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Asking for a DAP recommendation

Cahudson42

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just use your normal smartphone, whatever it is via bluetooth or cable into the Qudelix and not have to buy a Rebel?
Sure you should be able to use your existing smartphone. Rebel was just an alternate for those who preferred a separate 'DAP' device..
 

Acerun

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Because using bluetooth defeats the purpose of owning a high end DAC. When you run BT, the receiving device uses it's DAC to make the conversion
Not in the case of the Qudelix. The Quedelix (receiving device) would do the conversion.
 

ZolaIII

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Not in the case of the Qudelix. The Quedelix (receiving device) would do the conversion.
You are funny people! Each and every DAP he had or mentioned is BT/WiFi reciver/transmiter and supports pletorija of BT codecs including LDAC and UAT and DLNA over WiFi and most importantly full BT control of playback on DAP of content on both DAP and the phone (HiBy link) among other things. But you keep insisting on Qudelix which doesn't even come close by any aspect.
I still say that the regular R3Pro has uper hand to both R3Pro Saber and R5 Saber based on what we seen regarding mesured CS43131 based devices vs ES9128 and CS43198 in both performance and efficiency.
 
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Destination: Moon

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You are funny people! Each and every DAP he had or mentioned is BT/WiFi reciver/transmiter and supports pletorija of BT codecs including LDAC and UAT and DLNA over WiFi and most importantly full BT control of playback on DAP of content on both DAP and the phone (HiBy link) among other things. But you keep insisting on Qudelix which doesn't even come close by any aspect.
I still say that the regular R3Pro has uper hand to both R3Pro Saber and R5 Saber based on what we seen regarding mesured CS43131 based devices vs ES9128 and CS43198 in both performance and efficiency.

Are the sound signatures of the CS43131 vs the 43198 that different??
 

Acerun

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You are funny people! Each and every DAP he had or mentioned is BT/WiFi reciver/transmiter and supports pletorija of BT codecs including LDAC and UAT and DLNA over WiFi and most importantly full BT control of playback on DAP of content on both DAP and the phone (HiBy link) among other things. But you keep insisting on Qudelix which doesn't even come close by any aspect.
I still say that the regular R3Pro has uper hand to both R3Pro Saber and R5 Saber based on what we seen regarding mesured CS43131 based devices vs ES9128 and CS43198 in both performance and efficiency.
Huh... Never seen this one. Can you play it when it's offline? How many customizable full peq channel configurations does it have? How well does it work away from Wi-Fi?
 

ZolaIII

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Are the sound signatures of the CS43131 vs the 43198 that different??
Only difference (to my better knowledge) is in the integrated amp in CS43131 and lack of it in CS43198 (so external one is used leading to decrease of efficiency and slightly lower SINAD rest depends how good amp actually is and how good design as whole is).
DAC's by all means should be transparent and not having "sound signature" but that's easier said than done. In reality if good engineered that it doesn't pick up anything (inter modular distortion or noise) that's the case but most portable devices actually do. That's subjective rant of how good bothom and top ends are.
 

ZolaIII

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Huh... Never seen this one. Can you play it when it's offline? How many customizable full peq channel configurations does it have? How well does it work away from Wi-Fi?
When what's off-line? Has regular 10 band EQ and MSEB you can combine them. All what's present in Android/iOS app is present in HiBy OS, and you don't have to buy the DAP to use anything described you can use old phone as it. Fell free to play with it (HiBy Music). Those DAPs probably don't have great WiFi/BT range as that's influenced by design and strength of antennas but certainly good enough that you leave it in your pocket while operating it from your phone.
 
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Destination: Moon

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Only difference (to my better knowledge) is in the integrated amp in CS43131 and lack of it in CS43198 (so external one is used leading to decrease of efficiency and slightly lower SINAD rest depends how good amp actually is and how good design as whole is).
DAC's by all means should be transparent and not having "sound signature" but that's easier said than done. In reality if good engineered that it doesn't pick up anything (inter modular distortion or noise) that's the case but most portable devices actually do. That's subjective rant of how good bothom and top ends are.

Then the R5s and the R3Pro should have similar sound signatures? What I love about the R3 pro saber is it's sound but also some indifinable (is that even a word?) quality relating to space, air and instrument separation.
Any suggestions for something a little bigger and less fiddly than the R3 form factor? Without getting too crazy with money.....I see some of these things are priced at rediculous numbers
 

ZolaIII

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Then the R5s and the R3Pro should have similar sound signatures? What I love about the R3 pro saber is it's sound but also some indifinable (is that even a word?) quality relating to space, air and instrument separation.
Any suggestions for something a little bigger and less fiddly than the R3 form factor? Without getting too crazy with money.....I see some of these things are priced at rediculous numbers
Somehow folks around here (measurements based) are more towards CS than ESS including some of the designers which actually did some of the best ESS improvements and are not happy with it. In portable space as DAC even with all problems and complications around it TempoTec Sonata HD Pro is probably still the best choice (CS43131 again). In desktop space there are solid offerings and plenty to choose from at 110~140$ rest really depends on what you like (it to have or by the looks and feel of it). We already discussed DAPs. On the portable BT reciver scene there's couple of FiiO and Shanlin model's that shouldn't be bad (usually with ESS DAC's). For a streamer Pi board or Android TV box will do the job so stick around, search and read. If you need a deacent price/performance hy capacity SD card i came across this yesterday:
https://www.diyphotography.net/sili...ter-than-sandisk-at-less-than-half-the-price/
Nothing mind blowing. Best regards and enjoy.
 

Rottmannash

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Only difference (to my better knowledge) is in the integrated amp in CS43131 and lack of it in CS43198 (so external one is used leading to decrease of efficiency and slightly lower SINAD rest depends how good amp actually is and how good design as whole is).
DAC's by all means should be transparent and not having "sound signature" but that's easier said than done. In reality if good engineered that it doesn't pick up anything (inter modular distortion or noise) that's the case but most portable devices actually do. That's subjective rant of how good bothom and top ends are.
You think a DAC chip that has an integrated amplifier has better specs than one that doesn't??
 

Rottmannash

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Then the R5s and the R3Pro should have similar sound signatures? What I love about the R3 pro saber is it's sound but also some indifinable (is that even a word?) quality relating to space, air and instrument separation.
Any suggestions for something a little bigger and less fiddly than the R3 form factor? Without getting too crazy with money.....I see some of these things are priced at rediculous numbers
That's why the Hiby players sell- good value.
 

ZolaIII

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You think a DAC chip that has an integrated amplifier has better specs than one that doesn't??
In the case of CS43131 so far what I seen that seems to be the case. Similar can be said for ES9018K2M and ES9218P (same SABRE9601 amp). Of course that really depends on used amp and how good implementation actually is.
 

Rottmannash

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In the case of CS43131 so far what I seen that seems to be the case. Similar can be said for ES9018K2M and ES9218P (same SABRE9601 amp). Of course that really depends on used amp and how good implementation actually is.
Just so I'm clear- you find the performance of one of the portable DAC/amp chips superior to a standalone DAC chip with external amplification??
 

JustAnandaDourEyedDude

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Then the R5s and the R3Pro should have similar sound signatures? What I love about the R3 pro saber is it's sound but also some indifinable (is that even a word?) quality relating to space, air and instrument separation.
Any suggestions for something a little bigger and less fiddly than the R3 form factor? Without getting too crazy with money.....I see some of these things are priced at rediculous numbers
@ZolaIII is right - the HiBy R3 Pro with its dual CS43131 turns out better accuracy numbers per mfr's measurements (102dB SINAD, 124dB SNR) than the HiBy R3 Pro Saber with its dual ES9218P (94dB SINAD or less, 120dB SNR) from the balanced outputs. This is however a moot point. Most manufacturers of portable and BT DAC/amps and DAPs seem to put accuracy second to pleasing the ears of their target customer, which is more profitable. You will notice that while HiBy supplied the accuracy numbers quoted above, they have played coy when it comes to mentioning the accuracy of their R5 and R5 Saber models. Based on the subjective reviews you can find online, it seems the HiBy R6 Pro is tuned to be bass heavy, the R5 and R5 Saber to be V-shaped in FR distortion, the R3 Pro to be fairly neutral and the R3 Pro Saber to be treble-happy and upper-mids-happy ("analytical" is how HiBy describes it). My guess is that the appeal of the R3 Pro Saber to you is related to the drop-off in your hearing past 4kHz. I guess that the tuning of the R3 Pro Saber gives you more perceived texture (nuance) within your hearing range and an airiness in your diminished frequency range of hearing, and that the R5, R5 Saber and particularly the R6 Pro would all sound dull to you.

I would recommend the iBasso DX160 (2020 version) DAP for its accuracy at its price point of $400. With this DAP that uses dual CS43198 DAC chips and that runs Android 8.1, iBasso manage to achieve a 113dB SINAD and 130dB SNR out of the balanced jack, per their own measurements. I believe its high accuracy would give you superb instrument separation (which is what I hear). The software may not be quite as slick as HiBy's, but pretty competent all the same. I think you would be able to use the built-in PEQ to adjust the sound signature (primarily boosting upper-mids and treble) until it reproduces or betters the FR you get from the HiBy R3 Pro Saber. Great display, excellent touch screen, lots of power, stable OS though I prefer its Pure Music mode to Android mode. I own both the HiBy R3 Pro (non-saber) and the iBasso DX160 (2019 version) along with too many other DAPs haha. The DX160 sounds distinctly more detailed and has better instrument separation than the R3 Pro. FiiO and Shanling and perhaps Cowon have some competing DAPs but at a price point of around $600-$800. As pointed out by @Rottmannash, why not send your R3 Pro Saber for repair/replacement if it is within the warranty period, or else buy another (new) R3 Pro Saber?

Manufacturers tend to shy away from high-accuracy neutral devices which wind up being labeled "cold and analytical", i.e. neutral, by the head-fi crowd and others of their ilk. iBasso achieved a fairly neutral sound signature in their DX220 DAP (depending on the amp you picked), and it seems they achieved top-tier desktop gear accuracy with their limited-edition DX220 MAX. However, in their latest flagship DX300 DAP costing US$1300 (which uses four! CS43198 chips), with the default shipping amp they seem to have bowed to market pressures, and publish their own measurements of just 101dB SINAD on a 32 ohm load (though they do get 113dB SINAD on no/infinite load at 3Vrms). Doubtless it sounds magnificent, and is likely boosted in the bass harmonics like the $1300 dual-AK4499 FiiO M15 it competes with, which brings down the SINAD. Both iBasso's and FiiO's designers and engineers are highly skilled, and I believe the deviation from neutrality and from higher SINAD is deliberate. Since the DX300 (like the DX200 and DX220) features a swappable amp portion, hopefully iBasso would release a more neutral amp for it in the future. Based on what you say about the frequency characterization of your hearing, and on your experience with R3 Pro Saber vs R5 Saber, highly neutral and accurate equipment may not be the most satisfying for you.

Another good option would be to plug the E1DA #9038D USB dongle DAC-amp into your mobile phone, and tweak its FR to your taste using the provided software PEQ app on your phone.
 
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ZolaIII

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Just so I'm clear- you find the performance of one of the portable DAC/amp chips superior to a standalone DAC chip with external amplification??
Comparation whose of same DAC designs with same amp in integrated and stand alone form. Now you mentioned CS43131 in a good design can go head to head against mid range AKM DAC desktop offering.
 

ZolaIII

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@JustAnandaDourEyedDude if so HiBy didn't done a great job with either of them, still for a DAP those are good numbers. If R3Pro Saber has foreground mids with ESS that means they didn't do shielding properly (usual for most portables) and IMD kicks in. Had such experience with TempoTec Sonata iDSD (even they used ESS reference bord design) and fixed it by applying some isolation, it's balanced variant did better thanks to fancy glass sandwich design which they did that it looks better not to do proper shielding. Wouldn't recommend iBasso for the price there are better ones. L&P W2 did 118 dB SINAD balanced (two CS43131 DAC's) and still it's heavy overpriced.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...y-precision-w1-w2-portable-usb-dac-amp.18148/
The Vivo NEX S phone from 2018 did 114 dB SINAD (dual CS43198 they promoted it as CS43199) and as far as I know for a phone/DAP that's still a record.
By the way E1DA designer is the one who is unhappy with ESS regarding their dishonest spec sheet.
Best regards and thanks.
 

ZolaIII

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@Destination: Moon Just out of curiosity did you try your R3Pro Saber with high impedance short cable into Sony power amp? It has some sort of impedance detection which cuts output V for lo impedances but it still should have worked as line out anyway.
 

JustAnandaDourEyedDude

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L&P W2 did 118 dB SINAD (two CS43131 DAC's)
I did read the review when it was posted, and like the E1DA 9038D the W2 is an excellent option though higher-priced than the E1DA, but you also have to take into account that the W2 does not provide display touchscreen, storage, battery, etc. and will drain the phone's battery while playing. The DX160 can read upto 2TB microSD card. One should also consider the difference between 118dB SINAD versus 113dB SINAD and 113dB vs 94dB.

The Vivo NEX S phone from 2018 did 114 dB SINAD (dual CS43198 they promoted it as CS43199) and as far as I know for a phone/DAP that's still a record.
That is an excellent achievement, but I did not come across Vivo NEX S for US phone market. I did read a review of it a while ago, though, by a chinese audiophile translated by google.

By the way E1DA designer is the one who is unhappy with ESS regarding their dishonest spec sheet
IVX deplored the poor quality control on the ES9038Q2M chips, because it eats into his slim profit of course, but being the dedicated designer and professional that he is, he discards the underperforming chips so that every E1DA #9038D dac-amp that ships is tested and verified to meet his high standards.

However, as I said, I think the question of absolute accuracy over 20-20k Hz may not be quite so pertinent in this particular case, given the OP's frequency profile of hearing with its steep drop-off or impairment above 4kHz.
 
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ZolaIII

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@JustAnandaDourEyedDude Vivo NEX S had a limited availability China, Philippines and India as much as I recall. Stumbled upon it by chatting with one person which had one from India. Yust saying there whose people who ended burned up with ESS, I am not in pro and contra club (at least trying not to be). W2 is an example (still not worth that money) how far CS43131 can go with good implementation. Would be interesting to see how good will Sonata HD Pro balanced successor fire up as again it have a bargaining price.
 
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Destination: Moon

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Wow you guys! Thanks so much for helping me get up to speed on these things. Its going to take me a while to digest some of the finer points of your comments. I have some searches to run - to parse some of this. I'm sure that will spark more questions but I won't burn any more of your time with questions I can google.

A couple things that jump out from your responses. I spent some time searching reviews last night pitting the Hiby R5 series vs the R3 series, or comparisons of the various R3's. A few reviewers seem to come to similar conclusions on the sound signature that I did. So at least I have some confirmation from others that don't have my bolluxed hearing issues. I also read someone's opinion here on the ASR forum (he seemed to be an engineer with a ton of experience in the field) something to the effect that he never heard a CS chipset device that he liked, and that KN or ESS were
the only sets that he'd turn to for designing a player (or something to that effect)

Having owned one of these devices for all of a week, I have grown to really appreciate the Hiby Link feature. I dont think I would own a device without this feature now. It dovetails perfectly with my listening while reading the news, reviews, etc on my tablet. I can change anything from my chair without getting up, at a whim. How nice is that?! Looking at the Ibasso (- thanks for the suggestion -) I dont see them having a similar remote control ability?

On another related front, I now have two R3 Pro Sabers in my possession. The one that I was going to send back, and the one Amazon sent as a replacement. On a very weird note, the one that acted so wonky ran perfectly yesterday and didn't stutter or crash once. I have no idea why.
I may keep both because every time I sit down to listen to music played on it - I am blown away by how good it sounds. I still would jump on a player that is a bit larger and better built if it sounded as good for around 400 to 600 bucks. Its funny, 2 weeks ago 200 sounded like a lot for one of these.... little did I know :)

And on another related note Ive noticed that there are very few players running the ESS chipsets that are actually in stock and available for purchase. Many players, ESS and others are out of stock - across all manufacturer's. I dont know if this is due to Covid supply issues or some of the quality issues from ESS you have referenced above. Maybe its both. It is interesting that it seems to me (as a noob in this space) that the vast majority of whats available right now are running CS chipsets. Just now stumbled on this - guessing its a big part of the reason! :
Fire Destroys AKM Audio Chip Factory: Can 2020 Get Any Worse? | Audioholics

Lastly, on an unrelated topic that maybe is better buried in this thread, can I ask you guys why so much attention is showered on IEM's?
With my renewed interest in audio I also bought a pair of over ear HE 400i's (wow!!) and a set of IEM's - KZ ZS10's, which I burned in for 20 hours but still sounded to me like a swarm of angry bees.....I returned them for a pair of Moondrop Starfields which are definitely better and very highly rated - but to me, far below the glowing accolades that all the audiophile pages shower on them. They both sound incredibly thin even with EQ - especially in the lower frequencies and bass notes. With some gapping holes in some ranges. Its like guys that own Ferraris regularly evaluating the likes of ford pinto's and lower end Kia's?
Why are they even reviewed - what am I missing??
 
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