The Official Echobox Explorer Thread

  1. Trager
    Yes. It’s really that bad. If you really want one, I’ll be glad to unload either of mine. Just make me an offer.
  2. makethemusic
    I can't agree with you @Trager, the Explorer is absolutely not "terrible" and I am sad to hear you feel this way about it.

    Piecing together why you feel this way, I remember that you came to our booth complaining about a phantom sound that none of us could hear, and after spending time trying to troubleshoot regardless you still walked away frustrated. I'm not certain what else we can do to help you, but I am happy to try and offer further support.

    I also do believe that others should be allowed to discover their own opinions on the Explorer rather than be subjected to your personal negativity.

    For every negative experience on this forum, there are a hundred positive ones that simply either do not use Head-Fi, or have no need to go here because they are already enjoying their unit.

    @the fool I am sure you would absolutely love your Explorer, and deserve to give it a go to see for yourself how you feel :) Experience is subjective, and the best way to know for certain how you do or do not enjoy the Explorer is to simply experience it for yourself. Let me know if you have any further questions or concerns about the Explorer, and I will be happy to help you out.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    pitsel likes this.
  3. Jackpot77
    For my 0.02c, the Explorer is a good sounding DAP with a couple of rough edges that may be smoothed out in time.

    Great "analogue" sound - nicely resolving but still very musical.
    Plenty of driving power for most over-ears apart from the really power hungry planar end of the market
    Excellent ergonomics and unique design
    Decent player interface (UAPP)

    Was originally pretty buggy when released - update a month or two back fixed most of those issues though
    Poor WiFi range and speed - I'm in the UK, and I get a very short "usable" distance between the unit and my router before it becomes unusable - it also takes about 10-15 minutes to download a single song fit offline use on Tidal (may be a Tidal issue), despite having decent broadband speed
    Occasional noise when streaming over WiFi (presumably from internal antenna) - goes away when in airplane mode.
    Occasionally need to restart UAPP after an album finishes playing, as sound will cut out (amp chip turns off after a while, but didn't turn back on again when you select a new set of tracks). This is very intermittent, and not a major problem for me.

    The noise and slow WiFi aren't deal-breakers for me personally - it makes Tidal very frustrating to use if you like downloading playlists or offline content, but I mainly use my own media connection and some downloaded review playlists on mine in Airplane mode, so I'm happy with that. Those who intend to do a lot of streaming or have huge offline playlists may want to look into this further.

    Overall, it's a powerful and very nice sounding DAP with some quirks - if you can live with them, then it's a decent performer in its price bracket. As always, this is just my opinion and YMMV.
    ExpatinJapan likes this.
  4. Trager
    Boy do we remember that interaction differently. What I took away from that discussion was the Echobox had an improved version that didn’t have the sound issues that plagued my original, and that although it would take time for backers like myself to get them, eventually we would. You even had me listen to your prototype of the 2nd gen to determine for myself that it sounded significantly better than my original model. Unfortunately, when I received my 2nd gen, it still had clicks and pops when stopping, starting, or skipping music, and the battery life was still abysmal, and although I was provided with an RMA for my 2nd unit, I decided that it was not worth my time. The whole reason I was interested in this DAP was to use TIDAL, which is just a lousy user experience on my unit.

    I posted a response to @thefool mostly because I wouldn’t mind getting this paperweight off my desk, and also because I think paying more than $300 for one of these things is ridiculous. Then again, if you buy new, it’s possible that your particular unit won’t have all of the flaws that plagued mine.
  5. feanorean
    @makethemusic. Every negative experience on this forum is really a condemnation of your product, you should strive for nothing but positive reviews and helpful responses. There are many negative experiences with this product posted in these forums, so it seems many people are having similar problems and @Trager is hardly an outlier. What's also disappointing is to see customer service reps (or echobox reps, whatever) having a go at customers when they have problems with their products.

    I believe that customers should be able to be reliably informed as to the quality of a product before making a purchase regardless of the hype surrounding it. I advise @the fool to read as many posts as they can. I had many (and more) of the issues stated by @Jackpot77 and for me they were deal-breakers that I couldn't get past. But maybe my expectations were set too high.

    Make your own choice, if you want a good looking decent sounding, reasonably powered (not crazy powerful as hyped), player with the potential to have many bugs and 'quirks' then by all means go for it. However, go into it with the full knowledge of what you might be buying.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
    VandyMan likes this.
  6. bjaardker
    FWIW the only problems I've had are similar to the ones that Jackpot77 mentioned.
    • A loud audible click from the unit itself whenever switching sampling rates and sometimes in between songs.
    • A pop in the headphone at the start of some tracks.
    • Whirring and buzzing in the background when streaming using sensitive IEMs. Definitely related to interference from the WiFi antenna. I got an iFi earbuddy to help with some of this, but when using it the sound can be too quiet since it increases the impedance so much.

    That said, it has a warm and musical sound that is the perfect foil to the bright sound sig of my LG v20. And the UI is on par with any of the better DAPs out there.

    Honestly, if I had paid full price I'd be pretty disappointed and understand the frustration of some here. But I got a pretty decent deal on it, so I'm happy.
  7. makethemusic

    I don't disagree at all that everyone is entitled to honest opinions and all buyers should be as informed as possible on the facts regarding their purchase. That being said, unfortunately there has grown a strong community of extremely negative (and sometimes downright dishonest or misleading) individuals that exist in large numbers throughout the site, and certainly within this thread. There is also often an overwhelming sense of entitlement that is displayed by many non-customers (and a few customers, but that is rarer) who feel they are allowed to say whatever they want (however untruthful or nasty) because they are protected by some ideology that companies are essentially required to take everything in stride with a smile on their face, and certainly never debate or disagree.

    Of course customers are usually right, but not always. And I strongly feel that, especially on a public forum (which is not a place for customer service, but rather for open and candid conversation), companies are entitled, and should be encouraged, to stand up to overt negativity and dishonesty.

    That all being said, we stand by all of our products 100%, but would never proclaim they are without flaws. I would argue that there is not a company out there that makes a flawless product, but what matters is how they handle those flaws with customer support and on going product improvement. We pride ourselves on our customer support (which is not provided here on this forum, but can be easily reached via email, direct chat on our site, or even by phone), and are also always striving to improve our products based on user feedback. In fact, our recent update solved most of the past issues stated on this forum :)

    In the end, it's a balancing act, one that is not unique to Head-Fi but honestly exists within any forum. That's OK though, it's what forums are for. Open, honest and, importantly, candid conversation from all involved, including companies and company representatives. And if you are looking for full, professional, in depth customer support, you can always reach us at any of the following:

    Phone: 1-206-228-0595
    Online Chat:

    PS: I certainly do not consider @Trager to be among those who are negative or dishonest, and have the greatest respect for him and his dedication to this forum. I simply don't agree with him that the Explorer is "terrible" :wink:
    bjaardker likes this.
  8. dobis4ever
    I just have to strike a blow for my Echobox Explorer.
    Ok.. i'm maybe not that typical User who wants to stream via wifi / tidal. /( i never used it)
    i stored all of my music to a SD card ... most in flac or wav.
    Yes, there is a silent click / pop if sample rate changes , but i just have one time that the explorer's OS freezes and i have to reboot it.
    My Explorer (dark walnut) is extremly well built -- no crack in the wood -- loose screen etc.

    and maybe sometimes i had some luck, cause i got my Trinity Audio Hunter ( except the 8-Litz cable ) and both for me is a really good match.
  9. VandyMan
    My own Echobox is functional and sounds pretty good. The screen does not rotate even though I was told that that feature was working BEFORE I ordered, long ago. The wifi barely works. I have to take it home and put it close to my router to allow Tidal to download offline music. At my work, where we have a web of powerful wifi routers overhead, it takes forever to download a single track and streaming does not work at all. On top of that, the software is buggy and not well integrated (it feels like you are using a phone, not a dedicated music player). Software updates are an annoying manual process.

    I use my Echobox everyday, but I would not purchase it again.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017
    Takeanidea likes this.
  10. Q Mass
    I too have a black walnut unit, and like your's, mine looks and feels excellent.

    Unlike you I use mine almost exclusively with Tidal.
    It's true that the Explorers Wi-Fi is pretty short range, and downloading my 3 thousand+ track offline content took several days (but I do live in a rural location that only offers TERRIBLE broadband, so this may well impact the download speeds, everything else I do on the Internet is also painfully slow on any device, how I pray for fibre!).

    Once downloaded though I have been loving my Explorer.
    The best combo' I own for portable is the Explorer and my AH-D2000's.
    I agree with the "warm, organic" comments that others have made regarding the sound, and love the 'slam' underpinning the overall sig'.
    I also love the overall clarity of presentation.

    With respect to the unfortunate individuals who are unhappy with their Explorers, I don't get the impression that most are in the same boat.
    My own perception of the feedback here is that there are plenty of us who are happy with the product, and some like me who are delighted.

    Many (all?) other manufacturers have produced great daps which have suffered from software shortcomings, yet customers keep coming back to purchase subsequent products from the same marque.
    I believe that this is due to software development (thanks to all who do this work by the way!), good customer service, and solid product development.
    I hope to eventually see further daps from Echobox (although hopefully they can move forward without crowd-funding), and will certainly put future developments near the top of my 'interest list'.

    In the meantime, I am very happy with my Explorer, use it every day and commend it to anyone considering a DAP purchase.
    There is of course plenty of great sounding competition, but the classy look/feel of the Explorer sets it apart, and hopefully further refinement of the software will continue to fine tune the user experience.
  11. feanorean
    I appreciate your reasonable and considered response to my post. I truly did want the explorer to be the amazing device that solved my audio needs. The members here who are bringing their own audio collections (flacs, CD rips etc.) and are happy to function offline in airplane mode seem to have the best results with the explorer. As a more recent audio-enthusiast who got serious about all this when already immersed the streaming audio ecosystem, my experience was less positive. For now my old HTC phone provides a better user experience (free of pops, clicks and hissing), despite being far less powerful, and I don't have the connectivity issues that plagued my Echobox.

    @the fool hopefully you find this advice useful. I'm not sure what camp you fall into.

    makethemusic and bjaardker like this.
  12. bjaardker
    I would say my biggest issue is with the WiFi interference noise. The whole reason I got the echobox was because it was streaming capable. Except the buzzing and beeping from the interference makes it so I have to either use the iFi earbuddy, which makes the volume much quieter, or use my phone instead of the echobox.
  13. makethemusic
    This issue should have been corrected with the release of our updated batch post-indiegogo. We sent an open recall to all original backers with older units offering to replace for free. If you are among those backers, the offer still stands :)

    Please contact our support staff, for assistance with this matter.
    pitsel likes this.
  14. Audio Addict Contributor
    I think I have the new version but who knows. It has maybe a 10-15 foot range. Not enough to be useful. It looks nice in its stand, though.

    pitsel likes this.
  15. kazuma6666
    My 2 cents on the explorer :
    I am relatively satisfied with the explorer. The sound is really good, as is the look and feel. I don't like the popping sound that I have at the beginning of most tracks (I am listening to big playlists on shuffle, so I do get a lot of bitrate changes between tracks). I was told by echobox support that there was nothing they could do and it was because of the DAC. I use tidal offline mostly. I don't have the same problem with my LG G5 phone which also has a DAC. The sound is not as good on the phone though, and I still use the explorer despite the popping sound. I got more or less used to the popping sound, but I really could do without it.

    I also have problems using spotify on the device, when I launch spotify it will ask me to login, and as I am using offline mode, it won't accept it. So I have to reinstall everything and download all the tracks again. It works the first few days, but then I can't login anymore.
    I didn't take the time to solve the issue with spotify as things works fine-ish with tidal. I will probably update to 1.03 soon, and see if it solves the problem. I did take the time today to write to echobox support to see about this issue. I will update the post if I receive a solution.

    On the other hand, this is probably the best sound I have had on any device before this one. But I never had a DAC before except for the LG G5. Since I made the switch to spotify, I really needed something to listen to music on the go, and the look and feel of the device really appealed to me, so these are the main reasons I bought it.

    Because of the issues I have, I am not sure I would buy it again. My main issue is the popping sound, if I could get rid of that I think the device would be much better.

    Edit: Received an answer from the echobox support, they couldn't solve my problem with spotify. But I found out I don't really need to go offline with spotify. I can still listen to downloaded tracks without a problem when I get out of wifi range, I don't really need the offline mode then.
    I don't have any popping noise with spotify.

    I can say that all the problems I had were solved. I won't be using tidal on this device, as I have the popping noise with that. But spotify works for now it seems.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
    pitsel likes this.

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