Author Topic: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?  (Read 5967 times)

Offline Tikkeltokkel

Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« on: May 19, 2018, 12:04:41 AM »
I recently found a Cowon Plenue P1. It plays almost all music formats and has a brilliant sound .
It has 128GB , expandable also via a micro SD slot that can take a 400GB card ,,, way too expensive tough.

I did a search for DAP and the like - nothing came up.

What do you guys have ? I am excited about this , my new Stax ear speakers and also finally a basic headphone amp FiiO K5

Pray tell
Plenue P1 128GB DAP
Audio Technica ATH-MSR7
STAX SR Lambda Signature
Marantz CD6003
Onkyo TX-NR646
Sonor Audio VKII, Pleiades, Polaris
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H2 Headphones
Bose QC35 II
Ultrasone Pro 900
Transparent "the wave" speaker cable
Paradigm Sub

Offline King_Julian_S

Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2018, 01:23:12 AM »
Whatís the diff with something like that awesome looking Lindeman Sean is selling in the forum ?

That player looks like the real deal for audiophile type quality and itís also said to be a Grt headphone amp + his pricing seems awesome
Non audiophile music lover...

Offline Supergrand

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2018, 07:47:11 AM »
Very happy with my AGPTEK Rocker. Great value at about $70. Can take up to 256gb card, machined aluminium case, plays most formats etc etc

Sent from my LG-H840 using Tapatalk


Offline ron g

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2018, 09:18:52 AM »
Whatís the diff with something like that awesome looking Lindeman Sean is selling in the forum ?
That player looks like the real deal for audiophile type quality and itís also said to be a Grt headphone amp + his pricing seems awesome


i think the lindemann is not a portable player like the cowon?

i'm glad this topic was raised as i was also thinking of raising it.

ever since i got my 1st generation 20gb ipod back in the day i've enjoyed the dap + iem concept & experience.
since then i have had a number of ipods, & also been using various phones. at one of francois' functions i had the opportunity to compare my sony phone to a fiio (x5?) as a source. i was really horrified at how bad the sony sounded, & how good the fiio was. (as an absolute - not just in relation to the sony)

from there i started exploring daps, & selected an astell & kern junior as a next step. it is a very nice unit imho, & a different league of sound to the ipod/phone solutions. it does tend toward a bright sound, and if paired with another product with a similar signature, will require a touch of eq. (i found -2db @ 1khz worked wonders for me).
i also tried a fiio x3, and , based on the reviews, an lgv30. the fiio is a good unit, with a different sound signature to the a&k, & imho the lgv30 is massively overrated wrt audio, although probably better than a lot of phones and/or ipods.
i also started looking at different iems. cheapish jbls led to sennheiser momentum 2s, again a significant improvement.
these led to sony mdrex90xbs, & hifiman re400 waterlines. they were again a big improvement, & made me aware of the shortcomings of the momentum 2s.
both of these iems are very good prodiucts & have their strengths. the sonys are definitely not your normal extended (bloated) bass units like the beats / dr dre type products. the bass goes down low, is controlled & clear, & the response across the rest of the spectrum is really good. they are also very revealing, which one night led to me sitting up till after 3am listening to the differences in recording, production & mix on a selection of joni mitchell albums. the difference in positioning of the vocals & various instruments, and the relative weighting of the elements was quite clear, and what i had previously just thought of as a difference in sound mix was now, to a large extent resolved.
the hifiman re400s gave me a different kind of revelation. the clarity & crispness of sound is remarkable, & the bass, even though it does not go as low as the sonys, is very well controlled & musical. at the price that they sell for the re400s are an absolute bargain, and a no brainer step into good quality iems. they do take a long time to break in though, sounding almost painful initially when considering the mix of clarity & initial emphasis on the hf.
the a&k, combined with either of these 2 iems also introduced me to the experience of having the singer in your head. i mainly listen to singer/songwriter type music, & they made it feel that the singer was in my head, bring the vocals to life, much clearer & more intimate, which in turn improved the impact of the music & lyrics. so lots of late nights were spent improving my bond with music i have already been listening to for decades, as well as new artists. (since joining this forum,the "now playing" board became my gateway to a whole new world of artists who had been visible to me previously. cheers to rj for setting that one up)

recently i started considering taking things a step further than the a&k junior, &started looking at my options for an improved dap. to me it seemed that there was a massive hole in the market, between the entry level, but still good products like the a&k junior, and similar offerings from fiio, hifiman, etc.

the good folks at cplan then pointed me in the direction of the acoustic research ar-m2 dap. i hadn't really considered it as i associated ar with speakers, (we are all blind in some ways i guess). looking at all the reviews on the web, as well as the personal experience of the cplan staff convinced me & i took the plunge. timing was perfect as cplan had some units on the way into sa, it was bonus month, & i was immobilised for a few weeks recovering from a neck operation.
if you prefer utility over sound quality, the ar-m2 doesn't make any sense. it is big & heavy and the controls are fiddly (especially to a klutz like me), it is a full touch screen item, & i do still like to use normal buttons. the bundled music player software is a bit of a mission to set up your libraries etc, & there are a limited number of options for sorting & selecting music. (why oh why must you restart from the beginning of a root directory after going down a subdirectory...)
if you consider it from the audio quality though it makes perfect sense. it is quite simply stunning. i can't compare it to other expensive high end daps as i have not heard any of them, but at the price i paid, for the sound quality i got, i consider it to be fantastic value for money.

of course i now had to consider upgrading my iems. a lot of the reviews i had read, as well as the experiences folks at cplan all had the sennheiser ie800s in common. i found it really difficult to believe that such a small iem could produce the sound they were claiming, or justify the price tag. but when a demo set (hardly used since there didn't seem to be much interest in them) became available i took the plunge.

the sound quality & experience of the combination is really just incredible. a level of detail, separation, imaging, detail & fullness of sound i have never experienced before. it does lean toward a fully, richer sound, but not at the expense of mids & highs. i don't know the  term for it, but the hf touches that define midrange sound (i'm thinking of things like a hint of sibilance on vocals, or the hf ringing that you hear when playing a low note on a guitar) are there, without causing any harshness. the slight echo as the guitarist pulls of a string is there. a few nights ago i played through don juan's restless daughter listening almost exclusively to jaco pastorius' bass playing.

the experience of singer / songwriter type music, for me at least is again taking a step further. the experience becomes again more intimate due to the naturalness of the sound, vocals which previously were more understood than heard are now clearer. (those lyrics you now they are singing, but which are not quite audible).

and the ar-m2 has enough power to drive my hifiman re560 on ears quite comfortably, and make them sound really, really good.

so yes, consider me a big fan of the dap / iem experience. the combo was reasonably pricy, but for me it is really good value for money, and they are well priced relative to other similar products.
my emphasis is of course with the priority of the listening experience, rather than the pure audio quality. but good quality sound really does improve the listening experience tremendously, and for me they are inextricably intertwined. i also do tend to react a little emotionally initially to new experiences, which is why, in this case i held off a little before saying anything.

i can't say how the the combo stacks up against other products since i haven't heard them, & shared experiences i have read on the web as always vary wildly in credibility & conclusions.

as always, ymmv due to a whole number of factors. (this turned out to be a far longer post than i expected.  :faint: :faint:)

& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Crankshaft

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2018, 09:21:36 AM »
I've been checking out the Xduoo X3.

https://penonaudio.com/xDuoo-X3

Seems like a lot of DAP for the money.

Apparently, install Rockbox cures the pitch error fault.

Any other good players out there in the $100 price ballpark?

Offline ron g

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2018, 09:43:40 AM »
I've been checking out the Xduoo X3.
https://penonaudio.com/xDuoo-X3
Seems like a lot of DAP for the money.
Apparently, install Rockbox cures the pitch error fault.
Any other good players out there in the $100 price ballpark?

the fiio x1 generation 2 may be worth taking a look at, it seems to have been quite well received.

& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline Crankshaft

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2018, 09:53:15 AM »
The Fiio X3-II does seem to be the one to go for.

Twice the price of the Xduoo, but probably a fraction of the problems.

Offline canman1971

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2018, 10:30:17 AM »
I no longer have a desktop system, i have the same combo as Ron g (AR M2 DAP / IE800) combo that i listen to 90% of the time. The other 10% of my listening is made up of AR M2 DAP / HD800 and HE1000V2 combos. The AR M2 / HE1000V2 combo the ultimate goose bump listening experience :Whoohoo:



Offline ron g

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2018, 10:59:14 AM »


i nearly forgot another practical aspect. all risks insurance on portable audio is really surprisingly cheap. i am currently paying a rate of around 0.16% per month, which means a whole lot less risk in using the equipment & it can be used as truly portable.
& you sit there in the rubble, till it starts to feel like home
mary gauthier

Offline canman1971

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2018, 11:24:11 AM »
I no longer have a desktop system, i have the same combo as Ron g (AR M2 DAP / IE800) combo that i listen to 90% of the time. The other 10% of my listening is made up of AR M2 DAP / HD800 and HE1000V2 combos. The AR M2 / HE1000V2 combo the ultimate goose bump listening experience :Whoohoo:

May i add the AR M2 DAP is able to drive 16 - 600 ohm headphones, Class A output with no DC coupling caps  :clap:

Offline King_Julian_S

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2018, 12:30:57 PM »
Tx Ron

I see itís portable not just digital.

Non audiophile music lover...

Offline JANNAS

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2018, 12:40:07 PM »
I no longer have a desktop system, i have the same combo as Ron g (AR M2 DAP / IE800) combo that i listen to 90% of the time. The other 10% of my listening is made up of AR M2 DAP / HD800 and HE1000V2 combos. The AR M2 / HE1000V2 combo the ultimate goose bump listening experience :Whoohoo:

May i add the AR M2 DAP is able to drive 16 - 600 ohm headphones, Class A output with no DC coupling caps  :clap:
[/quote
Untill you connect it to an amp which is dc coupled as well, those are completely different goosebumps that you get then !! ;)

Offline Crankshaft

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2018, 08:43:26 AM »
Has anyone here tried the iBasso DX50?

Offline canman1971

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2018, 12:57:06 PM »
Has anyone here tried the iBasso DX50?


Personally i have not. Cplan Audio became the official Agent for iBasso in South Africa last week - iBasso models and pricing not yet up on the website, should be by the end of the week. 

Offline asr001

Re: Digital Audio Players ... anyone?
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2018, 04:44:01 PM »
I generally only use a portable DAP (Digital Audio Player) when travelling, specifically on long distance flights - lots of time to listen, pass time and need to block out unwanted sounds continuously...my criteria are a device with decent battery life (don't want to drain my phone before reaching my destination) and "decent" sound quality (don't need the ultimate as the airplane environment is not conducive to critical  listening in my view...). Bearing that in mind this TIDAL specific device on kickstarer has caught my eye: HiBy R3

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844915658/hiby-r3-ultraportable-touchscreen-hi-fi-network-mu

https://www.hibymusic.net/r3