Hi, I finally got around to finishing up on the Rocoo BA writeup. First of all, I'd like to issue a huge apology to lee730 who was kind enough to give me the opportunity to hear the BA. Originally I was supposed to enter my thoughts into this thread a good week in a half ago but due to pressing matters due to work schedule, some other commitments I made and family I've been very strapped for time. I'm very sorry it took me forever to get my thoughts up on thread lee and thank you again for including me in your DAP tour. With that out of the way I'll just get to the heart of the matter and get on with it.
As some of you may know I own the Studio V 3rd anniv and did a WRITEUP on it not to long ago. As such I will be alluding to it throughout this post. I'm not going to mention much concerning the form factor. There really isn't much to say about it except besides the unit being half as thick as the Studio V it's pretty much a carbon copy. The UI, not much to add concerning that either. It looks and navigates exactly the same as the Studio V and unfortunately that means it has the exact same bugs. Oh and just so everyone knows I listened to the BA using the exact same firmware as my Studio V. I was thinking of installing the original firmware the BA ships with but decided against it because I'm not comfortable with the idea of flashing someone else's player and possibly bricking it. Also, going with the other firmware in my opinion would have been a disservice to the BA considering it sounds it's best with the DT Dynamic Ver 2011.12.23 . At least that's my experience when I flashed my Studio V player with the BA firmware. Music with the Dt Dynamic just sounds better to my ears
When I got the BA I was a little floored at first. You see although there were some minor differences in tonality and vocals (mostly sibilance and added warmth) I didn't hear a huge difference between the two players. It took a little playing around with more songs and more revealing gear (Sony MDR EX 600, j-Phonic K2 sp) before I finally got my head around the BA's signature. The differences are quite subtle in my opinion but when you add them up and spend a full day with the BA and switch over to the V they stand out. First of all, although the Studio V is quite transparent the BA goes a different route and adds a very small hint of warmth. It's not to say it's not transparent in it's own right, it's pretty good in my opinion, what I mean is while the V completely disappears in the chain the BA seems to add a tiny hint of it's own character to the music. The end result, while the V will get out of the way and let the gear do the talking and shove detail in the mids out at you along with glaring bad mastering in modern music the BA will be a little more forgiving of modern day bad mastering due to that added touch of warmth and although still transparent you will know it's still there.
Something else that really surprised me about the BA was it's treble. As some of you may know I described the V as having very forward highs (clean, crisp, clear, energetic). Although the BA's highs aren't as forward sounding, not by a long shot in my opinion, it does seem to have a very slight touch more extension in the upper registers giving a very nice airy feel. That being said it's nowhere near as clean clear or crisp sounding as the V. I used to own the DT1350 and I'm rather peeved I sold it off before listening to this player. It would have been an interesting match considering the DT1350 has one of the cleanest and beautiful sounding detailed mids I've ever owned in a mobile can as well as very energetic highs and is not know for being a forgiving can when listening to badly mastered music.
Now, the mids between the V and the BA are very similar. The V seems to squeeze out that touch more detail and as with it's highs everything is crisp and clean. Vocals can be a tad sibilant here and there but if you're listening to good or acceptably good source material it's not a problem. Note decay in the mids is very fast giving it that clean clear sound as well as an aggressive feel to the music (think faster PRAT). The Ba on the other hand is not as aggressive sounding and detail although very good isn't shoved out at you like with the V. I might be wrong about this but with some songs the V put me in a hall front row dead center while the BA put me third row dead center. Further discussion from people who have heard both DAP's on the BA maybe being a a tad more laid back in the mids would be welcome.
Now the bass, it's lean it's clean it's mean and it punches. Does it do bass as good as the V? Well that depends on what you want when we're talking good bass. If you like a nice detailed layered quick clean hard hitting bass the Studio V is your animal. If you like a slightly more lusher sounding bass that still has depth the BA is your animal. The thing about the Studio V is when I had my V-MODA M-100's hooked up to it (awesome pairing by the way) I could listen to very bassy songs and hear the bass extend deep and I could still differentiate various details in the bass and the V would keep that bass tightly controlled at all time. With the BA on the other hand that bass although still deep and detailed it just could not keep up with the V in control and note separation. something else I'd like to bring up would be when the bass punches out at you in a song and you get that visceral like bass just boom out at you. For example, the song Sandstorm, the shorter radio version, by Darude at the very beginning of the song there's that fast loud hit and then the synth quietly kicks in. With the V that hit hits hard fast and disappears just as the background synth quietly kicks in and slowly gets louder. With the BA that hit isn't as clean and controlled and decay is slightly slower and the very beginning first second of the soft sounding synth gets drowned out. In my opinion there seems to be a very slight bleed of bass into the lower mids.
Again I'd like to emphasize these differences I'm explaining to my ears are very very subtle and minor differences and if you're not sitting there looking for them doing a direct A/B comparison I doubt someone giving both players a quick few seconds of listening time would notice. Overall I think the BA is a winner in it's sound capabilities. It's a small half step down from the Studio V but for it's cheaper price it's potency in the sound department is nothing to sneeze at.
I hope my impressions were helpful to anyone out there trying to decide between the Studio V and the Rocoo BA.
Regards and God bless
Edited by DigitalFreak - 2/27/13 at 5:07pm