Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › uDAC-2 vs Fiio E7 vs ?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

uDAC-2 vs Fiio E7 vs ?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm looking for a comparison between the new uDAC-2 and the Fiio E7. I know there are a number of threads out there of the original uDAC vs other equipment, but not a ton on the uDAC-2 yet. Anyone used these two DAC/Amp combo's side-by-side? Of course, I'm always interested an any others I should consider in the price range (around $100). 

 

A bit more about my situation...I'm interested primarily in a decent USB DAC/Amp so I can stop using my poor laptop audio card. I'm looking in the $100 to $120 range. I have Sennheiser HD 595's and Shure SCL4 IEM's (I primarily listen to the Senn's). 

 

Any input would be much appreciated. 

 

-Aurelius

 

P.S.: I should add, I am well aware all my equipment is fairly entry-level in this world. Go easy on me I'm just getting into it. I do plan on future upgrades but the budget doesn't allow for it at the moment. 


Edited by mAurelius - 10/24/10 at 8:02pm
post #2 of 15

Look around this site: http://www.headfonia.com/category/source/portable-source/. I believe he has done a few comparison reviews. Hope that helps.

post #3 of 15

I am also curious about the comparison. 

 

If they're very similar, I would go for the Fiios for upgradablity (the E9) But if the uDAC2 is much better than I'm not sure..... 

post #4 of 15

The impression I get from the FiiO E7 and the uDac is that FiiO E7 comes as an amp first, while uDac comes as a DAC first. I am not sure if these two could actually be compared due to their specialization in different parts of making a portable rig. :)

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

The impression I get from the FiiO E7 and the uDac is that FiiO E7 comes as an amp first, while uDac comes as a DAC first. I am not sure if these two could actually be compared due to their specialization in different parts of making a portable rig. :)


I thought they were both primarily DACs.... since the E7 is supposed to be paired with the E9 (which is an amp). The uDAC struck me as something similar to the Fiio but with a slight improvement in its amp? but im not too sure. 

post #6 of 15


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hudamanium View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

The impression I get from the FiiO E7 and the uDac is that FiiO E7 comes as an amp first, while uDac comes as a DAC first. I am not sure if these two could actually be compared due to their specialization in different parts of making a portable rig. :)


I thought they were both primarily DACs.... since the E7 is supposed to be paired with the E9 (which is an amp). The uDAC struck me as something similar to the Fiio but with a slight improvement in its amp? but im not too sure. 



I would think that is because E9 is only a desktop amp. The E7 is pretty much trying to be a jack-of-all-trade with being a portable amp and also a DAC. Besides, if I remember correctly, E7 line out is mainly for the E9.

 

The synergy between two products that came from the same company usually works quite well, so I am not surprised to see the E7 + E9 combo.

 

EDIT:

 

To put it short, if you are buying an E7, you better be listening it through the headphone out of the E7 or E9... if you are buying an uDAC, you better be buying an RCA cable to link it to another amp. tongue.gif


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 11/14/10 at 9:49pm
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hudamanium View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post

The impression I get from the FiiO E7 and the uDac is that FiiO E7 comes as an amp first, while uDac comes as a DAC first. I am not sure if these two could actually be compared due to their specialization in different parts of making a portable rig. :)


I thought they were both primarily DACs.... since the E7 is supposed to be paired with the E9 (which is an amp). The uDAC struck me as something similar to the Fiio but with a slight improvement in its amp? but im not too sure. 



I would think that is because E9 is only a desktop amp. The E7 is pretty much trying to be a jack-of-all-trade with being a portable amp and also a DAC. Besides, if I remember correctly, E7 line out is mainly for the E9.

 

The synergy between two products that came from the same company usually works quite well, so I am not surprised to see the E7 + E9 combo.

 

EDIT:

 

To put it short, if you are buying an E7, you better be listening it through the headphone out of the E7 or E9... if you are buying an uDAC, you better be buying an RCA cable to link it to another amp. tongue.gif


Not exactly correct.  The uDAC is a dac/amp that can drive iem's and headphones.  It is rated at 80 mW X2 into 16 ohm, the E7 is rated at150 mW into 16 ohm. Both are rated to handle headphones from 16 ohm to 300 ohm.  The big difference is the E7 is a portable dac/amp while the uDac must run from the USB power.
 

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticears View Post


Not exactly correct.  The uDAC is a dac/amp that can drive iem's and headphones.  It is rated at 80 mW X2 into 16 ohm, the E7 is rated at150 mW into 16 ohm. Both are rated to handle headphones from 16 ohm to 300 ohm.  The big difference is the E7 is a portable dac/amp while the uDac must run from the USB power.
 



You misunderstood my point. smily_headphones1.gif

 

In order to get the potential out of both products, you have to treat uDAC as a DAC. There is an amp, but that is not where the magic came from. Same thing with E7. Treat it as what it first meant to do; a portable amp. If you got the E9, then you can treat it as a DAC, but it is a portable amp in every other scenario until L7 is officially due.

 

If you want to look at both as a portable DAC/Amp, then their quality is almost at the same level. The only difference will be in which sound signature people generally prefers. tongue.gif


Edited by MaxwellDemon - 11/16/10 at 9:17pm
post #9 of 15

I am not trying to compare with our products with other brand, so I just want to make it more clear for something

 

1, E7 is powered by build in battery, which can provide clear power and support portable use!

 

2, E7 have individual DAC and support LO, our new LO kits is under developind because the old design is not so good!

 

3, E7 have a build in OLED and build in MCU, so you can get more function, like sleeping mode, Max volume setting, auto power on setting!

 

   also it can help you get a accurate volume setting!

 

So, one is mainly  for home use, one is  for home/portable use! 

post #10 of 15

isnt anyone bothered by the decoding limitation of the fiio e7 to only 48kHz / 16bits sound??

i've heard other dac/amps and 24bit upscaled sound definitely does sound better..

post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtcocaine View Post

isnt anyone bothered by the decoding limitation of the fiio e7 to only 48kHz / 16bits sound??

i've heard other dac/amps and 24bit upscaled sound definitely does sound better..

It is a budget product so there is a hardware limit on how many things it can do without rising the price for better hardware. Then again it will lose its appeal as a budget product for its intended buyer.
 

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaxwellDemon View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticears View Post


Not exactly correct.  The uDAC is a dac/amp that can drive iem's and headphones.  It is rated at 80 mW X2 into 16 ohm, the E7 is rated at150 mW into 16 ohm. Both are rated to handle headphones from 16 ohm to 300 ohm.  The big difference is the E7 is a portable dac/amp while the uDac must run from the USB power.
 



You misunderstood my point. smily_headphones1.gif

 

In order to get the potential out of both products, you have to treat uDAC as a DAC. There is an amp, but that is not where the magic came from. Same thing with E7. Treat it as what it first meant to do; a portable amp. If you got the E9, then you can treat it as a DAC, but it is a portable amp in every other scenario until L7 is officially due.

 

If you want to look at both as a portable DAC/Amp, then their quality is almost at the same level. The only difference will be in which sound signature people generally prefers. tongue.gif


I got ya, I did misunderstand.  I do agree, the uDac is more special as a dac.
 

post #13 of 15

I have both, so allow my to toss my 2 cents in...

 

First, I should point out that I haven't had the uDAC-2 very long. I just got it in, so it isn't burned in yet.

 

With that out of the way, I would summarize the differences as follows:

 

- The biggest difference is, as has been pointed out above, the fact that the Fiio E7 can be used as a portable headphone amp and is battery powered, whereas the uDAC-2 can only be used as a DAC tethered to a computer and required USB power. If you use a portable music player as your primary music source, the E7 is far more versatile. Although many people sneer at the E7's ability as a DAC, it actually uses a well-regarded DAC chip and sounds quite good as a DAC. In fact, I consider the sound when used as a DAC to be superior to the sound quality when used as a headphone amplifier. This isn't necessarily a criticism of the E7 per se, since the poorer sound quality when used as a headphone amp may just be due to the fact that the DAC side of things makes a really significant improvement to sound quality.

 

- I should point out that the E7 is an impressive package. It is solidly made and includes a protective silicon cover, a line-in cable, a high-quality USB cable with ferrite beads to reduce interference, a (silicon?) rubber band to keep your E7 with your ipod and a velvety slipcover/case (the latter is less useful). All this for £55 is very, very good deal.

 

- The NuForce uDAC-2 is tiny. It is solidly made, exceedingly simple to operate, and also comes with a USB cable (though without any ferrite beads). The volume pot feels very solid and is smooth to adjust. No problems with balance at low volume whatsoever. Adjusting volume with the uDAC-2 is much simpler than with the E7. But I use the uDAC-2 at work and since it can only be used with my firm laptop, I am essentially limited to the music on my laptop and unable to access the more extensive collection of music on my ipod. Until today (see below) I have had to use the E7 when I wanted to listen to music from my ipod.

 

- WARNING: SUBJECTIVE INITIAL IMPRESSION TO FOLLOW!!! When used as a DAC, my impression is that the uDAC-2 is neutral, with very high resolution, whereas the E7 is slightly warmer and less clear. I wouldn't describe the E7 as "muddy", but the uDAC-2 does seem to resolve sounds better - possibly even better than the Beresford Caiman DAC that I use at home. To be clear, I am not disappointed or unhappy with the sound out of the E7 when used as a DAC - just the opposite. In fact, when I first heard the uDAC-2, I was initially disappointed: its neutral tone initially seemed slightly thin, and it wasn't until I adjusted that I noticed the greater resolution. If you have used a DAC before, the uDAC-2 is unlikely to bowl you over the first time you hear it. It is more subtle than that. A warmer, more bass-heavy DAC might make a greater initial impression, but the uDAC-2 has a sound signature that will grow on you.

 

- Volume: when used with my easy-to-drive earbuds, the uDAC-2 is tolerable at maximum volume. The E7 is intolerable before you even hit 30 on its 60-point scale. I have doubts about the ability of the uDAC-2 to drive truly hard-to-drive headphones. Maybe someone else can chip in with their experiences here. I have set the volume limiter on the E7 to 30 for fear of inadvertently blowing out my headphones (and my ears).

 

That said, I also received a HiFiMAN HM-601 today. Erm.....wow. Wow! It has really blown my socks off. The sound quality is excellent. Not necessarily neutral, but absolutely delicious. It can also get very loud and it actually struck me as very easy to operate, not sure what all the fuss is about. I don't think you need a headphone amp with this at all. And although it is bigger than a full-sized ipod, it is much, much lighter due to the lack of a hard drive. And I love the fact that its storage capacity is essentially unlimited due to the fact that it takes SD and SDHC cards. I will buy a 32GB SDHC card and probably get a second in short order, then just swap them as needed.

 

Rather than buy an E7 or a uDAC-2, you might want to consider getting an HM-601 instead.

 

Best,

Adam

post #14 of 15

If You forget ´bout DAC and if You try to strech Your budget a little, You could pick up something better: CORDA HEADSIX black

 

http://www.meier-audio.homepage.t-online.de/specials.htm

 

CORDA HEADSIX is much better than FiiO7 (IMHO), I have compared them side-by-side, and it was pretty clear (for my very own ears)

 

cheers,

 

F.

 

post #15 of 15

I had own both of them, and sold my E7 after some days. (FYI, I use them as DAC+Amp combo)

 

uDac2 has better overall SQ, it has more refine treble, which is good extend but still smooth and non fatiguing. uDac2 has more spacious sound and offer more detail than E7.

 

E7 wins by its feature, it can become portable amp, has digital volume, bass boost level, and some good accesories include in package. Also, E7 has bigger power of course.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › uDAC-2 vs Fiio E7 vs ?