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FiiO X7

  1. ade_hall
    Versatile with great potential
    Written by ade_hall
    Published Dec 23, 2015
    Pros - Enjoyable engaging sound, build, amp module, onboard memory, ongoing firmware updates, flexibility, Fiio Head-Fi presence
    Cons - Competition, dropability factor!
    Many thanks once again to Brooko and Fiio for arranging this tour unit.
    The X7 is very well built with a functional smart phone type design, it has some heft to it and feels good in the hand. It's fairly long with the headphone jack at the bottom and physical transport buttons on the side towards the top, for in jacket use I preferred to have the transport buttons closer to the top for ease of use, this works best with headphones with a small right angle connector at the bottom. The X7 is quite heavy, smooth and slippy with a raised glass edge, if you are clumsy then seriously think about getting a case!
    User Interface
    Due to limited time I only used the Fiio Pure Music mode (1.1).
    The software is surprisingly mature with a small learning curve but very easy once you get the hang, most importantly there were no crashes, glitches or dropouts whilst playing a mixture of ALAC and mp3, solid.
    As with most new software there are a few quirks and issues that Fiio will hopefully be addressing, one (major for me) issue I have is the poor support for externally created playlists
    A major advantage is Fiio has a Head-Fi presence and seems to listen to its customers and offers regular updates
    All listening done with JH Audio JH-13 Pro
    I got the Mojo about a week before the X7 turned up, which gave me a chance to get used to its smooth slightly warmish sound against my old HM-801 which is a bit brighter. The X7 also has a similar smooth and warm sound as the Mojo.
    I tried doing quick comparisons, switching back and forth between the Mojo, X7, HM-801 and iPhone - sometimes I felt the X7 was better, sometimes the Mojo, sometimes the HM-801, sometimes no difference between any of them! Disillusionment and buyers remorse set in so decided to spend the remainder just listening to the X7
    The X7 has a sound that didn't immediately grab me but as time went on I found myself enjoying it more and more and was sorry to see it go in the end. It has a nice natural feel with good levels of detail retrieval. From memory, the sound is similar to the X5ii, i.e. smooth, warm, full but with a much better engaging sound stage that makes the X7 a step above.
    So which is better, X7 or Mojo? dunno, it's much of a muchness, the Mojo has maybe more treble extension and I feel the X7 has a wider soundstage which gives certain genres a greater sense of space.
    The X7 has now gone and I'm back to the Mojo, on reflection I probably enjoyed the X7 more than the Mojo
    I briefly tried the X7 from its line out hooked up to my home h-fi rig and it's good, really good
    Fiio have a winner on their hands here, once there are more amp modules available and the usb dac functionality is working then is there anything out there that is as versatile and flexible for the same price?
    Sound performance is subjective and I personally feel there's quite small differences between digital devices but having said that I thoroughly enjoyed the X7, recommended
      Brooko and davidmolliere like this.
    1. thepooh
      Nice review ! Regarding the amp modules, as Hifiman is selling at nearly $300, I don't think it will cost that much but expecting something in the range of $100-150 from Fiio to be competitive enough, considering that the dap cost a hefty $700
      thepooh, Dec 24, 2015
  2. originalsnuffy
    Great Potential but Still in Beta
    Written by originalsnuffy
    Published Dec 6, 2015
    Pros - Clear, clean sound. Upgradable amp; stock amp is good, EQ works on hi res files that were tested
    Cons - Unstable Software; limited apps
    Introductory Thoughts
    I received a test unit of the FIIO X7 as part of the US tour.  I believe this unit is a pre-final production run.  
    Because there are a few very detailed reviews already posted, I will focus on what I think the key issues in most users minds in terms of evaluating the unit.
    On the plus side, if one were to look past some of the hardware design choices that I do not fully agree with and some of the firmware quirks of the unit, the audio quality of the unit is quite nice.  Even superior.  I used the line out in my car (which has a very fine system) and the open sound compared with the X3 surprised me.  I suspect that one could spend three times as much as this machine and not improve on the built in DAC very much.  I also think the stock internal headphone amp will please most users even though upgrades will eventually be available.
    I tested the EQ with some 24-196 files and it did function, which is a real plus compared with other FIIO units that I have tested.   Even thought I tested the EQ, I tend to listen to music "flat" and it came through well with all styles of music tested; rock, jazz, and classical.  Polka music and rap continued to elude me on this unit, but those genres have eluded me on every other unit I have used so I suspect there is no hardware solution to that problem.  The unit was tested the LZ-A2; Carbo Tenore, Shure E2C; Yuin PK3, and Phonak Audeo PFE-022.  It worked well with all of these; and the Phonak is fairly inefficient and the unit sounded good even on low gain.
    I did update the firmware during the test visit.   Unfortunately, some glitches that were experienced continued to persist even after the firmware upgrade.  The unit has two modes; pure audio and Android.  I had to use the unit exclusive in android mode as the pure audio mode crashed repeatedly.  Actually, I was only able to get the unit to move from one song the next automatically about half the time in Android mode; not sure what was behind that and it could well be user error.  However, if it is user error then I think part of the issue is the non intuitive user interface of the unit.
    As one user noted, it is possible to get into an Android mode where two apps play music simultaneously.  That is easy to fix; just swipe one app away and sanity reappears.
    The advantage of being Android based is that one can access streamed music from Tidal, etc.  I did test a DLNA server capability using JRiver's Gizmo, and that worked well at hi resolution on wifi.   For full disclosure, I do consulting work for JRiver but on the other hand since many apps are white listed and the APK from JRiver for Gizmo is easily located and has no charge it was a reasonable thing to use for testing.  I presume over time the Whitelist will increse in size.  I am really not quite sure whether the unit will be open to the entire Google Play ecosystem over time or remain on a whitelist basis.
    That does bring up my biggest question for the unit, which is where does it fit in to the music ecosystem?  It is not usable on a cell network as it has no cell capability.  Of course the unit can be tethered but that would be annoying.  In my case I would rather use my favorite streaming apps from my phone and send the music to my favorite DAC/AMP.  Right now I do that with my X3 units (both gen one and two) from time to time. If that mattered more to me I think I would pick up an Oppo HA-2 which also sounds incredible like the X7 but has Apple compatibility built right in.  But I think there is a niche of people who want to stream music from the house or office and not in a portable environment and the X7 will fill that bill well.
    The unit is quite solid and if you do not mind a bigger machine, it is attractive in a muscular fashion  The X7 does have a blue glow while in operation that does not seem to shut off.  This can be an issue for night listening.
    When the firmware become more stable the unit would move to four stars for me.  I really can't rate a unit five stars when I think the ergonomics are not ideal; the apps situation is highly limited, and at the price point the unit really should be something that one would want to keep for years to come.  I kept thinking that this is a transitional unit.
    Photo:  The unit showing cover art.  The unit is brighter in daylight than other FIIO units which is  real plus.
      violencer and RebeccaSugar like this.
  3. McCol
    Yet another lovely sounding well priced Fiio product.
    Written by McCol
    Published Dec 11, 2015
    Pros - Well built, looks stunning, feels great to hold, good implementation of Android software and sounds great for the price.
    Cons - Sound quality perhaps not up there with other totl daps.
    I received the X7 as part of the UK/EU tour and used for the best part of 10 days before sending on to next person in the queue.  Many thanks to Joe Bloggs and Fiio for the opportunity to preview the X7.
    Introduction/About me
    I am 44 and have been listening to portable audio since around 1985 when I started out with a Walkman, used cassette walkmans until around 1999/2000 when I bought the Rio 800(think it was this model) and so began a journey of many different DAP's from the early Ipods, Iriver H100 to many different Sony players and others that I've forgotten about.  In recent years I've swapped between dedicated DAP's, DAP's with  external DAC/Amps and various smartphones alone and with DAC's. For the last few months I've been using first an android phone with the Oppo HA-2 and now a Chord Mojo with either my Blackberry Priv Android phone or the AK 100mkii as a transport.  
    For testing the Fiio X7 I compared to the Mojo/Ak100 and Priv with and without Mojo.  
    Earphones used were AK Angie's, Sennheiser IE800 and Fischer Amp FA-4e-xb.
    Build Quality and Software
    I've always liked Fiio's build and finish on there products, the X7 is again a well built unit, feels solid in the hand as well as looking and feeling like a high end product.  The brushed metal has a comforting cold feel in the hand.  It also has a nice weighty feel to it, buttons are well placed and easy to operate with one hand.  The screen although a lower resolution than current smartphones is more than sharp enough for a DAP and is responsive to the touch.  
    Those familiar with Android will know what to expect here, I've been using Android for a few years now and this is a good implementation of the software, responsive with virtually no lag.  I only really used Spotify separate from the Fiio music app and had no issues with Spotify.  The Fiio music app itself was easy enough to use once I got used to it, I did consider downloading one of the other music players i use but to be honest once I sussed the Fiio app there was no need.
    Sound Quality
    I've always felt that Fiio products sound a little on the warm side, they have always reminded me of a Nad amplifier I had that had a similar warm tone to the music.  I do prefer my music to be a little more neutral but I've never minded this slight warmness to the Fiio sound, others may hear it different though.
    Sound quality is a little hard for me to judge fairly as I've been spoiled for the last few weeks by the Chord Mojo.  As good as the Fiio X7 sounds it can't quite match the Mojo for overall detail and quality to my music.  The advantage the X7 has of course is that it is a one box unit, when paired with my Angie's it did at times give my Mojo/Ak100 pairing a run for it's money, but just can't reach the level of slam and detail that the Mojo creates.
    Putting the Mojo to one side though the X7 does sound good, mids esp vocals sound stunning.  Treble detail is very good, the intro to Starman from the Ziggy Stardust album is a track I often use when trying new gear as it can for me separate good iem's from the not so good the Fiio had good separation of instruments through this little test.  Bass response was also very good, nice detail and kick when tracks require it.  Soundstage was good, maybe a little more depth than the Mojo combo.  The power to drive my iem's was good, had to go to around 95 for the IE800 on the volume.  
    Overall Fiio have once again produced another great product at a great price when compared to others on the market.  I have a degree of sympathy for Fiio though as they are releasing at a similar time to Pioneer and Onkyo's offerings although i would imagine that there may not be much between them from reading early opinions on both those models.  I think the biggest drawback for me with the Fiio is the presence of the Mojo.  If you don't mind carrying a small stack then for me there is no competition for the Mojo.  I did try the X7 in USB otg to the mojo but that has not been added yet.  This may be something I would consider if it was added at a later date as it would take away my current need to swap between AK100 and Priv with the mojo if I want to use Spotify etc.  It would also have been nice to have everything in one module in terms of IEM and balanced.
    I've enjoyed my time with the Fiio and could see myself buying it in the future.
      davidmolliere, doki81 and Vartan like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. McCol
      It would be the Mojo.  Its all round SQ is more impressive than the X7. Also seems more powerful although I dont have any real difficult to drive phones to test this.
      McCol, Dec 11, 2015
    3. Emmett62
      Emmett62, Dec 12, 2015
    4. ----x----
      @peareye I just bought the mojo and have had it for a few days. 
      I'm just getting into the audiophile hobby/setup and need an all around setup. I have no home dac/amp setup, no mobile setup, just my phone (LG G4) and a recently bought BeyerDynamic DT-1350 (nice deal too). 
      I was disappointed with the mojo because of the interference I heard when it was in close proximity to my mobile phone. When using my phone as transport via spotify or local files, I needed to have it in airplane mode or else I would occasionally hear static, crackles, pops, and buzzes. So - if I wanted great sound I needed my phone to be on airplane mode indefinitely while listening, which isn't practical. 
      My alternative was to return the Mojo and swap it for the X7. Now my phone is a phone, and the x7 will be my DAP. Once the K5 is released I'll toss that into the mix to get a respectable at-home setup as well. 
      If you have a mobile source that is not your phone which can serve as transport, the mojo is a great option. The static to me was distracting enough that I actually preferred using my phone directly rather than adding the mojo. 
      ----x----, Dec 19, 2015
  4. Vividcard
    FiiO X7 - Peak Performance, Palatable cost
    Written by Vividcard
    Published Dec 2, 2015
    Pros - Sleek Design, Customization, Fantastic sound
    Cons - Raised screen, Early firmware UI could be improved, Additional amp modules cost exta
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we had the ability to have our favorite hi res audio on the same device that allows us to find and listen to new music? A versatile device that allows the device to adapt to our needs? Enter the FiiO X7, Android based, packing some serious hardware. The X7 is designed to be a versatile all in one device for all of your music needs.
    A device like this being released from FiiO has a lot of potential ups, but will definitely create some pretty good hurdles for FiiO and their engineers to get past to make this the device that every person wants. Thankfully, FiiO has an excellent record with listening to the customer voice and providing features and enhancements to make their devices even more desirable.
    While the $650.00 price tag is definitely a high price, the features and functions packed into the device make the price well on point or even below, as most comparable devices are hitting well into the $1000 dollar range. The competition is also beginning to show their age. So does the FiiO X7 have what it takes to replace these behemoths in the ring?
    I am a 26 year old music enthusiast, audiophile, music lover, whatever your terminology is for us with empty wallets and great tunes! In my obnoxious youth I could never understand why someone would drop the cash for headphones like ours. Over time I learned the differences in not just equipment, but in source files.
    Suddenly I found myself spending some money on good gear, and over time it has developed into something more. Not only did I find myself enjoying my music more, but I found communities that share in my hobby.
    I have a very extensive and eclectic musical library. I tend to avoid rap and heavy sided metal music. Otherwise, I am game. Most of my music comes from Folk, Rock (all kinds), Alternative, Singer/songwriter, and Acapella. I would say that I am a balanced listener, with perhaps a bit of a bass-head tendency. My library is comprised of mostly legally obtained Redbook 16/44.1 with a few vinyl rips done for me by a friend.
    My DAP experience has been all across the spectrum, but has recently began the hi-fi journey. Starting with my original RCA RD2204 Lyra (the old days) and continuing to SanDisk Sansa’s, clips, Ipods, Iphones, Android phones (such as HTC one M8) and Windows Phones (Lumia 1520, 1020). Recently I have begun collecting my newer gear starting with my first Hi res dap as the X1/Q1, as well as testing the Sony A17.
    My headphone use is primarily IEM with a few cans. My primary gear currently is my Shure SE-425’s and my Hifiman HE-400’s. I use my FiiO X1 with the Q1 DAC stacked as my daily driver currently. But enough about me!
    This review was made possible by FiiO, who has provided me and other members of the tour a pre-production version of the X7. Some changes may come from the final product, and it is still receiving several frequent software updates to improve the customer experience and quality.
    In no way has FiiO provided a financial incentive, instead we tour members were given 10 days with the device to provide an honest opinion of the device. I am in no way affiliated with FiiO, and as a result my review is an honest representation of my experiences and opinion of the device. As others, I would like to thank FiiO as well as Joe and James for setting up the tour! Also a special thanks to @nmatheis for providing me with some of the screenshots I forgot to save before formatting and sending off my unit!  With that out of the way, lets dig in!
    FiiO Electronics Technology Co., Ltd. Is a Chinese based audio company established in 2007. Rather than focusing on the information you can find on the about page, let’s focus on what they don’t say. FiiO has been making audio products that have become a staple of the head-fi and general audiophiles gear. Nearly everyone on our forums has at least had some time with one FiiO product or another. FiiO has made themselves known for inexpensive, high quality gear with a knack for customer focus. I feel this has helped FiiO become a strong contender in the few years of products they provide.  If you want to know more about FiiO, please check out their about us page located below:
    Like most people, when I look for a device, I have set of demands or requirements that I would like the device to meet. I have included my list below, this will help you identify what I will focus on in my review. If you find your requirements to be similar to mine, you will likely feel the same about the device that I do.
    For me, the x7 should have the following:
    1. A high build quality, something sleek and good looking, but also functional
    2. A decent battery life while understanding the limitations of the device’s extra features
    3. A simple, easy to use interface
    4. The ability to drive my gear, if possible with enough room to grow with my gear
    5. Large, expandable memory
    6. Charges with standard power cables (Please, no proprietary)
    7. Many power steps: since the device doesn’t use a physical volume knob, it needs to have enough volume steps to allow me to fine tune volume
    8. Wifi/Bluetooth connections: Bluetooth for the occasional on the go setup, and Wifi for…
    9. Streaming options! If you can use android, let us use the streaming options of our choice! Tidal, Spotify… Pick your poison.
    10. Water ‘Resistant’: Can I use this without fear in mild Oregon weather.  I don’t want to fear pulling the device out in the rain.
    These are the things that I felt were the most important to me prior to receiving the device. At the end of my review, I will cover if I felt FiiO hit these points for me.
    130 x 64 x 17mm
    Price (USD):
    7.4 oz
    Supported File Types (audio):
    APE, FLAC,WAV, ALAC, AIFF, WMA (Lossy/Lossless), MP3, AAC, OGG
    3500 mAh (Non-replaceable)
    DAC Chip:
    Hi-res Ability:
    Line Out:
    Digital Out:
    Yes, 3.5mm to Coax cable (included)
    Internal Storage:
    External Storage:
    1 Micro-SD slot up to 128GB Supported
    4 inch 480x800 touch IPS
    Android version:
    Bluetooth Version:
    Cortex A9 Quad cord 1.4ghz

    More specs on the X7 can be found on FiiO’s own specs page located here: http://www.fiio.net/en/products/45/parameters
    Packaging for the device is elegant and practical. There are no wood or metal boxes or other fancy frills here. Box feels like it is of a good quality and will provide more than enough protection for the device. It also looks nice enough to draw you in. Personally I have never understood the need for a fancy box or anything. To me, this just translates into extra cost to the consumer. I’d rather keep my price low and have a better device.
    Upon opening the device you will be presented with your aluminum beauty, as well as a decent set of extras. One thing I have always liked about FiiO is the number of included accessories. This is a small added value, but something that has probably saved my device once or twice. Included in this box kit is the following:
    1. Coaxial Cable for Digital line out
    2. T5 Screwdriver (For removing and changing amp modules)
    3. Replacement T5 screws
    4. USB cable
    5. Warranty Card
    6. 3 total screen protectors (1 pre-installed, 2 extra)
    I did note that the X7 did not include a simple case like most FiiO products. This could be due to the nature of the pre-release box and product, or it may not be included. Remember, as this is a pre-release device, things can change.
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    The X7 is really an eye catching device. It is made out of solid 6061 aluminum and feels like a very high quality device.  It feels very solid and has a decent heft for what it is. Some may consider its size cumbersome; however I use a larger smartphone, so I don’t find this an issue. The device is technically 2 parts, the top half is the screen and the actual device, whereas the bottom (Beginning just beneath the screen) is the interchangeable amp module. While the build between the two pieces is solid, I noticed some wiggling after some usage. Tightening the screws again seemed to do the trick. (***NOTE: This has been brought up to FiiO and us testers have been informed that this has been resolved in the production model’s of the device).
    On the bottom of the device (Technically, the amp) you will find the Micro-USB charging port and the traditional headphone port. To the left side you will find the Volume +/- and the Power button, as well as the Micro-sd card slot. The right side uses symmetrical set of buttons for track up or down, as well as the play/pause button. Finally, on the top, you will find your line out port.
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    I did find that I was not a huge fan of the identical buttons on each side, as it was occasionally confusing. According to FiiO this is intended as it will allow settings to be modified for left or right hand usage. During my time I was not able to find this feature, which was sad as I am a fellow left hander. I also was not a fan of some of the other design ideas. Take for example raised screen, as it seems like it would make the device much less durable.  I would have liked to see this flush mounted, even if it meant a slightly larger device.  Finally, I would have liked to see a better implementation of the micro-sd card slot, perhaps inside the device and accessed via removing the amp module. I fear that the card may be popped out or rain may get into this slot and damage the internals.
    The buttons have a nice feel and are easy enough to identify. The Blue LED looks really nice, but it would be nice to be able to disable this light, as it is always on and will fade in and out during charging. (***NOTE: This has been discussed and us testers have been informed this is to be added with a later software update) The device can get warm when playing, especially with the aid of Wifi or Bluetooth. But it’s not anywhere near hot. Otherwise, I find the device to be very slick looking with a very durable feel.
    DSC_8364.jpg DSC_8358.jpg DSC_8354.jpg
    As the X7 is an android based device, many of us know what to expect for minimum specs. While the X7 uses a very conservative set of hardware in terms of general phone parts. It is powered by a quad-core Cortex A9 processor (1.4GHz) and 1 GB of ram. Many of us high end users may worry about the device’s ability to keep up in a resource intensive OS like android, but due to the stripped down version of Android 4.4.4 (At the time of writing) I have no fears this will power the device. I was able to use the FiiO music app flawlessly, as well as Spotify or Tidal streaming at highest qualities. During my testing I was only able to make the device have some lag when playing both Tidal and Spotify streaming, as well as FiiO music playing at the same time, which hopefully no one plans on doing.
    You may ask what you’re paying for when you drop your wallet on this device only to find the mediocre processor and ram. The bulk of your money goes to the audio equipment, as it should. The DAC is a Sabre ES9018s. The Sabre is able to play PCM at up to 32/384 and DSD up to 127, it also sports 8 output channels. As a downside, FiiO has recognized that this is a primary battery drainer.  Regardless of this, the device is still able to maintain about 9 hours of battery life. In my testing I was able to get roughly 8.5 hours of actual listening with the screen off using FiiO music. Spotify streaming yielded about 6.5 hours.
    Because the FiiO X7 uses Android at its core for most of the OS, it’s worth noting that most things here are pretty common of Android. Because of this I won’t dive too much into the Android side of things. Most people these days have decided whether they like Android or not. There is a pretty good chance your at least considering the OS if your reading this review.
    *Please Note: These experiences are based on the X7 version 1.0, which was the current version at the time of review*
    Initial bootup of the device takes about 25 seconds. Once powered on the device can begin playing music in a matter of seconds. This boot time is pretty good for a smartphone based UI. By default, the device will simply boot to the Android home screen with a few basic icons on the screen. Absent from the device will be most of the common android applications, leaving just bare necessities such as the browser and calculator. But we didn’t buy this device to check our e-mail, did we?
    Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-04-32.png   Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-19-05.png   Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-05-09.png   Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-28-28.png  ​
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    FiiO music is located right on the main menu in the lower left by default. Clicking on the icon will open the default player. FiiO music seems to me that it is still a work in progress. Sure, it plays, and you can select music by song, artist, album, genre, or playlists. But my issue is that the app feels young. I give some leniency as the device is brand new, but as of writing the help files do not come in English, meaning we must use our intelligence and click and learn mentality to use the program.
    After spending some time with the program, it is relatively intuitive, there is a settings menu accessible by swiping from left to right, here you will find your gain and balance settings, ect. The folder icon in the middle accesses music folders, to the left is the current playlist icon, and to the right is apparently a DLNA icon according to research, although this does not function as of writing. There is also a search icon in the upper right that will let you hone in on a song without having to surf the menus.
    Some things about the application do bug me, for example, in the pictures you can see that the artist is shown, with an album art, and a play icon to the right. The very small play icon can be difficult to hit to play the artist, and clicking on the album art does nothing. You can go into the artist only by selecting the name. The same goes for album or genre selection. This can be a bit of a pain to use. I feel the play icon could be bigger, or at least less transparent. Maybe make clicking on the album art also take you into the next level as well.
    Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-09-15.png   Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-09-23.png    Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-09-53.png   Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-14-52.png
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    One thing I did like is that FiiO has made this device an obviously flexible device. Originally, the X7 required an app be in the “Whitelist” to be used. After some mulling over, they have withdrawn this and can now allow any app to be installed on the device. This has a bit of a positive and negative effect. As it allows us to choose apps that may not be on the whitelist, but also means that the apps aren’t tested for compatibility or negative side effects.
    Most common audiophile apps work without issue. Among those tested, I was able to successfully use Spotify, Tidal, Amazon music, Slacker, and Pandora using the latest APK’s (android app installer files). The issue is that there is no easy way to download these files at this time. As the X7 does not have Google play installed on the device, you cannot download the app from the play store. You must obtain the installer’s from other sources which are not always reliable.  Another thing to remember is that with the absence of the Google framework, many apps will not work. For example, YouTube, YouTube music, Google Music, and other apps that require Google framework do not work.
    It is hard to hold these things against FiiO, as they just recently made this change and they do not test these additional apps. Perhaps with time the Google framework or even the store will be added. Some apps will conflict with each other. For example, one thing that bugged me to the point of uninstalling an app was Tidal. The app worked wonderfully, but sometimes I wanted to use Spotify or FiiO Music. When Tidal was on, even in the background, it took over the audio controls. This meant sometimes even when playing FiiO Music if I pressed track skip, FiiO Music would pause, Tidal (which was only on in the background) would skip to the next track and begin playing. This didn’t happen every time, but when it did, nothing short of a force stop would resolve this. Eventually this lead to me uninstalling the app. Once again, I can hardly blame FiiO for this, but it would be nice if FiiO can address this if it’s caused by their equipment.
    Screenshot_2015-11-08-15-17-16.png    Screenshot_2015-11-18-11-11-50.png   Screenshot_2015-11-18-11-12-56.png   Screenshot_2015-11-18-11-12-18.png
    Finally, it is important to note that while Wifi and Bluetooth are present (and working well) on the device, they will mark a considerable drain on the battery. Sometimes the additional apps installed and just the basic android processes could do a number on the device as well. FiiO has come up with a solution for this called “Pure Music Mode”. In Pure Music mode, the device strips down Android to the core and only runs the absolute basics to run just FiiO Music. This helps the battery considerably and makes avoiding other tasks running in the background a simple task. You can even set up the device to boot in pure Android mode as well. This setting can be changed at will with the device as well, so it can be toggled as needed. It is worth noting that Bluetooth and Wifi can still be turned on or off in pure music mode.
    So, how does it sound? The FiiO X7 has so many ways to listen to music. With numerous streaming options, it’s own player, and even additional options for dedicated players. Over my 10 day period with the device I used the device primarily with FiiO Music, Spotify, and for some time Tidal. While other apps were tested, they were only to confirm working order.
    For me, as well as several of the people on the head-fi forum, the sound that comes from the X7 is a very 3D sound. It seems as though all levels and frequencies are highlighted. Normally this would create a confused sound that will usually make me put down a device, but something about the way it played went really well together. I think it may have to do with the fact that while all frequencies were highlighted, they were still separated. Individual instruments were easy to pick out from even the most complex tracks. Voices stood out and clear. Treble was bright, but not to a point where a bass-head would be turned off, and vice versa.
    I did find that while this sound quality was found from the several IEM’s tested. (RHA 750i, Shure Se 425 and 215, ect.) Some headphones simply did not make the cut. Attempting to use my Hifiman HE-400’s I could barely get to listening volume on Spotify or Tidal. While the volume was enough in FiiO music, I found that the sound fell flat for me. Treble was pulled back from the others, making the sound a bit more veiled and muddy. It should be noted that the only amp on hand was the IEM module, and as such I didn’t place much expectation on the sound. Perhaps a full sized headphone amp module would resolve this issue. Similar sound quality is obtained from the Mad Dog Alphas.
    While I do not have any significantly hard to drive headphones (or IEM’s for that matter) many others have reported that even harder to drive IEM’s seem to do well with the current amp pairing. In pairing against the FiiO X7 I only had access to my smartphone collection and my FiiO X1, all of which I was able to pair with my Q1 amp. The X7 did more than well at decimating any sound quality from my smartphone. It also had the added benefit of being a separate device that didn’t interrupt my listening with badgering notifications.
    Comparing between the FiiO X1/Q1 and the X7 the audio quality was noticeably better, however, not as much as I was initially expecting. With the X1 the Bass is nice and punchy, without being overly so. The treble is nice but not forward, and the mids make me melt. I preferred singer/songwriter genre’s out of my stack more than the x7. But with the X7, fast paced songs were more energetic. Sibilance was practically non-existent. The X7 also has the nice ability to access both my actual files and my streaming content in one device.
    For obvious reasons, smartphones and the X7 sounded identical with Bluetooth headsets, This makes sense due to the way the Bluetooth audio is streamed. That being said, it is a nice, handy extra.
    If you’ve stuck with me this far you already know how well or not well it hit my checkboxes. But in case you wanted to skim, here is the short of it:
    1. A high build quality, something sleek and good looking, but also functional
    Yes, absolutely. It feels like a solid device. Some style choices were questionable, such as the raised screen. But overall, the device is great!
    1. A decent battery life while understanding the limitations of the device’s extra features
    9 hours is a fair deal, especially since I was very near this in actual testing. Less time came when using streaming. Would I like better battery life? Yes. But for what it is, I am pleased.
    1. A simple, easy to use interface
    It’s essentially Android, you may disagree, but I found it easy and intuitive. The FiiO music app could use some help here and there, but it’s still pre-production, and FiiO is constantly listening and updating.
    1. The ability to drive my gear, if possible with enough room to grow with my gear
    This was a tossup for me. It powered most of my gear, but left much to be desired from my HE-400 cans. A different amp module may fix this, but without being able to test this, it was a no for me. This may change however.
    1. Large, expandable memory
    32gb internal (something like 27gb useable) and supported 128GB additional, this is more than enough for me. Especially if the size is expanded in future updates.
    1. Charges with standard power cables (Please, no proprietary)
    Micro USB. Yup, were good here
    1. Many power steps: since the device doesn’t use a physical volume knob, it needs to have enough volume steps to allow me to fine tune volume
    120 Steps, more than enough to fine tune. Although changing faster using hard buttons would be nice
    1. Wifi/Bluetooth connections: Bluetooth for the occasional on the go setup, and Wifi for…
    Yes, Yes, and both work well!
    1. Streaming options! If you can use android, let us use the streaming options of our choice! Tidal, Spotify… Pick your poison.
    Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Slacker, and Pandora all tested and working perfectly. So yes.
    1. Water ‘Resistant’: Can I use this without fear in mild Oregon weather.  I don’t want to fear pulling the device out in the rain.
    Another tossup; the device feels solid and everything, but the top port for line out sometimes scares me. I’m also not a fan of the exposed micro SD card slot both due to moisture and the potential for accidental removal of the card.
    The FiiO X7 is a solid device that is capable of delivering a solid bang for the buck. Sleek and stylish, the Aluminum body has a natural heft that makes it feel sturdy without being obtrusive. The symmetrical button design can be confusing at first, but is easy enough to get past.
    Being that the device is Android based, it is very simple to navigate and will allow several apps to customize the experience for each owner. The FiiO app is still in its infancy, meaning it has room for improvement, but FiiO is listening and very receptive. With a bit of time, the preinstalled app can become something great. In the meantime it is more than usable, and if you disagree, you can always install a different app to manage your player.
    The sound is well hammered out and sounds fantastic. The audio is well presented and layered. Sibilance is non-existent. And the nice thing is that, if nothing else, this is one of the few things that can’t easily be changed with software updates. To know this is great out of the pre-production box is fantastic!
    Is the device worth the $650.00 USD price tag? This is a subjective question, but I feel that while I am not ready to put this money down yet, I can see this device being something to keep my eye on, as the Price to performance and versatility is worth every penny. If some of the promised changes appear soon, I may be adding a new device to my inventory!
    DSC_8370.jpg DSC_8353.jpg DSC_8380.jpg
    Headphones – RHA 750, Shure SE 425, Shure SE 215, Bose IEM2, Beats studio wireless, Hifiman HE-400
    DAP – FiiO X1, Lumia 1520, HTC One M8, Asus Zenfone 2
    AMP/DAC – FiiO X1
    Songs – Pentatonix: Standing By, Fleetwood Mac: Go Your Own Way, Foo Fighters: Saint Cecilia, Muse: Supermassive Black Hole, Matthew And The Atlas: Out of the Darkness
    *All songs were tested using either Spotify Premium high quality, Tidal Hifi, or Red Book lossless, usually 16/44.1*
      Peridot, Brooko and RebeccaSugar like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Vividcard
      @Brooko I realized after posting my review that I couldn't help but notice our reviews look very similar in design and layout. Like minds sir, like minds!
      Vividcard, Dec 2, 2015
    3. bmichels
      let's hope that soon there will be a power-amp module for hard to drive headphones, and may be also a module that will include additional memory or additional micro-SD cards.
      bmichels, Dec 3, 2015
    4. Vividcard
      I wouldn't put tons of faith on additional cards or such. But maybe with new firmware we can get official support for 200+ gb micro SD.
      Vividcard, Dec 3, 2015
  5. ryanjsoo
    Fiio X7 Review – Still Top Dog
    Written by ryanjsoo
    Published Jul 24, 2017
    Pros - Clean, smooth sound, Low noise, Great driving power even with AM2, Nice build and ergonomics, Price has become accessible in the wake of the X7 II and X5 III
    Cons - Bulky and heavy, Amp modules are an added cost, UI fluidity is not always ideal
    Introduction –

    In the wake of the X7 II and with recent attention being focussed mainly towards Fiio’s new X5 III, it seems that the device that started it all has lost its spotlight. But Fiio’s X7 remains their present flagship for good reason, and though it was Fiio’s first attempt at a smart, Android-based music player, the X7 is no less mature in its execution than the X5 III. With the addition of a modular amplifier unit, offering different output powers and altered flavours of sound, the X7 is versatile and featured. And though the X7 is older, being a flagship device, it was designed to the highest standard, whereas the midrange X5 III was designed with the intention of being compromised. Let’s see if the X7 still represents the value and prestige it held at launch and whether it remains a smart purchase in 2017.

    Disclaimer –

    I would like to thank Ari very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the X7 on extended loan. There is no monetary incentive for a positive review and despite receiving the player free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective in my evaluation as possible.

    About Me, Background, Gear of choice, Preferences and Biases –

    I generally prefer a u-shaped sound that is close to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity but can appreciate a smooth, laid back sound. I’m not particularly treble sensitive so I may be more forgiving of brightness over darkness. I will note if I use a different eartip/pad/cover during the review and describe the sound changes.

    Read More

    Accessories –


    The X7 is similarly packaged to the X5 III with renders and specs adorning the outer surfaces of the box. A hard box slides out from the pictured exterior containing the X7 within foam. The device comes with a plastic screen protector pre-installed, unfortunately not a tempered glass one like the X5 III. The player also comes clad within a plastic case that should protect from scratches and small drops.


    Fiio also include a micro-usb cable, extra screws for the amp modules, a matching T5 screwdriver, extra screen protectors, several skins and a 3.5mm to coax cable. Basic instruction and warranty papers are located just below.


    Amp modules come within a smaller package, they are well protected within a nice metal tin with a snug foam inlet. Fiio packages each module with a plethora of vinyl skins to personalise the module and match the main unit should you want to add some texture and scratch protection to your X7.


    It’s a nice selection of accessories all up. We can clearly see some progression with the X5 III through the inclusion of a glass screen protector and an additional faux leather case though the X7 comes very well equipped for most uses.

    Design –

    The X7 was the first Fiio device that really stepped up build quality from impressive to thoroughly premium. It shares the same uni-body aluminium design as the X5 III though due to an absence of glass back, the X7 has a small plastic window at the rear to allow wireless transmission. And perhaps most notably, the X7 is a modular player allowing users to swap amplifier modules to achieve lower noise levels with sensitive iems and higher driving power with high impedance headphones. While it may seem redundant, the modular amplifiers allow for greater flexibility that regular gain controls can achieve.


    The X7 has an almost completely metal build that is just as solid as the X5 III though I personally prefer the aluminium back to the glass back of the new X5 due to its greater in hand feel and drop resistance. The main chassis is perfectly solid without flex or give in any direction, it also feels a little softer in the hand than the more straight edged X5 III. The X7 is a chunky device, measuring in at 130 mm× 64 mm× 16.6 mm and 220g making it a bit thicker and heavier than the X5 III and very substantial coming from a modern smartphone. However, to my eye, the X7 is a more attractive device than the X5 III with more slender and elegant dimensions that conform appreciably better to my hands. It’s not a device that goes unnoticed in the pocket nor would the X7 be remotely viable as a workout DAP, but it does avoid being overly cumbersome during commute.


    Some bold chamfering runs the perimeter of the device adding some visual interest. The buttons are also metal, keeping the premium feel uniform and each is clicky with nice travel and feedback. Though they are a tad shallow, different machining on the buttons gives them an easily distinguishable texture when the device is in your pocket. The buttons are also very well placed and the X7 controls much more like a smartphone, I also didn’t experience any accidental presses like the X5 III.


    At the front of the device lies the same 4” 800 x 480 display as the X5 III. I feel my particular X7 was more accurate with more pleasing colours though I have also seen X7’s that looked more off than the X5 III so I would put this up to unit variation rather than calibration from factory. Brightness is similar, minimum brightness is a little bright for night use and max brightness is fine except when under direct sunlight where the screen tends to wash out. Viewing angles and contrast are also quite good as is saturation which works a treat for album art and video. The X7 doesn’t have the highest Dpi compared to today’s premium smartphones, but text looks crisp and UI elements are well scaled. There is plenty of resolution to view album arts and small text, even the occasional video and game look great on the X7’s IPS display. While the Hidizs AP200 utilises a higher resolution 960×540 display, the hardware utilised in these players isn’t quite powerful enough to push those pixels and the slightly lower resolution X5 III and X7 both provide a significantly more fluid performance.


    And finally, running over the physical features of the device, the right and left sides are symmetrical with a rocker at the top and single button below. The rockers can be used to skip songs and change volume while the buttons cover play/pause and power functions. Being symmetrical, Fiio provides a software option to swap the orientation for left-handed users.


    The left side houses the single micro sd card slot, it isn’t covered like the slot on the X5 III but allows for tool-less swapping of cards. The card also lies perfectly flush with the side of the device to prevent damage and accidental removal.


    The top of the X7 is mainly featureless save for a line/coax output for use with an external amplifier. The bottom of the device is most notable, housing the main interfaces and amp modules. The modules themselves are quite small, they slot nicely into the device and attach using a wide connector that looks to be quite hardy and reliable, I didn’t notice any audio dropouts or other connection issues during my 2 months of use.


    The modules house the micro-usb charging/data port and the 3.5mm output though Fiio offer a balanced module with both an additional 2.5mm balanced port. The modules are fixed to the main housing using two T5 screws, one on either side. The screws are countersunk and lie very flush with the housings, I found the included module to line up perfectly with the main device.


    Unfortunately, the AM2 module that shipped with my X7 was evidently from a different production batch as it had a slightly darker colour than the main housing and didn’t line up perfectly. This could be exclusive to my review unit but it is something to consider for second hand buyers.


    AM1 (Flush) – AM2 (Offset)

    Just above the modules lies the pulsar light which acts somewhat like a notification LED and adds some visual intrigue to the device. The action and brightness of the light can be altered in the software with 255 levels of brightness and the choice of blink, solid and full off illumination.


    By default, the light pulses when charging and glows solid when the device is active. Other notable features of the X7 include an ambient light sensor just above the display that provides auto brightness adjustments and an accelerometer which senses device orientation. These small tweaks really emphasise the ethos behind the X7’s design, and the culmination of several minor features produce an appreciably more convenient experience than that offered by the X5 III.

    Usage –

    The X7 has a 3500mah internal lithium ion battery that is just a little larger than the 3400mah unit in the X5 III. But due to the X7’s modularity, battery life can vastly vary despite using otherwise identical hardware. Battery life is rated at over 9hrs with the stock AM1 module though that decreases with higher powered modules, for instance, the AM2 delivers just over 8hrs and the AM3 and AM5 closer to 6. In usage, my unit achieved number just shy of 9 hours with the AM2 module on volume level 30 of 120. The X7 doesn’t have exceptional longevity, but it is easily sufficient for a few days of use and standby drain is very good. I am pleased with the X7’s battery life given its features and output power.

    But apart from battery life, the X7 provides much the same software experience as the X5 III. If you would like a little more detail with benchmarks and usage tests, I will provide a link to the usage section of my X5 III review here.

    Sound –

    The X7 is Fiio’s former flagship that was released almost 2 years ago to a good critical reception. And while there were some more critical reviews about the device’s software experience, few had much negative to say about the player’s sound. And in 2017, the X7 remains a fine sounding source. I would still recommend looking into a pure DAC/AMP if value is your prime concern, but the updated X7 provides a nice smart user experience combined with a well-refined sound and its strengths remain just as pertinent as ever. When evaluating the X7’s sound, I mainly listened to the Campfire Audio Jupiter ($1300), a very sensitive mulit-ba monitor, the Flares Pro ($600), a more power hungry iem and the Sennheiser HD700 ($800) which is a relatively source sensitive headphone.

    I won’t delve further into the player’s file support and exact specifications but will link Fiio’s website with all the details below: http://www.fiio.net/en/products/45/parameters

    Amp –

    Describing the sound of the X7 was more daunting than I had presumed due to those swappable amp modules, each of which carries its own sound. I decided the AM2 module would make for best comparison since it has similar output power to my other similarly priced sources over the stock AM1 module which has notable lower driving power. This also allowed for more accurate volume matching and to my ear, the AM2 sounds a little nicer with a slightly more full-bodied sound that well balances the slightly brighter signal produced by that Saber DAC.


    Starting with noise, the X7 with either the AM1 and AM2 modules benefits from very minimal hiss, much less than the X5 III and HA-2 which makes it much more desirable for sensitive iems. I’m a low volume listener and quite sensitive to noise but even the Campfire Jupiter, which is probably one of the most hiss prone earphones available, only picked up minimal amounts from the X7. It isn’t silent, but noise is unlikely to bother any listener. I feel that the AM2 is the most versatile module, as it also had no issue driving my 150 ohm HD700’s. They were missing some dynamics and soundstage space compared to my desktop amp though I found the X7 to do a better job than both the HA-2 and X5 III with its increased output power; 300mW on the X7 vs 250mW from the X5 III and 220mW from the HA-2. All sources have a sub 1ohm output impedance which I can confirm in independent listening, I experienced nice sub-bass extension from my Jupiter and no other frequency response wonkiness. Perhaps my only issue with the amplifier performance of the X7 is some fizzle when WiFi is active, something that doesn’t affect the X5 III. It isn’t a huge issue and only occurs occasionally when streaming music, but it is very noticeable on sensitive monitors. Some may also frown upon the necessity of buying additional amp modules, which are around $150 AUD each, though some retailers offer bundles that include multiple modules for a discounted price. For most uses, the AM1 will be sufficient and the AM2 is a nice all-rounder that provides low noise to sensitive monitors and enough power to higher impedance earphones and headphones.

    DAC –

    The X7 implements a single Saber ES9018, a highly regarded DAC chip with great file support and terrific sound quality. It is a highly resolving chip that is known to carry a slightly brighter sound and some implementations are prone to “Saber glare” which manifests as a sense of over-forwardness within the upper registers. With that said, I’ll start with some basic comparison to the Oppo HA-2 (based on the same DAC chip) to illustrate Fiio’s implementation. Both sources unsurprisingly carry a very similar tonality with the HA-2 being slightly clearer and the X7 a little more full-bodied. The HA-2 holds a small advantage in bass reproduction with a little more definition than the X7. I lean forwards and backwards with regards to midrange performance, the HA-2 produces clearer male vocals but female vocals don’t quite sound as natural as the X7 with a thinner body. The HA2 is also slightly more forward in their upper midrange which makes them sound a little more resolving but also more fatiguing long term. Treble is interesting, the HA-2 is a little crisper while the X7 retains a smoother character. I feel that the HA-2 separates slightly better though the X7 sounds a lot cleaner with appreciably less background noise with sensitive iems. I would probably take the X7 for all day listening and the HA-2 for shorter sessions, both are fantastic sources though those who don’t require a full player will save a few dollars by going with the HA-2, or perhaps the SE model with reduced background noise.

    I also feel that comparison with the new X5 III is important as it’s always interesting to see how older flagships compare to newer midrange offerings. Starting off with soundstage performance, the X7 has a really well-rounded presentation that is nicely expansive but also very coherent. Instruments are allowed to radiate and atmospheric effects have the appropriate projection yet more intimate instruments and vocals are never artificially distant. This grants the X7 with a really nice presentation that flatters both in-ears and open back headphones. By comparison, the more laid-back X5 III does sound a little more immediately spacious, but it lacks the placement precision of the X7; vocals sound more distant and lack the intimacy of the X7 and instruments don’t project quite as much as they should when called for. The X5 III also lacks the depth of the X7 which makes them a bit less convincing for live recordings. While the difference between the two sources isn’t enormous, upgrading from the X5 III to the X7 won’t turn your HD650 into a HD800, buyers with well-performing in-ears and headphones will find a notable upgrade with the X7.

    And this quality can be partially attributed to the varying tonalities between these sources. I have to reiterate that the differences between sources aren’t astronomical, perhaps not even immediately noticeable, but during extended listening, the individual characteristics of each device becomes clear. Off the bat, the X7 is probably one of the best Saber ES9018 implementations I’ve heard, it isn’t quite as bright as the Oppo HA-2 but retains the same kind of clean, clear and well-detailed sound. It’s lack of hiss also makes it the clear choice for use with sensitive iems; the X7 provided a much more agreeable listen than the X5 III with the Jupiter simply due to its vastly lower levels of noise. The AKM based X5 III does carry their more mellow tones over the more forward X7, some may call it the more musical or analogue sounding source and those prone to fatigue may actually find the X5 III to be the more listenable source. But for my tastes, the X7 is pretty spot on, the HA-2 that I daily is a similarly resolving source, but it does occasionally come across as over-bright and forward, the X7 is just a little smoother and tones down the glare a bit to produce a more neutral listen. The X5 III is considerably more laid-back, it is a softer sounding source with less intimate vocals, it is also less linear throughout and bass is notably fuller at the cost of definition. However, the X5 III avoids sounding congested and overly laid back though it’s aggressive detailing, they actually have a bit more bite to their upper midrange than the X7 though the X7 still retrieves more outright detail and presents them in a more natural manner. The X7 has a considerably smoother midrange with improved resolution and a little more clarity, especially to male vocals. The X5 III doesn’t quite sound as transparent and revealing as the X7 even though the X7 is the smoother sounding source. And this trend extends into their high-frequency performance; the X5 III lacks the upper treble extension and resolution of the X7 which saps texture from high hats and cymbals are clearly more detailed and natural on the X7. The X5 has a tendency to sound a little crunchy when details run rampant while the X7 handles more complex passages with refinement that the X5 III isn’t able to achieve.

    The X7 remains the more refined sounding source and it’s still the device I would listen to every day despite being a bit older. The X5 III is a fine sounding source but it is missing the smoothness and resolution of higher end devices even though detailing and musicality are very impressive. Of course, the X5 III remains the cheaper device, but with the X7 ageing and the impending release of the new X7 II, that price gap is quickly narrowing and buyers should strongly consider spending a little more for the X7, especially with that AM2 module.

    Verdict –


    Over the years, the X7 has become the device Fiio intended it to be through numerous software updates and fixes with that same terrific sound underpinning the entire experience. The X7 achieves great ergonomics through its very smartphone-like form factor and great versatility through a modular design. While its hardware is hardly cutting edge in comparison to the latest and greatest smartphones on the market, the X7 nonetheless provides a convincing user experience through the adoption of the feature rich Android user interface. Luckily, these added features don’t come at the cost of sound quality and the X7 demonstrates that a lot of buyers could benefit by looking into older technology designed to a higher standard than newer models. The newer X5 III is a slightly more musical source and one that I would enjoy in isolation, though I found better synergy with the X7 on the majority of my gear due to its greater neutrality and linearity. The X7 provides a smoother, more organic take on the highly resolving Saber sound that proves to be highly rewarding in terms of both resolution and long-term listenability.

    Verdict – 9/10, The X7 is aged but by no means long in the tooth. The X7 has a nice display, a fluid user interface and well-considered ergonomics. Its sound combines resolution, clarity and refinement and the ability to swap amp modules provides some basic sound adjustments and varied output power for a wider range of headphones.

    Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my review, please see my website for more just like it:
  6. TheoS53
    Potentially great device
    Written by TheoS53
    Published Dec 25, 2015
    Pros - Sound quality, build quality
    Cons - UI, value
    Following on from quite a line of portable and desktop audio devices, Fiio has now released the X7. This is now their flagship device and a whole new beast at that. This beauty runs Android (a first for Fiio) and is equipped with some very interesting features.
    First there is the ESS9019 DAC chip made by Sabre. This is not your usual run-of-the-mill DAC chip, this thing is desktop grade hardware, and is well revered for its audio quality.
    But perhaps the most interesting concept is the amp-module. Here Fiio has tried something different, allowing users to swap out amp modules in order to drive more power-hungry cans, and, of course, make some adjustments to the sound signature. You see, in a perfect world an amp would only be there to provide varying levels of power output…but this is the real world, where few things are quite so black and white. Often I see people on forums asking about this or that amp, and it would seem that most of the time the recommendations tends to focus on the power output; often forgotten is the impact that an amp will have on the sound signature. And this is where I feel the amp modules will be of the greatest interest…the ability to cater to your specific sound signature requirements; whether this be to offset the signature of your cans, or to simply get a specific type of sound which complements the listener’s taste in music.
    So, before I dive into the review, let me give you a little background info on myself as to better understand what it is that I look for and what my position on the X7 is.
    If I had to describe my taste in music, I guess I’d say that I’m an audio purist. By that I mean my aim is to listen to the music the way it was intended; pure and unadulterated. My taste reaches far and wide, everything from jazz to classical, hip-hip to rock, acoustic to RnB. Whilst I fully understand some (perhaps most) people generally only listen to one or a few genres, it makes sense for them to get an audio setup which complements the music the listen to.
    But when you’re looking to get the purest sound, it’s a whole other ball-game. This means that my setup needs to be as neutral as possible, to not emphasize or depreciate, to not add nor take away any of the sounds. I wouldn’t go out and buy a painting, and then decide “you know what this needs? More blue”...and then proceed to make my own adjustments. I treat music the same way. I want to hear what the artist wanted to portray, not to do their job for them and try to make the music better. Some people will get that and some won’t, but nobody is right or wrong either way; it’s all a matter of taste.
    But, I’m also on a sensible budget. Unless I can hear a clear difference between different setups, I see no point in spending extra cash on something which is “technically better”, but doesn’t add to my experience in reality. Again, to each their own and there’s no right or wrong way.
    So, the X7; let’s get on with it.
    This is the second time I’m takin part in a Fiio world tour, the first having been with the X3 Gen 2. I think it’s a great concept to allow people to review upcoming products and it is indeed quite exciting to take part in. What I particularly like about taking part in these world tours with Fiio is the fact that they don’t try to sensor the reviews. They want users to give their honest opinions, and I respect that greatly.
    Those who have been following the X7 thread on Head-fi may have noticed my rather strongly opinionated first impressions of the device, so this time round I will attempt to exercise more, umm, diplomacy.
    I must say, I prefer the new packaging. It seems more modern and classy. Up until now much of Fiio’s packaging were red and black bokes…nothing wrong with them, but nothing that really said “premium” either. I’m not going to spend any time describing the extra bits in pieces in the box, since the main focus here is the device.
    The X7 is genuinely a beautifully crafted device. Everything about it looks premium. It doesn’t look like it was designed by some Chinese audio device manufacturers, but perhaps rather a German car maker. When I first held the device, it felt solid. Be sure to hit the gym before picking it up though, as it is deceptively heavy, tipping the scale at 220g.
    But for me, this is where the positives of the design end. The screen sits about a millimetre or two higher than the rest of the chassis, and just looks a bit quirky. The thickness of the entire device also doesn’t make it feel natural in the hand (granted, I don’t have large hands). On the back there is quite a “hump” which makes placing your fingers on the back feel rather awkward. I guess the weight, added with the form just makes it feel rather unstable in the hand.
    Along the top of the device you’ll find a 3.5mm line-out and coaxial out combo jack. On the right is the play/pause button and a forward/back rocker. Along the bottom is the micro-USB port and the 3.5mm headphone jack (which is part of the swappable amp module). And finally on the left is the micro-SD slot, power button and the volume rocker.
    The side buttons do annoy me a bit. The logos printed on the device for the volume and forward/back rockers are exactly the same. One would think that Fiio would’ve used the usual “double arrows” to indicate the function of the forward/back rocker, but instead the same single arrow logo is used for both rockers. Not a major deal, but just a little detail that seems like a bit of an oversight (forgive me, I’m a detail Nazi)
    Here Fiio has done something rather interesting too. You get the full on android experience, but they’ve also developed what they call “PureMusic mode”. When this is selected, the device reboots into an interface specifically designed just for music. Basically, the only app that is allowed to run is Fiio’s own PureMusic app. All other unnecessary apps and services do not run in the background…well, that’s the idea anyway. In reality this has not been implemented properly. When you have other music apps installed, for some reason they still start up in PureMusic mode when you plug in the headphones. Not the end of the world, you just quit the app…but that’s not what is supposed to happen. At first this proved to be quite confusing to a new user since 2 songs playing at the same time throws you off.
    This proved to be the start of my frustration and confusion with the device. When I first loaded music onto it, for whatever reason it would scan and then display all the songs twice. So instead of showing 24 songs, it was showing 48. When playing songs as well, the timer would start at 30:00, instead of 00:00. Very odd. A factory data reset did correct this eventually.
    But to be really honest, the whole PureMusic app just frustrated me. It’s not the worst interface I’ve ever dealt with (not by a long shot), but as a graphics and web-designer, I am incredibly picky about how intuitive the interface is and whether or not specific design elements make sense (have a purpose). Don’t get me wrong, things seem functional, but the whole point of a good interface is to minimize the learning curve and to not leave the user feeling confused to any extent.
    A pretty UI has never been Fiio’s pride and joy, and this is definitely their best looking one to date, but I fear that a number of people would not want to use the device purely based on their experience with the UI.
    In Android mode things are quite familiar. You get the usual home screen, app drawer, and settings look and feel of KitKat. Thanks to the latest firmware update (version 1.5) the Play Store is now also available so you can download your favourite players and streaming apps…but I wouldn’t bother, not with alternative players anyways.
    Let’s first get the testy stuff out of the way first. I used a 48Khz 24bit 10-20,000 Hz pink noise wave to record some frequency response graphs, and the results are quite interesting. All graphs have a ½ octave smoothing applied.
    Pure Music Mode
    Android Mode – HibyMusic
    Android Mode – Neutron
    Android Mode – Onkyo Player
    Android Mode – Poweramp
    As you’ll see, the low and mid frequency range seem to be identical, but it’s in the highs that we see a drastic difference. HibyMusic and PureMusic mode seem to be extremely similar, however, you’ll notice that the volumes are quite different between Android and PureMusic mode. I did try to get the volumes the same, but my recording equipment picked up a lot of clipping at higher volume levels in Android Mode, and so I had to reduce the volume.
    Neutron and Hibymusic seem quite similar, although it looks like Neutron has a slightly sharper roll off above 10kHz. Onkyo has an even sharper roll off, whilst Poweramp had the worst FR of all of them.
    I wanted to use the Rockbox app as well, but couldn't as I couldnt see anything other than this screen when launching the app.
    For the sake of another comparison, here is the FR graph of my E18+E12A stack connected to my LG G3 running Lollipop and HibyMusic
    Since the E18+E12A stack is my main setup, I will compare it to the X7.
    First off, the X7 does sound great, as is shown by the graphs, the FR is pretty damn good. But they also somewhat confirm what I was hearing. The X7 sounds wonderfully smooth, but just doesn’t quite have the sparkle of the E18+E12A in the higher frequencies, and as such highs seem just a tad pushed back. Instrument separation did seem a bit better on the X7 though, but the sound stage seemed a bit wider on the E18+E12A.
    Honestly, that’s all I can say really, both setups sound incredibly similar, and if I wasn’t able to test them side by side, I genuinely wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Heck, even with testing them side by side, I have to really concentrate on what I’m hearing to discern a difference between them.
    Battery Life
    This has always been a concern of mine. As much as I love Android, it’s not what I would call battery friendly. I did some drain tests (until roughly 10%) in PureMusic mode to see the effects of leaving WiFi on and off.
    As you can see, not a big difference, about 15 minutes. I noticed something really strange though; for some reason it is not displaying the battery usage correctly. Each time it showed that the screen was the highest battery drain, but in both tests the screen was on at most for just over 5 minutes…very strange indeed. So, a battery life of approximately 8 hours doesn’t give me much hope for the device in terms of the battery. I say this because it is currently equipped with the IEM amp module. How much faster will it run out of juice when the higher power modules are connected?
    Perhaps with further firmware improvements we’ll see the device become more efficient, but who knows?
    Final Thoughts
    Let me be clear, I’m in a very weird state of mind right now with regards to the X7.  Before I was able to get my hands on the device I read through other peoples’ impressions and reviews, and I couldn’t help but get really excited to try it out. Talks of how great it sounded, and the very “holographic” presentation it gave. I’m not saying they’re wrong, It’s just that when I compare it to my current setup, I don’t get the same sensation of awe. So when I finally got to plug my headphones in to get my fix of this awesomeness, I was left rather underwhelmed. Again, I’m not saying it doesn’t sound great, because IT DOES! But compared to my E18+E12A stack, there is absolutely nothing that makes me want the X7. I’m having a really hard time trying to justify why I would want to forget about my $320 stack in favour of a $650 device which doesn’t seem to provide me with any type of sonic improvement.
    One the forum members mentioned something along the lines of “you can’t judge the sound of a device after only a few hours with it, you have to really listen to it for a longer period of time”. Personally, I couldn’t agree less. The best analogy that I can come up with is, let’s say you drive a French car, and someone hands you the keys to an Audi. The moment you climb into that car you just know it’s better put together. Everything just feels well thought out and engineered to precision. You don’t have to sit in the car for days on end to realise that, but you will appreciate it more as time goes on, and you start to realise why the German has the higher price tag. And I guess that’s where my disappointment with the X7 really comes in…there isn’t enough about it that screams at me “I’M WORTH MORE!”.
    This is why I have a very weird state of mind right now. I feel both quite disappointed, and exceptionally relieved at the same time. Disappointed with what the X7 has delivered (or not delivered), and relieved that my humble E18+E12A setup still holds, what is in my opinion, the best bang-for-buck. Of course, the X7 does have a much more portable form factor, but it also couldn't hope to compete with the E18+E12A's 20+ hour battery life. But upon further reflection, perhaps the X7 is impressive after all. Perhaps it's a matter of the IEM amp module holding it back far more than I realise, and with the introduction of better modules it'll really bring the X7 to life.
    The whole experience has left a rather bitter-sweet taste in my mouth. As I was discussing with a fellow reviewer, the X7 just feels incomplete. Almost as though there was a rush with the device, perhaps a deadline of some kind (maybe Christmas?) which was deemed more important than polishing the UI and ironing out the bugs. Fiio had a real chance to do something completely different here, to make a device like none other (and to some extent I suppose they have), but instead they sent out what feels to be a blueprint. What particularly annoys me is a buggy UI. UIs can be changed and perfected, so (in my opinion) there is no valid reason as to why they can’t properly test and sort out the UI before releasing the product to the consumers (especially for a $650 device). I’m talking about taking pride in one’s work, to do it to the very best of your ability. Taking pride doesn’t cost a penny.
    I genuinely, honestly, truly hope that Fiio will take all the negative feedback and surprise us with a right hook to the jaw. Fiio is still, without a doubt, my favourite audio company and I will keep my hopes up that they will go up from here.
    Last but not least I want to give a special thanks to Samma3a.com. For the purpose of this review I wanted to compare the X7 to the E18+E12A stack, and Samma3a gave me a 25% discount on the E12A. So thanks a lot Samma3a, it proved it be one of my best purchases yet!
      Peridot, DeeKay10, Brooko and 2 others like this.
    1. Joe Bloggs
    2. RebeccaSugar
      I want to let you know that I ordered the E12A and will pair it with my E17K.
      If it sounds great. I will love you.
      But for now.
      I hate you, so so much.
      RebeccaSugar, Jan 14, 2016
  7. angelo898
    not for me, i might be the only one on head fi who doesn't think this is an amazing DAP though
    Written by angelo898
    Published Feb 18, 2016
    Pros - bluetooth
    Cons - not worth the money
    Some brief impressions of the FiiO x7
    So a while back, I got on the FiiO x5ii tour. I was absolutely impressed with the ability of the x5ii and wrote in my impressions that the x5ii made me very excited for the x7. When the Australian and New Zealand tour for the x7 came up, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out! Sadly, I might be the only one who was not absolutely impressed with it on this forum.
    A little about me
    Personally, I am a person who tends to gravitate to high end equipment, but have recently started looking at the low-mid end segments of the IEM world, since I have come to the conclusion that I have had my head stuck up in the clouds for too long. While I love trying new equipment, the equipment I end up buying tends to be little. This might be due to my lack of a decent income, or because I have very high standards, honestly I am not sure. However, one thing I am very sure of, since I have a rather limited budget, whatever I tend to buy or recommend are things I love, instead of hyping the regular item. While I believe sound quality to be extremely important, I also highly value ergonomics, and love things that look beautiful as well.
    Personally, I feel that the impressions here are getting increasingly less important nowadays. With improvements in firmware, manufacturers are often able to change the sound of the DAP through the power of software. In addition, the x7 is also further improved by the future additions of the amp cards, which are to be released in the future. As such, preliminary impressions here really should be taken with a pinch of salt, regardless of reviewer, unless they have an amp card (or the specific amp card you want).
    I personally felt that the FiiO x7 was decent with the sound quality, having nothing that really brought me into the music. It was pretty bland, despite being relatively neutral to my ears.
    I felt that the player was able to drive IEMs well (not very hard to achieve here), but not able to drive transportable headphones, like my recently acquired Shure 1540, properly at all. This was confirmed when a friend listened to it. I subsequently read somewhere (sorry, forgot) that the x7 was tuned to be very stable for IEMs, but did not do well with much else that required amping, thus, creating the need for the amp cards that are being developed at the moment. I hope this is the case and wish the x7 owners well. I personally have had fun playing with amp cards with the Hifiman Hm901 and would definitely not consider the lack of power a minus point since playing with amp cards is fun, and if the amp cards were able to provide enough power to drive less sensitive headphones, FiiO would be providing a complete solution for anyone who liked the sound of this player.
    When I first picked it up from the post office, I was on the way to do some errands and a friend decided to come along to try out the new flagship from FiiO. He spent about half an hour trying to get the x7 to scan his microSD card before giving up and calling it ****. He had over 2000 songs in various formats, ranging from lossy to 24/192 lossless. I did not have that as many issues.
    I had quite a few problems with the music app crashing. Every time I turned on the player, the music app would crash (100% chance for me). The music app would also crash randomly from time to time, but rarely. This is personally quite unacceptable, since android is pretty known and there are proper alternatives to an app that would crash. I was also told that using the non FiiO app to listen to music would result in absolutely **** battery life but was not able to test this since I could not figure out how to use android since I am an iPhone user.
    The FiiO x7 features both a touch screen and physical buttons on the side. While the touch screen was much better looking than expected, I personally found it to be a tad bit too sensitive and a bit too responsive, making me over scroll or under scroll when trying to compensate (I personally think this is a small issue and could be considered user error since I am stuck in my ways).
    The physical buttons worked adequately for what they were and the player did not get too warm when played for long periods (I might have a bit of a bias here since my DAPs are known to get really warm with use).
    Special mention has to be made here for the Bluetooth feature. I used to not be a believer of Bluetooth for music since it is not needed (everything is wired right?). However, with the FiiO having Bluetooth, I decided that I might as well use it. This was the first player that I’ve had that has Bluetooth integrated. I have to admit, I was absolutely amazed at how useful it is! I usually use my Bluetooth speaker with my iPhone, playing what little music I have on it. The iPhone is often not updated with much new music, nor does it usually have much music because the iPhone doesn’t have expandable storage. What generally happens is that I tend to listen to the Bluetooth speaker for a while, before asking a friend if they have any music on their phones, or what not, resulting in me listening to a bunch of Justin Bieber or whatever other top 40 hit there is out there.
    With the FiiO x7, this was not the case, with the expandable storage and the Bluetooth function. The battery life doesn’t even suck. I decided to test the battery life of the x7 by turning it on for a long period of time. Since I had to be near it to monitor whether the x7 died or not, I decided to leave it at around a volume of 30. The x7 lasted about 9 hours before I decided to call the experiment off in order to retain my sanity. It looked like the player had around 50% battery life left there (somewhere in the middle). Congratulations FiiO, you have convinced me that I need a feature that I previously did not.
    As you can read from my impressions up till now, I am not a fan. The FiiO performs decently for what it is, but has certain issues that I personally am not able to stomach if I were to purchase the unit. It has better battery life than what I am generally used to (I own power hungry DAPs like the Calyx M and the HM901) and has a wonderful Bluetooth feature. Aside from that, I personally would rather go with the x5ii, which I was impressed with. The x5ii is cheaper and has a simpler OS and decent ergonomics. While I am not able to compare the sound since I don’t have the x5ii on hand, I remember being impressed with the sound and would personally rather go that route if I didn’t need the Bluetooth feature. The savings would be able to net me an external amplifier, which would probably perform better than the x7 on its own. 
    1. View previous replies...
    2. avitron142
      avitron142, Feb 19, 2016
    3. RamblerBoy
      it is sad and funny how difficult it is for members to post a negative review/impression about a hyped product in here. not saying that x7/x3ii/x5ii are hyped products. i see such issues more often these days. Audiophiles are getting intolerant, i guess.
      @angelo898 nice review. really helpful. thank you.
      RamblerBoy, Feb 21, 2016
    4. angelo898
      angelo898, Mar 17, 2016
  8. djvkool
    The Android DAP revolution starts RIGHT HERE!!
    Written by djvkool
    Published Dec 16, 2015
    Pros - Sound Quality, Amp Module
    Cons - No rubber case (pre-production sample)
    FIIO X7
    The Latest DAP from Fiio, I would like to thank Joe and Paul (Brooko) for giving me the honour of auditioning this incredible piece of gadget.
    I have been waiting for an Andoid-based Mid/High-Fi for quite sometimes, mainly because of the emergence of FLAC streamers like Tidal and Qobuz, and the prospects of being able to play FLAC on the go with a good DAC, as well as the prospect of having a one-for-all device (thus far, you can only do these with Android phones, but let’s not kidding ourselves here, the DAC quality on phones are better than average at best). When ZX2 was released I wasn’t really interested mainly because I’m not a big fan of Sony’s house sound
    Due to the short time that I had with it, as well as being one of the first to audition (therefore I have not had the pleasure of trying the ‘unlocked’ Android as per the latest firmware), this review won’t be as detailed as I usually do mine. I will have the unit back to me again hopefully at the end of the tour leg so I can spend a bit more time with it, and elaborate on some point of the review as needed, and also, by then I should have my Onkyo DP-X1, so I can do an in-depth A/B, which should interest some people as they both are the current FOTM, and people are lining up to buy one, but not sure which yet.
    Superb build quality as per the usual Fiio standard, the unit feels solid in hand, and has a nice weight. All of the buttons are positioned nicely, overall, it looks and feel like a top end product.
    The only downside is the lack of rubber shell/housing/cover, just like the first generation of X5. I feel that this is necessary as the brushed metal is rather slippy, especially if the palm of the hand is dry, and it could easily slipped out of the grip and falls down. As I believe this is one of the pre-production prototype, I’m sure Fiio will address this issue and will include the said rubber casing with the final production model.
    Android OS
    As mentioned above, I was one of the first members to review the unit, therefore my time was with the version of the firmware with the ‘whitelist’ policy in place. To be honest, I didn’t mind this at all, as I was able to find a working and reliable Android apk for both Spotify and Tidal, two of the streaming services that I use regularly. I tried and install some of the other streaming services for testing purposes (Deezer, Google Music, SoundCloud), and some of the internet radio services (RadioTunes, DI.FM, TuneIn), but unfortunately I didn’t succeed
    The UI is typical Android, which I’m sure most people are familiar with, even for all of the Apple fanboys out there, at worst it will take an hour or two to familiarise themselves
    Amp Module
    This could be the potential game winner for Fiio, the pre-production review model comes with the IEM amp-module, and there will be some additional amp-module for purchase later down the track. Although details are still a bit sketchy at this point in time about what other module that Fiio will offer, I have no doubt that this will sets Fiio apart from the competitor if done correctly.
    Battery life
    I did 2 tests on the battery, the first test was on standby with nothing running on the background, and the second test was on standby with both Tidal and Spotify running on the background. Both test yielded roughly similar results, around 30 minutes differences (11:45 and 10:45 respectively).
    The battery gets pretty warm when playing continuously, but doesn’t concern me to be honest as my LG G3 phone runs even warmer
    I have not had as many exposure to DAP as I had with IEM, so therefore, this section of my review is purely YMMV, as I can only compare to what I knew and/or experienced
    For the purpose of the testing, the following were used as comparison tools
    1. LG G3 with Poweramp, Tidal and Spotify running
    2. Fiio X5
    3. Dunu DN-2000J
    4. Rooth LS5X
    Music Files
    Playing FLAC’s and MP3’s through both X5 and X7, the difference between the two is quite significant to my ear. What jumped out to me straight away is the ability of X7 to tone down sibilance, without sacrificing details. Cold Chisel’s Flame Trees is my trusty track to test sibilance, as the track itself is rather bright, and Barnesy’s signature husky voice will punish those who can’t handle sibilance, particularly when he starts belting the high notes. While the sibilance is between bearable to almost non-existence on X5, X7 just waved its magic wand and made it disappear. The track is perfectly clean, smooth, and free of distortion of any kind.
    I then grabbed one of my brighter and more sibilant-prone Rooth LS5X hybrid, and anything I throw at it, X7 handles it perfectly, everything came out smooth and clean, just amazing.
    Streaming Services
    Massive difference here between the X7 and LG G3, but that is understandably due to the difference in the quality of the respective DAC chips. Even comparing the sound of the streamed FLAC’s and MP3’s to my desktop setup (with Aune T1 DAC), X7 is notably smoother and cleaner
    Few issues aside, there is no doubt that this unit has the potential of being an incredibly awesome DAP, particularly with its interchangeable amp module. There aren’t many competitor in the market at the moment, I believe Sony ZX2 is the only competitor at the moment, but the market is changing very soon with Pionner, Onkyo, and Echobox are releasing their own Android-based DAP within the next 2-3 months
    Based on my session with the unit, I have conjured up the following suggestions, some of these may or may not have been addressed by Fiio
    1. Rubber case/shell
    2. Google Play Store
    3. Auto shut off option on idle
    Thank you for reading.
      iano, White Lotus, Brooko and 3 others like this.
  9. h1f1add1cted
    Currently without competition in its price range - well done FiiO
    Written by h1f1add1cted
    Published Jan 17, 2016
    Pros - Sound quality, design, hardware buttons, modular amps, allround functionality
    Cons - FiiO Music user interface, non-removable battery
    FiiO X7 Review
    First I need to thank FiiO that I could attend the FiiO X7 World Preview Tour ( http://www.head-fi.org/t/782490/fiio-x7-preview-world-tour-tour-impressions-rolling-in ). My FiiO X7 is a preview demo unit and will be go to FiiO back after the review time is gone.
    Internal storage (onboard): 32 GB
    Internal storage (extension): up to 200 GB (microSD)
    External storage: USB OTG up to 2 TB
    AMP: power (standard IEM AMP M1) 220 mW @ 16 ohm / 110 mW @ 32 ohm / 12 mW @ 300 ohm
    DAC: ESS Sabre ES9018S
    Battery life: around 9 hours
    Supported formats: MP3, AAC,ALAC, WMA, OGG, APE, AIFF, FLAC, WAV, DXD, DSF/DFF* (*up to DSD128 )
    1x 3,5mm (~ 0,2 Ohm output impedance)
    1x 3,5mm (coaxial and line-out combo output)
    1x microUSB
    Additional connection :
    - WiFi
    - Bluetooth without aptX
    - Modular amp system (optional): Medium-power AMP M2, Balanced AMP M3 or High-power AMP M4
    - Optional FiiO K5 docking station, more information here: http://fiio.net/en/products/46
    - warranty card
    - 2 additional screws for the amp module
    - coaxial adaptor
    - USB cable
    - screen protectors
    - short guide
    Soon there will be two leather cases available (LC-X7A and LC-X7B), more information here: http://fiio.net/en/story/376
    Default packaging from the FiiO X7, sadly no matte screen protectors, which would be a real benefit for outdoor usage against the sun on screen.
    First impression and look and feel:
    The FiiO X7 offers a real high build quality, the aluminium case is in the colour Titan and offers additional a very snappy surface feel. With a weight of around 220g and the sizes of 13 cm x 6,4 cm x 1,66 isn't the FiiO X7 not one of smallest and lighted DAPs on the market. For me personally its positive since I got a very pleasant handling and the feedback from the 6 hardware buttons from the FiiO X7, which will be in future firmware upgrade switch able like for left or right handed usage. Optically is the FiiO real eye candy to me, the display which is on top of the case isn't for sure all people taste, but I really find that matches to the entire design very well.
    The scratches did someone from my preview group. What a same for the beautiful device.
    Simply to see its a preview demo unit - X7 debut World Tour 2015.
    Operation/options/mobile usage/battery life:
    I used the FiiO X7 with its current firmware 1.5 ( http://fiio.net/en/story/372 ), pre-installed was version 1.1. The German translation is not finished yet, sometime some strange words used instead, or simply they kept the English word for it. The little blue LED can be customized in the software settings (brightness level, pulsar, permanent light, or off). The FiiO X7 firmware is based on Android 4.4.4 with Google Play Store connection. As far I know FiiO is working on Android Version 5 too - but for the sound quality it doesn't matter which Android version is used in this case. You have on one side, the Android mode which all typical operations and functionally allows what you can do with Android. On the other side you have the for musical only operation mode, the so called Pure music mode. FiiO has spent a own developed customized music app (FiiO Music - used in version 1.7), which completely bypassed Android typical re-sampling/down-sampling actions, short SRC ( https://source.android.com/devices/audio/src.html ), to offer bit-perfect, native playback of all supported formats. This app works in both modes without limitations. Additional as mentioned on beginning FiiO heavily optimized Android, that the FiiO X7 has native 44 kHz, instead of mostly typical 48 kHz on Android devices.
    Short RMAA measurement for comparison:
    16 bit/44 kHz:
    FiiO Music vs 3rd party music apps. Like you see with 16bit music with the native 44 kHz implementation from the FiiO X7 no quality loose is happen.
    24 bit/44 kHz:
    FiiO Music vs 3rd party music apps. Like you see depending of the implementation in real world, trough SRC the sound quality can be decreased if you use 24bit music, but Neutron offers a real great deal with exemplary performance, like the FiiO Music app.
    Android typical the control is smooth and fast and absolute self explaining. The FiiO Music app is easy to use and after a couple of minutes you know all functionality and options. From the control I see some room for improvements, I personally prefer the user interface and control of Neutron.
    The used 1.4 GHz clocked Rockchip RK3188 quad-core SoC, with 1 GB of RAM and the 3.97” IPS display with 480x800 and a pixel density of 233 PPI is for all applications more than enough. A higher pixel density would only cost more battery life and offers no real added value to draw like album covers. From the 32 GB of internal storage you can use slightly over 27 GB. FiiO shows support for 128 GB microSD cards, but a 200 GB microSD works fine too.
    The volume levels can be adjusted in small 120 steps and this in every app. The amp gain can be switched on the software between low and high. The 10 band equalizer should be more than fine for the most user (I never use EQ at all), if not you can use other apps instead with i.e. parametric equalizer and others (like Neutron). A hint on this stage, by default any other app than the FiiO Music app has an built-in 6 dB attenuation to prevent clipping and that all apps sound the same.
    What at first directly catches the eye from the design of FiiO X7 is its modular amp module. The idea is not completely new, some Hifiman DAPs offering switch able amps, but the solution of the FiiO X7 is very smart done.
    With only two screws you are able to swap the amp section of the X7.
    Here is a overview over all amp modules for the FiiO X7, like you see for all needs or wishes, no need for external amps anymore:
    By default the IEM AMP M1 module is shipped with the FiiO X7.
    The pricing for the amp modules should be move between 70 to 100 Euros per module. It should be on the beginning some introductory price, where the price should be between 35 to 50 Euros. But please note I only converted Yuan to Euro, what the prices will be for us (Germany) I don't know yet. But in any case, the small additional costs for a balanced or very powerful amp module is out of competition if you see what a dedicated balanced amp or a very powerful amp costs you normally. Source: http://fiio.net/story/367
    The battery life from the non-removable 3500 mAh battery is in real world with the paired IEM AMP M1 module with my custom IEMs around 9 hours, which fits very well with the manufacture statement. You have long display on times and massively use WiFi / Bluetooth the life varies finally. The charge time for a entire full charge takes under 4 hours with 2A wall charger.
    The WiFi with 2.4 GHz IEEE 802.11n standard is stable and more than enough for streaming apps like Spotify or Qobuz. MFI or RFI noise interference I couldn't see regardless if I use my most sensitive IEMs.
    Since the Bluetooth module (Bluetooth V4.0 + EDR) from the FiiO X7 don't come with AptX, it has some incremental sound quality decrease. For my test I have chosen my Creative Soundblaster E5 with the FiiO X7, in the opposite I have used my Sony Xperia Z1 compact which have AptX – the differences you can hear, with a regular 16bit FLAC music file – without AptX minimal less dynamic and slightly taller sound stage, with the same source material, same player app (Neutron) and same output level. No big differences of course, because I have heard with other Android devices much more worse results in a very bad meaning. In this particular case with the FiiO X7 its not a deal breaker that no AptX is onboard, since its such a small real world difference.
    Wireless music listening no problem with the FiiO X7.
    Sound quality/performance/compare:
    Lets come to the most important attribute of a DAP - the sound. Before I start my (best possible objective) comparison, I want to share that I measured all my sources with a multimeter (UNI-T UT139C) with a 1 kHz sinus 0dBFS test signal for scaling all to the (best possible) same loudness level for listening.
    Direct comparisons:
    FiiO X7 vs iBasso DX50 + Chord Mojo
    With the Custom Art Harmony 8 Pro and Etymotic Research ER-4 (OE Edition) is the stack of iBasso DX 50 + Chord Mojo, with its higher transparent and even more detailed playback, added with larger sound stage in advantage. Its not like day and night differences, but with these two high resolution IEMs quite easy noticeable.
    With the LEAR LHF-AE1d and Custom Art Music One, the differences slightly smaller, but still you hear it, because the Mojo offers his real strengths with IEMs.
    With the Sennheiser HD 800 on the other side, I can't hear any difference between those two, in this case I don't see a better or worse.
    Put all together is the FiiO X7 on top notch with these stack which is really impressive, only for the last couple of percent if use high quality IEMs, has the stack a small benefit, but with regular headphones fades this advantage.
    Lots of toys for the comparison, the differences of the source are really small. Small benefit with IEMs for the stack.
    FiiO X7 vs iBasso DX50 + iFi audio micro iDSD
    Quite interesting comparison – because the iBasso DX 50 + iFi audio micro iDSD and the FiiO X7 sounds absolutely identical with the before mentioned IEMs. Both offering such a high quality playback of the music.
    But after I swapped to my Sennheiser HD 800 in other hand, we have now small plus points for the stack. Because the headphone earns a better bass response, higher transparency and a little larger sound stage. But again this are only small differences, but you can hear it quite easy.
    In summary the AM1 amp modules in high gain is enough to drive the Sennheiser HD 800, but I really would know how the more powerful amp modules would be match for the FiiO X7.
    In this comparison plays the FiiO X7 again head to head with these stack, but now its completely opposite, that regular headphones getting the last last couple of percent trough a better amp, because with IEMs I have zero differences.
    Lots of toys for the comparison, the differences of the source are really small. Small benefit with headphones for the stack.
    Line-out performance:
    Since the line-out of the FiiO X7 offers fixed 1.4 Vrms I tried it to pair with my Stax SRS-002 set. The amp SRM-002 matches very well and very great that with the lower line-out level of 1.4 Vrms, I can adjust the volume quite good in great range. The most problem I have with industry standard 2 - 2.1 Vrms output is, that it's too much power for lower volume for this Stax set. That's the reason why I “normally” use the Stax amp with my other gear with double amping to have a lower input level. But great from FiiO to have this lower line level, perfect performance for my SR-002, sounds on top wit iFi audio micro iDSD and Chord Mojo.
    stax_1.jpg stax_2.jpg
    Love this baby Stax airy sound, still unique sound signature for IEMs.
    Other audio perfomance:
    Best hiss performance, a ranking list, for dedicated DAPs (a small selection):
    FiiO X7 > FiiO X3 (1. Gen) > iBasso DX50 > Shanling M2
    The FiiO X7 paired with the default IEM AMP M1 modules has very very great hiss levels, even on very sensitive IEMs. The hiss performance is shortly on top like my reference device for this attribute – the Chord Mojo. The IEM module makes his naming very proud.
    The output impedance again, I have measured with a multimeter (UNI-T UT139C) and a DIY mini jack without resistance and after with DIY mini jack with a 33 ohms resistance and afterwards I calculated 0,5153 V - 0,5005 V = 0,0148 | 0,5005 V / 0,0148 = 33,818 | 33 / 33,818 ~ 0,9) and I get around 1 ohms. But please note measure tolerances because the manufacture value of around 0,2 ohms can be very right to me.
    My RMAA measurements I have done with my Creative E-MU 0404 USB Audio Interface:
    The FiiO X7 with and without load. For test I used my 8 driver IEM, the frequency response is ruler flat and only a very inaudible 0,2 dB roll-off.
    The line-out, like the headphone output, from the FiiO X7 very flat and neutral.
    The test equipment for measurement and comparison.
    Also the other technical specifications I have confirmed with my measurements, in some cases better as FiiO mentioned.
    FiiO offers with the X7 a really great sounding, flexible usable Android based, with modular amp module system and docking station a smart all-rounder DAP. Put all things together its a very interesting DAP with good attributes/performance/functionality and a awesome design. I need to admit its not so easy to give the FiiO X7 away, because its a all-rounder with small footprint which is the current flagship from FiiO and a really a good deal imho.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. h1f1add1cted
      If I use line out paired with line in from i.e. iFi micro iDSD as amp only mode my compare FiiO X7 with AM1 vs iBasso DX50 with coaxial iFi micro iDSD sound very similar, feed digital is slightly better. The AM2 I can't test, I don't have. The same will stay if I would pair any external amp like Meier Audio Corda Quickstep or similar great amps vs the Mojo stack, the difference will be kept, as I wrote in my comparsion.
      h1f1add1cted, Apr 8, 2016
    3. Dobrescu George
      Very nice review and thank you for your measurements! 
      Dobrescu George, Feb 19, 2017
    4. h1f1add1cted
      Thanks, you are welcome.
      h1f1add1cted, Feb 25, 2017
  10. PinkyPowers
    Taking on Giants - A Review of the FiiO X7
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Dec 26, 2015
    Pros - Impressive soundstage. Smooth, refined audio. Impeccable detail. -touchscreen-
    Cons - GUI. Incomplete firmware. Battery life. Hardware buttons. Raised screen.

    I managed to insinuate myself into the North American tour for FiiO’s new flagship audio player. I receive no payment for this review, and have no affiliation with the company… yet. I’m trying to convince James Chung I’m his long-lost son/grandfather/aunt. Fingers crossed! My participation in this tour was permitted only under the mandate that I share my opinions openly and honestly, for good or ill. Let’s all of us take a moment to sit and read and see if I can do that.

    I have earned the ire of some members of the Head-fi community for suggesting that DAPs should be devices focused and dedicated to the highest quality sound achievable. And nothing else. The idea of wifi, internet, streaming, and even video! I have a Galaxy S6 for that, and it does not sound very good compared to even a budget DAP. Top-tier smartphones are proficient at everything and masters of nothing.

    Enough people want all that garbage in their DAPs, though. Yet I can’t help feel when a manufacturer splits its focus—and budget—to accommodate features that have nothing to do with sound quality, it’s to the detriment of the product.

    As it turns out, the FiiO X7 does show signs of this, but not so bad as it could have.



    Aesthetically, the X7 is mundane to look upon. Gone is the old FiiO, who gave us the idiosyncratic X3 and the handsome brute known as the X5 Classic. The 2nd Gen products are all about function, form be damned. There are rumors out of Hong Kong the last artist in FiiO’s employ was killed in the winter of 2014/15. The others fled months before, and those who couldn’t were transformed into something else.

    That at least explains the X7. The most interesting thing about its appearance is the raised LCD screen, which happens to be a design flaw I am in fact docking them for. Displays must be exposed, or they aren’t displaying much. Still, there’s no reason to expose them like this. One oughtn’t take the most vulnerable part of a device and willfully make it more vulnerable.

    The build feels sufficient and sturdy. Buttons are solid. NO SCROLL WHEEL! Yay! The layout of the buttons makes for awkward handling, I’m sad to say. By virtue of their symmetrical arrangement, when I press the Power button, I’ll often press the Track Forward or Track Backward on the opposite side of the player. Or if I try and hit the Play/Pause button, I might also change the volume. I’ve found the touchscreen a tad unresponsive. Sometimes it just doesn’t recognize you’ve touched it. Dead center, medium force, and it doesn’t notice.

    One of the major drawbacks to the X7 is that it possesses only one slot for microSD cards. That, and the measly 32GB internal storage, makes this a tough sell for some of us. Both the X5 Classic and X5ii have two slots, giving you quite a lot more potential storage. The recently released Cayin N5 also has two, and for half the X7’s price. My AK120ii has but one slot, as well. Yet with 128GB internal storage, the issue becomes moot.

    The GUI is rather good, but not great. It could use streamlining. A copious application. You have to select two separate folder icons before you enter Browse by Folder. Every other DAP I’ve owned has this icon on the root menu. Manually updating the firmware is a bit tricky to figure out. Once you do, it becomes simple. Now that the X7 can automatically check for updates, download, and install them, it promises to be as easy as Astell&Kern. Changing from Pure Music Mode to Android Mode was confusing, until v1.41beta. Now it prompts you to reboot, whereas before you would have no idea you should power-cycle the system. Unless you read manuals, which everyone knows hurts the pancreas.

    The individual who had this unit before me reported all manner of troubles, which included a plague of system crashes so severe he feared it came straight out of the book of Revelations. Myself, I have seen only one crash. It caused the system to reboot and I thought, “Here we go. I was warned.” But I haven’t seen another one since. Perhaps because I’ve gone through four versions of the firmware since receiving my unit.

    Putting my reservations aside, most of the UI is a step up from the FiiO X5. Simply doing away with that hell-wrought scroll wheel secures the X7’s victory. Now… pit it against my principle music player, the Astell&Kern AK120ii, and we see a whole other story. Button layout on the AK is made for human hands. You won’t press anything you didn’t intend. The software is trim, intuitive, and a joy to use. The screen sensitivity is without fault. Let’s not forget the gorgeous volume knob, which is a feature I love in my high-end equipment. Your tastes may disagree. No doubt some folk are muttering “fanboy” as they read this. That’s okay. To me the AK120ii simply feels superior.


    Battery life was tested at a little over eight hours. I ran her from a fresh charge, on high gain, at volume 68, powering my Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over-ear. That’s louder than I can comfortably listen at. I turned the screen on four or five times for mere seconds in order to check the status. It was playing standard 16bit/44.1Khz FLAC files. If you’re using IEMs on low gain, expect to get longer use of this DAP.

    The ability to plug your X7 into a computer and use it as a USB DAC was still absent while I held it. FiiO says this feature will be unlocked in later firmware updates. Then again, they also say the X7 couldn’t possibly have given me rabies. But I feel mighty frothy, and boy do I hate water. Who’s right?

    Google Play Store is present in the latest update. That, along with FiiO Marketplace, gives you access to apps such as Spotify and Tidal. Streaming from Tidal was super easy over my home wifi. I’ve read reports of line noise creeping into the signal when using wifi on the X7. My own limited experience using this device for streaming was pleasant, without any detectable signal interference.

    Now… let’s talk about sound.

    For this review I finally picked up a headphone switcher—LINE5—and oh my lord does it help distinguish all the variations between sources. I should have bought one of these a long time ago. Sadly, I still don’t have an SPL meter, so everything was volume-matched by ear.

    It's an achievement so great I shall preserve it in black and white.


    Upon powering up the X7 for the first time, right off I performed a factory reset. Whatever demons tormented the last reviewer, I wanted to head them off as best I could. I then updated the device’s software. I had all of forty minutes with v1.3 of the firmware before v1.4 released. The update improved the sound nicely. During those first forty minutes, I felt the X7 sounded kinda dull, lacking dynamics and energy. After the update, it was like the FiiO woke up, randy as hell, wanting to get it on with the nearest warm body.

    The X7 is utterly neutral, more so than my other DAPs. Its soundstage has a fabulous open quality, with density of detail to fill it all in. Clean and clear is the impression.

    I find it easier to describe a device by comparing it to another. A reference point like that gives my descriptions much-needed context. So I’ll match this player against my main DAP. But first, the backup.

    The X7 is less warm than the X5 Classic, with even more detail. The X5 has always been known as a detail beast. The X7 is better. It also has a significantly larger soundstage, and smoother sonics. The music is crisper and more analogue-seeming. It takes its place as FiiO’s new flagship with ease.

    In regard to my top player, the AK120ii, the X7 is again brighter and more neutral. They are more or less equal in detail. Being brighter, the X7 comes across as having more detail, but if you listen with care, it just isn’t so. The AK renders an even wider soundstage, and deeper.

    That’s as far as I can go with my objective comparison. Those are aspects you can almost quantify. This hobby, however, is mostly a subjective one. What do we think about a product? How do we feel about what we hear?

    To me, the warmer sound of the AK120ii gives the music a thicker, richer quality. It’s smooth and organic, with a weight of tonality the X7 falls short of. I observed this with every headphone I tested.

    I favor a measure of warmth in my sound. That’s the bias I work under. Others lean towards a brighter character. They may prefer every aspect of the X7.

    Now, when you take into account the Balanced Output of the AK120ii, it leaps ahead of the X7 in clarity, soundstage, texture, detail, and everything you can think of. FiiO is developing a Balanced Amp Module, along with one for high impedance headphones, and a few other configurations. When these are released the fight will be on leveler ground.

    Forgetting my bias is sooooo easy with the X7. It recreates such a splendid melody. Nothing sounds bad on the FiiO.


    I feared that pairing a highly neutral phone with a highly neutral DAP would generate a terribly dry, analytical sound. When I tried the Klipsch X7i with the FiiO X7, relief washed over me. It sounds brilliant. Being single-driver, Balanced Armature, this Klipsch is not going to take full advantage of FiiO’s new flagship. Nonetheless, I fell in love with these little earphones all over again. The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour played out with so much detail. It’s very smooth with delightful tonality.

    Running the Audio Technica IM03 I found some of that warmth I hunger for. A Perfect Circle made me feel like I was in a dark club, watching them jam on stage beneath blinding lights. Oodles of bass, with plenty of air up top to keep it out of that mucky, veiled territory. The mids are just delicious.

    Moving on up to the JH Audio Angie, I’m struck by the clarity and detail. It keeps some of the warmth of the IM03 while giving me everything the Klipsch did, only infinitely more refined. These are the phones I put in when I want to know exactly who the FiiO X7 is. Angie exposes everything, in the most intimate fashion. What I discover is the X7 can handle any genre, and handle it with aplomb. It never sounds digital. It never gets messy with complex recordings. Everything is spaced out and precise, very much on a level with Astell&Kern.

    The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over-ears are some of the sweetest, easiest, most laid-back headphones. I took the X7>M2 pair out with me on a few errands leading up to Christmas Eve. Together they made the insanity of the traffic and shopping centers a lot more bearable. The X7 really brought out the Senn’s potential. Rumors by Fleetwood Mac has rarely sounded this good. HD Tracks’ Black Sabbath collection is quite simply life-altering on this setup.


    Most digital music players I’ve had the pleasure of trying are not intended to drive 300 Ohm headphones, such as my Sennheiser HD600. Most can drive them to a loud enough volume, but they sound anemic and hollowed out. Cayin N5 could not deliver a satisfactory performance with the HD600. Even my AK120ii failed this test. The FiiO X5 Classic was the only DAP I’ve tried personally that can fatten up the sound and give me an adequate facsimile of how the Senns perform on a beefy desktop amp. Don’t get me wrong, they are still underpowered. You are not fooled into forgetting that. A good desktop amp makes the HD600 quite a bit thicker, smoother, and richer sounding. The X5 is only adequate in a pinch. And now, so is the X7. That’s right. With just the IEM Amp Module, it does as well as the X5. Once those other Modules arrive, we will have one hell of a player on our hands.

    If you stripped me naked and took away all my audio gear, and then offered me the choice, free of charge, between the X7 and the AK120ii, I choose the AK, without hesitation. Nearly everything about it appeals more to my sensibilities. Of course, it’s wildly expensive. At the time of this writing, Amazon has it for just under $1,500. And that’s low for the 120ii. We’re talking nearly two and a half times the X7’s $659. I could never reasonably suggest the Astell&Kern is worth buying when the X7 performs so ******* well at just a fraction of the cost.

    The question, as it always comes down to, is what can you afford, and what features do you prize? For many, the X5ii is the better choice, simply because of its storage capacity, and the lack of all that smartphone rubbish the X7 is bogged down by. I still love my X5 Classic. My AK120ii is the perfect upgrade to it. While it is Android based, it’s highly locked down and refined. There’s no App Store. It still feels, and sounds, like it’s dedicated to nothing but sound quality.

    Whatever. Enough of this heinous philosophizing. Especially when the deeper mystery is why I had to be naked in the scenario I proposed two paragraphs up! Food for thought.


      twister6, x RELIC x, hqssui and 4 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. PinkyPowers
      I'll join you in a minute.
      PinkyPowers, Dec 28, 2015
    3. peareye
      Mind if i turn the lights off?
      peareye, Jan 3, 2016
    4. PinkyPowers
      You must watch, and bear witness.
      PinkyPowers, Jan 3, 2016