You can't really talk about budget audiophile focussed music players without bringing up Fiio. Despite the brand's expansion in recent years into the high-end market to challenge the likes of Astell & Kern they still haven't forgotten about the lower end of the market.
Step up the Fiio X1 a dedicated high-resolution audio player that costs under $100. It seems, on paper, to offer a lot of advantages to those that don't want to just be tied to their smartphone for music playback.
What is the Fiio X1 Second Generation?
The X1 second gen is you guessed.l is the latest update to Fiio's popular entry level music player. Gone is the old control system of a physical control wheel and in comes a touch version and Bluetooth support.
On paper, it has a lot of similarities with Fiio's own X3 but in a stripped down form and minus the DAC capability. It still appears to be a full functioned portable player and considering the price looks like you get some tremendous bang for your buck.
Most 2nd Gen products feel like an evolution but the new x1 feel like a totally different product than the 1st generation effort. Everything is more refined and just works and feels better.
Construction and Style
The X1 is a good looking little unit. The back and sides are made completely of aluminium with glass on the front panel. It also available in a few different colours to suit your taste (black, silver, pink and red).
Construction seems very good, solid even. When you think at this price you might be looking at other players from the likes of HiDzis and Xduuoo then the Fiio X1 2nd Gen feels a world apart in build quality. It wont be challenging something like Astell & Kerns AKjr anytime soon but then that thing costs over double the price.
On the left-hand side, there is a volume rocker and power button. The bottom has a micro USB for charging, headphone/line out 3.5mm jack and Micro-Sd card slot. The other sides are blank and on the front are all the main playback controls.
Battery life was just over 10 hours playing mostly high-resolution files such as Flac. This was about average with similar audiophile music players but to be honest I wish manufacturers would offer closer to the 20 hours so I didn't need to charge every couple of days.
So changed from the Gen 1 Fiio X1 the front scroll wheel is now touch based instead of mechanical and it actually feels really good to use. Responsive and intuitive. The surrounding buttons are physical and not touch sensitive which is actually a really nice touch as it allows you control of functions from inside your pocket.
The user interface is pretty basic but it is pretty to use. It's a structured file system and you can sort by the usual track, song, artist, genre etc. You get all the expected playback controls from other Fiio players like fade, shuffle etc.
One really awesome inclusion here is the presence of Bluetooth. Pairing was easy and the best part was that I could just send music to my Bluetooth speaker without draining the battery on my phone.
Feature wise you are getting a lot of functions that you could only dream of a few years ago.
The Sound Performance
The Fiio X1 2nd Gen is capable of playing back most HD Music files. This file support is going to give you a lot more options that generic Chinese players and also some big name brands.
Sound, for the most part, is very good when you take into account the price. It sounds dynamic, lively and the lows have been fixed from the 1st issue of the player. It won't challenge higher priced players and it won't be capable of driving all headphones but if you are looking for a Music player around $100 you should definitely consider the X1 or the Xduoo 10.
Spacing and soundstage is not the greatest but again I refer you back to the price. For what you are paying the sound is way better than what you get on most smartphones and generic devices.
The Final Verdict: Fiio X1 Second Generation
The Fiio X1 2nd Generation is a great update to the original Fiio X1 and a smart option if you have $100 to spend on a dedicated audio device. The sound has been improved and a number of new hardware touches like the capacitive touch wheel is greatly received.
For the price, I really can't find fault with this little player. It might not do everything that the more expensive HD music players can do (like DAC support, balanced output and optical connections) but for what most people will want its a great follow up to the companies original entry level DAP.