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FiiO Mont Blanc/E12 portable headphone amp, 880mW, slim design, full metal case. Bass boost and Cross feed! - Page 125

post #1861 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by Change is Good View Post

Thanks for clearing that up for him. Trying to help the best I can...
Hey no problem, not judging or saying you're wrong, just saying that a statement like "good with headphones up to X Ohms" only takes account for one part of the total picture, to the point where a marketing team can pull a statement like that out of the air but provide little real comparison with another manufacturer's product.
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

Did anyone do a real-world test of the battery life yet? I only seem to recall someone saying they hadn't charged their device in over a week, which seems kind of skeptical to me unless they had a super-charged Headstage Arrow 4G-like battery installed.
Uh, that was probably me, lol. I've never run through a full battery in a single listening session, nor kept a record how many hours I used mine before it needed charging. I typically do not listen to music more than an hour a day, I usually play videogames in 2 or 3 hour sessions (more or less), and I don't listen to headphones every day (4-5 days a week). In practical application, I could use my E12 for several days before it needs recharging, which usually works out to once a week. I understand my real-world use may not match other's, and it's possible that longer sessions may consume power faster than several short ones. I'm sorry, I think that in light of what I said in reply above, it would be more useful if I provided an hours figure, but right now I just don't have that data and I keep forgetting to keep track.
post #1862 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by walkmanrocks13 View Post

I see another member named Bill-P (on a direct C&C BH vs. E12 thread) had both and agreed with my view, but that's of course not any universal truth, just opinion/ears.

 

Yeah, I agree with you. E12 seems like it rolls off high frequencies. I've plugged it into far more headphones (thanks to the SF Bay area meet) to conclude that.

 

A pair of headphone like... say... Mr. Speaker's Mad Dogs wouldn't do well with E12 even though ironically, I think E12 was made specifically for headphones like those. (low sensitivity, need more power)

 

The Mad Dogs paired with E12 were far too closed in and dark even for my taste.


Edited by Bill-P - 4/15/13 at 5:23pm
post #1863 of 3695

 

Unboxing:

 

Physical Impressions:

  • E12's by-design analog potentiometer is hard to adjust and adjustments while in-pocket for mobile use (or even desktop) are difficult for me: in-short, too much effort needed to adjust volume and the volume knob leaves imprints on my fingers
  • Volume knob while turning: power, region of no sound, channel imbalance region (~ 8:30 position), no channel imbalance region (~9 'o-clock position)
  • The gain and crossfeed switches are impossible to adjust by-hand, but that was an intentional design
  • There is background hiss at high-gain, and at high volumes (~1 'o-clock position) at low-gain
  • Bass boost switch is nicely placed on the side
  • Small distance between the input and output sockets might be a problem for larger and/or angled jacks
  • The relay click is also a new feature to me (if I want to quickly use the E12, this might be a problem)
  • Fairly large for a portable headphone amplifier in my experience
  • Heavy weight (it almost feels as heavy as my Texas Instruments TI-84 graphing calculator with batteries installed)
  • Input/output jacks are pretty tight
  • A personal preference, but I don't like the bright blue LED power indicator. Blue light has the most energy of all visible light and hurts my eyes in the dark (I can't stand my Dell's blue LED power and disk activity indicators while computing in the dark).
  • A reset button is on the bottom...I'm not sure why this would be needed
  • Will do a real-world battery test soon

 

Sonic Impressions:

MacBook Pro Retina Display -> JDS Labs ODAC (Monoprice USB cable) -> FiiO L2 -> FiiO E12 -> AKG K 701 or V-MODA Crossfade M-100

 

No audio enhancements, low gain:

  • Smooth
  • Slightly warm
  • Decent soundstage
  • Mids are sweet
  • Mids are laid back
  • Lacking detail in the upper-end

 

Crossfeed on, low gain:

  • Sounds sound behind me
  • Sounds less dynamic
  • Soundstage shrinks in width

 

Bass boost on, low gain:

  • Bass sounds kind of plasticky (does that even work for describing bass?)
  • Sounds adds some nice weight
  • Lowest bass notes are less affected than lower/mid-bass (more punch than rumble)

 

 

Comparisons to C5:

In short, I'd say the C5 is worth the price difference between the E12 ($60 USD).

  • More pocket-friendly interface
  • More portable form-factor
  • More space for jacks on the front-plate
  • Easier-to-use volume controls
  • Deeper, larger "theater" bass boost [perhaps pre-mass-release E12 would have been like this]
  • Larger soundstage with better instrument separation
  • Closer in sound to my reference amp, Objective 2
  • Clearer midrange
  • More detail in the treble
  • More fatiguing during long listening sessions
  • No channel imbalance
  • No noise on high-gain mode

 

 

Overall, not bad. I haven't tried very many amps in the < $200 USD range, but the E12 isn't half-bad. It's definitely a step-up/upgrade from the amp in the E7 that I have. My one and only real issue is the volume control since I often adjust it depending on my music playing, background noise, different sensitivity headphones, etc. That volume knob is just...so inconvenient to me. >_<


Edited by miceblue - 4/18/13 at 1:28am
post #1864 of 3695
You get used to the volume knob.

Some say amps are magical creatures. Some
Say they are just pixy dust snake oil ground up devices.

We can agree with it. Vilify it, but we can not ignore it.

That they are indeed a bit magical

So here is to amps being in the most magical place on Earth.

(Yes, im at vacation in Disneyworld)


I would bring my P-H if I was on a longer stay.
Edited by bowei006 - 4/18/13 at 7:20am
post #1865 of 3695
Boweii,
Did you just watch that apple "Here's to the crazy ones" TV commercial?

Miceblue,
I personally think the power-on delay was implemented in response to ..."some people"... Totally flaming another manufacturer because it didn't have such a protection circuit. The E12 is more powerful than most portable amps, so while it's not necessary because I plug in my headphones after turning on an amp, it's nice to have the peace of mind.

Did I see in your video that the C5 has it's power switch on the bottom? I prefer the E12's power switch being part of the volume on the "top" of the amp, but to be honest it doesn't matter much because I'd assume you'd have the amp strapped to a music player which you'd take out of your pocket to turn on and pick your first song (and also I don't personally have any "on the go" situations anymore, when I'm out I'm usually driving for 12 minutes then working serving customers).

E12 = pocketable, if only just, but that makes all the difference compared to the O2 as you showed (wow, I thought the O2 was a little big, but... that's about the same size as my desktop tube amp!). C5 is smaller yet but IMO they're both in the same size category of "pocketable."

I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of the bass boost... usually boosts are like you described, which was why I anticipated and was pleased by the first-batch E12 I got. Best bass boost I've ever heard... But I think I sound like a broken record about that, so I'll stop.

Everything I've read about the C5 sounds like a winner, but IMO the E12 is a winner too. I'm personally sticking with the E12, I feel pretty satisfied. Thanks for the video and review, it thought it was really good! I'll go on YouTube and give it a thumbs up smily_headphones1.gif
post #1866 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Boweii,
Did you just watch that apple "Here's to the crazy ones" TV commercial?

Miceblue,
I personally think the power-on delay was implemented in response to ..."some people"... Totally flaming another manufacturer because it didn't have such a protection circuit. The E12 is more powerful than most portable amps, so while it's not necessary because I plug in my headphones after turning on an amp, it's nice to have the peace of mind.

Did I see in your video that the C5 has it's power switch on the bottom? I prefer the E12's power switch being part of the volume on the "top" of the amp, but to be honest it doesn't matter much because I'd assume you'd have the amp strapped to a music player which you'd take out of your pocket to turn on and pick your first song (and also I don't personally have any "on the go" situations anymore, when I'm out I'm usually driving for 12 minutes then working serving customers).

E12 = pocketable, if only just, but that makes all the difference compared to the O2 as you showed (wow, I thought the O2 was a little big, but... that's about the same size as my desktop tube amp!). C5 is smaller yet but IMO they're both in the same size category of "pocketable."

I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan of the bass boost... usually boosts are like you described, which was why I anticipated and was pleased by the first-batch E12 I got. Best bass boost I've ever heard... But I think I sound like a broken record about that, so I'll stop.

Everything I've read about the C5 sounds like a winner, but IMO the E12 is a winner too. I'm personally sticking with the E12, I feel pretty satisfied. Thanks for the video and review, it thought it was really good! I'll go on YouTube and give it a thumbs up smily_headphones1.gif

Yeah no I totally understand the purpose of the power relay circuit. To me it's a new concept since the amps I have don't have it by design. I still think Schiit Audio receives too much flack for that incident though. >.>

 

Yes the C5 has the switch on the bottom. It's a personal preference of course, but I prefer the power switch separate from the volume controls. I was playing with the power/volume knob of the E12 and the power -> no audio -> channel imbalance -> no channel imbalance is kind of awkward to use if operated in the pocket (I can see myself accidentally powering the unit off when trying to reach a low volume level).  In my mobile arrangement, I place the power switch interface of the C5 towards the top of my iPhone, so the power controls of both units are "up there".

 

Yup the E12 is definitely pocketable as well, but it's just larger in my pocket compared to the C5 and a godsend in size compared to the relatively massive O2, hahaha. To me, obviously not to the same extent, it's feels like the difference between an iPhone 4+ and a Samsung Galaxy S phone in my pocket in terms of size. The E12 is definitely heavier too, so when it's in my pocket and I'm moving around, I can feel it's weight (don't go running with this in you pocket XD).

 

I think the bass boost is fine for most people, but as was discussed earlier, people here would probably appreciate the deeper bass boost more. The bass boost of the E12 kind of reminds me of that of the E7 but cleaner; it's there but it doesn't quite sound natural to me. The C5's bass boost is more like a medium-level ZO2 bass boost, which if you haven't tried is a pretty satisfactory sub-woofer amp.

 

For all intensive purposes, I do think the E12 is a good amp. For $130 USD, it's great, from my experience, in terms of sound, features, and appearance. A few things I do like about the E12 over the C5 is the finish of the case and the bundled accessories. C5 just comes with rubber feet and a USB cable, E12 has rubber feet, USB cable, 2x2-sizes of silicone bands, interconnect cable, soft/fuzzy carrying case (though it has already attracted a bunch of dust). The C5's enclosure is kind of a grainy-smooth finish like a chalkboard (it actually does attract fingernail marks and whatnot); the E12's is a very nice, shallow-brushed metal that is a slight fingerprint magnet. The weight of the E12 makes it feel like a really sturdy and solid device, the lighter C5 feels slightly lacking (though there is a lot of space in the case itself since you can re-arrange the circuit board orientation in the case).

post #1867 of 3695
All fair points smily_headphones1.gif
I suppose one other thing the separate power switch has going for it is the potential for the amp to "remember" what volume it was set at. Kinesthetically and subjectively though, I love analogue knobs (yes I know the channel balance benefits of digital volume, also that's probably a large factor in the $$ difference), and the two times I did use my E12 portably in-pocket with my classic iPod, I had the iPod facing "out" in my pocket so I could push the physical controls through the pocket cloth and switch on my E12 and adjust volume, all without removing from my pocket. In fact I may go do that now, as my mum offered some cash to me if I did some gardening for her.

I think the whole Schiit-Storm thing was an embarrassing moment for the community... Some helpful suggestions could've been presented in a much more professional or at least non-inflammatory way, but the point I'm making is the relay may be a ripple-effect in response to that event, and avoid bad community branding from a few unprofessional critics. That's why I bothered tallying the number of people who were actually clamoring for a change to the bass boost in this thread, and replied to the more incisive critics: I don't think it was fair, nor do I believe it would do the most good for the most equipment/people. I'm willing to bet that several of the self-declared bassheads who demanded the change STILL didn't buy the new redesigned-for-them version anyway.

Sorry to rant. Short story is, I think the available E12 is a good amp, not going to set the world on fire BUT the amount of power available for a portable form factor makes it unique, and previously the bass boost was a nice bonus that was also unique. Portable + Output Power is the E12's niché, while others focus on battery life or digital potentiometer (like in the C5). Cheers!
post #1868 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Boweii,
Did you just watch that apple "Here's to the crazy ones" TV commercial?

Ummm. *cough cough*

Considering im at disney. It should be a crime not to have biggrin.gif

(Steve Jobs was the largest (single person) stock holder at disney)
post #1869 of 3695
OT WARNING!!!
Yes, he was. For a brief, shining moment, I thought perhaps he might take over from Eisner, but then sadly he passed away. The thing that made Jobs so insanely great, though, was that he surrounded himself with brilliant, talented people (and yeah, he definitely had an ego), and the bright side is that FWIR his cinematic leader from Pixar, John Lassiter [sic?], is now at the helm of Disney now. It's hard to deny the storytelling quality of pretty much all the Pixar films. I can't help but feel amused at the situation: Disney may have bought Pixar, but in many ways Pixar absorbed Disney. I'm actually kind of excited to see what the new Star Wars films will be like, maybe that sense of wonder and powerful themes from the original trilogy (particularly Empire and Return) will be back, the excitement in the films directed by Lucas sadly fades after a while.
Apple commercial that Boweii & I are referring to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rwsuXHA7RA&sns=em

... And now, I return you to your regular discussion about headphone amps and a growing electronics company called FiiO, that believes in flying, or at least in the sensation as it tries to create that for music lovers at an affordable price. Yay!
Edited by Evshrug - 4/18/13 at 2:41pm
post #1870 of 3695

Hm, FiiO E12 + V-MODA Crossfade M-100 = ultimate combo for listening to poorly mastered tracks or songs affected by the Loudness War. Perhaps it was a good design to have "rolled-off" treble for the E12 for the average consumer.

 

 

 

 

Yeah in-pocket controls with the E12 is awkward since the thing is so large in my pocket and it requires me to use ≥ 2 fingers to operate the potentiometer. There's no space in my pocket for all of this stuff. XD

 

Also, I recorded this battery life with nothing connected to it and at a volume level just past the channel imbalance region (~9 'o-clock position), no bass boost, low gain, no crossfeed:

This time is an over-estimate since I fell asleep and when I woke up, it was out of juice.


Edited by miceblue - 4/19/13 at 11:52am
post #1871 of 3695
It most definitely isn't close to 16hours, more like 10, IME. Unless perhaps the v2 battery is for some reason better than v1 tongue.gif
post #1872 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by pngwn View Post

It most definitely isn't close to 16hours, more like 10, IME. Unless perhaps the v2 battery is for some reason better than v1 tongue.gif

Well yeah, this is in the best-case scenario with nothing plugged-in to it.

 

I'll do a more realistic test this weekend (iPhone 4S -> FiiO L3 -> FiiO E12 -> V-MODA Crossfade M-100).


Edited by miceblue - 4/19/13 at 1:14pm
post #1873 of 3695
I find I get 10-13 hours.

0 gain and used with iem
post #1874 of 3695
I'll try to run mine down from full charge this weekend, too. Mines on almost constantly, which makes me with it had the BH's battery, but at least it can play while charging.
post #1875 of 3695
Quote:
Originally Posted by pngwn View Post

Mine's on almost constantly
Surely you aren't listening for the entire length of the battery life?? Ok, I understand it takes all kinds to make the world go around, but that much music WILL damage your hearing. Unless you just have stuff playing when you're not around to hear it, like part of a PA system or something? Anyway, you at least have the benefit of a predictable point in your day when the battery runs out, and you'll know about when you'll need to be near an outlet or USB port. Maybe just charge it in your sleep?
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