Remember music before it became disposable?. Remember music when the album was the rage and you didn’t just buy a song? Remember that experience when you put on a big pair of cans and got lost in the music? Not forgetting a time before the famous white fruit earbuds that made music sound like junk? . Well retro is back again. Welcome to the Fiio X3 player. Now for under $200 you can obtain an audio experience more akin to what I mentioned earlier. Gone is that compressed nasty sound of the modern times. This device is an absolute beauty listing to uncompressed 24bit mater files makes you feel like you were in the mixing studio as these album were being produced. The music has unbelievable depth and tonality. The experience for me has been akin to first listening to HIFI music in my youth. Gone are those whizzy compressed highs and un natural mids , everything sounds so balanced and natural. What makes this even more remarkable is that the player is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and retails for just over $200 here in Australia.
There are a few issues with it though. Take it from me this is no Apple user experience. You have to download the tracks from sites such as hdtracks.com and then transfer them to the player. This can be done in 2 ways. Either via USB or by plugging in the micro SD card you bought to increase the players storage. The transfer of files is slow and laborious because of the sheer size of the master audio files. The menu on the player is very 2001 . Don’t get me wrong its not horrible its just dated. A firmware update is promised soon where the user interface will be majority upgraded. Also when you buy a micro SD card for the player it is incredibly picky. The ones I have had success with are the Sandisk class 10 cards.
I haven’t yet bought myself some headphones that really show the device of at its best. I have been using a 10 year old pair of AKG’s which still sound spectacular but with a pair of better cans I expect I will get better audio again.
A few other nice things about the player. It has a line out so you can use it to plug into your car or even a home stereo. It also has a coaxial digital out which can output digital 24bit audio to home receivers for the ultimate in high fidelity.
Lastly a few recommendations of some of the audio in 24bit 96khz or 192khz I have been blown away by.
Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde 24bit 96khz
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th anniversary remaster 24bit 96k
Miles Davis Kind of Blue 24bit 192k This is spectacular especially the detail.
Steven Wilson The Raven that refused to Sing 24bit 96k . In Hi Res this album shines with depths dynamics and texture.
Elvis Costello North 24bit 96k . Spectacular recording the strings sound great in Hi Res.
I will post some other recordings as I work through them.
For anyone who wants re enjoy the romance and feel of music again I can’t recommend this player more highly. Its a spectacular buy. One last thing to remember also is as its hi res music, the quality and results you encounter are dependant on source material and quality of what your listening through. Anything that has major flaws they will be highlighted 10 fold in this format. Those albums that are fantastic recordings to begin with will shine brighter than you have heard them before. A case in point Paul McCartney’s New album for me was barely listenable on cd . It was far to loud lacked dynamics and sounded very brittle and harsh. In Hi Res it regains its musicality and is far warmer and has depth something really lacking on the cd.
A definite buy 5 stars