FiiO Forums

 Retrieve Password
Register Now
/Sign In
Search
!show!: 8843|Reply: 16

High Gain Setting

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-4-30 07:07:39 |Show all posts |
Edited by dilburt at 2016-4-30 07:10

Hi,

I understand how the high/low gain setting works by increasing the voltage to the output amps and I can see that high gain reduces play time a bit when listening to headphones. In my opinion the improvement in audio performance is well worth the slight reduction in play time between charges.

However, I'm trying to tell if the high gain setting also reduces play time while the system is being used in line-out mode with no headphones attached. I know that the H/L gain setting does not affect the line-out level but should it be affecting battery play time when using line-out?

Thanks,

D
Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-4-30 21:40:01 |Show all posts |
I extensively measured power consumption of both X3II and X5II using H/L settings and found no difference in power drain. With nothing attached, the headphone amp is completely switched off as well as the DAC. It's very easy to spot the power drain ramp which occurs when headphones/line out gets connected. No-load the consumption of both players is roughly 0.5W, then it gets upside down:
X3II Line-out - 0.85W
X3II Headphone out - 0.9W
X5II Line-out - 1.25W
X5II Headphone out - 0.95W

Furthermore, I couldn't detect any change in sound difference between H/L. It just gets louder on H, which most people misinterpret as "better".
Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-1 08:41:46 |Show all posts |
Hi alphire,

Very impressive testing. However is it possible that you could have reversed the results for the X5II? Since line-out is high-impedance it should always have a lower current/power draw than the headphone output which is very low impedance in comparison.

Regarding the sound results of H/L gain, I've found it is mostly dependent on the type of headphones used. Here are the models I've tested:

Sennheiser:

HD 650 (300 ohms): some slight improvement in sound definition but requires a good amp
HD 600 (300 ohms): same as the HD 650
HD 430 (600 ohms): very little improvement - requires a good amp
HD 497 (32 ohms): huge improvement in sound definition - punchy base, more pronounced mids and highs. Louder yes, but that is not what is most noticeable.
PX 100 i/a (32 ohms): some improvement in sound but mostly just louder

Klipsch S4 (18 ohms): just louder

Based on these results it seems like the perfect match for the high gain setting are high quality low-impedance headphones (32 ohms) with larger sound elements like the Sennheiser HD 497 or HD 202 or HD 239, etc. These headphones produce better sound with additional drive current because of the larger elements while smaller models like the PX 100 or the Klipsch S4 earbuds already have more than enough drive current in Low gain mode so they just sound louder.

D
Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-5-1 14:09:33 |Show all posts |
Edited by alphire at 2016-5-1 14:32
dilburt replied at 2016-5-1 08:41
Hi alphire,

Very impressive testing. However is it possible that you could have reversed the result ...

No, it's not reversed, that's why I typed that it gets upside down. X5II has higher consumption on line-out than headphone out, it didn't make sense to me, but the numbers don't lie.

Before going further into sighted listening, it'd be helpful to conduct null test and confirm whether is there any difference at all. Just listening won't cut it.
Improper volume matching could easily distort the result. One of the ways to test it, is to connect two X3II (or X5II) to switchbox and blind test it. Then it might get some credibility.

Just as many people believe X5II has much higher quality than say, laptop sound card, but based on my listening tests, with switchbox, there's very little if any difference at all. I could not hear anything.

What do you mean by "drive current"? An audio setup is just like power source and load, and follows the same principles and Ohm's law. Current depends strictly on resistance (or inductive resistance) and voltage. More current yields more volume. "Proper drive" as audiophiles put it usually refers to amplifier's output impedance, which should be always at least 8 times lower than that of headphones.
Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-2 10:00:51 |Show all posts |
Thanks for the update. I'm into audiophile stereo equipment so I've been doing blind testing for years on everything from balanced audio cables to phono cartridges. However, it really comes down to each individual's sound preferences.

By drive current I mean that a lower impedance load will draw more current at a given voltage than a higher impedance load. However, if your source circuit cannot provide enough power to fully drive an inductive load like a speaker or headphone then the voltage will be pulled down thereby limiting the current flow which makes the speakers or headphones sound "mushy" at least that's the best way I can describe the sound. Like you said, it's just ohms law.

How did you measure power consumption in your tests?

D
Reply

Use magic Report

Intermediate Member

Rank: 3Rank: 3

digest
0
posts
16
F-Coin
201
regtime
2016-3-19
Post time 2016-5-4 19:33:28 |Show all posts |
alphire replied at 2016-5-1 14:09
No, it's not reversed, that's why I typed that it gets upside down. X5II has higher consumption on  ...

When you say that X5ii does not have higher quality than the laptop's sound card, do you mean when used like a DAC, or normal?

On normal use, at least for my laptop and phone, X5ii has way better sound quality. Even people who have never paid attention to music quality spotted the difference instantly when I did blind tests on them. Of course the difference might not be that huge if a better sound card was used.

Using X5ii as a DAC did not have the same effect though. The sound was slightly better than the laptop's.

I used VLC for playing the files, flac files (same files on all devices) and Audioengine a5+ speakers for the tests. No equalisers were used.
Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-5-5 00:42:22 |Show all posts |
jackgu1988 replied at 2016-5-4 19:33
When you say that X5ii does not have higher quality than the laptop's sound card, do you mean when ...

That could be easily due to volume mismatch or too long delay between changing the sources.
Volume has to be matched within 0.5dB
And switch time should be shorter than 0.2 seconds.

There's no reason why should X5II sound different as DAC or as standalone.
Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-5 13:00:02 |Show all posts |
Hi alphire,

I note that you didn't say that it's also possible that the X5II simply had better sound quality than the laptop jackgu was testing against. In my experience there is a huge difference in sound quality between systems specifically designed to play music vs. laptops, phones and other consumer devices that are not focused on music reproduction. Most of these consumer devices use very cheap DACs, filters and amps since the primary factor driving their market is price as opposed to the X5II which uses some of the best available components with design decisions driven by quality instead of price (e.g. analog volume controller, dual oscillators, etc.).

I agree that many people cannot tell the difference between cheap audio systems and the best under casual listening conditions but is it your position that under a proper, controlled blind testing protocol, the differences between a high resolution system like the X5II playing a 24bit FLAC and a laptop playing a 128 bps MP3 would not be detectable by any of the listeners?

D
Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-5-5 14:44:37 |Show all posts |
Edited by alphire at 2016-5-5 15:04
dilburt replied at 2016-5-5 13:00
Hi alphire,

I note that you didn't say that it's also possible that the X5II simply had better soun ...

Hi,
firstly - what is better sound quality? How do you interpret it?

In my experience there is a huge difference in sound quality between systems specifically designed to play music vs. laptops, phones and other consumer devices that are not focused on music reproduction.

By studying the values for THD+N, IMD, frequency response, SNR, DR and Jitter one can get a decent picture of how anything sounds. But for most devices, the overall distortion is very low level, if not totally inaudible. It's the headphones that introduces the most variations in the audio chain. And subjective impressions and expectations. Even entry level smartphones, like Xiaomi Redmi 2 achieve noise figures under -90dBA, which is well enough for vast majority of applications.
http://www.gsmarena.com/xiaomi_redmi_2-review-1202p7.php
Most of these consumer devices use very cheap DACs, filters and amps since the primary factor driving their market is price as opposed to the X5II which uses some of the best available components with design decisions driven by quality instead of price

The overall musical transparency of any device depends not on specific components like DAC and amp, but always on their implementation, PCB layout, power supply, use of blocking capacitors, etc.
$1.6 IDT 92HD87 can sound as good or as bad as $40 Sabre ES9018 any day. Of course ES9018 will boast with more impressive values, but hardly any of those will produce actually audible difference.

I agree that many people cannot tell the difference between cheap audio systems and the best under casual listening conditions but is it your position that under a proper, controlled blind testing protocol, the differences between a high resolution system like the X5II playing a 24bit FLAC and a laptop playing a 128 bps MP3 would not be detectable by any of the listeners?

That would be very very unfair test, and I haven't said anything about using 128kbps MP3 (let alone 128bps!) as a source.
24bit FLAC is meaningless, and hardly any recording does achieve it's full potential. 16bit is perfectly adequate.
As long as the sources are volume matched, impedance matched and playing back same exact file under through bit-accurate player, then yes, vast majority of consumer devices would be rendered as transparent.

Take a look here: http://matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

Those guys compared some of the best components on audio market with the lowest end possible. And in the end, there was no statistically relevant result that would prove the high end system superiority over the low end one.  

I was also convinced that X5II sounds a lot better (clearer) than my 92HD87 equipped laptop, but my freshly constructed switchbox proved me otherwise.

Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-6 07:55:11 |Show all posts |
Edited by dilburt at 2016-5-6 08:01

Hi alphire,

Nice switch box!

I must point out though that after you went through all of the various specs commonly used to quantify "sound" between one system and another, the final measure eventually came down to your switch box and your ears which IMHO, is exactly the right way to measure the "sound quality" of one audio device vs. another. If you can't hear any difference between systems under your typical listening conditions then you can make your purchase decision on other factors such as price, size, user interface or overall look and feel.

I know in my blind testing with friends who are also into audiophile equipment that I do not have the best ears in the group. However, I can consistently identify different sources between music played on a laptop or phone vs. my X5II or the high-end digital audio system in my PC let alone my dedicated audio components. I do this using input selectors on my stereo system that can switch between 3 line-in connections and/or 2 S/PDIF signals (COAX or fiber) via remote control so I can set all the audio levels then instantly switch between signals without moving from my listening position. I also have the ability to switch between multiple headphones but only from the output of my tube-based headphone amp so the one thing I cannot blind test are different headphones connected directly to the output amp of a device like the X5II. I'll have to build a switch box like yours sometime to close that gap. However, the only time I listen that way is when I'm running around doing things. If I'm at my office I always listen through my headphone amp so I can use my HD 600's and at home I listen through my stereo components and have a duplicate tube-based headphone amp with HD 650's.

If you really want to drive yourself crazy go look at the various audiophiles arguing about whether 1960's era NOS Telefunken tubes sound better in a class-A OTL headphone amp than RCA black plates. ;-)

Regarding sound quality, I interpret the same way you did with your switch box. If I cannot tell one source or component from another then I don't use sound quality as part of the purchase decision and go with low price or some other factor. If I can tell a difference between components then it comes down to my personal sound preferences and whether the component makes a big enough difference to justify the cost which is always a SWAG and usually based on "want" more than "need". ;-)

Cheers,

D

Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-5-7 00:06:20 |Show all posts |
dilburt replied at 2016-5-6 07:55
Hi alphire,

Nice switch box!

Thanks!
Surprisingly, I did not get the X3II (and then X5II) because of sound quality, or feel, aesthetic, or battery life. For me it was rudimentary due to its power output. I own 4 pairs of 600Ohm headphones, all of which are not particularly efficient (88-91dB/mW), so I was looking for something that could excite them close to 100dB peak. All other portable players offer lots of headroom for current, but not really that much voltage. Vast majority was under 1V RMS (like Pono player or Fiio M3), while X3II has 2.67V RMS. Over the last 6 months I never ran out of volume on my X3II, which is not the case for Zoom H2n which caps up at 0.93V.
Also lots of mobile phones now cap up at 0.6V (likely due to EU volume limit) so it's a no-go.

Of course, O2 goes up to 8.4V into 600Ohm load, but then the whole setup gets big and heavy, and I aimed for more portable solution.

Back to your previous question - to measure power consumption, I used my bench PSU, it's MingHe B3606, but just for peace of mind I verified it with my Mastech Digital Multimeter.
Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-8 03:42:07 |Show all posts |
I'm really surprised that you get reasonable performance from the FiiO amp with 600 ohm headphones, they must be super efficient. Are you using Beyerdynamics? I have an old set of Sennheiser HD 430's with an impedance of 450 ohms and the volume is extremely low without an amp. Even my 300 ohm HD 600 and HD 650's can't be driven without my headphone amp. Besides low volume there is virtually no bass even with the amp on high gain. As I mentioned in another post, I've been using the HD 497s at 32 ohms for portable use which sound fantastic with high gain enabled.

Regarding the current, I was more curious about the procedure you used to measure the current. I've done this a few times and I've found it difficult to get numbers I was happy with. Did you use an AC ammeter in series with a 60 hz signal? What load did you use for the headphone and line-out tests?

Thanks!

D
Reply

Use magic Report

Senior Member

Rank: 4

digest
0
posts
155
F-Coin
536
Audio Sources
SL-SX480
AMPs
Objective2
DACs
ODAC B
Head Gears
K240 DF
regtime
2015-10-21
Post time 2016-5-9 18:18:00 |Show all posts |
dilburt replied at 2016-5-8 03:42
I'm really surprised that you get reasonable performance from the FiiO amp with 600 ohm headphones,  ...

No, they aren't - all of them are in range of 88-91dB/mW.
Those are legacy AKG K240 - DFs and Monitors with some mods.

Your HD650 are 96dB/mW and half impedance.
With a quick calculation, X5II should pump 26.5mW into HD650 at maximum volume (H120), that's over 110dB! I can't see how that's not enough, considering safe limit for prolonged listening is roughly at 100dB or less.

About the measuring, from your post I'm not sure what you're expecting. I measured power consumption of the player from 5V USB input, not how much the headphones consume. I used regulated 5VDC supply with USB-A Female plug and ammeter in series. The values are pretty much consistent regardless of the music playback (set to L100 into 600Ohm load).
Headphones consume very, and I mean very little power, ranging from nWh to uWh for IEMs/earbuds and from uWh to mWh for full size/low efficiency ones. Compared to how much electricity the player needs (950mW/h to 1300mW/h), the numbers are marginal at best.
Reply

Use magic Report

Intermediate Member

Rank: 3Rank: 3

digest
0
posts
16
F-Coin
201
regtime
2016-3-19
Post time 2016-5-10 02:52:59 |Show all posts |
alphire replied at 2016-5-5 00:42
That could be easily due to volume mismatch or too long delay between changing the sources.
Volum ...

Maybe my laptop has a very bad sound card, but the difference was so huge (especially in the highs) that it felt like two different versions of the same song. The volume was very close, although I did not measure it. The interval was a few seconds (~10s).

It could also be that VLC has really bad codecs for FLAC, since the quality when using X5ii as a DAC was just slightly better than when not.
Reply

Use magic Report

Prime Member

Rank: 6Rank: 6

digest
0
posts
199
F-Coin
895
Audio Sources
FLAC, DSD, M4a/ACC, MP3
AMPs
Antique Sound Lab MG-Head Mark III, Meridian 502/557
DACs
FiiO X5III, Meridian 566/24
Head Gears
BGVP DM6, FiiO F9-Pro, Sennheiser HD 650, HD 600, HD 497, 1More Triple Driver, Klipsch S4, S4a
regtime
2016-3-6

Enthusiastic Member Active Member

Post time 2016-5-15 05:55:03 |Show all posts |
alphire replied at 2016-5-9 18:18
No, they aren't - all of them are in range of 88-91dB/mW.
Those are legacy AKG K240 - DFs and Mon ...

Ahh, now it all makes sense. I thought you meant output drive current.

I'm not sure why but the both the HD 600 and 650 are not getting anywhere near that amount of sound output when directly connected to the X5II and the HD 430's have an even lower sound level. The Sennheiser HD 497's get decent volume levels  on the low gain setting but sound far better with the high gain setting at any given volume level (e.g. sub-woofer bass levels are almost non-existent on low gain but easily heard on high gain using the same overall volume level). The Sennheiser PX 100 and 200 headphones sound just as good on low gain or high gain as do my Klipsch S4 i or A models.

D
Reply

Use magic Report

FiiO Fans

Rank: 1

digest
0
posts
1
F-Coin
5
Audio Sources
sennheiser
AMPs
sennheiser
regtime
2016-12-30
Post time 2016-12-30 09:13:19 |Show all posts |
dilburt replied at 2016-5-1 08:41
Hi alphire,

Very impressive testing. However is it possible that you could have reversed the result ...

Hi,

Emeregency = I'm looking for Sennheiser HD 497
These specific headphones are very important for me,
I lost mines in my last flight from Bogota to France, after a show I done at Bogota for the opening Ceremony for the Years France- Columbia
I"m a scenograph and a musician, you can see on internet what I did arround the world from several years (you put "Damien Fontaine")
on on my websiite = www.damienfontaine.com
That's why these headphones, with which I realized some mix in the past and today, are so important for me
I m ready to give a very good price for these headphones if you're ready to sell them. Thanks for your understanding
Reply

Use magic Report

FiiO Fans

Rank: 1

digest
0
posts
1
F-Coin
3
Audio Sources
Speaker
AMPs
12
regtime
2019-11-30
Post time 2019-11-30 10:39:22 |Show all posts |
Can I also perform a similar test with my smartphone?
Reply

Use magic Report

You have to log in before you can reply Login | Register Now

About FiiO|Warranty|Contact Us|FiiO Forums  

GMT+8, 2019-12-13 07:25 , Processed in 0.030197 second(s), 23 queries .

Powered by Discuz! X2.5

© 2001-2012 Comsenz Inc.

Top