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Kenwood HD60GD9 tests

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

Kenwood claim their DAPs are superior to others in term of sound quality. Let's take a look at what they have to say about HD60GD9:


Quote from Kenwood:


Low-distortion & high-power: Separated pre / power amp stages for clearer sound reproduction & Exclusive logic-power supply for the power amplifier.

Pre-amp: A fast 32fs oversampling ΔΣ-conversion digital amplifier to reduce noise in the audio range.

Power amp: A class-D amplifier that can fully utilize the performance of Kenwood's unique technology, 'Clear Digital Power' & Reduced Low-frequency distortion at the sensing amplifier to enhance sound quality with a peripheral connectivity.

F-hole grand chassis: light-weighted, high-compliance stainless steel chassis to fortify the grand-line, and to reduce vibration that can degrade sound quality. Sound image localization & fullness greatly improved, so that much clearer sound has been realized.

Hybrid-mount system: A polycarbonate & special-gel used to mount HDD to reduce vibration.

High-quality parts: A chip inductor, which eliminates external interferences, to enhance dynamic range in the mid-high frequencies.


Even with my clumsy translation, you still get the idea. Apart from what the manufacturer claims, Kenwood DAPs have been highly regarded as one of the top-notch audiophile-grade gears here at Head-Fi. I even asked for their measurements on the portable source gear forum once.


Recently, my comrades, Salsal and asRay, were generous enough to provide me with RMAA measurements on HD60GD9:



And its output impedance:



Yes, the results are quite dreadful- FR skews in the >10kHz range under load due to HD60GD9's high output impedance- but since data speak for themselves, i don't think i need to comment on them any further. According to Salsal's comprehensive DAP output voltage database, HD60GD9 outputs 431.5mV at full volume. That's roughly 11.6mW @ 16Ω and corresponds to the official spec(10mW @ 16Ω) quite well.



However, you can still see residual 2mV even at 0 volume, which means HD60GD9 has a hiss roughly -47dB below music level at full volume- and it's clearly audible when you play a digital black(0 bits) sample. However, since the noise is only present in a certain frequency range, RMAA does not reflect the noise to its numerical SNR(A-weighting) result.


And with an oscilloscope(at full volume), you can take a closer look at the noise(compared to Cowon iAudio U5):



And here's something interesting. A 1 kHz sinusoid(0 dB full-scale) signal at different volume levels with 16Ω loaded:



As volume increases, the output swing starts to turn asymmetrical, which is very unlikely to occur on a well-designed commercial audio device, especially when it's equipped with a class-D amplifier. That's the kind of problem you'd see from an analog amplifier with its transistor biased. I wonder what the designers were thinking..

Edited by udauda - 5/24/10 at 12:08pm
post #2 of 27

There we go again! 

post #3 of 27



僕は今年日本に住んでいます。日本語を勉強しています。まだ初級学生なのでまだ良く話せません。さっきYahoo auctionでKenwood HD20GA7を買いました。


Change to English.


Anyway, I bought a Kenwood HD20GA7 after reading about it here. I own a few other DAP:s (see my signature) and imo the Kenwood sounds better than all of them. It has got a much more "analogue" sound.

I have never heard any hiss from it, but as I understand, the hiss is mostly apparent when you use highly sensitive IEM:s. I do not use IEM:s and the Kenwood sounds very good with my Sennheiser PX100, AKG K420 and my Yuin PK3.

Now, I haven't cranked the volume up to maximum level, so I have yet to experience any asymmetrical output swing.


All in all,  the Kenwood HDD DAP:s are very nice, but it seems that when a manufacturer boast that his product is "audiophile" quality, the product always falls short when tested.

Since I do not have any audiophile ambitions, I can appreciate the Kenwood for what it is - a very good sounding mp3 player. Nothing more, nothing less.

post #4 of 27

nice thread, i just know that there are players other than sony x1000 and A720/820 use a Class-D design of internal amp.

looks like HD10 use it too.


looks like hd60gd9 has a bigger power output than hd20ga7 

post #5 of 27

yeah, but these are just graphs.  What does graphs prove?  You should trust your ears!




Just kidding


What is a player you've done a test on the you genuinely see that it is a quality player??

Edited by High_Q - 5/22/10 at 1:43am
post #6 of 27
post #7 of 27

Thanks, looks clearly _inferior_ to other products.

post #8 of 27
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier View Post




ビクビク企画 iPod実際どうなのよ?

I have used this product and it is a bugger to get accurate and reliable comparisons from it, in the link you give on several occaisions the peak is not accurately noted i.e for a fundemantal it differs from sample to sample, unless the product is truly apalling it means the s/w has not been run properly and so the conclusions are a bit iffy, I have none of these DAPs btw...so I have no runner in this race

post #9 of 27

how to understanding that THD graphic??

post #10 of 27

I'm not going for the Kenwood fanboy award. Well, there are bigger fanboys for other products at this place, be they blue or other colors...


Anyway, I think that Udauda-san might be a bit late in the game and also doing the old .  (FINALLY I got to use this smiley!)


The Kenwood HDD DAP.s hiss issue with highly sensitive ear phones has been discussed at Head-fi before. The link that JohnFerrier posted has been posted here about 2 years ago in this thread.

Also here the hiss issue is discussed (3 years ago).


Those of us who does not use highly sensitive IEM:s does not have the pleasure of experiencing the hiss and only the sounds coming out from this, in xnor's words, "inferior" product.


I am not really a techie even though I can do basic stuff like custom build my own computer or change batteries or HDD or do CF mods in my DAP:s. So the analysis in this thread does not say much to me.

What interests me is the music. Rather than an audiophile I am a music nerd who owns a bunch of DAP:s and mostly listens to music on the go. And in regards to that, the Kenwood HDD DAP:s does have a very smooth and at the same time detailed sound signature compared to all other DAP:s I have heard. Next my search will be for the JVC XA HD-500. It was supposed to be on the same level soundwise as the Kenwood HDD DAP:s. Could you please test that one too, Udauda? 

post #11 of 27

Have you done any measurements for Sony DAPs?  I would be very interested to see some results for them. 

post #12 of 27

Hey, I also want to use that  ... hehe.

If Kenwood claims this DAP is superior I see no problem describing it as inferior, after taking a look at those measurements.

post #13 of 27


Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Hey, I also want to use that  ... hehe.

If Kenwood claims this DAP is superior I see no problem describing it as inferior, after taking a look at those measurements.


Yes, but inferior in what way? In results from special tests or in ordinary every day usage where it's purpose simply is to play music?


What I find interesting is that however much the HD60D9 may perform badly in the test by Udauda, still my HD20GA7 sounds better than my Cowon S9. No matter how the S9 is EQ'd, there is still that bass roll off and a slightly digital veil from the BBE+ effects. The Kenwood has no audible bass roll off (although I think I saw a graph showing bass roll off with a 16ohm load) and has got a very detailed and smooth sound. I have not heard the Clip which is one of the flavor of the month DAP:s here so I cannot compare it to the Kenwood. But I so far compared my Sansa View, Creative Zen Touch, Creative ZVM and Cowon S9 and the Kenwood sounds much less digital and conveys much more details in the music when listening more critically.


Anyway, I think it is interesting that something that performs badly in tests still sounds better than other DAP:s that perform better. That one thing suggests that the human hearing is much more complex than what any graphs or measurements of what frequencies the ear can detect will show.

Edited by Danneq - 5/23/10 at 3:27am
post #14 of 27

Hifi is about high fidelity, i.e. transparency of components. If the output of that DAP is audibly different to the reference then it doesn't matter if you like it's sound or not, it's not transparent, it has it's own sound.


If you can hear noise coming from the device where there shouldn't be noise it's inferior to other products that don't give you that noise.

If the bass or treble is audibly rolled-off ...

If distortion is audibly higher ..

and so on


And especially from an audiophile point of view I'd expect people to take a better measuring (more transparent) device over another, even if differences are too small to be audible.

Edited by xnor - 5/23/10 at 7:26am
post #15 of 27
Originally Posted by xnor View Post


And especially from an audiophile point of view I'd expect people to take a better measuring (more transparent) device over another, even if differences are too small to be audible.

Audiophiles (like me) always chose the device that sounds most transparent, the more so when the measurements are officially irrelevant for audibility.


That said, for lack of experience and other info I don't take sides when it comes to the Kenwood player.


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