Need Advice on Fiio X3 (ii) and matching Headphones
Jun 30, 2015 at 8:22 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

anikethan

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Hi all,
 
This is my first post. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge base of this place.
 
I read reviews of Fiio X3 (ii). It is appealing. I am planning to buy one in November (till i save enough money to buy it )
Can you suggest a matching budget headphone to go with it. Actually i am interested in building a headphone myself after many researches online. Any suggestion towards that will be welcome :)
 
Regards,
Anikethan
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 11:13 AM Post #2 of 18

ProtegeManiac

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  I read reviews of Fiio X3 (ii). It is appealing. I am planning to buy one in November (till i save enough money to buy it )
Can you suggest a matching budget headphone to go with it.

 
What's your budget limit for a budget headphone? It can be a Superlux for $50, a Brainwavz for $100, a Sennheiser HD380Pro for $150, or an AKG K553 for a little over $200.
 
 
 
  Actually i am interested in building a headphone myself after many researches online. Any suggestion towards that will be welcome :)

 
This is more complex than you think - fabricating them takes a lot of skills, time, and effort, not to mention materials for experimenting with before the final output. Grado headphones are the most modular in this sense but then there's the question of whether you can get aluminum or wood blocks with the proper stain (or if you can stain them yourself), and whether you have all the necessary tools and skills to do accomplish this. Then there's the precision work needed to make sure the drivers and other parts fit, especially the earpads; in some cases totally different earpads can be fitted if you can fabricate properly.
 
Look up this site for ideas (or maybe just order finished headphones here) : http://www.headphile.com/page5.html
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 12:05 PM Post #3 of 18

cel4145

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Agreed with everything PM said.

You should tell us your overall budget for headphones + X3. Could be you should spend less money on the DAP and get better headphones. Also, if you are not purchasing anything until November, you should likely wait until October until looking for equipment. The best values for your money may change by then.

And even speakers can be difficult to build at first until you learn the science. But with speakers, you can generally get the Thiele/Small parameters for drivers (or you would not build a speaker without them), and then use modeling software to construct the right size enclosure. I don't believe that kind of information is available for headphones, so you would basically be guessing and trying a lot of trial and error with enclosure design, as well as many other factors. Here is the DIY section for Head-Fi where you can do your research and ask questions in existing threads. Note that there aren't a lot of people trying to build their own headphones (because it's >>hard) : http://www.head-fi.org/f/6/diy-do-it-yourself-discussions.
 
Jun 30, 2015 at 10:39 PM Post #4 of 18

PurpleAngel

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  This is my first post. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge base of this place.
I read reviews of Fiio X3 (ii). It is appealing. I am planning to buy one in November (till i save enough money to buy it )
Can you suggest a matching budget headphone to go with it. Actually i am interested in building a headphone myself after many researches online. Any suggestion towards that will be welcome :)
Regards,
Anikethan

On Head-Fi it's usually recommended to spend more of your audio budget for headphones, then the DAC amp.
 
I'm assuming your planning on spending $200 for a DAP and $200 for headphones (matching budget?).
Might be better to spend $100 for the FiiO X1 and $300 for headphones.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 7:25 AM Post #5 of 18

anikethan

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What's your budget limit for a budget headphone? It can be a Superlux for $50, a Brainwavz for $100, a Sennheiser HD380Pro for $150, or an AKG K553 for a little over $200.
 
 
 
 
This is more complex than you think - fabricating them takes a lot of skills, time, and effort, not to mention materials for experimenting with before the final output. Grado headphones are the most modular in this sense but then there's the question of whether you can get aluminum or wood blocks with the proper stain (or if you can stain them yourself), and whether you have all the necessary tools and skills to do accomplish this. Then there's the precision work needed to make sure the drivers and other parts fit, especially the earpads; in some cases totally different earpads can be fitted if you can fabricate properly.
 
Look up this site for ideas (or maybe just order finished headphones here) : http://www.headphile.com/page5.html

Thanka Maniac. My budget for headphone is $100 - $150. 
I Have decent skills with material and tools. But i am not sure whether i can get all the neodymium drivers in India (where i am from).
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 8:04 AM Post #6 of 18

anikethan

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  On Head-Fi it's usually recommended to spend more of your audio budget for headphones, then the DAC amp.
 
I'm assuming your planning on spending $200 for a DAP and $200 for headphones (matching budget?).
Might be better to spend $100 for the FiiO X1 and $300 for headphones.

Initially i wanted to go for X1, But what interested me is the line out featrure in X3ii. Which i can connect to my Amp ( Onkyo Tx- SR313). Also. the THD of X3ii is better than X1. I really dont know how much in terms of audio quality, i chose based only on numbers.
 
$300 phone in india costs around $400 including custom duty+shipping. Hence I have think many times whether it is really worth it.
 
Jul 8, 2015 at 10:10 AM Post #7 of 18

ProtegeManiac

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Quote:
Originally Posted by anikethan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanka Maniac. My budget for headphone is $100 - $150. 
I Have decent skills with material and tools. But i am not sure whether i can get all the neodymium drivers in India (where i am from).

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anikethan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
$300 phone in india costs around $400 including custom duty+shipping. Hence I have think many times whether it is really worth it.

 
If customs duties and shipping will be expensive then might as well get a headphone instead of making one. In the Headphile page the best idea there is to mount Grado drivers in Beyerdynamic chassis, to get around the comfort issues some have with Grados. At that price however you can just get the Superlux HD330 if it's available locally since it might cost as much as the retail price to ship and pay customs for. The chassis design is copied from Beyerdynamic and you get drivers with a sound similar to the SR60 but with bass - basically, you're getting an SR60-price level alternative to the Headphile products. Also check with the local Sennheiser dealer if they have the HD380. Apart from these you might as well save up for  the DT770, although that one has considerable bass boost.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anikethan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Initially i wanted to go for X1, But what interested me is the line out featrure in X3ii. Which i can connect to my Amp ( Onkyo Tx- SR313).

 
The X1 has a lineout feature, it just doesn't have a separate port to save on space on the smaller PCB. You have to go into the menu and select the output as lineout instead of headphone - that still bypasses the amplification circuit.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by anikethan /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Also. the THD of X3ii is better than X1. I really dont know how much in terms of audio quality, i chose based only on numbers.

 
THD goes up as you use more power output from an amp, it's generally a question of by how much the amp develops distortion. The X1 is designed primarily to drive IEMs, hence only 100mW and for lower impedances. That said, I've tried it with Grados, and some portable headphones like the K550 and MDR-1R, and the only DAPs that are smaller and sounded better are those tiny DAPs with Class A amps that use comparatively ancient displays (ie they look like what we used to get on MiniDisc players, but without the in-line remote control). Of course, as it was designed to be as compact as possible, the battery is smaller than the X3 - it's not a problem driving an IEM (I barely recharged the review unit I had) but it won't run too long driving a 50ohm headphone with a much lower sensitivity and lower isolation levels (ie both contribute to needing a higher volume setting).
 
Jul 10, 2015 at 3:08 AM Post #8 of 18

anikethan

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If customs duties and shipping will be expensive then might as well get a headphone instead of making one. In the Headphile page the best idea there is to mount Grado drivers in Beyerdynamic chassis, to get around the comfort issues some have with Grados. At that price however you can just get the Superlux HD330 if it's available locally since it might cost as much as the retail price to ship and pay customs for. The chassis design is copied from Beyerdynamic and you get drivers with a sound similar to the SR60 but with bass - basically, you're getting an SR60-price level alternative to the Headphile products. Also check with the local Sennheiser dealer if they have the HD380. Apart from these you might as well save up for  the DT770, although that one has considerable bass boost.
 
 
The X1 has a lineout feature, it just doesn't have a separate port to save on space on the smaller PCB. You have to go into the menu and select the output as lineout instead of headphone - that still bypasses the amplification circuit.
 
 
THD goes up as you use more power output from an amp, it's generally a question of by how much the amp develops distortion. The X1 is designed primarily to drive IEMs, hence only 100mW and for lower impedances. That said, I've tried it with Grados, and some portable headphones like the K550 and MDR-1R, and the only DAPs that are smaller and sounded better are those tiny DAPs with Class A amps that use comparatively ancient displays (ie they look like what we used to get on MiniDisc players, but without the in-line remote control). Of course, as it was designed to be as compact as possible, the battery is smaller than the X3 - it's not a problem driving an IEM (I barely recharged the review unit I had) but it won't run too long driving a 50ohm headphone with a much lower sensitivity and lower isolation levels (ie both contribute to needing a higher volume setting).

Hmm.. so you mean to say, audio quality wise there is not much difference in X1 and X3ii. Since I am new to DAP, i dont know how to compare their ICs. If there is no much difference between X3ii and X1, as you suggested i will go for X1 and spend more on a quality Headphone.
 
Jul 10, 2015 at 3:15 AM Post #9 of 18

ProtegeManiac

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  Hmm.. so you mean to say, audio quality wise there is not much difference in X1 and X3ii. Since I am new to DAP, i dont know how to compare their ICs. If there is no much difference between X3ii and X1, as you suggested i will go for X1 and spend more on a quality Headphone.

 
What I meant is that when either drives the headphones directly, for most portable headphones there isn't much difference; for IEMs, there won't be any, and the X1 might even be better. If you're planning to use the analogue lineout then there's no need to spend on the larger X3 since the X1 has a selectable lineout - you save $100 that you can spend on the amp or the headphone. Personally though unless you're planning to listen to larger headphones with less than 95dB sensitivity and impedance higher than 64ohms, stick with the X1; otherwise, it's the X3 or the X1 with an amp, depending on whether lugging around a device with an amp strapped on it is still convenient for you.
 
Now, if you're going to use an IEM on the go then a fullsize headphone at home, then might as well get the X1 since it's more compact, then hook up the X1 to the amp driving the larger headphone when you get home. The only advantage the X3 has if used in this manner is that it has a digital output.
 
Jul 10, 2015 at 3:30 AM Post #10 of 18

anikethan

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What I meant is that when either drives the headphones directly, for most portable headphones there isn't much difference; for IEMs, there won't be any, and the X1 might even be better. If you're planning to use the analogue lineout then there's no need to spend on the larger X3 since the X1 has a selectable lineout - you save $100 that you can spend on the amp or the headphone. Personally though unless you're planning to listen to larger headphones with less than 95dB sensitivity and impedance higher than 64ohms, stick with the X1; otherwise, it's the X3 or the X1 with an amp, depending on whether lugging around a device with an amp strapped on it is still convenient for you.
 
Now, if you're going to use an IEM on the go then a fullsize headphone at home, then might as well get the X1 since it's more compact, then hook up the X1 to the amp driving the larger headphone when you get home. The only advantage the X3 has if used in this manner is that it has a digital output.

Thanks for that clarification
beerchug.gif
. I am going with X1. On the headphone side these are in my mind: HD439, ATH-M30X, HD-202, HD449, HD-215. I haven't gone through all the reviews about them. Selected based on outlook specifications and price. But what i am looking for is to feel good, Clear sound, slightly higher bass and comfortable for long duration listening in house.
 
But where do i get such high quality audio tracks these days. All are compressed Mp3 maxed at 320 Kbps. I don't know whether i can afford to buy those costly FLAC or ALAC music from online. I was wondering what to do. Any suggestions on this front please ? 
smily_headphones1.gif
 
 
Jul 10, 2015 at 4:30 AM Post #11 of 18

ProtegeManiac

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Thanks for that clarification
beerchug.gif
. I am going with X1. On the headphone side these are in my mind: HD439, ATH-M30X, HD-202, HD449, HD-215. I haven't gone through all the reviews about them. Selected based on outlook specifications and price. But what i am looking for is to feel good, Clear sound, slightly higher bass and comfortable for long duration listening in house.

 
Among those I'd get the HD439, but then again that's the only one I've listened to, so I'm basically making a safe choice.
 
 
But where do i get such high quality audio tracks these days. All are compressed Mp3 maxed at 320 Kbps. I don't know whether i can afford to buy those costly FLAC or ALAC music from online. I was wondering what to do. Any suggestions on this front please ? 
smily_headphones1.gif
 

 
256kbps MP3: $1/track, $11 to $18 per album if bought individually (ie you end up paying for interludes if you listen to concept albums and OSTs)
 
CD: $13 to $15 per CD; plus shipping, plus Customs duties if you don't buy from the "music" store near you
 
FLAC/ALAC/WAV downloads : $10 to $15 per album; cost of internet service and electricity negligible if you pay for broadband service at home (which are used for a lot of other things besides this); just buy an external HDD to archive, but given a TB drive holds thousands of CDs, technically you end up spending only around $150 or so divided by thousands of albums, which means that per album you spent less than 10cents.
 
I don't see what's expensive about the FLAC downloads considering shipping a CD costs a lot of money to ship, and can end up with a mishandled and broken CD that you need to ship back to get a new one. And a FLAC download isn't more expensive than downloading MP3 from Amazon or iTunes unless you're a bean counter counting the electricity costs for taking a lot more time downloading them.
 
You can buy CDs locally so shipping won't be a problem, but that depends on what your preferred music is. If you're like me living in SEAsia with a strong local pop music lobby in government and surrounded by intellectually debilitating people who love mind-numbing pop music with idiotic lyrics (like needing several producers for a song that is almost all "Who run tha world? Gurls, gurls!") or love songs that sound more like symptoms of mental illness (dependence and lack of sense of self, like "I cant live without you!!!") while your preference is symphonic metal, the closest option is to order Japan-market CDs - I pay Japanese prices, I pay shipping, I pay foreign exchange charges (even in cents), I pay customs duties; f they arrive broken, boo hoo, I might pay return shipping. Downloads it is.
 
Jul 10, 2015 at 10:01 AM Post #12 of 18

cel4145

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But where do i get such high quality audio tracks these days. All are compressed Mp3 maxed at 320 Kbps. I don't know whether i can afford to buy those costly FLAC or ALAC music from online. I was wondering what to do. Any suggestions on this front please ? :)  


320K mp3s are good. Most people find them to be often be indistinguishable from lossless. You can try this test yourself to see: http://lifehacker.com/5903625/mp3-or-lossless-see-if-you-can-hear-the-difference-with-this-test
 
Jul 13, 2015 at 3:21 AM Post #13 of 18

anikethan

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FLAC/ALAC/WAV downloads : $10 to $15 per album; cost of internet service and electricity negligible if you pay for broadband service at home (which are used for a lot of other things besides this); just buy an external HDD to archive, but given a TB drive holds thousands of CDs, technically you end up spending only around $150 or so divided by thousands of albums, which means that per album you spent less than 10cents.
 

Ok agreed, Can you suggest sites where i can buy the albums for $15? I would not mind as long as there i get the enjoyment of listening. 
 
Jul 13, 2015 at 5:26 AM Post #14 of 18

smy1

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Is flac and MP3 320kbps noticeable. If I am not mistaken flac is better

If your budget around $150 you can get the hd558 ath m50x or the hd598
 
Jul 13, 2015 at 5:34 AM Post #15 of 18

anikethan

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Is flac and MP3 320kbps noticeable. If I am not mistaken flac is better

If your budget around $150 you can get the hd558 ath m50x or the hd598

If I play the FLAC and MP3 329 KBPS using my Receiver and AMP, i can quickly make out the differences. not that much if i play it wih mobile phone (right now i dont have a DAP). Many sound signatures which were not there in 320 KBPS, were audible in FLAC, for that you have to carefully listen. But you will only concentrate on that sound and forget the music
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