DAP discussion thread

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by zerodeefex, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. supertransformingdhruv

    supertransformingdhruv Almost "Made"

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    I also picked up an Audeze Euclid over BF and immediately plugged it into my NW105-- it was weak. Rolled off highs, flabby bass, and an overall lack of detail. While I've enjoyed the Walkman with IEMs for the last few years, it simply doesn't have the power that the Euclid needs (The NW105 is rated for about 35mW into 16 ohms.).

    Aside from Audeze headphones' ludicrous power demands, I've really enjoyed my NW105. While it's less resolving than the more expensive Walkmans, it has the same pleasant tuning. However, I really don't recommend buying one at this time:
    1. The NW105 runs android 9. There should be a new A-series Walkman released in March that would run Android 11 that would be worth waiting for if you're committed to the Walkman sound. (source: https://thewalkmanblog.blogspot.com/2022/10/new-sony-a-and-zx-walkmans-are-coming.html)
    2. It does some weird things with digital sample rates. The official walkman app can do any sample rate, but third party apps are restricted to 44.1 unless you activate "Enable Hi-Res Streaming" in which case they're all sampled down to 44.1 and resampled/upsampled to 192 kHz. This might change with the newer version of Android on next year's version, since Android 10+ has better support for native sample rates.
    3. The processor is slow and the battery life is bad. The new one should be better on both fronts since they're rumored to be moving to Qualcomm SoCs-- which will actually have a reasonable standby mode-- but the current NW105 chews through its battery whether you're using it or not.
    Anyways, I ended up getting the Shanling M6 Ultra to use with the Euclid. They also had a bit of a BF sale. It's a much larger device than the NW105, but significantly more power (the spec given is 720 mW into 32 ohms for balanced out) and more modern (Android 10, support for native sample rates on every app, Snapdragon 665 processor). I've only had it a few days, but so far no issues. The sound is good, but very different from what I'm used to with the Walkman. The Walkman was gentle and laid-back, while the M6U is more incisive and lean-forward resolving. It's much more engaging and lively, even with relaxed IEMs like the Starfield.

    You mentioned preferring compactness: I want to make it clear, the M6U is a chonker. Image below next to the NW105. I was expecting the height but not the thickness.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    You might find a decent middle ground with size and power with something like the M3 Ultra?
     
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    Last edited: Nov 30, 2022
  2. Questhate

    Questhate Friend

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    @supertransformingdhruv Thanks so much for the side by side pictures. Thats super helpful since that’s not so obvious from their individual pics. Also some great feedback on the Euclids.
     
  3. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    Have you spent any time with the venerable NW-ZX2? I'm finding the M6U to be just a tad more incisive but still a wonderful pairing with the (mostly) BA IEM cohorts of Ara, Andro, and Solaris. It's also got plenty of drive for HD6xx to the point that I could probably ditch my desktop idiocy for a single simple DAP to do it all.
     
  4. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    Great. Now I need more balanced cables to experiment with.
     
  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Any long term use notes from anyone who got the RS2? I can live without the onboard streaming if the sound is fantastic.
     
  6. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    Some tips for the Venerable NW-ZX2 that bring it closer in capabilities to newer versions:

    • Install this upnp renderer.. then you can stream to it. For example, Tidal over BubbleUPnP
    • Make sure settings / wifi / advanced / "wi-fi optimization" is off
    • Install Spotify Lite and use Spotify on your phone / desktop to control it rather than the NX2's screen.

    Sadly the screen on my ZX2 seems to be dying. If anyone has one I can scrap for parts, I'd love a replacement screen.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2023
  7. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    Sort of torn between getting the new sony zx707 or the m6 ultra. @yotacowboy , any thoughts vs rest of the sony line up? there are impressions on head-fi but I don't know what to trust.
     
  8. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    You may have to get ZX707 from Japan as US version is volume capped and Hi Gain isn’t available. Also if you are crazy about bit perfect from streaming then you won’t get that from Sony even with UAPP. I anyways run Sony Sound processing so bit perfect doesn’t matter to me.
    also check for power based on IEM you have.
     
  9. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I have had the RS2 since September. I use folder mode and navigation is fine. There are some inconveniences/bugs with the UI but nothing too annoying. For example, play through folder mode doesn't seem to go alphabetical within sub folders. e.g. In my B folder, it doesn't go from Bob to Bobby, but rather from Bob to Bill... Sometimes the pause/play button gets a bit weird and inaccurate. And the drag down menu to activate high and low gain and screen brightness is quite laggy. But overall, the user experience is fine. The USB DAC mode works perfectly. And it really is a lot smaller than most DAPs. Battery life is about as advertised - 10 hours or so.

    Soundwise, the mids are the star of the show. They are a little warm but not gooey, and plenty revealing, textured and layered. Just very natural sounding and excellent for vocals and instrumental music. Treble is fine, nothing really notable. Imaging is pretty accurate and layered but not especially spacious. Bass is the weak point. It's not very tight or deep. I don't think this is a device for someone primarily listening to a lot of bass heavy music. However I can still enjoy electronic music if I switch over to my 7HZ Timeless with their bottomless bass.

    The amp isn't very powerful so if you have hard to drive IEMs or HPs, its not a good choice. On the other hand, I think the DAC is quite good and I use the dedicated 3.5 LO to my Vali 2 and Piety with very satisfying results. The bass tightens and deepens, and the soundstage improves while the mids remain excellent.

    In comparison with the RU6, the RS2 has a cleaner, denser and more refined sound. The RU6 sounds a little ragged or noisy by comparison. The RU6 is probably a little wider in staging, but not as accurate - more of a blob. Compared to my Gold Bar, the mids on the RS2 are more transparent and textured, but the bass and staging on the GB are better. The best combination I have is the RS2 to Piety which as mentioned improves the bass and staging of the RS2 significantly while maintaining the great mids.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Thanks so much for the deep dive! Do you use any of the processing options or do you just run it on the default sound settings? I wonder if the processing could overcome the bass deficiencies, as I am without a doubt a basshead.

    I was debating between the RS2 and the iBasso DX170, and between the descriptions of the UI and the low end, at the moment I’m leaning toward the Ibasso.
     
  11. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    No I just use NOS. I played around a little with Darwin, but it made it more digital sounding which defeated the RS2's advantage for me. I'll play around a little more and update this post later.

    So I tried it with NOS off. The bass is tighter and faster, but it loses that R2R charm in the mids. I don't notice increased presence. I tried to boost the bass with Hiby's MSEB feature, but it distorted the rest of the frequency range. I think its safe to conclude that the RS2 is not a bass lovers DAP.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2023
  12. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    I haven't spent any time with any Sony DAPs other than my old ZX2 so I unfortunately don't have anything to add. My initial impressions of the M6 Ultra do stand. It's staying on my desk for all IEM playback, plus using it as a USB source into BF2 + amp for full size headphones.
     
  13. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    I got the new tiny Sony Android NW-A306 DAP. It's really tiny and cute, but sounds like absolute ass. Don't touch this one, get away as far as possible from it.

    It's super bright, has almost no bass - it's so bad it's as if Sony put EQ cut below 125hz by about -10db - I can't believe they charge 350$ for it. I haven't heard something so revolting.

    Perhaps burn in will make massive changes, or maybe mine has some kind of fault.. I don't know, it's that bad. How annoying - Sony is up it's own backside, someone needs to be fired from their audio/marketing department for making this happen. it's not 1991 anymore
     
  14. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Is it the volume capped version ?
    I don’t have experience with this specific DAP but I really like bass out of other Sony Walkman like 1A, 1Z . Not in same price range but from same brand.
     
  15. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    no it’s not capped. The higher up models don’t have this issue - it’s a basic problem that not even a 30$ dongle has
     
  16. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    This is how the A306 measures. It's so beyond wrong I'm left speechless. I bet this isn't even a hardware fault but Sony's special "bright" jpop tuning.

    Some muppet in marketing thought this sounds good and it'll impress everyone for 350$


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

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    Wow…why ??? And a gentleman in head-fi thinks this hits harder then his WM1A
    I would replace it with new unit to rule out defective unit theory
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2023
  18. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    First batch maybe shipped with wrong firmware, so possibly cure-able with an update?

    ~10dB down in the bass vs the upper mids doesn't seem like it would've been deliberate, even if marketing people were in charge o_O
     
  19. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    I know right, but people on headfi saying theirs sounds fine but bright (same firmware) and also seen measurement on YouTube review that shows it as ruler flat.. I returned it to Sony they will let me know. As you said, can’t believe a -10db chop is deliberate but it seems like such a huge and obvious issue, basic qa would detect it
     
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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2023
  20. AudioFile12377

    AudioFile12377 New

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    I have been using the RS2 for ~4 months.

    I agree with most of what @Stuff Jones says, especially about UI and sluggish drag down menu. There are 5 possible tuning options on the RS2, there's the MSEB, NOS/OS Mode, Darwin Filters, Harmonic Controller and a basic Equalizer.

    I mostly use the RS2 with stock settings and alternate between NOS and OS mode depending on the paired IEM. The EQ to me did not sound good, I don't know if it's poor implementation or if there is some other issue but I mostly left it "Off". Same story with MSEB, it's not as transparent as the DSP on board the Mojo 2 or Gryphon. The Darwin present and Harmonic Controller don't do much either, the only thing that makes a worthwhile difference is the NOS/OS toggle but that too is subtle and not as easy to notice as on Cayin RU6 or HiFiMan EF400. The NOS thickens the sound slightly and sounds more natural when paired with well resolving gear like Timeless, Edition XS. The OS sounds better with something like XENNS UP, Honeydew.

    If you ignore the onboard DSPs, the stock sound is pretty good as long as you are familiar with the R2R sound and not looking for something that's hyper detailed and more resolving. It's easily better than the RU6 and slightly better than Gryphon in most areas except for Treble extension and Soundstage width, beats Gryphon in depth and layering though. The Amp is weak, it's got enough power for hard to drive IEMs like Hook-X, E5000 (4.4 Out) but not for hard to drive Headphones like Edition XS, Arya SE. I tried pairing the RS2 with NX7 but did not like the pairing, the extra power helped with Punch & Slam and bringing out the Treble a bit more but it sounded a bit compressed and flat (less depth), there are some who use the same setup and are happy so YMMV. The Gryphon as an Amp to RS2 was better, so RS2 definitely has a good DAC inside and will scale nicely when paired with external Amps. It won't beat the EF400, but competes well with other products of similar price like Gryphon, Mojo 2... just stay away from warm sounding IEMs as they don't pair that well with the RS2 unless you EQ or use external Amps.
     

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