Bryan’s final thoughts
I’ve always held that while the low frequencies dictate the rhythm of the music and the midrange its soul, it is in the highs that the energy of the music is typically felt. If everything works smoothly and flawlessly, then all you have to attend to is the music. Sadly, this pre-production unit resets all the time. In the 4 nights that I had this with me, it must’ve froze on me at least twice every night. Rest assured, expect FiiO to roll out a fix or a firmware upgrade before the production units hit local stores.
All told, after 4 days of experimenting with the EQ of the X3K, I have managed to draw out the rhythm and the soul of this FiiO. Not bad, considering that its soul was quite timid to begin with. And I am rather glad that it sounded the way it did for a dap that will be marketed at around $199. If you consider that my daily go-to player is the AK240, I may be setting the bar too highly. This FiiO wonder should not be judged by the yardstick of Astell & Kern. On its own, in its price range, the X3K is a vast improvement over the previous generation X3.
My own final thoughts
The FiiO X3 2G OS is now pretty rock solid, evolved and for previous 1 gen X3 users a serious upgrade in DAP technology and capability for this price. As a direct replacement for the older X3 it brings all the FiiO DAP’s into a recognisable roadmap, both form factor and UI wise, as well as bringing a level of consistency into their new house sound which is I consider to be a significant upgrade. I still can’t quite believe we are talking native DSD at this price point when only recently I was rejoicing at the Oppo HA-2 hi res capability at $299. I am half expecting next year to have DSD gadgets in my local supermarket shelves at $20 a pop at this rate.
At $200 it is not the only player in the market vying for the top dog position though, but right now it feels like it is the most future proofed with the codec options at hand and functionality for the price. It is also not the pinnacle of sound for me in the $200 range. The Alien is the more natural sounding DAP with a better vocal performance, the iHifi 770 is a more analog sounding DAP and a natural fit with rock.Both have their quirks and in the case of the Alien it is only really for the hardened audiophiles who can handle a lack of screen.
The real dilemma for me now is it worth going out and buying an X5 when you can buy the new X3 2G for $150 less? The answer is probably not, if you have that amount in the first place I would recommend buying an Ibasso DX90. The X3 2G is really not that far off the X5 in terms of performance capability and is much cheaper to boot!
Interestingly I did not have a single issue with my FiiO X3 2G compared to Bryan though I did upgrade to the new FW1.0 from the older beta version but in that time I had no snags so not sure what happened there, sorry buddy but if you have the old beta firmware try an upgrade if you can.
|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, 320×240 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）
|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||≥101 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;
WAV: 192 kHz/64 bit;
WMA Lossless: 96 kHz/24 bit;
Apple Lossless: 192 kHz/24 bit;
- Rock solid OS (sorry Bryan)
- More mature sound signature
- Future proofed codec range
- Other DAPs sound a bit more natural
- No onboard memory
- Genre category too flat