The Fiio X3 24bit Hi res portable music player

Remember music before it became disposable?. Remember music when the album was the rage and you didn’t just buy a song? Remember that experience when you put on a big pair of cans and got lost in the music? Not forgetting a time before the famous white fruit earbuds that made music sound like junk? . Well retro is back again. Welcome to the Fiio X3 player. Now for under $200 you can obtain an audio experience more akin to what I mentioned earlier. Gone is that compressed nasty sound of the modern times. This device is an absolute beauty listing to uncompressed 24bit mater files makes you feel like you were in the mixing studio as these album were being produced. The music has unbelievable depth and tonality. The experience for me has been akin to first listening to HIFI music in my youth. Gone are those whizzy compressed highs and un natural mids , everything sounds so balanced and natural.  What makes this even more remarkable is that the player is smaller than a pack of cigarettes and retails for just over $200 here in Australia.

There are a few issues with it though. Take it from me this is no Apple user experience. You have to download the tracks from sites such as hdtracks.com and then transfer them to the player. This can be done in 2 ways. Either via USB or by plugging in the micro SD card you bought to increase the players storage. The transfer of files is slow and laborious because of the sheer size of the master audio files.  The menu on the player is very 2001 . Don’t get me wrong its not horrible its just dated. A firmware update is promised soon where the user interface will be majority upgraded. Also when you buy a micro SD card for the player it is incredibly picky. The ones I have had success with are the Sandisk class 10 cards.

I haven’t yet bought myself some headphones that really show the device of at its best. I have been using a 10 year old pair of AKG’s which still sound spectacular but with a pair of better cans I expect I will get better audio again.

A few other nice things about the player. It has a line out so you can use it to plug into your car or even a home stereo. It also has a coaxial digital out which can output digital 24bit audio to home receivers for the ultimate in high fidelity.

Lastly a few recommendations of some of the audio in 24bit 96khz or 192khz I have been blown away by.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde 24bit 96khz

Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 40th anniversary remaster 24bit 96k

Miles Davis Kind of Blue 24bit 192k    This is spectacular especially the detail.

Steven Wilson The Raven that refused to Sing 24bit 96k . In Hi Res this album shines with depths dynamics and texture.

Elvis Costello North 24bit 96k . Spectacular recording the strings sound great in Hi Res.

 

I will post some other recordings as I work through them.

 

For anyone who wants re enjoy the romance and feel of music again I can’t recommend this player more highly. Its a spectacular buy. One last thing to remember also is as its hi res music, the quality and results you encounter are dependant on source material and quality of what your listening through. Anything that has major flaws they will be highlighted 10 fold in this format. Those albums that are fantastic recordings to begin with will shine brighter than you have heard them before.  A case in point Paul McCartney’s New album for me was barely listenable on cd  . It was far to loud lacked dynamics and sounded very brittle and harsh. In Hi Res it regains its musicality and is far warmer and has depth something really lacking on the cd.

A definite buy 5 stars

 

 

Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow one night only on the big screen my review.

Tonight I had the great delight of attending a screening of Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow. This film brings back many great memories. I used the play the live album from this tour all the time as a teenager and drive my parents insane. I have seen Paul many times in person but I was only born the year the film was released so this was particularly special as it wasn’t possible for me to be at this tour. Its especially pleasing that Paul at his very peak can now be viewed in such a fantastic way. The film is great bar a few issues relating to the age of the source material. I also have to say what a band Wings were they were one of the best live acts of the 70’s and here it shows. There material is diverse and there performance as a band are very tight.

Here are my plusses and minuses about the remastered film from a critical point of view.
Paul vocals sounded damm incredible upfront strong bluesy and soulful . His piano was mixed rite up front so I got to admire his piano playing. This is often his overlooked skill , his playing here is sweet and funky where it needs to be.
His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing the different live versions of the material to what I know so well on Wings Over America. The stage patter and in between song stuff just great, it helped give you that intimacy of being there. its funny seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were Linda and Denny especially. Great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak. I  felt like I was there in the arena , it was as if the cinema disappeared and He was playing to me.

A few minor quibbles though . The mix had the backing vocals to low in my opinion , you would cut to denny or linda and there was nothing no audible singing, this was especially prevalent during Maybe Im Amazed. The editing in places is a tad rough especially coming out of the Long and winding road , the cut is very hard and is noticeable . You could definitely tell which was 16mm footage and what was 35mm. The 35mm stuff was so pristine it could of been shot yesterday. Lastly I wanted more horns they were a bit soft in places. Lastly a few times I had the feeling we were listening to some overdubbed songs some felt to dry and not enough reverb from the stadium.

 

His bass work is just amazing and sounded great. I loved hearing different live versions to what I know so well on Wings Over America. In some places the differences were quite a lot in others not so. As this was the last gig of the tour the performances have a lot of energy. In my opinion a lot more than the live album.
The stage patter and in between song stuff just great. Funny moment seeing the band so big on the screen shows how stoned they were linda and denny especially. It was also great being able to see Linda and Jimmy alive at there peak.


Now I look forward to the Bluray of Rockshow and the box set of Wings Over America. Lastly the bad news if you missed it at the cinema its not likely to return.

Glen Hansard Italy Tour film 2012

In April 2013 filmmaker Myles O’Reilly was invited on board the good ship Hansard to accompany Glen and his band around Italy for a few days while touring Italy in Europe to promote his debut solo album, Rhythm And Repose.  This film tells the story of life on road here is presented the whole film for your enjoyment.

 

Reminder Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow Screening this thursday in Australia.

A big reminder to all those in Australia. Paul McCartney and Wings Rockshow is screening for one night only this week at selected village, hoyts and independent cinemas . It is on thursday May the 16th and most sessions at at 6.30pm. Check local listings and dont miss it one last time on the big screen. The theatrical version screens with a 13 minute introduction from Paul McCartney himself that wont be on the upcoming dvd release.

After thursday Ill post a review of the screening.

My favourite Love Song Maybe Im Amazed

This song is one of my favourites. I think it is everything a great love song should be, passionate great melody and kick ass vocal. I give you Paul McCartney Maybe im Amazed written about his wife Linda and recorded on his first Solo Album McCartney in 1970. This version is from a single from his live album Wings Over America which was a top 10 single. The video is from Rockshow coming to Bluray and cinemas very soon.