The X7 works with AM amplifier cards just like the Hifiman DAPs do. I’m not really sure why Fiio decided to go that route, but that’s the way it is now. When you buy an X7 now you can either buy the X7 with the Standard module, with no module or with any Amped module. This wasn’t the case when Fiio released the X7 a couple of months ago but I do think they did the right thing with this, although they could have done it a little sooner or from the beginning even). An amplification module cost $99 USD. Do note, to be able to make all AM modules work you will need to update to the latest firmware. The advantage of that is that the VU meters are in the last update as well and it looks really good.
IEM Modules: AM1 IEM – AM2 Medium Power – AM3 Balanced – AM5 high power
AM1 is the standard IEM module and it uses uses OPA1612+AD8397. ±3.1V voltage supply, software gain
AM2 is the Medium Power module using the MUSES02+BUF634 amp+buffer. ±7.5/5.3V voltage supply, hardware gain
AM2A is the official MOD version based on AM1. It uses the AD8620 + AD8397ARDZ. The voltage supply is the same as the original AM2
AM3 is the balanced module with balanced 2.5TRRS and uses the OPA1622*6 amp+buffer. ±5V voltage supply, software gain
AM5 is the Head Amp module and uses the MUSES02+TPA6120A2 amp+buffer. ±9/5.3V voltage supply, hardware gain
Switching the AM modules with the supplied T5 screwdriver actually is very easy, just don’t lose the screwdriver as the AM modules come delivered without one. I have two left hands and I manage to swap the modules in less than one minute, it’s that easy. At the same time the modules bother me as well: I don’t feel like carrying AM modules and a screwdriver with me all the time. One of the things I love about the L5Pro from L&P is how well it manages and drives everything from IEMs to full sized headphones. And you don’t have to swap its internals for it to do so. Did Fiio do the right thing with the AM modules? I don’t know. It can either be seen as annoying because of having to switch them or as sublime because of the X7’s modularity.
My final verdict still isn’t out yet, the perfect solution for me is one AM module that is sensitive enough for inear monitors but that also powers full sized headphones and that comes with an extra 2.5mm balanced output. For now, let’s have a closer look to each module. Talking about looks, it’s only the original AM1 module that has the X7 color, all the other amp modules have a darker finish and have a centered labeling on the back. Note: when using the different amp modules and when charging your X7 at the same time, the player gets quite hot.
AM MODULES & SOUND ON PAGE 3, AFTER THE CLICK HERE OR BELOW