Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › More than one Portable Music Rig?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

More than one Portable Music Rig?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Dear fellow members,

 

I'm a newbie here and I'm curious if anyone has more than 1 portable music rig? I'm not into home sound systems so I focus solely on just portable music rigs and adding on to that, Im a gadget freak lol.

 

I currently have Fiio X5 + Fiio E12 + Shure SE535LTD. 

 

I'm itching for the Sony ZX-1 + Sony PHA-2 amp. Anyone have both rigs and compared and know this sony rig has significant SQ improvements over my Fiio setup?

post #2 of 14

I have several rigs.

 

My standard travel rig is a AK100/Quickstep, driving either Oppo PM1s or SE846s.

 

I also have a iPod Classic/CLAS -R/Continental V3 stack driving the PM1s or HD650s - this is for when I have the space to take this rig on a trip.

 

I also have another iPod feeding a Centrance M8, which I use with the HD650s, W1000X or HE500s - this is for use around the house or out by the beach.   

 

A DX90 and either SE535s or Heir 5.0s make my pocket carry rig.

 

Lastly, I have a DX50/National stack feeding either a pair of HP50s, X1s or W1000Xs.  This one is loaded with new music or stuff that I've been meaning to explore.      If Apple comes up with a 250GB+ device, this stack will go for sale.

 

I used to have an X3/E12 and wasnt all that impressed by the E12 - I gave it away to a friend and will also give away the X3 to someone else, as I am not a big fan of being unable to see my album art when selecting an album.     


Edited by vkalia - 6/15/14 at 5:53am
post #3 of 14

More than one? :wink_face:

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post

I have several rigs.

My standard travel rig is a AK100/Quickstep, driving either Oppo PM1s or SE846s.

I also have a iPod Classic/CLAS -R/Continental V3 stack driving the PM1s or HD650s - this is for when I have the space to take this rig on a trip.

I also have another iPod feeding a Centrance M8, which I use with the HD650s, W1000X or HE500s - this is for use around the house or out by the beach.   

A DX90 and either SE535s or Heir 5.0s make my pocket carry rig.

Lastly, I have a DX50/National stack feeding either a pair of HP50s, X1s or W1000Xs.  This one is loaded with new music or stuff that I've been meaning to explore.      If Apple comes up with a 250GB+ device, this stack will go for sale.

I used to have an X3/E12 and wasnt all that impressed by the E12 - I gave it away to a friend and will also give away the X3 to someone else, as I am not a big fan of being unable to see my album art when selecting an album.     

Thanks for the prompt response. I'm very very new to this and recently I started to feel the sound from my E12 seems muffled? Seems like the amp is clouding the sound since you mentioned that you didn't like the E12.
Edited by delrosa81 - 6/15/14 at 7:49am
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post



More than one? wink_face.gif

Wow! You have so many! smily_headphones1.gif
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by delrosa81 View Post

Thanks for the prompt response. I'm very very new to this and recently I started to feel the sound from my E12 seems muffled? Seems like the amp is clouding the sound since you mentioned that you didn't like the E12.

 

Dunno about muffled, but IMO, the E12 has a higher noise floor than some other amps.  It isnt necessarily something I can actively hear, but when i compare it to a different amp - such as the Conti V3 or the Quickstep - the background appears to be quieter and so the music stands out a little more, microdynamics are clearer and as a whole, the sound appears more refined.

 

Plus, I am also not a huge fan of "use a bunch of op-amps and apply heavy global feedback to get clean specs" approach to amp building.    I cannot put my finger on what it is - and it may purely be a placebo, i have to admit - but the transient response, attack/decay and timbre of those amps does not seem right to me.

 

If you can spend more, something like a Meier Quickstep is a very well-designed amp, IMO.   Although for the 535s, you dont need an amp - I wouldnt bother, in your shoes.    There is a standard head-fi response - "get an amp, it will make the sound better", regardless of any critical thought to whether a $100 external amp is better than the internal amp of a $350 DAP, or even whether an external amp is needed.   You need about <10 mW of power to drive the SE535s to ear-bleed levels, off the top of my head.    Good luck find a huge enough difference in amp design in the $100-200 range for one to be noticeably better than another.

 

The X5 has more than enough juice to drive them really well and IMO, you gain nothing by adding another amp in the path.   I am using my 535s with the DX90 directly, and am very happy with the sound.   I dont imagine the X5 would be any different.


Edited by vkalia - 6/15/14 at 11:30am
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

When you mention higher noise floor, do you mean the "hissing" sound when the amp is at idle with no song playing? It seems to be very obvious during idle and affects certain songs.

 

The more I listen, the more I feel unsatisfied with the SQ, it seems to be lacking something, something I just can't put my finger on. I was initially very happy with the amp and after I got my 535s, I started feeling that the SQ is not so good.

 

I have actually tried for the first time plugging my 535s directly into my X5 last night and I found that the sound has more clarity just that bass is lacking ever so slightly but most prob due to my EQ being off. For my personal vanity sake, I like having a stack, it looks and feels good to me but then I found out last night that my X5 can drive my 535s perfectly and SQ is improved IMO.

 

I was actually considering getting a 2nd stack for the Sony ZX-1 + Sony PHA-2 as I like the form factor of the ZX1 and that I can wirelessly stream music at home should I require to do so. One thing to note however, when I wire up my E12 to my car's AUX in, it sounds really good with good clarity and bass, therefore I am thinking of relegating the E12 to be my car's permanent aux amp while I get the ZX1 and PHA-2 to be my portable.

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advices, it is much appreciated :)

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by delrosa81 View Post
 

Dear fellow members,

 

I'm a newbie here and I'm curious if anyone has more than 1 portable music rig? I'm not into home sound systems so I focus solely on just portable music rigs and adding on to that, Im a gadget freak lol.

 

I currently have Fiio X5 + Fiio E12 + Shure SE535LTD. 

 

I'm itching for the Sony ZX-1 + Sony PHA-2 amp. Anyone have both rigs and compared and know this sony rig has significant SQ improvements over my Fiio setup?

 

I started with a Fiio E17 + iPhone 5, but for most of that time I didn't have any real serious headphones that benefitted much from the Fiio. I would listen to it from time to time and not notice any significant differences between the amp'ed & un-amp'ed source, and I much preferred my desktop rigs as they did seem to improve the headphones & audio significantly.

 

I recently got the ZX1 + PHA-2 combo and I have to tell you, they are awesome. FULL DISCLAIMER, I am a HUGE Sony fanboy so I'm extremely pre-disposed to loving their products, both design & functionality wise. Anyhow, I just got them the other day and haven't had a ton of time to play with them yet, but so far, I love them. I did do a LOT of research however before spending the money (I did buy used, but they were in perfect condition), and I would urge you to do the same. You should read the PHA-2 thread because some members that are far smarter than myself were able to identify some issues with it, but ultimately I decided it was the right portable amp for me.

 

I can't compare the rig to what you were using before as I don't have any of those components, but I will tell you, that in terms of a portable amp that is MADE to work with the iPhone 5 / 5s or ZX-1, I think they work beautifully together.


Edited by thievesarmy - 6/15/14 at 6:50pm
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by delrosa81 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post



More than one? wink_face.gif

Wow! You have so many! smily_headphones1.gif

 

I'm cheating slightly here. The FiiO X5, Calyx M and VAMP/M80s are loaner and review units respectively. My iPhone is in there too, along with an old iPod classic I use for teaching. My main portable is the AK240. The IEMs are also half mine and half loaners.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

 

I started with a Fiio E17 + iPhone 5, but for most of that time I didn't have any real serious headphones that benefitted much from the Fiio. I would listen to it from time to time and not notice any significant differences between the amp'ed & un-amp'ed source, and I much preferred my desktop rigs as they did seem to improve the headphones & audio significantly.

 

I recently got the ZX1 + PHA-2 combo and I have to tell you, they are awesome. FULL DISCLAIMER, I am a HUGE Sony fanboy so I'm extremely pre-disposed to loving their products, both design & functionality wise. Anyhow, I just got them the other day and haven't had a ton of time to play with them yet, but so far, I love them. I did do a LOT of research however before spending the money (I did buy used, but they were in perfect condition), and I would urge you to do the same. You should read the PHA-2 thread because some members that are far smarter than myself were able to identify some issues with it, but ultimately I decided it was the right portable amp for me.

 

I can't compare the rig to what you were using before as I don't have any of those components, but I will tell you, that in terms of a portable amp that is MADE to work with the iPhone 5 / 5s or ZX-1, I think they work beautifully together.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and comments on the sony rig, btw I just collected the Sony ZX-1 from the local sony store which had someone in the pre-order list cancel the order last min. Tried it and the clarity is amazing as compared to my current rig. I think the E12 sort of clouds the sound and reduces overall clarity. Very glad to hear that the ZX-1 and the PHA-2 is a very good combo and hey there! I'm sort of a Sony fanboy too lol! My laptops till current were and is still Sony Vaios lol! Glad I made the choice to get the ZX-1, now I gotta go search online to get the PHA-2 as I save approx. USD 239 if I were to get it online from Japan but with the exception of not having local warranty. Difficult decision to make.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

I'm cheating slightly here. The FiiO X5, Calyx M and VAMP/M80s are loaner and review units respectively. My iPhone is in there too, along with an old iPod classic I use for teaching. My main portable is the AK240. The IEMs are also half mine and half loaners.

hee hee anyways still thanks for sharing a photo as it takes some effort to respond and post a photo here :) Cheers!

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Some updates, since I have been asking you guys on your opinions and stuff, I decided to also update this thread and bring a closure.

 

I got the Sony ZX-1 and the Sony PHA-2 as my 2nd portable music rig and so far during initial testing, the sound seems muffled after routing thru the PHA-2, not as ideal as the Fiio X5 + E12 combi for now but will do further burn in and testing before posting my comments again.

 

Once again, thanks everyone for sharing their thoughts and comments :)

post #12 of 14

To be honest, if it is sounding obviously muffled, there is a problem.   Regardless of whether you believe in audible differences in frequency response between various pieces of kit, the differences are quite subtle.   Muffled implies a fairly significant difference - or do i misunderstand you?

post #13 of 14

yeah, I wonder about what you're hearing. I don't hear any muffling on my ZX-1 + PHA-2 rig. Didn't you say your E12 also sounded muffled? Have you tried troubleshooting the headphones by plugging them into a 3rd source and see if they still sound muffled? What about your source files? You haven't mentioned what you're listening to. Or have you tried using another headphone? You might also try just using the DAC in the PHA-2, but instead of the headphone out use the line-out and see how that sounds. 

 

EDIT: I'm listening to my rig now, going back and forth between PSB M4U 1 & MDR-7506 headphones. They both sound incredible, and nowhere near "muffled".


Edited by thievesarmy - 6/17/14 at 4:25pm
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

To be honest, if it is sounding obviously muffled, there is a problem.   Regardless of whether you believe in audible differences in frequency response between various pieces of kit, the differences are quite subtle.   Muffled implies a fairly significant difference - or do i misunderstand you?

Yes the muffled sound implies a fairly significant difference, you understood correctly.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thievesarmy View Post
 

yeah, I wonder about what you're hearing. I don't hear any muffling on my ZX-1 + PHA-2 rig. Didn't you say your E12 also sounded muffled? Have you tried troubleshooting the headphones by plugging them into a 3rd source and see if they still sound muffled? What about your source files? You haven't mentioned what you're listening to. Or have you tried using another headphone? You might also try just using the DAC in the PHA-2, but instead of the headphone out use the line-out and see how that sounds. 

 

EDIT: I'm listening to my rig now, going back and forth between PSB M4U 1 & MDR-7506 headphones. They both sound incredible, and nowhere near "muffled".

 

My source files are just normal MP3s and some are FLAC. Ok just to share, my situation are as follows:-

 

1) Fiio X5 + E12: I find the sound slightly muffled when I plug it into the AUX of my car, when I plug into my Shure SE535 and Sony 70AP, the sound is also slightly muffled as compared to if I were to plug into the Fiio X5 directly. The sound coming out from the Fiio X5 is crystal clear.

 

2) Sony ZX1 + PHA-2: I plugged it into the AUX of my car and it sounds significantly muffled or muddy as some would call it as compared to my Fiio Stack BUT when I plug in my earphones both the Shure and Sony, it sounds absolutely clear and no muffled sound at all.

 

I find it strange but the audio system on my car is the original from the manufacturer and I didn't upgrade it at all so maybe it is not a good system in the first place.

 

I think the most important is that it sounds good through my earphones.

 

BTW I hooked up my iPad to the Sony PHA-2 via the USB and lightning ports and boy did I feel like I was in a movie theatre, absolutely impressive IMO but I have very limited experience with portable amps in the market.

 

Thanks everyone for sharing and giving advise :)


Edited by delrosa81 - 6/17/14 at 5:41pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › More than one Portable Music Rig?