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DAP-off: Astell&Kern AK240, HiFiMAN HM-901, Sony ZX-1, FiiO X5 + Chord Hugo & Calyx M from June. - Page 7

post #91 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

 

Anytime I buy cables for headphones now I have them terminated in a 4-pin mini-XLR so I can add tails for whatever headphone socket I need to connect to.

 

very good idea !  I will do the same now :-)   thanks

 

PS: still believe that you need to introduce the HUGO in the tests if you want to avoid the "boring usual conclusion": AK240 win...

post #92 of 895
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 
But when it comes to in-ear audio, I will reserve my doubt on a piece of $2.5K brick being much better from that headphone out until I hear it (and I may never or need). One thing I know, is you don't need to spend a ton to achieve a transparent source for your phones - if you are willing to spend time and effort trying/experimenting things besides buying and selling. Audio is indeed amazing animal which could surprise you unexpectedly sometimes.

 

My point is, when it comes to evaluate these dap's, the most transparent one is always the winner. With that, the music just moves freely with a breeze in an open space. The term, muddy, is the worst enemy of transparency. I hate muddy sounding, even just slightest muddy sounding ruins music to my ears. There are times that muddy sounding comes from the albums, and you can't do anything about it other than getting rid it from your library for good.

 

And doubt you should! I sure did. I'd say it's an all-or-nothing thing: Everything has to be excellent, including the music. It's for people who are willing to spend the money and listen to music where that last bit of clarity is everything, yet you want it to fit in your pocket. It's for people whom what it is, is exactly what they are after. 

 

What you describe though in your point is what I feel the AK240 is. But again: TNSTAAFL -- It's $2500. Maybe Vinnie can mod it to make it better still, but that will be another large sum on top of that. You can get very good sound and a very enjoyable listening experience out of the other three (or an AK100 or AK120). Heck, for the majority of my music, once playlist support is added, I could well enjoy listening from the X5 with a pair of Parterres and both fit in my pocket nicely.

 

Transparency: That is whatever we say it is. Real transparency has to exist inside ourselves first -- we are opaque, muddied by many things, especially our beliefs and ingrained thought patterns, but this is rather off-topic. :smile:

post #93 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

we are opaque, muddied by many things, especially our beliefs and ingrained thought patterns

 

That's what I call "fooling ourselves:wink_face:

post #94 of 895
Thread Starter 

@DMinor No, that's called "Taking the mickey" (out of our hobby).

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmichels View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

 

Anytime I buy cables for headphones now I have them terminated in a 4-pin mini-XLR so I can add tails for whatever headphone socket I need to connect to.

 

very good idea !  I will do the same now :-)   thanks

 

PS: still believe that you need to introduce the HUGO in the tests if you want to avoid the "boring usual conclusion": AK240 win...

 

For the UERMs I'm going to do the same, but have the cable terminated in a 2.5mm TRRS for the AK240 and have adaptors for everything else.

 

For a better comparison though what I need to do is, IMO:

 

AK240 vs. Hugo.

 

and

 

AK120 vs. the others.

post #95 of 895

I'm curious.  The AK240 is a great DAP... what level of home gear would you say it matches?  Good alternative for an iem only home rig?  Considering replacing the big rig with a usb dac capable dap to have one portable uber rig.  And then pray it doesn't get smashed on my commute ;)

post #96 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

And doubt you should! I sure did. I'd say it's an all-or-nothing thing: Everything has to be excellent, including the music. It's for people who are willing to spend the money and listen to music where that last bit of clarity is everything, yet you want it to fit in your pocket. It's for people whom what it is, is exactly what they are after. 

 

What you describe though in your point is what I feel the AK240 is. But again: TNSTAAFL -- It's $2500. Maybe Vinnie can mod it to make it better still, but that will be another large sum on top of that. You can get very good sound and a very enjoyable listening experience out of the other three (or an AK100 or AK120). Heck, for the majority of my music, once playlist support is added, I could well enjoy listening from the X5 with a pair of Parterres and both fit in my pocket nicely.

 

Transparency: That is whatever we say it is. Real transparency has to exist inside ourselves first -- we are opaque, muddied by many things, especially our beliefs and ingrained thought patterns, but this is rather off-topic. :smile:

 

Based on my own experience with AK240, it is really extraordinary in its transparency and clarity and you really need TOTL IEMs/headphones to get the most out of it like what Currawong has mentioned repeatedly, especially with the balanced out. IMO it is already very close to Hugo's SQ level as stock on single-ended out. Vinnie also thinks it's really good on its own, but has come up with more ways to do a RWAK240 mod and further improve on it. A detailed review on RWAK240 vs stock AK240 and the other TOTL DAPs especially Hugo would be very interesting! :wink_face: It is really only for those who does not care about the cost to SQ ratio and only want to squeeze every last ounce of SQ improvement you can get out of an ultraportable device by paying a hefty premium. Definitely not for the faint-hearted. Those who are comfortable with compromising on the SQ department for a much better cost should look elsewhere.


Edited by Bluebear - 4/19/14 at 11:32am
post #97 of 895

"Ask me no questions I'll .........."  Amazon will have the 128 GB, $119.00 card in stock in about a week. There is some availability, pieces which have not been pre-ordered. I think we will have them in our little hands before the end of the month.

post #98 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post


Not in Europe : I just Paid my HUGO 1450€ while à AK240 cost 2400€ !

 

Curious, where did you buy your HUGO? Lowest price I found was 1700€.

post #99 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by aLm0sT View Post

Curious, where did you buy your HUGO? Lowest price I found was 1700€.

Bought it from France, but it was the last one available at the "introductory price". Now price has increased quitte à bit
post #100 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmichels View Post


Bought it from France, but it was the last one available at the "introductory price". Now price has increased quitte à bit

 

Ah okay. Yea, looking at what it costs now plus the $$ for an extra DAP, it comes quite close to the price of the AK240.

post #101 of 895
Thread Starter 

My AK240 video is up now, later than I hoped. It's 21 minutes, down from my first version which was 34 minutes! In case anyone was wondering, I shot the last part of it before all the DAPs arrived. This thread is actually a continuation of the video.

 

post #102 of 895

Excellent review, thank you very much!

It's way smaller than I thought. I'm still having a hard time convincing myself to spent that much on a DAP though, but then again I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. 
I think I going to wait a bit more and see how the Calyx M compares to the AK240. 

post #103 of 895

Well done....only wish you hadn't deleted 13 minutes! And you are correct about the "clunky" software issues. It won't always sync, gives a cryptic message about "unlocking the screen" etc. Perhaps a future post could address.  And I cannot get MQS to load on my osx 10.9.2. (iRiver aware and working on it.)

post #104 of 895
Very nicely done, thanks for all the input. It must have taken you forever to do all the comparisons. And I love my Duet matched with the AK-240. Keep up the good work, I learn a quit a bit from you guys.
post #105 of 895
Quote:
Originally Posted by DMinor View Post
 

 

I meant the analog signals converted from DAC go to external amp directly. Let the external amp to handle the dc offsets (yeah I know there is a liability issue for potentially damaging gears). There is brilliant amp design which can compensate for the dc offsets without using caps to maintain transparency.

 

I came to realize the significance of transparency which has enabled me to differentiate the bad recordings from the good ones using the same  phones. The everything sounds open, airy and effortless.

No engineer worth a lick will design a LO with a more than negligible DC. You're likely getting the same performance at a lower price by buying a DAP with both HO and LO. So few LO only models would be sold that it would need to cost significantly more.

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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.