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What is the best mp3 player in terms of best sound quality in your opinion?

post #1 of 122
Thread Starter 

I am thinking about to purchase a very good portable mp3 player.

I own right now an old Iriver (256K) with Sennheiser MX400 headphones and I need to improve this in terms of sound quality.

What would you recommend me?

I was thinking about a Cowon S9 but I have never heard a Cowon so I am not sure if it will sound as good as my Iriver do...

Another idea was to buy a Iriver Spinn with 8GB

What do you think?

Thank you very much and Regards from Spain :)

post #2 of 122

i just bought a sandisk sansa clip+ 8gb (with the option to add a micro sd card as big as 16gb)  and Im very impressed with the sound

I would compare it to the sound of my 3rd gen ipod touch and give the edge to the sandisk. and the sandisk has  a mutha  #*@&'N Custom EQ!!!


it costs $50ish on amazon

post #3 of 122
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much Br777!

post #4 of 122

Nationite S:Flo2 will supposedly beat them all.

post #5 of 122

With the Sansa Clip being so cheap, you could try it out. You would not lose much to try it out. Then you could look for a bigger (size and capacity) player as an alternative to the Clip.

post #6 of 122
Thread Starter 

I am looking at the Nationite S:Flo2 and it seems to be a good choice...

Thank you very much :)

post #7 of 122

i would agree on trying the clip, or at least something more mainstream from amazon first.  only b/c you're guarenteed a very solid functional player, and if worst comes to worst and you dont like it, amazon will take it back and issue a full refund... so you really cant lose


on the other hand, i will be watching this nationite player.. sounds cool!

post #8 of 122
Originally Posted by Nacho-Lopez View Post

I am looking at the Nationite S:Flo2 and it seems to be a good choice...

Thank you very much :)

You're welcome, and I'm not a shill for it or anything lol, I don't even have one yet! It's just that reading about it I wished I knew of it before I got my Cowon D2. It's about the same money and is supposed to have fantastic sound.


I like my Cowon D2 and also Sansa fuze, they both sound good (D2 better), but they're not incredible sounding like this SFlo is supposed to be (and going from past reviews of stuff on here most of the time I've found the reviewers were right). So I'd recommend looking at it as well, especially compared to the Cowon S9.

Edited by Pariah1 - 5/15/10 at 3:09pm
post #9 of 122

For the best possible sound from a portable device the $800 HiFiMAN-HM801 is your choice. I have one, and it completely blow away the sound quality of every portable device I've heard. It has a 30 day money back guarantee in case you don't find it worthy of your cash. Which is unlikely to happen...

Edited by Sonic 748i - 5/15/10 at 7:02pm
post #10 of 122

What about the software and basic controls?

post #11 of 122
Originally Posted by Deep Funk View Post

What about the software and basic controls?

It's not as fluid as a iPod, but it's good enough for me. The controls are your standard physical play/pause, skip forward and reverse buttons and menu navigation buttons that at first seem awkward, but you'll get used to it eventually.

Edited by Sonic 748i - 5/15/10 at 7:47pm
post #12 of 122

HM-801 for MX400? Are you all out of your minds? It's all S'Flos, HifiMans and Clips on every single thread, in every single forum these days. What is going on?


Sonic boy, right now I have a JH13, a UM3X, an Ed.8 and a HF2 next to me. I have a Benchmark and a Lavry on my side. I have a Raptor and a Phonitor in fair distance. A serious Naim player on a shelf, next to my Naim/Neat main system. I have more than 10,000 euros to spend but you know what: I am not going to buy your player. I am not going to look like a twerp carrying a brick with a prehistorical design in my pocket, dragging the charger in a trolley because the battery will die in less time then that of my Vaio, I am not going to carry 150 tiny SD cards because your high-end masterpiece has less capacity then a 20$ DAP.  And even if I could live with all these shortcomings, then what? You're going to tell me I need to pay another 1000 dollars because your fantastic player can't even drive my IEMs straight out of its pathetic HO?! And then a certain Chinese manufacturer has the guts to sell me another crap amplifier to compliment as badly (it's not me, it's users who have actually bought the Game who say it) my IEMs? Are you serious? Are you absolutely, 100% serious? Because if you do, I pitty you.


For the people who live in this world and want good value and usability for their money, I have three portable players right now, each with its own strenghts and weaknesses.

The latest Ipod Classic is definitely a hit, it has much improved in SQ compared to its predecessors and it still has the best interface in the world, the best support, the largest number of accessories, including several docks that can feed a digital signal to an external (a proper one, not the above) DAC. Even with JH13 Pro, the new Classic is almost hiss free and the battery life is in the 30 hours range. It's no high-end, it's not a Naim experience in any way, but it's entirely enjoyable.

D2 comes second (soon I will get an S9 so I will be able to tell you more about the new generation of BBE+ effects) with great format support, a huge battery life (about two weeks), excellent SQ and an impressive power on HO, capable of driving even serious headphones to decent levels. It sounds kind of flat and lifeless with everything off but once you start playing with BBE, I can guarantee that you will find something to suit your tastes. The only problem with BBE - the sound becomes a tad digital, cold, analytical so I would pair it carefully, headphone wise. More hiss than the Ipod Classic with JH13 Pro but still low and bearable.

Sony X1060 is a great player in many respects, looks and feels great, the Amoled screen is gorgeous, its responsiveness is second to none, the sound is impressive (and probably better than both the above) but there are two big problems: first of all, you are stuck with mp3. Secondly, the hiss. Big, fat, annoying, almost unbearable. If you plan to use it with a HF2 for instance, it's a beautiful match and a great player. For high sensitivity IEMs, forget it.  


These are, as far as I am concerned, the players of the moment, the players I can easily carry in a pocket, that offer decent capacity and battery life (more than 30 hours) and a usable interface. I have tried, by the way, several portable amps and, while they certainly tweak the sound (I wouldn't say improve), I wouldn't call it "the next level", "night and day", "goosebumps" etc. The kids to fall for all the hype are the ones ho have never owned a decent setup at home.


Besides the whole idea of high-end in a train or on a plain is ridiculous, plain ridiculous. Get one of the above for the plain/train, and buy a decent DAC/amplifier for home. My Benchmark DAC1 HDR, on the lowest gain setting for headphone out, drives JH13 Pro beautifully, far better than any portable DAP/amp will ever be able to. Because it's only if you do the math of Mr Sonic's rig: 800 for the 8th portable wonder of the world, 300 the Twag balanced (this never fails to make me lough, by the way) cable, 500 the Protector, you realize how far the madness can go and how much you can get for the money.


Spend wisely!  

Edited by revenge - 5/15/10 at 8:23pm
post #13 of 122

I also use my Nokia which is quite good and for me is almost on par with the Clip + regarding sound. I like the Clip + because the sound is good, the software does no annoy me and it allows FLAC and extra memory which it badly needs now. The Clip + is simple to use and works which I like. I use my Nokia more often but usually accompanied by the Clip +. 


My Nokia supports 320 kbps WMAs. Too bad the software does not work properly.

post #14 of 122

Now I'm not going to comment on the sound of your toy, I would just like to remind you what was HifiMan intended to be in the first place: a loseless player combined with a great DAC and an even greater amplifier, all in one box, getting rid of wires, caps, LODs, external DACs/ amps, straps, bags and hernias. While still a great idea and probably a future hit, to date the Hifiman is an epic failure. As a player, it's one of the worst, with a quirky, dated interface, plenty of bugs and no storage capacity of its own. The DAC seems to be the better component of the package although those graphs look far from great (and I mean the proper measurements, not the DBT which is arguably flawed in several ways). The headphone amplifier is almost unusable with IEMs. The case is huge, heavy and ugly, the battery life is a joke, the charger is even worse.


If one day the size will come down to half, the battery life will improve at least threefold, some of the respected manufacturers will produce decent headphone amplifier modules for it, on par with their own standalone products, which is very unlikely, and if the player will have a decent flash memory and a UI at least up to Rockbox standard (and I think Rockbox is actually the safest bet for a small manufacturer), then I will be the first to buy one. Until then your "next level" is of no interest to me. 

Edited by revenge - 5/15/10 at 8:50pm
post #15 of 122

I like the SQ of all my players.. Buy something cheap and spend a bit more on iems.

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