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Sony's DSD-capable PHA-2 portable headphone amp/DAC - Page 26

post #376 of 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigglesworth View Post
 

As soon as you add DSD capability, you have to add even more battery capacity and the battery is already too big.  You can't have everything.  This is a portable player with hi-resolution DAC and a great built in audiophile grade digital headphone amplifier section.  It already takes up too much battery life to play 24/192.  Sony knows what they're doing.  You want DSD, get the PHA-2.     

I was commenting on how the two devices were designed to work together, yet come across as two totally separate products.  Each one is fine on it's own.  The whole idea Sony is pushing regarding high-res centers around DSD, a feature this player doesn't have.  I assume we can't even store DSD on it for playback over the PHA-2, which it was supposedly designed to interface with?  Other portable players manage to support DSD, so I don't think it's purely a battery life issue.  I mean, Sony invented DSD, if they can't make a portable solution for it they might as well abandon the whole thing.  I say the preceding entirely because I disagree with your statement that they can't do it due to battery concerns.  The hardware design also exhibits no collaboration in the design process of the two devices, except maybe some late-stage scrambling to account for the battery bump.  Again, I am not so much deriding the ZX-1 or the PHA-2 on their own.  I think they're great devices.  I just don't see a unified portable/high-res product strategy exhibited between the two.  I mean, they don't even look particularly "good" together.  They look fine on their own, but share zero design elements between the two.  I know they don't HAVE to look good together for audiophiles to buy them, but come on, that is low-hanging fruit.  I really think they could have designed both of these as a shining example of portable audiophilia.  In that regard, they completely missed the mark.     

 

Speaking specifically about the battery bump, I don't think they really thought that one through.  There are plenty of solutions for this just staring them in the face. One of them being, make the entire device just a little bit thicker.  This would allow for an even larger battery.  It may even allow for some added unforeseen benefits.  Granted some of these aren't really 100% necessary, but could make an already great player an even stronger contender.   Add more storage.  I think 128GB is a good start, don't get me wrong, but it wouldn't hurt to be able to offer an expanded version at some point.  Maybe a Micro-SD card slot(or MemoryStick, if they must)?  I mean, that wouldn't suck.  The point is, they really don't get credit for that extra-thin portion at the top of the device with the battery bump still there.  They might as well have made something out of the space. By stretching out the battery some, they probably could have reduced the overall thickness a bit, ironically.       

 

In conclusion, again, I am not saying either one of these are bad products.  I'm also not saying that Sony doesn't know what they're doing, in general.  I am simply stating that they could have done much better with regard to the pairing of these two seemingly disparate devices, without much additional effort.  I am also speaking from a design/feature standpoint, as I know these devices do perform well, from an audio standpoint.  


Edited by Speakerphile - 1/19/14 at 1:07pm
post #377 of 555
 

 

Does the HD700 sound any better with a more powerful amp connected to the PHA-2's line out?

 

Mike

 

My experience is limited to the two LCD cans - XC and 2 - but yes, using the line out on the PHA-2 with a more powerful auch as RXmk3-b+ significantly improves sound quality (as shown in the photo).  Obviously, my comment about "adequately driving" meant just that - when you have the LCDs of the Sens, your goal is not to drive them "adequately," but to get the most out of those wonderful cans...

 

 

Still waiting on the Roxannes...


Edited by Tokyolifer - 1/19/14 at 1:55pm
post #378 of 555

Just wondering, has anyone been successful in playing DSD/High Res using PHA-2 in a portable setup - i.e. using sources such as iPhone5 (with HF Player or Flac Player)?  I have been experimenting with the iPhone5->Camera Adapter Cable->USB micro->PHA-2 setup, and really cannot get it to work...The PHA-2 is not recognized by the iPhone, at least not on a consistent basis...I know my cables aren't the issue since I actually can play DSD files through the PHA-2 just fine on my desktop setup. 

 
Not that I have any burning desire to listen to DSD files when I am commuting, just curious to see if it really works as advertised, as I have seen on some Japanese websites that people have managed this to work...
 
 
 
post #379 of 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

I didn't know that - what a shame.  I guess I had just assumed the ZX-1 could read DSD files, since the PHA-2's DAC can do so, and they allowed for a digital connection from the ZX-1, vs. analog line out from the ZX-1.  

And yes, the idea of using the PHA-2's analog line out to a more powerful portable amp would indeed improve sound quality for less efficient heapphones.


As an LCD-2 owner, I know that it can indeed sound "adequate" even when connected to my Sanza Clip+, which outputs only 4.8 mW per channel into 50 Ohms vs. the PHA-2's 58 mW into 50 Ohms.  But getting loud enough isn't the same as having the dynamics, bass extension, and bass control that comes with following the recommendation of Audeze support - to use an amplifier with a minimum of 1000 mW per channel.

The Meier Stepdance thread, for example, evidences many LCD-2 owners coming to the realization that the greater than 1000mW output of a Stepdance, 2Stepdance, or Quickstep, when powered by a 15VDC source, brings about readily appreciated improvements in the sound of the LCD-2, vs. the roughly 450mW rms output of a Stepdance using an internal 9V battery as the power source.

And as an owner of the DACmini CX, which only provides about 680mW into 50 Ohms, I consider that to be about the minimum wattage needed to really make the LCD-2 come to life - despite the Audeze recommendation of 1000mW.

The LCD-XC must be more efficient, going by your experience where the PHA-2 did better with the LCD-XC than with the LCD-2. Still, I doubt that Audeze would recommend the PHA-2, at only 58mW into 50 Ohms (or about 132mW into the LCD-XC's 22 Ohm impedance.)


OK, I'm bewildered.  

Sony's specs for the PHA-2 must be severely understated.  I'll wait for more testimonies, but I have to ask:  

Does the HD700 sound any better with a more powerful amp connected to the PHA-2's line out?

Mike

Hi Mike
With PHA 2 line out sound quality improve significant , hang from your external amp
You much choose better amp than PHA 2 build in amp like below

You can pair with RSA Intruder or ALO Rx 3 B or Duet
The sound quality from these 3 brands are excellent , every brand has their strong and weak point
What is your music preference ?
Edited by rudi0504 - 1/19/14 at 1:55pm
post #380 of 555
post #381 of 555
Quote:

 

Thanks for that seeteeyou, ordered... :normal_smile :

post #382 of 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigglesworth View Post

Zilch,
I know you wish the PHA-2 had better power specs.  It wasn't made to drive high impedance headphones.  Sony knows their market and it doesn't include people who listen to LCD-2's or Sennheiser HD650's on the go.  It was made to pair with efficient headphones and IEM's.  I have HD700's and am not planning on ever taking them out of the house (have a Burson amp for that), so PHA-2 will be my portable rig with some IEM's and maybe my P5's...and I'm expecting it to be FANTASTIC for this purpose.  I think if you start seeing the PHA-2 like this, you'll appreciate it a little more.    

You're singing my song - that's the only circumstance where I can imagine appreciating the PHA-2 - with efficient IEMs and headphones. I've been saying this all along. My concern is anyone who comes close to misleading others into thinking the PHA-2 is anything like the vast majority of portable headphone amps - that offer a lot more power. I'm a huge Sony fan, trying to keep others from misinterpreting this product and ending up disappointed, but you get it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyolifer View Post

My experience is limited to the two LCD cans - XC and 2 - but yes, using the line out on the PHA-2 with a more powerful auch as RXmk3-b+ significantly improves sound quality (as shown in the photo).  Obviously, my comment about "adequately driving" meant just that - when you have the LCDs of the Sens, your goal is not to drive them "adequately," but to get the most out of those wonderful cans...


Still waiting on the Roxannes...

Oh good - we're on the same page. So Sony's specs for the PHA-2 are most likely accurate, after all. Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudi0504 View Post

Hi Mike
With PHA 2 line out sound quality improve significant , hang from your external amp
You much choose better amp than PHA 2 build in amp like below

You can pair with RSA Intruder or ALO Rx 3 B or Duet
The sound quality from these 3 brands are excellent , every brand has their strong and weak point
What is your music preference ?

Thanks for that confirmation Rudi. I listen to a lot of different genres, but most like 70's Funk.

:-)

Mike
post #383 of 555
does Sony provide firmware updates to the PHA-2?
post #384 of 555

 

I'm hoping that someone can clarify the note above taken from the Sony PHA-2 manual. 

As far as I understand, the amp/dac doesn't support Play and Charge at the same time. 

But I'm stumbled by the note above. 

Does it mean that if you listen below a certain level, battery will not deplete as long as it is connected to the computer?

post #385 of 555
Quote:

Originally Posted by delancyst View Post

 

As far as I understand, the amp/dac doesn't support Play and Charge at the same time. 

But I'm stumbled by the note above. 

Does it mean that if you listen below a certain level, battery will not deplete as long as it is connected to the computer?

 

Yes, that's my experience from using it as a USB DAC. I can leave it on all day and when I turn it off the charge indicator only lights up for a few seconds to minutes.

post #386 of 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by szeiger View Post

Yes, that's my experience from using it as a USB DAC. I can leave it on all day and when I turn it off the charge indicator only lights up for a few seconds to minutes.

good to know!
I intend to use this at work, powered thru my laptop.
Then on the road when i commute back home.
Just want to make theres enough juice to make it back home.

Do you know how loud i can play thru the computer before it starts draining the battery?
post #387 of 555
I am typing this on my ipad so can not find the link, but there should be another thread within head-fi for the apple cck. It has been helpful.

I have found mixed results with the iphone recognizing the pha-2. These issues are mitigated often by turning the sony pha-2 on first and then connecting the cck to the iphone. If this is done while the onkyo app is already launched you should see the volume change on the slider within the app. This means that it is connected.

Don't let the cck disconnect. You will need to go through the whole process again.

The onkyo app plays dsd files, but the battery drains LIKE CRAZY. I use an iPhone 4S in this setup and thought it was my old apple battery (recently replaced that)... will see if the new battery drains as quickly and report back.

Note: turn off wireless and go into airplane mode to avoid the interference between the iphone and the pha-2.
post #388 of 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by fkrieger View Post

I am typing this on my ipad so can not find the link, but there should be another thread within head-fi for the apple cck. It has been helpful.

I have found mixed results with the iphone recognizing the pha-2. These issues are mitigated often by turning the sony pha-2 on first and then connecting the cck to the iphone. If this is done while the onkyo app is already launched you should see the volume change on the slider within the app. This means that it is connected.

Don't let the cck disconnect. You will need to go through the whole process again.

The onkyo app plays dsd files, but the battery drains LIKE CRAZY. I use an iPhone 4S in this setup and thought it was my old apple battery (recently replaced that)... will see if the new battery drains as quickly and report back.

Note: turn off wireless and go into airplane mode to avoid the interference between the iphone and the pha-2.

Thks.  This is very helpful.  I guess with the battery drain, this is probably not a realistic option in the long run.  I am supposed to get my iDSD pretty soon, and hopefully that will be a more viable option...

post #389 of 555

The only problem PHA2 has as a dac from a computer is that however great it is with the ZX1 it just isnt as great as the Explorer or microStreamer, almost there, but no quite imo

post #390 of 555
Has anybody tried connecting the amp to the iphone 5s?
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