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FiiO " Flagship " portable amp Mont Blanc/E12 discussing thread. - Page 56

post #826 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Are you sure that's a DAC in that cabel?
That doesn't make any sense!
Could be a charge control chip or an authentication chip.

Why put a DAC in the cable if the iPhone already has a DAC in it?

Definitely has a DAC.
post #827 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post



Why put a DAC in the cable if the iPhone already has a DAC in it?

 

Because the new lightning cable offers no analog audio out.  It just sends a digital signal, so there needs to be a DAC chip in the cable to run it as an analog out.  That is why the lightning to 30-pin adapters are so damn expensive!

post #828 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelli View Post

 

Because the new lightning cable offers no analog audio out.  It just sends a digital signal, so there needs to be a DAC chip in the cable to run it as an analog out.  That is why the lightning to 30-pin adapters are so damn expensive!


Thank you for the explanation.  Any reviews on how much of a downgrade this DAC is compared to the built-in unit?  Does this mean the only way to have optimal sound portably with Iphone 5 is if someone comes out with a direct lightning>amp line out cable?  Does anyone know if the GoDapX lightning cable is compatible with the E12?

post #829 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigster75 View Post


Thank you for the explanation.  Any reviews on how much of a downgrade this DAC is compared to the built-in unit?  Does this mean the only way to have optimal sound portably with Iphone 5 is if someone comes out with a direct lightning>amp line out cable?  Does anyone know if the GoDapX lightning cable is compatible with the E12?

It will not be compatible as the E12 is only an amp so it needs an analog signal.  The GoDapX is a lightning to USB cable.  That will provide a digital signal for external DACs like the HP-P1, CLAS, etc. that have the special apple decoding ships (think $400-$600 range).  There are no FiiO products at the moment that will work with an iPhone 5 without double amping or using the lightning to 30-pin adaptor with a 30-pin LOD cable attached.

post #830 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craigster75 View Post


Thank you for the explanation.  Any reviews on how much of a downgrade this DAC is compared to the built-in unit?  Does this mean the only way to have optimal sound portably with Iphone 5 is if someone comes out with a direct lightning>amp line out cable?  Does anyone know if the GoDapX lightning cable is compatible with the E12?

That's not what it means... Line-out is an unbuffered (unamped) analogue signal, an amp after that controls the volume. You could plug headphones directly into the line-out feed from a DAC, but you can't control volume and most modern sensitivity headphones & song production values would produce a VERY loud volume (tried once w/ iPod classic, hurt).
Meanwhile I wonder if the lightning connection makes connecting an external DAC easier now? I hadn't heard you needed a special Apple authentication, the downside is if that "authentication" costs 3rd parties much then it will be harder to get those cheap-but-cheerful iPod boom boxes like iHome. I was intending to get an iPhone 4S anyway, but perhaps this is all the more reason.
Makes me wonder if the "lightning" connection is like a "Steve Jobs cutting out floppy drives and only using USB on the iMac" type of deal, or more like when greedy shareholders almost putting Apple out of business after firing Jobs. Unfortunately, I don't think this indicates "industry-forward thinking" unless the Apple Decoding ID chips aren't real for the Lightning cable models like they are real for the previous models that could at least provide line-output.
post #831 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


Meanwhile I wonder if the lightning connection makes connecting an external DAC easier now? I hadn't heard you needed a special Apple authentication, 
 

I believe you still need an Apple authentication chip to use the digital feed, so Pure i20, Wadia 170/171i, Hp-p1, CLAS, Sony or the GoDAP, etc. are the only options to extract a digital feed from portable apple products.  

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I the downside is if that "authentication" costs 3rd parties much then it will be harder to get those cheap-but-cheerful iPod boom boxes like iHome. I was intending to get an iPhone 4S anyway, but perhaps this is all the more reason.

You can still use the iPhone 5 with ALL aplle compatible docks, you just need a lightning to 30-pin adapter (which has a DAC chip in the adapter).

 

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


That's not what it means... Line-out is an unbuffered (unamped) analogue signal, an amp after that controls the volume. You could plug headphones directly into the line-out feed from a DAC, but you can't control volume and most modern sensitivity headphones & song production values would produce a VERY loud volume (tried once w/ iPod classic, hurt).
 

 

What does this info about line-out have to do with the OPs question?

 

Here are the 4 options to use iPhone 5 with a portable amp:

 

1) iPhone 5 headphone jack > 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable > Amp line in

 

2) iPhone 5 lightning jack > lightning to 30-pin adaptor > 30-pin LOD > AMP line in

(If someone comes out with a "lightning to Line-out" cable it will follow this format which has a DAC chip in the adapter)

 

3) iPhone lightning > lightning to USB cable > Apple authenticated DAC with built in amp (Ex. Hp-p1)

 

4) iPhone lightning > lightning to USB cable > Apple authenticated DAC USB input (Ex. CLAS or Hp-p1) > Apple decoding device line out > 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable > Amp line in

 

The sound in #3 and #4 will be the best, bit much more expensive

 

There is some debate if #1 or #2 sounds better.  It is a trade off. In #1 you are double amping which can degrade the signal.  In #2 you are using the tiny Wolfson DAC chip in the adapter which some say is inferior to the internal DAC in the phone.  I have not compared the two as I don't use my phone for music unless I am at home connecting it to my Pure 1-20 or Wadia 170i.  Those both follow the chain of #4 but are not portable.

 

 

post #832 of 3077

Hi,

Can you give the options for Android phones in the same fashion?
 

post #833 of 3077
Pelli,
Thanks for breaking it down. When I posted, I think I misunderstood Craigster, and now after refueling my brain with good food I can't see how I misunderstood biggrin.gif

As far as using the lightning-to-30-Pin-adapter, that might technically work, but not as neatly and securely as plugging an iPod into a docking station. I need to read more reviews on the adapter, but I believe someone in this thread used one which introduced some background noise, to which IIRC Feiao responded with something like "I was afraid of that frown.gif" That could be due to a bad sample of the adapter though.

I've often read Wolfson=Quality DAC, but I believe Wolfson is just a brand-name and I have no idea about the specs or model name of what Wolfson DAC that could be. Might be good as the one built into my iPod Video, but it might be worse. I imagine some future FiiO product (maybe the E19, Everest?) will plug directly into the Lightning port, but for now it can be expensive.

What was the Sony option of extracting the digital feed from an iDevice? Also, with the models that support it, doesn't Apple's HDMI output send a digital feed to the next device?
post #834 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by SNSDluv View Post

Hi,

Can you give the options for Android phones in the same fashion?
 

Options #1 will work for an android phone.  I am not as familiar about android phones / DACs.  You will probably find more information here:

 

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

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

What was the Sony option of extracting the digital feed from an iDevice? Also, with the models that support it, doesn't Apple's HDMI output send a digital feed to the next device?

The device is the Sony PHA-1.  I am not sure what you mean about the apple HDMI output...

post #835 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelli View Post

The device is the Sony PHA-1.  I am not sure what you mean about the apple HDMI output...

I'm talking about... Thiiis guy:

Apple's official HDMI adapter. We bought it to connect our iPad 2s to the TV and watching videos on the larger screen. I don't think HDMI sends analogue audio, so...

Well, the DAC inside my receiver is supposed to be pretty good, and I HAVE been meaning to A/B the sound between my receiver and E12. I'll try iPod-->L11--->E12-->Q701 (this is the only way I've been listening since I got my Mont Blanc a bit over a week ago), then iPod-->L11-->receiver-->Q701, then try testing the Yamaha's DAC via iPad2-->HDMI adapter-->receiver-->Q701, lastly iPad2-->HDMI-->receiver-->RCA to 3.5mm-->E12-->Q701. The iPod right now has a few lossless tracks on it, but it doesn't work with the HDMI adapter (says it can't connect to FireWire devices when you plug in the adapter, interestingly).

I don't think I'd ever use that last, most complicated setup regularly just for the receiver's DAC, but I will test it out of curiosity. Something I was planning anyway. I may not finish getting the test setup today as I want to put a few lossless tracks on my iPad 2 for the test, but when I do the test I'll post it in my journal thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/646786/evshrugs-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now-discussion-journal
Edited by Evshrug - 1/27/13 at 12:44pm
post #836 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


I'm talking about... Thiiis guy:

Apple's official HDMI adapter. We bought it to connect our iPad 2s to the TV and watching videos on the larger screen. I don't think HDMI sends analogue audio, so...

Well, the DAC inside my receiver is supposed to be pretty good, and I HAVE been meaning to A/B the sound between my receiver and E12. I'll try iPod-->L11--->E12-->Q701 (this is the only way I've been listening since I got my Mont Blanc a bit over a week ago), then iPod-->L11-->receiver-->Q701, then try testing the Yamaha's DAC via iPad2-->HDMI adapter-->receiver-->Q701, lastly iPad2-->HDMI-->receiver-->RCA to 3.5mm-->E12-->Q701. The iPod right now has a few lossless tracks on it, but it doesn't work with the HDMI adapter (says it can't connect to FireWire devices when you plug in the adapter, interestingly).

I don't think I'd ever use that last, most complicated setup regularly just for the receiver's DAC, but I will test it out of curiosity. Something I was planning anyway. I may not finish getting the test setup today as I want to put a few lossless tracks on my iPad 2 for the test, but when I do the test I'll post it in my journal thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/646786/evshrugs-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now-discussion-journal

 

 

Again, not sure the relevance of this to the discussion at hand, but sure that is a digital signal.  It will only work with an I pad as far as I know, but I think there is also a USB connector that will take a digital feed out of an iPad as well.  That should connect to way more DACs than a HDMI cable.  My big question is why?  Looking at your chain, I don't think the DAC in your receiver is going to be any better than the internal DAC in your iPad, or any other iDevice for that matter.  You will not see much of an upgrade unless you go to a dedicated DAC, or an Amp/DAC combo that is more specific for headphones.  When you break down all the parts and features of a receiver like that, only a small percentage of cost will go to the DAC.  In terms of a low end receiver, this looks like a couple of dollars in parts.  My guess is running a FiiO E7 or E17 from your MBP will sound much netter than any of the options you are suggesting, let alone going with something like the Schiit Modi, or ODAC.  Otherwise, just stick with iPad to E12 via line out.  Apple puts OK DACs in there devices.  I would

 

In the end It is important to keep in mind the Mont Blanc is a portable Amp. This is where it is really going to excel.  As a portable option it is seeming to show good results driving "hard to drive" headphones.  This is why it was designed with all that juice.  When compared  to desktop options with similar specs, I think it is going to struggle a bit.  There have to be some trade-offs when trying to pack all that stuff into a small box at a reasonable price.  This is in no way a slight to the E12.  So far I am very impressed with what it can do.  Lets just not get carried away...

post #837 of 3077
Quote:
Originally Posted by pelli View Post

 

 

Again, not sure the relevance of this to the discussion at hand, but sure that is a digital signal.  It will only work with an I pad as far as I know, but I think there is also a USB connector that will take a digital feed out of an iPad as well.  That should connect to way more DACs than a HDMI cable.  My big question is why?  Looking at your chain, I don't think the DAC in your receiver is going to be any better than the internal DAC in your iPad, or any other iDevice for that matter.  You will not see much of an upgrade unless you go to a dedicated DAC, or an Amp/DAC combo that is more specific for headphones.  When you break down all the parts and features of a receiver like that, only a small percentage of cost will go to the DAC.  In terms of a low end receiver, this looks like a couple of dollars in parts.  My guess is running a FiiO E7 or E17 from your MBP will sound much netter than any of the options you are suggesting, let alone going with something like the Schiit Modi, or ODAC.  Otherwise, just stick with iPad to E12 via line out.  Apple puts OK DACs in there devices.  I would

 

In the end It is important to keep in mind the Mont Blanc is a portable Amp. This is where it is really going to excel.  As a portable option it is seeming to show good results driving "hard to drive" headphones.  This is why it was designed with all that juice.  When compared  to desktop options with similar specs, I think it is going to struggle a bit.  There have to be some trade-offs when trying to pack all that stuff into a small box at a reasonable price.  This is in no way a slight to the E12.  So far I am very impressed with what it can do.  Lets just not get carried away...


@pelli and @Evshrug- I am actually learning a great deal regarding amp connections that I did not know.  As I will be listening portably and want the best possible sound out of the E12, or any amp AND may upgrade to a 64 gig Iphone 5 at some point, I think discussion of connection is relevant and much appreciated.

post #838 of 3077
Pelli,
I don't think I'm getting carried away. I haven't expressed my opinion here, but I also believe the DACs in my MSRP $400 iDevices are quite good and probably better than what's in a typical receiver. But maybe, I'll find that the iDevice DACs are budget-constrained in a similar way as the receiver's... aren't we already thinking that's the case with the iDevice's amp? And what if the differences from a DAC can only be heard at home, in a quiet environment, with high-resolution files anyway? I'm not (just) doing it for me, I want to write about it just in case other people are curious as well. I bet some people are.

I think finding similarities and differences between the new amp and a commonly-available reference (many people have receivers before dedicated, portable, powerful headphone amps) is more on-topic than finding iDevice with lightning adapters, but they're all connected because I'm going to explore line-out and external DAC options while I'm at it. I also think the E12's power makes more sense as an "all headphone" amp that can go portable, not just as a portable amp for portable headphones. I'm always thinking about how to connect things to current projects smily_headphones1.gif


Craigster75,
Well, you know I'm doing it all for my adoring fans. Wait... I don't have any subscribers or payment for this kind of thing. Oh well, adoring or not I'm just exploring stuff and hoping others find it helpful or interesting. You may be interested to know, despite double-amping and double-coloration, I did detect an improvement with the E12 connected to my iPod's headphone jack. Now that I think about it, I'll write my stand-alone E12 sound and usage review first before the "crazy comparison" stuff. FYI, the iPhone 4 and 4s support the HDMI adapter (the video capability differs), so that could be useful once you reach a destination if you want to hook up to a projector or presentation devices.

TL;DR version:
Right now though, just for personal, portable headphone use, it's easier and better supported just to use a 30-pin iDevice. That's just my personal analysis. Worrying about an external DAC on the subway isn't likely to produce greater satisfaction, either.

Oh, I also meant to say, you probably don't need to double-amp from the ZO, I think the only time one would bother is if the rather aggressive ZOv2 bass-boost was producing clipping at listening volume, so you would turn DOWN the volume on the ZO, and then output to an amp that has power headroom at the listening volume you want with your headphone. A 3-piece (or more) setup, even if you're carrying it in a backpack, is pretty goofy though IMO.
Edited by Evshrug - 1/27/13 at 5:36pm
post #839 of 3077
As an aside, in case the point wasn't made clearly enough, the E12's bass-boost is subtle and probably won't offend audiophiles, but it's not the sort of thing that'll make bassheads happier. The E12's neutrality wouldn't take away from a basshead headphone though, unless you like the bass looser.
post #840 of 3077
What is the actual dB bass boost on the E12 and what does the E11 offer in comparison on the highest bass setting? I'm looking to upgrade to the E12 from an E11 but I'm worried the single bass setting won't satisfy my bass craving. If the E11 falls short, what other portables are there that have a strong amount of bass and/or bass settings and is affordable? Thanks!
Edited by frenchjay - 1/27/13 at 3:22pm
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