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vocals muffled when using the fiio e18 with my galaxy s4?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello, my name is Jakob. I recently purchased the fiio e18 to accompany my Samsung galaxy s4 smart phone, and my v moda crossfade m 100 headphones. I fully charged the e18 before first use. I connected everything together, and the music quality is definitely better than before. But for some reason, the vocals are muffled. I have had a hard time finding answers to this, and would really appreciate any feedback. Thank you to everyone for your time.
post #2 of 15
Instead of using the USB cable, try it using the phone's headphone out -> line-in on the E18. Do you still have the issue? If you don't have the issue that way, then something isn't quite right with the USB OTG function on either the phone or the amp.
post #3 of 15

If the sound is generally better but the sound is muffled, it's possible that the frequency response has too strong response in the lower midrange down to the bass. Even if the bass is controlled well (ie it doesn't sound "flabby") if it's considerably louder than other frequencies, it will get in the way. This can also be partly psychological since you're listening to the other frequencies more, although when this happens it usually corresponds more to when people use the term "recessed" than muffled outright.

 

What music player are you using? Sometimes they don't work well with USB audio, among other things. I had Neutron MP on my original Galaxy S, and I liked it then, but when I got an S3 a couple of issues cropped up. First was the hiss using any output as long as the processor was on, without which not only does it render it useless, but then there's nothing to offset the UI. Second was that initially it sounded dull and the midrange was unnatural when using USB OTG - not muffled, but like there's a huge gap or valley in the midrange response getting EQ'd out* - so at the time I tried DBPowerAmp and it worked fine (hell even the stock Android player worked fine); the only thing that stopped me from buying it was that MediaMonkey came out with a Beta version around that time. A few updates later NeutronMP fixed the USB audio; however I stayed with MediaMonkey because the hiss is still there to this day.

 

 

*To put another way, it wasn't like it was playing with fabric "muffling" the speakers, but if the speakers were made of cheap plastic and had a subwoofer and tweeter supporting either end of the spectrum and thereby their assigned frequencies being closer to normal

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow thank you for the fast response. Apologies for my delayed reply. I am a noob when it comes to this stuff, so forgive me if some of this doesn't make sense. But in regards to using the headphone out line in on the e18, it seems the only way the e18 works at all,is if I connect the micro usb to the bottom of my phone and e18, and at the same time, connect the headphone in and out cable to the top of the phone and e18, then plug my headphones directly into the e18. Again, I know this may not be the best explanation. I am at work right now, but would gladly post some pics of my set up, if that would help. Thanks again for your time.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Instead of using the USB cable, try it using the phone's headphone out -> line-in on the E18. Do you still have the issue? If you don't have the issue that way, then something isn't quite right with the USB OTG function on either the phone or the amp.
Wow thank you for the fast response. Apologies for my delayed reply. I am a noob when it comes to this stuff, so forgive me if some of this doesn't make sense. But in regards to using the headphone out line in on the e18, it seems the only way the e18 works at all,is if I connect the micro usb to the bottom of my phone and e18, and at the same time, connect the headphone in and out cable to the top of the phone and e18, then plug my headphones directly into the e18. Again, I know this may not be the best explanation. I am at work right now, but would gladly post some pics of my set up, if that would help. Thanks again for your time.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

If the sound is generally better but the sound is muffled, it's possible It the frequency response has too strong response in the lower midrange down to the bass. Even if the bass is controlled well (ie it doesn't sound "flabby") if it's considerably louder than other frequencies, it will get in the way. This can also be partly psychological since you're listening to the other frequencies more, although when this happens it usually corresponds more to when people use the term "recessed" than muffled outright.

What music player are you using? Sometimes they don't work well with USB audio, among other things. I had Neutron MP on my original Galaxy S, and I liked it then, but when I got an S3 a couple of issues cropped up. First was the hiss using any output as long as the processor was on, without which not only does it render it useless, but then there's nothing to offset the UI. Second was that initially it sounded dull and the midrange was unnatural when using USB OTG - not muffled, but like there's a huge gap or valley in the midrange response getting EQ'd out* - so at the time I tried DBPowerAmp and it worked fine (hell even the stock Android player worked fine); the only thing that stopped me from buying it was that MediaMonkey came out with a Beta version around that time. A few updates later NeutronMP fixed the USB audio; however I stayed with MediaMonkey because the hiss is still there to this day.


*To put another way, it wasn't like it was playing with fabric "muffling" the speakers, but if the speakers were made of cheap plastic and had a subwoofer and tweeter supporting either end of the spectrum and thereby their assigned frequencies being closer to normal

Thank you for your reply, I kinda get what you're sayin, I'm new to this, so I'm still learning. But the vocals definitely sound muffled, more so than recessed. The instrumentals are clean, the bass is controlled. I've been using both default music players that came with the Samsung galaxy s4.Thanks for your time
post #7 of 15
What I am suggesting is a test.

On your E18, there are two 1/8" mini jacks on the top edge. One of the jacks is the headphone output, where you connect your headphones, and the other jack is a line-in input jack.

Disconnect the USB OTG cable that you are currently using between your phone and the amp.

Connect the 1/8" mini plug male-male cable that came with the amp between the headphone OUT of your PHONE and the line-in INPUT of your AMP..

Connect your headphones to the AMP's headphone OUT.

None of the play/skip/etc buttons on the amp will work - only the volume control. Push play on your PHONE and adjust the volume on your PHONE to about 50-75%.

Adjust the volume on your amp to a comfortable level.

Are the voices still muffled, or do they sound OK?
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

What I am suggesting is a test.

On your E18, there are two 1/8" mini jacks on the top edge. One of the jacks is the headphone output, where you connect your headphones, and the other jack is a line-in input jack.

Disconnect the USB OTG cable that you are currently using between your phone and the amp.

Connect the 1/8" mini plug male-male cable that came with the amp between the headphone OUT of your PHONE and the line-in INPUT of your AMP..

Connect your headphones to the AMP's headphone OUT.

None of the play/skip/etc buttons on the amp will work - only the volume control. Push play on your PHONE and adjust the volume on your PHONE to about 50-75%.

Adjust the volume on your amp to a comfortable level.

Are the voices still muffled, or do they sound OK?

Ok I just tried it, and it seems to be working properly. I could have sworn I tried it last night. But that's very interesting, I guess I don't even need to bother with the USB? Would you happen to know why the USB muffles the vocals? Maybe I have a bad USB? Thank you again.
post #9 of 15
Hmm - OK, that's definitely interesting. Something is not right with the USB OTG path between the two devices. Unfortunately, we've reached the end of my knowledge. I don't know ANYTHING about Android USB OTG. I'm wondering if there are any OTG settings in the phone or the amp? Maybe it's just a configuration issue?
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Hmm - OK, that's definitely interesting. Something is not right with the USB OTG path between the two devices. Unfortunately, we've reached the end of my knowledge. I don't know ANYTHING about Android USB OTG. I'm wondering if there are any OTG settings in the phone or the amp? Maybe it's just a configuration issue?

Alright. Well I haven't seen anything on my phone settings that look helpful, and I don't see any settings on the e18, besides the gain and bass, and of course, the volume and playback controls. With the way I am now using the e18, the indicator light is now red, instead of purple. Would you recommend I look for a new OTG cable?
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by goree60 View Post


Ok I just tried it, and it seems to be working properly. I could have sworn I tried it last night. But that's very interesting, I guess I don't even need to bother with the USB? Would you happen to know why the USB muffles the vocals? Maybe I have a bad USB? Thank you again.

 

No, you should look into it and identify the cause. The E18 was designed specifically as an Android DAC, and this is the first time I've come across this sort of feedback about it, so chances are it might be a software issue. Did you try other music players, like USB Audio Player Pro?

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

No, you should look into it and identify the cause. The E18 was designed specifically as an Android DAC, and this is the first time I've come across this sort of feedback about it, so chances are it might be a software issue. Did you try other music players, like USB Audio Player Pro?

True. I'll look into it. I haven't tried many other media players. I've seen on other blogs people recommending that specific player, I'll check it out. Thanks.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by goree60 View Post


True. I'll look into it. I haven't tried many other media players. I've seen on other blogs people recommending that specific player, I'll check it out. Thanks.

 

Also shoot Fiio an email, and whatever 3rd party players you might be using - if it is indeed some kind of software issue on either end, the first step to getting it fixed is for them to be aware of the issue.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

Also shoot Fiio an email, and whatever 3rd party players you might be using - if it is indeed some kind of software issue on either end, the first step to getting it fixed is for them to be aware of the issue.

Yeah I tried to email and call fiio, they are on Chinese New year vacation. Haha and I appreciate your time and efforts.
post #15 of 15
What music player are you using this with?
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