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FiiO X7

Rating:
3.89474/5,
Tags:
  1. Fiio audio fan
    Nice Dap
    Written by Fiio audio fan
    Published Jul 27, 2017
    5.0/5,
    Pros - sound quality firmware
    Cons - little to big
    have this dap for about 6 mos. bought am3 which made difference with my
    audio technical ath mx 30 40 and 50x series. the problem imo about
    audio equipment is everyone has different hearing. some here hear at
    different ranges and tones what may sound superb to one may just be ok
    to another. the big improvement with this dap was android 5.1 update.
    The x7 is now more smooth operating. also a footnote if you are having a
    problem updating from 4.4 firmware using download tool for windows 10
    it worked for me temporarily disabling anti virus to download
    happy listening
  2. VladBeloz
    Very enjoyable piece of equipment
    Written by VladBeloz
    Published Dec 23, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Great hardware, great usability, nice sound
    Cons - Default amplifier (am1) is not up to standard, battery life could be better, the firmware is a pain
    20+ years ago I used to have a chinese portable tape player. It had very bad build quality, extremely cheap materials and was slooooowing down the playback as the battery was running lower than 50%. After that I had a couple of Sony walkmans and the discman that were much better. Many years later smartphones (and later iphones) emerged and I thought that dedicated portable music sources are part of history. There was a moment when I thought of getting the Pono player. However I was never able to justify this purchase for myself. Nowadays things are getting different.

    What I`m holding now is the chinese dedicated portable hi-res music player (DAP as it`s usually called). From the first touch you realize that it has nothing in common with my first tape player. It’s made from a solid high-grade aluminium piece with a beautiful finish. It feels like tank. Heavy and sturdy. Built on Android and this makes it flexible and full of features rarely available on devices with proprietary OS. The touchscreen is responsive and nice. The contrast and viewing angles are not the best and generally it’s not at the level of newest iphones. But IMO it`s perfect for the purpose. I wouldn't want to pay extra for the DAP top-tier screen. The resources should be mostly spent to fulfill the main purpose of the device - the sound quality.

    This is my first DAP so it is hard for me to compare with the direct competition. However comparing to Audioquest Dragonfly (v1.0 that is built on the same DAC chip by the way) and FIIO e17 I’m very happy with the sound. Here I`d like to note that the default amplifier module (Am1) is the weakest part of the device in my opinion. I would recommend to get it with Am3 (Am2 and Am5 should be good as well, but I haven't heard them personally). Lows are tight and punchy, mids and transparent and detailed, Highs are very detailed. If I try to find something to improve I will say that the mids can be more forward and there is a slight spike in highs that can be sibilant sometimes. But that is really minor to me and don’t bother at all. The soundstage and instruments separation is great. With Am3 module the battery life is not among the best (5-6 hours of playback) but for me it’s not an issue. X7 forced me to re-listen all my favourites as it revealed so much details that I couldn`t pick up before. Especially on DSD recordings. The piano pedals pushed down, subtle breathing, fingers touching strings, background noises and echoes. The first DSD album I played was “Jazz in the Pawnshop” by David Chesky records and it overwhelmed me. Of course the headphones used should be on the same level with the device to open the full potential.

    To sum this up - the X7 is like having a hi-fi system in a pocket. Nice sound and drivability (with am3) great usability. The bettery life is not the best and the firmware is a pain at the moment. Hopefully FIIO will polish it soon.


  3. rapier84
    Great attempt by Fiio at a TOTL DAP
    Written by rapier84
    Published Aug 17, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Solid implementation of the SABRE chip
    Cons - Not a huge step up from mid-fi players
    Disclaimer: This review is written from my perspective as someone with a mid-fi DAP looking to upgrade. Your mileage may vary.
     
    Over the years, my DAPs grown in size and capability from the Sansa Clip, to the original Fiio X3 and now the iBasso DX90. I found that I enjoy the signature of Sabre chips very much, in particular the speed and detail oriented nature of the sound. Some may find the Sabre to sound ‘cold’ but I find it enough for me. I pair the DX90 with JH5 pros and occasionally the Sony CD900STs. I also have the Dragonfly V1.0 which the CD900STs hooked up to most of the time.
     
    When the X7 was announced, I was very excited considering Fiio reputation for offering great value for money. As an aside, I still own the X3 and various small amps (E3, E5 and E6). With the X7 packing the full 9018 chip with 8 cores as opposed to the two 9018k2m chips in the DX90 with 4 cores, the X7 should in theory offer some gains over the DX90. I was lucky enough to obtain a X7 for review and here are some of my thoughts.
     
    The Good. The things that I loved about the Sabre sound, such as attack and details, are all present in the X7. In addition, the sense of space and sound staging was also a noticeable step up from the DX90. Not 100% better, but enough to be noticeable. The sound was deeper and wider to my ears than the DX90, and the mids are not so in your face but deeper into the sonic scape. The findings are consistent across formats from mp3s to uncompressed (ALAC and FLAC) up to DSD. The blacks sound just abit blacker, the mids sweeter and the highs are clearer. The X7 takes the Sabre sound to an altogether more refined level compared to the DX90. However, I have not heard the DX100 before (which packs the same Sabre chip as the X7) and therefore could not offer any comparison.
     
    The Bad. The default amp module for the X7 is designed for IEMs. As the sensitivity of IEMs vary, it is understandable that the design team may have taken a conservative approach to limit the power output of the module (reduce hiss?). For sure, my IEMs are dead quiet when there are no music being played. However, the sound of the JH5s through the module sounds too polite on low gain. I ended up using the X7 on higher gain (through software settings) most of the time.
     
    The conclusion. The X7 offers a meaningful upgrade over mid-fi DAPs such as the X5 and DX90. Having briefly heard DAPs such as AKs, Calyx and Cayin, the X7 appears to be competitive. However, technical abilities come at a price. While the X7 is great value for money compared to other TOTL players, it is still a considerable sum. In the same price range are other spectacular offerings such as the Chord Mojo. What you end up with is ultimately the result of your priorities. If you treasure small size and convenience of a one box solution, the X7 is a good upgrade and great first serious DAP. If you can live with bulk and multi-box solutions, the choice may not be so straightforward.
     
    I ended up with the Mojo, but that’s another story.
  4. RebeccaSugar
    A Thing to Behold.
    Written by RebeccaSugar
    Published Jul 5, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Insane Sound Quality (with proper setup), Customizability, LINE/Coax OUT, Clear Shell, Android OS/V4A/Root.
    Cons - Treble (AM1), Touch Screen Unresponsive, Unsupported Sample Rates, Freezes & Hangups, UI Oddities, Slow Shuffle, Drain on Android Mode (faster w/AM2).
    FiiOX7AM2.jpg
     
    Disclaimer.​
     ​
    There are going to be a lot of things I will have not mentioned about this player, since I would have gotten used to them since the purchase, nonetheless, in the verdict, I will be as detailed & unbiased as possible, while still expressing my personal opinion.
    That being said, I will update when something new comes to mind, or any errors happen to pass, this being my first product review.
     
    Introduction
    I am a 19-year old romanticist who has a very keen ear for a grand variety of music, from chiptune, to electro swing, to classic, videogame, hard rock and all of that good stuff.​
    I like my sound signature to be powerful and balanced, putting an emphasis on sub-bass.​
    Music has been a daily routine as it has helped as an escapism & coping device during some of the most brutal stages of my life.​
    It's helped me do many things that I don't believe would be possible for me to do without it, It's increased my creativity, along with it being extremely therapeutic.​
    It is something only a very few could understand.​
    Let's begin.​
     
     
    Pre-Review
     
    Here we are, my very own review of FiiO's current flagship; the FiiO X7. I'm not one of the people who have watched FiiO grow as a company, nor have I been a loyal customer for years (although I have bought many of their products within a very short amount of time), but I have only been here since the conception of the X7, along with being swept up by the hype of this lustrous device, I never had a device so high end, let alone one made ONLY for music, and since I finally got a job (2 jobs at the time actually), I started to go mad with excitement, I grew up poor, so I could never afford something so...valuable, but now I could, I could have it in my hands, I could OWN it and call it MINE, and finally stop watching the others have fun without me.
    It was exciting and I REALLY wanted to be part of the early testers, unfortunately, I heard deal-breaking issues on its early run.
    Since this was the first time I was ever going to buy something so top notch, I waited some months for the tide to die down, and waited on more experienced users, like Brooko, x RELIC x, twister6, with many, many others, to give a final verdict if I should get it or not.
     
    Past Devices (Chronological Order)
    RCA MP3
    iPod Nano (3rd Gen)
    Sansa Fuze+
    FiiO X1 x E17K Amp Stack
    FiiO E17K DAC + HTC M9 w/ Hiby.
     
     
    Review
     
    - FIRST IMPRESSION
    After what seemed like an eternity waiting for this device to arrive at my doorstep, I finally heard a knock when I least expected it, it was late in January, after making a deal with a very understanding and very respectful user in this forum, bless them.
    I dragged myself off of bed, thinking to myself that once again, there were Jehovah's Witnesses trying to convert me, I opened the door, about to tell them to scram, then a holy light shone on me when I saw a woman holding a white package, my frown turned right around, it was finally here, it was happening, WE WERE DOING THIS, BABY!
    She asked for my name, and I confirmed, signed the slip, thanked her, closed the door, and welcomed my child to its new abode, "Welcome, my baby." I told the unopened package, as I rubbed it suggestively, with bedroom eyes. headfi.png
     
     
     
     
     
    I blazed to my room, looking like Christian Weston Chandler right after making a new comic, looking at the package with intense contemplation, very carefully treading around the box, and then suddenly-- carelessly started stabbing it with a knife. I wanted to crack open the hard shell of this uncolored crustacean, to peek in the pretty package, to get that sweet treat in the center. After much abuse, I finally pried the sucker open, and lo and behold, there it was, it was "lit", the model, the chinese beauty (not talking about the woman in the cover either), it was a lightly used player, but still looking brand spanking new, my baby!
    I wanted to cry, "I worked hard for this, I deserved it! I needed a break from all of this bull$#!(" I told myself, as I firmly grasped the aluminum child, kissing it, over and over, as it seemed we were about to make yet another child.
     
    I started having a feel for it, titanium finish, bright blue pulsar, as bright as the hottest star, the raised glass, polished semi-clicky buttons, this felt...high-end.
    It was like a gift from the angels themselves, my heart was racing, I've honestly never felt this excited since I obtained a gamecube in '08. It was real.
    It turned it on, saw the "Welcome" in the boot logo, having "FIIO - MUSIC PLAYER" follow it shortly afterwards, and I grinned, hard. I clicked my SD card right in that sucker and let it scan, I fiddled my thumbs, waiting and waiting for my collection to complete, FLACS, High Quality MP3's and such then, there it was! My heart raced ever so fast.
    The menu, it felt sharp, snappy, and intuitive (for now), I clicked on the very song, "Adam" from "G-Darius"----AAAANNNNNDDDD....nothing.
     
    I was confused, why wasn't I being drifted into another dimension of musical freedom, why wasn't my soul being torn from my corporeal body, to be cast away to a land of infinite ethereal pleasure, to be comforted by other beautiful celestial bodies, being grabbed by many hands, and felt all over in the most intimate of fashions? What the hell..!? Was it the player, the amp, have I simply surpassed summit-fit, this can't be, can it!!?!
    I took a deep breath, and realized, that my expectations were simply too high, did I feel robbed? Maybe. Did I feel disappointed? Certainly. Did I regret it....? Hell no.
    INTO THE SOUND SECTION WE GO.
     
     
     
    - SOUND
    First of all, the sound is very treble oriented,  that's the root of /my/ problem, maybe it's different from yours, maybe you like treble, but personally, I was freaking OUT.
    "Why does it sound like this?", "This isn't THAT much better than a stacked X1, if anything it's almost worse!" "Dear god, what have I done!?" I asked myself all of these things, confused and almost frustrated, then I remembered, one very, very obvious thing, my IEM's. "My IEM's! Dear Lord, They're an insult to something of this caliber! I'm a monster! I HAVE DISRECTED THE GODS OF HI-FI" after that epiphany, suddenly another one struck. Eureka! I remembered the AM1 as well, I was...moderately relieved.
    At the time, I still had the IM-70's along with the stock AM1 amp, which didn't push this player to complete absolution. These were all I had though, I didn't know HOW much better new IEM's and amps would make it, I just kept thinking on how the treble hurt my ears just as bad as an unamped X1. It fatigued very often, the separation felt empty, treble was overly dominant, sudden shift in frequencies BLARED through my ears, it even gave me light headaches from hearing it often. Although, the more I heard it, the more I started to appreciate as well, excluding the bass, it has been a subtle improvement over the amped X1, strings were clearer, it didn't sound overly warm, it was extremely "Holographic", and the sound signature was "lucid" as I would put it, nevertheless, it was still very hard to enjoy it with such grating frequencies. You have to remember, I'm a very young guy, I was 18 at the time, and I can STILL pick up more sounds that an older person might at their age, so it was screeching to the point that I started to absolutely ABHOR it.
     
    After a few weeks later, I ordered the FLC 8S, it was on sale, so why not? I'm unsure what I expected from these but "muh customizability", and, wow, that's actually what I got, I was pleasantly surprised, impressed even. I expected something very useless and gimmicky, but they're surprisingly powerful, I'll focus on these on my next review, but they are VERY good. The detail was better, it sounded way less jumbled and more spacious, instead of far and hollow, not what I would like (at the time), but the tuners helped get rid of some of the treble scratching as well, it sounded slightly so warm.
    After a few MORE weeks, I got the AM2, I pre-ordered it to get it the day it came out afterI read all of the reviews on it, since I wanted to make sure I didn't mess up as badly as with the X7.
    I'm unsure what I expected for one hundred dollars, but I might as well burn $100 more, I came THIS far, right?
     
    IMAG0127.jpg
    Then came the day....
     
    - AM 1 vs AM2
    Other reviews have already done this, so I'm just going to do the very basics, since I'll be focusing more on the AM2 than the dreaded AM1.
    AM2 on the left, AM1 on the right. IMAG0130.jpg
     
     
    -Treble (AM1)
    The treble is very, VERY high on the AM1, no way out of it, if you have treble-centric IEM's, prepare to get ear-raped, ESPECIALLY on tracks like something out of "Sonic Rush". Horrible sensation, HORRIBLE.
     
    -Treble (AM2)
    This is where it gets good, here is where I start complimenting the player and giving it treats for doing such a fantastic job, this is finally where FiiO meets their dues for such hard work.
    Treble is less scratchy, it isn't any less prominent by the way, unneeded frequencies just aren't there, which is, obviously, VERY, VERY good. Yes yes. It sounds great, it's smoother, very fluid, frequency spikes aren't as grating, sound flows much better, fatigue has been decreased substantially, especially with the mentioned FLC 8S, it's certainly improving from when I first got it! (;
     
    -Mids (AM1)
    Not punchy nor intimate, it's cold, very cold, there's no passion, just a robot blowing cold wind at you, is how I can describe it, quite sad actually.
    Detail retrieval is only relevant for the higher mid frequencies, if you're into airy sound and high treble with excellent retrieval in that specific place, this is for you, but me? I like to Jam, madam!
     
    -Mids(AM2)
     
    Ohhhhhhhhh baby, baby baby baby! This is it, I'm going to get into lick-boot territory here.
    I LOVE how absolutely erotic the sound can be for my ears, it's close, it's almost in your face, it's near damn personal, NOT enough to bloat though, HOW is this magic possible!?
    Do you know what I'm trying to say? Yes, indeed, the sound is...wait for it....wait for it...It's; BALANCED!! Huraah!!!
    The warmness I craved from my E17K mixed with the cold breeze of the AM1, and made -- beauty.
    Seriously, this is what I've been wanting since I got a SANSA FUZE+ in '12, but this player obviously, utterly, destroys it. No contest.
    I feel so, so close to my music, it's as many users have said before, "It's as if I'm standing right in front of the stage".
     ​
     ​
    tmp_29121-IMAG02962048753849.jpg
     
     
    -Bass & Sub-bass (AM1)
    Imagine this, you're about to be served some delicious food, right? You're excited, you get a certain type of burger, you take a bite, the meat, it's very...dry.
    You get very little sauce as well, the lettuce is very crisp and fresh, yes, airy cold tasty lettuce, but the burger is...less than average, you can barely taste the freaking thing.
    You don't want purely the taste of lettuce with dry burger meat, that's unsavory, you can only taste the lettuce at this point, the meat has no substance.
    That's how I put it with the sub-bass, the bass is there too, it's weak though, just like the burger meat, it's thin too.
    Meat & Juicyness = Bass
    Meat FLAVOR & Tenderness= Sub-Bass
     ​
     
    -Bass & Sub-bass (AM2)
    It's gonna be a bizzaro version of what I said above.
    Imagine this, you're about to be served some delicious food, right? You're excited, you get a certain type of burger, you take a bite, the meat, it's very...Juicy! Mmmmm!
     
    You get a more than acceptable ration of sauce as well, the lettuce is very crisp and fresh, yes, airy cold tasty lettuce, and the burger is EXQUISITE, you can taste so MANY TEXTURES from it, a lot of work went into it, It's insane.
    You never knew you could have so many different flavors in your mouth at once! You take yet another bite and pick up even MORE flavors.
    You love how fresh this is, that's savory, you can taste both the meat, the spices, the hints of CHEESE inside the meat, AND EVEN THE BREAD! It's not just there to keep it together, it's also including a very distinctive flavor, you enjoy it thoroughly, it; it fills you up and gives you a HUGE amount of energy.
    That's how I put it with the sub-bass, the bass is there, It's powerful, not enough to ruin the other flavors, they mix VERY well, it's powerfully balanced.
    Your taste buds can also pick up the quality of said meat and spices depending on each different burger.
    Meat & Juiciness = Bass
    Meat FLAVOR & Tenderness= Sub-Bass
     
    -Dimension, Room & Depth (AM1)
    It's one of the good things I'll actually give this thing credit for, it's slightly better at instrument separation than the AM2, it's not a HUGE step-up, but if you're the type of analytical person who has a "golden ear" so to speak, you'll definitely pick it right up.
    That all goes out the window with the high treble I mentioned earlier though, this doesn't mean much if the high-frequencies keep grating you, especially with the depth not being very deep in mid and bass retrieval, the lower-end depth here is lacking horribly.
     
    -Dimension, Room & Depth (AM2)
    On par with the AM1, slightly less well, but the balance of the instrument frequencies make up for it. The reason for this must be because it has less weight, and airyness, lack of bass in the AM1 tends to cause a better separation without the heavier frequencies getting in the way, it's very complex stuff.
    The depth here reaches far and knuckle-deep.
    I can hear artists lips smacking, guitars strumming right as if someone was putting a show in front of me, and it's been up to the point where I can even hear recording fallacies and BREATHING, YES, it sounds...wow. I can't describe, but this player can really differentiate between a poorly recorded audio file and an excellently recorded one.
    It's both a gift, and a curse.
     
     
    - DESIGN
    It's sexy, I like it, I'm no design wizard, I simply think It's a modest high-end. It doesn't scream "STEAL ME!!", but it also doesn't mess around and look cheap, although, I've had several people comment on it, telling me "That's a clunky old phone.", Hahahah, peasants.
    I haven't had my hands on a lavish A&K, so I can't really can't say how they compare.
    It's really nice to look at for me, especially knowing it's purpose, maybe I just really like sleepers, although, I wouldn't mind having it both look high-end while working as expected to look.
     
    - ERGONOMICS, COMPABILITY & CUSTOMIZABILITY
    Exchanging amps work just fine, no errors on my part, It's a simple unscrew, plug & play, very easy and VERY handy.
    Unfortunately, the screen sometimes fails to detect what keys I press, if I press "G' it will go to "B" then press different keys instead, and it's very frustrating.
    On another note, I bought a screen protector and it has protected it from falls and such, though, it isn't the exact size as the screen, just sliiiiightly off, not too shabby.
    The SD card needs to be put face-down, which is rather strange, but not a deal breaker.
    In being able to customize the X7, you have plenty of amps to meet your demands, I'm settling on the AM2 since I only use IEM's, It's beautifully built and has a sanded finish, there's also the AM5, but that's only if you have big power hungry 'phones.
     
    -USER INTERFACE & V4A
    If you're using pure android mode, don't worry TOO much about it, but as for me, I'm using neutron and V4A now (which doesn't apply to the sound comparisons above, check below).
    It's prone to not working with the side buttons at times, and activates the stock FiiO Player, which is very annoying, along with it also having hangups, the player tends to freeze in the lock-screen sometimes, until forced reset, very grating, especially during jogs and general workouts, way to kill the mood.
     
    Now, with V4A and Neutron, they're a dream team, especially in the X7, Neutron is by far, the best Audio App for FiiO right next to the FiiO stock app, when I first used it, I hated it, but now, I don't know how I lived without it, it somehow beat the stock player that I already loved, most likely due to the HEAVY, HEAVY customizability.
    Unfortunately, Neutron is prone to crashing every half hour or so, which is unfortunate, but I can live with it, would be more than happy to have it fixed though.
     
    - MISCELLANIOUS THOUGHTS
    The AM1 has a very noticeable hiss in both Android & PMM.
    It was very annoying, especially after a song ended, that's another reason why I hated it so much.
    The AM2 fixes this, and most likely other hardware based audio problems.
    If you're a normie, and just want a player to play good, simple music without breaking the bank or wracking your brain, then use the phone you already have, and get an FLC 8S if they're on sale, If you get one, give it the golden tuner, clear bass, and red sub-bass tuner.
    It sounds wonderful on my HTC M9, It obviously doesn't beat the X7, but it should be enough to please someone who isn't a giant music molestor, like myself.
    If you're NOT a normie, and absolutely LOVE music, then try to form your own verdict based on what you've read here and other reviews.
    If you like airy sound with a light touch of bass, get the X7 stock, if you like a more balanced, yet analytical sound, look at the AM2, if you want bass, there are upcoming apps for that.
     
     
    Verdict:
    Well there you have it folks, that's my review, I've said everything I currently know about the player, and my thoughts on it.​
    FiiO definitely had a rocky start with the X7, and even if you had high-end earphones, the AM1 most likely didn't satisfy you if you were a bass-head, or just liked balance in general.​
    Now, that they've been pushing out new firmwares AND new amps, you've better check it, especially after the price drop, it's under $499 dollars on amazon now, definitely better than the MSRP $649 price.​
    Take care and good luck to you all!​
     
     ​
    1. PinkyPowers
      Finally settled on a DAP, eh?
      PinkyPowers, Jul 5, 2016
    2. RebeccaSugar
      I did since February, I never thought I'd actually want review it. Don't get me wrong, I love this thing, but I'd love to try others and see if it'll shatter my view on this baby.

      I almost disowned it at one point I was so fed up with it. Those times are over, thankfully.
      RebeccaSugar, Jul 5, 2016
    3. rebbi
      Very fun read, thanks!
      rebbi, Jul 5, 2016
  5. n05ey
    FIIO X7 - a great experience, leaves me wanting more
    Written by n05ey
    Published Feb 6, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - great ui, solid build, responsive screen
    Cons - a little chunky

    Intro

     

    This review is a part of the Australian FIIO X7 tour where I had the opportunity to spend a week with this little beast. Thanks to FIIO and the tour organisers for trusting me with the kit and all the hard work behind the scenes.

     

    I am a long time lurker who occasionally pops in to say hi in a few of the forums but stays up to date on all things headphone. I have been enjoying the talk and leadup to the this player. I have been interested in the idea of a good android based player but am a little sceptical of a DAP that does more than I really need but less than a phone and where that would fit into my life. So, does this great piece of kit stack up?

     

    I will compare the unit in my review to my little DAP, the Sony NWZ- and for the comparisons I will use my ATH MSR7 and Aurisonics Rockets.

     

    Packaging

     

    The packaging reminds me of the apple approach, relatively minimal but reasonably premium. I have to say that I am getting a little bored with this approach, not to be too harsh but it is an apple thing, I think Fiio does have the opportunity to take it in a different direction, with companies like FLC, UE and Jays capturing my attention with an alternative approach with a lot of style

     

     

     

    Build

     

    The build is nice and solid with a bit of a chunky aesthetic, pleasant but nothing revolutionary. It has a confidence inspiring heft and I really enjoyed the feel of it in hand.

     

    My main criticism of this category of DAPs is that the girth does do a little harm to the level of portability. It would be interesting to see something that takes it a different way, keeping it slim but maybe a larger footprint. So saying, it was smaller than the Cayin N6 and I got used to that in the end. The bottom line is that it is well within my level of expectation for this category of DAP so if you like the interface and sound, it is well nice enough to make you feel that you aren’t carrying something that doesn’t reflect the investment

     

    Interface

     

    The display is a nice and reasonably responsive screen. My first gripe though is that to start using the screen you need to press a button on the side. This is fine unless you have the DAP on the desk. I would appreciate having an option to wake up the screen on the front as per the Galaxy or Iphone lines.

     

    Once you are in, the X7 has made a nice little player that sits on the homescreen. Personally after using the Hum Pervasion, I completely love the FIIO approach. I dig that you can still get behind it and into the system broader to start digging around in the android world, but I like to just be able to plug and play as well as having my music always at my fingertips. This seems like a much better approach.

     

    The menus and navigation all seem pretty intuitive although I feel like there is definitely room for refinement. The scrolling and touch input all seemed to register fine for me.

     

    All in all, I enjoyed the experience.

     

    Sound

    To evaluate sound, I have listened to each headphone volume matched by ear to compare the DAP’s. I know this isn’t the most technically sound methodology, but I am a relaxed imprecise guy, so if you are reading my review my hope is to give more of a story rather than the hard data :) If you want that, there are reviewers that I could recommend for you :)

     

    General impressions –

     

    Vs my Sony A15 the X7 is clearly in the next league. In comparison the A15 just has a level of haze as opposed to the X7. I would say that it sounds the next level of refined. Areas of black space and separation between instruments in a way that the A15 just can’t match. Compared to to my memories of the Cayin N6 I would say that the X7 has similar level of detail and refinement but the N6 sounds a little etched by comparison, a little hyper detailed. I would say that the X7 has a little more of an organic feel, the X7 is a really satisfying listen.

     

    The unit has plenty of power, never feeling like it was stretched, giving deep and full bass, detailed but still smooth mids and detailed shimmering highs. It doesn’t have the same warm feel as some of the other fiio units I have heard, but rather takes the organic, nice enveloping sound that usually characterises that sound and applies it to a nice flat sound.

     

    Sorry if it doesn’t make sense, I am just trying to put words to my impressions :)

     

    Conclusion

     

    I enjoyed this experience. Thanks to all the Aussie crew for the opportunity to be involved in this tour.

     

    I guess to boil it all down, I would say this.

     

    It is at the top of the list of DAP’s I have spent time with. Is it the perfect portable? I don’t think so, but it definitely takes it closer than I have seen before.


  6. Hitec
    FIOS X7 - First Impression - Pros/Cons
    Written by Hitec
    Published Jan 28, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth mids, Firmware Updates OTH, layered tones
    Cons - Bluetooth headphone distortion, EQ level jumps, unresponsive soft buttons
    My experience involved using a Sennheiser HD700 and a Parrot Zik 3.0 headphone with all kinds of music.
     
    Headphones plugged into the X7:
    The HD700, and Zic 3.0 have sounds that are completely different on the X7.  The HD700 sounds excellent with perfectly layered,
    robotic,  precision sound, while the Parrot is a little wilder sounding on the X7.  The Parrot looses musicality because of the fun it has with low bass,
    elevated highs, etc.  I think the Parrot is more fun with the X7 when you just want to hear the party and not necessarily the
    delicate passages of the music.  I would like to take the Parrot and the X7 on vacation together.
     
    What was enjoyed:
    Ok, I really enjoy listening to that top of the line DAC.  The music was so smooth and nice sounding.  I tried hooking the line out to my external sound system,
    and it was so good, that you could crank it to the max and not hear any apparent distortion.  I want to get a SPDIF to Toslink to test that out later.
    The source for the music in the X7 must be very clean 'cause I didn't hear it break up at all.  Also, the system seemed pretty linear.  Each increase in
    volume produced the same linear output and sound at all frequencies.  Plugged into a headphone, this thing sounded pretty great.  The X7 sounds somewhat
    like the Sony PHA3, but the PHA3 just sounds like it has more power, and seems to have larger images, and slightly more space, while the X7 seemed to have more
    multiple layered sounds in the music, and a slightly richer midrange.  I think more power to the X7 will have these DACS sounding very close.
     
    What I did not like - bluetooth sound:
    Well, the Parrot Zik 3.0, in addition to plugging in, can also go Bluetooth wireless.  Dam*&^, this thing was almost perfect for me.  Bluetooth
    has a non-stop BACON FRYING at the low high freq. ranges.  Also, the music across the frequency range is not as clean.  It sounds cheap.
    But wait, when you plug directly into the  X7 it is a completely different ball game - it sounds terrific.  I tried to go to the bluetooth settings to turn off the telephone bluetooth
    checkmark, but that did not help.  I tried resetting the entire device, and updating the firmware all over again - nothing, same problem.
    I connected the Zik 3.0 bluetooth headphone to my PC, and VOLA!  The bluetooth connection sounded outstanding, and the bacon was finished cooking!
    Apparently, the X7 to Zik 3.0 headphone sounds BAD!, while the PC's bluetooth connection to the Zik 3.0 headphone sounded SUPERB!
    CAN THIS BE FIXED?  Makes me think the bluetooth audio on the X7 is not great.  I already returned a pair of headphones for this, but now I know that it is the X7,
    and depending on responses here, I will be returning the X7 until it is fixed.  I mean the difference between the PC's bluetooth, and the X7 is night and day!
     
    EQ selector icon unexpectedly raising volume:
    I can't get a hold on this, but at times, when I touch on the EQ icon to go to the EQ, the overall volume increase.  This is with or without the EQ set to on.
    I wouldn't have a problem with this, but I am wondering, if there was volume available, then let me have it already, don't raise the volume
    when I select the EQ icon.
     
    Soft buttons unresponsive at times:
    I think this is just an Android thing, but it happens.
     
    I can live with most of these things, except for the Bluetooth - dangit!!
     
    Anybody, please advise...
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hitec
      I have not owned one Android phone that I did not root, and install a custom ROM.  Now, that Android is making it's way to our favorite music players, maybe we can get involved with the XDA Development site to aid and encourage the volunteering developers to create a super-duper customer user interface for music players.  http://forum.xda-developers.com/chef-central/android.  I haven't actually searched to see if this is already being done...
      Hitec, Feb 3, 2016
    3. 1wyseman
      I have 7 headphones and 1 relay DAP/DAC-to-hifi system connected via Bluetooth to X7. All sound excellent with no fying bacon.

      There was a concern with lack of volume--just enough but not enough to be a little dangerous on special occasions. In other words, there isn't an 11 when using Bluetooth. I was told on the X7 thread that this has more to do with the receiver than the X7, and X7 + Relay + Harmon Kardon amp + speakers proved that--but yes, there was a significant jump in volume when turning on the EQ. That is gone now with FW 1.8--but defaulted to the lower volume setting. So, if there was more volume with the previous FW 1.5 +EQ, then it seems like it should be possible to bump up the volume with Bluetooth  in general...yes? No?
      1wyseman, Feb 5, 2016
    4. Hitec
      @1wyseman,  I agree, there should be room to bump up the volume.  I'm thinking they did not do it because of distortion or something.  I probably had a bad X7 unit.  
      Hitec, Feb 5, 2016
  7. jjacq
    Killer DAP for the price
    Written by jjacq
    Published Jan 11, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - android, streaming, dedicated app, amplifier modules
    Cons - a little bit big, small storage, firmware issues
    2016-01-0215.21.26.jpg
     
    Design:
    The DAP definitely has a solid build to it. Very good in terms of its weight which kind of reminds me of the FiiO X5 when I owned it but almost all touch screen. I like the build quality a lot and the screen is wonderfully spacious. It is a tad bit big to my liking but that is probably because I’m already used to the form factor of my own DAP. I personally am not a fan of the buttons as it is hard to distinguish what side I am pressing if I want to change the volume or change the song. It would have been ideal if FiiO had used another mechanism for the volume control or used different buttons altogether to avoid confusion. Even when I have the DAP right next to me, I can’t just grab it and change the song without having a second look to make sure I am not increasing the volume.

    Interface:
    I like how FiiO made the DAP have two different modes, Pure Music and Android mode. I enjoy the dedicated music app by itself though it also needs a little bit of getting used to in terms of navigation. This is because there are buttons that don’t have labels on them and I find them necessary especially for those who are more used to iOS. The UI is very responsive, I don’t see any lag on it at all and the freedom streaming apps is definitely very convenient as well. One thing I don’t like about the X7 is the on-screen volume change. Sometimes it does not respond properly where I drag my finger and it’s not doing anything. There are also times that it’s the android-style volume bar that shows when changing the volume. The drop down pane also disappears sometimes where it only shows what’s playing rather than being able to change settings on the fly. Perhaps these are polishings that FiiO will address in the next few firmwares.
     
    Sound:
    The X7 is quite a contender indeed. I am using my SE846 and it provides a close amount of clarity and detail when compared to RWAK240. The X7’s sound signature is very flat and a little bit lacking when it comes to dynamics. While there are details on the X7, I think it still lacks when compared side by side with the RWAK240. They are not too far apart though, on a price and feature standpoint the X7 easily wins out though the RWAK240 does offer more storage, optical and balanced out if that’s what one needs. The bass is excellent and hard hitting, mixed with a well-balanced midrange and treble. The treble is very smooth and it makes music sound engaging as it should be. I would say that it is a good match for the SE846 which I think is particular when it comes to it source.

    Final thoughts:
    The X7 is truly a flagship in its own right and it can definitely compete with the more expensive AK DAPs. While I do enjoy the sound from it, the dealbreaker for me would be the small storage of 32gb internal and the interface which can be remedied with future firmware updates. I wish that FiiO had made the button layout more ergonomic and I would’ve been happier with a smaller device. Optical out would also be nice. I look forward to the modules FiiO would be releasing for it as well. 
    1. HarlanDraka81
      Hi, i could see you tried the Shure Se846 with the X7. Can you hear any hiss with them? How is the noise floor with the Se846?
       
      Last two questions:
       
      Is it possible to change the theme or the colour of the Pure music player (like choose other colours for the player beside that blue)?
       Is it possible to choose to have that blue led off when the player is on? Many Thanks!!
      HarlanDraka81, Jan 11, 2016
    2. jjacq
      @HarlanDraka81 I didn't hear any hiss despite the 846 being a 9 ohm IEM. The X7's amp module is reported to be <.2 ohms though so it makes sense.
       
      The last two questions, maybe eventually they have it but at the moment I haven't noticed the option of changing the theme color or turning off the blue LED.
      jjacq, Jan 13, 2016
  8. lalala6
    X7 - FiiO's best effort yet!
    Written by lalala6
    Published Dec 29, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Design, build quality, ease of navigation, DAC implementation, overall sound, value for money
    Cons - Minor UI quirks, IEM module does not unleash X7's full potential

    FiiO X7 Review by lalala6​

     
    IMG_20151214_224509.jpg
     
    Disclaimer: This X7 is a preview unit kindly loaned to us by FiiO for the X7 world tour. A big thanks to Joe and team for organizing this tour and letting many people experience the X7 first hand!
     
     
    About Me
     
    I have been an avid audiophile for 3 years and counting. Starting from portable and then branching to desktop, I have slowly accumulated more and more gear, buying and selling stuff to try to find the perfect collection of IEMs, headphones, amps and sources for my musical needs. I listen almost exclusively to Japanese music, mainly Anime songs, J-pop and Japanese indie (doujin). But even within those genres, there are many musical styles resembling many different genres, like rock, metal, acoustic, ballad, jazz, piano, and even classical. I believe most of the music I have are well mastered, and I know a bad recording when I hear one.
     
    Since this is a DAP review, I thought I should share my experience with DAPs. I currently own an iBasso DX80, and have owned in the past many DAPs; namely every single DAP that FiiO released before X7, iBasso DX90 & HDP-R10, Cayin N6, HiFiMAN HM-650, Walkman Z, F & A series. While I have never heard the ultra-expensive DAPs like Astel&Kern, I consider myself quite well-versed on DAPs and know how a good DAP should sound like.
     
    Gears used in this review:
     
    - FiiO X7 with IEM amp module (duh)
    - FiiO E12DIY with OPA827 + LME49600
    - IEMs: Audio Technica ATH-CK100 & CKR9LTD, DUNU DN-2000, JVC FX850
    - Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-AD2000, Fostex TH-X00
    - Other DAPs: iBasso DX80
     
     
    Packaging and Accessories
     
    IMG_20151214_225323.jpg
    IMG_20151214_225530.jpg
     
    The X7 comes in a simple black box with minimal text or decoration. Opening it reveals the unit, and underneath it is a box containing the manuals and accessories. While it does the job well, for $650 I was hoping for a fancier packaging that will properly convey the class of FiiO’s flagship statement DAP; maybe something like the HDP-R10 packaging. Well, considering the amount of features and quality packed into the X7, I guess we can’t complain.
     
    For accessories, it comes with two screen protectors, a USB cable, coaxial cable, screwdriver and spare screws for the amp module. The retail version will also come with a transparent case.
     
     
    Aesthetics and Build Quality
     
    IMG_20151214_224605.jpg
    IMG_20151214_224710.jpg
     
    The X7 has a very modern and sleek look, with its minimalist design, brushed aluminum and metallic body. High points for visuals right there. The build quality is equally as impressive. It feels like a solid and expensive chunk of metal in your hands, with absolutely no creakiness or moving parts inside. Buttons are tactile and clicky. The X7 is something people would be proud to own.
     
     
    Removing Amp Module
     
    IMG_20151214_231342_HHT.jpg
     
    The amp module is very easy to remove. After taking out the screws on the sides of the X7 with the provided screwdriver, the module can be detached smoothly, and can be inserted as just smoothly. While this is a very easy operation, having to keep that screwdriver near you can be cumbersome for some and this means you cannot swap modules while on the go as you risk losing the screws or the screwdriver. I would prefer a lock-in system where no screws are involved.
     
    One thing that irked me is the “T5” wording below the screws on the amp module. Not sure if this is just on the tour unit, but there is no need to label what size the screws are on unit itself. Just leave it as information available in the manual, for those who are inclined to know. You don’t see Apple labeling what type of screws they use on the iPhone, do you?
     
     
    UI and Navigation
     
    IMG_20151214_225105.jpg
     
    The X7 runs on Android 4.4, and the OS works pretty much flawlessly. If you have used an Android smartphone before, you will have no problems picking up the X7 and using it. There are two modes, the Android mode and Pure Music mode. The music player is just an app in Android mode, while in Pure Music mode it runs just the music player, making it work like a dedicated DAP. Navigation in the FiiO Music app is fast, smooth, logical, and overall an enjoyable experience.
     
    However, there are some minor quirks in the UI that needs correction, and I have made a list of suggestions to improve the UI:
     
    - Delete button revealed too easily when accidentally swipe left, breaking the momentum of scrolling. Suggest to put delete button together with the three buttons revealed when swiping right.
    - In the Now Playing screen, a tiny accidental swipe on the album art changes the track too easily. Suggest to change tracks only with a longer and more deliberate swipe on the album art
    - Top part of the album art is cut off in the Now Playing screen. Suggest option to hide the notification bar.
    - In the built-in settings in FiiO Music app, allow user to toggle the Gain, Balance, and In-line Remote right in the app instead of directing them to Sound Settings whenever those are clicked.
    - In Sound Settings, capitalize LO and SPDIF, and rename 'Lrbalance' to 'LR Balance'
    - Put an indicator whenever EQ is enabled, either on the Now Playing screen or on the notification bar.
     
     
    Battery Life
     
    The battery life of X7 is decent for a DAP. I could get around 7-8 hours of playback on a single charge in Android mode. While this isn't impressive numbers by any means, having to power a high-end desktop DAC while also powering the SoC and amp module yet managing to squeeze out average DAP battery life is a win in my book.
     
     
    Sound
     
    Here comes the part you have been waiting for – how’s the sound quality?
     
    Well, I’m not too good at expressing sound in words, but I’ll try my best.
     
    The X7 with the IEM amp module can be characterized as having a warmish neutral sound. Bass is slightly elevated above neutral, creating the warmth that is in line with FiiO’s house sound. While the X5II is a departure from the house sound with an airier and more neutral signature, the X7 makes a triumphant return to their signature sound, and does it better than any FiiO DAPs before it could. The flagship Sabre ES9018S DAC really helps in this, bringing tons of micro-details, superb dynamics, and impeccable staging to the table. I can say the DAC is extremely well implemented in the X7, and is the best line-out I’ve ever heard from a DAP.
     
    Here I shall describe in detail the sound with the stock IEM module.
     
    Lows
     
    The bass is smooth, detailed and goes quite deep. There is a slight mid-bass bump creating a punchy sensation to the sound. Overall decent sounding lows, but could do with more definition and texture.
     
    Mids
     
    The mids are definitely the standout of the X7. Amazingly intricate, smooth and yet full of micro-detail and texture. Very dynamic and musical sounding, slightly forward in a nice way. On intimate recordings, the vocals are lush, detailed and incredibly expressive. Several times I had goosebumps while listening to vocals with the X7. For sure, one of the best DAPs for mids without having to spend much more.
     
    Highs
     
    The highs are very well controlled with no sibilance or harshness in the sound. Despite having a Sabre DAC, it is surprisingly smooth, and has no edginess in the treble that is common in many Sabre implementations. Might lack sparkle or excitement coming from brighter DAPs, but it is good for controlling bright IEMs. With warm IEMs I sometimes crave for more treble. Quality-wise it is very good and extends well, just not very noticeable as it sits behind the rest of the spectrum.
     
    Soundstage, imaging, and instrument separation
     
    Decent width but awesome depth, very 3D sounding; an inherited characteristic of the ES9018 DAC inside. Precise imaging and amazing instrument separation. One of the only DAPs I’ve heard that can give you such a believable, realistic stage and incredible layering. I could close my eyes and literally hear where the instruments are in the mix.
     
     
    Line-out
     
    IMG_20151214_224638.jpg
     
    Utilizing the X7 line-out to the E12DIY, everything gets improved to a mind-blowing degree. From a tighter, more defined bass, an even more dynamic and colorful mids, a more present and sparkly treble, to a huge increase in soundstage and separation. This shows just how capable the DAC in X7 is, and I can’t wait to see how the other amp modules will pair with it. If my E12DIY with the X7 is any indication, a better amp module will skyrocket its performance, putting the X7 squarely among the best of DAPs, regardless of price.
     
     
    Comparisons
     
    Vs DX80
     
    The DX80 has a leaner, more analytical sound compared to the X7. Surprisingly, the DX80 boasts much better lows, the bass being tighter, more refined and textured over the X7. In fact, the DX80 might have the best bass quality in DAPs under $1K, so it’s a bit of a tough fight there. Otherwise, the X7 beats it in all other areas. Mids on the X7 are more detailed and musical relative to the laid-back mids on the DX80. Highs, while lesser in quantity, are smoother and more refined than the DX80’s. Soundstage width is about the same, but the X7 definitely owns it in depth and height. The X7 is also more revealing and transparent, but that’s expected as it is twice the price of DX80.
     
    If the X7 had the bass of the DX80, it would be the perfect DAP (for my tastes).
     
    IMG_20151214_230723.jpg
     
     
    Conclusion
     
    Overall, I think the X7 is a good first attempt at a flagship Android DAP from FiiO. The design is wonderful and well thought out, the UI is fast and visually pleasing, the navigation is logical and a breeze to operate. Unfortunately, during my time with the X7 I did not try to download and use streaming apps, so I’ll leave the experience of streaming with the X7 to the other reviewers.
     
    Soundwise, FiiO set out and crafted a sound which I think will appeal to many customers. With the prospect of sound improvement and tuning with different amp modules, the possibilities are endless and a great fun to tinker around with. Thanks to an extremely well implemented DAC section, you are bound to have great sound no matter what amp modules or portable amps you pair it with!
     
    Finally, a BIG thank you and kudos to FiiO for being such an awesome company, listening to your customers’ wishes and making the best DAP you could for us! I wish you all the best and look forward to what amazing products will come from FiiO in the future.
  9. vaibhavp
    Worthy successor to X5 II
    Written by vaibhavp
    Published Dec 18, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Full sized and capable in built amp, clear and detailed line out
    Cons - some may find it to be too large
    Note: I was part of X7 international tour. I thank Fiio for giving me this opportunity to test and use potentially higher end gear for 10 days time. It is on its way to next member on tour.
     
    INTRODUCTION
     
    I was very excited to be part of Fiio X7 international tour. However, when I learned it was going to ship with iem module, I was less than thrilled. Being mainly a full sized hp guy, I simply don't have good enough iems to test a dap that sells for $650. However, when I actually received X7 all my worries were laid to rest. IEM module drives full sized easy to drive cans with authority and ease. I used its hp out as well as line out to drive my external amps.
     
     
     
    DSC_0005.jpg
    A pic showing gear I used to test and compare X7
     
     
    WHAT i EXPECTED vs WHAT i GOT
     
    Looking at X7 thread on headfi I see a lot of people expecting fiio to produce an Astell and Kern beater. In what metrics is not clear. To me is X7 is unabashedly fiio. Its quiet clear after reading literature supplied for tour from fiio and using it for 10 days, where main focus was while designing the payer. X7 offers a capable, no compromise built in amp. Its build is great and a step up over X5 but I dont think its the best out there. Curiously its form factor is on a bigger side. I do think to give it all functionality and great amp it has, fiio made it bigger rather than compromising anywhere. This is by no means audio jewellery and it does costs on a higher side, it has sound quality to match it.
     
    UI
     
    I encourage reader to look elsewhere for in depth look over the UI. I personally listen to albums from back to back and use folder view to find music. So my expectations from UI are very low. In DAP UI I only look for 2 things:
     
    Get the Job done.
    Is Rock solid.
     
    First point is easily achieved as its based on android. I simply choose folder view that shows all folders in memory. From there I simply browse album I want to listen to. No fuss. For second part, I used it for only 10 days and I didnt encountered any hiccups or freeze. I must say fiio's record has been less than stellar. My X5 is behaving differently to scroll wheel inputs over time. It improves with firmware update so the problem is with software.
     
    I really wish fiio use software from previous daps wholesale and keep improving the stability of their software. But the rate at which fiio is introducing new daps with brand new uis, I dont think its gonna happen any time soon.  
     
    BUILD
     
    Fiio did the unthinkable here. Its substantially longer and thicker than X5 which people though was already on bigger side. The build is slightly improved over X5, but when E12 that sells for $130 is build so well, I expected a bigger jump. This aspect goes a long way in showing how well made budget gear is. Looks like diminishing returns is applicable to sound quality as well as build quality here. I do wish unit had round edges for ergonomic grip as well as different texture on back plate. One aspect I loved about it was vibrant, responsive screen, rather close to my smartphone than I expected. Resolution is not very high but I was impressed by big album art on now playing screen.
     
    When talking about build, I think I can put up a lot of points like its too big, screen is raised, and screen has black borders around it etc. I personally dont think these aspects will make even slight difference over my purchase decision of an audiophile dap. One audiophile complain I do have is lack of analog volume control wheel. The price point X7 is playing at, I think a proper wheel with good knob feel should be present. 
     
    SOUND QUALITY
     
    Initially I was sceptical about sabre chip used in dac. Some people have reported about some digital and bright sounding implementations using them. However the amount of warmth X7 has points towards a very nice implementation. It strikes a nice balance between earthy and ethereal sounding. It leans towards clarity in both bass and mids. Treble extension is great and is usable with neutral to warm headphones to my ears. Bright sounding hps do sound too bright to me like my Sennheiser HD700. Mids are meaty, thick, clear and smooth. Bass is reference quality with great clarity. Thickness or thinness depends on instrument being played. Has good presence and not bass light. Goes deep but not like my desktop amp.
     
    X7 VS X5 Classic
     
    I prefer X5 classic over X5 II. X5 classic has a very analogue sounding treble (maybe a bit shelved down) thats perfect with my hps. Newer fiio gear has different more neutral tuning than their older gear and I think X7 is a direct upgrade over X5II rather than older X5. 
    Out of hp out, I dont think there is much competition. Even with iem module, X7 has better authority and more effortless sound with my full sized hps. X7 lets me hear deeper into recordings, more meat around bones. Hp out of X5 sounds thinner in comparison while X7 sounds meaty and resolved, more akin to live performance with less compromises.
    Using X5+E12 combination against X7, sound quality battle is very close with perhaps slight edge to stack. X7 on its own sounds effortless, thick and resolved, signs of quality amplification. I think a big size does results in space needed for good implementation as is evident with X7. X5 + E12  sounds slightly more effortless and relaxed. But its a very close call. To note I regard X5+E12 stack very highly and think it paints realistic enough picture of music that I can live with it for very long time.
     
    Pitting X7+ E12 vs X5+E12, I think E12 hits performance ceiling with X5, which results in  little improvement when switching to X7. Sound signature wise, their line out has different characteristics and allows me to compare them using same filter (or colouration). Using X5 stack, bass hits harder, depth is almost same but clarity is much better with X7. X7 also sounds more true to source and changes thickness or thinness more dramatically. Mid range is a tie on both. X7 stack is clearer and smoother while X5 stack has more realistic bass weight behind each note. Treble is subdued on X5 while its prominent and extended on X7 stack. Choose depending on your hps and taste. Timber is lot better on X7 stack with X7 highlighting inherent sound qualities and details instruments much better.
     
    These characteristics are present with hp out of X7 as well but become more obvious with slight effortlessness of E12. Overall I would say use an external amp with X7 only if its very high quality  or you want a specific colouration like tubes. X5 improves dramatically with E12 but is not the case with X7 as its in built amp is already pretty good.
     
    SHOULD YOU BUY ONE?
     
    You should buy one if you mainly use flagship level amps and hps/iems. Improvements X7 brings were lot more obvious with hd 700 that with my other gear. Also consider it if you intend to use it without external amp most of the time. However its excellent line out opens potential for even greater things and lets be honest here, who expects manufacturer to cram in amp in that much space that will eke out every last bit of performance on tap from very capable dac? Though I must say fiio did an excellent job in that regards.
    I have been using fiio gear for some time and I do think their stuff sounds great. They do make lots of inexpensive gear but that alone does not makes them so popular as there is lot of gear out there thats even more inexpensive. I do find their nicer gear (like X5 and E12 I have) to have a mature sound that I can enjoy for very long time. I think thats why their popularity has stood the test of time. This quality is there in X7 in spades.
     
    Thanks for reading!
  10. emptymt
    Impressive sound quality with some liveable weakness
    Written by emptymt
    Published Dec 12, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Detail retreival, Exceptional Bass and smooth Treble, Nice screen, UI is okay, SDXC extension, build quality, coax out available, amp module
    Cons - feels big, heavy, battery life, not enough resistance on the button, slow charging speed, no usb dac function, a bit buggy, exterior design
    Disclaimer:
    I'm part of the Australia/NZ tour of Fiio X7, This review will be based on my opinion and experience over the course of 7 days with the Fiio X7, Overall experience in that 7 days has been good although I fell sick(flu) for 3 days and has some difficulties with my hearing during those period due to imbalance hearing caused by the flu. But after that the review was buttery smooth.
     
    I use X7 on high gain everyday at home, on the trip to work by train, while I'm at work and strolling outside to get dinner, etc.
    Overall X7 perform really well to fulfill my music needs for all types of activities that I did.
     
    Headphone used in the review is Oppo PM-3 and occasionally the Baldoor E-100
    My daily driver at the time of review is Iphone -> Oppo HA-2 as DAC/AMP
    This review will also outline whether or not the X7 can replace my current Music Driver.
     
    Lastly, big thanks to brooko for letting me in the tour on the last minute request.
     
    UNBOXING AND ACCESSORIES
    The X7 unboxing process is simple, quick and easy.
    The box itself is well padded and has foam surrounding the X7 for protection.
    Other than the X7 itself, there are a few accessories inside the box: Screwdriver for changing amp modules, screenprotectors(2), USB to micro USB cable, short coaxial cable with 3.5mm TRRS connector, extra tox screws(4), documentations.
     
    BUILD QUALITY AND DESIGN
    The unit was ensambled nicely with no rough edges on the unit enclosed within an aluminum(I think) construction, the unit felt rigid and sturdy providing excellent protection, heat dissipation on the unit was okay, it does felt a3bit warm while running on the hand and on my pocket though.
    The design of the player was not the prettiest looking player I have seen with a big lump on the back of the casing, I would prefer it if they streamline the desgin a bit more, reasoning behind this is unknown to me though, there might be a good reason behind this, but it does look stupid to me sometime.
    When the unit is turned on, There will be a blue light indicator that lights up in front of the unit that as afar as I know can't be turned off, this is quite annoying sometime since I like to enjoy my music alone in the dark.
    The touch screen is responsive and has enough brightness for easy use in direct sunlight.
    The button was a bit annoying though since I feel that there is not enough resistance on it, I accidentally click a next button just by holding it sometime.
    The X7 feels heavy and big in my pocket, You will definitely feel that there is a big lump on your pocket when walking around.
    I like the position of the headphone jack on the bottom though.
     
    UI
    UI is good for me, it is certainly easy enough to navigate through the songs, the UI design itself was okay for me but not groundbreaking, swiping motion was smooth and responsive.
    Song s can be listed based on alphabetical order, artist, album, folder.
    the now playing screen was pretty straightforward, skipping ti the middle of the song was quick and easy.
    although I didn't use it, the 10 band EQ might be useful for some people out there.
    The X7 also supports a search function which is very useful when you have a big library of songs.
     
    BATTERY LIFE
    This is the most stressful part for me because when I buy a high-end DAP like this, I want it to perform as an all-in-one solution for all situation anytime anywhere, the battery life was not good enough for this as I average around 5-6 hours of music playing with 100 on the volume pot to drive Oppo PM-3, I work for 8-9 hours a day with music on all the time, the X7 has always give out on me at the end of the day. Charge time is slow too, simetime I still want to use it at home but I need to charge it for a while before I do it.
    It is by no means poor though, I just expect more.
     
    IO
    IO(Input/Output) was just okay for me, it still has a line/coax out so that I can use it with external amps, but falls short of not being able to act as a USB DAC
     
    SOUND
    In my opinion the sound signature of the X7 is a slight Ushape, the bass and treble feels a bit more elevated than the mids to me, but still can be classified as neutral, the  detail retreval was excellent, I hear lots of little nuances that I didn't hear before in my previous set up.
    The bass was deep and strong but well controlled to my ears, the treble was detailed but smooth at the same , I experience no fatigue while listening for hours.
    The mids was beautiful, especially the males voice, vocals feels strong and moving.
    Soundstage was good I can definitely feel an improvement from my current set up on this part although not much.
    Layering and separation was excellent, I was able to point out where each sound is coming from.
     
    CONCLUSION
    The X7 is a very good Hi-End DAP for it's sound quality, It falls short of usability by being unable to act as a USB DAC and poor battery life, slow charging. for this reason I don't think the X7 is an all in one unit, it has to be able to act as USB DAC to be an all-in-one.
    At the moment I can only recommend this product for people who wants the best sound quality on the go without bringing too many device to play their music, this DAP is perfect if you already has a powerful desktop DAC and AMP and wants a complimentary device for music listening on the go.