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Fiio e5, Juice2214 CMOY and Dolby Headphone encoded mp3s

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I had a Juice2214 CMOY arrive in the post this morning. Aside from the generally greater refinement over the e5, I've really noticed a difference with some 320kb/s mp3s I'd encoded with Dolby Headphone using my Xonar D2.

Only really had chance to compare the e5 with the CMOY on my portable setup so far. That's a Sony Ericsson w850i > CMOY or e5 > sJays.

With the e5 , they sounded muddy. With the CMOY detail and the speaker-like spaciousness I expect from Dolby Headphone are restored. In short - it sounds great.

I don't think this is just down to amp quality. Have they snuck in bit of crossfeed into the e5? Or is it just poor stereo separation? Either would mess with Dolby Headphone. I had noticed with the e5 that some tracks not encoded with Dolby Headphone sounded a bit like there was an element of crossfeed there.

A note on both amps with the w850i. The noise floor is too high by default. Both these amps give a big improvement by allowing you to increase the volume on the phone and decrease it on the amp, thus greatly reducing the hiss and crackling usually notable in quieter periods.
post #2 of 7
Your source is the problem. Don't you have anything else a part from w850i?
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkvedam View Post
Your source is the problem. Don't you have anything else a part from w850i?
Yes. Plenty of other sources. But what exactly was the problem you're suggesting I solve?

Was just reporting observations. I think the Fiio definitely has a lack of channel separation or crossfeed of some sort. That's bad for Dolby Headphone reproduction, and not great for some live tracks but it works really well for other recordings.

I tried the Fiio out of a portable CD player and it did a reasonable job driving both NS1000 (passive mode) and HD580 full size headphones. I think partly because of the 'crossfeed' effect, it added to the soundstage on both sets , giving a slighly 'out of head' sort of experience.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
A bit further investigation here: I tried some more headphones (Sennheiser HD580, Goldring NS1000s), and sources (Hitachi Portable CD player, Xonar D2 soundcard) at home.

The CD player doesn't really need low end amp like these. It's more than capable of driving fairly demanding headphones and has a hardware bass boost. After listening for a while, I actually preferred the HD580s on the headphone out of the CD player. It was the first time I'd used the two together and the bass boost gave the HD580s really strong, deep and punchy bass that I'd not heard out of them before. It wasn't always suitable for the music but was fun to play with. The CD player also had a line out and I used that with the amps.

After listening to a few tracks A/B/Cing with the CMOY the FiiO and the internal amp I'm convinced that the e5 is adding an element of crossfeed, or something like it, that isn't there with the other two. On studio recordings, where the 'source soundstage' isn't great, it has a positive effect, lifting the lead vocals out of your the head and forwards. Where the 'source soundstage' is already good, for example live recordings and well mastered classical music, the effect isn't good. It makes these tracks sound muddy. Additionally the bass boost on the FiiO was much more suble than the one on the CD player.

So - on to the Xonar and Dolby Headphone: the FiiO causes problems with the stereo imaging. Dolby Headphone sounds muddy with it. Back to the CMOY and it's clear and spacious - as it's supposed to be.

Both the CMOY and the FiiO give a nice boost over the soundcard when driving 'difficult' headphones. My NS1000s noise cancelling headphones (100 ohm and very current hungry) sound dreadful out of the soundcard in passive mode when they're not using their built in amp. Unamped, they normally have bloated, muddy bass and recessed mids and trebles. Both the CMOY and the FiiO give them a nice boost, making them sound quite acceptable, although the treble doesn't 'sparkle' as much as in active mode.

Aside from the 'crossfeed issue' sound quality is actually pretty close between the two. I think I was mistaken earlier saying that the CMOY was a lot more refined - there's not that much in it.

So my recommendation would be - if you'll be listening to something that would benefit from a little crossfeed use the e5. If you'll be using something with already good stereo imaging I'd recommend the CMOY. And of course - if you're already using hardware that can drive headphones fairly well like my Hitachi CD player - one of these isn't going to help much, if at all.
post #5 of 7
Good observations, thanks for sharing. Interesting that the Fiio has a standard cross-feed without an on/off switch for it.
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Citizen86 View Post
Interesting that the Fiio has a standard cross-feed without an on/off switch for it.
The interesting bit is, they don't have any cross-feed at all.
post #7 of 7

Did you notice whether the E5 or the CMOY had more hiss or noise than the other?

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