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Mezzo Hifi - New AK120/AK100 Mods (WM8741 in software mode) - Page 3

post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post
 

I have both the AK100 and the Mezzo (going back this week) and I must say that the Mezzo is better sounding in every single metric I can think of. Firstly, no noise from the headphone output. The AK100 has a low noise floor, but not a zero noise floor. The DX90's noise floor is slightly lower. Second, its internal amp really does have problems driving earphones. Audibly lower contrast is the biggest problem. The Mezzo mod brings it back, again with noise floor that is negligible. In fact, I would wager in all earphone use, it beats the DX90 for raw performance. There is, however, a small low pass filter, but that seems to be a function of the DAC. The original AK100 doesn't have this filter. 

 

I will be sending my AK100 off for the optimisation. The difference is noticeable. And here in Japan, AK100 are selling so cheaply. People literally throwing them away for the new model. I just saw a unit in great shape go for 250$. iRiver ruined the value of their own players in one stroke. Prior to the announcement of the AK100ii, the AK100 was still selling used for over 500$. 

 

It's crazy. So the benefits of the mezzo, if you can get a good price on a used AK100, or have one already, are huge, especially if you are a high-end earphone user. And, it has balanced output as well as single ended. Both appear to perform very very well.

Wow. A used ak100 plus mod seems like a bargain at that level of performance.

post #32 of 87

Is the stock AK100, analog or digital volume adjustment?

post #33 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post
 

In these versions I have with me, there was a delay into the volume dials which are quite sensitive (and now have a limit to the turn). The delay has been fixed and therefore reduces the chance of overblasting your ear.

 

 

Phanom,

 

Can you confirm this is correct, that the delay in the volume knob has been fixed compared to the demo AnakChan has? I haven't seen this mentioned in later reviews.

 

Also, are those nice looking cases coming with the mod? Silly question I know, haha.

 

Cheers!

post #34 of 87
After report bt Anakan, we change the resister value so the delay is minimal.

Pouch isnot included. It only given until stock last

Phanom
post #35 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

Is the stock AK100, analog or digital volume adjustment?


dig

post #36 of 87
Birdoffice, where are you guys located? Just might have to plan a trip to thailand to have my 120 modded
post #37 of 87
Bangkok. Opposite Pantip Plaza IT Mall Pratunam

Please book in advance so we can arrange for your mod and pick up during your stay
post #38 of 87
In a nutshell, I will definitely vouch for the mezzo mod on my ak120 w/dual 8741 in SW mode. With my UE11, hd580, hd800, and d2000s, the mod takes these cans to another (portable) level. I find myself using the "audiophile" filter (switch led off) moreso than the other filter but that's just a personal preference (to me sounds as "tubey" as a solid state can sound. McCoy Tyner never sounded so rich, clear, and with excellent layering (IMO) on a portable unit (no external amping used). I've never used either the 8741 mod from mezzo nor RWA prior to this particular one however battery life lasts apprx (and please take this with a grain of salt) 6-7 hours with a decent amount of fidgeting via switching tracks and messing with EQ.

This is just a preliminary opinion. I'll have the player at the Bay Area meet for those interested.

Btw..... I don't have the appropriate player nor cable to test out the balanced 3.5 out..... So no comments on that just yet....

Quick disclosure: I'm just a novice reviewer - moreso an appreciator of music the way I like it so like I said before please take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Also, Phanom is an awesome person to communicate with. Being in the US, it's always nerve racking to send something overseas to get a mod that not many people have, but in my long winded wishy washiness, Phanom won me over with his superb customer service.
post #39 of 87

Just to confirm - so you were using your mezzo mod AK120 for all four of your ciem/headphones without the help of an external amp?  Was it pretty quiet (no hiss) with your UE11?

post #40 of 87

Yes - I've been rotating all 4 of of my headphones and CIEM for the past week straight out of the MS AK120.  To me, they all sound excellent (I'm kind of an EQ whore so I use the PRO setting on the AK120).  To my ears (using the UE11) there is no hiss (only if hiss is present in the recording i.e. Ahmad Jamal's The Awakening).

post #41 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Physther View Post
 

Yes - I've been rotating all 4 of of my headphones and CIEM for the past week straight out of the MS AK120.  To me, they all sound excellent (I'm kind of an EQ whore so I use the PRO setting on the AK120).  To my ears (using the UE11) there is no hiss (only if hiss is present in the recording i.e. Ahmad Jamal's The Awakening).

 

Is the MS-AK120 able to drive headphones better than the original? I think somebody mentioned this before as well but I wasn't sure how it would be possible (how could there be more power?).

 

For example the stock AK120 has trouble with my HD650's, in particular you lose pretty much any dynamic contrast while listening, I would have imagined the HD800 would fare similarly.

post #42 of 87
To be honest I'm not sure. Perhaps more well versed listeners can do a comparison at the meet this Saturday and answer your question. Personally, I'm all about the "fun" factor... If I'm having fun listening, I'm content and with all 4 of my headphones I definitely have fun straight out of the ms ak120. I realize that tells folks nothing about the mod (sorry!) but that's all I have unfortunately. If need be, I'll use EQ to add to the "fun" factor depending on the headphone.

Sorry for the bit of sarcasm with the "fun" factor - my uneducated ears can't really answer those types of questions. Check out the sf Bay Area meet impressions after Saturday - hopefully folks can chime in on their impressions of the mod.
post #43 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by likearake View Post
 

 

Is the MS-AK120 able to drive headphones better than the original? I think somebody mentioned this before as well but I wasn't sure how it would be possible (how could there be more power?).

 

For example the stock AK120 has trouble with my HD650's, in particular you lose pretty much any dynamic contrast while listening, I would have imagined the HD800 would fare similarly.

It most certainly drives headphones better. I'm worried that the word 'drive' means only 'loud' to people, as if drive, in terms of cars, means faster, rather than stabler, more grounded. In this case, the MZ-AK100 is absolutely able to drive earphones hundreds of times better than any AK device. Way less distortion, way less noise, excellent drive resolution no matter the current requirements of the earphone. There is no comparison at all. An ortofon e-Q8 attached to an AK100 has very little bass; the same earphone through a MSA-K100 has lush, speedy, and in its own way, powerful bass. This thing is far far better at driving earphones than the stock AK100. It is also WAY better than the AK240. No comparison.

 

EDIT: If you need voltage, and the stock AK100 won't give it to you, it's unlikely the MS-AK100 will do it. You would need an amp, or need to turn down your volume. But big headphones are so much easier to 'drive' in terms of stability/resolution, etc., than earphones. You basically just need voltage. Getting the right current to that voltage is what matters.


Edited by shigzeo - 7/15/14 at 1:28am
post #44 of 87
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigzeo View Post

 

EDIT: If you need voltage, and the stock AK100 won't give it to you, it's unlikely the MS-AK100 will do it. You would need an amp, or need to turn down your volume. But big headphones are so much easier to 'drive' in terms of stability/resolution, etc., than earphones. You basically just need voltage. Getting the right current to that voltage is what matters.

 

Hmm yes. The problem I have with the AK120 is not that it can't get loud enough (it certainly would be too loud for me if I turned it all the way up), but rather that it seems unable to portray a difference in volume between soft and loud musical sections through HD650's at ANY volume.

 

Not that I'd really expect to use these straight out of an AK120, but the comment about the HD800's surprises me from my experience from the stock player.

post #45 of 87

I may have missed the comment on the HD800.

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