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[Multi-Review] Hifiman HM901, Fiio X5, Sony ZX1, Hisound Studio 3rd Anv, iPhone 4 - Page 2

post #16 of 324

Bravo Eke

 

Great comparison.  I did mine while I had the X5 - and basically 3-way tested my iPhone4, V3 and the X5.  Volume matched with an SPL meter and using my DT880's.  Like you - I noticed that the differences were a lot smaller than I expected, and over all impressions between the 3 were very similar - and the differences I noted were also similar to your observations.

 

Frequency wise I'd put the iPhone4 between the X5 and V3.

 

The draw for both the X5 and V3 (for me) is being able to drive full sized cans without an amp.

 

Anyway - great job.

post #17 of 324

Well done mate! Picking up an 4S just to use as an iPod. 

post #18 of 324
Quote:

Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

[snip]

 

 

Sony ZX1

 

 

 

 

By far, the best music player experience in this lineup. Pictures really don't do the ZX1 justice, as it's one of the most beautiful devices these eyes have seen. The externals are as premium as they come, and the screen is gorgeous to use and look at. The player is run by a full version of Android, with a few Sony features added here and there. The ZX1 is fast AND smooth, and the animations are slick. Media organization is top notch, as is the entire UI. Essentially, the ZX1 is a pleasure to use. 

 

[snip]

 

 

As for the sound, I've heard the ZX1 leans toward the bright end of the spectrum. Also, the ZX1's specs indicate that it's power output isn't nearly up to par with the competition. So I decided to test what effects, if any, its low power would have on sound. In my experience, the bass is the first to suffer as phones are underdriven...so I fired up James Blake's Limit to Your Love, as it would make the differences most obvious. Despite the lower specs, I could hear no dropoff in bass quantity, impact, or extension when going from the other DAPs to the ZX1.

 

[snip]

 

Yes!  Sony's user interfaces are way out in front of all the "audiophile DAPs" !   I've been using their 96/24-capable PCM-M10 as a DAP, for three and a half years, in part because it is absolutely bug-free at firmware revision 1.0.0.  It's not an interface designed for playing music, but it's an interface that works well!   I can only imagine how nice the ZX-1 interface must be!  

 

Your observation regarding the bass performance of the ZX1, despite its power output specs, is not only compelling, but completely credible, given the relatively efficient transducers you were using.  Efficient IEMs or headphones can survive those specs, unscathed.  

 

Sony is more interested in keeping things small and delivering long battery life, with convenient USB charging, than delivering DAPs or DAC/amps that can properly power even moderately inefficient headphones. Their latest PHA-2 DAC/amp, which can take a digital input from the ZX1, has specs showing that it can output only 90mW into 32 Ohms.  Rudi0504 found it to be lacking with the HD700, having to use the PHA-2's Line Out to an external amp.   See: http://www.head-fi.org/t/680208/sonys-dsd-capable-pha-2-portable-headphone-amp-dac/375#post_10182564

 

Unfortunately, Sony has smartly recognized that legions of people out there can recognize when a DAP (or DAC/amp) is bulky, or heavy, or has too short a battery life, but only a handful of potential customers can discern poorly controlled bass.  And again, their products no doubt sound fine with efficient IEMs or headphones.

 

Thanks for the great review!  

 

Mike

post #19 of 324

"According to Mr Blair, Apple may be having a bad first quarter. He warned investors that Apple's stock could crash after the company releases its first quarter earnings."- (referring to this year 2014)

 

How much Apple stock does Eke have?   Would Apple go to any lengths to increase sales, including paying-off a Headfier to produce such a positve review of the SQ one of its old products???

 

Or, is this a conspiracy from the combined forces of Eke/Digitalfreak against the "Boutique Player" manufacturers???

 

I'm going to "pipe" on this for a while.....LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!:L3000: 


Edited by soundbear - 3/15/14 at 6:51am
post #20 of 324

Actually Eke, great review!!!

 

  I tried  to A/B the UHA4 to the Arrow and it was extremely hard to do, getting the levels correct was a bear, and a slight difference in volume can make a big listening difference.   I literally can't stand my ipod touch 4.2 with IEM's, so I use it in the car, yet my 4s does sound better( which I was "forced" to use recently because my V has gone missing!!LOL!!)  The big drawback to my 4s is space and flac conversion time.    I'll prob get the X5 soon.

 

While there are many "armchair Headfi quarterbacks" and some Headfiers who have a tremendous learned/natural discrimination of hearing who will disagree with you, I totally recognize you for being a person of "action" who accomplishes your dreams into reality and really

puts yourself "out there" for both praise and criticism.   That takes courage and vision and I hope others will recognize that!!:beerchug:

post #21 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post

Thanks for the comparisons Eke. :-) I know you didn't hear terrible amounts of difference though pushing the price, UI and build aside judging purely on SQ would you lean towards X5 or ZX1?

 

Honestly, I'd still choose the ZX1...and you know how value-minded I am. The ZX1's tonality is slightly cooler than the X5's, which is more in my ballpark. And once you use the ZX1, it's a little difficult to go back to other boutique players. Did I mention that it has full playback control buttons on the side of the device? There's also the ClearAudio+ setting that is like a shot of Red Bull for the sound. Imagine using full blown Dolby processing on a DAP, and there it is. It's perfect for when you want to mix it up a bit. You'd love Taylor Swift on the ZX1.

 

Check out this great review of it here to see just how the device works out of the box, including wireless server streaming:

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 

So in the end, paying huge amounts of money will not bring huge amounts of SQ according to eke. So we should also focus on other things on dap like; easy UI, features and functions, capacity, bug free user experience, battery life, size etc etc.

 

I guess, X5 can win all the awards with so small cost (350 bucks only) and so much features, so complete package.

 

ZX1 would be the dap I have been using for months now ONLY IF SONY INCLUDED HIGHER CAPACITY in ZX1. Either with micro-normal sd cards or like iTouch, different capacity options with higher price.

 

Imagine ZX1 with 256 gb or 512 gb capacity. End of the game for many people.

 

Yep, the capacity is the ZX1's biggest downfall. It's fine for me since I use exclusively MP3s, and my collection hasn't scratched half of the ZX1's capacity.

 

Yes, the X5 is a steal. A steal, I tell you. You really don't need anything else from a device. Plus you have the ability to use it as a great DAC for a desktop setup.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Bravo Eke

 

Great comparison.  I did mine while I had the X5 - and basically 3-way tested my iPhone4, V3 and the X5.  Volume matched with an SPL meter and using my DT880's.  Like you - I noticed that the differences were a lot smaller than I expected, and over all impressions between the 3 were very similar - and the differences I noted were also similar to your observations.

 

Frequency wise I'd put the iPhone4 between the X5 and V3.

 

The draw for both the X5 and V3 (for me) is being able to drive full sized cans without an amp.

 

Anyway - great job.

 

:beerchug:

 

I hear it exactly like you do. Driving ability is where the iP4 falls behind.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lin0003 View Post
 

Well done mate! Picking up an 4S just to use as an iPod. 

 

Not a bad investment :)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundbear View Post
 

"According to Mr Blair, Apple may be having a bad first quarter. He warned investors that Apple's stock could crash after the company releases its first quarter earnings."- (referring to this year 2014)

 

How much Apple stock does Eke have?   Would Apple go to any lengths to increase sales, including paying-off a Headfier to produce such a positve review of the SQ one of its old products???

 

Or, is this a conspiracy from the combined forces of Eke/Digitalfreak against the "Boutique Player" manufacturers???

 

I'm going to "pipe" on this for a while.....LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!:L3000: 

 

 

:D

 

 

Comrade Jobs planted me as a sleeper agent years ago on head-fi. Shill mode was activated when Apple stocks started to drop.


Edited by eke2k6 - 3/15/14 at 7:35am
post #22 of 324
@eke,

Yes, I've wanted ZX1 since I laid eyes on it, one sexy looking piece of kit. I have F806 and can relate to the UI differences from something like Studio V already. Pretty tempted to sell some gear and give it a try. It would need to have synergy for all my hybrids though, as it stands I have one DAP per hybrid and they stay paired (try and prevent getting bored) If I was content to buy one last DAP and leave the hobby ZX1 would probably be in high priority list. Thanks for the video and info.
post #23 of 324

Cool thread.I first got interested in the iphone 4 s when rudi mentioned it was excellent .I tried my sisters and thought that it sounded excellent straight into my px 100 headphones...

post #24 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitsimple View Post
 

Cool thread.I first got interested in the iphone 4 s when rudi mentioned it was excellent .I tried my sisters and thought that it sounded excellent straight into my px 100 headphones...


So I guess you keep it simple right? :D

 

Ok, I am leaving, I will close the door behind my back :frown:

post #25 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by H20Fidelity View Post

@eke,

Yes, I've wanted ZX1 since I laid eyes on it, one sexy looking piece of kit. I have F806 and can relate to the UI differences from something like Studio V already. Pretty tempted to sell some gear and give it a try. It would need to have synergy for all my hybrids though, as it stands I have one DAP per hybrid and they stay paired (try and prevent getting bored) If I was content to buy one last DAP and leave the hobby ZX1 would probably be in high priority list. Thanks for the video and info.

 

No prob. Definitely try to audition it if you get a chance.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by abchead View Post
 

 


Unsubscribed.

 

 

 

:rolleyes:

post #26 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberOzL View Post
 


So I guess you keep it simple right? :D

 

Ok, I am leaving, I will close the door behind my back :frown:

2 right lol-no bricks for me.i am a minimalist.

post #27 of 324

Awesome review, eke! 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

 

 

 

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

 

 

:rolleyes:

 

^ Hilarious.

post #28 of 324

Very good review EKE! It came out as I thought. The differences are there, but they are marginal. The cans make a much bigger difference. The UI is a very important selling point. I guess that an amped Ipod Classic also still fits in here quite good. Combined with the amps I have it could also drive hard to drive cans. I only have the AKG K702 on hand, that is a little hard to drive, but both amps I have (Fiio E12 and Meier Stepdance) can drive it quite well.

Big Thanks

 

Peter

post #29 of 324

Great review. I'd like to amend your last sentence about the iPod. I recently bought an iPod touch 4th Gen as a backup to my iPhone 4s. I rarely listen to music without either amped with a C&C BH2 and trusty ALO Triple Pipe LOD. I could distinctly hear differences between the two - the iPod being more congested, more muted and less bass texture.

 

I used a triple fi 10 with the silver Fiio cable, but wanted to see if I could hear differences with my backup phones - Zero Audio Carbo Bassos. Night and day. The Carbos sounded like THX sound at the movies versus a 1970s run down theater experience. I'm a little bummed, because the iPod has all the amenities - Spotify being the biggest advantage over my 3rd gen (read white, old school wolflson DAC) iPod - which I still think the iPhone 4s sounds better. 

 

2 cents.

 

P.S. Phantogram makes great headphone music, and their new album Voices (even the Spotify version) is a superb listen. Especially on the 4s. Sharp. Crisp. Bassy.

 

AppleMark

 

 

post #30 of 324
Great review. I'm definitely going to rebut the zx1 soon and probably the x5 as well. Actually for some reason every time I decide I want to buy it an unforseen expense gets in the way.

I do agree about the minimal increase in sound quality as you go up the chain in daps from my experience at least. It isn't huge but that could be due to my commute which can be loud but enough for me to go up the chain.
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