Pioneer XDP-300R | Twin DAC ES9018K2M | Balanced Out | Android | MQA | 2x MicroSD | WiFi | AptX
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Lurk650

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Have you turn on the auto volume function? It's under the ACG/BAL option page.
It shall neutralize the difference in volume between ACG and BAL.

ACG and BAL are different modes. There is no better one, just preference and headphone matching.
I'll test out the Auto Vol.

Official explanation of the two Balanced Drives:
"Balanced output via the 2.5mm 4-pole jack supports the more standard balanced (BTL) drive as well as the more esoteric Active Control Ground (ACG) drive. ACG drive is a different form of balanced drive where the amp’s cold side actively drives to create an ideally stable GND. Power gains and increased sound separation increase stability for a clean signal and greater sound clarity, especially compared to unbalanced drive."

So both are Balanced and I don't think it's really about headphone pairing. Not using Auto Volume and using Bal instead of ACG so increased vol can net better results for hard to drive headphones like my Amiron, will test out later
 
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LYuen

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I'll test out the Auto Vol.

Official explanation of the two Balanced Drives:
"Balanced output via the 2.5mm 4-pole jack supports the more standard balanced (BTL) drive as well as the more esoteric Active Control Ground (ACG) drive. ACG drive is a different form of balanced drive where the amp’s cold side actively drives to create an ideally stable GND. Power gains and increased sound separation increase stability for a clean signal and greater sound clarity, especially compared to unbalanced drive."

So both are Balanced and I don't think it's really about headphone pairing. Not using Auto Volume and using Bal instead of ACG so increased vol can net better results for hard to drive headphones like my Amiron, will test out later
The auto volume is supposed to eliminate the difference in volume between BAL and ACG
Turn it on and purely compare the different in sound effect. That is interesting.

BAL provides powerful sound (double output power), ACG provides similar audio signature (and output power) as unbalanced
ACG actually doesn't look attractive.

But the difference between BAL and ACG is significant in some headphones.
For example, my CKR100 with HDC212A cable

In BAL mode, it sounds like two circles centered at my left ear and right ear. Headroom is extended from the centers. Sound is rich and headroom is wide.
While in ACG, it is a single circle centered at the middle of my head. Sound is less rich and headroom is slightly narrower.

For BAL, although the headroom is wide, it sound a little bit strange when the environment is quiet, as I can clearly notice the two circles.
In this case, ACG sound much natural to me.

Therefore, I use BAL when I am outdoor, and use ACG when I am at home.

So this bring me to the "headphone pairing"
Some headphones are designed to center the sound. BAL can change such audio signature artificially.
This could result in an odd sound. These headphones do not match well with BAL
 
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Lurk650

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The auto volume is supposed to eliminate the difference in volume between BAL and ACG
Turn it on and purely compare the different in sound effect. That is interesting.

BAL provides powerful sound (double output power), ACG provides similar audio signature (and output power) as unbalanced
ACG actually doesn't look attractive.

But the difference between BAL and ACG is significant in some headphones.
For example, my CKR100 with HDC212A cable

In BAL mode, it sounds like two circles centered at my left ear and right ear. Headroom is extended from the centers. Sound is rich and headroom is wide.
While in ACG, it is a single circle centered at the middle of my head. Sound is less rich and headroom is slightly narrower.

For BAL, although the headroom is wide, it sound a little bit strange when the environment is quiet, as I can clearly notice the two circles.
In this case, ACG sound much natural to me.

Therefore, I use BAL when I am outdoor, and use ACG when I am at home.

So this bring me to the "headphone pairing"
Some headphones are designed to center the sound. BAL can change such audio signature artificially.
This could result in an odd sound. These headphones do not match well with BAL
Gonna def test this more tonight
 
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sha007

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Hi friends,
How to configure Neutron player to force it to use the ESS dac's and avoid re sampling?
 
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ngd3

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Edit - found the issue. The IEMs I was using must not have been contacting properly. Sound quality is much improved!
 
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Lurk650

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Just got the DAP yesterday and still burning it in, but...

After an initial listening session, the sound is pretty underwhelming. Soundstage and overall sound quality is significantly worse than my LG V20. Clarity seems good but that's been the only upside so far. I've only used Tidal streaming and offline so far from single ended.

Any tips to improve the sound? I messed with the bass boost and digital filters but the changes seemed minimal
I find it hard to believe that it's significantly worse but the V20 uses an ES9218 vs the Pioneer's ES9018K2M which are older chips. Older tech, doesn't sound as good?

When using balanced though you use 2 of the chips, increasing power. I don't notice a huge difference but I do notice some. Either way, I find either output to sound very good.
 
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LYuen

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I find it hard to believe that it's significantly worse but the V20 uses an ES9218 vs the Pioneer's ES9018K2M which are older chips. Older tech, doesn't sound as good?

When using balanced though you use 2 of the chips, increasing power. I don't notice a huge difference but I do notice some. Either way, I find either output to sound very good.
300R uses dedicated DACs(ES9019K2M) and AMPs(9601K)
While ES9218 is an integrated DAC/AMP
It is like an older CPU+dedicated graphic card comparing with a newer intelHD
The DAPs build with 9018_2M family is still generally better than 9218/9318

The reason he think 300R is worse than V20 may due to sound signature or software settings, like gain volume cap and gain settings
 
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ngd3

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Just edited my previous post, found the issue and sound quality is much improved
 
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Davy Wentzler

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Davy Wentzler

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Thanks. I though so. So which one is more bad re-sampling 192khz to 48khz or converting flac 192khz to PCM 192khz?
I'd suggest trying UAPP instead of Onkyo and Neutron :)
 
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LYuen

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Just edited my previous post, found the issue and sound quality is much improved
Good to know that you are enjoying it now
One more suggestion: 300R works better for offline content
Thanks. I though so. So which one is more bad re-sampling 192khz to 48khz or converting flac 192khz to PCM 192khz?
fyi: flac is pcm
 
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SubSTI

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Did you notice that Pioneer finally added the Album Artist option in the 1.9.0 version of the Music Player software, avalaible since April 18? :)
- Added Replay Gain function
- Added Real time volume normalizer function
- "Album artist" tab added to sort function
- Added USB / OTG output buffer setting
 
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Marco99

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Hello fellow 300R owners. I received my unit from Amazon Japan last week. I've read through some of the pages on this thread, but frankly there is too much information to try to pour through all of it. I'm using it with the Sennheiser HD 660 S and an adapter to go from the balanced 4.4 mm plug to the 2.5 mm TRRS. I've been running it for some hours with audio burn in tones and signals to try and get it "broken in." It sounds like it still requires some tweaking for optimal performance.

I don't really care about streaming services, Android or being connected to a network. What I really want is to play my collection of ripped SACD's and purchased FLAC files (when DSD is not available) and be portable. I do not want it to be connected to a network or interacting with the Android OS too much. I don't supposed anyone has compiled a tweak sheet for everything you can do to strip out the extraneous software and unnecessary Android OS overhead?

As I was reading parts of this thread I was becoming concerned that Android may actually be mucking up the audio output. Is this still the case and what is the current workaround? Do people recommend using a audio file player other than the one Pioneer has included? What else should I be doing to optimize the 300R for my use case?

Thanks to any and all for their suggestions!
 
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