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NwAvGuy

FiiO E7 DAC Held Captive & Tortured

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Common sense really isn't very common.

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.

Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/stupidity/

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Unless you mean suppression of idiocy and douchebaggery.

See, that's what I don't get. You call him a douchebag, but the only arrogance I see is yours.

I'll take a brake and see if I can get a better grip on you wirdos. :unsure:

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I'll take a brake and see if I can get a better grip on you wirdos. :unsure:

Make it a nice long one, please.

And maybe a break would be better than a brake. Although, applying the brakes on your posts would also be a good idea.

Edit: And maybe I LIKE being a wirdo. Better than being a weirdo!

Edited by jvlgato

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See, that's what I don't get. You call him a douchebag, but the only arrogance I see is yours.

I'll take a brake and see if I can get a better grip on you wirdos. :unsure:

You should take two, always replace brake rotors and brake pads in pairs. Also try going back to elementary school to learn how to spell.

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Sure, why not make fun of the foreign kid.

I'll take a break from you weirdos, better?

And I actually do not mind weirdos, they're just a bit harder to figure out.

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That better then much more expensive gear comment is so cliche I could die reading reviews playing that drinking game. It reeks of pandering while imparting nothing useful to me.

I also wanted him to know why I didn't care to read his longish review. I just don't trust everyone's reviews, especially not from a stranger. Same reason I don't honestly care much about how you feel about my comment limp. I don't really know you two. So if I, who you don't really know, hurt your feelings, then go dry your tears and get some thicker skin. Or don't. Can't say I personally care.

Edited by manaox2

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Sure, why not make fun of the foreign kid.

I'll take a break from you weirdos, better?

And I actually do not mind weirdos, they're just a bit harder to figure out.

English isn't my first language, either, you mad?

Figure my foot up your ass, dickwad.

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I think it has more to do with not reading your Welcome Message than it does being a foreigner. There's lots of foreigners here.

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Except he made exactly that claim to the contrary:I mean, I understand working a niche ($100 range, in this case), but then don't make the other claim if you have little or no experience in that area. That's what head-fi is for.

I'm not sure what to make of this site, but that aside, I stand by my comment. There's a whole bunch of more expensive crap on the market that's not half as well made, and/or has glaring technical flaws compared to the FiiO E7. Too many live in a freakin' fantasy world with kludged together crap they think is somehow amazing when it's really just half baked junk.

Do any of you golden eared guys who think I'm full of shit live in the Northwest? Let's meet up for a beer and have a blind listening test comparing the E7 to some high-end gear? I get to publish the results. Anyone game? I'm 100% serious.

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There's a whole bunch of more expensive crap on the market that's not half as well made, and/or has glaring technical flaws compared to the FiiO E7.
So you have heard more expensive crap?

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So you have heard more expensive crap?

I think he is referring to the fact that there is expensive stuff that measures like crap, which is true, without naming anything specific. Not measure like crap like a 300B tube amp @ 5% THD, which is what it's going to have, but a DAC measuring like crap because it was poorly designed.

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So you have heard more expensive crap?

Yeah. I've been into high-end audio since college and, at times, involved with the commercial side of it as well. I'll admit my interest in higher-end headphones is more recent. Headphone aficionados seem to naively buy half-baked snake oil electronics just as readily as golded-eared speaker lovers. And when someone comes along and implies an inexpensive product can actually sound decent, many feel obligated to discredit such claims. That's just how the game is usually played.

I'm 100% serious. If the E7 is such a piece of shit, which one of you wants to pick it out in a blind test with a "Head Case Blessed" USB Headphone DAC?

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I'm not sure what to make of this site, but that aside, I stand by my comment. There's a whole bunch of more expensive crap on the market that's not half as well made, and/or has glaring technical flaws compared to the FiiO E7. Too many live in a freakin' fantasy world with kludged together crap they think is somehow amazing when it's really just half baked junk.

Do any of you golden eared guys who think I'm full of shit live in the Northwest? Let's meet up for a beer and have a blind listening test comparing the E7 to some high-end gear? I get to publish the results. Anyone game? I'm 100% serious.

I appreciate your reviews from the perspective that you provide measurements, and that you do seem genuinely interested in contributing to the audio community. However, I find that there is a tendency in these reviews to overpraise the performance. I would not call this an audiophile-class device based on your measurements. It's not terrible, but it's nothing particularly impressive in broad terms (which is what calling something 'audiophile-class' implicitly concerns). For the price, it looks like a decent device relative to at least one of its peers but this is not an engineering triumph in terms of quantitative performance.

Edited by Filburt

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I appreciate your reviews from the perspective that you provide measurements, and that you do seem genuinely interested in contributing to the audio community. However, I find that there is a tendency in these reviews to overpraise the performance. I would not call this an audiophile-class device based on your measurements. It's not terrible, but it's nothing particularly impressive in broad terms (which is what calling something 'audiophile-class' implicitly concerns). For the price, it looks like a decent device relative to at least one of its peers but this is not an engineering triumph in terms of quantitative performance.

Agreed. I don't consider it an audiophile-class device either. I'm only praising its performance relative to the price. There are plenty of reasons to want something better.

But I do think, used within its limitations, it would be harder to tell apart from more expensive gear than many realize.

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I'm 100% serious. If the E7 is such a piece of shit, which one of you wants to pick it out in a blind test with a "Head Case Blessed" USB Headphone DAC?

I'll take that test, of course. I'm way past buying stuff to see if I can tell a difference.

Presuming I can tell a difference, of course, what would I have proven? Excellent expensive gear is better at what it does than presumably excellent inexpensive gear?

I, for one, admire what you are doing. I also need to point out the fact (as Manaox already has) that the phrase "shames more expensive gear" is terribly trite. Plenty of expensive gear shames itself, and we routinely help it along. The measure of an actual giant killer, as Dan pointed out right from the beginning, is something that is better than something we already know and love.

The number of good DAC/AMP combos under $200 in almost nonexistant, and there's little point throwing money at "the best" of a series of bad products.

Perhaps you've discovered a true diamond in the rough, here. Fantastic! Just keep in mind, to do this thing right you measure diamonds against diamonds -- not against the rough.

Edited by Sherwood

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Agreed. I don't consider it an audiophile-class device either. I'm only praising its performance relative to the price. There are plenty of reasons to want something better.

But I do think, used within its limitations, it would be harder to tell apart from more expensive gear than many realize.

"Used within its limitations"? "Many realize"? Maybe this is a "know your audience" problem more than anything else. Plenty of people realize that quality doesn't scale with price and that there is some seriously underperforming expensive gear out there. I think the review would be more helpful to be very upfront and frank about the relative performance and acknowledge its limitations more. I'm not sure what you take to be conveyed by this review, but to me it gives the impression that, if I were to take it at face value, this is a rather high performance device in a broad sense. The measurements don't back up such a claim, though, and knowing those parts and what the schematic of this thing probably looks like including parts selection, I'm pretty skeptical about going beyond saying it's good for the price and a solid offering in this class of devices.

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I'll take that test, of course. I'm way past buying stuff to see if I can tell a difference.

Presuming I can tell a difference, of course, what would I have proven? Excellent expensive gear is better at what it does than presumably excellent inexpensive gear?

I, for one, admire what you are doing. I also need to point out the fact (as Manaox already has) that the phrase "shames more expensive gear" is terribly trite. Plenty of expensive gear shames itself, and we routinely help it along. The measure of an actual giant killer, as Dan pointed out right from the beginning, is something that is better than something we already know and love.

The number of good DAC/AMP combos under $200 in almost nonexistant, and there's little point throwing money at "the best" of a series of bad products.

Perhaps you've discovered a true diamond in the rough, here. Fantastic! Just keep in mind, to do this thing right you measure diamonds against diamonds -- not against the rough.

Wow. Clearly thought-out and lucidly stated.

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"Used within its limitations"? "Many realize"? Maybe this is a "know your audience" problem more than anything else. Plenty of people realize that quality doesn't scale with price and that there is some seriously underperforming expensive gear out there. I think the review would be more helpful to be very upfront and frank about the relative performance and acknowledge its limitations more. I'm not sure what you take to be conveyed by this review, but to me it gives the impression that, if I were to take it at face value, this is a rather high performance device in a broad sense. The measurements don't back up such a claim, though, and knowing those parts and what the schematic of this thing probably looks like including parts selection, I'm pretty skeptical about going beyond saying it's good for the price and a solid offering in this class of devices.

That's good feedback. Thanks. I was trying to convey it's a relatively high performance device and might have missed that mark.

Presuming I can tell a difference, of course, what would I have proven? Excellent expensive gear is better at what it does than presumably excellent inexpensive gear?

I'm hoping for some better perspective. Stuff that's routinely dismissed as garbage often is far hard to tell apart from megabuck gear.

If you...

...couldn't hear any difference, that would be a useful result. It means the E7 can hold its own at least under some circumstances. Many here seem to think it would FAIL.

...barely hear a difference because they're so close that also casts the E7 in a decent light.

...hear a difference but find it tough to pick a preference, or you choose the E7 as your favorite, that's also telling.

...easily pick the more expensive DAC as your favorite that helps validate the more expensive product in an unbiased way. I'm sure many here don't think that's necessary, but in my experience, few have done any serious blind listening tests. It's gratifying when they confirm your beliefs and listening abilities.

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That's good feedback. Thanks. I was trying to convey it's a relatively high performance device and might have missed that mark.

You should probably also be explicit about that being relative to price and class. With modern devices, even 0.001% THD+N isn't exactly superlative performance considering the spec on a Sabre32 is an order of magnitude better. I get better than 0.001% on my Assemblage 2.6 and it's over 10 years old.

The other thing is, there is more to sound quality than THD1K, CCIF, and SMPTE. I've at least found that in my own design work. Even sweeps don't really tell the whole story, although doing a frequency sweep followed by several amplitude sweeps can be helpful. If you're really serious about this stuff, you should start working on tweaking designs or doing a few of your own, measuring them, tweaking them, etc. Depending on your level of ear training and experience you may find that the generalizations about audibility made in your reviews may be too broad.

Edited by Filburt

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You should probably also be explicit about that being relative to price and class. With modern devices, even 0.001% THD+N isn't exactly superlative performance considering the spec on a Sabre32 is an order of magnitude better. I get better than 0.001% on my Assemblage 2.6 and it's over 10 years old.

The other thing is, there is more to sound quality than THD1K, CCIF, and SMPTE. I've at least found that in my own design work. Even sweeps don't really tell the whole story, although doing a frequency sweep followed by several amplitude sweeps can be helpful. If you're really serious about this stuff, you should start working on tweaking designs or doing a few of your own, measuring them, tweaking them, etc. Depending on your level of ear training and experience you may find that the generalizations about audibility made in your reviews may be too broad.

On the first point, I've already revised the review to try and make it more obvious the bulk of my praise is relative to the product category.

I've done quite a bit of research into audible levels of distortion and I'm always interested in new information. Based on everything I know to date, there's a fairly clear consensus you reach a point of diminishing returns somewhere in the0.05% to 0.01% region.

0.001% is 100 dB below the signal. I challenge anyone here to play something as loud as they like, then reduce the level 100 dB and tell me what's left could be objectionable underneath the previous listening level. Most volume controls only go down to around -80 dB (if that far) before they mute. 100 dB is huge. So arguing advantages to anything lower is difficult.

The rest of your point about correlating other measurements with perceived sound quality is a whole 'nother can of worms. And that's an area where things like blind testing can be seriously valuable. I don't think anyone has all the answers. But most non-linearities show up to varying degrees not in just one but in a variety of measurements. And by doing enough measurements, in the right ways with the right results, you can have reasonable confidence a piece of gear will be audibly transparent.

Some things, like alien abductions, seem to eternally defy objective proof. But it's difficult for audio gear to do much wrong and not leave some telltale sign somewhere in a full suite of solid measurements. I've already invested more time than I planned for a $99 DAC, but for a more worthy cause, there's more that can be done to objectively evaluate audio gear. And one of those things is blind testing--ideally with a range of listeners.

And as for my own designs, I've done several. And I've done a lot of tweaking. And while I do plenty of "sighted" listening, where I deviate from most, is I don't trust myself not to be biased when I know what "tweak" I'm listening to. I've built 2 identical designs of some things just so I could ABX the two of them in blind testing (for my ears and those of others). One is the baseline, and the other gets the latest tweak. The results are often dramatically different than the "sighted" perceptions. But that's old news. Listener bias has been really well documented and proven. It's almost impossible to remove in a sighted test.

Edited by NwAvGuy

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0.001% is 100 dB below the signal. I challenge anyone here to play something as loud as they like, then reduce the level 100 dB and tell me what's left could be objectionable underneath the previous listening level.
Well, that's one way to look at it. The other way to look at it is that hearing something in context is a lot different than hearing it at all. Dither, for example, sounds completely different than, for example, road noise, or thermal noise, especially in the context of a digital recording, but at the lowest levels alone, they all sound the same to an untrained ear. If you overdrive your ADC at the recording point at very low levels, it might sound tolerable, but put it on top of a recording and it will sound awful.

There's also the nature of the distortion -- that whole even-order harmonics vs. odd-order harmonics thing.

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My point is that the standard crop of measurements don't seem to really get entirely at what makes one thing sound different from another nor provide a holistic account for high performance. I'm not talking out of my ass; I measure everything I work on so it's not like I have zero practical experience with this. My point in reference to 0.001% THD+N was simply that significantly above that almost certainly shouldn't be regarded as high performance, irrespective of whether one believes it's below the threshold of audibility.

Aside from that, I kind of feel like I'm being perceived in this conversation as ignorant and that you're here to lecture rather than have a real discussion. I'm not new to test and measurement and audio engineering, am familiar with psychoacoustics, and know empirical methodology. I was trying to give you some helpful suggestions based on my experience trying to quantify sound quality. It is true that non-linearities typically show up in more than one measurement but they aren't generally single-source, which introduces confounds when testing for one thing or another, and this problem is aggrivated further by some types being transient and input-dependent. So, I've found that the standard battery doesn't appear holistic relative to perceived sound quality, even amongst devices which are allegedly below the audible threshold of distortion per standard tests.

Edited by Filburt

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... you're here to lecture rather than have a real discussion. ...

Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner.

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I've been told I have "less product listening experience and reputation for knowing what sounds good than my readers", called "dim", "an ass", "blind", accused of not having any known good devices, faulted for minor semantics, told I only test products that sound like shit, and more--all in just this thread. Filbert tosses this out for good measure:

If you're really serious about this stuff, you should start working on tweaking designs or doing a few of your own, measuring them, tweaking them, etc.

Implying I'm ignorant of product design when, in reality, I've done plenty of it. I try to defend myself and he responds with:

I kind of feel like I'm being perceived in this conversation as ignorant and that you're here to lecture rather than have a real discussion.

Seriously? Who's being called ignorant? And isn't lecturing is a one sided process where one person talks and everyone else mostly just listens?

I thought some reading the Portable Audio forum might be interested in some hard numbers on a piece of portable audio gear. Not into it? Move on.

But, instead, I get slammed, called names, accused of being ignorant, and backed into a corner. But trying to defend myself and responding with facts is "lecturing" and implying others here are ignorant. Limp was onto something:

It reeks of master suppression techniques, as do many of the other posts here.

From where I sit, Head-Case is more of a closed social club than an open audio forum. I have no idea if I just don't fit in, facts and audio engineering are not welcome here, I'm too much of a geek, got off on the wrong foot, don't make fart jokes, or what. But it's clear many here would prefer I just go the fuck away. Trying to defend myself further seems pointless.

So, whatever. You guys can celebrate running another one out of town and go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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