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Feature suggestions for X7 flagship DAP

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 

It is not the intention of these feature suggestions to complicate matters for James and his team.

 

It is just meant as a starting point for discussion of possible features. AmberOzL and I have been chatting about these, via PM, for a while, and thought it'd be good to hear what our fellow Head-fiers (and James) think.

 

The reason for this is that if the X7 is going to be a flagship DAP, then in order to compete against its rivals, it is going to need to offer some useful abilities which may not be present on competing DAPs.

 


 

 

  1. Multiple dynamic playlist creation ability (if this is too difficult/expensive to develop in-house, then it would be nice to allow use of 3rd-party software).
  2. 20mm maximum thickness
  3. 230 gram maximum weight (ideally 200gm max)
  4. 100mw minimum power output
  5. <1 ohm output impedance
  6. Must have hardware buttons for [REW] [Play/Pause] [FFW] [Vol - / Vol +] (all these buttons to be on one side of the DAP, so that squeezing the DAP to press a button cannot cause another button to be accidentally pressed at the same time). Sony NW-ZX1 is an excellent example of good button design.
  7. No slider-controls (e.g. Calyx-M volume control)
  8. No rotating controls (e.g. X5)
  9. Does not have to have a full touchscreen, as long as it has ergonomically-correct hardware buttons (like Sony NW-ZX1)
  10. Proper Gapless-play implementation in all modes
  11. No laggy interface, it should be as responsive as possible.
  12. Don't mind if DAC chip(s) Cirrus or Sabre or Ti, but request the flagship one and make it sound natural. Not dead flat, not extremely colored either.
  13. DSD not necessary -  24/192 playback is enough. (but some people will disagree with this)
  14. Line-Out
  15. Digital-Out (prefer Co-ax)
  16. Balanced HO and LO (so dual dac likely). Ideally RSA type or (preferably) Hirose type connector rather than 3.5 or 2.5 TRRS.
  17. Minimum 8hrs Rebook .flac playback duration (preferably 12 hrs or more)
  18. 2 fullsize SD preferred,     or   (less good):   1 fullsize SD+ 1 MicroSD         (but not 2 MicroSD)
  19. I realise there are size and power requirements which might be problematic, but I would nonetheless like to open the topic of mSATA drives for discussion. These are not cheap, but they are competitive with fullsize SD cards, and, if one is willing to pay extra, they can currently reach 1TB capacity (http://www.samsung.com/global/business/semiconductor/minisite/SSD/uk/html/about/SSD840EVOmSATA.html). I'm not proposing that the X7 actually be sold with an mSATA drive, but that (maybe) it could have the option for users to buy an X7 empty and then fit an mSATA drive of their choice. http://www.dabs.com/search?q=msata     I'm not pushing this issue, I'm just interested in discussing it, as it could potentially be a killer feature for a groundbreaking flagship DAP (remember the X7 won't hit the market until 18-24 months from now, so mSATA 1tb drives will be cheaper by then). FYI, mSATA dimensions are 55 x 30 x 4.85 mm. That might sound relatively big, but it really isn't much larger than 2 x SD slots.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Interested to hear people's thoughts on the above proposals (including James!)

 

 

.


Edited by Mython - 4/20/14 at 2:26pm
post #2 of 68

0. Works as a DAC/pre with no turn-on/off transients.

1. Solid build quality, it does not scratch easily..

2. No bugs, plays every format gap-less.

3. Multi-bit DAC.

4. Powerful enough to drive a HD600 for classical music.

5. Quiet enough to drive the most sensitive IEM's without hiss.

6. Some kind of accelerometer / gyroscope based control setup.

7. Touch screen AND real buttons with tactile feedback.

8. Good SPDIF out.

9. Low output impedance.

10. Don't bother making it thin for the sake of it.

11. Replaceable battery.

12. Don't bother with DSD.

13. Don't bother with balanced, it just wastes battery life on a portable device.

13. Replaceable Internal SSD and SD card slot. This is the main difference between a flagship and a mass market level device. A flagship needs to not have a short planned obsolescence.

14. Excellent battery life (12H).

15. Android based but with a dedicated interface. no play store nonsense.

16. Hack-able.

17. Wireless and bluetooth (with easy share function).

18. Good search function.

19. License the best headphone correction technology and include it.


Edited by eugenius - 4/21/14 at 4:37am
post #3 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post

 

4. Powerful enough to drive a HD600 for classical music.

 

6. Some kind of accelerometer / gyroscope based control setup.

 

10. Don't bother making it thin for the sake of it.

 

13. Don't bother with balanced, it just wastes battery life on a portable device.

 

OK, so let's discuss.... :beerchug:

 

4. Why does a portable DAP need to drive a desktop can like the HD600?

 

6. Why do you need an accelerometer to play music?

 

10. There are already plenty of thick DAPs (HM-901, HM-801, DX100, HDP-R10), so why make another thick one?

 

13. That one is a fair point, but it is a very rare feature which could make CIEMs perform even higher on-the-go - quite a few CIEM-owners would be drawn to the X7 if it had this feature. Also, if you look at the circuit topology of the iBasso DX90, you will see that it could quite easily have incorporated a balanced option, but they chose not to, to save a tiny bit of space. So, the point is that it is not difficult to offer this feature.

post #4 of 68

4. Because I want it to. You do not need to ever feel the need to add an amp to a flagship.

6. It doesn't need one to play, it needs one to make it easier to control it with gloves. It's optional anyway.

10. Making it thin is stupid. This thin with no buttons craze is absurd. Manufacturers have found a way to sell their cost cutting as premium.

13. Balanced and multi-bit will REALLY deplete the battery.


Edited by eugenius - 4/20/14 at 1:01pm
post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
 

4. Because I want it to. You do not need to ever feel the need to add an amp to a flagship.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
 

10. Making it thin is stupid. This thin with no buttons craze is absurd. Manufacturers have found a way to sell their cost cutting as premium.

 

 

Yes, but there are already DAPs out there that seek to negate the need to amp, and those DAPs (HM-901, HM-801, DX100, HDP-R10, etc.) are so fat and heavy that they are useless to people who need a portable device they can carry in their trouser/pants/jeans pocket:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/713734/how-heavy-can-you-accept-in-order-to-achieve-better-sound-and-appearance#post_10444918

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eugenius View Post
 

13. Balanced and multi-bit will REALLY deplete the battery.

 

Not sure what you're referring to with 'multi-bit', and I don't deny that using in balanced mode would (potentially) deplete the battery a bit faster, but a user-swappable battery (like the DX50/90) would almost make this, relatively-speaking, a 'non-issue', from a practical point of view.

post #6 of 68

10. You don't have to jump to extreme weight straight away. iPhone4 size with double the thickness seems about right to me. 3" screen is enough to leave room for real buttons.

 

Multi-bit is the type of DAC technology used. It's more expensive and it consumes more power but when implemented well it produces better results than delta-sigma.

post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 

I am guessing that you come from a desktop audio background, with, maybe, an iPhone for portable use with an amp/DAC-amp.

post #8 of 68

I've never owned an iPhone, the only Apple things I've ever owned are an iPod which was stolen and an iMac which I used for about a month then I gave it to my mother.

 

I'm a very tough sell for a portable player as my old Galaxy S which I'm still using is more than enough for me as a portable player. To gain my money a manufacturer has to make a device which can replace a full size system with not too many compromises, mainly less power. The DAC needs to be as quiet as a desktop DAC.

 

My test for a new DAC when I get it is to put in into the Headroom BUDA with the HD600, switch to high gain and max out the volume control. Most DAC's have a perceptible noise floor when I do that. The Headroom UDAC doesn't, it's still absolutely quiet. And the high gain on the BUDA is huge, I use the HD600 with low gain at 9-12 o'clock and there's medium and high gain after that. :)


Edited by eugenius - 4/20/14 at 11:36pm
post #9 of 68

Yes, we talked with Mython for quite some time and decide what would be good to have on in a flagship product.

 

It seems like high capacity is really an issue. Calyx finally made some good moves related to it with 64 gb + normal sd slot + micro sd slot. What we suggest is, bring a high capacity (500 gb or more) but bring it the way you want. SSD might increase the cost but probably nobody would argue with it, since it might be the best option out there. Since we are in head fi and we would like to pay for a high quality and features, an increased cost from SSD can be understandable. The point is, making a 24/192 dap and putting only 128 gb or 256 gb is completely non-sense.  We need at least 500 gb or more for it so we can enjoy our music and don't have to change the contents every week.

 

Thin? Like iPhone? Forget about that, you won't get many features if you make it that thin because simply there is not enough space to put necessary components. We don't say it should be as think as HM901 or DX100 but iPhone dimensions is a dream let's accept it.

 

Weight? I don't mind this one that much but experience shows, a dap that you usually carry in your pocket shouldn't be as heavy DX100, otherwise it makes the walking painful.

 

Balanced is the solution to those who want cleaner sound quality as well as driving power. I agree with Mython, you don't really need to drive desktop cans with portable dap, so why put HD600 or similar things, this would only cause increased battery consumption. Portable dap is meant to play rather portable cans, c/iems. If it can drive those things perfectly, it is more than enough. For reference level or desktop level cans, we will have a line out and digital out, so additional powerful amp or dac/amp can be paired. Many examples are out there like Centrance M8 (for dac/amp) or RSA Lightning (for just amp). Imagine you feed the Lightning with its balanced input and get balanced sound completely, that thing has power to drive home cans. However I really don't understand that much power need from a portable dap, come on, will you use HD600 in a subway for f*** sake? Then again, we talk about a flagship dap here. I think balanced would be more than welcome. It is not battery consumption only. You get a better separation, cleaner sound and more power. If you ask it from a 300 euros product people will laugh at you but I think FiiO's flagship definitely needs it. I am also sure that iBasso is going to bring a successor of DX100 but with this time not 6.3 jack entrance but balanced output. They already tested themselves with making DX90 in almost balanced, they just decided to keep the dimensions as same as DX50 and probably leave the balanced output to their future flagship, you name it DX120 or DX200.

 

As for the control stuff. I don't fancy full touchscreen but if touchscreen is decided make it responsive, so we don't get frustrated when we use it. Also physical control buttons is a must. ZX1 is a perfect example of an ergonomic design.

 

As for the battery, I don't really care if it is user swappable or not but it should bring min 8 hours with 16bit flac, that should be a minimum standard for every dap.

 

Also, please stay away from useless s**t like wifi and all. Nobody needs that and the ones are that asking for it can go buy iGreedy AK240. We are talking about a portable digital audio player. It should do its job perfectly not fancy things.

post #10 of 68

about our new DAP, one thing we can make sure is that the UI and firmware will not be a problem. cause it is based on Android so you can install your own App , we will focuse on hardware design first.

 

of course, it will comes with a original music app too. but you can use the thrid party music app if you want some other features.

post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesFiiO View Post
 

about our new DAP, one thing we can make sure is that the UI and firmware will not be a problem. cause it is based on Android so you can install your own App , we will focuse on hardware design first.

 

of course, it will comes with a original music app too. but you can use the thrid party music app if you want some other features.


James, I really hope you can consider our suggestions. The design, balanced outputs and capacity are the main points I think.

post #12 of 68

I really think a software last attitude creates an unfinished product. Do your own software AND leave it open to the advanced hacker to roll his own if he REALLY wants to.

 

If I were designing a DAP I'd start with what the thing looked and how it worked and when I had that settled I'd find the hardware that can do what I want to.


Edited by eugenius - 4/21/14 at 4:34am
post #13 of 68
Here is another vote for two full size SD card slots or a slot for mSATA SSD. Both options could cost as little as $0.5/GB, if you look around (there was a sale of a 256GB SD [for $100] not long ago).

Of note, a 500GB mSATA SSD can run for over 8 hours in an iPod Video with stock 850 mAh battery and modified Rockbox firmware. So battery and enclosure size are not major concerns for mSATA SSD, if you do it right.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/566780/official-ipod-video-classic-5g-5-5g-6g-6-5g-7g-ssd-mod-thread/2610#post_10410434

http://www.head-fi.org/t/566780/official-ipod-video-classic-5g-5-5g-6g-6-5g-7g-ssd-mod-thread/2670#post_10430207
Edited by zzffnn - 4/23/14 at 6:10pm
post #14 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mython View Post
 

It is not the intention of these feature suggestions to complicate matters for James and his team.

...

 

I'll suggest changing the title to "Feature suggestions for FiiO's next DAP", just to attract more people to chime in and no necessarily limited to X7 or flagship model.

 

Also, I'll suggest a "no-argument" rule - individual states what (s)he'll like to have in a DAP and the others will respect his/her opinion as it is even when disagreed personally. FiiO R&D team should be the one whom makes the final decision on what is feasible and we don't need to waste time arguing with each other.


Edited by ClieOS - 4/23/14 at 7:11pm
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
 

 

I'll suggest changing the title to "Feature suggestions for FiiO's next DAP", just to attract more people to chime in and no necessarily limited to X7 or flagship model.

 

Also, I'll suggest a "no-argument" rule - individual states what (s)he'll like to have in a DAP and the others will respect his/her opinion as it is even when disagreed personally. FiiO R&D team should be the one whom makes the final decision on what is feasible and we don't need to waste time arguing with each other.


I agree with this. +1.

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