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The Sad State Of The So Called Audiophile DAP Market - Page 69

post #1021 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post




I can agree on the PRaT or 'musicality' you're talking about which is often found in Wolfson WM8740, I find similar aspects from IHIFI 760. DX50 does have a sense of forward motion to your music a little like a car that has good momentum flowing down a highway, (foot tapping) however I don't see the point when you're needing to pump the  HO amp section so hard you're literally forcing detail out of the player, I had to raise the volume to excessive levels to get vocal detail my Rocco BA can do simply idling at a much more comfortable listening level. You're basically having to listen loud and that's not a good sign.


Often when I see people praising DX50 or calling it a "star" I wonder what other gear they've heard or their point of reference. I'm not trying to come across as pompous or superior though I think anyone who's approaching from an iPod player would be happy with DX50 because they're hearing that resolution I mentioned, which is fine if you want to listen to some clarity that's not a problem. It's little like the Sansa Clip where people immediately hear the clarity jump out at them then instantly think it's better than say player B, Unfortunately there's a lot more to sound quality than a dump of clarity and the problem is DX50 doesn't have much else going for it on a technical level.


The problems with DX50 are the soundstage is congested, (narrow) , it lacks air and has poor separation,  when you add all those negatives up in one bucket they form a pretty big problem because congestion and closed in stages cause smearing and a bogged down crowded presentation. .This was overly obvious to me, even my Colorfly C3 has stronger instrument separation and a wider soundstage. So when you add that with excessive volumes it becomes a pretty unwanted listening participation for me, I'm well aware some people are happy with the unit and there's nothing wrong with that, but I will say how I heard it. Maybe my point of reference is slightly different, though after A/bing with the Rocco BA unit I sold DX50 for thosde reasons.



I've mentioned this in the DX50 thread, especially about the separation: If you have an IEM that is capable of strong instrument separation, one that excels in that area or soundstage width for example by using DX50 you're bottle necking the earphone, have a listen next time you use your DX50 and tell me how easily you can make out all the instruments in a busy passage of a song. it might sound ok but I can assure you it can be a lot better. I think we all know your set up is only a good as the weakest link, so for me with my Rhapsodio hybrid  I was being deprived of  areas I know it could perform because DX50 was capping them short. Connect them back up to my Rocco BA or Studio and V and they came back out of their shell showing me what they're capable of again. I just think DX50 limits what your headphone/IEM perfomance in general. 


 Don't let this stop you enjoying though. smile.gif  

You make some good points.

I reckon that any DAP at under $300 will have limitations, ie you can't have everything at that price. I AM enjoying the DX50 and it's musicality. Whether I stay with it, I don't know but if I follow the many other audiophiles here, probably not as I search for the ultimate music player !

I would agree that the DX50 doesn't always deal with busy section of music as coherently as maybe it could. Having said that some of the different FirmWares have been better at that than others. It doesn't give me a wow factor in such circumstances, but it does on some slower pieces like an acoustic guitar where the sound can be exquisite. And that what makes me want to come back to it.

My gut tells me that the DX50 is a little better that you are giving it credit for but then again if it doesn't deliver something that is important to you then your view makes sense.
post #1022 of 1453

Neil Young announced kickstarter pre-orders for his ponoplayer, what do you guys think? :p

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-general-forum/neil-young-announces-launch-ponomusic-19703/

 

http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/9/5488484/neil-youngs-high-fidelity-ipod-competitor-will-cost-399


Edited by zachchen1996 - 3/9/14 at 3:04pm
post #1023 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post

I could hear differences between the iphone4, Sansa fuze and my room mates classic. Not necessarily night and day differences but those subtleties are their to be heard nonetheless. Even the new Fuze sounded slightly different from the original one. I preferred its sound but the UI was ****.
I tried my best to volume-match the 4 sources and their playback positions (not easy, hahaha). The 6G iPod seemed to have a slightly better bass extension compared to the 5G and the 5G had slightly more depth in the soundstage to me. The differences are pretty darn subtle though between the 4. Were I to blind test between these 4, I would probably fail. XD
post #1024 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gintaras View Post


H20, you will hate me for saying this but i was very lucky with dx50 having no freeze no issues so far.
still i put dx50 nearly brand new with silicon case on sale. you know why? because dx50 needs amp to sound its best and without amping it sounds edgy digital and not so well controlled. yes, dx50 for the money is a great DAP and will excel over C3 but for the price plus amp i better stick to something else. iBasso must seriously revamp the amp section, and their lazy approach to this put me off from their products in future. i cannot live with audiophile DAP which does not do like that and for 250$ i can expect more ...

C3 on its own is bloody cheap so i can live with shortcomings but going up price some better attitude must be shown.


Strange isn't it? an amp company needing to work on their 'amp section'. :P I can agree DX50 had higher resolution than C3 though must disagree on the technical areas I mentioned previously (staging / separation). C3 is very good player at it's price point, however to be fair on iBasso I could say Colorfly were possibly a little lazy on the UI of C3, something iBasso at least tried a little harder.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by highfell View Post


You make some good points.

I reckon that any DAP at under $300 will have limitations, ie you can't have everything at that price. I AM enjoying the DX50 and it's musicality. Whether I stay with it, I don't know but if I follow the many other audiophiles here, probably not as I search for the ultimate music player !

I would agree that the DX50 doesn't always deal with busy section of music as coherently as maybe it could. Having said that some of the different FirmWares have been better at that than others. It doesn't give me a wow factor in such circumstances, but it does on some slower pieces like an acoustic guitar where the sound can be exquisite. And that what makes me want to come back to it.

My gut tells me that the DX50 is a little better that you are giving it credit for but then again if it doesn't deliver something that is important to you then your view makes sense.



I understand about the different firmware and I am a person who likes to gain experience, for this reason I'm going to borrow a DX50 on the most recent firmware and check it again, not as a possible purchase but to see how far they've come since the early firmware I was on. I want to see this DAP Gintaras mentions that never freezes as I hear from people I trust DX50 is now close to stable. I want to hear these magnificent sound improvements talked about in the DX50 thread on new firmware, I wonder what I will find.... That doesn't give iBasso clearance for what they originally sold me however.


Edited by H20Fidelity - 3/9/14 at 4:01pm
post #1025 of 1453
Thanks for replies guys.

@Lee and @Mice - am in agreement on the definitions. S-Stage = depth/width /height (ie span) of instruments around you. Imaging = ability to reliably and consistently pinpoint those instruments within the S-S. Separation is the ability to clearly separate the instruments (and is closely related to imaging).

However - I think at this point in my personal experience I'm rapidly coming to two conclusions (or combination of both) ......

(1) Am in agreement with Eke (and also with Lee) that volume has a large part to play in perception. This has been further reinforced to me from using an SPL meter whenever ABXing now. Takes some time to set-up properly, but results are very telling. I also am discovering how much frequency response affects perception of air and space.

(2) My hearing is simply not that good. I only spent 7-8 days with the X5, and I did not hear the issues MiceBlue heard with the unit - so it's either unit variance, my hearing (possible - I am 46), or may indeed be combinations of audio chain (+ our marvelous brains telling us what we think we want to hear).

Anyway - I do really appreciate the thoughts from those who have responded. It has been very helpful.
post #1026 of 1453
On comparison of DAPs - I could also definitely tell apart my iP4, from the X5, and from the V3 - and this was after careful volume matching with an SPL meter.

The V3 vs X5 was easiest to tell apart - and it was simply due to frequency response - with V3 being brighter, and having a more spacious sound at low volume. X5 slightly darker and warmer.

iP4 and V3 are actually a lot closer - but again at lower volumes the V3 is clearer (again brighter) with more sense of space.

Again I attribute this to frequency response (unless someone explains otherwise) - and I do note that as you test with higher volume on all 3 devices, the actual differences tend to become less.

YMMV. That's just what I found.
post #1027 of 1453

It's more than just frequency response though. It also is due to software and hardware on each unit and how they are all implemented. So from the amp section, dac, circuity to the tuning of each player which can be impacted by software changes. There are many variables at hand. You can have sources that measure flat yet sound noticeably different from each other. There is more to it than meets the eye.

post #1028 of 1453
How does one volume match with an SPL device? Do you put it between the headphone or something?

I'm having a hard time volume-matching things with the Clip Zip at the moment with the iPod 5G. It's either too loud at one step, or too quiet with minus one step. This is impossible. -_-


Anyway, we just did a A/B test with a black bag and switching the outputs, and we both failed. The Clip Zip sounded the tiniest bit better than the iPhone 4S. I'm pretty much guessing right now between the Clip Zip and iPod 5G at the moment too.
post #1029 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

It's more than just frequency response though. It also is due to software and hardware on each unit and how they are all implemented. So from the amp section, dac, circuity to the tuning of each player which can be impacted by software changes. There are many variables at hand. You can have sources that measure flat yet sound noticeably different from each other. There is more to it than meets the eye.

 

+1

 

The soundstage difference is dramatic between my Galaxy S1 (using the Maven Player on XOME-i setting) and my iPod Touch 5G ( both using the Shure E5c). For some reason, the E5c is the king of soundstage among my earphones and headphones. With the S1/E5c combo, it sounds like music is coming (at times) from 6 to 8 inches out (and up) on either side and overhead. I turned my head in confusion (and cut the music off) when I first discovered that synergy (thinking sounds were external from the music).

post #1030 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

How does one volume match with an SPL device? Do you put it between the headphone or something?


Others may be different but here is what I do. I have a flat cover that goes over the headphone pads, with a hole cut in it for the mic from the spl meter (BTW - for the SPL meter I'm just using an iPod Touch with an SPL meter app - but it seems to be working far more accurately than I can do 'by ear'). I then play a continuous test tone, and measure. Repeat for 2nd dap with same headphones. Match.

Then try music using same set-up, and look for average and high peaks (make sure they match) for same source files. If they do - then you're ready to a/b - and hopefully abx (if you have a patient partner).
post #1031 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post


Strange isn't it? an amp company needing to work on their 'amp section'. :P I can agree DX50 had higher resolution than C3 though must disagree on the technical areas I mentioned previously (staging / separation). C3 is very good player at it's price point, however to be fair on iBasso I could say Colorfly were possibly a little lazy on the UI of C3, something iBasso at least tried a little harder.


 



I understand about the different firmware and I am a person who likes to gain experience, for this reason I'm going to borrow a DX50 on the most recent firmware and check it again, not as a possible purchase but to see how far they've come since the early firmware I was on. I want to see this DAP Gintaras mentions that never freezes as I hear from people I trust DX50 is now close to stable. I want to hear these magnificent sound improvements talked about in the DX50 thread on new firmware, I wonder what I will find.... That doesn't give iBasso clearance for what they originally sold me however.

Let us know. Never say never, you might end liking it so much that you decide to buy another one........

BTW there are three 1.28 firmware versions :

1.28

1.2.8 MOD V1 - A custom rom, aiming for 1.2.2 sound on the 1.2.8 firmware

1.2.8 MOD V2 - A custom rom, aiming for 1.2.6 sound on the 1.2.8 firmware

FWIW - I am running 1.28 MOD V1 which has the 1.22 "sound" , which has the widest soundstage by all accounts
Edited by highfell - 3/9/14 at 11:49pm
post #1032 of 1453

Keep me posted H20. The DX100 has shown me that firmware changes can really change the sound for the better. The DX50 might do the same but I'm also not holding my breath ;)..

post #1033 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by highfell View Post


Let us know. Never say never, you might end liking it so much that you decide to buy another one........

BTW there are three 1.28 firmware versions :

1.28

1.2.8 MOD V1 - A custom rom, aiming for 1.2.2 sound on the 1.2.8 firmware

1.2.8 MOD V2 - A custom rom, aiming for 1.2.6 sound on the 1.2.8 firmware

FWIW - I am running 1.28 MOD V1 which has the 1.22 "sound" , which has the widest soundstage by all accounts

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post
 

Keep me posted H20. The DX100 has shown me that firmware changes can really change the sound for the better. The DX50 might do the same but I'm also not holding my breath ;)..




It has been organized and coming this week. :smile: Not surprisingly the person who is sending the DX50 has had problems updating the firmware, apparently it keeps crashing his Windows PC. I will try and man handle the new firmware onto the little devil. I have a funny feeling I can just remove the card and install the firmware patch onto the card manually, though who knows what we'll find. The person who is sending it explained they do not like it very much  but is willing to give it another try if we can update the unit. 

post #1034 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post






It has been organized and coming this week. smile.gif  Not surprisingly the person who is sending the DX50 has had problems updating the firmware, apparently it keeps crashing his Windows PC. I will try and man handle the new firmware onto the little devil. I have a funny feeling I can just remove the card and install the firmware patch onto the card manually, though who knows what we'll find. The person who is sending it explained they do not like it very much  but is willing to give it another try if we can update the unit. 

The firmware patch is installed onto the DX50 hard drive itself not the SD micro card. I have installed different FWs around 10 times. I have only once had a problem. I just had to do a factory reset and start again.

Go to page one of the Dx50 thread to find the various FirmWares.

Instructions below from the DX50 FAQ page.


Unzip the file you downloaded and transfer the update.img file to the internal memory of the DX50

On the DX50, eject your microSD card for good measure (purely optional as the firmware impacts the internal memory only).
Go to Settings -> Advanced -> System Update and click OK .The DX50 will now reboot into recovery mode and start updating the firmware.
When completed, the DX50 will reboot.
If the DX50 fails to boot up normally, perform a factory reset from the recovery menu


Go to settings -> Advanced -> Factory reset. The DX50 will now reboot into recovery mode and reset to factory defaults.

Delete the .img file from the internal memory.
When the DX50 has finished booting back up, insert your microSD card again.
The DX50 will now initiate a scan to update the music database.
Edited by highfell - 3/10/14 at 12:30am
post #1035 of 1453
Quote:
Originally Posted by highfell View Post


The firmware patch is installed onto the DX50 hard drive itself not the SD micro card. I have installed different FWs around 10 times. I have only once had a problem. I just had to do a factory reset and start again.

 



The problem he is having is when connecting to PC, it keeps crashing (well his laptop) I understand you can boot into recovery mode and install firmware directly from an sd card which I will try if it doesn't show up on my laptop. That's what I mean..... :)


Edited by H20Fidelity - 3/10/14 at 12:32am
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