Sound impression of Creative E3 vs AT-phA50bt
* Bass: E3 has deeper and cleaner bass, without the boominess (which the A50 displays from time to time, especially with tracks like Katie Melua's Red Ballons).
* E3 has better clarity and better details, by quite a bit.
* Voice: E3 has more intimate and more realistic voice, more engaging and demands attention. E3 also displays less glare/ sibilence.
* The A50's presentation is very layback. It might be voiced toward earphone/IEM use, sounds quite nice with my Earsonic SM3 IEM, no "in the head" feeling.
** A50's "virtual surround" effect: turn on the effect and the sound becomes a lot more spacious, probably from all the micro-reverbs added into the sound, a nice feature for playing back-ground music while performing other tasks.
*** distortion: the E3 starts to distort around volume 13 (total is about 16 clicks), this doesn't change whether it was a 250 ohm or 32 ohm phone. I suspect it might have something to do with the input of the headphone amp being over saturated after a certain level; the A50 is relatively distortion free up to step-15 (16 steps total), and the distortion at max volume is not very noticeable either --> the A50 has a wider usable volume range.
Functionality-wise, the A50 wins hands down, though
* A50 has a display which gives direct visual feedback on what is going on, plus the artist and the song title; E3 has no display.
* A50 (designed as a purely bluetooth device) goes to sleep by itself when not playing for a while, and the standby time is supposedly up to 100hrs, which is greatly convenient since you don't have to remember to turn it off; the E3 (designed to be used as a USB dac), on the other hand, doesn't go to sleep at all, if you forget to turn it off it will drain the battery all the way down in about 7 hours (Li-ion battery will not last too many of this kind of deep cycles).
*** impression update: after about one week of daily use (at work), the A50's sound opened up a bit though the E3 is still more clear. I really like the virtual-surround effect of the A50.
The main complain about the A50, at this point, is the battery life, the battery warming signal turns on after around 6 hours of playing. It might become necessary to piggy-back a larger battery on the bottom side.
Edited by AudioCats - 4/7/17 at 6:41pm