New Adventures in Chi-Fi

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Fretless
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New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

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These days I spend rather a lot of idle time perusing the bizarre assortment of audio-gear available from the mysterious Orient. There are strange and wonderful things to be had (if you believe what they say) for relatively little money. Although there are dangers in the lack of serious consumer protection, questionable build quality and will you get what you paid for? AliExpress, on the whole, does offer certain forms of money-back guarantee (and it works, I can testify to that).

But Chi-Fi - is it worth the hassle?

My current experience is Yes. On the whole. :think:

Initial experiments were not successful, one ultra-cheap DAC for the TV just refused to work properly (wasn't refunded but it was only a tenner), a slightly more expensive unit failed on one channel, that was sent back and (eventually) refunded.

A Linear PSU from Weiliang for a Pi unit looks good, was a nice price, seems to be well-built and works perfectly.

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Then I got my courage up and started to get serious. The Topping D30 seemed to be a safe bet and for 100 euros it is a phenomenal little DAC. Then more from TeraDak who have been around for a relatively long time. What they make is simply breathtaking and far below the prices of anything equivalent from a European manufacturer. Brands like Fiio and SMSL are also becoming widely accepted.

Something I spotted last week is the TIN Audio T3 earbuds. Apparently these use a balanced armature driver normally found in megabuck phones, these will set you back about 50 quid and are gaining a mighty reputation in certain circles.

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Because we all like to get the best sound-to-the-pound and nobody likes to be ripped off it would be an idea to share personal experiences in thise rather dodgy area. There are bargains to be had - and mistakes to be made! But if we pool the knowledge then anyone who is intrigued can at least get a first foothold onto - what should be - some great bargains.

:grin: :guiness;

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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CN211276
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by CN211276 »

No experience with hifi. Tried it with a mobile phone once - never again.
Main System
NVA BMU, P90SA/A80s (latest spec), Cube 1s, TIS, TISC(LS7)
Sonore OpticalRendu, Chord Mscaler & Qutest, Sbooster PSs
Network Acoustics Eno, ifi iPurifier3, AQ JB FMJ, Cisco 2940 & 2960
DH Labs ethernet, BNC & USB cables, Lindy cat 6 US ethernet cable

Second System
NVA P20/ A20, Cubettes, LS3, SSP, SC
Sonore MicroRendu, Chord Mojo 2 MCRU PSs, AQ Carbon USB cable & JB FMJ

Headphones
Grado SR325e/Chord Mojo, Beyerdynamic Avetho/AQ DF Colbat

RIP Doc

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by slinger »

I've just tested 3 different Chinese USB leads between my Asus Tinker Board (ATB) and my DAC, with differing degrees of success. Out of the three, there was one I could have lived with, but only while I was on the lookout for something better. Having said that it was much cheaper than the Oyaide lead it replaced and equally as good. I'm now using an AudioQuest Carbon, and it kicks them all to the kerb.

My new(ish) DAC is ChiFi, and it's very good. It's a dual AK4497EQ and I'm using the xmos XU208 input for my ATB/Volumio setup and it was under three-hundred quid.

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I've also just ordered one of these... to power my ATB. It's the only LPSU I can find, at a reasonable price, that actually promises 4A at 5v. Hopefully, it'll replace the power-bank I'm currently using.
Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Ithilstone »

Fretless wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 11:16 am
Something I spotted last week is the TIN Audio T3 earbuds. Apparently these use a balanced armature driver normally found in megabuck phones, these will set you back about 50 quid and are gaining a mighty reputation in certain circles.
T3 incorporates one Knowles BA and one dynamic driver
Not saying that Knowles BA are cheap and those are definitely one of the best out there (if you like BA sound) but easily found in a lot of HPs in range from 30-40 usd
Sound wise i found them a bit thin. Those need a really good seal so take your time with tips selection ;]
Foams should be best suited but i hate them so had to use some silicone large hole soft sided ones.
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https://nvahifi.co.uk/

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Nihil Sleighride »

I've had quite a bit over the years, starting with a Jungson Moon Harbour CD player. That led me to investigate what else Jungson made and I got the JA-88D amp. This was before they'd got distribution in the UK, so prices were ridiculously cheap for what you got even after import fees.

As the Moon Harbour was sold here as Inca Tech Katana it got wondering what else was made by a Chinese OEM and just rebadged. So I ended up with a Dussun U3i phono stage which was also sold under Mark Levinson's Red Rose Music brand. Next purchase was a monster Shanling cd player CD-300.

Never had an issue with any of them and the build was great. Yes, the case work was more Seiko than Grand Seiko in terms of finishing but fine.

Only ended up selling as I just wanted to try other things and moved to ripping and streaming for digital.

Current DAC is this from Taiwan

http://www.mhdtlab.com/Istanbul.htm
Pi 4 - Volumio - SMSL M300 Mk2 DAC - Technics SL-1210 - LDA Power Supply - Ortofon TA-110 - Clearaudio Charisma V2 - Music First 632 - NVA P50SA - NVA A80 - Wharfedale Linton Heritage - NVA LS7/TIS

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by scotty38 »

slinger wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:45 pm
I've also just ordered one of these... to power my ATB. It's the only LPSU I can find, at a reasonable price, that actually promises 4A at 5v. Hopefully, it'll replace the power-bank I'm currently using.
I have one of those. They're available on ebay from a UK location if you haven't already ordered, although it sounds like you have :-)

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by slinger »

scotty38 wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:58 pm
slinger wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:45 pm
I've also just ordered one of these... to power my ATB. It's the only LPSU I can find, at a reasonable price, that actually promises 4A at 5v. Hopefully, it'll replace the power-bank I'm currently using.
I have one of those. They're available on ebay from a UK location if you haven't already ordered, although it sounds like you have :-)
I saw them on eBay, but I saved almost twenty quid by ordering from China. The burning question is though, are they any good? :grin:
Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

You might lose that twenty quid on import tax. Its a bummer - got me a few times now. :snooty:

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by slinger »

Fretless wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:21 pm You might lose that twenty quid on import tax. Its a bummer - got me a few times now. :snooty:
I got caught for the DAC, (and I'm now tempting fate...) but none of the PSU's I've bought in the past has attracted extra taxation. The difference being that the DAC was sent via DHL and all the rest, including this LPSU were sent using AliExpress' "Standard Shipping" so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. DHL, by the way, charged me £20.06 at the door, on delivery, and the DAC weighs in at almost 4.2 kg.
Amps - NVA P50, AP30, A40, Stanislav Palo Tube Headphone Amp BB 85
Speakers - Monitor Audio Silver RX2
Cables - NVA LS1+LS3, SSC, Gotham S/PDIF, IBRA Optical
Digital - NAD C516BEE, SONY ST-SDB900 DAB TUNER, TEAC UD-H01 DAC
Analogue - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Phono
Cans - Grado SR80, ATH-M50X

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by scotty38 »

slinger wrote: Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:05 pm
I saw them on eBay, but I saved almost twenty quid by ordering from China. The burning question is though, are they any good? :grin:
Ha not sure to be honest, I bought one to power my project pre s2 dac but haven’t used anything else with it. It works just fine I can say that. I did take the lid off and disconnect the fan to eliminate its noise, never even gets warm for me here....

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