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Any love for the Activo CT10?

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by CarmenC, Jul 10, 2018.
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  1. jhog
    Quick question - what, if any, difference does switching to the line out mode make? My understanding is that there’s no dedicated LO bypassing the HP amp, and have been stacking with my Alo Continental (it sounds LUSH btw :)) and detect no sq difference switching between LO mode and regular. Apologies if a dumb question!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2019
  2. TYATYA
    I pass my ct10 to my bro so can not confirm.
    Refer to my sp1000, out put to hd800s via se or bal., I hear a subtle change of highs : has more spark.
    Se : at volume lvl 132, sw on off LO 0.7V
    Bal. At volume lvl 139, sw on off LO 1.0V

    It is apprx volume
     
    jhog likes this.
  3. jhog
    Thanks for this. I’d still v much appreciate a technical answer to what the LO function does on the Ct10, if anyone able to provide
     
  4. mano800
    For those of you who have owned both, how does it compare to the Pioneer XDP-300R? This is obviously twice the price but it's several years old and the CT10 was made in collaboration with A&K so the new technology may make up for the difference in pricing. Any help is appreciated!
     
  5. jhog
    I’ve literally just made the switch after the 3.5 socket failed on my xdp 300r. Given the price difference I was expecting a little step down in quality, but I can honestly say that after a few weeks with the CT10, for me it absolutely blows the pioneer out of the water in most respects. It’s far more portable, and whilst plastic its build actually feels more hardwearing. The pioneer sockets always felt like they were on the verge of failing, and they did after like 4 months of careful use. Overall the UI on the pioneer is full android, so very like using a repurposed phone. As such it’s snappy, good and more flexible than the Activo, with full Playstore support etc. The CT10 is more basic and stripped down, but for me, as a music player it’s totally fine, and it’s very smooth to use. Typing etc is a bit more fiddly and you’re obviously more limited on apps, but again, I only occasionally miss that. One weakness for me of the Ct10 is the battery life. If you switched EVERYTHING off on the pioneer it would go for 14 hours or so, the CT10 is more like 8-10.

    Most important: sound. Comparing single ended (which is what I used on the pioneer and all that the CT10 has) it is, to my ears, a WAY more engaging and fun listen with the CT10. The xdp has good detail retrieval and soundstage, but so does the CT10 and the CT10 is just more enjoyable in every other way. Great bass, great highs, a truly holographic presentation. Since switching to the Ct10 I’ve been listening to my music far more than with the xdp300r. Which makes it sound like I didn’t like the pioneer, but I did. And I was gutted when it broke. Now I am really, really happy that it did! Oh and if you run the CT10 through an amp (am using the Alo Continental v2) it is stoopid fun!

    Hope this helps. (if you go onto the pioneer thread they’ll tell you the CT10 can’t be better cos it costs less than the pioneer. Dunno about that, and maybe balanced makes a big difference, but can only share my subjective experience, and tell you that they’re wrong :wink: )
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
    ehjie, trellus, gr8soundz and 2 others like this.
  6. mano800

    Man I wish you had said the opposite lol. I'm getting the 300R from a friend for $200 and at that price I can't say no
     
    jhog likes this.
  7. jhog
    awwwww, sorry!! Seriously though, I did like the pioneer, and that's a great price. I would STRONGLY recommend exploring some of the solutions floating around on the the xdp thread to strengthen the headphone sockets. I don't know how effective they are, but I do know that I assumed folk were being melodramatic about how fragile they were, and then looked silly when, despite taking good care of the dap, the 3.5mm failed on me.
     
    mano800 likes this.
  8. mano800
    Could you post a link to that thread? I've been on dozens over the last 2 days so it's all a bit of a mess for me lol
     
  9. jhog
    trellus and mano800 like this.
  10. gr8soundz
    Finally got my CT10 SS a few days ago. Roughly 40 bucks more than the regular CT10 via Amazon Japan. The Sega Saturn theme doesn't really add anything other than a few WAV files of game music but I much prefer the gray/blue color scheme plus I'm a huge fan of the Saturn (still have my original system and games from back in the day).

    I was looking for something small to use mainly as a transport since USB output is missing or rarely works on my audiophile phones and other Droid devices. Hoped a newer dedicated player might work better and the CT10 does; even got it working with my P1's DAC feature (which for me has been extremely finicky).

    The CT10 is pleasantly smaller than I thought but amazing considering the size. Very good sound but even better functionality. So far used local playback, Tidal, USB digital out, and line out. Love the 480 x 854 resolution on the tiny 3in screen. Still burning it in slowly so I won't comment too much on the sound but the CT10 is detailed and spacious enough so far (my AK Jr. has since been relegated to car only duty).

    The software is also miles ahead of my AK Jr. which didn't receive enough support but I decided to give AK another try once I saw the Activo's UI was very similar to their top tier players. Did the OTA firmware update on day 1. Strange to now see the option for 'CD Library' on a portable (must be for the added CD Ripper compatibility).

    More to come.....

    ct10.jpg

    PhotoEditor_20190223_035732113.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
    skingg, trellus and PhilW like this.
  11. gr8soundz
    At first thought I had the same problem; heard no difference with LO on or off. Then I remembered.....

    Similar to the AK Jr, it takes 2 steps to get LO working. Turning it on in the settings menu just displays the 'Line Out" option at top of the screen but it only appears while adjusting the volume. Once you touch (turn on) the option then LO (with fixed volume) will be active. The CT10 then shows whatever voltage is checked in the line out settings.

    Not a true line out but seems the Kann is AK's only player right now with a dedicated LO; I think even their flagship SP1000 uses a shared LO. The CT10's is effective though. Stacked with my ALO CV5, I forgot to do the second step above and was getting a lot of background noise for a few seconds when pausing playback. After tuning on LO, the noise never returned. Don't know if LO somehow bypasses the internal amp and/or increases impedance though.

    Also great to have the diff voltage settings for easier pairing with amps.
     
    jhog likes this.
  12. jhog
    Brilliant! Makes perfect sense and I would never have figured it out on my own... :)

    Just tried it now and it’s cleaned up the signal to my Continental V2 noticeably. Very happy camper!
     
  13. TYATYA
    Ah, you find out it.
    As you ask for a tech explain which I could not in prev post.
    On good enough headphones, subtle changing can be heard, on sp1000.
    However my ct10 had given to my bro, I can't say about LO sq
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  14. Stranger Than Fiction
    I’m wondering where I can get a hard case for this bad boy, a la an Otterbox. Already mine has taken a tumble or two whicjh has impacted the bus communicating with the SD card.

    Again I must reiterate how much my CT10 has brought my Sennheiser IE800s to life! The IE800s have a signature that is what I’d describe as being lean or attenuated, and whek I say attenuated I am referencing beer here rather than strictly audio. They sound like how a fine helles lager tastes.

    The CT10 turns the IE800s into a full blown rauchbier urbock! The 10 band EQ really does help fill in the Senn’s midrange while also taming their treble, without compromising it completely.
     
  15. gr8soundz
    Wish Otterbox made cases for every device but this is the only 'full' case I could find for the CT10. I ordered one via Zenmarket.jp and should have it in a week or two.
    http://www.cmpg.co.jp/musashino/ct10c1c/index.html

    Agreed, the EQ works well with local playback but unfortunately when using LO with EQ, similar to many other DAPs, the CT10 lowers the ouput (volume). Not sure if there's a way around this so, for now, not stacking any external amps with mine. Also wish EQ worked during USB output but I knew that may not be possible.
     
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