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The New iRiver AK100: A High-End DAP - Page 328

post #4906 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post

All,

 

I received a few emails about the type of wire we use in the RWAK100 mod.  It's Cardas Golden Section Litz wire (copper).  It's my favorite

wire in these type of applications because its solid copper, enameled (so there is no dielectric of a standard jacket), and very pure (99.99+).  I've used it to

make custom short interconnects (under 3 feet) and compared it to a lot of different types of wire.  It offers a balanced sound, with no stridency in the top-end,

and is very transparent.  Way better than going through the circuit board traces and the connector that attaches the MB to the headphone board.  

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

Having said this, we only use about an inch of wire per channel.  That's right - a very small amount.  So even using the most exotic of wire should

not have a any noticeable difference in comparison.  What is much more important is:

 

- The quality of the solder connections

- Making sure the wire touches the output stage FET and headphone jack leg, and then is soldered on (instead of there being a noticeable amount of solder in series with the connections from a bad solder job)

- The routing of the wires inside

- Making sure the stock signal path is removed (so it is not in parallel with the new direct path to the headphone jack).

- Using the correct soldering iron temperature to not thermally strain the parts.

 

In other words, getting the job done right (the cleanest, most professional way) is the most important thing.  The 1 inch of silver vs copper, etc. makes no difference if the soldering is not top-notch.

 

And I stand behind my modification work for as long as you own your player.  And when the time comes and you need help getting a new battery in there, or helping with any other

non-modificaiton-related issue, you know I'll be there to help with that and offer you very prompt service.  This is how I've been doing it since 2005 when I developed the 4G iMod and then

the 5g/5.5g iMod (which has been copied, but rarely duplicated in quality from what I've seen in person and from those who needed service and asked me to help).  

 

I am very careful, do my homework, test, repeat, and offer all my customers very good communication and responsiveness.  To all my customers - I am very thankful for your support and confidence in my work, and all your feedback from your emails and posts here.

 

Cheers!

 

Vinnie

 

 

 

 

Vinnie,

 

I would highly recommend trying the Kondo silver RCA cables and stripping itregular_smile%20.gif

 

the Kondo cables are made from very fine strands of silver drawn in the Kondo Laboratory, annealed for up to twenty years, treated specifically for skin effects and then coated with multiple layers of proprietary varnish which acts both as a protector of the silver and as a means of rejecting RFI

post #4907 of 8792

Hi spkrs01,

 

I like the "warning: spoiler!"   Nice. biggrin.gif

 

 

 

Quote:
annealed for up to twenty years, treated specifically for skin effects and then coated with multiple layers of proprietary varnish which acts both as a protector of the silver and as a means of rejecting RFI

 

So the varnish is also conductive and connected to a ground to act as a shield (like a coax) to reject RFI?  If you are concerned with that, what about that extra long antenna called the headphone cables (much longer than 1 inch / 2.54cm)?  Where's the proprietary varnish on those?  Things That Make You Go Hmmm... rolleyes.gif

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF2ayWcJfxo  

 

Seriously - whatever keeps you listening is good... especially the music.

 

Vinnie

 

Reply
post #4908 of 8792

I think what he meant is 'have you experiment with other cables?'.

 

I am highly skeptic on how a cable of such a short length can make a huge significant difference. 

post #4909 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

I think what he meant is 'have you experiment with other cables?'.

I am highly skeptic on how a cable of such a short length can make a huge significant difference. 
I was skeptical too until this past weekend. I won't say I'm a convert but I'm keeping a more open mind (i.e. fence sitting).
post #4910 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post

 

The thing is - I don't think it matters what country it is designed.  There are very bright people all over the world who can make a great UI I'm sure. 

 

What makes the difference is how much $$$ and time the company has to do the software design / UI.   Apple, Android, etc. have billions of dollars and huge design teams working together (most likely globally).  iRiver and other smaller companies do not have this.  And compared to the HUGE volume of what a large company like Apple sells, iRiver probably doesn't even sell a fraction of 1% of this.  So they probably can't leverage the lowest prices on all the various hardware parts either.  

 

So hopefully, iRiver will listen to the most popular requests for improvements (like Gapless, better battery metering, etc) and in time will continue to release free updates as they sell more units and have more $$$ to pay their engineers to make the product better and better.  

I agree that talented people are all over.

 

What I disagree with, is thinking that the OS used by the AK100 is something that it's not. Remember, iRiver only needs to essentially build a slightly extended "Music" app not a full featured OS w/dev api such as Android or iOS. This they could accomplish at considerably low cost and with a very small team. Completely doable by even a startup and the price I quoted for the DAC was volume pricing, but it was only for 2k+ units. Not millions so I don't think you need the kind of leverage that Apple or Google have in order to get good pricing on hardware. They also have a lot of leverage from their other products lines I'm sure.

 

From digging into the internals of the OS, I've found that iRiver simply leveraged their existing product base for the OS of the AK100. Their is some evidence of utilizing some OSS code base in order to get things done and they should have gone more down that route, especially with the id3 tag reading and codec libraries (outside required licenses of course). So basically what I am saying (in my opinion) is that they didn't put much into the software as they should or could have for a high-end player. 

 

I think we should all have a higher expectation as there is obviously a market for portable players outside of smart phones and we should expect them to be top quality. Nobody ever gained market share with a half-assed product unless the competition was just so horrendous it was the only better option. That isn't the case here, there is clearly room for improvement and I hope they do continue to do so. 

post #4911 of 8792

I've tried a lot of them, but definitely not all of them.  I tend to agree with audionewbi regarding such a short length (a small

jumper, essentially)- but keeping an open mind is a good thing.  

 

But as I mentioned above - there are definitely much more important things to make sure are done well.  A good inch of wire is a good

inch of wire...

Reply
post #4912 of 8792
Quote:
there is clearly room for improvement and I hope they do continue to do so. 

 

I agree, Chank.  I hope so, too!  

 

This thread spells out to them what their customers and future customers are and are not looking for.  These forums are so valuable and I hope iRiver reads them.  They are making an audiophile DAP (not just a standard iPod for the masses), so this is the place to be to get good feedback.  

Reply
post #4913 of 8792

What surprise and disappoints me at the same time is that I was told iriver is aware of this thread on head-fi and they are reading it carefully, considering the 3-5 ohms OI I am puzzled on what were they reading. 

I think (and I need to point at this is just my guess ) is the head of the design team is some phd guy who is keep insisting that they must include such resistor because theoretically on paper it is needed.


Edited by audionewbi - 5/13/13 at 7:32pm
post #4914 of 8792
Quote:
I think (and I need to point at this is just my guess ) is the head of the design team is some phd guy who is keep insisting that they must include such resistor because theoretically on paper it is needed.

 

You are probably right about this.  But they should know that theory and practice are two different things.  

 

What would really be great is if they chose to use the WM8741.  Then they could put in the software control to change the digital filter 

characteristics (I would love a minimal phase filter instead of a linear), and that chip would actually allow them to offer DSD playback 

in the future.  With the WM8740, it isn't going to happen.

 

WM8741 with SW controlled digital filters would be the cats meow!!!

Reply
post #4915 of 8792

My technical knowledge is very limited, I get my information from what I can find using google search but i am sure DSD playback is the least of our concerned right now. DSD ripping is hard, not easy, very few people will bother rip their SACD for on the go purposes, I dont think the vast majority of us care about that, all we want a DAP for IEM that makes the need of a dedicated amp  obsolete. 


If I was iriver I would just buy the amp design of a well established amp for IEM (like pico slim) and just implement in my design, it seems like the logical thing to do as they are not fully aware on how to design an amp section with respectable OI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinnie R. View Post

 

You are probably right about this.  But they should know that theory and practice are two different things.  

 

What would really be great is if they chose to use the WM8741.  Then they could put in the software control to change the digital filter 

characteristics (I would love a minimal phase filter instead of a linear), and that chip would actually allow them to offer DSD playback 

in the future.  With the WM8740, it isn't going to happen.

 

WM8741 with SW controlled digital filters would be the cats meow!!!

post #4916 of 8792

Well, I think they designed it very well except for the output resistors   deadhorse.gif

Reply
post #4917 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

My technical knowledge is very limited, I get my information from what I can find using google search but i am sure DSD playback is the least of our concerned right now. DSD ripping is hard, not easy, very few people will bother rip their SACD for on the go purposes, I dont think the vast majority of us care about that, all we want a DAP for IEM that makes the need of a dedicated amp  obsolete. 


If I was iriver I would just buy the amp design of a well established amp for IEM (like pico slim) and just implement in my design, it seems like the logical thing to do as they are not fully aware on how to design an amp section with respectable OI.

 

There are quite a few sites for DSD downloads but mainly classical at the moment

 

http://dsd-guide.com/where-can-you-find-dsd-music-downloads

 

And regarding the second part, I think people will be surprise how impressive the AK120 is, when they become readily available. Thus far, there's not many, if any, units available for immediate delivery globally. Around 5 units were allocated to Hong Kong and probably similar amounts in Germany for the "Global Launch" last Friday.................

post #4918 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

I think what he meant is 'have you experiment with other cables?'.

 

I am highly skeptic on how a cable of such a short length can make a huge significant difference. 


Audionewbe you'll never know until you try it for yourself. Then come to our own conclusion. I even hear differences between LODs. Sometime for the better and sometime for the worse. I do prefer my RCA to silver cable over my 3.5 to 3.5 silver cable. The RCA Cable is actually shorter in length than the 3.5 to 3.5 but other than that they are of the same cable (same manufacturer). The RCA connection may also be playing a roll in that. I perceive better separation on my Triad via the RCA.

post #4919 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


Audionewbe you'll never know until you try it for yourself. Then come to our own conclusion. I even hear differences between LODs. Sometime for the better and sometime for the worse. I do prefer my RCA to silver cable over my 3.5 to 3.5 silver cable. The RCA Cable is actually shorter in length than the 3.5 to 3.5 but other than that they are of the same cable (same manufacturer). The RCA connection may also be playing a roll in that. I perceive better separation on my Triad via the RCA.
That is a fair point, I'll experiment in the near future.
post #4920 of 8792
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post

That is a fair point, I'll experiment in the near future.

Just to add to my own experience and believes, I was very skeptical about wire composition for such a short interconnect wire, we are talking about a few inches here. Well I changed my mind very quickly after building a few of them myself and found different sonic properties depending on the wire material. I have tried pure silver with 1% gold content, pure litz type copper wire and a mix between the two with copper as the ground. The mix ended up being the best combo in terms of bass and brightness (wide spectrum). I am not skeptical anymore. As Vinnie mentionned above, clean soldering techniques, moving marginal components out of the way and best parts will contributube to a better implementation.
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