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Fiio X5 Thread - info updated on Jan 17th 2014 - Page 134

post #1996 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post
 


Well we already have X5 and X3 for people who want a balance in weight, battery life, portability etc.

 

Why not a beastly one for people who don't mind the weight or size? Look how well the HifiM8 is doing and that thing is huge. LOL.

 

The difference between the X7 and HM-901/DX100 will be that it will be cheaper... which is important. And the Fiio UI is shaping up to better too. I'm strong man with big arms and I carry a giant bag around to work. I don't mind the weight or size. Make it a brick as long as it sounds awesome and has plenty of juice for all headphones.

 

We shall just have to agree to disagree :beerchug:

 

I say this as someone who is (for the most part) a fan of the DX100, but I do not see the point in another ungainly brick that is barely any smaller than a stacked set-up of DAP+amp, or DAP+DACamp, or DAP+DAC+amp.

 

Having owned the DX100 I can attest to the fact that although it sounds wonderful it is an absolute pig to carry around if all you are wearing is jeans and a T-shirt (and no rucksack).

 

To my mind, there is a very important distinction between a 'transportable' DAP and a truly portable DAP. My rule of thumb is that is must reasonably fit into the back pocket of a pair of jeans (the DX100 bulges rediculously, if you can even squeeze it in to a back jeans pocket without tearing the seams apart). Granted, that's just me, but if the X7 gets as big as the HM-901/DX100 then, in my personal view, it has missed the point of being a one-box portable DAP solution.

post #1997 of 12550

Will someone ever be able to produce a top notch sounding portable DAP that is truly small and light?  It seems to me that one of the key elements to making a DAP sound truly state of the art high-end, is a top notch analogue output section and for now there really seems no way to produce a top quality analogue section in a truly small and lightweight frame, otherwise someone would have done it by now. Personally I think it's amazing that they can get players the size of the HM-901 and DX100 to sound as good as they do. Also on a personal note I don't think it's fair or accurate to pigeon hole any DAP that doesn't fit comfortably on it's own in your jeans pocket as being not truly portable. It really isn't that difficult, or that much of an inconvenience, in my opinion, to find a nice case with a belt clip to hook the DAP onto for portable use. I mean some refer to players like the HM-901 or the DX100 as bricks but honestly devices from the early days of portable audio make the players of today, like the Hifiman and iBasso, seem genuinely miniscule by comparison.

post #1998 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by good sound View Post
I don't think it's fair or accurate to pigeon hole any DAP that doesn't fit comfortably on it's own in your jeans pocket as being not truly portable.

+1

 

Who uses the pockets of jeans anyway? It makes your butt look ugly or your thighs bulge. LOL :bigsmile_face:  Carry a man purse

 

I don't mind if Fiio makes a even better X5, thinner lighter, better sounds. All I'm saying is there is room for a no compromise sounding Fiio DAP that's heavy and big. Some people obviously like the DX100. If Fiio can pull it off for less money I'm interested and I really don't care that it doesn't fit in Mython's pocket. He's got plenty of DAPs to choose from from the existing line up to stick in his pocket. Give me something to stick in my bag.


Edited by M-13 - 11/30/13 at 3:43pm
post #1999 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post

+1

Who uses the pockets of jeans anyway? It makes your butt look ugly or your thighs bulge. LOL bigsmile_face.gif   Carry a man purse

I don't mind if Fiio makes a even better X5, thinner lighter, better sounds. All I'm saying is there is room for a no compromise sounding Fiio DAP that's heavy and big. Some people obviously like the DX100. If Fiio can pull it off for less money I'm interested and I really don't care that it doesn't fit in Mython's pocket. He's got plenty of DAPs to choose from from the existing line up to stick in his pocket. Give me something to stick in my bag.

ROFL does this dap make my ass look fat?
post #2000 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyd4 View Post


ROFL does this dap make my ass look fat?


LOL. Ask Mython. He's the one who likes to stick things into his jean pockets?

 

I go straight from butt to jean, no dap in the middle. Not sure why he has to attack a suggestion. It's not like I'm telling James to ONLY make bricks. I'm just saying there is a small market for them. The same reason why people carry around 10lbs gaming notebooks. For some it's worth it. For others they want to stick a ipad mini into their jeans and have a flat butt.


Edited by M-13 - 11/30/13 at 3:52pm
post #2001 of 12550

Come on, now, I was very careful to be even-handed about what I said, and you're all deliberately interpreting what I said as being absolutist. I was very clear that I acknowledged that my viewpoint was just that and nothing more: a viewpoint,  and that I had no problem amicably agreeing to disagree.

 

 

With that out of the way, one of the biggest issues with the DX100 (and the HM-901) is that they use a relatively inefficient desktop DAC chip which operates at a higher voltage than is ideal for portable applications. Both these DAPs also strive to perform at a high level with certain power-hungry fullsize cans.

 

The recently-released DAC chips are a bit more efficient in their power requirements, and there is no reason why the X7 needs to offer the full whack of amp output power that the DX100 and HM-901 do (and I was quite vocal about wishing the X5 would offer a bit more power than the X3, as was originally intended, so it's not that I don't care about the X7 having decent clout).

 

We'll have to wait and see what James and his team can come up with, but looking at the high-end, at the moment, the DX100 and HM-901 are the fattest heffers in the DAP world. They justify this with their performance, but I still, personally don't anticipate that James and his team will wish to make something as ungainly and bulky as those DAPs, especially when they will (by the time the X7 reaches the marketplace) be competing with newer slicker DAPs, perhaps including the Calyx and the (admittedly not-powerful) Sony NW-ZX1, as well as whatever iRiver have up their sleeves for the AK1(40?).

 

Price is a major factor, as both of you have rightly pointed out, but if I wanted something as bulky as a DX100 I could just buy one secondhand - there's loads of them available (and HDP-R10s), in excellent condition, for less money than a new X7 will be.

 

I think I will probably be buying an X5 before the X7 happens, but things will be really hotting-up in the mid-to-high-end sector for audiophile DAPs, during 2014, so it will be a much more competitive market than it has been up to this point.


Edited by Mython - 11/30/13 at 8:00pm
post #2002 of 12550
Is X7 really on the roadmap of Fiio? If so, perhaps we can start a new thread where our comments can best be consolidated.
post #2003 of 12550

Actually ES9018 isn't operate on that high a voltage. Most DAC can run on slightly higher voltage, but they are also fine when working on 5V and below. ES9018, for what I know, runs on 3.3V and 1.2V (for analog and digital parts of the DAC respectively). Desktop class DAC do however draw more current than mobile DAC, and they also require much better regulated power supply to achieve higher SNR, which of course all add to the size of the circuit - that which comes to the first thing that separates your average DAP and a high-fi DAP: the power supply.

 

To really achieve a desktop / almost desktop performance on a DAP, you must have a great power supply. It needs to be fairly clean, stable, multi-rail and high voltage. So you need to have switching power supply to pump up the voltage, split it into multi rail (1.2V, 3.3V and / or 5V for the DAC, plus higher dual-rail for DAC output and the amp section), then use regulator to smooth out the ripple and stabilize so it doesn't drop when battery is depleted . Doing so does waste a big part of your power, so you need to use a larger capacity battery to compensate. Now that you have a good performing DAC, you need fairly high voltage so the DAC output or amp section can have a good voltage swing, especially if you are not using rail-to-rail opamp since a lot of the high performance audio opamp don't offer rail-to-rail and rather like to operate in higher voltage. Then you will likely need to put in some buffer after the opamp as those opamp don't usually have high enough current output on their own to drive headphone directly or simply have a high output impedance that need to be isolated. So at the end you might end up having 6~7 chips to reach the level of sound you can be happy with on a high end DAP, all which take out space and power on the player.
 

So now that you know why high end DAP tends to be big, you might want to ask why can't someone make it smaller? Well, you can, if you can use highly integrated chip and design - that is, if you have that kind of money to use customized chip to your spec. Unfortunately that will be too rich for most DAP maker. Apple can do it but I doubt they are interested at all, given how pricy chip manufacturing can go. So what other way to do it? well, you make compromise, like Sony and iriver do. NW-ZX1 and AK100/120 are taking the easy route by simply using a dumb down amp section that don't go anywhere near the desktop level performance, or using a more mobile friendly DAC that doesn't require as much on power supply. The reasoning is simple: for the majority of user out there, you probably don't need that kind of performance given how easy your typical headphone is to drive. Then again, this does mean that instead of an all-in-one (near) desktop level DAP, it is going to be like a 'half-bake but get most of the job done' kind of DAP that is more suitable for portable user. So it really is a question on how far you want to go with your DAP design. Don't forget, if you need ZX1 or AK100/120 to pump out serious power, you still need an portable amp - then you will end up having a rig just as big as DX100 / HM901, if not bigger. But those are really for the hardcore audiophiles, not the average-consumer-that-have-a-higher-taste-in-music whom Sony / iriver are trying to sell their DAP to.

 

To cap it off - unless there is something very revolutionary happens on the hardware side, I don't think you will see much change on how high- / near high-end DAP is going to change in the foreseeable future. They either will be bulky and full featured, or they will be slim but missing maybe one or two things.


Edited by ClieOS - 11/30/13 at 6:09pm
post #2004 of 12550

Thanks for the detailed explanation, ClieOS.

 

I live in hope, for what the near future may bring, but you have made some compelling points.

 

As for the compromises of the amp stage of the NW-ZX1, I've already ruffled quite a few ostrich feathers in the NW-ZX1 thread, amongst those who wish to bury their heads in the sand about potential need for strapping a portable amp to this lovely DAP, if it is to sing to it's full potential.

post #2005 of 12550

I read the translated Sony blog on the ZX1 awhile ago and found nothing particularly special spec wise. They talk about HD on Android (done by iBasso first), dual voltage rail (done by Hifiman first), OFC cable (done by just about everyone else)... well, you get the picture. I was hoping Sony can really push forward with something special hardware wise but so far they seem to do a better job at repackaging all the available tech. Not that it is not a good thing in itself, but I was kind of hoping for more consider it is coming from Sony.

post #2006 of 12550

Fair enough Mython. I will calm the F down and take a chill pill. Inner peace... inner peace... inner peace...

 

Anyway... I was thinking if Apple really wanted to create a ipod pro for audiphiles... they put their engineers/talent and resources at the problem we can probably get an amazing dap that is thin and light and the UI will of course be nice. But might as well wish for flying cars and trees that grow money. Sony can maybe do it in time... it looks like they're trying at least. It would be exciting if Apple jumped into the audiphile DAP game.

post #2007 of 12550

This discussion has now got me a bit cold feet with the X5 purchase........ I thought it is supposed to be flagship...

post #2008 of 12550

I suspect Sony are reluctant to invest serious R&D in uncharted territory, given the dodgy global economy, severe commercial losses (e.g. their flat screen TV manufacturing), and not-yet-mainstream market for audiophile DAP devices. That could explain why they're just re-using existing tech (albeit in a slick overall package).

 

I'll give Fiio credit for trying to push the envelope with limited resources. Kudos to them for making the effort to satisfy us very demanding audiophiles.

post #2009 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicHolyGhost View Post
 

This discussion has now got me a bit cold feet with the X5 purchase........ I thought it is supposed to be flagship...

 

We are still a very long way from X7. Remember that there is always going to be something better in future. so don't let that stops you from enjoying what you have now (*or in the case of X5, soonish).

post #2010 of 12550
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

Actually ES9018 isn't operate on that high a voltage. Most DAC can run on slightly higher voltage, but they are also fine when working on 5V and below. ES9018, for what I know, runs on 3.3V and 1.2V (for analog and digital parts of the DAC respectively). Desktop class DAC do however draw more current than mobile DAC, and they also require much better regulated power supply to achieve higher SNR, which of course all add to the size of the circuit - that which comes to the first thing that separates your average DAP and a high-fi DAP: the power supply.

 

To really achieve a desktop / almost desktop performance on a DAP, you must have a great power supply. It needs to be fairly clean, stable, multi-rail and high voltage. So you need to have switching power supply to pump up the voltage, split it into multi rail (1.2V, 3.3V and / or 5V for the DAC, plus higher dual-rail for DAC output and the amp section), then use regulator to smooth out the ripple and stabilize so it doesn't drop when battery is depleted . Doing so does waste a big part of your power, so you need to use a larger capacity battery to compensate. Now that you have a good performing DAC, you need fairly high voltage so the DAC output or amp section can have a good voltage swing, especially if you are not using rail-to-rail opamp since a lot of the high performance audio opamp don't offer rail-to-rail and rather like to operate in higher voltage. Then you will likely need to put in some buffer after the opamp as those opamp don't usually have high enough current output on their own to drive headphone directly or simply have a high output impedance that need to be isolated. So at the end you might end up having 6~7 chips to reach the level of sound you can be happy with on a high end DAP, all which take out space and power on the player.
 

So now that you know why high end DAP tends to be big, you might want to ask why can't someone make it smaller? Well, you can, if you can use highly integrated chip and design - that is, if you have that kind of money to use customized chip to your spec. Unfortunately that will be too rich for most DAP maker. Apple can do it but I doubt they are interested at all, given how pricy chip manufacturing can go. So what other way to do it? well, you make compromise, like Sony and iriver do. NW-ZX1 and AK100/120 are taking the easy route by simply using a dumb down amp section that don't go anywhere near the desktop level performance, or using a more mobile friendly DAC that doesn't require as much on power supply. The reasoning is simple: for the majority of user out there, you probably don't need that kind of performance given how easy your typical headphone is to drive. Then again, this does mean that instead of an all-in-one (near) desktop level DAP, it is going to be like a 'half-bake but get most of the job done' kind of DAP that is more suitable for portable user. So it really is a question on how far you want to go with your DAP design. Don't forget, if you need ZX1 or AK100/120 to pump out serious power, you still need an portable amp - then you will end up having a rig just as big as DX100 / HM901, if not bigger. But those are really for the hardcore audiophiles, not the average-consumer-that-have-a-higher-taste-in-music whom Sony / iriver are trying to sell their DAP to.

 

To cap it off - unless there is something very revolutionary happens on the hardware side, I don't think you will see much change on how high- / near high-end DAP is going to change in the foreseeable future. They either will be bulky and full featured, or they will be slim but missing maybe one or two things.


This should be mandatory reading.

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