An overview of the player xDuoo X3II — noticeable development

If you evaluate the company creates solutions for personal audio in their development relative to its older models, xDuoo will clearly be among the leaders. Starting with budget models, the only justification for which was a reasonable price, they got to release quite competitive devices and today we’ll talk about a new version of their player X3.

If, for example, xDuoo X20 had no predecessor, and therefore is not so much the development of the company, in the case of X3 we have the”old” and “new” versions of the player and the space separating them. In fact, we can speak about a completely new player, have no connection with its predecessor: the other DAC of a different design, modified firmware, a new SoC and a host of other changes. The main thing that kept — friendly for the wallet of the buyer, the price of the second generation xDuoo X3 at the time of writing the review is 8900 rubles, which allows to relate it to the budget segment.

Specifications

  • DAC: AK4490
  • OH: OPA1652 + LMH6643
  • Frequency range: 20Hz ~ 20kHz (±0.15 dB)
  • Power output: 210 mW @ 32Ω
  • Channel separation: >75 dB
  • 102.5×51.5×14.9 ≥114 dB
  • Total harmonic distortion + noise: 0.0015%
  • Support for DSD: DSF, DFF, ISO
  • Support lossless formats: DXD, FLAC, APE, WAV, ALAC, AIFF
  • Support lossy formats: MP3, AAC, WMA
  • Max resolution: 384 kHz/32 bit, DSD128
  • Outputs: 3.5 mm TRS nauchnikov, 3.5 mm TRS linear
  • USB: USB-C support USB OTG, USB DAC and USB Audio
  • Memory card support: MicroSD up to 256 GB
  • Bluetooth: two-way support HibyLink and aptX transmit mode
  • Battery: 2000 mA/h
  • Operating time with one charge: ~ 13 hours
  • Charging time: <3 hours
  • Screen: 2.4″ IPS
  • Dimensions: 103 mm × 52 mm × 15 mm
  • Weight: 112 grams

Packing and delivery

Even in the approach to printing boxes xDuoo trying to develop their own style, their black-and-green range looks good. In the outer carton of cardboard traditionally is another pack of thicker material. There, in addition to the player, you will find:

  • USB-C cable
  • spare protective screen protectors (one is already pasted at the factory)
  • short cable-interconnect with two 3.5 mm connectors
  • a couple of unused plugs for 3.5 mm plugs player
  • silicone feet to use the player in the “sandwich” with amplifier

Of course, I would like to complete and even the case but for this price range, every penny counts, so he will have to pay separately, fortunately, xDuoo on their accessories prices are not aching.

Design and management

Somewhere in the area of exit 20 was the watershed, after which the design xDuoo was completely normal. It is certainly not a design delights a La A&K, and not even the FiiO, but at least the question “what was the temperature have come up with this?” arises. On their two X3 generations progress, most notably: the corps was a neat piece of aluminium (with a small plastic insert for the Bluetooth antenna), the buttons are placed logically read, nothing rumbles and creaks, but about the screen I do not say anything, it’s like they say, “heaven and earth”.

X3II is compact and lightweight, allowing it to be quite a pocket device, but in this case not the thin aluminum gives it strength, so necessary in active operation.

The controls are scattered over the surface of the player rather profusely. On the left side is a power button and a pair of volume control buttons, the designers have even added a ledge to facilitate retrieval of the keys on the touch. Then put the card slot, your flash have X3II there, so I would like two slots, but in the budget segment, it is unnecessary luxury. On the underside are two choices: linear and naushnikov. Since both are standard 3.5 mm jacks, so they’re easy to confuse, fortunately, xDuoo put in a set of plugs that you can cover any unused connectors to avoid injury of hearing. It provided with a USB-C connector, pleasing a variety of functions: charging, USB DAC, access memory cards, USB OTG and USB Audio.

By the way, about charging. In a typical test player worked for me for a little more than 11 hours, charging takes a little less than 3 hours, the figures do not record, but quite normal.

Most of the front panel covers the screen and control buttons. The display is good, it is not a record resolution and color reproduction, but also the rejection of its usage is. The viewing angles are normal, as well as the range of brightness in the sun. 5 pieces, they almost logically arranged, except that “forward” is left (and below) “back” button, apparently, for Chinese designers to “top/bottom” is more important than “left/right”, however, after a brief adjustment, this feature no problems calling out. The Central button is responsible for playback and menu selection, upper-left returns back, the bottom left opens the submenu.

Traditionally, xDuoo, next to the screen is the led indicator, thankfully he’s not bright and during operation does not interfere.

Firmware

The program, as for X20, wrote in Hiby and so the firmware was not only functional, but quite comfortable and stable. I even removed the strange logic transition on any of the items that were in the older model, however, in the latest firmware X20 it also corrected. The main menu consists of 6 items.

Music Browser is Quite logical there is a browse music by folders. The choice available to the contents of the flash drive and USB OTG disk if it is connected. When viewing the context menu button allows you to delete files. For some strange logic in this section, put a clause rescan media library.

My Music In this topic is expected to: artists, genres, albums, all songs, playlists, favorites and recently played tracks. The submenu works here.

Music Settings the Usual sound settings: playback order, equalizer, memorization of volume and position and other familiar other players options.

System Settings it contains system settings, starting with brightness of the screen and ending with the firmware update. Here you can enable Russian language, interestingly, programmers have cared for those who could not master the encoding of the tags in UTF-8, and when you select the Russian language interface, player default means the encoding CP1251.

Bluetooth settings in Addition to turning on/off wireless interfaces and connection devices, then you can enable aptX codec (works only in transmission) and HibyLink.

Now Playing Section of the menu, leading to the playback screen displays album art and the name of the current track, a good step easier navigation.

The screen of the current track is also standard: a large display album artwork, below is the bar of progress and information about the track. There are also a context menu that allows you to change the order of playback, add file to favorites or playlist and switch Gein.

In General, the firmware leaves a feeling of completeness, it is fast enough, comfortable and has all modern facilities. The player is not picky in the formats and not prone to excessive brooding. Maybe the firmware has some flaws, but during the tests I never encountered.

For fans of the strange, X3II already ported to RockBox. I’m not sure why you need it on a modern player, because most of the functions will remain behind, but on the other hand, freedom of choice is always better than its absence.

Sound

To listen to the device used the following headphones: iBasso IT04, 99 Meze Classics, Audio Zenith PMx2, Noble Kaiser Encore, Campfire Andromeda Audio, Unique Melody Mason V3, HUM Pristine and others.

Each time, getting to the review of any budget gadget, I want to I see sound wrote something like “this thing tears everything to a price tag 3 times higher, quickly grab it before it’s too late”, but until that happens never, and X3 of the second generation was no exception. The player is playing “at their level”, it does not have any major problems, but even the same from the X20 xDuoo much better sound, as the supply of X3II a bit bland and lacks a drop of emotion and drive, however, it can slightly brighten up the headphones.

In the review below, I will try not to make discounts on the price and describe the player in comparison with the more expensive top models, please be aware of this.

Overall, xDuoo X3II continues the company’s approach to sound design: comfortable supply with a slightly weakened by the attack of HF to ensure greater comfort.

Low frequencies are not very deep, but, in General, this parameter is quite normal. They have a good resolution, without distortions in microdialysate or continuous massive flow. They confidently build the Foundation of the melody, but it does not stand out, the player is not trying to add weight or impact. The textures and separation of instruments is not perfect, but quite decent. Bass is well controlled and is kept in its place, that is already very commendable.

The midrange is also done without bias, the player is not super-detailed, but to call it smooth or fusion, too, will fail. He does not emphasize emotions, perhaps even almost hides them, but with well recorded material does not occur. In General, this flow characteristic of the last players company: neutral, normal in detail “mean” without sharp accents and pumping emotions. Imaginary stage, average depth and width, with good separation plans in depth, but the tools are a bit smaller than it should be.

The upper frequency then slightly flattened in the attacks and, perhaps, this is the main claim to him. If not for this attempt to make a “comfortable” sound, in the flow of this kid would drive and even aggression that would raise its perception to a new level. This is particularly unfortunate given the fact that HF then good enough both quantitatively and resolution. They are certainly not the longest, but sound natural.

Traditional comparison. In the budget segment of the players has recently become very much so I tried not to ignore those models that I have. The only one who never got a mention, although they should be, xDuoo X10, but I very long gone, but the memory is something extraordinary it is not deposited, so comparisons with him will not.

xDuoo X20 That’s just a good example of how with the growth rates you get and more quality sound. When a similar flow, the older model from xDuoo more energetic in the midrange, a little more energetic in the bass and better working HF. It is these changes in the amount and giving a noticeable difference.

xDuoo X3 Here the difference is already noticeable. In the first generation X3 had to justify the shortcomings of the type of dirty midrange price, in the second generation, this is no longer required. Overall, X3II is quite possible to imagine as a kind of averaging between the X3 first generation and X20.

FiiO M7 If you throw price and power, which xDuoo significantly more, by the sound of the FiiO player dynamic, energetic and lively.

Cayin N3 great Enough to supply the player: a more accentuated bass, more emotional midrange, more treble, however, inferior X3II in detail.

Shanling M0 Funny little player in which the developers have managed everything except the sound. xDuoo X3II more neutral and naturally more detailed in the bass/midrange. As M0 has a more flat stage.

Shanling M1 Here is the result of approximately the same technical characteristics like detail, but M1 plays a bit more emotional for LF/MF and a little worse at RF.

Hidizs ‘ AP60-II Player, a little bit better than M1 on HF, so HF with it X3-II parity and LF/MF sound a little more emotional, though not of better resolution and micro-dynamics.

Compatibility

Reserves of power the player enough, it will sway even the most Panoramio, for example, the same 99 Meze heard from him, though not 100% of its potential, but it is good. Generally, choosing headphones to the hero of today’s review is to avoid neutral models with a monitor feed. We should note the relatively low level of background noise, with the exception of sverhusiliya IEM, can’t hear it.

Stylistically versatile player, you just do not demand from him the results of the models in 2 and more times more expensive. The quality of record is very tolerant of the 10 points on the scale of waywardness, he will receive a maximum of 6.

Traditional tracks for example

ZAZ — Je veux Cheerful and positive tune, full of atmosphere, played on this player exactly as it should: neutral, natural and realistic.

Nicolas Jaar — Problem With the Sun is Another very atmospheric track boring experimental electronics. Here is the updated X3 also shows a good side, playing his dynamic and vovlekayut.

Creedence Clearwater Revival — Fortunate Son If a track recorded with sufficient drive, even a relatively “fresh” player, he will not hinder, which proves the famous hit performed by the hero of today’s review. Energy level, drive, level, emotion, even more so.

Insights

Once again the hope for “the killer of all living things” did not materialize. Instead we got just another very good budget player, wherein the logical menu, easy controls, rich functionality, and most importantly, decent sound, devoid of pronounced problems.

To buy xDuoo X3II

If

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