Q5S or XD-5 as desktop replacements?

I’m still looking for a way to upgrade my AD-18 with as few boxes as possible. For the desktop. BT is a must, and a good headphone amp. I seldom use my speakers, so they’re less of a priority. Now it occured to me that both the FiiO Q5S and the Xduoo XD-5 (with the BT module) are dac/amp combos with BT. There aren’t many of those on the market. And they have line outs. Meaning, if I want to run speakers I can connect them to the AD18 or another small amp (or get active speakers), but otherwise they do everything I need them to do.

So maybe I have two questions for y’all:

  1. Can anyone comfirm that either of these or both has better headphone sound than the AD18?
  2. Do they have enough power for HD650s, running single-ended? I think the answer is yes for the XD-05. Not sure about the FiiO.

If you are going for a headphone amp then yes I would say these are better sounding in both the headphone amp and the dac

Yes for both, but I think that for the balanced out for the fiio does sound a bit better.

Also perhaps check out the xdsd, bluetooth, a bit warmer and enjoyable sound and runs great single ended, line out mode also works great

The XDSD looks like a great option, though we’re creeping up in price. It’s $50 more than the q5s. Price for the Xduoo and the BT varies. As it is I’m going to have to lie to my wife about how much I’m spending :slightly_smiling_face:

I suppose one day I’ll spring for a balanced cable. I kind of resent this whole balanced business. If it’s better, then all are gear should be made with it. Now it’s just one more complication.

So imo balanced isn’t better in practice, a single ended amp can sound just as good as a balanced one, really depends on the quality of the amp. Balanced has becoming a marketing thing tbh, and it really is quite irritating that it’s mainly to make people thing something his higher quality than a single ended counterpart. With a balanced amp, you should really use the balanced outs to get the best sound because the designer puts more effort into the balanced output than the single ended from my experience (and if the amp is differential then that’s a different story). But really though a good single ended and balanced are equal

I’ve read that the Q5s might not have enough power for the HD650s with single-ended because only one of the two dac chips engages. Do you think that’s incorrect?

No that is correct, but it’s not because of the dac, it’s because the lower output power of the single ended connection. That being said I think it can still drive it, but I did mention you would get a significant quality jump by going balanced

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Thank you.

Does anyone have an opinion regarding Q5S vs. XD-5? It seems the trade off is greater portability (Q5S) versus greater power XD-5, but aside from all that, are they equal?

I think it would really come down to a few things, mainly if you wanted bluetooth or the other features like eq the q5s has to offer, if you can run it balanced, and what headphones you plan to use. Both are great units, but I think it would depend on what you are looking for to decide

By EQ you mean the Fiio app?

For balanced, it’s just a matter of getting a $50 cable, like this, right?


In the fiio app you can connect to the settings of the q5s and set eq and filter settings, adjust other features of the fiio, and it will be stored in the q5s itself so you don’t need the app running or anything


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I think I finally figured out the deciding factor: the lack of a second USB on the fiio means it can’t charge while being used as a USB dac. The xduoo had two USB ports. Since I intend for this to sit on my desk most of the time…

Edit: Now I realize that for all intents and purposes the opposite is true: The BT module onthe XD-5 covers the devices charging port, so it can’t charge so long as the module is on. Meaning, I’m better off with the Fiio because if I’m using the BT function, the USB can charge it…Plus, it seems that the BT module itself has to be charged. It’s all about these little details. If only the Xduoo had the BT built in, or if it simply located its two USB ports somewhere else.