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Ill say this my X3 with a good amp sounds better than any Dap.
I find 3.4 disappointing, but I am a V-shaped basshead. Yes, larger soundstage, which is nice, and better instrumentation separation. Good. However, suddenly chunky guitars such as Slayer's new Repentless are thin and weak versus aggressive and real/live sounding. I'm disappointed, and back to 3.4b.
As a side note, still experiencing the need to reset the EQ EVERY time I power the machine on, thought that would be fixed...however few others report it with their unit..could it be related to my overly aggressive use of hardware bass and the software eq hitting a redline or something in the power up stage? Take an extra 20 seconds upon power up to flick the eq from custom to off and back to custom, and bam, ready to go. Quirky.
Quick impressions after updating to 3.4 after not listening to X3 Classic for awhile...
Definitely not as warm. Still a slight mid-bass bump that adds a bit of punch. Highs are exaggerated, causing the soundstage increase but also fatigue since the highs are a bit on the harsh side. These impressions were noted while listening to X3 Classic volume matched several other DAPs with Heir 4.Ai-s multi-BA IEM.
X3's highs with 3.4 stuck out like a sore thumb. Now, if we could get Fiio to release one more firmware revision that retains the highs without compromising on the increased soubdstage, that would be great. Then we'd have a nice warm sound sig with the last beta and a nice neutral sound sig with the latest stable.
Just my two cents
This is pure personal preference, but I'm liking it alot
Still have to revert back to 3.34b once again, though.
@Paulus XII: If you've got a good sound card for your computer, try recording a couple of the same songs via headphone out with each firmware. That way you can A/B them later and see how much of a difference there is when you can rapidly switch back and forth between both.
I am completely lost now with the upgrades. No I not want a more aggressive sound. So I think I leave the last firmware where it is. But beside this one, which one was the one that had the reputation sounding the best? I like the transparent, lush sound of the player, if one firmware makes it a bit more vivid, is fine, but the description above, makes me not jump with joy.
Can someone please explain to me how firmware can change the sound signature of the X3. Can it?? Does it?? Perhaps a comment from @JamesFiiO re this.
In the change logs provided by FIIO for all firmware updates for all products where does it say anything about sound change??
Yes oldmate, I totally agree with you regarding this. I too find a difference in sound quality between v3.34b and v3.4 and I'm wondering how could an upgrade of firmware possibly change the sound quality....well...unless it's done intentionally
Got back to 3.34b after a few days with 3.4 and 3.34b asounds muffled in comparison.
I too am finding the sound to be quite different, more clarity and a little more neutral. However, fw3.4 requires far more volume in order to come close to the presence and engagement of 3.34b. After switching back and forth for a while, I have decided to forego the slight clarity increase of 3.4 for the presence and angagement of 3.34b at more comfortable listening levels.
Yet again we have a fw update from FiiO that gives with one hand, while taking from the other. It would appear that programming controllers for DACs is not their strong point; they seem to struggle with it. It is clear that SQ changes are unintentional, otherwise they would be happy to list it in the changelogs as a benefit.
I do hope they will sort this out, as I feel that they haven't really exploited the potential of the excellent X3 hardware to the full. I feel that the X3 hardware has more to give SQ wise. I will stick with my X3 in the hope that FiiO will realise it's full potential one day.
Yes, I too find the v3.34b more engaging with a bit more bottom slam. I need to turn the volume up a few nothces to get v3.4 to play at the same level with v3.34b
From my very basic understanding it has to do with the filters. I'd also assume that word we hear all the time, "implementation" could also be effected by firmware changes. Just my .02
Taken from an old post from the DX90 thread:-
From Paul at iBasso:
"We do not try to change the sound. Software implementation does change the sound because of the affect on the CPU and other chips. What we do is try and understand why and correct what is changing the sound."
I guess this is similar when other manufacturers introduce new firmware but sometimes also 'unintentionally' bring changes to sound.
Totally agree with you puppyfi, in other words it's the manufacturer's responsibility to make sure that the sound doesn't take a turn for the worse on every update after all we paid our hard earned cash for the sound quality. I'm back on v3.34b now.
I will point out that, sq notwithstanding, nothing has changed since the beta. I find all the same bugs using the final as I did before, so in my opinion there is no reason at all to do the upgrade.
As far as the sq goes, I'll continue by saying I really don't hear any difference. It could be because I use LO/amp exclusively and that mitigates any change. Maybe my gear just isn't resolving enough to make the changes apparent. Or it could be that I just couldn't be bothered to listen for any. I do know that I hear a far bigger difference switching nozzles on my Deltas than any firmware changes (which is to be expected).
I do find the sound (x3/e12a/Delta-Gold) fairly balanced - albeit a little on the lean side if I don't use the bass boost on my amp. The highs, clear and detailed but in no way harsh.