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Sony PCM M10 as portable player? - Page 6

post #76 of 229

Hi Jalo,
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

Great Job, dj nellie and Mike.  I have almost everything that dj has except for the HM801.  However, I do have the Sony PCM D50.  I am somewhat surprised by the finding of the M10/HM801 comparison.  The 801 supposed to have a very good DAC.  I feel the same with the CLAS-it is just more clean and transparent with the CLAS.

 

When I use my PCM-D50, I tried the following combinations:

 

1.  Headphone Out---PCM-D50--headphone out to JH13/ESW10jpn.

2.  Line out---PCM-D50--SR71b/PICO Slim/Protector

3.  Optical OUT---PCM-D5 optical out to-DB1--balance to SR71b--Balance to JH/13/ED8/LCD2/HD800

 

Of the three configurations,  I find the difference between 2 and 3 the most significant.  I loose a lot of graininess that DJ observes with lino out.  So when I by pass the AMP/DAC of the D50, the whole presentation becomes much more refine with more body.

 

I do believe that the M10 may have a better built in dac than my D50 due to the M10 being a newer model.  But if anyone have use of a digital recorder, the recording ability on the D50 is unbelievable.  Thanks again, I have always wonder how the 801 compares.

 

 


Revisiting an earlier post I made to this thread:

 

 

Quote:
Here's an excerpt from a post at this link, where a guy who is apparently experienced at using field recorders compares the playback SQ of the Sony PCM-M10 to its older brother, the D50:

"The big advantage the M10 has over the D50 though is very long battery life (40 hours versus about 20) as well as far better sound out of it's line and headphone jacks, particularly at 48 khz and beyond. The D50 sounds terrible out of the line and headphone jacks - the sound becomes very fatiguing and coarse and anything beyond 24/44.1. Perhaps the DACs are very old technology or something. The M10 sounds fine in these respects though."

 

So, it seems this fellow agrees with your conjecture that the D50's DAC is inferior to that of the newer, but less expensive, M10.  

 

Without having heard it, I'm thoroughly convinced from dj nellie's impressions that the iPod Classic + CLAS is superior to the PCM-M10, and Misterrogers concluded that although the PCM-M10 is nearly the equal of his HRT Music Streamer II+, it falls short of the DAC in his Nuforce HDP.  

 

Going back in this thread earlier still, you can find my notes regarding comparisons I made with tnmike1's 80GB 5.5g iMod, which I found to be less detailed and darker than the PCM-M10 (which correlates with dj nellie finding the PCM-M10 to be bright).  

 

Earlier still I posted that my comparisons to Yuceka's USB-fed April Music Stello DA100 DAC, where I found the PCM-M10 to be almost identical in overall signature, but with a little less detail (98% instead of 100%) and a little less bass extension than what the DA100 DAC offers.  (All of my comparisons were made into a 15-Volt powered Stepdance with LCD-2.)

 

So there you have it - I'm content to not lend it out for any further comparisons, as I feel I have a good handle now on where the PCM-M10's DAC sits relative to other gear.  I've known all along that I very much enjoy the detail and neutrality, but now I'm far less interested in spending money anytime soon to upgrade to a better source.  I'll stick with enjoying 95% of the perfection for 25% of the cost.  We can't all afford a Ferrari F40.  redface.gif

 

Mike

post #77 of 229

 

Links to some huge pics of the PCM-M10:

 

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/Sony-pcm-m10.jpg

 

http://static.musiciansfriend.com/derivates/19/001/319/501/DV020_Jpg_Jumbo_582949_R.jpg

 

http://www.gearnuts.com/images/closeup/xl/1600-PCMM10_detail2.jpg

 

http://img5.pcpop.com/ProductImages/Original/2/2319/002319255.jpg

 

 

post #78 of 229

Mike, I originally also wanted to savage the D50 as a DAP, but after I owned the CLAS, I have no more complaint with ipod SQ.  So now I am a happy camper with the ipod and only uses the D50 for recording purposes. 

 

The only other comparison I am still wanting to know is how my Ipod--CLAS--DB1--SR71b--JH13 (all digitally balanced) compares to JH3a.  I hope someone can do such a comparison.

post #79 of 229

The DAC core of the PCM-D50 is the AK4385 dual-channeller. Granted I got no idea on the DAC core used in the PCM-M10 but as a "lesser" product, I highly doubt that the M10 uses a superior DAC than the D50. Might be the same one, though.

The AK4385, compared to modern-day DAC cores used in music sound-cards, is not spectacular. However as a semi-pro piece of gear (and designed by SONY), I would believe that this chip is much better implemented than some of the better chips in consumer-grade sound-cards.

Oh, one last thing. The M10 "sounds better". Yes. It does not make it a superior DAP. However SONY being SONY, having seen the unorthodox use of the D50 as a DAP, tweaked the M10 a bit to be more DAP-ish. That includes an EQ (apparently). The sound out of the M10 is a bit warmer, but in terms of high-fidelity, "sounds better" hardly means "more fidelity".

 

post #80 of 229

I appreciate the comments above.  Because I have not heard the PCM-M10, I therefore cannot comment about its sound.  But the question did come up when dj nellie mentioned that the PCM-M10 surprisingly come very close to the Hifiman 801.  I asked myself how can that be.  

 

All I knew was that when I run optical out of my D50 into the DB1 (Wolfson 8740 DAC), my music became much cleaner.  So at least I know the Wolfson dac is better than whatever it was in the D50 by a long shot.  I also knew the Hifiman uses an excellent DAC (Burr-Brown 1704UK), it is just hard to believe that the M10 can even come close to Hifiman, but I have no ground to question what dj heard.

post #81 of 229

What kind of a thing would SONY churn out if they threw a WM8740 in there eh?

Pretty sure SONY had its reasons using the AK4385. Still, I believe that it wouldn't be hard "getting close" to the HM-801 level of sound. It's easy to roll-off some treble! Although on an audio recorder that's a terrible thing to do.

post #82 of 229

So here we go. PCM-M10, nekkid.

NOT DONE BY ME

050301.jpg

X-series Walkman LEFT - PCM-M10 RIGHT

050302.jpg

Conclusion:

Like the X-series, the PCM-M10 has no independent DAC chip.

post #83 of 229

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3602 View Post

What kind of a thing would SONY churn out if they threw a WM8740 in there eh?

Pretty sure SONY had its reasons using the AK4385. Still, I believe that it wouldn't be hard "getting close" to the HM-801 level of sound. It's easy to roll-off some treble! Although on an audio recorder that's a terrible thing to do.


Umm...even if I were to accept that the HM-801 has a rolled-off treble, and that it makes an audible difference, there's a bit more to the HM-801's sound.  Have you heard it? 

 

Plus, I didn't say the M10 was "close" to the HM-801 in terms of sound signature, only that I could see how a reasonable person could possibly prefer the M10 over the HM-801 based on personal preference.  I still felt that the HM-801 offered a much wider soundstage, cleaner and more powerful bass, and more refinement in its presentation of detail.  But someone else might like a brighter presentation and less expansive soundstage.


Edited by dj nellie - 8/6/11 at 11:30am
post #84 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

 

Have you heard it?



Yes I have. However, I shall make it very clear that to me, personally, it is pointless arguing with HM-801 users.

Enjoy your expensive piece of carp DAP.

post #85 of 229

I was just trying to understand your reasoning for tossing 2 totally different pieces of equipment together.  No need for the condescension, I don't think that helps anyone trying to learn more about what these sources sound like. 

 

I'm far from a HM-801 fanboy, I will readily admit its flaws.  But it's not as simple as saying "Take a cheap DAC and roll off its treble, that's the HM-801!"

post #86 of 229

Thanks 3602,

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3602 View Post
 

[snip]

 

Conclusion:

Like the X-series, the PCM-M10 has no independent DAC chip.

 

I had never seen those pics before.  

 

Now we know for sure that the PCM-M10 does NOT have the same AK4385 chip as the D50, which some people have have found to be sonically inferior to the M10.

 

Repeating my earlier quote:

 

Quote:
Here's an excerpt from a post at this link, where a guy who is apparently experienced at using field recorders compares the playback SQ of the Sony PCM-M10 to its older brother, the D50:

"The big advantage the M10 has over the D50 though is very long battery life (40 hours versus about 20) as well as far better sound out of it's line and headphone jacks, particularly at 48 khz and beyond. The D50 sounds terrible out of the line and headphone jacks - the sound becomes very fatiguing and coarse and anything beyond 24/44.1. Perhaps the DACs are very old technology or something. The M10 sounds fine in these respects though."

 

Mike

post #87 of 229

3602,

 

In defense of dj nellie, regarding how "close" the PCM-M10 sounds to the HM-801, the following two quotes contain everything dj nellie has posted on the subject:
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post

[snip]

 

Conclusion:

 

Overall, the PCM-M10 is an impressive music player, both for its size and cost but also because it seems (based on the awkward interface and limited format compatibility) that the player was almost an afterthought compared to the recorder.  In terms of pure sound quality, I'm not sure that it belongs in the same class as the CLAS other portables I own--the CLAS seems to have a clear edge in terms of detail retrieval, soundstage, tonal balance, and overall transparency.  But I thought the PCM-M10 measured reasonably well against the HM-801, and the choice between those 2 could be based more upon subjective preference (bright vs. dark, intimate vs. airy/distant) rather than pure technical ability.

 

I have to admit, I wasn't impressed with the PCM-M10 initially.  During brief listening sessions, it came across as somewhat grainy, lacking in detail and precise imaging.  But after doing some closer listening, I began to think that while I still preferred the CLAS and HM-801, the quality gap seemed to narrow and (at least in the case of the HM-801) the differences became more about sound signature.

 

[snip]

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dj nellie View Post
 
Plus, I didn't say the M10 was "close" to the HM-801 in terms of sound signature, only that I could see how a reasonable person could possibly prefer the M10 over the HM-801 based on personal preference.  I still felt that the HM-801 offered a much wider soundstage, cleaner and more powerful bass, and more refinement in its presentation of detail.  But someone else might like a brighter presentation and less expansive soundstage.

 

I hope that I have not misquoted dj nellie in any way, having made this statement earlier:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 
At least in terms of sound quality, ignoring the user interface, with your having found the PCM-M10 to be somewhat competitive with an HM-801, I think we can conclude that the $239 PCM-M10 does offer a lot of bang for the buck...

 

A PCM-M10 is not the equal of an HM-801.  I trust dj nellie's impressions because of the vocabulary used, consistency with what I've heard from other people, and in part, with what I've experienced personally, and lastly, because of dj nellie's experience will a significant inventory of nice gear - check the profile.

 

Compiling all of the impressions posted thus far in this thread, including my own impressions, I'm convinced the proprietary, 96/24-capable, sigma-delta DAC within the Sony PCM-M10 has the following position among other DACs:

 

The PCM-M10 is significantly inferior to the CLAS and Nuforce HDP (making no comparison between the CLAS and the HDP).

 

The PCM-M10 is somewhat competitive with, but still inferior to the HM-801 and HRT Music Streamer II+ (making no comparison between the HM-801 and the Music Streamer II+).

 

The PCM-M10 is competitive with the April Music Stello DA100.

 

The PCM-M10 is superior to the RWA iMod and HRT Music Streamer (making no comparison between the iMod and the Music Streamer).

 

The PCM-M10 is significantly superior to the Sony PCM-D50 and Sansa Clip (making no comparison between the D50 and the Sansa Clip).

 

CLAS and HM-801 comparisons were provided by dj nellie.

Nuforce HDP, HRT Music Streamer II and Music Streamer II+ comparisons were provided by Misterrrogers.

April Music DA100, RWA iMod and Sansa Clip comparisons were my own.

PCM-D50 comparison is from a post by "JonP" at the Steve Hoffman forum.

 

Mike

 

 

 

post #88 of 229


I've just returned a friend's Centrance DACport LX (a DACport sans amp), having spent a solid six hours of listening to it and comparing the following two chains:

 

96/24 and 44.1/16 WAV > Windows 7 laptop with WMP > DACport LX > 15-V Stepdance > LCD-2 Rev.1

vs.

96/24 and 44.1/16 WAV > Sony PCM-M10 Line Out > 15-V Stepdance > LCD-2 Rev.1

 

No contest - the DACPort LX has permanently spoiled my ears and sadly, but perhaps for the best, I'm hearing the PCM-M10's artifacts as if for the first time, because I didn't know they were there until NOT hearing them with the DACport LX.   I'm the proverbial tiger set free, who doesn't want to get back into his cage.

 

I had spent a month listening to the April Music Stello DA100 (USB-attached), concluding that my Sony PCM-M10 Line Out was essentially its equal.  I had accepted the experienced judgments of Misterrogers and dj nellie, who told me my PCM-M10 was not among the best DACs out there. I believed them on good faith.  But now, with my having heard the DACport LX, I've learned first hand what a good (or possibly, a great) DAC sounds like.

 

What's the difference?  In recordings like Michael Hedges' Aerial Boundaries, where a solo acoustical guitar presents very little "work" for the DAC to perform, the PCM-M10 Line Out sounds great - it's hard to distinguish any difference EXCEPT for a lack of smoothness in the highest frequencies - a slight graininess that I didn't know was there until hearing the DACport LX.   But when listening to multiple-instrument classical pieces, like Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C Minor: "Resurrection," the SMEARING of instruments is suddenly obvious. I had no idea what I was missing!  Violins have never sounded better to my ears - they've always, always, sounded "screechy" with most of the gear I've owned over the years - never have they sounded so smooth, yet detailed amidst so many other instruments competing for the DAC's attention. The PCM-M10's DAC simply cannot separate all the voices - it just blends them into a blob of sound - and I'm talking about the PCM-M10 that still sounds the equal of an April Music Stello DA100 to my ears!   Another excruciatingly obvious example of the DACport LX's superiority can be heard with any of the tracks from Daft Punk's Tron Legacy, but "Derezzed" and "Tron Legacy (End Titles)" make the comparison a no-brainer.  Aside from the obvious differences in detail and transparency, the DACport LX just "feels" better in a lot of subtle ways for which, frankly, I lack the vocabulary to describe. It's just an all-around improvement over the PCM-M10, across the board.

 

Alas, the DACport LX must be tethered to a laptop or netbook.  It's simply not as portable as my PCM-M10, but I want one, just the same!  I suppose I'll have to make room for a laptop on the table beside my recliner.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

(Updates in red)

 

The PCM-M10 is significantly inferior to the Centrance DACport LX, the CLAS and Nuforce HDP (making no comparison between the DACport LX, the CLAS, and the HDP).

 

The PCM-M10 is somewhat competitive with, but still inferior to the HM-801 and HRT Music Streamer II+ (making no comparison between the HM-801 and the Music Streamer II+).

 

The PCM-M10 is competitive with the April Music Stello DA100.

 

The PCM-M10 is superior to the RWA iMod and HRT Music Streamer (making no comparison between the iMod and the Music Streamer).

 

The PCM-M10 is significantly superior to the Sony PCM-D50 and Sansa Clip (making no comparison between the D50 and the Sansa Clip).

 

CLAS and HM-801 comparisons were provided by dj nellie.

Nuforce HDP, HRT Music Streamer II and Music Streamer II+ comparisons were provided by Misterrrogers.

Centrance DACport LX, April Music DA100, RWA iMod and Sansa Clip comparisons were my own.

PCM-D50 comparison is from a post by "JonP" at the Steve Hoffman forum.

 

 


Mike

 

post #89 of 229

One of the awesome aspects of this hobby is how a new piece of kit can recalibrate your take on what's good, better, best! The Bifrost DAC has done that for me (specifically in comparison to the MSII+ and the HDP). Once our ears know better, it's hard to tolerate less. I've been interested in the DACport LX - appreciate your impressions Mike.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post


I've just returned a friend's Centrance DACport LX (a DACport sans amp), having spent a solid six hours of listening to it and comparing the following two chains:

 

96/24 and 44.1/16 WAV > Windows 7 laptop with WMP > DACport LX > 15-V Stepdance > LCD-2 Rev.1

vs.

96/24 and 44.1/16 WAV > Sony PCM-M10 Line Out > 15-V Stepdance > LCD-2 Rev.1

 

No contest - the DACPort LX has permanently spoiled my ears and sadly, but perhaps for the best, I'm hearing the PCM-M10's artifacts as if for the first time, because I didn't know they were there until NOT hearing them with the DACport LX.   I'm the proverbial tiger set free, who doesn't want to get back into his cage.

 

I had spent a month listening to the April Music Stello DA100 (USB-attached), concluding that my Sony PCM-M10 Line Out was essentially its equal.  I had accepted the experienced judgments of Misterrogers and dj nellie, who told me my PCM-M10 was not among the best DACs out there. I believed them on good faith.  But now, with my having heard the DACport LX, I've learned first hand what a good (or possibly, a great) DAC sounds like.

 

What's the difference?  In recordings like Michael Hedges' Aerial Boundaries, where a solo acoustical guitar presents very little "work" for the DAC to perform, the PCM-M10 Line Out sounds great - it's hard to distinguish any difference EXCEPT for a lack of smoothness in the highest frequencies - a slight graininess that I didn't know was there until hearing the DACport LX.   But when listening to multiple-instrument classical pieces, like Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C Minor: "Resurrection," the SMEARING of instruments is suddenly obvious. I had no idea what I was missing!  Violins have never sounded better to my ears - they've always, always, sounded "screechy" with most of the gear I've owned over the years - never have they sounded so smooth, yet detailed amidst so many other instruments competing for the DAC's attention. The PCM-M10's DAC simply cannot separate all the voices - it just blends them into a blob of sound - and I'm talking about the PCM-M10 that still sounds the equal of an April Music Stello DA100 to my ears!   Another excruciatingly obvious example of the DACport LX's superiority can be heard with any of the tracks from Daft Punk's Tron Legacy, but "Derezzed" and "Tron Legacy (End Titles)" make the comparison a no-brainer.  Aside from the obvious differences in detail and transparency, the DACport LX just "feels" better in a lot of subtle ways for which, frankly, I lack the vocabulary to describe. It's just an all-around improvement over the PCM-M10, across the board.

 

Alas, the DACport LX must be tethered to a laptop or netbook.  It's simply not as portable as my PCM-M10, but I want one, just the same!  I suppose I'll have to make room for a laptop on the table beside my recliner.

 


Mike

 



 

post #90 of 229

Misterrogers,

 

I'd sure be interested to hear your comparison of the Bifrost to the DACport LX!   Please do post to the Centrance DACport thread if you ever get the opportunity. 

 

This whole DAC discovery process has, for me, become analogous to my conviction that there's a BBQ joint somewhere here in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area that I would surely enjoy more than any BBQ I've ever eaten - if only I could try them all!  

 

Audio is brutal that way.  The majority of us will never know what we're missing because we're stuck with listening to a tiny fraction of the nearly endless combinations of available hardware. 

 

Mike

 

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