Audiophile by accident . The Hobby: An Unexpected Journey
Sep 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM Post #391 of 466
What is actually wrong with Diana Krall? It is fairly generic audiophile-ish music, but still..?
Sep 25, 2013 at 5:41 AM Post #392 of 466
I wanted some new headphones. As a victim of marketing, I almost bought Beats. Until a friend came in and said: No! Not Beats!
I ended up with V-MODA. For Christmas the same year, I got my first amp, the FiiO E17. I mainly use it for DAC these days.
Few months ago, I got into FLAC audio quality. I was hooked, and my iPod can't hold that much FLAC, so I use LAME 320kps.

I've gone through one pair of LP2s and one pair (now repaired by V-MODA) M100s.
I have LP2 x E17 and M100 x E12 Mont Blanc.
I'm an audiophile on a budget, I don't have the money like the OP to spend on headphones/equipment.

Welcome to this hobby Existence :D ! I started on a budget too, don't worry. Good luck with your career! :))
  How would you say the Moon Audio 650D compare to the MSB dac? I think someday I will try to acquire the MSB and pair it with the Odyssey Cyclops speaker amp. Supposedly a beautiful pairing with the LCD3...

As I said in the review, Analog DAC impressed me more than the 650D. MSB has more natural and analog sound than the 650d, and actually it is better in every way. 
Sep 25, 2013 at 7:22 AM Post #393 of 466
Thanks Dan.
I won't be spending much more on headphones or audio so far. Got a return on the amp, but put the amp on Head-Fi.
Oct 14, 2013 at 12:58 PM Post #394 of 466


← Simaudio Moon Evolution 650D – Review


Simaudio Moon Evolution 650D - Review


FiiO E12 Mont Blanc – Review

Posted on October 14, 2013by HeadMania
Hey guys,

I had my eyes on FiiO E12 for a long time now, since I’ve seen the little fellow at Sandu’splace. I remember I tried it with LCD-2 at that time and it could drive them quite nicely.

That was amazing coming from that little black box.

After that, I looked up the specs and was pleasantly surprised to see that the output power is > 880 mW @ 32 Ohms, which is pretty impressive coming from a portable amplifier powered by battery and at that size ( 124 x 65.5 x 14.5 mm )

E12 uses OPA1611 and LME49600 OPAMP combination. The OPA1611 serves as amplifier and LME49600 plays the role of currency outputting.

It also has ALPS potentiometer and is powered by a clean battery so it can achieve low level of distortion.

While looking at it, I saw a gain selector (0 , 16 db), crossfeed and bass boost.

Hmm, crossfeed, I have first tried a hardware level implementation of crossfeed at my first headphone amplifier the Meier Audio Corda Cantate 2.

This article is explains in detail  what crossfeed does.

The short version from wikipedia is this:

Crossfeed is the process of blending the left and right channels of a stereo audio recording. It is generally used to reduce the extreme channel separation often featured in early stereo recordings (e.g., where instruments are panned entirely on one side or the other), or to make audio played through headphones sound more natural, as when listening to a pair of external speakers.

I have felt improvements with this on, only with old recordings, like ACDC – The Razors Edge. However, overall, the crossfeed takes away from the impact/attack and details.

Some may prefer to leave it on as it is less tiring.

The bass boost is quite nice and it is felt especially with the sub bass. This is useful with headphones that lack some body or for bass heads.

The build quality of the unit is quite appealing. It is made of aluminium and has a very nice design.


The E12 is bigger than the E10 or E17 but still is in portable range as it is similar toSamsung Galaxy S1‘s size, smaller than Galaxy S4.

Sound performance

So it looks very nice, has nice build quality and nice specs, but how does it sound?

I have done the tests with Burson Conductor as DAC, Audeze LCD-3Sennheiser HD800Focal Spirit One and Mikros 90.

Massive Attack – Angel

This song has some really nice sub-bass and E12 got it just right. The sound was engaging and the bass had weight and decent control. It really got me toe tapping.

Enya – The Celts

The background was black and you could actually call it blackground 
 . Fiio didn’t lie about the distortion as the sound is very clean. Enya’s voice was clean and relaxing as it should.

Michael Jackson – Wanna be starting something

The PRAT was decent and the overall song was toe tapping. Michael’s voice seemed natural and without any coloration added. Because of the black background the instrument separation was quite good and the instruments were detailed and standed out.

Michael Oldfield – Cochise

The sound was spacious and the guitars from the beginning tickled my ears.The chord’s extensions were good and when the electric guitar kicked in the sound became very engaging. I would have liked a little more weight to the sound. Oh wait…I have the bass boost.  That solved my problem. The added weight was a little unnatural but it was ok overall, but to be fair my ears wouldn’t resist with bass boost on for a long period of time.

Infected Mushroom – None of this is Real

This guy is a great amplifier but this is where I felt the LCD3 and HD800 needed more. However it drove them at a decent level. They needed more for depth, punch and imaging.



The sound was detailed and the instruments tickled your ears on many occasions.


It seemed to me that the E12 didn’t add any warm signature /coloration as the E17 andE10 did.

Airy Sound

The sound has a good soundstage, with a black background that leads to good instrument separation.


The FiiO E12 is a great piece of gear that deserves all your attention if you are looking for portability.

It can drive all of the power hungry iems / ciems or portable headphones out there. It can also drive the Audeze LCD3 and Sennheiser HD800 to a decent level.

I don’t think it has competition at it’s price & performance.

So FiiO strikes again with another excellent product that has no competition at that price. I like what FiiO does very much. They studied the market and filled what was missing, and did an awesome job with that.


  1. excellent price for what it offers
  2. good build quality and design
  3. nice features
  4. airy sound with good instrument separation
  5. detailed sound
  6. good PRAT

As for cons, at that price I cannot find any.

I am really happy that AVstore became an official FiiO dealer and we have access to them in Romania.


FiiO X3 - Review

Oct 16, 2013 at 9:27 AM Post #395 of 466

FiiO E12 Mont Blanc - Review


FiiO X3 – Review

Posted on October 15, 2013by HeadMania
Hey guys,

I have stressed for some time now on what phone I would get that has decent sound. At first I got the Galaxy S1 that had a Wolfson Dac and combined with Voodoo Sound I got decent playback.

Recently I got a Galaxy S4 knowing it has a Wolfson Dac too but I didn’t notice the European version didn’t have it, and I don’t like the sound on it.

I didn’t want to go for an Ipod or something similar because It didn’t find them to sound better than my S1 (which i kept just for music).

However, recently FiiO released their first portable player, the FiiO X3 which would solve all of my problems in this regard and at a decent price.

When I looked at the specs I saw some interesting things:

  1. X3 can play APEFlacAlacWma, Wav and the usual lossy formats like MP3,OGG  WMA files and at 192k/24Bit .
  2. It has 10 hours playback time
  3. It has the Wolfson WM8740 Dac Chip which I like a lot because of how it performs inFiiO E17
  4. Same hardware equalizer for bass & treble as in E17
  5. Multiple Outputs like USB 2.0Line Out, Coaxial Out, Headphone out, which means that you can also use it just as transport to another DAC, which is very nice. I also heard that FiiO plans a firmware upgrade to make the X3 a USB Dac too, which would be absolutely awesome.
  6. Has support for 65GB Micro SD Card


From distance, the build quality seems as sturdy as the other FiiO products, but when you take it in your hand you realize it has thinner materials, not so resistant as those fromFiiO E12 or E17.

X3 has an easy to use menu and you can’t do anything else on it aside listening to music, that being the main focus of the unit. The screen is also there for the same purpose and nothing more.

Sound Impressions

Let’s get down to business, shall we?

I have done the tests with Focal Spirit One, Mikros 90 , Audeze LCD3Sennheiser HD800, & FiiO E12 .

Massive Attack – Inertia Creeps

The first thing I observed was the good PRAT. The drums had a good impact and tactility. The instruments also popped into attention very easy and made a good impression.

Johny Cash – The Man Comes Around

I love the FiiO sound signature. The guitars chords and the voice are right there with you playing with your eardrum.  The plucks tickle your ears and the voice is very warm and engaging. It really hit on my soft spot.

Rachmaninov – Symphonic Dances 

Considering the sound signature of FiiO, I was pleasantly surprise by the performance with this classical masterpiece. The instruments had a very good presence, feel & tactility, especially the lower notes ones. The flutes and similar instruments were more mellow and not so well detailed but very pleasant to the ears, flowing with delicacy and caressing your ears.  Some may prefer a more neutral sound, but I found the x3 having an airy presentation also with a decent soundstage making it very suitable for classical music as well.

Tracy Chapman – Speak the Word

Again, I was very impressed with FiiO. The guitars & drums are just awesome. They have a very good tactility and detail, they just make me dance. Also the voice has a very good tonality and texture.

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

You would think that the X3 would be excellent with rock considering it’s sound signature. Well you cannot be more right. I just cannot stop from headbanging here. The PRAT is amazing and the drums and electric guitars just charge you with energy.



The bass has a very good depth being slightly elevated (the mid-bass ) but very fun to listen to. It has a very good punch and feel overall, making the drums very engaging!


The bass and mid-range is what I love about the X3. It is a little elevated as well making the instruments like guitars, cellos, voices very engaging, tactile and pleasant.


The treble is a little recessed and has no sign of brightness. Many people could prefer more extended treble but X3‘s treble is mellow and very pleasant to the ears.


I love the attack and the tactility it gives to the instruments. You can feel the guitars and drums like they are near you. The decay is a little slower than the attack giving it a little tubey feel.


The sound has very good definition and detail, in both micro and macro departments.

Excellent PRAT

I cannot stop listening to it. The x3 is very engaging and can rock your world. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself acting like this on the street while listening to it.


Am I going to recommend FiiO X3? What? You didn’t buy one yet 

Of course I recommend it. The X3  is just awesome.

At this price the X3 is a steal. I loved it with all the headphones I tested it with, even withHD800 with which made a very good pair sound wise – good bass, engaging and warm sound with no sibilance or brightness.

I even liked the LCD3 with it, though not as much as HD800 which was a better match.

Even though I would recommend the X3 paired with the E12 with LCD3 & HD800, it did a decent job by itself.

So you can take your HD800 from your desktop rig and listen to it in your bedroom for a few hours without a problem.

I seriously don’t see any competitor to the X3 in this price range except maybe IBasso DX50 which I haven’t heard yet.


  1. bass with good punch and depth
  2. detailed in both micro/macro departments
  3. excellent prat, good dynamics and energy
  4. very good attack that gives tactility to the instruments
  5. voices sound very natural and well textured
  6. very good price


  1. the build quality is below E12 and E17  material wise
  2. some may consider the lack of neutrality a con, but in this case it is my kind of coloration 

Can’t wait to hear the upcoming FiiO X5.


Chord Signature USB - Review

Oct 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM Post #396 of 466
Did you buy the X3 to use with full sized headphones? You can pick them up dirt cheap on here and since Raz bought the Astell & Kern player that I was going to buy I've been considering one of these for IEMs. This review has kind of helped me overcome the audiophile snobbery I felt towards Filo stuff.
Oct 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM Post #397 of 466
Did you buy the X3 to use with full sized headphones? You can pick them up dirt cheap on here and since Raz bought the Astell & Kern player that I was going to buy I've been considering one of these for IEMs. This review has kind of helped me overcome the audiophile snobbery I felt towards Filo stuff.

Didn't buy one yet, but I will soon. I love the FiiO products (have the e17 at work) . They are a real bang for the buck. As I said in the review, the x3 is ok if you want to take your HD800 for a few hours into the bedroom with X3. If you are more serious than that with power hungry headphones, I recommend you pare the x3 with e12 which has enough juice (>800mw in 32 ohms).
Oct 16, 2013 at 1:41 PM Post #398 of 466
Did you buy the X3 to use with full sized headphones? You can pick them up dirt cheap on here and since Raz bought the Astell & Kern player that I was going to buy I've been considering one of these for IEMs. This review has kind of helped me overcome the audiophile snobbery I felt towards Filo stuff.

There is one ak120 for sale presently. Uk. The x3 I also bought went to gf. She loves it.
Oct 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM Post #399 of 466
There is one ak120 for sale presently. Uk. The x3 I also bought went to gf. She loves it.

My gf isn't remotely interested in anything audio related. I doubt whether she'd appreciate the difference between a top of the line STAX system and some Apple earbuds.

How do you find the AK100? The thing that put me off them when they first came out was the ridiculously high output impedance. I was interested in the one you bought with the RWA mod but you got there before me. The AK120 does look tempting at that price.
Oct 17, 2013 at 8:45 AM Post #401 of 466
It looks sharp and clean Dan!
Oct 17, 2013 at 11:01 AM Post #403 of 466

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