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A good analytical DAP...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hi all,


It's my first post here. I have followed this community for months with a lot of interest. I learned there were other brands than SOny and Sennheiser lol.

Actuelly, I have a Clip+. I was pretty satisfied with it, but one day while I was listening with my CX-300 II, a strange sound (like an electric one) came from the left side, and from this moment, I only have music from the right side whatever audio source I use.

I've ordered a pair of RE-zero and I was enjoying it for 5 minutes and the same thing happened but on the right side...


I've checked on Sansa forum and it comes from the jack plug which may sometime move and create those disfunctionment.


That brings me to my question. I've checked a lot of thread about analytical player, including dfkt comparison graphs. I want to buy a good/very good analytical player which can play FLAC files. my budget doesn't exceed 250 $ and I would like to get brands which are sold in Europe so in case of problem i can get the item back for repair and not wait like weeks to have it back.


The best solution would be brands like cowon which can be found easily. AFAIK Sony has no player playing FLAC files. I don't really know about samsung's players...


So any advices are welcome :)


Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 22

Most mainstream DAPs sound pretty similar and are pretty uncolored, Sony seems to be a bit more coloured than the others though.

Edited by Navyblue - 7/10/11 at 9:39pm
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Yeah, but some DAPs have more audible hiss than others. Some may have distorted treble or very poor bass.

From what I've read and listen with flat EQ, all DAPs are not equal.


Additionally to what I've already written, the DAP I'm looking for should have good baterry life (I'd hate to charge it every night), with memory expansion slot (or the device should have like 32 gb internal memory) and gapless playback.


I thought about buying a Cowon J3, but it seems overhyped and not as good as Clip+ with flat EQ. (I don't really care about BBE)

So it is expansive for my needs...

post #4 of 22

If you can tell that there is hype on certain DAP, you should know that the real hype is in the difference between players. You might find hiss on some old or really bad players, but this is 2011, DAP is not really rocket science now. :-) With the modern mainstream DAPs I don't think there is any that has hiss problem (the last I have heard is Sony, even then it is very minor). And so is distorted treble. As for bass roll off, it is a general problem with low impedance phones and RMAA chart will tell you about it.

Technically speaking, the Sansas seem to have the flatest frequency response, the iPods has the best noise and stereo crosstalk performance. Cowon and Sony have excellent battery life. Apple is good too.

Subjectively speaking, Sony has a warm sound, larger but less precise sound stage compared to Zune. Latest Classic 160GB is warmer sounding than Zune.

Practically speaking, we are splitting hair here. :-p There is not a major difference among those I mentioned and my Marantz SA7001 that cost many times as much. Your headphones will have a much greater impact, followed by personal preference and pairing. Get one that has the feature you need and chill.

post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your answer, and I apologize if i seem to  challenge what you say, but I just want to be sure of what I'll buy so I won't be disappointed.


Finally, I'll go for Cowon J3. (yeah I know I said I felt it was overhyped, but going on anythingbutipod rmaa tests showed contributes to prove it deserved it ^^)

Plus from what I've heard and seen, build quality is greater on Cowon products. (correct me if I'm wrong)


post #6 of 22

No apology needed. :)


I almost bought myself the J3 recently, the long battery life, expandable memory and format support really appeal to me. I even bought myself a microSD before I got the player. :D But I ended up with an iPod Classic.


Judging from the RMAA chart, I figured if I wanted to use it unamped with IEM I should get myself a Sansa. If I want to use a DAP with an amp (which I own), I should get myself an iPod. But J3's pros are hard to ignore. The bass roll off doesn't look good, although it might not be an issue in actual use. So my "logic" tells me I should get the iPod, since I don't think I will like the relatively short battery life on the Sansa, but somehow my heart is with the J3. :D


I am not a fan of using proprietary software and format, but fortunately the conversion of my WMA lossless library to ALAC is painless with iTunes, the large capacity also render the lack of expandable storage moot. The are reports that the headphone out sounded bad, it turns out to be unfounded too. I use ER-4P primarily which is pretty sensitive to sources, and I rarely encounter really bad sounding equipment (DAPs, laptops and others). The only bad sounding things in modern times I heard is my phone (HTC Desire), Fiio E3 (an irony since it is supposed to enhance sound), and to a lesser degree iBasso T series amp.


I have seen the J3 but never touched it, it looks fine to me though.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Im' glad to learn things about music. I love music and I listen to it several hours a day.

By coming on this forum I decided to buy a Clip+ and a E1 just to slowly enter in the game and try to feel what you guys talk about. And little by little, my old beliefs are destroyed little by little and I like it.

I really look to improve my music listening experience by coming here and I feel it will be interesting. :)


Thank you again for your answers.

post #8 of 22

Sansa, Cowon, and Samsung are the FLAC playing devices. I'd say go with a Cowon J3, or the Cowon C2 - the D2 is discontinued. The SQ and sound enhancement features are mighty hard to beat. Plus, the battery life is fantastic, so charging is a lot less frequent.


As for Sony & Apple - they don't do FLAC. Sony does WAV (PASS), and Apple does ALAC (easily converted to from FLAC - w/no loss in SQ). 


As for Samsung - their players sound fantastic & play FLAC, the battery life is OK (well below the rated specs), but if it does have a micro SD card slot the music files aren't integrated into the players library (except w/the new Samsung Galaxy Player 4 & 5, as both are Android devices - and both have the micro SD card fully integrated). 


You have a decent amount of choices IMO,...

Edited by tds101 - 7/11/11 at 1:02pm
post #9 of 22

Cowon J3 isn't overhyped. Learning to use it's BBE implementation demonstrates why. It has the best EQ I've heard and is possibly the best EQ in market for portable DAPs. I've been looking for a home rig solution with a similar EQ but still haven't found one that is on the same level as the one provided in the J3/S9.

post #10 of 22

If you want really analytical, get the Korg MR1 DSD decoder. It's primarily a field recorder but it be used for playback of WAV, MP3 and DSD. Sony and Marantz (among others) have similar products, but the advantage fo the Onkyo from most of the others is the DSD encoding/playback and the flush-mount microphone. Others have them sticking out the top.It's really bulky and batt life isn't practical if you're always on the go.

post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 

The product sounds fantastic ! The 2 issues I see are the price which is out of my budget and the lack of FLAC decoder. my CDs are ripped in FLAC so I don't want to encode them in another type.

However, I'll keep in mind those kind of product for further purchases.

Thanks for the input :)

post #12 of 22

I think Cowon X7 are better sounding DAPs than Clip with large capacity and also play FLAC files.

post #13 of 22

If you already have a FLAC archive then Cowon's your best bet.

post #14 of 22

wait... is this problem common in clip+? 

post #15 of 22
Originally Posted by cydonia View Post

wait... is this problem common in clip+? 

What problem?

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