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Sony PCM M10 as portable player? - Page 7

post #91 of 233

 

Hi zilch0md, thank you for your feedback on the Dacport LX. I'm currently swaying between the LX and nuforce hdp. I'm wondering which is better.

And, if my memory didn't go wrong, you tested the LX amplessly. How does it sound? I'm thinking of the possibility of using my er4b, k271, and k701 this way.

Thanks again!

post #92 of 233

 

I wouldn't feel comfortable recommending the use of a DACport LX without an amp for anything other than fairly sensitive IEMs.   There's just not enough power to drive your AKGs.  

 

Even though the volume might seem sufficient at first listen, I found the LX to be really bright with my LCD-2 and even more so with my Sennheiser HD280.  The reason they sound bright is because there's just not enough power to drive the lower mids and bass, but plenty enough for the higher frequencies.  

 

The DACport LX sounded great going directly into my SE530s - it was incredibly transparent, to say the least.  The ultimate transparent amp is no amp at all.  Problem is, you need really efficient transducers.  That said, it's still far from ideal because you have to control the volume with your software - I found it really difficult to get the volume low enough for some tracks I played. 

 

The line level output of a DAC is very loud, but there's just not much power behind it.  I'm guessing here, but I think it's a matter of having lots of voltage but not much amperage, thus not enough Watts to drive anything that's inefficient.

 

In summary - You might enjoy the LX with your IEMs, but not with either of the AKGs.  

 

Mike

post #93 of 233
Resurrecting an old thread. I am thinking about a field recorder, which is how I ended up here. My comment, though, is on the dacport. I started with an LX, and traded up to th regular dacport with amp. The amp and volume pot make it much more versatile. Set the volume at 1 o'clock, and it is essentially an LX.
post #94 of 233

Continuing our off-topic discussion of using a Centrance LX without an amp...

 

Yes, I read a post once where someone said that a Centrance support rep had said that (see the post, above).  It seems you could get more bang for the buck with a DACport than with a DACport LX, if it's true that the LX doesn't really have a line out bypassing the amp circuitry, but Headphonia's review suggests that SQ of the LX is better than that of the DACport - which might be due to his expectations of line out quality vs. headphone out, more than the reality of what he is hearing.

 

Since making my earlier recommendation, regarding the use of a DACport LX without an amp to drive IEMs, I've learned from multiple sources that when you use software to reduce the volume heard with IEMs or headphones plugged directly into a DAC, you are forcing a reduction of the bit depth and thus, you are effectively compressing the dynamic range of the recording.  That's why the documentation of nearly all USB DACs advise you to turn the software volume controls all the way up to supply the DAC with the hottest signal possible, using the volume control of an amp that's fed by the DAC to adjust the levels heard at your ears.

 

So...  that's another reason to get the DACport instead of the DACport LX, if you're thinking of attaching efficient IEMs to the LX and using software to reduce the volume.

 

Getting back on topic...

 

IMG_8229_Sony_PCM_M10_Millian_Acousitcs_Interconnect_iBasso_PB2_Toxic_Cables_Silver_Poison_Audeze_LCD-2_v1-1024x768.jpeg

 

For portable operations, I've been using the Sony PCM-M10 for 18 months now - it's still going strong, despite almost daily use, and I've yet to find anything that comes anywhere near close to offering the quality of its proprietary delta-sigma DAC for the money.  I'm completely content with the Sony PCM-M10 line out, even though I've spent many hours comparing it to the admittedly superior, but not portable, DACport LX, as well as other USB-attached DACs. Yes, it's not the best DAC I've heard, but it is definitely the best portable DAC I've heard.

 

I recently Rockbox'd my Sansa Clip+ and revisited comparisons with the Sony PCM-M10 - feeding both of them into my iBasso PB2 with balanced cables to the LCD-2.   This isn't saying much for some people, but for those of you who are familiar with the Clip+, the Sony PCM-M10 line out offers a higher voltage input to your amp and a lot more detail even with 16/44.1 recordings (not to mention 24/96).  But again, the user interface of the PCM-M10 is not designed for music playback - using it as a DAP is awkward,to say the least.

 

Mike


Edited by zilch0md - 7/10/12 at 6:16am
post #95 of 233

I noticed that the LX got as hot (ok warm) as the regular dacport when in use.  I really think the LX is a dacport without a volume pot, and the volume fixed at line out level.  I could be wrong, but that is what I have come to believe.

 

I did just get a PCM-M10.  I really like it so far, have not done much recording yet.  Playback is quite nice, though it does hiss with my 1964 ears quads, does not hiss with my Beyer DT1350's.  It sounds really great line out into my Pico Slim (absolutely no hiss with the quads, which hiss like mad with a whole bunch of sources/amp sections).  I am considering offloading my iPod touch in favor of the Sony, though nothing bets the apple user interface, at least for me, and I like having 64 gb of music.

 

As for recording, I've done a little with the on board mics.  I expect to own either the sound man or soundprofessionals.com binaural mics soon, and have a set of AT853 cardioid mics that I haven't tried yet - I don't really have a stand or bar set up yet.

 

I'm looking forward to doing a bit of taping in the future.


Edited by aamefford - 7/13/12 at 10:26pm
post #96 of 233

Just an update - I have run the PCM-M10 line out into a Headamp Pico Slim, into my 1964Ears Quads and into the Beyer DT1350's.  Very nice, gets rid of the amp hiss into my Quads.  It is on par with line out from a 4th gen iPod Touch, at least to my ears.  This makes it a nice player option.

post #97 of 233

Sweet!  It's nice to see someone else using the PCM-M10 without complaining about the user interface.

 

It's not as convenient as a DAP for playing music, but it sure sounds great!

post #98 of 233

The interface is certainly not apple worthy (I'm a fanboy, but Apple's UI is always excellent to me), but it isn't bad at all.  Pretty straight forward, but not that convenient / intuitive.  Definitely not bad, though.

post #99 of 233

I'm considering a Sony PCM-M10 but I'm wondering how it compares to a Cowon.  I'm surprised no one has mentioned a Cowon in this thread.  I was under the impression that they're the best-sounding DAP's around, but maybe that's within a lower price point?


Edited by headfirocks - 8/25/12 at 12:13am
post #100 of 233

I just don't have any experience with Cowon's.  I do recall reading that when their EQ function is disabled, the frequency response is not flat - there's a fall-off in the bass frequencies that starts with about a 3 dB attenuation at 20 Hz, then smoothly increasing to 0 dB at about 200 Hz, where the response remains flat for the rest of the spectrum.

 

Some people have conjectured that this very smooth fall-off was purposely designed into the Cowons to force the use of the built-in EQ - to improve (flatten) the bass response - thereby making the EQ function seem indispensable, relative to DAPs that don't offer an EQ.  Who knows?  But I do recall seeing an oscilloscope graph of a Cowon's frequency response in a review that I read - where the "weak" bass can be seen when the EQ is disabled.

 

Do any of the Cowons offer line out (bypassing the internal amplifier), or do they only have headphone out?  If they only have headphone out, you'd better like the way the built-in amplifier sounds, because you'll only be amplifying its signature by adding an external amp.

 

Mike

post #101 of 233

I don't remember if this is posted elsewhere in this thread, but www.taperssection.com has an enormous string of threads on the PCM-M10.  It is a very loved digital recorder over there, both for open (venue/band allowed) and stealth (sneak it in, and act like a mic stand) live taping.  A pretty versatile little recorder for sure.

post #102 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by aamefford View Post

I don't remember if this is posted elsewhere in this thread, but www.taperssection.com has an enormous string of threads on the PCM-M10.  It is a very loved digital recorder over there, both for open (venue/band allowed) and stealth (sneak it in, and act like a mic stand) live taping.  A pretty versatile little recorder for sure.

 

Yes, it's a recorder first, and a very good one.  It's a shame more people don't take the plunge and sample what it has to offer as a DAP, though.

 

I've been using my PCM-M10 almost daily now for 21 months straight. I've been unable to find a better portable source (but I have no problem believing the iPod Classic -> Cypher Labs Algorhythm Solo (CLAS) would overwhelm the Sony PCM-M10 - at easily $950 (with interconnects) vs. $249 for the PCM-M10 - not to mention the difference in weight and volume).

 

In comparing the PCM-M10 to both portable and desktop sources, in my opinion, for my tastes, with my equipment chain and my ears, the Line-Out from the Sony PCM-M10's proprietary delta-sigma DAC outperforms a Rockboxed Sansa Clip+ that I own and use only with my Shure SE530 when I want to keep things very compact and light, a Red Wine Audio iMod I borrowed for a couple of weeks, an iBasso DB2 (balanced out to my iBasso PB2), and a JDS Labs Standalone Objective DAC (ODAC).  These last two DACs are currently in my possession, having ordered them recently for comparison to a friend's Centrance DACport LX that I've borrowed on many occasions.

 

I found the Sony PCM-M10 Line-Out to be nearly dead-even with a $700 April Music Stello DA100 that I borrowed for about 30 days.

 

But the Sony PCM-M10 is bettered, in my opinion - my equipment - my ears - my tastes, by only one DAC that I've personally had a lot of experience with:  The Centrance DACport LX - and the gap is readily detectable - I love the DACport LX.

 

Thus, I'm willing to say that, in my opinion - for my tastes, my equipment chain, my ears - the PCM-M10 Line-Out ranks as NUMBER TWO among the following sources with which I've spent a lot of time auditioning - not listed in any specific order, beyond the DACport LX, holding the number one position:

 

Centrance DACport LX

April Music Stello DA100

RWA iMod

Rockboxed Sansa Clip+

iBasso DB2 (balanced out)

JDS Labs Objective DAC (a.k.a ODAC)

 

Source -> 16-Volt powered iBasso PB2 with LME49990 op-amps in L/R + HA5002 buffers (balanced out) -> Toxic Cables Silver Poision -> LCD-2 Rev. 1

 

Earlier in this thread, I've reported comparisons of my PCM-M10 to other sources, performed by two head-fi members who borrowed my PCM-M10:  dj nellie and Misterrogers.  

 

Revisiting their findings, let me summarize by saying that one or the other of them found the PCM-M10 Line-Out to be inferior to the CLAS and NuForce HDP, but competitive with the HiFiMan HM-801 and Music Streamer II+.  And, for the record, a reviewer (at the Steve Hoffman forum) of the older, more expensive Sony PCM-D50, finds the Sony PCM-M10 to offer superior playback quality.

 

Lastly, don't forget that this $249 DAP offers 24-bit/96 kHz portable playback - and the ability to make 24/96 recordings in the field (as aamefford has pointed out)!

 

I'll be posting a review later, once I'm finished with my testing - which will include the results of a blind study I did with the help of a friend, yesterday - comparing the ODAC, DB2, and Centrance LX - all of which are currently in my possession.  See this post in the DB2/PB2 impressions thread.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

post #103 of 233

I generally use my iPod touch and pico slim combo, I like the apple interface (fanboy) - but I'll switch over and try out the PCM-M10 some more.  At quick testing, I found them on a similar level.  I'll try and get a bit of time with the PCM-M10, and see what I think a bit more in depth.  If you put the PCM-M10 at the level of the dacport - you give it pretty high praise.  

 

I also owned a DacPort LX and traded to the DacPort with the class A amp (I actually believe the LX has the same class A amp, without the volume pot).  I really liked it.  I have since sold it as I wasn't using the laptop rig much.  I now am plying with an Apogee Duet 2, which is cool, and is also making me miss my DacPort.

 

I'll stop back in with comments.  It will be a while, as I am lucky to get an hour a week of good listening time.

post #104 of 233

You must be very busy - with only an hour a week for serious listening.  I manage at least two hours per day, on average. 

 

Just a clarification - I consider the DACport LX to be far considerably better than the Sony PCM-M10's Line-Out but, as I wrote above, the Sony PCM-M10, still comes 2nd after the LX, before all the other sources I've spent time with.

 

I've heard of the Apogee Duet, but I'm not familiar with it.  Are you using it as a desktop DAC?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

post #105 of 233
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

You must be very busy - with only an hour a week for serious listening.  I manage at least two hours per day, on average. 

 

Just a clarification - I consider the DACport LX to be far considerably better than the Sony PCM-M10's Line-Out but, as I wrote above, the Sony PCM-M10, still comes 2nd after the LX, before all the other sources I've spent time with.

 

I've heard of the Apogee Duet, but I'm not familiar with it.  Are you using it as a desktop DAC?

 

Thanks,

 

Mike

 

Yup - traveling desktop dac / headphone amp, and yup, working 10+ hours a day, 6 or 7 days a week lately.  No wonder US productivity is up.  Those that still have jobs are working like dogs...

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