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A good-sounding portable DAC/amp for low-impedance, easy-to-drive headphones.

A Review On: Fostex HP-P1

Fostex HP-P1

Rated # 10 in Portable Amps
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $700.00

29 Comments:

Nice review! The HP-P1 seems like a decent choice to fill the missing link between my iPhone 4S and M-80...
Nice summary Currawong. My HP-P1's amp sounded dark on my Ed8 when I first got it but after a pretty long & decent burn-in the highs became less veiled and much more acceptable. But the Pico Slim is so convenient I find I almost never use the HP-P1 by itself. As such, the CLAS ended up making more practical to me since DAC2DAC, the CLAS is slimmer than the HP-P1.
I have this unit with my iPod Touch and DT1350 and am really enjoying them. They are a great match for me. I just heard the M-80 using these and I do prefer the DT1350s that I have. My DT1350s are recabled using Moon Audio IEM Silver Dragon cables.
Nice review. Thanks Currawong.
I have this unit using DT1350 and Edition 8 too. was quite pleased with the simple setup sound until I receive the continental V2 from ALO today. straight from the box with HP-P1 and IPC ..my DT1350 just transform to a Full size Headphone sound..much better staging , warmer mid and solid solid Bass attack. I could not be happier . switching to Edition 8 . all is just better and sound staging have just get another level higher , I can see music now ! one short fall is that mid range sound since too "fat" and lower Mid bass is a bit too much. I reckon it will improve after i run in the amp. all in all..I must conclude at this time. I could be more happier to own this combination of HP-P1 with Continental V2 ... hoping that my incoming Grado RS1i will sings too .
I've been considering a Continental V2 so that's great to know. I'll likely be pairing it with a transportable amp in the future.
Tomonori SATHOH is the chief engineer of ASAHI KASEI MICRODEVICES Corp. who designed AKM 4480; digitally versatile 32-bit DAC tip nourishing HP-P1 with quite clear sound, had an interview with Phile-web web magazine. http://www.phileweb.com/review/closeup/akemd-ak4399/
Data sheet in English is available athttp://www.asahi-kasei.co.jp/akm/en/product/ak4480/ak4480.html
I agree with your review. The HP-P1 sounds great. I did a quick comparison to my Benchmark DAC-1 USB with IEMs and the HP-P1 sounded much better to me, far more detailed. (It was not a perfect comparison since I used different sources and did not experiment with other headphones.) My complaints are the carrying case (the designers must never have actually tried to use it), the lack of a digital input, and the lack of a computer USB input. Otherwise, I'm very please with it.
I wish it cost less. 700 bucks is ALOT..
??? I've never heard the DAC-1, yet I've heard it is a major quality DAC with phenomenal sound. It surprises me the HP-P1 is even mentioned in the same breath, and would like other DAC-1/Fostex owners to chime in on that one. I have the HP-P1, and feel it is adequate, and love the sounds in the night. Yet it needs more amp, and much lighter weight and smaller size.
As I said, I compared to the DAC-1 using easy to drive IEM (Shure SE-535s). I don't think that says anything about what the performance will or will not be with the harder to drive Fostex headphones you are talking about. Also, the DAC-1 is only $250 above the retail of the HP-P1 and is now an at least five year old design. So I see no reason that the HP-P1 should not compare favorable with well matched phones (and, in fact, it does).
Thanks VM. Glad to hear it actually. My friend thinks DAC-1 is cats ass, and I'm a Mhdt Havana fan. I find the Fostex sweet and open. Getting better all the time. As far as speakers, which I wasn't referring to, the Fostex paper drivers are very efficient and would go well with this little DAC on a bookshelf system like Tekton OB4.5's with a little tube amp.
Can anyone tell me about this DAC chip in HP-P1, as I have been an R2R NOS guy forever, and this is lots of sampling. Cheers!
i'm not criticizing the DAC-1. I own two of them and use the HDR model in my main system. My point was *not* that the design of the DAC-1 has aged badly, but that it has been around for a while now and it is therefore not surprising to find competitive products now at lower price points. Keep in mind that we are talking about small differences at this quality level.
Nice review. Thanks. I'm edging ever closer to picking one up. I have just a 160GB iPod Classic and the Shure SE535's. Is there a noticeable difference from just using the iPod?
Love the proliferation of quality interfaces now for iOS devices.
I'm using mine with Westone ES5s and Sennheiser HD650s and an iPod Classic 160. I have also been comparing it over and over again with a Gen 4 iMod iPod paired with my RSA Hornet.
What I'm hearing is that the HP-P1/Classic sounds great, but the iMod/Hornet sounds better. The bass on the Fostex combo is tighter, but the overall presentation of the iMod/Hornet is more open and dimensional. I hear voices and instruments in space on the iMod/Hornet, while the Fostex/Classic may spread a somewhat wider image, but it's shallower, and sound sources in the mix seem flat or two-dimensional and less alive.
Oh, and yes -- a HUGE difference compared to just the iPod!!!
Thank you for the review, it's good to hear the HP-P1 has a capable amp on top of the quality Dac.
Are you planning a review of the ALO Continental V2? May we hope for a comparison to the L3?
I have a Triad Audio L3 now, which I hope to write about in the future.
I know, that's why I'm hoping for a comparison with the Continental. :)
As far as I learned from reading they should be in or near the same class.
Both of them are on my mind as an addition to the Fostex as well as to be used on a laptop with a Centrance Dacport LX.
Is this the only DAC/Amp that can connect to an iDevice that way? Wonder how it sounds with Grados and Pearl Jam...
I have been looking for something just like this and have not been able to find it, until now. Having the Fostex connect to an iPad via the Apple 30 pin connector is a great way go get great sound without having to go through that crappy camera connector, because of the USB.
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