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Hisoundaudio Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition Review - Page 49

post #721 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by red71rum View Post
 

This is really not a big deal, but sometimes when I press forward(right button)button on my studio V 3rd, the song stutters slightly at the start of the song. I have followed the info here and used Mp3tag for all the files. I was just wondering if anyone had this issue?

Yep, I've had this happen.  Can't recall what file type it happens with most often, but most of what I listen to now is flac, so....yeah.

 

I'll re-experiment again.  It confuses me slightly because my files are all properly tagged, but it does it on some albums and not others, could be the bit-rate?

 

I'll let you know if I find anything out or figure out a solution.

post #722 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by red71rum View Post
 

This is really not a big deal, but sometimes when I press forward(right button)button on my studio V 3rd, the song stutters slightly at the start of the song. I have followed the info here and used Mp3tag for all the files. I was just wondering if anyone had this issue?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

Yep, I've had this happen.  Can't recall what file type it happens with most often, but most of what I listen to now is flac, so....yeah.

 

I'll re-experiment again.  It confuses me slightly because my files are all properly tagged, but it does it on some albums and not others, could be the bit-rate?

 

I'll let you know if I find anything out or figure out a solution.

 

Yep, happens very often on mine, also.  It also stutters a little bit when waking the screen up, too.  Gets annoying not hearing the first note of a song when you expect it.

post #723 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

Yep, I've had this happen.  Can't recall what file type it happens with most often, but most of what I listen to now is flac, so....yeah.

 

I'll re-experiment again.  It confuses me slightly because my files are all properly tagged, but it does it on some albums and not others, could be the bit-rate?

 

I'll let you know if I find anything out or figure out a solution.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearFNF View Post
 

 

 

 

Yep, happens very often on mine, also.  It also stutters a little bit when waking the screen up, too.  Gets annoying not hearing the first note of a song when you expect it.


I am glad that it is not just me. If I hit the back button(I wanted to make sure that it was not that the .flac was corrupt) the song will play the first note and have no issue. It almost seems as if the player is slow to react to input sometimes I guess. It would seem that if there was time spent on the upgraded firmware, that these issues would be gone.


Edited by red71rum - 11/27/13 at 11:19am
post #724 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by bearFNF View Post
 

 

 

 

Yep, happens very often on mine, also.  It also stutters a little bit when waking the screen up, too.  Gets annoying not hearing the first note of a song when you expect it.

Typically I always start an album. Pause it. go back (which brings you to the final track) then forward to get to track one again.  Once that happens everything *usually* plays fine unless I do some track jumping.

 

For whatever reason some of my albums give me a bit of a hiccup between tracks too - more like a hiccup-sneeze-fart as it stammers into each track.  I'm guessing I didn't give them the proper tag adjustment yet.  The version I have of the new Arcade Fire album does this for me.

post #725 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
 

Studio 2 has so much gain(output) for a similar noise floor that it may stress the input of an amp. I'd check the amp specs or ask the manufacturer before assuming it will work like the Anv 3.

I had no problems using my 2 with a Graham Slee Voyager and Epiphany 02

post #726 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gignac View Post
 

It might be worth keeping your 2nd Edition and just pairing up a quiet portable amp.  I recently added a JDS C5 in between my Studio V 3A and a set of Heir 4.Ais, really like the sound there - noise floor is now invisible, but kept the highs right where I want them.

 

That being said, the mids are more recessed, and not quite as detailed (though still nice sounding) than when playing directly through the Studio V, so it depends a lot on the sound signature you're looking for.

 

For the money, I doubt you'll have as much of a difference going from the 2nd to the 3rd as you would by adding in a $200-$300 amp.  There are certainly a lot of options on the Amplification For Sale forum right now:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/f/6551/amplification-for-sale-trade

 

I went with the JDS C5 for two reasons: the reviews spoke highly of it's low noise floor, and its flip-o-the switch bass extender (for my bass head moments).

 

I also considered a Pico slim, and one from TTVJ, all of which can be found easily in that price range.

 

If you're not interested in the added girth though, then I certainly welcome you to the world of the 3rd Anniversary.

 

 

Anyone know when they're having their 4th Anniversary?  I should send them a cake.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


I know exactly where you're coming from, I was amping for a while , but with C&C BH. The hiss all but disappears, stage widens and the colouration was more than welcome , but like yourself the mids recessed and I lost that crisp edge in mid range extension by a small fraction. Overall I still rate it one of the better rigs I've heard, I'd limit volume on the studio to 28/31, there was a sweet spot. But what killed it for me was losing that small fraction of detail my vocals just werent reaching as deep, not by much mind you. I was however using this for a while and theres many pluses in doing so.You're right on the money and its certainly a plausible option.


 

I felt the exact same way regarding the mids. The Studios magic is really in its mids and you lose it when amping. Just takes away the immediacy and definition the mids have. Vocals no longer whisper to you. Just sounds distant with more bass and treble emphasis. To my ears it just sounds off and never got on amping it... That goes for all Hisound products I've used. They just seem to hate amps (they like to go solo ;).

post #727 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

 

 

I felt the exact same way regarding the mids. The Studios magic is really in its mids and you lose it when amping. Just takes away the immediacy and definition the mids have. Vocals no longer whisper to you. Just sounds distant with more bass and treble emphasis. To my ears it just sounds off and never got on amping it... That goes for all Hisound products I've used. They just seem to hate amps (they like to go solo ;).


I'm with Gignac, soundbear, KT66,. I think there's decent advantages (and disadvantages) amping the Studio, even with the little $100 BH amp. By itself the Studio (2nd) sounds dry and rather sterile, possibly overly colorless, even to some a touch mechanical or clunky with certain pairings (lacking PRaT). There's great detail which is what I missed amping, losing that final 10%, but the advantages in soundstage and layering adding the amp were quite enjoyable to me, also the kind of euphoric colouring C&C BH added gave the signature good swing and rhythm. Like adding salt n pepper sauce to a raw steak.


Like others have mentioned, there's plus sides in doing so, but it lost out in just a few areas, it was like a see saw of ups with a few downs. For the everyday listener, I doubt they'd be chucking a fuss over the nit picking faults I am or Gignac mentioned. it just wasn't complete to me, like the (2nd) isn't complete with it's minor hiss, although I still rate that pairing very highly, even over the possibly (fautly?) T1 amp I have here. (which I didn't like at all with my 2nd  Edition)


Edited by H20Fidelity - 11/28/13 at 12:34am
post #728 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post
 


I'm with Gignac, soundbear, KT66,. I think there's decent advantages (and disadvantages) amping the Studio, even with the little $100 BH amp. By itself the Studio (2nd) sounds dry and rather sterile, possibly overly colorless, even to some a touch mechanical or clunky with certain pairings (lacking PRaT). There's great detail which is what I missed amping, losing that final 10%, but the advantages in soundstage and layering adding the amp were quite enjoyable to me, also the kind of euphoric colouring C&C BH added gave the signature good swing and rhythm. Like adding salt n pepper sauce to a raw steak.


Like others have mentioned, there's plus sides in doing so, but it lost out in just a few areas, it was like a see saw of ups with a few downs. For the everyday listener, I doubt they'd be chucking a fuss over the nit picking faults I am or Gignac mentioned. it just wasn't complete to me, like the (2nd) isn't complete with it's minor hiss, although I still rate that pairing very highly, even over the possibly (fautly?) T1 amp I have here. (which I didn't like at all with my 2nd  Edition)

 

I felt it did have a fuller sound (thicker note weight) and due to this less cold (definitely bassier). But I didn't like what it did to the mids. It did expand the staging but I think it made it excessive in this case. Just didn't like how it sounded with the amps I used. It also got fatiguing for me on short listening sessions. Sounds like the 3rd ANV would address most of your qualms with the 2nd edition unit (sounding mechanical and forced) as the 3rd ANV is definitely more effortless and smooth in comparison. Changing the file allocation size also improved things in that regards IMO.


Edited by lee730 - 11/28/13 at 12:54am
post #729 of 1266

EDITED AGAIN 4th DEC - FOLLOWING FIRMWARE ADJUSTMENT

 

Just amended my review - thought I should probably post it here as well.

 

Followed the excellent advice of some of the guys that have had this a while - and redid my library - now it's a very usable player.  So here are my impressions:


Introducing HiSound Audio’s TOTL DAP – The Studio V 3rd Anniversary Edition

 

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Studio V3 A.E. Sonic Joy - V3 A.E. + RS1

 

After reviewing many of HSA’s earbuds and IEMs lately, my thoughts turned toward buying a new DAP.  My iPod Touch G4 (32 GB) had been getting pretty full, and I’d been tossing up between simply getting the iPod Touch G5 (64 GB) + an add on amp (probably an Arrow) so I could drive my higher impedance full cans, or buying a DAP that could do an all-in-one job.  I asked Rocky from HSA for his opinion, and he steered me toward the Studio V3 A.E.  We struck a deal where I would pay for the device, review it, and if not happy, could return for a full refund.  In this review, I’ve listed the Studio V3 A.E. for its normal list price.  I paid a little under this – but I did pay for the DAP.

 

NOTE - Edited 28/11/13 following retagging files and reloading library (FLAC)

 

Disclaimer

I was provided the Studio V3 A.E. as a paid (but discounted) review sample.  I am in no way affiliated with HiSound Audio - and this review is my honest opinion of the Studio V3 A.E.  I would like to thank Jack and the HiSound Audio team for making this opportunity available.

 

Preamble - 'about me'.   (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review).

I'm a 46 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile - just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current mid-fi set-up.  I vary my listening from portable (iDevices) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > coax > NFB-12 > LD MKIV > HP).  My main headphones at the time of writing are the Senn HD600, Grado RS1, Shure SE535 Ltd Ed. IEMs, and HSA’s BA-100, Crystal and Living earbuds/IEMs.  I've also just received the Dunu DN1000 Hybrid IEM this week.

 

I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz to grunge and hard-rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, indie, classic rock, and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced - with a slight emphasis on the mid-range.  I am neither a bass or treble head (you could argue that I do like clarity though).  Current amps = NFB12 and LD MKIV.  I also formerly owned several portable amps - the most notable being an Arrow 4G and GoVibe PortaTube.

 

My experience with DAPs in the past have been initially with very cheap Sony offerings, then step-ups to the Cowon iAudio7, and lately to my iPhone4 and iPod Touch G4 – which are both very good sounding and have excellent interfaces.  I've also listened to various other devices along the way - including Cowon's J3.

 

I have extensively tested myself (abx) and I find aac256 or higher completely transparent.  For my portable listening – it is my preferred format (space vs quality).  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).

 

I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’

 

What I Was Looking For In A DAP

I thought I’d list (before I start with the review) what I was really looking for in a new DAP.

  • Great (neutral) sounding

  • Good build quality

  • Reasonable battery life

  • Easy to use interface

  • Able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans

Did I get all of this with the Studio V3 A.E?  That’s a definite no.  Well - mostly (following some tweaking).  And for me, the two biggest ‘must haves’ were going to be sonic quality and usability.  Do I still have the Studio V3 A.E?  Yes.  No intention of returning.  Read on, and discover with me why I regard this DAP as having a ‘Jekyll & Hyde complex’, but why (for me) it’s remained a keeper.

 

This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

 

THE REVIEW

 

Packaging and Accessories

When the Studio V3 A.E. package arrived – before I opened the parcel, my initial thought was that Jack must have sent me something along with it.  The box is big considering the size of the DAP – but I have to admit it does give an impression of something “just a little bit special” being inside.

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The Studio V3 box

 

 

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Size comparison (iPhone) Tiny DAP - big box!

 

On opening the V3 box, the initial impression was “wow this thing is tiny”, and also – it does look very solid and classy.

 

With the V3 you also get:

  • An HSA VIP card

  • Warranty (in Chinese)

  • The Studio V3 manual (in English and Chinese)

 

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Paperwork in the box English page from manual


The manual itself is fairly basic – but also pretty easy to follow.

 

Underneath the display tray is a second compartment with 3 very nicely presented boxes which hold the USB plug and cable, and also a pair of PAA-1 earbuds (which despite their budget appearance actually sound not too bad).

 

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Second compartment The Studio V3

 

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2nd Compartment Accessories PAA-1 Earbuds

 

Technical Specifications

There wasn’t a lot of information (technical anyway) on the web – so I’m relying on what was published in the manual.  Relevant details include:

 

Dimension : 

 76 x 49 x 20mm

Weight :

 140g

Screen :

 1 inch matrix (128x64) OLED

PC connection :

 USB2 – standard mini-plug

Internal memory :

 4 Gb flash

Battery :

 Lithium-ion (more on battery life later in review)

Supported Formats :

 MP1-3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC, OGG

Supported OS :

 Windows 98/SE/ME/2K/XP/Vista/Win7 (also works on 8), MAC OS10, Linux 2.4.2

Languages :

 Chinese, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian

Maximum output :

 10mW-80mW per channel (32 ohm load)

Frequency response : 

 17Hz to 23 KHz

SNR :

 >=96dB

Distortion :

 <=0.1%

 

Build

Four words – solid, classy, high quality.

 

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Side view with iPhone 4 in background Rear of Studio V3

 

The body is a solid piece of machined aluminium with a brushed exterior.  The colour is silvery with a light golden hued tint.  The body has slightly bevelled edges – but it is comfortable to hold.  The buttons are solid, and appear built to last.  The OLED display – while small is relatively easy to read, and can be viewed reasonably easily (dark and light).  It does suffer a little in direct sunlight - but easy enough to shade with a cupped palm.  The USB cable fits snugly, and headphone socket is tight and feels well put together.  On the bottom of the player – next to the USB port – is a micro SD expansion slot.  For this review I’m using a Sansa Ultra microSDXC class 10 card.  The card is easy to fit and is solid once input.  One note here – you’ll need to format the card to FAT32.

 

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Top view next to iPhone 4 Bottom view next to iPhone 4

 

On the top of the unit is the headphone out, and also another plug so that the Studio V3 A.E. can also be used as an amplifier for another source.  I have tried this feature – and while it works, I can’t say that it’s a feature I would ever see myself using.

 

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Micro SD Card Top Ports - Headphone Out and Source In

 

The only issue I have with the build is that I’m always worried about scratching it because it looks so classy.  It’s already received a lot of comments from my work mates – and has been instantly a topic of conversation when I’ve had it out.  Quick thought for Jack – it would be nice to include some type of soft cover (or pouch) as an added accessory for the future.

 

UI (Universal Interface) / Usability

 

With pre-loaded firmware DT-DYNAMIC 2013.01.15

Ok – here is where we meet Mr Hyde.  So far my initial impressions were very good.  First I charged the battery for the initial recommended 8 hours, and then began loading some music.  The USB interface is really good.  On plugging I got two Windows Explorer windows – the first the 4 GB internal memory, and the second had access to the 64 GB card.  Putting music on the player was simply a matter of drag and drop.  So far, so good.  When I had the card loaded with about 45 GB of HQ aac files (around 4000 tracks), I unplugged and turned the unit on.

 

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Initialising / Start Up Now Playing Menu Option

 

I’d already read a lot of the threads on the V3 A.E. – so I was expecting a slow start-up.  Initial boot took around 5 minutes.   The disconcerting thing was watching the screen initially scroll the boot messages – then seem to freeze.  Don’t panic if this is happening to you – it’s normal for everything to freeze while it’s initialising the card.  Once it starts scrolling again you notice the card is loaded and you’re ready to go.

 

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Selection screen - using tags Selection screen - folder browsing 

 

Here’s where things started to get flaky.  Although the card had loaded – the player was extremely laggy moving from menu to menu.  Scrolling was an absolute chore – and sometimes despite clicking repeatedly, it was not scrolling at all.  For anyone at this stage – patience.  What I found out later - through trial and error – is that this player does not like a big library of tracks, and that it gets more responsive around the 3000 track mark or lower.  I also found that leaving the player for about another minute after it’s initially loaded also speeds up the responsiveness.

 

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Settings screen Bye-bye (often frustrating)

 

Anyway – initially I had ~4000 tracks loaded and the player was extremely laggy.  Not used to the interface, and coming from the excellent UI in all the Apple devices – this made me very impatient, and it was at this point I discovered one of the major flaws in the V3 A.E. UI.  The central button acts as a select option, play/pause, and back option – depending on how long you hold it.  Unfortunately it also acts as the power off button.

 

So imagine if you will – laggy menus, trying to back out of a directory, buttons unresponsive because of the lag – so press the central button either repeatedly or longer (because of the lag) – and you suddenly get the “Bye” notification and the device powers off.   Aaaargh!!!  Wait 5 minutes to power on again.  Repeat process etc.  It was at this point after a further 15-20 minutes that I was ready to just box the whole thing up and return it to Jack.  At this stage I hadn’t even been able to have a decent listening experience.

 

Anyway – fast forward now 3 weeks – and things are much different.  The UI still sucks could be better – but it’s usable.  It’s extremely basic – and Jack’s advice to me (via email) was invaluable.  He advised patience and that eventually I’d get used to working the buttons – the length of time to press etc, and I have.  Like I said earlier – the secret is not to overload the player with files – and to be patient with loading.

 

The menu itself is simple – but effective.  You can either browse by selecting the music option or file browser mode.  Using the music option – your tags need to be correct.  Interesting note here (just another quirky observance) – if you have no music files on the 4 GB internal memory, the player won’t recognise tags on the files on the removable micro SD card.  For me it simply showed ‘no file’.  Once I added files to the internal memory – they reappeared.

 

Main menu options include “Now Playing”, “Music”, “Resource Manager”, and “Settings”.

 

The best part about the UI is that it’s very simple to use once you get accustomed to it.  The worst parts are:

  • Player lag

  • No back button (apart from the central one) and having it double as on/off.

  • Every time you exit a menu you have to relocate that folder again (no memory of where you last were).  This is extremely annoying – especially when browsing by folders, or if you have artists with multiple albums.

  • If you have a lot of folders – you can have a lot of clicking to get to the one you want – there is simply no easy way of getting there in a hurry.

  • No true gapless

  • It has lossless support – but does not work with 24/96 files (have to resample these)

 

One recently discovered fault (could be just my unit) is that sometimes when I power on – the volume either appears to be slightly muted, or louder than it ought to be.  This doesn’t happen very often – and usually just repowering the device of and on again puts things back to normal.  It’s happened only a couple of times in the last 2 weeks – but it is repeatable – so could be an issue just with my unit.


UPDATE 28/11
So in an attempt to get better response from the player - I decided to try removing all of the tags from my files.  I use folder browsing anyway - so no biggie.  I fired up MP3tag - deleted the tags, and tried again.  Still a very slow boot, and still some lag in the UI.   Hmmmm ....

 

Next - wiped the player - got rid of the albums I'm least likely to use - so now I was only loading about 2300 tracks (mostly full albums).  This time all of the albums loaded as FLAC - but after I cleaned up all the tags (deleted any ID3V2 tags, deleted artwork, deleted all other eroneous info except for Artist, Album, Genre and Track (title and #).  Reloaded and an instant improvement.  Load time is now about 3.5 minutes (it's pretty consistently around this time) - but a lot of the lagginess is now gone from the menus.  It;s actually pretty snappy, and a lot easier to use!  Now that I'm not having to fight the player all the time - I can have a look around.  Discovered folder play - works really well, and there is an option in settings to randomise the play (nice).  Genre tags work, as do artist and album - so if you want to create playlists you can - just by arranging desired tracks in a common folder.  The good news is that if tagged properly - you can then use the normal 'tagged playing options' to play by album - and the folder option to arrange playlists if you need to.  Takes a little managing the set-up, but all in all - the more I use the player, the better it's becoming.

 

Would I like the UI fixed - YES!  Biggest one for me would be boot time.  But it's very usable at the moment - and it's not a chore as it was in the beginning.  My Hyde is now more of an annoyance than a raving beast :)


UPDATE 04/12

Following Lee730's advice - I finally bit the bullet and reverted to firmware version DT-DYNAMIC 20111223.  I now consider the UI to still be a little primitive but very usable (no longer the Mr Hyde it once was).  Boot time with a fully loaded internal and external memory is now just a little over a minute (approx 74 seconds), scrolling is dynamic, and most of the lag is gone.  I really don't know why this version is not the default one for the player.  All in all now - this has gone from a good DAP to a great DAP in my estimation.  Sonics (as you'll read further) are outsanding, as is the build.  Now the UI is functional as well.


 

I could go on a lot more about the UI – but it’s time to move on.  The important thing is that I still have, and use this DAP daily.  And that’s simply because of the sound …..

 

Sound

Let me preface this section by making sure you know where I’m coming from.  I like the sound of my iPhone.  It’s linear – sounds great, low distortion, essentially flat frequency response.  I did not expect the Studio V3 to sound superior – yet it does.  I level matched, got my wife to assist with swapping blind, and tried it with a number of different headphones.  The V3 A.E. to my untrained ears sounds phenomenal.

 

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Once the music starts - all else is forgotten Even with cheaper earbuds - excellent sound!

 

It’s essentially pretty colourless – maybe has a very slightly brighter than neutral signature.  It’s either that or most of my other gear has been slightly darker than normal.  I won’t go on about bass, mids or treble – as that won’t get to the heart of the matter.  The V3 A.E. has a very black background.  I’ve noticed no hiss (or other noise) with even my very sensitive SE535 Ltd Eds.  The main difference between the iPhone 4 and Studio V3 A.E. (sonically) is in a greater sense of ‘air’ or ‘space’ with the music.  I know this sounds like stupid audiophile speak – but it’s the best way I can describe it.  Side by side (and volume matched to the best of my ability) – in direct comparison – the iPhone 4 sounds quite flat after listening to the V3 A.E.  If I had to guess – I’d say it was something to do with the crossfeed set-up maybe?  Anyway – the Studio V3 to me simply sounds wonderful – which is why I’m keeping it.

 

Update - spent the evening with Dunu's DN1000 Hybrid and the Studio V3 A.E.  To my ears, these were made for each other.  Crystal clear, gorgeous mid-range, punchy and hard-hitting (dare I say 'magical') bass - and I am definitely not a basshead.

 

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Studio V2 + SE535 LE - wonderful sound Studio V3 + RS1

 

And to those who are maybe scoffing at this point (like I used to with others) – remember that I have every reason to return the player for a full refund.  The UI is not good not as good as I'm used to, I can’t store all of my music (like I wanted), and features are missing that had grown to be 2nd nature on my iDevices.  I’m keeping this because it sounds great – despite everything else.

 

Power

HSA claim (on the rear of the device) that it is Class A inside – and this is one of the reasons I looked at it originally.  I wanted a DAP that I wouldn’t have to carry a separate amplifier with (a truly portable device).  And it doesn’t disappoint.  It’s perfect with my sensitive IEMs, and can still drive (with no issues) my HD600.  It sounds great with the RS1 – and when I had my K702 I even tried it for a while.  Whilst the K702 was lacking a small bit of power (didn’t quite have the bottom end that I was used to from a more powerful set-up), volume and general sonic signature on the K702 was far better than from the iPhone – and was very listenable.

The Studio V3 has 31 different settings in its volume scale – and so far I’d never had any issues with headroom.  On the HD600’s I sit close to 20.  With my IEMs – around 8-10.  There are no issues with channel imbalance.

 

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Even powers the K702 Outclasses the iPhone 4 sonically

 

Battery Life

HSA claim up to 100 hours playing lower bitrate MP3 files in saver mode (ie screen turned off).  I’m guessing from a full initial charge – that could be achieved.  But as far as real world usage goes – I’m probably using the player around 6 hours a day (playing music), and sometimes longer if I leave it in stand-by.  I have no problems getting at least 2-3 days, so I’d say minimum 30 hours with higher resolution files and normal use – probably longer – is achievable.  Anyway – given that it powers all my headphones (portable and full sized) and has very long life – no amp required – I’m very happy with its battery life so far.

 

Summary

So there we have the Studio V3 A.E.  A real Jekyll and Hyde dilemma for prospective buyers.  On the positive side:

  • Truly excellent sonically

  • Wonderful build

  • Powerful enough to use without an additional amplifier

  • Very good battery life

 

On the negative side:

  • A crude and frustrating UI (until you learn it's oddities, and get your library tweaked to overcome the issues)

  • Laggy if used with too many files (becomes snappier with fewer files + also correct tagging)

  • Significant start-up delays (hope they fix this with firmware eventually) - unless you revert back to the older stable firmware.

 

Is it worth the full retail price (USD 450)? – I’ll leave that up to the individual.  For the discounted price I paid – it is my favourite player sonically, and I use it in preference to my iPhone 4 now.  It wouldn’t take much to make the Studio V3 A.E. an absolutely excellent DAP.  Here are a few ideas …..

 

Suggestions for HSA

  • Separate on/off button (absolutely necessary IMO)

  • When back button used – it needs to go back one step only

  • Keep expansion slot – but increase onboard memory.  If the memory was even 32 GB onboard (64Gb would be ideal) – this should significantly increase the responsiveness (I’d forgo the expansion card altogether), and negate the lag from having too many files.

  • Think about adding a lock button/switch.  I had it in my pocket yesterday (jeans) and I seemed to drain the battery quite quickly.  Assume that the buttons may have been inadvertently being pushed (in my pocket) which led to screen being on almost all the time - and resulting in a big battery drain.

 

Thanks again Jack for the opportunity to purchase and review this unit.  I won’t be sending it back – it sounds too good to part with.


Edited by Brooko - 12/3/13 at 8:33pm
post #730 of 1266

Very nice and thorough review Brooko :). Regarding the loading times, that is still not normal. If my unit took 3.5 minutes to boot each time it would have been on the for sale forum a long time ago. I am very impatient and could not live with that. Not even 2 minutes :). 

 

Not sure if you checked out my mp3tag guide on headfi? That might help some.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/mp3tag-setup-guide

 

Also a trick I learned from tupac. When loading music onto your SD card load music in smaller amounts. So lets say you have 700 WAV files. Load them in increments of 200+. That drastically improved my loading times. Before I'd load all the music in one crack and it would take about 35 to 40 seconds to boot (still not bad but I'd like faster if possible). Doing tupacs method I reduced the boot time from 40 seconds to about 15 seconds. Much better. I also noticed if I loaded just 20 GBs of music onto the player and in multiple uploads I was able to boot up in 5 seconds..... Back then though when I was using FLAC and a 64 GB card I had about 2,500 FLAC files on each card and that would take about 40 to 45 seconds to boot. Not bad though but I bet I could have potentially reduced that time following tupacs method.

 

Good luck and let me know if that helps. The player seems to not play well with ID 3.2 tags. I just made sure that was all removed and just used the standard FLAC tags or 3.1 tags for mp3 files. Also deleted extra junk such as comments, composer, disc #, etc. Also keep in mind when you load a bunch of music onto the device or change out SD cards you need to delete the "system folder" from the internal memory or you will have issues. Your music might now show up properly or it could cause very long load times as well. When you delete this folder it forces the player to reindex all the files. So the first time it will take longer to boot. On subsequent reboots it will be much faster. Usually by the 3rd reboot it is as fast as it will get.


Edited by lee730 - 11/28/13 at 2:18am
post #731 of 1266
lee did you noticed difference betwen 2000 and 4000 allocation size ?
post #732 of 1266

That's an awesome detailed review Brooko, well laid out and informative. I sure hope your review gets it's own thread and not just in the review sections.
I've found searching for review threads much easier to find personally when using google and such. Something with as much work as you put in deserves it's own place.

post #733 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by kob12 View Post

lee did you noticed difference betwen 2000 and 4000 allocation size ?

 

2048 (or whatever it is listed as in windows explorer format) sounds smoother with more bass emphasis. 4096 seems to have more focus on the treble while still remaining relatively balanced. I'd say the player is more upfront on that allocation. Depending on the gear you use it with it could make or break synergy. Goodvibes prefers it on the 4096 allocation with his JH13s. I think I'm using the same allocation with my 1Plus2 to great effect. While on the Rocoo BA I'm preferring the 2048 allocation (I felt it needed a bit more bass and the treble was a bit strident on it but with the 2048 allocation it brought it down to just enough where it has good bite in the lower treble and upper mids without going over the top).

post #734 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

Very nice and thorough review Brooko :). Regarding the loading times, that is still not normal. If my unit took 3.5 minutes to boot each time it would have been on the for sale forum a long time ago. I am very impatient and could not live with that. Not even 2 minutes :). 

 

Not sure if you checked out my mp3tag guide on headfi? That might help some.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/mp3tag-setup-guide

 

Also a trick I learned from tupac. When loading music onto your SD card load music in smaller amounts. So lets say you have 700 WAV files. Load them in increments of 200+. That drastically improved my loading times. Before I'd load all the music in one crack and it would take about 35 to 40 seconds to boot (still not bad but I'd like faster if possible). Doing tupacs method I reduced the boot time from 40 seconds to about 15 seconds. Much better. I also noticed if I loaded just 20 GBs of music onto the player and in multiple uploads I was able to boot up in 5 seconds.....

Thanks Lee - I'll try it (reloading the library some time).  Are you using both internal and external storage?  How may tracks total?  That could be some of the difference - you're using 32gb WAV right - so far fewer tracks (around a third of what I have loaded).

 

I do wonder if the slower boot time has anything to do with the firmware version I'm running (DT-DYNAMIC 2013.01.15).  It seems strange to me that it should take so long though if the files are already indexed initially.

 

And yes - I've seen your guide on MP3tag.  It's the software I also use - so I made sure all my tags were clean.

 

I can put up with the 3.5 minutes for now.  The player is a lot more responsive when running - and that was the main issue driving me nuts .......

post #735 of 1266
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Thanks Lee - I'll try it (reloading the library some time).  Are you using both internal and external storage?  How may tracks total?  That could be some of the difference - you're using 32gb WAV right - so far fewer tracks (around a third of what I have loaded).

 

I do wonder if the slower boot time has anything to do with the firmware version I'm running (DT-DYNAMIC 2013.01.15).  It seems strange to me that it should take so long though if the files are already indexed initially.

 

And yes - I've seen your guide on MP3tag.  It's the software I also use - so I made sure all my tags were clean.

 

I can put up with the 3.5 minutes for now.  The player is a lot more responsive when running - and that was the main issue driving me nuts .......

 

Well from what you said earlier regarding the number of tracks you are currently running, the boot time is still off.... Even when I was using the 64 GB cards with FLAC (about 2,500 songs) my unit would boot in about 40 to 45 seconds flat. Hmm, did you format your Sandisk micro SDXC cards to FAT32? Maybe that could be the issue if not. These players are not compatible with exFAT....

 

To answer your question I do not use 64 GB cards anymore because I felt the players (including Studio V and AK120) sounded better with 32 GB cards. So I sold off those cards and just bought more 32 GB cards lol. That is also why I use WAV because I can hear a difference even there. A more smoother and open sound (sounds more spacious and effortless to my ears). While with FLAC it had a more gritty and strained sound to it. Not bad by any means but an appreciable difference for me where I sacrificed on space for those gains in audio quality :).

 

Regarding loading music onto the internal memory. I generally wasn't doing this and never had issues with accessing music from the resource menu. I never use the music function as it is just simply too buggy to use.... I'd smash it against the wall if I was stuck with that option lol. But most recently I have been adding some odd albums to it just because I wanted to add particular albums and not have to swap out a card for those albums.


Edited by lee730 - 11/28/13 at 2:36am
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