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Digital Audio Players (DAP) are considered defunct and old. Well, at least the ones that don’t support high definition audios. I was introduced to HDAs by my friends Johann Fojas, Alexei Rivera of the Technoclast and Mikey Bautista of KatipunanCowboy. After listening to some lossless audio tracks with 1029kbps@44kHz rate on my Fiio X3 + Superlux HD681 Evo, I couldn’t help but crave for more.

I must admit, my Fiio X3 is a bit dated but there are plenty of reasons why I chose it than the much updated X1 and X5. (Our reliable source tipped us though that a new X3 is on the way with updated build and click wheel.) For starters, the X5 costs an arm and a leg so it’s really out of my options (it’s priced at PhP17,999). Don’t get me wrong though – X1 and X5 are great DAPs – so choosing X3 is more of my personal decision.

Fiio X3 is one of the best and sought after DAP/DAC combos around. It’s your budget alternative to the X5, and a far more capable choice over the X1. The latter however has gained a lot of traction from audiophiles due to its much sleeker design and intuitive but rather familiar controls. The X1 does an excellent job as a DAP, but since it lacks DAC capability, more people are still looking for X3, which is around PhP5,000 more expensive than the X1.

The DAP/DAC combo is partly made of plastic and metal. It has retained Fiio’s signature design – metal back casing with plastic encircling bezels. It has a hold switch found on its right, while the rest of the buttons are located in front, just below its screen. X3’s hardware controls feel a bit archaic though. This is one of the reasons why consumers – who are specifically listening to HDAs – choose X1 over the X3.

Fiio X3 (6)

Fiio X3 (12)

2 ports can be found on top of the device – coaxial out and headphone out. The reset button is sandwiched by these two ports. The microUSB port and line out may be found at the bottom.

Fiio X3 (11)

1 X3 is not just a DAP, it is also an excellent portable digital audio converter. This is very handy for me because I use my motherboard’s stock audio card and can sometimes be a pain in the arse. With X3 as my outboard audio card, it conveniently opened me to music the way musicians meant their to be heard.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Setup”]Fiio X3 + Kitsound Boom Evolution[/stextbox]

 

2 While on DAC mode, you can control Treble and Bass levels thru X3’s UI.
The X3 isn’t a complete DAC workstation, but at least you’ve got easy access to bass and treble levels – a must have for audiophiles. This also works well for PC gamers should you want to to adjust the mentioned levels in game. No need to ALT-TAB to your audio software to make any adjustments.

Fiio X3 (17)

3 Take your lossless music files with you. Provided that you’ve got a mid to high quality cans or earphones, you can listen to your music files without losing any quality with the X3. Supported files include FLAC, WAV, WMA, and ALAC files with up to 192kHz/24-bit resolution. The X3 also handles AAC and MP3 files.

While on DAC mode, however, you wouldn’t be able to increase the volume of your music further when you route your music to your headphone via line out. There’s no point of doing this since the optimal setup is to insert your headphones via the headphones out. Should you still want to experiment on doing this, you may get yourself a pocket amp like the Fiio E20i Rocky. Check out the photo below for the quite complicated setup.

[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Album Listened”]Ghost Stories, 24bit Flac[/stextbox]
Fiio X3, E20i Rocky and Superlux HD681 Evo
Fiio X3, E20i Rocky and Superlux HD681 Evo
4 Take your games’ audio to the next level. Imagine yourself playing DayZ or Alien: Isolation with the X3 as your DAC, E20i Rocky as your portable amp and Superlux HD681 Evo as your cans. I dare you do this with the lights off. I tried this, and as a scaredy-cat, it didn’t last me to play DayZ for more than 10 minutes. I’m such a loser.

The X3 is still available at these stores nationwide for PhP9,999.

Unboxing Photos

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Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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