Campfire - Solaris
Jun 1, 2020 at 3:51 PM Post #9,109 of 11,662

BeerNuts

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Final update on the FiiO M11 Pro and Solaris 2020's.

The FiiO is going back to amazon today. I gave it a few days, i played everything i had though it but there were a few issues.

Design Choice, As mentioned this is horrible to hold in your hand, super sharp corners and boxy rectangular shape just doesn't sit well. The power button is on the top which you use to turn off the screen. You can not lock the screen one handed without adjusting your grip and the grip already sucks as mentioned before. You can double tap to wake it up so at least there is that. But it's not an easy set song, off screen, relax listen. The front and back are pure black glass and that means finger prints and scratching will occur. I have baby the hell out of it so no scratches for me but finger prints galore. Its not an attractive look. I was coming from a Sony ZX300 which had sandblasted rounded edges and a leather backing. It looked and felt far better than this and far more premium. Not to mention a side power for on and off screen which was incredibly easy to use. I kinda hate everything about the FiiO design choices.

Sound 3.5, Out of the 3.5 jack there is minimal hissing as mentioned before but there is some sort of electrical interference that you can hear. I guess maybe it has no hiss but actually just tiny interference? Not a problem though, you need rat like ears to pick it up. Only in my most quiet night listening can I really tell. Just being honest here if you have rat ears like i do. Sound wise the 3.5 jack is the big winner, wonder bass and a deep sound, everything is clear and lovely. I can't complain about anything sound wise. Staging, separation, mids, high, bass etc. I cant really say much sounds good man! BUT, When I compare the FiiO 3.5 to the ZX300+ieMatch they sound the same. In fact the zx300 eeks out a win in sound because the iematch makes a totally black background. I said you can't hear it on the FiiO but if you swap sources from a dead black to a not dead black you instantly hear it. Albums like Beck's Sea of Change that have very quiet parts make it more obvious. The zx300+iematch I guess win on 3.5 sound because they can slightly cheat. Obviously if you only have the FiiO M11 Pro its going to sound amazing on the 3.5 (minus the tiny hiss deal). It's a harder choice when you are replacing a existing item.

Sound 4.4 (PWAudio No5 copper cable), This is where you lose me on the FiiO. Remember that tiny hiss from the 3.5? Well its back with vengeance it now bleeds into the music and you certainly can know its there. If the 3.5 was a 1/5 hiss, this is a 2/5. I always switch to the 4.4 because I want better music not worse. It's 'ok' and maybe not noticeable to some people. It's no where near a airplane or some garbage output but it's not acceptable for audiophile level listening of quite music. The 3.5 is actually better for noise. If i revisit the zx300 on 4.4 i think it may actually have less his than the FiiO, or its at least not as noticeable in the music. This is rather a let down because you can hear that sound quality may actually be a bit more dynamic out of the 4.4 if it was just quieter. *shrug*

Battery, When I first turned on the FiiO after a full charge i could watch it count down like a timer on batter percentage. I have only ever had the zx300 for the last two years of this hobby so a android dap is new to me. But watching it tick down is laughable. I think all android players have this issue so cant complain too much but good 'ol sony has battery for days and days. I lose the sexy album art display and all of the custom fun of android which sucks. I really want that android look, big screen and all that, but with the m11 Pro it's just not worth the trade off.

Now for the major kick in the teeth, this is what's going to make you lose all respect for my opinion haha. I have gone out and cheated on my zx300 with 2 new daps, we tried the fiio m11 pro and the hiby r6 pro. After a enchanting weekend out with the fiio we have returned home in shame for judgment. But the ultimate slap in the face is when today I sat down to write this out and compare the fiio and sony head to head, to really make sure before I hit that return button. On the 4.4 the zx300 actually wins because it seems to sound as good as FiiO did, super minor hiss but in fact way less than the FiiO. That brings us to the 3.5, its super subtle the changes but the zx300+iematch probably win over the straight fiio 3.5 output as well. 3.5 is a damn close battle. You would need a A/B tester to really catch anything. I can't swap cables that fast.

So what the hell happened?! Because when I first got my 2020's they sounded veiled and anemic out of the Sony ZX300. So much that i complained about it on here and started my new dap hunt. My OG's were so wonderful for the last year and the 2020's just did not have that dynamic spark using the same cables and dap. I can swear to the heavens that I A/B tested with the OG Solaris and the ZX300 all day when I got them. I even tested 3hrs later, and a day later. I have not been lax on my judgment here. I just spent $1500 on a 'side grade' IEM, I certainly didn't want a new dap as well. I have been quite angry about all of this and dap hunting sucks. Anyway, we now push aside the FiiO and return home to the zx300. Back to our same 4.4 PWAudio No5, and 3.5 Smoky Litz. We then go head to head with the OG Solaris and only the ZX300. Everything from my initial complaint last week is ****ing gone. Everything. Out of the 4.4 they have the same hiss as the OG Solaris have, which is near dead silent. That was my ultimate pairing before. Are they veiled now? Nope. Are they lacking bass? Nope. Are the mids and highs too bright and fatiguing? Nope. Of course the sound signature is different to the OGs, we know that. But today none of my initial problems exist anymore. The 2020's day one and two were hot garbage on the zx300. I spent $1200 in daps in two days just to "fix" them which i didn't want to spend. All that has changed is a billion hours of listening, back and fourth swapping daps, and cables.

You know I even emailed campfire support and said Ken and the staff loved the zx300 with the OG's. That I had just gotten my 2020's and they sounded awful and what did they now recommend. Support basically emailed me back 'wat?' and reminded me they recommend 160hrs of burn in on units. They didn't even recommend any other daps lol. They must have thought i was an idiot lol.

TL;DR

Which brings us to apparently the moral of the story. BURN IN YOUR DAMN 2020's. Seriously. I can't find any other reason for my week of dap nonsense hell. I have lived and breathed dap research since I got the 2020's last week. Never in a billion years would i expect to just plug them back into the ZX300 today and actually notice this level of difference. In fact I need to go back and edit my original impressions because i worry someone will see them before this. The ZX300 is totally fine with the 2020's, and it matches or even beats the FiiO M11 Pro and easily kills the HiBy R6 Pro as a paring. It is as good as it was with the OG's which is Ken recommended. I was so sure that i knew the zx300 was a crap pairing from last week that i have laser focused mostly on the M11 Pro for listening all weekend. I was trying to get used to my 'new home' and how to use the menus, settings, and all that. I never considered that in doing so I had burned the 2020's in enough to ****ing fix the zx300 issues. Burn in always sounded like complete and total BS. But when Campfire says give them 160hrs I freaking recommend you listen and give them 160hrs before you spend $1200 in daps. I just feel stupid and ashamed now haha.
 
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Jun 1, 2020 at 3:56 PM Post #9,110 of 11,662

Gww1

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When did you order?
Well I had the OG Solaris but they developed a fault so I sent them back to be checked. During that time the 2020 was announced. I was then told my OGs needed to be replaced so they would send a new pair, I asked if I could pay the difference and get the 2020 instead and they agreed. So you could say Ive been unlucky and lucky.

This was finalised on the 21st, so I guess I'm not one of the earlier pre orders.

When did you pre order?
 
Jun 1, 2020 at 4:03 PM Post #9,111 of 11,662

Toom

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Well I had the OG Solaris but they developed a fault so I sent them back to be checked. During that time the 2020 was announced. I was then told my OGs needed to be replaced so they would send a new pair, I asked if I could pay the difference and get the 2020 instead and they agreed. So you could say Ive been unlucky and lucky.

This was finalised on the 21st, so I guess I'm not one of the earlier pre orders.

When did you pre order?

Might be worth checking with them when they will despatch?

I ordered on 18th May.
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 7:09 AM Post #9,112 of 11,662

Toom

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20200602_094556.jpg
They have landed.

Here's an edited stream of consciousness rant I just had with a mate on WhatsApp - we both have the LGV30 and Fiio FH7s, so he was interested in how the Solaris compare:

Still need to tip roll and see what works best, but using the Final E tips supplied with them, these babies are soooo good!

Yeah, fit is better than FH7s for me. They are very similar in size.

Very easy to drive compared to the FH7s from the V30 - where I need to be at about 43-45 with one track, for example, I am at 36 with the Solaris.

But the sound! The sound is so full, natural and three dimensional. This is with the quad dac set to normal and short.

Sorry, am virtually drooling.

Isolation is brilliant - better than the FH7s anyway, but difficult to know until I go outside what is like vs traffic. Off top of my head, they are more like the Shures than the Fiios.

Bass is deep and full and visceral
But absolutely zero bleed into the mids
Mids are smooth as chocolate butter on a velvet cushion

It's not a simple equation eh - does three times the price of the Fiios mean three times better sound?
Impossible to compute.

Let's just say early impressions are they fit waaay better and sound just as sweet, if not better, than the original Solaris. And that's a tangibly large step up from the FH7s.

Can feel guitars and bass in a tactile way.
Spine tingles, goosebumps, no joke.

Vocals sending shivers

Honeymoon of course, but trying to be objective

I was a little worried i would find the 2020s disappointing, but was fairly confident based on my reaction to the sonics of the original gold version. From an aesthetic viewpoint, the stealth black and smaller earprint is a huge improvement for me.

So yeah - while my wallet bleeds, my heart sings.
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 7:51 AM Post #9,113 of 11,662

Hi-fi Wigwammer

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@Toom That's good to hear. My Solaris 2020s arrive tomorrow from Autologica. I too have been mainly using Fiio FH7s of late (with a Sony ZX2).
Looking forward to listening to them. This was a blind purchase. I've never heard any CA earphones before!
 
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Jun 2, 2020 at 8:03 AM Post #9,114 of 11,662

Toom

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@Toon That's good to hear. My Solaris 2020s arrive tomorrow from Autologica. I too have been mainly using Fiio FH7s of late (with a Sony ZX2).
Looking forward to listening to them. This was a blind purchase. I've never heard any CA earphones before!

Awesome - be eager to hear your impressions, especially vs the FH7s.
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 8:07 AM Post #9,115 of 11,662

fokta

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@Toom That's good to hear. My Solaris 2020s arrive tomorrow from Autologica. I too have been mainly using Fiio FH7s of late (with a Sony ZX2).
Looking forward to listening to them. This was a blind purchase. I've never heard any CA earphones before!
ZX2... my first DAP when I try OG...
anyway, welcome... looking forward ur impression
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 5:10 PM Post #9,118 of 11,662

keeney

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Final update on the FiiO M11 Pro and Solaris 2020's.

The FiiO is going back to amazon today. I gave it a few days, i played everything i had though it but there were a few issues.

I had the M11 Pro with my OG Andros back when I actually commuted to work and returned it for similar reasons:
  • way too big to carry around (almost fell out of my coat pocket a few times)
  • battery wouldn't last a work day + commute
  • hiss (fixed with IEMatch, but having an extra adapter with a DAP defeats the purpose)
  • Didn't really like their main music player
I switched to the Cowon Plenue R2 and it's much better.
  • There's no hiss that I can detect for either the OG Andros or my 2020 Solaris.
  • The screen size is large enough to navigate the music folders and small enough to fit in the pocket
  • A lot of different EQ options
  • Battery life is amazing
Only downsides of the Plenue R2
  • No Streaming apps (I don't use them anyways)
  • Corners are kind of sharp (I have the case for it to remedy that)
  • UI isn't the best
  • There's an option to use it as a DAC, but I had huge audio/video sync issues when using it.
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 5:25 PM Post #9,119 of 11,662

BeerNuts

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I had the M11 Pro with my OG Andros back when I actually commuted to work and returned it for similar reasons:
  • way too big to carry around (almost fell out of my coat pocket a few times)
  • battery wouldn't last a work day + commute
  • hiss (fixed with IEMatch, but having an extra adapter with a DAP defeats the purpose)
  • Didn't really like their main music player
I switched to the Cowon Plenue R2 and it's much better.
  • There's no hiss that I can detect for either the OG Andros or my 2020 Solaris.
  • The screen size is large enough to navigate the music folders and small enough to fit in the pocket
  • A lot of different EQ options
  • Battery life is amazing
Only downsides of the Plenue R2
  • No Streaming apps (I don't use them anyways)
  • Corners are kind of sharp (I have the case for it to remedy that)
  • UI isn't the best
  • There's an option to use it as a DAC, but I had huge audio/video sync issues when using it.

Ive heard people talking about the LG Quad Dac phones for like 2 years now. The guy above said it doesn't hiss as well so I took a chance bought a referb one to play around with. I will let it be my dap for streaming apps and farting around with if it lives up to the hype. I will keep the zx300 as my main dap but for the fun of testing android and streaming stuff a $150 used phone might be worth it. I have the itch for some android stuff and this seems like a easy chance to try it out.
 
Jun 2, 2020 at 5:28 PM Post #9,120 of 11,662

NaittsirK

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Ive heard people talking about the LG Quad Dac phones for like 2 years now. The guy above said it doesn't hiss as well so I took a chance bought a referb one to play around with. I will let it be my dap for streaming apps and farting around with if it lives up to the hype. I will keep the zx300 as my main dap but for the fun of testing android and streaming stuff a $150 used phone might be worth it. I have the itch for some android stuff and this seems like a easy chance to try it out.
Just make sure you are in High impedance mode.
You can switch it on if you plug in headphones grater then 50 ohms or by an impedance adapter.
 

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