The Fiio X7 Mark II high-resolution digital audio participant boasts a modular structure, software program choices galore, and candy sound that make this a terrific alternative for music lovers
This mannequin sits atop the corporate’s DAP lineup, changing the unique X7. The Mark II is an Android-based participant working a personalized model of Android 5.1.1 and comes pre-loaded with Fiio’s Music app in addition to a well-recognized, if Spartan, assortment of Android apps.
The Google Play retailer’s different apps permit for additional growth and integration into your setting. For instance, I downloaded the Roon consumer, Tidal music-streaming app, and the DTS Play-Fi app. I related the Mark II to my Roon Music Server and was capable of stream music from the server to the X7 Mark II in addition to use the Mark II as a Roon distant. I additionally efficiently streamed music to all my DTS Play-Fi gadgets. The Fiio X7 Mark II let’s you are taking full benefit of your investments in high-end server or whole-home streaming options, .
Fiio personalized the participant with particular tie-ins to its personal music app. For instance, the participant can toggle between “Android Mode” and “Pure Music Mode.” When switched to the previous, the participant acts as a regular Android gadget. When switched to the latter, it utterly locks the participant into the Fiio Music App. No modifications happen to the or software program to reinforce music high quality. You allow/disable the mode choices by swiping down to reveal the system and standing menu.
The system and standing menu is personalized with a number of player-specific choices, comparable to high- or low-gain settings, seven lowpass filter choices, line out, and storage/DAC mode. The Fiio even supplies you with the choice of enabling/disabling headphone inline distant management assist. Many high-res DAP’s don’t assist a headphone’s inline distant in any respect.
The Fiio’s three.5mm line out helps three completely different modes: analog, Toslink optical, and coax digital (there is a three.5mm coax digital adapter within the field, however you’ll have to buy a Toslink three.5mm optical adapter individually if you need one). With built-in analog and digital choices, you need to use the Fiio participant with just about any standalone entry-level or high-end sound system. It is mainly a music server in your pocket.
The X7 Mark II can operate as a USB DAC when related to a pc, too. Merely choose the X7 Mark II and you’ll bypass your laptop’s lesser DAC and amplifier phases. The Fiio’s USB storage mode allowed me to mount the high-resolution DAP as an exterior USB gadget to my Mac. No Android File Switch app was required.
Below the Fiio’s all-aluminum hood you’ll discover a quad-core Rockchip RK3188, which relies on an ARM Cortex A9 system-on-chip (SoC). The center of the Fiio X7 Mark II, nonetheless, is the favored and highly effective ESS ES9028PRO DAC, which is used for each the left and proper channels. This digital-to-analog converter boasts a super-high 129dB signal-to-noise ratio and whole harmonic distortion plus noise of -120dB.
The X7 Mark II has three separate crystal oscillators. One is devoted for DSD and 44.1kHz sampling charges. The second handles 48kHz multiples. The third is for 384kHz sampling charges. Fiio says this helps optimize the participant’s efficiency for various sampling charges.
The X7 Mark II’s high-resolution music assist is stable, supporting all main lossless and lossy codecs, together with FLAC, ALAC, DXD, DSD 64/128/256, AIFF, APE, Ogg, unprotected AAC, and MP3 at as much as 32-bit/384kHz. MQA, nonetheless, will not be supported. Once I requested, an organization spokesperson mentioned Fiio had no quick plans to supply MQA, however which will change primarily based on demand.
The X7 Mark II comes with 2GB of RAM and 64GB of inner storage. There are two microSD card growth slots able to supporting 256GB playing cards for a complete storage capability of 576GB (64+256+256). The X7 Mark II will not be presently licensed to assist the brand new 400GB microSD playing cards.
In contrast to most DAPs that use spring-loaded slots, the Mark II employs the identical card tray discovered on cell phones. For my part, that’s sensible. I’ve discovered spring-loaded slots to be finicky and even susceptible to failure. You’ll want a small paperclip or SIM removing instrument (included) to pop the tray out if you wish to change any of the playing cards.
The high-resolution DAP’s inner three,800mAH Li-polymer battery is rated to supply about eight hours in blended use. I bought inside that vary. Jacking up the display brightness turned a significant variable. Unsurprisingly, trying on the Andriod OS’ granular vitality utilization statistics, the participant’s show consumed extra vitality than every other exercise I carried out in the course of the evaluate interval.
The Fiio’s onboard dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter had no downside connecting to my Wi-Fi community. The participant additionally helps Bluetooth four.2 with aptX. AptX guarantees to ship near-CD high quality wi-fi streaming over Bluetooth. Sadly, aptX HD, which may stream as much as 24-bit/48kHz audio, will not be supported. A Fiio spokesperson mentioned the corporate is trying into Sony’s competing high-resolution wi-fi streaming codec, LDAC; nonetheless, there are not any quick implementation plans at this level.
Fiio consists of a number of equipment with the Mark II. You could have your alternative of a black leather-based case with crimson stitched accents or one product of clear silicone. The silicone case supplies a superior grip, whereas the leather-based case sports activities a extra refined look. I beloved each. Most producers cost additional for instances. It was good to get two included within the field.
The bundle features a micro-USB charging cable and coax S/PDIF three.5mm adapter to make use of with the line-out function and exterior techniques. Discovering a T5 Torx screwdriver within the field will depart many puzzled: It is there within the occasion you resolve to make the most of one of many X7 Mark II’s signature options: A swappable amplifier module.
The underside a part of the Fiio X7 Mark II homes its amplification part. You possibly can swap out the amp part for numerous options. The participant comes with Fiio’s AM3 amplifier module, which delivers each three.5mm unbalanced and a pair of.5mm balanced output choices.
Fiio additionally despatched me its AM5 amp module ($99) for this analysis. The AM5 has solely a three.5mm unbalanced output, nevertheless it ramps up the ability output, which I discovered to be nice for powering hard-to-drive headphones. Putting in the brand new module took lower than 60 seconds: Unscrew the 2 T5 Torx screws, unplug the AM3, plug within the AM5, change the screws and voila!, I used to be achieved.
It’s price noting that the additionally AM3 and AM5 amps have a barely completely different sonic traits. I carried out an anecdotal check between the 2 modules via Focal’s Clear headphones and the Oppo PM2. I had the amp modules swapped on the participant with out understanding which was which. I may guess the distinction every time. I perceived that the AM3 introduced a extra detailed musical presentation throughout the frequency band, with a cleaner midrange, a crisper prime finish, and a barely deeper soundstage. For instance, on numerous music tracks, snare drums appeared sharper and cymbals had a bit of additional sizzle. The AM5, in contrast, gave a barely smoother sound general. The extent to which you’ll observe the distinction will rely upon the standard of your headphones and the way troublesome they’re to drive.
Whereas described as pocket-sized, the X7 Mark II is comparatively giant and heavy, rendering them just like the Onkyo and Pioneer Android OS-based gamers I’ve reviewed. To place the Mark II’s dimension in perspective, it’s a hair shorter than an iPhone 7, however thicker than two iPhone 7s stacked one on prime of one another.
The Fiio Music App provides you a myriad of choices at your fingertips, however you have to be taught the completely different swipes earlier than you’ll really feel comfy utilizing them. You possibly can create playlists, mark favorites, or seek for lyrics with every. There are some distinctive options too, just like the analog VU energy meter and album artwork search. Lyric and album artwork searches are simple as a result of the participant well pre-populates the search discipline with the track’s knowledge. Sometimes, I merely needed to click on “search.” Whereas lyric searches have been flawless, for some purpose album artwork searches didn’t carry up any outcomes.
The UI additionally has some minor interface inconsistencies. For instance if listening to a track and also you pull out the album monitor record by swiping from the left facet, you have to click on on the background album art work to get out of the menu. If you choose on the search function within the higher proper, you have to click on “cancel” to exit. And in case you open the popup motion menu within the decrease proper of the display, you have to click on on the crimson “X” to get out.
The X7 Mark II’s bodily buttons are all on the left facet; as such, it is best to make use of left-handed. I may reliably discover and use all of the buttons by contact, however I didn’t love the amount dial. Regardless of how onerous I attempted, I couldn’t use it comfortably with my proper hand. Adjusting the dial with my proper index finger was tougher than it needs to be.
If the Fiio workforce embarks on a redesign, I’d advocate taking a cue from Onkyo’s DP-X1 DAP. Onkyo orients the amount knob in parallel with the facet of the participant, situating it like a wristwatch crown with a tapered again. That makes the amount knob simple to regulate with both hand.
I took the Fiio X7 Mark II for a spin with Focal Clear, Oppo PM-2, and B&W P9 Signature over-the-ear-headphones. I additionally used Periodic Audio’s Beryllium and Fiio’s personal F9 Professional in-ear-monitors. Regardless of which headphones I used, the X7 Mark II delivered a stable musical expertise every time. Nearly all of my impressions under mirror the Focal Clear and AM3 amp module combo.
The sleek sax notes on the 24-bit/96kHz FLAC model of Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” and the trumpets on the DSD model of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Beginning One thing” have been hallmarks of the participant’s refinement.
The X7 Mark II created a stable and deep soundstage when these particulars have been current within the recording. For instance, on the 24-bit/48kHz rendition of Maria Callas’ “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” from Act 1 of the opera Carmen, the X7 Mark II let the Focal Clear create a deep, layered, and large soundstage. Callas’ vocals have been intimately positioned. The refrain was set on a definite layer behind Callas, with orchestral devices set additional again. The Fiio conveyed the complete vitality and dynamics of each the refrain and Callas’ vocals.
The X7 Mark II reveled in nearly any style and artist. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Patricia Barber, Daft Punk, the Police, Peter Gabriel, and Sarah McLachlan, amongst others, sounded nice.
There have been some events, although, the place I needed the participant to let me hear deeper into the music. For instance, on “Dinner” from the blissful album, Yo-Yo Ma performs Ennio Morricone: I longed for a bit extra air and definition across the devices. Once I in contrast the X7 Mark II to the more-expensive Astell&Kern Kann, which I’ve available for a forthcoming evaluate, the Kann addressed any such shortcomings.
Heaps to love right here
There’s numerous like about Fiio’s flagship participant: Interchangeable amp modules, versatile audio output choices, a myriad of app decisions via the Google Play retailer, and candy sound are the highlights. In case you’re available in the market for an Android-based high-resolution audio participant, the X7 Mark II is price your severe consideration.