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FiiO X1II Review: Excellent budget player with good sound and great design

FiiO players are familiar to audiophiles, and we have tested them more than once (M9 and M11 models). Older models are good for everyone, but they have one feature: they are quite expensive. If you are not sure that you have perfect hearing, pay $400. for the playback device, of course, it’s a pity. For this case, there are more budget models, the difference in the sound of which (compared to Hi-Res) most of us will not feel.
FiiO X1II is one of those.

This is the second generation of the base player from FiiO, which has appeared not so long ago. Updating models is, in principle, a common thing for manufacturers. Although there is a nuance here: it is necessary to take into account all the comments of the previous generation, work on them, but at the same time maintain the price attractiveness.

 

 

Taking into account the wishes …

FiiO X1 was upgraded according to this principle. If its size has hardly changed compared to the first generation, the difference in design is clearly visible. First of all, the player has become more comfortable in the hand – its side edges are now rounded. On the front panel, which is completely covered with glass, there are five buttons – one calls up the menu, the second returns to the previous screen, two more are responsible for switching tracks. The central one, as before, serves to select an item and confirm an action.

 

 

The second generation FiiO X1 got rid of the mechanical ring around the center key – it became touch-sensitive. Is it good or bad? We are sure there will be apologists for pure “mechanics”, but the trend towards touch controls cannot be ignored. After all, such a panel is usually more reliable than complex mechanics.

In practice, we liked working with the touch ring, although from habit it is easy to miss when choosing the desired item or track.

All connectors are now concentrated on the bottom panel: 3.5 mm audio output, microUSB for charging and a memory card slot. The volume rocker and the on / off button of the device remained on the left side. To protect the device from scratches, the manufacturer adds a transparent silicone case to the kit. This solution is much more aesthetically pleasing than the previous rubber cover “with straps”. By the way, the body is completely metal, which is also nice considering the low cost of the player.

 

 

Another important innovation is the emergence of the Bluetooth module. There was a time when manufacturers of high-quality audio equipment assumed the use of exclusively wired headphones. But the difference in the sound of wired and wireless “ears” gradually became minimal, so wireless communication actively penetrates into audiophile gadgets.

From an iron point of view, the changes are not so noticeable. Instead of the PCM5241 DAC, the more advanced PCM5242 is used here, the amplifier is implemented on the basis of the ISL28291 chip. The maximum audio resolution in WAV and Aiff formats is 192 kHz / 32 bit (for ALAC / FLAC – 24 bit). The range of reproducible frequencies is more than sufficient – 5 Hz – 60 kHz. All major audio formats are supported, of course – except perhaps AptX.

Customize to taste

We tested the player with FiiO FH1 hybrid headphones – also, I must say, relatively inexpensive, but of high quality. When listening to audio, you should start by adjusting the 7-band equalizer. As usual, it has several presets, as well as the ability to manually adjust the frequencies. With the “correct” position of the sliders, the music starts to sound completely different.

As we expected, lossless tracks sound neutral, without obvious kinks. The instrumental parts in classical concerts are well discernible, the vocals are quite expressive and stand out quite well from the accompaniment.

Of course, with the plugs, we lacked bass, so we connected the wireless Marshall Major 3 – at the same time we also checked the Bluetooth. Then everything became normal with the bass, at the same time they recorded the fact that there were practically no delays in playback. They rarely happen when switching tracks, but not so noticeable as to be annoying. And, of course, for those who are used to listening to music on smartphones, the screen may seem small, and the touch selection wheel may seem too sensitive.

Conclusion

FiiO has got an excellent budget player in the FiiO X1II, with good sound and nice design. The lack of its own memory and support for AptX could be attributed to the shortcomings, but for devices of this price category this is more of a feature. As for the touch wheel – here, as they say, the taste and color … Someone will like it, someone will ask to return the mechanics. The unambiguous advantages include good sound with the ability to fine tune, a durable metal case with a silicone case included and a large margin of autonomy (about 12 hours).

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