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Amazing sound, weird accessory choice.

A Review On: Beyerdynamic A200p Portable Mobile DAC Headphone Amp for iPhone and Android Phones, Black/Silver

Beyerdynamic A200p Portable Mobile DAC Headphone Amp for iPhone and Android Phones, Black/Silver

Rated # 13 in Amp/DACs
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Review Details:
Audio Quality
Design
Quality
Value
phillyd
Posted · Updated · 11311 Views · 4 Comments

Pros: Incredibly neutral sound, black background, small size & stylish aesthetics

Cons: No line-level output, provided accessories make for awkward use, price, potential durability issues

Introduction
The Beyerdynamic A 200 P is a new portable DAC/AMP meant to be paired with Android (Micro USB) and iOS (Lightning Connector) devices.

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (from the product site here)
Output level . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.7 Vrms (US version), 150 mVrms (EU version*)
Recommended headphone impedance . . . . . . . . . . . . . ≤ 600 Ω (US version), ≤ 32 Ω (EU version*)
Output impedance . . . . . . . 1.1 Ω
Frequency response . . . . . . . 20 Hz - 20 kHz (± 0.2 dB)
Signal-to-noise ratio . . . . . . > 110 dB
T.H.D. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . < 0.008%
Crosstalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > 106 dB
Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 headphone socket, mini jack (3.5 mm), 1 special Micro-USB
USB powering . . . . . . . . . . . 5.0 V, 500 mA / USB cable
Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 x 55 x 13 mm
D Weight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 g

Pictures Warning: Large Pictures! (Click to show)










Sound
This section is going to be especially simple. This device sounds incredible. It is exceptionally clear and balanced. When paired with my HiFiMan HE-300's, I was blown away with the presence, tightness, impact and extension of bass, the neutrality and separation of the mid-range, and the exceptionally clear (but never sibilant or even slightly fatiguing) treble.

I'd go into more detail about the sound quality, but there simply isn't any more to say. It's amazing in every way. No matter what headphones I tried it with (with one exception explained later!), it provided a perfectly neutral source. No matter what aspect you look at, it delivered. Separation, extension, balance, impact, decay, the A 200 P was perfect.

The single flaw in the internals of this device is the amp. It is advertised to handle headphones under 600Ω, it was a push to fully power the 250Ω DT880's. There wasn't enough headroom to really rock out. I cannot imagine a pair of 600Ω headphones being able to be properly powered. With my 50Ω HifiMan HE300's, the maximum volume was only slightly into the uncomfortable range. Someone wanting to blast some rap, for example, through a pair of DT770 Pro 80Ω might be left wanting a gain switch.

Build Quality & Aesthetics
The build quality is great. It survived a week in a relatively open backpack pocket with barely a mark on it. The only thing that I can nitpick at about the build quality is that the volume wheel is easily scratched. Being so exposed, even in the case, it should be more resilient.

The device looks amazing to me. It is simple yet unique. The size adds to the aesthetics all the more. It looks great next to my Note 3 in its black/silver case. The case is also very nice, sporting a durable faux leather.

Late in the testing period, I began experiencing some weird behaviors. The sound on my A200P would cut in and out, and sometimes even jump to full volume. A few times, I was using it to preamp my speakers, and once it awakened my whole family. It turns out, the USB connector on the device has some contact issues. I assume Beyerdynamic would be very good to deal with getting a replacement, but that doesn't change the fact that this device has a weak point.

Design & Accessories
The device has a combo lock/power slider. I am not a fan of this but it works just fine. It has a play/pause button and buttons for seeking forward and back. They worked fine with Android and iOS devices. The bottom sports a weird but very smart smaller-than micro USB port. It puts the stress of bending the cable on some of the housing and not on the connector itself. If a wide variety of cables and lengths are offered at a reasonable price, this is a VERY good choice. The volume wheel is great. It dominates the device and has a very satisfying but subtle soft tactile resistance when changing volumes. It almost feels digital, as opposed to a strong mechanical click.

The device comes with a case, which has a flap for belt attachment and a strap for attachment to phones. The case is great, though the top is left open, which I do not like. The strap for phone attachment, however, is odd. It looks cheap, especially when stretched. It is very small, and would struggle to go around larger phones, not just phablets like my Note 3 (a task at which it failed completely) but also more normal phones like the Galaxy S5.

The most obvious and crippling feature missing from this device is a lack of a line-out. It is a great quality DAC but if you want to use it with speakers or your car stereo, you're stuck using it pre-amped.

With my experience, the battery life is great! I realized the other day that I had been using it with my phone for about 3 hours a day over 5 days without charging it.

Here's where it gets a bit weird...the cables. It comes with a cable to connect via micro USB and one to connect to iPhones via the lightning connector. Each cable is about 4" (10cm). When mounted on your belt, that cable is often too short to place the phone in your pocket without the phone dangling from the cord. This wasn't an issue with my Note 3, as it is huge, but it was awfully close, and getting the phone out of my pocket was VERY difficult. Even with a small phone like the iPhone 5, getting the phone out of a pocket was not easy. Then, when you have your phone out of your pocket, it is attached to your hip by a 4" cord. This could've been remedied by including 12" or so cords. If they make this option available cheaply, then all is well. I just don't see the point of including a belt loop case without a cable you can use it with. On the bright side, it does fit next to most phones in the pocket. I was able to put it next to my Note 3 in most jeans, though I chose to leave the case off due to the added thickness. It also includes a nice full-sized USB cable for charging and connecting to PC's.

Comparisons
iBasso D-Zero
Compared to the iBasso D-Zero, this thing really shines. It lacks the slight high-mid emphasis of the D-Zero, and it doesn't have any of the graininess in the treble that the D-Zero has. It's amp seems to be in line power-wise, which is disappointing due to the increase in price. The D-Zero has line out, which the A200P lacks.

Fiio E17
The Fiio E17 is not very clear, where the A200P is exceptionally clear. There is a lot of grain introduced by the E17's amp, especially when gain is used. Even with a +12Db gain on the Fiio, the Beyerdynamic is only slightly below it in volume (at max). The Fiio E17 is slightly warm where the A200P is very neutral.

In short, the A200P completely outdoes the iBasso and D-Zero in sound quality. It should, though, considering the price differences. More power would be nice but considering the size, it isn't ridiculous that hte A200P isn't more powerful than it is. I'd love to see a comparison with the iBasso D6 or D12.

Conclusions

Sound:
This thing is great in the sound department. Clean, neutral, black background. Amp isn't up to spec but still very good.
5/5

Build Quality
Very solid, nice finish. Volume wheel could have a more durable finish.
4.5/5

Aesthetics
Clean, simple, gorgeous.
5/5

Accessories
Comes with a nice case, micro USB, full USB and lightning cables. Case is very nice, though the smart phone attachment strap needs to be stretchier. Smartphone cables are too short for use with belt buckle function of case.
4/5

These ratings combined with the price leave me to rate it a 4/5. It is simply too expensive to not include the cables to use it with the belt attachment feature for the case. Still a very nice device and should serve MANY customers very well. The sound is exceptional and Beyerdynamic should be very proud to have made this device.

4 Comments:

Nice review!  Agree on the shortness of the android and i-device cables.  Something I hadn't thought of as I was unable to test when I was reviewing. I'm not sure of the use for the strap on the case though.  To me it looks like it's actually for threading a belt through rather than as an attachment for a phone etc (simply because my iPhone wouldn't fit it).  Must ask Esra to see what it's actual purpose is.  But agree with virtually all your other points.  Well done.
The strap easily stretches to 2.5" x .75" (iphone 5s is 2.3" x .3").

I guess it stretches fine over phones like the S5, but it feels overextended.
I actualyl managed to stretch it over a HTC M8, but it was within an inch of its life.
 
Nice review!