X5 or NWZ-F886
Feb 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

vrapan

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I know that the X5 is not very widely available yet but I would like to put the comparison question out there see if anyone has come across the combo.
 
I am currently using my iPhone 5 as my portable source and when sat on a desk my MBA. The iPhone 5 is definitely lacking and not only on the SQ department but also on the battery. So I would like a dedicated music player.
 
I mainly listen to iTunes AAC and ALAC files with a fair bit of Spotify for music discovery purposes.
 
The NWZ appeals for 3 main reasons:
 
1. Available quite widely and available now.
2. Since it is based on Android the interface good or bad might be more customiseable than the X5 which seems to get a bit of a beating because of some questionable at best UI choices.
3. The Android OS and WiFi connectivity means I will be able to get apps like Spotify on it eliminating the need for my phone to act at all as a portable source.
 
Now none of those are deal breakers for me. I can definitely wait another month or so for X5. I am sure I will get used to the UI and I can still listen to Spotify on my phone. The iP5 will also be upgraded to iP6 or whatever it is called which if it follows on the footsteps of the iP5S it will be sonically a couple clicks above my iP5 which is enough for Spotify/iTunes radio music discovery sessions.
 
So it all comes down to the SQ. If the SQ of the X5 is much better than the SQ of the F886 then I will manage to live without the benefits of the F886. Otherwise I might as well drop for the Sony and be done with it.
 
My preferred IEMs is a pair of InEars Stagediver 2 and my headphones are the Fidelio L2 . Both of which I really like out of something as humble as my MBA jack.!
 
Any and all recommendations welcome, thanks everybody!
 
Feb 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM Post #2 of 8

tomscy2000

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Can't help you with the Spotify issue, but to answer the crucial question --- yes, the X5 has significantly better SQ than does the F880 series.
 
The better question is, do you care to notice the difference in SQ when you're out and about, especially when you listen to your headphones chiefly through your MacBook Air?
 
I don't, so I stick with my F886 for portable use, and a very good DAC/amp in the Concero HP for desktop use.
 
Others primarily use a DAP as their main rig, so they will probably opt for the X5, or something even higher end, such as the AK120.
 
One big benefit that the X5 does also have is that it serves as an USB DAC as well, so you can connect it to your MBA and suddenly you have a very capable portable desktop rig as well.
 
Ultimately, if you're considering a DAP primarily for portable use, then it boils down to the UI and OS. Do you live in an urban metropolis with wi-fi everywhere? Android will help up your productivity if so, and you can take advantage of Android music apps as well. If not, then the added benefit of Android is nigh useless.
 
Personally, despite its leaps and bounds improvements over the one on the X3, the UI of the X5 is not that great. It's very speedy and responsive, but it's way too fiddly. There are a million different functions and directives, and it's difficult to know the best way to navigate between the different functions. However, if you find the UI of the X5 acceptable, then it's arguably the better choice, as it really is a lot better with regard to SQ, on top of being a serviceable USB DAC.
 
Feb 27, 2014 at 6:17 PM Post #3 of 8

vrapan

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Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. 
 
I think I didn't make my self very clear. I listen to my MBA only because  the sound from my iP5 is not nearly as good/inspiring/engaging. If I had a choice of a great DAP with SQ that equaled or bettered my MBA then the DAP would be my go to source. I very rarely sit at a desk to listen to music other than work and even there I often don't have my MBA with me. In reality 70-80% of my listening is still done through my iP5. 
 
On top of that I like simplicity and convenience, even if I had time to sit down and listen I wouldn't go for a source/dac/amp stack. I'd still try and find the best all in one source and use that and this is why I stick with easy to drive headphones/earphones.
 
So SQ is the highest priority as the player will be my main source. From what you say and what I have read the step up from the F886 to the X5 is clear and obvious so despite the X5's drawbacks the decisions is a bit clearer now.
 
As for spotify I find the SQ lacking anyway so I only use it to discover new music as opposed to a main source so listening to it on my iP5 is not that bad of a tradeoff if it means that my actual music collection gains a bit in quality.
 
Apr 5, 2014 at 10:17 AM Post #4 of 8

liderbit

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Hello - I have Fiio X3 (not X5) and recently Sony F886, bought one week ago, so I can tell my opinion about them, maybe it can help you a little bit...
I can tell you that the sound of F886 is much much better than that of X3 in almost all aspects.
 
The sound of F886 is very very "airy" (most "airy" sound I've heard) with excellent soundstage. The bass is so so good, punchy and very well textured. The details are also much better than FiiO. I've never heard my Momentum headphones sound sooooo good... F886 and Momentum are a perfect match. FiiO has a warm, dry and black sound, while Sony sound is more liquid, more "3D", but a little "colder" than X3. 
 
Still there are some advantages of FiiO X3: more capable amp (the sound can be much louder, so it is a good match with hard-to-drive headphones) and (as X5) it can be use as an USB DAC. Personally I use X3 only as an USB DAC. Otherwise it is almost useless as it is not portable at all, the interface is ugly, the sound is not better than F886 and so on...
 
You should also be aware that:
- X5 has no internal memory but 2 slots for SD cards
- F886 has 32 G internal memory but no SD slots. 
- The battery on F886 really sucks - ~ 6 hours of playback with normal flacs (CD quality). No wireless, no games, no installed apps, etc. The battery is really weaker than advertised.
 
Hope it helped a little bit. Sorry for my poor english.
 
Apr 5, 2014 at 2:16 PM Post #5 of 8

vrapan

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Hi thanks for your comments much appreciated. Have been reading on DAPs a lot but I what I gather is that sound wise they are not that much better than iDevices unless you have hard to drive headphones which I do not. My main driver is the SD2 and then the rather efficient L2 and lastly my HF5. They all sound better on my retina iPad and I use that a lot which is a bit of a pain but given the problematic UI of most DAPs I have seen and given that am not prepared to pay 550 for something like the nzw xz1 I will stick with iDevices till the new iPhones come out and see how they perform .
 
Apr 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM Post #6 of 8

cattlethief

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I own the X3 and F886, sonically wise I think they are both excellent,despite a lot of punters saying the the X3 UI is ugly,yer having a laugh,it is basic and does the job(its gonna get a face lift!) well,they both have there strong points X3 more power, can drive most cans,great DAC and great support,I cant fault the X3 for the money paid!I love Sony and have a few of there players of which the F886 is there best but the battery life is very poor and the volume cap is a killer,on a quiet night with no ambient sound its excellent!
 
Apr 6, 2014 at 6:28 AM Post #7 of 8

liderbit

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Yes, the volume could be better but is ok for me - louder enough even in high traffic. The only really drawback is the battery, even the X3 has a better battery than F886.
I won't buy X5 because of the missing internal storage. Also I've read some negative reviews about his sound...
 
Feb 11, 2015 at 10:58 AM Post #8 of 8

Willeju

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Would this low volume be restricted to headphones that are slightly more difficult to drive? I have a pair of V Moda Crossfade M100's (50ohms) and I'm contemplating buying the f886 but I'm worried that I'll need an additional amp to drive up the volume. What do you think? If I was able to drive them without an external amp the choice between it and X5 would be clear as on android I can use track control on my headphone cable instead of having to pull out the DAP each time I want to change a track.
 

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