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Radsone EarStudio ES100

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by m4rkw, Dec 12, 2017.
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  1. mvadu
    After a week of using I love my ES100. I felt the build quality could have been little better for the $100 I paid (even if not metal case, better plastic case). That being said I am really impressed with the customization allowed on the app, audio clarity with LDAC, on device equalizer which works even after exiting the app.

    IMG_20180829_120524.jpg IMG_20180829_120427.jpg IMG_20180829_120337.jpg
    I am a scratch phobic, so I went ahead and applied 3M paint protection film which I cut to size. Since I don't have a balanced cable (waiting for AliExpress order) currently 2.5mm opening is closed so no dust can enter.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
    PiSkyHiFi likes this.
  2. zerolight
    I hear a slight thinning of the sound when I turn on oversampling so it's off for me. Might be worth a try.
  3. Lurk650
    @Pi, what I think you may be noticing is the AK DAC vs the Sabre DAC which many say Sabre tends to be more detailed whereas AK is smoother. I notice the difference between the ES100 and my Burson Conductor Air which uses an ESS9018
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  4. zerolight
    Yeah. I didn't get on with the sabre in the DFR. Too spikey. Loved the mojo.
  5. monsieurfromag3
    And the DFR is far from the spikiest Sabre implementation. I suspect the ubiquitous Texas Instruments amp sections of sharing a large part of the blame for the so-called Sabre glare.

    That being said, Klipsch’s Heritage DAC/amp uses a Sabre 9018 and a TI amp module and it’s being described as on the warmer side.
  6. chinmie
    might have more to do with the amp circuitry section too. the ES100 is punchier and more detailed than my warmer old Cayin N3 which uses AK4490, but my BlueDAC is even more punchier and more detailed than the ES100, and the BlueDAC uses the AK4490 too like the Cayin N3
    pitsel, Lurk650 and monsieurfromag3 like this.
  7. PiSkyHiFi
    i appreciate the suggestion. I think the issue is that I'm not a fan of the AK sound signature, didn't know that until now.

    I agree that sometimes the Sabres can have a glare with the treble as some people have observed, but I'm a very analytical person and one thing I can say about them is they don't have any sibilance. The Focal Elear headphones are quite a soft sounding can, very forgiving of any harshness, perhaps a little too soft to sound precise, but then I re-cabled them with short, balanced silver plated copper, that reduced the softness to then bring precision from right down to 20Hz all the way up to 18KHz - combined with the relatively unforgiving sound of a Sabre DAC, all of a sudden the balance was just right for me, no sibilance, full atmosphere, utter precision, medium sized soundstage and the occasional confusion as to if a sound was from my environment or from the music.

    I enjoy the ES100 very much as a portable device, but the combination of a smooth sounding DAC with delicate roll-off at the top and the soft, forgiving Focal Elears produced a rather flat sounding experience with no soundstage, no high treble precision and a muddy bass.

    My MSR7's are quite analytcal, fast and they have a little glare, although reduced by using velour earpads, they make a great combination with the ES100, forming a balanced, smooth, full range enjoyable musical experience, just not to the degree that the Sabre/Elear combination does.

    The Dragon 2 + also pairs well with the ES100, specially because I don't like IEMs, despite IEM's superior sound, this earbud/soundsink combination produces a very fun, natural almost full range sound which is the most practical I've ever had, so easy to use out and about and much better than any other earbuds I've used plugged into DAPs before, including the PK1.

    I think the All-In-One DAC/AMP system on a chip is the real advantage these days... If AK released a better quality one, like the 4490, but with combined AMP, this might be the killer sound for portable use.

    Maybe they have - anyone know?
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
    monsieurfromag3 and bidn like this.
  8. Elzizo
    Fiio just released the BTR3 which is using the AK4376A DAC chip
  9. zerolight
    @PiSkyHiFi it's amazing how different everyone's ears are. I'd never describe the Elears as soft. I'm a bit sensitive to treble perhaps.

    I spent an hour auditioning Elears, LCD3, and PM1 headphones through my mojo in the local hifi shop quiet room. I loved how real the guitar sounded in ACDC back in black (as a guitarist myself) through the Elears but overall I found them shouty and spikey. Too much treble for me. I much preferred the LCD 3, but they are so heavy. The PM1 was lovely and comfy but no wow.
  10. zerolight
    I expect that DAC sounds like the 4375 rather than the 4490.
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  11. zerolight
    They EQ thing for me is most obvious on busier tracks. Nightrain by Guns n Roses for example. With the EQ off the bass and guitars are clear and full soundng, there's clarity and detail, and a realistic tone. Turn on the EQ and the bass guitar sounds softer and brighter, the guitars sound muddier and like a little delay or reverb had been applied (I say this as a guitarist, it's the best description I haved to the tone change). Treble is also boosted. Playing with the EQ curve can bring it back towards EQ off, a bit, but the full, natural tone is gone replaced by the reverb or delay like tone. I'm truly surprised some of you can't here it as to my ears it's more significant a change than the DAC filters. It's totally unusable. Maybe a bug in the iPhone app?
  12. PiSkyHiFi
    Apparently, the output resistance of the amplifier driving the Elears has a large impact on the frequency response, with a bump in the mid-bass when driven by higher resistance amplifiers .

    It may not be just our ears.
    monsieurfromag3 likes this.
  13. zerolight
    You are right. I never considered that. My K10s are much more bass heavy straight out of my iPhone lightning DAC or MBP jack than they are out of the Earstudio, which must be related to the output impedance of the amps?
  14. PiSkyHiFi
    I don't know if this a general issue with headphones, I don't have many amps to test with, maybe someone that does can chime in here.
  15. peonist
    For several days, listened to music through ES100 in connection with my car aux-in. Dramatic sound improvements compared to default car Bluetooth sound. Easily feels much more details and richness which I've never heard in my car before! Maybe closed listening space makes the difference stronger (previously mainly listened to ES100 sound in living room).
    Motagaly and PiSkyHiFi like this.
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