20 Oct, 2015   Prathamesh Patil    Reviews  FiiO X3(2nd Gen)-Portable High Res Music Player Review

Hello everybody! This is my first look and review of any PMP(Portable Music Player) ever. Today I will be taking a look at the FiiO X3(2nd Gen) Portable High Res Music Player. As I will be playing a couple of FLAC & WAV files of various genres and types, I will describe the sound signature and sound stage as per my hearing abilities. For testing I will be using 2 pair of IEMs(In Ear Monitors) viz. Sennheiser IE60 and MEElectronics M6 Pro. But first lets unbox this bad boy and see what accessories do we get inside the box along with the player.

Package

Inside the box

Looks

Features

Specifications

General Specifications
Model/Number X3(X3 2nd gen) Headphone Port Standard 3.5mm Headphone Port
Color Titanium Drive Ability 16~150 Ω
Dimensions 96.7 mm×57.7 mm×16.1 mm Volume Control 120 steps digital potentiometer
Weight 135 g Equalizer 10-band equalizer (±6dB)
Display Screen 2.0" TFT screen, 320x240 pixels Treble N/A
Line Out Standard 3.5mm Port (Shared line out / S/PDIF coaxial out) Bass N/A
Digital Out (Coaxial) Standard 3.5mm Port (Shared line out / S/PDIF coaxial out) Balance 5 dB
USB DAC Supporting up to 24bit / 192kHz and DSD (driver installation required) Gain 2.6dB(GAIN=L)
8.6dB(GAIN=H)

Partial Performance Parameters for Line Output

THD+N <0.001% (1 kHz) SNR ≥114 dB (A-weight)
Frequency Response 20 Hz~20 kHz Dynamic Range >110 dB
Crosstalk >102 dB (10 KΩ/1 kHz) Line Output Level 1.45 Vrms (10 KΩ/1 kHz)
Partial Performance Parameters for Headphone Output
Output Power 1 >224 mW (16 Ω/THD+N<1%) Output Impedance <0.2 Ω(32Ω)
Output Power 2 >200 mW (32 Ω/THD+N<1%) Crosstalk >74 dB (1 kHz)
Output Power 3 >24 mW (300 Ω/THD+N<1%) THD+N <0.001% (1 kHz)
Frequency Response 20 Hz~20 kHz MAX Output Voltage >7.2 Vp-p
SNR ≥113 dB (A-weighted) MAX Output Current >75 mA (For reference)
Power and Battery
Power

DC5V 2A recommended

Battery Capacity 2600 mAh
Charge Display Red light indicates , green light turns on after fully charged Battery Life >11 h (32Ω; normal volume with display off )
Battery Display Yes (Accurate battery % readings)) Charging Time <3 h (DC5V 2A)
Audio Formats Supported
Lossless:

DSD: DSD64, DSD128 (.iso&.dsf & .dff);
APE(Fast): 192 kHz/24 bit;
APE(Normal): 96 kHz/24 bit;
APE (High): 96 kHz/24 bit;
FLAC: 192 kHz/24 bit;

AIFF: 192 kHz/24 bit;
WAV: 192 kHz/64 bit;
WMA Lossless: 96 kHz/24 bit;
Apple Lossless: 192 kHz/24 bit;

Lossy compression: MP2、MP3、AAC、ALAC、WMA、OGG...

 

 Frequency Response diagram of curves 1.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal, DSD, headphone output

Green curve: Left channel , Blue curve: Right channel.

Frequency Response diagram of curves 2.
Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal, DSD, Line out.

Green curve: Left channel , Blue curve: Right channel.

Frequency Response diagram of curves 3.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,PCM, headphone output

Green curve: Left channel , Blue curve: Right channel.

 

Frequency Response diagram of curves 4.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,PCM, Line out.

Green curve: Left channel , Blue curve: Right channel.

 

Distortion diagram of curves 1. 

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,DSD, Headphone output.

Distortion diagram of curve 2.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,Line output.

Distortion diagram of curves 3.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,PCM, Headphone output.

Distortion diagram of curves 4.

Test condition:play -5 dB sinusoidal signal,PCM, Line output

 

Build Quality

Build Quality is impressive except the scroll wheel which feels very cheap and is not properly responsive. Luckily you can scroll through list of your tracks using the previous and next track buttons.

Performance

Now let's get down to serious and the most important part of the business, its performance. As I have mentioned I have used 2 pair of IEMs(In Ear Monitors) viz. Sennheiser IE60 and MEElectronics M6 Pro for testing the output of the PMP.

I usually like country, electronic & some rock music.

Source files used: FLAC 44KHz 16bit, FLAC 192KHz 24bit, WAV 48KHz 24bit

Sound Signature:

  • On the Sennheiser IE60s:
    Very neutral sound(close to flat). A well balance across all the frequencies without the loss of detail although the mids were strong. I didn't feel the need to use the high gain(used G=L) option in the playback settings cause the earphones were loud enough at 85% volume for FLAC 44KHz 16bit & WAV 48KHz 24bit files. However while listening to 192KHz 24bit audio files even 110% volume didn't hurt the ears. Each and every detail can be heard. The instrument separation is very good. Due to strong mids and almost flat IEMs the vocals are excellent on these.
  • On the MEElectronics M6 Pros:
    The presence of highs could be felt more than the mids. Lows were equally good and didn't mask the mids. Here I felt the need to switch to high gain(used G=H) option in the playback settings as they weren't loud enough. I also had to turn the volume to 100% for FLAC 44KHz 16bit & WAV 48KHz 24bit files. However while listening to 192KHz 24bit audio files at 110% volume did hurt the ears a bit. It's mostly because the M6 Pros have a brighter sound signature. The instrument separation was good but the highs tend to mask the mids a bit. This may mask some of the mids on the Violins and Pianos. .

Sound Stage:

  • On the Sennheiser IE60s: Closed
  • On the MEElectronics M6 Pros: Semi Open

Overall the performance of the FiiO X3 is excellent considering the price point. Audiophiles would love the neutral sound signature and even audio enthusiasts like me would just love it. It brings out the best out of your IEMs. The Cirrus Logic DAC & the Texas Instruments OPAMPs do their job very well.

Battery Life:
I kept the FiiO X3 for burn-in run with 100% battery charging playing 44KHz FLACs in loop at 80% volume. It lasted for 10hrs 11mins.

Pros

  • Neutral Sound Signature
  • Can be used as a USB DAC for your PC/Laptop
  • Value for Money
  • Dedicated Line/Coaxial out
  • Easy to carry

Cons

  • Very Cheap & Less Responsive Scroll Wheel
  • Only USA sticker for all the countries.

Conclusion

The FiiO X3(2nd Gen) is definitely a Recommended PMP when it comes to entering the world of high res music playback. It not only supports wide variety of Lossless formats but also has native DSD decoding. The neutral sound quality at just INR 14,599 is definitely justifiable and an obvious choice. The only improvement I would like to see is the scroll wheel.

Overall Rating

4/5

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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