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FiiO X7 32GB Hi-Res Lossless Music Player, Titanium
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- This Item Includes: FiiO X7 32GB High-Resolution Audio Player - Light Sensor - Accelerometer - USB Cable - Coaxial Digital Adapter Cable - 3x Screen Protectors (1 Already Applied to Screen In-Factory) - 4x Module Mounting Screws - Screwdriver - Protective Shell - Quick Start Guide - FiiO 1 Year Warranty
- Operating System: Deeply customized Android 4.4.4
- CPU Model: RK3188
- No. of Cores: 4
- CPU Operating Frequency: 1.4GHz
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||JMBO Sales (Fast shipping)||WPISALES||GMartGlobal||JetAudio, Inc||Aventura Mall||etailz|
|Color||titanium||black||X3-III Black||Gold Black||—||TITANIUM|
|Item Dimensions||5.12 x 2.52 x 0.65 in||3.94 x 11.81 x 7.87 in||0.47 x 2.32 x 4.49 in||1 x 7.2 x 3.8 in||4.5 x 8.25 x 4.25 in||0.63 x 2.64 x 5.08 in|
|Item Weight||7.76 ounces||1.1 lbs||4.44 ounces||0.55 lb||0.81 lb||7.48 ounces|
|Supported Standards||AAC, FLAC, MP3, WMA||FLAC, AAC, MP3, WMA, native DSD, WAV, WMA, ALAC, FLAC, APE, AIFF||MP3||FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, APE, MP3, WMA, OGG||FLAC, AAC, DSD, DFF, MP3||FLAC, DSD128, DXD, AAC, MP3|
x7 Android-based smart portable music player Mastering quality lossless playback ES9018S DAC 32GB ROM 3.97 full touchscreen 1GB RAM 128GB microSD support 3500mAh battery Powerful, power-saving CPU with 4x Cortex-A9 The x7 utilizes Rockchip's RK3188 SoC, with 4 Cortex-A9 cores (each 35% faster than an A7) running at 1.4GHz. It is also 30% and 40% faster than Tegra3 at CPU and GPU performance respectively. The RK3188 is also made in a new 28nm process, 55% faster and 60% more power efficient than the 45nm LPSoC process, ensuring long runtime with ultra-low leakage current.No-compromises DAC for the Ultimate SoundDesigned originally for hi-end home audio, the x7 is one of the first devices to utilize the original ESS ES9018S in portable audio. Its 8 output channels can be bridged 4-a-side for an astonishing 135db S/N ratio and dynamic range, while THD is as low as -120dB. Compared to the ES9018K2M popularly used in portable devices, the original ES9018S features 6dB higher SNR and dynamic range at the cost of higher power consumption, a cost that the x7 is willing to pay with its robust power section. Patented source + amp design for best of both worlds Patent-pending dedicated source module + independent headphone amp module design keeps the compact integrated profile of a single portable music player while providing the sonic advantages of utilizing a separate headph
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Summary: For people who value highly sonic quality and want a modern user interface, the FiiO X7 can be considered a 5/5 star product. I personally love it, although I do have my doubts about its value. For most people, this unit is a 4 star value at best. All specifications for the X7 are reported at the FiiO site.
Sound: The sound is hard to fault. It is amazing that that a player this compact can sound so good. It is even good when compared to desktop equipment. You have definitely hit a point of diminishing returns with this unit – meaning that spending a lot more money will gain you very little in sonic performance. That very little may be worth it to some people, but not to me with my present budget.
DAC: The DAC is the best DAC I currently own. I also think it is an improvement over the Peachtree Audio Shift. The chip is outstanding, and it was properly implemented. It is not the best DAC that I have ever heard, but it comes close – amazingly close considering the price. That being said, DACs have come a long way since the first CD player. Now a days, the impressively economical Schiit Modi offers a decent sonic experience. Improvements over the Modi with more expensive units are certainly audible, but only slight when compared to the differences you can hear with heaphones/speakers or under-powered/budget amps.
Amp: FiiO’s history of producing great values in portable amps is showcased in the FiiO X7. This amp was able to play satisfying music with a variety of headphones (see equipment list below). My HiFiMAN HE-500 wanted more power than the X7 provides; however, the X7 amp still provided enough power to demonstrate that the HE-500 was my best headphone (with the exception of the V6-Stage in my opinion). Both of my desktop amps were better (tested by using analog out from the X7 to the amps); of course, desktop units don’t work while I am walking down the street! I am very pleased with the capability of the stock amp. The amp unit is very tiny (apx. 1" x 2.5”). It is screwed on (solidly, no wiggle and the screws haven’t backed out). Different amp mods (high power, balanced, and perhaps other models) will be offered in the future. While playing on the desktop, this unit never gets very warm. If I stick it in a belt pouch, then after a 1.5 hour commute, I find the unit is as hot as a hand warmer! However, this heat doesn’t seem to impact the sound – I just hope it doesn’t impact the longevity of the electronics.
Construction: This unit is basically in an anodized aluminum case. It is not mentioned what sort of glass is used, and it came with a plastic screen protector. So, I doubt that it is the better Corning Gorilla Glass that is common on smart phones. Even the plastic screen protector seemed cheap, as it already had scratches on it (but another 1 or 2 are included as spares). The glass is also raised from the body, which puts it more at risk if it falls. I’m not very happy about the glass or the screen protectors sent with the X7. In addition there is a clear, translucent plastic bumper guard that covers the sides and back (without obscuring most holes). This case is likely functional, but it makes the product look cheap. Furthermore, it prevented me from using my 3.5mm to 1/4” headphone plug adapter. So, that case had to go. That was cheap FiiO; you could have done better! The 3.5 mm plugin is also NOT satisfactory. The Rean NYS227 3.5mm Stereo Male to 1/4 Stereo Female Audio Adapter and other adapters easily wiggled out of contact and gave one channel or no channel of sound. They have to be very forcefully inserted and ideally set on the desktop in a way that the adapter is not touched. Wires meant to adapt an iPod generally worked better with the X7. As FiiO failed to engineer the slot correctly, they should market adapters or specify adapters they know will work well with the X7.
Eventually FiiO marketed the PF-X7 tempered glass screen protector. This is a big improvement. The first time I applied the protector, there were big air bubbles. I tried again and now there are only a few very tiny air bubbles that look almost like pecks in the glass – not ideal, but I can live with that considering it offers protection on my investment and the clarity is excellent.
Portability: The X7 is roughly 8” long, 2.5” wide, and 0.5” thick. So, it is the size of a large smart phone (not phon tablet), but is thicker and heavier (220 g). While it will fit into your pocket, I think it is too big for comfort and am concerned about my headphones wire being stressed in my pocket. So, I use a belt pouch instead. Edges are rounded. It fits comfortably in my hand and is easily controlled.
Battery: The fully charged battery lasted approximately 8.5 h while playing the AKG K701 at a moderate listening level (volume setting = 66) on high gain in Pure Music Mode. Many of the high end portable players last 9-10 hours. So, I view this performance to be average and acceptable. It just makes the X7 to be another gadget requiring a daily charge.
User Interface: Unlike most portable players, this unit offers a full (apx. 2” x 4”) touch screen display. The display has adequate resolution (233 ppi in 16.7 million colors), but does not compare to modern smart phones. It can be used as just a music player (with Bluetooth availability) or a fully empowered Android (version 4.4.4) experience – now including Google Play Store.
The OS now offers automatic updates of the firmware, which seems to be updated frequently. I am happy that FiiO seems to be very responsive to their customer base, and updates are being offered in response to their customers’ input. I have also emailed their Customer Service on several occasions, and they have responded helpfully within 24 hours. Kudos for that FiiO!
Bootup time in Pure Music Mode from power off is 1.5-2 minutes, depending on whether I have to rescan my songs (a frequent case, but shouldn’t happen when I have not changed the songs). The Music Player often does not load correctly the first time, and the X7 gives the option to close the Music Player or wait. Closing it seems to be just as fast as waiting (which sometimes doesn’t work). My music library on this device is only 59.0 GB with apx. 2500 songs. Many of smartphones are slow on startup, but I do wish that the X7 was faster and that the Music Player reliably started the first time. Still, I can live with it (rather than return the unit), because things work as expected once the X7 finishes powering up and the Music Player activates. I hope FiiO improves this with their firmware upgrades.
I tried JetAudio Plus (with and without Bongiovi DPS), PowerAmp, Neutron Music, and FiiO Music. The FiiO Music player gives the best performance on the X7, and the Pure Music mode is slightly better sonically (and probably easier on the battery) than the Android mode. As of firmware 1.5, the Music Player is a polished (but not perfect) product. You can see your music by songs (useless for my big library), artist, album, genre, file system, or play list. Play lists are easily created and managed. There are not two separate buttons for the repeat function and the random function. One icon cycles through various modes of repeat and random (with repeat). You can play through folders, so the X7 can play through 1 album and then advance to the next. Standard functionality is there (pause, play, and next/previous) and can be activated from the lock screen. In the events of functionality, I probably would prefer separate buttons for repeat and random. I would definitely prefer to be able to set a home screen – the first screen you see after bootup in Pure Music Mode. As it is, I have to press several buttons more than I should to get to the music I want to hear. The FiiO music player offers no way to download cover art, but definitely should. The FiiO music player still did not have cover art after downloading art in other programs. By purposely downloading the art onto my home computer and transferring it to the X7, the FiiO music player was able to read the cover art sometimes. I’m not sure what the requirements for acceptable cover art is, but I don’t like spending my time for something that should be automated. Other music players offer further DSP settings and ways of improving audio (offered in JetAudio Plus and Neutron Music) that if implemented in the FiiO music player may possibly further improve its sound. For instance, I like a little crossfeed myself. So, while the FiiO music player is definitely a solid product and allows the best music on the X7, it could certainly be improved. As FiiO is very responsive to its customers, I expect that it will be!
You can set your wallpaper. Unfortunately, this did not go as well as I would have liked. I simply copied over a professionally taken picture of myself and my son. It was a jpg, and the file looked good in Android mode. Unfortunately, the scaling was all wrong in Pure Music Mode, almost removing my son from the picture. I used GIMP to resize the photo and came up with one that worked for both modes after a 2 or 3 tries. I would prefer that the scaling be right and consistent in both modes for jpg’s.
The responsiveness of the X7 user interface is generally what you would expect from a smart phone. The music player apparently has some buffering, because changing songs isn’t instantaneous. I’m OK with that. Seldom do I have to press the same button twice. I think the iPod touch and modern smart phones may be slightly better in this regards, but only slightly. Overall, I am pleased with the responsiveness.
Storage Capacity: 1 GB RAM, 32 GB internal ROM, rated for 128 GB ROM micro SD cards; however, I have read internet reviews/responses that indicate larger storage cards also work. The X7 is only a USB 2.0 device. FiiO should have made it USB 3.0. As it is, if you want to put a huge library onto the SD card, then just put the SD card into your computer’s USB 3.0 SD slot and take care of it that way. The SD card fits deeply and securely into the unit; however, I was very concerned that my nail would end up damaging the card. I discovered a use for my wife’s emery board – it’s about the same width and depth of the micro SD card! So, I used the emery board to handle the installing and removal of the micro SD card.
Value: Cost: X7 ($650), PF-X7 ($13), Samsung 128GB EVO Plus ($64), xhorizon TM Army Bag for Mobile Phone ($8), Fiio LC-X7b ($50?) = $785. That’s a huge amount of money for a portable player to me. Personally, I don’t think most people should consider paying more money than that; however, there are several units that do cost more. For instance, the Astel & Kern AK380 costs $3500. There are several people who have compared the more expensive units to the X7 in reviews on the internet. Generally, the conclusion is that the more expensive units offer only very slight improvements in sound. Personally, I think that units like the AK380 look better too, but would not consider paying that much money for a portable player unless I was filthy rich. In short, unless love of music and sonic excellence is the primary focus of your life (or you are rich), I don’t think you should consider any units that are more expensive than the X7. However, don’t consider buying the X7 without good headphones/IEMs. The IEMs will make a much bigger sound quality difference for the dollar.
The iBasso DX90 may be a great alternative to the X7. You can get the unit with a leather case, charger, and 128GB kit as a package from Amazon for only $420. Its sonic ability should be comparable to the X7, and you can RockBox it. I like the large touch screen of the X7, but I can’t say if it is worth almost a doubling the cost of the DX-90 to get it (having no personal experience with the DX90).
For those who want cheap (relatively) and compact, the FiiO X3ii is a great choice. It’s only $176. From people’s reviews, its sound approaches that of the X7. The User Interface is yesteryear (the iPod’s wheel), but is functional.
Finally, I have found that the Neutron Music Player makes even the iPod Touch (Generation 5) sound pretty good. It’s easy to hear that the X7 is superior in A-B testing at my desk, but the iPod should serve while walking down a busy street. That means that Neutron with smart phones designed with the good audio in mind (such as the HTC One (M8 and M9) should be even better than the iPod Touch. Many people will prefer the Swiss army knife-approach of a smart phone covering all their needs.
The output impedance of Fiio X7 is <1 ohm. In evaluating the product, I used the following equipment for comparison:
AKG K701: 105 dB, 62 ohm
HiFiMAN HE-500: 89 dB, 38 ohm
Apple Earpods: 109 dB, 45 ohm
1964EARs V6-Stage custom IEM: 115 dB, 22 ohm
Shure SE-215: 107 dB, 20 ohm
Musical Fidelity V-DAC II
Maxed Out Home Headroom amplifier
I have auditioned at home the Peachtree Audio Shift and evaluated multi-thousand dollar home audio DACs at audio conventions and audio stores. I’ve also attended many live concerts (of various genres) in my time.
I own the X5 gen 1, and compared it to the X5 gen 2 and the X7 first. The gen 2 was clearly better than gen 1, and that was mostly due to the better amp stage. But the X7 was far better, with much more detail and space. I'm sure the DAC stage was the main difference there. The amp stage is very good as well, and sounded similar to the X5 gen 2. The X7 was so much better it was obvious to me it was worth the added cost. I was able to find more detail in several songs I brought along.
Then I walked the floor to compare it with other players, to see if other players could resolve as well. Nothing I found could do as well. Some were close, and some were maybe presenting a sweeter sound, but the detail was never as good with other players. The X7 bested them all on that measure.
Clarity and detail isn't everything, but it is an important foundation. I found I could spend a lot more to get something maybe more pleasant to listen to (or maybe not... maybe I was biased by the look and high price of the competition), but the cost was very much more, far too much. X7 is the sweet spot. And the fact that you can switch amps, or go line out to another amp, means upgrading is always an option from this strong foundation.
After owning the X7 for a few weeks now, I stopped using my X5, and even put my Objective and O2 on the shelf. I haven't even turned on my Peachtree Nova since. I'm exclusively using the X7 for all listening now, and expect to be very happy with that for a long time.
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