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Help Deciding between full RWA iMod portable rig and HiFiMan HM-801, what is the ultimate rig...

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

So it seems to be the general consensus that the HiFiMan is one of the best DAPs out there my only issue with it is it's size.  For around $500 I can get a RWA iMod 240G 5.5G, of course I will need to get a good LOD (probably ALO) and possibly an external portable VCap Dock (but that is a lot of money and a huge rig that would also not be so portable if I bought the VCap, fanny-pack anyone??).  But I have been informed that the iMod has it's limitations based on Apple's DAP.  Now I know this question has been raised more than once (actually too many times to count) in this forum and after talking to numerous people it all seems to be about personal preference.  My biggest question with the HiFiMan is that once utilizing the line out feature doesn't this disable or bypass the internal amp which is supposedly top notch.  I have read of many rigs consisting of the HiFiMan + RSA Protector and I don't understand why they would do this unless both the internal and Protector amps are utilized.  At the moment I currently own a iPhone 3G-S, iPod 160G Classic, iPod 5.5G 240G (just ordered and unmodded as of now, trying to decide between DIYmod and RWA iMod...probably will go with RWA because they include a warranty but have heard there are better mods available from fellow head-fier's) and quite a few portable amps: P51, RX, Arrow 12HE, TTVJSlim, PicoSlim, Vulcan VB and Lisa III Std.  I apologize in advance if this thread is getting old I just need some help.  I have read through the following comparison: http://www.headfonia.com/?p=2783&page=4 multiple times and many more reviews of various PMPs and portable rigs.  Until the headfonia comparison I was actually considering get an S:Flo2 until I found out it was lacking in the bass category and I am somewhat of a "bass-head".  On top of this I have spent countless hours searching this forum and am still not sure which route to go.  Also, I am a very indecisive person and just got into high end audio a few months ago.  I mainly own IEMs: Monster Turbine Pro Golds/Coppers/MDs, Sennheiser IE8, Westone 3/UM3X, Hippo VB/Shroom-i and Beats by Dre Studios.  Soon, probably at CanJam, I am going to sack up and get the JH-16 but for now I want to get the ultimate portable rig, bass is a necessity for me so that rules out the S:Flo2 but I have also considered othere PMPs such as an iRiver, Sony, Sansa or a Cowon.  Again I am sorry if this is becoming a repetitive question but I have yet to find any concrete answers.  I am willing to sell my 5.5G 240G, Classic and some amps if need be but the more research I do the more confused I become.  Please, could someone comment on the afore mentioned rigs who have a/b tested them and direct me in the correct route.  Most of my music is not in ALAC/Lossless format but I am in the process of re-ripping my music, some of it I no longer have but basically want the best rig for the longterm.  That's why I bought the 240G iPod because of its storage capabilities, but it would be nice to not have to wear cargo-pants or a fanny-pack to carry my portable rig around.  I am open to any suggestions, thanks again.


Edited by sdotfire - 5/12/10 at 3:25am
post #2 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdotfire View Post

... bass is a necessity for me so that rules out the S:Flo2 ...

That Headfonia article is the only review I have read, or comment for that matter saying the s:flo2 has bellow average bass quality. Do not rule out the player solely on that one article.

That's my only comment, I don't own any of the players you are talking about so I won't add my opinion on them.

post #3 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero Kid View Post



That Headfonia article is the only review I have read, or comment for that matter saying the s:flo2 has bellow average bass quality. Do not rule out the player solely on that one article.

That's my only comment, I don't own any of the players you are talking about so I won't add my opinion on them.


Bass is really good on the SFLO:2 the comments about bass in this article came way out of left field,  no one else has said anything but praise about the bass,  and multiple RMAA tests show no bass drop off at all. I've had  the SFLO:2 a few months now and bass is very powerfull, very crisp and  clear and not muddy at all, it is also layered very well and goes pretty low.

 

Most owners of the SFLO:2 that have read this article are puzzled why they did not like the bass.

post #4 of 43

^ My point exactly.

post #5 of 43

The hifiman is gonna be smaller then any Imod+lod+amp combo you can come up with.. so it makes no sense to put it down for its size.. likewise when I had the imod+amp combo, the stress produced on the LOD was always an issue for me.. it'll produce stress on both jacks (the 30pin side and the input side) unless you make sure you secure it in such a way that it weight never falls on it (Ie, you're going to need a special carrying pack for it)

 

As for the lineout on the hifiman, yes it does bypass the internal amplifier which is exactly the point of the line out.. you don't want to use the internal amplifier then amp it again with the protector.. it would increase the noise considerably and double amping is generally considered a no-no.  Also the internal amplifier is not top-notch.. its pretty good but there is room for improvement (fang from head-direct is supposedly working on an 'ultra high end amp' bay for it).  The protector is obviously a better amp though only if you're going to use it in balanced mode.


Edited by Bojamijams - 5/12/10 at 11:06am
post #6 of 43

maybe my ultrasones and amp help but the sflo2 bass is amazing ,low and well defined bass ,the thing never gets congested either ,where my cowon used to get a bit messy with more complex tracks

post #7 of 43

Here is the ultimate rig:

28945_120952537921062_100000189506868_296610_4824446_n.jpg


Edited by Sonic 748i - 5/12/10 at 1:21pm
post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 

Maybe I will give the S:Flo2 or HiFiMan a shot.  I just wish the HiFiMan came with the option of not having an internal amp since it seems a lot of people are using other amps.  It would make the HiFiMan a much more affordable option. 

 

Something about having my entire music collection in Lossless format in the palm of my hand, 240G iMod, was just too inticing... but the RWA iMod is something that is becoming outdated and its too bulky/expensive to other conceivable options.  With the equipment I currently own I would either have to have someone on head-fi mod it ~$100 or $250 RWA iMod then buy a good LOD (another $100-200) and possibly the port. VCap dock (another $350) then a mini-to-mini (another $100+).  That just seems like overkill if I am only going to see a minor improvement. 

 

Why can't Apple just make a good DAP, I am so Apple orientented that this seemed like the best option at first.  But now I see iMods and Cowon DAPs being sold in the trade forums to be upgraded to either a HiFiMan or something to that accord.  What is the point of the iMod?  I mean the LOD feature bypasses it's internal DAP and that leads me to believe that my 5.5G or Classic iPod is good as is with a good LOD and amp.  I think I will wait until CanJam to hear some of these players for myself before making a bold decision. 

 

Who is a good head-fier to get a DIYMod from?  I was thinking about Qusp/Twisted Cables it's just that he is in Australia and shipping costs would be high...anyone have another viable option? 

 

@Sonic748i:  That does seem like a great rig but what's the point of using the HiFiMan as opposed to another player?  I thought the whole idea behind it was that there was no amp needed, I guess the balanced output is your reasoning but wouldn't the S:Flo2 handle the job pretty similarly?  I guess you probably haven't heard both but I really don't want to invest nearly $800 in a PMP if I am not going to utilize it's internal amp, which is the whole point of it....or at least I thought it was. 

post #9 of 43
Thread Starter 

I almost always opt to use my iPhone simply because I ALWAYS have it on me, and paired with any of my amps and a good IEM they sound great....I was kinda just wondering how much better a full "ultimate" rig would sound in comparison to my current set-ups.  CanJam here I come!!! 

post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdotfire View Post

 

@Sonic748i:  That does seem like a great rig but what's the point of using the HiFiMan as opposed to another player?  I thought the whole idea behind it was that there was no amp needed, I guess the balanced output is your reasoning but wouldn't the S:Flo2 handle the job pretty similarly?  I guess you probably haven't heard both but I really don't want to invest nearly $800 in a PMP if I am not going to utilize it's internal amp, which is the whole point of it....or at least I thought it was. 

Good point, but the reason I bypass the internal amplifier of the HiFiMAN is because the internal amplifier is the bottleneck as of now. I'm still utilizing that high end DAC in the HiFiMAN. The DAC in the HiFiMAN as of now tops the DAC of any other portable media device.
 

post #11 of 43

Have to agree here: the S:Flo has very good bass quality. I mean that article is of course subjective as any review, but dear me... the S:Flo is very nice for bass. It has its share of problems, but I'd take it over some of the others in the article for bass quality, especially with balanced armature earphones.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swanlee View Post




Bass is really good on the SFLO:2 the comments about bass in this article came way out of left field,  no one else has said anything but praise about the bass,  and multiple RMAA tests show no bass drop off at all. I've had  the SFLO:2 a few months now and bass is very powerfull, very crisp and  clear and not muddy at all, it is also layered very well and goes pretty low.

 

Most owners of the SFLO:2 that have read this article are puzzled why they did not like the bass.

post #12 of 43

Add me to the 's:flo2 has bass' crowd. It's better than my iPhone 3GS and MUCH better than my ancient Sony. You can easily EQ it too if your IEMs require it, which produces much better results than the old Sony.

post #13 of 43

As for the original questions, I was in the same predicament but I just went with the s:flo2 because it was so affordable, and paired with a portable amp like the Headstage arrow and a right-angled mini-to-mini you're talking about something iPhone sized but twice the thickness - still relatively portable - but not hyper expensive. A pouch for that to go in my bag that has a slot for the little MicroSD holder I bought and I'd be laughing.

 

It's unfortunate nobody really makes high-capacity players, although if the specs of newer flash memory cards are accurate, in future you will be able to have more than enough storage on a card, and I'm sure a DAP/PMP maker will take advantage of this. Right now though, options are limited, hence why I went for the s:flo2 rather than the Hifiman. If I want to upgrade down the line, a £100 player isn't nearly as wallet-unfriendly as a £4-500 one.

post #14 of 43
Thread Starter 

So where can I purchase the S:Flo2, mp4nation.com?  I have heard of pre-ordering the third generation of this PMP and still waiting, I do not want to get an older version.  I think for the price I am going to give it a shot, also since I have a 4G iPod I am going to attempt a DIYmod and then move to the 5.5G if I am successful.  From my understanding, the mod only costs about $20....I know RWA has a warranty for their versions but it is just such a big investment.  Also, I can try to make some LODs instead of spending all this money on ALO Audio equipment.  This is a much cheaper and viable option, I just want to make sure I am doing the best DIYmod (on par with RWA iMod)....any suggestions as to who I should contact?  I have read through most of the thread about it so I have a pretty good idea on to how it's done but am again open to any advice.  Thanks.

post #15 of 43
Thread Starter 

The HiFiMan is just too expensive as of right now, if it blows me away at CanJam...I hope it's going to be there on display....then I will go that route.  But for now I am on a budget and can't justify investing that much money in a portable rig when there are so many helpful people out there providing tutorials and help for DIYmod and making custom LODs.

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