Article Index
FiiO X1 2nd Gen
p3 Sound Quality, Conclusion
p4 Measured Performance
All Pages


FiiO use a Texas Instruments PCM5242 DAC and Intersil ISL28291 headphone amp on this player and measurement showed they have been flawlessly applied. 

Sound quality of budget players like this does not usually wow me, the original X1 sounding smooth and mild, but not as punchy as more expensive players. FiiO have done something about this because I was surprised to be immediately impressed by the sound of the X1 2nd Gen. It now has strong and tuneful bass with considerably more punch and depth to it than I remember when playing my usual Rock test tracks including The Eagles, where the bass line behind 'Busy Being Fabulous' jumped forward in the mix and gained an extra octave of downward extension. Together with a smooth and open midband and quite sparkly upper treble (Philips Fidelio X1 phones) this was as good as I have heard from what is a CD rip. 

With higher resolution rock such as Fleetwood Mac’s 'Dreams' (24/96), Mick Fleetwood’s opening drum roll was fast, well-defined and punchy. Fine strumming had guitar strings sounding delicate and well-resolved in the left and right earpieces. And the bass line was easy to follow – due to lack of wallow.

  With classical the X1 had great presence with large-scale performances like 'Mars' from Holst’s The Planets. The stage was wide and kettle drums thunderous, making the centre of my head reel from their impact. 

  With a good sense of air and space around the orchestra I think no-one would come away anything other than impressed by this little player. I was quite taken back.



The new X1 2nd Gen is a great little player. The user interface is readable and does its job well enough. Firmware upgrade was a doddle – unusual. 

Sound quality was superb and the player’s underlying engineering flawless. It has niggling limitations, Mac desktop file presence being unnecessary, since it is fixable in software. This apart the X1 2nd Gen is still a great way into high-quality portable music playing, providing you don't want a wired high-resolution digital output.


FiiO X1 2nd Gen £100



OUTSTANDING - amongst the best 


VALUE - keenly priced



Top quality sound at a minuscule price. Small and simple too. Excellent.



- small and light

- punchy sound

- low, low price



- no digital output

- shows Mac desktop files

- no aiff or DSD play




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