May 21, 2015

Makarand Pandey

Management Consultant | Designer | Pianist | My head works in that order, my heart works in reverse.


Makarand, an audiophile, reviewed the FiiO X5 High-Res Audio Player for us. Read about what he had to say!



Audio Setup, Accessories & Other Gear Owned

I use my Fiio X5 across a wide range of scenario. Sometimes I use it as a standalone music player, however, its mostly connected to my Macbook Air or Nexus 5 as a USB DAC. I use a set of VSONIC VSD3s IEMs as my travel and casual gear. At home, I stick to my Bose AE2 around ear units. The Fiio X5 easily manages to drive these with authority, although given its high output power, low output impedance coupled with relatively low power consumption of the said headphones/IEMs, it is hardly stressed. Given the output power of the OPA1612, I think it would be able to easily drive higher impedance/power consumption headphones.

Design And Build

I did a lot of research for the best DAC-AMP and music player within my budget. I zeroed in on the Fiio X5 and I am happy to report that it was a great decision. The aluminium enclosure exudes high build quality and confidence! The unit is solid and perfectly sized to allow one handed operation. Overall, this is a very nice device that screams premium.

Sound And Performance

The Texas Instruments PCM1792A, which is at the heart of the Fiio X5, is a beast of a DAC chip. It effortlessly manages to bring out every last bit of detail in the music while maintaining a big soundstage and separation across frequencies. The OPA1612 amplifiers on this unit are one of the best in this price range. The output is quite transparent and does not add any unnecessary character to the frequency response while authoritatively driving the entire frequency range. I would highly recommend this product if a transparent sound (not warm) is what you desire from your music.


This is one of the best music players in the market for the given price. The soundstage and features leave nothing to be desired and give you everything you would expect from a high resolution music player and DAC-AMP. My only gripe is the mechanical scroll wheel, which is quite low on input resolution and navigating using the scroll wheel is a hit/miss. I usually stick to the buttons only. The UI is great and highly intuitive, although the experience is somewhat marred by the sub-par scroll wheel mechanism. Overall, the Fiio X5 is a great product for someone willing to really listen to what the artist recorded in the studio/ live as it manages to bring out all the small nuances in the music, while sounding quite frequency neutral, something which cannot be said for most cheap music players.

Finally, big shout out to Headphone Zone who bundled together a bunch of accessories as part of the offer they were running earlier!

Get your FiiO X5 High-Resolution Audio Player here!

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If you liked this article, you may also like: "A Luxury Pair of Earphones": RHA MA750i Review by Sunil Thomas George

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