DAP talk (formerly best DAPs 2015)

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

  1. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    OK so I lived with iBasso DX220 for about 3 weeks and spend at least a couple of hours every day listening to it.
    Why iBasso DX220?
    My first DAP DAC was DX80, I sold it just a few months ago to a DAP collector on Head-fi. I loved the sound, everything else was not that good, but iBasso support was outstanding.
    So when I was looking for a DAP proper, iBasso was on my list, together with M11 Pro. Before I bought it I had a chance to audition DX220 briefly, the sound signature reminded me of DX80, and I liked swappable amp modules.

    Operating System : Android 8.0,
    DAC : Dual ES9028Pro DAC Chip, ( Kann Cube uses Dual ES9038Pro)
    Analog Outputs : 3.5mm Line Out, 3.5mm Phone Out, 2.5mm Balanced Out (TRRS)
    Digital Out : SPDIF/Coaxial, Optical Out, USB Type-C
    3.5mm Single Ended Output (TRS): Output Voltage 3.1Vrms
    2.5mm Balanced Output (TRRS): Output Voltage 6.2Vrms
    Frequency Response: 10HZ-45KHZ+/-0.3dB
    And "A Total of 5pcs of Femtosecond League Oscillators, With 2 of Them Being Accusilicon Ultra Low Phase Noise Femt osecond Oscillators" !? - I have no idea what it means but the description is impressive

    Pros:
    1. reasonably transparent, the differences I can hear between different IEMs are as pronounced on DX220 as Kann Cube or BHA-1
    2. Noise floor level on every gain level is very low, lower than KC
    3. Mango OS is step forward in terms of sound quality: darker background, more resolving, less colored, better bass control. That comparing to two Android players: Mango and UAPP
    4. Elimination of SRC for all apps seems to be working, I did not hear any audible difference between Qobuz native player and Qobuz with UAPP.
    5. Very good synergy with ER2XR and ER4SR. I really enjoy my daily walks with ER4SR and DX220. Good balance with a bit of help from EQ , good dynamic, very resolving at low volume. Without any effort I could hear the level of details that was not possible using the same IEMs with LG30, particularly using ER4SR.
    6. For my IEMs DX220 is competitive with Kann Cube, with ER2XR and ER4SR I prefer DX220. KC and Vegas synergy is what I can rave about all day. But Vegas with DX220 pairing on low gain still exceeded my expectations.
    7. V-Moda M100 was a good example that iBasso recommendation for burn-in has some merit. Initially it was my main disappointment: for some reason DX220 did not play very well with V Moda M100. M100 bass, which is elevated but reasonably clean, sounded boomy and unpleasant. But after 10h of burn in using supplied cable and maybe 20 hours of listening it changed a lot.

    Cons:
    1. Mango OS UI is beyond primitive, there is no search function, and only basic equalizer
    2. Driving high impedance cans is not close as good as KC, but DX220 has a half a power of Kann Cube.
    HD800S, HD560 sound a bit bright, HD560 which is harder to drive sounds particularly thin. I do not have AMP8 but heard it improves performance of higher impedance headphones. HE500 on high gain max volume does not sound bad but it is not even close to its full potential. The same goes for HEKv2. Again, that only in direct comparison with Kann Cube.
    IMO DX220, unlike KC, is not a candidate for a portable desktop setup, at least not with AMP1 mk2.
    3. Battery life is not that great, and on high gain I do not think I could go past 4-5 hours. On low gain is about 8-9. I do not mean streaming for 8 hours. That would be more like 6. If you are not streaming it is better to put it in Airplane mod. In SE mode it could be better.

    Build:
    Comparing to KC, DP-X1, and Fiio M11, DX220 all sockets feel very solid, and pretty much in the right place ergonomically. When you plug in a cable it gives you a nice click when the plug is all the way in. Screen is clear, sometimes not very responsive, I would prefer slightly larger volume knob but maybe because I am used to the KC gigantic wheel. Buttons on side are customizable and work OK.
    Unfortunately the case that comes with the unit is a bit disappointing: there is no cut for the side buttons, the volume knob is difficult to turn.
    Swappable amplifier module, DX220 comes with AMP1 Nk2: 2.5mm balanced, 3.5 mm, and 3.5 mm line out jacks.

    Software:
    Two OSs, it is in the sense it is a dual boot player:
    ⦁ customized Android 8.1 eliminates Android SRC path for all applications. DX220 comes without Google Play but it can be side loaded if you need it for any program that need license validation. Qobuz, Tidal etc.. can be simply side loaded. iBasso comes with Mango Player app but Mango app sound quality is a bit disappointing. UAPP is better
    ⦁ And the second OS is Linux with UI that looks like Mango App, and it's called Mango OS. I will talk about sound differences but enough to say that Mango OS is in different league comparing to the Mango Android app in terms of sound quality. I was intrigued by this non-Android player and it definitely has potential.

    Sound:
    • Listening was done with AMP1 MkII and balanced 2.5 mm jack, except V-Moda.
      Headphones, IEMs used: HD800S, V Moda M100, CA Vega, Etys ER4SR, ER2XR and few other borrowed IEMs.
      I was using Kann Cube as a sound reference. KC has the more expensive version of ES90XXPro chip.
    • DX220 is pretty neutral, IEMs and HPs I tried do not sound any brighter or darker on DX220 than on BHA-1. Performance on low, mid, high gain is very similar it is really about how loud it gets.
    • Soundstage is not very wide but it is precise, instrument separation is very adequate, even with large orchestral tracks. It was very clear with HD800S, if you can imagine narrow sound stage using those, but everything was still in the right place.
    • The background noise floor is very low, better than KC. I borrowed SE535 from a friend just to check the noise level and it was none. It makes sound more airy, and I really liked very good resolution and clarity on low volume. That is what makes DX220 so appealing to me: I can walk listening on low volume and still hear every detail without any effort. For critical listening and in direct comparison DX220 is not as resolving as Kann Cube and the sound is not as clear and naturally articulated. But you need HD800S or ER4SR to hear that. Using ER2XR or any more relaxed sounding IEMS, like MD+, the difference is barely noticeable, if at all.
    • With bassy headphones V Moda M100 or IEMs Vega I had to lower the mid bass on DX220 to improve the bass texture. Bass is not as well controlled as on Kann Cube with high gain. But slight EQ correction makes Vegas well behaving , and DX220 does not have any issues with V-Moda M100.
    I bought DX220 to use on my walks or use on the flights, not for critical listening. DX220 is a natural sounding player, with very good resolution and clarity, and next to zero background noise. Particularly using Etys ER2XR on the go and ER4SE for more focused listening I really get all I need, at least the way I am planning to use it.
    Because of DX220 close to zero background noise I am really interested how it would perform with Andromeda or Ara.

    The hardware on this DAP, CPU in particular, is a bit dated and I would not pay a full price for it, now $979, there are very few units left anyway. But as an open box deal, brand new unit for 30% less looked like a good deal to me.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 6
    • List
  2. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    200
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    London
    What did you think of the M11 Pro? (I hope you had a chance to try it from balanced out with Neutron/UAPP)
     
  3. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    Unfortunately I only had M11 Pro in my hands for about half an hour with my ER2XR on SE, UAPP. And my impression was that it was a bit brighter and sharper sounding that DX220 which is surprising with M11 AKM "velvet" DACs.
    DX220 has iBasso sound, similar to what I remember from DX80 just more resolving.
    But I heard all kind of good things about M11. I think that there were three main factors why I went with DX220: familiar sound, swappable amps, and my experience with their support.
     
  4. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I find the N3Pro to be a nice DAP for its price. Maybe I've just become a tube fanboy. The Ultra Linear mode reminds me a little of the SW51+ - clean and quick like a solid state but with the tube spatial and lack of digital grain magic. It's more dynamic and punchy than a Sony ZX300A.

    The DAC is fine but a little smoothed over/lacking in texture. Mind you this is compared with a the 700 dollar BF2. It comes in PCM filter mode slow. Switching to "sharp" seems to give it a little more grit.

    The player is small and UI is snappy. Battery life is just OK. I get a few crashes every now and then, but it boots back up right quick.

    All in all, this breathes new life into all my IEMs. The MD + sounds more spacious and dynamic than I remember them. The Solaris don't have bug me as much with thin upper mids. The FD01s sound great. It drives my
    Verum 1s exceedingly well. It lacks enough umph to do the HD6XX justice, but isn't unlistenable.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 4
    • List
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2021
  5. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,400
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    I installed Neutron on iBasso DX220 just to check if there is anything in the claim that is better sounding than UAPP which I used for years on various Android platforms.
    With no EQ with just the device DSP, gain and crossfeed, the change is quiet impressive. I did not know that Etymotic ER2SR has well extended, superbly controlled bass and there is more than enough of it until now. I did not think that UAPP had any noticeable noise floor, but Neutron, by contrast, makes you notice that UAPP actually has some background noise. DX220 is listed as one of the officially supported DAPS, that means that I can use the device DSP (gain level for example) and the Neutron still can bypass the OS and work with DX220 DACs directly. I will use UAPP for Qobuz but for local files Neutron is better than Mango OS and UAPP. At least after few hour of listening.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  6. Mystic

    Mystic Mystique's Spiritual Advisor

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    U.S.
    Besides the minor tube hiss, did the Andros have any noticeable hiss with the noise floor? I get very very minor hiss from my zx300 which doesn't bother me.

    Very interested in a tube hybrid portable.
     
  7. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    Likes Received:
    1,784
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The background hiss was manageable on the OG Solaris. Audible on quiet tracks but not distracting.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  8. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2016
    Likes Received:
    200
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    London
    Can't say that the noise was noticeable for me, although i'm not so sensitive. It's a good pairing, although I still think the ZX507 might be better
     
  9. crenca

    crenca Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,099
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Southern New Mexico
    Not sure if I should ask here or general advice but will try here first:

    Is there a wifi enabled (i.e. non USB solution) "Roon Ready" (i.e. Roon sees the DAP as an endpoint on the network) DAP that anyone knows of?

    Looking for a DAP (not just a mobile dac/amp combo) that has a UI, local files, and is a Roon endpoint on local network...that sounds decent driving Focal HP's (I am not an IEM fan)...probably too much to ask.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
  10. scblock

    scblock Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
    Likes Received:
    572
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Denver
    This may not be exactly what you're looking for, but recent FiiO DAPs (M6, M11, etc) can act as AirPlay receivers, which Roon can cast to. Connect them to the wireless network and start up AirPlay mode and they'll show up in Roon.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  11. crenca

    crenca Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    2,099
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Southern New Mexico
    Thanks @scblock. I see threads like this:

    https://community.roonlabs.com/t/fiio-m11-upsample-downsample-on-roon/119313

    and it reinforces what I already know - Android anything as an Roon endpoint is problematic. Was hoping against hope that there was a certified/proven "Roon Ready" solution (even if Android is underneath).

    But...your solution might be as good as it gets. Do you have any opinions as to the SQ of these higher end FiiO's? I have a Questyle Qp2r and the SQ is "meh", don't really have any other references besides quick demo's in noisy places (like RMAF) that don't mean much.
     
  12. scblock

    scblock Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2019
    Likes Received:
    572
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Denver
    I own an X5 MkIII and an M6, and have heard the M11 (not pro). No opinion on the M15 as I've not had the chance to listen.

    Of the ones I have heard I consider the SQ of all of them to be good enough to enjoy listening to the music, but not nearly as engaging in the same way as my desktop tube or tube hybrid amps. All feel less dynamic and less impactful than the desktop amps. But I rarely listen to either player at home.

    My use case is mostly outside home and often not conducive to close listening, such as a music source for the Jeep (noisy), or a music player to IEMs on the motorcycles (noisy), on a plane (noisy), in a hotel, etc. I think the X5 is my favorite of the ones I've heard, the M6 is lower power, which makes sense given the size and cost, and I thought the M11 felt a little cold. The X5 is old and has low quality wireless though.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  13. tgx78

    tgx78 Acquaintance

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Likes Received:
    58
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Cayin n3pro in tube ultra linear mode!
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  14. Noodlz

    Noodlz Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    173
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Question about the Cayin N3 Pro, does it let you install and run Tidal natively? looking to potentially pick up a quality DAP as both an all in one portable device, as well as a source DAC to go out to a desktop amp. The Cayin looks promising but im pretty new to the whole DAP thing.

    * As I understand it the ibasso DX160 & DX220 can instal tidal natively, although DX220 & the AK / Hiby R6 daps are probably too rich for my blood lol. Also Cayin N3 is the only one ive seen that offers the tube sound and solid state sound at the same time?
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  15. likearake

    likearake Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Australia
    I don't own one but I did think about it for a while. I'm pretty sure it's not Android based and there is no tidal support.

    You'd need to use usb dac or Bluetooth receiver mode to play stuff from tidal via another device.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 2
    • List
  16. Ksaurav402

    Ksaurav402 Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Likes Received:
    1,261
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    NY
    It doesn't allow streaming and only option if you want to use tidal is connect it with your phone via bluetooth and stream. Based on the phone type you can use LDAC CODEC to connect.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List
  17. Noodlz

    Noodlz Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    173
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    damn. ok thanks for the heads up. i guess the cayin is out fo me for now. So as I understand it the DX160 can install tidal natively so maybe i'll be looking deeper into that. (planning to have a DAP that i can also as a bedside unit + as a DAC to another amp)
     
  18. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

    Friend
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2018
    Likes Received:
    975
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    North Carolina
    The HiBy R 5 and the Ibasso DX 160 are the DAPs you should be considering. Both can run Tidal, Qbuz etc. The DX 160 is the better sounding of the two, having just had a refresh in 2020. Both are pocket size, but HiBy has twio smaller DAPS, the R 3 Saber and the R1. Is $200 in your budget? If so the R3 Saber will do every thing you want.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 3
    • List
  19. Noodlz

    Noodlz Facebook Friend

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    173
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    thanks @Claud ! yeah $200-300 would be my budget, which looks like the R3 is the best bet. The DX160 and also the old Hiby R6 (non 2020 version) are available too used for about $300, not sure if it’s worth it over the R3? I’m primarily going to use this as a Player/DAC going out to a desktop amp, and occasionally as a stand alone unit for the Aeon Flow Closed / HD650 headphones . Are the DAC sections worth the extra $100 to get the R6 or the DX160? Or is the R3 close enough?
     
  20. likearake

    likearake Acquaintance

    Contributor
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2015
    Likes Received:
    82
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Australia
    I think the R3 doesn't have full tidal (eg can't download files for offline use). So that could be an important difference.
     
    • Like / Agree Like / Agree x 1
    • List

Share This Page