Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › FIIO E17 vs Galaxy S3 DACs
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

FIIO E17 vs Galaxy S3 DACs

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

First post here. 

 

Been reading through forums and really enjoying my trip into audiophiles world.

 

Recently got my hands on Fiio e17. My headset EKG 271 mk2 is not the most demanding headset amp wise, but I still wanted to evaluate e17 without any bias.  but So first thing I did was - blind tests! Well kinda.. home made. 

 

My testing setup was:

 

  1. laptop+foobar2000+wasapi --> usb --> e17 --> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)
  2. Samsung galaxy s3 ---> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)

 

All equalisers where nulified, 0 gain on e17, volume controls maxed out on my laptop. Sound levels where levelled using my dear ears. Material: Alice in Chains MTV unplugged, some classics, some Daft Punk stuff .. all same flacs 16bit/44khz. 

 

I had same songs running and my wife swaping the cabling behind me.  

 

Results? Samsung s3 won hands down. Altough I was 100 % convinced of the opposite result beforehand. Surely dedicated dac/amp would win? Not really.. 

 

 We then changed places with my wife - again, she chose s3 over usb/e17 combo. We both agreed that e17 sounded a bit muffled (?), like under the pillow, compared to s3.

 

Anyone can shed some light on it? I REALLY believed I "need" external dac/amp - now I am not so sure. 

 

And yes, these headphones are not 200 ohms.. but I would still expect e17 being dedicated device  beat mobile phone in Digital_to_Analog conversion?

 

Or is it just my hearing? equipment? flawed testing?

 

Thanks..

post #2 of 14
It's probably just your preference. Even if the GS3 isn't driving the AKGs to perfection, you might prefer the sonic differences of the phone

Also, when you're testing this, you're not just testing the GS3's DAC, but it's amplifier as well.
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

Hi,

 

First post here. 

 

Been reading through forums and really enjoying my trip into audiophiles world.

 

Recently got my hands on Fiio e17. My headset EKG 271 mk2 is not the most demanding headset amp wise, but I still wanted to evaluate e17 without any bias.  but So first thing I did was - blind tests! Well kinda.. home made. 

 

My testing setup was:

 

  1. laptop+foobar2000+wasapi --> usb --> e17 --> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)
  2. Samsung galaxy s3 ---> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)

 

All equalisers where nulified, 0 gain on e17, volume controls maxed out on my laptop. Sound levels where levelled using my dear ears. Material: Alice in Chains MTV unplugged, some classics, some Daft Punk stuff .. all same flacs 16bit/44khz. 

 

I had same songs running and my wife swaping the cabling behind me.  

 

Results? Samsung s3 won hands down. Altough I was 100 % convinced of the opposite result beforehand. Surely dedicated dac/amp would win? Not really.. 

 

 We then changed places with my wife - again, she chose s3 over usb/e17 combo. We both agreed that e17 sounded a bit muffled (?), like under the pillow, compared to s3.

 

Anyone can shed some light on it? I REALLY believed I "need" external dac/amp - now I am not so sure. 

 

And yes, these headphones are not 200 ohms.. but I would still expect e17 being dedicated device  beat mobile phone in Digital_to_Analog conversion?

 

Or is it just my hearing? equipment? flawed testing?

 

Thanks..

 

As you can see on my signature, this is exactly the dilemma I'm facing too,

except I didn't buy a portable amp/dac yet, but E17 is the list's first.

 

I fail to see this as a matter of taste, since according to more experienced

(than me, I mean) headfiers, E17 should be way better than S3's Wolfson.

I've read literally hundreds of posts, and at least at a theoretical level, E17

should easily outperform S3. By the way, your S3 is the international one, isn't it?

 

I'm sure you already read this, so E17 should handle 24bit flacs, whereas

S3 stucks at 16bits. Maybe you're chopping down all E17 performance?

 

Also, what is your S3 player? That appears to make important difference.

There is some preference for neutron player on the foruns, but some people

use poweramp too. My headphone is only 32ohm, and the S3 clearly suffers

to drive it, when compared to stock earbuds. How about the intensity level

on your K271? If you are listening anything beyond a subtle volume, it's

likely you're suffering some dac clipping distortion - according to neutron

player developer - since the only way to drive a 55ohm HP would be

boosting the dac gain, it seems.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by xezi View Post

 

I fail to see this as a matter of taste, since according to more experienced

(than me, I mean) headfiers, E17 should be way better than S3's Wolfson.

 

Seriously, maybe he just doesn't like the fully-driven sound of the AKGs. Also, playing 16/44.1 files through a 24/98 capable DAC does not make the tracks higher quality.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post

 

Seriously, maybe he just doesn't like the fully-driven sound of the AKGs. 

 

I follow you, I was just thinking he should be currently unable to proper drive it from S3.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wes008 View Post

 

Also, playing 16/44.1 files through a 24/98 capable DAC does not make the tracks higher quality.

 

Yes, if all of his flacs are 16bit your are correct indeed.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

Thanks for your thoughts.

 

Sonic preferences

Regarding my sonic preferences - my wife never listened to those phones before this test, so she could not get used to AKG's beforehand.

Yet she chose S3 sound right away...

 

Sample rates

re  16/44 qualities - so are you saying that majority of the flac's in our digital libraries (which come from cd's) will not see the SQ increase when listening via E17? 

And those higher sample rates = higher listening quality, are highly doubtful anyway.. xezi: I am not  really sure what you mean by "Chopping e17 performance"?.

 

Players

In my opinion every player must sound the same - bits are bits, and all player does is feed those bits to DAC. Correct me here if I am wrong.

 

I am not saying e17 is a bad device. Yes, AKG needs amplification in louder environments - I did testing late at night with complete silence, so max level with S3 whas just about right.  

 

In my experiment, with equal sound levels (at least I thought they were), S3 sounded more open and clean compared to e17.

 

I am planning to set up the same test for my friends - maybe it's just two of us with weird listening preferences.. Also I will try different headsets to confirm it's source and not phones related.

 

Or maybe there's something wrong with the setup I use? Settings? Wrong foobar version? ;-) I would love to hear any suggestions or questions here..

 

xezi 

 

I would be really interested to hear your feedback about e17 and results of similar tests if possible. I am a strong believer in blind tests, even when they are not ideally set up. 

 

p.s. I scored 10/10 on mp3ornot.com just to check if my hearing is still ok :)

 

 

Par

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

-snip-

 

Sample rates

re  16/44 qualities - so are you saying that majority of the flac's in our digital libraries (which come from cd's) will not see the SQ increase when listening via E17? 

And those higher sample rates = higher listening quality, are highly doubtful anyway.. xezi: I am not  really sure what you mean by "Chopping e17 performance"?.

 

-snip-

 

Par

 

yes, I was thinking exactly about this - if E17 is 24 bit capable, and all flacs are 16bit, maybe it was not being used to 

its full capacity. But there are some other threads that doubt about any SQ improvement from 16 to 24bits,

which I do not advocate nor doubt myself and, in case it's true, it's utterly important, I think.

 


Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

-snip- 

 

Players

In my opinion every player must sound the same - bits are bits, and all player does is feed those bits to DAC. Correct me here if I am wrong.

 

-snip- 

 

Par

 

Every player should be the same. But in practice they're not. If you could do a quick look at Neutron's page, you'll see

it adds a lot more of processing, hopefully for better SQ, than others, like stock SIII music player or Poweramp.

 


Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

-snip-

 

In my experiment, with equal sound levels (at least I thought they were), S3 sounded more open and clean compared to e17.

 

-snip- 

 

 

Par

Here we start to walking in shadowier realms. "Open and clean" could refer to some personal preference?

Because, as I was saying before, if E17 is not a clear winner over your S3, that is something of concern,

unless you're using the US variant, which uses, arguably, a poorer dac than the international version.

 

 


Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

-snip-

 

xezi 

 

I would be really interested to hear your feedback about e17 and results of similar tests if possible. I am a strong believer in blind tests, even when they are not ideally set up. 

 

-snip-

 

 

Par

 

Will do, if I really happen to buy it. 

You know, the more you dig around, the more good options you get...

post #8 of 14

One other possibility - the K271's response might be getting offset (unintentionally EQ'd) more towards flat by the S3 more than by the E17, which is why you feel it's muffled. Either the E17 is far off enough from flat or the K271 is, or both, but whichever it is the combo just doesn't work right if at least by your tastes.

 

I haven't heard the E17 yet, but if this was the E7, there's a lot of feedback about it being too dark. On the other hand, the E17 is supposedly clearer than the E7.

post #9 of 14

You can download 24-bit FLACs from 7digital.com

I found this out 2 years ago when Radiohead's 'The King of Limbs' was released on their site.

 

edit:

I've got my first 'good' headphones on their way (being shipped from Amazon) right now.

They are Sennheiser HD598s, like yours.

I also own a Samsung Galaxy S III.

 

I was looking at Amp/DACs to buy, and was pretty set on the E17, but after reading this, maybe I'll just use my phone...

 

What media player are you using on your galaxy?


Edited by chimmycham - 2/5/13 at 1:20am
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

Hi,

 

First post here. 

 

Been reading through forums and really enjoying my trip into audiophiles world.

 

Recently got my hands on Fiio e17. My headset EKG 271 mk2 is not the most demanding headset amp wise, but I still wanted to evaluate e17 without any bias.  but So first thing I did was - blind tests! Well kinda.. home made. 

 

My testing setup was:

 

  1. laptop+foobar2000+wasapi --> usb --> e17 --> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)
  2. Samsung galaxy s3 ---> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)

 

All equalisers where nulified, 0 gain on e17, volume controls maxed out on my laptop. Sound levels where levelled using my dear ears. Material: Alice in Chains MTV unplugged, some classics, some Daft Punk stuff .. all same flacs 16bit/44khz. 

 

I had same songs running and my wife swaping the cabling behind me.  

 

Results? Samsung s3 won hands down. Altough I was 100 % convinced of the opposite result beforehand. Surely dedicated dac/amp would win? Not really.. 

 

 We then changed places with my wife - again, she chose s3 over usb/e17 combo. We both agreed that e17 sounded a bit muffled (?), like under the pillow, compared to s3.

 

Anyone can shed some light on it? I REALLY believed I "need" external dac/amp - now I am not so sure. 

 

And yes, these headphones are not 200 ohms.. but I would still expect e17 being dedicated device  beat mobile phone in Digital_to_Analog conversion?

 

Or is it just my hearing? equipment? flawed testing?

 

Thanks..

 

If you feel S3 sounds better than E17 then be happy. You are gifted, no need to carry 2 devices...you will be happy with your mobile phone and you can carry this everywhere

 

If you feel S3 is good then S3 is good, thats how I do when I choose IEMs. My favourite is Brainwavz M2 and I could feel M2 better than any other expensive IEM but thats not true for everyone

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by chimmycham View Post

 

I was looking at Amp/DACs to buy, and was pretty set on the E17, but after reading this, maybe I'll just use my phone...

 

What media player are you using on your galaxy?

Not sure to whom this was fired :), but I'm going to shoot my answer,

I currently am using and preferring Neutron player. On the end, it appears

to have more control on distortion when you raise eq bands over 0dB,

aside some other processing tools/methods that arguably it's the only one that got them.

 

But sound wise, sometimes I feel Poweramp gives some colors and tones I couldn't get

with Neutron. As always, use that at your discretion... To be honest, some options found

at the stock music player I couldn't replicate either in the two others. To sum that up,

I've been using neutron for the very very most of the time, but sometimes give a try

with poweramp and more seldom the stock one.

 

Both could be tested for free before buying the full version.

post #12 of 14

While we're still debating, I pulled this out of a thread with a new Head-Fi'er asking why she thinks the headphone amp in her Marantz reciever sounds better through her headphones than her dedicated headphone amps. A post from NA Blur:

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post

Please describe in more detail, making sure to reference particular test tracks, what you hear as being "better".  It could be a number of things such as output impedance, output power, output current, as well as how you have each connected.

 

Do you have the DAC connected to each source during your test?  In other words are you using the CD6004 in each case?

 

Did you test them at high volumes?

 

Did you test to see each is silent with nothing playing both at low volume and high volumes?

 

It is also possible that the headphone output from the Marantz is just more fun sounding and more to your liking.  I would be quite surprised if the O2 did not sound dry to you because it is a pretty neutral sounding amp.

 

continues...

NA Blur is super knowledgeable and well-regarded here (he has earned the title of Headphoneus Supremeus smily_headphones1.gif). Maybe his expert opinion will back up my thoughts?

post #13 of 14
 
 
 

This is why I absolutely love forums like this, the truth comes out rather than some ******** that’s been written in a review by someone who might have a bias, or is just dazzled by the object itself. I do think reviews are just a guide and there is good and bad sounding products for sure but when it comes to good sounding equipment it is sometimes just splitting hairs, although there are occasions when something does stand out from the crowd, the pioneer A400 amp from years ago was one example.

 

Ive done similar tests over the years with products and usually the reviews are pretty good but sometimes things just don’t make sense. One example was I had a cheap midi system CD player lying round so I did a comparison to at the time the best available CD players a marantz ki si, also trying other of the similar calibre CD players from  the like of rega and myriad along side. Everyone I demoe’d them to side by side in a blind listening test said the cheap CDP was by far the best sounding : ) it wasnt just me and even though I was looking for the more expensive player to be the best.  

 

Ive been active in audiophile world for over 20 years and I wasted so much money on products but I have enjoyed some of it. All sound is subjective that’s the bottom line and you should always trust your own ears. Good hifi doesn’t have to cost a fortune and anything over a grand is usually a waste of money, Having said that the best CD player I ever did hear/owned cost a £1000 and that wasn’t just my opinion. Pay any more and you might get really embarrassed one day when someone plugs there cheap throw away mp3 player into your hifi and it sounds better : )

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by par2005 View Post

Hi,

 

First post here. 

 

Been reading through forums and really enjoying my trip into audiophiles world.

 

Recently got my hands on Fiio e17. My headset EKG 271 mk2 is not the most demanding headset amp wise, but I still wanted to evaluate e17 without any bias.  but So first thing I did was - blind tests! Well kinda.. home made. 

 

My testing setup was:

 

  1. laptop+foobar2000+wasapi --> usb --> e17 --> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)
  2. Samsung galaxy s3 ---> EKG K271 mk2 (55 ohms)

 

All equalisers where nulified, 0 gain on e17, volume controls maxed out on my laptop. Sound levels where levelled using my dear ears. Material: Alice in Chains MTV unplugged, some classics, some Daft Punk stuff .. all same flacs 16bit/44khz. 

 

I had same songs running and my wife swaping the cabling behind me.  

 

Results? Samsung s3 won hands down. Altough I was 100 % convinced of the opposite result beforehand. Surely dedicated dac/amp would win? Not really.. 

 

 We then changed places with my wife - again, she chose s3 over usb/e17 combo. We both agreed that e17 sounded a bit muffled (?), like under the pillow, compared to s3.

 

Anyone can shed some light on it? I REALLY believed I "need" external dac/amp - now I am not so sure. 

 

And yes, these headphones are not 200 ohms.. but I would still expect e17 being dedicated device  beat mobile phone in Digital_to_Analog conversion?

 

Or is it just my hearing? equipment? flawed testing?

 

Thanks..

 

 
post #14 of 14

Have been looking for a headphone amp myself and was being led down the Fiio path but reading this has just widened my outlook greatly.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › FIIO E17 vs Galaxy S3 DACs