X5s Review -
And how to optimize file organisation on the SD and display META tag information
last update: Sept 13, 2017
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Recently I had been looking for a
possibility to rip CD´s to a medium other than yet
another CD, which are frequently rejected by CD
players. Being spoiled by using contemporary media
like computers and mobile MP3 players, some visual
to aid track selection would be most welcome, since the
information is inside the tracks´s META
These days mobile players abound, with
an increasing trend towards high quality players
beyond plain MP3. These range from user friendly price
tags to incredibly ludicrous price tags in the 1000
Since I found the sense of using a
mobile HQ player in a loud public environment
questionable, besides trading in fragile interface
connectors, I opted for a desktop model.
The best on price/performance ratio
appeared to be the Aune X5s player that plays
MP3 and FLAC compressed files (amongst others) with
subjectively excellent quality and a price in the
range of a medium HIFI CD player unit.
The files are stored onto a removeable SD card up to 128GB, which appears an enormous amount of music in practice.
Since handling such great amounts of
music files can easily lead to a mess, and since the
Aune´s META tag display capability is quite
rudimentary (which will inevitably lead to a
mess), some freeware programs have been
devised that make life much easier.
Subjective Sound Quality And Handling
is subjectively excellent. A direct A/B
comparison with a CD player yields some subtle
coloration, but it is hard to tell which unit
adds this effect. It can, however, safely be assumed
that both units add their own type of coloration.
The provided remote control works, although the infrared reception is not terribly hot. You have to aim towards the unit quite precise. But then the sorting and replaying works quite as expected with a functionality akin to a basic CD player: play, pause, next, previous. You would not be able to read the display from a few meters away, but the same will hold true für most other systems except an on-screen TV display. Similar to a CD changer, there is also a mechanism for selecting a directory, i.e. a different CD volume.
Using the stationary buttons is
possible, but cumbersome, so don´t loose the remote.
The unit comes with Mandarin Language
preselected for the on-screen menu, but just follow
the instructions in the manual to change this to
English. The manual is located on the small SD card
supplied. Use this card to upload new firmware if
The supplied wall-wart power supply
appears more than ample. It stays cold to the touch
and does not introduce any audible sound degradation.
This is mentioned, since an allegedly upgraded supply
is offered for respectable money. A phone call to the
seller revealed that even they would not see a
necessity for any other PSU.
The only thing I have to complain
about the PSU is a slight mechanical vibration that is
audible when the unit touches a rigid surface, such as
an metal amplifier case. A piece of soft foam
underneath stopped this.
Aune´s Got Limited File Handling Capability
Contemporary players, particularly PC based, tend to scan all file´s META tags beforehand (probably due to their superior computing power and scanning speed) and then provide selection mechanisms based upon the collected information.
Even the meanest MP3 player will let you sort your music by tags like author, genre or the like.
Not so the Aune. It
displays the files in the order they are written
onto the storage medium and it displays only the
file name. It does not currently
utilize META information. After some sessions with
writing files to the SD card you invariably will end
up with files that appear in the display following no
meaningful order (most people probably expect the
files to appear in an alphabetically sorted order...).
There is some sorting number displayed, but this again is not coincident with the track number stored in the META tags unless the file writing order were the same.
The display will show the left bound
file name letters first up to a certain number or
characters, persist for a while, scroll towards the
right, persist for a while, and restart. So if
the file name is garbage, so will be the display.
Directories are not shown during
playing (i.e. the "CD" name), which you would not have
on a real music CD either, but during "CD" selection.
See later for meaningful
Although the unit can use SD cards up to 128GB, at some point you may want to change cards for another music collection. With a growing music collection the question of purposeful archiving arises, possibly by genre or the like. This invariably raises the question of how much sense it makes to obtain such big cards, unless you want all your music on one physical storage medium. New technology, new problems.
Improve File Handling
Note we are working our way backwards
here. Before you start, be sure you have the current
firmware installed (see download
There is no mechanism to change the file sorting order in the Aune. There is also no way to change it on the card via the operating system (such as Windows). We will find a way to change the file sorting order later to change the directory sort order to an alphabetical way (or other if desired) and make the tracks appear according to their inherent track number later on.
Ripping, Compressing and Tagging With EAC
I used EAC for years, and despite some lengthy initial setup procedure this yields excellent results, provided some reasonable CD-rom reader is used. I always use some elevated quality setting over ripping speed. Many popular CD´s are in their online database, so meta tags can be assigned in a snap.
You can select to have them ripped to WAV or whatever compressed format on the fly, although in lieu of the Aune, MP3 and FLAC will be ideal.
Due to the sheer amount of storage FLAC will lend itself readily to this task, although nothing speaks against choosing MP3 with a high quality setting except for purists.
File Name Generation And Tag Manipulation With Mp3tag
With Mp3tag program you
The program is
quite powerful but easy to deal with, once you get
the hang of those tags.
Take care that the track information in the meta tags reflects the order of appearance on the CD, if you want this.
Although the Aune displays some track number, this is only the sequence of appearance on the storage medium and not the META tag´s track number.
It thus appears useful to make the track
number part of the file name first place. Use two
places for the number or a number 10 will
appear right after a 1 as different to
a 10 appearing in place 10 after a 01.
File ordering sample starting with one character place:
The Aune does not display the directory name (i.e. the CD name assigned by you) due to the limited display size. Instead, a (more or less) lengthy file name is displayed in a scrolling manner with an initial delay of a few seconds dwelling on the start of the name.
So a file name composition of track number (two places) – track name – (optional) artist – (optional) volume name appeared useful. You can coax MP3tag into producing that easily.
The display will show the left bound
letters first up to a certain number or characters,
persist for a while, slowly scroll towards the right,
persist for a while, and restart. Upon browsing
through the files you would only see the leftmost
It is no problem for Mp3tag
to work on a whole directory or even a whole card
volume directly. It does it surprisingly fast.
File And Directory Sorting With DriveSort
This program probably does not make sense if used on a PC based system, since all full-blown operating systems have enhanced on-the-fly file sorting and displaying mechanisms built in. It does however make a lot of sense on the SD card.
Generate meaningful file names first with Mp3tag and then sort them with DriveSort directly on the SD card, using long file names sort. You will have to repeat this every time you add files to the card, but this is very quick.
Naming the directories currently is
of little consequence, since the Aune ignores the
directory names when it displays the played files. It
does nevertheless sort them in the way written and
displays them during directory (i.e. "CD") selection.
Enjoy your vastly improved file access
and display experience on the Aune!
Writing Files To the SD card
Since I had a very old card reader, that did not read SD-HC, I bought a new one for a few bucks. It turned out it transfers files with USB3.0 speed. So if you have a PC that has an USB3.0 connector, don´t hesitate to get an associated card reader unless you want to wait for global earth warming to supersede you upon file transfer. Gigabytes take long enough even on USB3.0.
Addendum: their version of it is obsolete at the time of writing. Use the file from the original source (although it says formatter4 it is vers. 5.0):
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