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In favor of double ES9018M2K or single ES9018? - Page 2

Poll Results: In favor of double ES9018M2K or single ES9018?

 
  • 36% (18)
    A. Mobile type of 9018M2K X 2
  • 64% (32)
    B. Desk type of 9018 X1
50 Total Votes  
post #16 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesFiiO View Post
 

 

don't forget the battery life, seems that the xxx only have 7 hours . X3 used a 3100mAh battery, and X5 used 3600mAh battery. 

 

True. I don't dispute that. But you know they went for quick-swap option to get around that, and I think that is a good solution.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

 

One of the problem is the use of a metal casing on the X5 that adds significant weight (*the other is the battery, but that is a must so we can't do much about it).

 

 

We can do something about the battery, if a smaller battery is used and allowed to be quick-swappable on-the-go.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

 

I think if any of us really want to see a smaller 'top-end' DAP from FiiO in the future, we must accept the compromise of lesser power (which is the trend for everyone else anyway). There ain't that many components on a DAP that you can scrap to save size, and the amp section is usually the first to go. Right now FiiO is still thinking about making a full feature DAP that can go all-out on SQ and second place everything else. If you look at DX90, it really isn't outputting quite as much power as what the hardware can be, purely spec wise. It is a good indicator that iBasso scaled back on power delivery in order make it smaller enough to fit the DX50 housing. If it has an amp section as powerful as X5, it will be just as big. Of course, the choice is between 'having enough for most' or 'having the best it can'. It is a pretty reasonable compromise, but I think what bother FiiO most is how to make a DAP that can standout in the market, not just price wise but also performance wise. If they started to cut back feature, they might become hard to differentiate from any other brands -and having a powerful amp section is one of their trademark feature so it is hard to let go.

 

All reasonable points.

 

You seem to be pointing towards the X7 going directly head-to-head with the DX100, then (and they're in approximately the same price range, judging by James' recent pricing remarks). That wouldn't be the kind of DAP I'm interested in, since I owned a DX100 and very quickly tired of its bulk in my pocket. However, if James concludes, and openly states, that that is the kind of DAP he is aiming for, I will respect the decision and withdraw from the X7 threads with no hard feelings.

 


 

 

 

James, have you decided whether you are trying to make a compact DAP or a big powerful brick?

 

 

.


Edited by Mython - 4/22/14 at 4:58am
post #17 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post
 

 

We can do something about the battery, if a smaller battery is used and allowed to be quick-swappable on-the-go.

 

 

Hey, we have been through that discussion before :angry_face::bigsmile_face:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post
 

 

All reasonable points.

 

You seem to be pointing towards the X7 going directly head-to-head with the DX100, then (and they're in approximately the same price range, judging by James' recent pricing remarks). That wouldn't be the kind of DAP I'm interested in, since I owned a DX100 and very quickly tired of its bulk in my pocket. However, if James concludes, and openly states, that that is the kind of DAP he is aiming for, I will respect the decision and withdraw from the X7 threads with no hard feelings.

 

Some of the early spec include Android and touch screen, so it isn't that far off.  Given small, really good quality screen is actually more difficult to source than bigger screen (*due to the shrinking MP3 player market and the booming smartphone market), the touch screen won't be particularly small, so in a way, it will be closer to DX100 than any of the current X series. Also, it will be the flagship of the X series, so people will have high expectation that it is not going to be small boxy shaped player with 5 blind buttons and fur on the back, if you know what I mean :tongue:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post
 

James, have you decided whether you are trying to make a compact DAP or a big powerful brick?

 

 

Maybe not the TOTL, but there is still the X1.

post #18 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

 

 

 

Maybe not the TOTL, but there is still the X1.

 

 

15+15mw ?

 

No thanks (don't care if some find it adequate; I think Sony are taking liberties with that kind of power output on a flagship device).

 

...and don't even get me started on the non-expandable 128gb memory on a Hi-Res DAP. Apple and Sony are both an absolute disgrace for this.

 

Kudos for the ergonomics of the NW-ZX1 button design, though.

 

 

.


Edited by Mython - 4/22/14 at 3:14pm
post #19 of 70

I agree with James that it will come down to personal review when done. I think it's best left to Fiio and their engineers to proto and compare to determine what they feel is best. This sort of question in a non tech forum seems more about marketing. My opinion is that either chip will likely not be the limiting factor and if it were, the DAP would be a world beater. :wink_face: 

 

ES9018 should in theory be a bit better due to a somewhat higher dnr or signal to noise ratio which are both in the 130db range. (k2m is only speced single ended. 133db for the 9018 in stereo and likely around 130db for the k2m in dual mono). Thing is, both DACs have identical, and I think more important, distortion specs of -120db so differences likely wont be spec related and simply a matter of character and implementation.


Edited by goodvibes - 4/23/14 at 5:26am
post #20 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesFiiO View Post
 

 

don't forget the battery life, seems that the xxx only have 7 hours . X3 used a 3100mAh battery, and X5 used 3600mAh battery. 

 

Yes, battery is important.  I think the choice between 9018 vs dual 9018k2m would depends on the battery life.  I'd opt for the one with longer battery life.  I'd say 8 hrs playing HD (24/96) files should be the minimum expectation, with 10-12 the sweetspot, and gravy for anything more.

 

Having said that, easily accessible replaceable battery can be a solution.  But if this is the approach then the battery better be widely/cheaply available like the DX50/90's samsung s3 battery and not like the hm901's proprietary battery that is too expensive.

 

Balanced out / balanced DACs are more for "buzzword compliant" than for real benefit to SQ but since it's good for marketing, you should also consider that.  If space allow, 4-pin mini xlr would be best, else I like my 901's single jack trs/trrs toggle design better than my AK240's separate jacks (well I understand its 3.5mm jack is already combo for Opt out).

post #21 of 70
I just hope this is not going to be another DX100 or HM901 fat brick. I passed on that and will if it's going to be similar. As far as chip, why do we need the ESS9018 when the stereo M2K is sufficient? Don't go the route of over engineering the dap, keep the portability a must. Size wise it'd be nice if it had the maximum size of the iPhone 5s but could be twice as thick if necessary. The Calyx M is just too close to being not portable (you need a deep pocket to carry it which will definitively weigh down your pants).

I don't share the same anxiousness for a balanced dap, most of my gear is single ended anyway and it always cost a bundle to go with balanced cables, it's just not the way headphones seem to be sold these days.
Edited by musicheaven - 4/28/14 at 11:54am
post #22 of 70

I'm not anxious for a balanced DAP, but I see that it is a legitimate feature for a flagship DAP, especially since some newer DAPs have topologies which are so close to balanced output, anyway.

 

A good example of balanced usage, for portable users, would be Sorensiim, who, in the Noble thread, has posted pics of his modification of his Noble K10 cable to balanced mode, which he runs from his PB2 amp.

 

It would be nice for CIEM users to have a nice balanced output available, on a flagship Fiio DAP, for this particular purpose.

 

Not vital, but nice.

post #23 of 70
Sorensiim can go buy an AK240, he'll have a balanced output which he can create a nice little interface cable for his gear. biggrin.gif
post #24 of 70

LOL - yeah, yeah, I know.  Let me reiterate that I'm not stamping my feet and saying "I demand balanced!"

 

 

All I'm saying is that it'd be a nice feature on a flagship DAP, if the topology is already going 90% that way anyway :tongue: 

post #25 of 70

Just found out about this topic. M2C...

 

What is the target product here? The X7? Or some other product? For now, I'll assume we're addressing the design features of the X7...

 

With respect to power saving, from spec sheets, the ES9018S consumes 100 mW of power during operation, while the ES9018K2M consumes 40 mW, with a 10 mW low power state. If we go with two of them, then that's 80 mW operational power, and 20 mW in low power. How will that reflect in terms of battery life? If we're talking about the X7, and it indeed is an Android-based device with a large ~4" capacitative touchscreen, then it's pretty important that we try to save power anywhere possible.

 

In fact, for power saving measures, I'd even go as far as to suggest a separate and independent "mid-fi" mode in the X7, where the main circuit is perhaps derived from the X1, with a PCM5122 or ES9016K2M and perhaps a lower-power chip amp (e.g. MAX97220A, ES9601, TPA6130A2, etc.) that provides decent sound quality at a fraction of the power consumption, for times when SQ is not paramount, i.e. loud environments that prevent a user from doing critical listening. Then, when desired, the user can switch to "hi-fi" mode to consume more power, and with balanced output.

 

With all that being said, I agree with the sentiment that designs shouldn't be confined only to the choice of ESS chips merely because they're a popular choice and that audiophiles tend to have a positive opinion of them. Personally, I find that well-designed PCM1792A topologies compete every bit as well against ESS designs.

 

The key phrase here is well-designed. Anything can sound extremely good with any high-quality DAC chip, high-quality I/V conversion, and high-quality amplification stage, and precise power regulation. The size of the X7 needs to be informed by the parts that are necessary for high-end performance centered around a SMD-centric board layout. With SMD components front and center, the power supply rails should be highly regulated and consequently low-impedance, with parts specified for least ripple effect. The LPF design should contain capacitor components just big and robust enough to sound good, but not unnecessarily big (like some brands like to do, by bragging that they use desktop components in portable gear, even though the benefits, if any, are near imperceptible.)

 

The performance specs of most top-end DAC chips aren't usually met in the majority of designs. If you can achieve >120 dB SNR, out of ground-centered 2 Vrms outputs, you're already at an elite level ---- a level where most manufacturers charge >$1000 for the product in question. If you can achieve <0.0008 THD+N out of your headphone outputs, then you're at an elite level. So, using whatever flagship level DAC chip, regardless of whether it's the ES9018S, ES9018K2M, PCM1792A, AK4399, WM8741, etc. is already superfluous. The question is layout and design. There is the added question of the choice of digital filters built-in to each DAC product --- some use traditional FIR linear-phase filters, others give the option of using IIR minimum-phase filters, and with slow or hard roll-off variants. Choosing between these filter designs is pretty important as well, unless FiiO chooses to implement their own digital filter (which can be costly for R&D).

 

Thus, I believe the choice between the ES9018S and (2×) ES9018K2M should be a design and layout issue, rather than a feature-related issue. I think the bigger question is whether it's easier to rid of DC offset with decoupling capacitors in the 9018S or 9018K2M --- will the decoupling path be short enough? Will the smaller form factor of the 9018K2M allow for more advantageous placement of clocks? Will the lower operating voltage of the K2M result in a greater or lesser ability to reject power noise from the AVcc? These are the questions that I'm sure FiiO engineers are looking to answer for themselves when testing different design paradigms, and I believe they should be free to make those decisions free from market pressure.

post #26 of 70

What does the eight way output of the full strength 9018 mean? Can you hear those eight things if you're, say, playing a ripped CD file (16 bit, 44.1 khz wav file no loss)? Or do you need a very high resolution file to hear it (like a 24 bit 96khz file, of which very few exist)? Thanks


Edited by ag8908 - 4/28/14 at 9:26pm
post #27 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post
 

What does the eight way output of the full strength 9018 mean? Can you hear those eight things if you're, say, playing a ripped CD file (16 bit, 44.1 khz wav file no loss)? Or do you need a very high resolution file to hear it (like a 24 bit 96khz file, of which very few exist)? Thanks

 

Okay, might be a bit confusing here but you don't actually hear an 'eight way output' on ES9018 - you just hear two, left and right. The 8 cores are working as 2 groups, 4 each, to output 2 channels sound. This is just like having quad cores processor in your smartphone doesn't mean the screen will divide into 4 portion, each run by a single cores. Instead , the internal workload is divided by 4, then recombined to give you a faster processing speed. The benefit is not limited to HD files either, because better is better (higher SNR, etc) and it can be heard regardless whether it is 16/44.1 or 24/192. Of course, implementation is the key.

post #28 of 70
Oh I see. By analogy how many "cores" would the m2kx2 have?
post #29 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post

Oh I see. By analogy how many "cores" would the m2kx2 have?

 

4 in total, 2 on each channel.

post #30 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by ag8908 View Post  Oh I see. By analogy how many "cores" would the m2kx2 have?

 

Two "cores" to process each (L/R) stereo channel.

 

EDIT: whoops, too slow.

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