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why sound is better when we use a dac than when we use a media player

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have a question and it was in another thread but the answers I got confused me more, so I am trying to learn and understand as I am still very new to this

 

 

 

here is the senario

 

lets say I listen to a flac file song in two ways

 

Scenario -1: Fiio x3 not connected to anything else - only plugged into it a headphone ( outcome of quality is good )

 

Scenario 2: Fiio x3 connected as a dac using the otg cable to my xperia z ultra and using audio recorder pro app to listen to music, and plugged in the same headphone ( Outcome is quality is phenomenal great )

 

Why there is better quality in scenario 2, this is so confusing to me

post #2 of 3

First of all the FiiO x3 is comprised of a series of compromises to fit all that it needs into one tiny box.  The amp stage and power stages are not fully separated from everything else and certainly minimalistic.  Running just the DAC portion of the player to a better amp will give better results because it will typically provide lower distortion, higher gain, lower output impedance and this better bass control, and isolate the amp from the noise of the player's amp stage.

 

There is also the player itself and its digital implementation which is what so many players sound slightly different.  There is different audio processing involved.

 

Without seeing specific measurements it is going to be difficult for anyone of us to show you why the two scenarios are different, but my explanation above is one idea.


Edited by NA Blur - 11/14/13 at 6:52am
post #3 of 3

Correct me if I'm wrong - but the two scenarios involve:

 

  1. Option 1 = Fiio X3 > Headphone Out > Headphones
  2. Option 2 = xperia (digital only) > Fiio X3 (via USB) > Headphone Out > Headphones

 

In both cases you're using the Fiio's DAC and amp section.

 

This leaves a couple of possible causes.

 

  1. Have you volume matched both outputs?  If one is louder than the other - it's often perceived as being better /. more dynamic / clearer etc.  They theoretically should be the same - but like NA Blur, I'm not sure of the implementation onboard the X3 and if it changes depending on digital source going into the DAC.
     
  2. Check your xperia software.  If you have some sort of DSP / EQ being used, this may be passed over digital connection (again not sure if the X3 implements this).  This seems most likely scenario.  Especially if there is some sort of crossfeed etc being applied by the 'audio recorder pro' app.  If they sound the same without using the app - then it's more likely to be DSP.
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