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FiiO X7
p1
p2
p3 Sound Quality
p4 Conclusion
p5 Measured Performance
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SOUND QUALITY

The X7 running solo as a portable – not docked in other words – was full-bodied and almost mild-mannered in its delivery, it was so creamy smooth across the midband. 

The 9018S lacks glare and shout, and this came across playing Rock. The drum synth in Queen’s 'Radio GaGa' (24/96) was seemingly mighty in its power, if a little soft in leading-edge definition. Queen’s harmonies stretched wide though, out far left and right. In true ESS fashion I could hear right into the vocals – this is a very revealing DAC. Treble was finely detailed too, forming a rich tapestry at the high end of the audio scale, and this was delightful. 

 

 

The K5's rear carries balanced outputs through three-pole 3.5mm jack sockets,

rather than XLR sockets. There are digital pass-through inputs and connector for

an external power supply, as well as Line inputs/outputs.

 

Unfortunately, when the screen timed out to save battery power, volume became locked, so I found myself constantly stabbing the On button for revival to access volume; setting screen sleep to its maximum of 30 minutes alleviated the issue, but volume should be accessible with the screen off. 

Playing through a wide variety of Rock I found the AM1 module mild-mannered and full-bodied, lacking the speed and punch of my Astell&Kern AK120 and far off a Chord Mojo DAC in terms of scale and definition – temporal and spatial.

However, the FiiO is optimised for in-ear monitors - which tend to be more explicit - as Jon Myles found with his Noble K10s it proved very lively (see box-out for more details).

Moving on to Classical, and with 'Saturn' from The Planets I was treated to a lovely peaceful background behind the orchestra as slow kettle drum strikes and horns increased in intensity towards a climax; the X7 sounded magisterial in this role. 

On the K5 dock the X7 gained both speed and bite in its timing, sounding altogether larger bodied and less somnambulent. There was less of the smooth creamy-ness I heard from AM1 alone but drums gained size and impact, and bass lines suddenly formed a solid backing against which other band members could work. Kettle drum strikes in 'Saturn' now shook the earpieces of my Fidelio X1 headphones – impressive stuff. 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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