FiiO X7 | DXD | DSD | 384K/64B | ESS9018+ Android | WiFi | Bluetooth | 4 AMP modules | Balanced Out |
Jan 7, 2015 at 1:50 AM Post #2,282 of 17,994

x RELIC x

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I'm sorry, but this statement misses the mark on how ALL DACs work these days. In fact, the ES9018S used in the X7 is the most "upsampling" of all DAC chips, and most of the time it upsamples (aka interpolate) to 1.536 MHz before D/A conversion via its 6th order Sigma-Delta modulators. Sigma-Delta DACs "upsample" as an integral part of their noise shaping functionality.

The product manager guy is basically talking nonsense in the video --- he's referring to the DSEE HX, which is nothing more than a resampler and equalizer with 24-bit precision, along with an extrapolation algorithm that "predicts" a resampling of 44.1 kS/s rates to 192 kS/s rates out to the theoretical Nyquist frequency of 96 kHz rather than 22.05 kHz. The DSEE can be turned off, BTW.

The ZX2, and the ZX1, and the F880, and the A10, all use the S-Master HX, which is a PWM DAC, and is more similar to the PS Audio Direct DSD DAC and NuForce DDA100 than anything else. Unfortunately, this also means, because of ultrasonic noise and noise floor modulation, PWM DACs essentially top out at 16-17 bits of resolution, and that just doesn't convey the whole purpose of high-resolution audio. THAT's the reason why the Sony Walkman players are a fail. But personally, I find the technology promising, and eventually they'll overcome the performance challenges.

With all that being said, the X7 is clearly a far better value, but don't trash Sony when you don't understand what's really going on. I'm sure even James has upmost respect for what Sony is doing.


Native DSD support is a farce these days. Sony's implementation actually comes much closer to true DSD conversion than anything else (more purist than the way ESS does it, actually), but PWM DACs just suck at DNR performance, and so there's no real point.


What I highlit in your post is just confirming what I said, which is in reference to the marketing in the video. I was not talking about how all DACs work, and didn't mention anything about the DAC.

Upsampling / resampling from 44.1 - 192 is useless. Can't create something from nothing.

James is (was?) a self proclaimed Sony fan btw.


I can understand how James, as the CEO of a company, and perhaps as a consumer, likes Sony, but the quality of products produced by FiiO vs marketing budget seems to be the opposite of Sony.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 2:15 AM Post #2,283 of 17,994

headwhacker

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I can understand how James, as the CEO of a company, and perhaps as a consumer, likes Sony, but the quality of products produced by FiiO vs marketing budget seems to be the opposite of Sony.

 
Sony today is far from what it used to in the 80s and 90s. I remember all the things I can find in the house are Sony's. TV, stereo player, etc.
 
Nowadays, I steer clear from Sony. They mostly offer what anybody else has but overpriced.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 2:29 AM Post #2,284 of 17,994

x RELIC x

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Sony today is far from what it used to in the 80s and 90s. I remember all the things I can find in the house are Sony's. TV, stereo player, etc.

Nowadays, I steer clear from Sony. They mostly offer what anybody else has but overpriced.


Agreed. Sony has pushed a lot of tech forward and is a master at consumer design (some epic fails too), but they aren't what they used to be.

Back on topic though, I hope FiiO stays true to what has made them successful so far....... Go X7!
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 5:17 AM Post #2,285 of 17,994

tomscy2000

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  Upsampling / resampling from 44.1 - 192 is useless. Can't create something from nothing.

 
It's not useless. Low pass filters are a lot easier to design for shallow roll-off instead of perfect brickwall filters. Anti-aliasing rejection is a lot easier. Please don't make blanket statements. If Sony is misleading with marketing materials, so are your statements.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 5:18 AM Post #2,286 of 17,994

JamesFiiO

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OK, there are two important thing about X7
 
 
1, Native DSD supports, first ,the Soc is RK3188, and it send DSD signal to ESS9018. and there are analog volume control ( although it is digital volume display ). Unless the ESS9018 is not supports Native DSD so X7 should be called native DSD support.
 
   BTW, X7 should supports ISO format .
 
 
2, The first real balanced output, means it is full balanced output from DAC to the amp, as we known, there are some DAP which supports balanced output, but the volume control is not balanced ( for balanced volume control you need 4 channels volume ).
 
   depended on my personal research, X7 is the only one which supports balanced volume control in the world ( not includes desktop DAP ).
 
 
BTW, I am big fans of SONY, of course not the SONY in 21 century. I heard that Jobs also was fans of SONY . 
 
FiiO Stay updated on FiiO at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/FiiOAUDIO https://twitter.com/FiiO_official https://www.instagram.com/fiioofficial/ https://www.fiio.com
Jan 7, 2015 at 5:27 AM Post #2,287 of 17,994

tomscy2000

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So the X7 will do analog volume control with a differential signal? Great!
 
Seriously, people need to stop freaking out over "native" DSD. These days, "native support" mostly means "we feed DSD data, not decimated PCM to the DAC chip". There's a lot of debate about whether or not the ES9018 does "true DSD" conversion, but it really doesn't matter. If the DSD output of the ES9018 is good enough for the likes of Daniel Weiss, it really shouldn't matter to us people.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 6:37 AM Post #2,289 of 17,994

x RELIC x

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So the X7 will do analog volume control with a differential signal? Great!

Seriously, people need to stop freaking out over "native" DSD. These days, "native support" mostly means "we feed DSD data, not decimated PCM to the DAC chip". There's a lot of debate about whether or not the ES9018 does "true DSD" conversion, but it really doesn't matter. If the DSD output of the ES9018 is good enough for the likes of Daniel Weiss, it really shouldn't matter to us people.


Tomscy2000, honestly not trying to be argumentative, but please explain how creating(interpolating) more samples (speaking about sample rate) from less samples is beneficial, besides increasing processor load, specifically in the process of converting from non-hi-rez 16/44.1 to high rez audio as stated by Sony. I've read much on the subject and a very simple and basic analogy for me would be uprezing SD to HD. it never looks good. You can PM if you like, as I don't want to derail this thread further. Case in point, you are giving a blanket statement that native DSD doesn't (really)matter, although some people value the knowledge that it is not converted to PCM. I for one don't mind PCM down conversion from DSD, but that process isn't trying to add information that didn't already exist in the original file.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 6:43 AM Post #2,290 of 17,994

x RELIC x

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OK, there are two important thing about X7


1, Native DSD supports, first ,the Soc is RK3188, and it send DSD signal to ESS9018. and there are analog volume control ( although it is digital volume display ). Unless the ESS9018 is not supports Native DSD so X7 should be called native DSD support.

   BTW, X7 should supports ISO format .


2, The first real balanced output, means it is full balanced output from DAC to the amp, as we known, there are some DAP which supports balanced output, but the volume control is not balanced ( for balanced volume control you need 4 channels volume ).

   depended on my personal research, X7 is the only one which supports balanced volume control in the world ( not includes desktop DAP ).


BTW, I am big fans of SONY, of course not the SONY in 21 century. I heard that Jobs also was fans of SONY . 


Good information! Thanks James. It looks like the X7 will be turning out to be like the HA-1 DAC implementation. I think that's a good thing.

Yes, Sony used to be a different entity for many good reasons.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 7:37 AM Post #2,291 of 17,994

headwhacker

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Tomscy2000, honestly not trying to be argumentative, but please explain how creating(interpolating) more samples (speaking about sample rate) from less samples is beneficial, besides increasing processor load, specifically in the process of converting from non-hi-rez 16/44.1 to high rez audio as stated by Sony. I've read much on the subject and a very simple and basic analogy for me would be uprezing SD to HD. it never looks good. You can PM if you like, as I don't want to derail this thread further. Case in point, you are giving a blanket statement that native DSD doesn't (really)matter, although some people value the knowledge that it is not converted to PCM. I for one don't mind PCM down conversion from DSD, but that process isn't trying to add information that didn't already exist in the original file.


Sigma Delta DACs do oversampling/upsampling internally not to increase resolution but to effectively filter aliasing noise but moving it to non audible range. Unless a DAP has R2R DAC they can't claim over/upsampling is not involved. You'll be surprise that oversampling is done at 8x the sampling rate of input signal. :grin:
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 7:41 AM Post #2,292 of 17,994

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I can understand how James, as the CEO of a company, and perhaps as a consumer, likes Sony, but the quality of products produced by FiiO vs marketing budget seems to be the opposite of Sony.

 
Nah, don't forget people of his generation (and mine, mostly) grew up with Sony as "the standard" for all things electronics. It is always a sad thing to see a company's glory days fading into history. We are but trying to hold onto a small piece of it in our own way.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 7:43 AM Post #2,293 of 17,994

x RELIC x

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Sigma Delta DACs do oversampling/upsampling internally not to increase resolution but to effectively filter anti aliasing noise but moving it to non audible range. Unless a DAP has R2R DAC they can't claim over/upsampling is not involved. You'll be surprise that oversampling is done at 8x the sampling rate of input signal. :grin:


Yes, but in the video Sony guy is advertising uprezing standard audio to high-rez audio. That's what's put a bee in my bonet. :wink:
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 7:45 AM Post #2,294 of 17,994

tomscy2000

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There is no direct sound quality benefit to upsampling --- like mentioned, you can't create something from nothing.
 
Rather, it is an engineering benefit. Signal reconstruction requires a process called convolution, which is low-pass filtering the impulse train. This is not an analog low-pass filter; it is a digital one --- that's what people refer to as the "digital filter". Brickwall filters usually contain a lot of pre-/post-ringing. Shallow filters are bad at suppressing aliasing images. The ones that have the best properties of both worlds (i.e. good rejection of aliasing and low ringing) are complicated. Complicated filters require a lot of processing power, e.g. the one used on the Chord Hugo, which is why readily built-in filters are often not preferred by engineers, given enough time, budget, and processing power. If you upsample, you raise the Nyquist limit beyond the hearing range, which makes filter designs a lot easier because they can be constructed shallowly. This is less work for the engineer, and it makes component selection easier as well.
 
The Sony actually has least penalty to the act of upsampling, processor-wise, because its D/A conversion is dependent upon altering the speed and length of 1s and 0s in its digital timer (usually with an MCU). The operational bottleneck is basically a simple function of the rate at which the chip itself operates. However, the technical issue with these PWM DACs is noise --- capacitors don't switch instantaneously, they have finite filling/dumping times, so these switches need to not only switch in time with the data, but also relative to each other; naturally, high-frequency capacitor switching creates a lot of noise if not well-managed. Thus, the issues it has to overcome are mostly electronic in nature --- if they can overcome noise issues in designing switching capacitors and a very clean constant power supply, then they are essentially able to create highly efficient DACs with minimal parts. Choosing good parts for those few critical components is a romantic approach that many designers hope for, rather than having to optimize many components together.
 
However, since we're on the topic of the X7, upsampling itself is an issue relevant to all DACs, even to the X7. FiiO engineers will have the ability to load custom digital filters into the X7 (via the SoC and its ROM) if they so choose, or choose from the built-in Sabre filters, which are fast or slow roll-off symmetrical FIR filters. The choice of filters will have an impact on the sound produced by the X7, as each different filter will have different aliasing suppression properties, group delay, and dispersion. The master clock choice and frequency for the X7 will also help determine the amount of oversampling the X7 employs with the ES9018 (the desktop version ES9018 has some restrictions to what features on the chip can be turned on/off, and thus many people use workarounds to force the chip into certain modes), in addition to the jitter introduced by the clocks.
 
The point is, there are technical challenges for all digital designs, regardless of the choice. Some of the challenges are overlapping, others are not the same. We cannot just say one is better than the other merely by discussing small marketing choices. Sony has gone all in with its high-resolution audio push and they have indeed put their know-how into this new wave, in the hopes that it'll pay off for them in the long run, whilst continuing to work on this technology. Is the ZX2 kind of a rip-off at its price? Almost certainly. But it should still sound very good, and there will be people who buy it. No need to knock the hustle. The PHA-3 serves as their fallback, using traditional, tried and true techniques of D/A conversion with the ES9018K2M, etc.
 
At the same time, and this is the main point, because this is the X7 thread, FiiO has a host of challenges ahead of it to make the best possible halo product for its brand. Given their exponential improvement in engineering ability and software capability in a short amount of time, FiiO is deserving of recognition for continuing to work at its products while always pricing things at a point that is always reasonable. Four years ago, FiiO products were at best average and mostly mediocre (no need to sugarcoat it). They've improved drastically in the last couple of years. Now, they have a product in the works that can possibly dethrone or at the very least match competitors at many times its own cost.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 8:02 AM Post #2,295 of 17,994

headwhacker

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Yes, but in the video Sony guy is advertising uprezing standard audio to high-rez audio. That's what's put a bee in my bonet. :wink:


Since when did you listen to what a marketing guy says? :grin:

Don't forget Sony is also catering to as many audience as possible. If you look at the ZX2's spec list you know that at least half of the items has little or nothing to do with music playback. But to an average joe it looks superior compared to what X7 has on it's spec sheet.
 

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