Posted on Thu, 13 Apr, 2017
Posted by Bob


Looking for a replacement for your worn out iPod? Fed up of low-res lossy audio on the move? The FiiO X5 Mk3 could be just the ticket!

FiiO has recently upgraded their popular X5 portable music player to Mk3 specification. Let’s take a look at those changes and the specifications of this great value music player.

Fiio X5 Mk3


Hi-Res High-Life

If you’re looking to upgrade from a basic, lossless, non-audiophile grade player or smartphone, the FiiO X5 Mk3 is a great candidate. Coming in at a very reasonable £389, the FiiO X5 Mk3 is an affordable, well designed and well-featured player.

The FiiO X5 Mk3 supports a huge range of file formats: DXD, DSD64, DSD128, WAV, FLAC, APE, ALAC, AIFF, WMA, MP3 and Ogg Vorbis are all currently supported. In terms of true ‘Hi-Res’ credentials, the FiiO X5 Mk3 supports sample rates up to 384kHz at a bit rate up to 32 bits. Your old iPod, this certainly ain’t!

32Gb of Internal storage is provided. Using the two micro SD card slots on the side of the FiiO X5 Mk3, this can be upgraded to a massive 544Gb – enough for 130000 songs! Aye Carumba! Having all those songs to listen to, is no good if you’re lumbered with short battery life, however. The internal 3400mAh battery pack delivers over 10 hours of playback from a single 1.5hr charge.

DESIGN AND INTERFACE

Previous iterations of the FiiO X5 followed a traditional design aesthetic of a rotary wheel as the main control input. For the X5 Mk3, Fiio has completely redesigned the player to take advantage of recent design and Os improvements.

The FiiO X5 Mk3 runs a customised version of Google’s Android 5.1 Operating System, coupled to a beautiful touch screen User Interface. The player can be operated in a dedicated ‘Pure Music’ mode, which disables all background programs, or as a portable Android device; the latter permitting the user to install any android apps desired.

FiiO has created a lovely piece of industrial design with the body of the FiiO X5 Mk3. Physical controls are limited to those used most often: volume, play/pause and track skip. These are neatly designed and placed on the side of the unit for easy access. The X5’s chassis is beautifully designed and formed from what FiiO describe as ‘fine stainless steel powder’

Fiio X5 mk3 front & back


AUDIO ARCHITECTURE

It’s when looking at the audio architecture of the FiiO X5 Mk3, that we see what great value a dedicated player such as this can represent. The key areas which matter in any portable, digital, music player: high-quality D/A conversion, accurate clocking, and premium output circuitry are all present and correct.

The FiiO X5 Mk3 is based around a pair of ‘top-of-the-line’ AKM AK4490EN DAC’s, one per channel. AKM’s ‘Velvet Sound’ processing ensures low distortion; coupled to 32-bit processing. The end result is impressive figures: -112db THD, 120db S/N Ratio.

Any DAC is only ever as good as the accuracy of the clock feeding it. FiiO has equipped the X5 Mk3 with not one, but two clock sources. These are derived from two separate crystal oscillators, which in turn are divided to produce the wide range of supported sample rates.

Moving, finally, to the outputs, FiiO have provided support for both conventional 3.5mm unbalanced, and 2.5mm four pole balanced, headphone connections. A further 3.5mm socket is provided which is dual purpose; it can output on stereo analogue or coaxial digital.

FiiO X5 Mk3 Provides Multi-Purpose Practicality

FiiO has envisaged that the typical X5 owner will wish to use their player in a multitude of situations. To this end, the Fiio X5 Mk3 supports 2.4G Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth with Qualcomm Apt-X support for enhanced quality whilst streaming over Bluetooth.

Connected to a computer, the FiiO X5 Mk3 will function as USB DAC. Additionally, through the purchase of a special cable, the FiiO X5 Mk3 can be used in a special ‘in car’ mode.  Fiio makes a specific X5 docking station, enabling charging and playback from the same dock.

Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it?