Fiio X1 DAP review - Setting a new bar

Fiio has been a part of my audio experience for a while now, but I haven't dedicated any write-ups for their products. This changes now, with Fiio X1, their budget portable high-res player.

If you like audio, you should be at least a little familiar with Fiio. The company is a relative new-comer to the audiophile scene, its first line-up being showcased back in 2007. However, they're present in the most active communities out there, and actually listen to feedback, progressively improving their products. After X3 was released in 2013, having some serious UI sessions, the company worked on improving the user experience. This was evidenced by the flagship DAP, X5 (which is still cheap compared to other high-end models on the market, such as A&K 240, though it still manages to compete with 'em) and with X1, the recent budget entry.

 Fiio X1 - Product Shot

Now, I had Fiio X1 for more than a month, and I've used to it extensively with a number of headphones, from IEMs to more power-hungry cans like the Sennheiser HD600. My experience with dedicated DAPs is still somewhat limited, this being my fourth hi-fi type-o-player I have listened to, after having a whirl with Fiio's flagship X5, Colorfly's C3 and Cowon's J3.

X1 could pose a challenge to many portable audiophile devices on the market, if it manages to deliver a proper listening experience. Why? Because the question "why would you need to pay $400+ for a source, when a $100 one would suffice?" gains a whole lotta weight.

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