General Information

  • Brand Name: ZIKU
  • Screen: Yes
  • Balanced Out: No
  • Audio Format Support: DSD,AIFF,WAV,MP3,AAC,WMA,OGG,FLAC,APE
  • Battery Specification: Lithium Battery
  • Operation Mode: Touch Tone
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Signal Noise Ratio: ≥80dB
  • DSP: ATJ2167
  • Body Material: Metal
  • Have Speakers or not: No
  • Package: No
  • WIFI: No
  • Supports EBook Reading: No
  • Style: MP3
  • Storage Type: Flash Memory
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 88*56*15mm
  • Model Number: ZIKU HD-X9
  • 20 hours"> Battery Life: 20 hours">> 20 hours
  • Supports FM: No
  • Supports Recording Function: No
  • Screen Size: 2.4 inches
  • External Memory: Yes
  • DAC: CS4398

Latest reviews


Pros: Amazing treble extension and detail
20 hours battery life
Neutral,realistic,detailed sound leaning towards the bright ,revealing,analitical side...
Cheap cs4398 incarnation!
Cons: Not that powerfull (?)(but 32 ohms headphones it can drive withougt even needing to max the volume,almost as loud as the 250mw xduoo x2,IF you use the rock preset in eq)
4000 SONGS PLAYLIST LIMIT major disadvantage.
No custom eq
Ok my first audiophile dap was the classic xduoo x2 and my only headphones are audio 32 ohm technica m40x.
(And some 50 ohm others that none of these daps can drive cuficiently i mean they can go loud with hd599 but the sound is strange,maybe lack of custom eq is the problem in both the players...)
Now the m40x sounded great with the 250mw powered xduoo,when i conected them to ziku x9, i was not impresed at first,too neutral narow and boring.then i discovered ziku s secrets:you need the 2017 version of the firmware,and eq preset set at "rock"(at least the m40x need rock preset for ziku to unvile its great potential). This is when the break through hapened and the sound greatly surpassed the xduoo sound,in all levels.
Soundstage:good extension at lows and especialy highs.but nice and DEEP,you feel the music.
Bass prety neutral almost a bit rolled of subbas(dont get me wrong it is there and it extends satisfactorily) but realy impactfull an vibrant midbass.
Mids:neutral,revealing,nor silky nor grainy just RIGHT.
Highs:great highs with no fear to extend and leave nothing go unnoticed.
Treble:just amazing,it extends so much that you realy fell the air.your music is alive and breathes,and sparkles revealing all those details so nicely!
Overal sound impression :deeeep vibrant alive neutrality,so acurate and revealing that the flaws of the songs recording sometimes come to the surface,they can not hide but i have no problem with that,some might consider the sound a bit too analitycal and less musical but i am not one of those.
Batery life:20hours mp3 320,nothing else to say.
Usb dac:could not make it work with any android phone only pc,real shame.
Conclusion:if you like bassy sound look elsewhere,if you like TREBLE MAGIC you are ok with ziku x9 on the cheap!i realy love this player!no smartphone that costs less than quite a few hundreds of dollars can sound this good.
I have fiio m3pro on the way maybe comparison soon...and zishan z3 but dont know if i will open the box or sell it,i know it would be a very intresting comparison.
Edit:no zishan z3 ak4493 can not sound this good but is more poerfull for demanding headphones,sounds amazing only if you conect it as dac with android and eq the hell out of it with neutron player,but my experience is limited to the m40x,someday hope i can test the players with ath msr7 since i love audio technica headphones so much.
Zishan z3 lacks in treble extention and highs,but has more forward and impactfull bass and mids,but not more clarity and transparency in those areas compared with ziku.mater of taste(?)
Edit:ziku becomes a SUPER dap with rock eq presset,they should have somehow tuned it like that in the first realy does not feel like a poor litle "eq adjustment" it takes the sound to a higher level revealing the players potential...all that with the 2017 firmware)
Last edited:
Is there any big difference between 2017 and 2018 firmware?


Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Excellent sound quality, Excellent construction, USB-OTG DAC, 20H battery life, simple interface, Supreme price value
Cons: NONE AT THIS PRICE (edit: well, perhaps the volume control wheel because its not very precise and volume step are not precise)


SOUND: 9/10
VALUE: 10/10


Today we will look at a mysterious DAP that has been on the market for about a year and a well kept secret everywhere but in Russia, where it earn numerous praise from their audiophile community.

This digital audio player is call ZIKU HK-X9 and use the high end Cirrus Logic CS4398 dac chip that we can find in budget or TOTL DAP like the Xduoo X3, Astell&Kern AK70 or Colorfly C4.

The fact the X9 is sell for less than 50$ make him the cheapest DAP using this extremely capable DAP, and if it wasn’t enough, compared to most other DAP using CS4498, X9 can be use as UBS (or otg) dac-amp and have a long battery life going up to 20H.

Even if dac implementation was badly made, the X9 will still be a bargain, but its amping section is MAX97220A and do very well driving iem or headphones up to 64ohm with enough clear background and low THD to make me consider it as an high end entry level DAP.


Sure, there no dedicated Line out, high gain or customizable equalitzer, but X9 have a great all metal construction and quite intuitive interface that really make it interesting for those searching the perfect budget DAP.

It make months that this ZIKU music player was on my radar, and I finally buy it with my own money to test it and share this review with you. As an incurable cheap ass, i’ve been able to get a 20$ discount from VS AUDIO and want to thank them for that.

With all this waiting for testing it, my expectation are certainly higher than necessary for a DAP at this absurd price, but I will try to stay objective about its price range even if X9 hit above it. For this review I will make comparaison with different DAP priced around 100$.



  • Supports EBook Reading: Yes
  • Audio Format Support: FLAC,APE, FLAC,MP3, WAV,OGG,APE
  • Style: MP3
  • WIFI: No
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 88*56*15mm
  • Package: Yes
  • Brand Name: RUIZU
  • Function: E-Book Reading
  • DSP: ATJ2167
  • Balanced Out: No
  • Screen Size: None
  • Storage Type: Flash Memory
  • External Memory: Yes
  • Model Number: HK-X9
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Supports FM: No
  • Have Speakers or not: No
  • Signal Noise Ratio: ≥80dB
  • Battery Life: > 20 hours

  • Battery Specification: Lithium Battery 1900mah
  • Supports Recording Function: No
  • DAC: CS4398
  • Body Material: Metal
  • Operation Mode: Touch Tone
  • Screen: Yes
  • OPAMP : MAX97220A
  • USB Connection: Support mini USB,USB3.0
  • Support OTC: Yes
  • Color: Black, Grey
  • Battery: 3.7V 1900mAh
  • Max External Memory: 128GB
  • Max output power: 10mW+10mW(32Ohm

Key Features
  • Output Power 125mW into 32Ω with a 5V Supply

  • 3VRMS Output Drive into 1kΩ with a 5V Supply

  • 2VRMS Output Drive into 600Ω with a 3.3V Supply

  • Fully Differential Inputs

  • Fixed or Externally Adjustable Gain with No Clicks or Pops

  • Wide 2.5V to 5.5V Operating Range

  • DirectDrive Outputs Eliminate DC-Blocking Capacitors

  • Flat THD+N, Better Than 90dB in the Audio Band

  • 18-Bit SNR Performance, 112dB

  • Footprint Compatible with the MAX9722



IMPRESSIONS : With stock firmware, I was having issue with output volume, especially when used as otg-usb dac where the X9 have very low volume as if it where just low output line out. The DAP sound was quite nice, clear, balanced and very transparent, but you need very sensitive iem to enjoy it.

After firmware update, wich is quite simple as you just put the file on sd card and press update option in setting, all issue was solved. The volume output became more powerfull, at least 2 times louder than stock firmware and USB DAC work perfectly, for example, when you change volume with scroll wheel you can see it on your laptop screen.

About sound, i’m less sure, as I feel it became brighter and less linear, but still sound extremely good, just not as subtle and transparent than with stock firmware. Anyway, I barely listen to X9 with stock firmware because of volume issue so it is most probably same sound quality.



UNBOXING here is inexistant, as I receive my player in a protective case without box. Only accesories appart from the case is a USB to microUSB cable of standard quality. No user manual, wich is somewhat problematic.

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CONSTRUCTION is very impressive for the price and would still be great even if priced 100$. It’s all black brushed alloy with only the volume wheel being plastic. X9 is bigger than I was thinking, but still fit in pocket easily, it have a reassuring weight to it, that promise serious inner construction. Screen is of good quality, quite big and with good luminosity (when brightness set high). The 2 buttons at right side and 3 on front panel, all made of metal and you will not encounter unwanted pressing due to good construction. The output jack is plastic but feel good quality too. Only drawback is the volume wheel, wich feel cheap and not very accurate.

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INNER CONSTRUCTION is well done quality circuitry that inspire trust. We can see the cirrus DAC and MAX amp. The 1900mah battery is quite bigh and explain the good weight of X9.


INTERFACE is quite intuitive, wich impress me with an unknow DAP that just have 2 langage setting (chinese and english). In fact, its really similar to Xduoo X3 interface, minimalist but well done. You search your music trough folder, artists or genre. There not a lot of buttons, so no confusion. Only drawback is that volume control wheel is used to choose menu option wich can be dangerous if you set your volume high and press play without knowing it. As well, the lock buttons is the same as the power buttons and can be press easily by error.

When a song play, you hold back/menu button to explore a menu with Play mode, equalizer (sound setting), add-remove playlist and delete.

To note : you must press ‘’create playlist’’ and update it to explore music by artist, albums or genre. ‘’Create playlist’’ mean ‘’Update media’’ in fact.
Still, you can create playlist, by holding back/menu button when playing a song you wanna add. There 3 ‘’Playlist on the go’’ you can create.
So, about interface, as said, its based on same firmware of Xduoo X3, but have as well album image show on the (bigger) screen.
It’s pretty basic, have no gapless or custom equalizer, but have playlist, shuffle, repeat and predifined equalizer (rock, funk, hip hop, jazz, classical, techno….not very interesting sound change) and...Ebook!
Only thing about interface that is different from X3 is pressing back button to go back to music playing when your in menu, wich is a little drawback. As well, the auto shut down option cannot be change, so your X9 will tell you GoodBye quite fast (3 minutes) and this can be annoying.

USB-OTG DAC is plug and play and work perfectly. You connect it, have 2 choice appearing on X9 screen (USB dac or Charge&Play). You don’t need to power on X9, it will open when connected. An interesting and usefull feature of this DAC is that you can use volume wheel and it will control laptop or phone volume, this permit to only have one volume control, unlike some other DAC-AMP. Sound is the same as in DAP mode, no hearable difference but volume is a little less loud (THAT is hearable difference) and it can inflict on dynamic.

BATTERY LIFE can go up 20H easily and I listen to high volume. I think the DAP charge when you use it as USB dac as well...otherwise, well, battery is just infinite?


Listening the ZIKU HD-X9 is a very rich and detailed sound experience, and its really hard to convince myself this incredible DAP sell for around 50$ as it can compete with any sub-200$ DAP without inferiority complex. This is way better sounding than my Walnut V2S, Benjie S5 or Xduoo X2, here, we can say its from another league. In fact, only my Xduoo X20 and Ibasso DX90 have better resolution. So, why only russian go crazy about this DAP? Well, because nobody but me use google translate? I really don’t know. Perhaps when you own a ZIKU HD-X9 you transform yourself into ‘’Lord of the ring’’ Gollum and selfishly hide with your secret treasure.

X9 have a neutral, linear, slightly bright, near completly uncolored sound with great treble extension that do not struggle to expose inner details of your music, its very musical but do not feel forced, imaging is out of this world for this price, without being artificially pumped in soundstage presentation. There no distortion in bass, mids or high, its clean clean clean, and background noise is not hearable with the iem, earbuds and headphones I try. Timbre and texture is generous, you-will-be-impress.

BASS isn’t pumped up but easily extend to 40hz where a smooth drop perhaps begin. Its well detailed without being too harsh, sub is a little dry in fact but well separate from mid bass wich give extra agility to bassy earphones. Very clean, agile and slightly bright bass presentation.

MIDS are rich, balanced and have good separation, whatever number of instruments playing in 1khz-6khz range. Its not ultra wide coloured mids, vocal are well centered and have above average details. They sit on bass, never mixing badly with it. Again, we have a balanced and linear presentation.

TREBLE is ultra extended and very revealing. This is where there perhaps some colouration, because percussion sound very clear and lively, but never too fowards. X9 just never struggle to extract micro details. This type of dynamic treble is just a miracle at this price range. Fast, precise, with tigh decay and rich but transparent timbre.

SOUNDSTAGE isn’t enormous, wich is surely due to average amping power, but it is deep and have fabulous layering.

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VS FLANG P5 (84$) :

The Flang sound warmer and more coloured than X9. P5 have a particularly expended soundstage, wich is due to a W shape soundsignature, so it feel wider than X9 but with less clarity and deepness.

BASS is more sub emphased, but lack a little punch compared to more foward, fast and dry X9 low end, we have the better resolution with X9 and a more linear bass, but perhaps a slight roll off around 40hz (or lack of colouration?).

MIDS again are more coloured with P5, giving more presence but in a thick way that can feel a little grainy, X9 have richer mids range that can reveal more details and have better separation.

TREBLE is more extended and detailed with X9, sharper too, and near analytical compared to warmer P5 that have upper treble roll off. THD is lower with X9 as well as background noise floor.

CONSTRUCTION of P5 is all cheap plastic while X9 is all metal making him looking more expensive than the P5. As well, even if smaller, X9 is heavier.

Interface of P5 is kind of disastrous, while the X9 is intuitive.

Ziku X9 can be use as USB or OTG DAC , P5 cannot.

P5 can send Bluetooth, X9 cannot.

Battery life of X9 is longer (about 20H) while P5 is less than 10H.

VS XDUOO X3II (110$):

The X3II sound softer and slightly veiled compared to brighter and more detailed X9.

BASS is flat with smooth timbre compared to more textured and punchy lower end of X9.

MIDS of X3II are wider with more transparence, wich make me consider it as mid centric even if again its very smooth, X9 vocal are more intimate and centered, brighter and clearer but not overly fowards.

TREBLE of X9 is more extended and extract more details, while X3II have more transparent layering and sound more coloured in upper treble to give extra brilliance. X3II have lower THD and about same black background.

SOUNDSTAGE is deeper with the X9, wider with the X3II.

CONSTRUCTION is all metal of both DAP and of great quality, they are near same size but X9 is a little larger. X3II have more buttons and front buttons are more sensible to unwanted pressing.

Both DAP can be use as USB-OTG DAC-AMP but X3II can send bluetooth too.

Equalizer of X3II is better because of 10 bands custom possibilities.

Battery life of X9 is about 2 times longer. Output is about the same, but X3II have higher signal to noise ratio.

VS XDUOO X3 (110$) :

Compared those two is really a big deal for me, because X3 is one of my favorite DAP.

Both using same cirrus 4398 dac chip will make them most likely sound similar, it’s true, but they do not use the same amping section, X9 being MAX97220A differential amp while X3 is a OP+BUF architecture. Difference of amping affect slightly the sound, but its more about output power here, X3 being a hint more powerfull.

So, yeah, both sound quite similar, but X3 have a more energic and fowards sound, and perhaps less finesse than X9 (!!!!!!!!!!).

X9 and X3 are both neutral sounding DAP with little emphase on upper treble.

SOUNDSTAGE feel this time a little wider with X9, and more deep. Imaging is about the same.

BASS is a little more punchy and fuller extended with X3, little brighter too so we have more texture.

MIDS are a little thicker with X3 and more prompt to underline sibilance of bright earphones than X9.

TREBLE is both very detailed and extended, X9 feeling more liquid than grainier X3.

As said, we have a little more details in timbre with X3, but to the cost of less transparency and more fowards presentation.

CONSTRUCTION of both is excellent, but X3 is invincible and I don’t think X9 can be beaten up as much without scars. As well, X3 is smaller, slimer and less large. There zero piece of plastic with X3, including metal output. It have 2 microsd slot where the X9 have one.

Battery life of X9 is way longer than X3, 20H against 8-10H.

X3 have line out but no USB-OTG DAC.

All in all, i consider these 2 sounding so similar its hard to have a favorite in term of sound, but the fact X9 is a great USB DAC make and cost half X3 price make it a better value.



My expactation about the ZIKU HD-X9 was gigantic and I confess that it sincercly surpass them. I was thinking it will be less powerfull, that I will struggle with interface, that the sound will be hissy somewhere but after the firmware update, X9 show me how extraordinary a chinese 50$ DAP can be nowadays.

At this price, only the ZISHAN Z3 can surely compete with this DAP, but i’m not a big fan of AK4490 dac and the 20H battery life of X9 is just unbeatable.

Yes, I wish it have a dedicated line out, and perhaps a little more power….but this is like wishing your passionately loved perfect girlfriend was a polyglot or jiu jitsu champion. Its just a caprice.

If you need a reference DAP and USB-OTG DAC for your IEM that offer long battery life and clean, accurate sound, I can’t force you to buy the ZIKU HD X9, but really, what are you waiting for? Jump-on-it-NOW.

For more reviews and audio product impressions, please give a look to my No BS Audiophile website!


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Hi @cqtek what do you think of X10, after you bought it? Can't wait to read the first impression..
Just took delivery yesterday of a Ziku X9, very impressed with a number of things. First sound appears very balanced and clean (not listened to a wide variety ye). Second, I love that it boots up in seconds, and it has a healthy chunk of mental for the case (it feels solid to me). This prompted me to order the X10 and see if there are any audible improvements or usability changes (though I found the simple navigation pretty straightforward once I worked out what button for each main function.



So wait does it sound anything like the i9300 with wm1811 dac? what chip are they using for volume control? I use Ksc75's for daily listening do you think it will sound detailed on these?


Headphoneus Supremus
So wait does it sound anything like the i9300 with wm1811 dac? what chip are they using for volume control? I use Ksc75's for daily listening do you think it will sound detailed on these?
chip for volume mean amp? its MAX97220A opamp. Dac is cirrus CS4398. Yes, i think the pairing with slightly warm Ksc75 could be marvelous and will give extra details.


So wait does it sound anything like the i9300 with wm1811 dac? what chip are they using for volume control? I use Ksc75's for daily listening do you think it will sound detailed on these?
Hah, i mean't the volume control chip if it was premium or not? Its a pity this player does not use alps or nor do any of them. I went ahead and purchased it the price right now is a very good deal not to mention the dsp..


New Head-Fier
Hi everyone,

Just got my HD-X9. When plugged to my Android smartphone and PC Desktop (Windows 10), the screen shows 'Charge & Transfer' and 'Charge and Play'. I chose 'Charge & Transfer' and play songs in my smartphone and PC Desktop but no audio is coming out from the HD-X9 player. Firmware is V1.101.10. Last modified 2017-11-07. Has anyone experienced this and any help to resolve this is appreciated. thanks.