FiiO X7 Portable Audio Player Review
From Röyksopp to Amber Rubarth, Diana Krall to Apoptygma Berzerk, Tom Jones to Sphongle, Yello to Camouflage, mostly FLACs 24/96 or 16/44.1 - some mp3 320kbps, some AAC 256kbps, some DSD files
Depending on headphone high or low gain - no EQ
Disclaimer: I received the Fiio X7 review unit from www.samma3a.com the local distributor of Fiio products. I have to return the unit, so there is no financial interest. I am not affiliated with Fiio or Samma3a.com Though I really highly appreciate what these guys are doing for the audiophiles in the region!! Thank you so much for letting me test and review this player. I had so much fun doing it!!
When I review DAPs I tend to use an input switcher and play the same song on both players, volume matched by ear and switch back and forth. Then I do some extensive listening with the unit and different headphones.
I owned a lot of Fiio products over the years, the X3, X5, E07K, E7, etc. and so far never had any serious issues with them.
- best Fiio sound quality to date
- nicer case
- better display
- Bluetooth, Wifi for streaming - Android OS
- great player app from Fiio
- no micro SD card covers anymore
- separate sockets for line out and digital out now combined
The X7 is the undisputed new flagship of the Fiio line. Just the flexibility of using streaming services and having a modern, touch based UI teamed up with the interchangeable amp modules is worth the money.
Now, the longer version:
Packaging & Accessories
It consists of a 1m high current micro USB charging/data cable, 3.5mm to RCA COAX digital S/PDIFadapter, 2 spare screen protectors in the box, 1 already fitted on device, warranty card and quick start guide, a set of extra screws for the amp module and a tory screwdriver to change the amp module.
NOTE: This is with the supplied IEM Amp Module:
DAC Chip: Sabre ES9018S
Ouput: >200mW @16 Ohm, 100mW @32 Ohm, >10mW @300 Ohm
Output impedance: smaller than 0.2 Ohm
Headphone out, Digital (COAX) out (switchable to line out), 3,97 inch 480x800 pixel touch screen color display with switchable Android/Fiio UI, Bluetooth V4.0, Wifi 2.4 GHz b/g/n, customized Android OS 4.4.4, 1.4 Ghz Quad Core RK3188 chip, 1GB RAM, 32 GB internal memory (27GB available to user) 1 mSD card slot for up to 128GB cards
Size: H130mm, W64mm, D16.6 mm (compared to original X5: H114, W67.6, D15.6)
Weight: 220g (old 195g)
THD: <0.0007% (1 kHz)
Battery: 3,500 mAh LiPo (>9 hours)
Lossless formats supported:
APE Extra High：192kHz/24bit（MAX）
All MP3, OGG, MP2, AAC (as used on iPads, iPhones, iPods)
Size comparisons & Input switcher
Size comparison of various amps.
User Interface and Build Quality
You have two choices with the X7 - you can boot into the standard Fiio Pure Music mode and only use the Fiio Music App - this supposedly gives you the best music quality and longest battery life. In this review I have used the Pure Music Mode exclusively for comparisons.
The Firmware version is still in beta and only End of November 2015 a release version is expected. So, probably many things will be improved before the device officially launches.
The User Interface has a bit of a learning curve as there are so many cool shortcuts and little touches that you only find over time.
Generally swiping, pressing and holding every part of the app is a good idea to find out what it does. There are a lot of neat touches to find.
Should you want to use the standard Android UI, you need to switch with the help of the drop down menu and then reboot the device. Only then you are able to use the home screen, install apps (that you need to download elsewhere and install via .apk file). This opens the world to apps like Spotify, Tidal and all the others. I tried spotify and it works great. I immediately found a few songs for me to purchase - a great way to explore new music.
The UI gets a 8 out of 10 for me for the great Fiio Music app. The rest is standard Android OS which is appreciated.
Build quality is very good. Keep in mind that I had used a pre-production model with beta software and still everything fit perfectly - the gaps and details are top notch. I did observe thought that the casing due to it’s heft is a bit probe to get scratches over time. It’s nice to hold, sturdy and well put together.
One thing to mention though is the physical buttons. They are the same on both sides, so it’s not so easy to “feel” which side you are on. I thought this would cause some issues when I try to change things blindly, but actually, it wasn’t. However I want to mention it here.
Sound Quality Comparisons
Sound quality is a bit hard to assess. Due to the interchangeable amp modules that the X7 will receive, I can only comment on the standard IEM focussed amp module.
Amp modules that are planned are these:
Standard (IEM) module: suitable for driving most IEMs, earbuds, portable on-ear earphones and some efficient full-size headphones.
Medium power module: utilizing the renowned MUSE02 op-amp for higher output power and wider application.
High power module: utilizing the LM49600 op-amp planned for high power amplification of full size headphones.
Balanced output module: having 4-pin Kobiconn and 2.5mm balanced output ports, this will be the amp to have for various headphones / earphones on the market with balanced cables.
So how does it sound?
It sounds really really good. Lovely punch in the low end without being warm. Instruments have great timbre and attack and decay is fast and accurate.
Soundstage is lovely and the DAC does a fantastic job extracting all details from the files. The X7 has beaten all the DAPs I have in my own collection with one exception that is roughly double the price. And all of this was achieved with the standard IEM amp module. Can’t wait to hear what the balanced module could do - or the high powered one.
Compared to X5 2nd gen
• more balanced presentation overall
• more impactful bass with a tad more detail in the bass
• slightly better controlled in the treble
• more balanced mids
Line Out & Digital Out (COAX)
Now instead of separate sockets for line out and COAX digital SPDIF out, it’s a joint socket. The function of it is switched in software. So you have to dive into the menu to check which setting it is and to change it of course, if desired.
The combined port also means that some of the previously working COAX cables don’t work anymore. Hmmmpf. I don’t like that. However, with the supplied adapter, you can use any COAX cable and be good.
DAC use on a Computer
This functionality wasn’t yet available (or activated) when I tested the player. Hence I can’t report on the ease of use or issues with drivers. Based on the history of Fiio though, it should be a plug and play affair and work reliably.
So… should you buy the new X7?
Yes. You should. If you are in a market for a digital audio player, why not take the one with the best future upgradeability score. Android OS with a great player app, a nice screen, plenty of physical buttons, exchangeable amp modules.
Fiio even opened up their specs for other companies to produce amp modules and even combined amp/dac/battery modules for the X7. Think of this player more as a platform rather than a player.
I assume that later players from Fiio might as well be compatible with the amp modules.
Great times ahead.
THANKS to www.samma3a.com and @Mazen4samma3a for the review loaner!