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[Multi-Review] Hifiman HM901, Fiio X5, Sony ZX1, Hisound Studio 3rd Anv, iPhone 4 - Page 18

post #256 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

Nope. I had a few other IEMs, but the ASG-2 is the most resolving.

 

The other ones I used are the Ety HF5, ER4S (at a later date), and GR07 bass edition.

 

I have never heard the ASG-2 myself, but is there a possibility that the ASG-2 might be the limiting factor here?

I'm guessing most wouldn't consider the ASG-2 to be on the same level as the UERM, JH13 fp, 1+2, NT6 pro, etc.?

 

(for example: currawong stated in his DAP off thread that to appreciate the improved sq that the ak240 has to offer, one needs to be using a totl iem)


Edited by zachchen1996 - 5/8/14 at 11:59am
post #257 of 324
Thread Starter 

Have a look at the second post of this thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/664613/review-aurisonics-asg-2-hybrid-iem-stealth

post #258 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996 View Post
 

 

I have never heard the ASG-2 myself, but is there a possibility that the ASG-2 might be the limiting factor here?

I'm guessing most wouldn't consider the ASG-2 to be on the same level as the UERM, JH13 fp, 1+2, NT6 pro, etc.?

 

(for example: currawong stated in his DAP off thread that to appreciate the improved sq that the ak240 has to offer, one needs to be using a totl iem)

I also think the use of an IEM is a limiting factor, for the obvious reasons... but at the same time, different strokes for different folks ya know? Eke is cleary a BIG iem guy, there are a TON of iem lovers on head fi, hence his reviews of the various DAPS with his iems are useful and a big help here... now we just need some one like Eke but with a crap ton of full sized cans >.>, granted maybe at the END of the day the iem is the bottleneck, but so seeing as so mny ppl use the statements still stand true, under the circumstances of using an iem 

 

 

but I'm not prepared to fall in love the the DX90, but I appreciate your warning. I'm happy to hear it's got Dual ESS Sabres in it, aside from that I have no opionin of it, I've got no clue how it sounds, based on the hard ware specs it should do just fine and I have no intention of owing an AK 240, and the HM901 is no garuentee either, the DX 90 how ever is something I'd like to have a gander at, the same goes for the Fiio X7, which is also spouting ESS Sabre Dacs, based on what I heard from the X5 I think the X7 could be worth while as well! 

 

But as you said, "who do I believe" I'd stick with Currawong till you can actually listen to it your self. Curra's got one hell of a set up to do reviews with and honestly I've always found his impressions to be spot on. Same for 


Edited by Mshenay - 5/8/14 at 12:34pm
post #259 of 324
Thread Starter 

It would be a mistake to think that IEMs are the limiting factor. The crop of them over the last few years has been astonishing. Notably, the 1plus2 has a physically wider soundstage than the open back HD600, though it loses in depth. 

post #260 of 324

I'm no audiophile but I enjoy music, I've owned some of the daps mentioned here.  I started with a Z1070 and TF10 iems.  I felt the TF10 felt too constrained and browsed many iems, ended up with 535 ltd for their enhanced vocals but still wasn't satisfied so got an amp sr-71a. Still missing soundstage so got the EX1000.  That was a good synergy with the Z1070 and the sr71a amp.  However when travelling there was next to no isolation.  I couldn't find a decent fit with any universals so took a gamble on the UE18.  These were so good initially then craved more from the source and found the iBasso DX100.  That was it for 2 years, DX100 with UE18.

2 years later I got the DX50 for something smaller and longer battery life.  However I couldn't find the same SQ that I had from the DX100.  Last month I bought the DX90 based on it's dual sabre dacs.  They were much better than the DX50 but still short of the DX100 sound.  I was chatting in the shop about the DX90 vs DX100 when I saw someone playing with a box with multicolored leds.  Took a closer look and asked to try it, they gave me a coax to pair with the DX90.  Ok so it's a dac, I thought it would be like the iOS ALO dacs but once I actually started listening, wow!   It sounded even better than the DX100.  Spent 30 mins auditioning it and came away to ask the shop owner what that dac was, turns out it was the Chord Hugo.  Asked if they had any in stock, but they were out of stock but they were offering a discount for preorders,  1900 usd...

I did blanch but I managed to ask what the retail price was.

Went home and listened to my DX100 but it wasn't satisfactory, I ended up calling back 3 days later and buying the Chord Hugo.  I then spent a week trying it on all my daps, mobile phones, laptops etc.  It was the top SQ on iems and out to an amp and speakers.  Only problem I had was playing DSD over PCM to the Hugo from the DX90, it would keep pausing and resuming.  I went back to the shop and same thing on their DX90.  I really wanted to enjoy DSD on the move, only other dap that could do this was the AK240.  I auditioned it connected to the Hugo and found it much better than the DX90.  Plus it had so much storage on board, ended up walking out with the AK240.

I didn't actually try HO from the AK240 until the Hugo needed charging but was pleasantly surprised by the SQ, it's a hair short of the Hugo on staging and sounds slightly less natural than the Hugo.

I would say I can hear the differences between these daps I've owned.  Some are subtle eg AK240 and Hugo but others are huge eg DX50 and DX100.  The differences are not reflected in the price for sure.  I may not be able to quantitatively state the DX100 scores 80 vs 60 for the DX50 or the Hugo scores 100 vs 90 for the AK240 but I can certainly place each dap in an order of SQ.  For sure the difference between the DX50 to the Hugo is not negligible even if I was to use the TF10 to listen to both.  You need to find a synergy between all the equipment in the chain from source to dac to amp to earphones.  When you change any of that you will need to change the rest to get the best synergy.  It is time consuming and dollar intensive.  But once you get it right you can sit back and enjoy it.  All I need now is my new iems to arrive :) and maybe sell some of the underperforming kit I have lying around.

post #261 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

It would be a mistake to think that IEMs are the limiting factor. The crop of them over the last few years has been astonishing. Notably, the 1plus2 has a physically wider soundstage than the open back HD600, though it loses in depth. 

The point being is, a review of a DAP with iems differs from that of one with a headphone, going back to intended use you and I have different needs that we seek a DAP to meet. I'm still hoping one day some one will manufacture just that, a DAP with only a Line out and digital input 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kantana View Post
 

I'm no audiophile but I enjoy music, I've owned some of the daps mentioned here.  I started with a Z1070 and TF10 iems.  I felt the TF10 felt too constrained and browsed many iems, ended up with 535 ltd for their enhanced vocals but still wasn't satisfied so got an amp sr-71a. Still missing soundstage so got the EX1000.  That was a good synergy with the Z1070 and the sr71a amp.  However when travelling there was next to no isolation.  I couldn't find a decent fit with any universals so took a gamble on the UE18.  These were so good initially then craved more from the source and found the iBasso DX100.  That was it for 2 years, DX100 with UE18.

2 years later I got the DX50 for something smaller and longer battery life.  However I couldn't find the same SQ that I had from the DX100.  Last month I bought the DX90 based on it's dual sabre dacs.  They were much better than the DX50 but still short of the DX100 sound.  I was chatting in the shop about the DX90 vs DX100 when I saw someone playing with a box with multicolored leds.  Took a closer look and asked to try it, they gave me a coax to pair with the DX90.  Ok so it's a dac, I thought it would be like the iOS ALO dacs but once I actually started listening, wow!   It sounded even better than the DX100.  Spent 30 mins auditioning it and came away to ask the shop owner what that dac was, turns out it was the Chord Hugo.  Asked if they had any in stock, but they were out of stock but they were offering a discount for preorders,  1900 usd...

I did blanch but I managed to ask what the retail price was.

Went home and listened to my DX100 but it wasn't satisfactory, I ended up calling back 3 days later and buying the Chord Hugo.  I then spent a week trying it on all my daps, mobile phones, laptops etc.  It was the top SQ on iems and out to an amp and speakers.  Only problem I had was playing DSD over PCM to the Hugo from the DX90, it would keep pausing and resuming.  I went back to the shop and same thing on their DX90.  I really wanted to enjoy DSD on the move, only other dap that could do this was the AK240.  I auditioned it connected to the Hugo and found it much better than the DX90.  Plus it had so much storage on board, ended up walking out with the AK240.

I didn't actually try HO from the AK240 until the Hugo needed charging but was pleasantly surprised by the SQ, it's a hair short of the Hugo on staging and sounds slightly less natural than the Hugo.

I would say I can hear the differences between these daps I've owned.  Some are subtle eg AK240 and Hugo but others are huge eg DX50 and DX100.  The differences are not reflected in the price for sure.  I may not be able to quantitatively state the DX100 scores 80 vs 60 for the DX50 or the Hugo scores 100 vs 90 for the AK240 but I can certainly place each dap in an order of SQ.  For sure the difference between the DX50 to the Hugo is not negligible even if I was to use the TF10 to listen to both.  You need to find a synergy between all the equipment in the chain from source to dac to amp to earphones.  When you change any of that you will need to change the rest to get the best synergy.  It is time consuming and dollar intensive.  But once you get it right you can sit back and enjoy it.  All I need now is my new iems to arrive :) and maybe sell some of the underperforming kit I have lying around.

And this fellow has the mind set that I do, granted I don't have his funds nor his desire to own carry around that much gear, but synergy plays a part as well. But honesty that's a different topic in my book. Every DAP regardless of how it colors the sound, should have ideal Sound Stage, including 3D layering and depth and ofc detail retrivial 

 

but again for one the price for small improvements is worth while, for other's it's not. 

post #262 of 324

Oh I'm done for now, I don't want to take on a second mortage for audio gear.  The AK240 will replace the rest of my daps and the Hugo serves multi duties as desktop dac or office dac.  I seldom splurge like I did last month, only when I get really disatisfied with my gear.  Probably will sit tight for another 2 years.  Sure never intended to spend so much recently but it sounds so good ;p

post #263 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

I can't wait for someone to invent teleportation, so we can have instant head-fi meets and not have useless internet arguments.

 

Are you sure?

 

post #264 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by kantana View Post
 

Oh I'm done for now, I don't want to take on a second mortage for audio gear.  The AK240 will replace the rest of my daps and the Hugo serves multi duties as desktop dac or office dac.  I seldom splurge like I did last month, only when I get really disatisfied with my gear.  Probably will sit tight for another 2 years.  Sure never intended to spend so much recently but it sounds so good ;p

yea I hear ya, I'm done with my gear for now as well lol, I just need a replacement for my hm801 which could last me 2 years or 2 days >.> 

post #265 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachchen1996 View Post

I have never heard the ASG-2 myself, but is there a possibility that the ASG-2 might be the limiting factor here?
I'm guessing most wouldn't consider the ASG-2 to be on the same level as the UERM, JH13 fp, 1+2, NT6 pro, etc.?

(for example: currawong stated in his DAP off thread that to appreciate the improved sq that the ak240 has to offer, one needs to be using a totl iem)

While I don't consider the asg2 a resolving iem I do agree with eke for the most part. The difference in daps is highly overstated as are many things in this hobby. The best value has always been mid-fi which puts you in the price range of the x5. Anything after that price range will yield minimal gains for a lot of dollars.

Of course despite knowing this I do want the ak240 even though my dap is pretty good for my uses.

As far as iem's being the limiting factor I can't agree to that. I have tried the majority of the hifi daps and this is with highly resolving ciems and my opinion in the portable market has not changed. I definitely believe that a full sized rig at home is definitely the better value but that's another topic.
Edited by rawrster - 5/8/14 at 5:10pm
post #266 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

It would be a mistake to think that IEMs are the limiting factor. The crop of them over the last few years has been astonishing. Notably, the 1plus2 has a physically wider soundstage than the open back HD600, though it loses in depth. 

I agree with you that the SQ improvements that DAPs make are respectively in 1 percent increments compared to TOTL HP/CIEM 10 percent increments. I also agree with Kantana who says, "the differences are not reflected in the price" although we can absolutely hear the differences between the DAPs that we have owned and auditioned. However, IMO, the HP/IEM used to audition the DAP is definitely the key limiting factor per my experience.

 

I got a chance to audition the OPPO PM-1, HD800, LCD2.2, T1, HE500, Fostex TH900, HD650, and HD600 last week with both my DX90 and X5 DAPs and was able to compare them directly with a friends very expensive desktop setup. I can tell you from this direct experience - the IEM/Cans do matter. This is what I discovered:

  1. Top Tier: The HD800 and LCD2.2 made the rest of the lineup sound like ordinary headphones IMO.
  2. HP vs. CIEM: I have a Hidition NT6pro which is considered by many to be the clearest most transparent and best sounding CIEM second only to the Spiral Ear 5way. You can check average_joe's multi-ciem review. The HD800 and LCD2 to my ear were several tiers above it in sound quality when connected directly to the DAPs. I have never heard either DAP sound as good as it sounded using the HD800 and the LCD2, period. The OPPO PM-1, T1, and Fostex TH900 were a little better sounding than the NT6pro IMO as well - no amp required. 
  3. Desktop vs. DAP: Again, using the HD800 and LCD2, the desktop easily blew both DAPs out of the water in terms of SQ - no surprises there.
  4. Differing Preferences: Each of our preferences sometimes differed wildly proving that preference plays a key role in rating DAPs, headphones, CIEMs, and desktop equipment or even sound quality in general.
  5. Limiting Factor: It became very obvious with all these wonderful headphones and audio equipment all lined up together in the same room, that the headphones were the key limiting factor in overall sound quality regardless of our signature preferences.

 

If you are interested, I just posted the review here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/717989/totl-hp-shootout-oppo-pm-1-hd800-lcd2-2-t1-he500-fostex-th900-hd650-hd600

post #267 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barra View Post
 

I agree with you that the SQ improvements that DAPs make are respectively in 1 percent increments compared to TOTL HP/CIEM 10 percent increments. I also agree with Kantana who says, "the differences are not reflected in the price" although we can absolutely hear the differences between the DAPs that we have owned and auditioned. However, IMO, the HP/IEM used to audition the DAP is definitely the key limiting factor per my experience.

 

I got a chance to audition the OPPO PM-1, HD800, LCD2.2, T1, HE500, Fostex TH900, HD650, and HD600 last week with both my DX90 and X5 DAPs and was able to compare them directly with a friends very expensive desktop setup. I can tell you from this direct experience - the IEM/Cans do matter. This is what I discovered:

  1. Top Tier: The HD800 and LCD2.2 made the rest of the lineup sound like ordinary headphones IMO.
  2. HP vs. CIEM: I have a Hidition NT6pro which is considered by many to be the clearest most transparent and best sounding CIEM second only to the Spiral Ear 5way. You can check average_joe's multi-ciem review. The HD800 and LCD2 to my ear were several tiers above it in sound quality when connected directly to the DAPs. I have never heard either DAP sound as good as it sounded using the HD800 and the LCD2, period. The OPPO PM-1, T1, and Fostex TH900 were a little better sounding than the NT6pro IMO as well - no amp required. 
  3. Desktop vs. DAP: Again, using the HD800 and LCD2, the desktop easily blew both DAPs out of the water in terms of SQ - no surprises there.
  4. Differing Preferences: Each of our preferences sometimes differed wildly proving that preference plays a key role in rating DAPs, headphones, CIEMs, and desktop equipment or even sound quality in general.
  5. Limiting Factor: It became very obvious with all these wonderful headphones and audio equipment all lined up together in the same room, that the headphones were the key limiting factor in overall sound quality regardless of our signature preferences.

 

If you are interested, I just posted the review here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/717989/totl-hp-shootout-oppo-pm-1-hd800-lcd2-2-t1-he500-fostex-th900-hd650-hd600

 

 

See, and this is where the hobby is subjective. I've heard all those headphones side by side as well, except the Oppo, and I had totally different conclusions about all of them. It could have been that I had just listened to the SR-009 and Orpheus, but none of those phones, HD800 included, made me want to put down my HD600. They simply seemed like tiny stepping stones to the ultimate goal of the SR-009. I decided right then and there that I was going to gift myself the SR-009 once I could, but the HD800 and LCD-2 drew a "meh" from me, especially the LCD-2.

 

There's also your evaluation of the IEM vs HP. If raw soundstage size is your primary concern, then yes the HD800 will of course outclass it. But in terms of details, imaging, separation, IEMs have arrived and surpassed many top tier HPs.

 

I sat down and compared the HD600 and HE-500 myself a few months back. Perhaps it will give you a better idea of my evaluation process:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/656160/review-hifiman-he-500-vs-sennheiser-hd600

post #268 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

 

See, and this is where the hobby is subjective. I've heard all those headphones side by side as well, except the Oppo, and I had totally different conclusions about all of them. It could have been that I had just listened to the SR-009 and Orpheus, but none of those phones, HD800 included, made me want to put down my HD600. They simply seemed like tiny stepping stones to the ultimate goal of the SR-009. I decided right then and there that I was going to gift myself the SR-009 once I could, but the HD800 and LCD-2 drew a "meh" from me, especially the LCD-2.

 

There's also your evaluation of the IEM vs HP. If raw soundstage size is your primary concern, then yes the HD800 will of course outclass it. But in terms of details, imaging, separation, IEMs have arrived and surpassed many top tier HPs.

 

I sat down and compared the HD600 and HE-500 myself a few months back. Perhaps it will give you a better idea of my evaluation process:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/656160/review-hifiman-he-500-vs-sennheiser-hd600

 

I absolutely agree with you on the sr009's

I remember getting to my first headphone meet to hear the LCD3's & HD800's for the first time.

I came in expecting them to sound glorious, but I was simply underwhelmed (mind you, they were paired with top end DAC's & Amps)

Then I listened to Justin's BHSE, 009, & humble oppo bdp95 and was absolutely stunned.

From then on I swore I would buy no headphone other than the 009, unless of course stax comes out with a 0011 or something

post #269 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barra View Post
 

I agree with you that the SQ improvements that DAPs make are respectively in 1 percent increments compared to TOTL HP/CIEM 10 percent increments. I also agree with Kantana who says, "the differences are not reflected in the price" although we can absolutely hear the differences between the DAPs that we have owned and auditioned. However, IMO, the HP/IEM used to audition the DAP is definitely the key limiting factor per my experience.

 

I got a chance to audition the OPPO PM-1, HD800, LCD2.2, T1, HE500, Fostex TH900, HD650, and HD600 last week with both my DX90 and X5 DAPs and was able to compare them directly with a friends very expensive desktop setup. I can tell you from this direct experience - the IEM/Cans do matter. This is what I discovered:

  1. Top Tier: The HD800 and LCD2.2 made the rest of the lineup sound like ordinary headphones IMO.
  2. HP vs. CIEM: I have a Hidition NT6pro which is considered by many to be the clearest most transparent and best sounding CIEM second only to the Spiral Ear 5way. You can check average_joe's multi-ciem review. The HD800 and LCD2 to my ear were several tiers above it in sound quality when connected directly to the DAPs. I have never heard either DAP sound as good as it sounded using the HD800 and the LCD2, period. The OPPO PM-1, T1, and Fostex TH900 were a little better sounding than the NT6pro IMO as well - no amp required. 
  3. Desktop vs. DAP: Again, using the HD800 and LCD2, the desktop easily blew both DAPs out of the water in terms of SQ - no surprises there.
  4. Differing Preferences: Each of our preferences sometimes differed wildly proving that preference plays a key role in rating DAPs, headphones, CIEMs, and desktop equipment or even sound quality in general.
  5. Limiting Factor: It became very obvious with all these wonderful headphones and audio equipment all lined up together in the same room, that the headphones were the key limiting factor in overall sound quality regardless of our signature preferences.

 

If you are interested, I just posted the review here:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/717989/totl-hp-shootout-oppo-pm-1-hd800-lcd2-2-t1-he500-fostex-th900-hd650-hd600

 

 

See, and this is where the hobby is subjective. I've heard all those headphones side by side as well, except the Oppo, and I had totally different conclusions about all of them. It could have been that I had just listened to the SR-009 and Orpheus, but none of those phones, HD800 included, made me want to put down my HD600. They simply seemed like tiny stepping stones to the ultimate goal of the SR-009. I decided right then and there that I was going to gift myself the SR-009 once I could, but the HD800 and LCD-2 drew a "meh" from me, especially the LCD-2.

 

There's also your evaluation of the IEM vs HP. If raw soundstage size is your primary concern, then yes the HD800 will of course outclass it. But in terms of details, imaging, separation, IEMs have arrived and surpassed many top tier HPs.

 

I sat down and compared the HD600 and HE-500 myself a few months back. Perhaps it will give you a better idea of my evaluation process:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/656160/review-hifiman-he-500-vs-sennheiser-hd600

That was my point 4 on differing preferences. However, I think we both agree that the HP/IEM make a bigger difference than the DAP in terms of SQ as evidenced by this discussion.

post #270 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

 

See, and this is where the hobby is subjective. I've heard all those headphones side by side as well, except the Oppo, and I had totally different conclusions about all of them. It could have been that I had just listened to the SR-009 and Orpheus, but none of those phones, HD800 included, made me want to put down my HD600. They simply seemed like tiny stepping stones to the ultimate goal of the SR-009. I decided right then and there that I was going to gift myself the SR-009 once I could, but the HD800 and LCD-2 drew a "meh" from me, especially the LCD-2.

 

There's also your evaluation of the IEM vs HP. If raw soundstage size is your primary concern, then yes the HD800 will of course outclass it. But in terms of details, imaging, separation, IEMs have arrived and surpassed many top tier HPs.

 

I sat down and compared the HD600 and HE-500 myself a few months back. Perhaps it will give you a better idea of my evaluation process:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/656160/review-hifiman-he-500-vs-sennheiser-hd600

well there's your problem lol you've heard the END of the line, I guess once you hear the best, everything below it is... underwhelming. I've yet to go to a meet, I've tried... REALLY hard but it never works out :/ still the best I've heard is my Moddest HE 4, so i can understand your points a little more now 

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