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Review: Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference - A new level of resolution? (Review posted 5/15/12) - Page 109

post #1621 of 2020

I here cross-reference the DAC/amps reviewed by average_joe in his Multi-Portable Amp Thread, with DanielP’s list of Android compatible. That is, I look up the amps in http://www.head-fi.org/t/585786/multi-portable-amp-thread-16-amps-reviewed-leckerton-uha-6s-mkii-added in http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs This is current as of this day, but don’t go buying anything without further research. And also make sure your phone is compatible. 

 

iQube V2, Furutech Cruise, Leckerton UHA-6S MKII, Sunrise Ray have reported compatibility with Android USB OTG. Next I will try to figure which may be the best match for the SE5. Okay I did that and it didn't sound like any of them are a home run with CIEMs. (Sunrise Ray review is pending, maybe there is a ray of hope there). I guess I could live with hiss but it makes me wonder if the amp is designed for the low- and varying- impedance presented by the SE5. I guess the Leckerton is okay and there is always the hope of their new model UHA760.

 

Headamp, Meier, and JDS Labs do have USB OTG compatible models. But DanielP has no report yet of testing USB OTG on the models in the Multi-Portable Amp Thread. Similarly, FiiO has some models that handle USB OTG and some that don’t; in any event average_joe has not reviewed any FiiO in that thread. 

 

Just as average_joe hasn't reviewed every DAC in DanielP's list, conversely its quite possible that others of the DACs average_joe did review can in fact talk USB OTG, its just that nobody tried. If you can test and have any results (positive or negative) do post them and CC DanielP. 

 

Its more often an issue on the phone side, but some DACs can be made to work with USB OTG if you limit yourself to one specific player software: USB Audio Recorder PRO. I don't really want to do that, I'd like to be able to use Neutron or any of dozens of other players, or in my case Synology DS Audio which talks to my NAS which holds my music collection on my LAN. Such phones and DACs that require this workaround make me feel that the manufacturer is not really getting with the program on USB OTG. 


Edited by Toe Tag - 11/28/13 at 5:09am
post #1622 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

I'd say look into the UHA6 MKII. Better yet wait for their new flagship and opt for that. You can't go wrong with Leckerton. They make very good amp sections that hit well above their asking price range :).

 

 

6 hours battery life? (UHA760)    Jeeez... when will vendors learn that making a device smaller, to the excessive expense of battery life, is just infuriating to end-users? I truly despair of them, at times.

post #1623 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post
 

 

 

6 hours battery life? (UHA760)    Jeeez... when will vendors learn that making a device smaller, to the excessive expense of battery life, is just infuriating to end-users? I truly despair of them, at times.


Good point, I also don't like extremely low battery life devices. If I could live with it, I would have ordered DX100 already probably.

 

Apart from our wonderful, extremely handsome, super-uber model Mimouille (he is French after all), anyone is getting the new Sony flagship ZX1? I am looking forward to read impressions about SE5way-ZX1 combo.

post #1624 of 2020

Would be interesting to see these reviewed. They will be popular. 

 

FiiO E18 Kunlun http://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E18-KUNLUN-Android-Phone/dp/B00GCDJBMM (shipping now)

Leckerton UHA760 http://www.leckertonaudio.com/products/uha760 (ships December 11)

Sony NWZ-ZX1 http://www.whathifi.com/news/sonys-flagship-high-res-walkman-revealed (ships December 7 according to http://pricejapan.com/)

post #1625 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

Um I am pretty sure you can run the DACport LX via android with that one app. I mean talk with turokrocks, he did it and I remember him even posting it on headfi.

 

 http://www.head-fi.org/u/265536/turokrocks

 

Regarding the UHA6MKII not being up to par for the SE5... Well I'm not totally sure on that. I can agree it can definitely scale quite a bit higher. But these are amps that are getting into the $1000 range here mind you. I'm not sure if you want to spend that kind of money and forgo portability.... If he is making comments in reference to such amps then I can agree with him. Otherwise I don't.

 

I suppose I should try that. The big thread reports it should work. http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs/3510

 

. CEntrance DACport LX using USB Audio Recorder PRO:

http://www.headfonia.com/cheaper-better-the-centrance-dacport-lx/

http://www.head-fi.org/t/595071/android-phones-and-usb-dacs/1755#post_9188208

 

The software developer reports working on a pure-player software, acronym UAPP, as opposed to UARP. (P = Player, R = Recorder). I do have an LX. Sounds good, just hotter than a soldering iron, and they don't support or seem to want to support USB OTG.

 

There is a report in the big thread that the Anedio D1 does not go USB OTG. Asking now about the D2.

 

Its fair to spend as much on the DAC/amp as on the CIEM. What I run into though is, as you get up above $600 or $1000, its mostly desktop DACs/amps. And those are often designed to drive big, high-impedance headphones, not low- (and variable-) impedance IEMs. I have 2 low-end Audio-gd (sparrow, compass) and the SE5's just sound wrong driven by them.

 

So I want the very best DAC/amp for our $1500 CIEM. And I want it to support USB OTG. Because my Android phone/tablet has the best software and user interface for browsing my music. From my LAN. All I need to do then is push it out in pure digital form and avoid the DAC/amp inside the phone/tablet.

post #1626 of 2020

My CIEM was actually $1700+ :P.

 

I think the SE5 with the DACport LX and Triad L3/Firestone PSU sounds fantastic. Very good pairing and it opens them up very nicely. I'm currently waiting on my AK120 S mod and the UHA760 to come in to see how they pair for portable listening.

post #1627 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

I think the SE5 with the DACport LX and Triad L3/Firestone PSU sounds fantastic. Very good pairing and it opens them up very nicely. I'm currently waiting on my AK120 S mod and the UHA760 to come in to see how they pair for transportable listening.

 

 :tongue_smile: 

post #1628 of 2020

As a master student, non stop working and studying, making reports, preparing presentations etc. I never really have a free time. When I have some I spend it with my girlfriend or I go to gym (I do a lot of ear press for not to lose the seal :tongue_smile:).

 

During all these studies, my monitors are always in my ears, separates me from the outside noise, gives me something I like to listen to and keeps me alive since the music is feeding my soul.

 

Right now, I am listening to some good old Aerosmith (talking about the times when Steven Tyler was shining). These monitors worth every cent I spent for them. Resolution level is just beyond this world, they give you every detail in the music, so revealing and so full sound. Very rich, very organic sound.

 

Instrument separation is just awesome, so correct and so precise. Vocals are so clear, I hear Steven Tyler as if he sings in the same place as I sit and write my report. Treble is incredibly airy and detailed, yet not so sparkling or shining, just smooth. Very smooth and relaxing, these monitors can never be tiring.

 

I can stay here and write a lot of things about my SE5way, but I am gonna keep it short and say, one of the best things a money can buy in ciem world, if not the best. I can't recommend it enough I guess. Yes I don't have tens of TOTL ciems or high end daps but I don't need to be that experienced to get this conclusion I believe. These monitors are definitely unique. Whatever I throw at them, they make the music fill my soul.

post #1629 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

My CIEM was actually $1700+ :P.

 

I think the SE5 with the DACport LX and Triad L3/Firestone PSU sounds fantastic. Very good pairing and it opens them up very nicely. I'm currently waiting on my AK120 S mod and the UHA760 to come in to see how they pair for portable listening.

I live in Taiwan, and Spiral Ear doesn't ship out of the EU. As luck would have it, I have a friend here from Poland. And he was heading home for a summer vacation. So he brought my molds to Poland, then brought my SE5's back, hand carried. This was a year and a half ago. The price was a bit lower back then, and I just wired the payment in Euros. 

 

Anyway I am using the Tralucent T1 as you can see in my sig. My issue is more, finding a DAC, be it desktop or portable, with or without an amp (or the option to bypass the amp so I can use the Tralucent)... that handles USB OTG. Because I want to lounge around and use my Android phone or tablet, with a nice full HD UI, and several software packages to choose from, like Neutron, DS Audio, even Spotify... to drive the chain. I'll probably buy UAPP (hey its cheaper than the SE5) but that limits me to itself as the audio software. Its a bit frustrating that CEntrance (and they're not the only one) are so pigheaded about not supporting USB OTG, creating a whole market for the UAPP software, but hey here at head-fi all that matters is improved sound.

post #1630 of 2020

The SE5 sounds wonderful with the 901 balanced card, and will sound even better when my balanced cable comes back from RMA...

post #1631 of 2020

Saying the SE-5 is source-demanding is a huge understatement. IMHO, it sounds so compressed from the Clip+. I also tried 3 different cd players with a desktop amp. Guess who will get an Accu DP-500.. I wonder how the DX 100 would compare, but I don't have one atm.


Edited by Andreas2402 - 12/2/13 at 1:40am
post #1632 of 2020

average_joe likes the Sunrise (Ray I guess). I am also considering getting an ODAC, just the DAC, then into the Tralucent..

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - USB OTG cable - ODAC - Tralucent T1 - Spiral Ear SE5

 

Anyway ODAC and Sunrise are said to talk USB OTG Audio. 

post #1633 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas2402 View Post
 

Saying the SE-5 is source-demanding is a huge understatement. IMHO, it sounds so compressed from the Clip+. I also tried 3 different cd players with a desktop amp. Guess who will get an Accu DP-500.. I wonder how the DX 100 would compare, but I don't have one atm.

 

I have to agree. While you can get sound out of it (lol) there is much more to it than just that. Otherwise you could just stick to apple ear buds :).  If you can get your hands on a Rocoo BA it will pair very well with the SE5. Of course the SE5 can scale even higher. But most people won't go that far for portables. With the BA you'll be getting a lot more out of the SE5 than say a clip or apple. I actually use the BA daily. They are scarce to find now though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe Tag View Post
 

average_joe likes the Sunrise (Ray I guess). I am also considering getting an ODAC, just the DAC, then into the Tralucent..

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 - USB OTG cable - ODAC - Tralucent T1 - Spiral Ear SE5

 

Anyway ODAC and Sunrise are said to talk USB OTG Audio. 

 

I say don't waste your time with the ODAC. The DACport LX you have already will crush the ODAC. The limiting factor in the chain would be your amp at this point paired to the LX. I thought I was getting the full potential of the LX long ago with the O2 amp, then the UHA6 MKII. Boy was I wrong. 


Edited by lee730 - 12/2/13 at 2:06am
post #1634 of 2020

I ordered the SE 5-way last month. Grzegorz told me that they will ship at the beginning of the next year. I cant wait to listen to them. My first silicone ciem coming from the JH16pro FP.

Did anyone of you guys had fit issues with the SE 5-way ? Maybe something like pain in your ears ? I don't have any pain when using my JH16. Hopefully it will be the same or even better with the SE 5-way..

post #1635 of 2020
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

 

I say don't waste your time with the ODAC. The DACport LX you have already will crush the ODAC. The limiting factor in the chain would be your amp at this point paired to the LX. I thought I was getting the full potential of the LX long ago with the O2 amp, then the UHA6 MKII. Boy was I wrong. 

 

Lee this is helpful but it presents a new problem. CEntrance doesn't seem to care about supporting USB OTG, despite my bringing the issue to their attention nearly a year ago. I do have a Note 2. I guess I can just use UARP or the upcoming UAPP software and it over-rides the DACport ignorance. Or I can look into rooting and using a kernel mod on my Note 2.

 

The good news is I now realize I don't need a DAC/amp that both talks USB OTG and drives the SE5 load. I can decouple them and feel fine about driving my SE5 with the Tralucent T1. Thus I just need a good DAC (or possibly DAC with line out that bypasses its amp), be it portable or desktop. Unfortunately (maybe fortunate for my budget) the Anedio appear to not handle USB OTG either. I have been active here http://www.head-fi.org/t/689783/december-2013-mid-level-dac-comparison/ where they plan to evaluate mid-level DACs.

 

So my questions are now:

 

- When you were unhappy with your ODAC, isn't it possible that the O2 amp was to blame, not the ODAC DAC half. As average_joe states "Performance of the ODAC is exceptional for the price, besting the built-in DACs in the portable DAC/amps I have and performing closer than anticipated to the Anedio D1 DAC.   The integrated ODAC + O2 combo I simulated is an excellent sounding and performing desktop only solution that can drive just about anything you throw at it.  Even though the amp section hold the DAC back a bit, it is still a great value."

- What other DACs (or possibly DAC with line out that bypasses its amp) can do the SE5 justice (I'll then couple the line-out into the Tralucent T1 as the amp)

- Would you say the DAC or the amp is the more critical part of getting the all out of the SE5

- Isn't it fair to say that the challenge is simply that the SE5 is very accurate, so the DAC had better be accurate, or the SE5 will reveal any of its colorations


Edited by Toe Tag - 12/2/13 at 5:56am
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Review: Spiral Ear SE 5-way Reference - A new level of resolution? (Review posted 5/15/12)