Originally Posted by Greed
First of all, good DAC's won't color your music at all. If you've heard a "bright" DAC chances are is isn't highly regarded. As for your other points, I agree with some.. but I don't agree with your assumption that the "darker" a solid state amp is the better it usually sounds? How does that make any sense, when typically the ultimate goal of all audio companies is to design products that are balanced, and/or as close to flat as possible. With your logic products like the Matrix M-Stage etc would be the end for most people if "darker" sounding amps are somehow better. I understand that branding some "dark" is over dramatic, but if you go back and read what I wrote I said in comparison to the E12. That doesn't mean the E11 and E17 are dark, it means they sound dark when compared to the E12. Not the same thing. Your theory on distortion is unique to say the least.
When I said DAC, I meant in combination. Either way I'm not sure what you further assumed, but there are obviously things that the DAC effects, all of which wouldn't be very similarly described as the effects of an amp would. I wasn't really implying anything by it. And just for the record, I have sitting next to me a very highly regarded AD/DA converter here next to me by SSL, for professional use (or at least that's the reason I bought it; I'm not crazy to otherwise spend that much money, lol).
As far as the other stuff I said, it's not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing. I'm not making any assumptions. Let me try to elaborate on some points if they didn't come across. So for instance, when I said the darker it sounds the better, I meant it relative to each other and as far as most cases go. Why? I've never seen a solid state amp unintentionally due to poor design or bad components have a measurement (or a perceived sound) where the treble (mostly harmonic content) actually dips. It's too much to get into the details of it, but basically, the type of distortion present in these amps ends up emphasizing the upper-mids, all through the treble range, that actually being the lesser of the important perceivable effects. As I mentioned, more importantly is the emphasized odd harmonics over the even but I guess that's not what we're discussing. ..I used "dark" in the sense that you may not have realized you also used (but have now indicated that it is how you meant it). Neither the E17 or the E11 are dark sounding amps, to the slightest stretch of the imagination, as you've agreed (you really gave an impression otherwise). However, it is possible that relative to another amp (like the E12), they may appear to be so, but that would only be saying something bad at this point about the amp being compared to them. It can be more of an indication that your headphones have a slightly veiled sound to them and the E12 works better to get THEM to sound more neutral (or it could possibly be a number of other things also to be quite honest). They could also just be better impedance matched.
Yes, of course the goal (especially with these amps) would be to get as flat a response as possible, especially in the highs as that's where most of the distortion actually has the most effect (also for several although related reasons). I was talking about it just like you meant it, relatively. IN THAT CONTEXT, I mention that relatively "the darker it is the better" because the further you go from the ideal design with these kind of amps, the more the higher frequencies are effected (by adding onto themselves through a sort-of overlap or just becoming disproportionately louder to the human ear). I'm trying to simplify.. Basically what I mean by the latter point is that odd-harmonics are perceived as a harsher kind of sound to us and they're also what we mainly use as our sense of loudness, so with them being distorted, the effect is I think therefore more or less obvious. It's why a trumpet sounds so piercingly loud and unbearable close up (due to its large amount of odd-harmonic content) despite being significantly quieter than fully cranked electric guitars (with EVEN-harmonic distortion) going through the amp and cabinets. As you likely know, it's often PREFERRED for the guitars/music to be cranked up that high since ultimately, if not going past the human hearing threshold for pain (like 120 dB SPL), it actually sounds pleasant to us!
I can't tell you the exact reason for what you're hearing and I'm not saying you're wrong in what you hear either. I'm just saying that you're very likely attributing what you're hearing to the wrong things in this case.
Originally Posted by Sko0byDoo
I asked JamesFiio/Feiao and these were what I got as a reply. I'm hoping for a release of e18 in late summer. I'm holding-off the e17 purchase and wait for the e18 due to Android compatibility. e19 supposes to be Fiio top dog, e12+a kickass DAC?
Current e18 threads: http://www.head-fi.org/t/628254/fiio-e18
Aww!... I thought the E18 was supposed to be all of the above! It's not worth it just for that if it costs more than the E17 or if you already have the E17 and it doesn't even have a better amp. If we get something like the E17 with a mute button, potentially a talk button, Android support, and a better amp?! ..I'll cradle it in my arms until I die! (A digital optical or coaxial-out wouldn't hurt either, lol) As long as it's portable and doesn't surpass the size of current Android phones, I'm happy trading off size for these features. I don't find myself pairing an amp directly connected to my phone as I travel anyway. I currently just pack the E17 with me and use it at my destinations, whether it's for "professional" use or for casual listening. I use IEMs on the go and there's no point in pairing them with an amp. Not only because of comfort reasons, but even without that as a factor, I'm not sure I'd want the same experience on the go as I get at home or at whatever other locations. I quite like the sound of my IEMs and after all this time, I haven't gotten tired of them (of course with the EQ I have for them). They're very forward, warm, and engaging, which for on-the-go casual listening is great! Of course, that's without much trade-off for other qualities (as they would pertain to this situation anyway). But of course, that's just my opinion and my experience. I'd bet though that if I got a true chance to share the experience, many would agree (of the people who don't dislike IEMs for comfort reasons).
Edited by Typhoon859 - 2/19/13 at 10:29pm