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DAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, FiiO X5 + Chord Hugo & Calyx M from June. - Page 5

post #61 of 1028
Amos, do you use ALAC files? If so, what Mac app are you using to embed the album art on those files? Any issues getting it to show up on the various players? I used to have a hard time with it when I owned the AK100.
post #62 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

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




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.

I just noticed that you are amping the phone out of the zx1. You should get a proper lineout cable from the WM Port Amos. The improvements are substantial in my opinion. The sound quality of the ZX1 & Pico Power is nearly a match to what I am getting from my Audio-technica AT-DHA3000
Edited by purk - 4/17/14 at 9:09am
post #63 of 1028
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunshane View Post

Amos, do you use ALAC files? If so, what Mac app are you using to embed the album art on those files? Any issues getting it to show up on the various players? I used to have a hard time with it when I owned the AK100.

 

Yes. I need to figure this out as well. If I buy something from HDTracks the album art copies across fine, but I'm sure I have music that has album art that doesn't show on players. I never bothered to try and figure this out but it is starting to bother me a bit now, so I'll see if I can't work out what is going on.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 
I just noticed that you are amping the phone out of the zx1. You should get a proper lineout cable from the WM Port Amos. The improvements are substantial in my opinion. The sound quality of the ZX1 & Pico Power is nearly a match to what I am getting from my Audio-technica AT-DHA3000

 

I might if i owned it and I don't doubt that you are right. I just noticed though the FiiO dock is $12.

post #64 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post

I just noticed that you are amping the phone out of the zx1. You should get a proper lineout cable from the WM Port Amos. The improvements are substantial in my opinion. The sound quality of the ZX1 & Pico Power is nearly a match to what I am getting from my Audio-technica AT-DHA3000

I am agree With puri
With Sony Lod , SQ improvement is very Good , better detail and Fuller sound
IMO
post #65 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

I might if i owned it and I don't doubt that you are right. I just noticed though the FiiO dock is $12.

 

When I head back to Tokyo I can send you the WM-Port LOD I made and you can try. The only thing is that I think the resistor value i used inside may be a little too high therefore output voltage is probably is quite low into the external amp.

post #66 of 1028

But isn't the amp section of ZX-1 ideally better sounding than the line out? The only reason why most folks used LOD for other devices was because their amp section was just poorly implemented.

 

Is the SQ difference that much on ZX-1 lineout versus the headphone out?

post #67 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post
 

But isn't the amp section of ZX-1 ideally better sounding than the line out? The only reason why most folks used LOD for other devices was because their amp section was just poorly implemented.

 

Is the SQ difference that much on ZX-1 lineout versus the headphone out?

 

In my case, the LOD is not because the ZX1 amp is poorly implemented, it just doesn't have enough oomph for some of the orthos I have so I need a gruntier external amp.

post #68 of 1028

Yes I have no problem with amping the ZX-1 but I was just thinking perhaps feeding the amp with the ZX-1 headphone out might give a better sound due to the capa used on the amp section. 

I hope to check out the ZX-1 in more depth once it is released here next month.

post #69 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by audionewbi View Post
 

But isn't the amp section of ZX-1 ideally better sounding than the line out? The only reason why most folks used LOD for other devices was because their amp section was just poorly implemented.

 

Is the SQ difference that much on ZX-1 lineout versus the headphone out?

Not true.  The line out of the ZX1 is better than the headphone out when pairing with a really good portable such as the Pico Power.  The bass has better extension and the soundstage depth is also better.  The improvements are worth it in IMO. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post
 

 

In my case, the LOD is not because the ZX1 amp is poorly implemented, it just doesn't have enough oomph for some of the orthos I have so I need a gruntier external amp.

Yes, for harder to drive phones for sure.

 

Sean, I just update to a new firmware and the overall sound of quality of the ZX1 is now more refined.  The midbass is less pronounced while extending lower.  The presentation is now more 3-D thanks to improvements in soundstage depth.  With my JH13, the ZX1 really remind me of the iBasso DX-100.  Amos, you may want to ask Sean for a permission to update the firmware.  I've not tried this yet either, but others stated that the ZX-1 is now DSD capable.  I'm really enjoying the ZX1's headphone out more now.

post #70 of 1028

So that can only mean the amp section actually does something to the analog signal of the DAC chip of ZX-1. 

post #71 of 1028

With so much talk about the ZX1, in absolute terms, is the sound quality better with your IEM's out of the ZX1 than the Astell & Kern AK240?

post #72 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post

With so much talk about the ZX1, in absolute terms, is the sound quality better with your IEM's out of the ZX1 than the Astell & Kern AK240?

For me, strictly on sound only with my current IEMs, I prefer AK240 over zx1. In fact I would also prefer 901/x5/dx90 over zx1, but zx1 over ak120.
post #73 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkcc View Post


For me, strictly on sound only with my current IEMs, I prefer AK240 over zx1. In fact I would also prefer 901/x5/dx90 over zx1, but zx1 over ak120.

Please update your ZX-1 to a new firmware.  I'm hearing refinement especially in bass & soundstage area.  

post #74 of 1028
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

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.

Probably a stupid question, but did you set the X5 to high gain. I only ask because of the reviews of the ZX-1 complain about low output, and my X5 has a good deal of output.
post #75 of 1028
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidhunternyc View Post
 

With so much talk about the ZX1, in absolute terms, is the sound quality better with your IEM's out of the ZX1 than the Astell & Kern AK240?

 

The AK240 is definitely a noticeable step up from the Sony. Music from the Sony sounds a bit forced, whereas from the AK240 sounds effortless and the more subtle textures of notes are apparent on excellent recordings.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jess70 View Post
 
Probably a stupid question, but did you set the X5 to high gain. I only ask because of the reviews of the ZX-1 complain about low output, and my X5 has a good deal of output.

 

It came on high gain by default, so yes. Good question! 

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