Weren't you talking about amping when you said: "improve in this respect with amping"? Kind of confusing if you were talking about DACs. I guess I misunderstood your wording.
Anyway. HP-P1 and CLAS solutions were in vogue like 2 years ago, but with the recent advancement in DAPs, it's whole new world for me and much of Head-Fi. I'm not saying the X3 is better because I haven't seen a real comparison, but certainly the newly arriving X5 and DX90 might be superior. What I can say is that the X3 is several times more powerful and the components and implementation of the amp/dac section is pretty decent, and much better than something like an iPhone. Not sure if you thought I was actually using a phone to drive my 7520? Didn't see anyone saying that on this thread including me.
As for the HP-P1 working best with 32ohm or below. Yeah, it has to because 80mW isn't exactly a lot of power. It won't give you much headroom for headphones with high impedance; it won't be able to drive anything difficult at all, so saying it does best with 32ohms and below isn't shocking. Btw, who is this Headfonics guy? Not sure he's one of the "big" reviewers well know around these parts. Most people quote Tyll from Innerfidelity or Mike from Headfonia.
Not sure if you're trying to say the X3 is inadequate to show the soundstaging capabilities of the 7520? or what your exact point is, but either way I've heard the 7520 sourced by the Bifrost and also the Concero. Which are also fine midrange DACs. In fact I would venture to guess that the Concero is definitely the better DAC between it and the HP-P1, and pretty much showed off the soundstaging/imaging capabilities of the 7520 to pretty good extent. But if you want to say the HP-P1 is vastly superior I guess I don't really have anything to say because I've never heard the HP-P1
I'm trying very hard to think of a can that has a smaller soundstage than the 7520 out of all the cans I've owned/auditioned and the only thing that comes to mind is the Z1000. So yeah...
Sorry for any confusion, and I think your reading too much into what I've said. Frankly, I'm not into this like you are (not implying there's anything wrong with your enthusiastic interest) so I'm not worried about what's 'in vogue' or what the latest developments are. I'm sure there are better DAC/amps out there than the Fostex HP-P1, but it's a very neat and good sounding solution for portable use from a iDevice. BTW here's the page which the quote was from http://headfonics.com/2013/01/fostex-hp-p1-form-factor/
If I want something better I listen to my Marantz CD12 DA12 via my Lehmann BCL, so I know what a good Source, DAC, Amp sounds like. I know that the HP-P1 isn't the last word in sound quality (and neither is the stuff I just mentioned, although it's considerably better than anything you can carry around), but my comment about it sounding better with a proper DAC/amp was a result of reading things similar to this many times:-
I've had my 7520's for a few weeks now and out of all of the headphones I own (T1, MA900, X1, DBA-02, ER4P, HP100) these are getting the most ear time. I also briefly owned the P7s and the HP50s and have since returned both of those. I thought the P7s were way over-hyped. They did not sound refined to me at all. The HP50s were ok, but were a bit boomy in the bass to me and lacked some detail.
The 7520s are just what I was looking for. They are definitely my favorite closed can right now. Just using them straight from an iPad Air they sound fantastic. I love the detailed sound. I am a detail freak and the fact that I can get this kind of detail without sacrificing somewhere else (mids, bass) is amazing. The only thing I think they don't excel at is a coherent soundstage. Don't get me wrong, the angled drivers give me a sense of space but when I used these briefly for gaming it seemed that as I panned sounds jumped from the left channel to the right channel more abruptly as opposed to smoothly panning on my other headphones (most of which are open).
Other than that though, I am very happy with the 7520s.
I wasn't saying that I thought you used them direct from a standard device, I was just making the point that the soundstage can improve to the point of being acceptable (IMO of course) and not noticeably closed in if you use a good external amp or and DAC.
Edited by Mike F - 2/8/14 at 4:28am