Review: Fiio X7ii – Award Material

Disclaimer: The sample of the Fiio X7ii DAP was sent to us free of charge. Fiio also is a site advertiser but if you’re read our reviews you know we will always look at a product in an objective way. Fiio also insist that all reviewers are critical and honest.

 

Fiio

The Chinese based Fiio never stops innovating and it’s one of the most active companies when it comes to product development, and most of all, upgrades. Not very long ago Fiio launched the 3rd generation already of their very successful X5 portable player and now it’s also time for an update of their flagship DAP, the X7. The original X7 was launched around the beginning of 2016 if I’m not mistaken so at the same time I’m not surprised Fiio is upgrading their TOTL offering after a year and a half.

The first time I saw the new Fiio X7ii was at the High End show in Munich where Fiio’s CEO was present himself. HE showed me the X7ii and a whole bunch of other devices, of which some will still have to be released. So keep your eyes open for more updates. But back to the new Fiio X7ii aka the 2nd generation X7 aka the Fiio X7 mark 2.

The web page of the Fiio X7ii can be found right here, on Fiio’s website

Design

When Fiio released the 3rd generation of their X5 DAP, everyone fell in love immediately with how it looked and how easy it was to use compared to other DAPs. Sure there were some funny comments on how it was made to look like the Astell&Kern AK380 but in the end that Fiio design really was excellent. It actually also I my personal favorite Fiio DAP design, and I prefer its looks and usability  over those of the original X7 and even this new X7ii.

As everyone loved the X5iii design, it was clear Fiio was going to do something with that for the X7ii. The problem of course was that the X7-series are using the changeable AM amplifier modules, so they couldn’t just copy the X5iii’s design. Fiio came up with a sort of hybrid design which basically is a mix of the X5iii’s lay-out and the X7’s vertical looks and dimensions.

The new Fiio X7ii measures 128.7 x 67.2 x 15.5 and weighs only 210g which makes it slightly lighter than the 220g X7. The Fiio X7ii still shares the 480 x 800 (3.97″) IPS TFT touch screen for that matter, and it comes with a pre-applied tempered glass screen protector. You can still use the old AM amplifier modules on the X7ii but with the new modules, like the AM3A, you will have to use the side mount to make the design keep its slick looks.

The silver X7ii’s frame is as good and beautiful as it was before (titanium colored CNC Machined aluminum alloy). It’s also very nice to see the color of the AM modules now finally fits the color of the X7ii’s body.

Lay Out

Something that hasn’t changed is the typical blue LED on the front of the player. Some like it, some don’t but in the end it can be personalized, so if you don’t like it you can just turn it off. It’s a bit of a shame that the screen or at least the screen’s/glass surface doesn’t cover the full size of the player as it does with AK or the X5iii in example, but as Fiio is using the bottom mounted AM modules, that simply isn’t possible. It would have made the X7ii look a whole lot more sexy though.

On the left side of the player we now find the play/pause button on top with the new non clickable volume wheel situated right below. Right under the volume wheel you can find the previous and next button and that’s all there is to see, as the volume button made a move to the top right side of the player. That’s actually a welcomed change for me and I’m sure the majority of X7 users will feel the same. On the left side of the top you’ll find the 3.5mm output which has a triple function: Analog line out, Digital optical out and digital coax out.

The right side of the player features the double MicroSD slots, and on the bottom from left to right you have the 3.5mm headphone out, the Micro USB port and the 2.5mm balanced headphone output. Personally I button-wise like the lay-out of the X7ii a lot, even though they could have incorporated the play/pause button in the volume wheel by making it clickable (think SP1000). It would have made the design/lay-out a tad slicker but it’s not a necessity to have this feature.

The X7 mark ii – Inside

On the inside quite a few things are new and Fiio uses it in their marketing campaign.

“Thoroughly transformed, inside and out”

First of all the Fiio X7ii uses a new DAC chip and Fiio have moved up from the ESS9018 to the ESS9028PRO which is a very logic choice. The Fiio X7ii, besides the regular formats, handles DSD, DXD, PCM hi-res up to 384kHz/32BIT and Wav up to 384kHz/64bit. A full over view of file-types can be found on Fiio’s website (see link at the end).

Another important change is the use of 3 Crystal Oscillators. Not only more than in the Fiio X7 but also faster and that leads to reduced jitter, increased clock precision/stability and a more correct Digital to Analog conversion in general. The battery size has increased from a 3500mAh to 3800mAh and it should be capable of producing 8 hours play time. Of course that depends on the files to be decoded and the output used. The Fiio X7ii does have a rapid 9/12v charging system though.

Next to that the new X7ii gets 2GB of RAM (1GB before) and instead of the single MicroSD slots on the X7, the mark ii now features a double slot, allowing up to 256gb each. The internal memory got upgraded as well from 32Gb to 64GB which means the X7ii in total has a 576gb storage potential. And then there’s streaming…

Another change is that Fiio finally decided to add an optical output via the 3.5mm output. The X7ii now has 3 digital outputs (coax, optical, USB), 3 analog outputs (Line out, 2.5mm balanced and 3.5mm single ended) and then there’s theX7ii’s improved wireless connections: Wifi and BlueTooth (4.A & aptX). Like many, I was a bit surprised to still see a micro USB output at the bottom of the unit. More and more companies are switching to the more developed USB-C and I like that trend. (The AK KANN even has both) On the other hand, Fiio is still heavily using and promoting their K5 docking station, and as that is equipped with Micro USB, I don’t see then changing their mind any time soon. Maybe the X7III or IV will have the USB-C feature…

The X7ii review continues on Page Two after the click HERE or the jump below

Review: Fiio X7ii – Award Material
4.8 (95.11%) 45 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

9 Comments

  • Reply September 14, 2017

    HBB

    Nice work.

    I put a link to this review under my vid with disclaimer I have no affiliation. It’s a good read and this is for FiiO.

  • Reply September 14, 2017

    Swsko

    Great reviews as usual. Was just wondering you said you tried the x7 ii with the mojo and it worked, my question is did the mojo indicate it was playing upsampled tracks??what apps did you use to listen?

  • Reply September 15, 2017

    ElTejano

    ” this X7ii has a fat chance of winning the sub 2017 $1000 DAP award. It’s that great.”

    fyi- we usually use the phrase “fat chance” ironically, as in there is little chance.

    keep up the great reviews, I’ll go back to lurking

  • Reply September 18, 2017

    Longanizo

    Thanks for the review.

    I am looking to upgrade my desktop headphone DAC/AMP setup. Currently I have the TEAC UD-301 + iFi ICan SE to drive my AKG 712 PRO and Fostex – TX-X00. I got very interested on the Hugo2 you also reviewed, but then came the Fiio X7 II which only costs a third of Hugo2. Is it possible to compare FIIO X7 II vs Hugo2 as Headphone DAC/AMP or do they really belong to different leagues?

    • Reply September 18, 2017

      Lieven

      Yes., different league. And you can’t compare a DAP to a dac / Amp either. But if you would it would have to be ak380/SP1000 level

  • Reply October 1, 2017

    Niel

    Hi Lieven,

    Im a newbie in the world of audiophiles and need your advice.

    I have only 2 cans at the moment, and akg k271 miii closed back (55 ohms) and an akg k7xx open back (62 ohms), and a cheap in ear Philips TX1 (32 ohms). Am possibly also looking to purchase a fiio f5 or f9 for a starter iem.

    I am looking to purchase

    1. either an x5 iii to be stacked with either a fiio a5 or an rha-l1
    2. or just the x7 ii.

    Am planning to listen to flac/alac, mp3 320kbps, and possibly some higher quality files. Am more of a rock, metal, blues and classical guy, with slight preference to techno and electronica. My preference is tight bass, but not muddy, clear mids and highs, hoping for a flexible EQ adjustment to suit diffrent genres.

    Based on my available cans and possible purchase of a starter iem with balanced cable, which setup would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!

    – Niel

  • Reply October 1, 2017

    dale thorn

    I’m a little biased, but I lean toward one-box solutions instead of separates, especially with portable gear. This review, the reviews at headfonics and headphonelist, all good – and good value. Whathifi liked it OK, but thought it was too expensive for them. I looked at all the reviews on Amazon, but there were only 10 reviews, and the early ones looked like they were stacked toward FiiO generally. But taking the specific objections from a few Amazon reviews, and vetting those against the other major reviews, I could sell a million of these easily. But just to be sure, if yours has any glitches or accessories that don’t look like the FiiO originals, make sure you can return it for credit or exchange.

  • Reply October 28, 2017

    Glenn

    Hello,

    I need some help and honest advice. I am currently in the process of upgrading my portable music player. For the last 12 years I have been using a iPod classic 7th gen 80gb and it has done me a great service.

    About 2 years ago i discovered the power of FLAC and lossless music via a friend. For me it was like listening to music again for the first time and i instantly became addicted asking my friend if i could listen to this song and that album. It has become “musical crack”.

    So the past two years i have started to invest in gear to allow me to get my fix. Bought some Sennheiser momentum 2.0’s, invested in a Flac & lossless cd burner etc.

    I always do some research into products before i buy them and during these two years i have been looking and following FiiO, the x7 to be exact. After hearing mixed reviews i decided to wait and see what else was coming out.

    Roll onto 2017 and i am in stuck. I have come to a cross roads and i don’t know what road to take. The three DAP’s im looking at at the x7 mkii, x5 mk 3 and the ak70 mk ii.

    Obviously i want to get the best bang for my buck. but i have no idea what to get, i guess you would want to know what i would manly use it for and what i would listen too.

    If you could give me some advice and pointers that would be great!

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