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FiiO X7

Rating:
3.89474/5,
Tags:
  1. Xstream
    Worst (and most expensive) DAP I've owned
    Written by Xstream
    Published Jun 23, 2017
    1.0/5,
    Pros - Sound (AM2)
    Mobile (desktop) DAC
    Cons - Software
    Usability
    Stability
    Bad support
    Battery
    Size
    In terms of sound (AM2 module) i like it every bit. It's that Fiio sound that i like so much, even better than before on the X3.

    The whole reason this product turns out to be a disaster is the software. Not only the very un-user friendly way of having to dig through Fiio's forums to find beta software updates (in 2 years there has been 0 stable releases) and complicated processes to upgrade. The software itself doesn't work well too. From annoying popups that makes the device unusable on 1 firmware version (the stable one) to beta versions that can't even store your saved (offline) spotify tracks. (it does save, but after a restart of Spotify/player it's all gone - the data is still there, filling up your free space, but unusable).

    The only thing that works well is, like on any Fiio, using their player and play mp3's from the SD card. Which is not why i spend so much on a Android driven Fiio to have all the modern advantages it can't deliver.

    It's really been a disappointment and i'm looking forward to replacing it. Also it's been my last Fiio. Mostly because posting my issues on the Fiio forum, not one Fiio employee even took the time to respond. Support = 0.
      RebeccaSugar and JayceOoi like this.
  2. 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
    2.0/5,
    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.
    Sound
    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.
    OS
    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.
    Ergonomics
    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).
    Bluetooth
    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.
    Conclusion
    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
  3. TheoS53
    Potentially great device
    Written by TheoS53
    Published Dec 25, 2015
    3.0/5,
    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.
     
    Packaging
    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.
     
    Design
    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)
     
    Interface
    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.
     
    Sound
    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
    x7big.jpg
     
     
    Android Mode – HibyMusic
    x7AMhiby.jpg
     
     
    Android Mode – Neutron
    x7AMneutron.jpg
     
     
    Android Mode – Onkyo Player
    x7AMonkyo.jpg
     
     
    Android Mode – Poweramp
    x7AMpoweramp.jpg
     
     
    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.
    Screenshot_2015-12-24-21-24-36.png
     
     
    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
    hibye18e12abig.jpg
     
     
    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.
     
    On
    Screenshot_2015-12-24-07-19-35.png
    Screenshot_2015-12-24-07-19-31.png
     
    Off
    Screenshot_2015-12-24-20-14-28.png
    Screenshot_2015-12-24-20-14-39.png
     
    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!
     
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      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.
       
       
      Kisses.
      RebeccaSugar, Jan 14, 2016
  4. RebeccaSugar
    A Thing to Behold.
    Written by RebeccaSugar
    Published Jul 5, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Insane Sound Quality (with proper setup), Customizability, LINE/Coax OUT, Clear Shell, Android OS/V4A/Root.
    Cons - Treble (AM1), Touch Screen Unresponsive, Unsupported Sample Rates, Freezes & Hangups, UI Oddities, Slow Shuffle, Drain on Android Mode (faster w/AM2).
    FiiOX7AM2.jpg
     
    Disclaimer.​
     ​
    There are going to be a lot of things I will have not mentioned about this player, since I would have gotten used to them since the purchase, nonetheless, in the verdict, I will be as detailed & unbiased as possible, while still expressing my personal opinion.
    That being said, I will update when something new comes to mind, or any errors happen to pass, this being my first product review.
     
    Introduction
    I am a 19-year old romanticist who has a very keen ear for a grand variety of music, from chiptune, to electro swing, to classic, videogame, hard rock and all of that good stuff.​
    I like my sound signature to be powerful and balanced, putting an emphasis on sub-bass.​
    Music has been a daily routine as it has helped as an escapism & coping device during some of the most brutal stages of my life.​
    It's helped me do many things that I don't believe would be possible for me to do without it, It's increased my creativity, along with it being extremely therapeutic.​
    It is something only a very few could understand.​
    Let's begin.​
     
     
    Pre-Review
     
    Here we are, my very own review of FiiO's current flagship; the FiiO X7. I'm not one of the people who have watched FiiO grow as a company, nor have I been a loyal customer for years (although I have bought many of their products within a very short amount of time), but I have only been here since the conception of the X7, along with being swept up by the hype of this lustrous device, I never had a device so high end, let alone one made ONLY for music, and since I finally got a job (2 jobs at the time actually), I started to go mad with excitement, I grew up poor, so I could never afford something so...valuable, but now I could, I could have it in my hands, I could OWN it and call it MINE, and finally stop watching the others have fun without me.
    It was exciting and I REALLY wanted to be part of the early testers, unfortunately, I heard deal-breaking issues on its early run.
    Since this was the first time I was ever going to buy something so top notch, I waited some months for the tide to die down, and waited on more experienced users, like Brooko, x RELIC x, twister6, with many, many others, to give a final verdict if I should get it or not.
     
    Past Devices (Chronological Order)
    RCA MP3
    iPod Nano (3rd Gen)
    Sansa Fuze+
    FiiO X1 x E17K Amp Stack
    FiiO E17K DAC + HTC M9 w/ Hiby.
     
     
    Review
     
    - FIRST IMPRESSION
    After what seemed like an eternity waiting for this device to arrive at my doorstep, I finally heard a knock when I least expected it, it was late in January, after making a deal with a very understanding and very respectful user in this forum, bless them.
    I dragged myself off of bed, thinking to myself that once again, there were Jehovah's Witnesses trying to convert me, I opened the door, about to tell them to scram, then a holy light shone on me when I saw a woman holding a white package, my frown turned right around, it was finally here, it was happening, WE WERE DOING THIS, BABY!
    She asked for my name, and I confirmed, signed the slip, thanked her, closed the door, and welcomed my child to its new abode, "Welcome, my baby." I told the unopened package, as I rubbed it suggestively, with bedroom eyes. headfi.png
     
     
     
     
     
    I blazed to my room, looking like Christian Weston Chandler right after making a new comic, looking at the package with intense contemplation, very carefully treading around the box, and then suddenly-- carelessly started stabbing it with a knife. I wanted to crack open the hard shell of this uncolored crustacean, to peek in the pretty package, to get that sweet treat in the center. After much abuse, I finally pried the sucker open, and lo and behold, there it was, it was "lit", the model, the chinese beauty (not talking about the woman in the cover either), it was a lightly used player, but still looking brand spanking new, my baby!
    I wanted to cry, "I worked hard for this, I deserved it! I needed a break from all of this bull$#!(" I told myself, as I firmly grasped the aluminum child, kissing it, over and over, as it seemed we were about to make yet another child.
     
    I started having a feel for it, titanium finish, bright blue pulsar, as bright as the hottest star, the raised glass, polished semi-clicky buttons, this felt...high-end.
    It was like a gift from the angels themselves, my heart was racing, I've honestly never felt this excited since I obtained a gamecube in '08. It was real.
    It turned it on, saw the "Welcome" in the boot logo, having "FIIO - MUSIC PLAYER" follow it shortly afterwards, and I grinned, hard. I clicked my SD card right in that sucker and let it scan, I fiddled my thumbs, waiting and waiting for my collection to complete, FLACS, High Quality MP3's and such then, there it was! My heart raced ever so fast.
    The menu, it felt sharp, snappy, and intuitive (for now), I clicked on the very song, "Adam" from "G-Darius"----AAAANNNNNDDDD....nothing.
     
    I was confused, why wasn't I being drifted into another dimension of musical freedom, why wasn't my soul being torn from my corporeal body, to be cast away to a land of infinite ethereal pleasure, to be comforted by other beautiful celestial bodies, being grabbed by many hands, and felt all over in the most intimate of fashions? What the hell..!? Was it the player, the amp, have I simply surpassed summit-fit, this can't be, can it!!?!
    I took a deep breath, and realized, that my expectations were simply too high, did I feel robbed? Maybe. Did I feel disappointed? Certainly. Did I regret it....? Hell no.
    INTO THE SOUND SECTION WE GO.
     
     
     
    - SOUND
    First of all, the sound is very treble oriented,  that's the root of /my/ problem, maybe it's different from yours, maybe you like treble, but personally, I was freaking OUT.
    "Why does it sound like this?", "This isn't THAT much better than a stacked X1, if anything it's almost worse!" "Dear god, what have I done!?" I asked myself all of these things, confused and almost frustrated, then I remembered, one very, very obvious thing, my IEM's. "My IEM's! Dear Lord, They're an insult to something of this caliber! I'm a monster! I HAVE DISRECTED THE GODS OF HI-FI" after that epiphany, suddenly another one struck. Eureka! I remembered the AM1 as well, I was...moderately relieved.
    At the time, I still had the IM-70's along with the stock AM1 amp, which didn't push this player to complete absolution. These were all I had though, I didn't know HOW much better new IEM's and amps would make it, I just kept thinking on how the treble hurt my ears just as bad as an unamped X1. It fatigued very often, the separation felt empty, treble was overly dominant, sudden shift in frequencies BLARED through my ears, it even gave me light headaches from hearing it often. Although, the more I heard it, the more I started to appreciate as well, excluding the bass, it has been a subtle improvement over the amped X1, strings were clearer, it didn't sound overly warm, it was extremely "Holographic", and the sound signature was "lucid" as I would put it, nevertheless, it was still very hard to enjoy it with such grating frequencies. You have to remember, I'm a very young guy, I was 18 at the time, and I can STILL pick up more sounds that an older person might at their age, so it was screeching to the point that I started to absolutely ABHOR it.
     
    After a few weeks later, I ordered the FLC 8S, it was on sale, so why not? I'm unsure what I expected from these but "muh customizability", and, wow, that's actually what I got, I was pleasantly surprised, impressed even. I expected something very useless and gimmicky, but they're surprisingly powerful, I'll focus on these on my next review, but they are VERY good. The detail was better, it sounded way less jumbled and more spacious, instead of far and hollow, not what I would like (at the time), but the tuners helped get rid of some of the treble scratching as well, it sounded slightly so warm.
    After a few MORE weeks, I got the AM2, I pre-ordered it to get it the day it came out afterI read all of the reviews on it, since I wanted to make sure I didn't mess up as badly as with the X7.
    I'm unsure what I expected for one hundred dollars, but I might as well burn $100 more, I came THIS far, right?
     
    IMAG0127.jpg
    Then came the day....
     
    - AM 1 vs AM2
    Other reviews have already done this, so I'm just going to do the very basics, since I'll be focusing more on the AM2 than the dreaded AM1.
    AM2 on the left, AM1 on the right. IMAG0130.jpg
     
     
    -Treble (AM1)
    The treble is very, VERY high on the AM1, no way out of it, if you have treble-centric IEM's, prepare to get ear-raped, ESPECIALLY on tracks like something out of "Sonic Rush". Horrible sensation, HORRIBLE.
     
    -Treble (AM2)
    This is where it gets good, here is where I start complimenting the player and giving it treats for doing such a fantastic job, this is finally where FiiO meets their dues for such hard work.
    Treble is less scratchy, it isn't any less prominent by the way, unneeded frequencies just aren't there, which is, obviously, VERY, VERY good. Yes yes. It sounds great, it's smoother, very fluid, frequency spikes aren't as grating, sound flows much better, fatigue has been decreased substantially, especially with the mentioned FLC 8S, it's certainly improving from when I first got it! (;
     
    -Mids (AM1)
    Not punchy nor intimate, it's cold, very cold, there's no passion, just a robot blowing cold wind at you, is how I can describe it, quite sad actually.
    Detail retrieval is only relevant for the higher mid frequencies, if you're into airy sound and high treble with excellent retrieval in that specific place, this is for you, but me? I like to Jam, madam!
     
    -Mids(AM2)
     
    Ohhhhhhhhh baby, baby baby baby! This is it, I'm going to get into lick-boot territory here.
    I LOVE how absolutely erotic the sound can be for my ears, it's close, it's almost in your face, it's near damn personal, NOT enough to bloat though, HOW is this magic possible!?
    Do you know what I'm trying to say? Yes, indeed, the sound is...wait for it....wait for it...It's; BALANCED!! Huraah!!!
    The warmness I craved from my E17K mixed with the cold breeze of the AM1, and made -- beauty.
    Seriously, this is what I've been wanting since I got a SANSA FUZE+ in '12, but this player obviously, utterly, destroys it. No contest.
    I feel so, so close to my music, it's as many users have said before, "It's as if I'm standing right in front of the stage".
     ​
     ​
    tmp_29121-IMAG02962048753849.jpg
     
     
    -Bass & Sub-bass (AM1)
    Imagine this, you're about to be served some delicious food, right? You're excited, you get a certain type of burger, you take a bite, the meat, it's very...dry.
    You get very little sauce as well, the lettuce is very crisp and fresh, yes, airy cold tasty lettuce, but the burger is...less than average, you can barely taste the freaking thing.
    You don't want purely the taste of lettuce with dry burger meat, that's unsavory, you can only taste the lettuce at this point, the meat has no substance.
    That's how I put it with the sub-bass, the bass is there too, it's weak though, just like the burger meat, it's thin too.
    Meat & Juicyness = Bass
    Meat FLAVOR & Tenderness= Sub-Bass
     ​
     
    -Bass & Sub-bass (AM2)
    It's gonna be a bizzaro version of what I said above.
    Imagine this, you're about to be served some delicious food, right? You're excited, you get a certain type of burger, you take a bite, the meat, it's very...Juicy! Mmmmm!
     
    You get a more than acceptable ration of sauce as well, the lettuce is very crisp and fresh, yes, airy cold tasty lettuce, and the burger is EXQUISITE, you can taste so MANY TEXTURES from it, a lot of work went into it, It's insane.
    You never knew you could have so many different flavors in your mouth at once! You take yet another bite and pick up even MORE flavors.
    You love how fresh this is, that's savory, you can taste both the meat, the spices, the hints of CHEESE inside the meat, AND EVEN THE BREAD! It's not just there to keep it together, it's also including a very distinctive flavor, you enjoy it thoroughly, it; it fills you up and gives you a HUGE amount of energy.
    That's how I put it with the sub-bass, the bass is there, It's powerful, not enough to ruin the other flavors, they mix VERY well, it's powerfully balanced.
    Your taste buds can also pick up the quality of said meat and spices depending on each different burger.
    Meat & Juiciness = Bass
    Meat FLAVOR & Tenderness= Sub-Bass
     
    -Dimension, Room & Depth (AM1)
    It's one of the good things I'll actually give this thing credit for, it's slightly better at instrument separation than the AM2, it's not a HUGE step-up, but if you're the type of analytical person who has a "golden ear" so to speak, you'll definitely pick it right up.
    That all goes out the window with the high treble I mentioned earlier though, this doesn't mean much if the high-frequencies keep grating you, especially with the depth not being very deep in mid and bass retrieval, the lower-end depth here is lacking horribly.
     
    -Dimension, Room & Depth (AM2)
    On par with the AM1, slightly less well, but the balance of the instrument frequencies make up for it. The reason for this must be because it has less weight, and airyness, lack of bass in the AM1 tends to cause a better separation without the heavier frequencies getting in the way, it's very complex stuff.
    The depth here reaches far and knuckle-deep.
    I can hear artists lips smacking, guitars strumming right as if someone was putting a show in front of me, and it's been up to the point where I can even hear recording fallacies and BREATHING, YES, it sounds...wow. I can't describe, but this player can really differentiate between a poorly recorded audio file and an excellently recorded one.
    It's both a gift, and a curse.
     
     
    - DESIGN
    It's sexy, I like it, I'm no design wizard, I simply think It's a modest high-end. It doesn't scream "STEAL ME!!", but it also doesn't mess around and look cheap, although, I've had several people comment on it, telling me "That's a clunky old phone.", Hahahah, peasants.
    I haven't had my hands on a lavish A&K, so I can't really can't say how they compare.
    It's really nice to look at for me, especially knowing it's purpose, maybe I just really like sleepers, although, I wouldn't mind having it both look high-end while working as expected to look.
     
    - ERGONOMICS, COMPABILITY & CUSTOMIZABILITY
    Exchanging amps work just fine, no errors on my part, It's a simple unscrew, plug & play, very easy and VERY handy.
    Unfortunately, the screen sometimes fails to detect what keys I press, if I press "G' it will go to "B" then press different keys instead, and it's very frustrating.
    On another note, I bought a screen protector and it has protected it from falls and such, though, it isn't the exact size as the screen, just sliiiiightly off, not too shabby.
    The SD card needs to be put face-down, which is rather strange, but not a deal breaker.
    In being able to customize the X7, you have plenty of amps to meet your demands, I'm settling on the AM2 since I only use IEM's, It's beautifully built and has a sanded finish, there's also the AM5, but that's only if you have big power hungry 'phones.
     
    -USER INTERFACE & V4A
    If you're using pure android mode, don't worry TOO much about it, but as for me, I'm using neutron and V4A now (which doesn't apply to the sound comparisons above, check below).
    It's prone to not working with the side buttons at times, and activates the stock FiiO Player, which is very annoying, along with it also having hangups, the player tends to freeze in the lock-screen sometimes, until forced reset, very grating, especially during jogs and general workouts, way to kill the mood.
     
    Now, with V4A and Neutron, they're a dream team, especially in the X7, Neutron is by far, the best Audio App for FiiO right next to the FiiO stock app, when I first used it, I hated it, but now, I don't know how I lived without it, it somehow beat the stock player that I already loved, most likely due to the HEAVY, HEAVY customizability.
    Unfortunately, Neutron is prone to crashing every half hour or so, which is unfortunate, but I can live with it, would be more than happy to have it fixed though.
     
    - MISCELLANIOUS THOUGHTS
    The AM1 has a very noticeable hiss in both Android & PMM.
    It was very annoying, especially after a song ended, that's another reason why I hated it so much.
    The AM2 fixes this, and most likely other hardware based audio problems.
    If you're a normie, and just want a player to play good, simple music without breaking the bank or wracking your brain, then use the phone you already have, and get an FLC 8S if they're on sale, If you get one, give it the golden tuner, clear bass, and red sub-bass tuner.
    It sounds wonderful on my HTC M9, It obviously doesn't beat the X7, but it should be enough to please someone who isn't a giant music molestor, like myself.
    If you're NOT a normie, and absolutely LOVE music, then try to form your own verdict based on what you've read here and other reviews.
    If you like airy sound with a light touch of bass, get the X7 stock, if you like a more balanced, yet analytical sound, look at the AM2, if you want bass, there are upcoming apps for that.
     
     
    Verdict:
    Well there you have it folks, that's my review, I've said everything I currently know about the player, and my thoughts on it.​
    FiiO definitely had a rocky start with the X7, and even if you had high-end earphones, the AM1 most likely didn't satisfy you if you were a bass-head, or just liked balance in general.​
    Now, that they've been pushing out new firmwares AND new amps, you've better check it, especially after the price drop, it's under $499 dollars on amazon now, definitely better than the MSRP $649 price.​
    Take care and good luck to you all!​
     
     ​
    1. PinkyPowers
      Finally settled on a DAP, eh?
      PinkyPowers, Jul 5, 2016
    2. RebeccaSugar
      I did since February, I never thought I'd actually want review it. Don't get me wrong, I love this thing, but I'd love to try others and see if it'll shatter my view on this baby.

      I almost disowned it at one point I was so fed up with it. Those times are over, thankfully.
      RebeccaSugar, Jul 5, 2016
    3. rebbi
      Very fun read, thanks!
      rebbi, Jul 5, 2016
  5. T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Great dap overall but it's value for money is subjective as usual.
    Written by T.R.A.N.C.E.
    Published Jan 30, 2016
    3.5/5,
    BUILD:
     
    It's solid, can likely withstand abuse, but it doesn't look high end or refined, imo it looks a bit cheap. The jutting out screen is set on a plastic bed, the screen covering feels like plastic not glass, but can't find info on it. The aluminium case feels very sturdy and looks very good, if only the whole dap followed suit, the jutting out back cover is thinner aluminium and doesn't feel as nice or solid as the main body and looks out of place.
     
    USABILITY:
     
    I'm not a fan of the side buttons, they are thin and harder to press than some other daps. I also dislike that the buttons on both sides are identical, meaning you have to make sure which way the dap is in your pocket to press correct button. Battery life is average, but that never bothered me. It's slightly heavier than I would like in my pocket personally.
     
    SOFTWARE:
     
    It is responsive, no complaints there, has a few glitches still on latest firmware, but hopefully will be ironed out with further updates. A few times I had to restart the player because the track seeker would stop responding for example. I'm not one for using streaming or online features so they weren't tested.
     
    SOUND:
     
    It sounds great, definitely better than X5ii in every way, tighter definition, bigger sound stage, better separation, etc etc. I did find that there was a very familiar underlying sound style in X7 which was also in the X5ii, I'm not going to describe the sound of X7 other than say it sounds very much like an improved X5ii more than any other dap. X7 is no game changer in terms of sound, in the same price bracket I prefer the sound coming from the Onkyo HA-300, which aside from smaller sound stage takes every other sonic victory to my ears. But as usual it is all subjective. And X7 ultimately sounds very good.
     
    VERDICT:
     
    X7 does not excel hugely in any particular field for me, but at the same time has no major flaws, aside from some people saying it has EMI issues with wifi, which if true make it a flop of a product, but I didn't test that so I won't factor that in, and in any case fiio will probably fix that issue in newer units if that is the case. X7 performs above average in all fields tested, if I hadn't factored in price I would give X7 a 4, but with price factored in I give it a 3.5 because I can't justify it's value personally, in saying that, the X7 is unique in it's feature set, so if it's particular features tickle your fancy then it's value is in the eye of the beholder, if that makes sense lol.
      PinkyPowers likes this.
  6. Hitec
    FIOS X7 - First Impression - Pros/Cons
    Written by Hitec
    Published Jan 28, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Smooth mids, Firmware Updates OTH, layered tones
    Cons - Bluetooth headphone distortion, EQ level jumps, unresponsive soft buttons
    My experience involved using a Sennheiser HD700 and a Parrot Zik 3.0 headphone with all kinds of music.
     
    Headphones plugged into the X7:
    The HD700, and Zic 3.0 have sounds that are completely different on the X7.  The HD700 sounds excellent with perfectly layered,
    robotic,  precision sound, while the Parrot is a little wilder sounding on the X7.  The Parrot looses musicality because of the fun it has with low bass,
    elevated highs, etc.  I think the Parrot is more fun with the X7 when you just want to hear the party and not necessarily the
    delicate passages of the music.  I would like to take the Parrot and the X7 on vacation together.
     
    What was enjoyed:
    Ok, I really enjoy listening to that top of the line DAC.  The music was so smooth and nice sounding.  I tried hooking the line out to my external sound system,
    and it was so good, that you could crank it to the max and not hear any apparent distortion.  I want to get a SPDIF to Toslink to test that out later.
    The source for the music in the X7 must be very clean 'cause I didn't hear it break up at all.  Also, the system seemed pretty linear.  Each increase in
    volume produced the same linear output and sound at all frequencies.  Plugged into a headphone, this thing sounded pretty great.  The X7 sounds somewhat
    like the Sony PHA3, but the PHA3 just sounds like it has more power, and seems to have larger images, and slightly more space, while the X7 seemed to have more
    multiple layered sounds in the music, and a slightly richer midrange.  I think more power to the X7 will have these DACS sounding very close.
     
    What I did not like - bluetooth sound:
    Well, the Parrot Zik 3.0, in addition to plugging in, can also go Bluetooth wireless.  Dam*&^, this thing was almost perfect for me.  Bluetooth
    has a non-stop BACON FRYING at the low high freq. ranges.  Also, the music across the frequency range is not as clean.  It sounds cheap.
    But wait, when you plug directly into the  X7 it is a completely different ball game - it sounds terrific.  I tried to go to the bluetooth settings to turn off the telephone bluetooth
    checkmark, but that did not help.  I tried resetting the entire device, and updating the firmware all over again - nothing, same problem.
    I connected the Zik 3.0 bluetooth headphone to my PC, and VOLA!  The bluetooth connection sounded outstanding, and the bacon was finished cooking!
    Apparently, the X7 to Zik 3.0 headphone sounds BAD!, while the PC's bluetooth connection to the Zik 3.0 headphone sounded SUPERB!
    CAN THIS BE FIXED?  Makes me think the bluetooth audio on the X7 is not great.  I already returned a pair of headphones for this, but now I know that it is the X7,
    and depending on responses here, I will be returning the X7 until it is fixed.  I mean the difference between the PC's bluetooth, and the X7 is night and day!
     
    EQ selector icon unexpectedly raising volume:
    I can't get a hold on this, but at times, when I touch on the EQ icon to go to the EQ, the overall volume increase.  This is with or without the EQ set to on.
    I wouldn't have a problem with this, but I am wondering, if there was volume available, then let me have it already, don't raise the volume
    when I select the EQ icon.
     
    Soft buttons unresponsive at times:
    I think this is just an Android thing, but it happens.
     
    I can live with most of these things, except for the Bluetooth - dangit!!
     
    Anybody, please advise...
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hitec
      I have not owned one Android phone that I did not root, and install a custom ROM.  Now, that Android is making it's way to our favorite music players, maybe we can get involved with the XDA Development site to aid and encourage the volunteering developers to create a super-duper customer user interface for music players.  http://forum.xda-developers.com/chef-central/android.  I haven't actually searched to see if this is already being done...
      Hitec, Feb 3, 2016
    3. 1wyseman
      I have 7 headphones and 1 relay DAP/DAC-to-hifi system connected via Bluetooth to X7. All sound excellent with no fying bacon.

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

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

    Final thoughts:
    The X7 is truly a flagship in its own right and it can definitely compete with the more expensive AK DAPs. While I do enjoy the sound from it, the dealbreaker for me would be the small storage of 32gb internal and the interface which can be remedied with future firmware updates. I wish that FiiO had made the button layout more ergonomic and I would’ve been happier with a smaller device. Optical out would also be nice. I look forward to the modules FiiO would be releasing for it as well. 
    1. HarlanDraka81
      Hi, i could see you tried the Shure Se846 with the X7. Can you hear any hiss with them? How is the noise floor with the Se846?
       
      Last two questions:
       
      Is it possible to change the theme or the colour of the Pure music player (like choose other colours for the player beside that blue)?
       Is it possible to choose to have that blue led off when the player is on? Many Thanks!!
      HarlanDraka81, Jan 11, 2016
    2. jjacq
      @HarlanDraka81 I didn't hear any hiss despite the 846 being a 9 ohm IEM. The X7's amp module is reported to be <.2 ohms though so it makes sense.
       
      The last two questions, maybe eventually they have it but at the moment I haven't noticed the option of changing the theme color or turning off the blue LED.
      jjacq, Jan 13, 2016
  8. PinkyPowers
    Taking on Giants - A Review of the FiiO X7
    Written by PinkyPowers
    Published Dec 26, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Impressive soundstage. Smooth, refined audio. Impeccable detail. -touchscreen-
    Cons - GUI. Incomplete firmware. Battery life. Hardware buttons. Raised screen.
    20151218_230317_zpst1of8lze.jpg

    ::Disclaimer::
    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.

    ::Review::
    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.

    20151225_164707_zps8bdpdenx.jpg

    20151225_164305_zpsauu779mv.jpg

    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.

    20151217_193909_zpsgiinsukb.jpg

    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.

    20151220_204122_zpsmogihrcr.jpg

    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.

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    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.

    20151217_200758_zpseznjlyff.jpg

    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.

    -~::Pinky_Powers::~-

    20151225_225623_zpswsp9ezc1.jpg
      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
  9. Hawaiibadboy
    Review of the FiiO X7 DAP with WiFi and Bluetooth
    Written by Hawaiibadboy
    Published Dec 21, 2015
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Very fast G.U.I, Built on foundation designed for FW upgrading
    Cons - G.U.I is best part of device
    [​IMG]
     

    The Review

    In the vid above
     
     
    A revolutionary device that combines genuine high end DAP internals with a Android frame. TONS of potential.
     
     
     

     
     

    Navigation only

    .
    [​IMG] 
      vapman, slowpickr, shabta and 21 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Hawaiibadboy
      I'm thinking somebody will root that badboy and stuff V4A on it and bassheads might snatch em' up :)
      Hawaiibadboy, Dec 22, 2015
    3. shabta
      Great Review. Looking forward to your Mojo review. Especially compared to ifi stack.
      shabta, Dec 24, 2015
    4. Hawaiibadboy
      @shabta,  am working on it now.  :wink:
      Hawaiibadboy, Dec 24, 2015
  10. originalsnuffy
    Great Potential but Still in Beta
    Written by originalsnuffy
    Published Dec 6, 2015
    3.5/5,
    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.
     
    IMG_1653.jpg
      violencer and RebeccaSugar like this.