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ifi hip dac review (DAC & Headphone Amp)

Asylum Seeker

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I am talking buyers not reviewers. The reviewers you reference basically do not pay much or any attention to measurements. Like most buyers, they say they like the sound. Either they do not hear or perceive distortion at that level (quite possible), enjoy the effect of distortion (possible) or don't listen critically. Also, I have yet to see an audio reviewer post his or her latest hearing test. But most people's hearing is not flat, and many reviewers are middle aged or older. Most people are not adept at, or able to hear, some types of distortion until it is rather high. And no doubt many listen to their Hip DAC on crappy ear buds or headphones listening to lossy recordings. A few like those on this forum demand more from a manufacturer. Thankfully some supply that.
i am not talking all or mostly about reviewers. Most groups have hundreds even thousands of users, and only a handful of reviewers, who participate to share listening impressions of different gear. Most all of the buying is by members not reviewers for the latter get samples sent to them gratis.
 
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Katji

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But ifi are part of a high end company. There is no excuse for lack of basic competence. Even a design using old (super cheap?) Burr Brown chips should reach CD transparency.
Wide range of products, different levels of design competency. The Zen range is coherent, but I don't know how they test/measure, so far I know they are ok, fairly good value. And the hi-fi range like the Black Label [whatever], I think one or two of them are fairly high on the SINAD chart. But this Hip thing seems like it might be like a cheap no-name DAC board like you might see on Ebay, in a housing made in the "factory of the world" way, with a high gross profit margin based on the brand name.
 

Haze

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There is a zen can here for testing.

I know you normally don't test crosstalk but it really is worth doing it on the Zen Can. It's a major deficiency in the Zen Can's design and i have found only one review that mentions it.
 

dmac6419

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Sorry about that but my experience with the hip dac's battery life is just fine. I'm using the Sens hd 6 series, hd800 with the hip dac and iems too.
Oh I returned two hopefully the third one the charm.
 

The Shadows

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Joined the forum just to post this comment!

So happy you reviewed this.

I just bought my Hidizs S9 Pro on Tuesday and am receiving it tomorrow!

I was between the Hidizs S9 Pro and the iFi Hip DAC, because I prefer a U sound signature and wanted the extra bass from the Hip DAC. I cannot believe how much better the Hidizs S9 Pro is.

Been talking with a friend about all this and she told me how phone adapters are becoming so good that they are becoming desktop replacements and it was hard for me to believe, but the more reviews of yours I read, the more I believe it.

Thanks so much for all your work, Amirm. You're a true master of your craft!

Update:
Wow. With a bit of EQ on my Sundara's and this AMP/DAC combo, it's like my first time listening to music. You are amazing confirmed, Amirm
 

Palex

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If the Stradivarius violin, doesn't pass the Amirm-test a violin to throw out?
 

confucius_zero

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What other battery powered dac-amp would measure well here?
 

Jimbob54

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Outperforms the NX4
Not if you're after a good amount of power into 300 ohms. Especially the single ended ones. The dongles are great but have an overall lower output.
 

Asylum Seeker

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We should speculate? ...Based on brand name and DAC chip?
Oh yeah, >they< purport to be able to hear a DAC chip within a DAC.
 

Katji

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Oh yeah, >they< purport to be able to hear a DAC chip within a DAC.
He/she seems to suggest that [we] should speculate about which DACs would measure well in ASR tests, signal/noise tests. In other words, guess which might produce better results than others.
I want to know what the guessing would be based on. Like brand name - then, for example, knowing that most Topping DACs have measured well, we could guess that any [battery-powered] Topping would measure well.
Like a survey method. If so, then we could analyse SINAD chart according to brand name. Or which DAC chip.

And the more DACs are tested, the better our speculation can be. :) But on many days, the horses that win the races were not the popular choices. :)
 

welsh

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My FiiO A5 died suddenly last night and in my mourning I was hoping this would be the replacement. First loves are impossible to replace. RIP A5. You’ll never be duplicated it seems. I wish I could understand why, when it’s already been done, no one has said “let’s do that again!” JDSLabs or Schiit should get on it. Topping doesn’t seem interested and FiiO has shown the last remaining folks like me the finger.
My Fiio e12 is still working fine. Will easily drive power-hungry planars. Very exciting on high gain with the ‘cult’ Tin Hifi P1 planar IEM… and I have a spare e12 just in case!
 

welsh

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Disappointing measurements for sure. I guess the harsh reality, and perhaps the design target consideration, is that most people buying these products are not critical listeners, but rather are Millennials or Gen Z consumers who want digital music, much of it streamed or saved on their phone, played through headphones/earbuds, much of it in a compressed format. So perhaps a low common denominator comes into play. I am not offering that as an excuse, defense or as logic for using old DAC chips or less than stellar design, but if most of the consumers don't give a poop and an attractive price point is hit, only those of us who are hi-fi geeks really care or are annoyed. At least we have some better choices clearly identified.
I have a lot of mobile gear, including a Little Bear portable amp that actually has tubes in it. I dread to think what its measurements would look like, but in winter it’s a handy hand-warmer.
 

Parkerjon

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My Hip Dac died after 6 months of powering my Audeze LCD-2C over the 4.4mm jack: lights but no sound. Can't say I disliked how it sounded though after waiting for a month to get it back it got sold off and replaced with a separate DAC and THX 789 amp. To much load for the Hip Dac?
I have seen similar stories regarding their phono products so don't have much faith in their products.
 

DanTheMan

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My Fiio e12 is still working fine. Will easily drive power-hungry planars. Very exciting on high gain with the ‘cult’ Tin Hifi P1 planar IEM… and I have a spare e12 just in case!
I ended up hitting the reset button and my A5 is like new again :) I've never had to hit it before and I'm not sure what triggered it to trip. I figured I may as well try... It's odd, my wife leaned over to give me a kiss and it died. Must have been the electricity in the air.
 
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