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FiiO E7 DAC Held Captive & Tortured


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I think someone repeating the test would be ideal, but that's unlikely to happen.

I do find the amb.org forum discussion somewhat entertaining. It's like watching a train wreck in progress, the breakdown in communication was simply inevitable.

Edited by Nebby
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He could definitely be a bit more classy about it.

If there really is something wrong with the design there is no reason for all these theatrics.

What would be interesting is to have someone else, independent, run the exact same measurements, on a confirmed proper functioning mini3. After all, repeatability is at the heart of the scientific method.

I'm all for someone else running the same measurements. That's exactly what I'm trying to promote more of.

Ok... here's where I risk being perceived as an "arrogant prick" trying to defend myself against the last several posts questioning my recent blog articles... let me try to be as factual as possible. This probably should be in a different thread but here goes...

A lot of DIYers are "builders"--they simply build the supposedly proven designs of others. I believe those investing their time and money into someone else's DIY design might be interested in an independent objective evaluation.

I was honestly surprised about AMB. I have said a lot of complimentary things about the website in the past. I figured if the designs delivered the published performance numbers they must be pretty decent overall. So I thought the Mini3 would make a good review. The reality is the Mini3 doesn't come close to a lot of AMB's published measurements. It turns out some of them are not even possible in theory.

There was nothing wrong with my specific Mini3 (the missing diode has no effect when a battery is installed).

In researching for the review, I found Ti Kan has been challenged before on some of the same issues, and in the threads I've seen, he's defended his claims with a lot of hand waving and then typically refusing to discuss it further. I thought about contacting him first, but decided I didn't want to go down that road, only to likely end up publishing the same review anyway. I tried that with NuForce and it just made for even more drama and lots of time consuming emails with NuForce asking for all sorts of details.

I could be more polite about it, and perhaps I should. But boring stuff doesn't seem to get read these days. Most posts on this forum, for example, strive for the opposite of "classy" or polite.

I'm trying to present a brain numbing laundry list of measurements in ways that hopefully keep it interesting enough some might actually want to read it. I'm open to alternative ways of doing that if my current "theatrics" are a poor approach? I do want to see if I can easily "pre publish" blog articles privately. That would allow say AMB to review a draft before it goes live.

The bottom line is, after digging a bit deeper, there are many bold claims on the AMB website that don't survive EE101 even in the best possible case--let alone the real world. I think that's misleading for a lot of DIYers and deserves some attention. You don't have to agree with me, but that's what's behind the last two blog articles.

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No idea about the performance of the Mini^3 theoretically but a casual comparison with the FiiO E5, which supposedly rivals the Mini^3 according to the reviewer, slants the favor towards the former heavily.

The E5 isn't without its flaws either, but it's generally the better measuring amp into typical portable headphone loads of 16 or 32 ohms. Into 64+ ohms the Mini3 has a clear advantage over the E5 but less so over the E7.

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Ah, finally! But why should it take so loooong?

You really don't want me to answer that...

And after several posts literally spelling that out for you. Read the Welcome Message again. Take it to heart. Pretend you're at the pub with a new group of folks you don't know. You buy a few rounds, be self deprecating, take some ribbing without being defensive, every now and then flash a little bit of knowledge. but do it with humility.

Sound like a good plan, thanks.

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I could be more polite about it, and perhaps I should. But boring stuff doesn't seem to get read these days. Most posts on this forum, for example, strive for the opposite of "classy" or polite.

Ah, but most of the post on this forum aren't potential paradigm changers. Let's face it, knocking an AMB design is pretty big stuff, and should be handeled accordingly if anything good are to come of it.

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Ah, but most of the post on this forum aren't potential paradigm changers. Let's face it, knocking an AMB design is pretty big stuff, and should be handeled accordingly if anything good are to come of it.

I'm genuinely open to suggestions. Tyll might have some input here, as he sort of does this stuff for a living? And, for what it's worth, I value Tyll's work a lot.

Like I said, I'm all for more measurements even if I'm not the guy making them. They just need to be at least semi-correct. I'd love someone else to take over what I'm doing so I can retire my flack jacket.

But just because AMB has a loyal fan club doesn't mean they're exempt from publishing reasonably accurate information. So how does one diplomatically tell someone a lot of their numbers and objective claims are BS when that someone knows they have a solid rep, lots of supporters, and has previously denied similar complaints?

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Given all the hucksters out there, I'm curious why you're attacking Ti. I mean sure, you disagree with his philosophy, but wtf, look at all the REAL sham artists out there. Ti's not exactly making a living selling mini3s.

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Given all the hucksters out there, I'm curious why you're attacking Ti. I mean sure, you disagree with his philosophy, but wtf, look at all the REAL sham artists out there. Ti's not exactly making a living selling mini3s.

I guess I have a soft spot for DIYers. Not only do I know ones who eat boxed Mac & Cheese most nights so they can save enough to build a 3 channel Beta22, buy they often invest hundreds of hours of labor into their efforts.

If you buy a NuForce uDAC-2, and decide 10 dB of channel balance error sucks, you can just send it back. But you can't do the same thing with a Mini3. Even if you find a buyer, you're still out a whole bunch of time.

So, to me, the DIY builders deserve more honesty than usual in making their choices.

EDIT: And I sort of have a problem treating some people/vendors/whatever differently than others. That's a big reason why there's a lot of crap on the market that few cry BS on. Most are afraid to say seriously bad things about Bose, or Apple, or Monster products for example. Tyll should get an award for saying what he has about the Beats. I really want to just tell it like it is and not play favorites.

Edited by NwAvGuy
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So you care more about the people who drop $100 on parts to build an amp that sounds great on the headphones it's advertised to sound great on, but that is only marginally better than fiio stuff, but you won't go after any of the other makers who sell complete garbage for an order of magnitude more?

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So you care more about the people who drop $100 on parts to build an amp that sounds great on the headphones it's advertised to sound great on, but that is only marginally better than fiio stuff, but you won't go after any of the other makers who sell complete garbage for an order of magnitude more?

I didn't say that. Just give me time. Part of the problem is my own budget. I can't afford to buy $1000+ gear for the sole purpose of exposing it as complete garbage. This isn't a business for me. Nobody's paying me. Manufactures generally don't like me. I don't even have any ad revenue. And, as was pointed out earlier, I'm just "some guy".

So I'm testing more modest gear, for now, as it comes across my bench, or stuff I actually have a use for personally.

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Given all the hucksters out there, I'm curious why you're attacking Ti. I mean sure, you disagree with his philosophy, but wtf, look at all the REAL sham artists out there.

And, for what it's worth, I didn't start out to "attack Ti". I wrote up a an honest review, that included the good with the bad about the Mini3. I even said good things about the AMB website in general at the start of the review. And I concluded saying the Mini3 was a decent choice for many higher impedance cans.

It was my hope someone might try to verify at least some of my findings, and Ti would say something like "oops, I guess I need to fix those numbers". That's a relatively happy ending for everyone.

EDIT: Shortened by popular demand. The ending wasn't happy.

Edited by NwAvGuy
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Ok how about less posting and more reading with getting to know your audience here. I'm not interested in your so-called drama with other 3rd parties. If you're here to post measurements, then fine, do that. The defensive arguing is getting old.

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Why is this guy still able to post here. He is a douche of epic proportions. Who the fuck cares what he writes. Good thing he has such a limited budget or there would be a bunch of higher end manufacturers shaking in their boots. Give me a fucking break. :palm:

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And, for what it's worth, I didn't start out to "attack Ti".

from the thread on the AMB forums.

NwAvGuy wrote: no offense, but your comments, design choices, etc. demonstrate you can't even properly calculate maximum output power. So I suspect you're even less able to calculate loop stability, phase margin, or other things required to make the AD8397 stable.

There's no way the Mini3 can produce anywhere close to 300 mW into 33 ohms. If you believe it can, you don't understand audio engineering enough to be doing this.

AMB honestly seems to lack an understanding of some of the issues being discussed in this thread. Voltage dividers are really simple and really basic. His use of the current through the R5 output resistor demonstrates he doesn't understand how audio circuits work.

I never said he has "no idea" what he's doing. Plenty of DIY'ers make stuff they get to work reasonably well without really understanding a lot of the engineering behind the scenes. But that doesn't make them "right" and 100+ years of established engineering wrong.

If AMB has trouble properly calculating something close to the correct maximum voltage and power output of the Mini3, or even how a simple 2 resistor voltage divider works, that doesn't reflect well on his engineering knowledge. Voltage dividers are literally child's play compared to the complex math, imaginary numbers, etc. required to properly analyze op amp stability. So I stand by my earlier statement.

:rolleyes:

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from the thread on the AMB forums.

Yeah, well, I figured that was coming. Looks pretty one sided taken out of context. But I'm not supposed to defend myself here. So I'll just lay here bleeding on the sidewalk while you all have your fun kicking the shit out of me.

EDIT: And it's probably way too much ask... But if someone who gets some respect around here and understands the engineering side of things wants to read through that thread it might be useful to hear their opinion of the facts before I'm tried and hung.

Edited by NwAvGuy
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And, for what it's worth, I didn't start out to "attack Ti".

Why does this quote remind me of Fawlty Towers? hmm

Basil: Is there something wrong?

Elder Herr: Will you stop talking about the war?

Basil: Me! You started it!

Elder Herr: We did not start it!

Basil: Yes you did — you invaded Poland.

Edited by Grahame
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Yeah, well, I figured that was coming. Looks pretty one sided taken out of context. But I'm not supposed to defend myself here. So I'll just lay here bleeding on the sidewalk while you all have your fun kicking the shit out of me.

1280802387349.jpg

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Ok Mr Martyr, you got it. Spend 2 weeks reading, see if you can get what's going on. If you still feel like what we want is for you to get kicked and bleed without defending yourself, maybe you'll just decide not to return.

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Ok Mr Martyr, you got it. Spend 2 weeks reading, see if you can get what's going on. If you still feel like what we want is for you to get kicked and bleed without defending yourself, maybe you'll just decide not to return.

Thank you Dan!

And for the record, I thought calling out Tyll a la the Stupefying Randy or whoever that fuck is and Mikey Fremer was one of the douchey-est moves ever. I've seen some lame shit - actually I see lame shit every day - but that was breathtaking.

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I was thinking he just might have been onto something with measurements of amb's stuff, until I saw those quotes "taken out of context" :facepalm:

If you want people to take your arguments seriously, you're seriously going to have to cut back on calling people stupid and/or incompetent. The facts will speak for themselves.

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I'm still not sure what sort of context warrants those types of disparaging comments. Funny enough, nwavguy claims he's been censored by amb since he's been banned on the amb forums:

AMB LABS (revised 5/14): There used to be a paragraph here saying many favorable things about AMB Labs. But, since this review was published, and I attempted to discuss several of the erroneous specifications and claims for the Mini3 on the AMB forum, AMB has banned me from their forums. So it’s a bit more difficult to praise a website that not only makes a lot of misleading and erroneous claims but censors even their factual discussion. AMB is not doing the DIY community any favors with either of these things.

As for why NwAvGuy was banned from this forum - it's all about his attitude and personal/character insults. That kind of behavior is not tolerated here. It's one thing to carry on a sane technical discussion, but he had way crossed the line.

That post where he called out Tyll was definitely surprising :P

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I wasn't surprised at all. He obviously thinks that a BS in EE makes him the fount of all audio knowledge. In his case BS is the appropriate initials for his degree but it is not short for Bachelor of Science.

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