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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 3

post #31 of 1972
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metalomaniac View Post
 

I take it these tests aren't done blind?

 

Nope. If I do ever do a blind test, I'll post as much. It'd be hard to set up a better than single-blind test though. Regardless, I could also set things up with headphones and music in a way that I'm confident I would fail it or pass it depending on what I chose for both, eg: Sony XBA-3s listening to Van Halen = FAIL. UERMs listening to recent DECCA high-res recordings = I could pick the X5 and AK240 apart easily.

 

Instead, I think the previous question about value is important and covers the same ground: The AK240 is about 6x the cost of the X5 but I think for it to be a worthwhile purchase one has to intend to both own or buy top-of-the-line IEMs (or headphones, but I'm not there yet with my impressions), value listening to excellent recordings as a big priority (more on that later) and value the features and design it has. Even so, with a pair of UERMs it is a 2x outlay over the Sony with them. The X5 (at least once it has playlist support) will, IMO, kill the others in bang-for-the-buck and the Sony too, if you include having a full Android system as being a big thing.

post #32 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

The X5 (at least once it has playlist support) will, IMO, kill the others in bang-for-the-buck and the Sony too, if you include having a full Android system as being a big thing.

 

You're probably right there: UI shortcomings of the X5 (5800 song limit, no mp3gain or playlist support, etc.) were the reasons why I got the F886, which is a more sanely priced ZX-1. The full Android interface is nothing short of amazing, and is just a (big) bonus.

post #33 of 1972

Could you compare the DAP's to the CLAS -dB too? :)

post #34 of 1972

Does anyone have the specs for the ZX-1? What DAC chip(s) is uses and its power output? I couldn't seem to find it. 

post #35 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by 62ohm View Post
 

Does anyone have the specs for the ZX-1? What DAC chip(s) is uses and its power output? I couldn't seem to find it. 

 

I asked a similar question in the dedicated ZX1 thread (so far) no one knows. And one member even commented that even if it were to be opened up, the chips would either be bare or have a Sony printing on it making it impossible to identify. 

post #36 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 

I still don't understand why in the market there is no dap-only product free of amp section which can provide a true analog line out to external amp.

Probably because that's a niche corner of an already niche market.

post #37 of 1972

Great thread. I will be following closely.

post #38 of 1972
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joshuachew View Post
 

Could you compare the DAP's to the CLAS -dB too? :)

 

Definitely! I am going to wait until I had the Audeze cans back and the new cables for them and the HD-800s before using the Duet as an amp in a comparison. I've been thinking of using the Phoenix instead though, but ideally I need another adaptor to get balanced output from the HM-901 and AK240. 

post #39 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 

 

Isn't that all good daps are supposed to provide clear, detailed and un-coloured (aka, transparent) sound? Audio 101. :wink_face:

 

IMO, there is NO hi-end or low-end sound. There is only preference for sound. My preference is absolutely transparent sound. With the transparent source, let the phones dictate the sound preference of your choice.

 

I still don't understand why in the market there is no dap-only product free of amp section which can provide a true analog line out to external amp.

 

Thus the Red Wine S version AK's.

post #40 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

... I saw the writing on the wall and just bought one on the spot.....

 

I know EXACTLY that feeling for my AK240 lol....  Just got my DX90 over the weekend and you seriously need to add that to your comparison!

post #41 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong
 

Ok, since I'm at home today doing work preparation, I have time to play around more, so next up is the HD-800s single-ended. They have extra damping and an ALO Reference 16 cable.

 

Music: Amber Rubarth -- A Kiss to Build a Dream On (binaural). Players were volume matched to -0db pink noise at 115.7dB (equivalent to a much quieter listening volume with regular, uncompressed music).

 

X5:

 

While very pleasant to listen with, the soundstage seems smaller than with the ZX-1 or AK240, suggesting less drive for high-impedance headphones.

 

ZX-1:

 

The soundstage is nice and wide -- better than I had expected -- and more of the nuance and detail is apparent compared to the X5.

 

(HM-901:)

 

(Being charged at the moment. I'll add impressions later)

 

AK240:

 

Same wide soundstage, but it is as if the electronics have disappeared and the delicacy of Amber's singing and the micro detail is more apparent. Not only can one mentally picture Amber and the instruments, but within those images parts of each of them as well.

 

I didn't expect such a difference with such a simple track and thought I'd have to break out the big orchestral performances to get a very noticeable difference.

 

Very interested Currawong in your comparaison, but I believe that you should add the HUGO to the testsh (feeded for example by ZX1 via USB  or X5 via COAX) ? this will offer a complete coverage of all the TOL options.... and the AK240 may then not always be the winner :D 


Edited by bmichels - 4/15/14 at 11:16am
post #42 of 1972

Amos,

 

You do have the Pico Power right?  How about a ZX1+Pico Power vs. AK240 comparison.  IMO, the line out of the ZX-1 is very good and higly underrated.  Pairing with an amp like Pico Power, it really bring out the best in my JH13pro.

post #43 of 1972
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post
 
Just got my DX90 over the weekend and you seriously need to add that to your comparison!

 

Might have to ask if I can get one on loan. The DX100 (ignoring my frustration with the UI) is a very good all-in-one unit, so if they have done better with the DX90 sonically, but in a smaller package, that I would be interested in trying. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 
 I believe that you should add the HUGO to the testsh (feeded for example by ZX1 via USB  or X5 via COAX) ? this will offer a complete coverage of all the TOL options.... and the AK240 may then not always be the winner :D 

 

So do I. I also believe my wallet would take a bottle of sleeping pills, slash its wrists and jump off the building if I had one here. However, I had planned to borrow one for review. Let me follow that up.*

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

Amos,

 

You do have the Pico Power right?  How about a ZX1+Pico Power vs. AK240 comparison.  IMO, the line out of the ZX-1 is very good and higly underrated.  Pairing with an amp like Pico Power, it really bring out the best in my JH13pro.

 

Yup, I was thinking along these lines, especially because the Pico Power is very low distortion. I might go that way actually: Pico Power for the IEMs and Phoenix for the full-sized headphones. However, I'm not quite convinced it will help a great deal. The Pico Power did help with the modded AK100 when using the 1plus2s on very complex music, but it wasn't $500 worth of benefit. It almost certainly didn't make any difference with any of my IEMs when using the AK240. I'll try with the Sony though.

 

*There goes my camera lens budget for the next year....

post #44 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

Yup, I was thinking along these lines, especially because the Pico Power is very low distortion. I might go that way actually: Pico Power for the IEMs and Phoenix for the full-sized headphones. However, I'm not quite convinced it will help a great deal. The Pico Power did help with the modded AK100 when using the 1plus2s on very complex music, but it wasn't $500 worth of benefit. It almost certainly didn't make any difference with any of my IEMs when using the AK240. I'll try with the Sony though.

 

*There goes my camera lens budget for the next year....

 

You should really give the Pico Power & ZX1's line out a try.  The improvements were worth it in my case.   What I dislike about the ZX1 is the bass line is a little strong for my taste.  Another is that the soundstage depth should be considerably deeper.  The depth of soundstage is what separate hi-rez & regular lossless for me and I think that Sony should really take the advantage on this department...   Amping the ZX-1 with an excellent portable amp really solve these issues for me and enhance the sound quality by a good margin.  The key is to use a really good portable amp b/c the stock headphone out is already very good and most better than several portable amps out there.  Please do give this a try and report back..

post #45 of 1972
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

Might have to ask if I can get one on loan. The DX100 (ignoring my frustration with the UI) is a very good all-in-one unit, so if they have done better with the DX90 sonically, but in a smaller package, that I would be interested in trying. 

 

 

It's been a while since I sold my DX100 or heard one, but I do feel DX90 sounds less sterile while maintaining the great resolution and details with quite a neutral FR that I loved from the DX100.  It won't be too much to say DX90 suits me better than the DX100 as I mostly use DAP with IEMs.  I'm also trying to get a DX100 to compare and confirm my assessment.  

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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