Jun 6, 20161094 views

DAPs and Portable Music Players

Similar to the CIEM post, I would like to know how many of you have a portable music player (besides your phone). If you don't currently, what is the reason?
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I use my old Galaxy Note (SGH-I717) running Candy ROM (Android 5.1) with an Audioquest Dragonfly Red and a 64GB SD card running USB Audio Player Pro as a DAP. 8+ hours battery life, track skipping via long-press on volume keys, Play/Pause via long press on Power key.
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I do owe Onkyo DP-X1, Fiio X5, A&K100mk2and iPod 5.5G RWA.
tanchiro58
How is the Onkyo DP-X1? I have the AK100ii and can tell already that the battery life is going to be an issue sooner than I thought... Or perhaps I just want another DAP. Also super-curious about MQA.
I have FiiO x5 II. Very long battery life. Powerful enough for any portable headphone. Two SDXC slots for massive storage capacity. And it sounds great. Also have the Colorfly C3, used when mowing the lawn. Loaded with high energy, upbeat tracks to keep me going on my chores.
The only DAP i purchased was a ZuneHD which i bought specifically because it had SPDIF/optical line out to run an external DAC, hated the whole synching process. USB OTG came out and gave the option to run any portable external DAC Amp out of a smart phone (behaves like mass storage device) with apps like USB Audio player pro, etc. Smart NAS's like Synology or Qnap came out making possible 10TB of lossless quality music and video storage, organization, transcoding on the fly (to keep mobile data in check), and access from anywhere with their phone apps and/or browser interface. Now wifi/LTE in portable music device would be a requirement and it's all in a phone. At the end of the day, i'm not walking around with HD800's on my head and regular entry level/ mid-fi IEMs plugged into my newer smartphone suffices; i don't even bother with external portable amps/dacs anymore for portable. Pocket real estate is a resource not to be wasted.
I got a Colorfly C3 from Massdrop, as it was a pretty great bang for the buck. I was considering something like FiiO Q1 before, but since I don't manage my music with tags, playlists and that stuff, and instead just put it in a neatly organized folder structure, I don't really need the ability to connect to a computer. So I picked the cheaper option, Colorfly C3. Very satisfied with the product, but disappointed by Massdrop service. Shipping to Lithuania was awfully slow, I don't understand why they insisted to ship to the US and then back to Europe, and they didn't even bother to attach a customs declaration to the parcel. So I had to jump through hoops to get it through customs. I've had much better experiences buying from eBay.
i have one, errr, more than one. i use separate because phones sound crap, have crap battery life and because phones dont have hardware controls. i want to control volume and track from inside my pocket for which touch screens are utterly useless and battery draining.
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specificaly i know the 5G ones do, i think some earlier ones may have also but for capacity reasons it really is the 5G and the so called 5.5G ones. its the one just before they started calling that line the Ipod Classic
Sorry ...
I've got an iBasso DX90 which I've been reasonably impressed by, but I rarely use it anymore once I got a Moto X PE, which seems to drive most of my cans pretty well (outside of the real power monsters). I usually use my Shure se846s on the go, and I don't hear any hiss or noise from either the phone or the player.
I don't have one, and for me it's because I'm not confident I would enjoy the sound quality compared my desktop system. My desktop system includes upwards of $4,000 worth of equipment. Could a little tiny IC running off of batteries really be competitive with 80lbs of serious sound gear?
I used to use my Galaxy Note 3 with USB Audio Player Pro and an E17K for out of the house needs, but it quickly became annoying. Since I use my smartphone often for other tasks, also using it for music and especially strapping it with a dac/amp is just a pain. Battery drain was also too much to be useful as I listen to music all day at work and in the car. Eventually I got myself the Fiio X3ii after a little dabbling with the Fiio X1. Having a dedicated DAP really is better overall. The line out outputs much better sound when using it in the car and at work, I can drop it in the K5 dock and have a nice little setup. The physical buttons are also better for sightless operation in the car for instance or even at work vs a touchscreen. The sound quality is also an improvement and the low power sleep mode of the X3ii is really nice (this feature and the dedicated line out is what made me get this over the X1 and I don't regret it one bit).
At home I primarily use foobar on my desktop, but I do listen to music when I go to bed too. For that, I have a Fiio M3 paired with a Grado SR80e (bowl pads) and I couldn't be happier. The M3 supports high res files with good battery life for a cheap price and combined with the power off timer feature, I barely ever have to charge it. It is also small enough and cheap but durable enough that I don't have to worry about it falling off my bed to my tiled floor and the sound quality with the Grado is just amazing and helps me sleep much better.
No reason too, honestly. Just carry around a portable DAC.
I'm not a real audiophile anyways.
I'm more interested in a traditional mp3 player than a hi-fi DAP, but suitable options are slim.
A large part of it is battery life. My ancient iRiver was advertised at 45 hours per (1) AA battery, and that was actually about right. Most modern devices don't even hit half that, except with fixed proprietary rechargeable batteries.
Another part is user interface. Why is it so hard to just copy a decade+ old iPod?
Storage is another issue. 128gb microSD cards are now cheap, but everything only "supports up to 32gb". What does that even mean? Maybe it supports more, but sometimes not. Great.
Not enough of them have Bluetooth.
Finally,I don't have the budget to be a real audiophile. My current smartphone is good enough. If I wanted a separate device, I'd dig up my old Galaxy S3. If I couldn't find it, I'd probably cheap out on a Sansa or Fiio M3 or something.
I recently got an Onkyo DP-X1. Only game in town for listeners of classical music (others don't havé a notion of composer). My requirements were:
Must-have: 1) At least 400GB capacity: I want to keep my entire music collection in the player, no more scrimping and playing tetris to get the files to fit (or is it musical chairs?) 2) High quality DAC and headphone amplifier section 3) Support for searching music by composer (I listen mostly to classical music) 4) Mac compatibility for loading files 5) Able to power a Sennheiser HD800 6) Support for ALAC up to 24/192 7) Shuffle by Album, not by Song (something where the iPhone inexplicably regressed from the iPod Classic)
Nice to have: 7) Compatibility with my BMW's infotainment system, e.g. steering wheel controls 8) Support for gapless playback 9) Touch screen UI 10) Support for DSF (SACD rips in native DSD) 11) 1/4" TRS socket
I bought the Cowon M2 and Plenue D recently for review. I have had the D2+ for years and love it. Especially the 90 hour battery life. These new ones are 90 and 100 hour respectively. The M2 is the obvious upgrade of the old D2 model and it works great but the Plenue D is built amazingly well. Unfortunately its interface feels 2004 in origin. And it is slow to move about. Put the M2 interface in the D and you have something.
Also getting 64 and 128 cards to work in either was half a nightmare.
Sound quality is still amazing. Love not tying up my phone when I go out.
Still not ready to dedicate my phone as my source for headphone / earphone listening. I dont know that ill ever really be ready, as a portable headphone amp is a must. Currently use a 5th generation ipod classic, paired with the Fiio E12 and usually being fed by this setup is my RHA T20s or VModa's M100. Also use a pair of Sony XBA-H3s from time to time.
I have a little FiiO that lives in my car. Decent sound, easy to use (skip songs etc) while driving, good battery life and decent sound. Fits more music than a glovebox full of CD's, and if it runs out of charge I can still make / rec. phone calls.
I have an Astell&Kern AK100ii that I got over a year ago: I love it, great UI, ergonomic overall, and great sound with a great set of headphones. Sounds miles away from my iPhone which I don't use for music anymore, which is great, as I was getting sick of discovering all the new ways Apple has found to try to extract $$$ from me via iTunes. The non-replacable internal battery concerns me some as it seems to be starting to flag a bit already. Anyway, I am lucky enough to also have two KEF MUO Bluetooth speakers, and the combination of those & the AK100ii is astonishing, completely blows away my (admittedly much older & significantly cheaper) home system.
I too am waiting for the Echobox Explorer DAP to get here. Until then, I use whatever Android phone (currently N6p) with Viper4android. While some might prefer tweaking via Neutron or another music player, I haven't found anything that comes close to the amount of tweaking (and improvement!) I can do with V4a. Downside: must be rooted to use Viper.
Very happy the PAW 5000 drop failed so I did not buy that, and the Opus #1 drop succeeded and I did buy that. Concensus on Head-fi too is it has great sound quality. Notable difference in SQ between Redbook and HDTracks. Certainly blows my Cowan D3 out of the water.
m8oman
I love the Opus #1! Coming from a Fiio X3II, I've been especially enjoying moving to a touchscreen android DAP.
Matt.T
You had to go and mention the X3ii... I currently pair that with an E12A and have been "trying" to avoid picking up the Opus. Did you use the line out + amp with your X3ii or just straight from the HO?
Still going strong with my iPod Classic. The experience is too intuitive for me to give it up. I even upgraded the storage to SSD and the battery to 3,000 mAh. I can go for probably a week of non-stop listening before I need a charge. I also like the iTunes interface. I want to replace it, but I haven't seen another one that mimics it in a clean, pleasuring manner yet. I was considering the X1/X2, but it costs a lot and I can't afford the purchase/transition yet.
mvicp
Media Monkey surpasses iTunes by a mile and it's not stupidly buggy like iTunes.
I recently lost my iPod, and I want to replace it, but I am tired of the instability that iTunes has, and the ever so decreasing quality Apple offered has had the better from me (my ipod home button broke 2 years after purchase, and I only used it in my car and whenever I went to the gym, never dropped it). So now, I am trying to move to a different sector and get the best from the hi-fi community. I would very much appreciate if someone gave some opinions on different portable music players, and the way I should manage my current music.
For now, I have an old iPod classic which headphone port is not working anymore, I am learning to use Media Monkey and I am trying to get all my music, playlists, ratings, art covers, lyrics, etc etc back as I had em in iTunes.
TL;DR: Hi-Fi noob looks for a better way to manage music other than iTunes (currently trying Media Monkey) and gave up on Apple entirely (not a fanboy anyways). Wants to use an old iPod to recover all library including ratings, lyrics, art covers, etc.
Fluf
Media Monkey is wonderful and works so well. Keep learning it, it's worth it. I liked it so much I bought the gold membership. I don't use iTunes at all other than backing up my phone and tablet so here goes an anti-iTunes user. As far as dap is concerned I would follow above advice go for Onkyo or Pioneer dap referenced above you sure won't pay too much and will be very satisfied for years to come. Don't bite into this DSD fever there are very little titles available and frankly 196k/24 is way more than enough. Think about your usage scenario and focus on a dap that will give you 90% and above. Above all keep experimenting but take your time and bargain, don't fall prey to those ludicrous unnecessarily expensive dap with ridiculous prices. Like life it's a learning experience and there are plenty of other beneficial places where your money can be spent. Good luck with your trek.
I use a 32GB Zune HD. I prefer to have a separate music player because I feel like I would be putting all my eggs in one basket if I used my phone. I like having two devices so that battery usage is separate. It's small, compact, and pretty light anyhow, so I don't find it burdensome to carry. I'm sad that the product is discontinued though, and I am dreading the day when my Zune will inevitably bite the dust.
Don't have one. If I am not using my home set up, I just listen to music on my phone through my p1s. They sound fine for general out and about stuff. If I was a big traveler, however, I might invest in something a little better.
I've tried a few audiophile daps, and a friend of mine has gone through many. So far I haven't been terribly impressed. Some were ok, others were terrible, and I hate that I'm carrying around this heavy brick. Pricing on those daps has been getting crazy lately too.
Meanwhile I'm still rocking my original Sansa Fuze. At a *fraction* of the price/size/weight of some daps these days, I really haven't felt the desire to upgrade. I want my portable side to actually be portable.
I'm much more lax on the desktop side where I'm one of those HE-6 nuts who's gone up to monoblocks before, but I feel the diminishing returns curve in audiophile-nervosa also competes heavily with the useability curve in the portables realm. There's only so much reasonable sound quality you can expect to hear when you're actually out and about and don't want to get hit by a car.
I am assuming you are asking about audiophile grade DAPs.
Used to have an FiiO X5 gen1. Encountered a really inflexible and clunky UI. Upgraded to X5 gen2 but ditched it because it took 30 - 40 secs to switch from one menu item to the other. Must say, audio quality on both was absolutely wonderful. Wanted to buy an X7 because it would have an iPod like touch screen, cross referrable menu for the music library, and interchangeable amps, but ditched the idea because of insufficient storage. My problem is that I have a really large collection and I would like to keep on my device. The audiophile DAP space has just exploded. Over the last year even. I was very pleased (and relieved) to see the MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) compatible Onkyo DP-X1 and the Pioneer XDP-100R appear on the scene. Not inexpensive by any means, I saw them as a one time splurge to last me 10 years straight.
Here were my checks: 1. They both have 400 GB plus storage. 2. They are both genuine audiophile class players. 3. Lots of really advanced user configurable tweaks. Still learning through them. 3. They both have touch screens with beautiful menu navigation (I keep harking back to the iPod Touch and iPhone/Pad because when they appeared, the sheer intuitiveness and mobility of the music library menu set a class defining standard). 4. Tremendous bluetooth and streaming options. If MQA format comes through, we may see very high quality audio streaming with much smaller file sizes. 5. Lots and lots of apps. Practically a phone minus the sim card.
I eventually chose the Onkyo because of the dual isolated DAC and Amp paths with the option to use balanced phones. Check my first impressions on Head-fi. I bought direct from Japan, got screwed on the customs in India, but I have hugging myself with joy ever since. Fantastic sound and user experience!
Don't go cheap, but don't look at the ridiculously overpriced stuff like AK. Above all, don't kill yourself over ever increasing unrealistic high-res specs. Your ears and brain can discern only so much. The cost-benefit ratio is very small. Buy one good DAP and grow old with it.
I started bringing an AK240 to the trade shows so I would have a known source when I'm checking out 100+ pairs of headphones in one day (and trying to figure out what to source for group buys) and it sounds so dope I started carrying it as my daily driver even though it is enormous.
I have an iBasso DX90, which I think is pretty great. Good for travel, because it uses batteries that are easily available, and they can be swapped fairly easily.
When I'm not concerned about ultimate quality, my Moto X Pure drives my Shure SE846s well enough to get by.
Use a Sansa Clip+ (Rockboxed, of course) at the moment, previously used the Sony NWZ-A15 and waiting on the crowdfunded Echobox Explorer DAP with Tidal and Spotify built in as my mext "stopping point" for a year or two (hopefully). Generally purchase my phones with a view to the DAC chip inside them to maximise the quality and use something like Neutron player to boost the output when I don't want to carry a stack or anything else.
DAP's really need streaming services such as tidal the only dap i can think of that will run tidal is the X7 and thats 800 dollars canadian
Would like one, but not picky enough (yet), so I'm fine with my Galaxy S4 at the moment. Price for something that would actually be an improvement over my phone and having to carry an extra thing around are making it hard to justify. But having extra storage and battery separate from my phone, the ability to play higher quality files, better SQ, and possibly built-in EQ do make me want one.
Xduuo X2...soon will upgrade to X3 most likely. That little fella sounds so good. Kicks ass at the price. I picked it just as a curiosity but sticked to it even though it's little quirks annoy me.(Buggy software)