Fiio X3/X5 vs. Ipod 5.5G + Fiio e12
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blubbblubb

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Hi,
 
im currently thinking about upgrading my mobile audio setup. Right now im using an upgraded iPod 5.5G with a 240GB Hdd and Rockbox currently i only use my Sennheiser CX980 with it, my Beyerdynamic DT770 are a bit too much for the headphone-out of the iPod.
 
So i did a little bit of research and stumbled upon Fiio.
 
Now im torn between getting a Fiio X3 or X5 and send my iPod into retirement or getting a LOD Cable and the Fiio e12 and use those with my iPod.
 
I tried to find some kind of comparison between the sound quality of the X3/X5 and an iPod 5.5G but i didnt really find a satisfying answer.
 
It really comes down to these 2 Questions:
 
1. Is the amp in the Fiio X3/X5 powerful enough to drive standard Headphones (80-300 Ohms)
2. Is the sound quality from the Fiio X3/X5 noticeably better than with the iPod 5.5G and the Fiio e12
 
Also i do listen to a lot of 320Kbps MP3's and not only losless files
 
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PurpleAngel

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I would say to go with the FiiO X3, you only have to carry one device, instead of two devices (rubber banded together).
 
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blubbblubb

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Had the chance to test the fiio e12 today (not very long)
 
I tried some songs of various genres,
Pink Floyd - Hey You
Toto - Rosanna
Vivaldi - four seasons spring
George Ezra - Spectacular Rival
Halestorm - Love bites
 
And if im honest i cant say that i heard that much of a difference, if any at all. Listened to them with the cx 980 and the DT770 80Ohm (and very briefly with my Samson Media One 5a)
 
The only song where i heard a difference was four seasons spring. (also only a small improvement)
 
For the rest the only benefit was the higher volume with the dt770
 
Im surprised by this as i've read quite often, that a lod cable and an amp would make a significant difference with the iPod
 
maybe my ears are not as "developed" as i thought they are. Does it even make sense to still try the X3 if i hardly recognize any difference between the headphone out and line out + amp on my iPod?
 
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originalsnuffy

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I like the sound quality of the X3 and it seems to be less impacted by the impedance of headphones.  I do like the idea that  can muck about with the 5.5g; and have changed the battery and display and eventually will probably put more storage in to the unit.  On its own, without using an external DAC, it is more of a 16/44 device.  Yeah, it will play higher bitrate material but my understanding is the Rockbox will just downres the files to 16/44 for playback.
 
I have an E07 and it sounds good with the iphone and ipad; but that does not really address the e12 question.
 
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blubbblubb

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i dont really need more than 16/44 because all my Files are ripped from CD and unless im mistaken audio cd's only come with 16/44
 
24/96 files are not really widely available, some shops dont even sell 320kbps mp3's (take amazon for example)
 
The main reason i use an iPod Video right now is also the fact that i can easily change the case/hdd/battery
 
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originalsnuffy

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In a scenario where one only goes with redbook CD type files or below; why not have fun with the highly modifiable 5.5g ?
 
The FIIO  to me is all about hi res files.  Yes it has updated componentry; but it may be "overkill" for the purpose of playing redbook.  Especially with the X1 on the horizon.
 
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mathi8vadhanan

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Just get the go-dap gd-03 and trim the corners. It's only 20 bucks now on amazon, and it's battery can charge the ipod.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0060HGVGY/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_RCKUtb0M5QMD168E
 
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blubbblubb

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mmh never heard of it, but it seems amazon.com does not ship it to germany and cant find it anywhere for similar price
 
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zsejk

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@blubbblubb: did you ever get a chance to compare the iPod/E12 combination to the X3?
 
I'm currently in the same situation you are/were, trying to decide between getting an E12 for my iPod Classic 6th gen rev 1, or instead to get an X3. At the moment I find the iPod to sound annoyingly tinny and not warm, wide and musical at all, whatever I do with the equalizer. Even playing the same music through Foobar on my laptop (Thinkpad) sounds like an improvement to me. I have this sensation with both (by no means high-end) in-ear Sennheiser CX 400 II headphones, as with (also by no means high-end) Technics RP-DH1200 headphones. So I can't quite decide whether I just don't "like" the DAC in the iPod (i.e., I need an X3), or that I will start liking it with better amping (i.e., the E12). Mind you I need to listen to whichever set-up I pick with in-ears or closed headphones, as otherwise my co-workers will kill me :wink: I'm not against upgrading, by the way, but that's completely OT I believe. Maybe my desire for a warm sound with a big sound stage is actually unattainable with a portable, in-ear/closed set-up...
 
I would be interested to find out what your experiences are, even if your requirements differ slightly from mine (better headphones, etc...).
 
:)
 
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blubbblubb

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No i didn't
 
After i didnt hear a significant difference between just the ipod and ipod + e12 I bought the Go Dap via a reshipping Service from Amazon.com
 
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zsejk

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Right-o... that's too bad :) Though I can imagine it would not be worth the effort to pursue this comparison further if the E12 hardly made a difference in sound quality. Maybe Rockbox already improved your iPod to such an extent that the improvement from the E12 became too small to notice.
 
Ah well, I guess I will just have to research further. Or maybe someone else will pitch in who has experience with both.
 
Thanks for replying!
 
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blubbblubb

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I do think that the e12 does make a big difference to the right ears, just not to my ears :wink:. A while back I also made a blind comparison between 320kbps mp3, flac (CD quality) and some hi-res flac files and I only got about 30% right (so it was more or less random).

If you get the chance to try the e12 or the x3 go for it, in the end only you can decide whether or not you do hear a big difference between them, not sure how the laws are where you come from but here you can order something online and send it back within 14 days if you don't like it, this is especially useful for stuff you can't test in a local shop
 
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zsejk

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I will admit I also once did a blind test (not very extensive), and my score was 50-50 guessing correctly whether I was listening to flac or a "good" mp3. Mind you, it was only through a laptop with only ok headphones, so maybe the set-up just didn't allow me to distinguish very well. Now a CD versus a record over a good system (with speakers, though ssshh...don't tell anyone)... that will give you a pretty noticeable difference.
 
:wink:
 
Good tip about the return policy by the way, I will research that as a possible way to demo the various choices.
 
Did you find that Rockbox vs not-Rockbox made any difference on your iPod, sound-wise?
 
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blubbblubb

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Can't say I rockboxed my ipod the day I got it, I don't like apples way to store the files and the need for special software (plus I'm running Linux on my computer/notebook)
 
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E12... is worth having no matter what your source it... $129 its a great buy. I use the x5 solo at low levels but when I want loud music the base is better pared with the e12.. e12 does diminish the clarity of the e5...
 
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