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JDS Labs C5/C5D (pg96) portable amp/amp+DAC - Page 44

post #646 of 3339

The base boost really kicks ***** with Linkin Park & Metallica.  I'll have to compare with my pa2v2.

post #647 of 3339
I've been listening to my c5 non stop since I got it. I just thought I'd connect my earphones directly to the iPod touch 5g and I was shocked how much worse it sounds. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but the c5 via ipod line out is much better. To an average listener the differences may not be great, but to any audiophiles I'd like to try and explain the difference for anyone considering the c5 who has an iPod.

First, I believe, as graphed, the iPod is typically a very flat frequency response. In this regard the c5 sounds almost identical. I'll be writing primarily using the etymotic er4s as my earphone as I find that to be the most accurate I've heard.

Overall, the most immediate obvious difference I hear is the distinctness of things. Instruments on the iPod sound slightly veiled and soft. On the c5 instruments sound more crisp, dynamic and realistic. Not brighter per se, more like higher resolution. The bass and treble almost shine through better because they sound more solid and precise.

The er4s sounds sort of soft in the bass on the iPod, however this is a 100ohm earphone and is pushing the iPods power output at almost full volume to full volume with every song. So this probably introduces slight distortion levels among other negative things that might reduce apparent detail or firmness in the sound. I'm not sure. But I am sure that the er4s is nothing short of incredible on the c5.

It hits hard and punchy when needed, and always fast and clear. I find that I don't even use the bass boost. In fact, there have been a few times i actually checked to see if I had the bass boost on accidentally because it sounded so good. I did not. So awesome. Listening to owl city the bass lines come in very full and rounded. They hit tight and so perfectly low and subby when necessary. I never thought the er4s could have such incredible bass. If you get a good seal and the c5 you are in for a treat. Unless you are a bass head. But oh wait... Hit the bass boost button! I can't even listen to owl city with the boost on. It sounds incredibly good and barely alters anything but the bass. The highs and mids remain very transparent, however it is just too far above neutral for my tastes. Bass boost off provides an extremely neutral but incredible bass. Nice!

The treble is also fast and crisp and sounds ruler flat to me. It really allows depth, airiness and realism to show through on any well recorded tracks and lets poorly recorded tracks sound true to their quality. The details sound very crisp and precise. When mixed this way, instruments sound incredibly forward and in your face with that sort of presence that makes them pop out of the soundstage. Like Steely Dan and frou frou recordings and such where instruments almost sound like they're on a layer above the music, yet not bad like actually being on a separate layer, but more sitting on top of the music or standing out from the music seamlessly.

The is a great sense of depth when necessary also. The space between instruments is great and everything is easy to pick out in any song. Fabulous separation. The er4s sound wider than they do on the iPod alone. Primarily because of the added sense of resolution. It really brings out the details to each side. Im not sure if the channel separation is actually any wider than the iPod but I get the sense of it being wider.

The mids are perfectly neutral. I have never once thought about them at all. Perfect. That is transparent to me. Instruments sound real and full. I never think the mids are too forward or recessed. I simply don't need to. They always sit perfectly where they need to be. Steve Wilson's new raven album sounds phenomenal.

I find this combo to be just incredibly enjoyable to listen to, accurate and worth every penny. I've spent so much money on my home theatre and studio. And while earphones differ from speakers in some ways, I feel this is the closest thing to a reference home theatre or studio monitor ever heard in my ears. I highly recommend the c5 if you own the er4s. It is a noticeable upgrade to the iPod. Especially once you're used to the c5 and you switch back to the ipod.

I also highly recommend the er4s. But if you do get them with only an iPod you truly aren't getting the best out of them. I've ready many people say it before, and its true. A good amp makes them shine. Tighter more punchy bass, more detailed clarity, better separation and depth and a perfectly clean precise sound.

I highly recommend both. I've been on a long iem search, and jds and etymotic have completely satisfied me. Both gave incredible customer service as well. John goes far above and beyond more than you know. And etymotic quickly responded by having a tech/engineer call me back promptly to discuss custom tips. He was extremely knowledgable and I never felt rushed. He talked for a while and made me feel like he actually cared that I end up with custom tips that I enjoy.

Anyway, not to get off topic, but both are worth every penny and i believe every penny is going to a great company. :-)

From one super happy listener...
Edited by luisdent - 3/18/13 at 8:14pm
post #648 of 3339
.
post #649 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

Review (Click to show)

I've been listening to my c5 non stop since I got it. I just thought I'd connect my earphones directly to the iPod touch 5g and I was shocked how much worse it sounds. Don't get me wrong, it isn't bad, but the c5 via ipod line out is much better. To an average listener the differences may not be great, but to any audiophiles I'd like to try and explain the difference for anyone considering the c5 who has an iPod.

First, I believe, as graphed, the iPod is typically a very flat frequency response. In this regard the c5 sounds almost identical. I'll be writing primarily using the etymotic er4s as my earphone as I find that to be the most accurate I've heard.

Overall, the most immediate obvious difference I hear is the distinctness of things. Instruments on the iPod sound slightly veiled and soft. On the c5 instruments sound more crisp, dynamic and realistic. Not brighter per se, more like higher resolution. The bass and treble almost shine through better because they sound more solid and precise.

The er4s sounds sort of soft in the bass on the iPod, however this is a 100ohm earphone and is pushing the iPods power output at almost full volume to full volume with every song. So this probably introduces slight distortion levels among other negative things that might reduce apparent detail or firmness in the sound. I'm not sure. But I am sure that the er4s is nothing short of incredible on the c5.

It hits hard and punchy when needed, and always fast and clear. I find that I don't even use the bass boost. In fact, there have been a few times i actually checked to see if I had the bass boost on accidentally because it sounded so good. I did not. So awesome. Listening to owl city the bass lines come in very full and rounded. They hit tight and so perfectly low and subby when necessary. I never thought the er4s could have such incredible bass. If you get a good seal and the c5 you are in for a treat. Unless you are a bass head. But oh wait... Hit the bass boost button! I can't even listen to owl city with the boost on. It sounds incredibly good and barely alters anything but the bass. The highs and mids remain very transparent, however it is just too far above neutral for my tastes. Bass boost off provides an extremely neutral but incredible bass. Nice!

The treble is also fast and crisp and sounds ruler flat to me. It really allows depth, airiness and realism to show through on any well recorded tracks and lets poorly recorded tracks sound true to their quality. The details sound very crisp and precise. When mixed this way, instruments sound incredibly forward and in your face with that sort of presence that makes them pop out of the soundstage. Like Steely Dan and frou frou recordings and such where instruments almost sound like they're on a layer above the music, yet not bad like actually being on a separate layer, but more sitting on top of the music or standing out from the music seamlessly.

The is a great sense of depth when necessary also. The space between instruments is great and everything is easy to pick out in any song. Fabulous separation. The er4s sound wider than they do on the iPod alone. Primarily because of the added sense of resolution. It really brings out the details to each side. Im not sure if the channel separation is actually any wider than the iPod but I get the sense of it being wider.

The mids are perfectly neutral. I have never once thought about them at all. Perfect. That is transparent to me. Instruments sound real and full. I never think the mids are too forward or recessed. I simply don't need to. They always sit perfectly where they need to be. Steve Wilson's new raven album sounds phenomenal.

I find this combo to be just incredibly enjoyable to listen to, accurate and worth every penny. I've spent so much money on my home theatre and studio. And while earphones differ from speakers in some ways, I feel this is the closest thing to a reference home theatre or studio monitor ever heard in my ears. I highly recommend the c5 if you own the er4s. It is a noticeable upgrade to the iPod. Especially once you're used to the c5 and you switch back to the ipod.

I also highly recommend the er4s. But if you do get them with only an iPod you truly aren't getting the best out of them. I've ready many people say it before, and its true. A good amp makes them shine. Tighter more punchy bass, more detailed clarity, better separation and depth and a perfectly clean precise sound.

I highly recommend both. I've been on a long iem search, and jds and etymotic have completely satisfied me. Both gave incredible customer service as well. John goes far above and beyond more than you know. And etymotic quickly responded by having a tech/engineer call me back promptly to discuss custom tips. He was extremely knowledgable and I never felt rushed. He talked for a while and made me feel like he actually cared that I end up with custom tips that I enjoy.

Anyway, not to get off topic, but both are worth every penny and i believe every penny is going to a great company. :-)

From one super happy listener...

 

Wow, fantastic review!

post #650 of 3339
Thread Starter 
Impressive review, glad to hear you've found your prefect setup, for now anyway. Keep enjoying, I need to get my review up soon.
post #651 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomkid View Post

Impressive review, glad to hear you've found your prefect setup, for now anyway. Keep enjoying, I need to get my review up soon.

 

That's always the case isn't it?  I think this is it for years to come for me though. :-)  I have nothing I can find about them I don't like.

 

The closest thing to a problem I've had actually happened today.  I got the triple flange ear tip stuck in my ear.  Ahhhh!  It was deep.  I couldn't get a hold of any of it with my hand.  I wasn't too worried, because it isn't like it can really go in further without being forced, but it was still not an optimal situation.

 

I ended up pulling out my leatherman and using the pliers to pull it out slowly.  All good now.  Not sure what happened, because I always pull them out while lifting my upper ear, opening my mouth a bit and being careful, rotating if necessary.  It seems like perhaps the openings have loosened with use.  I'm not really worried about it.  But I honestly never thought it would happen to me.

 

I've been strongly considering custom tips (80% there), so maybe this is a sign to get them? :-P


Edited by luisdent - 3/19/13 at 1:31pm
post #652 of 3339
Thread Starter 
Custom tips or try something new like full customs. I've had to pull a triple flange out with tweezers before, not good.

I have written down notes comparing C5 to O2 and C421 AD8620. Now to type up full review.
post #653 of 3339
Yay my amp arrived biggrin.gif
post #654 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by randomkid View Post

Custom tips or try something new like full customs. I've had to pull a triple flange out with tweezers before, not good.

I have written down notes comparing C5 to O2 and C421 AD8620. Now to type up full review.

Ronaldo or Messi? Oh, I have  forgotten that you're not into soccer.

 

Off-topic

Please, hurry up with that Review (note the capital 'R', like in Ronaldo)


Edited by JakeJack_2008 - 3/20/13 at 10:00am
post #655 of 3339

Has anyone figured out how to use an ipod that has a lightning connector with the C5, or probably any portable amp?  I've bought two adapters now, and neither allow me to stack the devices.  They could technically be forced, but it results in a very high amount of jack/connector stress, so I wouldn't plug it in like that.

 

There is a smaller lightning adapter, but A) it's $40 [insane] and B) it doesn't really help, because even holding the cables where the adapter would be still results in too much stress.

 

 

 

 

 

As far as I can tell, they don't make a lightning line-out adapter on its own.  I might just go back to the ipod classic.  And I'd get a crap load more space.

post #656 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

Has anyone figured out how to use an ipod that has a lightning connector with the C5, or probably any portable amp?  I've bought two adapters now, and neither allow me to stack the devices.  They could technically be forced, but it results in a very high amount of jack/connector stress, so I wouldn't plug it in like that.

 

There is a smaller lightning adapter, but A) it's $40 [insane] and B) it doesn't really help, because even holding the cables where the adapter would be still results in too much stress.

 

 

 

 

 

As far as I can tell, they don't make a lightning line-out adapter on its own.  I might just go back to the ipod classic.  And I'd get a crap load more space.

To be downright, perfectly honest, I don't think it's worth the hassle to use a Lightning adaptor and using a 3.5 mm interconnect would be easier without killing the sound quality too much. The new generation of iDevices actually sound pretty good on their own, so in my opinion, it wouldn't worth the hassle, nor money, to invest in a Lightning adaptor. I don't know about you, but the whole Lighting port thing has caused more trouble than it's worth in the audiophile community from what I've seen.

post #657 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

To be downright, perfectly honest, I don't think it's worth the hassle to use a Lightning adaptor and using a 3.5 mm interconnect would be easier without killing the sound quality too much. The new generation of iDevices actually sound pretty good on their own, so in my opinion, it wouldn't worth the hassle, nor money, to invest in a Lightning adaptor. I don't know about you, but the whole Lighting port thing has caused more trouble than it's worth in the audiophile community from what I've seen.

 

The problem is that I found my ipod classic to be excellent sound quality, and while the touch 5g is "very good" sound quality, I've always noticed a sort of treble rolloff in the very high upper treble range.  I used to think it was my connections and cables or something.  When I connected it via 3.5mm to my car system it just sounded wrong.  I bought the lightning cable and the car sounds perfect.

 

Before I got my fiio adapter I used a high quality 3.5mm to the C5, and it did sound good, but it is a bit crisper with the lightning adapter.  While I think most people wouldn't probably even notice it, it's enough to really bug me.  It takes away a little of that crisp distinctness of things.  I always kept thinking "why doesn't this ipod sound as good as my classic did?"  I know it isn't the ipod or the dac, because the line-out is perfect, as the classic was.  So it could only be the amp, which transfers the already rolled off treble issue to the C5.

 

It may not actually be the frequencies being rolled off, perhaps theres more distortion or something masking them.  I have no idea.  But it just sound worse than my classic did to my ears. And this isn't something I'm hearing because I "think" I hear it.  There have been numerous times I was unaware I was listening to the touch, because I forgot I had it when it was new and would think "why doesn't this sound as good", and then I'd realize i had the new touch and think "what? could it really be worse?"  I have done a side by side comparison (my classic works, but only syncs 10 songs because the drive is failing).  I found the same results doing side-by-side testing.  The classic just sounds a bit crisper.

 

It's sort of crazy no one has created a lightening line out cable at all.  There really isn't anything special about the cable.  There are no dongle or components that I can detect.  It just converts the pin layout to a 30-pin female connector.  So why hasn't someone just made a 3.5mm connector wired to the line out cables?

 

Anyhow, I wish I could live with the 3.5 situation, but I can't. :-/  If I get another classic, which i'm considering for a bunch of reasons, i'll use a 3.5 or my l-shape fiio bent and wrapped to avoid tensoin.  I think the 5g touch has failed in a few ways for music.  I realize it is a multi-function device, but there are some dissapointing downfalls of the device.  But I digress.


Edited by luisdent - 3/20/13 at 4:30pm
post #658 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by luisdent View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

To be downright, perfectly honest, I don't think it's worth the hassle to use a Lightning adaptor and using a 3.5 mm interconnect would be easier without killing the sound quality too much. The new generation of iDevices actually sound pretty good on their own, so in my opinion, it wouldn't worth the hassle, nor money, to invest in a Lightning adaptor. I don't know about you, but the whole Lighting port thing has caused more trouble than it's worth in the audiophile community from what I've seen.

 

The problem is that I found my ipod classic to be excellent sound quality, and while the touch 5g is "very good" sound quality, I've always noticed a sort of treble rolloff in the very high upper treble range.  I used to think it was my connections and cables or something.  When I connected it via 3.5mm to my car system it just sounded wrong.  I bought the lightning cable and the car sounds perfect.

 

Before I got my fiio adapter I used a high quality 3.5mm to the C5, and it did sound good, but it is a bit crisper with the lightning adapter.  While I think most people wouldn't probably even notice it, it's enough to really bug me.  It takes away a little of that crisp distinctness of things.  I always kept thinking "why doesn't this ipod sound as good as my classic did?"  I know it isn't the ipod or the dac, because the line-out is perfect, as the classic was.  So it could only be the amp, which transfers the already rolled off treble issue to the C5.

 

It may not actually be the frequencies being rolled off, perhaps theres more distortion or something masking them.  I have no idea.  But it just sound worse than my classic did to my ears. And this isn't something I'm hearing because I "think" I hear it.  There have been numerous times I was unaware I was listening to the touch, because I forgot I had it when it was new and would think "why doesn't this sound as good", and then I'd realize i had the new touch and think "what? could it really be worse?"  I have done a side by side comparison (my classic works, but only syncs 10 songs because the drive is failing).  I found the same results doing side-by-side testing.  The classic just sounds a bit crisper.

 

It's sort of crazy no one has created a lightening line out cable at all.  There really isn't anything special about the cable.  There are no dongle or components that I can detect.  It just converts the pin layout to a 30-pin female connector.  So why hasn't someone just made a 3.5mm connector wired to the line out cables?

 

Anyhow, I wish I could live with the 3.5 situation, but I can't. :-/  If I get another classic, which i'm considering for a bunch of reasons, i'll use a 3.5 or my l-shape fiio bent and wrapped to avoid tensoin.  I think the 5g touch has failed in a few ways for music.  I realize it is a multi-function device, but there are some dissapointing downfalls of the device.  But I digress.

iPod Touch 5G measures pretty well actually:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm

-0.04 dB is quite small for the frequency response, but yes there seems to be distortion too.

post #659 of 3339

I got to give it 30 more hour of burning in and make my mind up after that. It is a very power amp for sure however to my ears it has a forward sound signature to it which I find too forward at times. 

post #660 of 3339
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

iPod Touch 5G measures pretty well actually:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/ipod-touch-5g/audio-quality.htm

-0.04 dB is quite small for the frequency response, but yes there seems to be distortion too.

 

I saw that graph, and I thought that indicated a rolloff actually, but the classic has a similar response.  I'm not sure what is causing it, but just lacks a certain distinction or crispness.  I'm only talking about in the order of say 2% maybe, but I still hear it. :-P  I got the C5 to improve the sound (which it does) so I don't want to put that output into the C5 knowing this. :-P

 

I'll try to do a critical side-by-side comparison of the two connections, but without a double-blind test I'm not sure how accurate it will be.  I'm very good at blanking my mind for things like this, but still, some would argue it isn't a proper testing method.  But I'll let you know what I think.


Edited by luisdent - 3/20/13 at 4:53pm
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