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M-Fidelity (formerly Starkey Norway) SA-43 Custom IEM Review: Expansive Space + Options - Page 5

post #61 of 101

They sound great. I just wish that bass would go down even lower. It becomes inaudible at 20Hz.

 

I actually have a question that maybe you can help me out with.

 

I purchased a cMoyBB 2.03 amp but I am not completely satisfied. 

 

My signal chain is this:

 

Laptop headphone out (Realtek 888s) > cMoyBB > Starkey SA-43.

 

To my ears, the laptop headphone out sounds better than with the amp. With the cMoy, the bass distorts at the same volume level as the laptop output alone (which doesn't).

The laptop output's bass I feel goes a little deeper and is smoother.

The specs for the laptop out put are 'Headphone amplifier output @32ohm Load'

The SA-43 is rated at 50ohms so this would mean that the laptop output is not fully powering the earphones, but the sound is still better than the cMoy!

 

 

So my question is, do you think the laptops onboard amp is better than the cMoy?

Would the sound worsen if you connect an already amplified signal to the cMoy? If so, how would you obtain an unamplified signal?

 

The cMoy makes my phone and tablet sound better though.

 

I am a noob so would like some expert advice please.

Sorry if I havn't explained myself properly.

 

Thanks

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #62 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5_spoonman View Post

They sound great. I just wish that bass would go down even lower. It becomes inaudible at 20Hz.

 

I actually have a question that maybe you can help me out with.

 

I purchased a cMoyBB 2.03 amp but I am not completely satisfied. 

 

My signal chain is this:

 

Laptop headphone out (Realtek 888s) > cMoyBB > Starkey SA-43.

 

To my ears, the laptop headphone out sounds better than with the amp. With the cMoy, the bass distorts at the same volume level as the laptop output alone (which doesn't).

The laptop output's bass I feel goes a little deeper and is smoother.

The specs for the laptop out put are 'Headphone amplifier output @32ohm Load'

The SA-43 is rated at 50ohms so this would mean that the laptop output is not fully powering the earphones, but the sound is still better than the cMoy!

 

 

So my question is, do you think the laptops onboard amp is better than the cMoy?

Would the sound worsen if you connect an already amplified signal to the cMoy? If so, how would you obtain an unamplified signal?

 

The cMoy makes my phone and tablet sound better though.

 

I am a noob so would like some expert advice please.

Sorry if I havn't explained myself properly.

 

Thanks

 

Yes, that is one of their weaknesses is the bass extension.  I can, however, hear 20 Hz, but it is at a good deal lower volume.  Amp output impedance and damping will affect the bass.  As far as amping an amped signal, I have noticed a significant difference with certain amps and the Fuze HPO vs. the line out.  You will need an external DAC to get an unamplified signal and the HiFi Man DAC or one of these will get you a line out signal (I have one of the linked DACs and it sounds amazingly good for the price).  While on the larger side, the Shonyun 306 amp seems to pair quite well with the SA-43.

 

I hope that answered your questions, and if not I will be happy to answer any other questions you may have.

post #63 of 101

Greetings everybody, I just signed up and this is my first posting.

I am new to this so please bear with me.....

 

I live in Oslo and I am going to the Starkey Oslo store as soon as i get home (working on a ship).

 

I have emailed with Starkey in Stavanger, and according to Alf i can use the SA headphones under a moto helmet.

Does anybody have any experience with using custom headhpones under a moto helemt?

 

I will use iPhone 4s or one of the small iPods.

What will be the best amp for iPhone 4s and let's say SA-43?

post #64 of 101

Sorry, but I have another noob question.

 

How do you know that the HiFi Man DAC or the ebay dac produce an unamplified signal?

 

Thanks

post #65 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rablakli View Post

Greetings everybody, I just signed up and this is my first posting.

I am new to this so please bear with me.....

 

I live in Oslo and I am going to the Starkey Oslo store as soon as i get home (working on a ship).

 

I have emailed with Starkey in Stavanger, and according to Alf i can use the SA headphones under a moto helmet.

Does anybody have any experience with using custom headhpones under a moto helemt?

 

I will use iPhone 4s or one of the small iPods.

What will be the best amp for iPhone 4s and let's say SA-43?

 

I updated the source matching section of the first post to include the iPhone 4s and various amps, as well as adding the DX100.  The RoCoo BA is a nice match with a small size.

 

I haven't tried using it under a helmet, but I think it would depend on the type of helmet and how tight it is.  The switches could be an issue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by x5_spoonman View Post

Sorry, but I have another noob question.

 

How do you know that the HiFi Man DAC or the ebay dac produce an unamplified signal?

 

Thanks

 

No problem.  Technically, all signals are amplified, but DACs output line level signals unless specifically designated as a DAC/headphone amp, and then they can have both line level and headphone outputs, or even only headphone outputs.  

 

Line level outputs as impedance matched with inputs, or in other words designed for use with a line level input while amps are designed for much lower impedance headphones, so when you hook up an amp output to a line level input it is somewhat like connecting a large pipe to a small pipe.  There will more than likely be some issues with the connection.

post #66 of 101

Thanks for the reply.

 

Lets say I buy one of these http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-USB-Sound-Box-Audio-5-1-Card-Adapter-for-Laptop-PC-/160461487323?pt=US_Sound_Card_External&hash=item255c3ffcdb

 

I am assuming the dac it uses will not be very good. So I will be feeding in a crap analogue signal to the cMoy. Is that right?

 

So is my mission is to find a good quality standalone dac? (That is reasonably priced).

post #67 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

 

I updated the source matching section of the first post to include the iPhone 4s and various amps, as well as adding the DX100.  The RoCoo BA is a nice match with a small size.

 

I haven't tried using it under a helmet, but I think it would depend on the type of helmet and how tight it is.  The switches could be an issue.

 

 

 

Thanks average_joe

 

I will prrobably get the SA-43 without the switches, but with the bass ON.

That said, i have to go to the store first and try the different models they have.....

 

I have 2-3 different iPods + iPhone 4s, if i go for a portable tube-amp (dont know why, but they facinate me) will that be a good mach with SA-43?

How will a tube amp be compared with the Portaphile 627

 

 

 

Sorry for all thise questions, but i am new at this.....

post #68 of 101

The Rocoo BA aint a bad match for the Starkeys, but i am using my BA with the volume set from 28 to the limit (31) most of the time...

 

The Studio 3 might be one of the better matches, if they say the hiss is reduced and the added power should be beneficial for the SA-43..

 

Ipods, Itouches, iphones is a waste of time, atleast straight out of them..

 

I have the Z1070 at home too, but i wasnt expecting this to be as underpowered as it is, and not a good match power wise but i havnet used it that much up to now, and pairs better with the easier to drive HF-2.

 

I still have niggles with my SA-43, my cable is already cracked open just after the strainrelief on the left ciem, an attachable cable would have changed that, but the stock cable is nice enough and dosnt tangle but pretty annoying since i discovered it just as i got them back from repair..

 

Sound wise i still want more sparkle at the highs, and distorted music as my mainly listen sound blurred and messy, and i ended up buying a DX100 on my trip to singapore, but i actually find the BA more suitable for my taste, but hopefully later updates in firmware or EQ is the way to go, but the sound signature seems to be off for my taste, and my build issues also make my experience with SA-43 less..

 

More "listenable" music sounds fine enough, and i dont need more extention in the bass regions, and i still prefer the bass switch to be off and mainly use it with electronic music where the SA-43 can produce more then enough rattling braincells for my taste...


Edited by Hemshemems - 9/11/12 at 11:00am
post #69 of 101

I am now wondering if an unamplified signal from a good quality dac will actually solve my problem of the bass distorting.....

 

What do you think?

post #70 of 101
Thread Starter 

It is possible as the output voltage of an amp can overload an input to an another amp, or it could be in the track as the more resolving a headphone is, the more imperfections you will hear in tracks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemshemems View Post

The Rocoo BA aint a bad match for the Starkeys, but i am using my BA with the volume set from 28 to the limit (31) most of the time...

 

That loud?  I listen at about 20-23 for normal volume levels.


Edited by average_joe - 9/12/12 at 11:08pm
post #71 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post

It is possible as the output voltage of an amp can overload an input to an another amp, or it could be in the track as the more resolving a headphone is, the more imperfections you will hear in tracks.

 

 

That loud?  I listen at about 20-23 for normal volume levels.

I might be going deaf who knows, but it also depends on the level of gain the different tracks have, and its mainly electronic music that needs the extra volume in my case, or mp3's..

 

I also turn up the volume sometimes because i want more attack, but the laidback sound signature dos and will not change at higher volume, just gets more messy...

 

For the size the BA is a powerfull little beast..

post #72 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by x5_spoonman View Post

I am now wondering if an unamplified signal from a good quality dac will actually solve my problem of the bass distorting.....

 

What do you think?

The analog output from a laptop not the best option as stated, either go for the usb dac portable ( for home use usb, for portable a dap and analog connection) or a breakout usb power thing, a headstreamer (http://www.amazon.co.uk/HeadStreamer-HRT/dp/B0067Z6BNC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347519226&sr=8-1 ) could be a fine option too..

post #73 of 101

Currently using the SA-43s with an ADL Stride portable amp&dac out of my laptop usb. Works really well and the battery on that thing outlives all my other gadgets. If the upcoming Gnote 2 has the same usb dac capabilites as the S3 I may be set for a while as far as a portable rig goes.

 

I did have to send the SA-43s in for repairs twice now though. First the removable cable pins broke and were stuck in the sockets of the left piece. Then the right shell got cracked(The shells cannot contain the awesome :P) The left piece is also starting to show cracks...

 

I also ordered a Whiplash replacement cable in a fit of madness so excited for that.

post #74 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernAvengeR View Post

Currently using the SA-43s with an ADL Stride portable amp&dac out of my laptop usb. Works really well and the battery on that thing outlives all my other gadgets. If the upcoming Gnote 2 has the same usb dac capabilites as the S3 I may be set for a while as far as a portable rig goes.

 

I did have to send the SA-43s in for repairs twice now though. First the removable cable pins broke and were stuck in the sockets of the left piece. Then the right shell got cracked(The shells cannot contain the awesome :P) The left piece is also starting to show cracks...

 

I also ordered a Whiplash replacement cable in a fit of madness so excited for that.

 

Yes, the Cruise (Stride) is a great DAC/amp minus the hiss with many CIEMs, but due to the sensitivity and impedance of the SA-43, it doesn't have that issue.  

 

Wow, twice, that isn't good.  What do you do to your CIEMs, lol.  

 

Ah, the Whiplash cable, great call...let us know how it works for you.

post #75 of 101

Me again...lol

 

I am thinking about purchasing a usb audio interface mainly to record guitar but also to be used as a sound card for listening to movies/music etc.

 

I am thinking about the Focusrite 2i2 but I am not sure if they can get the best out of the SA-43.

 

Here are the key specs.

 

 

Analogue Output Performance
Nominal Output Level 0dBFS = 10dBu, balanced
Frequency Response 20Hz - 20kHz +/- 0.2dB
THD+N < 0.001% (measured with 0dBFS input 22Hz/22kHz bandpass filter, un-weighted)
Output Impedance < 10Ω
Power Output into 150Ω 15mW
Power Output into 50Ω

30mW

Digital Performance
Clock sources Internal clock only
A-D Dynamic Range 105dB 'A-weighted' (all inputs).  Converter chipset A-D dynamic range 114dB
D-A Dynamic Range 104dB 'A-weighted' (all outputs).  Converter chipset D-A dynamic range 114dB
Supported sample rates 44.1 KHz, 48 KHz, 88.2 KHz, 96 KHz

 

Is 30mW enough for the SA-43?

Also is the DAC section any good. My onboard realtek sucks and I would like this to be an upgrade.

 

Thanks

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › M-Fidelity (formerly Starkey Norway) SA-43 Custom IEM Review: Expansive Space + Options