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Fiio E5: what the heck is going on with "3rd position" fudge?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

OK, so some time ago I bought a Fiio E5. I've been using the E5 with a LOD on my 5.5G iPod mainly to add a bit of bass to my otherwise bass-shy Shure SCL4's. It does this very well, at the cost of a bit of muddyness in the upper sound registers.

 

Now, I had read about the "fudge" whereby you can slide the "bass boost" slider half-way between on and off and get a different sound out of this little amp. So I tried it last night for a while and really, really liked what I heard. Honestly, it made these IEM's sound perfect to me. Nice punchy bass and sparkly clear highs. A little less warm than the bass boost mode, for a more exciting, engaging sound.

 

That said, the fact that the phanton "middle position" of the bass boost switch also raises the volume leaves open the possiblity that the perceived qualitative differences to the sound are merely illusory. Could be that it just sounds better because it's louder, and when you bring the volume back down to where you had it before, you're still "locked" in that illusion of better sound.

 

I don't think so, though. I think the E5 is actually punching up the bass and sharpening up the high notes.

 

So I'm wondering what exactly is happening when you put the switch in the "middle position" and whether the unit can be modded

so that doing so is less of a fudge. I don't like the idea of leaving a two position switch "between" positions.

 

Hunting around in threads I found the following image of the E5's motherboard, which I've modified below to highlight the bass bosst switch:

 

FiioE5internals.jpg

 

 

Now, from that picture it's impossible to tell whether in the middle position is leaving all contacts unbridged or whether it is actually bridging all three contacts. My suspicion is the former, but I can't discount the latter. Any ideas?

 

Either way, it should be simple enough to modify the E5 so that its is permanently set to the "middle position." You either de-solder the switch and leave it at that, or de-solder the switch and solder in a permanent wire bridge. (You could even solder in an actual tree-position switch, but that is likely beyond my limited soldering skills given the size of the components).

post #2 of 14
do you have to open up the casing in order to set the switch to the middle position?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acegazda View Post

do you have to open up the casing in order to set the switch to the middle position?


No, you don't. You basically ease the switch toward the middle using your fingernail until you hear the tone and volume change.

 

But I'd rather make it permanent, to be perfectly honest because (1) it's a fudge, the switch doesn't have a stop in this position. (2) This is they way I'm going to be using the Fiio from now on.

post #4 of 14

I've done that, but I though it was more like a false contact from the standard to bassboost, it rises the volume but isnt it the same as when you are playing with a 3.5mm and slide it off a little?

post #5 of 14

Yes, the third position.  Use it if you like it.

post #6 of 14

forget it, i feel like the "focus of sound" move slightly to the right, i just try it. it has to be some sort of false contact.

post #7 of 14

Maybe the switch toggles a contact one of two resistors. So when it is in the middle, contact is made with both resistors at the same time. And connecting two resistors in parallel lowers the overall resistance. So less resistance in the signal path means higher volume?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoga Flame View Post

Maybe the switch toggles a contact one of two resistors. So when it is in the middle, contact is made with both resistors at the same time. And connecting two resistors in parallel lowers the overall resistance. So less resistance in the signal path means higher volume?


I think that this is correct.  I've also tried this position.  I'm not going far left or right again.  The soundstage is a touch wider, the clarity is cleaner, and the bass gets a hair of a boost compared to flat.  However it doesn't sound as muddy as the bass switch on.  I'm thinking of gluing it into this position.  The volume also increases by 2-3db.  It's a win all around, love this amp.  Now I need the E9 too very_evil_smiley.gif

post #9 of 14

I just tried it.  In my case, it reduced the clarity of the individual instruments and made everything blend together.  The bass didn't really change either.  This is with my Grado SR80is and playing Parkway Drive.  Maybe each headphone responds a bit differently to the "third switch"?

post #10 of 14

i will have to try this. i got my fiio e5 today and couldn't be happier.

 

 

ok i just tried it and it definitely does something. i like what i hear.

post #11 of 14

After having the E5 for almost 2 years now, here's my take on the 3 EQ settings: 

1) assume the "left" position to be the default sound;

2) the full right position seems to cut the highs just a tad and boost the bass just a tad -- with the overall effect of boosting bass a good bit because I tend to raise the volume a notch or 2 in this position;

3) the middle position seems to boost everything just a tad -- bass, highs and volume. 

 

I tend to keep it on the middle position, except I use the bass boost position when listening to 60's music which all tended to be mixed very flat and bass light.

post #12 of 14

Good balance in Bass between 1 and 2 setting, more clarity in the sound.... I like it. 

 

Love to see what it looks like on a graph ....

post #13 of 14

 

I first got the Fiio e5 and I liked the 3rd position so much that I superglued it to that spot.
Then I got the PA2V2 and enjoyed the smoothness and weight that this amp added to the music.
Being a newbie and not knowing what is considered correct or not can sometimes be a blessing. One day I decided to connect the Fiio e5 through the PA2V2 to see what would happen. I could have never have imagined how much better music sounds by combining these two amps.
 
I can only guess that this combo sounds like what a much more expensive amp sounds like.
 
I just bought the Miles Davis Tributes and I am in audio heaven.
 
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by maakheru View Post

 

I first got the Fiio e5 and I liked the 3rd position so much that I superglued it to that spot.
Then I got the PA2V2 and enjoyed the smoothness and weight that this amp added to the music.
Being a newbie and not knowing what is considered correct or not can sometimes be a blessing. One day I decided to connect the Fiio e5 through the PA2V2 to see what would happen. I could have never have imagined how much better music sounds by combining these two amps.
 
I can only guess that this combo sounds like what a much more expensive amp sounds like.
 
I just bought the Miles Davis Tributes and I am in audio heaven.
 


There aint nothing wrong with what you just did.  I myself have come to some good results daisy-chaining amps too.  I have an E6 on the way - and I'll merge mine with my cmoy.

 

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