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DAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, FiiO X5 + Chord Hugo & Calyx M from June. - Page 4

post #46 of 1128
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 #47 of 1128
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 #48 of 1128
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.  

post #49 of 1128

This thread is so exiting and will be the decider to getting the AK240.  Thank you so much for all your time doing this.

 

Had heard from my local store that people are using the Chord Hugo with the AK240 and are quite blown away!  Looks like my AK120 is up for sale now.

 

Did you like the AK120 out of interest.

 

Regards

Spitfire

post #50 of 1128
Only thing missing is calyxM.
post #51 of 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by spitfire777 View Post

This thread is so exiting and will be the decider to getting the AK240.  Thank you so much for all your time doing this.

Had heard from my local store that people are using the Chord Hugo with the AK240 and are quite blown away!  Looks like my AK120 is up for sale now.

Did you like the AK120 out of interest.

Regards
Spitfire

Correct me if I am wrong, but if you just need a source to feed the HUGO by digital Toshlink, then Ak100, Ak120 and Ak240 Will provide exact same SQ ! I am right ?
post #52 of 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post

Correct me if I am wrong, but if you just need a source to feed the HUGO by digital Toshlink, then Ak100, Ak120 and Ak240 Will provide exact same SQ ! I am right ?
You are right theoretically unless the way digital signal leave the DAP varies ( how clear is the digital out? Is the jitter more)
post #53 of 1128

Great thread! Just received the UERM w/balanced cable and will be testing out with AK240.

post #54 of 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

It's rather like: 

 

Portable audio:

1. Inexpensive

2. Convenient

3. Transparent and capable.

 

Pick two.

 

Assuming that I pick #2 and #3, which DAP is in the lead so far?

post #55 of 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenpchi View Post

Assuming that I pick #2 and #3, which DAP is in the lead so far?

I pick AK240.... Amos would probably agree smily_headphones1.gif
post #56 of 1128

number 2 is really hard to actually fulfill

post #57 of 1128
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post

I pick AK240.... Amos would probably agree smily_headphones1.gif
HM901 scores all 3 at least for me
post #58 of 1128
Thread Starter 

kkcc is right. Warren is cheating, because he already has the answer. :wink_face:

 

 

For @purk I played Amber Rubarth through the Sony to the Roxannes with and without the Pico Power in the chain and I agree with what he says: There is something a bit funky about the amp, with multi-BA IEMs at least. With the Pico Power, a bit of glare in the treble has gone and the sound is more sweet. I feel it brings the level of detail a bit closer to the AK240, though that still reveals yet another layer of subtleties in the music still.

 

I'm starting to get a good picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the DAPs. IMO, so far the best all-round DAP, allowing for everything from sound quality to form and function to value is the Sony, especially if you're just sticking to IEMs. Full-sized headphones changes the game quite a bit, obviously. Then you have to consider expense (the AK240) or bulk (the HM-901 or adding an amp to the Sony).  Cutting features and price to the bone the X5 (possibly with an E12 for use with full-size headphones, though I don't own one to be sure) looks to be an excellent bargain if you don't already own an iPhone or iPod or want a separate, dedicated music player.

post #59 of 1128
Amos you should try to get a classic card, a minibox and a discrete card for the 901 to sample the versatility and different voicing possibilities with it smily_headphones1.gif

More than bulk the key issue of the 901 is the built and appearance. It just doesn't look premium sigh.... okay I know I'm superficial haha!

I really thought the Sony zx1 is exactly what i want and need. Android (for streaming services), sleek design, exquisite built, pocketable, IEM power friendly. Despite a few less than impressive demos, I still logically picked one up as it really checked all the boxes. Unfortunately its sound really doesn't jive with me and I end up selling it to a friend shortly. And I am left without a internet streaming DAP again frown.gif
Edited by kkcc - 4/17/14 at 6:13am
post #60 of 1128
Thread Starter 

@kkcc The same thing almost happened to me. I tried the Sony while in Tokyo next to the AK120 and preferred the latter. I'm not sure how much it would bug me if I'd bought one.

 

So there's a point I feel I should make: Even though I think the Sony has the best all-round value allowing for everything I don't think it would suit a lot of people. A full Android UI and streaming aren't important for a lot of people (eg: the Chinese market) and having removable storage might be, so for many people the X5 or HM-901 might be a better purchase. The Sony's bad points are the issue with the treble that bothers us plus the lack of removable storage.

 

The FiiO's bad points are lack of full-size headphone drive and no playlist support (yet), but it is inexpensive.

 

The HM-901 is very flexible if you can ignore the UI and scroll wheel frustration and sounds better than the Sony IMO. 

 

An AK120, now I think of it, would be better for me than the Sony, as versus the HM-901, in exchange for having a good UI I'd lose amp flexibility (if I cared about it).

 

So we are back to trade-offs. 

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Source Gear › DAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, FiiO X5 + Chord Hugo & Calyx M from June.