DAP talk (formerly best DAPs 2015)

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

  1. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Noodle, If you can stretch your budget to get a used R6 Pro, you will be happier, If going for the R3, get a Saber Pro because it has a good double DAC section.
     
  2. crenca

    crenca Friend

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  3. Noodlz

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    Awesome thanks for the tips! I’m liking the R3 and the R6 Pro, i guess I’m waiting to see if theres a good deal to pop up on either at this point.

    I do have a burning question though, how does the DAC sections compare to desktop DACs in similar price points? Specifically the Modius? if they’re pretty comparable I’ll likely pick up the DAP instead since its more versatile, but if the Modius performs much better then I’ll likely go with that for now and get the DAP later on.

    My train of thought is that for my bedside unit if I want great performance right now i need to have the USB cleaner + DAC + Amp (Asgard 3) which is a bit of a pain and unweildly. The solution would either get the Modius which has the built in schiit Unison USB cleaner to the amp, or go even cleaner with just the amp +DAP. (I’m assuming b/c the DAP has the internal DAC it should sound super clean and there isn’t any jitter craziness you’d get from say an iPhone or iPad)

    Would love some insights here =) Thanks!
     
  4. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

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    The 200$ NWA55 Sony DAP can be flashed with different firmwares from Sony's much higher end DAPs - a chap called MrWalkman I think manage to do it and offers them for download (there's also thread on headfi with details).

    The NWA55's out of the box sound is very underwhelming, so i decided to flash the DMZ1 firmware (there's also WM1A) and change to JP locale (apparently it improves SQ further), and the difference is night and day - it's much much more refined and improvements across the board. With IEM's it's on par with the ZX507 and Fiio M11 Pro, maybe slightly different signature (wide, smooth, treble maybe not as delineated) but in same ballpark .. It beats the N3Pro for sure, which just sounds a bit dirty in comparison.

    It uses the same DAC chip as Sony's much more expensive DAPs but doesn't have the power or more fancy caps etc - interestingly this s-master chip can scale very well even in cheap DAPs but Sony decided to neuter the SQ with software to offer a clear update path to it's more expensive gear.

    So yeah seriously - highly recommended for IEMs! I'm very pleased with this discovery. Time to think about selling my other DAPs

    ps - testing with Chord Qutest side by side via Roon, I didn't immediately think the modded A55 sucked, just it was a little less refined, fleshed out and natural - but it was not utterly embarrassed, which is completely unreasonable.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
  5. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

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    Sony NWA55 OI is also good for Andromedas - sounds like a ZX2 give or take with the flashed firmware - maybe a touch more neutralish but in a good sense.

    A nice perk is that when used as USB dac it's still possible to use the DSP effects like eq/vinyl etc to correct some of my phones - it's a mini RME ADI 2 :) This also works when used as USB receiver!

    Oh yeah, it has a line in recording ability with the correct Sony adapter.

    It's a little Swiss army knife when we take away Sony's neutering with custom firmware.
     
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  6. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    Anyone hear the Shanling M8? Sounds like it has the Sony style warm rich but still detailed sound + loads more power. Supposedly silent for IEMs, and with the extra juice could be an all in one portable + desktop solution.
     
  7. limesoft

    limesoft Facebook Friend

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    NWA50 with A50-FE classic fw, via line out adapter to my ifi iCan nano - mind blown. I was already impressed by the improvements with the custom fw via the headphone out for the price, but this bumps it up a significant notch - I wouldn't be ashamed of using this as a line out source in a much more expensive setup. Obviously the headphone out is a bit gimped which is kinda expected, but this just reaffirmed my view that Sony's s-master chip section implementation is the same across all their players, the "improvements" come with firmware and better amplification for the headphone out.

    If you want to hear what s-master chips are about (explosive dynamics, directness, coupled with refinement), it's possible for less than $200 + budget for the line out adapter, and add the custom fw
     
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  8. KowalskiFUT

    KowalskiFUT Rando

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    Guys, is there any DAC/Amp, small and portable as Dragonfly, but worthwhile buying as noticeable upgrade over DF Red? I want to avoid anything that needs to be charged. So, I basically search for best possible solution that powers from phone (iPhone) or computer. To keep rig light and simple. My main IEMs are JH Angie and IE800.
     
  9. drgumbybrain

    drgumbybrain Science Nut

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    if you can find, try the ultrasound NAOS, cheers
     
  10. KowalskiFUT

    KowalskiFUT Rando

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    Thanks for suggestion! I ordered Lotoo S1 few days ago. It seems solid, and I always wanted Lotoo DAP, so this is some form of small satisfaction. :)
     
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  11. Noodlz

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    hey just thought i'd jump back in here. So to solve my DAC needs i actually ended up with a modius to go alongside with my SFD-1, and then an IFI Nano for my "movable" stack.

    So now focusing on just the DAP without the bells and whistles, i ended up picking up the OG DAP with basically no functions besides playing music, the Apple iPod Gen 5.5, lol.

    im actually really really pleasantly surprised at how great it sounds, that wolfson DAC in it really does some magic. I mean fidelity and clarity isnt there but boy is it fun to listen. (So far just listening to it with the free apple ear buds & also these custom IEMs i got from @Bill-P wayyy back. (no idea what make or model but these pair GREAT with the ipod)

    So a couple of things im wondering, not sure if this is the best thread but hopefully its all still relevant and would love to hear some thoughts and opinions:

    1. Modern Day DAP with similar sound signatures to the classic iPod (specifically this Gen 5.5 with the wolfson DAC). I love how musical, forgiving, and easy of a listening this is. Is there a modern DAP offering with the same type of sound but still has all the nice modern amenities like using Tidal (or maybe even roon), bluetooth, line out to amp etc?
    2. Low Impedance IEMs - From what i read the iPod pairs best with cans that are around 40ohms, not sure if there are good IEMs or headphones that would work well. (looking at the Moondrop Starfield and the JVC FDX1 right now)
    3. iPod DAP thread - Is there a thread dedicated to talking about iPods and the headphone pairings somewhere here? can't seem to find it.
     
  12. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    The Shanling M6 fits your bill.
     
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  13. Noodlz

    Noodlz Facebook Friend

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    thanks! now to hunt one down lol. to clarify, looking the M6 not the m6 pro?
     
  14. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    MusicTeck is a Shanling dealer
     
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  15. 8man

    8man Acquaintance

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    How do the more affordable Hiby models compare to the older Sony daps? I don't know much about this newer Cirrus-Logic chip, but I'm not a fan of supposedly "neutral" or bright stuff (haven't tried any CS daps). Any idea if they have darker/warm signatures?

    Thought I'd look for some newer AKM stuff (have to admit, the things they claim to have improved got me a bit intrigued), but most of them have crazy prices (well, not A&K levels of crazy, though).
    Seems like there aren't many good mid-fi options, I was looking into Shanling cause I like the compact ones and the "minimalized" android, but I've read a lot of people like the R5. I'm actually surprised by how often I come across Hiby reading through.
     
  16. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    I am a HiBy owner. I have two R3 Pro Saber (one for home and one for beach home), an R6 Pro and a R6 2020. I also have an Ibasso DX 220.
    The best mid price DAP at this time is an Ibasso DX 160. Next up is an R5 Hiby. These are the low mid best DAPs..
    The Mid price champs are the new Hiby R6 2020 and the Ibasso DX300.
    Sony makes great DAPs, but has rested on its laurels too long.
     
  17. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    I havent tried a bunch of recent era DAPs, but I'm quite pleased with my two. I have a Shanling Q1 which has a nice warm but still competent sound. It's tiny, the battery last 20 hours and it costs 120. Perfect for travel or just throwing in your pocket with cheapish IEMs on the go.

    My mid range dap is the Cayin N3Pro. It's a clear step up and the tube preamp does really impart some of that tube magic. It's not overly warm and gooey though. It's also nice and small, though the battery is just ok.

    I recommend both at their price points.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  18. 8man

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    @Claud Could you talk about their timbre a bit? Do they have like an in-house tonality, i.e. are they bright, treble-ish etc? I assume you would call them the best out of the bunch because of their resolving qualities or maybe because they have the best IEM noise floor? I am a bit out of touch with DAPs, hence the question.

    I have read that people aren't quite fond of Sony anymore, but I'd use the ZX2 as a sound reference, I like the sub-bass and the slam. Of course, it's a cca. 1k unit so good performance is expected I guess, but based on a very superficial experience it had good sub and mid bass and wasn't offensive. I may be a bit biased towards AKM stuff because I like the budget Schiit dacs, they pair very well with the Jot (initial version).
     
  19. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    Since I have both the R6 Pro and R6 2020, I can tell you that the power is better and the noise floor is lower in the 2020. I am a 72 year old and my hearing is not as good as someone under 55 so all I am going to say is you will not be unhappy with a HiBy Dap. Read a few reviews of what you are about to spend your cold hard earned cash on. It's half the fun.
     
  20. 8man

    8man Acquaintance

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    Thanks for the insight, Claud!
    I'd wager the R6P is probably not for me, I've been reading around for a bit...man, it seems like there is a much higher bar when it comes to desktop dac/amps. Just wanting a clean, snappy UI alone seems like a pitfall.

    So far it seems like a used ZX2 or ZX300 (apparently a Saturn from the region might have a returned unit in good shape, but definitely not as cheap as I'd imagined) are the safest bet, although...well, I reckon there's a higher chance of finding a piece of meteorite somewhere in a park than Sony caring enough to replace batteries in Europe. And that's not out of spite, I'm still an avid user of their phones after having a bunch of 'em, it's the only choice if you want a relatively clean OS. But every time I've had an issue that needed writing CS, they gave me the mid finger.

    It's definitely a good argument if they pair well with andromedas/solaris, it's probably the only IEM that's popular enough to get into a more affordable range and I also enjoyed reading the awards/reviews. The reviewers I follow here have usually been spot-on with headphone recommendations, which is why I tend to respect them.

    But my nano/zunes are all running out of juice (or soon-to), and looking for an alternative seems like it comes with a lot of quirks. In fact, I would actually be really interested in reading Bill-P's thoughts about the NW-A105 (you mentioned this briefly a while back). If something's darker than expected or possibly a bit mid-centric, IME it's far less of a bother than sounding thin or way too sharp above 2k (then it becomes exhausting). I'd probably be okay with it even if it sounds veiled.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021

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