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Sony PCM M10 as portable player? - Page 4

post #46 of 233

602 is a NOS DAC.  If you like that sound that's what you get it for.  I've been wanting to hear a M10 but some professional friends keep pushing me away from the idea.

post #47 of 233

Yep, I like the TDA1543 very much. Am using Doede's DDDAC (16chips) :)

post #48 of 233


Hi dogears,

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogears View Post

[snip]

 

I'm hoping M10 > HM602?
 


If you are hoping to use the PCM-M10's headphone out vs. the HM602's headphone out, I predict you'll be disappointed.  I haven't heard the HM602's headphone out or line out, but its headphone out is likely to be much better than the headphone out of the PCM-M10.

 

I recommend that you consider the PCM-M10 only if you intend to use its Line Out to drive a portable or desktop amp (and you're willing to put up with an unfriendly user interface that wasn't designed for playing music).  It has none of the navigation, search, and playlist features that are common to real DAPs, like iPod Classic or even Sansa Clips.

 

But if you want GREAT sound in a very affordable and portable source that includes a 96/24-capable sigma-delta DAC, you won't be disappointed.  It's a steal at $300 (with a 32GB microSD card), and in my experience, it didn't take long before I was fluent with the user interface - pulling up favorite tracks almost as quickly as I can on typical DAPs.  It's just not intuitive at first, but I can play entire folders at a time, looping individual songs or the whole album, and it does gapless playback - albums play as they were intended by the artist.  

 

Lsatly, despite some plastic parts, the build quality is fantastic - it just wreaks of "Made in Japan" robustness.  Surfaces are scratch resistant, the buttons feel really solid, the LCD display is easy to read and has a nice backlight.  I've used it nearly every day for six months now and it still looks, feels, and operates as if it was brand new. AND you can make your own 96/24 recordings with it too!  You can't do that with an HM602!  It even has a programmable "stealth" mode that extinguishes all of its lighting to facilitate making recordings in concerts and other venues where recording is prohibited.  (I would never do that.)

 

But again, best of all, its 96/24 DAC sounds great - more on that with a second opinion from Misterrogers, coming soon.

 

Mike

post #49 of 233

 

Anaxilus,
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

602 is a NOS DAC.  If you like that sound that's what you get it for.  I've been wanting to hear a M10 but some professional friends keep pushing me away from the idea.


Have they programmed the Sony PCM-M10 for Line Out and connected it to a high quality unforgiving amp like the ultra neutral, ultra transparent, high-resolving Meier Corda Stepdance, with equally unforgiving, equally high-resolving and neutral phones as nice as the LCD-2?

 

If not, they don't have an opinion on what I'm hearing but rather, on something else.  If they have tried setting up the PCM-M10 in a similar component chain, then I can certainly respect their opinion. Then again, maybe they weren't speaking to the SQ as much as the cumbersome interface.

 

Mike

 


Edited by zilch0md - 6/28/11 at 10:14pm
post #50 of 233

Thanks zilch0md!

post #51 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Anaxilus,
 

Have they programmed the Sony PCM-M10 for Line Out and connected it to a high quality unforgiving amp like the ultra neutral, ultra transparent, high-resolving Meier Corda Stepdance, with equally unforgiving, equally high-resolving and neutral phones as nice as the LCD-2?

 

If not, they don't have an opinion on what I'm hearing but rather, on something else.  If they have tried setting up the PCM-M10 in a similar component chain, then I can certainly respect their opinion. Then again, maybe they weren't speaking to the SQ as much as the cumbersome interface.

 

Mike


I dunno, you can ask LFF yourself.  wink.gif  I look forward to hearing Misterrogers take too.  If you can get LFF in here I'll grab somepopcorn.gif.

 

What's the DAC again?  

 

post #52 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post
I dunno, you can ask LFF yourself.  wink.gif  I look forward to hearing Misterrogers take too.  If you can get LFF in here I'll grab somepopcorn.gif.

 

What's the DAC again?  

 

 

Is that popcorn buttered?  biggrin.gif  

 

All I know is that the PCM-M10's DAC is a sigma-delta design that can output at 96/24.  The April Music Stello DA100 DAC I'm currently borrowing from Yuceka (Head-Fi member) is also a 96/24 sigma-delta design - and they sound VERY similar to my ears (with both 44.1/16 and 96/24 WAV files), using my 15-Volt powered Stepdance and the LCD-2. That in itself is remarkable when you consider that the Stello DA100 is a $700 desktop DAC (with USB, coaxial, or Toslink inputs), vs. the portable Sony PCM-M10 that sells for $239, typically, and does so much more than DA conversion.  

 

This seems a lot more plausible when you consider that April Music has probably sold no more than 300 of their DA100 desktop DACs (I'm just guessing), where Sony has probably sold thousands of the Sony PCM-M10s (again, just guessing) - but the Sony PCM-M10 is their most affordable of three portable flash decks, and it has a huge following among amateur musicians, concert goers, and field recordists - altogether a much larger market than the number of people buying Stello DA100s, no matter what the actual numbers are.   Thus, it stands to reason, that the Sony PCM-M10 offers a lot more bang for the buck thanks to sales volume.  If Sony could only sell one or two PCM--M10's a month, they'd probably retail for $2000 each, instead of $239.  

 

Moral of the story: Don't let its low price fool you.  Instead, join me in counting my lucky stars that a relatively mass-produced item like the Sony PCM-M10 can be so easily adapted for use in our very niche market to serve a purpose for which it was not intended!   wink_face.gif  We're used to paying crazy prices for our audiophile gear, but this is a hidden jewel of an exception to that norm.

 

Here's an e-mail I received from Sony Customer Care on 22 January 2011, in response to some questions I had asked about the PCM-M10:

 

Quote:

 

Dear Mr. Michael,
 
Greetings!
 
We do apologize for the delay in our reply as we need to check with our counterpart.
 

Further, can you please confirm what type of DA converter is used inside the PCM-M10? Is it a mutlibit, R2R ladder DAC (like PCM1704) or delta-sigma design (like CS4382)?  

 -->    PCM-M10 is using "delta-sigma design" DA converter.
 
 
Can the Line Out from the DAC deliver 96-kHz 24-bit playback to an external amplifier or is playback limited to 48-kHz 24-bit?  

 -->    PCM-M10 does not convert 96kHz/24bit file.
         So, if you recorded with 96kHz/24bit, then Line Out will be  96kHz/24bit.
 
Thank you for the compliments. Comments were passed to engineers and designers.
 
Thank you and we will wait for your reply.
 

Mike 


Edited by zilch0md - 6/28/11 at 11:13pm
post #53 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Is that popcorn buttered?  biggrin.gif  

 

All I know is that the PCM-M10's DAC is a sigma-delta design that can output at 96/24.  The April Music Stello DA100 DAC I'm currently borrowing from Yuceka (Head-Fi member) is also a 96/24 sigma-delta design - and they sound VERY similar to my ears (with both 44.1/16 and 96/24 WAV files), using my 15-Volt powered Stepdance and the LCD-2. That in itself is remarkable when you consider that the Stello DA100 is a $700 desktop DAC (with USB, coaxial, or Toslink inputs), vs. the portable Sony PCM-M10 that sells for $239, typically, and does so much more than DA conversion.


I can relate.  I've since left the 'all DACs sound the same' thread but some DACs do sound alike and I've wondered if they were the same.  I've had the same experience w/ my DACPort compared to the Audio GD stuff w/ the Sabre DAC.  Sounded virtually identical.  I've asked around about the similarities but no responses.  Others heard the two as well and had similar impressions.  Regardless they both sound different than the Wolfson family I've heard (8740/41).  The only DAC I've heard as an upgrade over the DACPort was the 8741 in the PS Audio PWD.  First time I've heard 'digital' sound so naturally expressed in a DAC.

 

I have yet to hear the PCM1704 though.

 

post #54 of 233

No one hears the DAC chip directly. You are listening to analog output stages, even for line-level signals, that are huge distances & devices removed from the DAC itself.

post #55 of 233
Hi jpelg,

I fully understand the point you're making, but I have to add that just as all that circuitry that resides between the DAC and my ears can ruin the sound of a good DAC, it also can't make a bad DAC sound good. We can hear the DAC, good or bad, along with everything else in the component chain.

Mike
post #56 of 233

^+1

post #57 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

We can hear the DAC, good or bad, along with everything else in the component chain.


It's not even that 'we can' but 'we HAVE to'.  That's why I don't even get the DAC debate.  Even if it was as simple as all DACs converting binary to waveforms (which I doubt the engineers at Cirrus, Wolfson, AKM, etc would agree) you still need to hear the implementation.  You can't divorce the two to my knowledge.

 

post #58 of 233

 

Hey all. Mike (zilch0md) was kind enough to loan me his PCM M10 for listening/evaluation. Unfortunately, right about the time it arrived some personal matters came up that kept me from being able to spend the time with it that I'd planned. Before returning it, I was able to do just a bit of listening in my system - which for these brief observations was as follows:
 
1. PCM M10 as source/DAC configured for line out. Source music was 24/96 vinyl and pcm sacd rips.
2. Schiit Lyr with Reflector 6N23P-EV Military Super Cryo Tubes.
3. DT990/600s, K702 (Recabled with SXC) and 'Smeggatrons' (D2K + D7K Cable + D7K Cups + custom tuning by smeggy).
 
What follows are my brief impressions, without the benefit of any real critical listening. My DAC experience is limited to HST MSII, MSII+ and HDP - so keep that in mind.
 
For a portable recorder/DAC, I found the sound coming out of the PCM M10 quite impressive. Of the DACs I've owned, I'd order it this way, worse to best: MSII -> Sony PCMM10 -> MSII+ -> HDP. The DAC in this thing is clearly better than MSII. More separation, better treble (less harsh/roll-off). The bass was fairly well defined, but lacked punch and slam. It's close to MSII+ overall, but has a different signature - (it's lighter, less weight and slam). The DAC in the HDP which I'm using to drive Lyr is a step above. When listening, I couldn't help wondering how it would sound with the benefit of more power.
 
Of the three headphones listed above, I preferred the K702s with this configuration. Given the 'lighter' presentation of the PCM M10 and the 'fatter' sound of the 6N23P tubes in Lyr - It worked out to a fairly even and balanced presentation.
 
Feel free to ask any questions you have. I'll do my best to answer but please remember - my listening time with the PCM M10 was very limited. Mike - thanks again for your generosity in loaning me your system. I wish I could have given it more time.
 
Mike
post #59 of 233

Thanks Mike!

 

I fully understand your time constraints and very much appreciate you're impressions, just the same. 

 

biggrin.gif

 

Mike


Edited by zilch0md - 7/18/11 at 4:19pm
post #60 of 233

No worries Mike! Thanks again.

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