retrieval of the X5K, I'd rather use the X5K for this type of song. 
    Cyrus - Winter Writer
    Genre: Dubstep/ DnB
    2 Channels
    24 Bits per sample
    Listening volume on X5: 62
    Listening volume on X5K: 62
    Gain for both devices: Low
    This is where the intimacy plays a bigger role. This is more of a DnB/dubstep track than the previous, and is much less complex than the last song, and this is where the big difference came to life between the two brother DAPs. The intimacy on the X5 makes the music sound like it's touching you, rather than just speaking to you. The bass notes carry a certain lustre, while the synth leads feel more forward in presentation. Subtle sound cues present themselves in a more noticeable, yet less refined way. The claps/snares feel less prominent in the X5K, and overall I'd rate the listening experience of the X5K lower than the X5 in this type of song.
    Zomboy - Beast in the Belly
    Genre - Trap
    2 Channels
    16 Bits per sample
    Listening volume on X5: 57
    Listening volume on X5K: 57
    Gain for both devices: Low
    On the X5, high frequency notes were rather sibilant, and almost draining out the bass note(s). The entirety of the song felt relatively fatiguing, and less pleasant for my ears in general. The bass was smoother and almost punchier on the X5K, and the higher notes were less tiring on the ears and brain. Without a doubt I'd prefer the X5K for this song, as it's less tiring, less sibilant, and although felt less intimate, it felt infinitely more appropriate for this song. In fact, while I felt like taking out my IEMs with the X5, I felt like getting up and dancing whilst listening with the X5K. It may be a placebo of sorts, however those are my opinions for this certain song.
    Gramatik - I Still Remember
    Genre - Trip-Hop
    2 Channels
    16 Bits per sample
    MP3 CBR
    Listening volume on X5: 57
    Listening volume on X5K: 57
    Gain for both devices: Low
    Immediately, the X5K drew me in with the songs fantastic string work, making sure I hear the reverberations of the strings and the crisp peaks.The bass notes present a thick, lush tone to them and the entire experience was over much too quick, but again, the intimacy lacked in contrast to it's older and bigger brother. The X5 had a heavier bass attributed to it, and the strings were even more lively than the X5K presented. The only thing that the X5K had was very slightly more clarity overall in the piece. The strings almost seemed to sing to me with the X5, where with the X5K it was simply just coaxing me. Both players did a fantastic job with this song and basically told me that I should be outside right now, drinking some lemonade with some gin in it and enjoying the outdoors. With that being said, I'd rather listed with the X5 to this piece due to the intimacy brought to the table.
    Metallica - Devil's Dance
    Genre - Metal
    2 Channels
    16 Bits per sample
    969 kbps
    Listening volume on X5: 68
    Listening volume on X5K: 68
    Gain for both devices: Low
    Although Metallica songs have god awful recording quality, I've listening to this song so much and am really familiar with it, so I can pick a part the song on both players.
    The guitar riff beginning around 1:15 is incredibly recessed on the X5, and on the X5K is
    The intial bass notes are incredibly strong, almost shocking on both players - however for the X5 it felt exhilerating. Cymbals are clearer and crisper on the X5K than on the X5.
    Vocals on the X5 are more 'violent' for lack of a better term, and more immersive as a result, and you can almost feel the emotions emanating from the vocalist. 
    The guitar is much cleaner on the X5K and the overall presentation felt polished by a nice microfiber cloth while listening with the X5K. I guess the entire experience felt more balanced with the X5K than it did with the X5, but less emotional and captivating than the X5. With that being said, the X5 is certainly a much funner player compared to his younger brother, but is more wild and less reserved. It's difficult to say which player I enjoyed the song more with. I'm leaning more towards the X5K due to the clarity and cleanliness, however the X5 really wanted me to speak. I'd personally have to say I'd prefer the X5K for this song since the guitar pieces and drumming just felt a lot more accurate and sober than the X5.
           It's difficult to draw a conclusions, especially after 10 days (around 50 hours total listening with it), however it's even harder to decided which one I like better. Certain songs and pieces really shine on the X5K, and the same goes for the X5. The build quality is fantastic on both units, however for some reason I prefer to scroll wheel on the X5 compared to the X5K, and same for the aesthetics. The display on the X5K is steps ahead of the X5, and really puts the X5K together neatly, and I definitely appreciate the resolution much more. I prefer the large buttons on the X5 more than I do the X5K, but enjoy the smaller profile of the X5K over it's younger brother. The sleep feature is invaluable and really helps with preserving battery life and startup times from having to boot from off every time. Although the general aesthetics make the X5 feel like a more 'expensive' device, the screen resolution of the X5K really seals it. If the X5 had similar screen resolution, I think I'd be in love. They're very similar players as a whole, so I cannot exactly make a recommendation based only on my 10 days. Try out both and see what you think!
           Changes are likely to happen with the X5K so not everything I've said is set in stone yet, however as an overall package, I'm impressed with what Fiio has been able to pack into a small aluminum box. For the ~$300-$350 MSRP price tag, this player certainly holds its weight against other, more expensive setups. Minor changes once the second generation fully releases will of course take effect and improve this player even more.
    If you have any comments about the review, please let me know so I can change things! 
      Vartan and tiddlywinks like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. mandrake50
      OK, again just curious. I can see  why it might be X5ii, or X5II, or X5G2. The K is lost on me.
      BTW, nice review. Not fond of the fact that you did not come up with a favorite at the end. I kind of want somebody to tell me that I just have to have the X5II..  So far everyone has pretty much called it a draw. It looks more and more like I will stay with my X5 and see what the X7 is all about.
      I did like the fact you had links to the songs that you used. Nice touch
      mandrake50, Jun 16, 2015
    3. AndrewH13
      Now I've completed my own review, I'm enjoying catching up with the others. I know how you feel with the summary, there was no night and day changes in sound quality. Subtle change that one may prefer, another might not.
      AndrewH13, Jun 17, 2015
    4. semaj8james
      @mandrake50 I just used X5K as naming nomenclature for simplicities sake, and I wish someone would clean up the condusion as hell haha.
      After sending off the X5K, I've had time with my X5 again and the only feature I really miss is the instant sleep feature on the X5K.
      semaj8james, Jul 1, 2015
  9. Dobrescu George
    FiiO X5-2. Amazing DAP!
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Feb 23, 2017
    Pros - Build Quality, Sound Quality, Detailed Treble, Wide Soundstag, Deep and detailed bass, Detailed mids, Exciting Sound
    Cons - Mechanical Wheel
    FiiO X5-2 is the second generation of X5 DAPs (digital audio players) from FiiO. I owned a FiiO X5 for quite a while before buying X5-2 and I was entirely happy with the first X5, except for a few details. If I were to say, the thing that bugged me the most on X5 was it's hardware button configuration. They were far too easy to press by mistake while in the pocket, making the original X5 skip songs at random times. 
    When I heard that there is an X5-2 coming along, I was quite excited, but I knew I won't have the money to buy one for a while. I waited and saved a few until I was able to buy it. At the moment of writing this review, X5-3 was already launched and I have one in my hands, but the review for X5-3 might wait a little bit as I need more time before having certain thoughts about it. FiiO X5-2 has been my benchmark for portable audio so far and until the appearance of X5-3 nothing really beat X5-2 as far as audio setups go, from what I tested. Since X5-2 is a mid range DAP, it is pretty sanely prices, like all FiiO products, so you can probably buy one without much hassle.
    About me
    My name is George and I enjoy music. I listen music while working, listen to music for enjoyment and listen to music while I'm gaming. Music is a thing that is everywhere around me, be it classical, pop, rap, metal, jazz or electronica. I also like to prepare long playlists to enjoy while working on my company's games. You can check out more on our pages here https://www.facebook.com/seventh.heart.studios/     and here https://twitter.com/7heartstudios . My love for music has had some impact on our games as we hold the music close to our hearts and we are committed to only use ogg -q10 as the encoding format for our music since it offers the best space to sound quality ratio.
    Music is like a bad habit for me as when I listen to music, I generally do it for hours and happen to even lose sleep as sometimes I can't go to sleep without hearing "that one song". I happen to be very involved with my music and I believe that music is a form of love and emotion, music should be lived and music is an important part of one's life.

    First Impression
    I still owned X5 at the moment of first hearing X5ii. AVstore is a nie shop in Bucharest that happens to have FiiO products in shop and a nice showroom, so I was able to test FiiO X5ii. The first moment testing it, I thought that there was something funny going on, like some kind of EQ was engaged or something like this. To my shock, this was not the case, and X5ii was actually sounding different from X5 - in an impressive way. 
    My listening equipment was formed from ie800, which I will be using for the rest of this review as ie800 are very good at discerning the differences between equipment. I can only say that I was in awe at how x5ii reproduced bass. It was tight, fast, detailed, textured. In a single word, amazing. It was better than it's predecessor and considerably so. At that point, I knew I had to buy an X5ii, but I wasn't really sure how to do it. I put my X5 up for sale and after some waiting time I was finally able to get my very own X5ii.
    As I've waited quite a while before I was able to buy my X5ii, you can imagine my excitement when I was finally able to get one and open the package. 
    X5ii xomes with a hard plastic clear case by default and is wrapped in a white protective plastic layer. Underneath is a black box in which you will find the papers, bonus screen protectors, an coaux cable and a USB cable. From my understanding, X5ii comes with a very high quality shielded USB cable. 
    The  package includes all that you need to fully enjoy X5ii and I'm glad that FiiO decided to include a few bonus screen protectors. There are also some stickers that you glue to your X5ii  - I would name them skins. I haven't used any of the skins included in the package since I really like the original aspect and feel of X5ii which is made out of metal, but nevertheless it's a nice bonus that some of you will surely appreciate and I've seen more than one person rocking an X5ii with the skin put on - so they're clearly worth a lot to some customers. 
    The case x5ii comes in is a hard cardboard case, and I actually appreciate that as sometimes I hhad to shove X5ii in my bag so I would use the case it came in - especially when I had objects of questionably density that might had scratched it or objects that I would be uncomfortable touching X5ii directly (Hey, I'm an engineer and business director after all). The hard plastic case does an amazing job at protecting X5ii albeit it only protects the front and in the meanwhile I also got a FiiO HS7, their own carrying cases which are both pretty resistant but feel nice to the touch as well. Those cases are hard carrying cases and you can safely throw around your things in one then throw it in your bag. They also enable you to take a few spare mSD cards, or your favorite IEMs and such. 
    What I look in for a DAP
    When buying a Digital Audio Player, I have a few things that I really need or I'm looking for. Those are:
    - Battery life 
    - Good build so it can perform well in real world usage 
    - Display (screen) brightness, sharpness, colors and quality 
    - Good Value
    - Interesting design 
    - To work well with both my IEMs and my headphones
    - Sound quality
    - To be possible to use it as an USB DAC
    - To have a good EQ function
    Technical Specifications
    Output Impedance0.2 ohm
    Connector3.5mm Headphone Out 
    Frequency Response10 Hz - 65.000Hz (-3dB)
    Works as a USB DACYes
    Play Time~10 Hours
    Display Size / Type 2.4", IPS
    Display Resolution400x360 pixels
    Output Power 436mW into 32 ohm, THD+N <1%
    DAC ChipPCM1792A
    Max Output Voltage8.2Vp-p
    Max Current250mA
    Cross Talk75 dB / 1kHz
    SNR117dB (A weighted)
    AMP ConfigurationOPA 1612 + BUFF 634

    Build Quality/Aesthetics
    X5ii is different from it's predecessor in many aspects, considering it's build and aesthetics. First thing you will notice is a much more unified, but still smooth aspect. Since I own the black version at this moment, I will talk about it. The buttons, sides and everything else is a deep black, with the wheel and center button being black as well. The color is deeo ad the aspect is unified, giving it a unique elegance and refinement. All edges are chamfered, giving it a plus of style and also giving it a good grip. On the tip of it you will find the headphone output and the line out / coaux port. On the bottom you will find it's dual mSD card slots and on the left side you will find 3 buttons, power, volume+ and volume-. I like that volume+ is easily differentiate from the other two buttons - volume+ has a little bit raised part and power button sits flush with the body, so you won't have any problem using X5ii while inside a pocket. The power button has a led inside which helps you determine whether X5ii is running or not, and it helps you determine when it finished charging. All in all, the build quality and aesthetics are pleasing and a nice addition to the DAP. 
    The wheel is tighter than it was on the original X5 and same can be said about all buttons - making operation considerably better for all usage case scenarios. The screen (display) is also considerably brighter than it's predecessor, making usage of X5ii in daylight a real delight. I totally recommend X5ii for outdoors usage from all perspectives of it's build and design. The player is easy to grip, feels nice in hand and it's sturdy. 
    The buttons have been changed from it's predecessor to a design configuration that sits flat with it's surface, so you won't press any of the buttons by mistake. I consider the movement to be entirely in the right direction and I was able to even run with it in my pockets without any keys pressed by mistake. The device is also beautiful in it's design and is something I would be really content using in every environment possible, having a neutral to stylish design that gives it a certain appeal to look at. The thin silvery circles around the operational buttons also add to the style of X5ii.
    Both audio jacks are tight and firm. The jacks are not metallic anymore but made out of plastic, change which is for the better as it won't scratch the plugs you put in any day soon, and after about two years of usage I would say that it remained about as firm as it was on it's first days of usage. 
    The wheel mechanism is tighter than it was on the original X5, making scrolling and browsing a much better overall experience. 
    Firmware and UI
    The firmware developed by FiiO is great, I detected no problems with it and no problems in my daily usage. I did however install this  version https://mega.nz/#!Y0sDjSJL!xetgjoeQcDpFW4yzhnjj6ZtUGlxqyqQD-JQFUxlds2g   
    This version is not the original firmware, but a user interface tweak, made by @XVortex . It speeds up X5ii's firmware and UI, making it smoother in experience, giving it a snappy feel to it. I would name it the fastest DAP to date, but I already had the chance to have X5-3 in hand and that would be unfair given that X5-3 is my new benchmark for UI speed and fluidity (more about this in a few days). 
    After installing that incredible FW mod, I think that X5ii's firmware and UI are complete, it has gapless playback, very good EQ function, with function working from -6dB to +6dB and a volume attenuator that works do stop any kind of clipping / distortion that might appear, it works as a USB DAC and it's hassle free, tags work well in general and folder browsing works as intended. X5ii is very fast to scan my entire librare (1x128 GB mSD card + 1x 64 GB mSD card, both filled to the brink with a collection of FLAC, OGG and MP3), the FW is able to do a few other handy tricks as well. 
    Deep sleep is a feature that allows X5ii to sleep so it doesn't need full boot sequence when it is to be used. This is useful and I generally use it as it consumes very little battery. 
    The firmware is very intuitive and it took me less than a minute to find everything I needed. 
    Sound Quallity
    X5ii has a pretty neutral general signature, with no emphasis. The sound is vivid, clear, has absolute extension both ways - treble and bass and is neutral. Exactly like a DAP should sound like ideally. 
    Channel balance
    The channel balance is perfect on X5ii and I don't hear any imbalance at all. If you headphones do present a channel imbalance or if you need this function, X5ii can actually change it's channel balance by + or - 10 dB to one channel.
    X5ii's bass is deep, gues down to 20 Hz and this is audible with ie800 or Dj One Pro. X5ii's bass is tight and tighter than the original X5, resolving details that otherwise weren't audible with the original X5. With music like Mindless Self Indlugence, you can actually hear the texture of the bass, the level of detail and tightness causes the bass to sound closer to it's original shape, you can hear the differences between different types of bass and they sound like an instrument with strings being played rather than a mass of energy. The bass is tight though, it doesn't bloat and it doesn't explore in any way, leaving all the work of coloration to the headphones. There is nothing I can fault on the bass and it is pleasing. 
    Wtih EDM, the bass is able to resolve many tiny dents in the bass that were otherwise treated as a large moving mass. With this new resolution of bass, the music itself has another meaning leading to a more intriguing experience. 
    The midrange of X5ii is clean, clear, vivid. Musical notes are played with life and energy and the whole music is pretty good. Instrument separation is good and it helps accentuate specific instruments from a composition, for example you can differentiate two background or rhythm guitars in a complex metal song. 
    The dynamic range is better than it was on the original X5, music sounding fuller and livelier on X5ii. 
    Treble is more clear and more detailed on X5ii than it was on X5 and it carries a lot of energy and strength. X5ii is one of the best DAPs I ever tested when it comes to treble, having a very lifelike treble, that expands in all directions and there is no sight of roll off. If I were to give it a name, this would be a true treble - exactly the way treble is intended to sound like. There is no harshness to speak of or false sibilance, but if the record was bad, X5ii will show that. If the record had a harsh processing of treble, X5ii will be able to show that (this is great for metal music, where the treble must sound aggressive and must be abrasive rather than smooth). This lifelike treble also brings a spark to Punk, Jazz, EDM and even classical. Due to the very good treble, X5ii will give a new life to many songs that might had sounded dull or lifeless before. 
    With Dance Gavin Dance - Acceptance Speech, it is possible to hear every fine sound of the cymbal, every semi hit - or quarter second hit that the drummer processed. A true amazing experience as it will be true to the live experience. The higher registers being well pronounced will also determine an interesting true to life tone to guitars. Every guitar solo shines and is full of life, every cymbal hit is so vivid that it's as if it happens directly in front of the listener. 
    This is actually interesitng; X5ii has a bit more width than it has depth. The height of the soundstage is similar to it's depth, bit the width is large. The final result is interesting and enjoyable albeit the size of depth might affect instrument separation a bit when it is compared to DAPs that offer more depth (FiiO X5-3).
    Even so, the instrument separation on X5ii is very good, it is easy to tell instruments apart and the transients are very good as well. The overall experience on ADSR and PRaT is very nice and X5ii will leave the listener satisfied. 
    Drive factor
    X5ii is able to drive many headphones, from Sennheiser ie80 to Sennheiser HD650 and everything in between (Sennheiser ie800, Ultrasone Dj One Pro, Sennheiser HD3800Pro, etc.). The line out of X5ii is clean and clear, provides a very nice signal and when compared to other TOTL DAC solutions, it is up to compete with products even 8 times as expensive at the same level of quality. Regardless, X5ii does not need an amp to sound very good and it is an enjoyable device by its own. 
    X5ii vs X5 - X5ii brings considerably tighter bass, wider soundstage that is a bit shallower, vivider mids and improved dynamics. The treble is better on the X5ii as well, providing better details, much better energy, the treble sounds real and lifelike on X5ii while it sounded a bit dulled out on the first generation X5. 

    Considering that my first X5ii (owned more than one since I had some financial problems) costed me over 370$, I would say that it was entirely worth it's money at that price. One of the best companions for me when I was traveling long roads and it's entire build and future set made my day brighter every single day I used one. When I had to sell my unit due to a few financial constraints, it was one of the hardest decisions I had to make and I regretted it ever since I made it and until I acquired another X5ii. A DAP to keep and with good value. At the price it can be found for nowdays that it will be replaced by X5-3, I can safely call X5ii a steal and a must-get DAP if you fancy its signature. The only thing that might be holding you in place from buying one is X5-3 for which I promise to write an in-depth review in just a few days. X5-3 also offers great value and I strongly suggest checking the differences between models, both their features and their sound is different, with X5-3 coming on better in most aspects, but at a bit steeper price.
    FiiO X5ii is one of the best DAPs in the world and it certainly is a good contender to the title of the "Best DAP ever made".
    I already own a laptop, a 6.4" smartphone and a few other devices so I don't really need my DAP to do anything else than play music from the mSD cards that are within. The only DAP that I tested personally and can threat X5ii's  position at this moment is its own successor, X5-3, which really does add a few more things to the mix! Stay tuned for more details as X5-3 is very interesting as well. 
    To conclude this review, I am using X5ii at this moment and I am most certainly happy with it but there's more to hear in the upcoming news about X5-3, about which I avoided to speak so far as I'm still testing it and I'm still making impressions of it. 
      trellus, dissembled and ryanjsoo like this.
    1. Burma Jones
      Very well written, thank you for the enjoyable read. Agreed with your assessment regarding the sound.
      Burma Jones, Feb 24, 2017
    2. Dobrescu George
      Dobrescu George, Feb 24, 2017
  10. Tuneslover
    X5ii as FiiO's Flagship Unit - Oh YEAH!!
    Written by Tuneslover
    Published Aug 12, 2015
    Pros - Nice detailed & extended highs, Excellent screen size & brightness, Good amp section, 2 microSD slots
    Cons - Price (due to the poor Canadian exchange rate)
    I have no affiliation with the FiiO company whatsoever.  I jumped at the opportunity to participate in auditioning the pre-release X5ii Canadian tour unit and was selected to be one of the lucky reviewers.  I would like to thank FiiO and the tour organizers for including me.
    I am a long time music lover and audio enthusiast and for the most part have concentrated primarily on 2 channel speaker audio systems, but approximately 2 years ago I ventured into DAC’s, Headphone Amplifiers and good quality Headphones.
    My Portable Audio History:
    About 5 years ago my wife and I decided to treat our selves with 160GB iPod Classics so that we could enjoy music when travelling or to relax in bed before calling it a night.  Although hardly audiophile quality, the iPod sound was acceptable enough for the occasional portable use.  However recent events has me travelling more frequently now so I find myself listening to portable on the go music much more as well.  This increased exposure to my iPod highlighted something to me, namely that I craved something more, something more satisfying in sound quality.
    Enter FiiO:
    In an effort to find something better sounding than my iPod, my research led me to discover FiiO and it’s terrific line of products.   Over the years I have always appreciated and admired audio companies that deliver very good sounding equipment at fair and affordable prices.  Companies such as NAD, Oppo, PSB, and yes, even Schiit are such companies.  I must say that I would now include FiiO within this group.
    I first chose the E11K amplifier and eventually upgraded to the E12a.  Although these amplifiers (along with my Beyerdynamic DT1350’s and Westone UMPro30’s) certainly elevated the sound of the iPod, I sensed a somewhat unnatural bonding between FiiO and the iPod.  Shortly after the release of X3ii I decided to purchase one and discovered that it, along with the E12a, as they say, was a match made in heaven.  I absolutely love the sound of my X3ii (without & with the E12a) and could not envision the need to upgrade to anything else for a very long time.
    First allow me to briefly comment on the X3ii sound signature as a basis for comparison to the X5ii.  To me the X3ii strikes a thoroughly satisfying chord in that it is quite neutral with just a touch body in the bottom end.  The high frequencies are just ever so slightly rolled off which, to my ears, permits long satisfying listening sessions.  I guess it’s best summed up as a smooth sounding device.  This is a very good sounding DAP for a very reasonable price, well done FiiO!
    Being very familiar and happy with the X3ii sound I was looking forward to hear how the X5ii sounded by comparison, or if the difference was noteworthy.  Well to my ears I was immediately aware of the X5ii’s more noticeable high frequencies which allowed me to more clearly pick up details that with the X3ii were smoothed over or barely perceptible.  I was simply hearing more information with the X5ii.  In addition, I also sensed a slightly wider and deeper soundstage that presented a nice airy sense of instrument and vocal location within the soundscape.  Percussion and especially cymbals had a very “live-like” sound that I really liked.  Good recordings sound very good on the X3ii, but on the X5ii some of the tracks I used to compare players transported me to the recording studio or live venue.  The X5ii’s bass punched just as satisfyingly as with the X3ii’s.  So yes, I believe the X5ii distinguished itself from the X3ii.
    With respect to power, the X5ii had plenty to drive my portable 80ohm on-ear DT1350’s providing very nice sub-bass when the music called for it.  In fairness though the X3ii could also achieve this but the X5ii delivered it clearly and effortlessly.  I also enjoyed comparing the X5ii with my X3ii/E12a combo and here the power comparison was more equally matched.  For the most part I listen to my X3ii with the E12a and prefer the slightly different sound signature that the E12a gives.  To me the E12a is like an aural telescopic lens that brings the soundscape slightly closer to the listener and sharpens the details of music.
    X5ii with the E12a:
    Since the power ratings of the X5ii and E12a are pretty similar, I questioned the need for the E12a.  However as stated above the E12a does offer a different sound signature to the listening experience and if a slightly more forward sound is your cup of tea then it may be something for you to consider.  I do like the E12a’s bass boost capability with a simple flip of the switch you can introduce a slightly elevated bass lift for those rather thin sounding tunes.  Certainly not a necessity, especially if you favour ultimate portability but if you get an opportunity to audition it with the X5ii I would encourage you to do so.
    X5ii Line Out:
    Schiit Magni:
    When I upgraded my Schiit Magni to the Magni 2Über on my computer setup, the original Magni found a new home on my bedside table.  Since then it has become an almost nightly ritual listening to my X3ii via the Line Out through the Magni.  Naturally when I received the X5ii I made sure to give it plenty of audition time with the Magni. The Magni cleanly amplified the aforementioned detail and clarity of the X5ii, perhaps a touch more brightly than the E12a.  Being very accustomed to the sound of the X3ii/Magni combination, the more detailed sounding X5ii took me a bit by surprise but after a brief brain burn in period I absolutely loved this combination and stopped comparing it to the X3ii/Magni combo altogether.
    Lake People G109S:
    This amplifier, along with a Schiit Bifrost DAC is part of my main 2 channel system.  I use the Schiit SYS to toggle between my speaker system and headphone system.  First up, I connected the X5ii Line Out straight into the G109S.  To be consistent, I continued to use the DT1350’s as I did with the Magni, and the X5ii did not disappoint.  The very neutral sounding G109S really let me hear how the X5ii’s DAC performed, and I have to say, it did so extremely well.   As with the Magni, the detail and clarity of the X5ii was there in spades.  The X5ii/G109S combination sounded satisfyingly controlled and did not exhibit the shrillness of the Magni if pushed too hard.  The X5ii/G109S combination sounded clean and effortless no matter how high I turned the volume up.   Since this is my main headphone listening system, I also briefly auditioned my HD650’s and HE500’s and had absolutely no complaints.  In fact, the extra clarity that the X5ii brings to the offering is heartily welcomed on this setup.  Comparatively the X3ii sounded very good as well, but to my ears I appreciated the more audiophile like sound of the X5ii.
    X5ii Coax Out/Bifrost/G109S or Speaker System:
    Unfortunately due to my limited time with the X5ii I wasn’t able to spend very much time with this configuration.  I can say that I liked this setup when I originally experimented with my X3ii.  To the best of my recollection the X5ii sounded very similar to the X3ii.
    Conclusion and Final Thoughts:
    First off I would like to thank FiiO for giving me the opportunity to audition the X5ii.  My time with it was a real pleasure and an ear opener.  It highlighted to me that even as good and truly satisfying a player that the X3ii is, in my opinion the X5ii offered just that bit more in detail and clarity that I immediately liked and appreciated.  This difference is particularly important to me because I not only use a DAP for portable travel use but also find it practical and enjoyable to use in conjunction with my other audio setups in my home.
    Is the price difference between the X5ii and X3ii worth it?  Well that’s a personal decision and I would encourage anyone considering either of these DAP’s to first audition and compare.  If I only used a DAP for occasional portable use then I would be completely satisfied with the X3ii.  It’s a terrific DAP and it is a tremendous value.  For me personally, I not only valued the slightly higher sound quality of the X5ii but also appreciated the bigger and brighter screen.  The X3ii screen, in my opinion is perhaps the only negative thing I could say about the X5ii’s little brother.  Also the extra microSD slot is a welcomed feature.  Finally, if you are interested in driving demanding headphones then the X5ii offers very good amplification that will mate well with all but the most demanding of headphones.  For now, the X5ii offers enough features and sound quality to put it squarely in FiiO’s flagship status.
    So yes I made the very difficult decision to sell my X3ii and upgrade to a new X5ii.  Had my wife not offered the upgrade dollar difference as a birthday gift, who knows.  I guess that’s a testament to how good the FiiO DAP’s sound, to me they immediately satisfied that conscious checklist that I look for in audio products.  Nice job FiiO!
      Faber65, hakushondaimao and Ivanov like this.
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    2. DDDamian
      Great review Tuneslover! Some nice gear you've paired it with as well. Obviously you found it worth the upgrade from the X3ii and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your time writing this up :)
      DDDamian, Aug 15, 2015
    3. Tuneslover
      @ASpencer - what's even clearer is that Great MINDS think alike!  Rock ON!!
      Tuneslover, Aug 15, 2015
    4. Tuneslover
      @DDDamian- First ever review and it was like Christmas when you sent me this bundle of joy.  It reminded me of when I was a Kid...wanted to try this, no wait, that...um no, how about this...Uhgg...why only 10 days...ah screw it, I was smitten the only way to fully appreciate this gem is just buy the bloody thing!  Glad I did but I already miss my X3ii.  Life has it's down's but this stuff is the HIGHS for sure.
      Tuneslover, Aug 15, 2015