The 3rd generation Fiio X5 or X5III is a total revamp of the previous generation model, and does everything you might need from a portable digital audio player. Gone is the click wheel, to be replaced by a touchscreen. Complementing this is a side-facing volume knob.
The X5II could play a whole range of files, including hi-res ones, and could also double up as a DAC for your computer. The X5III can do much, much more. For a start it has Wi-Fi. It allows you a choice of two modes of operation, Pure Music Mode and Android Mode. In Pure Music Mode the X5III acts as a straight forward playback device. Your music files can be played back from its internal 32GB memory, or from its two micro sd slots, which can contain up to 256GB in each slot. In Android mode you can download from the Play Store any of your favourite music playback apps, such as Onkyo HF Player or Neutron. You can also download any of your favourite online streaming services, such as Tidal, Qobuz and Spotify. If it’s in the Play Store, you can download it!
DLNA is supported, so you can stream from your server at home using apps like Fiio’s own, or third-party Android apps such as Foobar or Hiby. The X5III also offers Bluetooth 4.0, aptX™ to allow wireless connection to Bluetooth headphones and speakers. For wired headphones there are dual headphone output ports for both 3.5mm standard and 2.5mm balanced. Firmware updates are available over-the-air.
For those of you more technically inclined the X5III has two top-of-the-line AKM AK4490EN DACs, one for each channel. The AK4490EN is a part of a new generation of high-quality 32-bit DACs that support all PCM and DSD formats. The X5III has two separate crystal oscillators, one for the DSD/44.1/88.2/176.4/352.8kHz sampling rates and the other for 48/96/192/384kHz. This ensures that under all sampling rates there is significantly reduced jitter, improved clock accuracy, more stable operation, and virtually no sampling rate conversion artefacts.
To sum up the X5III, as well as sounding excellent with an almost unlimited range of formats, it is extremely versatile. It can be used to play back your music on the move which has been stored on micro sd cards. It will stream online services where Wi-Fi is available and can be used at home to stream from your server. It can be connected to your car audio via Bluetooth or a physical lead, and finally it can be connected to your home hi-fi using a cable or the Fiio K5 docking station/headphone amp or DK1 USB dock.
The standard finishes are black and titanium, but Fiio are also making a batch in red! The cost is £390, regardless of finish, and we are expecting stock to come through during April.More Stories