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Acoustic Research M20 Coming soon

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by dnun8086, Feb 4, 2016.
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  1. Tinnitus Man
    Just a thought, is burning-in likely to improve the volume, or should the level be ok right out of the box?
  2. Darkestred
    I updated to this firmware and gave a good listen before sleep a couple weeks ago. All was ok. Then after reading this i decided to see if i could tell a difference between the mojo and this unit. I not only experienced the low volume (which is alleviated by pausing and unpausing) but i also experienced DEAFENING levels when the volume was only halfway. After setting the volume to one notch above mute it was the same volume as halfway. When i went to raise the volume later in the session it was suddenly at the halfway point.

    Considering this device is nearly impossible to sell. AR can you please fix the firmware. I do like the device.
  3. Tinnitus Man
    I think that yours is working better than mine. Pausing/unpausing doesn't stop the quietness.

    This device has been out for 18 months or so now, so I'd have assumed that the firmware would have reached a stable point by now. It's just not there. The system crashes on occasion, the "scan database" feature is flakey (sometimes it works, sometimes it keeps asking you over and over again, sometimes it says it's still scanning. Administering playlists is painful (at least with my AK Jr, I can just upload playlists from the computer).

    The overriding issue for me is the sound. I don't know whether this is down to the firmware or a manufacturing defect, but even when I raise the volume up to 75-90% to make it listenable, the quality is just not there (it's like butter spread too thin).

    I really did want to love this device. Even with the software issues, I would have kept it if the sound was good.

    I'm going to return this while I still can.
  4. Darkestred
    Damn. That sucks. Before you lose hope i would suggest trying Poweramp. I forget what works well on the unit but there are two alpha builds 7.02 and 7.03 (something along those lines). However, there is an issue registering the applications because there is no google services unless i am not thinking this through. There is one more issue where it takes a few seconds (sometimes 10-20) before a song will play but after that it is seamless. I think PA sounds better than the default player but i am not sure how good the unit sounds due to the horrible volume issue and i can't recall sound from months ago on the old firmware.

    This issue wasn't there on the prior firmware but then again the stock player also sucked balls on the firmware below it. At least, the new firmware its somewhat usable.
  5. Tinnitus Man
    I've just compared the volume levels between the AK Jr and the AR-M20. I think I'm going slightly mad as the AK is the same - my usual volume setting on that is set at about two third of maximum, so the M20 is similar in that respect.

    I've had poweramp on my previous ZX2, and that was a nice player. What I'm uncertain about is whether it'll bypass the Android sound stack in the same way that AR Player does.

    AK and AR both have similar sounds as well. Now I'm thinking that maybe my tinnitus is especially bad right now (sounds normally cut right through the tinnitus I have, but sometimes I'm deafer than normal).

    I'll take a punt and stick with it for a while. I have a HiBy R6 on order in the meantime, so I'll keep whatever device I like the best and sell the other two.
  6. crabdog
    Burning-in will not affect the volume.
    I'd suggest you install any 3rd party music player and then test the volume level with that. At least that way you should know if the hardware is defective or something to do with AR Player.

    I'm fairly sure PA won't bypass the Android system. This is because I've tried a couple of different players, plus Tidal and with those, I can connect to another device with Bluetooth. However, Bluetooth can't be used when playing from AR Player :/
  7. Tinnitus Man
    Ok, so after a day's use, this player is really growing on me. I let a colleague here at work have a listen and he reported that it sounded great, except for the bass sounding a bit weak (but then again, my ON2s aren't bassy cans, so that's fine).

    I did try downloading HiBy player, but it didn't work out too well (music just cuts when I change the volume).

    AR Player Pro seems to be working ok now, as flaky as it is. I really wish that the software on this player was more stable, and I guess I was a little vain in assuming that after a year, it would be.
  8. crabdog
    Strangely, I haven't really had any software issues with mine. The only problem I have is that the Bluetooth connection is really weak.

    The On2 is a good match for the M20!
  9. Tinnitus Man
    The more I listen to this DAP, the more I like it, the sound is really engaging, detailed, fresh. It seems to improve with volume (although I can only go so loud in the office).

    The lack of a hardware play/pause button is a bit of a pain, so I've enabled the developer options in the settings and enabled the "Stay awake" option. This stops the screen from blanking out when the charging cable is being used (I just leave it plugged in while I'm in the office).

    Great battery life as well (although I have WiFi and BT turned off).
  10. crabdog
    Indeed, the battery is a huge win on this device. I love the fact that I don't need to bother shutting down and booting up when I use it. Just tap the power button and it instantly comes to life.
  11. Tinnitus Man
    After getting no response at all from AR, I contacted eXtream Software Developments, who supplied AR with the Player PRO app (which is just a hacked version of their USB Player PRO app) regarding the missing playlist feature.

    I got an almost immediate response, but it seems as though AR has somehow broken this. I also asked whether it's possible to get updates for the app via an APK (as opposed to waiting for AR to provide a firmware update). eXtream can't do this (probably a licensing issue with AR), so we have to wait. There's going to be an update to address some of the UI issues (swiping to and from the main screen) in a couple of months, but no word on whether AR will deploy this in a firmware update.
  12. tonehk
    Is it possible to install the USB Audio Player Pro apk onto your AR M20?
  13. Tinnitus Man
    Yes, but why? You'd essentially be using the M20 as a transport to an external DAC (as far as I understand it).
  14. tonehk
    You can use the USB Audio Player Pro app on your AR M20 instead of the AR Player Pro default app. Since the AR Player Pro app is heavily based on USB Audio Player Pro, you can use the latest version of USB Audio Player Pro with all the fixes and improvements. The AR M20 will unlikely receive updates.
  15. Tinnitus Man
    But the USB player (from what I understand) pipes the digital output to an external DAC. I'm guessing that the AR branded app pipes that output to AR's DAC/Amp instead of through the USB port.
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