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What is the best mp3 player in terms of best sound quality in your opinion? - Page 2

post #16 of 122


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by revenge View Post

HM-801 for MX400? Are you all out of your minds? It's all S'Flos, HifiMans and Clips on every single thread, in every single forum these days. What is going on?

 

Sonic boy, right now I have a JH13, a UM3X, an Ed.8 and a HF2 next to me. I have a Benchmark and a Lavry on my side. I have a Raptor and a Phonitor in fair distance. A serious Naim player on a shelf, next to my Naim/Neat main system. I have more than 10,000 euros to spend but you know what: I am not going to buy your player. I am not going to look like a twerp carrying a brick with a prehistorical design in my pocket, dragging the charger in a trolley because the battery will die in less time then that of my Vaio, I am not going to carry 150 tiny SD cards because your high-end masterpiece has less capacity then a 20$ DAP.  And even if I could live with all these shortcomings, then what? You're going to tell me I need to pay another 1000 dollars because your fantastic player can't even drive my IEMs straight out of its pathetic HO?! And then a certain Chinese manufacturer has the guts to sell me another crap amplifier to compliment as badly (it's not me, it's users who have actually bought the Game who say it) my IEMs? Are you serious? Are you absolutely, 100% serious? Because if you do, I pitty you.

 

For the people who live in this world and want good value and usability for their money, I have three portable players right now, each with its own strenghts and weaknesses.

The latest Ipod Classic is definitely a hit, it has much improved in SQ compared to its predecessors and it still has the best interface in the world, the best support, the largest number of accessories, including several docks that can feed a digital signal to an external (a proper one, not the above) DAC. Even with JH13 Pro, the new Classic is almost hiss free and the battery life is in the 30 hours range. It's no high-end, it's not a Naim experience in any way, but it's entirely enjoyable.

D2 comes second (soon I will get an S9 so I will be able to tell you more about the new generation of BBE+ effects) with great format support, a huge battery life (about two weeks), excellent SQ and an impressive power on HO, capable of driving even serious headphones to decent levels. It sounds kind of flat and lifeless with everything off but once you start playing with BBE, I can guarantee that you will find something to suit your tastes. The only problem with BBE - the sound becomes a tad digital, cold, analytical so I would pair it carefully, headphone wise. More hiss than the Ipod Classic with JH13 Pro but still low and bearable.

Sony X1060 is a great player in many respects, looks and feels great, the Amoled screen is gorgeous, its responsiveness is second to none, the sound is impressive (and probably better than both the above) but there are two big problems: first of all, you are stuck with mp3. Secondly, the hiss. Big, fat, annoying, almost unbearable. If you plan to use it with a HF2 for instance, it's a beautiful match and a great player. For high sensitivity IEMs, forget it.  

 

These are, as far as I am concerned, the players of the moment, the players I can easily carry in a pocket, that offer decent capacity and battery life (more than 30 hours) and a usable interface. I have tried, by the way, several portable amps and, while they certainly tweak the sound (I wouldn't say improve), I wouldn't call it "the next level", "night and day", "goosebumps" etc. The kids to fall for all the hype are the ones ho have never owned a decent setup at home.

 

Besides the whole idea of high-end in a train or on a plain is ridiculous, plain ridiculous. Get one of the above for the plain/train, and buy a decent DAC/amplifier for home. My Benchmark DAC1 HDR, on the lowest gain setting for headphone out, drives JH13 Pro beautifully, far better than any portable DAP/amp will ever be able to. Because it's only if you do the math of Mr Sonic's rig: 800 for the 8th portable wonder of the world, 300 the Twag balanced (this never fails to make me lough, by the way) cable, 500 the Protector, you realize how far the madness can go and how much you can get for the money.

 

Spend wisely!  


Pictures make the HiFiMAN look larger than what it really is in real life. It's thinner than iPod's with amplifiers mounted on the backside of it. Which most people use as their portable rig yet it sounds waaaaay better.  

 

A 8 hour battery life may seem short to you, but you must need to understand. The components inside the HiFiMAN were never in a portable device before. These components are found in full sized DAC's and AMP's plugged into a wall. These components are power hungry. Try putting these components inside of a iPod which can easily be done and they wouldn't reproduce music longer than 5-10 minutes.  80% of the HiFiMAN's weight and size is due to that HUGE battery. Plug that HiFiMAN battery into a iPod and you've got yourself an iPod that won't need charging for the next couple of weeks. Anyways, 8 hours is more than enough for me.

 

You know, they have 32gb SD cards right? You do know how many songs at average 32gb's can hold? You do know that you wouldn't listen to 32gb's of music in one day...Everyday, tag along a different SD card. I would rather have external UNLIMITED memory than internal LIMITED memory any day. The HiFiMAN has enough power to push a pair of HD800's to acceptable sound quality and listening levels. The GAME amp was made especially for IEM's to give you better control of the volume because of it's lower gain along with improved channel balance. Due to the extreme sensitivity of IEM's.

 

The more portable DAP's ( iPod, Cowon, Sony ) can have okay sound but they can and will cripple your high end custom and universal earphone you paid so much money on.

Also I used to own a Grace M902 which is comparable to the Benchmark in sound quality and I preferred the sound quality of the HiFiMAN, so I sold the Benchmark. My versatile rig as of now sounds absolutely incredible. Plus, it can be bought outside with me in a small camera bag and I've got a home setup sound outside. I love it.


Edited by Sonic 748i - 5/15/10 at 8:52pm
post #17 of 122

Sorry, but your rant(& anyone elses) about "hi-end" portable for the 'train ride' (or whatever) misses the whole point when the discussion is about available SQ. Just because this is where you tend to do your 'MP3 player'(I refuse to ever listen to listen to MP3 or any 'lossy' bit rates, I tried a few times & ended up thinking "Why bother?". I won't buy any music that is not well recorded ! I refuse to compromise the recorded quality by compressing it to fit on a tiny player that has to weigh "micro k.gs" .) , it's not necessarily where we all do our listening. Even if it was, who really is complaining that their SQ might be better than they need ? Some of the mainstream sources you mention are'nt that particularly "good sounding" to some of us . ! So I'm guessing here , (& I'm just guessing) (Sarcasm, you say ?), that is why threads like this exist. I listen to a very decent home music system, I don't see the necessity to compromise how much SQ I can get when I'm out just to have all "my Tunes" with me (Oops! was that another jab at that computer co. that thinks they know how to make music players?) 

post #18 of 122

Whatever makes you happy, Sonic. Congratulations and my apologies for being abrupt.  But as well as the HifiMan might sound, it doesn't fit my bill. I am away from home for weeks so I need a large music library. Since most of my music is in loseless format, 32Gb means little to me. I spend long hours on trains/ planes so I need a strong battery. And since most of my current portable listening is done via JH13 Pro (not necessarily because I prefer it to other headphones, but because of the isolation), neither the regular, nor the Game amplifier are good enough for me. Also, if a bag is convenient for you, fine. I can only afford to carry with me a small player (preferably in a pocket) and a tiny charger (none would be even better, as most players can be charged from a USB socket these days). 

 

For the kind of money you pay for a Hifiman, I expect all the above: a Rockbox player if not better user interface wise, a larger capacity, a smaller form factor, a long battery life (at least 30 hours) and a proper embedded amplifier for my JH13 Pro. If the Hifiman can't meet these requirements, if it will never be on par with your Protector or a Slim in the headphone amplifier department and if you still have to spend big money and drag with you boxes/cables (not to mention the charger), then Hifiman has simply failed its target which was, is, an all in one portable solution.

   

Even for home use I much prefer the new Squeezebox Touch connected to a proper DAC (Grace, as you probably know, is not quite on par with Lavry/ Benchmark as a digital converter).

 

To finish this rant, I have no intention to trash the Hifiman. I still believe it's a great idea on paper. But for all the reasons above and a few more, it's just not there yet. It will take time and, unless other people (like Ray) get involved, it will never be what it could and should be. Even if it will, I wonder about the price of a future Hifiman with an embedded Protector...  

post #19 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic 748i View Post

The more portable DAP's ( iPod, Cowon, Sony ) can have okay sound but they can and will cripple your high end custom and universal earphone you paid so much money on.
 

The iPod Classic has good sound quality, to say that it will "cripple" your earphones is  hyperbolic. The fact that the you need to carry the hifiman in a bag makes me laugh, I thought my ancient Rio Karma was huge.

post #20 of 122

First of all the title of this thread is the best mp3 player. Nobody has even touched the loseless concept.

The user who started the topic has, by the way, a pair of MX400. The same people praise the same supracalifragilistic HifiMan, which is about 20 times more expensive than that poor man's headphones, and I am the one who is sarcastic . This is an interesting point of view. 

 

Now this conversation could continue in many ways: what headphones, what kind of music, what exactly do we understand by mp3 player (can I consider my old rockboxed H140 feeding optically a Headroom Desktop Portable 2007 an mp3 player, since Sonic is actually talking about a bag containing a Hifiman, a 300$ cable and a 500$ portable amplifier because if the answer is yes, then we might have a new king ?!) etc, etc, etc. One thing is for sure and it's not me who says it: right now Hifiman as a standalone player, with its headphone out, is not a good match for expensive custom IEMs. So it might be the best portable DAC, but definitely not the best player for IEMs.  

post #21 of 122


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by revenge View Post

Whatever makes you happy, Sonic. Congratulations and my apologies for being abrupt.  But as well as the HifiMan might sound, it doesn't fit my bill. I am away from home for weeks so I need a large music library. Since most of my music is in loseless format, 32Gb means little to me. I spend long hours on trains/ planes so I need a strong battery. And since most of my current portable listening is done via JH13 Pro (not necessarily because I prefer it to other headphones, but because of the isolation), neither the regular, nor the Game amplifier are good enough for me. Also, if a bag is convenient for you, fine. I can only afford to carry with me a small player (preferably in a pocket) and a tiny charger (none would be even better, as most players can be charged from a USB socket these days). 

 

For the kind of money you pay for a Hifiman, I expect all the above: a Rockbox player if not better user interface wise, a larger capacity, a smaller form factor, a long battery life (at least 30 hours) and a proper embedded amplifier for my JH13 Pro. If the Hifiman can't meet these requirements, if it will never be on par with your Protector or a Slim in the headphone amplifier department and if you still have to spend big money and drag with you boxes/cables (not to mention the charger), then Hifiman has simply failed its target which was, is, an all in one portable solution.

   

Even for home use I much prefer the new Squeezebox Touch connected to a proper DAC (Grace, as you probably know, is not quite on par with Lavry/ Benchmark as a digital converter).

 

To finish this rant, I have no intention to trash the Hifiman. I still believe it's a great idea on paper. But for all the reasons above and a few more, it's just not there yet. It will take time and, unless other people (like Ray) get involved, it will never be what it could and should be. Even if it will, I wonder about the price of a future Hifiman with an embedded Protector...  


Preach It Brother!

post #22 of 122


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacho-Lopez View Post

I am thinking about to purchase a very good portable mp3 player.

I own right now an old Iriver (256K) with Sennheiser MX400 headphones and I need to improve this in terms of sound quality.

What would you recommend me?

I was thinking about a Cowon S9 but I have never heard a Cowon so I am not sure if it will sound as good as my Iriver do...

Another idea was to buy a Iriver Spinn with 8GB

What do you think?

Thank you very much and Regards from Spain :)

 

by the way, i just realized that you said you have sennheiser mx400.  i hope it goes without saying but are you planning getting better headphones?  you are using $10 earbuds.  maybe your player is not the issue.  Now that I have realize that, the FIRST thing you need to do is invest in some better headphones... then see how your current player sounds, and then take it from there.    You may be moooore than fine with a plain vanilla ipod nano or a sansa clip once you upgrade to some better headphones if you are used to listening through $10 buds


 


Edited by Br777 - 5/15/10 at 10:36pm
post #23 of 122

Everything else ignored, I simply can't justify the price. Even at 500$, it would still be expensive for what it is. Not only that but to get the slightly better headphone amplifier for IEMs, you need to pay another 170$. You pay almost 1000$ and yet you can't choose the amplifier that best suits your needs - you have to buy both.

Then 80$ for a replacement battery? Seriously?! I can get a cheaper one for my Lenovo tablet or for my Vaio, not to mention I could buy two Clips + for the money, which is probably one of the many reasons why they are so popular here.

 

If the price would be around 500, I'm sure most of us would understand and tolerate a lot. But to ask the price you pay for a Benchmark or a Lavry it takes a lot of cojones and one hell of a good portable player. I would probably pay a grand myself for a beautiful player with a high end finish, a capacitive Amoled screen, 30+ hours battery life, at least 64Gb capacity, an interface as good as the Ipods, a significantly better DAC then the one on Pico's and Ibasso's (which for me is crap) and a headphone output on par with a Slim or a Protector. That might be worth 1000$

 

 

post #24 of 122

I repeat my recommendation: get a Sansa Clip and when it comes to earbuds, you could look at Yuin PK3. I have Sennheiser MX360 and while they are okay, compared to my Yuin PK3 they sound "boxy".

 

You need not go for a $800 DAP and $300-400 earphones like some suggest. The Clip and Yuin PK3 will cost you less than $100 and will probably sound better than what you have now.

post #25 of 122

Take a look at this thread. http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/490698/hifiman-hm-801-rmaa-tests

If you can't ABX the hm801 out of the other 3 tracks provided, there is no point in getting it. Google placebo effect.

 

If you want a bang for buck player, pick anything that suits your lifestyle and needs. Sound quality difference will be lost when you're outside with ambient noises and everything. Except for some generations of ipods. I hear they are bad.

post #26 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trysaeder View Post

Take a look at this thread. http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/490698/hifiman-hm-801-rmaa-tests

If you can't ABX the hm801 out of the other 3 tracks provided, there is no point in getting it. Google placebo effect.

 

If you want a bang for buck player, pick anything that suits your lifestyle and needs. Sound quality difference will be lost when you're outside with ambient noises and everything. Except for some generations of ipods. I hear they are bad.

If you believe you can test something you physically don't have by doing this, you're stupid. If that's the case you can run this test on every expensive gear and listen to it on cheaper gear and it'll be like owning that gear.


Edited by Sonic 748i - 5/15/10 at 11:26pm
post #27 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnas View Post



The iPod Classic has good sound quality, to say that it will "cripple" your earphones is  hyperbolic. The fact that the you need to carry the hifiman in a bag makes me laugh, I thought my ancient Rio Karma was huge.


Oh no, lol. I can easily tag along the HiFiMAN and put it in my pocket, but I have a RSA Protector and 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable connected to the HiFiMAN making it a transportable rig.

post #28 of 122

Your money, I can't tell you what to spend it on.

The hm801 is the most expensive audiophile pmp available. It uses parts from all this awesome home gear and allows you to take it around with you. Because it's labelled 'audiophile', is quite rare, has a high price, and also has all this good stuff in it, it is the best player you can get. Just like the classe, wadia, and some other crap you find in this thread.

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/486598/testing-audiophile-claims-and-myths

 

All we have to do is to wait for some people to get together and DBT this crap to the ground.

post #29 of 122

Sonic, I agree the blind test is flawed, dependent on many factors and therefore more or less irrelevant. The RMAA tests however are not. The graphs might not give the whole picture but they don't lie. If they would, Mr Nankai would be the first to correct the error. Instead, he compares the graphs to the ones of a Wadia player. Then he trashes the RMAA testing protocol (not professional enough) and then finally admits they have obtained the same results two years ago and have been "shocked" but decided to play by the ear and not by following "non-professional" standards. If the engineers at Benchmark would come up with such RMAA results and excuses, they would be out of business in a matter of days.  

 

Now look, let's not turn this thread into another fight on Hifiman grounds. We have all expressed points of view, everyone is free to decide what's best for him and how to spend his/her money.

 

The Clip offers a lot for the money, I think we all agree on that. Cowon, Sony, Ipod are also excellent options for an above average rig. In high end territory, I will give you this much: Hifiman is one of the few options available and, since the manufacturer offers a money back guarantee, the potential buyer has little to risk. I wouldn't spend a grand for the current Hifiman but this is my choice, based on my needs. You have a different opinion and I respect that. Now let's step aside and let other people talk about their experiences with their players.

 

The world doesn't begin and it doesn't end with the Hifiman. And you don't have to tell everyone on every occasion how great a player it is and how happy you are with it. I believe you and I think your enthusiasm is genuine. However to recommend a 1000$ worth player to a MX400 user is completely out of proportion and it's this kind of overenthusiasm that makes other people react.    

post #30 of 122

If you are looking for something small, durable and good-sounding, the Clip+ is a great fit. I'm amazed by those who complain about 32 Gb being too small a capacity. How much music can you listen to in a week? If the 8 Gb internal memory of the Clip+ doesn't meet your needs, and an additional 32Gb is still inadequate, then invest 5 bucks in a wallet that holds memory cards. You'll be able to carry around all the music your heart desires, and the whole thing -- player, phones, and card storage, will still fit comfortably in a pocket.

 

I do agree that a headphone upgrade might be in order for the OP. I use my Clip+ with PortaPros, and the combination is very, very good. Yes, they are open, and leak a lot of sound. Yes, you will have to be careful to resist the temptation to turn them up too high when you are in noisy environments. But if you are looking for something that just flat-out sounds great, the combination of the Clip+ and the PortaPros is well worth looking at. We are talking about something that sounds terrific, for about 100 smackers, TOTAL.

 

Having commented on the low end, where I live, I can't resist weighing in on the HiFi-Man. I haven't heard or touched one, but if I had the disposable cash I would buy one in a heartbeat. The idea of trying to create a truly high-fidelity portable is positively Quixotic, but if they have managed to get it half right then I would love to hear the thing. Complaining about the capacity of the player, especially when it accepts removable storage, is a bit like saying, "It was the best food I ever ate, and quite filling, but I wasn't able to pig out to the degree that I'm used to."

 

Frankly, the availability of massive storage on players is not a good thing. It's a bad thing. Why? Because it promotes restless surfing through massive collections of music with no need to actually commit to listening to anything. I find that when I carry around a PCDP, I think about the disk I put in the machine before I leave the house. And then I actually listen to it (Imagine!) When I have access to multiple gigs of music, I tend to impatiently switch among tracks, and I just don't have a coherent listening session. It's just like cable TV; how many of us actually watch an entire show without flipping around with the remote during commercials? Or during less-interesting passages in the program? Like Springsteen sang, "57 Channels and Nothing On."

 

Same goes for 160 Gb portables.

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