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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:00 am 
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I been living without a portable music player for the last few weeks, as my old iPod Touch died inexplicably. I didn't shed too many tears upon its demise, nor really investigated if it could be repaired. It was the only Apple product I ever owned and always disliked the process of converting the FLAC files from my music library to Apple Lossless and dealing with iTunes. I know I could probably just use my phone for this purpose (I think it supports FLAC). However, I've never liked the notion of using the lion's share of the phone's available memory to store big music files....nor consume precious battery capacity to play them back. I have always preferred using a separate music player.

At any rate, I happened to be at London Drugs on Boxing Day, and decided to pick up a FiiO X3II that was on sale for $230. I was only vaguely familiar with the FiiO brand prior. However, after a couple of days of use, I am really impressed! It can handle virtually any file format and resolution level that you can think of (including DSD)....and the build quality seems to be very solid. It drives both my Shure SE315 earbuds and Grado SR125 over-ear phones just fine. Sound quality seems to be very good for a player in this price class, easily an improvement over my old iPod. I also like the flexibility offered via the fixed line-level analog and digital coaxial outputs, and its ability to be used as a stand-alone asynchronous USB DAC.

I had a received $100 gift card as part of another London Drugs Boxing Day promotion, so the X3 only cost me $130 out-of-pocket (plus tax and a 64GB mico SD card). I really can't complain. I had previously given thought to setting up a home-based headphone listening station, utilizing an old laptop tied into my music server and separate DAC/headphone amp. I don't know if this would be necessary now that I have the FiiO.....the sound quality may be sufficient for semi-critical home-based listening. Hopefully it ends up being durable enough to sustain heavy gym use as well.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:25 am 
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Good review! I've been looking at the Fiio X3II for awhile.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:46 pm 
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This is an incredible time for portable music playback. The number of choices available in hi-res capable portable players has never been better. In fact there is now so much choice it can become somewhat of a daunting task to choose one player. The first hi-res capable player I purchased was the original X3 from FiiO. I moved up to the X5I about two years ago and have been pleased with it. FiiO is about to release the third version of the X5 and this may well be the next player I buy. Some issues with their current flagship player notwithstanding FiiO has consistently demonstrated an ability to offer a certain level of performance and customer service for less money than the competition. Unfortunately the law of diminishing returns seems to kick in much more quickly and severely in the portable DAP realm than what is normal even within an industry already well known for the phenomenon. You can spend what are to most people, riculous sums of money on s DAP these days without receiving an easily noticable increase in performance.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:59 pm 
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I also choose Fiio and bought their X1 player to try out the brand.
If this unit works out I will the X5 Gen III for sure.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:15 pm 
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I received a Fiio X1 for Christmas and so far so good. Impressive DAP for the money! I also prefer to have music played separately from my phone...I don't really want to be out for a walk, immersed in some great music, and then get a phone call :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Have anyone tried out the FiiO K5 docking station? It seems like a nice, reasonably priced companion piece to drive larger headphones and charge the player......


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:33 pm 
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selkirk wrote:
Have anyone tried out the FiiO K5 docking station? It seems like a nice, reasonably priced companion piece to drive larger headphones and charge the player......

I have a X3ii and a X5ii with the K5 docking station. Both X3 and X5 are in use as I have all my current jazz on the X5ii which supports 2x128gb sd card and the rest of my music (rock, indie and blues) on the X3ii. I prefer the X5ii because the wheel is more fluid and it has the 256gb storage capability. As for the sound, sorry, I hear no differences between the 2 units. I use them with AKG 3003 IEMs almost every day in the train. I also use them at the cottage where I plug them into little Audio Engine A2 active speakers and they become my desktop system. I also use them at the office.
I've tried many DAP but for the price, FiiO is my choice. Very easy to manage as when the sd card is into the player, you can plug the unit in your computer and manage the files like any other server. Great units, great build, a no brainer buy IMO.

As for the K5, it is convenient as a charging dock and is a fair HP amp for easy to drive headphones (low impedance). Has a gain switch, analog outs and the unit is well built and cute. I dont use it too often as I prefer to plug the IEMs directly into the X3X5. But if you have over ear HP that have 1/4 plugs (like Grados), the K5 is nice. Two little downers I find with the K5: 1) it only has the 1/4 inch input so if you want to use it with IEMs, you'll need an adapter and 2) it can be a little hasardous to plug in the X3 into it because of the little size of the unit. You have to work a little to find the right place to insert the unit into the K5. That makes me think about the durability of the connector or little marks on the bottom of the X3 because its easy to scratch the finish while trying to find the fit for connecting to the K5. The X5 fits in perfectly, no hassle.

To sum it up, I stop searching for a DAP when I got the FiiO's. Mind you, I'm not looking for Uuuuuuber SQ on those. SQ is fair to good. It does HR and DSD pretty well although DSD is tough on batteries. Me, for a DAP, I value convenience and cheap enough as if I drop it, I can replace and not have to call my banker. If this is your conception of a DAP, I recommend the FiiOs. No way I will ever pay $2000 for a DAP. Thats just me, YMMV of course.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:17 am 
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Yippedidou wrote:
As for the K5, it is convenient as a charging dock and is a fair HP amp for easy to drive headphones (low impedance). Has a gain switch, analog outs and the unit is well built and cute. I dont use it too often as I prefer to plug the IEMs directly into the X3X5. But if you have over ear HP that have 1/4 plugs (like Grados), the K5 is nice. Two little downers I find with the K5: 1) it only has the 1/4 inch input so if you want to use it with IEMs, you'll need an adapter and 2) it can be a little hasardous to plug in the X3 into it because of the little size of the unit. You have to work a little to find the right place to insert the unit into the K5. That makes me think about the durability of the connector or little marks on the bottom of the X3 because its easy to scratch the finish while trying to find the fit for connecting to the K5. The X5 fits in perfectly, no hassle.


Thanks for the insight...much appreciated. For about $165, the K5 might be worth a shot.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:50 am 
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Location: Repentigny, QC, CA
Farles wrote:
I received a Fiio X1 for Christmas and so far so good. Impressive DAP for the money! I also prefer to have music played separately from my phone...I don't really want to be out for a walk, immersed in some great music, and then get a phone call :?


+1
Used a X1 for a year and enjoy it alot! Even hooked it up to a very good 2ch system with friends for a listen to Nils Frahm 'Solo' in 24/96 res, and they all appreciated that fine music...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:36 am 
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Farles wrote:
I received a Fiio X1 for Christmas and so far so good. Impressive DAP for the money! I also prefer to have music played separately from my phone...I don't really want to be out for a walk, immersed in some great music, and then get a phone call :?

I also bought a FIIO X1 Gen2 together with MEE audio M6 PRO earbuds to my daughter for Christmas. I was shocked by the quality of sound from this combo. It sounds so natural and musical unlike an iPod or iPhone. Very good DAP and IEM and unbeatable for the price ($150 + $50).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:50 am 
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Interesting.

My portable listening (Go Train 2-3 times a week) is via work iPhone and my family iTunes collection. I suspect it is equal to 256-320kps or so. I use a set of NuForce HEM8 iems directly out of the iPhone (6s at present). When on planes (1-2 times a month) I use the same iems, but don't often listen to my own music. I plug into Air Canada's system and watch a movie or use their jazz channel.

I enjoy the music a lot. It is of course a very different experience from my 2 channel rig, but that ain't coming along on the train!

When at home, I use iPeng on the iPhone and have enabled playback, so I can stream ALL of my TB's of FLAC to my phone (or iPad) and enjoy my full collection. I have recently started to listen more in this way.

I have never owned a portable music device other than a work phone. I am unsure if I would like having 2 devices in my messenger bag. I AM sure I would love to not hear email pinging or texts pinging when listening.

I may have to consider a portable device for that alone!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:13 am 
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mcgsxr wrote:
Interesting.

My portable listening (Go Train 2-3 times a week) is via work iPhone and my family iTunes collection. I suspect it is equal to 256-320kps or so. I use a set of NuForce HEM8 iems directly out of the iPhone (6s at present). When on planes (1-2 times a month) I use the same iems, but don't often listen to my own music. I plug into Air Canada's system and watch a movie or use their jazz channel.

I enjoy the music a lot. It is of course a very different experience from my 2 channel rig, but that ain't coming along on the train!

When at home, I use iPeng on the iPhone and have enabled playback, so I can stream ALL of my TB's of FLAC to my phone (or iPad) and enjoy my full collection. I have recently started to listen more in this way.

I have never owned a portable music device other than a work phone. I am unsure if I would like having 2 devices in my messenger bag. I AM sure I would love to not hear email pinging or texts pinging when listening.

I may have to consider a portable device for that alone!


Can't you cut the pinginginging in the preferences set-up of the Iphone? I also use my Iphone while on the train but I prefer X5 for hirez capabilities as I have lots of it. The FiiO X7 streams through a wifi connection. Maybe something to try although you would need to connect it to your iPhone for wifi purposes if there is no wifi on the Go Train (not sure - there aint any in Montreal).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:45 am 
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Location: Burlington, ON, CA
I will have to review if I can change the iPhone settings for times when my headphones are plugged in. I would want those pings during times when my phone is lying on the pool table, but not when I am listening to music.

The Go Train does not inherently have wifi yet. I tether my PC to my phone for those times I need to work during those trips.

Cool about the Fiio piece. I have a small headphone amp of theirs that I used to use with an older iPod Touch, and found their price/performance excellent.

My brother has a Cowon portable that I bet is lying in a drawer these days, maybe I will try that to see if I note any sound quality improvements.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:20 am 
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Location: Cornwall, ON, CA
Just saw this on Massdrop - it's a 2nd generation, some commenters there pointed out there's a gen 3 due out shortly....No idea if this is a good price, particularly in USD, plus shipping?
Only 45 available but they're not moving fast it appears - 8 days left...

https://www.massdrop.com/buy/fiio-x5-2n ... rer=S9W7TU


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:31 am 
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Location: Ingersoll, ON, CA
Does anyone know if tax and duty are applied to Massdrop purchases. Do you pay in Canadian or US finds?
Thanks.

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