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$999 Calyx M with DXD + DSD, 64GB + SD + µSD storage - Page 169

post #2521 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post


Get a demo and decide for yourself. My situation is maybe unique as I kept both ak240, hm901, in addition to dx90 so the delta from dx90 to M might not be important to me, but could be significant for others. Cheers!

 

Hmmm yes ok. Althoughit sounds nearer to DX 90 than HM901 or AK240 ? If so then it isn't for me. I am looking for something in the top tier so i guess disappointingly this isn't it. Is that a fair statement ?

post #2522 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by headwhacker View Post

I finally got the time to get down to JabenSG and try the Calyx M. Bad news is, there demo unit can't read my exfat formatted SD card. I just have to listen to whatever tracks available in the internal storage...

 

Was that you I just met? I was there from 1pm to 2pm+ and I was auditioning the Calyx M side-by-side with my AK120 and AK240. A guy with a DX50/DX90 came along while I was almost done with my listening and I passed the M to him to let him try and asked him if his was a DX50 or DX90 and he said DX90. The Calyx M only reads SD cards formatted in FAT32. ExFat will not work. My Samsung 64GB Pro microSDXC card formatted in FAT32 works perfectly fine in it. You can format SD card >32GB in FAT32 using Mac OS or Ubuntu/Linux. If you are using Windows, you will need one of those specialized SD card formatter freeware to do it. Just google for one you should find many of these software solutions.

 

Anyway here's my personal opinion of Calyx M: 

 

DAPs used: AK120, AK240, Calyx M

microSDHC used: Samsung 64GB Pro microSDXC Extreme Speed (UHS-1) Class 10 Memory Card (I have 2 identical 64GB cards one loaded in AK120, the other in Calyx M and AK240 was using the internal 256GB storage)

IEMs used: Tralucent 1plus2, Sony EX-1000, Aurisonics ASG-2

Music genres used: Classical, Anime, Pop, Rock, Trance

 

 

I shall skip sonic comparison between AK120 and AK240 since that is not why we are on this thread and discuss directly about Calyx M vs AK120 and AK240.

 

My SD card has about 48GB of music on it. The initial scanning of my SD card by Calyx M took about 2-3 mins. I then initiate a poweroff shutdown and rebooted. The icon showing it is scanning my SD card also stays for around 2 mins after the reboot. However, I seem to be able to browse the album page with my SD card songs on it already while it is still scanning. It could just be scanning for changes. The UI seems laggy although it is still bearable much like the slightly laggy UI speed/fluidity of the AK120 compared to AK240. Definitely not as smooth as the AK240 or the Sony ZX1. Pressing commands and buttons on the UI may observe a 1 sec delay before M responds. I would say the AK120 responds faster than Calyx M when it comes to giving it commands. Hopefully the launch model will be much better than the demo unit. The thumbnails of the album arts load similarly to that of the AK240, i.e. thumbnail pictures loading about a split (half) second later after scrolling the page down. It is akin to browsing your Facebook app page with photos on LTE/4G.

 

The other serious issue I discovered I had when navigating my music collection on the Calyx M is that there is no folder view. Everything is classified and tagged into albums, so all the music on my SD card is completely mixed up with the bundled music on the internal storage of M. There is also a Jukebox page which has lots of album arts interspersed among the playlists and it looks more confusing than helpful to find the correct playlist. I am very much a folder guy coming from Cowon DAP series. Although I also have an iPod Nano which uses the iTunes style UI, I find the pure album navigation UI design on the M without any folder support very difficult to use, especially when I am not those who likes to spend time tagging my music files properly. My day-to-day usage DAP pattern is basically to put my favourite songs in the same folder and make folders for each CD album so I can just find all my music by folders. If I need to customize my listening tracks, I will just edit a playlist on-the-go to listen for a short while. I find that the AK240's UI which supports album, playlist as well as folder views much better (versatile) and utilitarian in this sense.

 

The first thing I tried immediately with the Calyx M is the magnetic volume slider since that seems to be such a hot topic. :wink_face: Suffice to say that I find the magnetic slider pretty robust in its build. The sliding is tight so it is not easy to move it with little strength accidentally. The slider does not seem to be easy to dislodge. I tried to see if I can pry it out of the sliding recess, it didn't come off but I don't want to try too hard in case the shop attenders think I am trying to break and spoil it. Next I try to look if there is a software volume control and after much messing around with the UI (the UI is not really intuitive to me :angry_face:), I finally find it 2-3 tabs into the menu to change to On-Screen slider. When it is in software volume control mode, the magnetic volume slider is disabled so the volume will not change even if you slide it accidentally. However, the bad thing is that the On-Screen slider bar is embedded 2 tabs into the settings menu. If I want to adjust the volume, I will have to keep going into menu > settings > On-Screen slider. Not exactly very user-friendly. Quick changing of volume is impossible, especially when the physical magnetic volume slider is disabled. You will have to turn on the screen, click on the menu icon at the top left corner, click on settings and then you see the software volume control bar. I tried to find if there is another way to control the volume but saw none. Calyx should have just put the volume control bar on the current playing song screen instead of embedding it few levels down the menu (What is the use of the huge touch screen :confused_face(1):) Maybe someone else who is more familiar with M knows of a better way to adjust the volume with the touch screen.

 

 

If you look at the above picture, the battery life left is at 74%. I started at 100% at around 13:10. So after 44 mins of messing around (at 13:54), battery life has already dropped by 26%... :confused_face: Also the battery life % indicator is slightly bugged. Before it hit 74% (at 13:54) when it was around 84% left (at about 13:30), I did a reboot and the indicator went back up to 91% after it rebooted but quickly drop back to 8x% after that.

 

I also tested the Gapless feature and it is not working. Hopefully this will get fixed in the launch units.

 

Next thing is sonic comparison. I went straight to load the highest quality music tracks that I have prepared on my SD card and played some DSD64, DSD128 and DXD (352.8 kHz) from 2L. Midway playing one of my DSD128 file, I tried fast-forwarding by dragging the music track position pointer on the bar and Calyx M crashed when I let go of my finger. :confused:

 

 

Nothing I pressed on the UI was responding and the error message came up after a while, so I had to reboot. Subsequent playing of DSD/DXD files seem fine except for that hiccup. At least M is capable of playing DXD at the full 352.8 kHz which the AK240 cannot (AK240 can play it natively but downscales it to 176.4 kHz).

 

 

 

The 1st thing I noticed about the Calyx M is that its HO is rather loud. The equivalent volume of 45 out of max 75 on AK240 is only about 1/3 on the volume bar of the Calyx M. Going anywhere above 1/3 of the volume bar on M gets really deafening. Next thing I noticed is that M's SQ sounded very thick, heavy and aggressive. The bass is much stronger and heavier than both my AK120 and AK240 and the mids are also much more forward. Even my X3 which I did not bring along does not sound so forward and warm. The highs are clear but the overall clarity lacks behind the AK240. I would say the clarity is roughly about the same level as AK120, but because of the thick SQ it makes M sound less expansive/clear, some would say it is more natural depending on individual's preference. However, the 3D soundstage seems much smaller than the AK120 and definitely does not come close to the expansive soundstage of the AK240. The Calyx M's SQ is definitely far from neutral at all. It is even less flat than FiiO X3 which most people would already consider X3 as having a warm signature. I would reckon it has a pretty big boost around the 200-400 Hz, making the M's SQ sounds thick. For a quick analogy, I would say M to AK120/240 is like Roxanne to JH13 pro. I tried swapping my 1plus2 IEM to my Sony EX-1000 on Calyx M. I get the same thick sound but less detailed because of the Sony IEM. In fact M > EX-1000 = AK240 > ASG-2. Calyx M's SQ kind of "EQ" the normally bright treble of EX-1000 down to the level of ASG-2 and the neutral mid/low of EX-1000 to the more forward/bassy mid/low of ASG-2. Then I plug my ASG-2 (bass notch at halfway between 0 and 1st marking) to Calyx M and I was totally shocked. It makes ASG-2 sound horribly thick and unclear. I wished I could reach for the EQ feature to EQ on the Calyx M but suddenly remembered Calyx being purist said that they do not believe in EQ and did not implement the feature on M. Tracks which are too bassy sounded too thick to be comfortable. I think light classical tracks sounded much better.

 

If you read between the lines, you can tell I am obviously disliking the Calyx M's SQ after the auditioning. I am not saying it is a bad DAP in terms of features, but its overly-warm SQ does not suit my taste. Those who have demo-ed M earlier with warm IEMs e.g. FitEars said that the SQ is warm and others have questioned their conclusions because the FitEars IEMs used are already warm themselves. But I brought my EX-1000 and 1plus2 which are definitely very analytical and not warm at all and I still find the sound too warm for my taste. Even X3's SQ is much less aggressive than M. Yes, aggressive is the one word I would give to M's SQ. If you share the same SQ taste as me, I think AK120 would suit you better at that price point. Maybe it is just me for being too used to the fairly analytical and neutral SQ from AK240 pairing with 1plus2/EX-1000 (I sometimes even find AK240 -> ASG-2 a little too warm but still manageable).

 

I have yet to audition the DX90 and will be checking it out soon once another local store brings a demo unit in this weekend. I can then give another quick comparison between M and DX90 when I get the chance. I may also go down to Jaben again to audition M again with cans in mind just to have a full picture of its SQ and HO power with cans. Maybe headwhacker will go down again before me with a properly formatted SD card to give us an A-B comparison with his DX90.


Edited by Bluebear - 5/7/14 at 2:55am
post #2523 of 5495
I'm happy. The more I read on the latest reviews the more I'm feeling less inclined to get the M. Save me some money for something else smily_headphones1.gif
post #2524 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post



.... Next thing I noticed is that M's SQ sounded very thick, heavy and aggressive. The bass is much stronger and heavier than both my AK120 and AK240 and the mids are also much more forward. Even my X3 which I did not bring along does not sound so forward and warm. The highs are clear but the overall clarity lacks behind the AK240. I would say the clarity is roughly about the same level as AK120, but because of the thick SQ it makes M sound less expansive/clear, some would say it is more natural depending on individual's preference. However, the 3D soundstage seems much smaller than the AK120 and definitely does not come close to the expansive soundstage of the AK240. The Calyx M's SQ is definitely far from neutral at all. It is even less flat than FiiO X3 which most people would already consider X3 as having a warm signature. I would reckon it has a pretty big boost around the 200-400 Hz, making the M's SQ sounds thick....

Thanks bluebear for the detailed write up! In can see why my wallet hates me as I probably need to be more critical during demos to not fall for any new DAPs! I am way less bugged by the UI experience than I m underwhelmed with the seemingly thin aluminium back... But the nuisances you listed are all real issues that hopefully is fixed with production release.

SQ-wise I agree it is full/thick/dense but don't feel it FR-wise is as dark as you do. I think there is a difference between thick and dark. The density and thickness do take away the treble air but the details are still there. I don't seems to think they are rolled off, but just the thick and smooth presentation made them less noticeable especially if one is not sensitive to treble. Imho the x3 is a lot less resolving and less refined than the M. I do like your Roxanne vs JH13 analogy and think it is apt to describe M vs dx90.

Disclaimer: I did like M's sound enough to consider getting one after the demo. But then I do not really have a fixed tonality that I need and enjoy a wide range of sound. I am also not the most logical value buyer. LoL. My hesitation is mainly on the exterior materials.... and...

look-at-my-wallet-its-empty.jpg
Edited by kkcc - 5/7/14 at 3:26am
post #2525 of 5495

I think from all the reviews so far, it points to a warm signature even more so than the X5..

 

I've heard the X5 in a 1 hour long demo and did not click with its signature, so with that in mind my expectations is now at the lowest for the M.

Won't count it out for demoing though, still tickling my curiosity.

post #2526 of 5495

Thanks for the detailed comments, Bluebear!

 

Luckily I have no need for the M - I am fairly rolling in portable options right now - because I must hear it myself. I also have to hear the DX90...!

 

I am still intrigued by the M though. If it is authoritative and weighty without an external amp, it just might fit the bill.

post #2527 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteZero View Post
 

I think from all the reviews so far, it points to a warm signature even more so than the X5..

 

I've heard the X5 in a 1 hour long demo and did not click with its signature, so with that in mind my expectations is now at the lowest for the M.

Won't count it out for demoing though, still tickling my curiosity.

 

Much of the X5's warm signature is attributable to the amp section. The line out is very good. No doubt it is thicker than the DX50 line out. It is also better.

post #2528 of 5495
Where can a brother audition Calyx M in Hong Kong now? Obliged...
post #2529 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicHolyGhost View Post

Where can a brother audition Calyx M in Hong Kong now? Obliged...

 

 PM'ed

post #2530 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post

Thanks bluebear for the detailed write up! In can see why my wallet hates me as I probably need to be more critical during demos to not fall for any new DAPs! I am way less bugged by the UI experience than I m underwhelmed with the seemingly thin aluminium back... But the nuisances you listed are all real issues that hopefully is fixed with production release.

SQ-wise I agree it is full/thick/dense but don't feel it FR-wise is as dark as you do. I think there is a difference between thick and dark. The density and thickness do take away the treble air but the details are still there. I don't seems to think they are rolled off, but just the thick and smooth presentation made them less noticeable especially if one is not sensitive to treble. Imho the x3 is a lot less resolving and less refined than the M. I do like your Roxanne vs JH13 analogy and think it is apt to describe M vs dx90.

Disclaimer: I did like M's sound enough to consider getting one after the demo. But then I do not really have a fixed tonality that I need and enjoy a wide range of sound. I am also not the most logical value buyer. LoL. My hesitation is mainly on the exterior materials....

I do not think it is dark too, but like I have said I find its SQ too thick and aggressive for me to be comfortable listening for extended periods of time. Maybe I am also too used to bright treble on my EX-1000 and 1plus2. Those who likes Roxanne may like the Calyx M too, but I am not too sure whether pairing a thick-sounding IEM with an equally thick-sounding DAP is a good idea. If M has a milder and more pleasant SQ like X3 but retains the clarity of the AK120, then I may consider getting it. On its own, I also think M has the clarity comparable to AK120 but I still think it is not in the same league as the AK240 in the clarity department. In fact I find the bass/low mids gets a bit unnaturally amplified from the overly aggressive SQ. Rather ironic since it supposedly has a more natural-sounding SQ.

I am interested to find out how the DX90 sounds like given that I have read it sounds more transparent and neutral than X5 (but there are also equally many feedbacks saying the opposite). Will get my hands on a demo DX90 as soon as possible to have a better idea what most people would define as neutral/transparent compared to my own relative terms.

As for the thin aluminium looks of M bothering you, you can get a nice leather case for it when Calyx launches it and just hide the M inside the case. Not a big issue there.
post #2531 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post
 

Was that you I just met?

 

 

Yup, was me.

post #2532 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post


I do not think it is dark too, but like I have said I find its SQ too thick and aggressive for me to be comfortable listening for extended periods of time. Maybe I am also too used to bright treble on my EX-1000 and 1plus2. Those who likes Roxanne may like the Calyx M too, but I am not too sure whether pairing a thick-sounding IEM with an equally thick-sounding DAP is a good idea. If M has a milder and more pleasant SQ like X3 but retains the clarity of the AK120, then I may consider getting it. On its own, I also think M has the clarity comparable to AK120 but I still think it is not in the same league as the AK240 in the clarity department. In fact I find the bass/low mids gets a bit unnaturally amplified from the overly aggressive SQ. Rather ironic since it supposedly has a more natural-sounding SQ.

I am interested to find out how the DX90 sounds like given that I have read it sounds more transparent and neutral than X5 (but there are also equally many feedbacks saying the opposite). Will get my hands on a demo DX90 as soon as possible to have a better idea what most people would define as neutral/transparent compared to my own relative terms.

As for the thin aluminium looks of M bothering you, you can get a nice leather case for it when Calyx launches it and just hide the M inside the case. Not a big issue there.

 

Thanks for the clarification!  I guess we (and also headwhacker actually meant tm.chen) largely agree on the sound.  From your stated preference the DX90 might suit you better.  I enjoy it a lot with my 1p2.

 

I guess casing is an option but for the price range and early renders I guess I'm expecting it to be better.  I'm a big aesthetic guy and bought the AK240 initially based on how it look and feels in hand more than the sound (which turn out to be quite excellent too) and the M just half-impressed me with the front and half-disheartened me with its back....  btw the leathery thingy shown in my pic is NOT the case for M.  The dealer said it would come with a case but they don't know how it look like yet.


Edited by kkcc - 5/7/14 at 4:31am
post #2533 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by headwhacker View Post

Yup, was me.

Nice meeting a fellow Head-Fier smily_headphones1.gif I noticed you were using FitEars IEM too with your DX90. Maybe you can give us a better idea of DX90 vs Calyx M when you have the time. Will probably be better than me trying out a demo DX90 which may not have enough burn in from a different local store and not my personal DAP so I am definitely less familiar with its SQ just demoing.
post #2534 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebear View Post


Nice meeting a fellow Head-Fier smily_headphones1.gif I noticed you were using FitEars IEM too with your DX90. Maybe you can give us a better idea of DX90 vs Calyx M when you have the time. Will probably be better than me trying out a demo DX90 which may not have enough burn in from a different local store and not my personal DAP so I am definitely less familiar with its SQ just demoing.

 

Haha that was no FitEars, It's Roxanne in transparent acrylic. :)

post #2535 of 5495
Quote:
Originally Posted by headwhacker View Post

Haha that was no FitEars, It's Roxanne in transparent acrylic. smily_headphones1.gif

smily_headphones1.gif looks so much like one of the FitEars IEMs in transparent acrylic. So you were one of those who picked acrylic and avoided all the carbon fiber waiting hassle.
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