DAP talk (formerly best DAPs 2015)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by zerodeefex, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. MiRog

    MiRog Rando

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    But how does X5 compare against 1z w/o external DAC/AMP?
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017

  2. 93EXCivic

    93EXCivic Rando

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    So I am looking to spend around around $200-$250 for a DAP and I am willing to hunt for a used one? What would you recommend?

    I have tried the Fiio X5 3rd gen and the Cayin N5 and I didn't really love either. The FiiO was meh sound and the interface and buttons on the Cayin were terrible (the wheel was the worst feeling thing ever). I had thought about the A&K Jr or something from Sony. I don't really know what I could find from Sony in that price range (I guess NW-A35) and if it would be any good. There is also a modified A&K AK100 on the FS on HF that I was considering putting an offer on. Currently I have a Zishan Z2 or an LG V20 that I use at work. I am really just looking for a screened DAP with an SD card slot so that a) if I have gotten a decent amount of new music I don't have to either load it to my phone or have it on a screenless DAP so I don't know what I am listening to and b) am not listening on my phone with notifications interrupting and using up my phone battery.
     
  3. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Friend

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    Take into consideration that I'd only spend on a DAP above a certain price point (like say for a used ZX2 or something like that), below which I find a Rockbox'ed Sansa Clip Zip/+ etc to be stellar and leaves the budget audio player out of a market, although SanDisk has discontinued all those models.

    Did't like FiiO X1, X3, and X5 1st gens, didn't try their later models except for the X5 3rd gen. I do quite like the iBasso DX50, which does have a replaceable battery, and better tone than the later DX90, and lasts longer. The DX90 is technically the better player though, but I'm more a tone first type of guy. Never tried the DX80.

    AK100 is trash except maybe as a digital transport. Doubt the other AK models will fall lower into your price range.

    ZX100 can be considered as well, although I do hear some issues about button death. Otherwise it's pretty good.

    Lotoo PAW 5000 is a lot more obscure, but pretty well built and sounds good. No idea if you can even find it on your side. It's a very KISS UI though. Most limited features out of all these players.
     
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  4. David De Lucena

    David De Lucena Almost "Made"

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    No doubt Sony it’s better. But fiio its 399$ and Sony is 3000 dollars. Do I think Sony it is 10 times better? No way... maybe 30 40 % better overall. The operational system is much better nevertheless. For now I will stay with my fiio, and wait next year to decide myself
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
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  5. 93EXCivic

    93EXCivic Rando

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    Thanks for the suggestions. An ZX100 is appealing but it seems like it will be out of my price range for the immediate future. The PAW 5000 is interesting. I will keep an eye out for it. I wish the iBasso had a stable port of Rockbox. I would buy one right away. The Clip + doesn't have an SD card slot does it? Otherwise I may just grab one of those and save the extra money for a better DAP.

    What are good AK models? For some reason, Astell and Kern has appealed to me and I liked the AK240 I got to listen to but I don't see myself ever paying that kind of money for a DAP.

    Edit: After spending way too much time researching DAPs, I am leaning towards just grabbing a cheap Cayin N3 for now and saving the money towards anicer Sony DAP later.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
  6. MiRog

    MiRog Rando

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    Isn't Rockbox dead already? I've red somewhere that they closed the project.
    I still use my old iRiver ported, as secondary DAP.
     
  7. 93EXCivic

    93EXCivic Rando

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    I believe so. I mean their website is still up and the previous ports are there but as I understand it they are not doing anymore development. I have an iPod with Rockbox at home.
     
  8. matique

    matique Rando

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    Bit the bullet and bought myself a sony ZX300. Got it for SGD$750, around USD$560. What a fantastic device. Great UI, great sound, long battery life, balanced outputs. The blank space on the front is irritating me to no end though. Just waiting on my andromedas to arrive and i'll be set for awhile :)
     
  9. 93EXCivic

    93EXCivic Rando

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    Well I bought a used Lotoo PAW5000. I am not going to try to review the sound as I don't have any good references to compare to but I am not finding anything glaring missing. I will say I love the size and build quality. The UI is perhaps not the most advanced (looks a little dated) but it is really easy to use and it loads extremely quickly. Also I love that everything is control via buttons rather then a touchscreen.
     
  10. DigMe

    DigMe Geekus Imperator

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    Anyone in the market for a budget DAC should keep Shanling in mind. I picked up an M1 used one for $80 and I've been really happy with it for the price both on its own and as a transport with Oppo HA-2. The M2 is another option. Shanling is pretty active with firmware updates too.
     
  11. Skyline

    Skyline Friend

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    Thanks. I hadn't looked into it, but the M2s is appealing on the surface.

    Also looking at the Cayin N3.
     
  12. randytsuch

    randytsuch Acquaintance

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    I bid on a few ZX2's but kept coming up short, they went for a little more than I was willing to pay.
    So I decided to get a X5 gen 3 for now, and see how I like it. If the hiss bothers me, I'll use it with my alo rx amp.
    May still get a zx2 eventually, but figure the x5 will hold me for a while.
     
  13. Hayo1991

    Hayo1991 Rando

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    Trying to narrow down my options for a DAP, in the 300 euro price range (can be used), to use with the Noble X. At this price point everything is a compromise though.

    Pioneer 100R:
    + 2x SD card slot
    + Streaming options (tidal, spotify)
    - Android forced resampling
    - Might be a bit on the bulky side
    - Firmware issues?

    Fiio X5III:
    +2x SD card slot
    + Streaming options
    + Bypass android forced resampling
    - Firmware issues?
    - Streaming drop outs?

    AK Jr.:
    + Most portable
    - No streaming options
    Might be too warm with Noble X?

    Missed some other options probably, but I'm really starting to feel like it's "pick your poison" at this point.
     
  14. tarhana

    tarhana Rando

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    opus1 is going around 250-300 in amazon. take a look.
     
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  15. JK47

    JK47 Friend

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    I finally got my Sony NWZ-ZX300 from Japan after a complete clusterfuck, but that's another story. I was intrigued by the balanced output, and was hoping that it could drive my Sony MDR-EX1000's with some authority, my old ZX2 just couldn't muster the power needed.

    Then I found out nobody makes an off the shelf EX1000 4.4mm balanced cable... I decided to try and DIY one with a spare stock cable and an Ebay 4.4mm jack. I thought this would be an easy mod, boy was I wrong. First of all, the EX1000 stock cable has enameled signal cable like the Senn HD650, which isn't a big deal with a regular 4 pin XLR, but with a tiny 4.4mm connector I was worried. It took me 3 days to get the gumption to attempt the mod. Painstakingly I made each solder joint 1 by one and checked continuity, and shorts with a DMM, last connection, shit... a short. Solder vacuum and a careful touch with tweezers and it was fixed, thank the stars above, I was anticipating listening to this combo for months in the balanced configuration. I slid a heat shrink insulation over the connection and crimp point of the 4.4mm connector for added security from tugs and yanks on the cord that will inevitably happen. I didn't take any pic's of the inside of the jack, because everything is a jumbled mess in there, and looks BAD. I have a huge amount of respect for people that solder these tiny jacks, true IEM hero's.

    Presto!!! and it works like a charm, these hungry IEM's have a master now. The single ended 3.5mm jack on high gain can push them to reasonably loud levels, but balanced on high gain get's a much firmer grip on the bass, tighter and deeper without question. I haven't gone through the Sony recommended 200hr cap burn in on both balanced and single ended yet, but so far so good.
    IMG_0608.jpg

    I played with the built in EQ to help tame the somewhat bothersome treble on some tracks, and it works nicely. The OEM Sony leather/pleather case is really nice too, as is the Sony screen protector, which is just a film but matte like the screen and prevents glare.

    IMG_0609.jpg

    I easily rockboxed this Japan unit to English with the help of the thread over on HF. This page has a few good messgaes that can help if you try Rockbox https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sony-nw-zx300.854693/page-123
    You will have to find and select English in the language setting after rebooting still, but the savings $$$ wise is more than worth it, or if you need to uncap the volume on a Euro model.

    It's a solid little travel player, but can it stack up to the ZX2 sound quality wise? I really don't know, but powerwise it kicks it's ass seven ways till Sunday !!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017 at 2:51 PM
  16. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    I just got a ZX300 in this week as well (uncapped English unit). I've only got about 30hrs of burn in so far on the balanced jack, but I'm enjoying it so far. Seems a bit warmer than the WM1A and a step back on clarity/resolution, but the form factor is absolutely perfect for my needs. The power output on the balanced jack is pretty impressive. I don't think it's lacking that much (if any) power compared to the 1A.

    Haven't played around with the USB DAC functionality much, but worked fine w/o any additional drivers/software on Windows 10 and Android. The big downside seems to be latency, as there is a pretty big AV sync issue when using the USB DAC. I'm guessing they might put the audio through some additional processing through USB?
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017 at 4:27 PM
  17. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Friend

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    Did you find the 4.4 output much better? I only heard it through the 3.5mm since I don't have any 4.4mm cables, but I'm waiting to see the WM2A/whatever-Sony's-gonna-call-it since I'm not in need of a DAP yet.
     
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  18. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I tried the ZX300 but it was in the sony store with some shitty V-shaped sony IEMs. Size is significantly better than the ZX2 but still not close to as small as the AKJr.

    I wish someone (Sony?) would stop trying to please the masses who seem to want their DAP to be able to drive everything under the sun and just make a tiny, IEM optimized dap with outstanding sound quality and battery life at ~500. I don't need to pay extra money or lose battery life or have a larger DAP so that someone on Headfi can check a box that the DAP can drive the HD650s competently.

    /rant.
     
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