fiio e17

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers' started by lear01, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. lear01

    lear01 New Member

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    Hi there. First post for me on Hifiheadphones. If I connect my Blackberry curve 8520 to a fiio e17's analogue aux in socket, will the fiio only act as an amp? I'm assuming the devices need to be connected digitally for the fiio's dac to kick in. If this is the case do you know if it's possible to connect the two devices digitally?
    Thanks in advance for your advice.
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Connecting to the Aux input of the E17 is pure analog. To connect digitally, you would have to have a standard computer USB output on the Blackberry and then connect that to the E17's USB input. Some hardware vendors make special USB devices for phones and portable music players for that purpose, but the ones that are compact and high quality (i.e. actually useful) are expensive.
     
  3. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    I don't know much about the blackberry's but some Android phones can output digital audio through the micro usb as long as they are running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and usually have to be rooted too. The Meizu MX 4-core supports digital audio out natively but can only be bought directly from China and is a little bit 'different' from a standard android phone.

    There is also an issue with most of these phones not supporting the 'Standard' USB digital audio format, most of the Android phone only support a special Android digital audio format which not all DACs will support, Apple has their own format too and charge DAC manufacturers vast sums of money to make devices that connect to Apple products (thus they are over priced for what they are). The Galaxy Note II is rumoured to use the 'standard' format. It's a bit of a mine field at the moment I'm afraid.

    For most people trying this their second problem will be that phones and tablets do not give power over USB so most DAC/amps will not work at all anyway unless you can split the USB cable in to power and data and then plug that into a battery or the mains - major pain in the ass!! Of course the Fiio E17 has batteries so that's great but it cannot support anything other than the standard digital format (no Android, Apple or anything else), apparently no firmware upgrades are planned/possible for the Fiio so they are now bringing out a new E18 that will support most Android phones.
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The big problem I have with outing digital signals from iPhone4 and below to i-device DACs is, I suspect that the digital stream is not as good as the digital out of a computer via USB. By this I don't mean a 48 khz limit as compared to computer USB, I mean quality that can be perceived well below that. So far with all of the i-device DACs on the market you would think a few credible people would have stated whether or not this is the case. What I read, in context, is a lot of assumption but no clear statements.

    BTW, my test of the iStreamer ($200 USD) from an iPhone4s showed the sound to be clearly inferior to the USB Headstreamer ($140) from the same company - HRT.
     
  5. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    I tested both and thought the iStreamer was pretty weak as well, it's also a ridiculous fiddle to power and connect to anything, not portable at all and thus what is the point. This price vs quality issue makes perfect sense to me, the iStreamer probably costs $100 or less and the rest goes to Apple as a licence fee for unlocking the digital stream. I don't know exactly what they charge but I'm guessing it's extortionate.

    I heard a similar issue with the Fostex HP-P1 vs the HP-A3. The HP-P1 is about 50% more, but people who've tried both seem to agree that it doesn't sound as good as the HP-A3. It's not quite fair to compare it to a desktop DAC but this is not one that gets powered from the wall, we are talking USB power vs batteries here. I don't deny the convenience of the portability, but this seems like an example of Apple TAX in full effect.
     
  6. lear01

    lear01 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I think you've answered my question in great detail. Will just connect the fiio e17 (when I get it) to the Blackberry via the aux in socket.

    While I'm here I have another question for you guys. While not strictly about headphone amps....

    Also thinking about getting a DAC for my home hifi. If I plug my cans into my stereo amp, will I get the same high quality audio as outputted from the DACs or must the cans be plugged straight into the DAC? The answer will determine whether I need to buy a DAC with a headphone socket or not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2012
  7. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Not a simple question, unfortunately. Strictly speaking, a DAC is not an amp or headphone amp, but some of them like the Dragonfly, Headstreamer, Audioengine D1 etc. have just enough power in the analog stage to drive a headphone. But whether you get an ideal sound that way or sufficient dynamics and damping is questionable. You can read a lot of reviews that wax on and on about the glorious sound of this DAC and that amp, but in the end you'll get the best sound with the right DAC/amp combination that's also a lot more expensive than the mini-DACs. Robin has made some good suggestions in the amp topics.
     
  8. lear01

    lear01 New Member

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    Yea, I understand that a dac isn't an amp so don't understand why dacs like the dacmagic 100 plus and teac ud h01 have headphone sockets. Thanks for the guidance. Will head on over to the amps section for some more info.
     
  9. lear01

    lear01 New Member

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    I should have read the specs of these dacs a little closer. They obviously have dedicated headphone amps.
     
  10. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The Dragonfly people (to name one example) deny that what's inside is a "headphone amp". It's not possible for me to explain here, but if you look through the site, I don't think you'll see a claim about being or containing a headphone amp. In discussions on various sites, Gordon Rankin has gone into the technical details.

    USB Digital-Audio Converter
     
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