Date Added: Sunday 18 May, 2014
I've been looking to find a reasonably priced HD music player for some time now, I wanted the ability to basically play all music formats, including DSD. From what I've researched there are no other players on the market that will play everything including DSD, I may have missed one but for the sake of argument if I did I'm betting it's not $350 or less. I've been using my player non stop since I purchased it, it's like rediscovering music again. I'm even going through the trouble of ripping all my DVD-Audio, BluRay and SACD's just to hear them on this player, yes it's just that good sounding where I want to discover my music collection all over again. One note that I will say, you will want to be on at least version 2.0 of the firmware to get all the promised support (including playing DSD files) It can be found on FiiO's website.
- The sound is amazing for this price, to compare to other players that support DSD playback, the Astell & Kern AK120 at $1500 and HiFiMan's HM-802 for $699, the X5 seems to have a great price point to get DSD support.
- It plays DSD files (SACD) in their native format, and they sound absolutely wonderful, even my 192/24 FLAC files don't sound as good
- It plays all other formats you want at up to 192/24 resolutions, including FLAC, AIFF, WAV, MP3, etc.
(although I don't know why you would play anything but CD resolution or higher on this player)
- It also functions as a DAC, you put the USB connection into DAC mode and now you can turn your computer into a HD music station. I've landed on using Audirvana Plus with mine and the combo sounds amazing!
- The UI is very basic but does everything I need my portable music player to do, others have complained about not having bass and treble control but I personally haven't used them on any other of my players so I don't miss it.
- I love the ability to use micro USB cards, I'm using 2x64GB cards and I'm looking forward to when the 128GB cards come down in price to upgrade, coming from the iPod world where a space upgrade means tearing it apart, this is a very, very nice feature! It seems all HD players have this feature, as they should.
- It uses FAT32 filesystems for the usb cards so it's just a drag and drop to copy music files to it, just connect it to a computer and put it into disc mode and you've got both cards mounted right up. You can also take the cards out and use them directly too.
- The player seems to be well built, has a small built-in headphone amp that can drive up to 300 ohms, probably not very loud if yours is on the higher end that, but it drives my 50ohm Audio-Technica's very nicely. It's also got a line out for hooking it to an amp, I've paired mine with a E12-DIY that sounds awesome, it also sounds great going into my home stereo's. I've not tried the coax out but it's got that as well.
- It doesn't support playlists yet, support said they may add support for it later
- It doesn't support DSD files in native format when using it as a DAC, not a huge deal but would be nice to have
- The firmware update process could be a bit better.
- The control wheel isn't the best, but it works ok, from a hardware standpoint this is it's only weak point.
Overall I have to say this is a great HD music player, especially if you want to get into using DSD files without breaking the bank. Compared to the iPod or a phone, it's going to completely kill them on sound, but it is a little larger footprint. Being able to be used as a DAC is a very nice feature that I've been using every time I'm down in my office working. Overall as long as you upgrade to firmware 2.0 or higher, you can't go wrong with this player. It's worth every penny of the $350 list price.