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Customs on the way - looking to possibly change/upgrade my portable source

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm sorry to start a new thread and I did try and do some research before diving in.  I've been around head-fi for a while but know way more about iem's/headphones than I do about sources.  I currently have a pair of custom iem's on the way and have been debating keeping/using what I have or upgrading. My current sources are an iPhone 4S, iPod Nano 6g (gym only) and Sony A865.  I originally got the Sony as my dedicated music player but I rarely use it because there's enough that I don't like about it. 

 

Likes:  Sound quality with EQ - not a huge fan without, Screen/Ease of use, buttons on the side for volume, pause/play, hold.

 

Dislikes: wish it had a screen lock instead of waiting for it to turn itself off, it generally feels like it's a bit fragile/slippery for my taste and accessories are hard to find 

 

 

I'd originally gotten the Sony for 2 reasons: sound quality (wanted to try something other than Apple) and blue-tooth connectivity since I run and it's got great sound quality but isn't what currently works for me.  My budget is around $200 - 250 or so and I need at least16-32G.  With a dedicated source I'd be more likely to upgrade my bit-rate but it takes up way too much space on my phone and I've never been able to tell a huge difference - that's just being honest.  Thank you in advance for your help!! 


Edited by vocalist - 2/24/13 at 7:30pm
post #2 of 15

Wait,  so you ordered customs and planning to drive it through iphone,  you are using alac then?  Or one of the Flac player for the iphone?

post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrias View Post

Wait,  so you ordered customs and planning to drive it through iphone,  you are using alac then?  Or one of the Flac player for the iphone?

I did order customs and want a dedicated source that is not my phone so that I can take advantage of higher bit-rates or alac/flac - depending on what source I choose. I was contemplating a 32gb iPod touch 4g as that's about what I can afford at this time. I may venture into the world of amps at some point but it may be a little while. The Sony will be my source until I sell it and obtain a new one.
post #4 of 15

I think you need an amp as well to drive those customs to get the full capability of the customs you are ordering,  if you still want to use ios product,  you can try and save up for hpp1.  I dont think you can get anything that have a good ui up to the ipods standard

post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post


I did order customs and want a dedicated source that is not my phone so that I can take advantage of higher bit-rates or alac/flac - depending on what source I choose. I was contemplating a 32gb iPod touch 4g as that's about what I can afford at this time. I may venture into the world of amps at some point but it may be a little while. The Sony will be my source until I sell it and obtain a new one.

 

The iPhone 4S can do ALAC, and FLAC with the right music player app (like FLACPlayer or Accudio). If you're worried about storage, at the very least you can use it temporarily, mostly for evaluating just how much more storage and better SQ you need. The Fiio X3 is coming out and at the very least wait for reviews of the final product. Depending on what SD card you choose (or shipping in your country if that's applicable) the X3 with a 64gb microSDHC might come out a lot cheaper than a Touch 4G. AFAIK, the Sony doesn't use lossless either (but VBR is usually good enough for portable gear).

 

Plus, the Touch and Nano (and maybe the Sony you mentioned too, I'm not sure) don't have expandable storage, which means instead of being able to just buy another microSDHC that you can stash in a bag (like the one with your laptop or tablet) you'd have to go to the computer and periodically switch contents.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 2/24/13 at 7:31pm
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

The iPhone 4S can do ALAC, and FLAC with the right music player app (like FLACPlayer or Accudio). If you're worried about storage, at the very least you can use it temporarily, mostly for evaluating just how much more storage and better SQ you need. The Fiio X3 is coming out and at the very least wait for reviews of the final product. Depending on what SD card you choose (or shipping in your country if that's applicable) the X3 with a 64gb microSDHC might come out a lot cheaper than a Touch 4G. AFAIK, the Sony doesn't use lossless either (but VBR is usually good enough for portable gear).

 

Plus, the Touch and Nano (and maybe the Sony you mentioned too, I'm not sure) don't have expandable storage, which means instead of being able to just buy another microSDHC that you can stash in a bag (like the one with your laptop or tablet) you'd have to go to the computer and periodically switch contents.

Interesting - I didn't know about the X3 - any idea on a release date?  I'm in the US.  I was looking at a Samsung Galaxy player for the main reason you mentioned of the micro SD card and 60 hours of battery life.  

post #7 of 15

Okay. I got the customs you ordered....the old version at least, and I know how the new driver is from my AS-1's.

 

iPhone for source.....eh, it's okay, not great. Use of a third-party app with a gain setting will help you get proper volume from them, otherwise you might be slightly disappointed by the amount of volume.

 

I think you'll find with AS-2's that you rather not use much of an EQ. The higher the quality of the source files and DAP the better for the AS-2's. I've gotten to the point where I don't use anything less than lossless with the AS-2's. I use no less than 256kbps mp3's with the AS-1's. The tuning is different and the overall presentation basically lends itself that the AS-2's are just gonna be more revealing with the treble extension and other differences between the two models. I know you're familiar with the ASG-1, so hopefully this difference I hear between the AS-1 and AS-2 will be quite similar to what you notice.

 

Listening from my iPod Classic 7th gen right now just to do a little test for you, I like the volume at about 50%-75% volume for a pretty decent range of loudness for every day listening. Not sure about how running will add to your need of volume, though the isolation should help in that case.

 

I haven't really used my iPod Classic since getting a Tera Player, but when it comes to a source for the AS-2's, you can even use the Sansa Clip Zip. Something with enough power is all you really need. I use all my devices at a flat EQ when they have EQ options.

 

Good Luck with your source, I hope you found some of my comments helpful when it comes to the specific CIEM you are wanting to know about. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. You definitely got your work cut out for you with finding a source. These CIEM's aren't exactly the most common, especially with the recent updates. Soon though you'll have many fellow owners and the search for the best pairings of amps and DAPs will start. I would honestly recommend you wait to see how it pairs with everything you have and what people are saying when they get theirs. 

 

EDIT: May I suggest looking into the Colorfly C3.....it's been on my list of things to try and get a listen to and maybe buy. Also some Cowon players might be of interest to you. 


Edited by kenman345 - 2/24/13 at 7:56pm
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

Interesting - I didn't know about the X3 - any idea on a release date?  I'm in the US.  I was looking at a Samsung Galaxy player for the main reason you mentioned of the micro SD card and 60 hours of battery life.  

Fiio x3 is out in june,  for now that is,  you can try to have a look ar android devices with usb dac capability (s3, note 2 and some others)  they are expandables,  they sync properly with itunes (with additional app),  and if you are unsastified with their performances you can buy a usb dac and plug it into them 

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

Interesting - I didn't know about the X3 - any idea on a release date?  I'm in the US.  I was looking at a Samsung Galaxy player for the main reason you mentioned of the micro SD card and 60 hours of battery life.  

 

I have the original S and the S3 now, the latter hisses too badly with my CX300 and JLab J3, and just tolerable on the MEE M6. Sure it does USB DAC capability but that depends on how you intend to use it - I use it at home with a D-Zero and active speakers. OTG ("pun" intended) I just carry the phone because to begin with I never really stacked and strapped two or more boxes together, much less one that I have to make calls with and the USB DACs don't have mic pass-throughs. If you're gonna use them in a fixed location then its good, but there's still one other potential problem : battery life. I was already swapping batteries like heck on my original S, with the S3 I'm recharging after just over 24hours, so good luck charging and using USB Audio unless you can afford to drain the battery at home. The Galaxy player might last longer if you don't keep WiFi on, and it won't have other smartphone functions either, so just cut down on active apps.

 

Then again do you really have to rush now when the X3's coming out in June? Look it over and if it seems like it's something you like - hardware buttons, no internal HDD like the Classic where some people prefer a 1.8HDD that can break sooner because they think they'll drop the microSD while swapping them out in the middle of a commute, etc - it might just be worth waiting for. Of course, don't buy deaf (blind), and wait for reviews on the sound - they're sure to come out soon after release given all the excitement about it.

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't have to get something right at this moment - it was just convenient with a birthday, etc. If I were to look at Samsung it would be their music players at this time and not their phones. I think all of my music from my Sony player got out into Windows media player when I got a new computer so I'm thinking that would be an easy way to put music on a Samsung - yes/ no - if I went that way?

Thanks for all of the responses so far - wouldn't have really known about the Fiio otherwise.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

I think all of my music from my Sony player got out into Windows media player when I got a new computer so I'm thinking that would be an easy way to put music on a Samsung - yes/ no - if I went that way?

 

I'm not sure what you mean by that - do you mean you lost all the music with the older computer and that you copied the music from the Sony into the new computer? Or that you basically used WMP to "sync" the devices?

 

If it's more of the former there's a problem - AFAIK Sonys don't do FLAC or ALAC. Which basically means that you wouldn't be using lossless files and therefore won't need a player that can read them. Doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable, if it's 320kbps that's good enough for portables, even a custom IEM. Take note they'd still have to be played off  non-specialized device so chances are there's a lot more design compromise to extend battery life to start with.

 

If it's the second one, basically any music player nowadays has some way of sync-ing to a portable audio player - just make sure you rip and/or convert files properly. However, I personally am not a fan of sync-ing, be it iTunes-iOS or any other similar software. I have to grope around how to remove and replace contents, but drag and drop operations on Windows Explorer are extremely straightforward. I remove my phone's microSD, insert it into the port on my notebook computer, open it on Explorer where I follow the same archive/file structure as on my computer's music directory (main folder/artist/album/tracks), then click on the folders I want and Copy-Paste. I put the microSD back into the phone, and it will read the contents on start-up (maybe it's because I grew up on floppy discs, Discmans and MiniDiscs). Galaxy music player and other microSD-compatible players generally work the same way, with some exceptions - like the DX100's native music player which couldn't recognize the album art, despite running on Android and the same album art being read normally by all music player apps in my other Androids. (Know what else doesn't work normally? FLACPlayer and Accudio, after making me do the round-about method of syncing just to modify contents - if my mother didn't gift me this thing I'd trade it for a freaking Galaxy Tab 7.1, or a music server)

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

I'm not sure what you mean by that - do you mean you lost all the music with the older computer and that you copied the music from the Sony into the new computer? Or that you basically used WMP to "sync" the devices?

 

If it's more of the former there's a problem - AFAIK Sonys don't do FLAC or ALAC. Which basically means that you wouldn't be using lossless files and therefore won't need a player that can read them. Doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable, if it's 320kbps that's good enough for portables, even a custom IEM. Take note they'd still have to be played off  non-specialized device so chances are there's a lot more design compromise to extend battery life to start with.

 

If it's the second one, basically any music player nowadays has some way of sync-ing to a portable audio player - just make sure you rip and/or convert files properly. However, I personally am not a fan of sync-ing, be it iTunes-iOS or any other similar software. I have to grope around how to remove and replace contents, but drag and drop operations on Windows Explorer are extremely straightforward. I remove my phone's microSD, insert it into the port on my notebook computer, open it on Explorer where I follow the same archive/file structure as on my computer's music directory (main folder/artist/album/tracks), then click on the folders I want and Copy-Paste. I put the microSD back into the phone, and it will read the contents on start-up (maybe it's because I grew up on floppy discs, Discmans and MiniDiscs). Galaxy music player and other microSD-compatible players generally work the same way, with some exceptions - like the DX100's native music player which couldn't recognize the album art, despite running on Android and the same album art being read normally by all music player apps in my other Androids. (Know what else doesn't work normally? FLACPlayer and Accudio, after making me do the round-about method of syncing just to modify contents - if my mother didn't gift me this thing I'd trade it for a freaking Galaxy Tab 7.1, or a music server)

 I didn't lose all of my music. My main program is iTunes but Sony has their own dedicated program which is still on the old computer. When my husband transferred all of the files to the new one it looks like he may not have transferred Sony's program but all of the playlists/music that existed are now in the Window's media folder.  It works fine for me as the Sony will still sync/etc. and I can drag/drop songs from iTunes over.  

 

I'm personally fine with 320kbps for portable audio. Like I said earlier I've tried alac and couldn't really notice a difference but I also know that the memory on my phone is nearly full and I'd really like a dedicated player that I can use around the house, traveling, or working out if I want to and not be worried about breaking my phone.  I'd also like something that I don't have to use an adapter with because the connector is too large to fit directly into my phone with the case.  I'm not entirely sure I want to wait until June but we'll see what happens.  

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

 I didn't lose all of my music. My main program is iTunes but Sony has their own dedicated program which is still on the old computer. When my husband transferred all of the files to the new one it looks like he may not have transferred Sony's program but all of the playlists/music that existed are now in the Window's media folder.  It works fine for me as the Sony will still sync/etc. and I can drag/drop songs from iTunes over.  

 

 

Oh in that case yeah you can use Windows Media Player, or even Foobar and Media Monkey if they have updates to work with Sony players.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by vocalist View Post

I'm personally fine with 320kbps for portable audio. Like I said earlier I've tried alac and couldn't really notice a difference but I also know that the memory on my phone is nearly full and I'd really like a dedicated player that I can use around the house, traveling, or working out if I want to and not be worried about breaking my phone.  I'd also like something that I don't have to use an adapter with because the connector is too large to fit directly into my phone with the case.  I'm not entirely sure I want to wait until June but we'll see what happens.  

 

BTW, I think I missed another option - the Sansa Clip. It uses expandable memory, and like the X3 it's even more of a no-frills music player. The X3's circuit for example is basically one of their USB DACs with a screen and microSDHC reader in place of a USB input for streaming; the Sansa Clip is closer to most modern, compact players' circuit in that it uses a single chip that decodes the digital audio and amplifiers the earphone. Given 320kbps files, the Sansa would be more than enough; the real question is whether it can get your new custom IEMs to play loud enough without audible distortion. If there's a thread on your customs, check if anyone there has tried it with the Clip. As a good estimate though, if your Nano works alright with your IEMs, most likely the Clip would.

 

And no worries about a case getting in the way of the plug; the Clip Zip is so affordable you might not be too stressed out about using it without its case. Still I think some versions of it come with a basic rubber or neoprene case, so if you do get that one you can try if it fits for free. And the best part is it has 4gb or 8gb internal memory, plus a microSDHC slot, so just buy a couple of 32gb cards from Amazon along with the Clip.

post #14 of 15

Clip+ would work. I own a Clip Zip and have the customs. I just think their are a lot better options. Yes it's well regarded but I personally would rather use something with a better interface. Buttons too small for my hands to consistently use it but it's a decent device if it fits what you want. And cheap too. The better your source with the AS-2's the better it will perform. Sansa just doesn't do it for me, I would only recommend it if you already used and liked the clip zip. Feel free to try it though, I know some others that plan on using their AS-2's with it. 

 

Sorry if it sounds biased. I just got so detracted from having a hard time using the interface (mainly with Rockbox) that I got deterred from using it on a regular basis. It's got the juice you'll need but like many devices it's not for everyone so just do your research before buying, even for a $40 device (i think its that much)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

BTW, I think I missed another option - the Sansa Clip. It uses expandable memory, and like the X3 it's even more of a no-frills music player. The X3's circuit for example is basically one of their USB DACs with a screen and microSDHC reader in place of a USB input for streaming; the Sansa Clip is closer to most modern, compact players' circuit in that it uses a single chip that decodes the digital audio and amplifiers the earphone. Given 320kbps files, the Sansa would be more than enough; the real question is whether it can get your new custom IEMs to play loud enough without audible distortion. If there's a thread on your customs, check if anyone there has tried it with the Clip. As a good estimate though, if your Nano works alright with your IEMs, most likely the Clip would.

 

And no worries about a case getting in the way of the plug; the Clip Zip is so affordable you might not be too stressed out about using it without its case. Still I think some versions of it come with a basic rubber or neoprene case, so if you do get that one you can try if it fits for free. And the best part is it has 4gb or 8gb internal memory, plus a microSDHC slot, so just buy a couple of 32gb cards from Amazon along with the Clip.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenman345 View Post

Clip+ would work. I own a Clip Zip and have the customs. I just think their are a lot better options. Yes it's well regarded but I personally would rather use something with a better interface. Buttons too small for my hands to consistently use it but it's a decent device if it fits what you want. And cheap too. The better your source with the AS-2's the better it will perform. Sansa just doesn't do it for me, I would only recommend it if you already used and liked the clip zip. Feel free to try it though, I know some others that plan on using their AS-2's with it. 

 

Sorry if it sounds biased. I just got so detracted from having a hard time using the interface (mainly with Rockbox) that I got deterred from using it on a regular basis. It's got the juice you'll need but like many devices it's not for everyone so just do your research before buying, even for a $40 device (i think its that much)

I'm not a big fan of the sansa design/layout and I think that's part of what gets me about the Sony. It's a fantastic mp3 player and works really well but sometimes I get frustrated when I'm trying to get back to an album/playlist and continually hit the wrong thing.  I'm pretty much between an iPod touch (4G likely, 5G maybe if some cash falls from the sky) and the Samsung Galaxy 4.2 or 5.  I like the interface of the Samsung, customization options and file/format options.  I love my Apple stuff but I've been wanting to explore some new options for a while and I figure this might be the best time/way to do it.  I should probably wait until I finally get a ship notice for my customs...

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