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Sony PHA-3 balanced portable dac/amp - Page 19

post #271 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by warrior1975 View Post


I must respectfully disagree with you. I've owned all three, albeit briefly, of the ak100ii, ak120ii, and the 240. If I did a blind test, other than pure luck, I'd never pick correctly. I heard absolutely no difference between ak100ii and AK120II, and I tried desperately to hear a difference. I also heard no difference between the 120ii and 240. Volume was slightly lower on the ak100ii. But, those were my findings with my bad ears.


Thanks for your respect.

Perhaps you have answered the point here: "But, those were my findings with my bad ears."

Sure we will have different perceptions...and now we have both views out here too ;-) 

 

​I guess the OP's question was about a matching amp for their 240 model...shall we return to this now?

post #272 of 1620

I wonder how we would describe the SQ, and sound signature of the PHA 3 against some other common amps...?

 

Any starters...?

post #273 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

I'm not questioning the headphone out difference.  I merely pointed out that for a digital transport duty, the AK100 is a more logical choice given that all you want out of the player is its digital output (optical) and bypassing headphone out section.  I doubt that an optical output from the AK240 will sound significantly better than that of the AK100.  I personally use my ZX-1 & A17 as a digital transport sending USB digital out to my PHA3 with an excellent results.  You only want to buy the PHA3 to utilize its ESS9018 DAC & balanced headphones out capability not the amp module to amp your AK240's line out.  


Hi Purk, thanks for your reply above.

 

If I'm not wrong the OP in this case already owns a 240 so it is possibly moot...I guess I could refer to the different SQ production differences prior to amping as the 240 has dual DACS for Balanced Outs (the best sound path for SQ)

 

I am really enjoying this thread and your inputs here too. I have thought and tested long and hard about the ZX1 and the A17...can you share a little more please regarding differences between these two transports? 

post #274 of 1620
As transports, I couldn't tell the difference between the two. Standalone, the ZX1 was hands down the better player, but when I did an A/B test through PHA-3 at a shop here in Japan, I honestly could not tell them apart. Listened to the standard Norah Jones / Daft Punk tracks for the test, and used MDR1A with a Sony balanced cable.
post #275 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoose View Post
 

I wonder how we would describe the SQ, and sound signature of the PHA 3 against some other common amps...?

 

Any starters...?

Against my Pico Power, the Power has a stronger and more upfront sounding signature compared to a singled-end output of the PHA3.  However, in balanced form the PHA3 just sound more refined to my ears with better layering & soundstaging.  However, you can only get balanced from the PHA3 via a digital input.  So singled-end output of the PHA3 will always loose out to STOA portable amp such as the pico power.  It is almost a moot point to compare just an amp section b/c the PHA3's amp section doesn't have the voltage swing of beefier portable out there.  However, as a portable DAC/Amp combination it is excellent sounding solution for easier to drive phones or really good CIEMs.    

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoose View Post
 


Hi Purk, thanks for your reply above.

 

If I'm not wrong the OP in this case already owns a 240 so it is possibly moot...I guess I could refer to the different SQ production differences prior to amping as the 240 has dual DACS for Balanced Outs (the best sound path for SQ)

 

I am really enjoying this thread and your inputs here too. I have thought and tested long and hard about the ZX1 and the A17...can you share a little more please regarding differences between these two transports? 

Yes, I understand your point.  I merely suggesting a much more economical alternative.  What's the point of getting a $2400 DAP and still wanting a dedicate amp to enchance its headphone out/line out?  I almost grab the AK240 several times but it is just really overpriced IMO.  For the asking price, I rather get  a Stax system.

 

The ZX-1 to my ears just have more powerful sound compared to the A17.  It is the same basic sound signature but the ZX1 is beefier in the bass and has better dynamics compared to the A17.  So in a way it is more fun & engaging to listen to compared to the A17.  The A17 is leaner sounding and may lack some "punch" compared to better sounding DAP such as the ZX1 & X5.  

post #276 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoose View Post

 

If I'm not wrong the OP in this case already owns a 240 so it is possibly moot...I guess I could refer to the different SQ production differences prior to amping as the 240 has dual DACS for Balanced Outs (the best sound path for SQ)

 

 

The PHA-3's ES9018 DAC has 8 channels. It could be using four channels for the balanced mode, though I have no way to confirm that. 

post #277 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by purk View Post
 

Against my Pico Power, the Power has a stronger and more upfront sounding signature compared to a singled-end output of the PHA3.  However, in balanced form the PHA3 just sound more refined to my ears with better layering & soundstaging.  However, you can only get balanced from the PHA3 via a digital input.  So singled-end output of the PHA3 will always loose out to STOA portable amp such as the pico power.  It is almost a moot point to compare just an amp section b/c the PHA3's amp section doesn't have the voltage swing of beefier portable out there.  However, as a portable DAC/Amp combination it is excellent sounding solution for easier to drive phones or really good CIEMs.    

 

Yes, I understand your point.  I merely suggesting a much more economical alternative.  What's the point of getting a $2400 DAP and still wanting a dedicate amp to enchance its headphone out/line out?  I almost grab the AK240 several times but it is just really overpriced IMO.  For the asking price, I rather get  a Stax system.

 

The ZX-1 to my ears just have more powerful sound compared to the A17.  It is the same basic sound signature but the ZX1 is beefier in the bass and has better dynamics compared to the A17.  So in a way it is more fun & engaging to listen to compared to the A17.  The A17 is leaner sounding and may lack some "punch" compared to better sounding DAP such as the ZX1 & X5.  


Purk, thanks for all this helpful feedback. Then would you say that there is any difference between the A&K 100/120 mk II's and the ZX1? I guess one key difference is the ZX1 doesn't do DSD/DXD...

post #278 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff View Post
 

 

The PHA-3's ES9018 DAC has 8 channels. It could be using four channels for the balanced mode, though I have no way to confirm that. 


Mmmmm...one dac 8 channels, vs two dacs...

 

post #279 of 1620
Could someone please comment on the difference between pha3's balanced out vs. IDSD micro? I dun know which one to get for my Sony Z7. I am lookinh for a desktop dac solution. Thanks in advance.
post #280 of 1620

Well, for starters, the ifi Micro iDSD's amp section offers a maximum output of 4000 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load vs. the Sony PHA-3's maximum output (with the balanced connectors) of only 320 mW per channel into a 32-Ohm load - which roughly equates to only 160 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load.

 

So... going by their respective factory specs, the iDSD delivers twenty five times as much power as the PHA-3 when using the PHA-3's balanced connectors (or eighty times as much power when using the PHA-3's single-ended TRS jack.)

 

This is a distinction that can be ignored if and only if you have efficient IEMs or headphones.

 

Mike

post #281 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

Well, for starters, the ifi Micro iDSD's amp section offers a maximum output of 4000 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load vs. the Sony PHA-3's maximum output (with the balanced connectors) of only 320 mW per channel into a 32-Ohm load - which roughly equates to only 160 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load.

 

So... going by their respective factory specs, the iDSD delivers twenty five times as much power as the PHA-3 when using the PHA-3's balanced connectors (or eighty times as much power when using the PHA-3's single-ended TRS jack.)

 

This is a distinction that can be ignored if and only if you have efficient IEMs or headphones.

 

Mike


Thanks Mike.

 

May I ask a related issue here? 

 

Aside from greater volume frequently = greater perceived sound up to the listeners comfort levels, are there any other differences in SQ from different levels of power applied to sound...so in standard hi fi terms why does a high Watt power amp (300W and above say) sound better than a mid (200W) or low <200W; (and yes all these scales are arbitrary) wattage amp. I guess then does the same apply to mW here and their influence on SQ?

 

Consequently if this chain of experience holds true the SQ on the iDSD should sound better than the Sony, if there are no other faults present.

 

Thanks for your views in advance Mike.

post #282 of 1620


Dear Hemtmaker

 

Mate...based on all of the reviews and listening tests I have read and heard/done, I would recommend the iDSD for desktop use. It has more power, clearer sound, greater sound stage, and more features (up to DSD files). It is also expandable through power conditioning, cables and so on from iFi. If the Chord Hugo is the top of this portable tree, then the iFi is 0.99999998 of that standard.

 

On the other hand for desktop use there are many serious desktop size DAC/AMPs out there, see this wonderful spreadsheet for some examples, noting that the one's in green are obviously recommended by the authors.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgVhKcl_3lHfdFVyenBBNjNpQ2lieG81WGpqQTNfVUE#gid=0

 

Final solution, you must go forth and listen...many shops in Sydney for you to visit to enjoy your research phase.

 

:gs1000smile:

post #283 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheNoose View Post
 


Dear Hemtmaker

 

Mate...based on all of the reviews and listening tests I have read and heard/done, I would recommend the iDSD for desktop use. It has more power, clearer sound, greater sound stage, and more features (up to DSD files). It is also expandable through power conditioning, cables and so on from iFi. If the Chord Hugo is the top of this portable tree, then the iFi is 0.99999998 of that standard.

 

On the other hand for desktop use there are many serious desktop size DAC/AMPs out there, see this wonderful spreadsheet for some examples, noting that the one's in green are obviously recommended by the authors.

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AgVhKcl_3lHfdFVyenBBNjNpQ2lieG81WGpqQTNfVUE#gid=0

 

Final solution, you must go forth and listen...many shops in Sydney for you to visit to enjoy your research phase.

 

:gs1000smile:

Thank you very much TheNoose. your spreadsheet is very comprehensive. I actually don't know any good place in Sydney that I can audition the IDSD, hugo etc... easily. Mostly, we just have mainstream type audio stuff. I guess Melbourne will be the place to go... Thanks anyways. I am also leaning toward the IDSD micro over the PHA3 due to higher power and more positive reviews. 

post #284 of 1620
CASTLE HIFI FOR CHORD GEAR...
Shop 7/19 Victoria Ave, Corner Carrington Rd and Victoria Ave
Castle Hill 2154

P.O. Box 1735 Castle Hill  1765 

 02 9899 9079
 (02) 9899 9534
 castlehill@sydneyhifi.com.au

OPENING HOURS

Mon-Fri 9am - 5.30pm
Sat 9am - 5pm
Sun - Closed (Family Day)

AND HERE IS THE DEALER FOR IFI PRODUCTS..YES MELBOURNE BUT YOU SHOULD CONTACT THIS FORUM MEMBER FOR SYDNEY CONTACTS: SYNRG


Edited by TheNoose - 12/3/14 at 7:05pm
post #285 of 1620
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

Well, for starters, the ifi Micro iDSD's amp section offers a maximum output of 4000 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load vs. the Sony PHA-3's maximum output (with the balanced connectors) of only320 mW per channel into a 32-Ohm load - which roughly equates to only 160 mW per channel into a 64-Ohm load.

So... going by their respective factory specs, the iDSD delivers twenty five times as much power as the PHA-3 when using the PHA-3's balanced connector

Thanks, i have also spotted the power difference. What i meant to ask was whether there is any other benefit of going balanced other than having more power? People often talk about synergy between systems and i wonder if power alone is a good enough metric in determining how good a system sounds.
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