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ūüĎćDAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, AK380, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, ZX-2, FiiO X5, X5II, Chord Hugo, Mojo, Calyx M, Aurender Flow, Lotoo PAW Gold, PAW 5000, Soundaware M1, L&P L3, Shozy Alien, Cozoy Rei - Page 15

post #211 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuachew View Post
 

I concur with this although I have never tried a ZX1. 

 

BTW, how do you know that doing that does this: What this trick does is disable Sony's firmware decided sound, and lets the S-Master chip directly output sound without any software altering its natural response.

 

Sony recently released a firmware upgrade which changed the ZX1 sound from the original firmware sound. I first tried the disabling sound enhancements trick on the original firmware which resulted in the exact same sound improvement as doing the trick on the later released firmware which started with a different sound. Meaning that Sony by default is applying some sort of internal EQ to the sound via the sound enhancements app in each firmware (even if you have EQ off) and you can only turn off the internal EQ by disabling the sound enhancements app.

 

This leaves you with the pure sound of Sony's dap, and it is much much better to my ears than the sound Sony is forcing the ZX1 to produce by their own EQ! The dynamic range increases big time, natural timbre and decay is much better through entire frequency range, high extension and air is much better, soundstage much more open, bass has better extension and texture is incredible, mids become closer in a good way while voices are more real. Its just better in every conceivable way to my ears. It sounds way less digital and much more natural.

 

It honestly amazes me that Sony are crippling their own dap by default with unnecessary sound processing.


Edited by T.R.A.N.C.E. - 5/6/14 at 5:24am
post #212 of 1968
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.R.A.N.C.E. View Post
 

Currawong, I highly recommend you try disabling the sound enhancements on the ZX1. It not only increases its volume output, but more importantly it takes the sound quality to another level, the soundstage becomes much larger and the whole frequency spectrum becomes more natural sounding and balanced.

 

What this trick does is disable Sony's firmware decided sound, and lets the S-Master chip directly output sound without any software altering its natural response. It sounds amazing, I wouldn't be surprised if you found the sound stage and airiness of the ZX1 larger than your other daps after this. The steps to do it are:

 

1. Enable xLoud & Clear Phase in the sound settings.

2. Lower volume to zero

3. Go to Setting / Apps / ALL / Sound enhancements / then press "Disable"

 

And enjoy the sound.

 

I tried this and it didn't work. All that resulted was that the last bit of volume control did nothing at all. I'll give it another go if I can though, in case I did it wrongly.

post #213 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

I tried this and it didn't work. All that resulted was that the last bit of volume control did nothing at all. I'll give it another go if I can though, in case I did it wrongly.

 

yea sometimes it doesn't work for some reason, I find that if I turn some EQ options On then Off before doing the above steps it works. For example Try turning ON the Surround sound, Clear audio+ and DSEE then turn them OFF before continuing. Then for step 1. turn xloud and Clear Phase OFF then ON. Don't confuse between the Clear Audio and Clear Phase options! Then go to step 2. and 3.

 

Also to try again you need to Re Enable the sound enhancements, then Restart the player by holding the power button for 8 seconds. If you don't restart after re enabling it won't work whatever you try.


Edited by T.R.A.N.C.E. - 5/6/14 at 6:07am
post #214 of 1968

I did the sound enhancement disable thing on the Zx1 (using  the 846) and it increased the volume, but afterward, I could only listen at 25% instead of 35 to 40%. The sound was more forward and aggressive, but not improved (to me). Perhaps the benefits depend on the headphones used.

post #215 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

I did the sound enhancement disable thing on the Zx1 (using  the 846) and it increased the volume, but afterward, I could only listen at 25% instead of 35 to 40%. The sound was more forward and aggressive, but not improved (to me). Perhaps the benefits depend on the headphones used.

Many of the recordings I have, particularly classical, are quite soft and benefit a lot from the volume boost. I agree that the sound is more aggressive and forward (I would call it energetic), but to me it also sounds a bit cleaner and I've come to prefer it. 

post #216 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

I feel that using my iPhone as the transport instead of my MacBook Air the sound quality from the CLAS drops.

 

Drops to like using the iPhone alone, AK120 territory, just below the laptop?


Edited by Solude - 5/6/14 at 6:34pm
post #217 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by irvin59 View Post
 

Many of the recordings I have, particularly classical, are quite soft and benefit a lot from the volume boost. I agree that the sound is more aggressive and forward (I would call it energetic), but to me it also sounds a bit cleaner and I've come to prefer it. 

 

Good point. I didn't think of that reason. My music is part of the loudness trend.

post #218 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post
 

 

Drops to like using the iPhone alone, AK120 territory, just below thelaptop?

 

does the CLAS sound better than the AK120? 

post #219 of 1968
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solude View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

I feel that using my iPhone as the transport instead of my MacBook Air the sound quality from the CLAS drops.

 

Drops to like using the iPhone alone, AK120 territory, just below thelaptop?

 

That's hard to say. I haven't compared it in that case yet, but I definitely should. 

 

The Sony LOD arrived, so I compared the ZX-1 with my Pico Power to the AK240 on its own. The ZX-1 sounds brighter than the AK240. It was especially noticeable with the DITAs and Getz Gilberto, as those IEMs are sibilant with this album.  The Pico Power seems to add a bit of an improvement to the Sony (not just more volume) but was a bit behind the AK240 still IMO. The AK240 sounds smooth and effortless, the Sony doesn't.

post #220 of 1968
Thread Starter 

This is where things are looking now:

 

The AK240: You are paying for a DAP that has better SQ than anything else, to the degree that it rivals desktop rigs. Unlike anything that might come close, however, it actually will fit in your pocket and power headphones quite well that it has no right to be able to do so given its size.

 

Best things: Outstanding sound, UI and design quality.

Worse things: Price! Balanced adaptors and excellent recordings required to be of any value.

 

The ZX-1: Given it is cheaper than an AK120 and, by way of being a fully-featured Android device with an excellent UI on a large screen, this might totally win if it weren't for the lack of memory or a removable SD card and the strange lack of volume. It also has something of a bright, sometimes annoying sound.

 

Best things: Large screen with excellent Android UI and thin, well-thought-out case.

Worse things: Lack of expansion. Weird volume limit. Slight harsh sound.

 

The HM-901: For its price, it might win on sound quality and capability over the Sony, but the scroll wheel and UI put me off wanting to use it. If I didn't have the AK240, I'd want to listen with the HM-901 more than the others by far.

 

Best things: Most engaging and listenable sound (ignoring the AK240). Balanced card is great with full-sized headphones.

Worse things: Chunky, clunky, 1990's UI. Balanced adaptors required.

 

The X5: A class act considering the price. It really needs playlist support and it would be almost perfect with IEMs. Add an amp for more expensive full-sized headphones. The value king by far and lacks very little in enjoyment when listening.

 

Best things: Cheap, but quality design both with software and hardware. Excellent sound for the price.

Worse things: Doesn't drive full-sized headphones well. No playlist support.

post #221 of 1968
I love the AK-240>Duet, Balanced combo with my HD-800, too my ears it does open up the HD-800 a bit. I'm using the switch craft mini. I love the switch craft, from Moon Audio.
post #222 of 1968

@Currawong, are you able to do a blind test (with someone's help) to pick up your preferred dap unit? That would be interesting when you actually don't know what dap you are listening to. Ask whomever helps you to throw in a few ipods and iphones to the mix as well. You are allowed to ask for vol adjustment at your disposal. While vol matching may be important, I believe it is not absolutely needed to be able to pick up the quality sound.

 

If I am not mistaken you are meeting AnakChan in Tokyo, correct? You two have the perfect opportunity to do these blind tests.

post #223 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 

@Currawong, are you able to do a blind test (with someone's help) to pick up your preferred dap unit? That would be interesting when you actually don't know what dap you are listening to. Ask whomever helps you to throw in a few ipods and iphones to the mix as well. You are allowed to ask for vol adjustment at your disposal. While vol matching may be important, I believe it is not absolutely needed to be able to pick up the quality sound.

 

If I am not mistaken you are meeting AnakChan in Tokyo, correct? You two have the perfect opportunity to do these blind tests.

How much more does it need to be spelled out? As a DAP the AK240 is the best there is right now. You can add other gears to other units acting as a delivery system and get a SQ maybe equal or close to it. currawong says "a DAP that has better SQ than anything else"

No more tests need to be done at this time with the other units the AK has been measured against.

post #224 of 1968
Currowong,
 
Do you have a wifi hard drive nearby?  The ZX-1 will stream hi-rez content from a wifi drive without resampling the data.  This feature makes the the limited storage space less of an issue.
post #225 of 1968
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saraguie View Post
 

How much more does it need to be spelled out? As a DAP the AK240 is the best there is right now. You can add other gears to other units acting as a delivery system and get a SQ maybe equal or close to it. currawong says "a DAP that has better SQ than anything else"

No more tests need to be done at this time with the other units the AK has been measured against.

 

LOL, dude let the OP decide whether he wants to play around with more tests - blind tests or not, with or without the delivery system.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › ūüĎćDAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, AK380, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, ZX-2, FiiO X5, X5II, Chord Hugo, Mojo, Calyx M, Aurender Flow, Lotoo PAW Gold, PAW 5000, Soundaware M1, L&P L3, Shozy Alien, Cozoy Rei