Jul 26, 2017

DAP/Amp Combo Suggestions

I have never owned a DAP/Amp, but with my purchase of good IEM's, suddenly an amp with player seems appropriate. The trend seems to be on Amazon $37.99 or $3,799.99. Thimble or 55 gallon drum. I'm not really an audiophile, I'm a pro audio guy, recording engineer and have always sort of felt that high end amps and monitors are not reminiscent of what the end user will experience in their cars or with their skull candy earbuds, so it may be doing them a disservice for me to mixdown on really high end gear. I choose Mackie Powered monitors or Sennheiser studio monitor phones. Well... now I've got some really high end IEM's, ear impression at the hearing aid place and everything. I'm driving them with my Samsung galaxy when I'm not at my Midas DWS (which has ADDA converters and Onyx preamps so good you'd poop, and they're finalized with six Presonus Tubes) and it's just... sad to run them on a cell phone. Community!!!! Any finger pointing or snickering at my dilemma aside, help me out!! I want this to run off of Micro SD and preferably rechargeable internal battery.
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Edit: I thought you meant you needed an AMP with you phone woops.

With a good DAP, you won't need an extra amp BTW. Grab one of the FiiO players which ever suits your budget or needs. The Sony player A-# is also quite good.
Good info, I've always used VLC on my computers, not sure why I never looked into the mobile version! I guess most of the time, if it doesn't have rack ears, it's invisible to me, lol. Thanks for the great information, MXRC.
Hello,

Fellow audio engineer here. Funny, I actually just recently got back from a conference that demo'd some DAPs. I got a chance to listen to the Sony NW-WM1Z paired with a WooAudio WA8 amp. I was more impressed with the prices than I was with the actual audio that came out of the devices.

I'm always a skeptic when it comes to insanely priced audio gear. As an engineer, we have the science to prove whether a product can do everything it claims to. And sure, a lot of these things can do it all, high resolution audio, proper amplification, the works. Human auditory perception is limited though, specially at age. There are diminishing returns when it comes to high performing devices and the prices they come in. I'm saying all of this because in my humble opinion, I don't feel it's necessary to spend so much money on a DAP/AMP when we have mobile devices with enough processing power to accomplish the same thing. As far as amplification, there are affordable options for that too.

Phones are capable of playing back lossless files with the right media player. VLC for iOS and Android can play flac, alac, and wav. The software can output up to 192khz. Mobile devices, are mostly limited to 44.1khz:16bit but there are accessories to extend this capability also.

Enter the mobile DAC/AMPs:
http://www.cozoyaudio.com/
http://www.audioquest.com/dragonfly-series/
These override the native 44.1khz:16bit and render the proper sample rate and bit depth for the media you're listening to. These in combination with the lossless media players can turn any phone or tablet into a high performing DAP/AMP. Don't take the capabilities of your Galaxy device for granted.

Something to think about.
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Natively the software doesn't bypass OS sound processing. The mobile DAC/AMP overrides this and provides the bypass and ultimately the audio processing. You can't just have the player, you have to have the additional hardware. It's just a recommendation for a more cost effective solution rather than dropping $3K on a specific DAC/AMP/DAP.

"These override the native 44.1khz:16bit and render the proper sample rate and bit depth for the media you're listening to. These in combination with the lossless media players can turn any phone or tablet into a high performing DAP/AMP."
MXRC
Can you point me to the documentation that shows VLC bypasses the Android Sound Processing Layer, I know both the Onkyo Player and USB Audio Player Pro passthrough a native signal to the external DAC but I still cannot find any documentation that this is the case with VLC. Without the bypass Android is passing your DAC 48kHz audio regardless of original sample rate and bit depth.
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