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W800i Listening Tests

I'd made some claims recently about preferring to listen to my Etymotic ER4p plugged into my Sony Ericsson W800i as opposed to having them plugged into my MAudio Transit. After making that claim I thought that I should run some ABX results (I said I would in another post).

Firstly, the original RMAA results I'd provided were wrong. I'm not sure what happened exactly but the original graphs showed some unusual humps in the low end. I suspect the reason for this is that I'd had my EQ swithced on. I thought I'd played the files from the file manager and not via the Walkman software so assumed the EQ was switched off. Here are my latest results. The files were played via the Walkman software with the EQ flat. I was also careful to play the file, stop it and rewind it before running the test. This prevents the phone generating a click which it can sometime do when you first play a file. Again, MP3s were used since the phone can't play wavs.

For the ABX tests I've used a combination of Audiophile2496 > Arcam A85 > HD600s and Transit > HD600s / Etymotic ER4p and Foobar2000 with replaygain enabled. Replaygain was essential since the volumes level differences between the test files were huge. I never spent too long on a test, I wanted to see if the differences I'd thought were there, were there and analysing them too much would have gone against that.
All tests were run using LAME encoded -b320 files. Below where I say original, I mean the orignal LAME encoded version, edited for the test. All the files were recorded using my Audiophile 2496 soundcard. I have made the test files available here:

Thom Yorke - Analyse
Analyse - Original
Analyse - Loopback 2496
Analyse - RealTek
Analyse - Transit
Analyse - W800i
I haven't so far been able to ABX a difference between any of these.

I could not tell the difference between the RealTek soundcard in my Sony Laptop or the Transit or 2496 with this sound clip. It may not be a good test file so I need to do more tests on this.

2 Pac - Can't C Me
Can't C Me - Original
Can't C Me - Transit
Can't C Me - W800i
As above.

Pink Floyd - Goodbye Blue Sky
Goodbye Blue Sky - original
Goodbye Blue Sky - Transit
Goodbye Blue Sky - W800i
I could only ABX the W800i from the others and this so far is only due to background noise which I and others have reported about this phone. This was the reason I chose this clip.

Famous last words indeed. I beleive the main reason for my preferring the W800i over the other sources as I claimed in my post above was simply volume, it can't go as loud.
Expectation bias 1 - evereux 0.
From running these tests and constantly switching between the ER4p and HD600 I still maintain that the HD600 is a much better listening experience. Like comparing chalk to cheese.

Do DAPs really sound that much different to each other these days? Do external/semi-pro/pro soundcards really sound that much different to onboard ones? I'm going to try and get my hands on my mates iPod mini in the future and add those files to the above.

W800i Listening Tests

Reply #1
I have a W810i - love it, mostly, but I've found one big problem. It appears the volume control acts on 16-bit data, not after the D/A converter. Thus, at low volume levels, you get *very* audible quantization noise! It's not too audible with pop music, but horrendous with speech.

I too use a pair of ER4P's with it while traveling. While at my desk however I use a pair of HD650's! The similarities never seem to end.

Anyway, my solution for the quantization noise problem next time i'm traveling will be an in-line volume control. Should have done that ages ago - this should also help tremendously for plugging into aircraft audio. (Although one has to really search to find lower fidelity than that)


Edit: I realized after posting how off-topic I was. Sorry about that. At least it's a bump, right?

W800i Listening Tests

Reply #2
Not really off-topic, I've mentioned the noise above and it was the reason I could ABX the Pink Floyd sample. The noise is still audible at max volume, which is what the samples above were recorded at.  But you need quiter music to hear it. I've also heard tracks end with a descending sheeewww as the track fades out.

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